Thursday, January 20, 2000
1/20/00 10:23:46 PM
one two more about Transmeta.
[Note added 2000-01-22, 11:49 pm:]
Everyone has pointed to this resource, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't.
It's good reading. See Jon "Hannibal" Stokes's
article on the Transmeta Crusoe chip. His
on future chips to come from Transmeta is particularly thought-provoking.
Diamond Multimedia, maker of the first portable MP3 player,
that it was the manufacturer of the prototype "Web pad" that
Transmeta CEO David Ditzel demonstrated yesterday. Diamond, a
division of S3, plans to introduce the device to market in the
second quarter of this year.
1/20/00 3:53:11 PM
Siliconia run amok: a dot-com town.
This is not a story of a region trying
to brand itself to attract high-tech jobs. It's the
of an inventive Internet startup, Half.com, pursuing and winning
over a small town to the odd idea of changing its name, for a year,
to Half.com. It happened in Halfway, Oregon. Yesterday evening the
town council voted to accept the name change, and the estimated
$100,000 of goodies that Half.com (the company) promised to shower
Last December the town council had taken a similar vote with a
similar outcome. But they had not first discussed the renaming with
the 345 residents. The resulting outcry forced the town fathers to
backpedal and to reopen the question. Pennsylvania-based Half.com sent
its brass to the town on the Idaho border, soothing and schmoozing.
Halfway, OR originally got its name because of its position on a
stagecoach route in the last century. The two towns that put Halfway
in the middle aren't exactly thriving today. Halfway's planner noted:
One's a ghost town and the other's underwater.
Thanks to TBTF Irregular Chuck Bury for the concluding link in this
Wednesday, January 19, 2000
1/19/00 9:59:16 PM
Last Transmeta post, I promise.
For a succinct appreciation of Transmeta's sense of humor, see
the Daily Diffs page
First monitored on Nov. 7, 1998:
Thanks to TBTF Irregular Gary Stock, godfather to Daily Diffs at
Ingenius Technologies (now part of Aeneid).
Oct. 21, 1999:
- This web page is not here yet
- ...but it is Y2K compliant.
1/19/00 2:52:55 PM
[Note added 10:11 pm: The rest of
[Note added 3:07 pm: Here's the first
EE Times coverage;
more detail will surely be added soon. Transmeta's
own site is supposed to be up now,
but of course it's not responding. Talk about a flash crowd...]
Here's the wrap. Two chips were unveiled: the TM5400, a 700-MHz
processor for lightweight notebook computers running Windows, and
the TM3120, a 400-MHz processor for internet appliances running
Linux. The notebook chip is available in sample quantities with
availability promised for midyear; the handheld chip is available
The company will open-source its implementation of Linux for handhelds.
Transmeta expects no patent problems from Intel because its manufacturing
partner, IBM, already holds extensive cross-licensing patent agreements
Some early coverage:
1/19/00 12:42:26 PM
Transmeta's announcement in realtime.
I'm watching Transmeta's coming-out press conference now. I'll be posting
bullet points continuously from it.
- 1:17 pm: (OK, that's it, I'm done. Can't run WMP more than
4 minutes before my machine freezes. Will update the Transmeta/Crusoe
news later today after the EE Times reporter files his coverage. The
press event ends in 45 minutes.)
- 1:07 pm: (Damn again, another crash. Takes at least 6
minutes to restart and reestablish context: WMP, Netscape, BBEdit. Though
I did discover that Internet Exploder does not need to be running to use
Windows Media Player, hooray for that. I think WMP is behind the crashes.)
- 12:58 pm: A technology they call LongRun automatically
controls the power usage of the chip, throttling back intelligently based
on the application in use. Makes the battery last longer. It really was
designed from the ground up for mobility.
- 12:52 pm: (Damn, that's annoying: lost 9 minues to a crash & reboot;
MacOS 9, Windows Media Player, MS IE 4.0, Netacape Communicator 4.6 running
simultaneuosly.) Their chip uses VLIW (very long instruction word)
technology, as speculated: a 128-bit word.
- 12:42 pm: Their chip does code-morphing, as speculated.
It is fully x86 compatible, as speculated.
- 12:35 pm EST: The CEO is now showing a mobile computer; it looks about
12" wide by 8" high, maybe 1/2" thick. He mentioned that it runs Linux
(surprise), but hasn't demoed it yet.
- Their manufacturing partner is IBM.
- Transmeta will sell to computer manufacturers, not to end users.
- They are introducing a family of microprocessors, with the first two Crusoe
chips demoing today -- at 400 and 700 MHz. Each draws less than 1 Watt
1/19/00 12:14:08 PM
1/19/00 11:15:50 AM
Transmeta's secret will out today.
[Note added 2:57 pm: Windows Media Player
is by no means a walk in the park (at least on my Macintosh). See
[Note added 12:17 pm: Watching the
press conference now. (I had just downloaded Windows Media Player
-- running on my Macintosh -- and it works much better, faster,
and cleaner than Real's current offering, IMO.) Transmeta is
introducing a family of microprocessors, with the first two Crusoe
chips demoing today -- at 400 and 700 MHz. Each draws less than 1
Watt of power. Here's a quote describing Transmeta's Crusoe in a
Crusoe is the first microprocesser whose
instruction set is implemented entirely in software.]
[Note added 12:12 pm: I can't get in at the ZDNet site
linked below. No big surprise there...]
In less than an hour we'll see an end to the speculation about Transmeta,
the company where Linus Torvalds works. (Here's my note on Linus's
ten-timezone move in
TBTF for 1997-03-09.)
Whatever the eventual impact of Transmeta's products, the company surely
will go down in Silicon Valley history for perfecting the technique of
stealth buzz. In more than 4 years exactly nothing has
leaked out about what Transmeta has been working on. The company's resolute
silence has fueled, not dampened, the speculation game; Transmeta rumors
have been a long-time feature of the Slashdot forum. I covered the buzz,
probably in the process adding to it, in
TBTF for 1998-11-17 and
At noon today Eastern time, Transmeta will announce and demonstrate their
technology. You can watch the live webcast along with me courtesy of
Sunday, January 16, 2000
1/16/00 6:01:31 PM
NBC fuming at CBS's virtual logo theft.
As you probably heard, CBS put new video technology to use in a
on their New Year's Eve broadcast from Times
Square. Their anchor, Dan Rather, appeared before a Square in
which rival NBC's huge video advertising screen was missing from
the outgoing signal, covered over by a digitally-created CBS logo.
Now NBC is
an end to the practice and mulling legal moves, while Dan Rather has
publicly crossed his network bosses by apologizing for the affair.
Using this graphic technique for advertising product placement in
a TV sitcom or a movie wouldn't bother me; but using it in news
programming crosses the line. As Jim Naureckas of the media watchdog
This is a slippery slope CBS has gotten on to and it could have
big consequences as far as its news credibility... Getting the toe
of this technology into [news] programming... is dangerous.