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Hardware Idle

Dell Fixes Ultrabook That Smelled of Cat Urine 133

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the catbert's-revenge dept.
Sockatume writes "The BBC is reporting that Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks have an interesting characteristic you won't find in any Macbook Air: the palm rest emits an odor like cat urine. An issue with a manufacturing process is thought to be to blame. Although Dell has assured potential customers that the issue has been fixed, reports in the Dell support forum indicate that units with the novel fragrance continue to ship out to users. Dell staff state that the palm rest will be replaced by Dell at no cost, but only if the unit is still under warranty."
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Dell Fixes Ultrabook That Smelled of Cat Urine

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  • by Doug Otto (2821601) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:23PM (#45281545)
    Runs like shit, smells like piss.
  • by Osgeld (1900440)

    Least it was representative of the overall product before the fix

    • Hey, maybe with Dell going private, all the quarterly-earnings-seeking cost-cutting will go away. Maybe they'll not have support that causes tooth pain and manufacture custom computers of some basic quality again.

      Also maybe they'll make that pig-jet I designed.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:24PM (#45281557) Homepage Journal

    obviously this is why they don't ship mice with laptops, they were all eaten.

  • OK, Dell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:25PM (#45281569)

    My basement also smells of cat urine. When are you going to come and fix it?

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      when I was a kid we had our cat fixed, but the liter box area still smelled like urine

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        when I was a kid we had our cat fixed, but the liter box area still smelled like urine

        Well, maybe you should have used a pint box instead. ;-)

    • Is it under warranty?
  • by uncle slacky (1125953) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:26PM (#45281597)
    ...for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.
  • by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:27PM (#45281605)

    Now that Dell is private again, they can continue to provide these innovative features without pressure from their stockholders.

    • ... pressure from their stockholders.

      Methinks, it's more like the pressure was in the cat's bladder...

  • Man if I bought a new laptop and it smelled like cat piss, I would definitely be pissed off. Piss.

    What a piss-poor excuse for a product launch. Don't these piss-ant Dell people have noses in their quality control department.

    ETC

  • I'll level with you (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:30PM (#45281659)

    Seeing this on the front page is not exactly my proudest submission.

  • by RiscIt (95258) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:35PM (#45281739) Homepage Journal

    It's ironic that the story would say you won't find this issue with a Mac Book air.

    It wasn't too many years ago that iBooks had an issue where they would smell like body odor after the case had begun to oxidize.

    We still have one. It still stinks.

    I guess they were thinking most nerds wouldn't notice?

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:39PM (#45281801)

      Well obviously Apple patented human BO and Dell had to look elsewhere.

    • by oji-sama (1151023)

      It's ironic that the story would say you won't find this issue with a Mac Book air.

      Not really, that seems to be a non-article related Macbook Air promotion. "The BBC is reporting that Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks have an interesting characteristic you won't find in any Macbook Air". Surprisingly the words Macbook and Apple seem to be missing from the article.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It was a joke. The original title for the article posited that the urine smell was a thrilling new feature.

        • by oji-sama (1151023)

          Alright, point taken. However you were misattributing the joke. When stating that "The BBC is reporting[...]" it would be nice for the sentence to describe things that the BBC is reporting. Consider the beginning of the comment I was replying to: "It's ironic that the story would say[...]"

    • by Silvrmane (773720)
      We had one of those. It was nick-named "Stinky" and we tried like hell to get rid of the smell, even sending it out for a thorough detailing inside and out. To no avail - stinky stank anyway. We blamed it on the fact that the boss had taken it on a trip and left the macbook locked in the trunk of his car with some used hockey equipment and it got left in the equipment bag for a couple of weeks while he was away. Never thought it was the computer itself that was the source of the problem.
  • by Pagey123 (1278182) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @12:36PM (#45281745)

    "Urine" for a surprise!

  • ... and not been near one in years, how would you know it smells of cat's piss if you don't know what cat's piss smells of?

    I would have blamed windows 8.1 and all the other crap they pre-install - perhaps it's the smell of crap.
    • I don't know, but I would like to echo your hatred of cats.

    • It smells like ammonia. Most people associate the smell of ammonia with cat piss, instead of the other way round..

      • Ammonia is just one part of the cat urine smell. If it's just ammonia, this isn't nearly as bad as implied. It's other substances that create the ongoing odor in a house with a problem cat.
    • ... and not been near one in years, how would you know it smells of cat's piss if you don't know what cat's piss smells of?

      You don't need to like cats or have one to know what cat pee smells like, since they seem recognize people like that when looking for a garden to pee in -- and worse.

      But even being lucky enough to have no idea, you'd still have said "My God, this thing smells horrible? What is that awful smell?"

  • In clearly related news, "kittens, it was quickly discovered, do not scale" [bizjournals.com] as Kittens-on-demand, $20 for 15 minutes of snuggling, melts down.

  • I though all Dell's had that smell lately. Honestly their quality has gone way down hill....

  • I wonder how much they'd charge to fix my cat's smell? (She's out of warranty.)

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @01:28PM (#45282585) Journal
    Are there any manufacturing/polymer types (or even armchair chemists) around who would want to hazard a guess as to why a PC component would have that smell?

    My understanding is that chassis materials don't differ wildly from laptop to laptop (ABS or ABS+PC seem to the the typical plastics, Aluminum or coated magnesium-alloy the usual metals, with some assorted adhesives and things). Is there some plasticizer, or mould-release agent, or incomplete-polymerization impurity, or particularly malodorous-if-the-proportions-aren't-right two-part adhesive out there?
    • by Tailhook (98486)

      IANA manufacturing/polymer type....

      About two weeks ago I briefly fired up a carefully stored old Dell PE2650 that hadn't been run in about 8 years. It immediately smelled strongly of ammonia and I shut it down. Googling around indicates that it may be burning insolation. Some component has decayed and is creating too much heat. I'll figure it out at some point when I start caring again.

      WRT these laptops, I suspect there is some bit of insulation or other, possibly excess, material in contact with or too

    • from perfume to... not... our friend sulfur is usually there.

      which could lead to a side discussion, instead of snide discussions, about how well the electrothingies inside the case will fare being cooped up with the palm rest in a laptop carrier after a few years.

      I'd look up sulfoxones, as an example, if my lunch break wasn't over.

    • Meth tends to have the cat urine smell as well, from what I heard. Maybe there were some such banned substances in those laptops?
    • by Gryle (933382)
      Armchair chemist (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...) armed with wikipedia. Ammonia has a related smell to cat urine so perhaps they don't entirely dry the components after rinsing them with an amide-based solvent. My other guess would be some kind of thiol-reaction somewhere in the casing triggered by the heat of the circuits. If you're really curious Wikipedia has an entry on the actual chemical responsible for cat-urine-odor here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_pheromone#Cat_urine_od [wikipedia.org]
    • Ditto IANA manufacturer type, but I do have first hand experience with a plastic thing starting to smell like cat pee.
      It was in the year 2012, my red nylon spatula, having a red scraper part and a black handle part, which I'd owned for a few years, suddely turned my kitchen drawer into a stinky mess. Of course I thought it was food residue, but it quickly turned out to be eminating from specifically the red "active" bit of the spatula. I tried dishwashing it away, to no avail. I sent an email to the seller,

  • The BBC is reporting that Dell's Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks have an interesting characteristic you won't find in any Macbook Air

    You won't find it in a Macbook! You also won't find it in a Toshiba, Acer or an HP. But that's not the cock we are trying to suck.

  • Quite a few of our white iBooks and then the white MacBooks would yellow on the palm rest. It seemed to be happening to the same people. I never told them it was "just them" but they were embarrassed anyway... They weren't "dirty" hands or anything like that, it must have been some unique protein or oils or something, it was really strange. Happy when the black MacBooks came out!
  • Dell staff state that the palm rest will be replaced by Dell at no cost, but only if the unit is still under warranty.

    And what if the warranty expired before Dell decided to acknowledge that this defect was, in fact, a defect?

    And if it's something in the manufacturing process, then the ultrabook was defective since day one, the entire time that Dell warrants it was "free of defects." So how is refusing to fix it if the clock has run out not breaching Dell's obligations under the warranty?

    This is not exactly instilling confidence in Dell's products and their warranties. Sounds more like something HP would do...

  • From the greatest sitcom ever, Father Ted [youtube.com].

  • ...You're getting a smell!

  • People are claiming they had to put their cats down, thinking this was due to the smell.

    I smell some masterful trolling about to happen.

    Oh, wait, that's this Dell in my lap.

  • Dell's taking the blame, but the cat still isn't trustworthy. First the mouse is gone, then the track pad smells like wee.

  • The fix was simple for Dell, horrendous for PETA. Dell called in feline exterminators to their factory.

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