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Coming out and staying out

November 8, 2001

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

Gentle Reader: Please forgive The Gay Blade’s recent spasm of survivalist delirium!

This utensil won’t deny that the spectacle of IDG Corp. noisily slurping down Macworld magazine like a small but still-savory Blue Point oyster was enough to send him fleeing to Army surplus sites with the alacrity of a heavily greased Michael Dell fired from the business end of a howitzer.

Now that the ibogaine has finally begun to wear off, however, the Blade has decided to follow the advice of his president (George McGovern, in perpetuity); forgo the bunker-hunkering of recent weeks; and resume his contributions (clandestine or otherwise) to this country’s economic and social well-being.

As for the thousands of dollars of military gear charged to his well-thumbed Diner’s Club card: The Blade is planning a small soirée that includes a burly Marine Corps honor guard, a spore-tight plastic “bio-shelter,” and six or seven Seal Team-certified tanks of nitrous oxide.

Sweet Salman Rushdie under a fatwa! Now that’s entertainment.

Shell game

Speaking of freaky munitions and the people who love them: The Blade’s gimlet-eyed team of postal inspectors has been assiduously sniffing CARE packages coming out of Cupertino in hot pursuit of the latest Mac spoor.

These government-issue snoops concur with recent reports – most notably by the Blade’s irrepressible British allies at The Register – that Apple has been mailing out pre-release Macs in preparation for January’s Macworld Expo/San Francisco. However, his sources suggest that the “G5” designation affixed to the new gear may be somewhat inflated.

Here’s the skinny: Apple will indeed take the wraps off new professional-strength desktop systems in January; moreover, these Macs will finally leave the 1-GHz mark far behind and (if you buy the “megahertz myth” argument) represent a real-world performance challenge to Intel and AMD chips that clock in at 2GHz.

Nevertheless, these sources insist, the coming Mac generation will not include all the architectural bells and whistles that Motorola has staked out as central to the PowerPC G5 architecture; this lag explains the relatively pokey vector-processing performance reported by some early testers.

So why affix the G5 tag to a processor that is actually a superpowered G4? To the Blade’s utter lack of surprise, that bit of semantic juggling was dictated by Apple Marketing (a.k.a. Steve Jobs), frustrated by the pace of change at Moto and convinced that the market demands a “Power Mac G5” in January – even if it’s actually a Power Mac G4 on benzedrine.

Slouching toward Jaguar

And while he’s on the subject of performance boosters, the Blade’s cherished family pharmacist reports that lucky beta users now have their clammy gray hands on client and server configurations of Mac OS X 10.1.1, the first of a projected trio of interim updates between September’s Mac OS X 10.1 (a k a Puma) and January’s Mac OS X 10.2 (née Jaguar). Within a couple weeks, lucky users in the wider world will be able to dull their withdrawal symptoms with enhanced support for USB and FireWire peripherals, including additional digital cameras and printers; improved CD and DVD burning capabilities; improved AFP, SMB and WebDAV file sharing; and accelerated video mirroring for the latest PowerBook G4.

Shaboing! Good thing the Blade chose the loose-fit cammies this morning!

Got your own Mac speedball to deliver? Tip The NMR Report, and a ritzy signature-edition mole rat could be yours!

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