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Sir Gates

I feel like I'm in the big leagues or something now. I've been to my first high profile presentation. Looking at the pictures of the Apple presentations, I feel like I know what it would be like to attend something such as that now. There was quite a few police officers milling around and the media was all over the place. As Bill Gates stepped out onto the stage, those cameras all went off like some model photo shoot. It was pretty exciting to say the least.

He talked about the direction he sees technology progressing and how Microsoft is influencing that. He sees the next 10 years to be more revolutionary than the last 30 years of software has been. That's quite the statement, but after some of the things he showed off, I don't doubt it. I've been Microsoft-brainwashed! Surprisingly, I didn't see a bunch of guys show up in linux shirts. I definitely expected that.

So I got to see a live Xbox360 demo which was damn impressive. Now I'm not a big gamer myself, which is why the other multimedia capabilities really made it for me. The ability to turn your living room into a digital entertainment zone with the Xbox360 (and presumably the PS3 as well) would be highly enticing for me. He showed how you could easily connect your mp3 player or digital camera and access everything through the Xbox. Then you could play your music and browse your photos. The photo browser was especially slick and looked very professional. Definitely an exciting product.

But perhaps the most interesting and impressive piece of technology he showed off there was a prototype they're working on. Ok, so you have a cell phone with web abilities and so forth. But the screen's like 1.5 inches. That's terrible for tying to do anything too productive internet-wise on your phone. So what do you do on the go? So here's the vision. Say you're in an airport. These airports would have these 'digital surfaces'. Basically there's a camera setup that can see all your commands. You plop your cell phone down on the table. The camera scans it and then can log you into your phone with your thumbprint. A projector then projects your phone's screen onto the table surface, giving you a much larger image to work with. You can just interact with the 'table' instead of the actual phone. So you got a business card from a potential customer? Well throw that card down into the work area that's projected. The camera automatically scans the text card, retrieves information from it, converts it into a digital version and stores it into your phone's contact list. You don't have to type anything. When you're done, just pick up your phone and it automatically logs you off. Pretty spiffy huh?

With these new technologies and the advancement in the internet, Bill Gates is predicting the demise of the television and the phone. Voice over IP (VoIP) will replace phones as the preferred method of voice communications and instead of waiting for that show you come on, Thursday at 8PM, you can stream it over the internet whenever you want. So you're more into politics? Or perhaps sports. All of these preferences can be input into the system that then retrieves these things from the net for you. And all of it will be in high definition. You may have heard the fight between HD-DVDs and BluRay. Bill said that that will be the last physical media. Everything in the future will be digital sent through the internet. I'm looking forward to these things. I can't wait until we're away from the old 640x480 or whatever resolution.

Oh and does anyone remember my idea for a tablet device that would replace textbooks, binders, folders and all that? Bill Gates said the same thing today. He said that with advancements in technology, tablets can be used in the educational environment to replace all of the above at a lower cost. He also mentioned that once you go into a class, there'd be a virtual network sort of thing where the instructor can use the technology to enable us to be more efficient. I could hardly believe what I was hearing because it so coincided with what I want to happen. Of course, I'm sure he thought of it way before me, but it's nice to know I can think just like Bill Gates. =P

And after that presentation, I had an interview for a co-op job. I'm honestly not sure how to guage it. I think I did okay, however the interview was very technical. The interviewer specifically said to me before the actual interview that the questions he asked were the same for co-op students as for actual full time applicants. Thus, he didn't expect me to be able to answer all of them. And I definitely wasn't able to answer all of them, but even for the ones I couldn't answer with any actual fact or knowledge, I tried to decipher through logic. I think that may have impressed him since I BS'ed through a couple of the questions and actually came out with the right answer. So while my knowledge isn't extremely broad in the internet communcations field, I can learn that. Problem solving skills and logic are much harder things to learn. We'll see how it goes.

Hope you had a good day too! ;-)
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Blogger Rene wrote at 10/13/2005 9:16 PM

Wow. I'd take this memory and treasure it as it truly is a once in a lifetime event. Did you get to talk to him or shake his hand or anything? I must admit, even if you didn't, I'm still pretty jealous (ssshh, keep it a secret).

That said, I've never actually seen a Bill Gates powerpoint presentation. Is he charismatic? Does he engross the audience like a certain someone else does in his Keynote presentations?    



Blogger Charlie wrote at 10/14/2005 12:29 AM

I had the chance to ask questions, but didn't have anything intelligent to say really, no actual physical touching. ;)

Actually, he's pretty charismatic. While he's not like the most exciting guy out there, he speaks well, has well organized thoughts. I'd expect that since he's been doing this for a while. =P I was pretty entranced by the whole thing, not by his person but by his visions for the future of software technology and the world going forward.

Oh read that comment I posted in chatbox. I have to say I could almost be taken for a proponent of Apple from those types of posts. But it only goes to show that I'm fair with no allegiances. If you make a good product, I'll tell it as is. I have nothing against Apple. Just none of their products have really impressed me, until the Nano and now the new iPod. (Well, the look cool, but I'm not about to spend an extra $1K on a PowerMac G5 just cause it looks cool :P)    



Blogger Nick wrote at 10/14/2005 5:33 AM

I just have to add my beef here. Glad you enjoyed it Chuck, I wish I could have been there it would have been pretty cool.

However, I can´t agree at all with where he sees computers going after being away for just this long. Everything he is talking about relies heavily on the internet, and unless that technology improves IMMENSELY really quickly there is no chance that the other technologies will emerge. To put it bluntly the internet simply isn´t fast enough. Or not the internet, the devices we use to connect to it. Wireless is goddam slow and not reliable either, it´s like playing roulette with when you are going to have a signal. Even ISP´s are unreliable and a direct line isn´t going to guarantee anything.

Also when the transfer speeds tend to be generally at their fastest 1mb/sec (and that´s DAMN fast at home, here in Europe it´s simply not possible), the internet for a majority of things simply is not practical. The size of things keeps growing, remember when we used to play Pharoah´s tomb off a floppy. Well now we´re playing games off seven GB dvds. I personally don´t feel like waiting two days to download a 7 GB game. I would much prefer that someone burn it or put it on some other physical storage (i won´t even get into the arguments about security, cause that would take too long, needless to say security on the internet is also lagging,...a lot).

Now I´m no pro, in fact, I´m a musician, but I use computers a lot and like them and this is just what I noticed. So all I would have to say to Bill Gates is quit working on your f$&"§/& crazy ass cell phones and make a better IE. Maybe even try to improve the internet....or maybe that´s too much to ask.    



Blogger Charlie wrote at 10/14/2005 8:37 AM

I mostly agree with you in terms of internet connectivity... now. But we're not expecting these changes to be implemented today or tomorrow or even this year. This is a gradual change. There will be early adopters who will be on the bleeding edge. Those people with 10mb/s connections will be able to download and stream this sort of thing very soon.

If you look at the history of the internet, speeds have been growing quite quickly. You may not necessarily be blown away by it, but do you remember dial up? That wasn't so long ago if you think back. The network backbones nowadays in North America is measured in terabytes. Just back in 1996/1997, it was about 200mbits/s. That's a huge increase. Plus research is being done on even more improvements. Back in 2003 data was transmitted over fibre optics from Sunnyvale, California to Amsterdam, Netherlands. They were able to transfer 6.7GB of data in less than a minute. While it was merely a test, it shows what's in the development pipeline.

Wireless is still very much a fledgling technology when you compare it landline commucation means. New technology such as MIMO and WiMAX have the potential to link more people at faster speeds. You know your 54mbit/s wireless connections at home? That could soon be upgraded to over 200mb/s with MIMO. WiMAX has the ability to give city wide wireless access instead of the wireless hotspot jumping you have to do nowadays if you're on the move in a city (if it even has wireless at all). Obviously, you're not going to be able to stream movies on the go, that's still quite a bit off in the future, but for a home entertainment system, it's definitely feasible now in some parts and will become more and more realistic for the rest of the population.

So you'll have to wait a while before these things come to you, but it may not be that far off in the future. At least not as far off as I feel you think it will be from that post.

Ahhh Friday, another week done, but it only means I'll have time to study on the weekend. :p Midterms come into full swing next week!    



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