Mac Users – Buy The Extended Warranty!
I’m a total idiot.
Fifteen months ago I bought a new (well, refurbished, but the same thing) 15” MacBook Pro. A real gem of a piece of machinery.
I use this for everything—writing my books, scripts, blogging, editing both films and news stories on either Final Cut or Adobe Premier, photos in Aperture, iPhoto or PhotoShop, Web surfing, e-mail. You name it, I do it on my MacBook. It’s more than a laptop, it’s a lifeline.
I got this MacBook in October 2011 to upgrade from the MacBook I’d bought in 2007. Four years’ of continuous service, that’s a pretty good run—and it’s still in use in my studio office.
I never had a problem with the 2007 Mac – or with any of the Macs I’ve had. I’d bought the extended warranty for the 2007 Mac and for the 2012 Mac that I got Bonnie last year, and which she lives on. And have never hand any problems.
October 2012, the one-year anniversary came. I received the e-mails from Apple that time was running out for me to sign up for the 3-year extended warranty. This time I thought, “Apple builds these things like tanks. I’m going to be okay.”
I let the deadline pass. My thinking was, “If anything comes up, I’ll just get another—newer—Mac. No big deal.”
THE GOOD NEWS: The 15” MacBook is built like a tank.
Then just before the Holidays I noticed that my computer was just powering off. Going blank. Just a moment before the battery indicator said that there was plenty of juice left in the battery. The next moment—the screen would snap to black. I’d hook it back up to the external power supply and the computer would boot back up. I’d finish and put it to sleep. Sometimes it would work just fine. Others, I’d pick up the MacBook and notice that the little white glowing on and off light that would normally indicate that the computer was “sleeping” had gone away. It hadn’t gone to sleep—it had died.
I was beginning to worry that the battery had gone bad. Or worse. That the internal electrical system was having failure. Or that the motherboard had a crack in it. I didn’t know. But I knew that something wasn’t right.
The Genius Bar at the Apple Store is always too busy, so I took the 15” MacBook Pro to Core Care, an Apple certified and authorized support center in Sacramento. It’s a $100 diagnostic service charge, plus more for service and labor costs if there is an actual problem. Of course, this would all be covered by the Apple 3-year extended warranty—if I’d been smart and purchased it three months ago. But I needed to find out what was going on before this went on any longer.
What immediately impressed me was that the first thing the assistant who waited on me at Core Care did was to clean everything off the exterior of the MacBook with a damp towel. It looked spotless.
LONG STORY SHORT: The MacBook was fine. It was the external power supply that was the problem.
As you may know from being a regular reader of this blog (which everyone should be!), Bonnie and I have rescue greyhounds and are involved in fostering other rescued greyhounds. We’ve now fostered 9 in just over two years.
Last summer we were fostering one greyhound who was into everything we had in the house, one of which was my external power supply—which he chewed up!
I’d gone to Fry’s and bought another 85-watt external power supply. All I can think that happened was that I either grabbed one from the 60-watt stack or a 60-watt power supply was in the 85-watt power supply stack. These things happen.
So all these months I’ve been running the computer on the wrong wattage power. I hope this doesn’t mess up the internal workings. So far everything has seemed fine. Only time will tell.
But it was to have the MacBook professionally diagnosed and be assured that the computer, hard drive and internal battery are all fine and in good working order.
PLEASE NOTE: At no time was I ever concerned about losing the contents of my MacBook.
I am constantly amazed when I ask people — Macs & PCs — how often they back-up their computer and the response is almost always: “Never.” Or, “What do you mean?”
On a daily basis I use Time Machine to back up all of the contents of my MacBook. With a couple of books and screenplays in-progress, as well as a steady in-flow of new photos and videos, I don’t take any risks with losing anything.
Please—whether you’re a Mac or a PC—back up your computer contents regularly. Daily, if possible.
FINALLY, THE BAD NEWS: Now I don’t get that new refurbed MacBook Air that I’d found on apple.com/store.