Pigs Above, Snow Below (8/22/03)
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Quick, somebody get us something to hold on to, because everything's topsy-turvy! Up is down, black is white, Freddy vs. Jason garners eleven Academy Award nominations! (Hey, it could happen. We haven't seen it yet, but we hear there's a heartrending monologue in the second act in which Freddy tearfully recounts his struggle with the heartbreak of adult bedwetting.) Our point being, things are kindasorta different than one might expect.

Take, for example, ZDNet's Back to School Guide, in which they scoured through what must have been tens of thousands of personal computers in order to find and name "The essential student desktop" in three categories. And guess which computer manufacturer made the system that won in the "Head Turner" category? Go on, take a guess; the category's called "Head Turner," so you should figure the winner would be flashy, gorgeous, dressed to kill-- do you happen to know of any manufacturers who build computers like that? C'mon, guess already! Would we be asking you to guess if the answer weren't the obvious one? Huh? Would we?

Yes! We would! Because we're that kind of people! In ZDNet's opinion, the biggest "Head Turner" personal computer isn't an iMac, or a Power Mac G5, or anything that sprang from the head of Jonathan Ive; instead it's this thing, Hewlett-Packard's Media Center PC, which, while it does pack a boatload of features (it better, seeing as how it apparently consists of about two dozen individual components), can only be rationally classified as a "head turner" if you count that it might turn heads the same way that a car wreck does. Or a lime green short-sleeve suit. Or, coincidentally enough, a really ugly and cumbersome-looking computer system. We call shenanigans!

But wait, that's not all: guess which manufacturer made ZDNet's choice for the best "Starving Student" computer? Here's a hint: one would expect the ideal system for a "Starving Student" to be inexpensive, and therefore made by just about any manufacturer not known for near-30%-margins and charging a premium for excellence in design and ease of use. So take your time and think about it, and keep in mind that just about any guess is a reasonable one provided you don't say "Apple."

Ha!! Tricked you again! ZDNet ate some fermented hummous or something and declared the best "Starving Student" computer to be the eMac, which, while relatively inexpensive and crammed to the gills with value, is still a Mac, and therefore strictly verboten from receiving any sort of value-based recognition from the tech media. Once ZDNet recovers from whatever mind-addling substance it so evidently ingested, we bet they're going to face some harsh words from the International Tech Media Conspiracy. Maybe even a spanking. But at least they chose a Dell for "Best in Class," so maybe the Conspiracy will let them off easy.

So there you have it, the Total Weirdness of the Week: Apple doesn't win in the "Head Turner" category, but does take home the "Starving Student" award. All we needed was for the Coleco ADAM to win "Best in Class" and we'd have fulfilled our surrealism quota for the rest of the freakin' year...


 
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The above scene was taken from the 8/22/03 episode:

August 22, 2003: Another weeks passes by PowerBookless. Meanwhile, Apple's showing in ZDNet's back-to-school computer recommendations is decidedly uncharacteristic, and theories are running rampant linking the past two weeks' virus activity to organized crime and terrorism...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4159: The Rules Are For A REASON (8/22/03)   Well, here we are at the end of the week! So we should be seeing new PowerBooks any minute now. Yup. Any minute. (Glances at watch) ...Uh, yyyeah. Well, clearly something's gone slightly awry, because everyone from Think Secret to Mac OS Rumors to MacBidouille to this guy had been expecting new PowerBooks this week...

  • 4161: They're All In It Together (8/22/03)   Attention, Windows users-- welcome to Virusville, population: you. But you knew that already. Meanwhile, as usual, in the past week and a half we Mac users on the whole have been only mildly inconvenienced by Blaster...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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