TV-PGNovember 20, 2002: Surprise, surprise, surprise-- all that talk of an Apple-AMD announcement at COMDEX turned out to be nothing. Meanwhile, Brown University's daily paper scoops the world on an Ellen Feiss interview, and the Segway is finally available for pre-order-- will buying one put you in Steve's good graces?...
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Much Ado About Bupkis (11/20/02)

And that, kiddies, is why grizzled veterans of the harrowing rollercoaster ride known far and wide as the Apple Rumor Twisty-Turny Death Plunge™ rarely ascribe anything other than entertainment value to fifth-hand rumors whose original source is credited as "word at the show." We speak, of course, of the most recent "Apple switching to x86" rumor to come whistling down the pike, i.e. some people's expectation that a collaboration between AMD and Apple was to be announced during AMD CEO Hector Ruiz's COMDEX keynote yesterday. That deafening lack of follow-up you hear echoing across the 'net comes to you courtesy of what appears to be a yawning void of anything even remotely Apple-flavored in said presentation. Sorry, sports fans, but let's face it: this really wasn't a horse most people would have bet on.

In case you're still clinging to one last shred of hope and you insist on analyzing the content of the Ruiz keynote for any hidden Apple clues, a decent place to start is Jim Thompson's article from The Daily, as kindly pointed out by faithful viewer PMSG. For what it's worth, we're still trying to figure out which of the AMD announcements was supposed to be so "shattering." Perhaps it was the appearance of Slash, former axe-man of Guns 'n' Roses, to belt out (shudder) "Knock, Knock, Knockin' on 64"-- which, we imagine, was one of those rare moments that would have actually shut up Beavis and Butt-head and left them staring on the couch in wide-eyed incomprehension.

Or was it the demonstration of the world's first "digital guitar"? Or the announcement of a 10,000-processor AMD-powered Cray supercomputer designed to model and test America's nukes? Or even the onstage conversation between Ruiz and R2-D2? If it isn't any of those, about all that's left is AMD's partnership with the China Basic Education Software Co. and the Chinese Ministry of Education, which intends "to link all schools in China by an 'Internet-like' network by the year 2010." And while we're certainly intrigued by the announcement of AMD's new 'net substitute "I Can't Believe It's Not The Internet!™," we're less "shattered" by the idea than "amused." Or possibly "peckish." (We skipped lunch.)

But like we said, there's nary an Apple crumb to be found. If you're still convinced that there must have been some secret message about x86-based Macs to be decoded from Ruiz's presentation (and you don't mind using RealPlayer or Windows Media Player instead of QuickTime), feel free to watch the webcast endlessly while scribbling crabbed conspiracy notes in crayon. And, uh, you'll be sure to let us know as soon as you've found something, right?

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A Second Helping Of Feiss (11/20/02)

Fame's a goofy thing, is it not? Take, for example, the phenomenon of Ellen Feiss, an Apple switcher who has worshipers all over the world based entirely on half a minute of camera time. Thirty measly seconds of rambling about half a paper getting chomped on by a wayward Wintel, and suddenly the girl's an international superstar-- with web sites devoted to her, articles about her in such notable publications as The New York Times, even lookalike contests and Feiss-o-lanterns. Fifteen minutes of fame for a thirty-second investment? Gotta love that thirtyfold return.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Feiss's fame appears to be growing despite her near-total lack of exposure-- or probably because of it. With only those thirty seconds to represent her, Ellen has a mystique vector not unlike, say, that of Greta Garbo and her notorious demands to be left alone. The very fact that her fans can't see any more of her, can't know her beyond what she offers in those mere thirty seconds, is largely responsible for Ellen's mounting fame.

Well, that and the fact that a lot of people think she was stoned.

But will the mystique take a hit this week, when Feiss fans get another dose of their idol? Faithful viewer Dave spotted a note over at MacNN reporting that the Feissian silence will finally be broken this Friday. The Brown Daily Herald has apparently been advertising that its November 22nd issue will feature "the first-ever published interview" with Ms. Feiss; here's hoping that the interview appears online, or else we're going to have to schedule a quick road trip down to Providence to pick up a copy. For, you know, research purposes.

So will she finally address the hotly-debated issue of her onscreen pharmacological state? Only time will tell. For the record, we've heard some reports floating around the ether that Ellen's red eyes and spacey demeanor were attributable to a head cold and the liberal ingestion of an over-the-counter cold remedy to alleviate the symptoms during the commercial shoot, and not to the illicit use of wacky tobacky. Who's to say? Other than Ellen, that is-- and say she might, when this interview hits the stands on Friday.

Whatever her answer, of course, people will continue to believe what they want to believe, and the Legend of Feiss will live on. Why do we anticipate that copies of this Friday's Daily Herald fetching disproportionately high prices on eBay?

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Salvation: Pre-Order Now (11/20/02)

Back when it was still a top secret mystery product known only by the code names of "Ginger" and "IT," investor Steve Jobs called its advent "as significant as" that of the personal computer, and the product itself so insanely great that "if enough people see the machine you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It'll just happen." Since then, of course, Ginger turned out to be the Segway Human Transporter, otherwise known as "that really expensive scooter thingy that still isn't shipping." Ah, but faithful viewer David West notes that the company is finally taking pre-orders for the product at which means that the Segway is now known as "that really expensive scooter thingy you can buy now but that you won't get to use until March."

If you want to stay in Steve's good graces by grabbing a Segway, there are a few things you should know. First of all, the things cost almost five grand, and on top of that, you have to pay $99 for ground shipping. (Ground shipping? If this thing is so darn amazing, why isn't the delivery guy just riding it straight to your doorstep? Especially since your purchase price includes "training with introductory first ride.") The other thing worth mentioning is that there's no guarantee that owning a Segway will mean that Steve will spare you when he and his legions of minions enslave the rest of the human race in a massive and bloody bid for world domination in 2006.

Indeed, apparently at least some people think that the Ginger device of which Steve spoke in such glowing terms isn't the Segway at all. According to a ZDNet article, Ginger conspiracy theorists note that there are enough discrepancies in patent filings and factoids in the proposal for Steve Kemper's as-yet-unreleased book on the project to suggest that Ginger/IT is something entirely else. And 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe, who originally called IT "more important than the Internet," actually told the New York Times after the Segway's unveiling that "the IT I was talking about, which I did not disclose, was NOT Segway."

So if IT's not Segway, then what is IT? Hang onto your hats, folks, because apparently some subtle changes in images at for example, a picture of a guy on a scooter being replaced with a picture of a guy "floating above the ground"-- have "reignited all the original speculation that the invention is some kind of personal hovercraft." Which is, of course, comforting proof that Mac fans aren't the only ones obsessive enough to concoct elaborate leaps of faith into the realm of feverish speculation based on little more than the whim of some graphic designer messing with a web site's graphics. That's not to say that it isn't true, of course. After all, back when Apple had a top secret project all its own, the press and pundits were falling all over themselves to figure out what "Columbus" was-- and finally Steve announced that it was anti-gravity technology. Eureka-- the missing link!

All of which strongly implies that Ginger is some Columbus-powered hoverwhatsis that is yet to be unveiled... which means that Segway ownership definitely won't buy you a ticket out of Emperor Steve's slave pits. But hey, if you've got five large to blow, they do look fun to ride.

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