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.....technobabble .....for the week of February 5, 2001

.....technobabble.....ZDNet is reporting that Microsoft has decided to sunset Windows 95. Effective the end of 2000, Microsoft stopped licensing the OS for inclusion in new computer systems. I find this move somewhat interesting. Not because it's ominous, or because it doesn't make sense, but simply the fact that it's an issue after so many years. Since Windows 98 has been around for over two years, and it even has a successor, Windows ME, it's surprising that anyone still wants Windows 95 at all. Last week I said I thought I was in the vast minority because I saw no compelling reason to upgrade from Windows 95, and it appears that at the very least, I am certainly far from alone in this! Windows 95 may have fewer bells and whistles, but for the most part, it works, and I'm not going to waste a weekend reinstalling my system without a good cause. Many others are also refusing to upgrade to newer OSes that are virtually identical. Microsoft's sales of Windows 2000 have been below what they were hoping for, and as Microsoft usually does, they take steps to "herd" people towards the operating system they want them to use. Still, I find it hard to believe that anyone who would opt in 2001 to choose Windows 95 over Windows 98 or ME, would want to use Windows 2000 anyway. They'll license a few more Windows 98/ME machines I suppose.....

.....Intel Corporation (you've heard of them, right? :^) ) announced recently that they have yet again shrunk the size of the transistor. The new transistor has been reduced to a staggering 30 nanometers, which is 0.03 microns. This is a pretty amazing accomplishment; as a point of reference, current CPUs use a circuit size of 0.13 microns or more. I also recall, not too many years ago, many pundits saying that it would be "impossible" to get the circuit size much below 1 micron due to the limits of photolithography. It's amusing how often those who say things "can't be done" in the technology world are made to look silly, isn't it? The whole article (well, press release) is here.....

.....I've been talking for some time on this column about the rather miserable state that the online industry is in, particularly those of us who support ourselves using advertising. Many sites have been pushed to the brink, and some even over it. I found an interesting article called The State of the Internet, written by a somewhat despondent webmaster named Rich Kyanka. I don't agree with everything in his editorial, but I agree with much and can sympathize with the rest. In particular, I agree with the notion that much of the problem with Internet advertising lies in the fact that its potential is not properly exploited by the correct targeting of the audience of a particular site. It's worth a read if you are interested in the future of free online publications like The PC Guide.....

.....and now, some Doubletalk from Dell. :^) It seems that a problem with some of their PCs is prompting them to "proactively replace" the motherboards on OptiPlex GX200 computers. This is not a recall, mind you, just a "proactive replacement". Would someone care to explain what the difference is? :^) I suppose they may say a recall is something a company is forced to do after problems are found, where a "proactive replacement" is something they chose to do "just in case". However, considering that the motherboard is the single most difficult component to replace in a PC, I doubt Dell is doing this for any reason other than problems that have been actually encountered. I applaud them for fixing their problem, even if the marketing droids insist on wrapping a PR cocoon around it.....

.....Lucent Technologies is forming a venture to develop holographic storage as a commercial product. Holographic storage is a technology I've been watching from the sidelines for several years, as it has progressed in the laboratory. It has the potential to offer mind-boggling storage densities approaching one trillion bits per square inch, far in excess of what even today's large hard disks have, and incredible transfer performance as well. The main problem with the technology is that it's been in the research stage for a long time, and nobody has yet managed to bring it to market as a commercial product. Hopefully this new company, called InPhase Technologies, will have better luck. The full story is at EETimes.....

.....and now, some more comments on feedback from The PC Guide Reader Survey. Some people have commented that the amount of content on each individual page on the site is low, and that's probably true in some areas. My goal with the site is to put about the same amount of information on one web page that you would find on a written page in a text book. While some people enjoy much longer pages that they can scroll, others prefer the faster loading of shorter pages. Also, please bear in mind that some of the shortest pages are in areas of the site that I have not revised recently. Whenever I update a section I usually make the pages longer as I add more content, and I also want room for photographs or illustrations, where appropriate, so as a whole the site's pages are getting longer routinely. I attempt to split pages in a logical fashion, and cover one subtopic or concept on each page.....

.....that's all this week. Was this column great, or just third-rate? Give me your feedback, please! And if you like the column, please tell others. Only 1% of the visitors to The PC Guide read this column..... ;^)


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