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New iMac debut brings massive Apple media blitz


Now there's something that started this weekend that you haven't seen in quite some time -- a major advertising blitz from Apple Computer, promoting their new consumer home computer, the iMac.

The iMac's official release was yesterday; look for the advertising blitz on TV and radio to begin to ramp up today.

One of the vexing things about the iMac for columnists like me is figuring out how to describe the iMac's appearance. Apple's slogan of "Think Different" definitely applies to the new iMac.

The iMac is something of a throwback to the all-in-one-box concept of computing, like the early Apple Macintoshes. Its case however isn't anything like the boring beige box that the Macs of old -- the Mac Plus, Classic, SE, Classic II -- were housed in.

The iMac's case has been described many ways; in fact, I'd suggest you visit

Apple's Web site (www.apple.com)to get a look at the art deco, translucent blue, computer.

Even Apple has taken a shine to some descriptions of the iMac as cartoon figure "George Jetson's computer."

Whatever you call it, it's already racked up 150,000 orders prior to its release.

But it's the performance of the iMac that Apple believes will ultimately bring back the old Apple faithful and attract new users.

The iMac is equipped with a 233-MHz 750 PowerPC processor, a 4 GB hard drive, 32 MB of RAM memory, a built-in 56k modem, a CD-ROM drive and the new USB (Universal Serial Bus) to allow connection of printers and other peripherals.

Performance of the iMac seems pretty impressive, considering its $1,299 retail price.

Apple reports that the iMac is 40 percent faster than a 400-MHz Pentium II PC, according to BYTEmark tests released by the company.

And according to Apple, the $1,299-priced iMac "toasts" the Pentium II in value, considering you could pay twice as much for the Pentium system.

The BYTEmark testing measures a computer chip's ability to perform productive tasks. The iMac scored a 7.8 BYTEmark rating, compared to 5.6 for the Pentium II and 3.2 for an Intel Celeron 266-MHz processor.

And you'll see the new iMac on a TV near you beginning today. Apple's largest-ever marketing blitz is underway, and new TV commercials will premier nationally today on "Wonderful World of Disney" and other programs.

Apple also plans to distribute 15 million copies of a special iMac insert in a variety of magazines, including Time, Newsweek, People, Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone.

GEOCITIES COMPLAINT. Federal regulators charged last week that Geocities, a popular site that gives anyone free Web page space, misled its 2 million members by selling personal profile information to marketing companies.

The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that Geocities agreed to inform its customers of what it actually does with the personal data members are asked to provide -- and give them a chance to delete or alter their information.

The move comes as politicians and government regulators voice concern over Internet privacy -- especially when dealing with children.

Geocities denied the FTC's allegations, but has established new privacy safeguards, including requiring kids under age 13 to get their parents' permission before registering the site.

JUST ADD MILK. Everyone with a Web site wants to be your starting point for your Web surfing -- and Kellogg's has a way to get buyers of its Smart Start cereal reading more than their cereal boxes.

Kellogg's has opened its own Smart Start Morning Starter Web site, a sort of morning newspaper on the Web -- presumably to read while eating a bowl of Smart Start.

The site features news from a variety of sources, and can be customized to your liking. The site also offers a free sample of Kellogg's Smart Start cereal for those who sign up now.

For more information, visit www.smartstart.com -- but I strongly recommend leaving your cereal bowl at the kitchen table.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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