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Rupert Goodwins' IDF Diary

Wednesday 24/08/2005There was a classic Knupffer moment last night, towards the end of the evening's press party. David Ross of Hexus.

Wednesday 24/08/2005

There was a classic Knupffer moment last night, towards the end of the evening's press party. David Ross of Hexus.net was teasing our floppy-haired minder with the old favourite, "I've just written something you're going to hate." Nick is too wily to rise to such bait, and plays along. "Bet you haven't." "I have, and you'll find out about it when it goes live at 0900 UK time." "Nah." "Yah." And David, suitably protective of his scoop, bends towards Nick's ear and whispers something.

"Oh, you haven't. There's no way you could know that. Not one in a hundred chance. You tell me exactly what it is, and I'll tell you how wrong you are."

Another whisper. Nick's face makes it halfway towards forming the first word of a jocular rebuff and freezes as he realises that Ross has it dead right, that there's nothing to be done, and that the time taken to reach this realisation has in any case rendered argument useless. "But you haven't got the logo…"

"Wanna bet?"

The Big Secret — which has been half-out for months — is that Intel's name for the home platform is Viiv, pronounced much as a Prussian cavalryman would count past four. This is the centrepiece of the second half of the Wednesday keynote, and it's much the same sort of branding exercise as Centrino was for laptops. Buy all the Intel components — 64-bit processor, the right chipset, the right software stack — and you can stick the Viiv logo on your box. The logo looks a little like the candy-coloured cousin of Sony's Vaio, slightly infantile and slightly sinister with the two Vs forming fangs either side of the truncated tongue of the oblique //.

You know the rest; improved customer experience, ease of use enhanced, inventing the digital entertainment industry, architected from the ground up. Could there be any connection between the leading role of Microsoft's DRM and the total absence of Apple from the party? You remember Apple, whose recent adoption of Intel's processors was the cause of much flagwaving not so long ago? Good, because it's not clear that Intel does. You might have thought that it had some role to play in the digital entertainment industry — but there's nary a hint at IDF.

The rest of the day is more briefings, from which I mostly excuse myself due to a slight allergy to the house dust in the Digital Home in favour of various technical talks, but we finish off nicely with a big UK journo dinner in one of the few San Francisco restaurants that does Californian food. The waiter copes well with the garrulous banter of over-briefed hacks, and soon twigs that the idea of taking the bottle away between glasses is not one that meets with our approval. Professional ethics forbids me from reporting the bulk of the conversation at table, that and the knowledge that the First Amendment is no good to me back in the UK