IDF, Cebit, and GDC next—when do we have time to actually work?

Posted: 03.13.06

The road goes on forever and the party never ends

The party never ends at Cebit. (Photo: JPR)

I can't stand too much more fun. That's all this is, y'know, fun, fun, fun, 'til daddy takes the T-bird away. Getting dual-cored in San Francisco, hung-over in Hannover in the snow, and San Jose for the games. The reality of it is you attend conference meetings or press conferences all day, and then host or be hosted by clients in the evening, and for us poor folks with deadlines (I now understand the word dead better than ever), we're writing late into the night and/or too early in the morning before repeating it all again.

But the stuff we see and learn about, damn, this is such a rush it's hard to describe. On Monday Intel tells us about the next generation of dual-core processors that run cooler by almost half and deliver better performance by almost half, and, thank you, Mr. Moore, cost the same or less. Longhorn-Vista-Aero-Glass, whatever, will be here soon to help soak up some of that power, and the GPU guys will take care of the rest. The game developers are bringing new levels of AI and physics to bear, and the interesting new applications that are using shaders and multi-threaded processors from 3D video editing to PowerPoint presentations that look like movies are increasing every week.

Getting tattooed for a mouse—Razr holds a contest at Cebit. (Photo: JPR)

At Cebit we were amazed with tiny media players and giant screens with 8.3 million pixels; not one, not two, but four GPUs in one system; laptops with dual GPUs; PC cases designed by artists that take your breath away; RFID on llamas; hi-res projectors that can literally be stuck on a wall and almost disappear; tiny low-cost yet amazingly powerful PCs for Third World countries; and 3D displays as well as dual displays in one. Now if that's not enough to knock the socks off the biggest cynic, then there's no hope for that poor soul. Anyone who thinks this industry is standing still, slowing down, or moribund just isn't paying attention. In fact it's just the exact opposite and almost moving so fast we can hardly keep track or keep up. Party on this, buster.

And just look at this issue. When we started TechWatch, we decided to pull back from the 50+ pages a week Peddie Report model and offer instead a more attractive and concise 16- to 24-page bi-weekly. Well, I think we hit the more attractive part, and we pretty much have stuck to the bi-weekly part, but how the hell we're going to keep it to 16 to 24 pages is a real challenge. It's like drinking from a firehose, and the stream of information, new developments, company changes, and trend predicting is growing every quarter if not faster. We haven't seen this level of development since the late 90s.

And at the same time the graphics industry shrinks even more, now down to five suppliers with 3Dlabs vaporizing and XGI getting assimilated by SiS and ATI. If SiS comes back into the graphics market then we'll be back up to six suppliers. (I knew you'd ask: SiS plus ATI, Intel, Matrox, Nvidia, and VIA/S3).

So we'll sleep on the plane, and be ready to go at it again in beautiful downtown San Jose at the Game Developer's Conference, which will overlap with the Nvidia analysts' meeting, so you can look forward to another rip-snorting interesting and fun issue in a couple of weeks. And if you have time, do come by the hospital and visit us.