TV-PGJanuary 17, 2002: Toshiba announces new tiny drives that may give the iPod a little more muscle. Meanwhile, the color of the universe constitutes proof of Steve Jobs's alien status, and Bill Gates tells his troops that Microsoft needs to become a bastion of secure software...
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

For The True Music Glutton (1/17/02)

Any suspicions we had that the iPod isn't a revolutionary device have long since evaporated, and here's why: this morning we couldn't decide what we wanted to hear, so we started listening to every single song in its library, in alphabetical order by artist. It's now seven and a half hours later, we've been listening non-stop, the battery indicator says we've still got three-quarters of a tank of gas to burn, and we're only up to the cover of Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me" by the Bouncing Souls. In other words, as far as this A to Z musical odyssey goes, we're currently about halfway through "B"-- otherwise known as "song 124 of 1336." This thing rules.

Yet despite the fact that we've got more than enough music on the sucker to broadcast our own commercial-free non-stop no-repeat weekend (assuming we had the juice, that is), we're well aware that a lot of people still aren't impressed with the iPod's 4.6 GB storage capacity. They point to devices like the latest Nomad Jukebox, which is available for the same price as an iPod, but it's got a 20 GB hard drive. Those people often neglect to notice that the Nomad also comes with a drastically lower battery life, a massive footprint that's decidedly unfriendly to all but the roomiest pockets, and a USB connection that might let you fill it up with music before the sun burns out. Still, we get the point; a larger capacity iPod would indeed kick some extra booty, since even though we've got 97 CDs on ours, we've got a lot more music at home that it might be nice to tote along for the ride.

Well, fret not, O Ye of Much Music; faithful viewer Joe Radosevich tipped us off to the fact that Toshiba (the geniuses behind the teensy-but-huge 5 GB 1.8-inch hard drive spinning under all that white plastic and stainless steel) has just announced that it's about to ship larger capacity versions of the same mechanism. We had already known that the company was working on getting 10 GB drives out sometime early this year, and now we know those devices are slated to arrive in March. We imagine it won't take long for Apple to incorporate them into an iPod rev. B, thus doubling the number of tunes you can stuff in your pocket.

But what's this? It turns out that Toshiba is also planning on shipping a 20 GB model next month, which would translate into an iPod with roughly a 4000-song capacity, thus bringing the iPod's storage up to scratch with that of the far bulkier Nomad. The only possible catch might be that the Toshiba's 20 GB drive houses two platters, and is therefore 3 mm thicker than the 10 GB model, so Apple might have to clear a little space to shoehorn it into the existing iPod design. Still, what's a few millimeters between friends?

In any event, we'll be very surprised if Apple doesn't introduce at least one higher-capacity iPod by April at the latest. So those of you who held off on getting one because the idea of 100 CDs in your pants just wasn't enough to get you breathing heavily, start saving those shiny nickels and prepare to amass some personal debt; before long you'll be 'podding with the rest of us.

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Steve Jobs Phone Home (1/17/02)

It has recently come to our attention that, despite his predilection for bare feet and black turtlenecks, his uncanny ability to bend mere mortals to his will, and his decidedly unusual diet, some people think we're kidding when we occasionally refer to Steve Jobs as an extraterrestrial life form. Nothing could be further from the truth, people; we're dead serious about this. Seriously, do you really think that anyone from this planet would have shaped the development of the original Bondi Blue iMac? (Yes, we know the design is mainly Jonathan Ive's-- but you're not naïve enough to think that he's really from London, do you?)

Yes, for a long time we've been absolutely certain that Apple has been run by aliens for the past several years, but we've lacked any hard evidence beyond the obvious signs like those listed above... until now. It turns out that faithful viewer Stephanie G. stumbled upon incontestible proof that Apple is under extraterrestrial control when researching a simple question that plagues us all each and every day: what color is the universe? Well, it turns out that a couple of guys claim to have found the answer by crunching the data on the relative concentration of energy in different light wavelengths compiled by the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, and apparently the results reveal that the universe is "between 'medium aquamarine' and 'pale turquoise'" in hue.

When you see what color the universe is, you might find the shade a tad... familiar, as Stephanie did. Oh, sure Bondi Blue was inspired by the color of the water on Bondi Beach; give us a break, folks. It was clearly based on what the universe looks like to Steve Jobs and Jon Ive (or whatever their names are in their strange alien tongue) when they see it from the outside. No wonder the original iMac resonated so deeply with the average human being-- on some subconscious, fundamental level, we all knew deep down that it was universe-colored. And really, what goes better with the drapes?

Actually, now that we look at it, the universe today looks a little more like Sage than Bondi Blue-- it's a little too green to match the original iMac. But there's a simple explanation available: "The universe started out young and blue and grew gradually greener as the population of evolved red stars built up." In other words, according to the color comparison provided, Bondi Blue is closer to the color of the universe when Steve and Jon saw it about 9 billion years ago. Wow, and you thought '80s nostalgia was pushing it...

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Redmond, AKA Securityville (1/17/02)

Hey Redmond-- stop the presses, or whatever the heck it is you stop when you want all operating system development to grind to a screeching halt. According to a New York Times article sent to us by faithful viewer Sledgehammer Smythe, Big Man Bill has brought word down from the mountaintop, and that word is SECURITY. Yes, folks, Bill had an epiphany, which was evidently this: that shipping software so full of holes that it probably costs the world's businesses billions of dollars in damages every year is a Bad Thing™. Having reached this radical conclusion, he now wants his workers to focus on making the company's products more "trustworthy," even at the expense of adding new features.

This is a sea change from the apparently age-old Microsoft tradition of "ship it now and fix it later," but Bill is willing to put the company's money where his mouth is. According to the Times, he is actually "stopping development of new operating system software for the entire month of February and sending the company's 7,000 systems programmers to special security training." Zowie! In addition, "every developer is going to be told not to write any new line of code until they have thought out the security implications for the product." If all that's true, then it sounds like Bill's really serious about this-- and it only took Melissa, ILOVEYOU, Nimda, last month's massively nasty Universal Plug and Play bug, and about eight billion other flaws and viruses to clue him in. Still, better late than never.

For what it's worth, while we're a little skeptical that Microsoft is suddenly going to turn into the Safe Software poster child of the industry (it sure seems convenient-- and awfully good PR-- that Uncle Bill's company-wide memo was "leaked" to the Times), if the company is really going to shift its emphasis to safety in coding, we back that decision a thousand percent. Sure, we'll have to live without taking the occasional easy security-hole potshot at Microsoft, but we figure, what the heck? We'll still have bloatware, antitrust issues, Bill's haircut and sweaters, and the big gun known as "all things Ballmer" in our arsenal, so we're willing to make the sacrifice. It's the least we can do for the world at large.

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