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Upgrades need upgrades

The problem with computer upgrades is that you can rarely do just one without having to upgrade something, or everything else, in the process.

The problem with computer upgrades is that you can rarely do just one without having to upgrade something, or everything else, in the process.

For example, if you upgrade to a new operating system you may have to upgrade your memory and/or your processor to handle the new specs. If you upgrade your entire computer – as purchasers of the new Intel Macs have discovered – you’ll likely also have to upgrade or completely replace some or all of your software.

This is no secret to anyone who’s worked in an office that has gone though any kind of mass upgrade. Your suppliers will sell you the new computers, but they always forget to mention that you’ll be needing all kinds of new software to go along with it, or that your new computers won’t work with each other or with the old servers without some kind of complex bridging option that winds up being more of a hassle and expense than buying new equipment.

At Pique we’re still in between the OS 9.x ‘Classic’ operating systems and software and the OSX operating system and software, and while we’ve found ways to make it work cross-platforms it’s far from seamless. Most of us have to run both Classic and OSX on production days, and we’re starting to come across websites and formats that our older programs and systems won’t open. Still, it doesn’t make sense to do any more piecemeal upgrading at this point because, as I’ve mentioned above, the new Intel Macs use different operating systems and software.

If it’s not broke, as the saying goes, and it’s not quite broken yet. But it’s really just a matter of time before we have no choice but to ditch Mac Classic.

It’s also safe to assume that the introduction of the Windows Visa operating system this fall, the sequel to Microsoft’s popular XP operating system, will also spark a wave of hardware upgrades.

The test version of the new operating system even comes with built-in Windows Performance Rating software that scans your hardware components (processor, memory, bus speeds, hard drive, graphics cards, etc.) and gives you an overall score for your system’s efficiency when running various programs or performing certain actions.

Microsoft does not explain how the scoring system works, but Windows Performance Rating should at least show you whether or not you meet minimum system specifications, or need to spend some cash on an upgrade. A perfect score is a five; the lowest score is one, and most average laptop PCs score around three in beta tests.

It’s only a matter of time before tech geeks start a contest to achieve a perfect five rating, figure out Microsoft’s scoring system, and start comparing their notes online. That’s when the rush to upgrade will begin in earnest.

Sony comes out swinging

It takes a pretty ingenious company president to turn bad news into good news, but that’s just what Sony’s Nobuyuki Idei did last week.

After months of speculation, including rumours that Sony may actually cancel the Playstation 3, Sony confirmed a 2006 launch for their next generation console – November rather than spring, but Idei softened the blow by promising customers additional features. Some of those features will likely be a 60 GB hard drive, increased memory, and the launch of a new online gaming platform similar to Xbox Live, that may be offered free of charge. Still no word on price, but it’s bound to be more expensive than the Xbox 360.

They also timed the delay announcement with some PSP (Playstation Portable) news. First off, they’re cutting the purchase price by about $50, although it will no longer come bundled with a 32MB memory stick. The PSP will also offer Voice Over IP ability, possibly even with video, as well as the ability to download and play Flash games and old PS1 games.

Sony’s announcement does come as a bit of a blow to its partners in the Blu Ray disc group, which Sony leads, because they were hoping to bolster their share of the high capacity DVD market on the backs of the PS3 launch. The first Blu Ray players will hit the market in the coming months.

Website of the Week – There are literally thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of blog sites up and running in Canada, and some of them are actually quite good. But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff, when maybe one per cent of the blogs could qualify as wheat? can help. They no longer offer their monthly ‘top blogs’ list because too many bloggers were abusing the rules to get their site into the number one spot, but owner and publisher Jim Elve still posts a lot of the best sites on his homepage. He keeps a general directory, links to blogs on politics and the House of Commons, and collects links to the rare and unusual – such as The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21 st Century and – that veer towards the eclectic. A good place to visit and bookmark, because the featured blogs are always changing.