During last year there was not much excitement in the local personal computing world.We saw incremental improvements in just about all hardware and software products but the only noteworthy development, it seems to me, was the launch of Windows 2000. I have been using the Professional version on my work machine since the launch and have found it to easy to use and solid as a rock.
We saw incremental improvements in just about all hardware and software products but the only noteworthy development, it seems to me, was the launch of Windows 2000. I have been using the Professional version on my work machine since the launch and have found it to easy to use and solid as a rock. The other bit of excitement I had in the year was my discovery of digital image manipulation and my first faltering steps into that exciting and creative field. I have been keen on photography for years but had never really though of using my computer to enhance my images until I got hold of Microsoft Picture It! and began to fiddle. I’m not saying that I can make an silk purse out of a sow’s ear but I am rapidly learning how to correct minor flaws which spoil otherwise decent pictures. There is also the possibility of adding special effects to create memorable images out something ordinary. There are now a number of mini-labs in Durban, including Whysalls and Photo Spectrum, which can make prints out of digital images otherwise you can get pretty good results from using photo paper in a decent inkjet printer. It’s also the custom at this time to look ahead to the new products and technology that we can expect to see during the rest of the year. I suspect that this is going to be another year when there is not going to be a hell of a lot going on. Apple is finally going to launch its OS X operating system and Microsoft will release Windows XP which was codenamed Whistler. It will be the only version of Windows available and will represent the unification of the present consumer and business versions of Windows. Wireless Internet access is going to be big in the USA but, in spite of the hype, is not really going to take off here due to the high cost of cellular calls and of the required hardware. Telkom’s monopoly expires next year and I don’t know what’ll happen there but it will certainly fight tooth and nail to retain its position. One prediction I feel that I can safely make is that we’ll be hearing from senior Telkom officials who will tell us that their monopoly is good for us. I can see where competition would be bad from the point of view of Telkom’s deadwood but I fail to see how it can be bad for the rest of us. It can only lead to more reasonable pricing, better service and more and cheaper bandwidth. Another comment I expect to hear is that the telecommunications infrastructure belongs to Telkom. The fact is that we paid for that infrastructure but I don’t expect that too many of them will remember that.