The Year in Duo
Time and tide wait for no one, and neither does technology. Steve and Angela take a moment as the year winds down to update a few stories they covered on previous shows.
Way back in show No. 4, the Duo talked about how Windows Update only gives you fixes for Windows and that there was no way to get fixes for all Microsoft products all in one place. Microsoft must have been reading Steve and Angela's minds (or watching the show, perhaps?), because right after they talked about it, Redmond unveiled just such a hub where you can go to help fix more of the company's mistakes at one time. It's called--wait for it--Microsoft Update. You have to use Microsoft's own Internet Explorer--other browsers, like Firefox, won't work. The good news is that the service delivers updates for programs like Microsoft Office XP as well as for Windows itself. The bad news is that you have to be using Office 2003 or later and Windows 2000 or later. Earlier versions need not apply. And there are many Microsoft products that won't get updated at all by this site. But Microsoft Update is there and, at least in theory, it's a help.
In show No. 11, Steve and Angela also talked--actually, Steve kind of gushed--about Sony's first consumer-level high-definition camcorder, the HDR-FX1. The camcorder produces great video that you can actually edit with popular programs. Unfortunately, the thing costs $3200 and weighs more than 5 pounds. Now, however, it's got a little brother, the HDR-HC1. This one weighs about 1.75 pounds, and you can find it for $1800. You still get great video, and this thing is very nicely balanced in the hand. Not cheap yet, but the price and size are moving in the right direction. Who knows what the market will offer a year from now?
And then there's desktop search technology, which lets you find a specific file or e-mail in--you hope--the blink of an eye. Steve and Angela covered this one at some length in show No. 13. That'll be the last time a bunch of Mac fanatics send the Duo a pile of mail because we forget to mention Spotlight, the desktop search that's built into every copy of Mac OS X Tiger. Calm down, Mac fans: The only reason the Duo left it out was that Tiger wasn't out yet when they talked about these things, and Apple never gives anything to the press before it's officially released. On the whole, Steve and Angela think Spotlight's fine. Unlike the desktop search products for Windows, it's built right into the operating system. But to upgrade to Tiger if you didn't get it with your computer, you have to pay $129, and the main thing you're paying for is Spotlight. All but one of the desktop search products talked about for Windows are totally free.
Other users were annoyed that Steve and Angela left out another free Windows product called Copernic Desktop Search. But when Steve tried it--twice--it just didn't work on his machine. Judging by the mail received, your mileage may indeed vary. But Yahoo Desktop Search fixed a bug Steve mentioned on the show, and now Steve finds it absolutely indispensable; he suggests starting any search for desktop search prowess with that free download.
Products mentioned in this article
- Copernic Technologies Copernic Desktop Search
- Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (Full Product)
- Office Professional 2003 (Full Product) $107.00
- Sony Handycam HDR-HC1 HDV Digital Camcorder (3MP, 10x Opt, 120x Dig, 2.7
- Mozilla Firefox
- Yahoo! Yahoo Desktop Search
- Office XP Standard (Full Product) $331.00
- Sony HDR-FX1 Handycam $15.00 (Check Prices) via Amazon.com Marketplace
- Windows 2000 Professional (Full Product) (Microsoft-B2300079) $70.00