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Editorial Technology

10 Failed Technology Trends of 2005 382

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the nice-tries dept.
mikemuch writes "ExtremeTech's Loyd Case muses on ten trends of 2005 that never panned out. He points the finger at analysts like himself for waxing glowy-eyed at technologies like the BTX form factor and the 64-bit version of Windows XP. On DRM and the Sony rootkit fiasco: 'Hint to the music publishers: It's not going to work. There have been easy workarounds to every system that's been tried, and the more stringent the copy protection, the greater the risk of having angry customers who won't buy CDs. I suggest you start investigating new business models, as the old ones ride off into the sunset.'"
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10 Failed Technology Trends of 2005

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:32PM (#14361362) Homepage Journal
    I suggest you start investigating new business models, as the old ones ride off into the sunset.
    Like that's going to work! People who crank out flawed, bombastic, and ultimately wrong business models are trying to keep a job. If any business sat on its hands and coasted along on a simple and functional business model they'd ultimately be defeated by someone with an angle on wedging new business between them and their traditional customers.

    Take iTunes for instance. Wildly successful in the face of its predecessors and competitors. The RIAA doesn't like it because it undercuts their old business model (and these people have worked that one a long time to their great profit) Apple's frisky little model says, "give it to them on a flashy little toy and keep it cheap." CD sales plummet. (RIAA biz model sez: Any flattening of growth or dip in sales is due to piracy!) Reminds me of when Detroit, back in the 70's thought they could continue to do business as usual as those japanese cars started to sell particularly well ("after the price of oil drops again we'll go right back to 454 blown dual carb thingamajigs") Funny they repeated the same erroneous reasoning with 4WD's in the late 90's and into the next century and are now closing plants left and right.

    While high-definition video and the PC may be natural bedfellows, the content providers and studios are not exactly making nice with the tech industry. The studios are deathly afraid that high-definition content will become widely pirated, adversely affecting an already creaky business model.
    ...
    The iPod and its camp followers in the digital audio player business seem to be the modern incarnation of the 1960s transistor radio. Way back then, audiophiles complained vociferously about how the transistor radio was creating a generation of consumers who couldn't appreciate quality audio. That lament is echoed by industry pundits (me included) who yearn for even higher-fidelity sound than current CD technology can deliver.
    High def video and audio. What's funny is people are fine with the crap we have now. Heck, there's people driving around town with self-installed audio systems in their cars which not only sound awful, but bring Lo-Fi to an all new low -- and they're actually happy with it.

    64 bit OS, only when you've got apps or a killer must-have game will 64 bit OS be all the rage, even drivers will follow. Until then, like hi-def video and hi-fi audio, it's only in the realm of those who really must have for practical or fashionable reasons.

    Digital home: Right. When I was a kid we had this great intercom system that came with our new house, all rooms connected to one main spot, could pipe radio into any room or page anyone. That lasted about a month. After that it was mom shouting up the stairs that supper was ready, someone at the door, etc. Evolution of technology doesn't guarantee it will be any more necessary, but it looks flash and shiny if you've never seen before and might impress the uninitiated. Up to me, I'd worry more about noisy water pipes and insulation in the walls.

    "it even comes with high definition squirrels in the attic!"

    • I suggest you start investigating new business models, as the old ones ride off into the sunset.

      Like that's going to work! People who crank out flawed, bombastic, and ultimately wrong business models are trying to keep a job. If any business sat on its hands and coasted along on a simple and functional business model they'd ultimately be defeated by someone with an angle on wedging new business between them and their traditional customers.

      The root of the problem isn't guys trying to keep their j

    • by soupdevil (587476) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:55PM (#14361478)
      but your example is flawed. CD sales have not plummeted. While total sales are down slightly, labels have axed their research/product development, and numbers of artists. Their sales per release are up, and their profits are way up. Digital downloads are currently a drop in the bucket. People with iPods generally still buy CDs. They are filling up their iPods the same way we filled up their glove boxes with mix tapes in the 80s: by copying our CDs, and our friends' CDs. Except that, thanks to P2P, we all have a lot more friends to share with.
    • Heck, there's people driving around town with self-installed audio systems in their cars which not only sound awful, but bring Lo-Fi to an all new low -- and they're actually happy with it.

      Just how good do you expect the sound to be in a convertible? What's the point of getting anything other than the cheapest stuff when engine and wind noise make it pointless and anything good will just get ripped off anyway? My crap car stereo and iPod cassette adapter are good enough.
    • shouldn't that be "Deja Fubar"?

      as in:
      Fucked
      Up
      Beyond
      All
      Repair
    • For anyone who's confused about what this guy's trying to say, I'll translate:
      Changing business models doesn't work because constant models fail due to the success of changing business models[?]. Normal people, not enthusiasts, drive the market.
      Great insight? If so, I don't get it. I'd guess neither did the mods.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:32PM (#14361364)
    Here's the list:

    •      The BTX Form Factor
    •      High-Definition Video on the PC
    •      High Fidelity Digital Audio
    •      Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
    •      High Definition Optical Drives
    •      Copy Protection for Music CDs
    •      iPod Competitors Emerge
    •      The Digital Home
    •      Google's Gmail Service
    •      Dual Graphics Cards
    • by EccentricAnomaly (451326) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:07PM (#14361535) Homepage
      - The BTX Form Factor

      I'm writing this on a powermac now with the same sort of cooling system...

        - High-Definition Video on the PC

      this one looks like it's only delayed... the content is now showing up on iTunes... and since it looks like it's going to be very successful, it's only
      a matter of time before they offer HD too. ...maybe on the MacIntosh New Year in two weeks

        - Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

      Tiger has been a huge success. (it's 64-bit)

        - iPod Competitors Emerge

      What's so wrong with the iPod that they're wishing for competitors. None of the competitors really care about mac users, so why should I care about their products? And why do we want WMV to win the DRM battle? And why is the iPod entry level?

      ExtremeTech my ass. more like WhatTheGuysWorkingAtBestBuyThinkIsExtremeTech

      Shit I wanna see the Mac user list of top ten disappointments....

      10. Market share still sucks
      9. iPod still can't do bluetooth
      8. Market share is what 3% or something now
      7. Turns out the G5 wasn't a supercomputer on a chip
      6. No Civ IV
      5. Have to wait more than 3 months for 10.5
      4. Mac mini turned out not do have anything to do with Tivo
      3. Damn, that market share sucks
      2. OS X still can't read minds
      1. Fucking market share
      • >6. No Civ IV

        since crippling copy-protection means that even legitimate versions don't work, that's not so bad.
      • Top 10 OS X disappointments?

        How about:

        1) Finder's crappy UI. (Even worse with Spotlight... ugh!)
        2) Finder crashing.
        3) Apple products (like DVD Player.app) stealing focus away from my typing, constantly, and not being fixed after years and years.
        4) iSync somehow *losing* support for my Motorola v180 when upgraded.
        5) A bunch of other stuff I can't think of right now.

        Yes, I know OS 9 sucked. But at least the Finder in OS 9 had a good UI and didn't crash all the time.
      • by nxtw (866177)
        Tiger has been a huge success. (it's 64-bit)

        It's not completely 64-bit. It's capable of running 64-bit software on a capable CPU, but much of the OS is still 32-bit. I believe you can't have 64-bit software that uses the GUI.

        The current Intel OS X builds are 32-bit. Assuming Apple is indeed going to be shipping Yonah-based notebooks, this won't change (as Yonah does not support EM64T/x64.)

        Compare this to the x64 versions of Windows XP/2003, which are actually 64-bit, use 64-bit drivers, etc., and can ru

      • by shawb (16347)
        10. Market share still sucks
        This really only affects no. 6: the selection for games isn't all that hot.

        9. iPod still can't do bluetooth
        Why would you want your iPod to do bluetooth? transfering music at 2-12 MB/s would be painfully slow compared to Firewire or even USB2.0. And that wire you plug in? It recharges the iPod. Unless you want to transfer the music FROM the iPod via bluetooth, which means it has to be compressed far enough to push it through that little pipe: yuck. That leaves... a blu
        • >>9. iPod still can't do bluetooth

          Why would you want your iPod to do bluetooth?


          Headphones. Wireless headphones. Possibly link to a bluetooth car audio system as well rather than some rf modulator.
          • Yeah, after looking into it that would probably be enough bandwith for decent sound. Especially considering the source is going to be compressed anyways. But I thought the white cables was part of the "iPod chic." Especially if you wear all black.

            Offtopic, but one of my friends dressed as an iPod commercial thing for halloween. Man, that was creepy. She literally blended into the shadows, as her clothing was black and all exposed skin was painted black. I'd be talking to someone else, and all of a
      • I will say one thing and that is SCREW EXTREMETECH. My reason is more personal and OT but hell I will tell it anyway. Few years back at PC Expo here in NYC Extremetech had a booth. They were offering a top of the line athlon PC to the winner of a contest. All you had to do was stand in line. Well the would-be contestants (including myself) all lined up for a chance. The slots quickly filled up and unfortunately I did not get a spot. The Extremetech staff then made the following announcement "There will be a
    • pretty stupid list (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tibor the Hun (143056)
      BTX form factor? didn't it just come out? it's a good form factor, but in this age of reusing old and outdated inventories to keep the prices down it'll take a year or two for BTX to be accepted. (just like not all cars have side-impact airbags...)

      HD video for PC? I'm on a mac, with broadband, so I enjoy HD trailers [apple.com] all the time. Works on PCs too. The problem is not in HD or PCs, the problem is in the low DVD resolution. Once HighDef video discs come about it'll be better. (720p pr0n torrents are pretty pop
      • Dual Grapics Cards? most macs can support 2 displays on the existing card.

        ALL modern graphics cards have dual output (three if you include S-Video).

        You use dual graphics cards (SLI) for GAMING.

        Thank you for trying to sound smart!
    • Seems like a bit premature to label most of these "failed". We just need
      to separate concepts from implementation, that and keep in ExtremeTech's
      need to sell papers.
      • The BTX Form Factor

        Home systems need to be quieter more than cooler. Colo servers are
        better off with larger/fewer drives and more energy efficient cpus.
      • High-Definition Video on the PC

        PCs are replacing TV in this respect. People want better content more
        than prettier pictures. Then too there's the problem with
  • Why rag on Gmail? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:33PM (#14361365) Homepage
    I find it odd that Case complains about Gmail. He goes on about how hard
    it is to add attachments - it's really not that hard.

    And why does he bitch about it still being in Beta? Hell,
    most of the stuff on Google STILL is in Beta. Besides,
    invites are like a dime a dozen now (as I type this, I have
    100 invites). But GMail being a "failed tech trend?". Hmph.

    BTW, the article layout is disgusting - 11 pages!

    • He didn't say it was hard to add attachments in general. He said it was hard to add an executable attachment, and it is. Frankly, it kind of pisses me off some time how many hoops it takes to send an exe.
      • Funny thing is that it's no problem to send a tar.gz, a bzip, or foo.sh.
      • Why do you need to send an EXE attachment? Seems like a sane thing to forbid.

        Before Microsoft started allowing email to execute code, email viruses were impossible. It seems like a very good policy for google to try and restore something like the original restrictions on email to stop the virus problem. SFTP, WebDAV, etc are for transferring programs... Windows should just make them easy to use like Apple's iDisk and you can just send a URL.
        • by John Miles (108215) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:23PM (#14361615) Homepage Journal
          Why do you need to send an EXE attachment? Seems like a sane thing to forbid.

          Some people actually work with .EXEs for a living. GMail is worthless to those people.

          Before Microsoft started allowing email to execute code, email viruses were impossible.

          You don't have to prohibit executable attachments to disallow automatically-executing content. Google has thrown out the baby, bathtub, and half of the house's indoor plumbing.

          Microsoft's dumbass move was making everything executable. It's easy enough to tell Grandma not to click on .EXE files, but not so easy when the OS vendor chooses to hide the suffix from her, provides easy ways to disguise the suffix, adds support for some arbitrarily-large number of additional executable file types, and ships a macro engine designed to run the content automatically without asking first.

          It's not appropriate to fix any of those problems by preventing me from sending my customers a .ZIP file containing an .EXE. This is a case where Microsoft did some stupid things and Google responded with a hearty, "Hey, wait for me, guys!"
    • He goes on about how hard it is to add attachments - it's really not that hard.

      Actually he's referring to EXE attachments, which Google won't let you send. Even if it's in a ZIP file. If you want to send an exe you have to change the extension first, and that IS starting to tread into the realm of a pain. It's not hard to do, especially if you usually have Windows set to display extensions, but it's still an extra step on both ends. (And even then it's possible it wouldn't work; I haven't tried it.) But if
      • by Hettch (692387) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:58PM (#14361485)
        That may be true, one can't even attach an Access database because of "security reasons," but the article doesn't just focus on that aspect of Gmail. He focuses on Gmail helping free email by offering 2GB of storage. In my opinion, that is the very least that Gmail has done. The interface is simplistic and lovely (IMHO, as opposed to his "sleek outlike like" yahoo mail, which I avoid since Outlook bothers me like no other), the conversation threading has made me not use regular email clients, the search features are fast and effecient (faster than Thunderbird), and the labels and filters are easy to setup. Am i a gmail fanboy? Probably, but to call gmail a failure is ludicrous. I'd guess that he used gmail to send a hello world email, then tried attaching something, and then hasn't signed on since.
    • by jonnythan (79727)
      The problem is that in 2004 we thought it was going to revolutionize email.

      2005 came and went with no significant advances in gmail, and it's still in beta mode with some annoying issues. It's basically just another webmail service now.

      It was hyped to high heaven in the beginning of the year and ended up being virtually irrelevant. Hence, it's a failed, overhyped technology trend.
    • Re:Why rag on Gmail? (Score:3, Informative)

      by rob_squared (821479)
      I just don't think he's been paying attention, besides, you can get a gmail address WITHOUT an invite nowadays:

      https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount [google.com]

      The link is in my gmail sig, which I now use exclusively for email.
    • add attachments - it's really not that hard.

      I love gmail, but that's one part I hate. Even though they now do virus scanning of all attachments, you still cannot send an .exe file (such as a non-infected winzip self-extractor) the message says this is "For security reasons". The extremely lame part of this, is that gmail does not tell you it's going to refuse to send the .exe, until you hit send, wait for it to upload, and then after wasting your time it will fail and tell you why. Stupid and lame.
    • I agree with you on this one. In my book, GMail has done a lot more than just up the ante on disk space.

      I use my GMail account as my primary account. I've got three POP3 accounts at various places, plus Yahoo and Hotmail, but GMail is where my "legit" e-mail goes. The Hotmail account gets handed out anywhere I figure SpamBots are searching, so it usually has 200+ messages, all of them crap. Fitting place for it, if you ask me.

      We use Outlook at work (company-mandated). I've got Thunderbird loaded on my
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:33PM (#14361368)
    One tech trend then will never fail:-

    Vaporware
  • Gmail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JonN (895435) * on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:35PM (#14361372) Homepage
    Alright so let me get this straight about Gmail. First:

    First off, the Gmail screen still reads "BETA." Will it ever not be beta? Who knows? That means that you still need to be invited to, uh, participate in the beta.

    Alright, so it is still in beta. To most people (the author seems to forget this) this means that there are probably little bugs or issues with the service. It may have been in beta for quite awhile, which could mean that they are still working on bugs, but then again most geeks are quite fickle about release dates (The author of TFA even admits this when he discusses Windows x64). Next, he goes on to say:

    Gmail is inconvenient in many ways. Managing a mailing list isn't trivial. Trying to send legitimate attachments with executable files is damn near impossible. Even ZIP files are a chore.

    Wait a second...Didn't we just determine that Gmail is still in beta? Don't we all know that beta == issues? Alright, so we have a service that shouldn't be in beta, but that has issues. Gotcha. Perhaps the arguement should be that there aren't enough resources going into Gmail, then perhaps I would buy the arguement.

    • Wait a second...Didn't we just determine that Gmail is still in beta? Don't we all know that beta == issues?

      At least the part with not being able to send zip files and exes is NOT because it's in beta; that's an explicit policy decision. Try it and you're told that you can't for security reasons. It's not like it just hasn't been implemented yet.
    • Re:Gmail (Score:2, Redundant)

      by jonnythan (79727)
      That's the point.

      In 2004, we thought it was going to revolutionize email.

      2005 came and went, and it's still in beta with lots of annoying issues.

      GMail is cool, but it hasn't lived up to the hype at all.
      • I find that it works quite well, and haven't seen any annoying bugs (though, as with any application, there are doubtless some). As to ZIP and EXE policies, they aren't the only email service around that bans the extensions, and quite frankly, I don't see it as a problem. If it means having to rename the file, then so be it, but considering the vast majority of files being tossed about with those attachments are in fact very bad indeed, I think it's a wise choice.
    • Trying to send legitimate attachments with executable files is damn near impossible.
      I've been using e-mail since 1987, and I haven't ever had to send an executable file as an e-mail attachment. I'm still trying to figure this one out. Why would you want to???
      • I could see emailing an installer (an .exe) to a client, if he has some kind of special need or feature not on the FTP/web copy.
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:37PM (#14361674)

      Writing "beta" on something doesn't make it a beta test version. The term "beta test" has a pretty specific meaning in software development, though sadly few people remember what it is and why it's important these days.

      If you release a piece of software to the general public and charge for it (as in Microsoft) then it's not a beta, it's a product. If you advertise a web service widely and get loads of people to use it routinely (as in Google) then it's not a beta, it's a live service.

      The use of "beta" on everything, even things you're treating as a real product in all other respects, is just the latest meaningless buzzword, and a pathetic attempt to avoid taking responsibility for the quality of your product or service. It will sting Microsoft and Google alike soon enough, as neither customer opinion nor (if applicable) commercial partners or courts ruling on disagreements will give it much weight.

    • Re:Gmail (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GeorgeH (5469)

      Wait a second...Didn't we just determine that Gmail is still in beta? Don't we all know that beta == issues? Alright, so we have a service that shouldn't be in beta, but that has issues. Gotcha.

      Does that mean there aren't legitimate criticisms of Gmail's functionality? By slapping the word "Beta" on it, does Google absolve themselves of any shortcomings?

      Maybe Microsoft should permabeta the next Windows to avoid any quality concerns. "Oh, don't worry about that IE security flaw, it's just beta."

  • XP-64 is a failure? How so, because it's on on every desktop? It's not supposed to be. 64-bit at home is still in it's infancy. However that doesn't mean it's not desirable to have 64-bit OSes. At this point, the main point is for developers to be able to convert apps and drivers to 64-bit and get them well tested, ahead of widespread adoption.

    However even for that they aren't useless to the end user. HFSS supports 64-bit XP and that's real useful if you want to solve really large problems.

    I think it's a mi
    • Win XP 64 is still not ready for prime time. The problem is drivers. To get an HP printer to work requires hacks, finding drivers is no fun at all. Since 80% of all the computers I've built in the last 6 months are AMD 64's for home use, this is a problem. If they insist on Windows, they get the 32 bit version. If there smart, they get Suse 10.0 which is a 64bit OS and works out of the box with very few driver issues, (high end video cards will always be a pain it seems).
    • Of course, the author does actually explain his reasons for each item on that list. Not sure what on earth caused him to put something on the list? RTFA.
    • I think it was a failure for 2005 because after its release it didn't create a surge of 64 bit computer buying like when Windows 95 was released, where people rushed to upgrade their 286s with DOS to 486s and Early Pentiums with Windows 95 to take advantage of the 32 bit processing, and get past the 64k of ram.

      It will be a little longer until 64bit will become popular, and 64bit systems will be around for a long time. Until the average system needs over 4 gigs of RAM cheaper 32 bit systems will probably sti
      • There's always a point early on in a transition where it's tough to find hardware and drivers. The transition from 8 bit to 16 bit was no different, and involved a lot more pain as the hardware itself was so different, and to some extent IBM and the clone makers chickened out and we were stuck for years with 8-bit hardware.

        I remember when we first transitioned to NT 3.51, and having to check through Microsoft's HCL before even buying a motherboard. In reality, it's taken well over a decade for NT's descen

      • 64bit systems right now are for Real Power users and Servers

        What about the iMac G5? it's not a "Power User" machine and sells quite well.

    • by (H)elix1 (231155) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @09:15PM (#14361825) Homepage Journal
      I'm one of those early adopters / evangelists they lost. Since I've got both an AMD64 CPU and a MSDN universal subscription (via work), I gave it a spin. Several times... Drivers were OK for me - Nvidia video card and nforce 4 chipset both had pretty solid driver support. I've also got 4G of RAM, and it picked it all up without any issues. Should have been an easy sell.

      Things fell apart once I started to install programs. Can't remember if it was Rational Application Developer or some other tool/program, but it had problems with the changes they made for the legacy (32-bit) install. Had my normal stack worked - LDAP, DB, App Server, and IDE just worked, I'd be pounding out more 64-bit specific C/C++ code as well. Games were also problematic. Installing stuff is all end user problems. Had things worked reasonably well in XP-64 and/or 2003-64, I would have used it for my primary Win development system and made sure things degraded nicely to Win32 platforms. To be fair, there were plenty of growing pains on the 64-bit Linux side of the fence, but those were a good bit easier to sort out. That, and many people had already pounded that road smooth before I got there. Had things also worked well with legacy applications, I would have also recommended friends and family that have AMD64 to take advantage of the *free* (plus a bit of shipping) offer Microsoft made to swap out copies of WinXP with WinXP-64 this spring. Instead, people got the same 'don't go there' speech I gave them when WinME came out.

      I would not use it, nor would I recommend those I give a damn for use it. AMD absolutely nailed the legacy support, making 32-bit OS's run on a 64-bit platform. Had Microsoft been able to do the same, you would have seen a ground swell. As is, I'd say others agree WinXp-64/Win2003-64 is half baked as well.
  • lossless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JonN (895435) * on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:41PM (#14361398) Homepage
    "While a scant few players do support lossless compression formats (mostly FLAC), lossless formats are generally unavailable for portable players."

    I don't see how lossless was meant to be mainstream or an explosive technology. It is generally for audiophiles, geeks, and nerds. Would they call Linux a failed technology? True it could be easy for producers to make portable players capable of playing FLAC or similar, however since when do they play to the minority? This is capitalism, and FLAC is not for the mainstream as most people can't tell the difference, or even care. Minorities rarely win in capitalism.

    • I don't know anyone who would have thought it would grow?
      Most people with MP3 or Ipods listen to music with ear phones or ear buds, while they are doing other things. They are not going to plug them in into high quality speakers, spaced properly around them and listen to the music. The Compressed stuff is good enough for most music listeners even most audiophiles will give it a good enough when they are listening to their iPod while they are jogging, or doing their non-audio work.
    • Wow, the article actually says that?! I guess the moron has never heard of the iPod then, seeing as how it makes up 75% or so of the market and does support lossless audio (AIFF and Apple Lossless)!
    • Besides, the premise is nonsense. All iPods except the Shuffle support Apple Lossless, which makes lossless audio a very well supported feature in the market.
  • Failed! (Score:4, Informative)

    by The 13th Duke (753107) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:43PM (#14361410)
    Spreading a rather thin article over a multitude of pages so we can be sure to see all the ads.
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:46PM (#14361420) Journal
    From TFA: Consumers don't want multiple standards. DVD was successful because there was only one standard.

    One standard? What about +R, -R, DVDRAM etc? Manufacturers love competing standards. They get to sell to early adopters, then sell another unit with identical functions to the poor sods who jumped on to the wrong standard.
    • by georgewilliamherbert (211790) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:58PM (#14361488)
      If you RTFA a bit more carefully you'd notice that they contrast DVD (the ROM format) with the various DVD writeable formats, pointing out that DVD ROMs caught on with now nearly 100% market penetration (prerecorded VHS delinda est), but instead of DVD writeables killing off VHS for recording, Tivo did. And basically because of too many DVD writeable formats.

      The original CD (ROM), and original DVD (ROM), were both excellent, universal, and well liked formats.

      What happened with the writables in the DVD space is an object lesson. Unfortunately, one now being emulated by the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray folks.

      • I don't see the big deal is in this DVD format argument. I regularily use both DVD-R and DVD+R disks without usually giving it much thought, and I've yet to ever come across a situtation where I was not able to use a disk in a particular player, regardless of format. And where the heck do you even see DVDRAM these days or whatever the heck the other format was? I don't think think that writable DVD's failed to kill off VHS recording because of too many writable formats, that's just a silly argument. What re
  • I get so tired of people who quote "Sturgeon's Law" as if it meant something. So 90% of everything is crap? Is 90% of what you say crap?

    Sturgeon's Law is just a lame excuse for a genre that attracts a lot of bad writers. Don't get me wrong, I love SF. It's just that everybody who's sat through an episode of Star Trek thinks they know how to write it.

  • No lossless? (Score:5, Informative)

    by outZider (165286) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:51PM (#14361453) Homepage
    He makes a jab at the iPod by talking about how larger capacity players add video capability, while ignoring fidelity by not offering lossless. While it isn't the longer-running FLAC format, the iPod does support Apple Lossless, which is just an extension of the standard MPEG4 Lossless Audio format. It works great, and my iPod Video certainly doesn't have a problem playing those as well. :P
    • iPod was a blowout cuz the battery maker got cheap with their materials in a lousy effort to skil profits. This bit Apple in the butt. Most likely when Apple tears the batteries down and finds the substandard composistions, they will be nailing the ROC factories that skimped.
    • by twitter (104583)
      He makes a jab at the iPod by talking about how larger capacity players add video capability, while ignoring fidelity by not offering lossless.

      The article is full of hype driven and M$ friendly contradictions. He claims to use FLAC and says that nothing else will do for him. Me wonders where he gets better than CD quality Audio. Two pages later he recommends formats for the hoy-palloy:

      To be fair, Microsoft's WMA standard has a lot going for it. The audio quality of WMA files is generally pretty good,

  • by cvd6262 (180823) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:53PM (#14361464)
    As it turns out, driver availability has been the main Achilles' heel. While graphics cards, chipsets, and audio drivers have been readily available, drivers for newer printers, webcams, and other common peripherals have been MIA.

    I bought a laptop with a Turion64 processor and secured a copy of XP64 Pro from my work (the surprised tech had to dig in his desk for it). I got it up and running, but....

    No drivers. No trackpad driver, no video driver, no sound, nada. Not even on the manufacturer's site.

    Well, good thing Ubuntu64 works just fine.
    • Yeah, I tried out XP64 and Slamd64 (64-bit Slackware port) on my desktop for a few months recently, and I've since switched back to Win2k and regular Slackware. Some of the brokenness that forced me to switch back include:
      • Windows:
      • Services for Unix (SFU) has not been, and will not be, ported to XP64. I need NFS.
      • x86-64 programs are put in C:\Program Files, and 32bit programs are put in C:\Program Files (x86). Many old windows programs (including the steam installer) can't handle parenthesis in a path.
      • NVidia'
  • this year it became possible for independent film makers to make high quality 16:9 films for the first time... economically

    yes, the sony hdr-fx1 and jvc's offering came out in 2004/ 2003, but dual core became economical this year (really necessary for the editting environment and importing the mpeg stream) and sony introduced it's low cost cmos hdv camcorder

    i'm talking economical in something a middle class high school kid could set up with a little help from his parents and some after school jobs: under $5K

    that really means something for 2005

    the author gripes about hdv content distribution and the big cable and studio players wary of rights management, but that's not really where the story is in hdv: it's in creation
  • BTX should die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mal3 (59208) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:58PM (#14361489)
    I have to say I'm glad to see BTX on this list. It seems like it was developed soley to make up for the stupid amounts of heat generated by the P4, with no regard for making anything else better than ATX. How about standardizing all those case connectors into one block of plugs, or consolidating the 3 power connectors I have to hook to my motherboard. If I'm going to switch form factors, I want these obvious things taken into account.
    • Re:BTX should die (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheHawke (237817) <rchapin.pelicancoast@net> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:14PM (#14361565)
      BTX as a attempt by Intel to corner the form factor market that had one foot in the grave even before it entered preproduction. All that they did with BTX as to flip the bloody board 180 degrees on it's Y axis. What's the big deal about that?

      Intel and Dell entered into an agreement to make custom boards and backplanes where the standoffs are 2cm offset from the ATX standard, invalidating any attempt by anyone wishing to upgrade the system to a better board and chip. Talk about waste management! If the user wishes to do anything about major upgrades, they are forced to pull all the accessories save for the main board out of the case and throw it away. It's next to useless.
      • Re:BTX should die (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Tell me, did you just pull that comment out of your arse, or what?
        BTX is NOT Intel proprietary, it is a freely-licensable formfactor just like ATX before it (see www.formfactors.org if you don't believe me). Far from attempting to "corner the formfactor market", Intel would be delighted if AMD-based motherboards appeared in BTX.
        And what's all this shite about "..the standoffs are 2cm offset from the ATX standard.."? Have you even seen a BTX board? No? Well don't go spouting such rubbish, then. BTX is an a
  • Save some clicks (Score:3, Informative)

    by technoviper (595945) <technoviperx@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:07PM (#14361537) Homepage
    Here is a link to the print version of the article, less clicks and only one ad! http://www.extremetech.com/print_article2/0,1217,a =168194,00.asp [extremetech.com]
  • The N-Gage was a complete failure, and is in fact a joke among gamers. For instance, on the gamefaqs board you can insult someone's intelligence by saying "You bought an N-Gage didn't you?" Recently there was a topic posted on the boards whose title was "I...got...an...NGAGE...for...Christmas". The topic got over 250 responses (most topics don't get more than 20) nearly all of which were other users who wrote "LOL" or some form of condolense.

    http://biz.gamedaily.com/features.asp?article_id=1 1198 [gamedaily.com]
    • N-Gage was a disaster by design. You could not pull the chip without pulling the battery. When you did this, you pretty much lost all of your scores and saved games that were on the phones NVRAM.
  • by rewt66 (738525) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:37PM (#14361675)
    SCO

    'Nuff said.
  • by dogbreathcanada (911482) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @09:17PM (#14361829)
    Gmail a failed tech trend? What? As far as I can tell it's been wildly successful. Everyone I know who uses it, has been slowly moving all their email capabilities to it. For the past few months I've been forwarding all my email from all my various accounts to my Gmail account. I haven't opened Outlook Express in a couple months. Sure, it takes a little while to get used to Gmail, but I found that the more I used it, the more intuitive it was as an email service. The labeling is far better than the directory/folder paradigms from other email systems. I prefer it's filtering structure. The search functionality is the best I've come across (which you'd expect from Google). So, Gmail a failed tech trend? I think not. Hell, Gmail sort of launched the new AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) tech trend (or if you want to argue over the semantics of "launched", at least brought AJAX into the forefront of web development). Besides, how can any email service be considered a trend?
  • by h3llfish (663057) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @10:33PM (#14362186)
    This guy mentions twice in the article that he's a big fan of losless audio compression. That's all the proof I need that he's a hype-driven goofball who really has no clue.

    I've been a musician for over 20 years. I can easily hear the difference between single coil and humbucking pickups, and between a fuzz pedal that uses germanium trasistors and one that uses silicon. Those are subtle differences that the vast majority of people can't hear. What I can't hear is the difference between a properly done 192kbps/44khz mp3 rip and one made with FLAC. Now, I'm not saying that means that no one on earth can. I'm sure there are golden-eared freaks out there. But I would seriously crap out a brick if this dillhole Case could.

    And before you let me know what a moron I am, be sure to conduct a blind A/B test yourself. It has to be blind, or it's just not scientific. Have a friend play two different versions for you, one a high quality mp3, and one FLAC, and see if you can tell. Since the odds of guessing correctly are 50/50, you need to repeat the experiment several times to be sure that you weren't just lucky. I'm here to tell you, it's a rare, rare person who can choose correctly ten times in a row.

    And yet this guy is surprised that hardware makers haven't put these lossless codecs into their players? Most people are happy with FM audio quality, let alone FLAC. Case is useless, as proven by the fact that he hyped so many technologies that went nowhere. Extremetech, indeed - extremely stupid.
    • by ElephanTS (624421) on Friday December 30, 2005 @01:50AM (#14362934)
      I can tell the difference between the two easily. Cymbals particluarly will warble and shimmer - you can hear the resolution of the limited audio bands in the top end. Bass response of mp3 at any rate is always bad, careful A/Bing should show that. Having said that I archive non-important stuff at 224kbps AAC and can detect practically no audible difference between that and master (perhaps something in the bass-end but hardly anything). Mp3 is just not as good as AAC anyway. Of course iPods can play lossless audio (ALE) with no problems. The article misrepresented the difference between audio compression and digital compression. This seems to be a hard concept for people to grasp and the author doesn't seem to either. Clue: audio compression affects the dynamics (squashing all the ampliudes to the same kind of level), digital compression reencodes the signal into freq bands but doesn't (usually) affect the dynamic range. 16bits is completely adequate for a master recording and no real difference can be noted at 24bit in any normal listening environment. What would be good though is a higher sampling rate like 96KHz. People would notice that. On 96KHz systems the filtering can be soft slowly tapering down to nothing to prevent aliasing. At 44.1KHz a 'brickwall' filter has to be used which tends to produce a constrained sound.
  • by OneFix (18661) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @10:34PM (#14362194)
    The biggest reason I use GMail...well, 2 reasons...and they're pretty big...

    1) They let me use POP3...I know fastmail.fm does too, but they make you go in and delete spam through their web interface....and not to mention they don't give as much storage space...

    2) Gmail Filesystem [jones.name]...

    There are of course other benefits to GMail over other "free" e-mail services...Spam protection, Virus protection, they let you forward messages for other addresses through their service, etc...

    As far as it being Beta ... Google's search became popular while it was still in beta...it doesn't really mean much that GMail is still in beta...I'll pull a page from this guys book... "How many of you were using FireFox as your primary browser before it hit 1.0? Raise your hand..."

    Then again this is exactly the reason why GMail is still in beta...Google is smart about making sure things work before they take them out of beta...
  • by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz&me,com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @10:35PM (#14362199) Homepage
    because they haven't figured out step #2.

    1. Give away huge free email accounts and make it hard for anybody to permanently erase their e-mail. As a bonus use an invitation-only model to attract the geekiest nerds out there.
    2. ???
    3. Profit!
  • by JimmytheGeek (180805) <jamesaffeld&yahoo,com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @11:14PM (#14362357) Journal
    This retard seems to think that 64-bit computing will arrive when windows supports it. I've been doing real work on 64 bit platform for 4 years.

    Windows is backwards. So is the columnist.
  • by to6o (838477) on Friday December 30, 2005 @02:49AM (#14363148) Homepage
    Now that's something that should definately be on the list. Remember all those articles how the cell was going to be the biggest competitior for PCs and how we were going to have cell processors in everything and link them and do all sorts of cool and weird things? Well, suddenly, nobody talks about it anymore...

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