Down But Not Out

The 17" PowerBook That Got Away

Dirk Pilat - 2003.09.29


After last week's successful "talk like a pirate" beginning, I thought today we'd celebrate "talk like a neurosurgeon" day.

Notice any difference?


But on to more challenging things. Over here in a country that no proper American neo-conservative would ever mention without the addition of the lovely term "cheese eating surrender monkeys," an Apple Expo was held (An American company seeking a European audience in that country? Bloody traitors!) and new PowerBooks were given a first airing. Even smarter, more powerful, and more desirable, these babies are already infiltrating the few Apple retailers the UK has left, so the opportunity was opportune (ha!) to go out shopping to hunt down last week's model of the nice and shiny PBs at a significant lower price than only a couple of weeks ago.

Due to a new financial restraint found in myself I actually wanted to get the 12" Combo drive, but today, strolling through Dixons (a large electronics chain in the UK) in Terminal 1 of London Heathrow, gazing at the tax free gadgets, I saw an offer for the 17" with Combo drive: 1,870 pounds bloody sterling!!!

I gasped, as that was exactly 700 pounds less than last week on the highstreets of London (currently under siege by some weird so called magician who put himself in a glass box strapped in the air next to the Tower Bridge, apparently enjoying being pelted with eggs, hamburgers, paintballs, and insults by your average Londoner). That's it, I thought: I went to the terminal restaurant, drank a glass of Pinot Gris to encourage myself, and went, credit card wielding, to the next helpful looking sales assistant and offered to leave 1,870 pounds in the store, in exchange for a shiny new 17" PB.

The gentleman went behind his computerised till (running something that looked like MS-DOS), checked his stock, and declared that they were out of G4s - but that he would be able to give me a good price on the machine currently on their shelves. Now this poor thing must have been standing there for a couple of weeks, as it was rather dirty, the screen had a couple of rather ugly fingerprints on it, and it looked just a bit battered.

Well, I thought, even better. Haggle a bit and get the machine even cheaper. Eventually the manager was called to give me an offer, and looking at me he gracefully gave me a rebate of 50 pounds on that secondhand thingie. That's 2.673797 percent. I told them in no uncertain terms that for a crap looking thing like that 10% would be the bare minimum, but there was no budging on either side, so I leave tonight to Germany again without a new PB - and the shop without my money thanks to the manager of Dixons of Terminal 1 at Heathrow.

If you read this, please feel foolish.

I needed that.

Aaaaaanyway, there is more. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Germany's biggest and bestest Sunday broadsheet, had an interview with our top guru, the ever so cool Steve Jobs. Most of the questions and answers were pretty standard, but two things stood out: Jobs predicted the immediate demise of Gateway and the slow demise off all other big American PC-makers and - even better - answering the question whether he would be satisfied with 5% of market share, said that 5% would be better than BMW's share of car sales.

I feel much better now. LEM

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