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Internet Downsizing Brings Heavy Losses

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Complaining of feeling increasingly “old and stodgy,” TidBITS publisher and Macintosh Internet maven Adam C. Engst announced today his plans to retire gracefully as part of the InterNIC’s recently announced downsizing plans. The InterNIC’s plan calls for the retirement of anyone who has been on the Internet for more than ten years, noting that “if one Internet year is like ten normal years, these users have consumed as many Internet resources as some third world countries. It’s time for them to step down and make way for newer users.” Adam will receive a lifetime supply of postage stamps from the U.S. Postal Service and a gold 100 MHz clock chip.

The downsizing is so broad in scope that Geoff Duncan, TidBITS Managing Editor, and Mark Anbinder, News Editor, are accepting voluntary retirement. Both Geoff and Mark will receive silver 66 MHz clock chips as thanks for their long service. Tonya Engst, the remaining staff member, has been laid off. As a result of these broad cuts, the last TidBITS issue will be sent out on 01-Apr-96. The issue will mark the end of the sixth consecutive year of TidBITS publication. InterNIC spokesman Charlie Cutenhack commented, “it’s sad to see resources like TidBITS swept away in the reorganization, but I anticipate the Internet users will enjoy a new era of reduced choices.”

Other publications in the Macintosh industry face similar problems. All members of the MacUser staff who have ever used the Web are being summarily laid off. MacSense, MacChat, and a number of other publications will cease publication by July, though rumors have it that MacWEEK is busily hiring summer interns who have never touched computers before, in hopes that those new interns can carry the torch for those who must retire.

The TidBITS staff will be banned from owning modems or using the Internet in any fashion for life, and they plan to donate much of their equipment to charity. They do not, however, intend to lead a retired life-style. Instead, they’ve decided to move on to the world of television. Staff members recently signed a contract to participate in a cartoon mini-series called Bit Buddies. The story will focus on a small group of twenty-something East-coasters who move to Seattle, meet a long-haired stranger from Nevada and – amidst a backdrop of spectacular scenery, drizzling rain, and ubiquitous espresso stands – wage battle against the forces of evil while attempting to learn how to pronounce “Nevada” correctly.

Scheduled guess appearances on the show include The Tick, Gil Amelio, and Kermit the Frog. Bit Buddies action figures will be released to complement the cartoon; the anatomically correct action figures will come complete with keyboards, although batteries will not be included. The Tonya figure will come with an optional accessory set that will include a miniature, bootable, PowerBook Duo and a trendy collection of clothing necessary for today’s digisavvy female action figure. The Geoff figure will include an optional guitar collection plus hair grooming accessories (cut off the Geoff figure’s hair, and the figure explodes). Information about the Adam and Mark figures has not yet been released, but toy industry experts anticipate the release of action figures of several other Macintosh celebrities, including well-known Internet Macintosh programmers Steve Dorner, Peter Lewis, and John Norstad.

Before starting serious work on Bit Buddies, though, the staff has more personal plans. Geoff hopes to head home to Nevada for the dedication of the Extraterrestrial Highway (formerly Nevada State Route 375). Adam plans to do work with General Mills on a new breakfast cereal called “TidBITS” that will be market-linked to Bit Buddies, and Tonya has signed a deal to work with Apple Computer to create a line of Macintosh-related home decorating materials, such as sheets, wallpaper, and bathroom tiles. Mark has not yet announced his plans, but rumor has it he in negotiations for a part in the next Star Trek movie as an exceedingly polite alien.

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