Selling To Feds And Felons (1/30/04)

Okay, now this is just a crying shame: remember how on the earlier seasons of "The X-Files" agents Mulder and Scully were often seen using Macs, such as the PowerBook that Scully used to compile her field reports about the ghosts of shapeshifting aliens with corrosive snot that haunt the colony of Bigfoot's clones deep beneath Area 51? In later episodes Mac fans were dismayed to note that most of the computers on the show were Wintels; sure, in the very last few seasons Dana had a PowerBook again and various Macs occasionally turned up onscreen, but that was after the show went all Hollywood and dispensed with the gritty, unflinching realism that was the hallmark of its first few seasons. By that time the show was no longer a documentary about liver-eating mutants and killer cockroaches, you know? It was almost like they were just blatantly making stuff up.

But we digress. The point is, as "The X-Files" made abundantly clear, the FBI has moved increasingly to Wintels over the years, which really doesn't inspire confidence in the agency's continued ability to ferret out the truth about gender-switching religious isolationists-- but faithful viewer Phil B found a SecurityFocus article which restores at least a little bit of hope. An FBI agent speaking at a university confirmed that, in the field, the agency deploys Wintel laptops because it "don't have as much money to spend" and has to "stretch [its] dollars." (Just another example of people ignoring long-term maintenance and support costs. C'mon, guys, the truth is out there!) However, the agent revealed that "many of the computer security folks back at FBI HQ use Macs running OS X, since those machines can do just about anything: run software for Mac, Unix, or Windows, using either a GUI or the command line. And they're secure out of the box."

How's that for a ringing endorsement? Sounds to us like Steve should give the FBI a call and make them an offer on PowerBooks that the agency can't refuse. (That is, unless he's got something to hide from the Bureau. Quick, stash the bodies!) Meanwhile, the same FBI agent also came up with this choice quote: "If you're a bad guy and you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac." Apparently neither local police nor the feds know what to do with impounded Macs; they haven't the foggiest idea how to recover data to be used as evidence against the owner. Reportedly most of the time U.S. law enforcement personnel ship the Macs of alleged evildoers up north and beg the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to use their "knowledge and technique for Mac forensics that is second to none." Mounties: Mac experts. Who knew?

Incidentally, seeing as this info surfaced days ago, several of you wrote in asking why we hadn't incorporated this little plot point into our ongoing melodrama until now. Well, it's like this: you know how, on TV, when they show a crazy guy building a homemade bomb out of everyday household cleaners and stuff from his pantry, they always leave out one or two key ingredients so that if impressionable youngsters at home decide to follow along, they don't wind up with an actual explosive with the boom and the bang and the flying limbs, flying torsos, and flying lawsuits? Right. Well, we were kind of doing the same sort of thing; if we were to publicize the fact that criminals can flummox the feds by using Macs, the next thing you know, we've invited a massive influx of drug smugglers, illegal smut merchants, and other ne'er-do-wells into our cozy little Mac community.

But eventually we decided that, when you're hovering in the 2% range, hey, market share is market share, so the heck with it. Welcome, felons, one and all! Can we take your coats?

SceneLink (4480)
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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 1/30/04 episode:

January 30, 2004: A QuickTime version of Pepsi's iTunes Super Bowl ad hits the 'net, so start downloading. Meanwhile, Pixar splits from Disney, leaving Michael Eisner holding the bag, and the FBI acknowledges that criminals looking to frustrate the feds should use Macs for their crimes...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4478: Pepsi's Pre-Freak Sneview (1/30/04)   Super Bowl Sunday is just a couple of days away, and you know what that means: Sunday is Mall-To-Yourself Day! That is, unless you happen to be one of the 100 million people who wants to watch the game and/or the commercials...

  • 4479: Eisner: Running For Cover (1/30/04)   Excuse our lack of focus, but we're a little distracted right now, and for once, it's not by a shiny thing we spotted on the dresser. We were actually trying to move some funds around-- you know, pull together our liquid assets, make our money work for us, all that malarkey...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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