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The Naked Mole Rat Report: Peel slowly and see

Intercourse, Pa. — A hard-won tourist tip for the cross-country thrill seeker: Despite its tantalizing moniker, this bucolic little burgh does not qualify as the Bangkok of Pennsylvania Dutch country.

More’s the pity! The Gay Blade was hoping his brief detour here would offer him a much-needed carnal respite from the sheer drudgery of his cross-country haul to attend this week’s Macworld Expo/New York.

Not that he’s complaining, mind you, but after years spent frittering away the corporate largesse of his former masters one tiny bottle of United Airlines scotch at a time, his MacEdition-supplied berth aboard an eastbound Greyhound seems all the more Spartan.

Considering his shoestring budget, here’s hoping that his ME-brokered reservation at the “Banana Bungalow” youth hostel on W. 77th St. covers the requisite hot-’n’-cold running youths and all the bananas he can smoke.

Memo to Steve: Got your lei right here!

Writing’s on the wall

Speaking of fine print, the Blade’s ropy-muscled field team of Egyptologists has been doing some serious spade work on a top-secret project hitherto sealed securely behind a hidden trap door in Apple’s sub-basement.

Dubbed Rosetta Stone (apparently in homage to the Blade’s former nom de drag queen), the software – currently in development for Mac OS X – is aimed at resurrecting the mummified remains of the handwriting-recognition technology behind Apple’s long-dead Newton PDA and putting it to work on forthcoming Mac lap- and desktops.

While the effort remains a work in progress – albeit a fairly well-formed one – some pie-eyed optimists are already hoping that the advent of Rosetta Stone will ultimately do to the keyboard what the iMac did to the old-school floppy disk.

According to the Blade’s jackal-headed informants, the first candidate for Rosetta Stone is the next-generation PowerBook Apple is planning to release early in 2001; if current plans hold, the system’s trackpad will accommodate pen input as well as the usual repertoire of five-finger exercises.

Ah, but the strawberries!

Having survived the privations of Apple’s Spindler administration (subsisting mostly on library paste and Dexatrim and going without the Utne Reader or Cosmo for weeks on end), the Blade is no stranger to protracted sieges in the tech sector. Nevertheless, even this case-hardened veteran is rattled by the latest ominous reports from the DMZ around Quark Inc.’s Rocky Mountain encampment.

According to the Blade’s fabulously camouflaged sources in the BATF, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Tim Gill quietly exited the building a few months ago. The departure of the company’s spiritual leader has reportedly sparked a veritable Caine Mutiny among Quark’s engineering managers with mercurial President and CEO Fred Ebrahimi cast firmly to type as Captain Queeg.

Indeed, the Blade’s sources suggest that Quark developers’ headlong race to the exits has gotten so grotesque that Ebrahimi is seriously considering relocating the entire software operation to India, a country where his authoritarian management style may find a more receptive audience.

Ready to raise a little Caine yourself? If you’ve got balls of steel, The NMR Report has a mole rat with your name on it. A Mac tip is all it takes!

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