It's been a good week. The annual Middle East Technology Show (METS) one more time has proven that the PC is an extremely versatile product. It can serve in the most demanding business applications or it can be the ultimate consumer product. Whereas METS 2000 covers both aspects, it tends to concentrate more on the second one.
What confirms the immense popularity the machine enjoys is the fact that the show this year, and for the first time, occupied three floors of the Zara Expo center in Amman. And if the number of visitors still cannot match that of larger, international technology shows, the very well organized METS 2000 nevertheless is a big success.
In addition to the 15", 17" and 19" monitors that seem to have made the 14" model virtually obsolete and the presence of several Internet service providers and mobile telephony, digital imaging, gaming and a couple of innovative products were the main attractions.
Scanners, digital still cameras and photo printers have reached a level of performance and low pricing that makes us believe the days of the traditional 35mm film as we know it may truly be numbered. Even seasoned professional photographers find the results more than satisfactory.
A combination of Kodak CD290 digital camera, Epson Stylus Photo 870 printer and Epson Expression 1600 scanner constitutes a high-end complete digital imaging solution, at an affordable price. All-in-one scanner + fax + printer + copier units by Hewlett-Packard and Epson are also selling like hot cakes.
A stunning variety of multimedia speakers was on display at METS. The three — or five — speaker surround system is gradually replacing the more traditional two-speaker stereo. As good looking as most of the speakers presented were, it is regrettable that their actual sound quality often proved mediocre overall and the power ratings rather deceptive.
Perhaps the most impressive novelty was the ThumbDrive. Hardly the size of a thumb, the unit provides anything from 32 up to 256MB of storage. It simply connects to the external USB port of any PC, which means that it is “hot swappable” - can be inserted/removed in a second without switching the computer off.
The ThumbDrive is shockproof, anti-static, motor-less, and absolutely silent and has a very fast data access time. A 512MB unit has been announced for November. Prices are still high compared to standard hard disks, but when they fall the ThumbDrive may become the ultimate storage device.
Another bounty PC users have been blessed with this week is a drastic improvement in Internet access speeds. Till now limited to 33Kpbs, several Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country have raised this ceiling to 56Kbps.
This constitutes a major step forward and may change the way Jordanians look at e-commerce and large downloads. Because the new digital connections are also more reliable I have been able this week to download large files (10 to 30 MB) about three time faster than before.
Yes, it has been a good week for us, except for the departure of Omar Karmi, editor of Chip Talk and other regular columns in this newspaper. This is the last Chip Talk he'll edit. Working with him has been a real pleasure and a rewarding professional experience. — ( Jordan Times )
By Jean-Claude Elias
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)