Apple: Ready For Trouble (3/23/01)

Only one day left! Unless you're a software pirate, a developer with connections, a users group representative, a member of the press, or lucky enough to live near a Staples store run by people with an overly-lax definition of the phrase "Do Not Sell Until Saturday," tomorrow is the first day you can get your hands on Mac OS X. Yes, tomorrow marks the official kick-off of the Mac's second era: the Aqua Dynasty. According to faithful viewer dabiz, it also happens to be Alyson Hannigan's 27th birthday, but that's beside the point. (Or is it? Everyone knows that Sunnydale's cute-as-a-button spell-slinger uses a PowerBook, so a connection isn't impossible-- just very, very unlikely.)

But here's the thing about Mac OS X: there's UNIX in them thar hills. Mac OS X is one big, scary customer underneath the lickable surface, with all sorts of crazy system files splayed out all over the place. When it works, it's likely to be even easier to use than Mac OS 9, especially for newbies. When it doesn't, well... all the Mac experience in the world isn't likely to help you much, since the days of booting with Extensions off and rebuilding the desktop file have been relegated to the dustbin of techie history. Instead we may well be booting into single-user mode and running fsck at the command line (though we sincerely hope not). In any event, we're anticipating some far ickier troubleshooting sessions than we're used to under the "Classic" Mac OS. And evidently, Apple's anticipating them, too.

According to a Globe St. article, Apple has just leased another 39,000 square feet into which it can expand its call center in Austin, Texas. Reportedly this is an "18-month sublease" and purely a "temporary expansion," presumably in preparation for an increased call load following Mac OS X's release. However, "if demand remains high" (in other words, if Mac OS X-related tech support calls keep Apple's phones ringing off the hook), those extra 39,000 square feet might officially turn into permanent Apple digs.

We are, of course, reserving judgment on the crisis-situation user-friendliness of Mac OS X until we see what's up for ourselves. Our copy is currently on a FedEx truck somewhere between here and Pennsylvania, and it ought to make it into our hot little hands sometime tomorrow. Our PowerBook is prepped and ready, with Mac OS 9.1 on one partition and another just waiting to be Xified. Of course, we won't know how Mac OS X performs in a crisis until we have a crisis-- and if Apple did its job, that might take a long time indeed. Well, if the call center turns out not to need that extra 39,000 square feet for additional tech support personnel, we imagine it'd make a kickin' game room...

SceneLink (2943)
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The above scene was taken from the 3/23/01 episode:

March 23, 2001: Apple prepares for the Mac OS X rollout by expanding its tech support call center. Meanwhile, a couple of classic Jobs moments emerged from Wednesday's press briefing, and Motorola lops off another 4000 jobs, because why mess with tradition?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2944: "Do Not Provoke The CEO" (3/23/01)   You know, we're really starting to regret not having been invited to Apple's big Mac OS X press briefing last Wednesday. What, no engraved personal invite from Steve, just because of the niggling little detail that we're not actually "press"?...

  • 2945: Still Cutting, Still Bleeding (3/23/01)   It's kind of like watching a train derail in slow motion; we know we're witnessing a horrible event, but we simply can't look away. 2500 layoffs in January. 4000 more in February. 7000 just ten days ago...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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