Today Apple announced the launch of their latest operating system for the Mac computer named OS X 10.2. The launch date also collides with the 7 year anniversary of the launch of Windows 95 which was the most extravagant product launch in computing history. The new OS is to go head to head with Microsoft?s Windows XP though it is more of a catch up then making many leaps ahead of their biggest rival. Mac users are excited about this latest launch however I'm unsure if the latest OS will be enough to woo customers from a declining pc market from the pc to the more expensive Mac.

This news comes just after Gateway computers have announced its all in one computer the profile 4 which is going into direct competition with the stylish imac, which can be seen by the similar pricing plan. What makes the profile 4 different to the profile 3 computers is that the profile 4 is now upgradeable. Experts are still skeptic as apple only have a 5% market share in the desktop computer market while Microsoft occupy a large percentage of over 92%. Apple have added many new features into OS X 10.2 including a instant messenger using the aol network and a new mail client, however these features are already in windows XP so apple do not have many unique selling points to market their new OS.

Apple has also announced that they are renaming their iTools service to .Mac in another bid to compete with Microsoft?s .net tools. Microsoft announced this week that they were launching msn for Mac in an attempt to go against rumours that they are not as committed to Mac as they were previously. Either way Apple still have a long way to go before they can catch a larger proportion of the desktop market. Personally Macs are too expensive for myself to afford so there wont be one on my christmas list.

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Xbox Live

By Pete | @kingpetey | 22 Aug 2002

For those that don?t know the Xbox is a major games console produced by Microsoft, so far the Xbox has been very successful and has sold many games including the very popular Halo. On November 15th 2002 Microsoft will start to offer a new service for Xbox called Xbox Live, this is basically a complete world of online gaming for the Xbox meaning you can play games with other people around the world. However Xbox live will only be available for broadband/cable users because of the large amount of bandwidth such games take up to play online. A starting kit will be available for the Xbox that will include the necessary kit needed to be able to play games online. It also contains a microphone as all games will have voice chat enabled this is mainly because as the Xbox does not come with a keyboard as default it can get hard to chat to fellow gamers with a game pad.

Microsoft is taking a different view into online gaming for its console compared to its rivals which include Sony who produce the Playstation series. Microsoft are providing all the online software needed to get a game online while Sony rely on the games developers themselves to produce all the necessary software for getting their game online. The smaller games producers like the approach from Microsoft as it saves them a lot of work for little extra money, while the big companies such as Electronic Arts, who produce such games as Red Alert 2 and Medal of Honour, find the approach annoying as they have already invested heavily in online games markets.

Either way Microsoft looks to once again being at the forefront of the console online gaming revolution and will be a major contender in many years to come in the console market. Its system will certainly make it easier for the end user to play games online with its simple interface making all online games easy to access. Games producers for Sony intend to have games coming online to the Playstation 2 early next year.

The face of console gaming is going to change a lot in the coming months as it did when people started getting into online gaming on the PC. I personally think that games sales will continue to increase and the number of people taking up broadband will also increase.

Morpheus 2

By Pete | @kingpetey | 20 Aug 2002

Morpheus 2 is the latest version of the popular download client that over the previous months has gone through a lot of changes. For those that don?t know I will explain Morpheus history. The original Morpheus started up using the same network as Kazaa the layouts were about the same and files could be downloaded quick and easy without many problems, then early this year Morpheus split from the same network as Kazaa and started using the same network as GNUtella with a program which looked very similar to Gnucleus. For those using dialups the GNUtella network is no where near as good as kazaa is for downloading music. Morpheus continued to use the modified version of Gnucleus for the following months, I?m guessing in this time they were working on their own client for the GNUtella network which was finally launched this month under the title Morpheus 2.

When downloading Morpheus 2 I initially had to download a 4mb setup file then a further 5mbs for the latest java virtual machine (I suppose it could come in useful for any other programs I download which may need it.) anyway 1 hour later after all this downloading the program finally installed. My first impressions were good, it looked nice ran at a good speed and was easy to use. However Morpheus 2 still used the GNUtella network so was slow to connect. I tried quite a few times and it didn?t connect in anyway as fast as Kazaa. I opened both programs up to see which connected fastest, on average kazaa took between 5-10 seconds to connect while with Morpheus I could wait any time upto a minute before giving up. Once Morpheus was connected I had this silly thing telling me how much search power I had. I decided to search for faithless once it reached maximum search capacity, after about 2 minutes it came up with 3 results before having to reconnect. With kazaa I found about 150 references to Faithless in about 2minutes.

I then decided to download one of the files I had found this went slightly better and I did get reasonable download speeds however I did have connection problems to Morpheus for trying to search for other things, these problems did not occur in kazaa. I personally didn?t think Morpheus 2 lived up to what my expectations were and I found there website most unhelpful when trying to find out anything about Morpheus 2. The site seemed more interested in advertising from the way it seemed to me.

Overall I think Morpheus 2 was easy to use and it looked nice, however as a download manager it doesn?t seem as good as its close rivals such as limewire and bearshare and its no where near the level that it used to be when it used the same network as kazaa. So I?m giving Morpheus 2 a poor 3/10.

Gas powered laptops!

By Pete | @kingpetey | 19 Aug 2002

?Darling, I?m just popping down to the gas station to top up the laptop?
Well maybe that?s a bit far fetched but by the end of 2004 we could be seeing gas powered laptops in the shops. As laptop components such as processors and graphics cards become more powerful they also require more electricity, in desktops this isn?t a problem as you have the mains supply but in laptops, where battery power is essential on the move trying to use as little power is important. This and the increasing sales in the laptop market has led to design changes in laptops. You could in theory either try to save more power in the laptop or put more power into it.

Various companies have tried different ways of improving power supplies, one of these has to fit laptops with small methanol powered system, you can extract the power needed out of the methanol without going over the flammability point of methanol. This meaning that the gas substitute for a battery is still a safe alternative. The advantages are that the laptop will be usable for up to 10 times longer however charging isn?t as simple as plugging it into the mains, its more likely you will have to pay for cartridges of gas.

Other companies have been looking at fitting laptops with super capacitors that can hold a lot more charge and can be charged a lot faster. Results have shown up to a 200% improvement. The advantages to this are that it can be charged by the mains and won?t cost you too much in electricity to charge it.

Intel has decided to invest in both companies to continue development in better technology for the future.

Winamp 3

By Pete | @kingpetey | 19 Aug 2002

Winamp for most people is a must have program for playing all sorts or audio including the popular MP3. Winamp is one of the first good mp3 players after the likes of windows media player so when I heard Winamp 3 was released I quickly wanted to have a look. By reading the Winamp site I had heard high hopes for Winamp 3 in the ways or being able to completely change the shape of Winamp 3 and by being able to watch video files as well as listen to music. Winamp it seemed was finally becoming a more full media player like its competition ? the likes of windows media player and real one player.

Once installing Winamp3 the first thing you notice is the change in design, other components now join the main window and play list editor, components like the ?thinger? and the media library are to name a few. The new features to Winamp 3 are clearly quite vast. I liked on the media library how you could search for songs on your hard drive easily then add them to your play list a feature you could only get from another plugin for Winamp 2. The thinger also made it easier to add and remove components on screen without getting things too cluttered or having to find them on a menu every time you want to open them. So far everything looks a good improvement on Winamp 2*.

However I decided to checkout the new cool skins I had seen on the site and heard all about, so I downloaded one but Winamp came up with an error when the download had finished. So I restarted Winamp to find that when starting Winamp I got an insertion error, I had to reinstall Winamp before I could use the skin I downloaded. Its annoying having to reinstall every time I want to try another skin. I checked with a few other people and they hadn?t been having this error but had been receiving just as annoying other errors.

Overall I think Winamp 3 is a good start for what could be a great follow up to Winamp 2*. Winamp 3 is suffering from the same sort of bugs that came up just after Winamp 2 was launched which should all be sorted out in subsequent releases. For now I?m sticking with Winamp 2.8, once Winamp 3 is a bit more stable and I maybe have a faster computer I will upgrade.

For now I?m giving Winamp 3 6/10 simply because the program is a bit too buggy for my liking at the momment.