Redmond Bound

This issue is shortened due to my impending trip to Redmond, WA for a gathering of digital media geeks. I’m not sure what I’m learning about that isn’t NDA stuff, but if there is public knowledge to be had, it will be passed along on these pages. I’ve already seen a few cool developments for Longhorn that should leave media enthusiasts drooling by the time the OS is finally released. Hopefully, some of the new stuff will hit before 2006.
The first issue of PC Today with my byline should be on newsstands now. The article covers connecting Mac OS X Panther to Windows XP. A free trial of the magazine is available for readers in the United States and Canada (I’m told other countries are excluded due to shipping costs). My next article, appearing in the May issue, covers giving new life to an old PC by installing Linux; my old Gateway P120 just might thank me.
A recent purchase from Best Buy gave me 10 free downloads from their MusicNow service, offering me an excuse to try the service. I like the fact that MusicNow uses WMA instead of MP3, although iPod users will find themselves unable to make use of the MusicNow service. The interface is fully integrated in Windows Media Player, which is fine except that I would rather browse outside the WMP interface. The selection of available songs is on par with other download sites, and help documentation is far better than competitor, A subscription to the $9.95/month listening service seems silly considering the availability of free alternatives.