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2001-01-10
Just One More Thing
2001 kicks off with a bang at what Mac users call "The Big Show".

2001-01-03
Inspiration and You!
How good company, General Tso's chicken, and an action figure made Comics Ex Machina possible.

Check the archives for more columns.

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Just One More Thing  

I'm not afraid to announce it to the world. I'm in love. With a man. And his name is Steve Jobs.

Yeah, you heard me right. Steve Jobs. The sometimes flaky, often insulted, but always unpredictable CEO of Apple Computer. Yes, it's that time of year again, the annual San Francisco Macworld Conference, and as usual, Steve had some surprises up his black turtleneck sleeves. Cause Steve knows what guys really want: not candy, or chocolates, or even a sweater from the Gap. No, guys want toys; preferably expensive ones involving lots of switches and complicated wiring. And boy oh boy can Steve deliver.

First, let's talk software. The next generation operating system, OS X (that's Roman Numeral 10, not the letter X for the unenlightened) is nearing distribution. March 24th says Mr. Jobs. And, we've made a few changes. I'm talking customization of the Finder: add your own buttons to toolbars, rearrange them anyway you want. The Apple Menu's back, the Dock does hierarchal pop up menus, there's a clock in the menubar, and goddamnit printer and AirPort support. Oh, and all of this on top of the fact that it's based on UNIX and is easy to use as a doorknob. Yes, for those of you who have been stuck in your room for the last few years, this is not the computer for you. But for everyone else...

But we're not done with software. So last year we had iMovie and iMovie 2. Inexpensive, easy to use, and yes, fairly powerful home video editing technology. Sweet. Steve's wrapped up consumer level digital video, time to move on. Video's logical counterpart? Audio. Enter iTunes. You wanna listen to CDs? Listen to CDs. You wanna rip MP3s? Rip MP3s. You wanna listen to Internet Radio? Listen to Internet Radio. You wanna download your MP3s to an MP3 player? Download your MP3s to an MP3 player. You wanna burn MP3s to CD? Burn your freaking MP3s to CD. In one program. And it's fast (not as fast, sadly as if I had a G4, but fast), with a really cool library system, making it even easier to sort and organize your music collection (which, knowing myself, forces you to clean things off your hard disk every week).

Did I mention it's free? Damn straight.

My only complaint is that it's an OS9 release, not an OSX, but that should be remedied soon.

More software to come: iDVD. iDVD is now the easiest (and as far as I know, only consumer accessible) way to burn DVDs. That's right. You can BURN DVDs. Everything from putting on the movie, to extras like a commentary track, outtakes, etc. You can burn a photo gallery. Whatever you want. I say Rule. Say it with me now.

But Dan, you say, how can I burn a DVD? Don't you need a DVD writer or something?

Yeah, yeah, that's true...what's that, up in the sky? It's a DVD drive! It's a CD drive! No, it's SUPERDRIVE!

Not to be confused with the popular high capacity floppy disk drive, this SuperDrive is a tad more super, in my opinion. It reads CDs. It reads DVDs (video and ROM). It burns CDs (CD-Rs, CD-Audios, and CD-RWs). It burns DVDs. Yes, burns DVDs. I want three.

So what does this so-called "SuperDrive" come in? I'm so glad you asked. Cause with all this "ease-of-use" crap, you might be wondering: but what about the techies? What're THEY gonna do?

They're gonna salivate over the new G4 Tower, that's what they're gonna do. Let's talk specs here. Closing the processor speed gap, the G4 processors are up to 733 MHz (granted, Pentiums are hitting 1.5 MHz, but 733 is better than 500 was). Plus the new G4 chips can do five and a half billion floating point operations a second. We've got the usual suspects: FireWire, USB, VGA and Apple's new display connector, and we have some first-time returns, like gigabit ethernet (Yeah, 1000 BaseT. Damn that's fast). But, now we've got a couple new suspects: a 4x AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) comes stocked with your choice of Nvidia's GeForce MX2 graphics card (32MB of video memory) or ATI's new Radeon card. The sound system's been upgraded to a digital one, with support for multiple outputs and a new set of speakers. Plus for those that complained, another PCI slot thrown into the mix, though with all of this onboard, I can't imagine what you need it for.

Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? Yeah, you want one, don't you? I know I do.

Just one more thing, to borrow Steve's trademark line.

A new PowerBook. That's nice, isn't it? Yeah, cause it's made out of Titanium. Titanium? Titanium. This sleek silver baby is all attitude: we're talking a G4 processor, all of the standard PowerBook ports, plus a slot loading DVD drive, redesigned audio system, and a 15.2 inch screen. 15.2 inches!!! That's a full 1.1 inches larger than the previous PowerBook. But, surely, you say, this comes at a cost of weight and thickness?

Steve's too smart for that. The new PB weighs in at 5.3 pounds. That's .8 lbs lighter than my PB. Goddamn. And it's one inch thick. One inch thick!!! That's .15 inches THINNER than the Vaio. And this fellow looks far more attractive. If I hadn't bought a PowerBook 6 months ago, I would be all over this like a gerbil on speed. Damn straight. So with all of this, there's just one more question left.

Steve, will you marry me?



All text and images 2000 by Jason, Kai, Dan, Tony, and Mecha Gaijin. He WILL kick your ass. Instant superfine!
All characters are ™ & © their respective owners. All Rights Reserved. Some Comics Ex Machina (CXM) strips are satirical in nature, and are not intended maliciously. CXM has invented all names and situations in its strips, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental, or used as a fictional depiction or personality parody. CXM makes no representation as to the truth or accuracy of the preceding information.