TV-PGNovember 5, 2001: iTunes 2 is here-- and its installer nuked a whole wagonload of data before Apple fixed the bug. Meanwhile, sources claim that Motorola has produced G5s running at 2.4 GHz, and Apple launches an ill-conceived plan to sell more copies of QuickTime Pro by restricting access to its high-resolution movie and game trailers...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 
The Installer of Great Peril (11/5/01)
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See, folks? Sometimes it pays to be slow. The long-awaited iTunes 2 officially hit the 'net on Friday night, and as expected, a swarm of Mac users abuzz with enthusiasm descended upon Apple's servers like locusts upon a "Grains Of Many Lands" buffet and snapped that puppy up posthaste. Most of the "early adopters" went merrily on their way, grooving to iTunes 2's funky new features such as its new crossfader and its way-overdue equalizer. However, a few of those poor souls got smacked upside the head with a hefty dose of bad karma; it appears that the installer for the Mac OS X version of iTunes 2.0 was a wee bit naughty, because, as faithful viewer Tuner Equalizer points out, some unfortunate would-be groovers spent the rest of the night battling the painful burning sensation brought on by unexpected data loss. Eeek!

This ain't no rumor, kiddies; Apple has even posted an official alert page describing the "issue." Apparently on a "limited number of systems running Mac OS X with multiple volumes (drives or partitions) mounted," running the iTunes 2.0 for Mac OS X installer "can result in loss of user data." That's basically a nice way of describing what happens when up to several gigabytes of stored stuff suddenly vanishes in a puff of virtual smoke. Mac OS 9 users, you can relax; this was purely a X thing. And those of you who installed iTunes 2.0 on your Mac OS X systems without seeing all your data get stomped into a sticky paste, you can relax, too, because fortune has smiled upon you-- though you should probably trash that cursed installer ASAP. iTunes 2.0 itself is just dandy; it's just the original installer that's chock full of potential evil.

If you're among the unlucky minority that did get shafted, data-wise, stop banging your head in the car door for a second and listen up: data loss comes in two flavors, and it's possible that you've narrowly avoided the one-way ticket to Painsville known as "irretrievable data loss." Indeed, your data may just be mostly dead, and Apple notes that at least some people who have been bitten by this bug "have reported successful restoration of files using file recovery applications." Basically, Apple's advice is to avoid "any operations that would write data on the affected partition" and then fire up a copy of Norton Utilities or TechTool Pro. (Note, however, the complete and utter absence of any sort of offer on Apple's part to buy you one of these fine utilities. You're on your own, wallet-wise.)

Slowpokes like us, who generally like to wait a few days before installing anything new just in case something nasty lurks beneath the surface, can now download a less destructive iTunes 2.0.1 installer at our leisure. Lest you think we're rubbing it in, trust us-- we feel your pain. See, we might be affected by this "issue" in a slightly less direct sense, because faithful viewer e_coli brings up an interesting point: there's at least a slight possibility that this iTunes 2.0 installer bug might hold up shipments of the iPod, which just happens to include iTunes 2 on its teensy little hard drive. That's mere speculation at this point, but we notice that the Apple Store is now quoting an iPod delivery time of "3-4 weeks." Of course, we don't know what they were quoting before, so that means nothing, but hey, let's all panic nonetheless.


 
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Clock Speed IS Everything (11/5/01)
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Hey, great news! While Intel is dorking around with its Pentium 4 at a measly 2 GHz, Motorola (whom everyone knows is the Clock Speed King, baby!) has reportedly just bested that score by a full twenty percent: according to The Register, good ol' Moto has successfully produced PowerPC G5 chips at a stunning 2.4 GHz. Break out the party hats, because Chipzilla's reign of terror has finally come to a crashing end.

Of course, we may be celebrating a mite early. Intel still holds a minor advantage, in the sense that you can actually buy a 2 GHz Pentium 4, whereas G5s of any flavor are still strictly the stuff of lab tests, prototypes, and pipe dreams at this point. There's also the fact that yields on those 2.4 GHz chips is still sort of low, and by "sort of low," we mean, two. That's right, everyone; if The Reg's sources aren't yanking our chains, then Apple has received exactly TWO 2.4 GHz G5s with which to play. So if you want a 2.4 GHz Power Mac G5, we recommend placing your preorder now, because otherwise you're going to have a looooong wait ahead of you.

See, it turns out that those 2.4 GHz monsters are basically mutants; "normal" G5s are currently running at 1, 1.2, 1.4, and 1.6 GHz-- nothing to sneeze at, certainly, but a darn sight less frightening than those two 2.4 GHz pituitary freaks. And, of course, even the 1 GHz G5s aren't commercially available, yet, and we're personally not expecting to see them hit the market for at least another six months or so. But really, is that any reason to refrain from thumbing our noses at Intel and saying "neener neener neener"? Well, okay, yes, it is... but we're ignoring our better judgment this week for religious reasons.

As for what Apple should do with those two freakishly fast G5s, well, a couple of options spring to mind. The first is to dim the lights, put on a little Barry White, and give those two chips a little privacy in the hope that they'll breed. If that fails, we figure that Apple should stick them both into the Fastest Mac We Can't Buy-- a dual-2.4 GHz Power Mac G5-- and then put it up for auction on eBay. You just know that there are a few filthy rich Mac nuts out there who'd be willing to shell out crazy ducats to own what would likely be the single zippiest Mac on the planet for at least the next two years (especially now that, to our utter shock and surprise, Xtrem appears to have vanished from the face of the 'net). Why, the proceeds from the sale of that one system alone could keep Apple in the black for another quarter. And if the winning bidder turns out to be an anonymous benefactor who then donates the system to the AtAT studios, well, so much the better...


 
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Just Fomenting Rebellion (11/5/01)
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You've seen it a zillion times, to the point where clicking a box that says "Later" is purely a reflex action now; that annoying little box that nags you each day to upgrade to QuickTime Pro. And if you're wondering why you should fork over $29.99 just to tack the word "Pro" onto the end of everyone's favorite media architecture, Apple is only too happy to list the benefits: play movies at full-screen size, edit movies instead of just watching them, automate the editing process with AppleScript, etc. etc. etc. Basically, QuickTime Pro unlocks all sorts of features that are absolutely crucial to today's media professional. Like the ability to watch hi-res movie trailers.

Say what now? You got it, Skippy; evidently Apple wasn't hooking enough suckers with the daily nagware and the promise of professional media editing capabilities, because faithful viewer MusicMan was the first of several viewers to point out that Apple has started charging for the privilege to watch the highest-resolution versions of its posted trailers for movies and video games. In the past few days, many a QuickTime user has found himself locked out of seeing, say, the 320x240 version of the Backyard Football trailer; either pony up the cash to upgrade to QuickTime Pro, or suffer the torture of 240x180 and a raging case of eyestrain.

Now, maybe it's just us, but doesn't it strike anyone else as more than a little sleazy for Apple to tout a product as "professional" via its very name and then, when its feature set fails to sell enough copies, to start requiring it for such a decidedly unprofessional activity as watching movie trailers? Has Steve Jobs been lunching in Redmond lately? Call us crazy idealists, but we consider the ability to watch hi-res trailers an inalienable right shared by all Mac users, regardless of age, race, creed, gender, shoe size, or-- and this is the stickler, here-- whether they're "consumers" or "professionals." So what's the deal, folks? C'mon, Apple; if you're going to charge for access to your hi-res trailers, save it for the Windows users. The Mac community deserves better than this.


 
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