Logs to nowhere

For those of you running Macs, if you haven’t picked up Mac OS 10.3 (silly marketing name: Panther), don’t let the isolated reports about Firewire drive problems or the new secure FileVault feature scare you off. The latest update (10.3.1, which is out a mere two weeks after 10.3 hit the shelves) fixes most of these problems, and the speed and maturity of 10.3 is totally, totally worth the cost.

Much has been posted about how this release is really one about refinement, and I’m not going to dive into the fray with another review. But there’s one thing that annoys me.

crash.gifApple has added in the capability for users to send in reports whenever there’s a crash. That’s a great idea, which builds on the “bug” button that the Apple Safari browser ships with. But this dialog window appears whenever any application crashes, and not just an Apple application.

(For those of you who can’t read French, this dialogue says the familiar: “The application MozillaFirebird-bin has unexpectedly quit… The system and other applications are not affected. Would you like to send a bug report to Apple?”)

So unsuspecting users are sending their crash reports into Apple for all sorts of applications. My guess is that the majority of these reports are discarded or ignored, even if they involve Apple code. What’s worse is that any valuable information that could help a 3rd-party developer fix their applications is also being sent into this crash log black hole.

I’ve logged a bug report with Apple - hopefully they’ll tweak the dialogue, so you can send reports to a custom email address, or save the crash log to your desktop for easy email attaching. It’s annoying to see a perfectly good mode of communication poorly implemented.

And no, the irony of logging a bug report to notify Apple of a problem with bug reporting isn’t lost on me.

ISSN 1499-7894
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