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Cybernaut

The new iMac, aliens and too much bass may be bad for the lungs

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The next generation of Apple’s popular iMac line of computers was released last week, to the joy of technogeeks everywhere.

The first generation was an all-in-one bubble, with five bubble colours to choose from. The monitor, hardware, speakers and CD-Rom were incorporated into the bubble, which was about the size of a conventional computer monitor, taking up less desk space in the process. We still have five of them in the Pique office, and all of them are still functional.

The next generation incorporated a pose-able flat screen monitor perched on a neat little white dome that contained all the hardware, software and ports, as well as the CD or DVD drive. This unique design was a space saver, but because it incorporated a LCD screen the prices never really went down.

The most recent generation is spectacular, moving all the hardware, ports and drives into the area behind the screen, and perching the whole works onto a sturdy aluminum stand. It’s an all-in-one system, like a laptop without the portability, and it is available for desktop prices (starting at $1,799 Cdn) for a 17-inch monitor. For people who liked the simple, space-saving features of Apple’s iMac line, this next generation computer, which comes with G5 processors rated at 1.6 and 1.8 Gigaherz, is going to be an easy sell.

Or so Apple hopes. Since 1991 Apple has seen its market share of the home PC market drop from 9.6 per cent to just two per cent. Without more customers, it will be impossible for the company to drop hardware and software prices, and compete against the Windows and Linux-based home computing systems offered by companies like Dell, HP, eMachines, and others on a level playing field.

Because of the new iMac’s cool factor, the advances of products like the iPod and iBook, and the competitive price, investment firms are expecting big things from Apple over the next few quarters.

After getting my eMac I know I’m a believer. Anyone want to lend me $50G’s to buy stock?

Alien radio waves?

There may be a perfectly rational explanation, but scientists with the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (also known as SETI), believe they may have detected radio waves from an alien intelligence, coming from somewhere between the Pices and Aries constellations more than 1,000 light years away. No, really, that’s what they’re saying.

The signal has already been picked up six times by a powerful radio telescope in Puerto Rico, with the signal rising and falling in such a way to suggest the rotation of a distant planet. The frequency of the broadcast doesn’t appear to be natural, and is broadcast at the same frequency as hydrogen – something scientists were looking for because hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements in the universe, and was considered to be the most likely way for an alien civilization to make contact.

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