The Big Drought

Life has been very quiet in this neck of the woods the last month or so.

It’s going to be that way longer in the overclocking world. A lot longer.

The overclocking world works a bit differently than the rest of the computing world. We’re not particularly interested in new products, we’re interested in cheap newish products.

And since we push the envelope, developments that might not even be noticed or just be annoying to the average computer user are critical to us.

The next year or so is going to see a lot of developments, but they won’t be significant and/or relevant developments to the overclocking world. This will be either due to a high price, and/or a modest increase in performance for the expense.

Some items won’t deliver much, period. Others will become interesting, but only after the price drops quite a bit. Yet others will eventually become important, but not in their initial iterations.

This will occur among a group of people that are increasingly reluctant to spend a lot and get only a little for it.

Perhaps more importantly, the outside world will have more and more to say about how this cyberworld conducts itself.

We’ll go through the next year, and tell you what you’re going to see, may see, and not see.

Athlon64 Cometh…

Intel Meltdown…

Newer But Not Better…

already being contemplated.

As is usually the case with the intial iterations of new technology, neither DDR2 nor PCI-X video is likely to be much better than the last versions of what it’s replacing, and it will probably take the second generation of products to make a real difference.

So when you’re starved for something new, you’ll get to play guinea pig.

As if life didn’t suck enough, outside forces are out to cramp your cage.

Attacking The Magic Kingdom…, which is essentially a Windows knockoff of iTunes. It will continue to pursue the lawsuits and fine-tune their legal arguments and settling-out-of-court strategies.

Expect the movie people to get a lot more lively as DVD-recorders reach the point of mass-acceptance.

Expect both to put on the full-court press in Congress and say, “You gotta do something.”

And that “something” will be DRM. Next year, there will be a lot of talk about TCPA and Palladium.

What the content providers will want is simple: a U.S. mandate to have all computer equipment sold after a certain date to include DRM technology.

RIAA and Company have very carefully laid out the ground for this. They’re going to say, “Look, we listened to the legitimate complaints. Look at all the songs we’re now offering digitally, but people are still doing this. We’re even suing our own customers, but that isn’t even helping a lot. You have millions of people out there with no respect for the law. Now what do you want to do? We can’t sue them all. Do you even want to try to arrest them all? We have the right to demand protection under the law, so what are you going to do about it?”

And DRM is likely to be the answer Congress comes up with. It’s the easiest solution from their perspective; keep people from breaking the law in the first place.

Prescott will be DRM-enabled. If AMD hasn’t already done the same thing, they’ll certainly be ready to do so. The other equipment makers may well fight such a mandate becoming law, but they’ll certainly comply; they aren’t going to lose 40% of the world computer market over this.

Could it become a world standard? Pretty good chance of that. The European Union isn’t going to raise much fuss over it.

Will there be a politically significant movement against this? No. There’s no organization worthy of the name out there, and even if one formed, what they want is outside the political norm.

It’s not often that you find an issue liberals like Maxine Waters and conservatives like Orrin Hatch agree on, but this is it.

A hypernova of hysteria will reign in geekdom, but no one else will care. The hardcore will go underground. The older ones will start buying their music digitally. The younger ones will copy each other’s older CDs (if possible), or something else to do.

Don’t be surprised if somebody figures out a way to put an FM tuner in a PC and “tape” CDs off the radio.

There will be surprise developments and twist and turns, but the eventual outcome is inevitable. What’s going on now will be criminalized, and because we don’t want that many criminals around, people will be stopped ahead of time.

This will put a chill on computer upgrades for those who bought the thing in the first place primarily for that. The industry will survive. Maybe not too good for those making recorders, but they’ll find something else to do.

You just can’t expect a secure future when it relies on theft.


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