Rupert Goodwins' San Jose Diary

Wednesday, 17/09/2003One of the constant themes at IDF for the press is the search for power. Not the sort that makes dark plans and shady deals, or imperialistically commands the world to Buy More Chips, but the prosaic electrical sort.

Wednesday, 17/09/2003
One of the constant themes at IDF for the press is the search for power. Not the sort that makes dark plans and shady deals, or imperialistically commands the world to Buy More Chips, but the prosaic electrical sort. My laptop for this jaunt is the new silver Dell Latitude X300, a very nice laptop indeed that attracts many compliments from passing journalists laden down by their older, heavier boxes, but it does illustrate one of the disappointments of recent technology. The Centrino does indeed take less wattage than its forebears, but to a man the makers of kit have chosen to reduce battery size rather than increase battery life. So I am still stuck lugging around a power supply -- so much for lighter batteries -- and looking for spare power points inbetween briefings, panels and other press events ("Wireless Idol!", er, no thanks). And so is everyone else.

There are plentiful powerpoints in the press room, but there are also plentiful journalists. And most of those powerpoints are in tiny strips: I've got a UK travel adaptor that's too bulky to fit those if anyone has plugged something into the adjacent socket. So I slump down in corridors and squat on the floor for ten minutes while the adaptor ladles electrons into my laptop: it's undignified and  uncomfortable. It's also ironic: the air is filled with megabits of free connectivity, but what good is that if the low power light is flashing?

It's worse in meetings, where the seat next to the solitary outlet is much desired. Inevitably, this leaves power leads trailing from the wall to the table, which nimble people can spot and step over but flustered fumble-footed fat hacks in a hurry invariably fail to notice (sorry, Dimriti. Hope the connector gets fixed).

Given the high concentration of sugary, stodgy food on offer in the press room -- after lunch, the only choices are cookies, chocolate brownies, ice cream, full-fat soft drinks or very odd coffee that has to be sweetened in order to be drunk. One longs for an apple -- the solution is obvious. Exercise bicycles connected to dynamos.

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