Hi, I’m a Mac, and I’m Your Enterprise Computer

Lisa Nadile, writing for CIO.com gives advice on integrating Macintosh computers into existing IT infrastructures.

The article discusses in-house support, application integration and management. The one thing that she fails to address is the state of enterprise hardware support from Apple. AppleCare Enterprise Hardware support, for example, offers premium support for their enterprise hardware – XServe and XServe Raid. The standard Apple Warranty and AppleCare Protection Plan has limited on-site service. That just isn’t going to make it in the enterprise.

I must state that currently, I am not an enterprise customer. I’m railing because my Macbook is sitting in Tennesee (the national Apple Laptop Repair Depot), waiting for a main logic board. I just got off the phone with Apple Support and they indicated that it could be up to 5-7 business days for the part to become available for my repair. Wouldn’t one have common parts available, if one were in the repair business? Luckily, I don’t do anything or I couldn’t afford to be without my primary notebook for two weeks.

On the other hand our, Dell Inspiron 700m experienced a trackpad problem, and the next day, a Dell representative replaced the part on-site.

Macbook and Powerbook Repair

Apple Inc (AAPL), stock hit an all time high today (it closed at 98.84), while my two Macs hit lows.

The Ethernet port on my Macbook (13″ Late 2006) failed. It seems that the connection to the logic board is loose. The nearest Apple Store is 72 miles away, and since I figured it’ll need a new logic board, I sent it off Apple Mail-In Repair in Tennessee. It’s still under warranty. They received it today and the repair status says, “On hold – Part on order (26-Apr-2007).” I guess that means they’ll fix it “real soon now.”

My other Mac notebook, a 4-year-old Powerbook G4 12″ (rev A) decided that it was going to have an intermittent connection with the DC power connector. I purchased AppleCare for this computer when I bought it, but that ran out about a year ago. So I had to fix it myself.

I highly recommend ifixit.com because they give step by step disassembly instructions with photos. It was a pain to take apart, in spite of ifixit.com’s excellent instructions, because the part I needed to fix required that everything else taken apart (except the display) first.
When I finally got everything apart, I could see the broken solder joint (circled in red) that was causing my intermittent power connection.

I guess it did “Test OK” when it was manufactured, but not now. A few seconds with a hot soldering iron and the connection was fine. Then it took me another hour to put it back together. As I said, a pain.

MacBook

I bought a MacBook Core 2 Duo about a week ago. I bought it CTO (Configure To Order) with 2GB of RAM because I wanted to run some version of Windows. My last Apple laptop was a PowerBook G4 12″ rev. A, so the Macbook is a big jump in performance.

The only problem I’ve had was the DVD drive. DVDs and CDs wouldn’t mount on the desktop, though the drive showed up in the System Profiler. I was able to boot from the install DVD and ran the hardware tests with no problems. I reset the PRAM and then DVDs showed up on the desktop.

I installed Boot Camp and Windows Vista RC2 after it took me some time to figure out how to partition the 120GB HD into two Mac OS Extended partitions and one NTFS. I ended up using rEFlt for the boot menu and it works great. Vista runs with Aero on the Macbook’s Intel GMA 950 chipset. Performance is OK. The only problem is not being able write to the NTFS partition (reading works) when running OS X. Maybe someone will write a read-write file system similar to the NTFS for GNU/Linux.

I also installed Parallels (with a trial key) and Vista RC2. Even with 2GB RAM, system memory is paging out when Parallels is running so it seems that 3GB of system RAM would be ideal. Aero effects do not show up in Parallels with 2GB Macbook system RAM. Vista performance on Parallels seems to be about 75% of Vista on Boot Camp.

I used Michael Baltaks’ DoubleCommand and remapped the enter key to forward delete, so CTRL-ALT-DEL is now three keystrokes instead of four (fn-ctrl-option-delete).

I had no problems adding the MacBook, Boot Camp PC and Parallels PC to a Windows 2003 Server Active Directory. One thing I haven’t been able figure out is why a directory listing of a PC share is slower on the MacBook when I’m logged into the domain as opposed to logging onto the MacBook as a non-domain member.