TV-PGFebruary 13, 2000: Steve bites back, claiming that FreeMac was not prevented from buying iMacs in any way. Meanwhile, Macworld Expo Tokyo is nearly upon us-- what goodies does Steve have in store? And by Microsoft's own count, Windows 2000 is buggier than an ant farm...
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Foreign Objects Allowed (2/13/00)
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Uh-oh, it's time for another exciting game of "He Said, She Said"! Yes, folks, fingers are pointing every which way, and accusations fly following FreeMac.com's transmogrification into NadaPC.com. If you've been tuning in, you know that FreeMac.com's Jonathan Strum claims that Apple absolutely refused to let him buy the one million iMacs he planned to give away-- even at full retail price. Trusting souls that we are (and odd, proprietary, brand-paranoid souls that Apple can be), we pretty much believed him; we could actually see Steve Jobs refusing to allow the iMac to be given away by "yet another free computer venture" because it might tarnish the iMac's image as a quality system. After all, have you seen the kind of computers those other companies give away? Even people who use Windows by choice shouldn't have to use it on dreck like that.

Except now, we're finally hearing the other side of the story, and Steve Jobs himself says that it didn't go down like that. According to MacNN, His Royal Steveness claims that, and we're quoting here, "FreeMac's story is bogus. They can buy Macs from any Apple reseller. No one ever tried to stop them." Uh-oh, two mutually exclusive sides to the same sob story. Sounds like someone's pants are on fire. Do those smoldering slacks belong to Strum, or to Jobs? FreeMac's switch from giving away a million quality iMacs to giving away a million unspecified "Internet appliances" has plenty of folks hopping mad, so either Strum or Jobs is going to take the blame; there should be some intelligent, rational way to determine which guy is the dirty little liar. May we humbly suggest a no-holds-barred cage match?

We admit, after hearing Jobs flatly deny Strum's allegations, we have to say that the whole FreeMac thing smelled a little funny from the start. And we're not the only ones who think this may be a case of bait-and-switch times a million. Faithful viewer John Amoratis says he smells slime; "all [FreeMac] wanted to do was get a kabillion e-mail addresses of people interested in a fashionable, easy-to-use Internet appliance." Well, that's certainly a possibility; maybe Strum never intended to give away iMacs in the first place. But again, right now we think there's too little information upon which to build a solid opinion one way or the other. Cage match. It's the only way to settle this. Apple could even webcast it using QuickTime 4.1's new pay-per-view architecture and turn the event into a bit of extra revenue for the quarter. Heck, we know we'd bust out the credit cards to see that.


 
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New Toys For Everyone (2/13/00)
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It's funny, we've never been all that excited about a Tokyo Macworld Expo before. Then again, maybe it's not so surprising; Apple never announces shiny new products at an overseas event, so the keynote at the Tokyo Expo has traditionally been a rehash of the San Francisco keynote that took place a mere six weeks before. This time, though, there are all kinds of signs pointing to new hardware being unveiled this week-- new SKUs allegedly appearing in Apple's system, eyewitness accounts from Apple employees of production-quality Pismos, dealers claiming that G4 speed bumps are due on the 17th. All we can say is, if no new products debut this week, we're going to be awfully disappointed.

In fact, while our own rather staid and sober prediction is that we'll get Pismos and maybe speed-bumped G4s any day now, the rumors sites are falling all over themselves mentioning just about every product Apple's rumored to have in the development pipeline. Mac OS Rumors, for example, expects "numerous new products" at the Tokyo shindig, including Pismo, speed-bumped G4s, and even a speed-bumped iBook. AppleInsider goes slightly further, predicting not only the stuff that MOSR expects, but also possibly that long-rumored Graphite iBook that all the kiddies are drooling over-- the one with FireWire and DVD, remember? Sadly, the Apple-Palm hybrid is branded as "unlikely."

Okay, so now we're all revved up for some spankin' new gear. Here's hoping that Steve's requisite surprise doesn't turn out to be the same one we got in San Francisco-- namely, a hardware-free keynote. That would be especially devastating during the same week as Valentine's Day; it'd be like opening the heart-shaped box only to find a bunch of empty wrappers. Don't let us down, Steve... We're still a little antsy because webcast info doesn't appear to have been posted yet, and if there's no webcast, there will almost definitely be no new hardware.


 
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Somebody Call Guinness (2/13/00)
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Way back at the dawn of time, before AtAT was even the germ of an idea rattling around in some nut's head, the AtAT staff lived in a dorm that was riddled with cockroaches. Really, the bugs in that building could overwhelm the entire student population by sheer biomass alone if they had ever decided to attack en masse. And even before that, Yours Truly once lived in a condo with a massive roach problem; one day the condo association fumigated the whole building, and walking back into the place after the bulk of the poison had wafted out was like tromping through some horrible roach catastrophe. Hundreds of dead roaches littered the floors and countertops. I never thought I'd see so many bugs again. And yet, this is all nothing compared to the number of bugs lurking in the still-unreleased Windows 2000.

If you live a Windows-free life, get ready to laugh out loud like we did, and if you're one of the poor sods who's actually going to have to work with the beast formerly known as Windows NT 5, brace yourself for a fierce crying jag: faithful viewer Jerry O'Neil pointed out a Sm@rt Reseller article claiming that, by Microsoft's own count, there are over 63,000 bugs in Windows 2000. Sm@rt Reseller claims to have gotten hold of an internal Microsoft memo, in which a Windows development leader is quoted as saying, "Our customers do not want us to sell them products with over 63,000 potential known defects. They want these defects corrected. How many of you would spend $500 on a piece of software with over 63,000 potential known defects?" (To be fair, only 21,000 of those bugs are classified as "real problems." Feeling better?)

Let's see, here... by our count, Microsoft's still got three days before the official launch. If the company really wants to ship a bug-free product (they claim that's their goal for the "next release), they only need to stomp just over fourteen and a half bugs a minute. That actually sounds possible, given their vast resources. Then again, we're talking about Microsoft, here-- the company makes a ton of money off of "upgrades" that fix bugs that shouldn't have shipped in the first place, and on service fees spawned by those selfsame bugs. Still, 63,000... That's not exactly subtle, is it? At least now we know why this version of Windows is so darn late: they've evidently spent the past three years slapping in as many bugs as humanly possible. We estimate that Windows 2000's code base is at least 79% bugs-- a new world record. Congrats to the team from Redmond!


 
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