Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life
Of Loud Fans and Broken Drives
I thought I would share two reports of repairs to computers. I do so because both are generally positive and they serve to balance the stories generally found on the Internet, which are rather negative. That comment isn’t to doubt the accuracy of the accounts or to impugn the motives of those who are angry, often rightly so, but it’s to note the selective nature of our collective memory, which emphasizes what is abnormal. If all proceeds just fine, as it does most of the time, there is no particular need to document that fact.
Both my unibody MacBook Pro and my Modbook developed problems simultaneously.
The MacBook Pro had horrible sounds emanating from the fans. Initially, I thought it was the SuperDrive dying prematurely, but I soon realized it had to be one or both of the fans. They started running loudly when I put the unit to sleep, and they started spontaneously even with the lid down. A day later, they started running loudly and constantly, as soon as I booted up, with a rasping noise that suggested some sort of mechanical obstruction. After about three hours, when I had to finish some work and could not turn off everything, the fans became quieter—still much louder than normal, but not absurdly loud. They were so loud that on the call with Apple Care, the technician could hear them clearly, even with the phone at least a foot away. (I tried all the usual resets to firmware before I called. None worked.)
The Modbook had a SuperDrive that went kaput. It did it in stages: at first, it would read a CD if I tried it three times or more. Then it took even more attempts, and finally, when I went to install Snow Leopard, it wouldn’t read anything even though I tested various media I knew to be good.
In each case, there was no fuss about the return. The technicians were professional, courteous, and apologetic. The units came back in under a week, door-to-door, including the shipping both ways. Everything was clean. The software and data were unaffected. I had to make do with an older MacBook, which I borrowed back from my parents, having given it to them as a hand-me-down when I upgraded.
I have a quibble about each experience, though. As to the MacBook Pro, I was astonished that three separate people at AppleCare and one at the Apple Store with whom I spoke had no idea what ProCare was. I have bought a ProCare Card each of the past three years, because it just isn’t fun to hang out in line at the Genius Bar waiting behind a dozen people, some of whose concerns are clearly user error, and some of whom are distraught because they failed to back up anything. It is apparent to me, however, that the corporation does not value ProCare, and it isn’t training its employees about it.
As to the Modbook, perhaps I am too cautious, but I was surprised at how little padding Other World Computing put around it when they returned it to me. It was just a layer of bubble wrap with bubbles that were medium sized (about that of a quarter), and they left out a piece of foam I had used that ensured a snug fit. In the same box I had sent it in in, this $3,000-when-new product was loose.
All in all, I remain satisfied and loyal. I have had Macs and Windows PCs, including several IBM ThinkPads, which are about the top-of-the line if you are running a Wintel box. I know it isn’t just the aura of Apple: my machines have been up for much longer with fewer problems, and the hardware issues have been resolved with greater attentiveness and more efficiency.
Also in This Series
- About My Particular Macintoshes · May 2012
- From the Darkest Hour · May 2012
- Shrinking Into an Expanding World · May 2012
- Growing Up With Apple · May 2012
- Recollections of ATPM by the Plucky Comic Relief · May 2012
- Making the Leap · March 2012
- Digital > Analog > Digital · February 2012
- An Achievable Dream · February 2012
- Smart Move? · February 2012
- Complete Archive