Just to put more information out of the nebulous and into the gossip's hands, I was over at the Company Store today, at Apple HQ (Cupertino) and suddenly became very interested in what a few loitering upper-floor engineers were saying. I eavesdropped, and here are a few snippets of that conversation: Engineer 1: I can't imagine anything like that . . . she's too hot! You gotta be kidding me . . . oh, well. Engineer 2: No, no, not a joke. She was going after (unclear) . . . but I think she's teasing. Silly, eh? Anyway; all the stress in that **ithole reminds me of being locked up in the (quiets down, too difficult to be heard clearly) room. (both engineers laugh) Engineer 1: Yeah, exactly! Damn. . . I'm not looking forward to heading back in there. Why be 85% complete with something that's not supposed to hit the streets 'til twenty-oh-seven? Engineer 2 (stamping cig): You know the answer to that -- control. The way we've always done (unclear) . . . the way we'll always do it. One; invent a product. Two; put an air-tight "media seal" on it. Three; advertise the hell out of its "potential" and tantalize people about its "possibility" meanwhile creating hundreds of thousands of the sluggers (?) in a factory somewhere . . . I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, I hope I am. This thing seems too important . . . I mean it's like (unclear) baby. Engineer 1: I hear that! Engineer 2: Honestly, all the bells and whistles on that thing -- you realize how important this project is? Engineer 1: Yeah -- Engineer 2: -- I mean, it's another "revolutionary" move. If you really think about it, this kind of technology . . . this thing is (quiets down to be inaudible) . . . it's historic, probably more important, in this business, than the **cking GUI, for Pete's sake. Engineer 1: Well, definitely! Far more important than a mere software token . . . software evolves, software . . . you know, it changes over time, there's no constant . . . Engineer 2: But with what we've got here, with the (unclear) project, we're making a new constant. Ha ha! I bet within three months of its release, gamers everywhere will be modeling their own home-grown games after the **cking Matrix! You realize, with the power inherent in this indium-gallium (?) stuff, **it like 'the Matrix' will finally be possible? (both laugh heartily) Engineer 2: Not that we'd want (nasally) that . . . Engineer 1: I'm just excited about the medical and scientific benefits. Richard Feynman predicted this technology could work; hard to believe we're so close . . . fundamentally, anyway, we actually have the basic kernel . . . with (unclear), we even tested the first (unclear) calculation -- remember that? Now it's like what they're doing in Iraq -- mopping up. Really, isn't that kind of what we're signed on to do? How it feels . . . Engineer 2: Yeah, mopping up. But really we're also tying up the loose ends. Sinching the purse strings on this whole affair . . . yeah, the medical and scientific . . . poor Feynman, if he could see it now, tiny blue cube capable of so much . . . it's interesting, I was in Barnes the other day -- this ever happen to you? -- reading 'Wired,' and there was a little section about Japan's NEC "Earth Simulator." Guy next to me was reading the same thing, and he seemed literally drawn into it, unable to let down the magazine, utterly amazed by its ability to compute 35 or so teraflops . . . (begins to laugh) Engineer 1: (laughs also) 35! Ha ha. And TERAflops, no less . . . Jesus, we're such spoiled jerks. If only "they" knew; the world . . . Engineer 2: They will, in 2007 . . . Engineer 1: Hey, even "2007" teraflops wouldn't be enough . . . Engineer 2: Nor would two million. We're on an entirely new level -- almost infinite, isn't it? I couldn't even count the row of zeroes on yesterday's test . . . what would you say, Eighty Five (unclear) Trillion Trillion Decaflops? Ha . . . Engineer 1: Yeah, something like that . . . but probably way, way higher. Engineer 2: Well (looks to clock), time to jive (?). Meet me for dinner? Engineer 1: Uh, can't make it . . . gotta see 'Ghosts of the Abyss' with Sally. Maybe Monday . . . Engineer 2: Alright then. Take care . . . Engineer 1: Peace.