Udderly ridiculous

The 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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