The year has almost come to a close, so we want to find out what the best and worst technologies and creations of 2005 have been. Normally in a 'summing up the year' type article such as this, you'll get somebody rattling off their opinion, some of which you'll agree with, but some you won't. Well, that's exactly what you'll get here: me rattling off about stuff. However, we invite you to share with us your thoughts on the year, so consider this a reminder of what's been going on, so you can let us know what you think.
Let's forget the iPod for a moment, and think solely about the Podcast. What the hell is a Podcast anyway? It's an audio file that's recorded, then posted on the Internet for people to download and listen to on their portable media player. It's compressed audio - nothing special at all. So why's Podcast found its way into the dictionary? What if the iPod wasn't the most popular portable audio player on the face of the earth? Would we have Zencasts or Rivercasts? I wonder...
Ah yes, this year has seen more than one hard drive manufacturer release a hard drive with a storage capacity of 0.5TB. Now, all you RAID jockeys out there will buy two or three, just to hit the 1 terabyte mark. Of course, drives get bigger because we can still fill the damn things up.
Indeed, although many moan about hard drive technology progressing slowly, we've seen perpendicular storage, tiny drives (in a physical sense) and more this year. Sufficient to say that we're a storage dependant world, and hard drives are just about managing to keep up with our demands.
What a year for browsers, eh? Firefox really made some ground, then lost some, then made some again. Will IE ever be toppled from the top spot? It's unlikely, but one thing this year has seen is better security in our browsers, including good old Internet Explorer. That can only be good news, right?
Sure, its PSU overheats if you sit too close it and breathe, but it's the first in the wave of next generation consoles. Hopefully the sheer power of these puppies will lead to a horde of fantastic, revolutionary new games, and not just a series of sequels. Still, that's something we'll have to save until next year. Meanwhile, the XBox 360 is an awesome piece of kit, there's no denying it.
They're watching, you know. We always said they were, as we donned our tin-foil hats, but nobody listened. Sure enough, 2005 was a good year for spyware, but also a good year for anti-spyware software. The battle continues, but slowly the public is becoming more aware. The good guys are starting to win... we think.
Digital Rights (or complete lack thereof) Management has always been a bit of a tricky one when you look at what record companies and the likes actually want to have control of, but Sony BMG took it to a new level this year with their still much talked about rootkit fiasco. Yup, they stooped about as low as the sneakiest hacker and embedded stealthed software into the very heart of the Operating System. Better still, the software was completely stealthed from the EULA... naughty Sony!
So is this good or bad news? Hopefully good... Hopefully it means more people realise what DRM could potentially do - be far more damaging than protecting. Are there any examples of DRM that work well for both customer and company? Dare I say it... Steam?
Computers are becoming part of our lifestyles. In fact, this year, lifestyle computing has become so big that we've launched a channel right here at HEXUS dedicated to it.
We've got home theatre PCs, media center PCs, portable music players, TV tuners, massive LCD displays, Internet fridges (well, some of us.) We've gone gadget mad. But what are we going to do with ourselves during those inevitable power cuts? I think I'm going to start investing in UPS companies.
Now here's a tricky one. After a bit of a wait, NVIDIA's SLI - the rebirth (no, reinvention) of that glorious idea that is dual graphics processing - got itself a competitor. Alas, 'twas a bit naff to start with, but it's getting better. If two GPUs are better than one, then are two forms of dual GPU processing better than one?
Shiver me timbers, everything's gone parallel! It's not just GPUs that are sharing the workload these days. Even your desktop PC's processor could have more than one processing unit. It seems there's been a massive shift in focus this year from GHz onto cores and efficiency. Dual core hasn't quite reached a stage where desktop apps and games make much use of it, but AMD and Intel have set the ball rolling with recent products. Hang about folks, the best of dual- (and indeed multi-) core is to follow in the year ahead, and beyond.
But Steve, you're completely wrong!
So I've probably posed more questions than I've answered here, but at least that gives you a chance to put forward your take on things. Has something been missed off the list (Wikipedia, blogging, the 5th gen iPod) or does something mentioned here not even merit discussion? Hit the HEXUS.community to share your thoughts with us, and say goodbye to 2005.