TV-PGJune 14, 2000: Can't catch Steve in New York next month? Cheer up-- you'll get another chance at Seybold San Francisco in August. Meanwhile, disturbing rumors of a Microsoft buyout of Bungie float across the ether, even as the Redmond giant files some lengthy briefs in its bid to avoid a breakup...
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The Man In Demand (6/14/00)

Jonesing for a dose of that live, in-person, unfiltered-by-streaming-media Reality Distortion Field action? Hey, who isn't? But fear not-- the Stevenotes are stacking up fast and fierce. We're only about a month away from the annual Macworld Expo throwdown in the Big Apple, and as you all know, Steve's scheduled to amaze and delight us all. So unless his personal ceiling height requirements change between now and July 19th (or New York is annexed back into the British Empire), the odds of everyone's fave iCEO cancelling at the last second are pretty slim. The AtAT staff will be there with bells on, basking in the irradiating glory of whatever bizarre alien mind-bending energy Mr. Jobs exudes at these things. (We're thinking about bringing along a geiger counter just for curiosity's sake.)

For those of you tethered to the other coast, don't expect us to feel sorry for you. After all, you get Steve at the big Macworld Expo in January. And as if that weren't enough, now it looks like you'll have another shot to witness the Magic Called Steve: according to MacWEEK, no one's made an official announcement yet, but Jobs will also be delivering a keynote address at Seybold San Francisco this August. That shouldn't come as any particular surprise, given that Seybold SF is a traditional venue for Mr. Steve's Wild Ride. Last year, you'll recall, he waxed eloquent about gigaflops and twenty-two inches of pure digital heaven as he unveiled the Power Mac G4 and the Apple Cinema Display.

In fact, if anything, it's the East Coast that should be getting all the sympathy. After all, when was the last time Steve spoke at Seybold Boston? It sure didn't happen this past February, we can tell you that much. Then again, we shouldn't be complaining either; we're sure the vast majority of our viewing audience is 100% geographically and/or financially Steve-challenged, so we'll count our blessings. And thank heavens for the joy of webcasting-- because a smeary, pixellated Steve is better than no Steve at all.

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Scariest Thing Yet (6/14/00)

So you thought Bill in a sweater was scary? Well, if you're a fan of Mac games, there's a rumor going around that's about a kajillion times worse. Microsoft has been messing with the Mac platform for a long time now, and for the most part we at AtAT have rolled with the punches, but this time it's all-out war. They can threaten the cancellation of Mac Office, they can try to kill QuickTime, they can force-feed Internet Explorer to the Mac OS like so much steroid-laden grain-- but once they start screwing with the development of Bungie's games, it's time to lay the smackdown on Redmond, John Woo style.

Bungie, as you are no doubt aware, is one of the premiere games developers on this or any other planet. The company is responsible for the entire Marathon series and both incarnations of Myth: The Fallen Lords. Right now those wacky codemeisters are cranking full-speed to finish Oni, its upcoming anime-style action-adventure title, and continuing to plod away at Halo, the next-generation 3D multiplayer experience that's so gorgeous, it literally brought tears to the eyes of Yours Truly when it was first shown to the world at last summer's Macworld Expo. Bungie started as a Mac-only developer, and while more recent titles have always been cross-platform, the company has remained staunchly loyal to the Mac community even as other developers jumped ship for Windowsville.

Which is why this rumor over at FatBabies, first pointed out to us by a faithful viewer sporting the appropriate moniker of Doomsday, has us all in a tizzy. The word around the water cooler is that Microsoft either is buying or has already bought Bungie, and may coerce its new wholly-owned-subsidiary to scrap development of Halo for all platforms except its new-fangled X-Box thingy. Since we've seen zero comment from Bungie on the matter, we don't find ourselves believing this whole nightmare scenario-- especially since Bungie is still a private company, so there's no real chance of a hostile takeover. And since the Bungie folks are twelve shades of cool, we just can't see them selling out so horribly. Still, you can bet we'll be on edge until this rumor is put to bed once and for all. If by some terrifying twist of fate it turns out to be true, we'll be hitching to the Pacific Northwest with a SPNKR-X17 SSM Rocket Launcher slung over one shoulder.

UPDATE: Those fun-loving folks over at Mac Gamer's Ledge have posted Bungie's official "no comment" comment on the rumor: "Well, you gotta understand that there have been countless rumors of people buying us over the years - Eidos, GT, Acclaim - and we've developed a policy of not fueling those mills by commenting on the rumors. In general, if you haven't heard something from us, it isn't true." While it's not an outright denial, it's enough to let us get to sleep tonight...

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The Briefs That Aren't (6/14/00)

Our brains are on overload, what with this sudden flurry of activity on "Redmond Justice" of late. There have been more briefs flying around on that show than on the Spice Channel. (Er, so we're told.) Microsoft filed for a stay of the judge's ruling, the judge said not until the appeal was filed, Microsoft filed the appeal, and the government filed for a Supreme Court intervention-- all within the course of a day. While we appreciate the action-packed show, we hope the writers will ease up a bit, because trying to follow the intricate twists and turns of the plot lately is commanding far more brain power than we're used to expending over the summer season. (If you need a polar opposite on the brain-taxing scale in order to restore balance, NBC's showing "Suddenly Susan" reruns.)

The latest development in the case is that the government is asking Microsoft to reply to its "Let's Get The Supreme Court In Here" brief by this coming Monday. According to a CNET article, Microsoft has agreed-- in a splendid gesture of magnanimous compliance. See, Microsoft is actually entitled to "eleven calendar days" in which to craft its response, so by filing on Monday instead, it's actually giving up a sizable chunk of brief-lengthening time. Wasn't it sweet of those guys to say "Okay, we'll do it by Monday"? Actually, what they really said was (deep breath): "Notwithstanding that rule, Microsoft will file its response to plaintiffs' motion within the four business days suggested by plaintiffs in their submission filed on June 12, 2000, a schedule to which Microsoft previously has informed the Court it is willing to adhere." Why use six words when you can use forty-two?

In fact, that brings up an interesting side-point: Microsoft is filing some very long briefs in this case. According to The Register, Microsoft's stay appeal was thirty-nine pages long-- almost twice as long as the maximum allowed. But it's okay, because the company made up for the nineteen extra pages by filing a whole separate "Motion for Leave to Submit an Overlength Motion for Stay Pending Appeal." The way we see it, either Microsoft's lawyers have a pathological hatred for trees, or the company's penchant for releasing bloatware has trickled down into the legal department. Next thing you know, they'll be issuing service packs for the courtroom filings. And charging for them.

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