TV-PGAugust 20, 2003: Forget about the new PowerBook rumors for a sec; now there are new iMac rumors to mull over instead. Meanwhile, the Mac community freaks out when challenged to come to terms with Steve Jobs's mortality, and Windows worms mess with a Navy communications network and a safety monitoring system at a nuclear power plant...
But First, A Word From Our Sponsors

From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

Cue Attention Redirect (8/20/03)

Well, it's Wednesday already, so far there's still no sign of new PowerBooks popping up anywhere, and to be brutally honest, we're getting sick to death of the whole subject. If they do finally surface on Friday, the Mac community will heave a massive sigh of relief-- not so much because they can finally run out and buy a 15-inch PowerBook that supports AirPort Extreme, but because they can finally stop hearing about the freakin' things every twelve minutes. Seriously, if we hear one more thing about rumored PowerBook features, specs, and ship dates, we're going to have to hit someone with a mallet. We've come to the inescapable conclusion that obsessing over such things is a humongous waste of time, and so we're moving on to more important topics.

Like rumored iMac features, specs, and ship dates.

Yes, Think Secret reports that Apple's consumer desktop (as opposed to Apple's other consumer desktop-- to keep them straight, we generally think of the former as "Lenny" and the latter as "Squiggy") is long overdue for a little touch-up, and will soon get a rejuvenating boost in the form of faster processors, newer ports, and washboard abs courtesy of the Ab Roller. And just in time, too; the current iMac design has been around for over a year and a half, now, and it needs a little more hustle to keep the kids intrigued.

There's a distinctive theme of "Hand Me Down" running through the specs as allegedly revealed in "company documents": the 17-inch iMac is getting bumped from 1 GHz to 1.25 GHz, while the 15-incher ditches its 800 MHz chip to take over big brother's old 1 GHz unit. Similarly, the 15-incher also gets the 17-incher's castoff GeForce4 MX graphics subsystem (a distinct improvement over its previous GeForce2 MX), while the Mr. 17 moves on up to a GeForce FX 5200. Both configs will come with 256 MB of DDR RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, AirPort Extreme support, audio-in ports, and video-out. And while there's no FireWire 800, at least both systems will come with USB 2.0. None of this is particularly earth-shattering stuff, but we at least find it gratifying that soon no iMacs will have a clock speed still measured in megahertz.

As for when, the new models are reportedly already "nearly ready to ship," but there are apparently still a lot of iMacs floating around out there in the channel, so the refreshed units may be kept under wraps as late as mid-September for the Apple Expo in Paris. Of course, if this is anything like the PowerBook updates, we'll still be waiting for them come April, at which point we'll be so sick of the subject that we'll turn our attention to rumored features, specs, and ship dates of a revised Power Mac G5. And thus does the cycle of life begin anew; isn't nature wonderful?

SceneLink (4153)
Soon Available In Six-Packs (8/20/03)

Okay, calm down. Put your head between your knees and take some deep breaths. It's natural to feel lightheaded after any great emotional shock, and inadvertent exposure to SteveJack's latest piece at MacDailyNews certainly qualifies. Yes, the man should have realized that publishing something titled "What happens when Steve Jobs dies?" could have grave consequences among unsuspecting Mac folk with delicate sensibilities and/or weak hearts, but the thing is, he raises an important point. Steve Jobs is the reason that Apple still exists today; it's no surprise that he tops MDJ's list of the most influential personalities in the Mac community, and if he were to croak tomorrow in a bizarre gardening accident, the ensuing chain of events would be catastrophic. Apple's stock price would surely enter freefall, the company would collapse within days, and the Mac platform would wither in a matter of months before running out the clock in an Amiga-style twilight zone populated by twisted, bitter Mac zombies. Confronting one's own mortality can be disconcerting; confronting Steve Jobs's mortality is where-are-my-other-pants terrifying.

On the other hand, do you honestly think that Apple hasn't prepared for that doomsday scenario? Well, it's easy enough to find out; frankly, we lack the attention span to get through more than six words of Apple's quarterly 10-Q without downing a couple of bottles of Focusyn first, but even we get a kick out of the "What If?" drama in the section called "Factors That May Affect Future Results and Financial Condition"-- and the most current one lists such hazards as terrorist attacks, SARS, earthquakes, fires, labor disputes, price wars, higher R&D costs, screwed-up product intros, inventory write-downs, supply shortages, quality control problems, a cratering of the retail initiative, plunging pro product sales, getting smacked down in education, patent litigation, rising insurance costs, deadbeat debtors, tax rate hikes, and third-party software developers being abducted by an evil cult of mutant cannibals. There's nary a mention of the single greatest hazard facing the company, namely Steve kicking the bucket or otherwise vacating his role as Omnipotent Apple Overlord.

But that doesn't mean the company doesn't recognize the danger and acknowledge it; it's just buried in a far less interesting bit of the 10-Q. If you're brave enough to dig through the earlier stuff about stock options, you'll find this bit: "Vesting of some or all of the restricted shares will be accelerated in the event Mr. Jobs is terminated without cause, dies, or has his management role reduced following a change in control of the Company." See? They do realize that the worst can happen. And while we're the first to admit that Apple doesn't always act in the best interest of its shareholders, it's absurd to think that the company doesn't understand that its very survival hinges on Steve staying happy, healthy, and Apple-employed-- or that there isn't a plan in place to protect the company's welfare in the devastating event of Steve's demise.

Now, SteveJack focuses on whom Apple might tap as a successor to the throne, such as Phil Schiller (whom he rejects because "the RDF hasn't rubbed off"-- ooh, harsh) or Jonathan Ive-- Ive being the favorite, for exuding a "Junior Jobsian aura" in his occasional on-video public appearances. Of course, that kindasorta ignores the fact that Ive is a soft-spoken designer and neither a businessman nor a spitfire Mercurial Boy who fires people in elevators, parks across three handicapped spaces, and inspires assembled masses of Mac fans to grab makeshift weapons and march on Redmond for insurrection. Frankly, we take the stance that any grooming of a post-Jobs Apple Czar is fundamentally doomed to failure, because Steve is All and All is Steve. No, a replacement can't be groomed; it needs to be incubated.

Hence Apple's years-long secret clone research. Forget about Dolly the sheep, forget about those wacky Raelians; Apple's at the forefront of clone technology and technique, but you never hear about it, because the top secret project exists for the sole purpose of ensuring that Apple always has a Steve available to lead the company, onward into infinity. So can it work? Well, you tell us; after all, we're already on our third Steve in five years. (The original perished in a 5 AM car crash some years back, as copiously documented by several album covers and backwards-masked lyrics by The Beatles.) So quit worrying, because whenever the current Steve has a heart attack and falls out of a window onto an exploding bomb and gets killed in a shooting accident, replacing him is a simple matter of just adding water, shaking, and microwaving on low for six minutes. We're set for life! And, um, beyond.

SceneLink (4154)
Windows Will Kill Us All (8/20/03)

Yes, we understand that it's unbecoming to gloat over the latest virus to make the rounds and how Wintel users are all scrambling like cockroaches when the kitchen light comes on. And yes, we've heard over and over again how Mac OS X isn't technically that much more resistant to viruses than Windows, and we owe our relatively virus-free existences to little more than the fact that virus-writers haven't actually targeted us yet. But we just can't get past the simple truth that while Wintel users have been putting up with all sorts of malarkey for the past couple of weeks (and as far back as the beginning of time), we Mac users just coast right by while stifling a giggle or two. But that's not to say we aren't affected by these things indirectly, as two frightening incidents have made abundantly clear.

Exhibit A: apparently the Navy, despite having recently purchased 260 Xserves, hasn't fully moved past its ill-advised reliance on Windows that led to that embarrassing dead-in-the-water "smart ship" debacle back in '97. According to PCWorld, "three-quarters of the Navy Marine Corp intranet has lost network capacity" due to worm infestation. Was it Blaster, last week's media darling of the malware circuit? Nope; it seems that Blaster is old news, and the Navy got hit with Welchia, which is apparently-- and we swear we're not making this up-- a worm that propagates all over the 'net deleting Blaster and installing Microsoft's security patch. So it's a benevolent worm, as goofy as that sounds. There's just one problem: reportedly Welchia is kicking up so much 'net traffic as it tries to download the patch to tens of thousands of Navy computers while also scanning for other Wintels to infect, the congestion is so bad that the Navy's integrated voice/video/data communications system "cannot presently be useful for network connections."

Actually, make that two problems: Welchia nuked the Navy LAN in an attempt to eradicate Blaster from the machines of 100,000 users, when reportedly none of the Navy systems was infected with Blaster in the first place. So the fix for a problem that didn't exist broke something else in the process; have you ever heard of a better illustration of life in the Wintel universe?

Wait, don't answer until you've heard this one! Exhibit B: The Register reports that yet another worm, the "Slammer" one that wreaked so much havoc earlier this year, actually infected a network at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio last January and "disabled a safety monitoring system for nearly five hours." Oh, but don't worry, folks; it wasn't a safety hazard, because the plant had been offline anyway ever since they stumbled across a CD-sized hole in the reactor head. At the risk of alienating viewers with two Simpsons references in one episode, just who the hell is running this plant, Montgomery Burns? Oh, wait-- actually, it's FirstEnergy, the same folks whose faulty alarm system purportedly led to last week's mega-blackout. Never mind. Still, the disabling of a safety system at any nuclear power plant, even a downed one, has to make you think a bit.

So let's see, we've got one worm screwing with the U.S. armed forces (gee, when do we see the worm that launches the missiles?) and another that hosed a safety system at a nuclear facility; see what we mean about these worms affecting Mac users indirectly? Having a fully functional Mac may be scant solace when we're being invaded by some seafaring nation and the nuke plant down the street goes all Chernobyl on us. If you ask us, given the apparent inevitability of Windows use pushing us all ever closer to the fiery destruction of civilization as we know it, perhaps Apple should license its next slogan from the Dial soap people: "Aren't you glad you use a Mac? Don't you wish everybody did?"

SceneLink (4155)
← Previous Episode
Next Episode →
Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(1202 votes)

As an Amazon Associate, AtAT earns from qualifying purchases

DISCLAIMER: AtAT was not a news site any more than Inside Edition was a "real" news show. We made Dawson's Creek look like 60 Minutes. We engaged in rampant guesswork, wild speculation, and pure fabrication for the entertainment of our viewers. Sure, everything here was "inspired by actual events," but so was Amityville II: The Possession. So lighten up.

Site best viewed with a sense of humor. AtAT is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Keep hands inside car at all times. The drinking of beverages while watching AtAT is strongly discouraged; AtAT is not responsible for damage, discomfort, or staining caused by spit-takes or "nosers."

Everything you see here that isn't attributed to other parties is copyright ©,1997-2023 J. Miller and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast without his explicit consent (or possibly the express written consent of Major League Baseball, but we doubt it).