29 , 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 38 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK
Facelifts All Around
Campaigners in the ongoing PC vs. Mac debate have something
new to bicker about: Microsoft and Apple have both come
out with operating system upgrades. Windows Millennium, also known
by its cutesy-pie nickname Windows Me, has finally hit the shelves. No
big changes here, but there are a few extra goodies included like Media
Player 7, Windows Movie Maker and a "wizard" for setting up a home network.
Perhaps the biggest improvement is a feature that prevents users from
overwriting required files.
Over in the Mac camp, Apple has released the beta version of OS X.
It features a new interface that moves items fluidly, and a "dock" that
looks suspiciously like a Windows task bar. Best of all, OS X will continue
running if an application crashes a major improvement. Before you
go rushing off to the Apple website to buy it ($29.95) you should know
that it will only work if you've got 128 MB of memory. Apple says the
final version will work with 64 MB.
Illustration by Emilio Rivera III.
Regaining Control of Remotes
majority of encounters with remote controls those devices that
are supposed to simplify our lives begin with a frustrating attempt
to find the one you want among the pile on the coffee table. But the folks
at STMicroelectronics and Digital Mobility say they can
streamline that process. They've devised a new chip set that can turn
a WAP-enabled cellphone into a universal remote control. Using
Bluetooth wireless technology, the chips let you control all kinds
of home appliances through a WAP browser on the phone. Or for that personal
touch, you can call in your command to a Bluetooth transmitting device
in the home. Don't throw out that pile yet though. You won't see a WAP
remote until mid-to-late 2001.
Musical Slide Show, To-Go
to Asiaweek at firstname.lastname@example.org
Samsung has come up with a carry-out version of the
1970s choreographed slide show. The Photo Yepp MP3 player lets
you view images on a two-inch LCD screen while listening to your favorite
songs. It comes with a 32 MB SmartMedia card for storing JPEG and MP3
files. At the moment, you have to select and sequence the pictures and
music yourself. That sounds like an awful lot of trouble but Samsung hopes
commercial music producers and online service providers will eventually
offer programs of their own that you can download. The Photo Yepp is already
available in Korea for $360, and should be out in the rest of Asia later
this year. Okay, to the MTV veteran, it will look pretty dull. But at
the moment, music videos aren't portable. Until memory capacity gets a
whole lot bigger, this will have to do.
CD: Formula for Human Life
Readers of Britain's intellectual Prospect magazine will get
a free bonus this week. A compact disk stuck to the front cover of the
monthly periodical carries the genetic instructions for making a human
being. Tim Hubbard, a leading scientist in the international consortium
that finished mapping the human genome in June, has compressed the 3 billion
chemical letters that make up the genome code onto a regular CD. Users
can look at the whole DNA sequence, the 23 chromosomes and the 10,000
genes that have been identified.
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November 30, 2000