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Going to ground

October 11, 2001

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

The gas masks have been hung by the chemical shower with care. To enhance the martial makeover and enhance security, The Gay Blade has reinforced the burrow's skylights with plywood adorned with dystopian publicity stills from "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," "Omega Man" and "On the Beach." To limit risky forays to the Walgreen's on San Francisco's busy Mission Street for over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, this utensil has cannily stuffed his toilet tank with stale rye bread in pursuit of a steady supply of homegrown ergot to carry him through the next tense weeks.

No doubt about it: Macworld's re-absorption by IDG Corp. has thoroughly curdled the Blade's recommended daily allowance of sangfroid!

Not that this utensil shies away from the possibility of active engagement: He's already brushed the mothballs from his MacWEEK signature-edition fencing breeches and mask (not to mention his Kevlar vest emblazoned with Power Computing's beloved "Sluggo" mascot), the better to fend off any incursions into this surviving bastion of independent Mac thought.

En garde, Uncle Pat! The Blade's epee is at the ready, and he's got an itchy finger.

Buy the 'Book

The Blade isn't the only citizen rigorously polishing his tools for a new engagement. While it's hardly news to readers of Think Secret or other worthy Mac-tracking sites, the Blade must toss his ostrich-plumed chapeau into the ring to endorse the current reports that Apple is on the verge of updating its portable lines.

This utensil's sub rosa network of channel surfers reports that supplies of the current iBook, TiBook and AirPort Base Station are stretched tighter than Senator Strom Thurmond's scalp, and the smart money is on three new iBook and two new PowerBook G4 SKUs by early next week.

Chippy

Shaboing! Now that he's done kicking over other rumorologists' spoor, the Blade turns his attention to the latest efforts by IBM Corp. to chart its own PowerPC course independent of feckless former AIM-mate Motorola.

According to the technician Roto-Rooting the Blade's hydroponic mushroom farm, work continues apace on Sahara, IBM's putative successor to the PowerPC offerings that drive the graying iMac and iBook lines. Not only will this tasty tidbit supposedly start at 700MHz, it may be the straw that breaks the Mac's one-gigahertz barrier – even as Intel looks to double that score. Put that in your hookah and smoke it, Motorola!

And underscoring IBM's D-I-V-O-R-C-E from Moto, sources report that Big Blue is working on its own answer to AltiVec, the Motorola-designed on-chip vector parallel processor for the PowerPC G4 that Apple markets under the sobriquet "Velocity Engine."

The Blade's bedfellows suggest that IBM's own Motorola-less solution will match the Velocity Engine's vector-based calculations for software running native under Mac OS X – and provide Apple with a plausible exit strategy should Motorola's laggardly CPU development cycle for the desktop market continue to crimp the Mac maker's hardware style.

Got your own payload of Mac intelligence to drop? Give The NMR Report your best shot, and a piquant vinyl mole rat could be yours!

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