Just as important in the course of human events – maybe even more so – is Microsoft’s Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

Finally, there is a Windows operating system for the new crop of x86/64-bit processors, which are also dual-core. The newest Windows operating system opens the door to the

next generation of PC computing, the 64-bit era and multi-core computing. Longhorn too will support 64-bit computing. The result is that software developers, a generally cautious bunch if there ever was one, will have even less reason to drag their feet into the 64-bit world of computing and even less reason to hold off on threading their software to take advantage of multi-cores.

Intel, AMD, and Microsoft are wooing two classes of customer for multi-core, 64-bit computing: the content creator – from video editors to scrap-booking moms – and those of us afflicted with CAADD (computer aided attention deficit disorder). You know who you are you’re the twitchy multi-taskers out there who get so much going on the computer that the thing ups and dies three or four times a day. What about gamers? Won’t they buy anything that’s hot, new and powerful? Well, they might but there aren’t all that many 64-bit games out there – Far Cry and Unreal. And gamers don’t multi-task when they game – it’s nothing but game. Their day is coming, but it’s just a little further off.

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Meanwhile, Apple is just having a field day delivering many of the features and technologies that Microsoft is still promising. Poor Microsoft (now there were two words that don’t easily sit together) has had a difficult time revamping its file system to create a relational database to enable more advanced searches. At WinHec, Microsoft has finally announced that it was going to hold off on WinFS for Longhorn but that it will be able to offer some advanced search features. To add insult to injury we notice that Apple has applied for a patent on its Spotlight search technology. Now wouldn’t that just drive ’em crazy up in Redmond if Apple claimed that Microsoft’s new search capabilities infringed on Spotlight’s patent. Well, we’ll have to wait and see because Longhorn isn’t here. Tiger is here and the Apple faithful are rapturous. Quite a few of them are noticing that they’d be better off buying a new computer to go with that operating system. This couldn’t hurt Apple’s sales, which sail along comfortably on the strength of iPod and iTunes but the master plan calls for sales of computers to increase as iPod lovers become Mac lovers. Sales of the iPod are now dominating the company’s revenues and even iTunes is making a modest profit.

There are some who wonder if Apple can keep it up now that Yahoo! has mounted a challenge with its own very low-cost subscription service. While Apple sticks to its guns charging 99 cents a download, the Windows field of contenders including Napster, Real Networks Rhapsody, and now Yahoo! are offering subscription services in which users can download all the music they want and transfer it to their player.

Everything will work as long as you keep paying the rent. From our experience the whole thing works pretty smoothly using Microsoft’s Janus technology which is now part of the Windows Media Player. It’s almost as integrated as the Apple platform in fact.

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