Applesauce Meter Drops to 5%

The MacBook has gone in for its third hardware repair, and returned. (I'm typing on it now.) The problem this time was overheating: either the logic board failed, the fan broke or the whole thing never worked in the first place. The unit overheated on several occasions. In looking back at how little I noticed the fan, I suspect it never worked and just hadn't overheated until now.

Now, MacBooks have been known to run hot - they ventilate from the back of the unit and underneath, which is problematic given that it is, indeed, a LAPTOP. After the overheat happened the first time I installed some programs to monitor the fans, case temp and CPU temps. The thing would get near 200 Celsius before it shut itself down (Warcraft caused it to happen in about 5-10 minutes). When the Apple Hardware Test came up with a Windowsy-cryptic error code, it went to the Apple Store, which fixed it very quickly and again, under warranty.

So the Applesauce Meter, previously at 90% water (hype) and 10% applesauce (true actual goodness) is now at 95% hype and 5% applesauce. And here is why:

Apple used to be known for kick butt hardware and so-so software (because they wouldn't let other developers make stuff for Macs). Then they rolled out the iMac, the iPod, etc and it was all about this classy looking hardware. Except the hardware was glossy, easy to scratch, and had a very short service life.

Then comes OS X, the Mac operating system built on Unix. And Final Cut for filmmakers, like Steven Soderburgh. And Garage Band. And iTunes. So Apple is pumping out great software and pretty good if overpriced hardware (the Powerbooks and iMacs). Many people, including a friend of mine, claim that the Powerbooks were just about indestructible. That may have been the high point of Apple computing.

Then comes the MacBook. It runs hot, some don't like the razor sharp edge where wrists get cut, etc. The first batch had severe heat issues. Mine was in the second or third run and all that was needed was a firmware update to correct the overheating issue. Supposedly. Overall, the hardware seems kinda crappy. Bad battery, bad case, bad fan/logic board. No wonder the Apple Store can turn these repairs around so fast - they're doing a lot of them. Even Apple fanboys are not pleased. The Mac mini has also failed to really catch on.

Apple now seems hardware poor and software middle income (too little software, but it's good stuff). It's hard to see what the higher prices get you. Running through this all is a Henry Ford-like disregard for the customer. You'll buy whatever junk they dish out because you drank the cool-aid, is what seems to be the Apple culture. They must think their customers are so stupid that the shiny object in their hand will distract them from the lousy design and poor hardware performance. As I'm picking up my computer, there's an Apple guy at the iPod bar explaining to a customer how her iClod's hard drive is dead and hey, you may as well buy another. Oh, and if Steve Jobs gets bored with a product line, kiss it goodbye. (Remember the Apple II? Steve didn't when he pulled the rug out from under it when he rolled out the Macintosh).

Hello, iPhone. Goodbye Apple Computer Company. They dropped computer from the company name. They have also delayed the next iteration of their OS X to put more work into the iPhone. That may be a sign of things to come.

Maybe these 1st year hardware failures are just the shakedown period and this thing will crank for the next five years or so. But already I am disappointed. One more failure and this rig is going to be referred to as my MacBroke. And I may find out exactly how well Apple resell values hold up. If the iPhone is a hit, which I heavily doubt (remember the Newton?) Apple computers might become valued collector's items. So, the Apple Experiment is nearly complete and the cynical side of me may come out looking prophetic.

New Apple slogans:
"Apple: Always Premium Priced Low-quality Electronics."
"Apple, it just costs a lot."
"Apple, the Jaguar of electronics."

WoW, I'm back in.

This blog was born amidst the wreckage of my last experiment with the gaming genre known as MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game). It was a Star Wars MMORPG and I got bored with it. Mostly it was because the Star Wars game failed to create a Star Wars atmosphere, in part because the MMORPG elements of the game (a player-created society with no actual role playing) failed to produce it. No one wants to be the extras in Star Wars.

But, as I alluded to in the last post, I've been itching to throw World of Warcraft on my Lazy Susan of things I'm doing. There has been some burning for some D&Dish sword and sorcery. I had played a trial version and found it fun and not as hardcore focused as Star Wars. Heck, you get rewarded for not playing WOW continuously. And it's just plain fun.

Plus, Dr. Trackball prohibited me from playing after reading an article about video game widows with WOW-addicted husbands who ignore their families. So I just had to get it.

What can I say, she's never banned me from anything before. I'm pretty sure she can't, anyway.

So I'm back in. Got the game, started a character. And it's fun. Like stepping into the wardrobe and poking around Narnia for a bit. Mini and Micro both love watching over my shoulder as I run around Azeroth, much to Dr. Trackball's chagrin.

"Don't kill the bunny!" Mini says.
"I'm going to get that wild boar threatening it," I say.

"Wonderful things you're exposing them too," Dr. Trackball says.

At least three of us are having a good time.

For those of you without the time or hardware, here's two more addictive web games that will kill some evenings.
Let's go lower now...
Desktop tower defense.

Happy gaming.