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4 - Microsoft / HP rock the Home Server world

The combination of Microsoft's Windows Home Server and HP's MediaSmart Server was introduced with much fanfare at January's Consumer Electronics Show. But a September introduction was cancelled at the last minute, citing the need to wait for further software tweaks from Microsoft. So the product didn't really hit the shelves until late November, with a wimper, not a bang.

HP MediaSmart Server

My review once again brought out the Microsoft fanboys (is there a pattern here?), with numerous comments that I was unduly harsh, missed the point, blah, blah.

But I still think that the product is not that impressive, considering the combined brainpower of the two companies that spawned it. And more to the point, how are networked storage products that have to pay a license fee to Microsoft going to compete on price with open source based products that don't?

5 - A truce between warring powerline networking factions

The stupid battle between the HomePlug Alliance and Universal Powerline Association (UPA) continued in 2007, resulting in the failure to establish a unified standard for consumer powerline networking products.

The battle amounts to a pissing contest between chipmakers Intellon on the HomePlug side and DS2 on the UPA side, with neither willing to work out a compromise that would result in a single standard that would benefit consumers.

Even the IEEE P1901 Work Group, which is working on a draft standard for Broadband over Power Line Networks, has been unable to get the two parties together.

So as we enter 2008, you need to continue to be careful of what you buy when shopping for powerline networking products. If you don't read the product box carefully, you might end up with no connection.

6 - The Year of Certified Wireless USB

Once again, another year has come and gone without any compelling reason to spend one cent on buying anything with the Certified Wireless USB logo on it.

Just say no to Certified Wireless USB

Our review of the IOGEAR Wireless USB Hub and Adapter found slightly better performance than obtained with Belkin's now-dead Cable-Free USB Hub, which was based on an alternative UltraWideBand (UWB) technology.

This cable-elimination technology might at some point actually replace USB cables, but probably not for two more years or so. It's like a Bluetooth deja vu...

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