The MagSafe meltdown -- famous for being Apple

Hello! Guess who's back. Back again. Mat is back. Tell a friend. You know what I learned while I was away? I should have sprung for that modem adapter for my MacBook. Contrary to what I believed, here in the technology capital of the world, broadband is not ubiquitous, and in some parts of the country, people still do dial-up. Who knew?

The stories of the MagSafe meltdowns have inspired me to tell a little story. This being the second, well-documented, example, I thought some personal perspective might be in order.

The year was 2000 and 2. I was a mere lad of 29, nearly 30, and living in a studio apartment in San Francisco, surrounded by unemployed legions of former dot-commers with related cocaine and financial problems. It was a simple time, and I had (and have) Innurnet access from Earthlink in the form of DSL.

One day, I awoke to an odd smell in the apartment. A smell of burning wires. Alarmed, I began looking about, and discovered the power adapter for my DSL modem was in the process of melting away its plastic housing, leaving exposed red-hot wiring. The carpet below was all quite warm, and I think I was about 20 minutes from a house fire. I yanked the (gooey) plug form the wall, and called Earthlink, sure that they would share in my consternation at having my house nearly burned down. I have documented the conversation before, butI believe it bears repeating:
Me: Yeah, when I woke up today something smelled funny. It was the electrical adapter for my DSL modem. It had gotten really hot, and the plastic was melting on the side and it had nearly started a fire. I need a new one.

Earthlink: Yes, that's a known issue.

Me: WHAT?!? You KNEW about this and you haven't recalled all of them? Do you understand someone could die?

Earthlink: No, no one could die.

Me: What do you mean no one could die? If it starts a fire, it could kill someone.

Earthlink: That hasn't happened.

A few months after this, Earthlink recalled my DSL modem, and sent me a new one (I still have it) suggesting that the problem was rather widespread.

Yet what did you hear about it? Nary a twitter, I'd posit. And why not? Yes, it was a problem that only affected a small percentage of people.... but so is the MagSafe issue (and the latter case seems to have been caused at least partially by the user).

People care about Apple. Nobody gives a shit about Earthlink. We've also entered a stage where broadband is ubiquitous--forget that bullshit up top--and as soon as a problem arises, photos from Flickr send it spiraling all across the globe.

I'm not saying that there isn't a problem, perhaps there is. What I am saying is that it would be--certainly at this point when so relatively few have been sold--much cheaper for Apple to recall defective parts than to defend a class action lawsuit brought by hundreds, or even a dozen or so, homeowners who watched a Magsafe destroy their castles. It would be better PR, too. Perhaps one is on the way, though I doubt it.

And to prove my point that this is more an issue with obsessive Apple-watching than anything else, I leave you with links to IBM, Dell , Gateway, and Compaq. Remember those? Sure you do.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem. There very well may be. But every time a Mac user sneezes, the community shouldn't automatically assume OS X gives you the bird flu.


Creative lawsuit could have broad consequences

I failed to link to my latest Playlist/Macworld story which looks at the chances and implications of Creative's lawsuit:
The chances of Creative Technology winning an injunction to prevent Apple from selling the iPod domestically are slim, legal experts say. But its suit against Apple alleging patent infringement could have broad consequences for both companies and the portable media player market as a whole.


Black and white differences

So the 2GHz black and white MacBooks should be identical,aside from their cases, right? Not so, say Macworld's latest tests:
After testing the white 2GHz MacBook and comparing the results to the published scores of the black model, we saw small performance differences in many of the tests, with the edge going to the white model in most cases. Retesting leveled out a few tests (though I can’t explain why), but still shows the white 2GHz model performing better than the black model, most notably in our Compressor MPEG-2 Encoding test and our iMovie test applying the Aged video effect to a clip.


XP On My MacBook

XP On My MacBook
Aw, yeah. Blue screen me, baby. I love it when you cause a catastrophic data error.

Man, I had completely forgotten how fucking awesome Windows is.


Installing XP Part II - How to get around CD read errors

As I mentioned below, when I went to install XP on my MacBook, it would not recognize the install CD. And, apparently, I'm not the only one who's had this problem. While I posted an extremely long and complicated work-around below for getting Parallels installed, there's a much easier solution for BootCamp--at least for me.

Though my MacBook still didn't recognize the XP install CD, all my other Macs do. As I mentioned below, I made a disc image of the XP install disc and saved it to my MacBook. Next, I burned that image to a CD.


When I fired up BootCamp again, and used the copy of XP I had burned to a CD-R, everything worked like a charm.


Isn't that where Santa Lives?

Mac Rumors has a story up questioningly titled "Norway To Pressure Apple To Change iTunes EULA?"

I have four things to say to about this:

  1. Norway, Population of, 2006, estimate - 4,610,820

  2. Annual Sales, music industry, total, Norway, 2004, Strong year - $147.8 million

  3. Apple, profit, 2006, second fiscal quarter - $410 million

  4. No


In which I review iPod alarm clock systems

Playlist just ran my review of the iLuv i177 and JBL On Time. I liked the iLuv, but was just sort of lukewarm on the JBL. Yeah, it had better sound, but the alarm clock was the suck, and that industrial design, while pretty to look at, makes for a shitty bedside accessory. Who needs spatial sound in an alarm clock? I mean, aren't you just going to shut it off as soon as possible? And do you really want to wake up to a subwoofer? I don't. But I suppose it makes a nice all-in-one unit for dorm dwellers.


Installing XP on a MacBook in 25 easy steps; How to

1. Go to Office Depot and blow $200 on Win XP.
2. Download BootCamp and Parallels
3. Install BootCamp Assistant
4. Burn drivers CD
5. Partition drive
6. Insert XP CD
7. Wonder what those noises are
8. Curse, as MacBook fails to recognize XP CD, spitting it back at you
9. Read Apple discussion forums with multiple reports of similar problem and cringe.
10. Repeat steps 6 through 10 for approximately 30 minutes.
11. Idea!
12. Start up Mac Mini as FireWire slave drive to MacBook
13. Insert XP install CD to Mac Mini optical drive
14. Try to run CD via Mac Mini.
15. Denied :-(
16. Fire up Disc Utility
17. Create .cdr disc image of XP CD from Mac Mini, save to desktop of MacBook
18. Encourage process to go faster by swearing
19. Annoy people you don't realy know all that well via AIM, hoping for moral support
20. Launch Parallels
21. Create Win XP virtual machine
22. Choose to install from Disc Image
23. Call Andre to tell him you're a fucking bad ass
24. Watch install process with anxiety
25. Start!



Gentle reader, I apologize for the posting delays, but I'm afraid life has conspired to flummox me with an exceptionally busy week. I shall return to regularly scheduled postings on June 5.

Please, patience is a virtue. Of course, so is dependability.


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