Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mac the Knife?!

What in the world were the engineers at Apple thinking when they designed the new MacBooks with such sharp edges? Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about.

Many other users are now complaining about this – even posting pictures of the red marks on their wrists left by "Mac the Knife." One guy’s wrists are so marked up by his, he’s proposing a new name for these laptops: Emobooks.

Several others report using sandpaper or a file TO SAND DOWN THE EDGES OF THEIR LAPTOPS. Let me repeat that: People are SANDING DOWN THEIR LAPTOPS because they’re too painful to use.

So this is what they mean by cutting-edge technology?

Macworld magazine mentions this design flaw here in its review.

The iBooks that preceded this new model had rounded edges. My beloved IBM Thinkpad (may it R.I.P.) had rounded edges. So do all the other laptops I’ve since been eyeing enviously in coffee shops and elsewhere. So why did Apple let such dopey design out of the factory?

When I called Apple to ask, the pleasant young man handling the call relayed messages back and forth between Apple’s engineers and me. Their version, according to him, was that this was a “user issue.” Clearly, they said, I wasn’t using the laptop ergonomically.

Hey, I know from ergonomics, but the fact is that the MacBook’s edge is uncomfortable even if you’re just resting your hand by the trackpad or the sides of the keyboard, as you might want to do while pausing to think of what to type next. It also hurts when you pick up an open laptop with both hands to move it.

Readers of this blog know I was all primed to come over to The Light Side and enthusiastically embrace the superior technology of Macs that I’d been hearing about for years from my Macarized friends. But who knew the embrace would be so painful?

Meanwhile, check out the photo of this kludgy solution -- slitting a piece of plastic tubing and fitting it over the offending edges.

Since Apple won’t take back its lemon, anybody out there have a better workaround that doesn’t involve taking 300-grit sandpaper to a $1500+ computer, or wearing garden gloves or sweat bands to the coffee shop, or schlepping around some contraption that defeats the purpose of having a light, portable computer? (And yeah, I’ve read about the iLap, but I’m not yet sold on having to carry something like that around during all my peregrinations.)


Anonymous Christian said...

Hi Martha,

I'm sorry I can't help you out on this one - I own a Macbook myself and I do not have any of the problems described.

I just loved your using the Germanism "schlepping" :-)
Did you know that in the earlier kludgier days when laptops still weighed almost as much as their owners, people in Germany were calling them Schlepptops? Some are still doing that, though.

BTW: When are new A Way with Words episodes coming out?

9:46 AM  
Blogger sunbelt said...

Gee, upgrading should never involve broken skin. Sorry to hear that. Come to think of it, I've suffered some scratches from my mini ipod. I think Apple just loves sharp edges. But I think it's really to promote additional products like those colorful cases. Hey, maybe you can invent a slip on skin for the Mac laptop user. It will fit over the razor edge part of the laptop and you can name it iSkin. People will pay, I tell you!!


Thanks for the link to all things 'emo'.... great addition to the urban lexicon!!

11:21 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

Hi, Christian -- didn't know about Schlepptops! Love it. And what do you call cell phones, btw?

Re new AWWW episodes, we're in reruns until early September. Tx for asking!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

Sunbelt -- Yeah, a skin over the razor edge is a good idea. Although I've been musing a lot lately about making a YouTube flick in which I lather up and shave my legs with this thing..........

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Martha, believe it or not, cell phones are called "Handy" (singular) or "Handys" (plural) in Germany. The pronunciation is identical to English "handy", which it supposedly is derived from. It also makes a very nice false friend for Germans travelling to England or the USA, asking about cell phone reception saying "Can I use my Handy here?", leaving the interlocutor in bewilderment :-)

There is also another theory as to the etymology of "Handy": Some people say it is derived from Swabian German (Schwaben or Swabia is a region in the South of Germany), where one Swabian once supposedly said "Händi goar ka Kabel dran" (high German: "Haben die gar kein Kabel dran?", i.e. "Don't they have any wires?").

Thie Swiss, BTW call them Natel, an acronym for Nationales Autotelefon (National car phone).

Greetings from scorchingly hot Germany,

8:22 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

Christian - thanks for the info! Has it cooled down there at all yet?

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Not really, there's a heatwave torturing all of Europe, just like in Cali, as I've heard. The Elbe river in eastern Germany has almost dried out already.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Beth Levine said...

I thought shlepping was Yiddish!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

Oy, yes, Beth -- as are all the tsuris and all the mishegoss this whole balagon has caused me! And yer point is??

7:18 AM  

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