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    volume 5 by shiva

    Been a while since I did one of these, but I have to admit I'm a little tired tonight, and not very combative, but I will try my best. After all, I'm in the business of entertaining the masses. :)

    A Nightmare on Elm Street part seven: The X-Box strikes
    Bill Gates is one strange person. On one hand, he donates millions of dollars to schools and education, and then tells everyone he's going to leave a few million dollars to his children, and donate the rest to charity when he dies. Yet, on the other hand, he seems real intent on being so rich that he will end up with every single penny in the entire world in his possession. Good case in point, the recently announced X-Box, which his company will design and set the standards for, then allow other companies to produce it for Micro$oft, and then end up reaping all the financial rewards, by licensing the technology to any poor sucker that wants to produce games for it.

    You know that what we are going to get here is a games version of WebTV, a unit that looks real good on the outside, but it's those damn "little things", that oddly enough, always seem to end up filling Mr. Gates pockets with large amounts of little green colored paper. Little things, like it doesn't conform to certain "standards", which will then require a large amount of special sites, which means hefty licensing fees. Anyone that has truly studied WebTV, or even has one, knows what I mean.

    I can see the X-Box takes that same path. Micro$oft has tried this a few times, with no success, but they will try it again. You look at the specs, and they certainly look impressive for today's machines, but I can't help but think that Micro$oft will add a few "extra enhancements" and end up killing it off real quick. Does anyone out there actually think that the X-Box will actually play the same game disks as your computer can do now? I certainly don't think so, I'm pretty sure that there will be some special coding disguised as an "exciting new feature" that will also make sure that if you want to develop for the X-Box, you better send over a large truck's worth of money first.

    After all, this is a PC computer, with PC components. It's going to be the same stuff that can be used directly in your computer. And yet, none of your games will likely work in the new system. The only reason that Micro$oft is even doing this, is because they have large dollar signs floating around their eyes, and they see that opportunity they have always wanted, but have always failed in. The attempt to control the internet, and the standards of the internet, for solely Micro$oft's benefit.

    We could see special sites, that will "greatly enhance" the capabilities of the X-Box, and are "exclusive to the X-Box". In fact, you can almost guarantee TV Guide sites, information services and marketing sites will spring up everywhere, and all that generates revenue. And new users should be pretty happy to go to these sites, but then, they might not have a choice. Web TV users don't. They have ended up being locked out of a lot of sites, or can't do certain simple things that a normal user can, because Micro$oft added those "extras".

    The truth is, Micro$oft just can't resist the temptation of trying to control everything when they release a product. Ever use FrontPage? Ever try to find a web host for FrontPage? Have you noticed while surfing the net looking for a host that some hosts advertise in large letters that they host FP sites on their servers? The reason is simple. Micro$oft happens to use special "features", which requires special server enhancements just to host a Front Page designed site. Without them, your site may not display properly, and I have even heard it may cause the host's computers to crash.

    Of course, you shouldn't be using FP anyway, as it really is a truly evil, evil piece of software. The fact that it is designed the "Micro$oft way" only points to what we can expect for the X-Box in the future.

    All the people want is a computer that's fast, good, cheap, and tries to maintain some stability and standards in the industry, rather than create new ones. Micro$oft sounds like this is what will happen when the X-Box comes out, but it's those extra little "enhancements" that may make it's cost too high for most people.

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    Zalman: ZM-DS4F Headphones

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