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ATPM 4.02
February 1998



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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

When I started this column almost two years ago, I wanted to be the Dave Barry of Cyberspace. Later, I found out he's already here. I bring this up because I'm writing this column two weeks late. Some of you may remember watching Dave's World on CBS. It starred my good friend Harry Anderson. Actually, he's more an acquaintance (we were in a play together thirty years ago). Dave Barry is also a Mac user (not to be confused with the late lamented magazine MacUser, but I digress again) and his editor Shel would always harass him about missing his deadline. I have even less time to turn in next month's column, according to my editor, who shall remain nameless. Ok, his name is on the Welcome page, but you get the idea.

Anyway, had I made deadline this month, I would have missed a lot. Apple posted a profit and Raytheon, formerly Huge, which from now will be referred to as "Ray-O-Hac," has done two strange things.

First, they've made a sterling announcement: We are a one platform company. Now, if they'd chosen the right platform, this would be Ok. Unfortunately, corporate shortsightedness took over (I believe I touched on that subject last month). As a result, I've been sent over to learn the darkside, Windoze 95[TM]. I'm still looking for Mac work in the entertainment industry. It's far more exciting to write about the sequel to Independence Day than to talk about switching someone's Network Control Panel to Ethernet. Is anyone out there influential at 20th Century Fox?

Second (and more important to me at least), is Ray-O-Hac's announcement of layoffs. 9700 jobs up in smoke, just like that. One of them could be mine! But since I don't work directly for them, that is not the case. Being a contractor has its advantage at times.

I could be affected, because if the number of employees goes down, so might the number of Macs that need to be serviced. Therefore, there will be less need for Mac techs. Not to mention, they might move any remaining employees to another site. Can you feel my desparation yet?

Had I made my column deadline, the really big thing I would have missed is writing about the Super Bowl. For those of you outside the United States and Canada, the Super Bowl is a little game we have once a year. It's about acquisition of territory, albeit on a temporary basis. The really important part of the game are the commercials. After all, NBC charges a $1.3 million for thirty seconds of air time. Besides the usual beer, car, and tire spots, this year a few of computer companies got into the fray. More importantly, one company was conspicuously absent.

Remember 1984? Fourteen years ago, our favorite company paid a miniscule amount of money (in comparison to $1.3 million) and radically changed the computing world forever. Which raises the question, why do we have a twentieth anniversary Mac? Anyway, you may remember the closing words:


Coincidently, 1984 was the beginning of a string of thirteen consecutive victories by the NFC team in the Super Bowl. This year the AFC team won and Apple forgot to advertise. The Broncos won. I'm not happy. Ok, all you Bronco fans out there can throw virtual tomatoes at me if you so desire, and then we'll move on.

Ok, having towelled off, allow me to continue. The fact that Apple chose not to advertise the Mac may be viewed as either a good or a bad thing. You decide.

The ads by Oracle, IBM, and Intel were less than impressive. Halfway through the Oracle ad, half the people at the party I was at were saying, "This has got to be an IBM ad." The other half were saying, "What are they advertising?" The IBM ad got much the same response.

Intel had a unique idea, if you discount the fact that several hundred companies hadn't already done variations on the same theme. They showed an ad in the first half, about a missing Pentium chip, in which the detective (expertly narrated by Steve Martin), had narrowed the list of suspects down to two.

The audience was invited to go to Intel's website and vote on "Whodunnit." The flaw in this plan, as I see it, is that the detective and the two suspects were dressed alike. Most ATPM readers have probably seen other Intel commercials with "the dancing bunnies," as they're referred to by the fine folks at Intel. Well, this time, everyone was wearing a White Bunny outfit. During the second half commercials we found, to our surprise, that Suzy the Mouse did it and we were thanked for voting.

Big Deal.

Apple did not have a decent competing commercial, so they chose non participation, saving themselves $3 million for the upcoming "Get a Mac" campaign that I'm still pushing. Being clumped in with those losers was to be avoided at all costs. In other words, it was a good thing.

At the same time, Apple demonstrated that they can't compete. I'm sure I could've suffered through another "Think Different" ad, just to let the brand name be out there. For the first time in many years, the Super Bowl was a good game. The ratings proved it. When the final numbers came back, it was the 3rd highest program rating of all time. A lot of people would've seen "Think Different" duringthe Super Bowl. Unfortunately, no one did. That is a bad thing.

I've come up with a possible solution to this modern day travesty. Hire Dilbert. I mean, he's already selling office supplies. It's only a short jump to computer equipment. Anyone that has read Dilbert more than once has certainly jumped to the inevitable conclusion: Dilbert is a Mac user. He could even work here at Ray-O-Hac, for all I know.

72 and sunny in El Segundo.

e Ya next month.

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

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Reader Comments (1)

anonymous · September 27, 2003 - 16:12 EST #1
I was reading this page for an essay for school. I didn't realize all the things that Apple has accomplished compared to Microsoft.

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