John Paczkowski

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CES: Less Is Moore, Paul … Less Is Moore

So how many times do you think Intel CEO Paul Otellini is going mention Moore’s Law during his keynote at CES (which I’m live-blogging from the ballroom of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas)?

I’m betting once every seven minutes for its duration. Any takers?

Here’s what Otellini said and did, in reverse chronological order:

5:34 p.m.: Otellini closes with a quote from Bob Noyce: “Don’t be encumbered by history. Go off and do something wonderful.”
And that’s it. (Parting shot: All the demos were run on Windows XP, not Vista.)
5:33 p.m.: “As the Internet becomes more powerful, more context-aware, more and more industries will be transformed. Why? Because consumers will demand a seamless experience.” Increasingly, the consumer will be the creator of content, Otellini concludes, with the Internet acting as a distribution outlet. (And Intel providing the silicon, of course.)
5:32 p.m.: Otellini says what we just saw was the leading edge of personal Internet development, but just a glimpse of what reality will be. Otellini notes that there are other applications for this tech as well: medical, disaster and rescue, etc.
5:30 p.m.: Otellini announces the first-ever virtual Smash Mouth: Steve Harwell performing live in motion-capture booth, band performing live over Internet. All members on screen represented as avatars. Very cool. Audience is clearly impressed.
5:29 p.m.: Organic rep notes that the company relies heavily on Intel quad-core processors.
5:27 p.m.: Otellini brings out a rep from Organic Motion, a motion-capture outfit. The company has developed a motion-capture system that requires no specialized suits, just an array of cameras. Steve Harwell strolls over to a motion-capture booth.
5:25 p.m.: will launch in Q2 of this year. “Put the ‘digital you’ in all your entertainment experiences.” Otellini calls up a video representation of Steve Harwell’s neighborhood. Navigates to Harwell’s old house. Opens the garage, and there’s his band represented by avatars. Avatars are live representations of the band mates, they’re speaking and gesturing in real-time in response to questions.
5:23 p.m.: Now imagine what happens when you take these avatars and extend them with video. Immersive video. (Ha. Video of avatar Otellini performing in Smash Mouth’s first video. Audio’s out, but the video is pretty funny.)
5:20 p.m.: Presenter uses software to give Steve Harwell a mohawk, sunglasses and a bull-ring. That’s great, but what can you do with an avatar like this? Why, put it on a digital motorcycle, of course. Presenter gives digital Steve Hawell a new haircut and a new facial expression.
5:18 p.m.: The presenter from Bigstage takes a few photos of Steve Harwell and begins building a “digital Steve.” Digital Steve will apparently be fully animated and can be shared across various social networks. Ah. Digital Steve is bald. He does look like his real-life counterpart, though.
5:17 p.m.: Turns out that while Steve Harwell was quite impressed with eJamming, he would have been more impressed if it had offered him an avatar.
5:15 p.m.: Steve Harwell from Smash Mouth is very impressed, notes that the other members of the band were all playing from different locations. Harwell adds that the service heralds an era in which new bands arise from online collaborations like the one we just witnessed.
5:13 p.m.: Otellini brings up some live music currently on the service, then calls up Steve Harwell from Smash Mouth to demo the service. Turns out Harwell’s band mates are at this very moment jamming on eJamming. (What an incredible coincidence.) Wow. If this is truly live–as they say it is–it’s pretty damn impressive. (The service, not the performance …)
5:11 p.m.: Otellini brings out Alan Glickman from eJamming, a social-networking portal for musicians. The service allows musicians to meet one another and also play music together–live–in near real time.
5:10 p.m.: Now, Otellini’s talking about the evolution of social networks: “In the future, environments like Second Life will be much more immersive.”
5:09 p.m.: To interact with the Internet’s vast resources, we need new natural interfaces. Otellini cites Nintendo’s Wii wand as an example of an evolved human interface.
5:07 p.m.: Moving on to WiMax, which Otellini claims will enable the personal Internet. It’s the best solution for wireless media delivery. And it will create the ubiquitous, proactive Internet Intel envisions.
5:05 p.m.: On to Menlow and mobile devices. He pulls out an unreleased Toshiba device running the ultra low-power Menlow chip. Device is running Vista and Adobe Air. Robust applications, nice graphics.
5:04 p.m.: Describing a chip called Canmore–system on a chip optimized for hi-def video and Internet.
5 p.m.: Moving on to Intel’s new 45 nanometer chips. … News flash: a nanometer is really, really, really small. … Uh-oh, he’s talking chip-fab processes … Reminds me of that old Steve Martin routine: “Those of you who aren’t plumbers probably won’t get this and won’t think it’s funny, but I think those of you who are plumbers will really enjoy this. … This lawn supervisor was out on a sprinkler maintenance job and he started working on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom 7-inch gangly wrench. Just then, this little apprentice leaned over and said, ‘You can’t work on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom 7-inch wrench.’ Well, this infuriated the supervisor, so he went and got Volume 14 of the Kinsley Manual, and he reads to him and says, ‘The Langstrom 7-inch wrench can be used with the Findlay socket.’ Just then, the little apprentice leaned over and says, ‘It says sprocket not socket!’ “
4:59 p.m.: If Intel had built that chip back when it first started it would be about 9 feet wide and consume enough energy to power two households.
4:58 p.m.: Ahhh… here comes the first Moore’s Law reference. … And up pops Gordon Moore on the video screen. Intel’s first chip contained 2,250 transistors, Otellini informs the audience, and its latest quad-core chip has 820 million transistors.
4:57 p.m.: But, Otellini says, there are obstacles to achieving the sort of context-aware computing we just saw, among them silicon and wireless infrastructure.
4:55 p.m.: Otellini notes that processing-power heavy applications like the context-aware computing we just saw demonstrated will require more heavy-duty processors. And that’s of course where Intel comes in.
4:54 p.m.: Now demoing a Web-based program called EveryScape. It looks like a video navigation service. Presenter uses it to take us to Intel’s China office and then to the Great Wall of China. Well, look at that: The device also discovers nearby restrooms.
4:51 p.m.: Woman bikes onstage. Co-presenter asks her for directions and she responds in Chinese. He speaks into the device, asking the woman for directions. The device translates his question into Chinese and speaks it to her. She responds in Chinese and it translates her answer into English–does it pretty quickly, too.
4:50 p.m.: He aims it at a restaurant awning. The device translates its name into English, calls up a menu (also translated into English) and some video reviews as well.
4:49 p.m.: Another presenter joins Otellini onstage. He’s got some sort of mobile Internet device. He aims it at a photo of downtown Beijing behind him, focuses it on a sign written in Mandarin, and the device translates it to English. Very slick.
4:48 p.m.: Push media? No, a more personal Internet. One that’s predictive and context aware.
4:47 p.m.: “Just as MTV evolved beyond music videos, the Internet will continue to drive the evolution of the media industry. In the next evolution of the Internet, the Internet will come to us.”
4:45 p.m.: “Our updated song lyrics highlight a disruptive force that’s going to change the content industry: the Internet.” (Really going out on a limb there, eh, Paul?)
4:44 p.m.: And here comes Paul Otellini … Clearly, he found the video funny. He takes the stage with a giggle.
4:43 p.m.: It’s a music video. “Internet Killed the Compact Disc Star/ Internet Made The Video Star”–sung to the tune of “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
Not a single laugh. Audience looks like the emotionless pod people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
4:42 p.m.: Oh dear. Keynote opens with a video presentation of “Intel’s Vision of the Future.”
4:39 p.m.: And here comes Gary Shapiro again. Lousy opening act, if you ask me. He even stumbles on the “nanometer.”
4:37 p.m.: Lights dim … and here comes that silly CES advertisement they ran prior to the Gates keynote last night. It’s almost as if the CES producers are purposely trying to put the audience to sleep before the keynote even starts.
4:30 p.m.: Interesting little sidenote before Otellini begins: Intel has distributed questionnaires throughout the packed hall asking attendees to review Otellini’s keynote. A $500 random drawing is the incentive for completing it. Question No. 6: Rate your agreement with this statement on a scale of 1 to 5: Paul Otellini has a clear vision for the future when consumer electronics meets the Internet, he knows what he is talking about and I believe what he said is going happen. (Sadly there’s no “Intel has won its de facto monopoly over the chip market fair and square” question. I’m sure the folks from AMD here would have a field day with that one.)