TV-PGSeptember 19, 1998: Apple's new PowerBooks are dressed to the nines in big, beautiful screens-- and the new ads are playing up that angle as much as possible. Meanwhile, just what happened in last week's meeting between Captain Steve and France's ministers of finance and education? And in an unrelated matter, is anyone surprised to find out that Marilyn Manson's a virus-carrier?...
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Mash-ups and original music by AtAT's former Intern and Goddess-in-Training

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Big and Beautiful (9/19/98)

Yup, Apple's new PowerBook G3's have standardized on a 14.1-inch active-matrix screen, and Apple's being rather vocal about that fact. You may have already heard new Apple radio ads touting the luxury of the new large screen, if you happen to listen to one of the stations who aired the ad. If not, Apple's kindly posted QuickTime versions of both ads to their web site, along with a list of stations that are running them in their ad rotation. Given that each is only a few hundred kilobytes, even those of you on a relatively slow connection may want to give them a listen.

Both commercials consist of spots from "Big Screen Theatre," in which we get to listen to people composing email on their brand new PowerBook G3's. And, of course, those email messages describe the Pentium-crushing performance of the G3, the fact that anyone can have one for as little as $2799, and most importantly, how nice it is to work on a 14-inch screen. Pretty standard fare, all told, but not without a touch of Apple's style. Overall, thumbs up from the AtAT crowd.

Of course, all this high-exposure focus on the "big-screen" advantage of the new PowerBooks makes us wonder about the rumors that Apple plans to release a limited number of 12.1-inch active-matrix PowerBooks for a much lower price. Would they really be planning to release a laptop with a 12-inch screen after airing a radio commercial that describes a 12-inch screen as "uncomfortably tiny?" Not that Apple hasn't made less logical moves before, but still, we've got to wonder. And what about next year's consumer laptop, which is reportedly going to pack a small passive-matrix display in order to extend battery life? Only time will tell...

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L'Ecole d'iMac (9/19/98)

Hmmm, was there more to Steve Jobs' visit to Paris than the standard keynote appearance and coroporate elbow-rubbing? Certainly he was there for Apple Expo 98, a sort of French equivalent to our own MacWorld Expo, but while he was in town, Steve reportedly met with two high-ranking members of the French government. What they discussed is known only to them, but when taking history into account, there's a lot of room for speculation (and you all know how much we love speculation). A MacWEEK article describes the meeting and its potential repercussions.

The members of the French government with whom Steve met were the minister of finance and the head of the ministry of education. Was it simply a courtesy meeting meant to extend good will, or was there a deeper purpose in mind? Early in the Mac's history, Jobs had met with representatives of the French government in order to convince them to standardize on Apple equipment in all French schools. The deal never happened, because France wanted their school equipment provided by French companies. Well, Apple's still not a French company, but the iMac is definitely a compelling argument to put Apple equipment into schools. And, not coincidentally, the iMac debuted in France last week at the Expo.

So was Jobs trying to push once again for a deal to supply iMacs for France's schools? Right now, no one's saying. But if the unlikely happens and France welcomes the iMac into its classrooms, it could mean big things for Apple. Ooo la la.

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Typhoid Marilyn (9/19/98)

AutoStart Worm infections continue to run rampant, despite relatively simple measures that can be taken to protect a Mac. The AutoStart Worm, for those of you who have been living in a cave for the last four months, is the one of the first serious virus outbreaks to hit the Mac platform in several years. (As always, we don't count all those cross-platform Microsoft Word macro viruses; after all, what did you expect?)

One particularly obvious indication that people just aren't taking this virus as seriously as they should be is the relatively high number of commercial software CD-ROMs that have shipped infected with the worm. There are several commercial titles listed on a MacInTouch page that have been discovered by readers to be carrying the worm, but there are more titles shipping every day, so the only way to be really sure about protecting your system is to scan regularly using one of the several commercial or freeware software packages that can find and destroy the worm.

That said, we found one of the AutoStart infections to be particularly apt; apparently Marilyn Manson's new CD, Mechanical Animals, is an enhanced CD, containing multimedia content accessible when the disc is inserted into a computer. Well, you guessed it-- Manson's new album is infected with the AutoStart Worm. Hey, if you had to guess which music CD's were infected just by looking at the performers, wouldn't Marilyn Manson's discs be your first choice? ;-)

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