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1997 Fools: Apple Releases Jewish System Software v1.0


Dateline: Cupertino, 1 April 1997


                 Apple Releases Jewish System Software v1.0
                 ------------------------------------------

Cupertino: Apple Computer has announced today the release of the first
localizable religion module for their system software. Previous versions
of Macintosh (MacOS) software have been able to support localizable
geographical regions and languages, according to an Apple spokesman, but
no operating system has yet been able to add customisable support for
religion and culture. The module is to modify the system software to
interact with the user's ethnicity as closely as possible, so as to
maximise enjoyment of the religion, to minimise potential embarrassing
conflicts and to increase its overall intuitiveness and functionality. The
first Religion/Organisation Tolerance and Functionality Layer (ROTFL) to
be released will support the liberal Jewish religion. Others are expected
to follow in the near future.

While Apple has declined to allow demonstrations until an embargo date
some weeks from today, several developers have given inside information on
the beta versions of the software, developed under the codename "Tsures".
Some of the more obvious and useful features are said to include:

* The Dates and Times control panel and the Calender desk accessory have
been extended to include all major religious holidays. Notifications can
be arranged for these and for the commencement times of the Sabbath to
allow the user to finish in time for prayer;

* The Numbers control panel now has different currency options as well as
interest and exchange rates depending on whether the figure is for buying
or selling;

* The clock menu in the menubar will be set to Jewish mean-time, which is
approximately 0.5 hours later than the default system time;

* Extensions to the Speech Manager include addition of the voices
"Brooklyn" and "Queens" to the dialects in which the computer can talk,
while support for extra nasality and running-together of words has been
added to the speech recognition software. A new output voice termed
"Drescher" was to have been added but problems with the physical damage it
caused some sound output hardware could not be overcome in time and it
will be released in a later update to the system.

Other changes designed to allow better cosmetic integration with the
Jewish faith include:

* The addition of a 'Nag' feature to the On-Line Help Menu;

* The "OK" button in system dialog boxes is changed to "Nu?";

* The "Welcome to Mac" icon and the dialog alert icons get a yarmulke and
the "Welcome to Mac" message on startup becomes: "So? Why has it taken so
long to see me again?";

* Instead of saying "Are you sure you want to do this?" the system asks:
"Why do you want to do this? You don't want to do this. You shouldn't do
it this way, there's a better way...";

* Instead of offering the restart button when the System crashes, the
Sytem displays a modal dialog saying "That's okay... I will just sit here
frozen...";

* Hypercard is now to be on Prozac and thus will be only "card";

* The GeoPort modem achitecture is extended to offer the VolvoModem(tm)
which has a maximum speed of 300bps with extra error-correction;

* Extra support is added for the EGED bus, in addition to the SCSI and PCI
buses.

Some other software vendors are reportedly modifying applications to take
advantage of the new features and needs of the ROTFLs. Symantec and other
anti-virus vendors are reportedly updating their hard disk scan utilities
to include the ability to scan your system and peripherals in El-Al mode,
which picks up guns, bombs and knives, while un-erase utilities now
display useful information such as "See? I TOLD you a million times... if
you don't back up..."

However, prospective users should be advised that some developers have
reported problems. One said that the Finder(tm) had been changed so that
it cleans up your desktop whether you like it or not and you will never be
able to find anything again. He also reported unusual messages in
"Tip-for-the-day" startup dialogs, which often seemed stuck on the same
thing every day. Another noted that his network probes showed that
AppleTalk(tm) was much more active than usual, with short messages being
exchanged between a few selected nearby machines for long periods of time.
Also, machines, and especially older machines, often appeared to send
messages repeatedly just to themselves.

Another reported problems with the 'guide' program designed to aid new
users. Called "Ben" or "Bibi", it is based on the well-known and
widely-used Microsoft(r) "Bob" program. "It's supposed to take me by the
hand and guide me through the intricacies of using the computer",
complained one user. "Instead, its security guards wouldn't let it near
me. When I finally got to talk to it, it spent the whole time assuring me
that everything was fine and asking if I had any babies to kiss." This
does not appear confined to the Jewish ROTFL, however, as some users
reported the same problem with the now-defunct "Bill" program developed in
parallel for US users.

Other complaints concerned the packaged internet explorer, called "Moses".
Some users claimed that it seemed to take forever to access any address
inside Israel, usually crashing just after displaying images on the
screen. More worryingly, computer security experts claim to have caught it
in the act of gathering information about the user's occupation and
forwarding details of doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers and bankers to a
shadowy company called "Shadchan Inc.".

Lastly, some users reported that their computer seized control from them,
started making strange incantations and caused their memory chips to burst
into smoky flames, displaying cryptic error messages about giving burnt
RAM offerings to the Lord.

While Apple will not comment on the release of other ROTFLs, it is
believed that the ROTFL for fundamental Judaism has been held up until
Kashrut certificates can be obtained for the 603e and 604 PowerPC
processors. ROTFLs are also expected to be relased soon to support the
Islamic and Buddhist religions, but the module to support Catholicism is
reportedly being delayed due to negotiations associated with the
acquisition of the Church by Mr Bill Gates (see memo first released in
1994).

-- reported by Ben K <benk@vislab.usyd.edu.au> and Daniel Lewkovitz
<lewko@st.elec.uow.edu.au>. Copyright (c) 1997, all rights reserved.

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