Cybernaut 

In praise of Al Gore

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There was a time when the computer/tech/video game geek could be pleasantly surprised by something – the announcement of a new product, an upgrade to an existing product, or something you’ve never seen before.

The Internet has changed all that. Thanks to dozens of spoiler sites, brought to you by the same people who probably couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to open their presents, we now have a good idea what’s coming and when.

Apple just tried to sue one spoiler site, www.thinksecret.com, for beating them to the punch in announcing several new products. They wanted the name of the leaker within their company who was apparently selling or giving away some very accurate information – presumably to fire that person and possibly worse. Last week the California appeals court ruled that Think Secret was entitled to the same level of protection for its sources as other journalists and media outlets.

While I agree with the judges in this particular case, I also agree that Apple has a right to announce new products how, when and where it sees fit, with as much fanfare and media as they can muster. It lets the gas out of the promotional blimp when someone lets the cat out of the bag a few days early, if that metaphor isn’t too mixed for you.

These days we know pretty much everything (or think we know, given how rumours spread on the Net) that’s coming down the pipe in the next year and year after.

Recently sales of consoles and games have dropped off significantly, mainly because people are waiting for the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 to come out before they make a decision on what system to buy.

Sales of Microsoft XP products have also slid, as most people await the release of the next generation Vista operating system – which people have been waiting for since about 2003.

There are rumours that Apple is developing a hybrid iPod/Bluberry device with Research In Motion, as well as an iPod with a big video/touch screen on one side.

The next Playstation Portable is due out this summer, apparently, and there are rumours it will have a built-in hard drive, and the ability to wirelessly download television and video content, as well as older PS2 games.

New batteries are in the works that charge faster, and last longer, as well as processors and logic boards that require significantly less power and run at such low heat they won’t require noisy fans.

New manufacturing techniques and capacity for flat screen high definition LCD televisions are expected to cut prices by half according to some rumours, but nobody knows when this is supposed to happen.

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