Opinion » Cybernaut


Green thumbing it



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Those numbers will only increase as the console market continues to thrive – more than 41.9 million consoles were sold around the world in 2002, which means the market for games is continuing to boom.

Of the three major consoles on the market, the Sony Playstation 2 continues to lead the way with an estimated 63 per cent of the hardware marketshare. The Nintendo GameCube is about 21 per cent of the market, and Microsoft’s Xbox continues to gain market share with about 16 per cent.

Far from being complacent, Sony is preparing to extend its lead in the market by taking gaming to another level with the PS3.

Sony recently spent about $1.6 billion on a new plant to build the processors for the PS3, which the company is calling the "Cell". The circuitry widths are about 65 nanometers, compared to the 90 nanometer widths found in the most advanced chips of the day. By narrowing the circuitry widths, Sony will be able to squeeze more transistors onto each Cell, and increase the processing power exponentially.

The Cell boasts a multicore architecture, a revolutionary design that incorporates several stacked processor cores into one unit. The effect is a processor that is thousands of times more powerful than the unique "Emotion Engine" processor in the Playstation 2.

The Cell likely won’t be released until late 2005, although we’ll probably see some Cell demos much earlier than that at consumer expos.

A .Net-tastophe?

It was a minor headline in The Globe and Mail on Monday, but it speaks volumes about the challenge facing Microsoft’s ability to sell businesses and individuals on the .Net Web services concept.

Microsoft introduced .Net three years ago, touting it as revolutionary technology for connecting people, systems and devices. Basically, .Net allows freer communication between programs and hardware devices through XML, or the Extensible Markup Language. XML is a universal language that can be used to communicate across the Internet, or between otherwise unconnected sources, such as cell phones, PDAs and desktops. This common language would allow you to use your computer to send messages to cell phones and you PDA to access servers and home computers.

XML also provides a common language for software programs and servers to communicate with one another through the Web. With so many different technologies and software programs in use, the XML language provides a uniform standard.

It’s a revolutionary concept, no question, but it may be before its time. First of all, it took a while for people to understand what .Net was. Was it software? Was it hardware? How was it different than the current technology?