Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 18:20 UTC, submitted by tupp
Apple It seems Apple is on a roller coaster ride this week, going from bad news to good news, back to bad news again. A local television station from Seattle, US, forced the Consumer Product Safety Commission via the Freedom Of Information Act to hand over an 800-page report about fire hazards posed by Apple's iPod music players. Experts on consumer safety agree that it's time Apple makes public statements about the fire hazards posed by iPods.
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Comment count error
by james_parker on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 19:12 UTC
james_parker
Member since:
2005-06-29

At the time of my posting, the article indicated there was one comment on the article; however, when I went to the comment page, it said "There are no comments attached to this story." There appears to be some internal inconsistency with the software and/or underlying database.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment count error
by drstorm on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 19:19 UTC in reply to "Comment count error"
drstorm Member since:
2009-04-24

I noticed the same thing on an older article, but I couldn't report it immediately.
When I returned later, everything was fine, because people posted some comments.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment count error
by Adam S on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 19:51 UTC in reply to "Comment count error"
Adam S Member since:
2005-04-01

The cache isn't always live with regards to moderation. But it's never far behind.

Edited 2009-07-23 19:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

This seems to happen alot...
by Drumhellar on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 19:27 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

Maybe it's just me, but I see Apple in the news for dangerous products far more often than other computer companies. I've never heard of Dell, HP, or Gateway laptops burning people or catching fire, nor have I seen mention of Zune injuries, but every new generation of Apple portable devices comes with a new generation of Apple-batteries-explode stories.

Is this really an almost Apple-only problem?

Reply Score: 1

RE: This seems to happen alot...
by robojerk on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 19:41 UTC in reply to "This seems to happen alot..."
robojerk Member since:
2006-01-10

How many people own Zunes compared to iPods?

Reply Score: 4

RE: This seems to happen alot...
by jptros on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 19:45 UTC in reply to "This seems to happen alot..."
jptros Member since:
2005-08-26

There was once a case of some sony batteries that were catching fire. I remember mostly only hearing about dell but I think it may have been other vendors laptops as well that were using these sony batteries.

https://www.dellbatteryprogram.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuNSzs679Sw

All the same, it does seem like we hear about Apple's defects more. I own a powerbook and it has broken more than my PC laptops (toshiba satellite and vaio). The vaio has never had a problem, the satellite has one defect where when you pick it up from the front with the display open the case will flex a little and the video card will pop loose just enough to where the laptop will not function unless you remove the keyboard and push the card all the way back in. My power book has had multiple drive failures, the track pad has been buggy (loss of sensitivity and cursor jumping around screen) for a long time and lately barely works. I've had multiple power adapters for it. The last one I replaced because it would get so hot after being plugged in for about an hour that you could smell burning and the power brick would be burning hot.

-- EDIT --

I have 2 ipods, nano (1st gen) and an ipod touch (2nd gen) that haven't been a problem. My wife's 2nd gen nano though started having issues with the menu wheel not to long after we bought it. It still works but you have to forcefully push on it to make it select menu items.

Edited 2009-07-22 19:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: This seems to happen alot...
by FunkyELF on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 20:11 UTC in reply to "This seems to happen alot..."
FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

Apple gets special treatment from the FCC / ATT and everyone else. They don't have to abide by the same rules.

Reply Score: 1

RE: This seems to happen alot...
by CrazyDude1 on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 20:21 UTC in reply to "This seems to happen alot..."
CrazyDude1 Member since:
2007-09-17

Oh how poilitely you try to defend Apple. If it was Microsoft XBOX Ring of Death, I am sure most MS haters would be shouting their lungs off against MS.

Reply Score: 2

Not really an iPod problem
by David on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 20:17 UTC
David
Member since:
1997-10-01

This is really more of a Lithium Ion problem than an iPod problem. It's only happening in iPods so much because there are so many iPods. The big question for me is whether Lithium Ion batteries are inherently prone to overheating and catching fire or is this a case of poorly-manufactured batteries?

Now, if the iPods in question tended to have batteries similar in manufacture, and other devices that don't catch fire use other batteries, then there's certainly a case to be made for an investigation into what makes these particular batteries bad. But if it's just random chance, spanning the product line, with batteries from various sources, then there's not much we can do except drop Lithium Ion.

Only problem is, Lithium Ion batteries are really the only game in town. Say goodbye to pretty much every modern gadget in the world if you go back to older battery tech. Looking at the likelihood of a Lithium Ion battery actually burning me, and the benefits of the gadgets I use, I'll take my chances.

I would like to know what the warning signs are, though. As an informed consumer, I should know that if my phone feels extra hot for a couple of hours, I might not want to put it into my pants pocket. Or if it starts to smoke, I should stop charging it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not really an iPod problem
by DrillSgt on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 07:20 UTC in reply to "Not really an iPod problem"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Looking at the likelihood of a Lithium Ion battery actually burning me, and the benefits of the gadgets I use, I'll take my chances.

I would like to know what the warning signs are, though. As an informed consumer, I should know that if my phone feels extra hot for a couple of hours, I might not want to put it into my pants pocket. Or if it starts to smoke, I should stop charging it.


Ever hear of something called common sense? What you describe is the warning on packages of peanuts that say "May contain peanuts"....I for one certainly hope the package does.

The problem is poorly designed circuitry, not LiIon technology.

Reply Score: 2

How I feel
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 20:30 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

This comment on Ars basically sums up how I feel about this:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/07/flaming-ipod-complaints-r...

Well, there are two things that come out of this story.

One is the tone of the Apple fanatics reaction. Aggressive denial, hysterical and paranoid. The other is the reaction of the Apple legal team, which must have come from instructions from the top, to the prospect of publication: stonewalling and coverup.

Now you may, some of you, recall what happened when Proctor and Gamble had an issue of similar magnitude many years ago with toxic shock, which might or might not have been caused in a small number of cases by super absorbent tampons? What P&G did was immediately to put the responsible product manager on TV, in paid for commercials, to explain the situation and state what they did or did not know. They recalled all the ones in the supply chain as a precaution. They told everyone who had stock at home to take them back to their retailer for refunds, also as a precaution. This took them days, not weeks. Not months. Or years.

Then they studied the facts at their leisure and arrived at a conclusion and product modification. It cost a lot of money at the time, and it made a lot of money later.

That was how a mature, quality, consumer products company with a brand and reputation, a customer base, and a house style, reacts. They don't have to think, they know exactly 'what we do' in cases like this. This is how you earn your customers' trust and deserve it.

What they did not do was fill the media with postings and letters from P&G devotees all proclaiming that this was a plot of P&G haters and sue to prevent publication of the data.

Proctor and Gamble, you are all choking over your morning coffee as you read this, he is speaking favorably of Proctor and Gamble, that Dell of consumer products. Right, a company that can give Apple a number of lessons.

I have no idea whether this is a real or significant problem. What I know is that the company reaction to it speaks volumes. It is not a class act.

Reply Score: 6

RE: How I feel
by tupp on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 21:00 UTC in reply to "How I feel"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Agreed.

It is interesting and significant that the Apple lawyers filed multiple extensions to prevent the documentation from getting into the hands of news reporters.

What other electronics company goes to such questionable lengths to cover-up a dangerous problem with their products?

Edited 2009-07-22 21:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: How I feel
by Eddyspeeder on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE: How I feel"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Did anyone else find it humorous to see that Google Ads "appropriately" places various iPod commercials at the bottom of the OSNews "read more" page for this article? It's almost like: "iPods may severely burn you... BUY ONE NOW! Now with fire-enhancing design packaging."

I'm downright shocked by learning about this type of misconduct by Apple Computer, Inc. It's sickening.

I usually am more 'pro-Apple' but I would never claim to expect such a thing from Microsoft (I'm actually truly impressed by their hardware department). The truth of the matter now is that as far as I know, Microsoft has never been guilty of any such coverup behavior and Apple, obvously, is. Sad!

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: How I feel
by sbergman27 on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 22:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How I feel"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm downright shocked by learning about this type of misconduct by Apple Computer, Inc.

Glad you finally got rescued from that desert island you'd been stranded on since 1996. ;-)

It's sickening.

Of course it is.

Edited 2009-07-22 22:39 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: How I feel
by DrillSgt on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 07:21 UTC in reply to "RE: How I feel"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

What other electronics company goes to such questionable lengths to cover-up a dangerous problem with their products?


The answer there is every company that wants to make a profit.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: How I feel
by tupp on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How I feel"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

What other electronics company goes to such questionable lengths to cover-up a dangerous problem with their products?

The answer there is every company that wants to make a profit.


Other than Apple, name one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: How I feel
by DrillSgt on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: How I feel"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Other than Apple, name one.



Dell, Toshiba, HP, Sony etc..they all hid the exploding battery issue until the Media got a hold of it. The list would be much shorter for companies that actually acted responsibly, though I can't think of any for that list sadly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: How I feel
by tupp on Fri 24th Jul 2009 05:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: How I feel"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Dell, Toshiba, HP, Sony etc..they all hid the exploding battery issue until the Media got a hold of it.

Actively hiding an issue and not mentioning it have very different ethical implications. Actively hiding an issue in a sinister manner is even more damning.

So, are you claiming that Dell, Toshiba, HP and Sony filed "exemption after exemption" with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent the public from learning of the problem, as did Apple?

Are you also claiming that Dell, Toshiba, HP and Sony discredited online those who attempt to warn others of the problem, as did Apple?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: How I feel
by DrillSgt on Fri 24th Jul 2009 15:57 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: How I feel"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Actively hiding an issue and not mentioning it have very different ethical implications. Actively hiding an issue in a sinister manner is even more damning.

So, are you claiming that Dell, Toshiba, HP and Sony filed "exemption after exemption" with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent the public from learning of the problem, as did Apple?

Are you also claiming that Dell, Toshiba, HP and Sony discredited online those who attempt to warn others of the problem, as did Apple?


I have no idea if any of them filed exemptions or not. The fact is they all hid it like Apple did with this. I am not defending Apple at all, I am just saying that businesses do this type of crap all the time. I don;t agree with it, but sadly, it happens and they all do it. It is just a matter of who gets caught.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: How I feel
by tupp on Fri 24th Jul 2009 17:52 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: How I feel"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

The fact is they all hid it like Apple did with this... I am just saying that businesses do this type of crap all the time... and they all do it. It is just a matter of who gets caught.

No. Others don't hide dangerous problems anywhere near to the extent that Apple did. Apple actively petitioned the CPSC to prevent information from getting to the public. Apple also actively discredited online those who tried to warn others of the dangerous problem.

These acts are particularly sinister. I know of no other company that has gone to such devious lengths.

In the case of Apple filing multiple exemptions with the CPSC, it is not a matter of who gets caught, as those exemption filings are public record.

So, I ask again:
1. Are you claiming that Dell, Toshiba, HP and Sony is as despicable as Apple, by filing "exemption after exemption" with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent the public from learning of a dangerous problem, as did Apple?

2. Are you also claiming that Dell, Toshiba, HP and Sony is as despicable as Apple, by discredited online those who attempt to warn others of a dangerous problem, as did Apple?

Reply Score: 2

v RE: How I feel
by dvhh on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 01:41 UTC in reply to "How I feel"
RE[2]: How I feel
by smashIt on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 09:28 UTC in reply to "RE: How I feel"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple on the other hand try to use edgy hardware technology
( which is bound to be risky ), add to that that it depend on the
batch of production, combination of material and condition of use,


LiIon/LiPoly is a safe technology as long as you don't buy the cheapest crap (which apple loves to do) and stick to the manufacturers datasheet (which i highly doubt apple is doing)
ignoring this 2 rules can give you some nice fireworks ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: How I feel
by dvhh on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 14:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: How I feel"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

I agree they failed miserably in this case, but if they were successful in that regard ( which I believe they are ) they would be called cutting edge. Instead they should track which batch of ipod nano got defect initiate a recall on faulty batch and investigate the subcontrator.

Reply Score: 1

New Feature
by LobalSurgery on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 21:33 UTC
LobalSurgery
Member since:
2006-09-07

It's not a defect, it's a feature*

Use it to help reduce heating costs in the winter, light your charcoal grill, or to deter theft.


*One time use only. May make iPod inoperable.

Reply Score: 3

I hope Penny Arcade...
by Tuishimi on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 22:44 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...does some sort of cartoon with one of the guys running around crazy with his pants on fire.

Reply Score: 2

v Should Apple take responsibility...
by mrhasbean on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 00:54 UTC
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Should Apple take responsibility... for faulty products? Absolutely. Should Apple compensate anyone injured by a faulty product? Absolutely. Should Apple recall all iPods because some have overheating battery issues?

Should Apple's lawyers file "exemption after exemption" with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to prevent the public from learning of the problem?

Should Apple discredit online those who attempt to warn others of the problem?

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I think we hear more about the Apple issues because Apple hating with cheerleaders like Thom seems to have become a sport following the resurgence of the company after Jobs' return - something we just don't see for other vendors.


Then I guess the following people are Apple hating cheerleaders too:

- Jacqui Cheng at Ars
- Aidan Malley at AppleInsider
- Eric Slivka at MacRumors

...and so on. Yup, makes total sense. mrhasbean, if you have problems with negative Apple news, then please stick to MacDailyNews for your daily dose.

Reply Score: 4

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

I've seen a lot here, but calling you an Apple Hater, is a new top (or low - whatever).

Reply Score: 2

DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

I think we hear more about the Apple issues because Apple hating with cheerleaders like Thom seems to have become a sport following the resurgence of the company after Jobs' return - something we just don't see for other vendors.


Since Thom regularly talks about how he uses Macs for daily work, I sincerely doubt he is an Apple hater. Get a grip, relax, take a vacation..you are getting bent out of shape and making things up. Just remember the mantra "No smoking crack before posting on OSNEWS"

Reply Score: 2

Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Whahahaha... the idea of Thom as "Apple hater"... thanks for the great joke for me to wake up to! It's funny how in just one article, you manage to defend an "INDEPENDENT overseer", while also attacking a reporter whom I find to often remain quite neutral ("independent") even on topics he is openly in favor of. There aren't many "bad Apple" articles on OS News, but those that are, I think are justified.

Risk psychology among others asserts that we see something as "less of a risk" if accidents occur over time killing or injuring small amounts of people (e.g. car crashes, iBurns) than when they kill or injure many at once (e.g. plane crashes). If an iPod somehow caused the amount of people currently having burns but in a single event (such as a large explosion, which I think is not physically possible), responses to this article would be very different. Another factor is ignorance: when you don't know of a risk, it's not as risky (<-- duh). Because events happened over time and are quite isolated, the cover-up through frustrating the Freedom of Information Act procedure has its merit for Apple. In summary, it's all in the way we are apt to respond to risk and health hazards.

Reply Score: 1

Lithium ion batteries
by JacobMunoz on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 02:53 UTC
JacobMunoz
Member since:
2006-03-17

About a year ago, I purchased an electric scooter powered with really fancy Li-ion "nano-phosphate" LiFePo4 type:"rediculous" batteries. These are cells from A123 Systems, and they're scarry powerful (each is 3.3V @ 2300 mAH with 70A continuous drain or 120A in 10sec pulses). Now, I've been riding the scooter for a while - and these cells have really taken a beating in their lives. But I have yet to find any article about these types of cells exploding (probably helps that their laser-welded). They're also designed for industrial apps and hybrid vehicles, so I'm sure the chemistry had to be made a bit safer.

I recently bought 20 of the same '26650A' LiFePo4 from an eBay'er in China, so I'll be able to replace the existing unit with fresh cells. It also turned out to be 5 more cells than the original contains, so I'll be able to add about 25% more charge to my scooter.

But these cells are honestly terrifying - not that I've blown anything up yet, but 70 amps of continuous current per cell (5 cells series x 4 stacks in parallel)... mmmmm.. that about 280 amps @ 18VDC of kill your darn self if you're not careful. You can buy the cells from a 'developers kit' dealer that sells A123 cells with handy tabs, but they're really expensive. My cost for 20 was 80$ + 40$ s/h, waaaay cheaper than the 6 for $120 brand new. The ebay seller said they came from DeWalt 36V battery packs, and they do seem to be very fresh (good V, killer A) and essentially unused.

Needless to say, I will be soldering them with a full array of rubber protective gear.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Lithium ion batteries
by smashIt on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 09:36 UTC in reply to "Lithium ion batteries"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

About a year ago, I purchased an electric scooter powered with really fancy Li-ion "nano-phosphate" LiFePo4 type:"rediculous" batteries.


LiFe cells can't explode like the old ones (the Fe is some kind of inhibitor for explosive reactions)
but as good as all modern cells have modified chemicals to reduce the risk of an explosion

Reply Score: 2

Quality Assurance problems abound
by porcel on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 09:25 UTC
porcel
Member since:
2006-01-28

I bought a Mac after a plethora of people singing the choir song of how easy to use it is. Well, it turns out that it doesn´t recognize the native resolution of any of my three 22" monitors and uses 1024x768 instead of the native resolution which is 1680x1050. Not only does not use the native resolution, it doesn´t support the built-in webcam. All of the monitors functions work fine in Linux and Windows.

I have found no workarounds or fixes online.

If this were linux, people would complain non-stop. Yet people put up with it because it seems that Apple can do no wrong.

And if this were Linux, I could probably hack xorg.cong and get it to work.

Why do I mention this? Because the fire hazards caused by Apple are just another example of poor Quality Assurance, just like not being able to work properly with standard monitors, an AOC and a viewsnonic.

As long as people are willing to pay much more money for stylish hardware without holding Apple responsible, this will not change. If I can´t fix my monitor display resolution, I will sell the Mac on ebay.

Reply Score: 2

biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

To connect the monitors to the Mac, are you using the same cables you use to connect them to the PC?

Reply Score: 1

David Member since:
1997-10-01

Mac OS x supports your monitors' resolution, so I'm not sure what the exact problem is, but it's likely a configuration or hardware (cable) problem, not an innate osx shortcoming.

Reply Score: 1

porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

Well, the only display resolution available in system preferences is 1024x768 and I have found no way to manually specify the supported resolution.

Don´t get me wrong, I have found OS X very stable, but I am not yet convinced of its viability given the lack of support for a lot of standard hardware that works easily in Linux and Windows. I love the monitors I have and I am not about to throw them out and buy Apple branded ones.

We are Linux integrators and have been doing Linux and Windows support for years. Yes, I used OS X for about a year to do web development four years ago. So we are not experts on OS X, but we are techies and OS X is sold as being really easy to use an should´t require an expert anyway.

Reply Score: 2

David Member since:
1997-10-01

I'm sorry you're having this problem. I've also been frustrated when I've felt that Apple has obfuscated some kind of function presumably in the name of making it more friendly for the n00bs. Usually, I'm able to find that someone somewhere who's smarter than me has already created a fix. Before you give up, you should search out some of the 3rd party screen resolution utilities like this one:
http://www.madrau.com/SRX3/html/SRX/whysr.html

Reply Score: 1

porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

Thanks for the suggestion. I will give it a shot later today.

My display issues have been the only real showstopper so far.

Reply Score: 2

Shocking Comment In Story ...
by Ranger on Mon 27th Jul 2009 01:35 UTC
Ranger
Member since:
2006-05-03

This quote:

“The feds, the government guys came in. They looked at this thing and they said, 'not yet. Might be a problem down the line if we get more information, but not yet.' We can’t ask this company to recall the product.'”

And to think that the same governemt, through a different arm, wants to have life & death decsisions over healthcare?

Not trying to insert politics here, but I've always thought that the CPSC was pretty much a useless org that was never proactive, only reactive.

Even thought they're, 'supposed,' to be the advocate for the consumers.

Reply Score: 1