Right Under Your Nose (5/20/99)

It's definitely time to address an issue that many faithful viewers have raised time and time again over the course of the past couple of weeks, and it goes a little something like this: "Why hasn't AtAT mentioned the SETI@home project, now that a Macintosh client is available? Seems like such a thing would be right up your alley." For those of you who think SETI is a big shaggy humanoid creature rumored to inhabit the Himalayas and otherwise known as the abominable snowman, not quite (though the yeti is also right up our alley-- and now you know far too much about AtAT's collective alley). SETI is the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, and the SETI@home client lets you use your Mac's extra processor cycles to download and analyze data collected by radio telescopes, in hopes of finding regular patterns that may have originated from a distant alien civilization.

Sounds cool, right? You can be part of a massive distributed computing effort dedicated to a particularly nifty goal. Whereas other projects of this type have focused on cracking encryption algorithms via brute force and offered the person who found the magic key some kind of cash prize, SETI@home plays for higher, though admittedly less well-defined, stakes. Think about it; if your Mac winds up proving the existence of extraterrestrial life, you'd earn a permanent place in the history books. Heck, your discovery might even prove to be a major turning point in the history of the human race, leading to contact with alien beings, the establishment of friendly interplanetary relations, and the ushering in of a new Golden Age. How do you like them apples?

So why hadn't we mentioned all this earlier? Well, probably because to us, the ultimate irony is the thought of people using idle processor time on their iMacs to help search for extraterrestrial life-- since the iMac itself is the most obvious evidence of the existence of aliens in our universe. Come on; the iMac is obviously the product of alien technology-- assuming it's not an alien life form itself. If you're so inclined, by all means, participate in SETI@home; it looks like fun. But let's not overlook the obvious, okay, people?

SceneLink (1549)
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 5/20/99 episode:

May 20, 1999: QuickTime 4 is pretty darn popular for software that's not even really out yet. Meanwhile, the iMac slides out of the top five for April, even though Apple's doing lots better than they were a year ago, and now you can use your Mac to look for alien life-- but don't overlook the obvious clues...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1547: Catching On Quick (5/20/99)   How 'bout that QuickTime 4? Officially, it's still not even finished-- the version available for download is still a public beta. But that fact hasn't stopped plenty of interested media mavens from installing the pre-release software and having a blast...

  • 1548: Half Empty or Half Full? (5/20/99)   Is this the end of a Good Thing™? Ever since the iMac burst upon the scene last August and left a Bondi blue blur on the retail computer sales reports, Apple's cute 'n' round little powerhouse has consistently held its own by remaining somewhere in the top five of best-selling systems...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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