Lousy video game toys get fancy new chips
, but desktop computers are still stuck with the descendants of the 286's ancestors. I'm still a bit saddened by Apple's decision last year to buy chips from the manufacturer responsible for the Celeron. Last year also brought us an iTunes cellphone, the power to always ignore the people you meet in public. This year, we hear that Pixar is selling out to Disney for good. Now iPod owners can now take Beavis and Butthead episodes anywhere [above water] for the low price of $1.99 a show, but Apple still hasn't got back around to selling a portable computer with a touch screen. There's high-tech toys for school kids, and slick servers for big businesses. But what about a truly fitting, yet affordable, family computer?
I'll give Apple some credit: the bundled media software is mostly great, and there's a lot of other neat software available for the Mac. But of course you can't pick up a new Apple for $299 after rebate. The most affordable computers, and available in just about any local department store, come pre-loaded with at least three trial versions of photo management tools, a half-disabled "personal edition" of DVD/CD recording software and an advertisement sponsored music player or two. And all this running on an operating system that's still
not really safe to connect to the Internet. The "home" versions of word processors, spreadsheets and drawing tools are sort of crippled and missing some finishing touches. Even Apple is guilty of this with their AppleWorks software.
It appears there is great money to be had selling South Park over the Internet. Bread and circuses. Helpful tools seem to take the back burner as the computer turns into some dangerous form of television. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'd still like a simple word processor that still has good support for pictures and layout. I could really use an editing program to help me quickly create graphics from pictures and sketches. And data plotting software that can make nice looking graphs on a college student's budget. Maybe one of you knows of a program that fit my description well? Or maybe you'd like to add a wish to this list?