I got my MacBook Pro back last week from its second trip to Apple’s Texas repair facility. I have to admit, the turnaround was fast this time: only about 5 days from DHL pickup to DHL return. Unfortunately, the speed of the “repair” is evident in the results I have observed.
The first thing I noticed while removing the machine from its box was that a minor cosmetic defect had been added: the top surface of the MacBook Pro’s interior (the wrist-rest area to the right of the trackpad) now has a nice surgery scar. The case bulges ever so slightly here, to reveal a thin gap between the DVD-ROM slot and the top surface. Not the biggest problem in the world, but when you’re hoping for repair, it’s not fun to have it come back worse than you sent it.
Speaking of which, they did at least replace the screen inverter this time. The bad news? It seems that they replaced it with another board, defective in a different way. Is this what “consumable parts” means? My old inverter made a terrible buzzing noise at all but the highest brightness, where it was dead silent. This meant that with QuietMBP and highest-brightness, I could work in complete silence (albeit at the expense of my battery). The new inverter is noisy at all brightnesses, and is a distinctly different type of noise. While the old was more buzzing, the new is more hissing. In a way it’s better, because it’s closer to white noise. But it’s also worse and more infuriating because there is no workaround for it.
I was so disappointed that I set the MacBook Pro aside and didn’t use it for a week. I didn’t want to face the thing. I get very little joy out of using it, and it’s value has been reduced to an Intel test box that I can take with me when I travel. My PowerMac G5 is slower, but it’s comfortable. It’s like choosing between a Ferrari with no seat-back, or a Ford Escort. Sure, you can get a lot farther a lot faster in the Ferrari, but you’ll hate every minute of it.
Another infuriating aspect of Apple’s repair process is that they don’t put any comments on the repair sheet. You go to lengths to describe the numerous problems afflicting you. They write down copious notes. They agree with you that all the problems should be checked out and will be tested thoroughly. Then you get it back and they’ve replaced one part in the hopes of addressing one problem, and completely (it would appear) ignored everything else.
So my machine still whines terribly. It’s a bad problem, Apple. It’s ridiculously loud and the workaround eats my battery and probably makes the machine hotter. I want to be a PRO user. I want to work like a pro. Live like a pro. Concentrate like a pro.
And my machine still throbs with heat. The reason I’ve waited so long to update my blog is that I haven’t been willing to face the machine. I want this all to be over with. I’m only inspired to write this because I am away from home for a few days, so I “needed” to bring the portable. My hands have that residual warm throbbing that comes from being pressed against something uncomfortably warm for more than a few minutes. And this is on a relatively cool day. The heat of summer is looming like a portable-computing killer.
This is a crappy era for Apple hardware. It’s sort of a great time for Apple hardware, but the flaws make me yearn for the bad old days.
Heck, I’m even jealous of my girlfriend’s ThinkPad. Ugly and with a crap operating system, but completely silent and cool to the touch. Can I get Mac OS X with that?
Update: Sitting here with the machine on and little ambient noise, I finally figured out what the “new inverter hiss” sounds like: leaking gas! It sounds like there’s a pilot light out in my MBP and the whole room is going to blow at any moment.