TV-PGJune 11, 2001: Apple Legal tries to rid itself of an unsolicited endorsement by the Church of Satan. Meanwhile, Larry Ellison is talking to the press again, but it's all Steve-praise and no product info leaks, and Apple confirms that an Apple Store is coming to Cambridge, MA, thus provoking a Happy Dance at AtAT headquarters...
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The Power Mac Of The Beast (6/11/01)

We may have attention spans shorter than a Yahoo Serious film festival, but if the consequences are painful enough, even we can learn from our mistakes. For example, last November we raised the issue of the German government looking to ban Microsoft software because of its ties to Scientology; at the time we figured we maintained an appropriately neutral stance (on Scientology, that is-- we still blithely referred to Microsoft's "inherent suckiness"). When our inbox exploded a few hours later, however, we discovered that not everyone felt the same. Simply by mentioning Scientology and neither praising nor condemning it, some people thanked us for our "openmindedness" and "religious tolerance," while others flamed us to a crisp for allegedly lending a hint of respectability to a "dangerous cult." We were caught in the middle of a vicious debate of which we wanted no part whatsoever. Believe us, we learned our lesson; we'll be avoiding any mention of that sort of controversy again.

On a completely unrelated note, did you know that Apple's lawyers have taken on the Church of Satan?

Thanks to a tip via the Mac EvangeList, we wandered over to the "Official Church of Satan Website," scrolled all the way down, and clicked on the picture of a snake-wearing Anton LaVey which bears the slogan "We 'think TOO different.'" If you do the same, you'll be treated to a detailed account of the Satanists' run-ins with Apple's legal team, who evidently decided that Barnum was wrong and that there is such a thing as bad publicity. Apparently the webmaster of just happens to be an avid Mac user, and seeing as his entire site was indeed created with Apple's products, he chose proudly to display one of those little "Made With Macintosh" web badges that you encounter from time to time. He also posted a black-and-white photo of church founder LaVey (himself described as an "ardent supporter and exclusive user of Apple Computer's products and services") with "Think different" and the Apple logo superimposed.

Predictably, Apple's lawyers soon insisted that both the "Made With Macintosh" badge and the "Think Different" parody as presented on the Church of Satan site were "likely to tarnish the goodwill associated with the APPLE Marks, and constitute dilution," and therefore needed to be removed. What, no endorsement contract? (Whether or not you're wondering what Apple Legal was doing at in the first place depends entirely on your opinions of both lawyers and Satanists; leave us out of it.) After a bit of back-and-forth, Satan's Webmaster (man, we'd sell our souls for a business card like that!) eventually complied-- noting, however, that Apple's seemingly bigoted demand "diminish[ed his] respect for a company which has previously held [his] esteem as one of the true forces for free-thought and innovation in today's marketplace of ideas and technology."

Now, you can choose to interpret Apple's move however you like. Perhaps Apple is fervently anti-Satanist and acted accordingly. Or maybe the company simply acted as it always does to protect its intellectual property; we doubt that Apple is religiously opposed to Internet greeting cards on principle, for example. Even likelier, Apple as a corporation couldn't care less about the Church of Satan-- but does care what other people think about the organization, and moved to prevent a potential loss of sales. (A sales drop among the Satanist market was evidently deemed worth the risk.) Whatever the story, one positive fact remains: the Mac's appeal really is universal.

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Larry: Lotsa Praise, No Dirt (6/11/01)

Looks like we got our hopes up for nothing. Oracle CEO and Apple board member Larry "Listen To Me Talk" Ellison was nattering with the press again, and you know what that means: when we're lucky, he occasionally lets slip something juicy (and sometimes woefully inaccurate) about Apple's upcoming product lines. Unfortunately, this time we weren't lucky, and so the rebirth of "Mac NC" rumors will have to wait just a little while longer. In the meantime, it's well-known that Larry can't be interviewed without dropping a few choice words about his bestest buddy Steve (and indeed, no one can interview him without asking, either), so hey, it wasn't a total loss.

In this latest San Jose Mercury News interview, Larry is characteristically gushy about his pal, calling Steve "one of those heroic guys whose accomplishments are of such epic proportions." In fact, Steve is so much the hero, says Larry, that your average shmoes just don't like him. Whether this is due to modern society's fundamentally egalitarian sensibilities, as Larry claims, or because average shmoes are just as likely as not to be called "bozos" by Steve after having their outfits and sexual histories questioned is a mystery for the ages. In either case, Steve is apparently as comfortable with being tagged "mercurial" as Larry is with being called "arrogant." According to Larry, the wild and wacky pair "almost decided to wear T-shirts" bearing the adjectives proudly for all to see.

Larry crams so much gushing praise into eight sentences (he even compares Steve to Napoleon-- it's so rare to find a person with a Napoleon complex about someone else), it's plain to see who's the sidekick in this high-tech CEO buddy road movie. But Larry, while we're always happy to hear more about how Steve is a golden god whose feet never touch the base earth, do us a favor: next time, how about a little dirt on that long-missing Apple NC? Or a handheld model? Or even that new iMac that's probably only a month away? We're dyin', here!

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Just Around The Corner (6/11/01)

What better way to kill valuable airtime during this stultifying lull in the normally turbulent world of Mac drama than by checking in with Apple's official list of open Mac Genius positions? And lo and behold, there's some good news for Mac fans living on the nation's southeastern peninsula-- there are no fewer than three imminent Florida Apple Stores looking for talent: Tampa, Miami, and Wellington Green. We've gotten enough email from concerned Floridians in the past few months, we figured it was worth noting-- plus, that way it looks a little less like we're just plain gloating when we mention that we've finally received official confirmation that soon there will be a Boston-area Apple Store just minutes away from the AtAT compound. Woo-hoo!!

Yup, that's right; faithful viewer David Nagler noticed that in addition to the Northshore Mall store in Peabody, MA (several miles north of Boston proper), now Apple is looking for a Mac Genius in sunny and wonderful Cambridge. We had heard about this store months ago through various, ahem, "unofficial channels," but now that its existence has been confirmed by none other than Apple itself, we can rejoice openly. And given that AtAT makes its home just one town north of Cambridge, soon we'll have a new place to hang out when we get tired of watching The A-Team on TV Land.

The only question that remains (well, other than "when"; we're guessing by the end of the year) is just where in Cambridge Apple plans to set up shop. Our original assumption was that Harvard Square is a no-brainer; tons of tourist traffic, high visibility, and a hefty population of Harvard and MIT students, several of whom have access to their parents' credit card accounts. We also noticed that Express, which used to enjoy a huge and very prominent space right in Brattle Square, appears to have skeedaddled, leaving that luscious spot wide open. But Apple's job posting lists the location as "Cambridge-Cambridgeside-R021, Massachusetts," which has us wondering if perhaps Apple went with the Cambridgeside Galleria instead. We hope not; we still think Harvard Square has a much more appropriate clientele.

Lest you think we're whining, we should clarify that we'll take whatever we can get and be thankful for it; the last thing we need is for frustrated individuals in Apple Store-deprived areas making road trips to Boston just to smack us upside the head for whining about our local store possibly being twenty minutes away instead of ten. Mostly we're concerned with what's best for Apple on this one-- though we won't deny that we visit Harvard Square a lot more often than the Galleria, which has never exactly been our mall of choice. Either way, though, consider us officially in a Good Mood™ for at least the next half-hour.

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