The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is predicting that we're going to spend a whopping $21 billion over the holiday season this year, up 21% from a miserly $17 billion last year. That includes the whole works - tree, plastic snowman on the roof, mountain of food and, of course, gifts.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes sifts through the marketing hyperbole and casts his critical eye over the latest technological innovations to find out which products make the grade and which don't.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology.
Intel has just made a few half-hearted price cuts to their CPU range. Mostly these cuts affect the Celeron D lines. Why are the cuts half-hearted? Because Intel doesn't really have much in the way of serious competition from AMD right now.
Come on now, be honest. When was the last time you suffered from "gadget lust"?
I've written here several times that AMD would have to cut the prices of their CPUs in order for them to remain competitive in the face of Intel's Core 2 Duo range. Well, AMD have once again slashed the prices of its Turion 64 X2, Athlon 64 FX, Athlon 64 and a number of its Sempron chips by up to 35.8%.
There's been much written about Microsoft's Vista Kernel Mode Security, especially the Kernel Patch Protection scheme for Windows Vista 64-bit, more commonly known as PatchGuard to the rest of us. Microsoft is selling these security enhancements as the best thing since sliced bread, telling us how much safer our 64-bit PCs will be. The security companies, on the other hand, are up in arms and claiming that Microsoft is locking them out of the kernel so that the Redmond giant can gain greater momentum in the security arena. I'm here to tell you that it has very little, if anything, to do with security - it's all to do with DRM and locking down your hardware.
The news that Apple shipped iPods containing malware came as a bit of a surprise yesterday. After all, you expect a company like Apple to have plenty of safeguards and checks and balances in place to prevent this kind of thing happening. The truth is however that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and putting your trust in someone else's chain is rarely a good idea.
Finally, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) might be starting to realize that their attempts to control and reduce piracy might actually be having the opposite effect, and are driving honest consumers to piracy.
Microsoft has made a real mess of explaining their Windows Vista licensing agreement terms. If professionals who are familiar with navigating their way around press releases and complex EULA agreements find the wording complex and ambiguous, what chance does a regular user have of coming up with the right answer?
Let's put DRM, WGA and SPP behind us for a little while and look at some cool new gear that's getting ready to hit the streets. And it doesn't get much cooler than the liquid cooled TOXIC X1950XTX and the limited edition X1950 CrossFire Edition graphics cards by Sapphire Sapphire: "The fastest add-in board on the planet"Technology. If you want power, Sapphire claim that these cards are the "fastest add-in board on the planet". and they are aimed squarely at enthusiasts who want power without noise.
"Sell the sizzle, not the sausage" and "bury any bad news" are some of the oldest but best marketing clichés in existence and they are as applicable today as when they were fresh. Microsoft applied both these principals yesterday when it released details of software licensing terms for Windows Vista.