Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not an Apple but a Lemon?

Well I have had my new MacBook Pro for less than four weeks and it is already "in the shop" to have the DVD drive replaced. Mmm. This does not bode well.

I read that the MacBook Pro was considered to be the gold standard for build quality in a notebook and considering I paid a premium of $1500 over the price of an equivalent PC to buy this Cadillac/Maserati/Porsche of notebooks I expected it to be in perfect working order out of the box. But from the moment I began loading CDs into the DVD drive there have been concerns. Intermittent concerns to be sure, but concerns.

Early on I had the awful experience of a CD not being read by the drive and also not ejecting as requested. Out came the big fat book, Switching to the Mac and my hair just about stood on end as I read the solutions, the increasing order of desperate measures for the one trying to extract an unwilling CD from the DVD drive, including the use of a paper clip. Since there is a section included in the big fat book, I assume this is not such a rare occurrence. Luckily, using the Disk Utility program, I was able to get it out, although I never did load Paul Simon into iTunes.

By last week I had loaded more than 60 CDs with no problem until once again I had one which refused to load, although it did on a retry. But this weekend came the very serious problem, for when I loaded an instructional DVD from the library it made the most awful grinding noises while trying to read the disc, which it sometimes succeeded in doing, sometimes not. Now this was not some old beat-up DVD but a new one, just acquired by the library and I was the first borrower. I wondered if it was the taped barcode on the upper surface causing it to be off kilter, so I took both it and the computer back to the store where I bought it. They found the same thing but when they loaded the disc into their other Macs it read it without a problem and no unusual noise whatsoever.

So today, when I went to the Apple Store for a one-to-one lesson I also made an appointment with the Genius Bar to have them check out the DVD drive. Same thing. Sounds like the Wheel of Fortune on mine but smooth as glass on the others in the store. Consequently after checking if the part was in stock they have taken the computer to replace the drive and I should have it within a few days, with any luck. So here I am on my old faithful Dell computer, telling a tale of woe about my brand new Apple computer.

Old Faithful

By the way, my old faithful Dell has a newly installed keyboard and after its memory upgrade in July is in very good shape. Finally, after months, Dell had stock of the replacement keyboards and I ordered one for a very hefty price in comparison to the US price for the same thing, The Old Scientist installed it with no problem at all, thanks to a YouTube video, some detailed posts by technical people, along with judicious reading of the manual. The internet is an amazing thing and the fact that people go to all that trouble to share their knowledge never ceases to astound me. There must be a teacher buried in all of us somewhere.

Now my new MacBook Pro features a one-piece, rigid, machined aluminum frame or unibody, a huge plus feature, according to Apple. But how do you actually get into it to replace the DVD drive? How do you get this unibody off to get inside? Will they return it to me all scratched up and not yet a month old? I have been so careful with it, treated it ever so gently. I never eat near it nor drink near it, as opposed to the Dell from which I am always vacuuming crumbs, etc. I handed it over to them very reluctantly and can only hope that it will be returned in perfect condition and with a fully functional DVD drive which does not sound like the Wheel of Fortune. All I can say is luckily I purchased the three year extended warranty, even though the cost certainly made me gulp for this does not bode well, as I said. What will be next? I am very happy to have my faithful Dell to keep me company as I wait on tenterhooks. Yes, I know. It will be fine, fine, fine.


Granny on the Web said...

It WILL be fine, I am sure. I was swayed onto Apple stuff a few years back when my son had one from his work place. So I bought a G4 and it was super. As another son, short on funds needed a new laptop, I very generously offered him mine, and I up-graded to a MacBook Pro, last year. It conked out the first day in use. I must say though that the tech team were most helpful and when no avail was achieved on the phone,( what we call a Monday morning product) they sent me a new model pronto and had the other one back. This one has been no problem. I am thrilled with it, I love it, I wouldn't go back to Windows if you gave me a free one for life! I learnt on a Windows at aged 60, and never thought I would have the mind to change to anything else. I was wrong.
I hope all turns out well and you soar off with your Apple as I did.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

I had problems interfacing my ipod with my wireless network. The apple helpline were, well... not much help.

The on-line instructions ditto. The net, very useful, problem solved.

I do love my ipod.

I must admit it makes me pretty suspicious and even think twice about a purchase when the guys in the store try to sell me expensive extended warranties.

It's like they expect it to break down! How much confidence can you have in a product that the manufacturers won't guarantee as standard?

sally in norfolk said...

laptops...pc's...macs... why can they all send us into a frenzy when they wont work right or worse break down.

I can not imagine my life with internet conection.. it would be as bad as losing a husband/partner lol

Anonymous said...

I've changed to a Dell 6 months ago, and so far it has already been replaced with a harddisk once and reformatted thrice..

I guess "luck" plays a part in purchasing a gadget too at times :P

Carver said...

I am sorry you are having problems with your new computer. I have always purchased the three year extended warranties and they have been worth it for me.

CherryPie said...

That's not very impressive is it? I thought they were supposed to be state of the art too. I hope they fix it soon for you!

Janice Thomson said...

How unfortunate for you JMB. I guess maybe price isn't always indicative of quality though advertisers would have you believing so.
I do know a techie once told me that homemade CD and DVD's are not always read properly and this I found to be true as store-bought items were read instantly on new machines I had but the odd homemade one always had to be inserted a couple times. He did tell me why but I've since forgotten...

Crushed said...

I find copied CDs and DVDs don't play on my PC.

I still haven't got a laptop, because they're easy to steal. You're more likely to have a break in over here, if you have a laptop.

Dr.John said...

The next time I cry over Vista I will remember your experience .

Vic Grace said...

How distressing. I would be really upset and you paid a premium for it. Hope all is right soon.I thought about getting an Apple but no dealers here and thought I might have problems getting assistance if needed.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Crushed, How would they know you had a laptop to make a burglary more likely?

Advertising at the post office??

Liz said...

Oh my, jmb, is there really a section that says 'use a paper clip'?! Sounds a bit like my borther-in-law. His answer for everything is a hammer.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree with Granny - it WILL be fine. But when you buy new things, you do expect them to work!

lady macleod said...

I was an Apple Girl, then a Dell Girl, and now back to Apple. I will say I have had problems with my MacPRo as well (not the same ones) and was surprised, but mine is a refurbished model I took to Morocco and it was beaten up pretty good - I lust after the new MacAir.... But here is the good news, back in 2005 when I ordered the desktop Mac I am working on now I had problems. I called the Apple boys, they paid to have it boxed up and returned (picked it up at my house) and sent back not only a NEW one but the UPGRADED version, so as a company I'm pretty happy with them. Hang in there you geeky girl you!

Captain Smack said...

You're going about this all wrong. See, Mac is not a brand, it is a religion. If your CD drive is not functioning properly, it is because you are not believing hard enough.

Now say 40 Hail Stevies as penance. Perhaps the Mac gods will take pity on you.

jmb said...

I hope so Granny on the Web, for it surely cost a bundle. I am a longtime Windows user, since the beginning really so I am having a bit of trouble getting my mind around this simpler system.

My new iPod touch worked with my wireless network no problem. Don't know why. Haven't tried it with another yet.

Sally we love these computers but we also hate them.

Gosh Elaine, all companies are the same I guess. My Dell laptop was fine till the keyboard went and they had no spare parts!

Carver, this is a first but I figured if I had bought the 3 yr warranty last time it would have been better.

No, Cherie, not impressed at all. But I am hoping.

Janice these were not home made CDs but I can see that those could be a problem.

Crushed I don't have any copied CDs or DVDs. All practically brand new since they are played on my iPod.

Dr John, I did not want to cry over Vista but am crying over Mac instead.

No kidding Vic Grace. I am quite distressed. Mainly because I am worried about the one piece thing.

Well it is true that laptops are easier to steal Miss Moggs if they do get in I suppose.

Yes Liz, paper clip to the rescue. Luckily I was not forced to resort to that. Yet.

Welshcakes, I am sure it will be fine. Hopefully. I did expect it to be perfect however, at that highly expensive price.

Well Lady Mac, I'm glad to hear you have had good experience with the Apple people. That is not always the case, especially with the iPod.

Captain Smack, you hear that doubt do you? I have not truly been converted to the new "religion" yet and dicky DVD drive is not helping.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

JMB, Absolutely they are easier to steal.They are built to be easier to move around.

What I don't get is how just having one might make a burglary more likely.

How would the burglars know you had a spiffy new laptop instead of a cronky out of date desk top running windows 3.1? ^_^