Friday, September 16, 2005

Hooray for new technology?

Let's just hope all the bugs get worked out first.

First off, I had a chance to play around with the new PDC build of Windows Vista last night. It refused to take my sound card and network adapter, unlike the 5112 build from last month so I still can't use it for everyday tasks. The interface is definitely more polished and overall it feels a bit snappier. The new 3D effects provided by the "rolodex" feature are amazing to see in action... definitely lots of eye candy to see here. Unfortunately, it's still running slower than XP does and explorer takes forever to navigate between folders thanks to the nVidia LDDM video drivers I'm using, so I'll have to wait on further testing until they can come out with newer drivers for my video card and motherboard.

Second was the unveiling of Office 12 at the PDC earlier this week. So far, the verdict on the web seems to be positive anticipation. Our paradigm of user interface has been needing a jumpstart for a while, rather than adding prettier buttons and panels everywhere. It looks like the combination of the new Office suite combined with Vista may just well kick-start the Windows UI revolution next year when they are released. I'm most excited about the changes I see to Access because that's what I use the most at work. We're still kicking around Office XP, so maybe we'll be upgrading with this new version coming out, but that's not up to me. I can only hope....

Next was the surprise of the morning when I checked my RSS feeds to find out that Nintendo has officially revealed their new controller for their Revolution console. My first reaction: WTF? Reading the article helped allay my fears and now I'm dying to try it. Its simplicity and expandability may be its death or its saving grace. The basic design sounds solid but its ability to connect add-ons (see the Metroid Prime 2 snippet in the article for an example) helps return it to a more standardized controller style. However, add-ons have traditionally never done well in the market with few exceptions. Remember ROB the Robot and The Zapper for the NES? The Lightscope for the SNES? How about the Jogcon for the PS1? The most successful add-on I can think of is the six-button controller for the Sega Genesis. Regardless, Nintendo sure pulled a "revolution" with its new controller designs but we'll have to see how well the rest of the market will receive it when they finally release the system next year.

Finally, I'm not a big fan of the hip and trendy iPod, but I do like the idea that car manufacturers finally get it and will start including optional USB adapters in their cars for portable music players. I know that high-end cars like BMWs and Lexuses already have this kind of stuff as an option, but that's to be expected... fancy toys for those that can afford it. To top it all off, the satellite radios are now moving in to become standard options on many cars. Digital TV... digital radio... what next?

Ahh, the wonders of modern technology. =)


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