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Apple can blow me. - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
Apple can blow me.
I bought my black MacBook back on June 19th, 2006 along with my black 60GB iPod. For the record, my iPod continues to treat me well. I love it. I'm sad to see it surpassed by the Classic 160GB and the Touch, but it's still a good little unit. Unfortunately, my other purchase has not been nearly so reliable. For the last eight months or so I've been putting up with a flickering back light on my little BlackBook's screen. I've tolerated it because nobody knows what causes it or how to fix it -- some of the suggestions seem to actively make the issue worse.

Tonight I found that my MacBook refuses to acknowledge that it has a battery installed -- or the battery is completely boned. Either way, the net result is the same: without the AC adapter plugged in, this little laptop doesn't go.

This laptop is only one year and five months old, it ran out of warranty faster than I could blink and it has two major technical problems (one of which is unexplainable and apparently unfixable). Meanwhile, my Dell laptop is just over three years old and, while a bit heavy and outdated on the processor side of the shop, is still ticking along nicely... and Dell actually gave it a warranty extension as I mentioned previously. My MacBook has always been babied. My Dell has seen long, hard use at conventions and on the road, even going to Florida with me a few years ago in place of my work-issued laptop. In my mind there is absolutely no excuse for this level of Suck and Fail. I'm hearing a lot of "That's what you get for buying first generation hardware," but in the laptop business when isn't it first generation? The model name stayed the same but in going from the Core Duo to the Core Duo 2 the MacBook inherited a new chipset. To me that sets the clock back to "first generation." And regardless of this so-called "second generation," the reports of problems keep flooding in. Clearly, adopting a "Wait and see" attitude with this product doesn't save you from the suffering.

Apple, I want to love you. I really do. Your designs are elegant and OS X is pretty much everything I could want in an operating system. But it's clear you've not learned anything from your PC-manufacturing cousins about build quality or how to treat a customer. Just look at AppleDefects.com for a laundry list of your unsolved issues. In the 1988 episode of Red Dwarf titled "Balance of Power," the Rimmer character told Lister, "You always become the thing you hate the most." I think that's true, Apple. You've taken on qualities from Microsoft and $INSERT_PC_BRAND_HERE that you love poking fun at in your commercials. Maybe you haven't figured it out yet, but you've got the worst of both worlds going for you right now -- you make software and hardware. You have an OS that seems laden with glitches (Leopard is apparently to OS X what ME was to Windows) and buggy hardware. I only know about the former via second-hand experience, I admit. But I'm not going to find out any time soon because I'm sticking with 10.4 on my laptop: I don't need the additional shit this upgrade seems to bring to the table. But I certainly am experiencing your legendary hardware. And I hope your legendary hardware is enjoying its experience of screwing me over and over again.

Until you get your shit together I'm going to put my plans of buying a MacPro workstation aside and just keep building WinTel boxes for my gaming and photo work. Yeah, I find building and burning in my own systems to be absolutely fucking maddening... but at least the cost of the frustration comes in at about half the dollar amount you want to charge me and when a portion of the hardware bones itself? I can actually go to any number of retailers and buy a replacement part.

Volunteering for your firing line

Tags: , , , , ,
Current Location: Z'ha'dum
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: Basil Poledouris - Gift Of Fury

19 thoughts or Leave a thought
doomsey From: doomsey Date: November 21st, 2007 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)
lesson: extended warranties on laptops are worth it.
feren From: feren Date: November 21st, 2007 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Only if they can diagnose and actually repair the issue.
doomsey From: doomsey Date: November 21st, 2007 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Usually, according to the contracts that becomes no-longer-your-problem after a few tries.
yakko From: yakko Date: November 21st, 2007 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
But the several weeks each try takes never stops becoming your problem. :o/
doomsey From: doomsey Date: November 21st, 2007 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)
You didn't really need that computer anyway, did you now? :-/
From: hysd Date: November 21st, 2007 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been doing Mac support for over two years now, and I know exactly what you mean. There are reasons I still buy PCs. x_x

Edited at 2007-11-21 04:08 am (UTC)
yakko From: yakko Date: November 21st, 2007 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
My MacBook (Core 2 Duo) seems to be working fine. I really hope it lasts as long as the PowerBook it replaced did. So far, so good.

(it's a year old this month)

I was just pondering this today... a similar question: If not a Mac, what laptop would I buy? It has to be light, not cost a shit-ton of money, not be a shitty Dell Inspiron and I've lost trust in IBM since they became Lenovo...

I'm not sure I'd want an XPS M1330 because it's expensive, but that looks like the best thing not-Apple. I'd run Linux on there, though, preferring to keep Windows in a VM.

I have a coworker's MacBook Pro that's a year and a half old and has some strange behavior. It WILL. NOT. BOOT. from CD. Ever. Not internal, not external. The battery is busted and Apple refused to replace it two weeks out of warranty even though it was part of the battery recall. The damned thing has general issues booting (I think it's an EFI thing), but without a CD to boot from, I can't correct this!
From: hysd Date: November 21st, 2007 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
The laptops I buy are ASUS brand. They're cheap for what you get and my last one survived 4 years of being totted around campus and still works beautifully another year on. Only reason I replaced it is because I wanted a laptop that would play World of Warcraft. c_c
spoothbrush From: spoothbrush Date: November 21st, 2007 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I continue to fail to get why people find Apple products superior. If you like 'em? Great! But trust me, that doesn't make you a smarter consumer in any way. It just means that you've gotten committed to something that's pretty much impossible to repair.
yakko From: yakko Date: November 21st, 2007 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
You are correct, but at least 1) the current Mac laptops aren't as impossible to repair as the old ones were, since they have a lot of PC-standard parts; 2) the playing field is level when laptops are concerned; each OEM is unique.

People find Apple products superior because they want to believe that it's somehow less Made in China than a Dell, and that gives them bragging rights. At least I knew what I was getting into before buying one. :o)
spoothbrush From: spoothbrush Date: November 21st, 2007 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... there's also a part of me that wants to smack certain Mac users upside the head with a big bag of pudding and say "IT DOESN'T COUNT AS ANTICONSUMERIST WHEN YOU BUY THINGS!!!"
feren From: feren Date: November 21st, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
In theory it's a lot like buying a BMW versus a Dodge: you pay more for something you can't work on yourself, but the supposed upside is that you get a vastly superior quality of workmanship and are not subjected to the same types of nuisance issues those less pricey/snooty brands are prone to encountering.

Or that's the idea, anyway. Reality rarely works that way, especially in the land of computers.

Or maybe it's just that Apple attracts the same sort of people that give up listening to a particular local band once it exceeds 100 fans because then they're no longer "underground" enough.
spoothbrush From: spoothbrush Date: November 21st, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that that's part of it... people who don't want to use Windows because it's SO CORPORATE, and so they buy Macs instead. Because somehow Apple's not a corporation?

It's just that Apple has managed to brand themselves as being somehow "countercultural", which I swear is a marketing term that means "makes people spend more and more often."
rustitobuck From: rustitobuck Date: November 21st, 2007 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I always get the extended warranty on laptops.

I consider Apple's design skills to be a notch above most PC brands, but all laptops are made by the same handful of OEMs, use the same suppliers for LCD panels, etc. If enough people complain, and Apple finds that the panels are unduly poorly manufactured, there'll be an out of warranty recall.

The only thing I can suggest is to give a call to Apple's corporate offices, 408-996-1010 (number burned into brain 25 years ago), and ask for customer relations, and explain the matter. Not AppleCare. Corporate customer relations.

The batteries are made by outside suppliers, and I have had at least three batteries replaced for my MacBook Pro so far. The little computer brains that Li-Ion batteries have seem to get brain damage. No battery brain to talk to means the laptop doesn't see the battery.

Bear in mind that the service lifetime of a Li-Ion battery is 12-18 months; it may just need a new battery. Maybe you can get Apple to pop for a free one.
chebutykin From: chebutykin Date: November 21st, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only thing I can suggest is to give a call to Apple's corporate offices, 408-996-1010 (number burned into brain 25 years ago), and ask for customer relations, and explain the matter. Not AppleCare. Corporate customer relations.

Ditto. Apple's customer relations and service are often exemplary. I've had them fix and/or entirely replace defective electronics even out of warranty, free of charge.
skorzy From: skorzy Date: November 21st, 2007 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow.. surprising. I've had several Apples over the last 18 years and I've had only one problem once. My Powerbook 520's screen developed a line of dead pixels about 14 months after owning it. I called Apple and they fixed it for free, despite being out of warranty.

I've a Powerbook Pismo I bought in 2000 and is still going strong (though since replaced). If I didn't try to push performance through the "Beige Bitch" (Mac G3-300) that I did, it would still be running fine. (Still runs fine, if I keep it with the OS it was designed for).

Though.. I never.. NEVER get a portable wthout a Applecare. New MBB I'm using daily as a workhorse has it.

I think you just got a bum unit, which is unfortunate.

Ah yes, AppleDefects.com People only make noise when they complain. Same is true when you're shopping for insurance companies online.
yakko From: yakko Date: November 21st, 2007 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Same is true when you're shopping for insurance companies online.

And cars. Oh, dear lord the noise. NO car is reliable if I took them at their word.
tugrik From: tugrik Date: November 21st, 2007 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Had the same screen problem, then the same battery problem... also at 15 months, also on a coreduo (not core2duo) blackbook.

I took it back for service just to see how much it'd cost. Got a guestimate of $200 to repair. Then they found the problem and replaced it for free, as, to quote them, "they shoulda found this earlier".

Hey, i'm not going to complain.

I'd say take it back and get a fix-it quote. MAybe they'll surprise you too. Oh, and for the record, I've had far, FAR less problems with all the other macs I've had (12pb, 17pb, 15mbp, c2d mb-white) than I did with the first cduo black mb. It was just an especially bad build by comparison.
urocyon From: urocyon Date: November 21st, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Apple used to have pretty enviable hardware. Heck, far as I know my ][+ is still working. Just not sure what to think of the company lately though.

ObSmarm: This post brought to you by a 350MHz Thinkpad 240. Still ticking even after all the abuse heaped on it, from kicking around server rooms to getting waterlogged on a roadtrip.
19 thoughts or Leave a thought