Bay Area

I'm just about to head to the San Francisco airport and head back to London.

Bay Area has been fun (check out Kennedy's Pub and Curry House in SF at the end of the cable car to Pier 39, fun bar and REAL curry).

Went to see Infrant and Slim Devices yesterday and that was cool, today went to Yahoo! for lunch, huge site - 7000 employees. If they ever move out, there's going to be a lot of purple chairs on the market.

I missed Google, but saw the old Netscape building (now Verisign) and the original Netscape building (now AOL, but with a very old AOL America logo). Sun's site in Menlo Park is very tame by comparison.

I'll miss both Bay Area and Seattle, they both inspired me in terms of how start-ups can work, more on that another time.

Thanks to Kelly and Tricia for putting up with me in Seattle (I already miss the coffee) and Paul and Cheri for my time in Belmont.

Slim Devices Transporter

This is the new high end "audiophile" system, it's really there and the specs are very impressive.

It's using really nice DACs (Digital Audio Converters), a switch-mode power supply to start the thing up and power the display/CPU while the audio section is powered by a very clean linear power supply.

There's now two digital displays, so stereo spectrum graphs etc.

Digital inputs and outputs are of course there, with optical, digital phono and co-ax. There's phono and balanced analogue.

The new remote is also very nice, much more compact and though initially looking too small, it feels great to use and grows on you.

They seem to have a good relationship with the opensource community, who contribute to the SLIM Server. The only thing closed source is the binary for the players. However much of the Transporter has at least parts contributed by community who Slim Devices hired.

Slim Devices are a really cool company, watch out for some really nice stuff coming out from them.


Infrant make some great boxes if you're into NAS disk storage. The ReadyNAS NV is a home or small business system that supports 4 SATA disks and currently allows about 2TB of storage. It's incredibly easy to set-up and supports Linux, WIndows and Mac clients (NFS, CIFS/Windows File sharing and AFS).

Sam Feng, their marketing guy, was incredibly helpfull and they've got some exciting systems coming down the line.

Watch out for something coming supporting larger work systems.


Apple WWDC

Definately a geekfest - but a trendy one held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Though I wasn't allowed in (my registration hadn't gone through), Apple announced the new features of MacOS X 10.5 Leopard for both Macs and servers.

They also completed their line-up with a 64bit desktop the Mac Pro and the new Xserve, both feature quad Xeon 64bit processors (actually 2 Core 2 Duo processors). The CPUs run up to 3GHz, with the Mac Pro support 16GB of RAM and the Xserve 32GB. The Mac Pro also supports 4 SATA II drives up to 500GB (up to 2TB) and the Xserve 2.25TB using SATA or SAS (serial attached SCSI). The Mac Pro is available now (though it's not yet in the SF Apple Store) - though it's now on Apple's site.

Leopard features enhanced versions of iChat and Mail and introduces Time Machine (an advanced back-up solution) and Spaces (allowing grouping applications for working on particular projects).

Time Machine will back-up everything to an external hard dis or an Xserve (also running Leopard) and a user can then get back anything they've deleted.

iChat now supports shared working with other iChat users. Mail supports stationary.

The server version supports Leopard clients and will automagically configure them so they use the Xserve for all their services (print, mail, calendaring, iChat etc). iChat server has been improved and now links into other XMPP networks (including GoogleTalk). Mail can be clustered if the Xserve is used with Apple XSan and Quicktime Streaming server supports the latest 3GPP standards for mobile streaming. There's also an adaptive firewall which can automatically monitor traffic and block IP addresses that are suspicious in nature.

The new Mac Pros are definately the way forward for desktops and though Leopard improves on Tiger, many of the new features could be just a gimmick.

Foveon still in the camera game

An industry insider reports that Foveon is still in the high end sensor market for digital cameras and something is going to be announced at PhotoKina - an evolution of the X3 sensor. Likely to be Sigma who have a camera based on it, though that was neither confirmed nor denied.

Also they are working on "other products", likely to be for the camera phone market - though currently in stealth mode.

Though the camera phone market is crowded, it's a huge space - so could be a very sensible move for Foveon.