Macworld Keynote Discussion

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So lets hear it! What are your views on Steve's keynote.

My favs were the iPod Touch update and the Macbook Air. The hard drive seems small for the MacBook Air though.

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$1800 for the Air is waaaaaaa

$1800 for the Air is waaaaaaay too much.

I wanna get a 500GB Time Capsule, though, and hack a 1TB drive into it.

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MacBook Air

$1799 is not too much for the MB Air. Sony's TZ series starts at $1999 MSRP - that's with a 100GB HD, but otherwise far inferior - slower CPU, thicker case, smaller screen, inferior keyboard, etc.

Just because the MB Air is more than some of us want to pay for miniaturization, doesn't mean the MB Air isn't still a price/performance leader in its segment. AFAICT it blows away all other subnotebooks.

M

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The more I read about the Air

The more I read about the Air, the more I don't like it. The battery is integrated, the only HDD options are the 1.8" 80GB or 64GB SSD (the latter of which commands a $1,000 premium), the RAM appears to be built into the motherboard (and thus non-upgradeable), and Apple doesn't even include an Apple Remote in the box (it's a $20 accessory). What really confuses me is that Apple includes OS restore DVDs in the box, but you have to buy the $100 external optical drive to use them (unless they've come up with some clever way to let the system firmware use optical drive sharing from another Mac).

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Re: The more I read about the Air

Dr. Webster wrote:

(unless they've come up with some clever way to let the system firmware use optical drive sharing from another Mac).

Yeah, they did. It's on the Apple store site description of the Air.

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Re: The more I read about the Air

mutant_pie wrote:
Dr. Webster wrote:

(unless they've come up with some clever way to let the system firmware use optical drive sharing from another Mac).

Yeah, they did. It's on the Apple store site description of the Air.

Mutant_Pie

Right, you can use Remote Disc while the Air is booted into OS X. I've seen nothing, though, that says Remote Disc works from a firmware level -- which you would need if, say, the OS X installation on the Air got hosed.

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MacBook Air - think of it as

MacBook Air - think of it as the PowerBook Duo (sans the cool dock and expansion capabilities) for the new millenium. Come to think of it, owning a PowerBook Duo without any of the docks really sucked.

My issues with the MacBook Air
- 4200 rpm Parallel ATA hard drive
- 1.6 or 1.8 ghz core 2 duo processor (as opposed to the 2.0 in the cheap-o MacBook)
- no ethernet port
- no firewire port
- one mono speaker built in (just like the clamshell iBook)
- only one USB port
- instead of using the existing proprietary mini-dvi connector - they made another! More dongles for everyone - an HDMI port would have been a better use of that connector.

The MacBook Air reminds me a lot of the PowerBook Duo, though it reminds me even more of the clamshell iBook. When the clamshell iBook first came out - it was not universally liked. I'm unsure if this machine has the potential to be as great as the clamshells prove to be (despite their limitations - just one usb, enet, modem, audio out on the 300mhz models).

Time will tell. As much as I don't like it, the MacBook Air is probably going to be a hit and is a sign of the direction that Apple is going on - much as the clamshell iBook was at the time.

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Re: $1800 for the Air is waaaaaaa

Dr. Webster wrote:

$1800 for the Air is waaaaaaay too much.

$800 for the hardware, and $1,000 for the style Wink

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For what it is and compared t

For what it is and compared to the rest of the segment (sub-14" ultraportables) it's not too horribly priced. The Lenovo X61 has more features, but a smaller screen and a lot of the features come in the UltraBay dock. If Apple had released a dock setup for the Air (even if not like the rumors were predicting) the price would be much nicer.

I like the Apple TV update. I'm more likely to consider it at $230 than $299, and the change over to standalone is much better. With the MBA and the ATV update I was right that they had something big ready for MW after the Mac Pro and Xserve updates for CES.

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Hi Def TV and 5.1 surround movies from iTunes

Well Apple FINALLY took my advice. If you are supposedly providing a better home video experience, it better include 5.1 surround and hi-def video. (I took off my aluminum foil hat about a year ago so Little Steve could once again read my brain waves from the Secret Satellite of The Mac Zombies (coming to a theater near you SOON!).

But seriously folks . . . where's my BluRay drive?

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Re: Hi Def TV and 5.1 surround movies from iTunes

mutant_pie wrote:

But seriously folks . . . where's my BluRay drive?

You'll get it as soon as the HD format war is over.

eeun wrote:

$800 for the hardware, and $1,000 for the style Wink

No kidding. I can't wait to see what iSuppli says about Apple's cost on the Air.

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As a comment on El Reg said,

As a comment on El Reg said, what's the market? The very high end of the low end?

The specs place this on the low end of the market. But the low end is priced ~$1000 or less.

I think this could be successful if priced about the same as a macbook, people could choose, for the same price, whether to have better specs or slightly less size/weight.

As it is, I think this could be The Cube Part II.

Personally, I'm most disappointed in the screen size. IMHO, 13.3" does not a subnotebook make. Gimme 8" or 10". Disappointed, again.

I got an iPhone for xmas, and I'm a little underwhelmed by the iPhone news. I've been holding off on jailbreaking until the SDK comes out and we see what becomes officially available, but it's getting a little harder to resist with such a lame update.

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Re: As a comment on El Reg said,

dead_elvis wrote:

I got an iPhone for xmas, and I'm a little underwhelmed by the iPhone news. I've been holding off on jailbreaking until the SDK comes out and we see what becomes officially available, but it's getting a little harder to resist with such a lame update.

The update may be lame, but not as lame as Apple charging $20 to iPod touch owners like me to get some of the basic apps the iPhone shipped with.

The blogosphere seems to pretty much have unanimously decided that, while cool in a way, the Air missed the mark. Personally, I (and I suspect the bloggers too) would have loved to see, basically, an Intel version of the 12" PowerBook G4.

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MacBook Air == Intel Metro

Something about Apple's "World's thinnest notbook" blather (and it's general dimensions) about the MacBook Air sounded familiar. Low and behold: The Intel Mobile Metro Prototype.

This paragraph makes me laugh:

"Though designers say the product is unisex, as a fashion accessory it may carry particular appeal to women, a group Intel has long wanted to win over. "Increasingly, women are often the decision makers, particularly with high-end purchases," says Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC. "More and more companies are starting to pay more attention to the female market segment.""

I've found that Apple owners get *really* huffy if you call their shiny computers "fashion accessories". But, really, sort of looks like they slapped an Apple logo on it and shoved it out the door, don't it? Shame they didn't keep the "designer colors" concept. ;^)

This product is the sort of thing that tech-or-budget minded people just plain don't "get". If you notice the hard disk is too small or the memory's not upgradeable it's not for you. This is for executives, salespeople, and other well-endowed (financially) or subsidized people who want something cute to slip into their designer handbags that they can whip out and "wow" customers with during presentations. Everyone else is just going to keep buying MacBooks.

All I can say is I have to admire the "purity" Apple insists on when designing products like this. I've worked with similarly sized Dells, Toshibas, and IBMs, and the common thread in all of them is they come with dock connectors just in case the owner *really* wants to use the thing as a "real" computer. Comparing this to one of those is like putting an iPod Nano next to an iPod Shuffle. If you like the minimalism of the Shuffle maybe you're the target audience for the MacBook Air. Otherwise... no.

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Re: MacBook Air - think of it as

iantm wrote:

When the clamshell iBook first came out - it was not universally liked. I'm unsure if this machine has the potential to be as great as the clamshells prove to be (despite their limitations - just one usb, enet, modem, audio out on the 300mhz models).

Time will tell. As much as I don't like it, the MacBook Air is probably going to be a hit and is a sign of the direction that Apple is going on - much as the clamshell iBook was at the time.

You think its like the Clamshell? Could be, but it didn't take long for Apple to leave the clamshell behind for the more conventional icebook.

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MacBook Air -- I like it!

The MacBook Air appeals to me because I am a minimalist.

Things I like:

- the fast, fast, fast 64Mb SD-RAM "hard?" drive!

- 1280 x 800 screen (1920 x 1200 x millions on external display, extended desktop/video mirroing, DVI, VGA, S-video, composite)

- no dock, just lots of dongles that are mostly USB. Yes, there is only one USB port that's where the USB hub(s) go. At first, I wondered about no wired ethernet, but the minimalist in me says it is available through USB -- and honestly, wired is the way to go for this type of computer.

- with persuasion from Apple, an small footprint intel processor, who woulda thunk it.

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Re: MacBook Air - think of it as

GEOS wrote:
iantm wrote:

When the clamshell iBook first came out - it was not universally liked. I'm unsure if this machine has the potential to be as great as the clamshells prove to be (despite their limitations - just one usb, enet, modem, audio out on the 300mhz models).

Time will tell. As much as I don't like it, the MacBook Air is probably going to be a hit and is a sign of the direction that Apple is going on - much as the clamshell iBook was at the time.

You think its like the Clamshell? Could be, but it didn't take long for Apple to leave the clamshell behind for the more conventional icebook.

While the clamshell didn't live on in terms of styling - many elements of it have within Apple's product line - the death of the drive bay, wireless connectivity, ports on the sides, and the thought of a laptop being seen as a fashion item. It wasn't until the Titanium PowerBooks came along that the fashion item aspect of the Apple Portable became hard to dispute.

With the MacBook Air - I see it as being the bondi iMac or clamshell iBook of today. It's bucking conventional wisdom in some very big ways, but unlike those computers - it isn't pushing a new connectivity standard. (if the macbook air had USB 3.0 or Firewire 1600 built in as the only ports, then yeah - it'd be awesome). For some reason, I have a real hard time getting excited over 802.11n (draft).

First they came for the floppy drives. Because I didn't use floppies, I said nothing.
Then they came for the scsi port. Because it was being replaced with firewire, I said nothing.
Then they came for dial up modems. Because I didn't use dial up, I said nothing.
Then they came for built ethernet ports. And because nobody was left to speak out against the absurdity of using the only usb port for an ethernet dongle, it made it to market.

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Re: MacBook Air - think of it as

iantm wrote:

With the MacBook Air - I see it as being the bondi iMac or clamshell iBook of today. It's bucking conventional wisdom in some very big ways, but unlike those computers - it isn't pushing a new connectivity standard.

Apple is also making the assumption that consumers all own another computer that they can network with MacBook Air for accessing optical media, otherwise they penalize them by making them purchase a $100 USB DVD drive, which will have a lousy transfer rate compared to a conventional built-in DVD drive.

I also don't buy the whole thin design, making a laptop ultra thin opens it up to more problems with everyday wear and tear. Take for instance the first generation Titanium Powerbooks, about the only thing that was actually metal on the laptop was the display cover/bezel and the bottom, the rest of it including the inner frame was made out of plastic. My office mate and I have three of these Titanium powerbooks at work, two for actually doing work and the third as a parts queen for the other two. They all have busted screen latches, numerous cracks and dents in the case, and busted screen hinges. I can't imagine how the Macbook Air laptops are going to hold up, I certainly don't think they would survive a four foot drop, even with a solid state hard drive. I see within the next year or so Apple having to deal with a plethora of Macbook Airs being returned for repair.

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my personal opinion is who ne

my personal opinion is who needs a laptop That thin? my HP isnt super thin and its never put me in a situation where it was too thick...

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Reading comments here and on

Reading comments here and on 68kMLA, I have to say it's my gut feeling that the many of us don't represent the target market for the MacBook Air. The superthin notebook market is based on the idea of paying a price premium - and a performance and ergonomics penalty - for miniaturization. Apple has come out with a superthin notebook that has less of a price premium, and less of an ergonomic and performance penalty - than pretty much any other notebook maker out there.

Compare the MacBook Air to the bottom of the line Sony TZ series - I use the bottom of the line for comparison because even the bottom of the line Sony still retails for $200-300 more than the MacBook Air. The Sony has a 100GB HD, but other than that the MacBook Air smokes it: 13.3" screen instead of 11"; LED backlight; backlit keyboard; multitouch trackpad; Remote Disk feature; thinner; full-size keyboard; approx. 40% faster CPU. It's a price-performance leader in the superthin segment of the market.

As for Apple making bad assumptions, I disagree there too. If you can afford $1799 for what's basically a really cool (and not quite as fast or feature-rich) version of the bottom-end, $1199 MacBook, then yes, you probably already have another computer whose optical drive you can "borrow" via Remote Disk. And if for some reason you don't have another computer, then you can easily afford $99 more for the external SuperDrive. And given the speed limits of optical drives, an external USB 2.0 option isn't going to be any slower than a built-in drive. Ditto for an optical drive shared wirelessly via Remote Disk (assuming it's being shared via 802.11g or n).

Will the MacBook Air bring a lot of people into the superthin market who aren't already looking for such a compact machine? I don't know - only time will tell. But remember, lots of people have already paid a $150 price premium just to get their MacBook in black instead of white.

And will the MacBook Air be purchased by a lot of people who are interested in a superthin and might otherwise have bought a Sony TZ or another WinTel brand? I think the answer there clearly is Yes.

And come on, folks - even if it doesn't meet your specific needs or budget, it's a really, really cool machine.

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MacBook Air's competitors

tmtomh wrote:

Compare the MacBook Air to the bottom of the line Sony TZ series - I use the bottom of the line for comparison because even the bottom of the line Sony still retails for $200-300 more than the MacBook Air. The Sony has a 100GB HD, but other than that the MacBook Air smokes it: 13.3" screen instead of 11"; LED backlight; backlit keyboard; multitouch trackpad; Remote Disk feature; thinner; full-size keyboard; approx. 40% faster CPU. It's a price-performance leader in the superthin segment of the market.

I'd have to say that's a somewhat biased statement from a number of standpoints, the least of which is you jumped to that conclusion by comparing the MacBook Air to exactly *one* other machine. ;^) People seem to like to harp on the Sony because from what I can tell it's the most expensive model on the market.

To me the most interesting machine to compare the MacBook Air to is the ThinkPad X61s. The X61s *starts* at $1200, $600 less then the MacBook Air. It's slightly fatter (and the same depth all the way across, instead of tapering), but weighs about the same. The MacBook Air has a superior screen, as the ThinkPad has a 12.1" 4x3 XGA vs. 13.3" widescreen. After that, however, the Thinkpad *murders* the Macbook Air on features.

Maximum RAM: 4GB
Max. Hard disk: 200GB (The fatter case lets the X61 fit a 2.5 inch hard drive)
Wireless options: Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g/n, *integrated* cellular modem
Available ports (on system): 1000Base-T Ethernet, audio in/out, VGA, 3x USB, firewire, Cardbus slot, SD memory card reader, docking bay.

In other words, the X61s is a complete *full featured* MacBook Pro-level machine (other then the lower-power CPU) shrunk into three-pound case while retaining every single port. The end result is an awesome little machine resembling a piece of futuristic military hardware. From a "Road Warrior" standpoint the MacBook Air is brutally outmatched. It's the just a completely different philosophy of machine. ("Make Road Love, not War?")

I'm curious how many people will go for Apple's take on the Ultraportable. It *really* seems to be built around the idea that it's a satellite to a desktop machine, and that doesn't seem to be how most people use laptops anymore. Unless you're a designer or engineer or other type of person that specifically needs the power of a desktop most people would rather just keep their life all in one place and not muck around with keeping two boxes in sync. All the salespeople and execs I see carrying ultraportables in a business environment don't use a desktop. They smack it into a docking bay and use it directly when they're in the office just like everyone else does.

I really have to wonder if not including a docking port is going to come back and haunt Apple. This machine may seem "futuristic" and "cool" to Steve Jobs, but in a lot of ways it's a throwback to 1990 when people were stuck carrying XT-class laptops like the original NEC Ultralight or Gateway Handbook if they wanted something under five pounds while they were on the road, only to have to then hassle with syncing their tiny hard disks with their 486 when they got back to the office.

Good luck to them. Maybe the fashion-statement aspect of it will carry the day. It expressly *didn't* work with the Cube.

--Peace

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I hear you, Eudi, and you mak

I hear you, Eudi, and you make many good points.

I agree with your implication that the MB Air is really about a "Road Warrior" versus a "Cool" style ultralight. Apple's clearly aiming for a different part of (or angle on) the ultralight market than Lenovo.

And it's also true that the MB Air isn't the second coming of the PB2400 or the PBG4 12". But again, that's not what it's meant to be, and I wish people (I'm not referring to Eudi here) would stop hatin' on the MB Air because of what it's not.

On the subject of the ThinkPad, there appear to be some significant downsides to the ThinkPad X61s, at least according to the review posted here:

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/ThinkPad-X61s-is-a-small-and-light151but-powerful151system/

According to this review, "X Series notebooks start at about $1,500." Perhaps prices have dropped since July, or street prices are considerably lower.

I would also say that a 12", non-widescreen screen is a major downgrade specs-wise. And I wonder about the size of the X61's keyboard - I can't imagine it's full size given how narrow the screen is.

Also notable is that you only get MB Air-class battery life with the larger, 8-cell battery, which costs extra and adds a full 1" of thickness (and certainly at least a few oz. of weight).

It also has no touchpad.

Best,
Matt

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Re: I hear you, Eudi, and you mak

tmtomh wrote:

It also has no touchpad.

And on top of that it thus won't have the multitouch features. I don't mind a trackstik but it has distinct drawbacks over using a touch pad, namely not having programmable areas for various functions including scroll edges, etc.

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Re: I hear you, Eudi, and you mak

Jon wrote:
tmtomh wrote:

It also has no touchpad.

And on top of that it thus won't have the multitouch features. I don't mind a trackstik but it has distinct drawbacks over using a touch pad, namely not having programmable areas for various functions including scroll edges, etc.

I'm one of those wackos that actually likes the pointer stick slightly better then a trackpad, so I wouldn't chalk it up as a "disadvantage". And, honestly, sight unseen I'd rather have three physical buttons then one plus whatever the "multitouch" thing does. Call me burned by too many years of Apple "Thinking Different for Difference's Sake" about pointing devices.

Different strokes for different folks.

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I like the Macbook Air. It is

I like the Macbook Air. It isn't a 13" Macbook Pro, because the components of the Macbook Pro probably wouldn't fit in a 13" inch thick case. It is an extremely portable computer with some nice Apple features. If I had a desktop Mac, I'd probably consider getting one as a secondary computer.
I'm still waiting for my 32GB 3G iPhone...

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Re: I like the Macbook Air. It is

moosemanmoo wrote:

I like the Macbook Air. It isn't a 13" Macbook Pro, because the components of the Macbook Pro probably wouldn't fit in a 13" inch thick case. It is an extremely portable computer with some nice Apple features. If I had a desktop Mac, I'd probably consider getting one as a secondary computer.
I'm still waiting for my 32GB 3G iPhone...

Why spend almost $2000 on a second computer? Thats what I don't get about this thing. Apple obviously intends for it to be used as a 2nd Mac. Who is going to spend potentially MORE on the 2nd Mac than on the primary one? I have a nice MacBook Pro, and wanted a smaller laptop to use on the road and at college. I got a 12" Powerbook G4. I've already got a powerhouse with the MacBook Pro, so the G4 is just fine. Its also very small, AND less expensive. Should it get damaged or stolen, I haven't lost near as much as I would with my MBP.

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If you don't want to spend $2

If you don't want to spend $2000 on a second computer, buy a bigger computer. Small components cost more to produce; while I'm sure that Apple has a nice margin on the Air like they do on everything else they produce, $2000 for a 3 pound computer sounds perfectly in line with the market. For example, the Fujitsu Lifebook ultra-portable notebooks start marginally cheaper than the Macbook Air, but they have much less power.

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What do you mean, extremely portable?

I don't see what the deal is with this extremely portable ultra lightweight thing is. Whatever laptop you have you just carry it around. You deal with it. Personally, I'd rather carry around my 15" MBPro and not have to carry an external drive or a bunch of little dongles.

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Remote Disk

If any of you watched the demo video, it said that you can upgrade the mac OS through remote disk, so I'm assuming that you can also reinstall.

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Re: Remote Disk

plop1234 wrote:

If any of you watched the demo video, it said that you can upgrade the mac OS through remote disk, so I'm assuming that you can also reinstall.

An article about that just popped up on TUAW:

http://www.tuaw.com/2008/01/18/reader-questions-can-you-install-xp-via-remote-disk-on-a-macboo/

Basically, the Remote Disk software creates an on-the-fly NetBoot share that's tied in with Bonjour. So, when booting the Air from an OS X disc, you're techically NetBooting. What the article doesn't mention, though, is if you can still do it though WiFi. Apple would have to embed the WiFi card drivers into the Air's firmware, along with a wireless network management app -- so you can select the proper wireless network and type in a password if necessary. I suspect you may be limited to doing the restore through an Ethernet connection, which means you'll need to buy the USB adapter.

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Pointing something out.

Near the beginning of the keynote, Steve Jobs states "Now all these great features in TIGER are...(features in leopard)", Steve meant to say Leopard instead of tiger. I just though I would point that out. It's not that important, but I caught his mistake almost immediately. Smile

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Re: The more I read about the Air

Dr. Webster wrote:

(unless they've come up with some clever way to let the system firmware use optical drive sharing from another Mac).

Engadget confirms a firmware level WiFi config util from the Startup Manger.

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Re: The more I read about the Air

Jon wrote:

Engadget confirms a firmware level WiFi config util from the Startup Manger.

Yeah, I noticed that article. I wonder how much help from Intel Apple got in rewriting the TCP/IP stack for the Air's firmware.

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Re: Pointing something out.

DaveyPocket wrote:

Near the beginning of the keynote, Steve Jobs states "Now all these great features in TIGER are...(features in leopard)", Steve meant to say Leopard instead of tiger. I just though I would point that out. It's not that important, but I caught his mistake almost immediately. Smile

I remember when he introduced the TiBook, he said Powermac rather than Powerbook several times.

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Oh, Hazel, look. The field! It's covered in blood

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