Break Out The Party Hats (10/23/03)

This is it, people: Panther gets unleashed tomorrow, so make sure you eat your Wheaties in the morning-- you're gonna need your strength. Why, we're feeling faint with excitement already!

That raises an important point, actually: if you're so overtorqued with enthusiasm that you're short of breath and you think you might be on the brink of a myocardial infarction, we're afraid that we haven't got much in the way of bad news to back you away from the brink. But what the heck, take two of these and call us in the morning: first, AppleInsider recently reported that, contrary to every freakin' thing we've read about Panther's performance for the past two months, the retail release is "sluggish" on older supported Macs, with "poor window redraw speeds" and "multi-second delays during application switching." One user with a dual 500 MHz G4 loaded up with a gig and a half of RAM claims that Fast User Switching "requires almost a minute's wait" (it's apparently that other kind of "fast") and emptying the Trash when it's got half a gigabyte of files in it takes "nearly five minutes." Sure, it's almost certainly some weird anomaly at work and not an indication of Panther's usual behavior, but if it dampens your life-threatening eagerness, hey, go for it.

Likewise, we've also gotten a handful of unsubstantiated and suspiciously anonymous reports from alleged Panther preorderers (mostly out-of-country ones) who claim to have received notification from Apple that their orders will be delayed until next month-- because, you know, it takes that long to press another batch of CD-ROMs and toss 'em in boxes. If you're somehow able to squeeze a drop or two of belief from either of those two tidbits, though, maybe you can keep your heart from exploding with Panther fervor until the paramedics arrive. But when they show up, you should make sure they test you for terminal credulousness, too.

Meanwhile, one thing that won't help you keep your dangerously high enthusiasm levels from landing you in emergency open-heart surgery is Apple trying to push the hype even higher with a press release about Night of the Panther. (Think it sounds like a cheesy romance novel? That's because it is.) Just a friendly reminder from Cupertino, folks; every single one of Apple's 65 retail stores-- including UTC in San Diego and Legacy Village near Cleveland, both celebrating grand openings tomorrow-- will be partying down from 8 PM 'til midnight to mark Panther's arrival. We knew about the iMac giveaway at each store, but the press release also mentions "free gifts" and "great savings," as well. Details are conspicuously absent, but maybe you can snag a promotional poster or something and get 10% off when you buy a FireWire cable.

By the way, if you're a Boston-area Mac freak, maybe you'll spot an AtAT staff representative skulking in the shadows at the Apple Store Cambridgeside tomorrow night. Keep one eye peeled for this dork, say howdy, and most likely he'll grudgingly give you a free sticker. He'll probably even have a limited number of t-shirts and mock turtlenecks on hand for desperate marks with ready cash, although once the first few are gone, you may have to leave the store briefly and accompany him to the official AtAT Mobile Merchandise Unit if you want one. (Authorities have requested that we no longer bring the AMMU into the mall itself, since it's a Toyota sedan and it allegedly does bad things to the escalators and, occasionally, the shoppers who aren't nimble enough to dodge.)

Enjoy Pantherhood, everyone! And try not to get too wasted at the Genius Bar. You know an open bar always brings out the worst in you.

SceneLink (4288)
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The above scene was taken from the 10/23/03 episode:

October 23, 2003: Night of the Panther is nearly upon us; can your heart take the excitement? Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's Mac-based supercomputer gains three-quarters of a teraflop in mere days, and Apple prepares software called "iTunes Producer" that lets labels encode and upload their music for inclusion in the Music Store-- but was it going to be called something else?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4289: No "I" In "Breakfast" (10/23/03)   The Big Mac Saga continues! To recap, Virginia Tech's cluster of 1,100 dual-processor Power Mac G5s came online for performance testing at the beginning of the month, and on the 15th, WIRED quoted a Mr. Jack Dongarra ("one of the compilers of a Top 500 list") as saying that "early benchmarks" from a test of 128 of Big Mac's 2,200 processors showed performance a whopping "80 percent of the theoretical peak" of 17.6 teraflops...

  • 4290: Mystery Solved (Or Not) (10/23/03)   Here's a quickie that isn't exactly overflowing with drama all on its lonesome, but it just might provide closure on a previous plot twist that we know has been eating you up inside for over a month now...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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