Yesterday we discussed the Top Ten Reasons I Love my MacBook Pro and today, to be fair, we look at the darker side of the MacBook Pro in the definitive Top Ten List of Hates:
1. Heat: The 17-inch MacBook I have runs hot. Because the case is made of metal the heat goes directly from inside the machine to the case and outside right to your hands. I don’t mind the heat so much but, compared to my other Windows laptops made of plastic, I wonder if this burning MacBook metal is a better or worse sensation or if my wondering is merely being sensational.
: It seems many MacBook Pros have an annoying high-pitched whine that Apple cannot seem to fix or even make it clear if they think the problem exists or not. I don’t mind the whine so much — many blame it on the new Intel chip in the MacBook Pros and Intel blames Apple and Apple says nothing — because I always have iTunes playing, the TV is on, the radio is turned up and my Vornado fans
are blowing full blast. My poor cat, however, refuses to sit on my lap now. The whine hurts his ears and in a quiet room it hurts mine, too. I can’t imagine using this MacBook Pro in a library where quiet is the mandate of the day: I’d be tossed out on my dual-core
3. Giant Wrist Wrest
: As I stated in an earlier review
, the GIANT WRIST REST IS THE SIZE OF SIBERIA! Bring the keyboard closer to us, Apple, and give us a chance to properly type again for those of us who were taught the correct hand and wrist position early on in our typewriter lives.
4. Mandatory CRON Jobs
: MacBooks run on UNIX. I was surprised to learn there are mandatory CRON jobs Mac OS X must do every day to keep things humming. Those script jobs run at 3:15am during the week and at 4:30am on Saturdays and then again on the first of each month. If your machine is not on 24/7 these maintenance CRON jobs don’t run. Your machine gets old and cranky and unstable and — you wonder why! A new Mac friend pointed me to the Cocktail
program you can use to force those CRON jobs to run when you want them to run so you don’t have to keep your machine on all day and all night. Also, no one tells you about “repairing disk permissions” and that’s an important thing to do — I have learned on my own from new Mac friends — before and after you install any software on your Mac. Cocktail can also help you get those permissions repaired.
5. Lack of Major Intel-Only Software
: The new Intel dual-core Macs have been out for a year now but there is still an unforgivable lack of major company software support for that platform. This tells me Apple has no real muscle in the marketplace. There is no Intel version of PhotoShop for the Mac from Adobe. There’s no updated Office suite for the Intel Macs from Microsoft. Apple itself can’t even seem to get an Intel version of its necessary and vital QuickTime PlugInHelper
ported over to the Intel platform:
When I asked Apple about the lack of a proper Intel PlugInHelpher I was told, rather brusquely, “Apple does not comment on unannounced products.” When you get that kind of crass response from a company you begin to wonder why you moved to Apple in the first place and why you chose QuickTime to code and play your movies and why you ever moved away from Windows and the Windows Media Player.
I guess I’ll have to go back to coding my QuickTime movies on my ThinkPad and that’s plain goofy. Even Sisyphus
is laughing at me! I have yet to find a comprehensive visual HTML editor for the Intel Macs.
6. No Proper Bluetooth Mouse: Apple makes a single Bluetooth mouse. It has no scroll capability and no second button. If Apple can’t properly support Bluetooth on their machines by providing excellent accessories like a Bluetooth mouse with more than one button and some sort of scroll wheel then why should any other company bother to serve us with one?
7. Poor Ports Location: Splitting the multitude of ports on the Macbook Pro between both sides of the machine is ridiculous and silly. Obviously the Apple designers don’t think you’ll use a mouse with your MacBook Pro because, if they did, they would not have so badly split the ports baby.
: I complained long and hard
about the chalky fonts on the MacBook Pro. I received no response from Apple. Then, last week, the OS X update 10.4.7 arrived and — shazam! — the fonts rendering is fixed and perfect.
9. No Manual
: No manual? I like paper. I like a hardcopy book
I can hold in my hands. When other Mac people tell you to buy a book instead of relying on Apple’s documentation, you begin to wonder why Apple is acquiescing the understanding of their computer and platform to minds outside the company. A PDF file is never a manual. A web-based “Knowledge Base” does not a manual make.
10. Lack of Communication: The dual-core processor whine, the lack of a PlugInHelper, the heat problem and the fonts problem and the CRON jobs issue are all examples of poor communication between company and end user. A more egregious example of poor Apple communication happened last week with the release of the 10.4.7 OS X upgrade. It seems some vital files were left out of the update and, two days later, Apple re-released the upgrade with all the proper files included.
However, if you downloaded and installed the first version of the update you were never informed via Software Update or any other method that you should re-download and re-install the upgrade! If you wanted to re-install the upgrade you could not do it via the Software Upgrade menu because it didn’t see or feel the second upgrade. You can dig into the Apple website on your own and find the right updated update file, download it and then figure out how to get the installation to happen.
That process wasn’t much of a problem for me but for a newbie to the Apple platform that process is vague and needlessly confusing. I also found it miraculous Apple were not vilified in the press and by their peers for the “Ooops, let’s do it again!” 10.4.7 OS X update! If Microsoft had made that kind of blunder with a Windows OS update you would still be reading about it in the press as the end users howl for more Microsoft blood to be spilled over the error.
There are other niggles I have with my MacBook Pro, but these Top Ten Hates will have to last us for now because, in the larger scheme of life, the MacBook Pro is a terrific machine from a company that continuously tempts greatness.