Day 0

Comdex 2002 Summary

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Day 0?? What the heck does that mean? That means that some interesting things happened that I wanted to report to you all, but being as though the show doesn’t officially open until tomorrow morning, I thought I would just call it Day 0. 🙂

Finally Seeing AMD Me.

That’s right – today I saw my first glance of the AMD Me campaign (not including the web ads circulating on some sites). While arriving at the Las Vegas airport and awaiting my baggage on the carousel I heard the same piece of catchy rock music over and over while standing there. Finally being tempted long enough to actually look at the gigantic advertisement screens at the airport, I saw an ad that was publishing the key note address that Hector Ruiz, CEO of AMD, will be giving Tuesday morning. It was basically summed up by saying: “Showing me what’s real. AMD Me.” or something to that effect. And then a plug for Hector’s speech on Tuesday. Overall, I would consider the ad very effective as the music was good (though I still like the Blue Man Group) and the ad was “hip” enough to draw attention to it. We’ll see if it does any good.

What will probably draw more attention to the keynote on Tuesday is the announcement that Hector will be making at the keynote about a substantial new partner for the Hammer platform. With all the rumors circulating about it already, you can pretty much rest assured that the Apple/AMD partnership will be big news come Tuesday.

Bill Gate’s Keynote Address

This was probably one of the coolest things I have done in a long time. Not because of anything to do with AMD, as they weren’t even mentioned once during the long speech (in fact Itanium 2 was mentioned twice!), but because of my luck and the content that I saw that actually impressed me.

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First, let me tell you about my luck. I just happen to run into a person I had known from a previous engagement that now happens to work at Microsoft PR. Not a big time job mind you, she was handing out tickets to Media for the keynote speech. I walked up, chatted, took a ticket and left. Upon arriving at the large stadium for the speech, I showed my ticket to the usher who walked me down to the floor level. I thought, “Nice, cool media-guy seats.” However, we kept walking and walking and walking until she finally got to my row and said, “Seat nine. Have fun!” I watched in astonishment as I was in the very front row of the very center of the show floor. That by itself is not an extremely exciting thing, but what was exciting was whom I got to meet while sitting there, before and during the keynote address. Three seats to my immediate right was a man by the name of Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister of Israel. Sitting directly behind me (and who kept kicking my chair and apologizing during the show) was Steve Ballmer (you know, the CEO of Microsoft?) and he was chatting with Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. So, I met them all, and actually joked around with Steve about his skits on a movie during the keynote. And yes, I even got a business card. Talk about a direct pipeline!

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So, that was enough to make my evening, but the show was also very interesting. Let me go over some of the key interests that Bill touched on:

Behind the Technology

Imagine a parody of the “Behind the Music” shows from VH1, centered on the growth of the personal computer and Bill Gates. This was absolutely hysterical and one of the ebbing jokes I gave to Steve – yes we are on a first name basis :). It featured jokes on the Altair computer as the first PC and a magical dissolve into the iMac, meant as a direct insult to the company. There were some famous faces in the short as well including P. Diddy with DOS Raps (See, see, see colon, see colon…da da da) and Bill Clinton (when I came into office there were 53 websites, and then 54…). Another stab at Apple came at the form of comparisons of the Tablet PCs and the Apple Newton and the crazed Newton junkies. All in all, it was very amusing and if anyone finds it online, please let me know.

New at Home

New things that MS is offering at home include the Xbox live, which is basically the online service for the Xbox home console, which as already launched. It comes with a microphone for real time voice communication in nearly any game. Unreal Championship should be fun on this system now! Another intriguing idea came in the form of the SmartDisplays from Microsoft that were basically remote monitors that ran from a central computer and allowed you to roam around the house and use the monitor to interact with your main computer. These showed a lot of promise based on the demonstration, as I might finally be able to watch my big screen TV and check my email at the same time, without leaving my couch. Expect these out in early January.

Microsoft has a couple of new Pocket PC partners: Dell and HP (which is really just taking over the Compaq line if iPaqs).

MS is planning a new release of Office for next summer that includes two new applications. One is XDocs, which would allow business to transmit designs and ideas across platform easily. The second, and most impressive, was OneNote, a note taking program that enables you to combine, hand writing on tablet PCs, typing notes, recording audio notes as well as easily grab HTML onto the notes – and lets you conform it to a simple and easily organized format. This is something I will definitely be checking out.

New at Work

For the business side of things, MS showed its resolve to help rid the basic computer science problem of being able to coordinate the development of programs and software between different people or groups of people in different areas. I know just from personal experience here at school, we could really use a system like that here.

They also announced a File, Print, Kinkos solution that will allow you to print directly to a Kinkos location if you don’t have a printer or one that will handle the project. That will make it easy to print the document, and then have it delivered to your doorstep. The CEO of Kinkos was on hand to demonstrate the idea as well.

Bill also spoke about the upcoming MS Windows.Net Server 2003, which is scheduled to be available starting in April 2003. He mentioned support for HyperThreading specifically as well as 64-bit architectures, but only mentioned Itanium 2 specifically. Bill probably laid off the AMD Hammer talk due to the rumors of a coming announcement that AMD and Apple would be getting together and the fact that HP’s CEO was sitting right behind me (and HP did co-develop the Itanium 2 processor).

After that, they quickly went over some SPOT (Small Personal Object Technology) gadgets that included a clock that could tell you how much time you needed to get through traffic that morning based on reports coming into as well as the weather and when your first appointment of morning would be. After this, there was a brief summary and then the keynote ended.

Conclusion of Day 0

I’d have to say that Day 0 at Comdex was pretty exciting for me, getting to meet whom I did and see what I saw. Hopefully the coming days with AMD and all the motherboard manufacturers will give me even more to write about here for you.

Stay tuned for continuing coverage from on Comdex 2002!!!

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