The Stepford Reporter (9/19/99)

Just one more example that assumptions can be dangerous: the reputation of the Boston Globe's own resident Mac-basher Hiawatha Bray extends far beyond the Beantown city limits, much to our surprise. As it turns out, we apparently didn't have to tell you folks who Mr. Bray is; his past columns seem to be well-known throughout the AtAT viewership, thanks to the Internet's role in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. In other words, when Mr. Bray would put his anti-Apple prejudices into print, the online version of his diatribe would make the rounds faster than a Disney-Apple buyout rumor.

As for our confusion regarding Bray's recent glowing praise for the Apple-developed high-speed interconnect technology known as FireWire, many, many faithful AtAT viewers wrote in to further compound our befuddlement by pointing out yet another example of his recent Mac friendliness. Perhaps you saw Matthew Rothenberg's latest bit of commentary over on ZDNet? Mr. Rothenberg wonders, "What is it about current Macs that irritates some PC loyalists to deeply?" He goes on to examine the issue of industrial design, pointing out that PC folks scoff at Apple by claiming, as Bill Gates did, that Apple's only leadership these days is in the field of case colors. But if it's so simple to make a snazzy case, Rotherberg asks, how come all the PCs that try to look cool end up being "either (a) derivative or (b) hideous?" Overall, he presents Apple's industrial design in a positive light, indicating that the designers in Cupertino are the ones who actually get it right.

Now, the thing that sent AtAT viewers scurrying for the Feedback button was ZDNet's little "TalkBack" feature, which lets readers post their own responses to ZDNet articles. And who should have responded to Rothenberg's article but Hiawatha Bray himself? While his response takes a little jab at Apple's designs (he "loves" the new G4, but finds "most of their new products rather ugly"), his unsolicited public endorsement of our favorite computer company is rather shocking to those of us familiar with the Bray of old: "Apple really is cranking out superior technologies... most of the really clever new gimmicks appearing in computers are appearing on Macs first." Wow. We've got to sit down for a minute. Seeing longtime Mac-haters pull a 180° is nice, to be sure, but it's a little taxing on the system. We swear, one of these days John Dvorak's going to say he bought himself a Tangerine iBook and our heads will explode...

SceneLink (1788)
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The above scene was taken from the 9/19/99 episode:

September 19, 1999: It's official; Hiawatha Bray's recent Apple-friendly article was no fluke. Meanwhile, Phil Schiller shoots down rumors that Mac OS X might run on IBM's new CHRP-based PowerPC motherboard, and Microsoft gets busted footing the bill for ads from "independent observers" in support of the company...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1789: So Much For MacCHRP (9/19/99)   So much for rumors about the resurgence of Mac cloning. Recently, IBM unveiled a new, free PowerPC motherboard design, based on CHRP-- the open reference design that originally promised to yield PPC systems that could run the Mac OS, Windows NT, Solaris, and a handful of other operating systems...

  • 1790: Déjà Vu All Over Again (9/19/99)   You know how a funny joke just gets boring when you hear it over and over again? Well, for some reason, we just never get tired of hearing the one about the lawyer, the priest, and the weasel from Redmond walking into a bar...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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