TV-PGMay 26, 2004: Apple slaps together Mac OS X 10.3.4 and shoves it out the door. Meanwhile, one online publisher launches five new web sites because Macs are "exploding" in the content creation market, and just what the heck is up with Mac OS Rumors, now MIA for a week and a half?...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

And Nice Red Uniforms (5/26/04)

Oh, thank heavens-- for a second there, we thought we might have to gnaw off a limb or two for any sort of plot development today, but mere seconds before we gave our chompers a serious workout, Apple came to our rescue with just enough news to keep us from going all freak-show on you all. So sorry, folks, there'll be no bloodletting and veins-in-teeth today (at least, not on camera); looks we'll be able to save that as a contingency plan for November Sweeps after all. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

So here's the crumb of interest that Apple tossed us: faithful viewer macMaestro tipped us off (via MacMinute) to the fact that Mac OS X 10.3.4 is now available for your Software Updating pleasure. It's apparently a fairly significant update, too, because it weighs in at 40ish MB, which is by no means a record, but it's still a fair chunk o' code that-- and we're using the technical phrase, here-- "messes with a whole bunch of stuff." Amongst its "key enhancements" are such diverse elements as: "improved file sharing"; updated graphics drivers and 3D support; improved disc burning; expanded FireWire and USB compatibility (including, strangely enough, USB 2.0 support for iPods); unspecified improvements to Address Book, Safari, Stickies, Mail, and QuickTime Player; fear; surprise; ruthless efficiency; and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Of course, we won't actually be installing it for a couple of days, what with Apple's on-again, off-again habit of posting software updaters that wreak varying amounts of havoc with specific Macs and third-party software, and occasionally even flirt with Lady Irretrievable Data Loss (who, as you all know, can be a harsh mistress). Seeing as we're not in a reckless mood right now, we'll let the Early Adopters™ rush in and test the waters. We'd recommend that all of you wait, too, but, well... if no one goes first, we'll be waiting forever. So if you're in a relaxed state of mind, feel free to install the update and let us know if it deletes your custom mailboxes or makes your nose fall off or whatever.

So, yeah-- actual Mac-related news-type material direct from Apple, and amazingly enough it's got nothing to do with security flaws! Well, almost nothing, anyway; sure, the 10.3.4 updater includes a whole mess of recent Security Updates built in, but that doesn't really count, does it? And, of course, only time will tell if 10.3.4 includes a security hole that allows remote attackers to read your mail, raid your fridge, and drink straight out of your milk carton. You'll, uh, tell us if any of that happens to you, too, right? You know, while you're tending to the nose thing? Thanks.

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Ooo, Something's Exploding (5/26/04)

Other than the release of 10.3.4, it sure looks like things are pretty darn quiet again today. Yup. Quiet, quiet, quiet. Not much going on at all. You could hear a pin drop. Everything's just really, really... um... quiet.

Well, except for that explosion, of course.

Yes, kiddies, an explosion-- and sure, it's more of a metaphorical explosion than the kind with the bright flash and the loud boom and the raining destruction and horror, but that's actually a good thing, since the latter type is rather more drama than we typically like, to be perfectly honest. Faithful viewer mrmgraphics informed us of a PR blurb at Digital Producer announcing that Digital Media Net is launching "a new cluster of publications targeted specifically toward Macintosh creative professionals," but before you go clearing space on your coffee table for a few more Mac-centric mags, you should be aware that by "publications" DMN means "web sites." Which is a little bit of a downer, because web sites come and go all the time, and we always like to see people with enough guts to sink capital into launching a dead-tree Mac magazine, but hey, the more the merrier, right?

Anyway, the reason why we mention it is because DMN's decision to launch Mac Video Pro, Mac Audio Pro, Mac Design Pro, Mac Animation Pro, and Mac DVD Pro (gee, in times of great peril do they all merge together in mid-air to form a single enormous ultra-site that wields a gigantic sword of righteousness against the hordes of evil? Because that'd be, you know, pretty cool) is because "the creative production market is exploding on the Macintosh platform" right now. And while there may be slightly less risk and capital involved in launching a web site instead of a magazine, it's still a nice show of faith in the future of the Mac and its professional users when some group figures it can make money off the community by unveiling no fewer than five of the suckers at once.

So remember, the next time you're hyperventilating over the Mac's two-ish percent market share, don't forget that those figures include stuff like zillions of PCs sold as cash registers and the like; when it comes to markets in which Apple actually competes, the Mac isn't doing all that poorly. And at least one online publisher thinks that Apple's on enough of an upswing in the creative content market to warrant tossing five more pro Mac web sites out there, so that's one explosion worth making a little noise about.

By the way, if things stay so freakin' quiet around here that we have to keep trying to wring a drop or two of relevant drama from the likes of web site launch announcements all the way up to WWDC, someone had better send us an extra crate of antidepressants, because otherwise we're going to wind up doing something drastic.

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Hey, MOSR! (Yeah, You!) (5/26/04)

Well, no wonder we've been so starved for plot points recently; can you believe that Mac OS Rumors has been off the air for a week and a half, now? And we're fully aware that some of you consider MOSR's info to be about as dependable as an umbrella made out of JELL-O and might therefore be thinking "good riddance," but please keep in mind that the issue of accuracy is completely irrelevant when it comes to our own dramatic purposes-- and besides, we're talking about the granddaddy of the Mac rumors scene, here! Doesn't tradition count for anything anymore? Trust us: if MOSR takes the permanent dirt nap, we're all the poorer for it.

So why are we bringing up MOSR's mysterious extended absence now? Well, when over 50% of the AtAT mailbag is stuffed with letters from viewers demanding to know what happened to Mac OS Rumors, we figure that's when it's time for us to address the situation publicly. (Besides, what else are we gonna talk about today?) The thing is, though, there's no particular reason we'd know anything more about what's going on than you folks do; sure, we've swapped email with the MOSR guys on occasion (mostly small talk-- you know, how's the weather out there, thanks for the link, how 'bout them pesky ninjas, etc.), but whatever heinous DNS error is apparently nuking access to MOSR is also nuking email to the domain, so our recent inquiries have all bounced.

That's why we're putting out the call this way: if anyone connected with MOSR sees this, please drop us a line and tell us what's what, because we're starting to get a little concerned-- if not necessarily for your safety, then at least for the state of our inbox, which is groaning under the weight of all the "hey, do you know what's up with MOSR lately?" letters. If your communication channels are being watched, we'll have to figure out a secure way to transfer the information. Is it ninjas? Just tape a black X to your bedroom window if it's ninjas.

In any case, the AtAT staff hopes that nobody at MOSR's been incapacitated with a paralyzing neurotoxin and forced to look on, helpless, as dark forces set fire to their servers-- we hate when that happens. Meanwhile, for those of you who still haven't forgiven us for our last extended unplanned hiatus, we'd like to remind you that at least when we vanished off the face of the earth for fourteen weeks, we had the decency to leave our server running with spookily untouched content so you could check back every day and have the satisfaction of thinking maybe we'd all just keeled over and died or something. Why? Because we care, that's why.

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