Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 12/8/2005California waiting, sang the Kings of Leon in the eponymous rocker. Everything's gotta be just right.

Friday 12/8/2005

California waiting, sang the Kings of Leon in the eponymous rocker. Everything's gotta be just right. I'd tell you the news but nothing's changed. Is this eerily presaging events that will kick off in San Francisco on the 23rd of August?

Yes, it's that time of the year again when Intel drums up the interest for Fall IDF, the developer forum most likely to come up with some interesting snippets. Poor old Intel has a problem; it can't tell us all what's going to be there, or we'll write about it too soon. But it can't keep entirely quiet, or it'll fail to milk the run-up. So today we have hints about new chip architectures that are energy efficient, multi-core and high performance — but sooth, we can say no more. Will this mighty new processor be based on the Pentium M? Almost certainly. The Pentium M that doesn't do the hyperthreading that's been so important to Intel for all these years? Could this be because the M has a much better design than the Pentium 4's Netburst , and doesn't need the Tetris-like code juggling that goes on under the hood to get a semblance of efficiency from the heavily-pipelined monstrosity?

Which would be good, of course — better basic design is to be praised over a crufty bodge — except that it raises the interesting question of how you spin the marketing message. I only really care about the technology, but marketing has a much higher power-to-weight ratio when it comes to generating interesting questions for the hapless execs at IDF. And then there's Apple, which I'm sure they're dying to talk about, and the antitrust lawsuits, which I'm sure they're not.

There'll also be a whole slew of codewords to commit to memory: Merom, Conroe, Woodcrest. Without these, you are nothing, a mere spectator. IDF can seem like a role-playing game: learn the magic spell, collect the best freebies from the exhibition floor, track down the PR and battle them with mighty thrusts until you get the interview you want. But that's only one stage in many; get to the interview and you're battling with an even more fearsome foe, a highly-trained executive fully aware that what he says can bite him on the bum much harder than he's allowed to bite yours.

In the words of Elvis Costello, ably covered by Robert Wyatt, is it worth it? Hell, yeah.

Watch this space.