TV-PGDecember 20, 2001: Sproingers rejoice; word gets out that Mac OS X 10.2 will support spring-loaded folders. Meanwhile, ranked fifth in traffic among "e-tailers" last month, and Microsoft owns up to a big, scary hole in Windows XP that makes a default installation completely vulnerable to control by hackers as soon as the system is on the Internet...
But First, A Word From Our Sponsors

Mash-ups and original music by AtAT's former Intern and Goddess-in-Training

Prim M at YouTube

10.2: Aqua Goes Sproingy (12/20/01)

Getting tired of nudging Software Update every twenty seconds in the hope that Mac OS X 10.1.2 will finally appear? What you need is to start looking at the Big Picture, pal. Fretting about these imminent bug-fix point releases accomplishes nothing. What you should be doing is setting your sights on major OS upgrades that are at least six months away-- which also accomplishes nothing, but at least you're less likely to wear out your mouse button by repeatedly clicking on that "Update Now" button like some kind of hypercaffeinated TreeLoot addict.

Besides, it's the big releases that have all the chunkstyle new features-- which makes pondering, for example, Mac OS X 10.2 a lot more entertaining than waiting around for a mere collection of tweaks to USB audio support and the Image Capture application. And here's why: according to an AppleInsider report pointed out by faithful viewer Paul Ferro, based on an "early development" release currently floating around on the seedier file servers of the 'net, 10.2 (code-named "Jaguar") contains one feature that's sure to have all you Mac OS 9 holdouts scrambling to upgrade post-haste: spring-loaded folders.

That's right; if you're the type whose idea of a good time is dragging a file over a series of successively deeper folder icons as each in turn pops open to reveal its contents with a friendly wink (and heaven knows we've whiled away many a rainy day giggling quietly to ourselves as we indulged in a few hours of that particular brand of "Entertainment for the Easily-Amused"), then you'll be thrilled to hear that this summer's 10.2 release finally brings that much-loved feature to the glory of Aqua. And yes, there's a screenshot by way of proof.

In a stunning illustration of the "Don't Everybody Speak At Once" phenomenon of the Mac rumor mill, faithful viewer Paul Ferro points out that Think Secret has 10.2 notes and screenshots as well. When mashed together, all these source paint a picture of a 10.2 release already chock full of interesting improvements to the Disk Copy application, contextual menus in the Finder that might actually be useful for a change, and implementations of certain "universal access" features (like screen-flash alerts) that are finally starting to filter through from earlier versions of the Mac OS. But we suspect it's the addition of spring-loaded folders that's really going to drive widespread Mac OS X adoption this summer. Apps, shmapps; people just want their springy folders!

SceneLink (3465)
Number Five With A Bullet (12/20/01)

When we encounter that hideous term "e-tailer," businesses like and come to mind; we think of companies that exist (or, after the dot-com bust, fail to exist) exclusively to sell stuff on the 'net. In our heads, Apple doesn't quite fit into that category, since it's first and foremost a manufacturer of hardware and software. Yes, the company sells some of that gear through its web site, but most of it finds its way into customer's hands via Apple's retail stores and the good old-fashioned reseller channel. And don't forget the most damning evidence of all: Apple can't be an e-tailer, because Apple makes money. (Ba-dum ching.)

Still, the people over at Nielsen//NetRatings apparently have a different set of criteria than we do-- and as it turns out, that's a good thing. Because since Apple qualifies to them as an e-tailer, that means the company was eligible to make the top five list of "top e-tailers for the month of November." Yes, Apple placed fifth. After all, if it had taken fourth, we'd have said "top four list," right? ("All but four others are number six or lower.") But the only four to do better were some pretty heavy hitters: Amazon (duh), Columbia House, Toys 'R' Us, and Barnes and Noble. So apparently this year, all the online holiday shoppers were going for books, CDs, DVD, toys, and Macs. Heck, that's our Christmas wish list right there!

The real reason why this ranking is so sweet: there's a certain Steve-obsessed, beige-thinking CEO out there somewhere with steam shooting out of his ears right about now-- for you see, placed a mere seventh, snagging only 5.7 million pairs of eyeballs compared to Apple's 6.1 million. We picture Mike Dell flogging somebody in the Internet Marketing department, demanding an Apple-beating result when the December ratings roll in under pain of death. Fun times for all.

However, in the interest of displaying the merest pretension of journalistic integrity (heck, we figured we'd try something new for a change), it's probably worth stressing that Nielsen is ranking these sites based purely on how many surfers came clicking through, and not on how much stuff these e-tailers actually managed to sell. We don't have any sales numbers handy, but we think it's a pretty safe bet that when comparing the total amount of cash hauled in by and respectively, Dell would beat the short pants off our buddies in Cupertino. So far.

SceneLink (3466)
One For The Record Books (12/20/01)

Hey, guess what? Something amazing happened today. Ready for this? They found a Microsoft security hole. Wait, don't leave! Yes, we know that Microsoft security flaws are about as rare as pennies with Lincoln's picture on them, but this one is different: it's bad. Really bad. So bad it makes most Microsoft security holes look like terrific new features they should be advertising in boldface caps on the box with lots of exclamation points. Yea verily, this is the great-granddaddy of all Windows vulnerabilities. (This is the part where you're supposed to gasp audibly and one or two of you actually faint for effect.)

Actually, technically the bug was discovered several weeks ago, but it was apparently kept pretty hush-hush until now. Faithful viewer David McConnell tipped us off to an Associated Press article which leads off with one of the greatest introductions we've ever seen: "Microsoft's newest version of Windows, billed as the most secure ever, contains several serious flaws that allow hackers to steal or destroy a victim's data files across the Internet or implant rogue computer software. The company released a free fix Thursday." Gosh, all they did is put the personal data of millions of customers at terrifying risk, and the fix is free? The newfound benevolence of Redmond never ceases to amaze us. Clearly that whole Justice Department brouhaha did some good after all.

And the amazement just keeps on coming, because Microsoft actually seems to be admitting the gravity of the situation, calling it a "very serious vulnerability" and acknowledging that "the risk to consumers was unprecedented because the glitches allow hackers to seize control of all Windows XP operating system software without requiring a computer user to do anything except connect to the Internet." We are stunned-- stunned, we tell you-- that Microsoft hasn't therefore simply blamed the Internet for the problem. What's this world coming to?

By the way, no, there's no word on whether this was one of those "trojans, trapdoors, and bugs" that a captured terrorist insists Al Qaeda managed to stick into Windows XP, but feel free to incorporate that possibility into your own twisted world view sans evidence if you like. Meanwhile, word has it that Microsoft has "forcefully urged" all users to install the patch right away, although we noticed a distinct lack of any mention of the problem whatsoever when we visited the company's home page. Maybe things haven't changed that much after all. Those of you running Windows XP should probably hunt down and install that patch ASAP; those of you who are just itching to exploit that vulnerability can rest easy in the knowledge that even if Microsoft calls every single registered user of XP, there's still going to be a fair percentage of people who won't bother to apply the patch. So take your time.

In closing, Microsoft is clearly the company with whom you want to trust your sensitive personal and financial information. Oooooh yeah, .NET and Passport just sound better and better all the time...

SceneLink (3467)
← Previous Episode
Next Episode →
Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s 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?
I'm 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)

(1190 votes)

As an Amazon Associate, AtAT earns from qualifying purchases

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 ©,1997-2023 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).