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Apple's Mountain Lion OS keeps crashing my iMac, and raises BYOD questions

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Ever since I upgraded to Apple's "Mountain Lion" (Version 10.8) release of OS X I've been having a "small" problem with my iMac ... it keeps crashing. At least once per day, OS X gives up with a kernel panic and the System Diagnostic reports either "type 13=general protection" or "type 14=page fault." For what it's worth, the last two kernel extension events are for loading and unloading com.apple.driver.AppleUSBCDC4.1.21.

My iMac (which has to be my favorite computer ever) is a 27-inch, mid-2010 build with a 2.93GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 4GB of RAM. I've tried disconnecting all USB devices and I've disabled startup items but, so far, no joy. It crashes no matter what I do and, I see from online searching that I'm not alone in this.

VISUAL TOUR: What's new in Mountain Lion

Over on my Forbes blog I wrote about my disappointment following installing Mountain Lion and attracted the ire of the Apple fanboys, who apparently think that because they didn't have a problem it must be due to my stupidity. The reality of upgrades by any OS vendor is that things will go wrong for (hopefully) some small proportion of users, and Mountain Lion has a few problems.

Over on Macworld there's a guide for troubleshooting Mountain Lion but, alas, it doesn't address my problems. Even Apple's own support document regarding "kernel panics" (which is over a year old), only covers basic steps after which it recommends visiting an Apple retail store and making a reservation at the Genius Bar ... which would be great except for the time that would take.

Now, I admit I am not an expert in low-level OS X stuff, so picking apart the System Diagnostic Reports trying to identify the problem has been an annoying "learning experience," and revealed, so far, absolutely nothing. I've sent the System Diagnostic Reports to Apple's PR people but, to date, I've had no feedback, and friends with a lot more OS X experience have taken a look and have not been able to figure out what's going wrong.

I could, of course, throw up my hands and rebuild the entire system (as some people have suggested), but I don't have a spare 72 hours and that seems a poor way to deal with the problem.

What this highlighted for me are two things: Apple isn't perfect (sorry, rabid fanboys) and organizations allowing for bring your own device (or some day hope to) may have an interesting set of problems to deal with if their users experience similar problems.

So, what do you do if your users are running your corporate apps on their own gear and, as far as you know, the apps should be compatible with an upgrade? Do you demand that they can't perform the upgrade until you've had a decent amount of time to run your own tests? And if your users experience problems, do you try to fix the issues for them, send them to the Apple store, or just tell them to rebuild their devices?

The big question is, when you have a BYOD policy, how much responsibility do you expect your users to take for keeping their devices and your corporate apps running?

Gibbs is, for now, stymied in Ventura, Calif. Your insights to gearhead@gibbs.com and follow him on Twitter (@quistuipater) and on Facebook (quistuipater).

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