This Time We're Serious (1/11/00)

Well, so much for subtlety... Yesterday's "Aquagate" bit generated precisely eleventeen-kajillion feedback messages from concerned viewers who sought to assure us that Steve Jobs didn't steal Mac OS X's Aqua interface from that little company called Stardock. Believe us-- we know. Go back and watch it again, keep your ears open for sarcasm, and hopefully you'll pick it up. You'll have to forgive us-- apparently our irony engine wasn't firing on all cylinders and therefore our comic timing was evidently a bit off. We blame the illness.

The fact is, Stardock's product lets Windows users alter the user interface, much the same way that Kaleidoscope lets Mac users change the way their Macs look. The screenshot we referred you to showed one such alternate "skin"-- one that was an obvious rip-off of homage to Aqua. Dig through the posted skins at Stardock's site and you'll find tons of other interfaces "inspired by" the BeOS, NeXTStep, and even the current Mac OS Platinum appearance. Just like you'll find plenty of "schemes" emulating various OS interfaces for Kaleidoscope, too. So there's no big mystery, right?

Except that the Aqua skin for Stardock's WindowBlinds feature came out awfully quick. Someone had to work mighty fast to get it out that soon after Steve's keynote-- unless perhaps said individual had early access to Aqua screenshots prior to the public unveiling. That seems unlikely, if only because Aqua took the entire Mac world by surprise; we assume any leak of Aqua images would have led to a feature on Mac OS Rumors, AppleInsider, etc. So maybe the Aqua copier really did just work really quickly. As for why an Aqua Kaleidoscope scheme didn't surface in the same time frame, our theory is this: if your computer's interface looks like Windows, wouldn't you work super-hard to change it into something as nice as Aqua as quickly as humanly possible? Maybe Mac users are more content with what they already have...

...And it's a good thing, too. An Aqua Kaleidoscope scheme may well thwart Steve's plan for world domination. As we were explaining to faithful viewer Ken Watanabe, every Apple display shipped since late 1997 (including the LCD in every PowerBook G3 Series, every iMac, and every Studio Display) is coated with an invisible film of a zombifying mind-control chemical compound. Jobs has been increasing Apple's market share in an effort to get these treated displays in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Remember how Aqua is so good-looking "you want to lick it"? Once Apple ships Mac OS X, millions of Mac users will lick their screens and immediately fall under the total control of Steve. Bam, instant army of Steve minions ready to enslave the rest of the planet. So you can see how an Aqua K-scheme would throw the timing way off.

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The above scene was taken from the 1/11/00 episode:

January 11, 2000: Irony Alert! Yes, we know Steve's no thief-- at least, not this time. Meanwhile, more details swirl around that wacky Apple-Palm rumor, and teasing little hints imply that a PowerBook G4 is closer than you might think...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2030: A Palm In The Hand (1/11/00)   Fellow pipe dreamers, rejoice! No longer must we clutch to the single thin straw that is the MacPalm article at The Register. Now Mac OS Rumors has leapt back into the fray to confirm the report that prototype Apple-Palm handhelds have rolled off the belt in Taiwan...

  • 2031: An Extra G Or Two (1/11/00)   One of the great mysteries of our era continues to be this: What happened to Pismo at Macworld Expo last week? Pismo, as you're no doubt aware, is the long-awaited revision to Apple's PowerBook line, which has remained static since the unveiling of the "bronze" G3s last May...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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