Rupert Goodwins' San Jose Diary from IDF

Summary:A man may not be able to fly, but he can Segway, and it's a life-changing experience...

Monday 9/09/2002
It's a long way from London to San Francisco in seat 42F at the back of a 747, and Virgin Atlantic is on the parsimonious end of the seat pitch spectrum. A mere thirty-one inches doesn't go very far when you're a growing lad. But the in-flight entertainment can't be faulted: more than forty movies on demand, a CD Jukebox and lots of other fun toys means that I barely notice my legs have turned into two giant black puddings. Also in the package of seatback software is an email and SMS sending option. You can text message other seats on the aircraft for free, or for a small charge text your pals on the ground from 35,000 feet. I'd love to do this, but -- of course -- all their numbers are in my mobile phone, which can't be switched on. A SIM reader would be a good idea. I recover the use of my legs in time to check into the hotel, demanding a room with high speed Internet access (once again, more than good enough for Radio 4 in stereo), and congregate with the rest of the EMEA journalists. That's Europe, Middle East and Africa for those of you not involved in international marketing, a field not particularly sensitive to cultural variation. We wander over to the local brewery/pub for an introductory dinner, where it becomes apparent that there are about four German journalists for every one of another nationality. Rumour has it that Intel Germany has spent nothing on press events all year, purely to fund this massive airlift of Teutonic IT hackery. It's very impressive, but the Rest Of The World soon rallies and the politically incorrect banter soon flows like the Munich gutters during Octoberfest. And then it's time for the first keynote presentation, when various Intel luminaries get up in front of thousands of engineers and say how great everything is. You can read what they actually said in our IDF coverage, but there were a couple of worrying things on stage. First, the video screens above the action: normally, these are just a row of three giant projection screens but this time the one in the middle is round, like a Pink Floyd concert. Or, I realise after a while, Playschool. Then there's the backdrop. It includes a giant pyramid with an eye in it. Conspiracy fans will know what that means -- and if I mention that San Jose is also the headquarters of the Rosicrucians, you'll be reaching for your Kabbalah to see if the IA-64 instruction set is alluded to therein. Perhaps California's getting to me.

Topics: Tech Industry


Rupert has worked at ZDNet UK, IT Week, PC Magazine, Computer Life, Mac User, Alfa Systems, Amstrad, Sinclair, Micronet 800, Marconi Space and Defence Systems, and a dodgy TV repair shop in the back streets of Plymouth. He can still swap out a gassy PL509 with the best of 'em. If you want to promote your company or product, fine -- but pl... Full Bio

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