Sunday, October 28, 2007

Humpty MacBook

I dropped my MacBook on the pavement yesterday.

It was inside a courier bag with no padding, the strap on one shoulder and not over my head like it ought to have been. I was 5 seconds out the door when it slipped and smacked against the driveway.

Overwhelmed with disbelief, I quickly pulled it out of the bag and lifted the lid. The MacBook, having been asleep, awoke as if nothing had occurred. But something had definitely occurred.

A quick survey around the edges of the MacBook revealed the back left corner had taken the full brunt of the fall, having lifted the plastic casing from the edge and slightly buckling the metal casing underneath.

For your viewing pleasure.

Amazingly, as a testament to the virility of the MacBook, everything still works. Even more so, my iSight camera, which had recently become non-operational apart from its green power indicator which remained on at all times, came back to life after I powered down and back up again. I first noticed the green light was no longer on, then did a test in Photo Booth, iMovie, and even Facebook Video. Imaging is back, but the previous problem of the mic recording static remains. Still, I'd call that a pleasant surprise in light of the matter.

What's possibly less pleasant is that dropping my MacBook has likely voided my warranty. The recent e-mail I sent to Steve Jobs, which got me the personal attention of Tajai in executive relations in the matter of seeing my pre-drop list of MacBook issues resolved, may now have been all for naught. I've contact Tajai to let him know what happened, and am fully prepared for him to advise that I'm now on my own, but I'll not know for sure until I get a reply.

Meanwhile, I'm grateful for still having a functional MacBook. Furthermore, the value of padded casing has hereforto been learned in perpetuity. Please, let this be a lesson to you all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Countdown Complete

The countdown to Leopard officially just ended. I should know, I watched the last two minutes tick away on Apple's home page. I kind of expected something to happen at zero. It didn't.

Still. Yippee!!

Apple, I love You

Cast your fanboy slurs aside, naysayers! I've a story of true love to tell, and with a happy ending to boot!

In case you weren't aware, I've been having some issues with my MacBook. Some from the start, some quite recent. The basic rundown, in order of appearance, is this:
  • Emits infamous high pitched whine unless CPU is tasked.
  • iSight microphone always records with static noise interference.
  • Piece of palm rest cracks off.
  • iSight camera breaks completely, green power indicator light remains on while computer is on.
Through it all I've loved my MacBook for its Mac user experience, namely the joys of OS X, but my patience was starting to wear thin with all these hardware issues. I began to wonder what Steve Jobs would think of all this.

So I wrote him and asked.

Two days later, or 20 minutes ago from the time I'm typing this blog entry, my phone rings and a gentleman named Tajai from Apple's executive relations here in Canada is on the other end going over the contents of my e-mail to Jobs with me and assuring me he is now personally going to see this issue through to resolution.

How do you like them Apples?

The situation is being handled thusly: Tajai understands I need my computer for work and can't afford the downtime a repair would incur, so he's willing to pay up to $300 for a rental Mac while my MacBook goes into the shop. If the issues can't be resolved via the repair attempt, the MacBook will be replaced.

One of my main concerns when writing Steve was whether my MacBook experience was common to all MacBook owners. Tajai assured me my situation is rare, which, along with his personal commitment to seeing my MacBook through all of this, was reassuring.

I was starting to fear Apple had become just another faceless corporate greed machine, having turned its ear away from its customers and towards the ka-ching sound of money bags falling from the sky. That fear has now subsided. Apple is still a company that builds relationships with its customers, as this experience only proves.

Like any great relationship that goes through a hard time and comes out the other end in tact, my love for Apple is now stronger than ever.

Apple, I love you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leopard as a Velvet Painting

We're all excited about this week's release of Mac OS 10.5, otherwise known as Leopard. The list of features is exhaustive, and among them are some heavy hitters like Time Machine, Quick Look, Spaces and the all new Finder.

Far be it from me to rain on the parade, but one thing that's bothered me ever since screen shots of the new OS started leaking out onto the web has been the sudden arrival of the colour purple. Outer space is a theme prevalent in Leopard, which is cool, I like outer space, and it works so nicely with the Time Machine UI, but why, oh why, did Apple, who normally are so good at making seemingly simple yet important decisions about colour, choose purple as the colour of the gaseous clouds in its space themes?

Purple is everyone's least favorite colour, for one. Couple that with the way it makes space images look like velvet paintings, and you've got to wonder how this choice was made, and how it slipped past all the checks, including the eyes of Steve Jobs himself.

Green would have been a much better choice. Apple implements green a lot, particularly when it comes to lights indicating power activity. Green is much more calm, mysterious, and less on the nose than purple is in space.

Now, every time I see a screen shot like this:

Which just leaked out onto the interwebs tonight, I'm reminded of unicorns, waterfalls and all the other tacky things that the colour purple swirling in the background so aptly lends itself to.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fix A Crack, Lose Your (i)Sight

A couple of weeks ago, the palm rest on my MacBook cracked.

My right wrist had dragged across the front edge of the palm rest and I felt something flick against my skin, like the sensation of an elastic band snapping. When I looked down, there was a long, slender, splintered piece of plastic raised from the edge of the casing, and underneath it, the blackness wherein the innards of my MacBook had once concealed themselves.

As seen here:

Notice anything unusual?
How about now?

I thought I was going to be in for a debate with the local Apple repair tech when I called in to report the issue, but he quickly quieted those concerns when he explained how this is a common issue and he could have the part ordered in within a few days. Oh. Well alright then!

My MacBook went in for repair today and the technician was very kind. I explained a couple of other issues I was having, namely the infamous high pitched whine and the fact that my iSight's mic was recording a lot of static noise. Because I needed the computer back the same day, we agreed it best to come back at a later date to have these two issues looked into. Meanwhile, the repair on my case was done in a matter of hours.

The new casing is great. It fits like a glove and feels of that lovely new MacBook texture, which inevitably wipes away to smoothness with regular usage. It appears as though the entire top layer of the MacBook's open face was replaced, including the scroll pad, mouse button and keyboard. Its almost like having a new MacBook.

Almost, if not for the fact that my iSight seems to have come back busted. The green light shows the moment the power to the computer is turned on, and it remains despite not having any iSight applications running. When I do run an iSight app, like Photo Booth or iMovie HD, the camera doesn't work at all.

I'm sure this can be easily fixed, but it kind of reminds me of the old trope about the car going into the mechanic with one problem and coming back with another. Not that I'm suggesting this was intentional. It's just annoying.

Not to mention that the constant green light just makes me feel like someone, somewhere is watching me while I type.

Happy and normal. Happy and normal. Happy and normal.