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Terminal sensitivity 

Los Angeles officials have asked that manufacturers, suppliers and contractors stop using the terms "master" and "slave" on computer equipment, saying such terms are unacceptable and offensive.

"Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label," Joe Sandoval, division manager of purchasing and contract services, said in a memo sent to County vendors.

The memo did not include any suggestions for alternative labels.

Reuters, Nov. 25, 2003

Dear Mac user:

Congratulations on your purchase of the iMac Power PC G5. We're confident that this is the one unit for all your desktop-computing needs. Its performance specs and ease of use are all top-of-the-line, whether you're using it as a central driver for home-based operations -- what we in Mac world now call the "brutal oppressor" setup -- or as a workplace drone to one or more external networks (the "indentured servant" option).

But before you get started, you're going to have to determine that all parts are present and accounted for. To this purpose, we've identified every one of the featured components on a handy master list. Oops! We're sorry. We're not supposed to let that word pass our lips anymore. Honestly, we don't know what came over us. Let's just call it a "dominator's concordance" instead, OK? Either way, make a thorough inventory, cross-referencing the literature with the pieces laid out before you. Base unit with attached flat screen? Check. Keyboard? Check. Two speakers? Check. Mouse? Check. Pocket edition of Roget's Politically Correct Thesaurus? Oh, yeah. It's in there.

Following the enclosed illustration, connect the components in their proper order. Then plug in the unit and hit the "start" button. Voilà! You've just entered the land of worry-free operation. The G5's powerful internal disk drive can be used as a master grand poobah device for all manner of multimedia applications. Its CD/DVD playback capabilities alone are simply without equal: Listen to an MP3 of Britney singing "I'm a Serf 4 U" in crystal-clear stereo sound. Or just scour the web for a hi-res trailer to Russell Crowe's latest, "Whoremonger and Commander." Within minutes, you'll be the Simon Legree of your own digital destiny.

And if you're using the computer at work, you'll notice an immediate spike in your output. The software bundle incorporates all the latest advancements in business management and word processing, including our newly patented note-organizing program, MyAlexHaley. Even your boss will be amazed at your newfound productivity. (What a chattel-driver that guy is, huh?)

But the excitement doesn't stop there. The iMovie application lets you store and edit home movies shot with a superior digital camera, like our best-selling model, the Reparation 5000. (See your authorized dealer for details.) And by completing a few simple modifications, you can outfit the G5 with up to two more experience-enhancing devices. How does the computer know which way the information flows? Well, the immediate specifics of the setup are, unfortunately, beyond our abilities to describe. (Thanks, L.A. County!) So we'll just say this and then be done with it: The computer is like the Thomas Jefferson estate. The other units are direct descendants of Sally Hemings. Get the picture?

What's more, the G5 offers unprecedented protection from the sneaky, destructive viruses that are keeping today's computer users awake at night. Our patented detection program, HouseNegro, makes regular, clandestine trips through your system, keeping all of your files in line and sending you an immediate warning the minute anything appears amiss. Think any of your priceless data is going to slip through your fingers? Not with HouseNegro on the job!

Of course, this brief introduction only scratches the surface of the iMac Power PC G5's capabilities. We could go on all day about the countless wondrous tasks it can perform. But if we did, we're afraid we'd be committing some horrible infraction we frankly still don't understand. (Just you wait: One of these days, Lt. Gov. Bustamante is going to find something to say about our companion laptop model, the TacoBreath 200.) So in lieu of further platitudes, we'll just send you off to cyberland with the hope that you enjoy hours of productive fun behind the keyboard of your new iMac. In our humble opinion, it's the best cotton-pickin' computer money can buy.

And that's not just whistling Dixie.

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