Tomorrow's Junk... Today! (12/2/03)

Say, you know how Microsoft's next major version of Windows, dubbed "Longhorn," is supposed to have us Mac fans quaking in our boots? Because, you know, it's totally going to blow Panther away-- which might actually be a concern if, say, the company had ever released an operating system that was more than marginally better than "good enough" in the first place... or if Longhorn were actually going to ship before 2006, by which time Panther will likely have been superceded by even niftier versions of Mac OS X at least twice. Seriously, about the only way we'd panic is if Longhorn were available to consumers right now.

What? It is? OH NO!!

Oh, wait-- false alarm. As faithful viewer Michael Yee points out, the BBC reports that while Longhorn is currently available, it's a pirated super-early development version selling in Malaysia for a buck fifty-eight. And for once with Microsoft software, you actually get what you pay for!

See, since Longhorn won't be finished for at least another couple of years, all the pirated version appears to be is the pre-alpha release distributed to developers at the Professional Developers Conference last October-- a version that was reportedly widely available from seedier online sources the day before the PDC began. And the Malaysian pirates apparently have an uncanny ability to price software in line with its intrinsic worth; $1.58 for a dangerous Longhorn pre-alpha sounds just about right, given that a plastic coaster at Crate & Barrel can run about 95 cents. So subtract roughly a buck from Longhorn's price for the ability to set your drink on the CD-R to prevent unsightly water stains on your desk, and you find that the software itself is worth approximately 60 cents. Of course, for the same $1.58, you could buy the coaster and a can of Coke to put on top of it, so we rate that to be the smarter buy.

Microsoft cautions consumers that "it would be extremely risky to load the still unstable operating system onto a home computer." (We think they're talking about Longhorn, but frankly, from that description, it's hard to say for sure.) In other words, if people want to pay money for untested and bug-ridden software capable of wreaking utter havoc with their systems, Microsoft has a wide selection of legitimate titles that fit the bill perfectly! Sure, it costs a couple hundred bucks more, but 1) it's legal, and 2) you're far more likely to be compatible with the wide selection of viruses and worms available for your immediate amusement. After all, why risk the loss of your data due to a bug in a preproduction operating system when you can instead put it in the hands of a seasoned virus-writer who can make sure it gets corrupted right?

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The above scene was taken from the 12/2/03 episode:

December 2, 2003: Things get ugly (and more than a little surreal) at Disney, as CEO Eisner allegedly calls Steve Jobs a "Shiite Muslim." Meanwhile, Apple's retail initiative puts the company on the TWICE Top 100 Consumer Electronics Retailers list, and the next big version of Windows is selling in Malaysia two years early for a buck and change...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4364: Name-Calling Gets Weird (12/2/03)   Oh my oh my oh dinosaurs, things sure are getting mighty heated down Disney way, aren't they? Sure, the situation may not be directly relevant to Mac fans right now, but given that seasoned Apple-watchers know that Disney will be buying out Apple any minute now (looks quizzically at watch, shakes it, holds it to ear, shakes it again, realizes that it's not a watch at all but a bottle cap taped to a rubber band), it's good to stay on top of any Mickey-related drama...

  • 4365: It's Good News (We Think) (12/2/03)   Perhaps you recall back when Apple first announced its intention to open its own retail stores, and a fair number of armchair CEOs (not to mention those pesky analysts) immediately proclaimed the move to be a Bad Idea(TM)...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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