bounding brokenness

More experiences with an Apple notebook

It’s now been eight months since I got my first Apple notebook. A few months ago I wrote about my initial opinion, where I was pretty sure it would be my last Apple notebook too.

Since then I’ve had the chance to use it in a variety of situations. Spoiler: none of what I’ve seen has improved my opinion of it one bit.
  1. The decision to make the outer body out of aluminium is literally shocking. If the notebook isn’t plugged in to a grounded socket (for instance, if I’m using the plug that comes with the power brick BY DEFAULT), I’m liable to get electric shocks if I touch the casing. I received a couple of shocks, a mild one and a jolting one, before I realized what was happening. Electrical common sense is that if the outer surface is electrically conducting, it MUST be grounded properly. Having an ungrounded plug by default, or even having one in the first place, is inexcusable. (Update: I’ve had several people complain to me about this, and one person also complain about his plastic macbook’s screws shocking him several times. I’m clearly not the only one with this issue.)
  2. The Wi-Fi reception is the worst I’ve ever seen in a laptop, and only slightly better than the reception my Nexus S with its puny little antenna gets. Friends tell me it’s because the aluminium casing acts as a Faraday cage and attenuates the signal. The “unibody” marketing’s clearly far more important to Apple than shipping a working product. (Update: guess who says metal has a “very high” potential to interfere with wireless connections?)
  3. The original power adapters were T-shaped. However, presumably because Apple didn’t like the look of and subsequently didn’t include the strain-relieving flexes found on all other cables, they were easily frayed. To “fix” this, they started using L-shaped adapters. Of course, what it now means is that depending on the way I insert it, either the power cord blocks the Ethernet port or it gets subjected to strain if I tilt the notebook back.
  4. There’s no VGA, DVI or HDMI port, so I need to carry around a set of three dongles everywhere I go. There’s plenty of space on the left side, too, so that’s not an excuse.
  5. The lack of working sleep is more annoying than I thought it would be. Amazingly, the EFI equivalent to the POST takes almost as long as Windows resuming from hibernation. A few people seem to be working on getting Windows to boot via EFI, and my hopes are mostly pinned on that.
My iPod nano media player, the only other Apple product I own, is actually well-designed (save for the fact that I need to keep the piece of crap called iTunes around on my computer, even though I don’t need to use it.) This is not. This stinks of form-over-function failure.

Edit (25/1): Two inline updates.