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ATPM 3.11
November 1997


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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

I haven't yet seen a Chia-Pet[TM] ad on television, so the Christmas shopping season hasn't officially begun. By the time you read this, the late night chants of "ch-ch-ch-chia!" will probably be droning in the background on your TV as you surf the 'net. So, in my continuing effort to increase the Mac's market share with my "Get a Mac" campaign, let me make a couple of suggestions.

First, "Really, get a Mac."

You saw that coming. OK, I'll be more specific, "The new G3 Macs are, dare I say it, insanely great!"

I attended the "Steve Jobs Show" on November 10th. I even got a free meal. I found a really nice tomato ravioli salad amidst the spread. But, I digress. How did I find out about the event? Well, I've become a MacHACer. There's a ground swell movement at Huge. I digress again. Truthfully, it was the Apple Press Conference, but it was hosted by Steve. Incidently, he has decided to remain interim, rather than permanent, CEO, so they're still searching. I'm hoping to get my name on the short list, as you'll see later.

The major announcements can be summed up as follows:

  1. Apple will have stores within CompUSA stores.

  2. Apple will sell direct via the 'Net.

  3. The new G3 Macs are available, and they're the best that money can buy.

In no particular order and with other asides thrown in, here's my take on the above.

If you've ever been to a CompUSA, you know they have several hundred shelves of mostly Microsoft software, in front of banks and banks of Wintel clones from the major manufacturers.

Imagine now, a corner of the store wholely devoted to the Mac. To me, this means two shelves of not-so-current Macs, some refurbs, and a salesman who knows how to point and click. Now, the announced store-within-a-store concept promises fully-trained Apple salesmen, with the latest, greatest hardware and software. Steve showed a nice QuickTime VR of the store they've installed in Silicon Valley. He and the COO of CompUSA promised a total of 54 open by Christmas. There should be one near you. If there isn't, move.

Go directly to the Apple Web site, click on The Apple Store, and buy one of the new G3 Macs. I had the good fortune to witness a demo of the G3 vs. the Pentium II at the Steve Jobs Show. You might think the G3, at 266 Mhz, would be slower than a Pentium II that clocks in at 300 Mhz. However, this was not the case. Steve put the new G3 next to a fully loaded Compaq 5100 with the aformentioned Pentium II chip. The test? Rendering an animated GIF. Suffice it to say, by the time the Compaq had finished rendering the GIF, the G3 had finished rendering and playing it.

Steve had a few choice words for Michael Dell. "When he was asked recently, in early October, what he would do if he were Apple's CEO, you know what he said? '...I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.'"

Steve thought this was rude. He even looked up the definition. He displayed a slide with the dictionary quote of rude's meaning. The assembled crowd and I agreed, Dell's comment was rude.

After deciding to sell directly on the 'Net, Apple did half a billion (with a "b") dollars of business during its first twelve hours of existence. Conclusion? The Mac, she's not dead. Now, all I have to do is figure out what to do with a cookie, a screwdriver, and a shopping cart.

My First Fan Letter

Well, the response to the new column has been overwhelming. OK, I recently received the following:


I don't know you, but I have some advice anyway: forget the movie and go into advertising. "Think Different" is cute but it sticks to the same high-brow image that has marginalized the Mac. Sometimes I think it's better for Macs not to be looked at as "special" or "unique." It needs a more "popular" image as in "anyone can use this machine whether you're writing e-mail to your grandchildren or working in artificial intelligence." IMHO "Get a Mac" says that. It's simple, direct, a little irreverent but still appropriate in a board meeting.

I'm telling you, advertising. Or maybe you could sell your advertising idea for 600K and make the movie yourself...

Keep up the good thoughts, Charles

	/----Charles D. Starrett-----
	|     /  | ____ | |  ____    |
	|    /--| |    |-|  |       |
	|   /   | |____| |  |___    |
	|        |      | | ___|___  |

I've reprinted the message in its entirety, totally without the author's permission. I hope Charles doesn't mind. I'm still trying to figure out his ASCII art. First, I'd like to thank him for the kind words. I hope the fine folks at Chiat/Day see the error of their ways. Second, in case the rest of you tuned in late, the column to which he refers appeared last month. It should still be available on the site archive, or if you subscribe and simply missed it, it'll be in your local copy.

Yes, unlike most of the other monthly columnists you read who shall remain nameless, I'm available to lambaste or praise anytime at: <>. MacMan is taking an extended vacation. However, if you have a Mac question you can't possibly answer, he's available at: <>.

Corporate Short-Sightedness

The fine folks at Huge Information Technology, or Hughes IT, have decided that within two years they will migrate the company to everyone's favorite platform, Wintel. Even MacMan himself can't stop it. Maybe a letter to Gareth Chang is in order. Anyway, what this means to your favorite columnist is that my current job might not exist much longer.

What does this mean to you? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. Huge is a moderately big corporate account for Apple. You don't have to do any math to figure out that if Huge starts buying Wintel machines, they won't be buying Macs. If this happens here, where an Apple Board member sits, it could happen anywhere.

I could be wrong. Maybe this is coming from Huge's new owners, Raytheon. Supposedly, the sale is final this month. Or next month. I hear the new company will be called Hu-Ray. Or Ray-o-Hac. They've got their own corporate IT strategy, which may or may not include the Mac. Or CSC for that matter.

So, I may be without a home from which to this fine monthly column. I might not have a fine view of the Hollywood sign like I currently enjoy. The title of this column may change yet again. Problem is, all the good names are taken. Hopefully, Chiat/Day is hiring.

72 and sunny in El Segundo.

e Ya next month.

Blue Apple Disclaimer: Mike will accept praise, flames, and job leads at: <>. He wants to stay in the LA area and would prefer some sort of Mac job in the entertainment industry.

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