My favourite day -- the corporate bluster about sales projections, product rollouts and enterprise issues fades down and the R&D elements take over. Gelsinger's keynote starts off in the best way possible for a true radio nerd such as myself -- a replica of Marconi's first wireless transmitter takes front of stage and the coarse crackle of those first transmissions fills the hall. Ah, very bliss. Lots of new radio ideas are aired -- I'll be writing about those in more detail soon -- and the traditional alphabet soup of acronyms, abbreviations and gnomic standards is served up by the imperial gallon. 802.11n! 802.20! MIMO! 70GHz CMOS 90nm VCO! And a couple of slogans: No More Copper. It's a fine war cry -- the theme being that broadband wireless access is going to be more than good enough for anything that might otherwise need new bits of wire in the ground or the office - but it does come back to haunt me when I'm in subsequent meetings with people who design network processors whose main market is sucking signals off that very element.
The other Gelsingerian slogan comes at the end of his presentation, and is a curious personal manifesto. "Before I retire, I want there to be a piece of Intel technology touching every human on the planet every minute of their day." Last time, he just wanted there to be a corner of every chip Intel makes devoted to radio: clearly he now feels called to greater things. We wonder afterwards just what he meant by that: the quickest way to achieve his aim would be to sew an RFID tag into every piece of underwear, but that's possibly not what he intended. Whether the 21st century really will be the Age of Pat's Virtual Finger remains to be seen, but it'll be fun finding out.
There's an opportunity to find out, which I fluff: there's a round table with Pat and about 15n journalists at the very end of IDF, but there isn't enough time to ask all the questions. Some entertaining snippets from that: a German journo asks whether the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition was the first member of a major product family. "We'll see what the market says," quoth Pat. "When we launched the Centrino, we didn't know whether it would be a success. That brand could well not have been continued." "But you're spending millions of dollars on marketing it" pointed out the hack. "Ah well, some bets we make are bigger than others."
And are you keen on Bluetooth? Yes, but not the radio bit.
And with that, IDF was over. It merely remains for me to file my notes, pack my bags, head off to San Francisco for the weekend and struggle back to London over whatever bits of the airline industry Hurricane Isabel has left intact. You can be sure I'm walking down to the hotel checkout...