A sorry tale ...

This may be Thanksgiving for those on the other side of both the ponds from my abodes, but I have nothing to give thanks for. And my sorry tale is not about trying to save the turkeys …
My beautiful, fabulous, much loved, brand new — well 10-day old — MBA is temporarily no more. No, this one hasn’t disappeared, but it nearly went up in smoke!
On Wednesday, I did a morning’s work in Scrivener, closed all apps and put it to sleep rather than shut it down. I put it in its sleeve, in the shoulder-bag — that I hardly know I’m carrying compared to the MBP’s backpack — and went off to lunch with some colleagues. After lunch, I went to have a coffee and doze in my favourite corner of a coffee-shop, but wasn’t sleepy enough, so I decided to do a bit of work …
I opened the shoulder-bag … it was like stepping out from air-conditioning into 90 degree heat; I whipped out the sleeve unzipped it … the MBA was roasting and the fan was going beserk!
20 minutes later on a glass-topped table by an open window, it was cool, so I put it back in the sleeve, in the shoulder bag, and resolved to go home to work on the MBP as the MBA was non-functional. By the time I was on the bus, the MBA was once again roasting, so I had to take it out and hold it like that with minimum contact for the whole of the 45 minute bus-ride and the 10 minutes walk back home.
It’s finally cooled down completely, as the battery has presumably burnt itself out, but the whole mother-board and SSD must be fried.
I presume I’ve lost everything on it, but fortunately, thanks to SpiderOak — Dropbox equivalent not blocked by the GFWoC — in reality that only means a morning’s work and three or four short texts that had been sent as email attachments that I’d not yet extracted from their emails.
At least the MBP has an external, detachable battery, so when that started blowing up — I had one of the faulty ones — I could whip it out so as not to lose the whole computer, and could continue to work, battery-less and running off the mains!
So back to the MBP and the 10-kilo back-pack, while the MBA goes back to Apple!

Wow, that’s a pretty serious flaw. Sorry to hear that tale of woe! At least it happened now and not after the AppleCare expired.

Mr. X,

You are a patient man. In your shoes there would be much distribution of unhappiness.

From what I have seen here, you may be one of the very unlucky members of the “anticipated defect” club. As I am sure you know, there is a certain amount of expected defect in any manufacturing process. The goals of efficiency in manufacturing is to lower the defect rate to a point approaching 0. Not that approaching is not 0.

But that doesn’t help your situation. For that I recommend leftover turkey (not sure what they have on your side of the wall), a sporting event, and your personal favorite “adult beverage”.

Happens to the best of us, Mark. Like me for example.
New iMac, Feb 07. After 14 days, crappy Apple Mighty Mouse, stops scrolling. More like Mickey Mouse.
Just outside 2 yr guarantee, Superdrive, dies, after playing only 5 DVDs 15 CDs. Never saved/burned anything to disc. External drive prevented from playing DVD/CD.
Now, after only 3 1/2 yrs, motherboard dies.

I very much doubt, that with the exception of Mac chassis and OS, there is anything unique about the other components inside a mac. Are they really that much more reliable than the rest? I have my doubts. So why will I have to pay £1000 to replace iMac. What the hell am I paying for? Looks? The name, Apple?

That reminds me of a tale I read a few years ago.

I think it was,IBM, seeking tenders for the supply of a certain electronic component. “Max acceptable failure rate, we require, is 0.9%.” A Japanese company won the contract. Their first shipment of components consisted of two consignments. 1st consignment, 100% perfect. 2nd, much smaller with accompanying note stating, “Please find enclosed, your faulty 0.9% as requested. No charge. What do you intend to do with faulty products?”

Rotten luck, the both of you. I’ve just been recommending a Mac to my son “partly for the brand’s reliability”… Mark, I hope this doesn’t require another trip to HK.

Thanks everyone.

I am phlegmatic … hardware is hardware. No matter how much people think I am totally in love with Apple kit, the kit is the kit and any such kit can suffer catastrophe; the truth is that they produce kit that suits me totally in way of working, that does everything I want, stays out of my way and lets me get on with what I’m working on — of which Scrivener is perhaps the most perfect example. That makes me think of the person on the Windows forums who said that she hates Apple because she like to have a computer that she has to beat into submission! And I am in all things willing to pay the price for what I deem to be the best equipment for me that I can afford. But what really matters is the data. If you’re like me, there is a sense in which my life is in my computer … lose the hardware and it’s irritating; lose the data, it’s a disaster. I have lost very little data indeed, and not too much time’s worth of work.

Apart from the loss of so little data, the other thing for which I thank my lucky stars is that I thought to do some work over my coffee. If I hadn’t, I think there was a real risk of it catching fire if it had remained enclosed in the sleeve and shoulder bag. On the other hand, the irritating thing is that I’m going to have to wait for a while before it’s repaired/replaced. I finally have time to take it in this afternoon.

In about 25 years of using Apple kit, I’ve had three failures. On the not-too-much lamented IIvi, the hard disk failed on the second day when I tried to install the Chinese input system … no data on it at that point; the battery on this MBP started to blow up when I’d owned it for just under two years … one of the faulty Sony batteries of that generation; now the MBA … It does point out how, with a totally enclosed system like they are producing now, you’ve had it; with the MBP, as soon as I realised something was going wrong with the battery, I whipped it out and the computer and all my data was safe. The other things that have failed on me in all that time are early thumb-drives, and now one of my external hard drives, one of the ones on which I have a bootable back-up of this, but only one of them, and therefore replaceable.

I love this new MBA … that is I loved working on it. Yes, it looks fabulous and that helps, but what really mattered is that I hardly knew I was carrying it around — to the point where I sometimes wondered if I’d simply forget to pick it up one day! — and it was a dream to work on, in Scrivener, in Tables, with email, the web … So I’m looking forward to getting it back fully repaired, or, my guess is, a replacement as soon as it’s been checked out and one is available.

No, Hugh, it was only 10 days old and I rang the shop where I got it … they said it’s on an international guarantee so I should take it to my local Apple repair centre, and that I didn’t have to go back to HK. It would be fun — and the chance to buy more real cheese — proper cheddar, Epoisses … you name it … not the imitation cheese available here — but my time is limited and it would be an expense I would prefer not to have to afford.

Lesson in life, folks — though I know I’m preaching to the choir — back-up early and back-up often … to external storage!


Hi Mark, I don’t know how I missed this thread. I’m sorry to hear about your MBA. :cry: Bad, bad, BAD Apple! If it were me, I’d probably be extremely unhappy. Okay, I’ll say it up front. I’d be friggin’ devastated (for a period ranging from 24 to 72 hours at the least).

Luckily, though, it’s a machine (though a wondrous and beautiful one), so, it can be replaced. Unlike, say, humans. :neutral_face:

So, I’m crossing my fingers for you that you get a new MBA soon!!! And that it’d be a healthy one, and won’t cause ya no trouble (using double negative for emphasis, and using “ya” to annoy vic-k). :smiley:

May the Force be with you, young Jedi, and may you never, never, NEVER get a faulty Apple product again!

Thanks Cady … from a “young Jedi” who’s probably old enough to be your grandfather! :laughing:

Anyway, update … I took it in to the dealer that I’ve bought all my stuff from here, and apart from teasing me for not buying it from him, he is dealing with it. His partner rang up the repair centre and was told to ring up on Monday when they could ascertain whether what’s necessary for the job is available here — they’ve literally only just come onto the market here — and if not, they’ll arrange for it to go to the repair centre in HK. I might have to pay a bit for the transport there and back, but it’ll be a fraction of the cost of two journeys there myself.

So, it’s being dealt with … let’s just hope it can be done here in China as it’ll be quicker apparently, but all I want is my fully functioning MBA back!


Good to hear your MBA might be safe and cozy in your hands sooner than you think!

Age doesn’t matter. It’s all relative, ask Al (though according to Google he didn’t say “Everything is relative”, but sort of “there’s no absolute space-time coordinate system, so there are no absolute positions in time and space. All times and positions are relative,” which is somewhat harder to quote, so people just go with “Everything’s relative”).

Anyways. I stopped counting right after I hit fifteen*.

[size=50]*Which happened a little longer ago than you might think.[/size]

Well, I think I ought to be embarrassed, but I’m not sure.

I finally took the MBA in to my Apple dealer friend, who said he’d ring to find up if the repair people here were tooled up to deal with these new MBAs … if not he’d have to send it to Hong Kong, which would take a bit longer and I’d have to pay the transport costs, which would be a fraction of the cost of me going back there twice, once to take it and once to collect it.

Anyway, in due course … and a very short due course at that … I got a phone call from him, “What is your password?” Huh? He said it’s working but we want to log in to check. I didn’t tell him, but shot down there in a taxi — discovering on the way that I’d left my money in my flat, but the really kind taxi-driver took me there, waited for me, brought me back home and waited while I fetched my money … and then gave me a 10% discount on the meter reading! So incredibly kind and generous! — to log in and check.

They had done what I didn’t dare do; now that the battery was dead/exhausted, they plugged it into the mains … It didn’t blow up, it started charging. And it wasn’t dead, it was catatonic, in the deepest coma imaginable, but they managed to restart it by holding down the power button for a long time.

It’s all fine, processor, screen, SSD, memory … the battery is functioning like before … I’ve just spent nearly the whole day using it on one charge-full, with 2.5 hours still available … I just can’t believe that it could have got that hot and not destroyed itself. I haven’t even lost any of the data on it.

So folks, the moral of the story is that, even though they normally run so cool you wouldn’t think there was any processing going on, and when asleep they seem really not to be running, they are … so don’t put them in a sleeve and in a shoulder bag for more than a comparatively few minutes; if there’s no air flow round them, they heat up like billy-oh, even when asleep.

All’s well as ends well, as a certain Billy Shakespeare once said.


Sounds to me like something was running when the MBA should have been in sleep mode. I know the motion sensors are there to protect moving parts (HD instead of SSD) so I don’t see that motion was causing activity. I would think some process is running even though it is asleep. Maybe check the software and see what processes are running or check to make sure none of your network settings are set to “wake from sleep”. (I am thinking maybe there are a few wifi networks around and airport card keeps picking them up “waking” the computer and causing activity, the activity generates heat, the heat kicks in the safety measures (fans), the sleeve keeps the fans from cooling so the mba heats up more, the fans ramp up to get rid of the excess heat and in doing so generate more heat, and its a vicious cycle.

I am thinking “software” is somehow not letting your MBA get the nap it needs. I would shut it down before putting it in any container (sleeve) until you find out for sure what is causing the MBA to not place nice when it comes to nappy-nappy-noopy-noopy time.

A MBA that suffers from insomnia…

Thanks Wock, you may be right … I guess, if so, that the culprit will be Airport running, and SpiderOak — Linux-based DropBox-ish-alike — was probably running too. SSD, so no moving parts except the fan. On the other hand, in my experience, putting it to sleep disconnects WiFi and it has to reconnect when the MBA is woken; and SpiderOak doesn’t seem to spend time polling the network trying to connect when WiFi isn’t running.

In the energy preferences, there is no option to wake it on Airport access that would need to be disabled, only on the power-adaptor pane.

I’m not sure, but this may have been the only time I’ve had it in the sleeve in the shoulder-bag when only asleep rather than switched off. I regard myself as very lucky indeed, and still think other users of these brilliant machines would do well to take note of what happened to me. They run incredibly cool under normal usage, so it is/was easy to think that being asleep nothing would be generating heat.