Keeping Tinnitus At Bay (11/27/02)

As Thanksgiving comes hurtling at our heads like a twenty-pound Butterball shot out of a cannon, Apple is just in time to give those of you lucky enough to own its most recent Power Macs still more reasons for which to be grateful. Provided you aren't an incorrigible ingrate oblivious to the nature of the wondrous power at your fingertips, you were presumably already prepared to drop to your knees and give thanks to Jobs Above that you're blessed with one of the fastest Macs ever to grace this plane of existence. You may also have been counting your Mac's mirrored drive doors among your many blessings, as they provide a handy way to ensure that pickpockets, axe murderers, and Steve Ballmer aren't sneaking up behind you while you work.

What you may not have been as grateful for, however, is the jet-engine-like quality of the ambient noise issuing forth from your "wind-tunnel" Power Mac. Somehow, despite Steve Jobs's well-known intolerance for computer noise, the latest Power Macs wound up packing something like forty-seven internal cooling fans whose combined decibel output rivals that of a runaway jackhammer being torn apart by a pack of ravening wolves with running 1600-watt hair dryers strapped to their heads.

But like we said, there's some good news to report: according to MacFixIt, Apple has posted a firmware update intended to bring you a little peace and quiet-- or at least muffle things enough that your eardrums won't bleed quite so profusely. If you own a "wind-tunnel" Power Mac and you fire up Software Update, you should see the Power Mac G4 Firmware Update 4.4.8 appear, which "improves fan control behavior and reduces high speed fan cycling when running in Mac OS 9." (Remember, as we mentioned last month, fan noise on these models running Mac OS X is apparently merely obnoxious and distracting, whereas under Mac OS 9 it's roughly the equivalent of sitting in front of an amp at a mid-'70s Who concert.)

Of course, your other option for reducing fan noise (short of doing dodgy things to your motherboard with a soldering iron or wrapping your entire Mac in three feet of foam rubber) is to boot only into Mac OS X, which we're paranoid enough to believe was the whole reason for the Mac OS 9 earache syndrome in the first place. We should definitely be thankful that, starting next year, Apple is simply going to make new Macs unable to boot Mac OS 9, because we shudder to think of what other "discouragements" the company might have added to the old-school OS instead. Excessive fan noise is one thing; imagine if booting into Mac OS 9 instead gave you two broken legs and a bad credit rating...

SceneLink (3865)
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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 11/27/02 episode:

November 27, 2002: Apple releases a firmware update to make "Wind-tunnel" Power Macs slightly less deafening. Meanwhile, the company's employees face layoffs and salary freezes, even as Apple tries to steal a Department of Energy contract to build a 197-ton supercomputer away from IBM...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3866: The Slow Economy Blues (11/27/02)   It looks like Apple's latest Switch ads may in fact be accurate representations of a certain mythical chimney-crawling gift-giver, at least mood-wise: Santa seems to be a little on the surly side this year. That's what we gather from a report at Mac OS Rumors which states that Apple employees who were hoping for a year-end raise this holiday season are instead once again getting lumps of coal in their stockings...

  • 3867: All About The Innovation (11/27/02)   We're going to kick off the long holiday weekend the very bestest way we know how: with another fascinating, edge-of-your-seat round of unconfirmed reports! Some of you may have heard last week that IBM is gearing up to build a couple of massive new supercomputers for the Department of Energy, as reported by The Mercury News, and perhaps you wondered just where the heck Apple is during this whole spiel...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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