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Beware of MacBook Boxes

I just received my brand-new Retina MacBook Pro, and I couldn’t be happier. The insanely crisp screen, speedy SSD, and hours of battery life make my old 2007 MacBook look positively ancient.

Having never ordered a laptop online before, I was sure to check the box for any signs of rough handling when it arrived. I examined both the brown external box and the internal white one for any scuffs, dents, and scrapes and was satisfied with their condition. But then I became so absorbed in transferring my data and playing with the new hardware that I neglected to give the entire laptop a detailed once-over. It wasn’t until the next morning that I noticed a problem: the Apple power adaptor had pressed a nice square dent pattern into the MacBook Pro’s bottom case during shipping.

​Four dents in a perfect square – a dead giveaway.

​If you aren’t familiar with Apple’s laptop boxes​, here’s a photo:

The white power brick is held directly under the laptop’s back corner.​

​Thankfully, the Genius ​Bar replaced the bottom case for free, but it’s a little disconcerting to see how far Apple’s trend of minimizing their shipping boxes has gone. There shouldn’t be any way to apply that much pressure to the MacBook during shipping, but the tiny box can’t provide enough protection. I’m curious to know if this is a common issue; both the Genius and Applecare technician claimed they’d never heard of it before. So if you have a Retina Macbook Pro, or possibly a MacBook Air or older Pro, check the bottom! While I can’t be sure, it’s possible that the aluminum bottom case of the Retina MacBook Pro is thinner than the older models.

​Interestingly, the Genius did hear of something similar happening to Mac Pros a few years ago. Apparently many customers were coming in with scratches all over one side panel of the Mac Pro, claiming it arrived that way in the box. Upon investigation, the factory worker who lifted the Pros into their boxes wore a large metal belt buckle that scraped against the computers.

Maybe this time a wayward employee in China is sitting on laptop boxes?

UCS Sandcrawler reaches 10,000 on CUUSOO

​CUUSOO is churning out some truly impressive models, the latest of which is marshal banana‘s massive UCS Sandcrawler. This is undoubtedly the epitome of AFOL building, featuring a minifig-scale model with furnished interior, power functions, and light bricks. Not exactly cost-effective to produce, but drool-worthy nonetheless. It’s worth noting that the creator is the first to achieve two successful CUUSOO projects, with his Modular Western Town having reached 10,000 votes earlier this spring.

​While I’m not optimistic that LEGO will want to spend so much money on such a huge and detailed set, there’s no reason why they couldn’t scale it down a little and turn a decent profit on another UCS model. I imagine that a halfway-decent Sandcrawler would sell quite well, given the inherent “playset” characteristics of such a large machine.


​​(I must admit that I have a special fondness for Sandcrawlers due to playing Star Wars: Droid Builder many years ago, in which a lot of time is spent running like crazy through the interior of a Sandcrawler testing new droids.)

LEGO’s 80th Birthday

Today marks the 80th anniversary of LEGO’s founding under Ole Kirk Christiansen, although the plastic bricks we know today wouldn’t come until much later.​ Commemorating the occasion, the LEGO Group has released a short animated video chronicling the company’s history. It’s worth a look – you just might learn something!

Oh, and if you’re planning on buying a set to celebrate, LEGO is giving every online order of $50 or more a free exclusive birthday cake set. This sweet deal runs until Monday (August 13, 2012).

LEGO Flash Drives

Ever wished you could combine the whimsy of LEGO with technology? Sure, you could go ahead and build your own computer, but an easier way might be to buy a LEGO flash drive. I’m currently in the market for a new USB drive, so I searched around and found a few good options.

First, LEGO has an official minifig flash drive​, with 2GB of space for $25. Unfortunately, this little guy isn’t available from the LEGO online store anymore but can still be found on Amazon.


​If you want something more creative, Etsy is a good choice. There’s a ton of variety here, but databrick (Stefan Reiling) is one of the best. Unlike the official LEGO version, his minifig drives can store the USB port either in a brick-built stand or inside the body (making them look more like normal LEGO.) Of course, there’s a price for such unique craftsmanship – plan on paying $50 or higher for a decently-sized drive.


​Personally, I prefer a more classic look, favoring bricks over minifigs. Stefan has the perfect solution, with drives lodged in both bricks and plates of various sizes. My personal favorites are the 2×1 brick with LED or the tiny plate drives. Again, they aren’t cheap, but the workmanship is top notch.


For those on a budget, there is another option. If you don’t care about having a real LEGO brick, ThinkGeek has a generic block for a very reasonable price. Stocks are a little low at the moment, but Amazon has some more colors.


Ken Segall doesn’t like Apple’s new Genius ads

Finally, I know what to think about the latest Mac ads.

iPhone 5 and iPad mini event planned for September 12?

Now it’s basically official: iMore broke the storyDalrymple confirms.​

Still not going to be called the iPhone 5.