(This column appears in the October 05 issue of PC Advisor)

As you'll have noticed now you're this far through the magazine - unless, of course, you start reading from the back - PC Advisor is 10 years old. A lot has changed in the world of technology in that time. You've already heard me sing the praises of Windows XP (see page 87), and there have been many other important innovations in the past decade.

But innovation often comes at the expense of usability. Frequently, things come to market before they are ready, and this isn't good for anyone - not for the industry, and certainly not for the user. Windows XP needed two service packs, but Windows 98 was even worse, needing a second edition to plug the holes. This had a lot to do with the growing popularity of the internet and was a learning experience for Microsoft.

64bit processors have been around for a good couple of years now but everything else in the consumer marketplace is still pretty much 32bit. A 64bit edition of Windows XP was released only three months ago and there are very few 64bit applications available. So what's the point in a 64bit CPU now? It might do the job of a 32bit chip, but it's not being used to its full potential.

DVD drives capable of writing at 16-speed were being sent to us for testing before we could get our hands on discs that could even be written to at 12-speed. Surely these technological leaps would be more impressive if users could actually do what the makers say they can, right from the get-go?

It seems as if a lot of companies are so desperate to be able to say they were the first to do something that they forget to make a product that works. So here's my prediction for the next 10 years. Consumers will become more discerning, feel less inclined to adopt new technologies as soon as they come out, and attach more importance to functionality and reliability.

Is that too optimistic of me?