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IDF 2002 Fall: San Jose, September 9 - 12.
Illustrated commentary, Part 1

September 15, 2002



 
By Alexander Medvedev (unclesam@ixbt.com)

In the evening, morning and at night the weather in San Francisco is rather chilly, but by midday they turn on the sun and its wonderful warmth carries us into a temperate south. The moisture is average and cops are friendly:


A bot  Franky! :-)

The daylight flooding the streets of the Silicon Valley gives a strange hurt to the eyes. You can see a lot of sacred names of our industry here as there are headquarters of Adobe, NVIDIA, Apple, Google and even a memorial garage where Hewlett and Packard started their tough business. 

Later we will come back to the sightseeing, and now it's high time to return to visit the IDF. For the most participants the IDF started at 1 pm, but the press could attend the "prelaunch" conference. Frank Spindler, Vice-President, Corporate Technology Group, outlined the key subjects of the forum, having mentioned how investigations were important for Intel and that the funds for them kept on growing. He also said that the forum would be followed by 5 conferences all over the world, including Russia (Moscow, October 2). Frank mentioned that Intel had over 75 research labs located all over the world. There is also one lab in Russia (Nizhny Novgorod). When I asked him after the conference about that lab I was surprised at his quick and positive reaction:




He says that they carry out investigations in the software sphere - compilers and pattern recognition etc., and in the field of technologies. Yes, they have obtained certain results, which are positive and considerable, and they are satisfied with the outcome of this laboratory!

When asked about graphics solutions, Frank assured that soon pleasant news would come from the sphere of integrated graphics, the company kept on working on it and was not going to be stuck with the core integrated into the 845G. 

One more my question concerned the future of computer graphics where more and more flexible accelerators are fighting against rapidly growing computational capabilities of central processors. Will a CPU be able to calculate realistic graphics in a real time mode and how it's going to affect the graphics accelerators? Frank says he's not authorized to comment such a far future but he is sure about the stable growth of capabilities of Intel processors.

Now let's proceed to the Convention Center for the opening ceremony:




Everyone feels free and easy in the hall. Tennis and game tables are placed all over here for those who wish to kill the remaining free time. I'm really short of it as the program is really tight - it includes plenty of briefings and conferences, demonstration of products and technologies and special parties  to socialize. There she is - a cute press-girl from Argentina, a deep crisis country:



Almost all large halls have WiFi access points (this wireless network supports both standards - 11 Mbit 802.11a and 57 Mbit 802.11b). This is not just a boasting showing of the new solution but a real support for all pressmen and experts working at the IDF. The pictures of the wireless happiness can be seen everywhere in this technological paradise:



Look yourselves - at the conference devoted to the announce of the Banias I was able to deliver hot news to our newsman in real time mode via the ICQ! All pressmen are offered WiFi cards (PC Card) for notebooks. You can choose the standard yourself, probably to make sure that both standards get along together perfectly on the new access points from Intel. By the way, the access speed is appropriate - even in a crowded press room with 20 - 40 notebooks using simultaneously the wireless access the transfer rate didn't fall below 20 KB/s. The most important thing is that I can get more precise information on the Net, talk to my colleagues, visit the IDF's site, send and receive e-mail or just send a photo to my mom. By the way, all that is possible with the PocketPC equipped with an integrated or external WiFi radio card. Such PDAs can often be seen here. 

Meanwhile, the Convention hall shows unusual hand-made cases:




...something barrel-shaped, but looking nice...



This case is for a real, hard-core Gamer; it's probably based on the Aliens movie:



Finally, look at this iron pumpkin:



... which, as if with a wave of a magic artist's hand, turns into the Pentium 4. Magic crosses my mind as well when I look at this box: through its panel we can see empty water-filled space:



and above is the Pentium 4 again:



Well, let's leave the art aside and go to the opening, the first Key Note where Intel's big men speak about new technologies, demonstrate innovations and even play sketches to demonstrate the technologies. Symbolically, the first key note started with a question:

"Is Intel a computer or communication company?"

which was followed by the prompt and firm answer:

"YES!"

Let me explain: this YES symbolizes both a positive mood, a successful slogan of the new advertising campaign, and the dominant sphere of activity of Intel for the next several years, i.e. convergence of communication technologies. 

The basic subjects of this IDF are wireless communication, mobility, new server solutions and data storage solutions. The key words are WiFi, Banias, PCA (XScale), Itanium 2, Ultra Wide Band wireless, Seril ATA (including 2.0), AGP 3.0 and many others:




Gelsinger (CTO and Vice President): 

"Welcome to IDF. Let me introduce you Paul Otellini (President)":




We are speaking about mobility, accessibility, convenience and convergence. They are backed by a lot of standards and laborious work. Intel thinks of people, Intel thinks of development of the industry and technologies:



First of all, it's necessary to draw together communications and computation:



... until they form a single whole. Let's see what the wireless communication and mobility allow for (they played an interesting scene to demonstrate advantages of the new mobile platform Banias and wireless connection of peripherals):



While one of the workers was running looking for a power unit for a discharged notebook and for a cable to connect a printer, another explained how he could avoid those problems. It's clear - his notebook based on the Banias was able to work for 5 - 8 hours and an integrated wireless adapter allowed printing out a document which meant no fooling around with cables. 

While waiting for his co-worker he talked to another colleague (using NetMiting and WiFi network connection) who was in the Intel's headquarter:




In the end he said that with such outdated equipment he could send his workmate only for coffee. 

[ Next part ]

  

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