DateMonday 6 June 2005

And since everyone else is saying it… here’s my “Apple on Intel” story. From April 2000

Here’s the beginning of what I wrote for The Independent’s Network page (as it was) – and, get this, it was 10 April 2000. So you think you were early with the Intel story…?

Late last week, Apple Computer released an operating system product that runs on PowerPC chips. And also Intel chips. Intriguing, isn’t it, that the company which has from its inception used Motorola processors should be writing software to run on the chips that normally run Windows – and, increasingly, Linux.

What it might mean is that in a few years from now you’ll be able to buy PCs which run Apple’s next-generation operating system, MacOS X. You might even be able to buy just the operating system and run it on your present PC.

More likely, you could buy an iMac in the future and discover somewhere in the small print that it had an Intel or AMD chip powering it, rather than a Motorola/IBM PowerPC chip. Not that you’d notice any difference.

For a moment let’s leave the question of “Why?” and deal with the question of “How?” The product released last week is Darwin 1.0, and Apple calls it the “operating system core” of MacOS X, due for release (on PowerPC chips) later this summer.

Give me a spare hour or so and I’ll mark it up… but not tonight.

Zeno and the slow train to broadband

I started a little countdown box on the right-hand side of this blog about this time last year when BT set a date for converting my local (rural) exchange to broadband. Time ticked away, with the date for broadband growing ever closer, and not even doing it asymptotically. Being 200 days away is a lot closer than 201 days, and 199 days much better than that.

So a little ahead of time I got in touch with NTL, and said what was happening. They ummed a bit and then last week, after the exchange had gone live, said that actually it was one of the 10% in the UK that they can’t provide a service from. (Don’t ask me.)

But Freedom2Surf turned up trumps: they could put me on their broadband listings, and do it from that exchange. They turned around the order within hours. All that it would need was a line test – which can take up to five working days (blame BT) – and then to enable the line, which would be up to another five working days. (“Up to”, not “at least”, you’ll note.)

So I lived in the untroubled Zen state where you know something is going to happen, but it’s beyond your control, so you simply let it happen, and don’t fret. Yes, I’d waited a year, but now it was just going to be a few more days. Be cool.

And then today I got an email from a woeful Freedom2Surf:

Your order`s provision is currently delayed due to a capacity problem in your local BT exchange.

Unfortunately due to a higher than expected uptake of ADSL in your area, the physical ports and/or bandwidth have become too full. This problem is affecting all service providers that supply ADSL services using your exchange.

We don`t have an estimated resolution date from BT at this time, although from our experience these problems are normally resolved in anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. We will notify you as soon as the capacity problem is resolved.

Aaaaagh! It’s like Zeno’s paradox, about how it’s impossible for a hare to catch up with a tortoise, because it always has to travel the distance that the tortoise had as a lead; but while it does that the tortoise has moved forward just that little bit more. The hare runs some more, but the tortoise moves forward a little bit again.

I certainly know which company is the tortoise in this scenario, and it’s not Freedom2Surf.

I guess at least it keeps me grounded in what the world is like on dialup, which slightly less than half – and a dwindling proportion – of UK internet users have. Though I’d really, honestly, prefer to be in the majority. For one thing, we could receive phone calls from friends and family in the evening..

Credit where it’s due (again)

Good grief! First Paul Thurrott gets Tiger early, now he’s been early and accurate on the question of Apple switching to Intel processors. I had thought that it might be some product – eg an iPod or similar bit of consumer electronics – rather than the computers themselves. Still mulling this one. Too little information right now. The key one, I think, is: how are you going to get the laptops to run (a) cool enough (b) long enough?

He offers
a complete Apple/Intel timeline (at least, seen from his – ever so slightly skewed – point of view):

April 26, 2005 – I reveal the fact that Apple is moving to Intel chips and abandoning IBM.

May 23, 2005 – The Wall Street Journal becomes the first major news publication to corroborate my report.

May 23, 2005 – I discuss my sources for the Apple/Intel story.

May 26, 2005 – Fortune becomes the second major news publication to corroborate my report.

June 3, 2005 – In an InfoWorld interview, Intel vice president Anand Chandrasekher talks up the Apple/Intel relationship.

June 4, 2005 – CNET’s News.com becomes the third major news publication to corroborate my report.

June 6, 2005 – The New York Times becomes the fourth major news publication to corroborate my report.

June 6, 2005 – John Gruber mentions my name without adding any condescending language, a first. He even credits me for ‘writing about this for weeks.’ Thanks, John.

June 6, 2005 – Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce Apple’s move to Intel chips during his WWDC 2005 keynote address.”