Tech news roundup
Recent rumors, releases and realignments
By John “jaQ” Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot has happened in the past few weeks in the tech world, and I don’t mean a new color of iPod. Important stuff. Earth-shaking stuff. Stuff that will not in any meaningful way impact your daily life, but makes us nerds quiver with anticip ... ation.
• Google buys YouTube: As of this writing, Google News had aggregated 1,662 articles about this deal — and that’s just one version of the story, not counting all the various analyses, different spins and blog posts. The search engine king paid $1.65 billion in stock for the online video hosting service, but was unable to direct commentators away from naming the new partnership GooTube. The move was announced on Monday, Oct. 9. YouTube founders “Chad and Steve” posted their own video thanking the user community for its support.
You already search for video on YouTube, and their engine works pretty well. Google already has a video service of its own, creatively named Google Video. So what good does this do anyone?
In short, it keeps YouTube alive. Seriously, how long can a company offer unlimited free bandwidth with some text ads supporting it? YouTube has managed to get some corporate partnerships going with media companies, showing commercials, previewing movies and television shows, that sort of thing, but Google has the deep pockets and the clout to really develop YouTube and whip it into money-making shape. It’s every dot-com’s dream: get acquired.
• Marginally better sequel: Intel’s Core Duo processor marked a huge improvement over and a complete change in direction from its longstanding Pentium brand. The “duo” part of the name refers to the processor’s dual core, which makes it much more efficient at multitasking than previous designs.
This summer, the redundant-sounding Core 2 Duo was released to somewhat less fanfare. While it’s indeed a refinement of the Core Duo design, it’s no great leap forward. A 2GHz Core Duo was way faster than a 2GHz Pentium 4 or Pentium M, but benchmarks have shown the Core 2 Duo to be barely an improvement over the Core Duo at the same clock speed. Some differences were statistically insignificant.
Unless, that is, you’re running a 64-bit operating system. That’s what Windows Vista will be whenever it’s finally released and what Mac OS X is now; some distributions of Linux also come in 64-bit versions. Windows 95 through XP have been 32-bit, meaning they accessed data 32 bits at a time. Core 2 Duo did perform significantly better than Core Duo in 64-bit operating systems, though the difference still wasn’t mind-blowing.
If you recently bought a Core Duo desktop, don’t sweat it. If you’re buying soon and a Core 2 Duo isn’t too much more, go for it. But you might want to wait just a wee bit. Because ...
• Free Vista upgrade? Microsoft was neither confirming nor denying it, but several sources reported last week that PCs shipped with Windows XP after Oct. 26(-ish) will be eligible for a discounted or free upgrade to Vista. This would be consistent with the XP launch in late 2001, when users could upgrade free from Windows Me or 2000 if they’d just bought their computers.
Word on the street is that XP Home PCs will have to pay the discounted upgrade fee, but XP Professional, Media Center, and Tablet PC editions will get a free upgrade. The actual terms and conditions are likely to be much more complicated, and as LeVar Burton always said, don’t take my word for it.