How Do You Like Your MacBook?

Notice: Anti-Apple rant contained within. I got an email from reader Ben today, asking

How is your white MacBook doing? Any more problems? Do you still like the white?

so I thought I'd take the time to respond to Ben with an update on my MacBook experience. For those of you keeping score at home, I have not been too happy with my Core Duo MacBook. Before I state all of my MacBook problems I will say that this is an early MacBook. I got it on June 8th (pretty much remember the day I've purchased anything Apple, very sad) and I'm fairly certain that more recent MacBooks have their problems ironed out.

To sum things up it had the random shutdown problem, it had the discoloring problem and now it suffers from discoloring again (even with a new case), in addition to backlight flickering and recently RBN, random backlight napping. Writing this post up now, the backlight has failed twice, or taken a nap as I like to call it. It starts working again if I put it to sleep then wake it back up. This is different from backlight flickering which occurs more prominently when the backlight is set to lower levels. However, these all seem trivial compared to what happened today.

It was 5:55pm sharp and I had just shutoff the MacBook the normal way, waited for it to turn off completely before closing the lid and ensuring that the power LED wasn't still on. I slipped the laptop into my sleevecase and jetted out of my first and last 3 hour class of the day. All was normal as I walked to the polar opposite end of campus where I was parked. When I finally got home I got on the iMac for an hour or two until I decided to open the MacBook for some notes or something. I opened up my messenger bag and was able to hear a sound. "Shit," I thought. I opened up the sleevecase and the MacBook had somehow started baking itself, convection-style in the case.

But as you recall, I waited for it to shutdown completely and even put my hand behind the screen to ensure the fan had spun down. Anyway, the MacBook somehow turned itself on - somewhat - into this non-functional state that had no screen or LED activity, just CPU usage. I thought MacBooks had a thermal shutdown temperature built into them? It was on fire when I took it out... insanely hot. I was surprised the plastic wasn't malformed. I rebooted it to try to get it to load up and keep the fan spinning but for ~45 minutes it would not boot at all. I took out the battery and put it next to a fan to cool down until then. It finally decided to boot up later in the evening. Close call, for sure.

Now I have to find some way to send this off to Apple for repair. The problem is that I cannot go without a laptop in some of my classes - some of which are a solid 3 hours long. Without it, I wouldn't be able to snap PhotoBooth pictures of things like this guest HCI lecturer sharing the usability joys of his Segway with the class:

Segway in CS class

Perhaps I'll take it in during spring break and do all in my power to ask for a direct replacement of the entire laptop. I've been told Apple does, at times, do this when you've had 3 major problems.

Did I mention that the LCD bezel has come very loose since Apple replaced the housing to get rid of the discoloration issue?

Stupid MacBook has another problem.Very loose indeed.

Also, when Apple put the new housing on, they did a horrible job of fitting it. It squeaks, screws are visibly overtightened, there are some odd gaps in places that didn't used to have gaps.. the whole 9.

But, I am convinced that my MacBook is just a lemon, so don't pay any attention to me, Ben. Just make sure that you want a MacBook and not a MacBook Pro. Everytime I see a MacBook Pro it's a painful reminder of what could have been. (Update: as of that last period, the backlight has taken 4 naps)

I'm sure the Core 2 Duo MacBooks are far better products Ben. Take a look at the comments in this post to see what they're like. As for color, I don't know if Apple has fixed the discoloration issue. Replacing my housing with a "fixed" housing did nothing and from the other white MacBooks I see on campus, they have the exact same problem.

I'm off to see the wizard for now, it's a bit past 6am and I've got class in a few.