Not sure what he was reading - this is a known problem with at least many early 2011 MBP - I had one (still do - it's in the closet). Apple is refusing to acknowledge this as a problem, and will offer to replace the motherboard (or something like that) for ... $300 and approximately 5 business days.
From what I've read, whatever they replace doesn't actually do the trick; by many accounts, even when you drop it off for repair, they've claimed to not be able to reproduce the problem. Hint: use the external video chip, or force a use of it.
FWIW, if you're in the triangle area, sixrig.com gives really good service, and got me a new refurb laptop the day after xmas at 9pm at night.
Source: apple forums and http://mbp2011.com
Wow: “The problem might be on the GPU” Said the “Genius”. That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear (he didn’t mentioned this until I pushed them this far.) So I replied, “You all knew exactly what’s going on here and you intentionally kept this from the customers, right?” Right this moment, the “Genius” has left.
Two months after my motherboard was replaced the video glitches started appearing again.
Coincidentally (or not?) it happens that I use Coda every day, and Coda forced Macs (inadvertently, apparently -- Panic used Apple's guidelines on how to implement this "gracefully", but Apple's flag was buggy) to use the discrete card all the time.
Interestingly enough, once Panic disabled the 'use discrete gpu' flag in Coda, my screen glitch problems basically went away on my new motherboard.
I have an early 2011 MBP and last year the same thing as OP happened. Ended up bringing it to Apple and did their repair depot option for $300. At least they extend the warranty for 90 days.
Not looking forward to this happening again, though. Especially since last time it came back with a couple of scratches on the bottom case that weren't there when it was sent out. I guess we'll see.
I must say that this is a bit disappointing for a $3500 piece of hardware. There should be recall procedures for electronics like this as well to protect customers from faulty production.
The downside to Macs having become popular is the severe price drop in the used market.
(and remember trying to compile anything on sunos and only having suncc? fuck that, imo, I'll deal with xcode)
* wifi works out of the box and reconnects practically instantly out of sleep 
* sleep works without me spending two weeks recompiling Gentoo with different kernel options and finally discovering some boot flag that worked until Ubuntu broke it in one of their updates
* I don't need to edit my XF86Config file (maybe not necessary any more)
* no hassle of getting a compositing window manager working (hopefully compiz/emerald works better now than in 2008), figuring out how to disable gdm/kdm because the window manager options with the distribution are always terrible so I just start from .xinitrc because figuring out how to get gdm/kdm/xdm to run what I want seems to change every time I have to look.
* no more poor battery life
* filtering through low quality apps (KDE: crash-happy and UgLy), GNOME: pretty but light on the features); still scarred over X-CD-Roast...
* no arcane errors about sound because Ubuntu suddenly decided that I needed Jack (or maybe it was the other one), when ALSA was working just fine
* oh, yeah, whenever I need to run an XWindows program it integrates seamlessly into my other programs. So much so that I tend to forget to use Ctrl for the keyboard shortcuts instead of that Apple command key with the weird symbol on it. It even seems to cut and paste from the rest of the system reasonably well.
Yeah, I'm totally loving the XWindows experience on MacOS X!
 I switched to Ubuntu because wifi and sleep just worked, and then they just didn't work after some updates
The products Apple make are the closest thing to 'appliances' you can get in the computer world.
* wifi works out of the box and reconnects practically instantly out of sleep 
* sleep works without me spending two weeks recompiling Gentoo with different
kernel options and finally discovering some boot flag that worked until Ubuntu
broke it in one of their updates
* I don't need to edit my XF86Config file (maybe not necessary any more)
* no hassle of getting a compositing window manager working (hopefully
compiz/emerald works better now than in 2008), figuring out how to disable gdm/kdm
because the window manager options with the distribution are always terrible so I
just start from .xinitrc because figuring out how to get gdm/kdm/xdm to run what I
want seems to change every time I have to look.
* no more poor battery life
* filtering through low quality apps (KDE: crash-happy and UgLy), GNOME: pretty but
light on the features); still scarred over X-CD-Roast...
* no arcane errors about sound because Ubuntu suddenly decided that I needed Jack
(or maybe it was the other one), when ALSA was working just fine
* oh, yeah, whenever I need to run an XWindows program it integrates seamlessly
into my other programs. So much so that I tend to forget to use Ctrl for the
keyboard shortcuts instead of that Apple command key with the weird symbol on
it. It even seems to cut and paste from the rest of the system reasonably well.
> Yeah, I'm totally loving the XWindows experience on MacOS X!
* Apple's website says "X11 is no longer included with OS X." Do I have to be a Apple Developer to get Xwindows?
* I have had a lot of trouble getting awesome/xmonad/i3 to work in OSX. I swear it is almost as if iTunes is allergic to being a nice tile on my media workspace.
* For the life of me I can not get selected text to paste by middle clicking. How does that work?
* I use vcsh+mr+git to manage all of my config files. This way setting up a new machine is super easy. Can you tell me which directory to point vcsh for my iTunes/Pages/Safari configuration?
* The second step on a new machine is moving all my music over. I have some troubles with iTunes. Is there a special apple+option hotkey to get iTunes to play my flac/ogg files?
* Whenever I ssh into a OSX machine I always have trouble getting iTunes/Pages/Safari to honor my $DISPLAY variable. What am I missing?
It doesn't seem to be so bad right now, but part of this may be due to my insistence on getting at least 4GB of RAM for a MacBook Air, which was hard to find on the used market.
Random idea for a website/service: Computer reliability statistics by model/year. Could be really useful for people in the market for used machines. Not sure how/where you would get the data though. Seems like forums are overrun with anecdotes, but actual data is few and far between.
Macs are quite variable in terms of good models and bad models. This seems to apply to both laptops and desktops. Unfortunately. I also haven't heard of a website or service that has the reliability statistics you want.
You didn't mention Applecare. It is transferable and is for 3 years. So if you buy a 1 y/o machine from a hipster who wants to upgrade, you would be covered for the remaining time.
Perhaps the used prices are propped up by a high number of units dying.
Hadn't noticed ads before - I see one now. Might be trying to take advantage of traffic a bit, because they're primarily serving just one geographic market, but may get outside traffic? Dunno. Again, hadn't noticed before.
FWIW, I don't actually like the site - it always works slow on my mobile, and even on the desktop - some weird scripting stuff going on. That said, the personal support and attention I've had on my few transactions over the last year make up for that.
But given he's a happy customer of their hands on service and didn't even mention the site, I'm not sure the answer you'll get will be terribly relevant.
If you do, there will be a bad smell, and lots of sounds and lights, and you will not read Hacker News today.
Maybe it's a bad thing to do, maybe there's some horrific gas that's created. Someone on here could weigh in on that. It's an incredible effect though and I'd happily do it again.
Obviously, general disclaimers on looking after your own health and safety apply.
Energy-saving light bulbs are so dangerous that everyone must leave the room for at least 15 minutes if one falls to the floor and breaks, a Government department warned yesterday.
The startling alert came as health experts also warned that toxic
mercury inside the bulbs can aggravate a range of problems including migraines and dizziness.
And a leading dermatologist said tens of thousands of people with skin complaints will find it hard to tolerate being near the bulbs as they cause
conditions such as eczema to flare up.
The Department for Environment warned shards of glass from broken bulbs should not be vacuumed up but instead swept away by someone wearing rubber gloves to protect them from the bulb's mercury content.
In addition, it said care should be taken not to inhale any dust and the broken pieces should be put in a sealed plastic bag for disposal at a council dump not a normal household bin.
None of this advice, however, is printed on the packaging the new-style bulbs are sold in. There are also worries over how the bulbs will be disposed of.
Would be good to find another source other than the daily mail since they're scare mongering racists. They probably give the same advice about immigrants. (If there's one in the room take your family and leave for 15 minutes)
FWIW, we were discussing incandescent bulbs, not CFLs, as referred to in your excerpt.
Furthermore, the discussion was not specifying incandescent, but I specified energy saving just in case.
not from your laptop, at least. and most probably not from within your house too.
Why it is bad to do this with Microwave Oven rather than conventional oven?
I'm wondering if people who are younger somehow think of this differently or aren't automatically taught the same thing. I mean it seems so obvious (to me) that I wouldn't even think to point it out to someone actually. It's like saying "don't let the car run over you" or "don't play catch with the laptop".
Also, most microwaves have a large metal rack inside them.
Only certain configurations of metal are dangerous in a modern microwave. A computer has those, though.
It's also not uncommon to see microwave-safe food containers that contain metal. I've seen grocery store deli soups, for example, that end up with a big ring of metal around the top when you open them, but can still be microwaved.
Still, "no metal" is a good approximation. "Unless it says you can use it" is probably OK to leave implied.
 Same as with stealth airplanes avoiding radar, right?
So spoons are okay, as they normally have no sharp points. Forks can cause problems, though.
Actually there's another issue here. If you stick an unopened can of food in the microwave, the microwaves can't reach the food; you get the same effect as if you ran the oven empty, which is that the field becomes very intense and risks burning out the magnetron or other components. The oven is designed to have its output absorbed by something, not just reflected back.
put a table spoon in the microwave and turn it on - nothing happens. i do this all the time when reheating soup.
i've won money on small bets like this too. non-technical people have no idea WHY metal poses a problem in the microwave, so i just bet them $10 that i can put a spoon in there without problems and they never believe me. they just think i have special spoons.
So in terms of the instructions "wrap the chicken" assuming the chicken were wrapped in a way that there was no crunchiness that produced metal gaps then it would merely block the chicken from cooking in the area wrapped, right? So in theory a nice idea but in practice people slap on the tin foil and then you have sparking? Hence "no metal in microwave" is really simply not being able to rely that the general public using the product will know the nuances (which makes sense). (Human behavior is something that I do know quite a bit about..)
Maybe you've done this one: You take a glass of water in pyrex (or coffee cup) and heat it just until it is ready to boil. Then you put a spoon or other object in and it explodes. Because apparently (I think..) breaking the surface tension is the issue (which can be done with anything if you don't remove carefully and shake a bit it will also happen).
Another thing that I've noticed is that water obviously boils at different times depending on the humidity in the room (I'm non technical enough to think that I figured that one out but feel free to correct me..)
I had a spectacular explosion with my glass teapot one time. The microwave at work was in a different room, so I would heat up the water to boiling, and then not hear the bell, so some time later I'd remember, and do it again. Apparently reheating causes the bubbles to basically get used up so there wasn't anything to start the boiling. So the third time I was standing there waiting so I wouldn't forget, and suddenly I hear a BOOM and the pot was half empty with a lot of water outside. I think there was just one giant bubble that eventually formed and blew everything out. (The pot was unharmed)
As far as low power I can find nothing that indicates that it was ever ok to put tin foil in however I do know that in some cases you might put metal to specifically block cooking. So perhaps with a low power microwave there was no sparking etc. (I can't find anything on that and I don't see the link you sent showing that (which page is it on in the cookbook?).
When metal is in a microwave, the radiowaves hitting the metal create sparks, and sparks kill electronics.
Relatedly, one of my friends successfully revived a bricked playstation by heating up the motherboard with a heat gun.
The chip has a grid of small solder balls on the bottom instead of pins sticking out. Due to thermal differences during operation some rows can experience mechanical stress due to uneven heating of the device. When there are cracks the contact disconnects from the board. Some images here:
When it's cooled again the contacts join, placing it in the oven applies an even thermal load across the entire board and you basically anneal the cracks.
This happens all too often unfortunately. It's why you didn't see anything BGA packaged in the defence industry for a number of years -- they are not mechanically stable. I did have a reference for this but I can't find it now.
Also the multi-layer boards tend to bend when you repetitively heat/cool them resulting in the actual metal traces cracking inside.
Sometimes there's enough contact after this oven cycle for it to reconnect BGA packages and board traces semi-reliably but like hell I'd rely on this method for long-term stability.
I did a spell post-university reworking things that pick and place machines had screwed up and it was pretty much entirely packages like BGAs where there were arrays of solder connections. The production guys were always returning prototype devices due to mechanical problems on the boards as well and they were coming back with socketed LGAs and soldered PGAs.
There is also a problem with rework. BGAs are hard to get off the board without destroying the board in the process, especially on multi-layer boards. For cheap commercial boards where the automatic decision is to scrap the board when the chip fails, that's fine. For $10k+ circuit card assemblies on a low volume defense production line, scrapping the board is a last resort. This applies to production defects as well as field returns.
> Also the multi-layer boards tend to bend when you repetitively heat/cool them resulting in the actual metal traces cracking inside.
Another problem is delamination (separation of the board layers). Delamination allows contaminants to get in on the traces and possibly start shorting things out. It seriously degrades the reliability of the board. That was the biggest problem for us when trying to rework CCAs. We had no BGAs, but we did have a card that used a few parts with thermal pads on the bottom. It took heat from both sides of the board to get the chip off, and it was very easy to apply too much heat and delaminate the board in the process.
You have some unpredictable 1/100 or 1/1000 defect that occurs long after production and sale.
Just how do you go about isolating the cause, and testing a solution? Make 5 changes, and put through a production batch of 1000 units, and then do accelerated testing? If 5 fail from one batch, and 2 from the rest, is there even enough statistical power to confirm that you've come across a solution? And you just burned through 5000 units.
Sounds like fun trying to solve this kind of problem.
Currently on mobile, can't link a PDF right now but if you Google " BGA PCB layout guidelines" you'll get a ton of documents.
Lastly: PCBs go through several optimization cycles, some occur after release for high volume stuff. There are always revision numbers of the silkscreen, sometimes they catch an issue like this after x1000 devices in the wild and do an update.
In production you would profile the boards. You take a board and run it through the oven with some thermocouples. You'd then set the temperatures of the pre-heat, heat, and cool down sections. This would heat the solder to melting point without putting too much stress on the components.
This is from memory from a long time ago using a teeny tiny little pick and place machine that did a few thousand components per hour.
BGAs were always always horrible to do.
"Design for production" is really very important and it's hard to find much information about it. Some simple little things can make the difference between an operator having to plonk a component on the board by hand every time just before it goes into the oven or having the machine do it. (Again, from memory).
But in the end it all comes down to luck, it's not like 'heat it' is the new tool that will fix all. (My MBP had a swollen battery, wouldn't dare putting that thing in an oven)
Indeed. As a public service announcement: never, ever, heat up any kind of battery, for any reason. Ever. (Now picture Jamie Hyneman glaring at you.)
The title of the article is misleading the only thing the author actually put in the oven was the mainboard.
I basically notice no difference, except the need for a higher working temperature.
Google for "bumpgate" for more information about this than you'd ever want.
Note that on some chips (CPUs in particular) reflow soldering is the only way to solder them.
"The AC adapter must remain unplugged at both ends for a full two minutes."
The microwave was like customer support telling a caller to unplug the power cable and blow into the power socket.
Anyway, this isn't new - I remember seeing this on Slashdot, HN and a lot ofter other places over the years:
Had exactly the same trouble. Moved to Samsung 840 Pro since - everything works just fine.
Will have to agree with you, the 840 Pro's are great.
At the time it was about a month wait for a new one to arrive, so I did a lot of initial Pi discovery with a hairdryer.
This is also why I would take great caution purchasing a used laptop (especially with a discrete graphics card). It's a real risk that the previous user did this trick to quickly sell it while it's "working".
As an owner of a 2011 Macbook Pro with AMD graphics (known to fail) I sure hope that Apple acknowledges this issue soon.
Sadly after a visit to the pub, he thought pizza would be a good idea and preheated the oven. Only to suddenly realise his new computer was inside it.
He rescued and cooled it, and oddly, it survived! Only it had shelf marks permanently moulded into the chassis forever more.
We had an incident when I was probably 5 years old when my sister put a stuffed toys in the oven then a while later my mom turned it on to use it. Then we smelled smoke...
There was no lasting damage (beyond my sister losing her favorite toy) and she of course was much too young to know better. That incident however got me paranoid about me turning on the oven with unknown objects in it. So now I check first.
^ How is this relevant to your story?
I printed the article, the GPU kernel panic log and took them to the Genius bar. Apple replaced the mainboard for free, more than 3 years after the purchase.
It took me more than a year of dealing with random crashes and several visits to the genius bar before I found this article.
Though the downside is that you'd miss the excitement described here...
At some point I spilled water all over my MacbookPro and I turned it off and let it dry overnight. The next morning it refused to turn on. I took it to Apple and they say they must send it to repairs for 750 dollars!!
I refused to pay money, went home, asked some friends about it, and concluded that I should put my computer in an inverted position like a teepee.
I let it sit for 2 days. And Voila! Good as new!
Having a kitchen with an oven and living in a student area where Apple products were popular, I sensed a business opportunity.
I put up an ad on some local classifieds with a lowball price for these units (but not much different than what the broken ones would sell for on Ebay, minus the hassle). I quickly learned that, after investing in a premium product, people would rather hold onto their brick rather than turn it into at least some cash. I never even got a chance to try out the procedure, people would counter-offer with ridiculous prices for, what is for them, a brick.
The sunk cost fallacy at work.
edit: I think I even offered pickup and some data recovery/security as a part of the offer, no takers.
In Sweden we have "reklamationstid" which gives you sort of a legislated warranty (applies to almost all goods) for three years.
All goods that I have complained about using "reklamationstiden" have been replaced.
Most of the components on the board are not hermetically packaged and there probably are moisture sensitive parts on the PCBA. So the baking at 170C for 7 minutes is essentially a drying process.
Also, I think Apple probably has to be ROHS compliant and that means they have to use lead-free TnSn solder. The transition temperature for lead-free solder is typically about 20C higher than normal leaded solders.
The explanation I got when I did it the first time was this: When the computer heats up and gets cold a lot, over time the solder joints on the motherboard might "crack", or something, effectively giving loose conncetions. By heating the joints in this controlled manner, the metal melts and solidifies properly when cooled down.
While heating a RoHS PCB in a food oven might still be kinda toxic, at least it's lead-free ;).
Sort of what sold me on integrated GPU's as being the ideal in these form factors - less parts to blow up in your face....
On the longest 2011 MBP GPU issue discussion on Apple Support, there was some speculation that the switch to weaker "green" solder by Apple caused the issue. Some people had their GPUs reflowed at an independent service center, and it fixed the problem, but for others, it was only a short term fix, with the GPU glitch returning after a few weeks/months.
Apple support, to their credit, handled my case extremely well, even though I was out of warranty.
I used to work at Cray, the supercomputer company. Back in the 1970s, 30 yrs before I got there, they used to solder the circuits on each board by baking the entire board in an actual kitchen oven. With smaller and more delicate circuitry on mainboards these days, this is less practical and more dangerous, but that doesn't mean it isn't still possible with some degree of luck. I'd still recommend removing the BIOS battery if you're crazy enough to attempt this.
I believe Creative (creative.com) for instance intentionally uses adhesives that ware out after a certain period.
This would cause your product to stop working, I did a writeup on fixing their MP3 players some years back : http://vistev.blogspot.com/2010/02/harware-fix-for-creative-...
Now merely hitting the device or doing some other crazy stuff may cause the necessary components to align and viola things work :)
My recommendation, I repair devices all the time now, after you remove all the little screws and the piece you need (like a motherboard or pcb), take the time and put every screw in the hole it came out of. Trick I learned as a mechanic. It helps prevents losing them and guessing, since sometimes screw threads and height vary.
Not a bad idea with the masking tape, guess a magnet would work too.
Apparently a thermal cutoff switch needed some recalibration/replacement, so my fix was 2 hours in the freezer followed by a few more hours waiting for condensation to evaporate before attempting to power the netbook on again...
I used the above method for nearly a year before acquiring my present laptop, relegating the netbook to my growing pile of disfunctional hardware.
Surface tension tends to keep devices attached to the printed circuit board and the solder on the pads.
It's not something I would try except as a measure of last resort.
On a good PCB that's been cleaned properly there won't be any errant solder-balls, and surface tension will not allow them to form even when using a hot-air gun or rework tool. I've never seen a hot-air tool that blows with enough force to overcome the surface tension of the solder.
I have managed to get make a mess with solder when removing IC's using compressed air (not for the faint of heart), but that's a different story and it is still easy to clean up.
I'm talking about people who don't know what they're doing using paint-stripper style hot air guns.
I have seen faulty PCBs caused by people using that style of hot air gun to rework devices. I used to have photographs but don't have them any longer, but there should be photos in some of the "soldering problems" engineering books.
I don't think it had the same problem as this MacBook, though.
You could hear the HDD "wanting" to start but failing. I searched the net like crazy because I really needed the data kinda badly: I even considered trying to find an identical, used (but working), HDD and swapping the controller.
Eventually I found a message (somewhere on Usenet I think) saying that some failing drive may start when cold enough... So I did put the HDD in the fridge. After the 2nd try I managed to boot it and to copy all my data and it's the last time that that drive booted!
So, as crazy as it sounds, the fridge/refrigerator trick was working in some cases... And I take it that the grill/heat thinggy may work in some cases too :)
You could also hold the drive in your hand and rotate it in a jerking fashion to try to unstick it. I remember doing that successfully a few times.
I have a Seagate HDD in the freezer for 2 years now. Every method of recovery I've used has been unsuccessful. I'm waiting to send it into a recovery service, and $1500+ that I haven't got lying around.
I'd hate to lose my personal photos. I'm glad that Apple came out with Time Machine, because I now have backup religion; not only time machine backups but offsite CCC backups.
Then please don't comment. This is Hacker News, not slashdot.