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Vodafone pledges fix for Snow Leopard 3G modem woes

Carrier caught out, claim users

Vodafone customers have let rip at the carrier for its failure to update its wireless modem software for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Yesterday, the network operator promised a fully 10.6-compatible version of its Mobile Connect software, but was unable to provide a timeframe for the update's release.

Vodafone confirmed its USB Modem Stick Pro doesn't work with Snow Leopard at all, but said that its other USB modems and its E870 ExpressCard offering will work with Mac OS X 10.6 when the OS is booted with a 32-bit kernel.

Users claimed the code crashes their 10.6 system when a modem is connected.

Snow Leopard supports 64-bit computing more pervasively than any other Apple OS to date. Users with a 64-bit processor - anything with a Core 2 Duo, basically - can run 64-bit apps alongside 32-bit apps. To ensure maximum compatibility with 32-bit device drivers, only Apple's XServe servers boot up by default with a 64-bit kernel - the rest retain a 32-bit kernel, though this has no effect on machines' ability to run 64-bit apps.

Snow Leopard's 64-bit kernel isn't officially supported on MacBooks. And until the vast majority of third-party device drivers have been released in 64-bit versions, it's likely to stay that way. Laptops are the most common users of USB 3G modems.

But it's not just drivers that are causing woes. Vodafone admitted that Mobile Connect front end needs to be re-installed after users upgrade to Snow Leopard. Even then, some elements won't work, it confessed.

The new version should fix this, but what has got most punters annoyed is the fact that they believe Vodafone should have seen this coming. Pre-release versions of Snow Leopard have been available to developers to use for testing for months.

Early access to upcoming OS X releases is available for a $499 (£243) membership fee - not a lot for a company of Vodafone's size to cough up to keep its monthly fee paying customers happy.

Fortunately, Snow Leopard is out now and can be had for a mere 25 quid.

It seems Vodafone may have been waiting for the lower price. "The UK support team tell me that they are waiting for a copy of Snow Leopard to arrive at their office so that they can load it on a Mac and start testing," claimed one poster on Vodafone's public forum. ®

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