My, how the time has flown; it has certainly been awhile since my last post. I assure you that we did finish my daughter’s birthday present, and I’ll be detailing the final results soon. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road for work, resulting in a destroyed Macbook Air. Troubleshooting was exciting, but getting back up and running was surprisingly easy.
See, one day my happy little 2012 Macbook Air was running as smooth as ever, then it engages one of my favorite computer features ever: it shuts itself down. At first you think, that’s convenient. Then you realize that you had absolutely no desire to do that whatsoever. “Fuck, that’s computers for you,” you think as you power it back up only to be greeted by Apple’s epic tone, a white screen, and… nothing. Reboot again? Nothing. Of course, this is the one time I don’t get AppleCare, so the laptop is one year out of warranty. To the internet!
Researching all of the possible troubleshooting steps on my phone, I try it all. Resetting the SMC, the PRAM, booting with Option+R, booting with Option+C, booting with external media… all the usual steps. I even ordered a small toolkit with the damned pentalobe screwdriver to try removing the SSD and booting off of removable media (as detailed on this ifixit forum post).
At this point, I have ruled out everything but the logic board. How much do those cost? Anywhere from $400-$1000 dollars. Considering depreciation and the recent improvements to the hardware and battery life, it just wasn’t worth repairing. That money was better put towards a new laptop. Even after that catastrophic failure, you’d think I’d be pretty sour on Macs, but not really.
On average the Macs I have had have far outlasted the PCs, though it’s all rhetorical. Computers degrade over time and some single units have more problems than others. We’re pretty far beyond the days where manufacturing was so hit or miss that you could easily crucify a whole brand based on a single poor experience. That the 2012 model was completely trouble-free and fast for two years despite the abuse I put it through is still pretty reasonable.
So… I’m now happily typing this post on a new 2014 Macbook Air. It’s faster, has better battery life, and was substantially cheaper than the last one I bought. The Time Machine backup rolled everything over almost flawlessly, save for the Ruby setup I had for running Octopress and my virtual machines. The biggest thing I learned in this experience was that upgrading the hard drive or swapping out the battery isn’t nearly as hard as I might have imagined, though you still need to exercise caution. The battery unit isn’t heavily protected like most removable laptop batteries, and can be easily fractured or punctured once it is exposed, leading to a fire.
And no, I still didn’t pay for AppleCare.