September 1991

Lt. Sullivan

Now, even Sullivan is plunging into color

Lt. Sullivan looked at his watch and muttered to himself about the receptionist, who was late for the third time this week. He hates to answer the department phones, although he always seems to get some interesting calls to put through when he does.

Lt. Sullivan looked at his watch as his stomach rumbled yet another time since he'd eaten the day-old pizza in the cafeteria. It crossed his mind that with the budget there they could afford decent food for the staff. "Time to get back to work," he thought as he turned back toward his computer screen. He figured he had about another hour before the boss would return from lunch and he would have to have something done.

Sullivan pulled out his notes to review the week's activity for his regular briefing to his boss.

Just when color laser printers are beginning to drop in price and become more common, NeXT is poised to release a very nice new printer product. The new color laser printer from NeXT, at 400 dpi, will again beat the 300-dpi limit of most of the competition. Also like the black-and-white NeXT laser printer, the NeXT color laser printer uses the NeXT computer to raster the image, which is then printed by a thermal dot transfer process engine. This printer is expected to debut for a list price less than $5000.

Is something going on in Redmond? If not, how come Steve has been spied in private chitchats with Chairman Bill on more than one recent occasion? We have already seen how new industry alliances can create strange bedfellows.

Speaking of which, most of the field operatives are expecting dire results from the blue and red alliance. The one thing on NeXT's side is that these guys are not going to get along. It should take their engineering staffs six months to figure out how to talk to each other; and then they need to agree on a language. I think the premarital agreement will collapse long before the two Johns arrive at the chapel.

I half expected Ron Howard to come running into the room and shout "Cut!" as I had my first experience with a rogue DGS3 board that a field agent managed to get her hands on for me. I was shocked when the agent opened the box, only because I had never seen a computer product ship with three external fans! This baby is one step shy of being a nuclear toaster, but I always wanted a combination workstation and tanning booth.

Originally known as the Daewoo Graphics Imaging System, this board was to be manufactured by Daewoo and marketed and distributed by Leading Edge. After two years of inactivity, the designers at the University of Washington granted a U.S. company nonexclusive rights to manufacture and distribute a version of the board worldwide. Cube Technologies' new version of the board will allow unmodified NeXT software to take advantage of up to 160 mflops. It is fast... incredibly fast. With a little ice and a beta copy of Photoshop NeXT, this could really ring the bells in the cathedrals of Cupertino and cause some sleepless nights down at Silicon Graphics.

Adamation has quietly dropped all immediate plans to develop a much-ballyhooed accounting package. Bottom Line was to be developed for the business market as the NeXT answer to this traditional DOS stronghold (and Macintosh weak area). How can one platform have the best spreadsheet and the worst accounting software (none at all)?

They are still having trouble with order management at NeXT, despite the numbers of units shipped so far. You would think they would have it down by now. Unfortunately, orders are still written down incorrectly, and the term "it's on the shipping dock" seems to mean "you're about four weeks away from your actual factory ship date." When it does ship, check your system carefully. More than one customer recently received mixed parity and nonparity memory chips.

Lt. Sullivan marveled at the consistency of the locations noted in his field agents' reports. Apparently, the best place to overhear everything you were never supposed to hear about the NeXT computer is the front lobby at 900 Chesapeake, Redwood City, California. You grab yourself a cup of coffee and sit in the big, uncomfortable black leather sofas, pretend you are reading the Wall Street Journal, and listen to the people chatting as they pass by. It is a terrible shame about the cancellation of the Odwalla juice concession, though.

I've still got some Steve-signed Sullivan shirts to pass along to tipsters. You can e-mail me at: or call my voice mail at 415/978-3189. Don't call at the Agency, though. If you do, you lose the shirt. and voice mail at 415/978-3189.s.

Created by Stone Design's Create(tm) at 2005-08-20 23:23:41 -0500