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September 25, 2001

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Burrow into The Gay Blade’s enclave. The Spork Boards

Caveat lector: The Gay Blade’s Herculean efforts to roust himself from his two-month-long van Winklian fugue state have been infinitely compounded by recent events in the United States.

As greater humorists than this humble implement can verify, a creature who lives on parody and metaphor is sorely tested at times like these, when the simple gravity of the day’s headlines manages to suck every trace of both from the atmosphere.

This week, the Blade will quietly tuck away his big bottle of irony on the top shelf of his capacious medicine cabinet and hope that the straight dope will provide his jonesing clientele with a Methadone fix until the current profound unfunniness has begun to dissipate.

Safe as milk

On the other hand, one little dose won’t hurt, will it?

According to the Blade’s freakish human pyramid of dissolute Quebecois gymnasts – all drummed out of the Cirque du Soleil one fateful evening amid high-pitched francophone accusations of moral turpitude – the tireless elves in Apple’s workshop have put a bow on the heart-shaped box containing Mac OS X 10.1 (née Puma) and are turning their attention to the task of sorting out the various metal shavings, cogs and springs that have fallen from the forthcoming release.

Job One: To sort the niggling performance and stability issues held over from Puma in order of urgency and organize them into tidy piles that will be addressed in the next rounds of OS upgrades. (The company reportedly plans to deliver three interim updates to Puma between now and January’s Macworld Expo/San Francisco, when Apple pulls the ball gag on Mac OS X 10.2, code-named Jaguar.)

Apple has sensibly concluded that the first performance tweaks will be visited upon those issues most frequently stumbled over by end users. But considering that 10.1 has yet to reach the great unwashed, who are the users Apple’s relying on for its initial feedback?

Here’s that microdose of irony he promised: The Blade’s Canuck contortionists insist that Apple’s software managers are already sampling the feedback posted on the Web by – ahem! – unlicensed early adopters of the new OS release.

That’s right: Despite the permanent high dudgeon of Apple legal and Il Duce himself over premature OS releases, the Hotline cowboys and -girls who’ve purloined themselves a copy of Puma and lived to write the tale have unwittingly become the rock upon which Apple is demarcating its next OS erection. "If it’s out there, [Apple’s OS product managers] are paying attention," the Blade’s chief saltimbanco assures him.

Zut, alors! Do your bit for Apple, and pick up a samizdat copy of Mac OS X today. Remember: Loose lips fix rifts!

How many Lycra dance belts does it take to fill a rubber wading pool? Only the Blade’s chiropodist knows for sure, but your best guess – or a Mac industry tip – to The NMR Report could garner you a swank souvenir-edition mole rat!

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