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Waiting for the Man

July 23, 2002

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

JACOB K. JAVITS CENTER, NEW YORK, 35TH STREET ENTRANCE – Hello? Where’d everybody go?

If The Gay Blade weren’t so confident about the sheer rightness of his mission – bringing his private reserve of pomme-o-centric goodness to Macworld Expo/New York 2002 – he would be decidedly distressed at this current fork in the road.

Make no mistake: The Blade remains wholly convinced of the fundamental soundness of his scheme to ship himself cross-country in time to justify his love for Steve Jobs live on the keynote stage. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for heightened UPS security concerns about the proper packaging of live specimens and some unfortunate ambiguities in the Blade’s norepinephrine-bejagged scrawl, which rendered the shipping label partially illegible.

Upshot: After several excruciating days of quarantine in a remote UPS clean room, a dehydrated and preternaturally pungent Blade was unceremoniously dumped on the doorstep of one Jacob Janitz, paterfamilias of a Brooklyn dynasty of Hassidic diamond merchants. After hosing him down and nursing him back to some simulacrum of health, the Janitz clan kindly provided this utensil with a new suit of clothes (basic black, natch) and turned him loose on midtown Manhattan. Gay gesinterheyt! Biz hundert un tsvantsik! A shaynem dank dir im pupik!

But while this farblondgeter Blettl was already certain that he was too tardy to trefn zikh mit Apple’s alter kocker, he clung desperately to a slender reed of hope that some sort of Mac minyan would still be in place to hail his belated arrival. Instead, he finds himself rocking disconsolately in Papa Javits’ big bronze chair, with only his PowerBook, his phylacteries, and a short list of mop-wielding Teamsters for company.

Kush zikh in toches! Now that's a farshlepteh krenk!

Three O’Clock Roadblock
Speaking of lonely vigils, the Blade’s cammy-clad retinue of trainspotters reports that security has reached vertiginous heights around Mariani One, the historic corner of Apple’s campus that the company recently reclaimed from the Java junkies of Sun Microsystems; even company staffers, they report, now have to pass through two or three levels of security to reach the sanctum sanctorum.

Now, wild-eyed displays of paranoia are par for Apple's course; this is after all the company that in recent weeks posted guards out front of its soon-to-open SoHo store to shoo camera-wielding pedestrians from the public thoroughfare, lest they score a snapshot of the still-shrouded facade.

In the case of Mariani One, however, the lockdown is apparently more pragmatic than histrionic: The Blade’s sources report that at least part of the building has been consigned to development of tomorrow’s Apple-branded consumer electronics. These efforts include future iPod revs, to be sure, but Apple’s own Area 51 is apparently the proving ground for at least one major new portable device designed to bring postmodern multimedia goodness to the masses. Praise Bacchus, and pass the Greco-Roman wrestling videos!

Exodus
Meanwhile, way up in Coors Country, the hearty mountaineers of Quark Inc. are sharpening their sickles, the better to hack away some additional fat from the current bear market.

“We are in the middle of the worst economic slump in decades,” a recent memo from Quark executives pointed out to the slower studies on staff. “We are competing in an environment where many software companies are going bankrupt while others are becoming formidable adversaries. We must ensure that we structure our organization and deploy our employee skills in new and efficient ways so we can respond to our customers’ challenges swiftly and effectively.”

Topping that list, Quark will continue the migration of programming muscle from higher-priced Western offices to India's sunny clime; as of Sept. 30, the company’s R&D projects will move from Quark’s German office to the subcontinent.

According to the memo, the move will help speed Quark’s “transition from being a company that produces products and technologies to one that creates solutions to complex customer problems.”

Despite that suspiciously New Economy rhetoric, Quark also promises to deliver a spate of, well, products and technologies over the next year, including QuarkXPress 6.0(!); Quark Dynamic Document Server 1.0 (the product formerly known as Quark Active Publishing Server); and a rewritten Quark Digital Media System. Now that’ll put ghee in your dhoti!

Got something up your burnoose? Remit your Mac industry tip to The NMR Report, and a zaftig rubber mole rat could be yours!

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