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Article Archive - 2 March to 6 March, 1998

6 March, 12.48pm est

Microsoft Issues Warning About New Virus
In a press conference earlier today, Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, issued a warning about a new computer virus that "is the most harmful and diabolical ever conceived."

"This virus, commonly known as the 'BeOS' virus is the sneakiest I have ever seen," Gates said, "not only does it render Windows programs unusable, it replaces the entire Windows OS."

According to Gates, once the BeOS is on a computer, it sets up its own files system and installs its own applications for everyday tasks such as email, web surfing, networking and word processing.

"The BeOS virus then entices the victim into using its own applications by making them faster and more efficient than traditional Windows programs," Gates explained. "But they lack important features such as ActiveX doodads and Tip Wizards - by depriving users of these features, the BeOS is particularly malignant."

Gates pointed out other applications generated by the BeOS virus that have no Windows equivalent. "These obviously exist solely to confuse and distract the user," he said.

Although it's possible for a user to switch from the BeOS back to Windows with little effort, long term studies show that the longer users are exposed to the BeOS virus they return to Windows less and less often.

"This evil must be stopped," Gates proclaimed with much arm-waving.

The virus is set to activate March 12th.

5 March, 9.23am est
Be T-shirts Outperform Traditional T-shirts
Be Inc., is less than two weeks away from releasing a revolutionary new T-shirt. They claim it will forever change the way people think about wearing clothes.

"By designing these T-shirts from the ground up to be optimized for today's high-demand activities," explained Be Inc. CEO Jean-Louis Gassée, "we avoided legacy weaving that all other T-shirts are forced to build upon."

Audiences watched fascinated as Alex "Demo God" Osadzinski demonstrated the new T-shirts last week. He kept a constant patter going as he simultaneously played basketball, volleyball, placed a cell phone call, rock-climbed and checked his email.

"The Be T-shirt allows your body more freedom and breaks up each movement into a bunch of smaller jobs, allowing you to focus power when and where you need it," he said as he sunk a perfect 3-point shot, "as opposed to existing T-shirts which lock you into one movement at a time."

"Even simply putting on and taking off the T-shirt is 70% faster - this alone is invaluable in situations when you simply do not want to wait to remove your T-shirt," Osadzinski added.

What's even more amazing is the fact that the T-shirts are based on the same cotton fibers today's T-shirts are using. Gassée credits the Be engineers with designing a product that makes efficient use of existing materials through superior manufacturing and weaving.

Developers have flocked to Be, designing activities that were simply not possible within the limits of existing T-shirts. Despite this, Gassée does not see his T-shirts immediately replacing all others.

"The Be T-shirt was designed to exist alongside today's existing T-shirt, which offer a level of comfort and familiarity to the wearer," Gassée stated. "For example, a person might wear an older T-shirt while watching TV, eating lunch or reading a book, then switch into the Be T-shirt as they begin higher-demand activities such as running a marathon, kayacking or rollerblading."

After months of testing and perfecting, the Be T-shirt has begun shipping to developers and will be unveiled and distributed to the world at large at this month's BeDC. Be also plans to give away copies of the BeOS with the T-shirt.

4 March, 11.20am est
Be Inc. Disproves Theory of Software Release
Be Inc. announced that the R3 Intel version of its software will ship March 12th - fully one week ahead of schedule according to a Salon article. In doing so, it has disproved the long-standing Theory of Software Release, which was widely accepted as law by the software industry.

The Theory of Software Release states, "Once a shipping date for a product is announced in advance, it becomes impossible to ship the software on (or before) that date."

"I've seen some software come close to shipping on the projected release date," said computer columnist John Dvorak, "but to ship an entire operating system ahead of schedule is something I thought I'd never see in my lifetime".

"We are always happy to shatter pre-conceived notions about computers, whether it be in the area of hardware performance or software speed and efficiency," said Be Inc. CEO John-Louis Gassée.

Gates Highlights BeOS in Senate Testimony
In an attempt to shift the focus from charges of possible monopolistic practices, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates demonstrated the BeOS to members of a special Senate hearing.

"As you know, a monopolist, by definition, is a company that has the ability to restrict entry by new firms and unilaterally control price," Gates testified, "but I think the BeOS clearly shows there are innovative companies out there entering the market with powerful and less expensive products to compete with Windows."

Gates ran several movies while playing Descent on a BeOS demo machine as he continued, "Multiple processor support, pervasive multitasking, protected memory - these are things Microsoft certainly does not have a monopoly on or even support in some cases."

"Wow this thing is stable. Why doesn't it crash," Gates allegedly muttered as he opened more applications.

"Even when Windows 98 comes out of beta someday soon, it will not have half the performance of the BeOS," Gates said.

Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and frequent Microsoft critic, was impressed by the BeOS and said he will install the BeOS on his own computer "as soon as humanly possible".

The hearing was delayed for several hours as senators experimented with various BeOS applications, including Attraction and Squiggy.

3 March, 12.10pm est
BeOS Makes Waves In Marine Mammal Research
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have reported a breakthrough in the area of communication between man and dolphin, according to internal documents obtained by Be Dope. The documents report the BeOS was largely responsible for the breakthrough.

Scientists at Woods Hole used a BeOS machine to store and analyze hundreds of hours of bottlenose dolphin clicks and whistles. Apart from the identification of a few key "signature whistles" - a unique combination of sounds believed to be used by the dolphins to identify themselves when communicating - not much progress had been made in the past few years.

The breakthrough came after one scientist downloaded and installed Squiggy, the latest BeWare from Douglas Irving Repetto. Squiggy is a real-time spectral manipulation tool for the BeOS. With it you can create, record, manipulate and play back sound-images called spectrograms. A spectrogram is a way of displaying information about the time-varying spectrum (frequency content) of a sound.

For fun, scientists fed some of the recorded dolphin noises into Squiggy, and started playing with the frequency, range and phase. After putting the dolphin noises through a certain sequence of events (not detailed in the documents) the spectrograms began to resemble images of fish and other undersea objects.

Following days of experimentation and refinement, the spectrograms coalesced into clear, moving images! Some mentioned in the documents include the fending off of a shark attack, an ancient looking ship sailing, sunken wrecks, people swimming, and lots of fish.

"We believe we are seeing visual representations of the stories and messages the dolphin sounds are relaying," the document reported.

The document concluded by stating "this project has been taken over and rendered classified by the United States Department of Defense. All research relating to this project should be handed over to the project director. No mention of this project is to be made to the public or media."

2 March, 11.42am est
BeOS R3 Hijacker Foiled By Be Employees
Chaos reigned on the streets of Menlo Park, California late friday afternoon as a truck en route to Be Inc. headquarters was hijacked. Inside the truck was the first shipment of the BeOS R3 for Intel CD-ROMs.

According to eyewitnesses, while the truck was refueling, a dark gray Lexus pulled up alongside the truck. The car's passenger started to ask the trucker for directions. As the trucker approached the car, the passenger leapt out brandishing a gun and forced the trucker to hand over the keys to the truck.

"I didn't get a real good look at him," said trucker Pete Newpenn, "he was short, had mousy hair, big eyeglasses and a squeaky voice. One thing I did see was pure madness in his eyes. That's why I handed over the keys - for whatever reason, this guy wanted my truck real bad, and he wasn't going to be stopped by anyone."

Unknown to the hijacker, the truck was being followed by Be Inc. employees Dominic Giampaolo, Michael Alderete and Melanie Walker.

"We were taking no chances with those CDs," said Alderete, "although we never really expected any sort of trouble, let alone a hijacking."

As the truck sped away, Alderete was right behind it in pursuit. This unexpected turn of events seem to momentarily disorient the hijacker, who missed the onramp to the freeway. It soon became obvious he was not familiar with the local roads.

As the hijacker seemed to be getting his bearings and heading back towards the freeway, Giampaolo realized the hijacker must be using the truck's Global Positioning System to get back on track. Giampaolo, who was running the BeOS on a laptop with a radio modem connection, quickly opened a telnet session to the control system for the satellite used to relay GPS data to the truck. Using a few "tricks" Giampaolo then began sending false information to the hijacker's console and redirecting him away from the freeway.

Forced to travel at slower speeds on local roads, Alderete was able to pull up behind the truck while Melanie Walker climbed out onto the hood and leapt from the car onto the back of the truck. With cat-like grace, she then climbed across the top and surprised the hijacker by smashing through the windshield.

Sensing the game was up, the hijacker leapt from the truck and was picked up by the gray Lexus. Walker brought the truck to a stop safely.

Be Inc. was not sure of the hijacker's motives, since the R3 source code is safely locked away in several locations.

"Perhaps the hijacker wished to simply delay the planned first distribution of the CD-ROMs at BeDC later this month, thereby damaging our credibility," Alderete said, "or whoever it is may have simply wanted to know what the BeOS was capable of before the rest of the general public for some unknown reason."

Police failed to respond, despite many calls to 911. Police blamed the coincidental crash of their computer dispatch system, which runs under Windows NT. They ask any eyewitnesses who might have seen the hijacker or the dark gray Lexus with Washington state plates to contact them immediately.

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