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Careful with that pickaxe, Eugene!

A timeless truism from a rat’s-eye perspective: Lie down with myopic, hairless rodents, get up crawling stem to stern with tiny, fast-moving nuggets of Mac intelligence. A scant two weeks since the first ceremonial tank of nitrous oxide was uncapped in the tasting room, this subterranean hive is already beginning to feel a lot like home. The black-velvet images of Herbert Marcuse and Emma Goldman are gathered suggestively around the pump organ; the cut-crystal decanter of mulled Sterno is in its rightful place atop the Day-Glo Apple IIGS; and the incisor-scraping strains of “Lady Godiva’s Operation” are radiating from the eight-track deck’s shaggy, quadraphonic speakers. Black lung, schmack lung! It doesn’t get any better than this!

A saucerful of secrets

Speaking of breathtaking, carbon-rich keepsakes: It might just be the methane fumes talking, but the mottled contours of Apple’s next PowerBook stylings are rising from the murky depths like Congressman Henry Hyde dog-paddling to victory in a goulash-eating contest. Dig this spoor: The next professional-strength Mac laptop, due to surface in September or thereabouts, will feature a chassis that cashiers most of the metal structures trussing up the current crop for polycarbonate, drastically reducing the weight and further empowering Apple’s unimpeachable design team to go cat wild.

Interstellar overdrive

And what of the processor powering this curvaceous objet d’art? While the basic motherboard design will remain virtually unchanged from the current litter of PowerBooks, four out of five troglodytes are still out on whether the new system will pack a PowerPC G4 or an IBM-produced G3 chip that could vault the 700-MHz mark by the autumnal equinox. Currently being sampled and slated to ship in August or September, the PowerPC 750CXe processor is a tricked-out G3 designed with portables in mind. This cupriphilic chip, which uses a 0.18-micron copper process, is optimized to reduce system cost and designed to provide an easy upgrade path from the current G3.

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Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Above and beyond the Mac, the good burghers of Armonk seem determined to catch up with PowerPC fellow traveler Motorola when it comes to cramming RISC goodness into embedded systems ranging from TVs, to video games, to kiosks and printer-copiers with wireless connectivity. And how might Apple fit into IBM’s newfound fecundity? Could the chip maker’s party pack of consumer-friendly silicon have anything to do with the intriguing new hardware code names wafting out of Cupertino? On, Midway! On, Perigee! On, Clockwork! On, Trinity! And thank Hephaestus for the loose, comfortable fit of today’s spelunking shorts!

Unearthed some Mac intelligence of your own? Drop a line to The NMR Report, and a zaftig pink mole rat could be yours!

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