The L&L Blog  /  Rants and Miscellanea

From MacBook woe to MacBook Pro

Well, the final straw came last week that broke the bond between me and my MacBook. Not that I ever felt very bonded to it in the first place. I bought my white 2.0Ghz MacBook in the first week they were released, and boy, was that a mistake. Everyone said, "Don't buy a first generation Mac product," but did I listen? I did not. Listen: "Don't ever buy a first generation Mac product." Will you listen? I doubt it. Anyway. I wanted an Intel replacement for my beloved iBook, given that I was developing Scrivener and wanted to ensure that it was fully "universal" (that is, ran properly on both PPC and Intel Macs). Or, at least, that was my excuse to my other half. Really, I just wanted a shiny new iBook replacement.

Digression: Aah, my iBook. Now there is a thing of beauty (which said other half now has to herself). Compact (it was the 12") and damned attractive, I never had a single problem with it - but then, it was one of the last generations of iBooks, and I know there were loads of problems with previous generations (such as the infamous logic board issue). The only problem I ever had with it, in fact, was my children. My children and their nasty little proclivity for grabbing at leads and tugging, which on two separate occasions caused the spike of the power thingy to snap off inside the port of the iBook and necessitate a repair at an Apple store. The first repair was at the horrible Church of Scientology-esque store in central London, where they kept it for weeks and then tried to charge me after telling me they didn't have to do anything and that the spikey bit must have just fallen out. The second repair was at Bluewater, which has much friendlier (less "computer says no"-esque) staff, but unfortunately they somehow left a loose screw inside the machine which shorted out the never-had-problems-with-it logic board, which then had to be replaced. Anyway, that really was a long digression. The main point is this: that iBook has lasted nearly three years without a single fault.

Digression over - back to the MacBook: The MacBook looked a thing of beauty, too. It really did. And one day, I am pretty sure that MacBooks will be just as beautiful as that iBook. But not yet, I guess. I've had that MacBook for eight months, and in that time I have had three faults, two of which are well-known:

  • Discolouration - the palm-rests went horribly yellow. It took three repairs and a lot of morons on forums (if there are any bands reading, please feel free to use "Morons on Forums" as your moniker) telling me that I must have dirty hands before that got fixed.
  • Random shutdown - after the discolouration issue finally got resolved (mainly because I wrote an angry ranting e-mail to and had Corporate Relations sort it out for me), the notorious random shutdown issue raised its ugly head, necessitating a repair.
  • This isn't very interesting, is it? Well, tough, I need to get it out of my system, and if you're bored enough to be reading this when I very much doubt you have read the entire Penguin Classics collection then you can't blame me.
  • Most recently, the ethernet port just upped and stopped working, cutting off all access to the internet for me. Brilliant

In all, my eight-month old MacBook has been in for repair four times. The primary school teacher in me would just like to point out that that is an average of once every two months. Once every two months! So much for quality assurance; quality possibly maybe, more like. In eight months, my MacBook has been through:

  • Three top cases.
  • Two screen bezels.
  • One bottom case (which they chipped during the first repair).
  • One hard drive (which they found was about to fail during the first repair).
  • Two logic boards.

I am reminded of the old philosophical conundrum about a ship that leaves harbour and changes every part on its journey, or, seeing as my son makes me read it to him nearly every bloody night, Thomas Comes to Breakfast, in which Thomas the Tank Engine moans that he has had so many parts changed that he doesn't know if he is really him anymore.

Anyway. Enough is enough. So I have decided to sell my MacBook as soon as it comes back for repair. Any takers?

I have thus bought myself a lovely new MacBook Pro. Given that the MBPros have been out for nearly a year now and this one is second generation, I am hoping for more luck. It is a beautiful machine, it has to be said. Its design feels more like my old iBook than my accursed MacBook, with the old fashioned keyboard and clasp, the silver makes me feel more important, and the large glossy screen looks beautiful with desktop pictures gleaned from Paxton Prints.

Wish me luck. And don't ever buy first generation Mac products.


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