TV-PGSeptember 18, 2001: Prepare yourselves, because the G5 looks to be one speedy little number when it debuts this winter. Meanwhile, Mike Dell's at it again, this time with an "easy-open chassis," and we have it on good authority that Mac OS X 10.1 has officially reached golden master status...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

Toss Another G On The Pile (9/18/01)

For those of you who missed that "Total Distraction: The Making of AtAT" special on HBO a few months back (ed. note: that may actually have been a massive delusion on our part), allow us to let you in on a little behind-the-scenes fact: AtAT's primary production Mac isn't technically a Mac at all. It is, in fact, a terribly beige and nasty Wintel-looking Power Computing system. Remember those guys? "We're Fighting Back For Mac (By Cannibalizing Apple's Existing Sales)!"? Power Computing collapsed many years ago following the end of the Clone Wars, and since then our PowerTower Pro has become more and more of a high-tech graveyard. In addition to having been made by a company now out of business, it houses a G3 upgrade made by Newer Technology (R.I.P.) and a graphics card made by 3dfx (hey, is anyone still in business these days?).

Anyway, we're a little tired of limping along on a four-and-a-half-year-old system (particularly one that can't play Alice if its life depended on it), so recently we decided to bite the bullet and step bravely into the current century. But of course it had to happen; no sooner do we finally earmark some funds to replace our ancient production workhorse with a state-of-the-art Power Mac G4 when word gets out that the state of the art is about to change drastically sometime within the next few months. As faithful viewer Sam Carr first pointed out, The Register has a whopping great exclusive on the G4's eventual successor to the PowerPC throne: the long-awaited G5.

According to The Register's "sources said to be close to Apple" (now there's a ringing endorsement of authenticity if ever we've heard one), the first G5 design was "taped out" last week and will soon enter the volume production phase at initial clock speeds of up to 1.6 GHz. We can hear you from here: "What, only?!" Sadly, yes; reportedly Motorola has the G5 running as fast as 2 GHz in the lab, but we mere mortals will have to make do with 1.6 GHz to start. Under the hood, we're looking at a ten-stage pipeline (up from seven in the current G4s, but still a lot less ridiculous than the Pentium 4's twenty), silicon-on-insulator technology, a 400 MHz frontside bus, and full 64-bit goodness inside. If those "sources" can be trusted, Apple's pushing hard to announce the Power Mac G5 at January's Macworld Expo and ship the first units in February. In other words, we're looking at a whole new level of performance in four to six months' time.

Now, lest ye be tempted to put off getting that G4 you were looking to buy next week in hopes of scoring a G5 in January instead, keep in mind that with few notable exceptions (i.e. don't buy a new Mac the week before a Macworld Expo), delaying Mac purchases due to rumors of the Next Big Thing is generally a losing proposition. Given how long we've managed to put off upgrading, it's tempting for us to say, "hey, what's another four months?" and save up for a G5 instead. But keep in mind that we are talking about Motorola, here-- not always the horse to bet on as far as processor development timetables are concerned-- and it's a rumor about Motorola, at that. In fact, as faithful viewer The M@d H@tter notes, even Mac OS Rumors is skeptical of certain points in The Register's report.

So unless something drastic happens to change our minds, we ought to be Quicksilver-enabled sometime next month. After all, what are we supposed to do, sit on this copy of Alice for half a year? Oh, and, uh, our work is suffering greatly because our current system is outdated. Yeah, that's the ticket...

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Stolen Design Of The Hour (9/18/01)

We here at AtAT firmly believe that it's never too late to better oneself; on that note, allow us to share with you our two big New Year's Resolutions. First of all, we hereby resolve to get things done on time and never to procrastinate. Come to think of it, though, the fact that we're making this resolution in September instead of last January means we can pretty much write that one off as having been stomped into oblivion nine months ago. Oh, well. Instead we'll just focus with laser-like precision on sticking to our second resolution, which is not to make any more cheap shots about Mike Dell copying Apple's every move. This we resolve, and our determination is as strong as steel.

What's that? He's at it again? Aw, nuts. To paraphrase McCroskey from AirPlane!, looks like we picked the wrong week to stop skewering Mikey.

Yes, that's yet another resolution out the window, because there's simply no way we could resist commenting on Dell's latest "innovation" without causing ourselves some sort of massive brain hemorrhage, and if you don't have your health, what do you have? Faithful viewer William Bonde reports that Dell has just introduced the Dimension 8200, a Wintel box that Dell describes in a press release as featuring "a bold new chassis design... with an emphasis on customers' needs for performance, style, expansion and ease-of-access." See, this new enclosure "opens like a clamshell and without tools, making it quicker and easier to access internal components." Gee, where have we seen that before?

For those of you keeping score, Apple's current easy-open chassis debuted way back in January of 1999 with the arrival of the blue and white Power Mac G3, so Mike was a little slow to "borrow" that feature; he was even slower if you count the Power Mac 9600 and the beige minitower G3 as evolutionary stops on Apple's road to easy-access nirvana. It's worth noting that Dell took a stab at the whole "no tools, easy-open chassis" almost exactly a year ago with the Optiplex 150, though that was an under-the-monitor desktop enclosure; it's taken Mike and his team of designers twelve more months to make the jump to a tower model. (Back then, switching from beige to a far more daring grey was the real way that Dell was pushing the envelope.)

By the way, William has actually used the new Dimension 8200, and he notes that while Dell may have copied the concept of the easy-open enclosure, apparently the execution leaves something to be desired. Reportedly "you have to hold two large buttons in on the top and bottom, which partially defeats the purpose because you have to lift it up and turn it to get to it." So in other words, you don't need any tools, but an extra hand or three sounds like it might be useful. It's nice to hear that progress just keeps marching right along, isn't it?

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"But Our Stove Is Electric!" (9/18/01)

Hmmm, strange that we haven't seen this plastered all over the 'net by now, but maybe everyone's out playing stickball or something. So do we get to call it an "exclusive" when we mention offhandedly that Mac OS X 10.1 (that's "Puma" to the numerically challenged among you) officially went golden master this morning? At least, that's what we're hearing from multiple sources. Prepare for a release this month as promised; given the timing, we'd have to guess that all systems are go for an official release at Seybold next week, if not even sooner.

As for the validity of our sources, rest assured that they are beyond reproach: Steve Jobs himself appeared before us in flowing silver robes, anointed our heads with fragrant oil, announced in a booming, echoey voice that "10.1 is now golden master; alert the masses!" and then punched us in the head. And by multiple sources, we mean that shortly after we came to, he did the same thing all over again. That time we woke up surrounded by EMTs trying to tell us something, but we were far too excited by our wondrous visitation to pay them much mind. (Something something "gas leak" yadda yadda yadda.)

So there you have it; incontestable proof that 10.1 is done and coming soon. Incidentally, when he appeared, Steve had the string "5G64" emblazoned across his mighty chest, though any similarity to Mac OS X build numbers is probably entirely coincidental. Oh, and he was also accompanied by three mighty cats: a cheetah, a puma, and something new-- a jaguar. Make of that what you will. Funny how little things like that can slip one's mind when one's body is dealing with a divine vision. Or a lack of oxygen to the brain. Whatever.

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