email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Friday, January 8, 2010

Computer Problems

3 PM:

My Mac Pro computer is apparently too evil too repair.  I don't mean that it is possessed with a malevolent spirit or that there are problems that multiple repair techs can't fix.  I mean that it apparently smells so strongly of cigarette smoke that no one is willing to repair it.

OK, I'll say straight off that if the computer is damaged because I smoke, that is mostly my fault. Only "mostly" because I have a lot of other computerized equipment in the house (including a PC that worked for 8 years - and still does) and they all work just fine!  The Mac needed repair after only 9 months and then again after 6 months.  If Macs need to be operated in a smoke free "safe" environment, they should have told me! 

I am not defending smoking; I know it is a really dumb habit and I'm trying to quit .  But when Apple Repair Stores point to "environmental abuse" in the warranty and claim that detectable cigarette odors void the warranty, I have a right to think I am being abused...

I was surprized and confused when the 1st repair place refused to work on the computer.  I tried to find a place that cleaned smoke-damaged computers (with no success).  When I called an actual Apple Store, the person laughed and said of the 1st repair place - not an official Apple Store, "That's just an excuse they use, bring it in and we'll repair it".  I was quite relieved.  But after 3 days, they called me back with the same story; that they wouldn't even work on it and my extended warranty was void.  Apple considers cigarette smoke to be a "toxic hazard".

After struggling with the fan problem for 3 weeks plus driving 220 miles back and forth to the 2 repair stores AND not having a repaired computer, that was a hard blow!

The problem is that the output fan operates on high speed constantly.  The computer appears to work just fine.  So it may be that I just have to put up with the noise until I can find someone willing to clean/repair it.  Or I may have to replace it, and quit smoking.  Quitting would be a very good idea anyway.  And I think I bought way more computer than I need, so replacing it may not be THAT expensive, especially if I am no longer buying cigarettes.

So the computer might fail at any time and it will be a while before I can replace it...

Update:

I just searched "Mac cigarette smoke" and found many sites that explained why cigarette smoke is so damaging to computers (and especially Macs because of their design).  I understand now why it is a real problem.  I even found a discussion site about it.  There were posts from users in my situation, users who have never (like me) experienced the problem with a PC, posts from users who blame Apple for not specifically mentioning cigarette smoke as a deal-breaker, and posts from Apple techs who described how cleaning melted nicotine from computers is both nearly impossible AND disgusting (even to techs who smoke).  Apparently, no smoking user has ever gotten any mercy from Apple.

I am in a real dilemma.  Given the descriptions of the problems with repairing Macs abused with cigarette smoke, I accept their refusal to repair the computer.  I think Apple is seriously wrong not to advise buyers that smoking voids the warranty or extended warranty, but I accept that no further action on my part can get the computer repaired.

I am fairly confident that I could stop smoking in order to save the next computer (if not myself).  But I haven't really been happy with my Mac Pro.  I haven't had crashes like on my PCs and I feel little threat from hackers, viruses, etc, but the applications software basically SUCKS!  Pages and Numbers are far less featured that Windows Word and Excel.  Even Office for Mac is far less than the same on a PC.  Organizing files in Finder is much harder than in Windows Explorer.  I first thought I just wasn't familiar with the Mac systems and commands, but after more than a year, the same problems remain.  Macs are expensive.  In addition, the nearest Mac repair store is 25 miles away, while there are 4 PC repair stores within 3 miles.

On the other hand, I switched to a Mac because Windows became so frustrating to use.  It crashed, it froze, it needed massive hacker and virus protections, and it is slow to load software.  The 3rd time in 1 year that I had to spend 2 days completely reloading all the software from scratch made me determined to never own a PC again.  My PCs needed a repair about every 6 months.

I think, though, that I will stick with a Mac.  My old PC still works.  I could use that more often for offline work.  As far as I can tell, my Mac would not yet need any repair service.

If that forces me to stop smoking, it might be the best purchase I've ever made!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Cavebear, I've never heard of this problem - and did some searching. Whoa! They need to advertise that clearly, but by the same token, if you spilled a coffee on it, you wouldn't expect to have warranty cover it. This goes for your iPhone too.

I think you are making the right choice though - stick with the Mac and trying to quit smoking - awesome win-win for you.

Scott