Wednesday was jam-packed with innovation. It continued to be the theme across sessionsˇXin the technology showcase, in the keynotes, and on those really big whiteboards. (video) I saw so much that engaged me, Iˇ¦ve had a hard time cutting it down into a single blog post.
I sat in on both keynotes, and since Niles covered Dadi Perlmutterˇ¦s talk, Iˇ¦ll give more time to Renee Jamesˇ¦s talk that followed immediately after it.
She set the tone immediately. Her focus was on software, and the developers turning visions and creativity into new experiences on Intel platforms. Throughout the talk, she had developers join her and do demos or elaborate on specific technologies.
She went into detail about the Atom Developer Program that Paul talked about Tuesday, including the computing continuum. In this talk, we got to see how developers take advantage of innovation, particularly with multicore and parallel processing. And how, at the end of the process, they can monetize their code as part of the developer program.
The toolset plugged into Visual Studio about a year ago. (The first set of client tools to take advantage of multicore processing, btw.) It allows developers to plug into any phase of code, and the see ~100 downloads per day of the client tools. And all this info is published on the developer network.
Renee had a number of guests, including Carl Jacobson from Cakewalk, what he calls ˇ§a company of musicians.ˇ¨ He said, ˇ§As many cores as you have, we take advantage of them.ˇ¨ Through optimization and developer tools, Cakewalk has seen 30-200% improved efficiency. Quite a range, but pretty significant regardless.
One of the examples he demonstrated was the ability to compose more complex music with more powerful processors. We listened to a 45-track version of a piece of music, and then a 140-track version. The orchestral nature of the 140-track version made it stronger and far richer.
The Intel Media Software Developer Kit gives developers the capability to work on integrated graphics, and includes a full suite of software tools.
They showed some examplesˇXfilm grain running over rendered video (think 16mm film watched 50 times in a war zone) originally took 140 lines of code, but they reduced that to 25 lines.
Using list render targets, they showed a 3D model of a translucent rotating knot. The overlaps of the knot appeared realistic when they overlapped, with colors darkening, and with the right perspective. Originally it was 500 lines of complex DirectX code, which was reduced to 150 lines on Larabee using GPU programming efficiencies.
Renee James then introduced a high-performance computing partnerˇXone that does beautiful things. This was Lincoln Wallen of Dreamworks, who, notably, showed a 3D preview of ˇ§How to Tame a Dragonˇ¨ that is built on Intel platforms.
Yesterday Paul talked about Moblin, distributed for netbooks, nettops, and other mobile devices, running on an optimized Linux platform. At this session, John Thode, VP of Small Consumer Devices at Dell, and Mark Shuttleworth, of Canonical, both shared thoughts on the future of netbooks, the Developer Edition of the Moblin Remix, and the Ubuntu blend with Moblin on Dellˇ¦s top-selling netbook. There is optimized boot time, and suspend and resume times are ˇ§lightning-fast.ˇ¨ Ubuntu developers will be immediately comfortable on this device.
Then came the announcement that the Mini 10 V will be the first Moblin-installed device, available starting Thursday exclusively at dell.com.
Ian Ellison, GM Client Platform and Tools from Microsoft, talked about Silverlight 3.0 development across multiple platforms. Lightweight runtime and targeting across different screen types were the highlights. They have launched a Linux version through partnership with Novell.
The recently released Version 3 includes a pixel shader, 3D perspective transforms, and smooth streaming video. They also added new application features, controls, and rich data binding. The vision is to move Silverlight to PCs, mobile devices, and TV. Running on Moblin, they can offer the same rich SL experience across a variety of atom devices.
Adobe is also supporting Moblin with Air.
The Developer Program is designed to help drive innovation around atom-based platforms. The goal is to bring innovation to consumers and allow developers to monetize.
Peter Biddle, director of the developer program, was pointed when he said there is an innovation and usability gap on netbooks. No one is developing software for those devices specifically.
After the great keynote and some chatting in the Upload Lounge, I went into the Technology Showcase for a few minutes, and got to chat with the folks showing the USB 3.0 video camera with interchangeable lenses. The macro zoom was really impressive. I havenˇ¦t been able to stop talking about it. Itˇ¦s expected to hit the consumer market in early 2010, and I want to be on the waiting list.
I had the immense pleasure of doing a live-blogged Q&A with Ajay Bhatt in the early afternoon, and spent some time doing the social network thing, following up with the folks who asked questions. He was very gracious and generous with his time.
I saw an informal Q&A on netbooks with Intel (video) and Dynamism (video) representatives. This really captures the spirit of the event. Enthusiastic supporters of a technology, clustered together to learn more and talk about where to get it.
The technical session on innovation in the twenty-first century was really interesting and diverse. One of the panelists from Stanford talked about his experience learning to perform surgery in a simulator. (video) After that was The Living Room of the Future, with a sincere UX focus. And one of the things that was reinforced was that we need to do lots more research to determine what interfaces and input devices people are most comfortable with for particular situations.
I rounded out the day with a stroll through the multimedia for the home displays (video), and another trip into the Technical Showcase, where I looked most closely at the technologies supporting new in-car mobile units, where GPS, telephone, stereo, and social media features merge. As with so many of these emerging technologies, with these there is a tremendous need for user experience guidance and support.