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I do the rock (updated 10AM PT)

January 22, 2002

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

NIUE, SOUTH PACIFIC - Fakaalofa atu, Mr. Jobs! While The Gay Blade’s new digs on the outer cusp of New Zealand has left him strangely alienated from his Mac magafaoa, he gathers that your recent performance at Macworld Expo had all the silky mouth-feel of fresh-baked takihi with a side of taro.

Let the Blade be frank, Mr. Jobs: Since he foresook the United States in the wake of the recent Republican electoral putsch, the eyeball-jellying thrill ride of local events on his small adopted homeland has left this utensil precious little time to contemplate much of what passes for current events in his natal hemisphere.

Like you and every right-thinking American (inny or outy), the Blade found time to light a Kwanzaa candle in honor of G.O.P. moral compass Trent Lott, as well as hoist a tiki torch for Joe Strummer and Maurice Gibb. However, since he decamped in early December, most extra-Niuean news has been lost in a kava-fueled whirl of local weightlifting competitions; haircutting ceremonies; and political debates, with an eye toward promoting domestic partnerships and state-sponsored, medical freon on the island.

And although he must confess he’s only dimly aware of your Expo announcements (some sort of fever dream involving a PowerBook the approximate size and weight of the USS Nimitz?), this utensil is profoundly gratified by reports of your personal gesture of trans-Pacific friendship: At risk of waxing avuncular, Steve, closing your keynote with Joey Ramone’s version of “What a Wonderful World” represented long-overdue acknowledgement of the late punk progenitor’s seminal influence on the Mac platform as well as an obvious endorsement of this utensil’s recent campaign to include both Joey and soul brother Dee Dee in Apple’s “Think Different” pantheon.

Big Blue Cargo Cult

Most of the Blade’s current references to “the industry” may be modified with the adjective “fishing” or “tourist,” but he’s not yet entirely insensate to the “tech” bucket (where he also keeps his spare lures). Just this week, this implement’s solitude was shattered by a fast-falling CARE package containing some leather leg restraints, a large Zip-Loc bag of high-octane Jamaican cooking spices and a codename-rich roadmap for IBM’s next processor efforts.

As has been reported in part by other Mac-o-philic worthies, the company has now navigated beyond its Sahara generation of PowerPC G3 to a remap dubbed Colorado. Next stop: Gobi, which is expected to reach full production during the first calendar quarter of 2003.

But what lies beyond Gobi? Instead of continuing to rev the PowerPC G3’s hoary 7xx architecture, the Blade’s yurt-carriers aver, Gobi’s planned successor, code-named MojaveMP, will based on the nascent Viper template, which in turn will represent a grand union between the 7xx and IBM’s 4xx series of embedded processors.

Mojave, which will start at 1.6 GHz, will be based on a 0.10-nanometer process and feature dynamic voltage and frequency scaling. As a result, this bantamweight will be able to run at its base speed at 1.2 V and eat up only a Callista Flockhart-size 10 W.

But what of the eagerly awaited PowerPC 970, a k a GPUL? After a year or so of production (at speeds of up to 1.8 GHz), IBM plans to pop out a 970+, which should include a few niceties that will bring it to 2.5 GHz. While much remains obscured beneath the burning sands, there is an undefined “Next Generation” chip - and it’s not based on the GPUL but the Power5 successor to IBM’s current server silicon. Haha te whenua, haha te tangata!

[Late Flash! eds.] Under the Wire

And this just in via shortwave: “A California Mac-only dealer in mid-December filed suit with Apple for $7.5 million, leveling more than a dozen charges, including unfair business and anticompetitive practices, bad accounting, and even violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act. Besides years' worth of e-mail correspondence, one interesting piece of potential evidence is a digital recording of an Apple phone sales representative and her manager [allegedly] dissing Mac dealers and misrepresenting service and warranty information.” Ngahuru kai Hangai, Koanga kai anga kee! (Harvest time eating openly, in spring eating secretively.)

Ko te heke ra o Maruiwi, I toremi ai ki te reinga, the Blade is well-oiled and hard to hold still. But leave a Mac industry tip with his tireless handlers, and a souvenir mole rat could be yours!

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