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The Sleeping Disorder of the MacBook Pro

I have two MacBooks. One is from early 2007, the other from late 2009. Both have intermittent problems waking up from sleep often enough, and similarly enough, to indicate that the perfectionist culture rumored to drive Apple’s every move has its severe blind spots.

This morning, when I tried to wake my sleeping older model, the screen stayed dark, resisting my plaintive cajoling for a response. The hard shut-down: hold the power key, and watch the stalwart, white LED on its front darken like a dying Cylon Centurion’s fading red eye.

After rebooting, Apple’s “Gosh, something apparently went wrong during my sleep!” dialog appeared, asking whether it could send a report to Apple. I expanded the comments field and started to provide details, thinking that I would help them solve this. But if the problem persists  year after year, model after model, and remains an infrequent, yet persistent issue, then they must get a lot of these. Perhaps people have so far simply been ineffective at explaining the circumstances.

I did the best I could:

Stupid thing looked like it was asleep, but the display would not turn on. It was brutal. I called for re-inforcements. A grapefruit appeared, winking at me menacingly. There we several moments of silence, and the room filled with fog. Someone was playing an old phonograph record of Lazy Larry singing “Hallelujah, On the Bum” to a banjo. The strumming kind. Not the picking kind. Suddenly it was September of 1956, and my hair had thinned and grayed. All the while I could sense in my spine the dry crackling of shake shingles on the rooftop slowly turning to chalk, even though the house had curved terra cotta tiles atop it. Then I saw it: across the room, the cat held a Kleenex to it’s nose with both forepaws, as he claimed profusely that it was a mere nosebleed. My mother leaned over to me and whispered, “It’s really not okay. He’s a hemophiliac.” A breeze carried the smell of bacon, and I wondered if the cat could smell it.


5 Responses

  1. I’m reminded of the marketing surrounding one of the IE releases that said they had fixed 50% of the top 50 reported bugs or some such. Which immediately left me wondering what else the programmers had been up to in the intervening years, which I’m sure wasn’t the intent of the marketing department.

  2. Interestingly, I have had Mac owners claim to me the one thing Apple gets right is having computers come out of sleep and suspend mode, as opposed to WinXP (and even 7 a bit, although it’s 1000 times better). With Windows you don’t have the end-to-end hardware control Apple does so in some ways it’s not surpising (it’s usually driver issues that cause resume problems). But with Apple, you’d assume their control of the entire environment would make this problem more tractable.

    • I wonder how much is MacOS, and how much is the Intel platform they use. Maybe Intel’s hardware APIs are unreliable, so both Mac and Windows are affected.

      • In the PC world it is all ACPI and Mac’s use ACPI these days.

        Wikipedia ACPI page reads — Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, once described it as “a complete design disaster in every way”

        I’ve heard similar comments from other people who have to deal with it professionally.

        On the other hand Apple should be able to do better, certainly if it was a priority in their hardware selection process.

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