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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple has a secret repair program for defective 2018 MacBook Air models, as documented by 9to5Mac:
Jordan Kahn said:
Apple finds issue w/ logic board in some 2018 MacBook Airs, offers free repair
Apple has confirmed in an internal document to repair staff that it’s identified an issue with the main logic board in what it says is a “very small number” of MacBook Air models. ... A quick search online for problems with the 2018 MacBook Air logic board shows reports back to when the device first launched with some users’ machines not able to power on at all. Apple has not yet publicly announced the program or listed it on its “Exchange and Repair Extension Programs” webpage where it lists recall and service programs
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's some more information about the defects and their costs to customers:
The Register said:
Stop using that MacBook Pro right now, says Uncle Sam: Loyalists suffer burns, smoke inhalation and worse: those crappy keyboards

As Apple's MacBook Pro recall is entering its second week, new details are starting to emerge about the extent of the danger posed by its notebook batteries – and just how irritating the repair process is proving to be.

In a warning issued Thursday, the US government's independent Consumer Products Safety Commission urged Mac loyalists to be safe and just power off the machines as soon as possible. The watchdog also shared some preliminary numbers on Apple's voluntary recall, including just how many notebooks can be sent back for repairs, and how many people have reported their batteries overheating to dangerous levels.

"Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled laptop computers," the commission intoned.

... The CPSC reports that, in just the US and Canada, some 432,000 of the recalled notebooks were sold, and the commission advised all of those owners to contact Apple to have their computers' faulty batteries replaced for free. Getting that replacement, however, may not be a practical option for many MacBook Pro owners, thanks to the long wait times they can expect from Apple.

MacBook Pro owner and self-professed Apple super-fan Matt Bridges has been Mac user for roughly 20 years, and has had his current MacBook Pro since 2016. After learning of the recall and reading that mail-in fix would take one to two weeks, he opted to bring the machine to the Apple Store for a scheduled repair.

Thinking it would be a relatively quick Genius Bar operation (DIY repair site iFixit estimates you can perform the procedure in just a few hours), Bridges told El Reg was shocked when the store techs told him the turnaround would be two to three weeks.
 


I had an opportunity to visit our local Apple Store here in El Paso, TX, where, just to be fair, I tried every MacBook/Air/Pro they had. The keyboard sucked... on every one — not a surprise, as they're all the same POS. They had none of the 2017 MacBook Airs set up.

BTW: The wireless keyboard they provide with the iMacs also has reduced key travel, although it doesn't seem quite as bad as the notebooks. If I even buy another iMac, the keyboard goes up on eBay and I'll buy a much more comfortable $10 USB keyboard from BigLots. (Take that, Jony Ive!)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I had an opportunity to visit our local Apple Store here in El Paso, TX, where, just to be fair, I tried every MacBook/Air/Pro they had. The keyboard sucked...
I had the unpleasant experience recently of being in the same (quiet) room with someone who was working on one of the new Apple butterfly keyboards (recent MacBook Pro). It's startlingly obnoxious in terms of the sound it makes.
BTW: The wireless keyboard they provide with the iMacs also has reduced key travel, although it doesn't seem quite as bad as the notebooks. If I even buy another iMac, the keyboard goes up on eBay...
The Logitech Easy-Switch Keyboard K811 was a much nicer alternative to Apple's overpriced and underfeatured wireless keyboard, with the same feel as the classic MacBook Pro keyboards (e.g. like the 2011-2015 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air through 2017), but it seems to have been discontinued (due to Apple competition, I wonder?).

I'd like to find an equivalent replacement, if any exists.
 


...unless you buy any MacBook/Pro with a butterfly keyboard; then you have a $700 repair bill in your future. Bank on it.
Over the past year, I've had an increasing number of keys, typically on the right side of the keyboard, on my late 2016 15" Touch Bar MacBook Pro require extra effort to enter characters, or fail to produce them at all while touch typing, or produce double entry of the same character. Sounds like a quote from Apple's recently expanded "keyboard service program."

Two days ago, I decided to take advantage of that program. I was hopeful because of the experience of a fellow member of a Mac email listserv, who'd had the FedEX box delivered to his door for pickup on day 1 and his MacBook Pro returned day 3 with a new keyboard.

I called Apple support (not certain whether I'd prefer mail-in vs. local service. One thing the first level support person (who handled the entire call) said disturbed me. She was absolutely certain that the repair facility would completely erase my laptop as a first step. I knew that at least I'd be able to get correct information from a genius at an Apple Retail Store, so I made an appointment locally. Even that surprised me, because in my small city I was offered almost a half dozen authorized repair facilities to choose from in addition to the local Apple Retail Store. Naturally, I chose the retail store. (I questioned the phone support person's statement not because I didn't have backups (I do, both via cloning and Time Machine), but because my entire drive is encrypted with FileVault, which I think might make it difficult to erase without password access).

At the store, I demonstrated my issues (most consistently on the close bracket key, the space bar, and the semicolon). The genius said he'd try cleaning it first, which took far too little time for the top assembly to be removed, and reported he'd expelled a good bit of debris and things seemed better. However, I was still able to detect inconsistent behavior (or consistently suboptimal behavior) from certain keys, and he noticed that the backslash key was especially troublesome. So, he scheduled it for overnight service.

The next morning he called me and told me that he'd found liquid residue beneath the backslash key, that he'd cleaned it up, and that the entire keyboard appeared to be working well now, but that if problems returned, any repair that included replacing the top assembly (which is the only way to replace the entire keyboard) would be at my cost (which he quoted not as $700, but as $1450)!

My keyboard does work reasonably well now, but it's demonstrated its susceptibility to intrusion by dust, which Apple is known to have tried to make better by at least two revisions to the butterfly design. I'm still encumbered by a first generation keyboard which I think is highly likely to fall victim to the same malady over the next year or two. If that happens before November 16, 2020, perhaps I can make another attempt, but my service records include the dreaded liquid spill evidence. How is it that Apple can refuse to offer a repair that incidentally would have corrected the liquid spill damage while making me less susceptible to the very problem that Apple is trying to correct for many users with the recently expanded program.

Oh, by the way, this is my first day back with my cleaned keyboard, and when I pressed the "." key, fairly commonly I get two of them!

I'll try to take this to another level at Apple, but I'm not optimistic.. (see, that's what happens when I end a sentence.. )
 


... The next morning he called me and told me that he'd found liquid residue beneath the backslash key, that he'd cleaned it up, and that the entire keyboard appeared to be working well now, but that if problems returned, any repair that included replacing the top assembly (which is the only way to replace the entire keyboard) would be at my cost (which he quoted not as $700, but as $1450)! ...
I believe dttservice.com will replace the keyboard for about $200.
 


I just read a Ming-Chi-Kuo report on MacRumors that says Apple will start phasing out the butterfly keyboards starting with an upgraded MacBook Air later this year and the MacBook Pro next year. I wonder how many people are going delay buying Apple MacBooks until then?
 


I just read a Ming-Chi-Kuo report on MacRumors that says Apple will start phasing out the butterfly keyboards starting with an upgraded MacBook Air later this year and the MacBook Pro next year. I wonder how many people are going delay buying Apple MacBooks until then?
Anyone with a lick of sense. Unfortunately, some of my clients consider their MacBooks to be disposables and tell me that "$300 per year over four years" (the length of the extended keyboard warranty) is an acceptable cost and they would plan to replace them then. If Apple had more customers like them, we would not be having these discussions today.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Unfortunately, some of my clients consider their MacBooks to be disposables and tell me that "$300 per year over four years" (the length of the extended keyboard warranty) is an acceptable cost...
Along with weeks of not having the computer, and getting another computer to do your work, plus backing up and wiping the computer, plus setting up the temporary replacement computer and restoring from the backup (assuming they're they're compatible), plus restoring/syncing/coordinating between the temporary replacement computer and the original computer, once it returns, plus... etc.? No problem?
 


Along with weeks of not having the computer, and getting another computer to do your work, plus backing up and wiping the computer, plus setting up the temporary replacement computer and restoring from the backup (assuming they're they're compatible), plus restoring/syncing/coordinating between the temporary replacement computer and the original computer, once it returns, plus... etc.? No problem?
I run the Facebook page of the El Paso Apple User Group and those who have read my advice (rants?) have avoided any of the subject machines. Not all my clients, however, "do Facebook" and have drunk the Kool-Aid undiluted; then I'm called in to clean up the mess when it inevitably happens. At least only a minority now fail to do backup.
 


Anyone with a lick of sense. Unfortunately, some of my clients consider their MacBooks to be disposables and tell me that "$300 per year over four years" (the length of the extended keyboard warranty) is an acceptable cost and they would plan to replace them then. If Apple had more customers like them, we would not be having these discussions today.
Back in my "full time employment" years, when the computing power increased at a greater annual rate and (relative) computer costs were greater, we replaced computers about every three to four years.

Our computers came with a three-year, on-site warranty, and the organizational thought was that it was just part of the cost of business. Since they were all desktops at that time, the monitors weren't always replaced at the same time, especially after we switched to flat screens, which maintained their color "correctness" for a longer time.

Given that the cost at that time was much more than $300/year, for a business I don't consider the described plan to be that excessive. And, as for the switchover to the new computers, our data was primarily on servers, so the primary delay was installing software. And that could be done before the actual switch, so "personalization" didn't take all that long. There were only a few settings that needed tweaking.

This plan was preferred to being stuck with a non-functioning computer, effectively putting an individual out of the productive mode.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
There's probably no need for me to comment on the continuing issues involved here...
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Known bugs in macOS Mojave 10.14.6: an incomplete summary
This article lists bugs which you and I have encountered in macOS Mojave 10.14.6 itself, rather than issues in specific third-party applications and other software.

The 10.14.6 update leaves many longstanding bugs in Mojave untouched. It does seem to bring improvements in File Sharing, and has changes in News, Notes and Photos (particularly in iCloud) which may fix other issues. The one bug which has been reported previously in this series which it does appear to address is confusion which could arise in Accent colours. Sadly, features such as Legacy Software and the resizing of APFS disk images remain completely broken. For the final release of Mojave, that’s deeply disappointing.
 



I, too, can confirm that macOS 10.14.6 fixed my 2018 Mac Mini's black screen display bug. In addition, another bug appears fixed: failure of the SuperDuper backup (sparse bundle) to eject on completion of the backup (a macOS 10.14 bug — doesn't happen on my two computers still running OS X 10.11).
 


It was a disaster here with a 2018 MacBook Pro, and I just saw another report noting problems with Apple's T2 system (BridgeOS):
The sad part of the macOS 10.14.6 update being pulled is it (supposedly) fixes a long-standing, well-known issue with Apple's SMB implementation. There are numerous references to how buggy and unreliable it is, and this update was meant to provide some relief.

This is shameful really. First they release desperately buggy software and then they can't even get the fix right. Good grief, Apple, get your act together!
 


"Confused" is right. Since the very beginning of the Macintosh, prior to 1984 (with the Lisa), one selected text, thereby highlighting it, so you could see what you had selected, and then performed operations on that selected and highlighted text. This is fundamental, at the very most essential and basic level. I had no idea that Apple had recently redefined "highlight" as an additional, overlapping, alternate operation with the same name yet totally different functionality that, in fact, doen't even ****** work correctly.
[Re annotation highlighting...] the oldest Mac operating system I happen to have handy is OS X 10.11.6, and Preview has it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes back before then either.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Is anybody else seeing this issue in Preview on Mojave: text that has been highlighted cannot be copied (hence, cannot be pasted). So if I highlight, say, a reference in an article, I have to unhighlight it to be able copy and paste the text into a browser for a search. Is this expected behavior or another sign of a languishing macOS? The Apple feedback page does not even list Preview in the macOS apps, so I guess that is a pretty clear indication of the answer.
I see the same with text that is highlighted in Preview using Tools > Annotate > Highlight Text (Control-Command-H). I see the issue only if I try to select and copy part of the highlighted text. I can select and copy all of the highlighted text just fine. The same occurs with text that is annotated using underlining or strike-through.
[Re annotation highlighting...] the oldest Mac operating system I happen to have handy is OS X 10.11.6, and Preview has it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes back before then either.
Does the same bug occur in the OS X 10.11.6 version of Preview?
 


Does the same bug occur in the OS X 10.11.6 version of Preview?
No. The Preview bug appears to have been introduced in one of the High Sierra releases, since it is present in 10.13.6, but not in Sierra 10.12.6 or El Capitan 10.11.6. While the bug remains in Mojave 10.14.6, it is fixed at least as of Catalina beta 3. It is striking that the bug has remained through two major OS releases.

Regarding the use of "Highlight" (especially when capitalized) as a term for a software function, I've always interpreted it in the sense that is analogous to a highlighting pen. "Highlighting" text is a persistent (though toggleable) formatting change, while "selecting" text is a temporary change in user interface focus that indicated by a temporary change in appearance. While people (including me!) occasionally call "selected" text "highlighted" text, the two forms of text are not the same. Further, the technical distinction and the use of "Highlight" is cross-platform and predates OS X. The appearance of "Highlight" in the Apple Preview Tools menu dates back to at least Leopard (I just checked), perhaps Tiger (but not Panther), and it is present as a Highlighter tool in Classic versions of third party tools like Acrobat and others.
 


Here is another stupid Preview trick: Add a single bookmark (Tools > Add Bookmark) on a page in a PDF, navigate away from the page, click on the Bookmark (in the Sidebar) — focus should return to the bookmarked page — try it a second time... no go. Navigation will only work once (for me, on macOS 10.14.5). You can close and reopen the PDF and it will work again, but only once. Brilliant.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... Regarding the use of "Highlight" (especially when capitalized) as a term for a software function, I've always interpreted it in the sense that is analogous to a highlighting pen. "Highlighting" text is a persistent (though toggleable) formatting change, while "selecting" text is a temporary change in user interface focus that indicated by a temporary change in appearance. While people (including me!) occasionally call "selected" text "highlighted" text, the two forms of text are not the same. Further, the technical distinction and the use of "Highlight" is cross-platform and predates OS X. The appearance of "Highlight" in the Apple Preview Tools menu dates back to at least Leopard (I just checked), perhaps Tiger (but not Panther), and it is present as a Highlighter tool in Classic versions of third party tools like Acrobat and others.
I understand the concept of "highlighting" text as in using a yellow marker to wipe over it on paper, and I can understand that people might want to do that in electronic documents, too (though it's just not something I ever happened to need).

The big issue, to me, is how user interface designers distinguish between this kind of text styling/decoration and "highlighting" text for selection and actions on the selection. When those two things are confused and unclear in the user interface, I think that's a pretty significant issue and a pretty serious failure on the part of the user interface designer(s).

In Preview in macOS 10.12 Sierra, if I Annotate > Highlight Text, then I can no longer see what's selected when I subsequently select part of that text. The annotation highlighting decoration obscures the selection highlighting. Not cool. A good user interface designer should be able to handle this challenge.

(I'm also seeing other Annotate > Highlight Text selection dysfunction and failure in Preview.)
 


I understand the concept of "highlighting" text as in using a yellow marker to wipe over it on paper, and I can understand that people might want to do that in electronic documents, too (though it's just not something I ever happened to need).
The big issue, to me, is how user interface designers distinguish between this kind of text styling/decoration and "highlighting" text for selection and actions on the selection. When those two things are confused and unclear in the user interface, I think that's a pretty significant issue and a pretty serious failure on the part of the user interface designer(s).
One of my favorite obscure Apple publications is what is currently titled Apple Style Guide, because it sheds some light on Apple's standards. Also available as an Apple ebook, it covers the variants of "highlight," stating not to use the verb form when one means "select" (The example of incorrect usage is, "Highlight the text you want to change."), that it's OK to use "highlighted" as an adjective, as in "When you click the icon it becomes highlighted in the window below," and advising to never use the noun "highlighting."

So somebody somewhere at Apple has given this some thought and would presumably cite the millions of uses the term "Highlight the text" as incorrect, preferring "Select the text…." And, hey, there it is in the Preview Help (emphasis mine):
Preview Help said:
Quickly highlight, underline, or strike through text: Select text, click the down arrow next to the Highlight button, then choose a highlight color, underline, or strikethrough.
Now, what happens when a software developer creates a feature that mimics a pen that is literally named Highlighter, which is used to "highlight," but the word coincidentally has a common usage meaning "select"? Maybe, because Apple Is Never Wrong, thus the Style Guide is always right, the feature is named Highlight. I'm not quite sure the world would be a better place if the feature was dubbed "color backfill," but at least some message board ink would have been saved. :)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
One of my favorite obscure Apple publications is what is currently titled Apple Style Guide, because it sheds some light on Apple's standards. Also available as an Apple ebook, it covers the variants of "highlight," stating not to use the verb form when one means "select" (The example of incorrect usage is, "Highlight the text you want to change."), that it's OK to use "highlighted" as an adjective, as in "When you click the icon it becomes highlighted in the window below," and advising to never use the noun "highlighting."
I'm more familiar with Apple's original Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines ("HIG") and how they talk about selection highlighting (vs. annotation highlighting decoration). In fact, the use of the term in the original Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines seems to contradict the new "style" guidelines. The examples below (among many others) pertain to highlighting selections (not decorating static text):
Apple Computer Inc. said:
Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines
... Most things—menu items, icons, buttons, and so forth—should be highlighted when selected by reversing the background with the bits. On black-and-white screens, highlighting means turning white to black and black to white. For example, if the item is black on a white background, it should be highlighted to white on a black background. On color screens, highlighting works differently; colors are darkened when selected, not reversed. For example, if an item appears green on the screen, the green color becomes darker when the item is selected. If the user can set different colors of text, Color TextEdit allows the user to set the highlighting bar color to something other than black to highlight the text better.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Spotlight is buggy, too:
Howard Oakley said:
Spotlight search can skip files
I’ve been looking at some other issues recently which required me to flag Rich Text files using distinctive words, then search for them using Spotlight, in Mojave 10.14.6. In the course of doing that, I discovered that Spotlight can completely overlook files and consistently fail to find words within them, which appears to result from an indexing problem.
 


I have long been having problems with Spotlight missing things in my large archive of documents. An earlier thread on MacInTouch gave some hints on how to get Spotlight to find things otherwise hidden in documents by using commands like kind:rtf to search RTF files or kind:word to search word-processing documents. That thread also gave a link to a guide to Spotlight commands [PDF] from an old (Leopard) version of David Pogue's Missing Manual series.

I have never had the time to try to document exactly what's going wrong, as Howard Oakley did, but I find it rather sad how Apple creates such potentially powerful tools as Spotlight, fails to document them, then lets them fade away into buggy unreliability.
 




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