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Posted a video about Intel Software College over on the ISN blog

Yesterday I posted a video interview I did with Intel Software College‘s Zander Sprague. We talked about what Intel Software Network is, what training they provide, why you should care, and how to learn more. If you want to learn what training Intel makes available to you, especially on programming for multicore (which is the biggest fundamental shift in programming since multitasking operating systems like Windows came out), check it out!

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Photos from Research@Intel Day

I saw some amazing things today, from a car that could completely drive itself (really), to an 80-core 2 teraflop (that’s 2 trillion operations per second) processor, and a whole lot more. It’s amazing what they come up with in Intel Research labs – some of the smartest people on the planet, for sure.

Here’s a slideshow of the photos I took today at Research@Intel Day. You can also view the photos in this set on Flickr. The nifty inline slideshow is courtesy of Paul Stamatiou’s FlickrSlidr.


Created with Paul’s flickrSLiDR.

Most of the pictures have descriptions if you want to know more about what you’re seeing, and I’m going to write up some blog posts on each of the demos I saw today as soon as I can. I shot HD video of a lot of them, too, but that will be a little longer in coming.

Check them out, and let me know if you have any questions!

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How to keep up with everything I’m putting out

I’m in Santa Clara for Research@Intel today – a kind of science fair event where Intel Research gets to show off all the really cool stuff they’re working on. I’m planning on shooting tons of HD video, tons of photos, and doing lots of blogging and twittering.

So how are you supposed to keep up with all of what I put out? Not just for this event, but in general? I’ve tried to make it easy for you, and here’s how.

  • Read my “life stream” at www.joshbancroft.com. This is the easiest way to get “the whole Josh experience”. All of my blog posts, photos, and Twitter messages get aggregated there. It’s All Josh, All The Time.
  • Read my linkblog at linkblog.joshbancroft.com. I read, on average, almost 1000 news and blog items a day. This is where I throw things that I think are interesting. Why do you care? If you share any of my interests (social media in corporations, mobile devices, software development and community, etc.), this is where I’ll always put anything that I think you should read. Only a few items per day – not quite the firehose that keeping up with other people’s linkblogs can be. 😉
  • Follow me on Twitter. I’m jabancroft there. I try to keep the “this is what I’m having for lunch” updates out of there, and only post higher quality stuff. If there’s some sort of “breaking” news, event, or other topic that I want to tell my friends about right now, I do it on Twitter.
  • Subscribe to my feeds: There’s a feed for my blog, my linkblog, my “life stream“, my photos, etc. Use your favorite aggregator, and automate the whole process.

Follow as much or as little of that as you want, but I wanted to let you know that I try to put everything interesting that I do out on the web, and let you know how to best assimilate it.

So, tomorrow, when I’m at Research@Intel day, I’ll be posting updates as quickly as I can (videos come last, since they take so long to edit and produce), and if you want to, you can feel like you’re right there with me, peeking over my shoulder.

Let me know if there’s something you’d like me to put out there (I’ve toyed with live video streaming, but it’s not likely to happen tomorrow), and if I can, I’ll do it. 🙂

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Why I think developers are REALLY mad at the lack of an iPhone SDK

I started this post as a comment to a thread on Digg, titled “iPhone Development – Not So Sweet“. Some of the discussion was around the assumption that “the iPhone runs Mac OS X, so why can’t existing apps work?” I don’t know if I’m ranting at Apple or defending them here, but these are my thoughts on the matter, 11 days before launch.

The “but it runs OS X!” statement gets at what I think is a HUGE misconception by people about exactly what OS runs on the iPhone. I can guarantee you it’s not Mac OS X as you know it – the same version that runs on your Mac. Not even deep down at the lower levels of the kernel, etc. They may be distant cousins, or just related in name. No one knows the details yet but Apple.

If you recall carefully, or go back to the original iPhone announcement, Steve Jobs said it runs Mac OS, NOT Mac OS X. Someone correct me on this if I’m wrong, but I bet you can’t find a reliable citation that says otherwise. We know that the iPhone has an ARM processor, made by Samsung. Same as most Windows Mobile or Palm OS phones. It can’t run Mac OS X, which is compiled for either Intel x86 processors or the older PowerPC processors.

Steve was being disingenuous by saying it runs Mac OS, and it will NEVER run Mac apps as we know them natively, because it has the wrong kind of CPU. Just like you can’t run a Windows app on a Windows Mobile phone. And if you think processor-level emulation, where the ARM CPU could pretend to be an x86 is a possibility, good luck. There’s no way anyone is getting a ~500MHz ARM processor to emulate current 2GHz+ Intel x86 CPUs.

In short, there would have had to be an SDK released LONG AGO if anyone was going to run ARM apps at launch on whatever flavor of “Mac OS” the iPhone has. This is a whole new OS and architecture – it’s obviously NOT something trivial they can just throw out there. A simple port job won’t cut it. Besides redesigning for the smaller screen and touch interface, you’d have to recompile for the ARM CPU. And how are you going to test your app if they don’t seed developer kits (iPhone hardware) to the developers, like they do with Mac OS X releases? Members of the Apple Developer program could buy an Intel-based development kit MONTHS before the first Intel Mac was available at retail. As soon as the switch to Intel was announced, in fact. Why did Apple make those available so early? So apps would be ready. Why have beta versions of Leopard been available for so long to developers? Same reason.

They didn’t do any such thing with the iPhone. And because of that, I think developers feel like Apple gave them the finger instead. At least, the ones I’ve talked to (and I talk to developers for a living). The whole “use the web to make your apps!” thing was just insult on top of injury. It’s a major change from how Apple (and any other major hardware/software company for that matter) operated in the past with regard to their developer community.

Apple thinks they can be successful with the iPhone without any developer ecosystem – they’re going it alone. They’ll be plenty successful, if you count success in units sold and ARPU (average revenue per user). But they have sacrificed a LOT of good will and relationships with their developer community by not releasing an iPhone SDK. And in the long run, I really don’t think that was a very smart move. There’s still time to fix it, so I’m not pronouncing doom on Apple or the iPhone, but it still seems like a pretty crappy thing to do to all those developers that give so much love, loyalty, and creativity to Cupertino.

And THAT’s why I think so many people are mad, ranting, and complaining at the lack of access to this amazing, beautiful, revolutionary platform. Wouldn’t you be?

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Hey, Bloggers! Come to Research@Intel Day (Wed. June 20, Santa Clara, CA)

Are you a blogger (who isn’t these days!)? Are you going to be in or near Santa Clara, CA on Wednesday, June 20 (Silicon Valley)? If so, I’d love to invite you to come to Research@Intel Day – a day long “science fair” event where Intel Research shows off the really cool, amazing, futuristic stuff they’re working on.

This is the first year that bloggers are being welcomed with open arms (and my first time attending, too), so if you’re reading this, and you’re interested in dropping by Intel to see some cool futuristic stuff, drop me a line (jabancroft@gmail.com), and I’ll get you added to the list. There’s going to be a press/bloggers room with power and WiFi (and snacks), and photos and video are encouraged. The Intel Researchers themselves will be there, too, for interviews or to answer questions, so this is a great opportunity. I’ll be there blogging, shooting HD video, and doing interviews for Intel Software Network (I’ll post stuff here, too).

Here are the rest of the details of the event – remember, if you want come, just let me know, and I’ll get you in. 🙂

Update: Here’s a list of all of the sessions/exhibits that are going to be available, so you can check them out if you’re on the fence, and/or find the topics you’re most interested in. Download the document here, or view it on Google Docs.

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The 5th annual Research@ Intel Press/Analyst Day is Wednesday, June 20th. Much like a “science fair”, Research @ Intel is an informal, self-paced opportunity to get a glimpse at Intel’s research projects.

As in years past, Intel CTO Justin Rattner will start things off with a welcome, followed by a technical showcase with more than 50 projects that showcase Intel’s key research and development areas (energy efficiency, terascale, mobile tomorrow, exploratory research, and ethnography). The majority of the day will be open for you to roam through the showcase area and speak with some of Intel’s top researchers.

June 20th Research@Intel Day Schedule:

  • Where: Santa Clara 12 (SC12) 3600 Juliette Lane Santa Clara, CA
    (Event registration is in the main lobby entrance.)
  • When:June 20 from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    (Registration opens at 8:15, Continental breakfast will be served.)
  • Schedule:
    • 8:15: Registration open, breakfast served
    • 9:15-9:50: Introduction and Welcome from Justin Rattner, Intel Senior Fellow and Chief Technology Officer, Corporate Technology Group.
    • 10:00-2:00: Technology Showcase open: tour the demos, meet the researchers, and hear about projects
    • 12:00: Lunch served in lobby (demo showcase still open)
    • 12:30-12:45: General Q&A for all attendees, with Justin Rattner, Intel Senior Fellow and Chief Technology Officer, Corporate Technology Group.

R&D Topics at Research@Intel Day:

  • Tera-scale Computing: Intel’s vision for Tera-scale in the future and the emerging mainstream applications that need it.
  • Building The Mobile Tomorrow: The complete breadth of the mobile research solution, from the CMOS implementation of a reconfigurable radio, the devices that would take advantage of these radios, the networks they connect to and the security of those networks
  • Energy Efficiency: Intel is researching a collection of technologies and architectural improvements that together will result in dramatically higher performance per watt for systems across market segments from small form factor to high performance servers
  • People Centered Innovations: this group of researchers will display how they are helping Intel to think critically about how people, practices, and institutions matter to technological innovation.
  • Exploratory Research: Long range research (think 8-10+ years out) showing the extensive scope of solutions focused on a vision of essential computing, from healthcare to gaming, and represent the work of several of the Intel Research Network of Labs at major universities, including Intel Berkeley (UC Berkeley), Intel Pittsburgh (Carnegie Mellon U.) and the Seattle Lab (U. of Washington).
  • Silicon Leadership: Intel’s Technology & Manufacturing Group will demonstrate and showcase results from its computational lithography research, as well as its research on the future of semiconductor scaling that could include the use of new materials, transistor structures and processes.

Special Invite-Only Roundtable – We are holding a small, invitation only roundtable on Intel’s Tera-scale research efforts. It is held from 12-1pm (lunch is provided), led Jerry Bautista, Technology Management Director at Intel, who will discuss specifically Emerging Applications. He will walk through Intel’s long term vision for Tera-scale, the future mainstream applications that will demand tera-scale performance, and the research efforts focused on helping solve the challenge programmers face for working with 10s to 100s of cores.


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New WordPress theme: K2 (this is not an iPhone post)

I’ve been wanting to switch to the amazing K2 WordPress theme for quite a while now, but every time I looked at it, it got just a little too intimidating to install and set up. I mean, it’s not rocket science, but there’s more to it than your average WP theme.

Serendipity smiled upon me, though, a few weeks ago. Turns out that my friend and fellow Intel blogger Brent Logan is super active in the K2 support community (he’s the second most active poster in their support forums), and he gave me some pointers and cleared up some concerns I had about running K2.

First, he said, get the latest nightly build, as opposed to the latest “stable” release. He said the nightlies have been a lot better for him, in terms of stability and functionality.

Second, discover the joy that is K2 Sidebar Modules (which replace WordPress Sidebar Widgets). Once he showed me how they work (and he’s right, they are a lot more flexible than Sidebar Widgets – you can control which pages you want to display which widgets, etc.), I was ready.

All I needed was time to do the final tweaking – add my Google ads to the theme, make sure all of my plugins were working, etc. I’ve been toying with it for the last week or two, and now, I think it’s finally ready.

If you read TinyScreenfuls via my feed, you should really come check it out. Let me know what you think, and especially if something doesn’t work the way you expect it to.

And if you run WordPress, you really should try the K2 theme. It’s got “live” AJAX searching, archives, comments, etc. and generally looks awesome. 🙂 Thanks, Brent! 🙂

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The iPhone is NOT a Platform (or: Apps the iPhone will Never Have)

Steve Jobs said they came up with a “really sweet” way to let people develop apps for the iPhone – it’s called a web browser. What an insult. “Just write an AJAX/Web 2.0 page!” That’s your only development option for the iPhone.

Let’s see someone write an app to enable syncing your mail, contacts, and calendar to an Exchange server as a web page.

Let’s see someone write a voice notes recorder as a web page.

Let’s see someone write an ebook reader as a web page.

Let’s see someone write a photo uploading app (like Shozu) as a web page.

Let’s see someone write a decent game as a web page (or even Sudoku or something). Without Flash, remember.

Let’s see someone write an app to play video formats that the iPhone doesn’t play natively (like DivX) as a web page.

There are tons more. These are just the ones from off the top of my head.

And everyone assumes that Safari on the iPhone will be able to everything that Safari on the desktop can do, and that’s just not true. No Java support. No Flash. Who knows what else is missing, but it’s NOT going to be the same as Safari on the desktop. So for the people that have already released “iPhone apps” on the web, don’t count on them necessarily working on the iPhone, just because they work in your desktop browser.

Oh, and here’s a request for people who DO write web apps for the iPhone – don’t be a jerk and implement user agent checking so your web page is ONLY accessible from an iPhone, cutting off users of other mobile browsers. You yell and scream when people do that with web pages that will only let themselves be viewed in IE. Don’t be that guy.

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The iPhone launch is going to be a disaster of epic proportions

Yeah, yeah. You’re tired of hearing about why I’m not going to buy an iPhone. Then why won’t I stop talking about it? Because I can’t stop thinking about it (good and bad). Blame the RDF.

I had lunch with my friend Matt yesterday, and he mentioned that he read somewhere that the AT&T and Apple stores weren’t going to start selling iPhones until 6PM on launch day (June 29). Why on earth would they wait until 6PM on a Friday? To make the people who are camping out wait even longer? I don’t know if that’s true, or what the reasoning behind it is, but it got me thinking.

Recall, now, in your mind, the last time you bought a cell phone, and signed up for a new contract. In person, because doing the the cheap smart easy way on Amazon.com doesn’t count. Think about how much paperwork you had to fill out. How much personal information you had to give (social security number, credit references, etc.). And think about how long it took – probably anywhere from a half an hour to an hour, if my experiences are any indication.

Now think about the fact that every single iPhone sold is going to require a two year contract with AT&T. Think of how long it’s going to take to sign up and process a new account activation for every single iPhone unit. Think about the people that don’t pass the credit check, and find out after camping out overnight that they need to give AT&T a deposit to secure their account. Think about all of the people that are existing AT&T/Cingular customers, and the chaos that will ensue as the sales staff tries to figure out what to do with them (are they even allowed to buy an iPhone? do they have to extend the term of their contract?). Think of how many sales staff people it’s going to take to make this run anywhere near smoothly.

It’s said that there will be 3 million iPhones available at launch. Multiply that by the average amount of time it’s going to take to process and activate each one of them, and you’ll see that every Apple Store and AT&T Store employee is going to be doing nothing but iPhone activations for the next month.

If Apple does, in fact, decide to sell the iPhone starting at 6PM on the 29th, my best guess is because they’re going to need a little time to convert every Apple Store in North America into a giant AT&T Account Activation center. Line up, shuffle in, and you’ll be assimilated in the order in which you arrived.

If I were the criminal type, I’d circulate up and down the iPhone lines at the stores with official looking fake paperwork, asking people to fill out their name, address, SSN, and a credit card number to “speed up the process when you get to the front of the line”. Forget about mugging the line-waiters for the $500-$600 dollars that they’re dying to hand over – few will likely have cash, anyway. Just steal their personal information and go buy a bunch of stuff online, or sell their identity to a meth dealer…

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