Digital World: The warm California sun

I'm taking a big chance writing this today. How so? I'm writing it on my Macbook. And therein lies a story.

mac book 88 (photo credit: )
mac book 88
(photo credit: )
I'm taking a big chance writing this today. How so? I'm writing it on my Macbook. And therein lies a story. Not long ago, I wrote to tell the world ( of how enamored I was of my little white Macbook - the 1.87 ghz duo-core processor, the 2 GB RAM, built in iLife programs - the whole kit and caboodle. Like they say, it just works. And it does work just great - when it works. Between writing, building Web sites, doing the occasional video work - as well as graphics and Quark xPress page layout via my Parallels virtual PC installation (, I can triple my productivity on my Macbook - in other words, I can get done in one hour on the Mac what it takes me three hours to do on my PC laptop (I timed this on several occasions). But that productivity rate has been sorely damaged by the times my Macbook has "flaked out." The Internet is full of sites (like containing the testimonies of users who got a lemon in their Macbooks - some more tart, some less. The symptoms on my machine match several of the complaints listed at these sites and forums, and the bottom line in most cases (after zapping the PRAM, etc. doesn't solve the problem) is to return the machine to Apple for a repair/replacement. After all, you do get a one-year warranty when you buy a Mac, and the folks I have spoken to at customer service were most helpful during the free 90-day period for phone support. After very patiently working with me for several lengthy sessions, they, too, suggested I bring the machine in for service. So, let me make this clear before I get called names like "Windows Fanboy" because Mac fans think I'm "dissing" their favorite computer: I have no complaints against Apple HQ, their service personnel or even the authorized dealer I bought my machine from. Problems occur in hardware, and a highly sophisticated piece of equipment, in which everything is fine-tuned to work just so, could be affected by a minor hardware problem. I happen to also own several other Macs - an Intel iMac and PowerPC Mac Mini (I've even got an old Rev. B iMac), and I have to say that they have not "acted up" even once. In the Macbook's case, I've experienced on occasion the sudden reboot in the middle of a work session (, and the blank screen on startup ( The causes of these events have been attributed in turn to Bluetooth, Airport, improper sleep procedures, defective heat sinks, and/or defective heat sensors (the latter two being, obviously, a hardware problem). While many users have complained of their Macbooks overheating (, I seem to have just the opposite problem - it often doesn't want to do its thing until it gets warm enough! If the temperature in the core is less than 50 degrees or so centigrade (I measure it religiously using the free Fan Control utility,, it's likely to crash, stutter or act up in other creative ways (like displaying the screen that says "You need to press the Restart button" in four languages). So, the heat sensor theory definitely makes sense. Maybe the Macbook is just used to the calm California weather, as opposed to the extreme Israeli weather! The company I bought my machine from (MCE Technologies of Irvine, California, was extremely apologetic when I first called, and immediately suggested I take the thing in for service (according to the company, the heat sensor thing is a"recognized" hardware problem by Apple, and they authorize repairs on it immediately). They even gave me their FedEx shipper number so they would bear the cost of shipping to them for repair, both back and forth. What's so remarkable about this tale? Nothing; it's the kind of thing that goes on every day in civilized countries. If you've got a warranty, you have a right to expect your problem to be solved. In fact, there's really no reason to tell this part of the story - except by way of contrast to the next part. And from this, readers, you should learn a lesson. I live in Israel. I bought my Macbook on a trip abroad. Again. there's nothing exceptional involved here; people do it all the time, especially when the product they buy carries a worldwide guarantee. But "worldwide" is apparently too complicated a word for some local businesses. If I want to get service for my computer, I am going to have to send it back to the States, because the local importer of Macs where I took it for service has decided not to honor Apple's warranty (I'm not going to name the company, and it's not who you think). Why? Well, they have their reasons - i.e. the reasons that they gave me, which to the untrained ear sound plausible. But really, they don't hold up; the Apple-authorized dealer I purchased my machine from is willing to repair it, and Apple of California is willing to fix it. You mean the local shop knows better than the manufacturer? Impossible! The conclusion I am forced to come to is that I did not buy my computer from the local dealer, so they are not going to go out of their way to help me out. I want to be very careful here: The local distributor claims that"unauthorized modifications" were made on my Macbook, and for this reason they will not even look at it. They definitely have a case. But so do I; I bought my computer from an authorized dealer with the idea that a worldwide one-year warranty would allow me to get local service, but I have apparently fallen into the "black hole" of worldwide warranty support. Not to get into it too deeply, but I have had other such experiences, where service was refused because of a "technicality." As have others, if the e-mail I get on this subject is any indication. Could I make a "stink?" I suppose I could, but why should I have to? Shouldn't the manufacturer's word and commitment be sufficient to cover situations like this? It just doesn't seem worth getting involved with the local people, after the empathetic response I got from their American cousins. Should I have bought my machine locally? Ostensibly it would seem that that would have been the easier path, but why should I have to? Worldwide means worldwide, dammit - and the last I looked, Tel Aviv was part of the world, too!