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A few nasty gotchas in Lion

Mel Martin

Any major system update always has a few bugs and surprises, and Lion is no exception. There are two bugs that hit me directly -- one in Mail, and the other in working with network attached storage (NAS) devices.

Let me hit NAS first. I have a pretty old Buffalo Linkstation that I use to back up lots of photos and my iTunes library. When I installed Lion it was nowhere to be found, although it was listed as a shared device in the Finder. The problem? All connections to it failed.

It's not just my NAS that has this problem; products from Western Digital, LaCie and many other providers simply don't work or need a firmware update. Some vendors, like Synology and Western Digital, say a fix is in the works, but others are silent so far. So what is causing the NAS issues? Apple has changed the way file services work in Lion, and the result is the inability to communicate with many network storage devices. Lion requires netatalk 2.2 which isn't on most of these devices. This is particularly bad if you are using these devices with Time Machine.

Let's move on to Apple Mail. I like the new layout of the app, except for the monochromatic buttons. When I fired up Lion Mail, it immediately failed with a POP account I've been using for years. I could send mail, but not receive it. I deleted the account, and re-entered the passwords and server info. Still no dice.

A quick trip to the Lion support forums found lots of people complaining of similar problems. Nothing changed at my ISP, and that mail account runs fine on my iPad and iPhone, but it failed for both Lion installs I did. To nail the problem down as an Apple issue, I downloaded a free trial of Postbox, a Lion friendly email client. It worked fine with no issues with POP protocols at all.

Since email is about as basic a feature as you can get on any computer, I'm pretty surprised Apple Mail has this issue. Many people are using POP just fine, but many are in Apple-induced hell right now. My guess is that some mail servers using older protocols or authentication just aren't working with Apple's ever-tightening specs. I'll personally wait a bit for that first Lion update, or perhaps I'll have to pull the plug on Apple Mail and move to Postbox.

How about you? Were there some ugly Lion surprises hiding in the bouquet of wonderful new features? Share your experiences in the comments, both good and bad.

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