‘Rare technology that beats expectations’

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

What’s in your pocket?

A Samsung E316 phone with Cingular coverage, and a USB memory stick that’s thinner than two coins and smaller than my thumb.

First crush?

In high school, it was my Commodore 64 and Apple 2. I wrote a maths drill and practice program called “Math Whiz” and sold it to several elementary schools. I still have it on a floppy disc, come to think of it. It was such a simple program, but helped kids learn multiplication tables and division.

True Love?

My Canon Digital Camera. I’m on the third-generation product, the Powershot S400. It has brilliant picture quality.

It’s so rare that a technology is better than you expect. I’ve taken many, many more pictures of my family since having this camera.

Latest squeeze?

LCD TVs. They’re starting to take on plasma screen sizes at the 30- and 50-inch range. I think “The Sopranos” on DVD would look even better on an LCD TV that size!

What makes you mad?

Wireless is still way too hard. Bandwidths fluctuate; applications drop and standards vary country by country. We could do more with widespread, reliable and consistent wireless coverage.

Your most embarrassing moment?

In 1996, at the Dell Executive Forum, I demonstrated what Dell Online would be – it was a preview of what was to become Dell’s internet business. The site crashed during the demo, so we had to run an HTML demo from pages saved locally to someone’s machine. It all worked out and we launched Dell Online shortly thereafter, but it is certainly a moment that I will always remember.

What would you most love to see?

I’d like to see all my health information in a protected digital format in one place and movable to new providers so I don’t have to re-educate healthcare professionals on my medical history each time I visit someone new.

If money was no object?

I’d install a home media server, wired and wireless data networks and a series of LCD or Plasma televisions throughout my house. All controlled with one remote.

That, and a Gulfstream G500 private jet.

PC or Mac?

I wrote software for an Apple in high school and some Unix and Mac stuff in college, but have been a PC guy thereafter. My work environments and graduate school experiences were all PC-based. Inter-operability is the great thing here, with the ability to run “my stuff” with “their stuff”.

Linux or Windows?

100 per cent Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. This operating system was a tremendous innovation that allows for usage models not available on Linux. My Motion LS800 Tablet PC is my only computer – it’s as small as a paperback book and weighs 1kg.

Google or not?

I use Google as my default search engine – particularly Google Maps and Google Earth, which are both very useful and interesting applications.

I liked Keyhole previously, and was pleased to see that Google had acquired the company for Google Earth.

How wrong have you been?

I never thought B2B auctions would become what they have, and de-emphasised that during my tenure building Dell’s Online business.

And I thought the industry would have made larger advances in battery life by now.

To make long-battery-life devices at low weight, we still have to do a lot of tricky engineering work. Try getting a long battery life in a 1kg device – it’s not easy.

Company to watch?

AuthenTec recently shipped its 5 millionth biometric fingerprint reader. Several PC companies have now integrated this technology into their computers.

We did that almost two years ago and keep hearing that it’s one of our customers’ favourite security features.

Leftfield technology: what’s going to come out of nowhere?

IPTV – making digital television signals available over a PC via the internet.

Just like with the analogue-to-digital music conversion, IPTV will allow for great transferability of television signals.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.