High hopes fall with Apple's dubious call

The new year arrived with the load of hype that comes with the territory in Washington ' it being the first city built on a foundation of hype, buzz and hot air. Generally speaking, the Rat tends to be immune to the zeitgeist of the latest big thing.


But sometimes, the whiskered one's wall of isolation is broken down by the enthusiasm of those in his proximity, and he is forced to conform to the wave of popular sentiment, and maybe even wear a color that clashes with most of his wardrobe.


Thus it was with recent events in the rodent's region, and he found himself forced to take a position on what turned out to be the losing side of the debate. That is, he got Baltimore Ravens playoff fever forced down his throat. The Rat was one black-and-purple face-painting away from totally succumbing to Festivus.


Fortunately for the whiskered one, the fever broke at the Rat household pretty quickly, when the Colts defeated the Ravens, so he wasn't forced to install the purple searchlights in the front yard or buy car window flags. The purple crepe paper, T-shirts, jerseys and party accessories were quickly stowed away in case of another outbreak next year ' out of sight of any Redskins fans.


'We don't want to stick out too much,' he told his wife. 'After all, we're the only family of anthropomorphic rats on the block.'


The Rat's interest in football was about as long-lived as his interest in the upcoming Apple iPhone (or whatever it will be called once Cisco and Apple get done with negotiation and litigation ' Cisco already owns the trademark). While he was initially just as floored by the reality distortion field as everyone else, there were a few things that quickly dispelled the spin.


The biggest issue for the furry one was the carrier that Apple teamed up with. While Apple's device will have all sorts of features for wireless broadband, Cingular (owned by AT&T) has by most accounts the creakiest and slowest of the cellular broadband offerings. The slick Web browser and rich media applications will be as much fun as crawling through a wiring conduit running over the older parts of Cingular's network.


Of course, it does play music.


So while the iPhone promises to do more than the new Democrat-led Congress, the Rat is treating it with the same amount of trepidation ' especially because he knows some gadget-happy users in his agency who will be looking to plug them into his network somehow at some point.


With all of the people already clogging his network at lunchtime with sports shorts, LonelyGirl15 videos, Second Life sessions and the like, that's the last thing he wants to deal with.


Of course, the hype over the iPhone might evaporate as fast as the bad buzz about Steve Jobs' stock option hanky-panky.


Until then, the Rat is sticking to something a little less potentially damaging and addictive ' his new BlackBerry.


The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out
bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@postnewsweektech.com.

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