(New material at the bottom.)
Another day, another reason to regret buying a Mac. Here are the stats so far:
Weeks I've owned my MacBook Pro: 16
Average number of times it bluescreens per day: 1.6 (8 in the last 5 days). Note that the screen doesn't actually turn blue; instead, I get a black rectangle telling me in English, French, German, and Japanese (I think) that my machine needs to restart, could I please press the button.
Amount of work lost each time this happens: between 5 and 20 minutes.
Embarrassment factor in having this happen in front of an audience: non-zero. Decidedly non-zero.
Number of calls to AppleCare: 3
Average waiting time before giving up: 30 minutes
Time spent waiting today: 37 minutes
Time on the phone with the AppleCare representative: 28 minutes
Number of reboot+diagnostics run: 3
Number of hardware problems found by the diagnostics: 0
Number of times I was asked if I was sure I hadn't installed any hardware myself (i.e., voided my AppleCare plan, so that it wouldn't be their problem): 4 (maybe 5 --- I interrupted her mid-sentence the fifth time)
Refund Apple will give me at this point if I give them back the computer: 0%.
Time I'll be without my computer if I send it in for Apple to look at: 6-8 weeks. (No, they won't loan me a replacement while I'm waiting.)
Apple's advice at this point: re-install the operating system and "see if that fixes anything".
Customer satisfaction: low.
Effect this will have on Apple's stock price: zilch.
A few weeks later: Alan Hietala pointed out that Apple is finally aknowledging there's a problem. I had another kernel panic yesterday (in front of an audience, while trying to give a demo), so I called AppleCare again. A very polite young man named Ray told me to take the memory out and re-seat it, "just to make sure", and to call back if the problem recurred. "If it does, will Apple send me new memory, or let me buy some here and reimburse me?" He wasn't sure ("A product specialist would have to answer that question").