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In the first article of a new series in which we ask technology industry leaders about their personal technology habits, likes and dislikes, Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, tells Maija Pesola about line quadruplers, an African adventure and how he was wrong about broadband.
What is in your pocket? I generally carry two things - I have my Blackberry, which I am sitting on right now, and I carry a Centrino laptop everywhere I go. Surprise surprise.
First crush? I think the thing that really made an impression was the first inklings of the internet - the Arpanet, the engineering communications system in the US years ago, and how that exploded into the internet. Effectively the ability to send e-mail messages. That has become so common today but if you went back to the 80s, it was not exactly the standard procedure.
True Love? That is a good question. Let me give you an example of where I thought technology was really neat. My wife and I went to Tanzania with some grandkids, and nieces and nephews and gave them all digital cameras and basically let them loose to photograph wildlife. When the adults came back to the camp at the end of the day, we sat around the campfire and had cocktails and the youngsters disappeared into their tents and proceeded to create slideshows of the day’s activities. So here you are sitting out in the middle of Tanzania, in the middle of the Serengeti and you have slideshows of two or three hundred digital images of all the animals and things that you had seen that day. It was totally out of context with high tech but so personal, sharing things with each other.
Latest squeeze? What is catching my fancy is the entertainment PC or the digital home. We have a ranch in Montana, built five years ago. We put a media room in the house, which has three racks floor to ceiling of electronics, with a home audio system, with a projection TV, line quadruplers, the 200 disc CD jukebox, the digital satellite receiver and the VCR, DVD player, all this cool stuff and by the way, it heats the whole house because you have all these electronics running. But the fact that you could replace all of that with an entertainment PC turns me on. Not that I am about to rip that system out. But in the future that capability will be available at much less cost and much less power and much less complexity.
What makes you mad? Spam and pop-up ads, and of course junk mail makes me mad.
What was your biggest tech disaster? This is a different type of technology. I’m a fly fisherman and I got new carbon-fibre fly rod. The first hour on the river with it I hooked a big fish and it broke in half, snapped. It was a manufacturing defect. I considered that to be a tech disaster - although I did land the fish, and let it go.
If money were no object? I was just in Germany and I was looking at some of the technology from Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen and it incorporated technology into automobiles. You think of the navigation technology but there is so much more than navigation, when you start to put internet connections in - not necessarily while you are driving but lets assume you are a passenger. The ability to have good broadband connectivity and that integrated technology in the automobile - everything that you would normally do while you are sitting at your desk you can in fact do on the fly.
PC or Mac? (Laughs) I think we are PC users
Linux or Windows? I think if you are in the established economies you are a Windows user. And we pay for our Windows.
Google or not? I do a lot of searches and it’s a mixture of both Yahoo and Google.
How wrong have you been? The one that I was probably most wrong about was that I thought broadband capability would proliferate much faster than it has. The capability was there to deliver good quality broadband some time ago but it really developed much slower than I thought.