Built-to-order home automation systems that handle lighting, climate control, and security are old hat in multimillion-dollar custom homes behind the gates of swank country clubs. But the next generation of home automation systems are built around off-the-shelf parts using the Windows Media Center interface, adding audio and video to the mix. The kicker? Consumer electronics giant Best Buy is getting into the business, at a price that's right at home in upscale suburban neighborhoods.
The Ed Bott Report
Get outspoken insights and expert advice on the products and companies that define today's tech landscape, from a source who knows these technologies inside and out.
Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.
The anti-DRM movement wants to boycott or ban all restrictions on your rights to use digital content. It's a topic I expect to discuss with a lot of people at CES next week. How would a world without DRM work? What would happen to the cable and satellite TV industries, to movie and TV producers, to software manufacturers?
I'll be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. In between waiting for cabs, I'll be talking with the companies who are planning to release an avalanche of gadgets and gizmos - oh, and Windows Vista will make its public debut here as well. I've narrowed down my meeting list by focusing on five technologies that are going to drive the consumer electronics market in 2007.
I've been tagged, and it would be downright churlish to refuse to play along. So, here's my contribution to an Internet fad that is rapidly turning into the online equivalent of The Wave.
Whatever happened to my project to compare the leading PC-based digital media platforms? Shuttle happened, that's what. Shuttle Computer is justly famous among Media Center enthusiasts for its sleek small-form-factor designs, but its support is inexcusably bad. Here's why I'll never buy another Shuttle PC.
Last year, one prominent technology journalist complained - loudly, in America's newspaper of record - when the hard drive on his Windows PC crashed and some of his important files were lost. The new Backup program in Windows Vista would have saved the day for him. So why is he complaining about it?
In preparation for my obligatory end-of-year review/prediction posts, I've been reviewing ZDNet's collection of Windows Vista image galleries from 2006. You'd think we've shown everything there is to see, wouldn't you?
Gartner boldly predicts that Vista is the last big Windows release ever. Oh, now that's daring. I connected a few extra dots and have a bolder prediction. What if Microsoft carved Windows up into pieces that didn't have to run on Windows at all?
It's been a month since Microsoft released Windows Vista to manufacturing. That same week, I upgraded three heavily used machines in this household to the final build. So, how have they done? Each upgrade has a different story to tell, as it turns out. Here are some preliminary observations.
Microsoft is pushing full speed ahead on its plans to convert its servers to 64-bit technology. But the same can't be said on the desktop side. Even though every edition of Windows Vista is available in a 64-bit version, none of the retail boxes will contain those bits. So what's holding back the transition?