TV-PGJanuary 16, 2000: We're back! (Mostly.) The flu plays havoc with the finely-tuned routines established at AtAT headquarters. Meanwhile, Nike tries to use technology to get folks off their couches, but Apple's technology renders that attack useless, and Sotec finally caves on the whole eOne issue, but we still see them sold at the corner computer store...
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Back From The Dead (1/16/00)

We're back! Neither rain nor snow nor dead of night will keep us from our appointed rounds, but a fever of 102.5° will knock me flat on my ass just as quick as the next guy. Yes, originally I was lucky enough only to have been saddled with a bad cold, but like a dork I had to go and push things-- and that flu that's been beating up half the western hemisphere decided to do a happy little tap-dance on the tattered shreds of my immune system... hence, no new episodes since last Tuesday night. I personally apologize for the unplanned hiatus, but take my word for it: when you're burning up but feeling chilly, your head feels like someone's trying to screwjack it open from the inside, you've got slimy gunk constantly streaming from every opening in your face, a constant barrage of coughing is ripping apart your throat and your abdominal wall, and you can't focus both eyes in the same direction, entertaining others is just about the last thing on your mind.

Anyway, I'm still not quite at 100% yet, but the end is in sight-- and I mean the end of the illness, not the Big White Light. (I hope.) Fever's down, the Great Phlegm Fountain appears to have been shut down for the season, the headache's subsided to a dull roar, and most importantly, I can read a Mac screen again. Needless to say, I'm a bit out of the loop-- sleeping through fever-dreams for seventeen straight hours will do that to you, for instance-- but I'll be getting up to speed over the next few days. By the middle of the week AtAT should be back to its old self again, and there will be much rejoicing.

In the meantime, please enjoy "AtAT Lite," whatever the heck that turns out to be. Thanks much to all of you who wrote in with well-wishes and sent iCards-- given the volume of mail on which I'll have to catch up, I may not get a chance to reply personally to everyone, but I'll try. And, of course, extra big fuzzy thanks to Katie, AtAT's resident fact-checker and Goddess of Minutiae, not just for insisting on posting a "Closed Due To Sickness" notice when I wasn't able, but also for keeping me warm, fed, and as comfortable as circumstances would allow. Stay well, everyone, 'cause this particular bug was not fun to wrestle...

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Couch Preservation (1/16/00)

Ah, technology-- our cruel master and willing slave. Technology's greatest promise is not to extend the human life span, or cure all disease, or create a really fine-tasting low-fat potato chip. No, the real goal of technology, the one that keeps all these advances rolling forward, is this: to make it unnecessary for us human beings ever to have to leave the couch again. Believe us, after this twisted mutant space-virus invaded AtAT headquarters this past week, we can appreciate more than ever the importance of staying on the couch as much as humanly possible. The promise of a sedentary, TV-infused lifestyle rife with snack foods: technology's greatest gift.

Unfortunately, there are some misguided souls who see all these new advances in technology as somehow detrimental to the fabric of society. Take those folks over at Nike, for example; sure, they've had some wonderfully entertaining commercials over the years, but the primary message has always been "get up and do something athletic." (Well, okay, the real primary message has been "get up and buy stuff with our logo on it," but that other message is in there, too.) And now Nike's latest subversion of technology is described in a Wired article: TV commercials that end in cliffhangers, directing viewers to visit to see what happens. The idea is to "lure potatoes off their couches" and away from their TV sets. Diabolical! Who can save our endangered couch-centric lifestyle from such a heinous threat?

Fret not, because it's Apple to the rescue! (Insert trumpet fanfare here.) See, your friendly neighborhood AtAT staff just happened to be well into an extended couch-sitting session when we first saw one of these "Whatever" Nike ads on Fox. At the end, the runner was just about to be sliced into ribbons by a bevy of airborne chainsaws-- oh no! However will he escape? Shall we pry our butts from our beloved couch and miss a few precious minutes of The Simpsons to head into the computer room to check? Naw-- as a matter of fact, our butts didn't budge a millimeter thanks to our iBook and the magic of AirPort. A few keystrokes later, and voilà: we were choosing our own endings and watching them in QuickTime format. Okay, okay, so an Apple technology is a part of Nike's dastardly anti-couch campaign, but we're sure that was Nike's idea, not Apple's. Anyway, we beat the system. Long Live The Couch!

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Waiting Out The Eyesore (1/16/00)

The Clone Wars, Take Two. The first Clone Wars in which Apple fought took place a few years back, as Mac OS licensees cannibalized Apple's own Mac sales and Steve Jobs ended the struggle with a display of carnage so startling, no one was unaffected. More recently, though, Apple's been fighting a different clone battle-- against Wintel manufacturers who chose to clone the iMac's design to capitalize on its runaway success. First there was the E-Power by Future Power, and then the eOne by Sotec (sold in this country by eMachines). And while Apple's legal strides against the iMac copiers have been generally pretty positive so far, the fact remains that when we hit the local computer stores, we still have to see that blue and white eOne on display-- and occasionally we even see one getting purchased. It breaks our hearts.

Now, our understanding was that eMachines is simply selling eOnes manufactured and exported by Sotec, but these days we're not so sure. After all, Apple Japan won a preliminary injunction against Sotec months ago, which prevented the company from making, selling, or exporting any more of the clones. We would have thought that eMachines would have run out of eOnes by now with its Japanese source cut off, but we still see these eOnes getting sold. Apple's suit against eMachines still hasn't borne fruit, and so as long as eOnes exist, we'll have to endure their ugly swoops and angles every time we go in to drool over the iMac DV Special Edition.

Well, let's see if this makes any difference: according to The Register, Sotec has finally settled the Apple Japan suit. The terms of the settlement are that Sotec will pay Apple ten million yen in damages and will stop making the blue and white eOne. Is that a monumental settlement? Well, consider first that Sotec was already barred from making eOnes due to the preliminary injunction-- this just makes the change permanent. Then note that ten million yen is only about $94,000. So basically it doesn't sound like this settlement changes things all that much. But we're wondering how long we'll have to wait until those eOnes disappear from the local store shelves...

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