DATA CENTER GOES LOW TECH, GAMING GOES HIGH TECH. The contrasting directions that technology is taking are strange to see. On the one hand, Google is building very large data centers based on over 10,000 off brand, single processor PCs running Linux. On the other hand, Sony, Toshiba, and IBM have announced plans to create the "Cell" chip for Sony's PlayStation 3, scheduled for release at the end of 2004. With up to 16 processing "cells" per chip, the predicted speed of this chip is 1 trillion calculations per second (1 teraflop), which is 100 times faster than a 2.5Ghz Intel P4. Systems built on this technology can even go to the Internet to find unused processing power from idle systems.
GAMING DRIVES TECHNOLOGY. Many analysts feel that gaming is emerging as the industry to drive technology development. Ask any Microsoft Office user if they have exceeded the capabilities of their hardware; then ask a gamer. Chances are, it is the gamer who has been making improvements to his/her hardware environment in an effort to enhance his/her abilities.
BIG MONEY, LOW OVERHEAD. On a related note, Sony is offering its new "Legacy of Ykesha", an enhancement to the popular EverQuest game, exclusively through online distribution. Even before the enhancement was released, 200,000 copies were pre-purchased at $18 apiece. That means that Sony made an immediate $4 million without the overhead of packaging, manufacturing or channel costs. The EverQuest game now makes Sony about $75 million per year.
HOME WIRELESS IS GRRRREAT! I just bought a $100 wireless router, and we can now use our extra laptop anywhere in the house. OMIX has been running almost all of its desktops on a wireless network for some time now and finding it error-free, simple to set up, and inexpensive. No wonder wireless networks have quietly swept the high tech world over the last 2 years.
VIRAL MARKETING TARGETED TOWARD KIDS AGE 12 AND UNDER can be seen at the Post Cereal Web site. Kids who visit the site can create animated music videos and then email them to each other. To see an example, go to http://www.postopia.com/... (Note: Be sure you get the entire, long URL into your browser; also, you may want to turn down the volume on your PC). This is a cute example of viral marketing. Viral marketing means encouraging your site visitors to market your site to their friends. Best of all, viral marketing is free once you set it up.
H&R BLOCK'S ANSWER TO TURBO TAX is its online $19.95 tax preparation service. This Web application asks you questions and then calculates your taxes and electronically files them. If you're interested, go to www.handrblock.com.