IDF 2002 Fall: San Jose, September 9 - 12.
Illustrated Commentary, Part 1 (continue)
When the workmate at last came, he was truly sent for coffee. He also brought
an elderly man wearing an apron from the well-known coffee network Starbucks
...and, having made himself comfortable in the coffee-house arranged right
on the scene, he spoke about wireless access points they installed in their
cafes so that their visitors could access the net from their notebooks
or Pocket PCs while having a cup of coffee.
At present the network is available in 50 coffee-houses and they are
going to provide its support in several hundreds by the year-end (!). Meanwhile,
a legendary employee of Microsoft popped into the cafe:
After a cup of coffee he started speaking about innovations of the company.
First off, he focused on the Windows XP Tablet Edition equipped with wide
capabilities of hand-written text input and handling of objects with a
The prototype of the tablet is a reference platform developed by Intel
and Microsoft which allows writing smoothly, doesn't lose minor details
and can adjust the pressing strength:
Although this flourish was written very quickly, its shape follows accurately
the move of the hand. The performances were built so neatly and interestingly
that even an elderly photographer sitting on the floor in front of the
scene was easily carried away with the speeches and forgot about his camera:
The humor, demonstrations, and complexity of the information are well balanced;
the way they deliver it to the audience is excellent, although the level
of knowledge and a range of interests of the visitors differ considerably.
Such performances are prepared by a large groups of experts, and believe
me, they are worth visiting at least once.
We were also shown how it's possible to circle a part of a web-page
and send it via e-mail with a hand-written note:
The platform (OS and tablets) will be widely announced and made available
in the near future. We were also told which new technologies of Microsoft
allow correcting errors faster thanks to the feedback with users:
But I think it's a very complicated problem who and to which extant must
trace errors - users or company. They also demonstrated a new technology
of smoothing video streams coming from the net which will be available
in the new media player:
Unfortunately, I couldn't show you this video record, but believe me,
at 10 fps the result was striking - the video made an impression of a
smooth 25fps playback.
One more new solution is Windows Home Media Edition. It's not a new
operating system but rather a shell running over the XP Professional which
interacts with an external TV and satellite receiver, as well as with other
multimedia devices of a computer and can be handled with a remote control:
You can look through a TV program, tick off some programs for auto recording,
pause a currently broadcast program (time shifting), look through information
and listen to compositions from a CD or a network, show photos on a TV
screen from a memory card of a photo camera etc. Note that all those things
can be done from a sofa with a remote control in the hand:
What do you think about the Power button? Here are some photos of a HP's
system working under this software suite:
Above is a TV and satellite receiver. From behind it looks like a usual
PC equipped with a sound card, a video capture card and connected to a
receiver which is used to "catch" not only TV programs but also commands
from the remote control:
In front you can see LEDs informing about the current mode (probably
for a situation when TV turns off or just to make it closer to consumer
equipment) and slots for 4 main memory card types. Inside we certainly
have the "most" multimedia Pentium 4 processor. Meanwhile, the show
They also performed a show from a secret room which was actually located
not far behind the scene (don't ask me where I know it from). The fact
that the room was secret came to my mind from a big paper board Secret
Room hanging on the wall =)
There was a processor (of course, it was Prescott, though it wasn't
mentioned officially), that worked at 4 GHz with a standard cooling system.
An Intel's man started lifting up the frequency and the screen displayed
that the overclocking was fulfilled by the purposely trained people and
warned against repeating it at home. At 4.7 GHz the processor failed, and
the dump of the operating system appeared on the screen:
Well, now we know an approximate frequency range for the senior Prescott
models which have a greater cache and the Hyper Threading oriented balance
of the internal execution units and command decoders. This processor will
likely to be 30-50% faster than the Northwood at the same frequency, especially
with the HT enabled.
They paid a great deal of attention to advantages of the HT demonstrating
a usual processor and its HT sibling both working at 3GHz:
The marketing department of Intel managed to find 4 examples of combined
usage of widespread tasks where the difference was not just 25-30 % which
is typical of HT but could reach several hundreds of percents. In that
case the difference was demonstrated by a heavy Exel macro together with
deletion of unnecessary information and letter sorting in a post program.
That is what I didn't expect at all.
They also demonstrated new dynamically configurable and replaceable
servers on the Itanium 2; the compatibility was proven by quick replacement
of the Itanium based server with its brother, with all other modules left
the same, such as a storage array and a network router:
The server started up immediately and the Windows Data Center allowed for
on-the-fly rearranging of logical servers on the hardware cluster. It took
just 4 minutes including explanations. Well, these guys can be irreplaceable
in a fire-brigade as all their movements and steps are polished.
The announced LaGrande technology (which actually consists of several technologies
and projects) is meant to increase the overall protection level in PCs.
This includes data protection as they are transferred from one part of
a motherboard to another and via various system buses, physical shielding
of cables, for example, a monitor cable, a unique identification key flashed
in a special chip which can't be taken from there but it's possible to
generate an open one having combined a user password with it in course
This is a hardware protected (i.e. very reliable) system of asymmetric
cryptography and can create certificates or e-signature which are valid
only if they are created on a given PC and by a user who knows his/her
password. Loss of one of these two components is not a failure - a true
certificate embraces the two. It's important primarily for wireless networks
where strangers must be separated off, and many solutions based on the
Banias will have not only a wireless adapter but also this protection chip.
That's the end of the first key note; I hope you will enjoy other conferences
and other events taking place within the IDF 2002 Fall, including a concert
And we are going now to the showcase of the electronic economy achievements.
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