Angry Apple rant

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KB
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Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:28 pm Post

Today has been a bad Apple day. At one point, I actually found myself asking myself, "Do I really want to develop for this platform?" Seriously. When I bought my iBook three years ago, I thought the Mac was the bee's knees. What a machine! And it still is - three years later, it runs brilliantly. But my MacBook - well, that is jus something else entirely. So I posted a long message on the Apple support forums about this earlier today - and guess what? The mods deleted it. It was rational, polite, and I really bigged-up AppleCare (who have always been really helpful). It's the engineers who are letting them down - and now, it seems, the mods on the Apple forums. How dare they silence my complaint? I mean, really? I pay £300 for AppleCare and today I was on hold for one hour just trying to get through to them - I had to give up in the end because I had an appointment. Is that really good enough? Well, the answer is a resounding "no".

Am I prepared to be treated like this by a company? Again, "no". I've never been a big Steve Jobs fan. And I hate the Scientology-esque-ness of the Apple Store in Regent Street. Hell, I think Apple's attitude stinks so much that my complaints led to my partner writing a four-page spread on how Apple was losing its cool for the Independent earlier in the year. But OS X... OS X is what keeps me here. What are the alternatives? Who can go back to Windows after using OS X? Not me. It is by far the best OS out there. And now I have spent two years of my life developing Scrivener for it. So Apple have me over a barrel.

And is this how Apple are going to treat me in return? I thought Apple had fostered a reputation for caring about their customers... For being different from those other faceless corporations. Pah.

So right now I am in a _low_ place when it comes to Apple, and I can't face any Scrivener development this evening. And dang, we don't even have any alcohol in the house. :(

Sorry, just had to vent.

I reposted my issues on the Apple support forums here:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jsp ... dID=666533

I tried to ensure that there was nothing there that could possible give rise to it being deleted, but I am prepared to bet that it will be gone within the hour. Apple hate anybody saying anything bad about them and seem to be advocates of censorship. So, for the sake of posterity (or something), I have pasted my complaints below.

Ugh.

Keith

---

Hello,

I am having serious problems with my MacBook and right now I am losing faith in Apple, frankly. I am not a troll, and I recently posted a very reasonable post asking for advice which was deleted by the admins without any explanation. What really angers me is that I develop software for this platform, and I have a best-selling novellist calling my application "the biggest advance in writing software since the word processor". Despite this, when I post my grievances (in a very reasonable and calm way) and ask for advice here, my post is deleted.

I bought a MacBook when they first came out. Whithin three weeks, it suffered from discolouration, so I phoned AppleCare and the very helpful folks there agreed to take it in for repair. So, it went in, and three days later (great!), I received it back. Whilst it was in for repair, the engineers also replaced the hard drive, as apparently during their standard tests it was revealed that the one that came with the machine was about to fail - even though it was only two weeks old. I was also disappointed to see that the engineers had chipped the polycarbonate whilst replacing the top-casing and that they had failed to replace the screen bezel, which was also discolouring. On top of this, the new top-casing wasn't fitted properly. Still, I decided to see how things went, as I did not want to be without my computer again.

Three weeks later, my machine was discoloured again, so I phoned AppleCare again. Again, they took it in and I was without my machine for nearly two weeks this time. When I got it back, they had replaced the top-casing (again), the screen bezel and the polycarbonate bottom casing. It looked brand new, so I was happy.

Happy for three weeks, that is. After that, the discolouration returned. Am I the only one who has suffered discolouration repeatedly? Is this still an issue for anyone else? Or have I just been particularly unlucky? I wash my hands, and I don't see that it can be some weird Ph problem, given that my 3-year-old white iBook has no such problems.

Anyway, after two "repairs" with no resolution, I decided to give up and put up with the discolouration. My new machine may look old and dirty, but at least it worked and was generally a joy to use... Until a couple of days ago, that is. Two days ago, I switched on my machine and three minutes later it shut itself down for now reason. I only had Mail and Camino running, nothing else. After that, every time I tried to boot up, it shut down within seconds - it barely even got to the Apple logo.

Is this the random shut down issue I am hearing about?

The only way I could get it up and running was to hold down the power button until it beeped. Once I did that, I verified the hard drive and it did have errors. So I fixed it using the install disk and hoped for the best. But two days later, upon booting up, it shut back down again. So I called AppleCare (who are always brilliant and helpful), and they walked me through resetting my PRAM. I then left my machine on, and other than the fan running more than usual, it seemed okay.

But then, when I booted up my machine this morning, it did nothing. It got to the grey screen, and then I just got lots of coloured vertical lines, nothing more. I tried restarting several times, holding down the power button etc, but nothing helped. Eventually, I just reset the PRAM again, and this managed to get the computer booted.

So now, obviously I am very worried. I thought these shut down issues only happened after start up, but about half an hour ago it happened after having the machine running for three hours. I tried calling AppleCare today but I was on hold for one hour, after which I had to hang up as I had an appointment. Frankly, I have paid £300 for AppleCare, and whilst the AppleCare reps are always great and more than helpful, it is just not good enough to pay this amount of money and then be put on hold for an hour. I have spent my savings on this machine and it looks dirty and old despite being only four months' old, and now it is shutting down randomly on me. I have lost all faith in it. I am upset, and now, to add insult to injury, mods on this forum deleted a post in which I was, if anything, over-complimentary about the way AppleCare have dealt with my issues, and they did so with no explanation. On reflection, perhaps it was the title of that post, so I hope this one will fare better, as checking the terms of agreement I believe I am abiding by them.

I would just like to know if others have suffered from similar issues with their MacBooks, and how they have dealt with them. I would really like a new machine, right now, but I will be reasonable, of course. I think this is a valid question for this forum, and if the mods feel they need to remove this post, I would be very grateful if they could e-mail me and tell me why rather than leaving me feeling like I am being silenced.

Has anybody been able to fix this random shutdown issue without sending it for repair? Have repairs been successful? Is anybody else still suffering from discolouration?

Many thanks in advance for any help and advice. Please let me reiterate: I have spent the past two years dedicating all of my spare time developing a program for OS X, so I am committed to this platform. I am not a troll, just a customer with genuine problems.

Thank you in advance for any advice,
Keith

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AmberV
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Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:45 am Post

Sorry to hear about your Apple woes. You pretty much nailed the problem in your post. We are all endowed with the best operating system on the planet, and it is an unfortunate truth that its benefits are shackled to one side of the Jobs Coin, snuggled up close to some of his more obnoxious ideologies. And what can we do, really? Like you, there is no way I am ever going back to Windows by choice. So we are kind of stuck -- and right now we are double stuck -- being in the middle of a transition between chip types, and all of the bugs and issues that come along with something that seminal. Fortunately, the future is bright. OS X keeps improving, and eventually the Intel line will be as stable as PowerPC line.
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Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:42 am Post

Keith, just to let you know you're not the only one - my MacBook is also suffering from the random shutdowns. I've been through AppleCare and initially they were going to replace the logic board but now (almost two weeks later) they are only going to replace the heat sink. I still have the computer as they are letting me hold onto it until the parts arrived - there is no official ETA on the parts yet as apparently there is a huge backlog with all 2GHz MacBooks potentially affected.

I have also been extremely frustrated by this at times, but like you there is no way I could ever use another operating system. I am also very happy with the MacBook if you don't include this issue (which is hopefully going to be fixed sometime soon).

Also, it might just be down to pot-luck but it has not randomly shut-down once while using Scrivener!

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alexwein
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Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:02 pm Post

Ugh. This is a terrble state of affairs. I have been through this kind of thing with a computer (never a Mac, though). I believe AmberV is correct, that the Intel line will eventually be quite stable and solid. But that surely doesn't help you now! And their deleting your post is beyond frustrating!

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Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:02 pm Post

I'm sorry to hear about your problems. I know how frustrating computer issues can be. (Ironically, that's one of the reasons I prefer my mac to my pc.) I hope they get worked out.

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KB
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Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:07 pm Post

Well, I finally got through to AppleCare and they are taking it in for repair - again. This is the third time this four month-old machine has been in for repair. They have said that they will replace the top case and screen bezel again to get rid of the discolouration while they're at it - this time I'll make sure I buy a protective plastic cover to avoid this in future. So, looks like I'll be without my primary development machine for a few weeks. Much as I love my iBook, it is very slow for making Scrivener builds, so I'm not looking forward to going back to it for a while... :(

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Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:40 am Post

Things might be different over there, but here in the Land of Oz it sounds like there is going to be quite a long waiting list until the parts to repair the shutdown are available, you might want to do what I'm doing and wait for the parts to be available before taking it in.

In the meantime I have been starting up by holding down the power button until after the long beep (means the computer is only going to use one core instead of two) and this seems to be working, i.e. I have been doing some pretty processor intensive stuff without it shutting down. The only thing is if you let your computer go to sleep upon waking both cores will be activated and it will promptly shut down.

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KB
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Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:41 am Post

Thanks, dagaz - in fact, that is exactly how I am starting up my machine these days. Otherwise, it shuts down within minutes. What I didn't realise was that sleeping caused both cores to be activated, which explains why I have been getting shutdowns after a few hours.

I hope there isn't such a long wait... Apple are sending out a box for mine, because I try to avoid the Apple store in Regent Street as much as I can. They said there was a ten day turnaround when I asked, but I am prepared to bet that they stated that as a matter of course and didn't actually know whether these parts were in or not. On the other hand, maybe it won't be so bad seeing as it is going to the central UK repair centre rather than one of the stores - I would have thought that the major service centre would get the parts first. Who knows. I am going to go somewhat nuts if I'm without my new(ish) machine for more than a fortnight. :(

Thanks and all the best,
Keith

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Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:52 pm Post

Keith, I actually returned my MacBook. It was a black one. I hear your probs. Mine wasn't as bad, but there was enough struggle for me to call it quits.

I just indulged myself in the 24" iMac, becoming a laughing stock for my wife and even my 8-months old daughter. But my son is firmly on my side.

Sheesh. Not a single problem. Scrivener displays breathtakingly. :D

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Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:13 pm Post

Well, following musti's advice, I e-mailed sjobs@apple.com with a long explanation of why I am really disappointed with my MacBook, with the discolouration and shutdowns. I mentioned that I develop and how I had always been happy with other machines and with AppleCare etc. I had heard rumours that this e-mail address would get you a response from someone at Apple pretty quickly, but I was sceptical - but I figured it was worth a try anyway. After sending the e-mail, I got through to AppleCare anyway and they agreed to take the machine in, though they said it would take about two weeks to repair.

Anyway, I sent that e-mail on a Friday. On the Monday, I got a phone call from a very friendly and apologetic chap at Executive Corporate Relations, who said that I absolutely should not have had all of these problems with my machine and that he would do everything he could to expedite my repair. The machine went in for repair on Tuesday... And I received it back on Thursday. They have replaced all of the plastics so that it looks brand new, along with the "module" (heat module, I guess), so it no longer shuts down. Now, I have grave doubts that the plastic will remain white for more than three weeks, as experience tells me otherwise, but I am _very_ happy with the service I received here. I was losing faith in Apple a little bit, to be honest - but the fact that they have people who check such an attention-grabbing e-mail address and make such an effort to help disgruntled customers speaks volumes for their customer support.

So, I am happy again, and no longer angry. :)

Keith

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Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:11 pm Post

Fantastic story. Who would have ever thought! And here I was thinking you were going to have to suffer with the old plastic (old iron, just doesn't sound right when discussing iBooks), for weeks. They certainly aren't perfect -- their biggest flaw these days seems to be releasing somewhat untested, experimental engineering designed upon the world. The plastic on the white Power Mac, the type of coating used on the Black Nano which scratches if you so much as sneeze in the same room as it (yeah, I got that one, looks like I took a brillo pad to it, even though I keep it in a soft case! Lucky me, I have AppleCare on it, and one of these days I'm going to use it).

But, they really are better than most corporations out there. I just wish they put the same attention to detail in everything they do.
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Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:26 pm Post

I'm glad that the story is having a happy ending, though I am hearing that even replacing the heat sink isn't enough to rectify the issue because there's some folks that have experienced the shutdown problem again.

As much as I wouldn't mind a Macbook, when I bought a new laptop this summer I opted for a used G4 iBook - mainly because Adobe doesn't plan on releasing the Intel-native version of Creative Suite until the spring and I depend heavily on Photoshop for my design work. Running my current CS through Rosetta wouldn't give me the power that I needed for it. After seeing all of these issues with the first generation of Macbooks, I'm very glad that I'm sticking with the iBook for other reasons. My AppleCare on this iBook is good through next August should I need it.