TV-PGSeptember 14, 2001: Thought you missed the Apple store opening in Tampa this morning? Fear not-- it's actually tomorrow. Meanwhile, Apple confirms that Mac OS X 10.1 update CD-ROMs will be distributed for free at certain Apple dealerships, and the Apple Store Northshore team finds out that Genius Bar water isn't just for breakfast anymore...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 
Tampa Opening, Take Two (9/14/01)
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Life goes on, and so does retail. We imagine that many of you might have decided not to show up to today's scheduled Apple store grand opening at International Plaza in Tampa, thinking that, in light of recent events, celebrating something as ultimately meaningless as the opening of a computer store (yes, even an Apple store) would be crass or disrespectful. While we can certainly understand that concern, we'd like to point out that the grand openings that we were lucky enough to attend were fundamentally about community, not cash registers; they were massive gatherings of scads of like-minded individuals coming together peacefully to celebrate something positive. So while we can't imagine that any opening taking place in the shadow of Tuesday's horrific events would necessarily include high fives and "Love Shack" blaring out of the store's sound system, sharing some quality time with other Mac users amid Apple's latest gear might have made for a good mental hug. And we can all use more hugs these days.

Sorry you missed the Tampa opening now? Well, don't be-- because it hasn't happened yet. While it's true that Apple's web site originally listed the opening date as September 14th, it was changed earlier in the week to reflect the true opening date: September 15th, or tomorrow. Which means, in all likelihood you won't even need time off of work to go check it out. (You will, however, have to miss your Saturday morning cartoons-- although, given the understandable nature of television programming of late, you'd likely be missing those anyway.)

MacCentral is reporting that the one-day delay is "because of the tragic events this week," though that's not actually the case; faithful viewer John DiPanfilo alerted us to the date change last Monday night, and indeed, before the unthinkable happened on Tuesday morning, we were all set to regale you with elaborate conspiracy theories as to why the store needed an extra day to open its doors. (We forget exactly what we were going to say, but we seem to recall that black helicopters and the Knights Templar figured heavily in the plot.) In any case, the one-day delay works out well, since today has been declared a day of remembrance for the victims of Tuesday's attack, and a gala store opening would clearly have been unseemly.

So anyway, that's the scoop: the Tampa opening is tomorrow at 10:00 AM, and if you're in the area, we recommend that you go and see what all the fuss is about. Chat with a few other Mac fans, kick the tires on a Quicksilver G4, and drink a little Evian while trying to stump the Geniuses. No, a free t-shirt isn't going to rid the world of pain and anguish, nor is it going to turn the clock back so that disaster can be averted. But it can let you put off doing laundry for another day... and in this life, you have to learn to appreciate the little things.


 
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Pick It Up, Save On Shipping (9/14/01)
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Good news for Mac OS X early adopters: it looks like those "unconfirmed rumors" of alternate 10.1 distribution methods may have just graduated into the realm of verifiable fact. If you can still remember those halcyon days when we all actually thought that things like a $20 upgrade fee was something worth getting upset about (that's right-- stretch those brains back to last week), you may recall a ruckus because Apple was planning to charge existing Mac OS X customers a $19.95 "shipping and handling" fee in order to upgrade to the long-awaited 10.1 release. Since the only way to get the update was on CD via mail (i.e. there would be no downloadable version), several people saw this as an unfair extra expense just to gain the speed, stability, and features that should have been in Mac OS X 10.0 in the first place.

Since Apple was calling the 10.1 CD-ROM a "free update" plus $19.95 shipping and handling, last month we suggested that the company consider at least giving out those free CDs at its own retail stores. Our figuring was that Apple has to ship promotional materials and merchandise to its stores all the time anyway, so throwing in some extra CDs should be well within the noise as far as shipping costs are concerned. That way, at least the Mac OS X users who are fortunate enough to live near one of Apple's stores could pick up their updates without shelling out a couple of sawbucks.

Last week we mentioned that there were rumors swirling that Apple was preparing to do exactly that-- obviously because The Mothership hangs on our every word here at AtAT (which is why they're going to SEND US A FREE QUICKSILVER tout de suite). Well, now the Mac Night Owl is reporting that the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg confirmed the rumors yesterday: "People who currently use OS X can get the 10.1 upgrade free on CDs that will be available in some stores." While it's true that even the Great Walt can make mistakes, the Mac Night Owl actually contacted Apple and confirmed that the company is indeed planning on handing out upgrade CDs at stores.

Here's the real kicker, though: it's implied that this whole "free CD" thing isn't just limited to Apple's own retail stores. While "it's not certain just which dealers will get a stock of CDs," if Apple is really planning on making 10.1 "available to as many Mac OS X users as possible," it sounds to us like users might even be able to grab a disc for free at their local CompUSA or Micro Center. If that comes to pass, we know there are going to be an awful lot of happy Mac users come the end of the month.

By the way, when last we raised this issue in more innocent times, we suggested that viewers who saved twenty bucks by getting their 10.1 upgrade CDs at an Apple retail store instead of by mail go ahead and spend it on an AtAT t-shirt. We'd like to amend that suggestion; send it to the Red Cross instead.


 
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LOCAL STAFF MAKES GOOD (9/14/01)
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This just in: Apple store employees continue to lend a hand during these troubled times. Yesterday we noted that the staff at the Mall of America location helped travelers stranded by the air travel ban by assisting them in using the store's Internet access to email their families, check on flights, and rent cars. And just now, faithful viewer The M@d H@tter pointed out a story over at The Mac Observer about how several members of our own Boston-area Apple Store Northshore team spent their time after the mall was closed down following Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Apparently a bunch of them (together with some folks training for the Albany store) decided to go down and give blood-- which, while certainly commendable and a heroic move in and of itself, isn't much different from what tons of other people did. The story gets more interesting when the Apple store staff discovered that the Red Cross location where they were waiting in line had run out of water. Hmmm, now let's see... where are a bunch of Apple store employees going to find a ready supply of bottled water?

If you took that as anything but a rhetorical question, you're clearly unfamiliar with one of the many wonders of the Genius Bar: that Mac Geniuses will hand you a bottle of chilled Evian if you ask nicely. It's just one of the little touches that makes Apple's stores so special. (That and the imported Australian tile in the store's bathrooms. Classy!) Anyway, one quick round-trip back to the store later, and the staff had returned with twelve cases of Evian-- the store's entire supply. Problem solved. We've logged a lot of hours over there at the Apple Store Northshore, and those folks on the staff? Those are our guys, gender-neutrally speaking. We'd take a bullet for any one of 'em, and it does us proud to hear about them making a difference like that.

We'd like to include a special request that everyone think happy thoughts about ed. His full name is Ed Duffy, but his store name tag just says "ed," so that's how we know him. When Jack was at the Apple store with faithful viewer Nico a couple of weeks ago, ed did the epic dance number for Nico's blockbuster iMovie masterpiece, and now we've just found out that ed is currently in New York City with the National Guard Reserves helping out with the search and rescue mission. Come back soon, ed, and safely-- Nico's already working on a sequel, and we can't recast now!


 
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