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ATPM 3.07
July 1997


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MacMan to the Rescue

by Mike Shields,

It always amazes me how every month, right before deadline, I’m handed a topic or two. There’s not much actual Mac stuff this month, just stuff in general. For instance, I’ve discovered my own version of hell. I’m setting IP addresses for people half my age.

You Too, Can Be An Intern

Summer has rolled around, and with it, a new batch of graduates and near graduates arrive at Huge bent on impressing someone, so that down the line, they might get hired full time. Actually, I used this same strategy back in ’83 and was able to fool them for almost three years. But that was my first column, and this is my 15th. Or 16th. I’ve lost count.

Anyway, I’m sitting in the Bullpen reading my e-mail, and a call comes in. A Huser can’t connect to Netscape. I know, you don’t actually connect to Netscape, you connect to the Web, but that’s how the trouble ticket read. I arrive. The first thing I check, after noticing that the customer isn’t there, is the MacTCP control panel. This was a Quadra 610. Yes, Huge is still living in 1993. I’m waiting the requisite three minutes for the control panel to open and the customer has yet to appear.

When MacTCP finally opens, I notice in the slot for the IP address. Ok, problem solved, right? Well, not quite. This cubicle didn’t have its green card. After calling INS (Ok, Network Operations), I set the IP properly and restarted the machine. As all of you know, you must restart your MacIntosh for changes to take effect. The machine tells you that when you close the panel. As the Quadra chimes, this fresh-faced kid walks in and introduces himself. Yes, Apple as a company is older than this guy. I’m probably gonna faint when I’m doin’ this for someone that’s younger than the Mac.


As this is the July column, the fireworks will be over by the time you read this. Or will they? I spent the 4th with my family. They’re doin’ great, thanks for askin’.

We watched fireworks at Wilson Park in Torrance. They ended at about 9:30pm. My almost-three-year-old daughter buried her head the entire time. Of course, if you ask her today, she liked them. I’m sure I’ll have this kid thing worked out by the time Scott, my youngest, is 18. We packed up, went home and put the kids to bed. Next year, we’ll repeat the process.

Or, you can look at what’s happening to Apple. I was put on this special project, very hush-hush. Ok, I’ll tell you, because you’re ten thousand of my closest friends. I was handed a list of names. Corporate bigwigs located in El Segundo South. My mission: go to each and every person’s computer and download all their data files onto Zip Disks. I was even given a Zip drive to carry from place to place. I had to accept this one and no tape self-destructed in five seconds. I was finishing up with a VP that had four disks worth of data to download. The process was slowed because he felt that he was the only one that could touch his PowerBook 3400c. Of course, if I had one, I’d probably feel the same way. I was asked to hot mount the Zip drive. I don’t recommend this because it can blow the SCSI circuits and it slows the machine down. Fortunately, the Huser was not your typical corporate type, so the time passed rather quickly. About halfway through, I received the newsfeed on my pager. Gil Amelio had resigned.

Other staff of this here issue of ATPM will have their own take on this, but here’s mine, “Don’t Panic!!!” To elaborate, Gil has ultimately done everything he set out to do. He’s cut costs, streamlined the company, and gotten OS development back on track. When you do these things, you make a lot of enemies. For instance, how many of you out there were logged into eWorld at midnite, March 31st, PST? I turned the lights out, and I can let you know now, for the first time, that I was indeed the last one logged into eWorld. I was unhappy at the time, but I sucked it in. Amelio had to do it.

Online services are on their way out. Just ask Steve Case. It amazes me that AOHell hasn’t collapsed under its own weight yet. I know we have some readers out there using this service, and I pray for you every night. This was the first of Gil’s many decisions that weren’t necessarily popular. Add this to the pressure of trying to put a the positive spin on Apple’s financial reports.

Stockholders are a shortsighted bunch, by nature. Apple’s Board of Directors’ montra sounds like, “What have you done for me lately?” Next week, Apple might post another loss. I’ve heard different numbers, so I’m not going to make a prediction here and be proved wrong by the time you read this. However, I can tell you, it may not be pretty. Look for the Wall Street Journal to announce the death of Apple, yet again. How many times has Apple died, recently? By my count, it has lived more lives than a cat. But I digress. As a result, Gil believed he needed to resign, or was forced to. I don’t have the full story on that one, either.

What I do know is, at this point, Apple’s stock can only go up. The fireworks I mentioned earlier will occur as various people speculate who will be the next CEO. The name that came to most minds immediately was Steve Jobs. He’s been put on the search committee, so I doubt he’s in the running. Or he could turn around and say I’ve found myself. Most people have to go to sensitivity training for this.

My personal choice is the Evangelist himself, Guy Kawasaki. Don’t bet too much money on this because almost everyone I’ve talked with doesn’t think it will happen. What you can put money on is that Apple’s got some screamers coming out this Summer. These will bring the company into profitability next quarter and every quarter thereafter. I’m not a stock analyst, so consider it just a gut feeling. Don’t sink your life savings into Apple stock. However, if you choose to and make money from it, I’m still looking for $600K to finance my film. As Wintel computers fall by the wayside and Our Good Buddy Bill tries to consolidate his six different OS’es, Apple will still be there. It’s always amazes me how a company that ranks 22 places higher than MonopolySoft on the Fortune 500 can still be classified as “struggling.”

So, either the fireworks are over, or they’re still exploding. It all depends on how you look at it. Just make sure you don’t hide your head like Amanda did.

MacMan to the Rescue!!!

No questions this month. Strange, usually I get at least one. Well, I did get one, but not through this column, so I’m hesitant to use it. I can only conclude that all your Macs are working as they should. Well, I’m gonna be away for a week, so if you read this before the 21st, I won’t be able to answer your question(s) right away. Rest assured, I do answer all questions in the order received, as quickly as I can.

[apple graphic] MacMan can be reached at: Thank you for your support.

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