My New Macbook
My Review:8 —UPDATED—
NOTE: I HAVE UPDATED THIS REVIEW, AND CHANGED THE RATING. PLEASE SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE UPDATE.
I am seriously conflicted here. I would love to give this machine a nine or ten. But at the moment, I simply can not.
I am lifelong PC user. I’ve been using Windows, in its various stuttering iterations for many years. All my life (my computing life) people have been raving about Macs. “They’re wonderful. They’re so easy to use. They don’t break all the time like PC’s. PC’s suck.” Etcetera.
So I was pretty excited to get my first Mac. Sol has a Macbook and raves about it, and I needed a new, small travel machine, so I decided to get one. I got the 13″ black Macbook, and upgraded to 2GB’s of memory. So it’s got a 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB memory and a 160GB hard drive. For specs see: http://www.apple.com/macbook/specs.html It’s pretty, it’s sleek, and it is very responsive when launching and running applications. It’s got the killer Mac UI (user interface) and typical Apple attention to detail. There’s only one problem: it keeps shutting down.
You’ve heard of the Blue Screen of Death? This is a commonly referred to problem with PC’s when there is a sudden and catastrophic failure of the Windows operating system. It might require only a simple system reboot, or it might mean that your computer is toast. Well, in the first 8 days of my Mac ownership I had 6 system crashes, what they call a Kernel Panic Shutdown. That means that the Unix core (the kernel of code which is the basis for the operating system) experienced a severe problem and had to shut down. That’s bad. That’s “crossing the streams” bad. And it happened 6 times.
What’s it like? Oh, the whole screen grays out, and a black box with white text appears in the middle of the monitor which says “You need to restart your computer. It displays this information in a number of different languages, though since the machine is locked up, there’s not much else you could do anyway.
So I called Apple Care three times. After the third attempt, I finally made an appointment to go into my local Apple store and talk to a “genius”. Genius might be a little strong, but he was pretty smart. After about 2 hours of tinkering they decided to just give me a new computer. So I brought that one home, reconfigured it to my preferences, updated my Address Book, downloaded all the software updates, and now… I just had my third and fourth Kernel Panic Shutdowns. God Dammit.
At first I thought it might be me. I downloaded Camino browser, and then I started having problems again. I got two shutdowns, so I uninstalled it and removed all reference files from the Library and Preferences. After that it seemed to be fixed… until today. Today I got two more Kernel Panics, and I am seriously bummed. I really want to love this computer and be a “Mac guy.” Mac guys are always so cool, so in touch with Nature and with themselves. They talk better, dress better, communicate better. Sighh.
From my reading on the internet, the most likely story I’ve found so far involves possible issues with the wireless card. I mostly have been using wireless internet for this machine, so that is certainly plausible. Meaning the correlation is there (I have had shutdowns while using the wireless internet) but I cannot yet prove causation.
This is not a snide, back-handed, pro-PC attack on Macs. I genuinely want to be a Mac guy. (OK, the hyperbole from the last paragraph was a little snide, but only partly so.) But I keep having problems. Sol thinks it’s me. That I have some kind of electro-magnetic emission that causes all electronics and gadgetry to fail. Maybe that’s my X-Man talent.
In any case, I am forced to give a mediocre rating to my new Macbook. I want it to kick ass, but thus far it does not.
By the way, I welcome any suggestions or commentary, especially from those who have experienced similar problems. Thanks much.
Update – August 9th, 2007
I have received a couple of comments on this post – thank you for the responses. I recently visited an Apple store in my area nad spoke with someone at the Genius bar. Apple has acknowledged the kernel panic issue, and confirmed that it IS related to the wireless card on certain Macbook and Powerebook models. There is an update to the wireless software available from Mac. Just click on the apple in the top left corner and click on updates. It has been 1 week and counting since I updated, and no kernel panics yet (fingers are crossed over here.) Best of luck to the rest of you. 🙂