Salvation: Pre-Order Now (11/20/02)

Back when it was still a top secret mystery product known only by the code names of "Ginger" and "IT," investor Steve Jobs called its advent "as significant as" that of the personal computer, and the product itself so insanely great that "if enough people see the machine you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It'll just happen." Since then, of course, Ginger turned out to be the Segway Human Transporter, otherwise known as "that really expensive scooter thingy that still isn't shipping." Ah, but faithful viewer David West notes that the company is finally taking pre-orders for the product at which means that the Segway is now known as "that really expensive scooter thingy you can buy now but that you won't get to use until March."

If you want to stay in Steve's good graces by grabbing a Segway, there are a few things you should know. First of all, the things cost almost five grand, and on top of that, you have to pay $99 for ground shipping. (Ground shipping? If this thing is so darn amazing, why isn't the delivery guy just riding it straight to your doorstep? Especially since your purchase price includes "training with introductory first ride.") The other thing worth mentioning is that there's no guarantee that owning a Segway will mean that Steve will spare you when he and his legions of minions enslave the rest of the human race in a massive and bloody bid for world domination in 2006.

Indeed, apparently at least some people think that the Ginger device of which Steve spoke in such glowing terms isn't the Segway at all. According to a ZDNet article, Ginger conspiracy theorists note that there are enough discrepancies in patent filings and factoids in the proposal for Steve Kemper's as-yet-unreleased book on the project to suggest that Ginger/IT is something entirely else. And 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe, who originally called IT "more important than the Internet," actually told the New York Times after the Segway's unveiling that "the IT I was talking about, which I did not disclose, was NOT Segway."

So if IT's not Segway, then what is IT? Hang onto your hats, folks, because apparently some subtle changes in images at for example, a picture of a guy on a scooter being replaced with a picture of a guy "floating above the ground"-- have "reignited all the original speculation that the invention is some kind of personal hovercraft." Which is, of course, comforting proof that Mac fans aren't the only ones obsessive enough to concoct elaborate leaps of faith into the realm of feverish speculation based on little more than the whim of some graphic designer messing with a web site's graphics. That's not to say that it isn't true, of course. After all, back when Apple had a top secret project all its own, the press and pundits were falling all over themselves to figure out what "Columbus" was-- and finally Steve announced that it was anti-gravity technology. Eureka-- the missing link!

All of which strongly implies that Ginger is some Columbus-powered hoverwhatsis that is yet to be unveiled... which means that Segway ownership definitely won't buy you a ticket out of Emperor Steve's slave pits. But hey, if you've got five large to blow, they do look fun to ride.

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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 11/20/02 episode:

November 20, 2002: Surprise, surprise, surprise-- all that talk of an Apple-AMD announcement at COMDEX turned out to be nothing. Meanwhile, Brown University's daily paper scoops the world on an Ellen Feiss interview, and the Segway is finally available for pre-order-- will buying one put you in Steve's good graces?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3851: Much Ado About Bupkis (11/20/02)   And that, kiddies, is why grizzled veterans of the harrowing rollercoaster ride known far and wide as the Apple Rumor Twisty-Turny Death Plunge(TM) rarely ascribe anything other than entertainment value to fifth-hand rumors whose original source is credited as "word at the show."...

  • 3852: A Second Helping Of Feiss (11/20/02)   Fame's a goofy thing, is it not? Take, for example, the phenomenon of Ellen Feiss, an Apple switcher who has worshipers all over the world based entirely on half a minute of camera time. Thirty measly seconds of rambling about half a paper getting chomped on by a wayward Wintel, and suddenly the girl's an international superstar-- with web sites devoted to her, articles about her in such notable publications as The New York Times, even lookalike contests and Feiss-o-lanterns...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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