Adapting Adeptly (9/28/98)

See, technology is cool because its "lifeforms" evolve almost organically, but at a vastly accelerated pace. For example, it's amazing to watch the evolution of the iMac-- or actually, the adaptation of the iMac to its user environment. Many of the iMac's perceived shortcomings are being addressed in ingenius ways as the Mac community comes up with its own "unsanctioned" workarounds. For instance, there was that funky German article about how to solder a standard 3.5" floppy drive connector onto the iMac's motherboard, thus allowing the installation of any old floppy drive that might be scavenged from an older Mac. Pretty crazy.

Many of the upcoming iModifications, however, involve nothing quite so drastic. Despite Apple's requests that third parties stay away from the hidden Perch expansion slot on the underside of the iMac's motherboard, we at AtAT fully expect more and more goodies to be announced for that special little connector. The first was Griffin Technologies' iPort, which adds a Mac-standard serial port and a mirroring-only video-out port to the iMac for only $60 or so. The next, according to iMacInTouch, is a nifty new card in development by Formac, which will add a SCSI port to the iMac for only about $150. A news piece at the German MacGadget site claims that Formac's "iPowerRaid" will support Ultra Wide SCSI as well as older SCSI standards and will ship worldwide this coming November. Now there's an intriguing development.

While plugging anything into the iMac's Perch slot is potentially a warranty-voiding action (to the best of our knowledge, Apple hasn't specified, since they rarely even publicly acknowledge that the the Perch slot exists at all), we're going to hazard a guess that a lot of iMac owners would be willing to take that risk if it meant they could connect all their old SCSI devices to their new Blue Wonder. After all, when you're weighing the potential cost of paying for iMac repair versus, say, the definite cost of buying new USB equivalents of your existing scanners, Zip drives, CD-R's, etc., well, for some people the decision is a no-brainer; the cost of new USB peripherals might well be more than the cost of a whole new iMac! So what's a little warranty-voiding behavior between friends? After all, popping in a Perch card isn't nearly as risky as soldering a new connector onto your motherboard just to get a floppy drive.

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The above scene was taken from the 9/28/98 episode:

September 28, 1998: Several prominent Mac rumors sites are on hiatus due to "personal matters;" do we detect the faint scent of ninja in the breeze? Meanwhile, daredevil developers continue to push the iMac envelope with more upcoming expansion cards for the verboten Perch slot, and the forthcoming iMac II may well gain a zippy 3D chip and more SGRAM...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1040: Ninja Attack II? (9/28/98)   The first thing we want to address on our return from our unscheduled hiatus is a growing conspiracy theory among AtAT viewers about Macintosh-oriented rumors sites. Several of you found it "noteworthy" that the two largest rumors sites-- Mac OS Rumors and MacNN Reality-- are both currently missing in action, and that AtAT has been static throughout roughly the same time period...

  • 1042: Natural Selection (9/28/98)   The actual evolution of the iMac will occur as Apple rolls out new versions of the little blue lump, keeping features beneficial to its survival in a "dog-eat-dog" marketplace, possibly ditching useless appendages, and hazarding new genetic tweaks that may further boost its position in the silicon food chain...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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