Technology Travel

R.I.P: Mogul (My good old MacBook Pro)

Last week “Mogul”, my trusty old Macbook Pro Unibody (circa 2008, basically the first model that came out) has decided to die a sudden death. 30 minutes before its sudden departure from this world, it helped me locate the address of a local motel where I then spent the night mourning its loss.

When you go through some rough times together with someone (or in this case, some object), you become attached to that object. It’s been there for you, and it served its purpose. Sometimes I feel It’s really like the Rifleman’s Creed, but my version is the version for geeks:

This is my Macbook. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Macbook is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My Macbook, without me, is useless. Without my Macbook, I am useless. I must code with my Macbook true. I must code better than my competitor, who is trying to steal my market share. I must take market share, before he does. I will…

My Macbook and myself know that what counts in this war is not the software we write, the noise of our marketing department, nor the public relations we make. We know that it is the sales that count. We will sell…

My Macbook is human, even as I, because it is my Macbook. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its ports and its unix. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my Macbook clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before the universe, I swear this creed. My Macbook and myself are the defenders of my company. We are the masters of our competitor. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is ours and the competitor is begging!

I then started going through the following stages of human grief:

Stage 1: Denial

I thought it was some sudden barometric pressure, humidity, or some weird voodoo in the firmware. Maybe a ZAP to the PROM? Maybe the battery died? Maybe it just needed a charge? I couldn’t believe at that stage that the computer died, even though the signs were not very encouraging. However every day, I tried to turn it on. Maybe today will be my lucky day? I said to myself. But its death was very real 🙁

Stage 2: Depression

I was sad and depressed. How could this happen to me? All those days of lost work, how will I ever catch up? What if the data is also gone? My last Time Machine backup is pretty recent, but still, a few weeks old…!

I spent the week without my Macbook pretty sad and lonely. What made this worse, is that I had to borrow a laptop from my dad. Guess what, it was an ASUS laptop, with Windows 7 on it. I was grateful to have a machine to work on, and I did manage to accomplish almost everything I needed to accomplish, but I suffered with that machine. I suffered bad. Microsoft’s platform is just plain horrible, even with their latest “achievement”, Windows 7.

Stage 3: Anger!

At this stage, I was angry. I was angry at Apple, at myself, and with the world in general. Here’s a list of what I was angry at, and why:

  • Apple – Because when I just bought the laptop, the hinge was already loose and holding the laptop at an angle the screen would close on my fingers. I brought it to the shop, and the Apple Geeks said that was normal. But the next Unibody revision saw this problem fixed!!! Grrrr!
  • Apple – Because after a few months, I discovered my optical drive did not work. I discovered this the first time I really needed it (to burn an ISO of a Linux OS that I needed to install on a server). I was traveling at a country without an Apple Store, so I decided I had enough time until my warranty expires, and I burned that ISO on an external burner. I then reached Munich (Germany) with my travels, where I took the Macbook into an official Apple store. They decided my cdrom was fine, and even came up with some logical sounding excuse: I had modified my EFI and the cdrom was affected by this, but when I left Munich I discovered they were wrong. I restored my EFI to the original firmware, and the cdrom still did not work. I couldn’t even boot from a brand new, store bought copy of Snow Leopard!!
  • Apple – Because the laptop only held a charge for 2 hours, even with a brand new battery! When I wanted to use the lower power nVidia, the screen was blinking, and even though many people report this problem, Apple won’t admit a fault in that series of Macbook, and won’t replace the motherboard! The solution: Use the higher power nVidia 9600GT, and the screen won’t blink.
  • Myself – Because I did not buy Apple Care! And if I had AppleCare, I would not have to buy a new Macbook like I did.
  • Myself – Because maybe I wasn’t gentle enough with my Macbook. Although I never dropped it, and for its age, it looks pretty damn near-mint condition.

Stage 4: Acceptance

I had to accept reality – My Macbook was RIP! And the sooner I repair it, or find a replacement, the better. The sooner I can get back to my Mac profile, the sooner I will get rid of the Windows laptop. It has become a holy goal, worthy of my time and energy.

That’s when I started to look for solutions, and I found not one, but two solutions!

Solution 1: I went to a local “Market” and found this cool merchant dealing only with Mac stuff. He had a lot of Apple laptops, but one laptop was particularly interesting for me: An almost new Macbook Pro 15″, with an i7 processor running at 2.66Ghz, 8gb of RAM, and 500gb 7200RPM drive. The advantage: An American Keyboard! This was a dream come true, and cost just 20,000 DHM (That’s around $2445 at the current going rate). I took the S/N and checked that it wasn’t stolen, and was still eligible for AppleCare, and it was! Awesome!

Solution 2: The same merchant told me about some Moroccan berber guy who had a broken 15″ of the same series as mine, and was using it in the desert. His screen was broken, and he was using it with an external display, but he was getting sick of it and decided to replace it. The merchant promised me the motherboard for 2000 to 2500 DHM (~$240). This means that if the motherboard works in my MBP, my wife would have a cool 15″ MBP, which is way better than her regular 13″ Macbook Unibody.

I then formulated a plan: I would buy the first laptop, sell my wife’s 13″ laptop, obtain that motherboard and fix Mogul. My and my wife will then both have 15″ MBP’s!

Update #1: Solution 1 achieved. I am now back online with a new 15″ i7 MBP!!! Now to try and get that motherboard for my dead Mogul before I fly to Russia!

Update #2: My brother flew to Morocco to visit my dad, and he brought my dead MacBook Pro with him back to New York. Here, we found a chinese lab that fixes any dead Mac motherboard for a flat fee of $250. They fixed it and it’s back to life!

4 replies on “R.I.P: Mogul (My good old MacBook Pro)”

so so sad, i had lump (of coal) in my chest [snifff snifff]
but since i’m really not an apple fan at all, just get a normal laptop slap linux on it and forget the problems you had with your laptop.
it will cost you less 🙂

As you know, time is money. When I discovered that my MacBook laptop was actually saving me a lot of time, I calculated how much time it saved me, and realized it saved me at LEAST 100 hours (but probably way more). Those 100 hours are hours I did not spend on recovering lost data, on fixing damage caused by viruses, on installing / maintaining / upgrading an antivirus or anti-spyware, time lost on defragmentation, time lost on manually backing up files (I have time machine for that), and even just the time I see it takes on Windows to find Emails or just Files. There’s also the time waiting for stuff to happen – MacOS X is very fast! People from the Windows world who see me work, are constantly amazed. My computer does not slow down after 6 month, to the point it requires a reformat…

So if I rate my work hour at $100/hr, then just by working with a MacBook Pro, I have saved $10,000. Considering it costs $2500 (And the i7 I just bought cost me $2300), then dude, as you can see, it’s well worth the cost!

And running Time Machine has paid off hugely, for me. You restore a new machine using your Time Machine backup and it contains absolutely everything – Data + Applications. I felt like there never was a disaster, and was quite relieved. Again – countless hours restoring, were saved!

Another interesting anecdote that I just remembered about the Berber guy from the Sahara desert: The reason his screen was broken, is that someone actually tried to shoot him, and hit the laptop screen instead (while it was open). So he has this big bullet hole through his screen…

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