We at TidBITS have long been proponents of the theory that we should provide TidBITS in as many ways as possible for our readers. Unlike other publications, which limit themselves to the Web, we’ve long supported email, FTP, and Usenet news. That’s why, when Intermind announced its Intermind Communicator product last year, we started publishing TidBITS that way as well, even though the Macintosh version of the product hadn’t yet shipped.
We’ve also been trying to separate our organization from the TidBITS newsletter slightly – you might have noticed our copyright notice for "TidBITS Electronic Publishing." All of these moves have come in preparation for our latest announcement, the TidBITS Channel!
Shove Technology — The TidBITS Channel will take advantage of the very latest in Internet technology – so-called "shove" technology, which was designed specifically for information with an attitude. We feel that shove technology is the logical extension of the initial "pull" technology of the Web, where users had to go get everything manually, and the "push" technology used by companies such as Intermind, PointCast, Marimba, and BackWeb.
So, thanks to our use of shove technology, when you turn on your computer in the morning, an avatar (we’re in negotiations with Chicago Bulls "bad boy" Dennis Rodman) will appear on screen and begin a dialog with you. "Hey bud, move back from the screen – yer crowding me," it will say. If you don’t do as it asks (or at random times even if you do), it will invite you to step outside, saying, ‘You wanna piece of me? Huh? Whatsa matter, sucker, you scared?" Once you’ve been sufficiently cowed, the avatar will get down to business. "Read this, dork!"
We have high hopes for the future of shove technology – some joystick manufacturers have already signed up to provide physical feedback devices that will be able to simulate those initial shoves before a fight starts for real. Future enhancements to these devices will be able to simulate the feeling of being thrown against a wall and having a chair broken over your head.
But enough about the nuts and bolts behind the TidBITS Channel, let’s look at our new content. We’ve been watching a lot of syndicated television recently, and have "borrowed" a few ideas from our favorite shows.
Martha Stewart Macintosh Makeover — Everyone loves and envies uber-homemaker Martha Stewart, and we convinced her to broaden her horizons past projects that help you filter your compost and teach you how to make delicious desserts and centerpieces from the parts that haven’t yet fully decayed. On this show, Martha will demonstrate how to use a soldering iron to stencil those cute little geese onto the side of your Macintosh so it matches your curtains, how to French-braid your cables to avoid that ugly cable nest behind the computer, and other fun projects that anyone can do, given a week or two of concentrated effort with Martha standing over your shoulder with a whip.
BitWatch — This new show will star ex-Apple employees who don’t have anything better to do while working off their five-month severance packages. Each week will focus on a different, recently eliminated Apple technology and the team that had been working on it. Of course, everyone on the cast will wear only small bits of clothing, and the show will be set on Silicon Beach.
Tonya: CodeWarrior Princess — TidBITS Senior Editor Tonya Engst has always wanted to branch out into fantasy, and she gets her chance in this new show. Dressed up in a skimpy leather and metal outfit with a very large sword, Tonya roams Silicon Valley with her wise-cracking sidekick Ebbe (Even Better Bus Error), protecting innocent memory and battling evil big-endian overlords, CISC wizards, foul daemons, and other 3D-rendered terrors. Preliminary ratings and usability studies indicate a spin-off series (Colonel Mach: Justice Server) might get the go-ahead for next season.
TidBITS Swimsuit Channel — Not to be left behind in the annual fuss over the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, we’ve decided to do our own swimsuit issue, complete with swimsuit pictures of some of your editors in exotic locales. Of course, being as sensitive as we are to the bandwidth problems on the Web, we’ve come up with a clever way to present these images for your viewing pleasure. Check them out on our Web site! (Warning! These images have not been rated by the RSAC Ratings Service.)