Culture

Apple's back with a beef

Let it be known here and now that I do not come to bury Apple Computer but to praise it.

Let it be known here and now that I do not come to bury Apple Computer but to praise it. I think they've finally turned their fortunes around with their new promotional slogan, "We're back!" It rings with attitude, perseverance, and success. It also reminds me of beef.

When Arnie "Terminator" Schwarzenegger tore through the hotel looking for Sarah Conner, he was the baddest techno-beefcake around. "I'll be back," he droned, and he was right. He had a couple disappointing quarters (remember Raw Deal?) but returned in T2 to deliver.

A couple years later, Jack in the Box dished out some really bad boeuf--flame-broiled E.Coli, in fact--but rebounded with that bald-headed clown and his mantra "Jack's Back!" Now, as investors and customers clamor to know where's the beef, Apple proclaims "We're back!", hoping some of Arnie and Jack's magic rubs off.

Apparently a lot of Macolytes have a beef with CNET's coverage of Apple. According to the flame mail, the puppet strings held by Gates and Grove guide my colleagues' hands across the keyboard. But at least one Apple lover has thanked us in his efforts to lobby for a new Apple CEO. The satirical Web site suggests a 20-year-old Stanford University pixel pusher would be better for the job and links to a couple CNET articles as proof. For the record, Skinny thinks Amelio has done decently considering the mess he inherited. Wagging tongues wonder, however, if Ellen Hancock will ever get her shot at the top spot, a designation twice denied to her at IBM and National Semiconductor.

Meanwhile, les agents de Skinny have come up with other meaty fare. It seems that Netscape Communications can't quite kick old habits. Netscape's internal email servers have names like glacier.mcom.com and judge.mcom.com. What's the mcom for? A little birdie told me it means Mosaic Communications, Netscape's original name, the one it was obliged to give up after NCSA threatened to sue for trademark infringement.

At a recent party to open a new digital design studio, I cranked up my hearing aide and eavesdropped on two Webmasters discussing ways to block access to users of certain domains--the competition, for example. Instead of a complete blockade, one maestro suggested a more mischievous technique that Bay Networks used a while back. Supposedly, any 3Commie logging into Bay's Web site got a faceful of Bay's job openings. What could 3Com do in retaliation? They probably won't freeze the competition out of their Web site, but they could give Bay employees free upper-deck tickets to night games at Candlestick--I mean, 3Com Park. People watching the Giants in July have been known to go numb once the sun goes down and the fog rolls in. I won't hit the big time until I can plaster my name on a stadium. I can see it now--the "Crest Minty Gel Rumor Mill." Help me brush up on the latest gossip and send me some email after every meal.