(Welcome to the World of Endless Reruns! Two decades ago, As the Apple Turns (AtAT) was a daily web-based soap opera obsessively following the melodramatic ins and outs of all things Apple. Now the archives are broadcasting in syndication, so each day you can see what life was like 20 years ago when Apple was still the underdog, all in not-so-fabulous RetroVision™!)

TV-PGSeptember 20, 2000: Put on your driving gloves, because FireWire is coming to a car near you. Meanwhile, a French site stumbles over a mysterious reference to DOS in the Mac OS X public beta, and some PC users are looking at Apple's new operating system with lust in their eyes...
And Now For A Word From Our Sponsors

As an Amazon Associate, AtAT earns from qualifying purchases

Hot Rod? Burning Rubber? (9/20/00)

Let's get one thing clear right off the bat; we here at AtAT aren't really "car people." We don't gush over the latest models, we don't change our own oil, and we consider the AtATmobile little more than a utilitarian device for transporting bodies and belongings from point A to point B-- a particularly lovable utilitarian device, but a utilitarian device nonetheless. (Okay, we're done saying "utilitarian device" now.) So in general we don't put a whole lot of thought into what future innovations might make automobiles better, other than impatiently awaiting the day foretold in nearly every '50s sci-fi flick when we'll all have flying cars and can drive to work like George Jetson.

That said, we are somewhat excited about this latest push to stick FireWire in cars of the future. Faithful viewer Mangoman tipped us off to a MacCentral article about a "draft specification" cobbled together by the 1394 Trade Association and the IDB Forum, which proposes that FireWire be included in future vehicles for "delivering built-in audio and video content." (Hopefully that video content is for the passengers in the car, and not the driver-- TV junkies we may be, but even we are a tad squeamish about sharing the road with motorists trying to negotiate the highway at eighty miles per hour while watching "Springer.")

What's more, apparently there's a distinct possibility that you'll be able to plug your PowerBook or iBook right into your car to... uh... well, to do something. MacCentral suggests that you might want to do this for "myriad purposes ranging from entertainment to navigation." They're probably thinking of relatively practical (yet mundane) applications, such as uploading MP3 files from your iBook to your car's audio system, or uploading MapQuest directions to the heads-up display before a long trip. We, on the other hand, immediately wondered whether we could control the vehicle via InputSprocket while playing Carmageddon. Now that's driving!

The real benefit of all this to Apple, though, may be purely financial. Remember, Apple invented FireWire, and collects royalties every time it's used-- after wrassling with the rest of the industry over the original dollar-per-port licensing fee, eventually the cost dropped to twenty-five cents per device. We haven't the foggiest idea how many cars are sold each year, but if this FireWire plan goes through, Apple would make a buck for ever four cars that roll off the assembly lines. It may not be a lot of cash, but it would probably be enough to keep the board of directors in gas money.

SceneLink (2559)
You Got Your DOS In My X (9/20/00)

There's no doubt that Microsoft has a few hundred thousand dirty little secrets, and one of the more benign ones is the way that DOS still lurks beneath the surface of Windows. (Okay, it's a stretch to call DOS "benign," but we're grading on a curve, here-- at least there are no dead bodies involved.) To say that DOS is still present in Windows 95 (and 98, and Me) is an oversimplification that's not strictly correct, but hey, we're busy people. Oversimplification is a valuable tool that can save hours when properly abused.

But what would you say if we told you that Apple's got a dirty little secret or two itself? No, we're not talking about those rumors of gross impropriety during Uncle Steve's infamous "lost weekend" in Thailand-- we won't even dignify those stories with airtime, because they're hurtful, libelous, and really, really funny despicable. We're talking more along the lines of the "DOS-in-Windows" sort of skeleton in the closet. As you are all well aware, tens of thousands of zany, madcap Mac geeks are poring through the Mac OS X public beta right this second, studying it obsessively from every possible angle, trying to attain a deep, Zen-like understanding of the Future of the Mac. Any search on that scale is bound to uncover a few things that Apple may have wanted to keep hidden. Like, say, any references to DOS in Mac OS X's configuration files...

Say what? Say yeah. The French site MacPlus was spooning around in the Mac OS X soup and found a curious reference to that most hated of command-line-based PC operating systems. Apparently there's an option to set the "button title in alert to confirm restarting the computer into DOS/Windows" called "Restart in DOS." At least, we think that's what's going on-- our high school French is pretty rusty, so we were forced to rely on Altavista's automatic translation function, which, as always, was both helpful and extraordinarily amusing. "And precisely, that the owners of Mac OS Xb will throw an eye in the file located here." Hey, you know us, folks-- we'll throw an eye at anything it'll stick to.

Anyway, before you people go into spasms at the prospect of Mac OS X being based on DOS, relax. The option is clearly labeled "Intel only," which tells us one of two things: either it's just a code remnant left over from the Intel-compatible version of OpenStep, from which Mac OS X was derived, or it's further evidence that Apple continues to play with the possibility of releasing an Intel-compatible version of Mac OS X. Neither possibility is worth bursting a blood vessel over. Still, the whole idea of DOS even being mentioned in Mac OS X has enough gross-out factor to last us a week.

SceneLink (2560)
They Want It, We Got It (9/20/00)

Speaking of that Intel version of Mac OS X, while personally we think we're likelier to see a Best Actor Oscar for Carrot Top than Apple's next-generation operating system running on a Pentium anytime this decade, it's nice to know that at least some people really want what we've got. Or what we're going to get. Whatever.

Faithful viewer Ben Stanfield clued us in to the "OS X on Intel" site, which is currently amassing support from those who would like to see Mac OS X shipping for the multitude of PC clones out there in the wild. "It's a beautiful OS," the site chirps, "with all the power of a BSD environment... let's face it, Windows works [try telling that to this NT server, whose bluescreen count is well into the double digits over the past three days... -ed.], but it's got some serious shortcomings." The site is currently collecting "signatures" for its petition, and when last we checked, over 2200 people had signed on.

However, no matter how many people clamor for X on Intel iron, we're betting the request will fall on deaf ears. Steve likes to talk about how Apple's user experience is unparalleled because the company makes "the whole widget"-- the hardware and the software working together to produce a consistent and pleasant user environment. Do you really think he'd change his mind on that and force Apple to try to support the nightmare myriad of hardware configurations floating around in the Wintel world? Not bloody likely-- especially since, for the trouble, all the company would get in return is plummeting Mac sales, as customers buy el-cheapo PC clones to run Mac OS X.

There's only one way that we can see Apple releasing Mac OS X for Intel, and that's if Apple itself bails on the PowerPC and starts sticking Pentiums in new Macs. (It's a scary thought, we know, but it's just a hypothetical.) Even in that unlikely event, since Apple makes such a huge proportion of its money from hardware sales, we'd be willing to bet that Intel-based Macs would retain a hardware ROM so that non-Apple Intel boxes still couldn't run the operating system. Still, it's nice to see that the Wintel crowd is lusting after the future of the Mac, isn't it? It makes us feel special.

SceneLink (2561)
Previously, on As the Apple Turns...

TV-PGSeptember 19, 2000: Repeated shipping confirmations make the public beta orders even more surreal, but at least Apple's racking up a ton of them. Meanwhile, Apple licenses Amazon's 1-Click technology to make the Apple Store a truly dangerous prospect, and CNET can't seem to keep its operating systems straight...

Tune in now!

(Or visit the FUTURE PAST: view the Next Episode!)
Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this Ď90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
Iím trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(349 votes)

DISCLAIMER: AtAT was not a news site any more than Inside Edition was a "real" news show. We made Dawson's Creek look like 60 Minutes. We engaged in rampant guesswork, wild speculation, and pure fabrication for the entertainment of our viewers. Sure, everything here was "inspired by actual events," but so was Amityville II: The Possession. So lighten up.

Site best viewed with a sense of humor. AtAT is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Keep hands inside car at all times. The drinking of beverages while watching AtAT is strongly discouraged; AtAT is not responsible for damage, discomfort, or staining caused by spit-takes or "nosers."

Everything you see here that isn't attributed to other parties is copyright ©,1997-2020 J. Miller and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast without his explicit consent (or possibly the express written consent of Major League Baseball, but we doubt it).