failing like never before


One Reason to Buy a Mac

When people ask me why I won't buy a Mac, I generally give three reasons:

  • Too expensive -I know a lot of people will argue that the 13.3 inch Macbooks actually have a list price that is similar to a Windows Laptop, but they forget that Macbooks are never available in the bargain bin on Black Friday
  • Right click - although I have gotten a little more used to the way Mac's double click, I still don't like it that much.
  • Delete key - this is decidedly annoying, and I just don't like having to press Function+Backspace when I want to delete.

Mind you, this is just me and I won't try to push these ideas on other people, some people don't mind throwing down a few hundred extra dollars, or losing the delete key (which most people never use). But lately, I have discovered one very good reason to buy a Mac.

The day before Thanksgiving, I tripped over the power cord to my HP dv2910us. Thankfully, the laptop was wedged between piles of junk and it didn't fall off the table, but the plug was bent out of shape and the little plastic insulation on the plug's tip cracked off. Since I needed a working laptop for school, I couldn't afford to order a new power cord from ebay and wait a week for it to arrive, so instead of paying ten dollars, my dad paid fifty dollars for a new cord and brick. I know its crazy, but it had to be done. Once I had the new cord, I figured the matter was resolved and that everything was going to be hunky-dory.

Just last week,  two months after I tripped over my power cable, I woke up, plugged my laptop in, and turned it on, just like most any morning. It immediately started making a funny, high-pitched buzzing, so I switched it off. It didn't take me long to notice that the power connection port was sparking, so like any sane man would do, I unplugged the power. If you look at the poorly-taken picture to the left, you can just barely notice that the white plastic ring surrounding the port is melted on the left-hand side. As far as I can guess, my tripping over the cord probably damaged the connection port just slightly, and two months of plugging and unplugging the power cable was enough to aggravate the port's damaged condition to the point that it started shorting.

HP has a pretty spotty history of technical support; some people have no problems with HP's laptop repairs, while others send there machine in and receive it back four months later still broken. But even with the best scenario, I was still looking at a minimum of two weeks to get my laptop repaired. One of my computer science classes practically requires that we have a laptop to use in class, and I certainly wasn't looking forward to spending two weeks on the university's pokey Linux machines. Plus, there was no guarantee that HP would even cover the damage under their warranty, and I might end up shelling out a few hundred dollars to get the problem fixed. So I decided that it would be best if I simply just bought the part online for fifteen dollars and fixed it myself. Which I did.

I'm going to save the technical disassembly of my laptop for another post, but I will say that the process took a surprisingly, long amount of time, six hours to be exact. Below, is the surprisngly list of parts that I had to remove in order to just reach the power port.

  1. hard drive
  2. optical drive
  3. keyboard
  4. switch cover
  5. display assembly
  6. top cover
  7. system board

So in the end, everything worked out OK and I learned a few new things, but its not something I want to go through again. Now I can think of two ways that this problem could have been avoided entirely. The first, would have been to have just been more careful, the second would have been to buy a Mac.

Although I'm no Apple fan, I have to admit that Apple's Magsafe technology is quite brilliant. Up until I actually tripped over my power cable, I thought that the whole idea of a magnetically attached power plug was entirely unnecessary, a ploy created by Apple's marketing department so they could add another bullet point to their list of  "why Macs are better then PCs." For the next few days after my laptop broke, I purposely tripped over my roommate's Macbook power cord just so I could see Magsafe in action. The only harm done was that my roommate got a little annoyed at me for being unusually clumsy. So now that I had first-hand knowledge that in one very important way, Macbooks are better then non-Apple laptops, I started asking myself, "if I were looking to buy a laptop at this point in time, would I buy a Macbook?" Is one feature (that albeit, could have saved several hours of stress) worth the extra money and the loss of a right-click and a delete key?

I'm a pretty clumsly person, and my HP laptop is my first laptop ever. It doesn't seem too inconcievable that sometime in the near future I'll trip over my power cable again, especially now that I'm taking my laptop to class and work more often. The next time I trip, I might get lucky and hit the cord at the right angle and just cause the plug to pop out, or maybe instead I'll drag my laptop crashing to the ground (which is definitely not covered under warranty). I'd be willing to fork over a few hundred extra dollars, knowing that I could be saving myself a huge amount of grief and more money in the near future. Now that I've switched my desktop manager to Awesome and started using vimperator in Firefox, I've significantly reduced the number of instances where I need to even use a mouse, so I don't think the lack of a right-click will be too much of a hindrance. And while I don't think I'll ever get over the lack of a delete key, it is something that I can probably live without.

So there it is, my one reason to buy a Macbook. Mind you, in a few weeks I'll probably forget about my whole ordeal with the power port and change my mind again.

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  1. I’m not sure if you are aware but you can right click on a Mac. The mighty mouse that comes with iMacs looks like it only has one button but it is actually two. And the right click gesture on the laptops is better than actually having a second track pad button. You can either set it up to count a 2-finger tap as a right click or 2-fingers down with a regular mouse button press. I switched over about 2 years ago on accident. I bought my wife an iMac because I didn’t want to have to deal with the headaches of spyware/virus issues. I ended up taking it over and have since bought a Macbook that I love.

  2. Thanks for visiting my site Chico!

    As I mentioned above, I have been getting pretty used to the way Macbooks do right-clicks (all my roommates have Macs). Some people really like having the two-finger double-click, but even though I’ve gotten used to it, I still prefer a traditional “Windows” style right-click.

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