TV-PGSeptember 23, 1997: (Sorry—this was before we started writing intro text for each episode!)
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T-Minus 89 & Counting... (9/23/97)

Faithful viewer Brian Freeman made an interesting suggestion via our Feedback page: "Scully canned Jobs and took us on down the road. We didn't like it much. Let's give Steve his 90 days. Then if it isn't right, we'll break out the Macintosh IIVX's and blow a hole in him! Okay?"

While AtAT can't condone violence to any living creatures (office Marathon Infinity netgames are a different story), we like the idea of a 90-day progress deadline; he raises Apple's ratings in three months, or he's written off the show (shot by a long-lost twin with a heroin addiction, perhaps?). 90 days from today is December 22nd, which, coincidentally, happens to be my father's birthday. Seeing as dear ol' Dad's a Mac user himself, I think a vastly Jobs-improved Apple state of affairs would be a nice present.

So starting today, there will be a Jobs Countdown Clock at the bottom of the screen, with the AtAT Nielsen Ratings. For those viewers thinking about running screaming from the Mac platform and never looking back, consider this course of action instead: Stick with your Mac for now, keep an eye on the Jobs Clock, and if things are no better when it reaches zero, buy yourself a Wintel machine for Christmas. And send us your Mac. :) (For the record, AtAT thinks Steve can pull this off. He's got real camera presence.)

By the way, did the IIvx's include some kind of bazooka-like projectile peripheral of which we were not aware? If so, anyone want to sell us one?

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IMax, UMAX, We All Max...(9/23/97)

Following the recent Clone Wars, only one of the Big Three compatibles manufacturers is still left standing-- Power Computing was bought out, and Motorola got out while the getting was good, leaving UMAX as the sole survivor. However, it looked like UMAX remained only as a token cloner; rumors flew that they were essentially restricted to the sub-$1000 system market, and that they were also being directed towards overseas markets, leaving the yummy high-end domestic market ripe for the picking by the Apple Empire.

There were brief signs that reports of UMAX's castration were greatly exaggerated, when Webintosh yesterday reported that a UMAX CHRP machine (the Power 6000 Pro) had been certified by Apple and would be available by the end of this year. Unfortunately, this proved apochryphal, and UMAX representatives confirm what we've been hearing all along-- that Apple hasn't certified any CHRP models for production. Unlike Motorola, though (who says their Starmax 6000 will never ship), UMAX is still trying for Apple certification of their CHRP box, so there's at least a glimmer of hope that we'll be able to buy a CHRP machine sometime this century.

Incidentally, AtAT staff got to test-drive Motorola's stillborn CHRP model at the MacWorld Expo last month. After witnessing four-digit MacBench scores firsthand, we consider it a crime against humanity that Mac users can't buy this existing technology. It's an atrocity right up there with overcooked broccoli and when Jane kept going back to Michael back in the glory days on Melrose Place. (Not as heinous a crime as Windows 95, however.)

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imedia, You Media... (9/23/97)

It's with great wailing and gnashing of teeth that we read the final press release from Clone War victim Vertegri Research, confirming that they are shutting down. Vertegri, you may recall, made the imediaEngine, the first and only Powerbook clone. Well, sort of. It was portable the same way the original Mac Portable was portable. Call it "luggable." Vertegri got around Apple's "No Powerbook Clones" policy by basing their design around a desktop motherboard stuffed into an oversize laptop case. It had some great advantages, like a HUGE active-matrix screen, a 200 MHz 604e (still faster than any Powerbook runs), and a removeable/wireless keyboard. Of course, its biggest drawback was its lack of a battery-- you plugged it in like any desktop Mac.

We at AtAT feel that the imediaEngine deserves one last mention, because while it looked strange in the magazine photos (and there's a photo at Vertegri's website), it was downright weird in real life. We don't mean that in a bad way, either. It was just very, very striking, with its brushed aluminum and leather and its sheer SIZE. Think BIG. As I remarked at the time, seeing it for the first time made three letters pop into my head: W, T, and F.

We'll miss Vertegri, because they brought one of the most different and original Mac clone designs to the party.

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