October 19, 2006

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Tech news roundup
Recent rumors, releases and realignments
By John “jaQ” Andrews  jandrews@hippopress.com

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.


10/12/2006 A different drummer

10/05/2006 Who needs TiVo?
09/28/2006 Disk drives without disks
09/21/2006 Movies, just click your mouse!
09/14/2006 Laptops for less
09/07/2006 GPS everywhere
08/31/2006 The printer dilemma
08/24/2006 A series of tubes
08/17/2006 More music, more places
08/10/2006 How big is your drive?
08/03/2006 It's a WiFi world
07/27/2006 Fancy a spot of memory?
07/20/2006 Under the sea
07/06/2006 eBaysic training
06/29/2006 You paid money for that?
06/22/2006 Processing ... processing ...
06/15/2006 C:\Run for the border
06/01/2006 The keyboard is mightier
05/25/2006 Geek phone home
05/18/2006 Super highway information
05/11/2006 How to host a site
05/04/2006 If they mated
04/27/2006 Apples to apples
04/20/2006 Flash uber-drives
04/13/2006 Web site, by you
04/06/2006 Ayyy, jaQ's right!
03/30/2006 Choose wirelessly
03/23/2006 Tax programs cometh
03/16/2006 And the Spammie goes to...
03/09/2006 Take in the Vista
03/02/2006 Cheap moviemaking
02/23/2006 Go directly to iJail
02/16/2006 Will you stamp your e-mail?
02/09/2006 War of the machines
02/02/2006 Faster than a speeding packet

01/26/2006 Free software made simple
01/19/2006 The Worst of CES
01/12/2006 Radio you
01/05/2006 Making Movies
A browser is to a car as ...

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