So my system was running a slower than normal, and I started poking around and found that Disk Utilities provided buttons to verify and repair permissions and disks. I chose to verify both and learned nothing was wrong with the disk, but the permissions on system files were reported as incorrect. I pressed the Repair permissions button and felt happy about the successful report (though a bit ignorant about why system files had ever fallen into dis-repair). I do recall noticing that AirPort folders and files within those folders had write permissions and Verify reported they should not. So, those were apparently changed to read only.
Now, I come in to work this morning and find I can no longer connect to wifi networks that I added long ago. I also cannot join new ones. If the connection doesn't time out while trying to set it up, I get a dialog saying that the network requires a password. Entering the password causes it to show a busy animation, and then it pops up again with the same message. Soooo I'm guessing that the Repair permissions turned writable files into read only files and some of those files stored network information like passwords or authentication of some sort. I've been perusing the web and apple's forums and though I've found reports of similar timeouts and error messages, no one has correlated the problem to repairing permissions. I'm fairly sure of the correlation. Can someone help resolve the problem?
The Console shows lots of messages like this:
... Apple80211 framework Scan() error -3905 (Timeout) ... Apple80211 framework __performScan() failed (-3905) ... Apple80211 framework airportd MIG failed (Associate Event) = -1 (Unknown error) (port = 50735) ... System Preferences Error joining private_sid: Connection failed (-1 result unavailable) ... kernel AirPort: Link Down on en1. Reason 1 (Unspecified). ... airportd Apple80211Associate() failed -3905 (Timeout) ... Apple80211 framework airportd MIG failed (Associate Event) = -3905 (Timeout) (port = 64615)