Opinion » Cybernaut


Europe stands up in high tech



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Microsoft is so far the only company to buck the trend of saving Europe until last, releasing the Xbox 360 almost simultaneously in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The Nintendo Wii will also release in Europe close enough (three weeks later) to other markets to get away with it.

By leaving Europe out of the 2006 launch, some industry experts believe Sony might even have tipped the console war in favour of Microsoft and Nintendo as pissed off Europeans — huge supporters of the PS2 by the way — jump ship to companies that show them respect.

Aside from feelings being hurt, most Europeans celebrate Christmas as well. Parents playing Santa Claus are going to walk into electronics stores and find out that they only have two choices.


Quieter computers, gadgets

There’s only a certain amount of noise most people can take, and our lives are noisier than ever — a byproduct of the fact that we’re busier than ever, that there are more people than ever, and that we’re filling up our homes with noise-making devices. Going beyond simple annoyance and distraction, too much exposure to noise can even make you physically sick.

The good news is that there are ways to cool and quiet most computer systems down, if you have a little technical savvy.

Most computers come bundled with fans for CPU and motherboard, but next generation computers also have fans for video cards, memory and other operations. A simple off-the-shelf PC can have as many as four fans running at any given time.

There are many different ways to make your system quiet. The first, and most expensive, is to liquid cool your system. A whole range of products and options are discussed and compared at www.overclockers.com .

The second way to get quieter is to change the fans in your system from time to time — most of the fans bundled with your system are not top of the line to begin with in terms of noise and performance. You can buy new fans that are quieter, while continuing to provide the same or improved performance. Check out the selection at www.tigerdirect.ca .

Another thing you can do is take a close look at your computer — how is the air moving in and out? Are the vents big enough? Are your vents dusty?

If you know what you’re doing you might want to try running your system for a little while with the box open to see what the sound difference might be — if it’s louder boxed up, the vent system might be poorly designed. You might need to clean the vents occasionally, as well as remove dust from the fan blades and motor.