No company is perfect, so good companies are known by their willingness to admit defeat and recall and replace poor products. Apple has a rather checkered past in this regard in the past (remember the sticky hard drives fiasco?) but has issued a couple of product recalls recently that indicate honesty may be on the upswing.
People always complain about the various versions of the Apple mouse, but a certain version has a problem that may be more serious than a bad feel or wimpy ball. If you’ve got a mouse marked as "Made in USA" (hmm, wonder what that says about domestic manufacturing?) and has an 11-digit serial number ranging from AP038xxxxxx through AP103xxxxxx (inclusive), then you’ve got a mouse that is susceptible to static electricity. Speaking as someone who somehow gathers static electricity like… I won’t display my physics ignorance by making an incorrect simile, so suffice it to say that I can provide fireworks in a darkened room when the humidity is low in the winter. I know how these poor mouses feel and sometimes I’d like to curl up and die, just like them. They don’t have enough shielding to protect their little mouse control boards. If the mouse suffers a major shock, the shock may disable the ASIC controller, which will appear to the user as a complete loss of horizontal and/or vertical cursor movement. In other words, it will be dead.
You’re likely to have one of these mouses if you bought a Mac that shipped between September of 1990 and January of 1991. Our more alert readers will note that any Mac purchased in that date range is still under warranty, but Apple realizes that a special product return program will eliminate the problem more quickly and with less hassle. Apple is generously covering all mouses until June 15th, 1993, whether or not the mouse in question has actually died. After June 15th, 1993, it’s your problem. This return program will give you a chance to rate your dealer’s level of customer service. Apple’s note to dealers tells them to check the mouse when setting up a Macintosh and to notify customers who may have afflicted mouses to check on their mouses. I wonder how many dealers will really do this?
The second product being pulled back into Cupertino is the Macintosh Portable Power Adapter. Supposedly a small number of these buggers are failing, and all of them have the potential to fail (don’t we all!). Apple makes it clear that the afflicted (it sounds better than "affected," which is the word Apple uses) power adapters pose no safety hazard. It would have been more exciting if they blew up under the right circumstances, much like the Mac Plus and some IBM PS/2 monitors could do, complete with thick clouds of black smoke.
You can identify a bad power adapter by a shifty look in its power adapter eyes, and a number of tatoos, including "Model No. M5136," "Made in Taiwan," "Mother," a heart with an arrow through it, and, in a private place, a 13-digit serial number ranging from 9048A2xxxxxxx through 9116A2xxxxxxx (inclusive). If the power adapter in question meets those identifying characteristics, you’ve got a bad dude power adapter on your hands, but at least we can’t blame the American manufacturing system for this failure, since these guys are definitely imports. These adapters started shipping with the backlit version of the Portable in March and were eradicated from Apple stock in April, so if you’ve got a bad one, bring it back to your dealer for a new one before June 15th, 1993, whether or not it works (don’t want any lazy, freeloading power adapters out in decent society). Once again, your dealer should notify those who might be harboring bad power adapters – or maybe Apple should just start distributing a "10 Most Wanted" poster.
Mark H. Anbinder — [email protected]