Holiday Time, Marketing Deluge.

Three-day weekends are an often-overlooked blessing - even if you do have to do the odd bit of Xmas shopping. The only thing that managed to annoy me these past few days was the proliferation of "Best Gadget Of The Year" signs, articles, and pseudo-shopping lists both online, on magazines and in real life - as if it were impossible to buy them after the Xmas season, which is often the best option overall...

That said, there is very little of real interest in the shops these days. The 6600 (which turned out to have a few interesting bugs) is finally on sale, but only in the sense that it's mostly sold out (and it's really not enough of an upgrade over my 7650). The T610 is being ferociously advertised - and to my amusement, I saw people waiting in line to try one, with the N-Gage demo pod (you know, the one with two phones on it) right beside it...

The 20" iMac is nowhere to be seen (and I'm not holding my breath either, since MacWorld San Francisco is likely to bring new consumer models - it is the Mac's 20th anniversary, after all...). And as far as PDAs go, although the e805 is already on sale, most of the really interesting stuff (like the PEG-UX50) isn't sold in Portugal. Oh, and my Classic iPod is working just fine, so there is absolutely no way I'll be getting one of the new 40GB ones - another thing you can actually buy off a shelf these days, which is a first for Portugal.

There is a lot of cheap Wi-Fi and USB storage on sale right now, though. Whole aisles of the stuff, which makes me wonder exactly how many people are a) setting up home WLANs b) ditching their diskettes. In fact, come to think of it, the more briskly selling items (judging by what I can see from one week to the next) must be blank CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, USB disks, DVD recorders and Wi-Fi gear. Oh, and printers. Lots of breadbox-like, cheap (Eur 200), near-disposable color printers.

The Microsoft Car OS?

Wired News has an article about Microsoft's "Automotive Business Unit". It begins the way most articles on future cars do, saying that future cars will increasingly have Minority Report-like abilities, etc., etc... Until I came across this sentence: "The software running their brakes will upgrade itself wirelessly".

Ouch. I had just read a column on a "dead tree" magazine about a UK resident who was repeatedly unable to make an emergency call from his Microsoft Smartphone (fortunately the incident was not a dire emergency), so this sentence did nothing whatsoever to reassure me...

The PSX Downgrades

Came across this post on dottocomu about Sony leaving out features from the initial PSX releases to meet a December launch (Japanese Article):

  • Dubbing speed to DVD from the hard disk is down to 12X from 24X
  • No DVD+RW playback
  • No CD-R playback
  • No support for TIFFs or GIFs
  • No ability to pull in movies taken with a Cybershot
  • No playback of MP3s
  • Support for the Playstation BB Internet service added