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Expatriate games

November 12, 2002

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

Hello, he must be going! Please excuse the packing crates and pungent clumps of high-grade Thai excelsior. Although the naked mole rat is not by nature a nomadic species, the eyeball-squinching, Lovecraftian denouement of last week’s U.S. elections has prompted The Gay Blade to deem emigration the better part of valor.

His spinning head has been securely swathed in bubble wrap and duct tape since the wee hours of Wednesday morning (whether to prepare it for shipment or for the merciful oblivion of auto-asphyxiation, the Blade still isn’t entirely sure). Alas, the rest of his packing has been delayed by this utensil’s uncertainty about where to reside until either (A) Messrs. Rumsfeld and Rehnquist come up on racketeering charges or (B) Run-DMC gets the band back together.

Based on their distance from any likely focus of radioactive fallout; their progressive social mores; and their well-stocked, modern pharmacies, the Blade is currently vacillating between Belize, Iceland and the Dutch Antilles, but he’s willing to entertain offers from any reasonably clean country with extra couch space and a popularly elected president. Extra points for a national ban on Ralph Nader!

Area ’86

The Blade isn’t the Mac industry’s only wandering Shmoo, according to the latest reports from the front lines of Apple’s sub rosa Mac OS X-on-x86 efforts.

The Blade’s cruise directors aver that the project is aimed at providing an alternative in case of PowerPC Armageddon, not generating an actual shipping product.

Nevertheless, these observers report that Apple has been serious enough about its ace in the hole to seed a few lucky civilians with prototype boxes – delivered heavily swaddled in layers of cloak-and-dagger security, natch. Specifically, recent testers report taking delivery of Athlon-powered boxes that Apple had assiduously welded shut to prevent prying eyes from ogling whatever other gremlins might be lurking inside these nondescript beige chassis.

On the software side, the mystery units have been stocked with current versions of Mac OS X as well as several application packages in various states of preparedness, including versions of Apple’s Final Cut Pro video-editing software and “a popular, Mac OS X-only browser.” While the applications exhibited a few rough edges, eyewitnesses attest, FCP “flew” on the AMD box compared with its performance on current PowerPC hardware.

True grit

But while a few Apple eggheads may entertain private, gossamer-thin fantasies [ed note: this link is even less work-safe than the usual run of links in NMR Reports. It contains nudity and adult themes.] of a stain-resistant, processor-agnostic future, the company’s bean counters continue the grimy task of mopping up the red ink that continues to seep into every nook and cranny of the tech industry.

The latest down-and-dirty economy measure: a cutback on janitorial and landscaping services on the Cupertino campus, as enumerated in a recent all-hands memo. Office cleaning has been cut back to three days a week from five, and vacuuming of less-trafficked hallways is now a weekly event.

To aid in the effort, Apple employees are encouraged to “utilize the break room trash receptacles to dispose of food items or other potentially odorous garbage you might normally put in your office garbage can. These reductions will save Apple money with minimal visibility to most employees.”

Yeesh! The Blade hopes Steve ’n’ Phil won’t mind if he brings his own Wet-Wipes next time he drops by the Mothership.

Hey! Who’s frying bologna? Tickle the Blade’s proboscis with a Mac industry tip, and a factory-fresh souvenir mole rat could be yours!

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