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MacBook repaired (again)

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Today my MacBook finally saw its fourth non-trivial repair this year (after the battery replacement in January, the invertor board replacement in March and the broken top case in April). This was to fix the audio problem the machine had: The right channel of the line out was much quieter than the left one and there were cracking noises in it.

Not the biggest issue in my day to day usage of the machine, but obviously it hurt me when DJing, so I wanted it fixed. The bad thing about it is that you need to get a new mainboard to resolve this problem as the audio ports are soldered right onto it. Which technically makes this quite a big fix. To complicate things even further, Apple didn’t seem to have the correct mainboards in stock and it took a few weeks or so for the replacement to arrive. But today it finally was there and could be replaced.

I still have to double check the audio ouput’s quality but on first listen this one seems to be all right. Unfortunately it seems that something must have gone wrong when the MacBook was reassembled: The charger does its job properly but its green/red light remains off now. And the sensor for the magnet which invokes the sleep mode must have been dislocated. At least the MacBook doesn’t go to sleep when the lid is closed. Argh! Looks like I’ll be off to the Mac dealer yet again.

A treat I really like about having the machine fixed is that the procedure includes a cleaning of the screen (I’ll have to ask what is a good way to do that as I’m always scared to damage the screen when doing it myself). Another treat was that replacing the mainboard also meant replacing the machine’s fan(s). The fan had become annoyingly loud recently and the dealer told me that there was plenty of dust blocking the air’s passage which he removed. How can the dust even get in there when the fan is blowing air out all the time? And how can you build machines which easily accumulate dust that affects their performance in a place where it cannot be easily removed?

A non-treat about this repair is that the MacBook is a completely new computer now. I won’t be able to use it on the departmental network right away because of the different MAC address. A number of OS X’s preferences (like my turning off the Caps Lock key or the asking for a password when waking from sleep(!)) seem to be bound to the MAC address (that ByHost business, I suppose) or something and were re-set when starting the machine again. And, most annoyingly, I lost (another) iTMS registration this way as iTunes isn’t smart enough to realise this is the same machine. Now supposedly iTunes lets me revoke all prior registrations and everybody’d be happy. But the help on this is really sparse and the location where I’d expect to find the button for this (on my iTMS account page next to the number of authorised machines) is empty. (Hints?)

I started a site with a number of the all the great and not-so-great-working products I am using. People keep saying that I am overly negative about their quality. While I think I’m entirely reasonable to expect that expensive machines I buy work and keep working for more than a few months. Judge for yourself.

May 24, 2007, 0:46

Tagged as apple, apple defect, broken.


Comment by Simone Manganelli: User icon

You were looking in the exactly right place to revoke all prior registrations. The “Deauthorize All” button exists right next to the number of authorized machines on your iTunes Store account page (it is really, really hard to not write “iTMS” anymore). However, the button only shows up when you’ve used up all 5 authorizations. So you can either just not worry about the used up authorization and use the button once you do run up against the limit, or you can scrounge together a few computers from other friends and authorize them until you have filled up your five slots.

Another possibility is to just use the iTunes Store Customer Service form for authorization, requesting them to deauthorize all your computers for you. They basically do the same thing, but they can trigger the mass deauthorization without you being at the 5-slot limit.

May 24, 2007, 4:42

Comment by Simone Manganelli: User icon

Err.. the iTunes Store Customer Service form I mentioned is located here: http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/store/authorization/

May 24, 2007, 4:43

Comment by ssp: User icon

Thanks for the info Simone.

It wasn’t clear to me that I’ll need five active accounts (I only had four so far).

As the charging/sleep problems look like they may at least in part be mainboard related, I might get back the machine with yet another mainboard tonight. I guess I’ll be able to use the reset feature then…

May 24, 2007, 13:12

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Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.