Udderly ridiculous | iLounge Backstage

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Udderly ridiculous

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, August 17, 2006
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imageThe last time I wrote about my ongoing MacBook saga, I was getting ready to once again send it in to Apple’s repair center. A lot has happened since then.

To summarize, I got my MacBook on June 18th and within days its power adapter started making horrible noises and its malfunctioning fan started to moo and completely failed to come on to cool the nuclear-hot laptop. I sent it in, they replaced a bunch of components and sent it back. When I got it back, I found that they installed the screen incorrectly and that the hinge now squeaked terribly. And that’s where I left things in my last post.

Well, I sent it back, they fixed the squeak and returned it to me. I thought things were good. “Finally,” I thought, “I can now use my new MacBook that I bought weeks ago.” Wrong. After a couple hours of use, I quickly realized that power adapter was making the same noises and heat as before. I also was met with a new moo. Not necessarily a louder moo, but definitely, like, a different breed. Great.

So once again I called AppleCare. I explained everything again. Unsurprisingly, they wanted me to send my MacBook in for a third time. Over a month since I bought it, and I had still not used it as my main machine. My MacBook had been at Apple’s repair center much longer than it was with me. I’m really not the type to pull the whole “OK, is there anyone else I speak with it?” thing, but that’s exactly what I did.

I didn’t want to spend more time shipping my MacBook back and forth and waiting on another repair that probably wouldn’t fix things anyway. The AppleCare technician said he would transfer me to an Apple customer relations rep. I expected the worst. But the rep was very, very friendly and told me right away that he was going to be sending me a brand new MacBook. Awesome. I knew there was a reason that I’ve only bought Apple computers since I was a kid.

My new MacBook arrived quickly, I set it up and started using it immediately. I noticed one thing right off the bat. The LCD screen was totally different than my original MacBook. The colors appeared to be the same, but the quality was not as good my original one. The MacBook they sent has faint, but noticeable diagonal lines. Almost like the entire screen has a texture to it. “Oh well,” I thought, “I can deal with the screen as long as the adapter doesn’t blow up and the thing doesn’t moo.” The adapter was quiet and just barely warm. This was good.

Then I heard it. Yet another moo. It was different than the other two, but it was definitely a moo. And it continued. Over and over and over. Eventually the fan would stay on (unlike my original one), but not before 15 or more moos. I’ve come to the conclusion that all MacBooks moo if they reach a certain internal temperature. Maybe some MacBook fans are quieter than others and their owners can hear the moo. Maybe some MacBook owners are never in a truly quiet room. But I have the sneaking suspicion that every MacBook has the mooing gene.

So I told myeslf that I was sticking with this MacBook until Apple fixes the issue with a firmware update (like they did with the MacBook Pro) or sell it and get a MacBook Pro when the new models come out with the Intel “Merom” processors. But I couldn’t take it. Moooooo. Moooooooooooo. MOOOOOooooo. Moooooo. All day. I had to shut it up. This digital cow had to die.

After a brief search, I found MooFix.com, which offers a safe and simple Mac OS X Dashboard Widget that silences the moo. I was skeptical at first, but it works great. When you turn it on, the MooFix Widget basically runs a background process to increase the temperature of the processor, allowing it to heat up and pass the temperature range that causes the moos, forcing the fan to come on at a low speed. The MacBook isn’t completely silent, but it definitely doesn’t moo anymore. Sure, it’s a crude hack, but it will keep me sane for the time being.

Update: Apple has now released the MacBook SMC Firmware Update, which “adjusts fan behavior in the MacBook.” Bingo.

Update #2:After installing the firmware update, my MacBook hasn’t mooed once and is running considerably cooler.

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Comments

1

Try applying the new MacBook firmware update just released a little bit ago.

Posted by Kevin on August 17, 2006 at 5:01 PM (PDT)

2

Might this also solve the issue? Don’t have one myself but noticed it today… http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/macbooksmcfirmwareupdate.html

Posted by Bill Onton on August 17, 2006 at 6:01 PM (PDT)

3

Hmmm…  Are you going to be happy with that screen?

Posted by GeekyGirl on August 17, 2006 at 6:08 PM (PDT)

4

what screen, geeky girl? do you mean multipul vertical lines? if you so, it’s easy to solve. first off it’s not logic board problem but mac os x 10.4.7 makes error to deal with memory management. so it’s happened. in order to fix it, you should do PRAM reset. restart your macbook. then before grey screen, press apple mark key + option + P + R. when you hear second booting sound, release keys. then go to system preferences > display > change resolution more than one time. then restart to see this vertical lines happen. it shouldn’t happen again. I guarantee. I already posted this solution at apple discussion a long time ago.

Posted by edward on August 17, 2006 at 6:19 PM (PDT)

5

I’ve got a MacBook since early July and I’ve never noticed a ‘Moo’.

Posted by Gerard Giné on August 17, 2006 at 6:23 PM (PDT)

6

Edward, they’re not vertical lines… they’re diagonal. I think you’re referring to this problem:

http://www.appledefects.com/wiki/index.php?title=MacBook#Colored_Lines_on_Boot

My lines are very faint… a pixel pitch issue maybe.

Posted by Larry Angell on August 17, 2006 at 8:38 PM (PDT)

7

This was actually a pretty common problem with Centrino laptops. Chalk it up to the move to intel.

The whole cpu-speed / heat regulation / fan speed thing is not a simple thing to get right it appears. Doesn’t reflect well on Apple that they didn’t get it right out of the gate, but then a lot of intel vendors first centrino laptops made funny fan noises too (I had a fujitsu that would occasionally slip into “Jet Engine mode” when it got hot).

Another quirk of centrino, incidentally, is that the CPU speed switching isn’t perfect. A utility program that you can use to force the CPU speed to a certain level for a while is a great tool to have in the box.

Posted by Oliver Lavery on August 18, 2006 at 10:35 AM (PDT)

8

Wow, after reading your series of MacBook misfortunes I was very discouraged to buy one.  I’m gald that the firmware update fixed the mooing.  I’m defenetely buying one now that they seem to be fixed.

Posted by sno_cat219 on August 20, 2006 at 12:33 PM (PDT)

9

*sigh*....my mbpro didn’t have this problem…ran relatively cool (i could put it on my lap, but it would warm up after a while, just as any laptop would)....

but i was so remarkably underinterested in it, that i’ve got to return it.

i realize this is off-topic….i was just SO excited about getting it after all the hype that once i eventually did get it, all i could think was “eh….not bad…i guess”

....i wonder if this is a common feeling for people who switch—i mean, i think it’s a beautiful machine, i’m sure it works fine, it’s got some cool little things it can do that a PC either can’t or doesn’t as elegantly…but at the end of the day, i just say…hmm…this is cool enough, but it’s not worth it, if you’ve got a functioning PC.

if my PC was busted, and i needed to buy a new computer, i’d go Mac again…but i’ll keep going with my old Dell Inspiron 1ghz machine…..

Posted by OnlyShawn on August 21, 2006 at 10:11 AM (PDT)

10

Does anyone know when Leopard is going to be released so I don’t buy a MacBook that is obsolete?

Posted by sno_cat219 on August 21, 2006 at 5:48 PM (PDT)

11

Leopard - Spring 2007 (northern, so what, March/April?)

Posted by dave on August 21, 2006 at 7:02 PM (PDT)

12

Mr. Brown can moo! Can you?

Posted by Voh Poh! on August 22, 2006 at 1:44 PM (PDT)

13

Are you kidding!?  I can’t wait that long!

Posted by sno_cat219 on August 22, 2006 at 11:17 PM (PDT)

14

MOO

Posted by Bessy on August 25, 2006 at 4:37 AM (PDT)

15

whats the battery life like for one of the macbooks? my friend has an iBook and it lasts 5-6 hours (or is supposed to anyway) how does the macbook compare?

Posted by Spencer on August 25, 2006 at 7:25 AM (PDT)

16

whats the battery life like for one of the macbooks? my friend has an iBook and it lasts 5-6 hours (or is supposed to anyway) how does the macbook compare?

Posted by Spencer on August 25, 2006 at 7:25 AM (PDT)

17

Finally, someone mentions this! I was starting to think I was the only one.
I have exactly the same problem with my macbook screen, and you described it very well: faint, but noticeable diagonal lines, almost like a texture. But on my MB this only happens on one half of the screen, the highest one. It is more noticeable on bright colors. So before I sent it to repair (at an authorized Apple service provider), mainly because of the random shutdown problem, I put a white background on the desktop, so they could see the lines more easily. After repair, when I took it back, a technician told me they had fixed the random shutdown problem by replacing the logic board (and I haven’t had any problems with that yet). But when I asked about the screen problem, the guy said that it happened because the desktop had a white background. So they changed the background to dark grey and they couldn’t see the lines anymore, so, problem fixed.
After he saw the astonishment in my face, he told me: “but if the problem persists, bring the computer back and we will see what else we can do”. Which is what I will do next monday, since the problem is still there. I just don’t know if I should take it to the same place, since they don’t seem to be very bright, or maybe they think their customers are stupid.
Also, he gave me the computer back with a huge bump under the keyboard, as high as the four little spheres on which the laptop stands (but it is now less noticeable after I pushed hard on it), and he didn’t put back the four screws on the sides.
Also, worth mentioning I think, the screen has uneven lightning: it is brighter at the bottom, and darker at every corner. The technician said that this isn’t considered a defect by Apple, but I haven’t confirmed it with the AppleCare yet.

Posted by Steph on August 26, 2006 at 3:49 AM (PDT)

18

I wanted to comment on the diagonal lines on the screen…

I recently picked up a MB and noticed that it too has the faint diagonal lines going from bottom left to top right when looked at different angles on light colors.

I took it to the genius bar and they said it was normal…eh.

Has anyone determined if this really is normal? This already is my third exchange and am sick of returning these things as I use it for work!

Anyone?

rpeters83 at gmail dot com if anyone has any ideas. THANKS!!

Posted by Ryan on May 3, 2007 at 8:29 AM (PDT)

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