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Intel Developer's Forum

Written by Dennis Sposato



Intel held its first Developer's Forum at the Hyatt hotel just outside the San Francisco airport. The 3 day conference ran from Monday Sept, 29 through Oct 1st. Of the four different tracks, or groups of related sessions, available I was primarily interested in what Intel calls "Wired for Management". By management, they mean system management. Specifically, the ability to control systems right from power-on time, called "remote Wake Up", through shut down. To quote Intel, "...make PCs universally manageable and universally managed."

Various new hardware components are required to accomplish these things. The idea is that new systems can be taken directly from the packing carton, plugged into the LAN, and be up and running on the first boot.

The new Wired for Management speck includes various new chips. There are hardware "sensors" that monitor things like the power supply, fan speed and temperature. Another sensor monitors the chassis and will notice if it has been opened. Future sensors will monitor things like disk speed. Included in the WFM spec is System Management Bios, or SMBIOS, which allows drivers and applications to collect hardware information that is not readily available. Things like CPU speed, memory types and, more importantly, event logs.

"Instrumentation", is what Intel calls the application code, that will interact with "Service Providers", the middle level code that stands between the sensors and the application code. Intel gave out Developer's kits to help implement this new technology. None of which are for OS/2.

Intel did mention a "unreleased" Pentium II, that runs at 350MHz, with a 100MHz bus. A highlight of one of the keynote speeches was a real time feed from the Santa Clara lab. The technicians, using an electron microscope, showed us the inside of a chip, right down to the atoms.

Intel has much to learn about conferences though. The Hotel had only one giant conference room that had to be converted after each keynote, to form smaller rooms for presentations. The "gestapo like" security guards acted more like they were guarding inmates instead of professionals, who paid more than $1,000 to attend. The thing that bothered me most was that you could not get the conference CDs until you turned in your badge. Therefore, you could not go over any of the material until after you were no longer allowed back into the conference. I could not figure this out.

One other thing, there were no T-shirts. You couldn't even buy one, despite the fact that all Intel employees had these really great shirts made up for the conference.