Time to be satisfied...
My girlfriend just said: "Finally got used to 1998, and now they changed the version number again!"
This is a good theme for this editorial. Let me first wish you a happy and creative new year. But based on the expierence of last year additional wishes are necessary. Like: may manufacturers like Intel allow you the time to be satisfied with your computer. To enjoy it. This will be vain hope, I'm afraid, because the keyword here is addiction. Intel's addiction to money, the user's addiction to better and faster. Admit it: if there would not be a faster processor, you would be satisfied with your present system. At least I would.
Last year was complete computer madness. Not even one year ago you could buy a Pentium 233 and be very satisfied. For two weeks or so. Until you saw the Pentium II on the market. The next months processor speeds increased, prices decreased. When you bought a Pentium II, you needed a complete new mainboard. You thought you were smart and made sure you bought a mainboard that could handle faster processors than you could afford at that moment. So you could wait and take your chance when the prices of the faster processor would take a downward plunge. Not quite! By the time you were ready to make your move, the 100 MHz mainboard was introduced to be able to handle even faster processors! You just bought that nifty PCI-video card, a week later the AGP slot appears on the mainboards. To make your frustration complete, AGP cards appear to be even cheaper!
This rat race will go on until the ship will hit the quayside, as we say in Holland (wich means 'until things will run their course'). This vicious circle of more processor power and more demanding software is hard to break out of, at least under Windows. So in time the solution will come from another, more efficient operating system than Windows. My bet is Linux. I hardly know anything about it, but what I do know is that it's stable, efficient, fast, cheap and based on permanently updated knowlegde that goes way back before Windows.
The success of an operating system depends on the availability of applications, user-kindness and support by harware manufacturers. TerraTec doesn't currently support Linux, but maybe it's not such a bad idea to have more irons in the fire for the future. This moment they write (or support writing) a Linux driver, they tap a big new barrel of customers.
I'm very curious what TerraTec has instore this coming year. I think they can't get around PCI-versions of their audio-systems, as other manufacturers (will) also develop them.