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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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January 8, 2007 7:59 AM

Serving up Windows Home Server

Posted by Brier Dudley

LAS VEGAS -- I heard a few more details about Windows Home Server Sunday night, after I'd already filed today's column on the product.

One interesting tidbit was from Bill Gates, who said it's a long-term investment by the company and that Microsoft will be working with hardware companies to further develop the product line. He said that after I mentioned that I was surprised that the debut product, a Hewlett-Packard system, doesn't include wireless connectivity.


Hewlett-Packard MediaSmart server for home use.

If the software is cheap enough, it seems a great opportunity for big or small hardware companies to build cool home server products that incorporate more of the new technologies on display at CES for distributing media around the home using new flavors of Wi-Fi, home electrical wiring and exotic new cables. How about a home server with a built-in Blu-ray or HD DVD drive for burning hard copy backups? Why not include a modem -- Clearwire's perhaps? -- so the broadband goes straight to a single box in the house?

I was a little snarky in the column but frankly I'm ready for a product like HP's (or one of the Buffalo units ...) right now, to backup and share family photos and videos. I'm not one of those uber geeks, like the guys in the Windows group who run industrial servers in their houses, or Craig Mundie, with multiple servers on his boat, but the server sounds like a fun thing to tinker with at home.

The server -- code-name Q -- wasn't built on the upcoming Vista server, by the way. It's a subset of the current Windows server -- Gates said Micosoft didn't want to wait for the next server to release the home product.

Another point of interest: The server works with non-Windows PCs on a home network, so it can store and back up files from a Mac, for instance.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.