An Expo-timed update

It was about a week ago that we noted that our production machine had stopped working.

At the time, we did not know that the local Apple Store’s “diagnosis in 24-48 hours” would take five days—and end with “we can’t find anything else wrong so it must be the logic board; please mortgage all your property to buy a new one.”

We’re investigating other options, including last week’s new machines. (Even if we’d purchased AppleCare on the sytem, it would have expired six months ago.) We started limping along on a secondary machine by Thursday morning, and as of Sunday night, we’re fully up and running on it, although as usual we have to re-enter a bunch of serial numbers, fix some aliases, and so forth.

Since we purchased our production Power Mac G5 in late 2004, we’ve had no need to replace it, so the temporary machine we’ll be using marks the first time that MDJ and MWJ shall be produced on Intel machines. It also marks the first production under Leopard, and the first production using Microsoft Word 2008. We haven’t seen much of Word yet, since our first and primary task was to convert the handful of Visual Basic macros we use in production to AppleScripts, and some very subtle changes made that more complicated than we’d thought. We’ll talk more about that, either here or in MDJ and MWJ, later in the week.

We’d prefer to tear through a ton of material and publish around 8:00 AM CST, but unfortunately, the publisher is bugging out because he has an important doctor’s appointment at noon today that was scheduled months ago (and has been drafted to run other important errands as long as he’s out). We did take the first week of the year off, instead of Christmas week, because that’s just how it worked out for us. We were busy at work a week ago, until the machine died. Now we’re back on a smaller machine, an Intel iMac. It seems to work fine, but with some Rosetta programs still in our production flow, we wish it had a bit more RAM.

We had been working on some philosophical articles about issues that have been raised online in the past few weeks as if each was some kind of crisis, but in fact, none of them were any kind of crisis. Ironically, one of those was about obtaining repairs, so we’re a bit more up-to-date on that one now.

Those are not time-critical, so we’ll likely put them on hold and go straight into all the news from the Expo, and provide our pre-keynote gloss on some of the more prevalent rumors. If there’s not much news on Monday (hey, it could happen, right after President Gore cuts all funding to the EPA), we’ll finish up the stuff in the pipeline.

Either way, the plan is to publish that Tuesday morning, and take that plus the previous “Think Secret” coverage and put it in MWJ for Tuesday morning, then head straight into whatever happens at Moscone Center on Tuesday afternoon (our time). If the doctors find something wrong or there’s nuclear war or something, the schedule may get pushed out again, in which case we’ll likely go straight to keynote coverage to get that out Wednesday morning.

We had also planned to spend time last week on Apple’s Q4 FY2006 financial results, which happened before the publisher got his strength back. We’ll now postpone that until the coming weekend or early next week, to try to get all the financial news contained in a couple of issues for those of you who prefer to skip it (and to keep it isolated for those of you who pore over it in great detail).

That’s the current set of plans, since a few of you asked how the machine is doing. The machine is not doing well at all, but we’re now managing with a substitute while eagerly awaiting something bigger to run all our tools at once. It’s really quite astonishing how much RAM and disk space all these things take. Why, we remember when code segments couldn’t be larger than 32KB, and the whole system and applications loaded in 512KB, and…

OK, we’ll stop now. We’re old.