TV-PGJune 11, 2003: AppleInsider posts a charming little story that conceals all manner of dirt about what new products are coming at WWDC-- provided you're clever enough to crack the code. Meanwhile, a congenitally brick-stupid superintendent in Tukwila, Washington turns down thirty free computers because they happen to be Macs, and Microsoft is coming out with its own antivirus software (no, we're serious-- stop giggling)...
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Allegorical Fiction Rocks (6/11/03)

You know what's happened, right? Rumors abhor a vacuum. (Don't take it personally, Oreck.) Since Apple pulled out of what used to be the summer Macworld Expo, from a rumorological perspective, the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference has taken over for the traditional Boston/New York gig. No Stevenote in the Big Apple now means that all eyes are on Steve's WWDC appearance as the Big Unveiling of New and Interesting Devices, and tongues are a-waggin' something fierce as everyone of a Mac bent tries to guess what Fearless Leader has up his big black sleeves.

To that end, faithful viewer David Triska notes that AppleInsider has posted a delightful work of short fiction in which off-duty Apple employees get plastered, leer at women, and discuss top secret projects in public in a strangely expository manner-- but being the sharp-eyed, kollidge-ejukated literary types we are, we weren't fooled for a second: AppleInsider's story is, in actuality, THINLY-VEILED RUMORMONGERING! No, really, we're almost sure of it!

So if you strip away the facade of fiction, here's what AppleInsider appears to be expecting from stagebound Steve in less than two weeks' time: the PowerPC 970-based Power Mac G5, in a "silver and graphite" enclosure with four handles and a "mesh metallic" front; new 15-inch PowerBooks with faster chips to blend better with the 12- and 17-inch models; an updated iChat with MPEG 4-based videoconferencing via a new camera device; FileMaker, Inc. being reabsorbed into Apple, possibly as part of a move to develop a new office suite; and a new line of height- and tilt-adjustable displays. Mamma mia, thats a spicy meatball!

So there you have it: one rumor site's set of WWDC predictions. We have no idea how accurate they might turn out to be, but on the plus side, we hear the story in which they're embedded is up for the Booker Prize. Meanwhile, we're hearing the faintest rumblings that the Power Mac G5 may actually not be ready for a WWDC introduction after all. We're not putting a whole lot of stock in said rumblings just yet, but we mention them anyway for the cautious souls among you who choose to temper your enthusiasm with a hefty dose of skepticism. 'Nuff said.

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Quite Alarmingly Stupid (6/11/03)

Congratulations to Superintendent Michael Silver of the Tukwila School District in Tukwila, Washington for officially being named our Bonehead of the Week! Faithful viewer vdubya tipped us off to an article in the King County Journal which reveals that Tukwila's Foster High School won a grant from an unnamed nonprofit organization-- a grant consisting of 30 new Macs and six laser printers, worth a total of $43,000. That's a serious windfall for a school in an "economically challenged community." Heck, it's a windfall to just about anyone who doesn't light his cigars with original Rembrandts. There's just one teensy little catch: Superintendent Silver is sending it all back.

Why? Because three years ago Tukwila adopted a school technology plan that essentially says "bite me" to anyone coming around to drop off a truckload of free Macs, ostensibly because it's sooooo much harder to support two platforms than one, whimper whimper whine whine whine. And so Superintendent Silver (gosh, that's long; from now on we'll call him "Dimbulb" for short), when faced with the prospect of receiving $43 grand in state-of-the-art computer equipment for one of his economically-challenged schools, decided that it would be best to "stick to [the] plan" because "going with one platform for a small school district seems most prudent." Well, okay, we actually agree with Dimbulb on the second part, there-- too bad he picked the wrong platform.

Okay, so tempers are running a little high. Fear not, though, because it's AtAT to the rescue with the perfect solution to this problem: give those Macs to us. There, problem solved. It's almost Solomon-like in its wisdom and simplicity, isn't it? Of course, we suppose that doesn't help the math teacher who applied for the grant in the first place and who now isn't going to have the equipment he needs to teach his kids next year, but hey, at least Dimbulb will be happy (that's all that matters) and the AtAT compound will wind up with one bitchin' Unreal Tournament 2003 cluster.

There's still a chance that the school board will make a one-time exception and allow Foster High to keep its free Macs, but in the meantime, we found it interesting that Foster had won a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "about two years ago"-- shortly after the school board had adopted its no-Mac policy. Now, it's not our intention to malign the Gates Foundation, because there isn't a doubt in our minds that it does a whole heap of good in this world with its hefty bankroll of dirty money generously supplied by the monopoly-abusing megalomaniac whose name it bears. Furthermore, the King County Journal states that "the Gates grant does not restrict what kind of computers a school may use," and we know that to be true; after all, the State of Maine iBook program is partially funded by the Gates Foundation.

But to our admittedly suspicious minds, it's not inconceivable that the superintendent of a school board (especially one with a nickname like "Dimbulb"-- yeesh, where did he pick that up?) might think that a school less than twenty miles from Billy-boy's house should adopt a Wintel-only policy to help said school win a $427,000 grant with Bill Gates's name on it. Then again, it's also possible that Dimbulb's entire thought process here was nothing more complex than "Windows good. Macs BAD!!" It's tough to say without an electroencephalogram.

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This Will All End Badly (6/11/03)

And in the "Irony Is For Suckers" department, faithful viewer Nateman informed us of an Associated Press article which reports that Microsoft is going to work on its own antivirus software.

Think about that for a minute.

Actually, to be entirely accurate, the company's going to work on someone else's antivirus software; Microsoft just bought an antivirus software company and plans to rework that firm's technology into its own product. Hey, guess which company they bought! Network Associates, the company behind McAfee VirusScan? Nope-- think bigger. Symantec, makers of Norton AntiVirus? Nuh-uh-- think bigger. Give up? It's GeCAD Software Srl. of Bucharest, providing the finest security software produced in all of Romania! So you know Microsoft is serious about this. Besides, once Microsoft releases its own branded virus protection software, regardless of how crappy it is, both of those other companies will tank, and then Microsoft can buy them, too... probably for a few dozen shares of stock and a case of Slim Jims.

So just how are we supposed to interpret this bizarre turn of events? Well, we suppose there's always the obvious conspiracy theory: Microsoft has been releasing virus-prone software on purpose for all these years in order to sell a gazillion copies of its upcoming antivirus product. (Microsoft reportedly assured Network Associates that it "would not bundle antivirus capability into the Windows operating system," which means customers are going to have to buy it separately. Ka-ching!) Then again, that requires you to assume that Microsoft is a lot more evil than it is incompetent, and personally, we like to keep the mix about 50/50.

So instead, we're thinking that it might play out like this: Microsoft Inoculate XP (or Microsoft BigSharpNeedle XP, or Microsoft PainfulSeriesOfShotsInTheHinder XP, or whatever the heck they wind up calling it) hits the shelves, most people who were lame enough to buy Windows in the first place shell out their $99 to install it, and before long, Windoids the world over wind up infected with the first virus ever to propagate via an actual antivirus product. Because let's face it: trusting Microsoft to come up with something that actually stops viruses instead of inviting them in for free beer and a Shiatsu massage is tantamount to hiring a certified pyromaniac to fireproof your valuable collection of antique matches and oily rags.

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