Xara (now owned by German company Magix) have just released a new version of their flagship Xtreme product. Upgrades for both the standard and pro editions are available, and a comprehensive list of changes is available from this Google Docs document.

Over at TalkGraphics, it’s getting something of a mixed reaction; those who use Xtreme primarily for its vector graphics capabilities to create artwork are somewhat miffed at the apparent paucity of new vector-related features, but other users are happy to see such longstanding requests as a spell-checker, and better object/layer management tools.

Personally, I can understand both viewpoints; historically, Xara was very much focussed on the digital artist, but the last few updates seem to be an attempt at broadening its user-base to include basic website design and desktop publishing. If it brings in the funding to continue development, and doesn’t get in the way of creating artwork, then I’m all for it. Let’s hope the next version has some more groundbreaking vector-related improvements though.

Interestingly it’s one of the first software titles I’ve seen that specifically mentions Windows 7 support – I know that much everything that was Vista compatible should work under 7, but it’s always good to be reassured.

I’ve managed to avoid starting on the redesign of wightmusic.com by playing with Xtreme 5 for long enough… back to work it is…!

After having waited for ages, I finally bought the bits to make a proper media centre PC. I went for an Antec Fusion case, an AMD 4450e CPU, 4GB DDR800 RAM, a 750GB WD Green Power hard drive, a Scythe Mini-Ninja cooler and the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard.

The hardware assembly was actually the easy part (aside from a slight omission in the manual regarding the front panel connectors). I’d decided to go with Mythbuntu (based on the recently released Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron) and the initial install actually went pretty smoothly – some people had experienced issues with the AHCI mode for the SATA ports, but once I was on BIOS revision F4 everything seemed to be ok.

My main gripe is that Mythbuntu (currently) doesn’t make it easy enough to do what I actually want – I love tinkering with Linux as much as the next geek, but I want my media centre to just work, – I’m sure the display issues would probably be sorted if I bought an Nvidia card, and that the myriad other small niggles are solvable, but that’s not the point.

At this time I’m backing up my media, and am about to install a trial of Windows Vista – but if I do go with that, I’m going to run a Ubuntu server in a virtual machine.