Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
6/21/2006
11:07 AM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
Commentary
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Can Gates Keep Departure On Schedule?

Bill Gates has announced he's leaving his day-to-day involvement with Microsoft in 2008. Kezia Jauron sends me an e-mail wondering if this is a Vista-like timetable: "If Microsoft says this will happen in July 2008, can we expect to see it sometime in the spring of 2009?"

Bill Gates has announced he's leaving his day-to-day involvement with Microsoft in 2008. Kezia Jauron sends me an e-mail wondering if this is a Vista-like timetable: "If Microsoft says this will happen in July 2008, can we expect to see it sometime in the spring of 2009?"Speaking of Microsoft, I dropped by TechEd 2006 last week in Boston. I was mostly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the thing: 13,000 and more computer geeks milling around in Boston's new convention center, which is approximately the size of Omaha. Daniel Dern has written about some of the cool products he saw on the exhibition floor, so I won't repeat those here (except to give a shout out to the guys at GreenBorder who have an especially interesting browser-session virtualization product -- read Daniel's piece for more).

I didn't do anything but the Product Showcase at TechEd, so I don't know if anybody actually learned anything all week or not. Most of the products on the exhibit floor were seriously geeky developer/administrator stuff, better suited to Developer Pipeline and Systems Management Pipeline than Desktop Pipeline.

I did fall in love with a smartphone in the Windows Mobility . . . booth (how can you call two acres of pedestals a "booth"?). The Windows Mobile team was out in force, and had at least one of every device that runs the OS formerly known as Windows CE on display.




i-mate's K-JAM smartphone was one of the Windows Mobile devices on display at TechEd. It's even got a 1.3MP camera. Drool.

Unfortunately the i-mate K-Jam smartphone was cable-locked to a pillar, so I couldn't take it with me. Closed it looks like a cellphone with a touchscreen instead of a keypad. Turn it sideways and slide it open and it looks like a BlackBerry for Vassar graduates, tiny little QWERTY keyboard and all. Extremely cute. But $600 cute? Well . . .

The booth tchotchkes were mostly a festival of stress balls, and for the 200th straight tradeshow I did not win an iPod. Two good tchotchkes: the second-best I got far off the tradeshow floor from a Microsoft evangelist:

It's a USB-powered stereo speaker system with a built-in 4-port USB hub. Thanks, Microsoft, for the perfect accessory for my Mac Mini.

The best tchotchke was an even better gizmo, a USB-powered coffee-warmer, no less, also with a built-in 4-port hub:




The Avocent Mobile booth was giving away 100 of these first thing every morning, so I had no hope of getting one. But what better accessory for your laptop on the road than a USB-powered coffee warmer/hub?

Fortunately, I found this for sale on the Web, at Meritline.com. With free shipping it set me back $8.39 -- way better than schlepping down to the convention center at dawn.

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