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20 Posts authored by: Geek8ive

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of leading at panel at the Embedded Systems Conference Boston (now part of "Design Days") that was focused on "Mobile Applications for Geeks" - as an outcome of that panel, I promised to post exactly what Apps where shown. So, this is a bit later than I wanted, but I thought I'd throw some of my favorite Apps in and then, perhaps more importantly, ask:


What are YOUR Favorite Geeky Tablet Apps?


First, the list of Apps that were shown. The first person to demonstrate tablet applications was Martin Rowe, Senior Technical Editor of TMW. He showed the following applications:


Now, while Martin showed the above on an iPad, it is worth mentioning that Sonos app, is also available on the Android Market Here (you still need to buy the hardware separately) & while the exact "SoundLevel" app is not on the Android Market, there are a plethora of similar Apps (for example: Sound Meter is rated pretty well).


The second person to demonstrate was René Cacheaux from National Instruments. As I recall, he was showing a LabView app that was a work in progress, but hopefully if you follow him on Twitter (@RCachATX), then when it is ready, he'll let folks know. He had previously shared the NI SRManager that is currently available on iTunes.


Then, batting clean-up was me. Very specifically, the 3 Apps I showed on my Android Honeycomb tablet was:
  • Google Sky Map [FREE] because it is an innovate application that combines GPS & accelerometers so show you what Augmented Reality can be like - you could imagine future uses, such has always knowing where your kids are in the mall, or finding your car in an unfamiliar parking garage or even integrating with other applications or websites like Yelp to find great food spots!
  • Alegeo Graphing Calculator [FREE] because it I remember struggling trying to graph equations years (or according to my son, centuries) ago when I was in college, so I just thought this was cool for when you need a quick graph - other useful [FREE] calculators I looked at include:  
    • Cube Calculator [FREE] - lots of good functions like Binary <=> Hex / Time Calculations / Percentages
    • handyCalc Calculator [FREE] - amazing solving features / stunning graphs / currency conversions
    • Arity Calculator [FREE] - spectacular surface graphs that you can rotate, zoom, etc.
    • CalcBuddy Calculator [FREE] - relatively simple calculator, BUT it has a staggering number of built-in constants
  • Rock/Paper/Scissors/Lizard/Spock - I honestly can't remember which I showed, but here are 2 great ones:  


Keep in mind, I showed the 3 Apps above because we were going for 1 innovative app, 1 useful one, and 1 fun one. However, if you are considering picking up an Android Honeycomb tablet for yourself, here are my Top 10 Apps that I would personally (as in, me, just me, nobody else but me) recommend:
  1. Amazon App Store [FREE] - 1 FREE App EVERY Day (& there have been some great ones) - 'nuff said
  2. Twitter App [FREE] - integrates your Twitter Contacts with your Gmail Contacts (not perfect, but solid)
  3. Facebook App [FREE] - similar to Twitter, syncs your Facebook Friends with you Gmail Contacts (not perfect, but solid)
  4. Astro File Manager [FREE] - one of the best File Managers on the market - but be sure to get the Bluetooth Module too!
  5. Evernote [FREE] - OMG, being able to quickly scratch stuff down makes this nearly invaluable for me  
    • PS: I wrote this Blog in Evernote - also get the browser plug-ins & desktop clients
    • PSS: the _only_ drawback to Evernote is that there is NO Linux Client (at least "yet")
  6. Network Info II [FREE] - 1 app to know your Cellular/Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS stats all together  
  7. MX Video Player [FREE] - a brilliant video player that plays just about every format (.flv, .mp4, .wmv, even .3gp)  
    • Don't forget to get the appropriate CoDec for your device (v7, v6, etc.)
  8. Super Tool Box [FREE] - TaskKiller, Apps2SD, Purge Cache, Monitor Battery, & more - so many good things in 1 app!
  9. Google Goggles [FREE] - can read QR codes, translate foreign languages (printed), and (marginally) read business cards
  10. FREEdi YouTube Downloader [FREE] - because you can download like 30 YouTube videos to take on a flight with you  
    • Note: The link above is through the Amazon Android App Store, so make sure you get #1 before you get #10


<rant> So, like all "great app suggestions," this one comes with all the normal caveats - I'm not responsible for what you download or don't download & what they do or do not do to your system, be a grown up, read the EULAs before you click 'OK,' and ESPECIALLY look at the permissions you are granting that app. In my experience, if the app needs the Internet (because it is grabbing stock quotes) but will also tap my GPS (why do you need to know where I am to give me stock quotes?), I say "no thank you." So, use any of the above suggestions at your own risk, look both ways before crossing the street, void where prohibited by law, and other really silly statements that, if we really live in a world full of grown-up, we wouldn't need </rant>


However, please let me know in the comments below if you'd like me to write more like this in the future, such as::
  1. All the above are what I've loaded on my Tablet, where I have a lot more memory available - my "phone" list is different - interesting?
  2. You will notice the above has no games, I have lots of games, but that would warrant an entirely separate list - interesting?
  3. PLEASE add a short comment below on: What Apps Do YOU like on YOUR Tablet (even if it's an iPad)


Or post a comment on anything else you want ;-)

IDF 2011 Day 2 Recap

Posted by Geek8ive Sep 15, 2011

I’ve got to say, I think Day 2 of IDF was better than Day 1 in a lot of ways. If for no better reason than, Mooly Eden, our Corporate Vice President & General Manager of our PC Client Group gave an amazing keynote – with all kinds of great product news including new details about Sandy Bridge, great demos of Ivy Bridge (coming next for Client Processors) and even a real live demonstration of Haswell, the code name that comes after Ivy Bridge. He also told a great story about Ultrabooks, how it is all about enabling people to not only consume content but also, more importantly, create great content. As I watched the details of what Ultrabooks will really be, I only had a 2-word thought:


And, Mooly also had some friends come on stage to talk about some great collaborative work we are doing with other leading technology companies. You can read my blog re-cap of his Keynote to get more details or watch the Webcast of Mooly's Keynote for yourself!

I was also about to grab sometime with General Manager Michelle Tinsley (follow @Intel_Michelle on Twitter) to talk about her impressions of her first IDF, see some more really cool demos, learn more about the Cornell Cup which just started, and of course watching SiMan come to life!

It was a completely full day, but if you weren’t able to join us, we shot a short video so you can get a feeling for what you missed:

So, we’ve got probably about 20 videos that we’ve shot that we will be editing and posting as fast as possible, but in the meantime, let us know in comments below either:

  1. If you came to IDF, what was YOUR favorite part?
  2. If you couldn’t make it to IDF, what have you heard about that you would like to see on video?

Follow me (@Geek8ive) or our Corporate handle (@IntelEmbedded) on Twitter to get more news about IDF & learn when we post the videos that we shot from IDF!



IDF 2011 Day 1 Recap

Posted by Geek8ive Sep 14, 2011

So, that's it, Day 1 is done (we are now into Day 2), but if you can't be with us here at IDF 2011, then I'd like to share with some highlights of what I got out of Day 1!


First, Paul Otellini (our President & CEO) kicked off the day with his Keynote. He touched on a lot of things (see my corporate blog post for a complete run down) but some big picture items was:

  1. Computers have come a long way in the last 30 years since the first IBM PC
  2. A Great Computing Experience needs to be: Engaging, Consistent, and Protected
  3. We've got even more great stuff in the (relatively) near future with Ivy Bridge, Haswell, and other emerging products
  4. The first fruits of the deep collaboration between Intel & McAfee has emerged called: DeepSAFE
  5. Intel & Google will ensure that ALL Future Releases of Android would be FULLY Optimized to run on Intel Processors


To get more, you can read the blog post I posted above or feel free to watch the webcast of the keynote for yourself!


Next, we had the Tech Showcase open & lots of IDF attendees were able to see some great demos of some amazing new usage models we are bringing to the world and many of them helped us to start to put together SiMan - including the world renowned artist


And, on a personal note, I was able to interview several of our executives from the Embedded group to get a feeling from some of the great things going on now &even a peek into what is just over the horizon.


Of course, last but not least, there was a great party at the end of the day with even taking his turn on the 1 & 2. While I’m not at liberty to share pictures from that even, we can share a highlight clip we made that captured some of the above:



There you go, 1 day down, 2 more great days left to go – so let me know what you think in the comments below or follow me (@Geek8ive) or our official Twitter Handle (@IntelEmbedded) or several other “Embedded Superstars” (like @Intel_Stewart, @Intel_Jim, @Intel_Michelle, @Intel_Drew, @Intel_Brad, and @Robert_Hunter) to stay abreast of what is going on up to the minute at the Intel Developer Forum, 2011!

Hi Guys! I just got here to IDF 2011 & got to visit with my new best friend: SiMan!


It was really exciting to see him for the first time after talking about him for over a month, so we grabbed a quick video to give you a feeling of how he turned out:


That's it - just a short post so you can see the video - but let me know what you think in the comments below!

What is Up with #IDF2011?

Posted by Geek8ive Sep 6, 2011

So, I’ll admit it, I’m biased. I love (♥) IDF. I always have, even before joining Intel because I’ve always found that, while it has always Intel at the core (forgive the pun), it has also always been a Mecca of sorts for the technology crowd & there were always plenty of other Tech Companies there, showing their wares & giving you a great feeling for what was “just around the corner.” And, I’ve been to at least half the IDFs over the last decade, so I’ve got some experience behind me when I say this year has really got me excited! Let me share a short list of what I know is happening, then I’ll go into a bit more details of some of them:

  • Keynotes – 3 of them (Tues/Wed/Thurs) by the folks you know & love:
  • Demos – we’ve got at least 10 in our main booth, plus 21 displays from our friends in the embedded business in our Embedded Community as well as a few “special” demos spread around
  • Parties (always the highlight of any tradeshow, right?)
    • A “Secret” party on Tuesday Night
      • All I can say is it is Tuesday Night ((details will be disclosed the 1st day))
    • Customer Networking Event with the Intel® Datacenter & Connected Systems Group (DCSG) 
      • Wednesday, September 14th, The Terrace @ W Hotel, 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm 
  • Embedded (EMB) & Communications (CMI) Classes, Hands-on Labs, & Poster Chats
    • 10 Classes
    • 4 Poster Chats
    • 4 Labs (most of them with a 2nd, duplicate session)
    • The COMPLETE listing will be in a Table at the End!
  • SiMan – “The Intelligent Connected Solutions Man”
    • Our friend will be 18 feet tall & will be a wonderful collaborative activity
    • Come lend a hand putting him together, enter a contest, & get a glow stick
    • The big “GlowTime” event will be Wednesday evening around 6:15 or so
    • This could be one of the most “out-of-the-box” things you’ll ever see at IDF
    • UPDATE: See the Intel Free Press story on SiMan to see a sneak peak of what he looks like
  • Videos – lots & lots of videos – plus Tweets & other Social Media Updates
    • If you want to find me at the show, just look for the camera crew somewhere near the Embedded Booth & that will probably be me with a mic in my hand
    • If you want to give a testimonial on video – hit me up on Twitter & we’ll try to find a time to do it
    • The “official” #HashTag for IDF this year is #IDF2011 so follow that to stay in the know
    • We’ll also be capturing pictures as quick as we can & posting them to our Facebook Page
    • What else should we do? Let me know in the comments below!


So, with the “list” out of the way (Engineers love ordered lists), I will add a few closing comments. First, while I didn’t go through the whole list of all the Demos, I have reviewed them & there is a pretty wide variety that you have to look forward to – from highlights from some of the ROBOTS we’ve done with various college students (like Matt Bunting’s HexaPod Robot & the A-CURV from U of A) – to cool public ready demos’ like the adiVerse Footwear Wall from Adidas & the LEGO Augmented Reality Display – and lots of other cool things.


Secondly, if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see the full breadth of classes, labs, & poster chats that we’ll be doing at IDF that relate to the Embedded & Communications areas of Intel. I spend some time collecting ALL of the titles (& links you can click to read the full descriptions) because this is a huge breakthrough when you consider that like 3 or 4 years ago, there was real talk about cutting Embedded out of IDF all together because “it wasn’t relevant.” Now, you can see how much the dialogue has shifted & how integral embedded-related topics really are not just to the future of Intel, but to the future of the world in general.


Lastly, I really hope you can carve out just 15 minutes to come visit us in the SiMan Assembly area! Here’s a map of how to get there:



So, that’s it – that’s the highlights – I’ll be working to keep you as up-today as possible on Twitter (as will our official @IntelEmbedded account) & (hopefully) a quick blog at the end of each day. And, before anyone asks, NO, I will NOT be flying the Quadcopter at IDF – I think management learned their lesson & revoked my pilot’s license


Now, it’s your turn – what is getting you excited about at IDF – what do you want us to capture on video if you can’t make it? Let me know in the Comments below & remember:




PS: Follow me on Twitter: @Geek8ive or follow the #HashTag #IDF2011 to stay in the know real time


Session ID





Teaching Embedded to Tomorrow’s Engineers


Hands-on Lab

Intel® Signal Processing Development Kit (SPDK)


Hands-on Lab

Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK)



Migrating to Intelligent Service Edge Network Elements



Intel® QuickAssist technology – Accelerate Secure Packets   and Communications Workloads


Poster Chat

Intelligent Advertising Framework


Poster Chat

Smart Surface Computing


Poster Chat

Speed up Software Architecture Migrations with Klocwork*   Insight* Productivity Tools


Hands-on Lab

Embedded Application Graphic and Video Performance with   the Intel® Atom™ Processor E6XX Platform



Using Next Generation Intel® Atom™ Processor (codenamed   Cedarview) in Embedded



Using Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (BLDK) in   Embedded



Using Second Generation Intel® Core™ Processors (codenamed   Sandy Bridge) in Embedded



Digital Signage - A peek into what the future holds



Wind River Gold Sponsor Session: Accelerating   Machine-to-Machine Through Embedded Software Development



Innovate Embedded Computing Through Collaboration


Poster Chat

Finally, a Great Set of Tools to Create a Custom Embedded   Linux* - The Yocto Project*


Hands-on Lab

Using Full System Simulation for Computing and Embedded   Software Development on Intel® Architecture


Hands-on Lab

Create a Custom Embedded Linux* OS for Any Embedded Device   using the Yocto Project*



Embedded System Tools for Development and Validation of   Intel® Atom™ Processor Based Devices



Intel Architecture Solutions for Embedded Visual Computing

Meet Our Embassadors...

Posted by Geek8ive May 27, 2011

So, over the last year or so, we've been working ad-hoc to establish a cadre of folks that could be considered "Subject Matter Experts" (SMEs) on various key Embedded topics so you could have a "go-to" guy or gal for areas of interest to you.


At this point, we want to start formalizing the list, so I wanted to share it with you - here it is:



Twitter Handle


Stewart Christie


Intel Atom Processors for Embedded

Conor Clancy


Medical / Military/Aero/Govt (MAG)

Chris Clark


Network Security

Marcos Garcia-Acosta


Education / Robots

Mylinh Gillen


Embedded Software Development Tools

Joel Hoffmann


In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI)

Robert Hunter


Machine-to-Machine or M2M

Drew Jensen


Intel Boot Loader Dev Kit

Jeff Lockerman


Embedded Validation

Eric Mantion


Embedded Social Media Strategist

Shahram Mehraban


Home Energy Management (HEM)

Don Moore


Fitness / Medical

Scott Oehrlein@Intel_ScottVirtualization & Software Topics
Joe Peterson


Embedded Validation

Rose Schooler


General Manager of CID

Jim St. Leger


Comms Infrastructure & Packet Processing

Michelle Tinsley


General Manager of ECD

Brad Vrabete


Digital Signage / Medical


For your convenience, we also have all of the above on a single list in Twitter if you'd just rather follow everyone:!/Geek8ive/Embassadors


So, this Blog Entry will be a "Living Document" => As we add new embassadors in the future, I will update this entry (and the Twitter list) to make life easy!


Also, as an extra bonus - here's a shortened URL if you want to share =>


That's it - a short entry - but give me feedback: Are there Other Areas that You Feel need an Embassador?


Let me know in the comments below     

So, a couple of weeks back, I had the honor & privilege of speaking at #TWTRCON SF10. It was a blast, & I learned so many things. But, given there were hundreds of people that went but millions of people that would have benefited from going, I thought I’d write down my Top 10 Takeaways in the interest of “sharing.” If you want more info, here are some great links:

Clearly, not as good as being there, but still better than not learning at all


So, with that, here are my key takeaways, but please add your own in the comments below or give me feedback on the ones I did cite…

1. Twitter is a great way to start a dialogue but rarely can be the whole conversation

"Twitter is like a pick-up line, not a relationship"

Perhaps ironically, the best way to think of Tweets is like “seeds” – it is easy to walk out to a field & “throw some seeds” (READ: Throw some Tweets), but unless you’re ready to do the (_REST_) of the work – you are not a *FARMER*.  In the analogy, you need to first _plow_ the field to really be effective (in Twitter Terms, that means building your TRUE followers – not just a bunch of spambots or pornbots that will follow anyone). And, just like plowing, building followers is really hard work, unless you are already a movie star or funnier than $&*%. Also, after you sprinkled your seeds, you have to follow up – scare away the birds, water your crops, kill the insects, & finally – harvest your food! In the Twitterverse, you need to thank people for RTing your stuff, follow-up on questions, measure what affect you had (like with TwitReach, for example), and, most importantly, have some end goal or action behind all this.  It can be to tell people about a great deal, get them to enter a contest, help them with a problem, share information about a blog or article, but really effective Tweets need to have a goal or purpose.


2. The best use of Twitter is to help interconnect everything else you have going on

"Twitter is like condiments - they make meals better but aren't a meal in & of themselves"

I promise not to beat the *FARMER* to death, but the second part of a commercial farmer is, after you harvest, you need to get the food to market, sell it there, & do something with that money. In the Twitterverse, you need to have more than just a Twitter presence.  By-in-large, I find the most natural harmony to a Twitter account is to have a rocking blog (like @jmoriarty), but other great options is to have a book (like @robkroese), a conference (like @tonia_ries), or perhaps best of all, a TV show (@NathanFillion). But, 99% of the time, you need to have SOMETHING – Tweets alone do not a “Social Media Strategy” make.


3. You can't stop people from speaking badly about your brand on Twitter, but it can help you mitigate issue

"It is easier to speak behind someone's back when they aren't standing in front of you"

We’ve all had that moment – especially if you have children – where someone is just happily yapping away about you, probably in a “non-flattering way,” as you walk up behind them.  That look on their face, as they spin around, is generally priceless – usually worth far more than any hurt you get from what they were actually saying.  However, have you ever noticed how rarely that happens in the other direction? Where you walk up on someone as they are touting your virtues? Why is that? I think it is because, in general, people like saying nice things about you when you around & saying bad things when you aren’t around.  So, the very act of being there means people will, generally say better things about you.  And what if you aren’t there? Exactly – so, if your social media or Twitter strategy is: The Magic Ostrich (where sticking your head in the sand actually means people don’t exist) – you may want to rethink that! 


4. The real-time nature of Twitter allows for faster response to good & bad situations

"Twitter is like 'early detection' for diseases - the earlier the detection, the better the results"

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the stream yet, you must – MUST – go watch @JLoOnTheGo talk about what @HRblock does with Twitter. I know what you’re going to say – Taxes – really? I’m with you, with all due respect to Ms. Love (who did turn out to be a brilliant speaker) – I almost snuck out before she started. But, I’m _really_ glad I didn’t – she had perhaps THE most brilliant example of *highly*effective* use of Twitter I’ve ever seen. I’m not going to ruin it – but the feed is only 20 minutes & will be WELL worth your time, so go watch it


5. Tweets / day doubles every 12 - 18 months - so it is not a fad - it is the future

"Every new communication method had naysayers – from the Telegraph to the WWW"

Personal confession: The job I’ve done longest in my life, & perhaps one of the most enjoyable, was to be an analyst in a market research firm.  Not only did I learn about new things every year, but I also got to make predictions.  Fortunately, I got pretty good at it (especially about online gaming), so when I see a chart like this:

Tweets per day

I’m quick to slap a regression analysis on that bad boy & look to the future.  Guess what I found? By my estimation, Tweets Per Day (TpD) will double at least every 18 months.  I’m not calling it “Mantion’s Law of Twitter” (yet), but if it holds, that would mean that if 2010 ends at around 100M TpD, 2016 will end with 400M TpD – or nearly 5000 Tweets per Second!


6. Twitter works because people feel like connections not conscripts being yelled at

"Shout Marketing is the Dinosaur of Marketing – Big but Old & Dying"

If you’ve gone to college, you know exactly what I’m talking about – the dichotomy between a great teacher & a horrible one.  The great one probably knew your name, answered your questions, & you would hang on their every word.  The horrible one probably taught to a room of 300 students, facing the chalkboard, and as monotone as a tuning fork.  Social media, & Twitter, are the same way – if you just yap AT people – don’t expect to be very effective!


7. Twitter works because Brilliance comes in Moments – often < 140#

"E = mc² | I think therefore I am | Happiness is a way of life not a fact of life <<== All < 140#"

Think about some of the most brilliant ideas or inventions.  “Robotic cars that auto-drive & reduce accidents & congestion thanks to quicker reflexes” or “Use Blimps to raise rockets 50k ft in the air 2 drastically reduce the fuel need 2 achieve orbit” or “Shift from Smartphone/Laptop 2 Bluetooth Watch, Bluetooth Headset & 4G Tablet 2 make life more portable.”  What do they all have in common?  They are all less than 140 Characters.  While not being full discussions, each one is probably enough to Whet your appetite & would probably drive you to click a link if there was one.  While we’ve all heard: “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover,” most of us do exactly that &, similarly, if you can explain a brilliant idea to me in <140#, then it probably isn’t “brilliant” yet (so keep working on it).  If Brevity is Art of the Genius, there is potentially a lot of Geniuses on Twitter!


8. Web marketing was about reaching eyeballs but Twitter is about touching hearts

"A thousand commercials will never influence you more than someone you know & trust"

Think about what you do when you want to buy a big ticket item – a car or a computer <cough>Intelinside</cough> or even a really nice pair of shoes.  What do you probably do? Unless you are the supreme expert on that topic, you probably get some advice. And, even if you are an ÜberGeek on that topic, you probably still pow-wow with your posy, just to get a second opinion.  So, this is where Twitter can come in – if you’ve got more than 100 *real* followers, ask them for their opinion – I’d bet within a few hours, you’ll get some pretty good advice – and you are probably more likely to listen to it then reading random reviews by people that may very well be working for that company or product.

9. The current shortcoming of Twitter is not lack of Data, but difficulty pulling wisdom from the bits

"Measuring just followers is like counting ‘door opens’ of a store – less important than sales"

So, it’s probably not much of a surprise, but I’m a fan of Twitter.  However, I’m not a cultist. I know it isn’t perfect &, more exactly, still can’t do some of the “simple” things right (yet).  For example, if you’re Linux-loving geek that’s new to Twitter, how do you find other folks to follow? Sure there are the W2F suggestions from Twitter – but what’s your experience with that?  Personally, I’d like to just be able to so searches of Bios.  For example, don’t you think you should be able to just search Bio entries for the word “Linux” & find a butt load of potential friends & poor-spelling Snoopy fans?  Well, bad news, for now, you can’t – at least not through Twitter.  If you want the secret “hacker code” – here it is:

intext:"bio * Linux"

Enter that into Google (substituting “Linux” for whatever you want), & you should at least start to be able to find some people.  But, for now, it really only works well on 1 word & you can’t really see how many followers/friends/lists the people have – so there is definitely room for improvement.  This was my 1 big question/suggestion to @othman (Twitter), @shashiseth (Yahoo!), and @paulyiu (Bing/Microsoft) and got almost a deafening “Meh” in response but mark my words, the 1st one to figure this out will be get a gold rush of traffic.  Or, it will be a startup that may get bought for gold bars – either way, I’ll predict we’ll have this before this time next year!


10. If you engage on Twitter, you can “lose” but if you don’t engage, you definitely lose!

"90% of Social Media is just showing up… It’s the OTHER half that’s hard" from: @ScottMonty

As I look back at this list I wrote during the conference, it feels a little bit like I’m repeating myself, but it is a pivotally important point:

Not Showing Up for the Game is called a “Forfeit” not a “Win”

But, if you need more guidance, curl-up with your favorite laptop & watch @ScottMonty wow the crowd: Part 1 & Part 2. You can get the slides – and there are some gems in there – but you’ve got to watch some of his delivery, it makes all the difference!



So, there it is, my opinions on a great show – but let me know what you think: If you went – what I missed & if you didn’t – what do you think should have been said?  Feel free to use any of the quotes in dark red, but I'd appreciate attribution, except for last one - that was all Scott!




This is a short blog entry to explain what’s going on for the next 10 days or so, what you can and cannot do, & how to get help while we transition into the new Embedded Community Environment.


First off, here’s what you can do:

  • Log in to the Environment – including privileged areas
  • Read all of the previously written blog & forum posts


Second, what you can’t do:

  • Post new blogs entries or forum questions
  • Respond to any previous blog entries or forum questions
  • Modify or edit your profile & setting


In short, the environment is exactly what is sounds: “Read-Only” – meaning you can view most anything you had previous, but not interact or change the environment in anyway.


However, we recognize that, while we work through our upgrade, you may still need help, so here’s where you can go in the meantime…


<<== Look over the left, you will see:



There are really 2 parts to that:

  • Design Assistance
    • This is a form will help us select the most qualified representative to contact you
  • Live Support Chat
    • During the specified hours, you can actually get live chat support


In addition, there are 2 other places you can go to get help:


As previously stated, we hope to return the fully operational status, with new functionality and a cleaner look & feel, on or around November 14, 2010.  We appreciate your patience during the transition.

As I mentioned before, we’ve got big changes coming to the Intel Embedded Community in November.  However, you don’t make changes this big overnight; so, we’ve been busy creating a test environment to make sure everything will work the way you’d expect it will.  However, there’s a bonus to having a test environment – we can use it to give you a “Sneak Peak” at what the new environment will be like, so you can slide right into being productive.


So, without further ado, here’s a draft of what you can be looking forward to:



There will be 5 Major Areas or Methods of Navigation:

  1. Discussion (or “Forums”) – where folks go to post a question or try to get help
    • The Current Equivalent is called “Discussion Forums
  2. Blog Posts – where authorized Bloggers will be posting education or informative pieces
    • If you are not currently a Blogger in our community, but would like to be, please post a comment at the end of this blog
  3. Tags – the easy, modern way to find the content you want, quickly
    • There will also be “Tag Clouds” so you can see what is currently popular
  4. People – a nice way to get to know the other people in the community
    • One of the major improvements we should be gaining from this new environment is an improved method for forming friendships & connecting with each other
  5. Search – as always, a nice way to quickly find some very specific content
    • Please be sure to use the search bar under the marquee because the one in the header if for an “” search


In terms of the actually blogging environment, it is a fairly standard fare.  Here’s a short test Blog I wrote to demos some of the standard features:



As you can see, you can do most of the standard formatting of text, including different colors & font types.  Plus, as expected, Bloggers can insert videos as well as pictures, tables, and, of course, hyperlinks.  All-in-all, it is a very capable platform & should serve us well to provide the content you all need to get your work done as quickly & efficiently as possible.


So, how does it sound so far? Pretty good or are there other things you’d like to see?


Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

As promised, this is Blog entry will step through some more specifics about our upcoming changes to the Intel Embedded Community – specifically: Our vision for Embedded Blogs…


For the better part of a year or so, we’ve had our blogs broken up into 4 primary “groups” – roughly Hardware / Software / Applications / Transitions.  This was all fine & such, but it was really more of a “Web 1.0” structure, somewhat of a “classical” design & didn’t account well for a lot of Blog entries about things like Trade Shows or Contests, let alone broader posts on Social Media & the like.  Plus, there is the problem of trying to “pigeon hole” a Blog entry.  For example, if someone posts about using Intel® Atom™ processors in a mega-cool Robot developed & programmed by a student from MIT, does it belong in a) the hardware blogs because it talks about processors & boards or b) the software blogs because it had to be programmed or c) the applications blog because it is a robot or d) the “New to IA” blogs because the student was, wait_4_it, “New to IA?”  The answer was, as it turns out, “c” – an Applications Blog entry because it was a robot, but in truth it really could have fit in any of the above, or at least 3 out of the 4.


So, based on the above example, here’s how we plan to re-organize the Blogs of the Embedded Community…

-       There will be 2 main kinds of blogs

  • “Author Focused”
  • “Company Focused”

-       Instead of using set “topic buckets” like before, we will emphasize:

  • Tags & “Tag Clouds”
  • Search Bars


For the first part, we have identified that, by-in-large, there are 2 kinds of bloggers – those that write on a wide variety of topics, such as ReThinker, and those that right as part of a company they support, such as kontron_ktaylor.  As such, the more unique bloggers will all be given their own account so that if you like that particular blogger, you can bookmark/subscribe/whatever that person specifically to stay abreast of new entries.  However, if you are particularly fond of a specific company, because you work for it or with it or whatever your reason, you can find the page devoted to blogs from people that work for that company. 


On the second part, we believe that “Tags” are a much better way to organize & structure the blogs then the previous rigid bucket types.  We believe this will give you all the capabilities your previously had (like “Software” topics, there’s a Tag for that), while also giving you the ability not to miss a blog entry just because it was “60\%” Hardware & only “40\%” Software.  Now, if the entry really does relate well to multiple of the previously rigid topics, you can use all the tags that apply, plus further, more granular tags such as “Atom” or “Robots,” as applicable.  Plus, in keeping with the common desire of many modern web-surfers, we will also work towards emphasizing the usefulness of the “search box” to quickly find the things interesting to you.


So, that’s it – that’s the gist of our plans for the Embedded Blogs.  Please give us feedback on if this sounds good to you or if there’s something else you would like to see.  Thanks!

 [UPDATE]: Part I: "Changes to the Structure of our Blogs"

 [UPDATE]: Part II: "Sneak Peek at the New Community Look

 [UPDATE]: Part III: "How to Get Help while the Community is in Read-Only Mode




To all of our valuable Intel Embedded Community Members – or as I like to call you – “our dear friends,” I wanted to let you know that you will be seeing a number of big changes in November so I wanted to a) let you know about them up front and b) explain why we are doing these changes.


First & foremost, we are working very hard to make the transition as seamless as possible for you.  There will be a new look, some things will change around a bit, but the core functionality of having great blogs to (hopefully) inspire you & discussion forums where you find solutions to problems or help others with their problems, will remain.  In terms of timing, the Intel Embedded Community will get “frozen” or go into “read-only mode” on or around November 5, 2010 in the evening (PST).  You will still be able to visit & read what was put in, but interactivity will be turned off as we prepare to move all of our content to the new environment.  We plan to turn the “new” site on with full interactivity on or around November 14, 2010.


The biggest change, besides some minor tweaks to appearance, will be moving to Jive Software as our hosting environment primarily because that is what the majority of other Intel Communities are on & that is the over-arching top priority of this transition: To continually evolve to an ever-increasingly seamless sense of community for the Intel Communities.  We want this because we know, there are very few purely “Embedded” engineers.  Rather, we know there are a LOT of “Embedded” engineers that work on Software. Or, “Embedded” engineers that are working on project using Intel® Xeon® Processors. Or, “Embedded” engineers that <insert_new_topic_here>.  The point being, there are very few purely “Anything” Engineers anymore and increasingly, most engineers need to be well versed in a number of different areas. And that is the primary intent of our transition – to make it easier for you, as a developer, to get to the answers / inspirations / interactions you need to do your job better, regardless of where they lie within the Cyberscape of Intel Communities.


While the first big change will happen in November, I want you to know, it is only the first of many steps.  Ideally, but the middle of 2011, we will have been able to consolidate a number of currently separate sign-in systems across Intel so that, hopefully, you will be able to just have 1 persona regardless of which specific Intel community you want to be in.  And, this is more than just reducing the number of usernames/passwords you have – it is also about getting to know you better as a person – like Amazon does.  This way, even if you spend most of your time in the Embedded community, but we see you do spend some time over in Software, then we know you might be a good fit for some Webinar on Embedded Operating Systems.  The goal is for a more customized browsing experience so that you see the things that are mostly likely to enable you to work faster & get home earlier to your family & friends.  Because, in the end, that’s what’s most important in your life – the people you care about.


And, we hope by working towards this goal, it will help you to realize we care about you.  All sappy sentiment aside, we do, we really, really do because we might make the best processors in the world (we’d like to think they are pretty good), but without the best developers in the world, we’ve just made mounds & mounds over really expensive but highly ineffective, paper weights.  It is the systems & software that is developed with our silicon that are actually the killer solutions that people crave for and we want you to know we are honored by your efforts.  So, as we enter the transition phase, I want to leave the door for dialogue wide open for learning what it is that you folks want from this community.  This will be the first of several blog posts about the transitions, but feel free to chime in early to let us know what you want or need out of this “Intel Embedded” community.


Thanks for reading & for being one of “our dear friends.”

So, I’ve give a short summary of what I saw at the Intel Developer Forum 2010 in San Francisco, so now I’d like to do the same for the show I went to the following week, which, of course, was Embedded Systems Conference 2010 Boston.  To be honest, this was my first time going to ESC in Boston, but I have been to ESC in San Jose many times, so I have that perspective.  I’ll share the highlights of what I saw, but also my Key Takeaway: The #1 Problem Facing Embedded!


First, some of the best parts: For me, I really, really enjoyed the Microsoft Industry Address given by Kevin Dallas. I thought it was brilliant in really demonstrating the breath of what was going on in the embedded market space – from smarter gas pumps to some kind of gizmo you can wear on your head for (I think) Augmented Reality:


I won’t steal the guy’s thunder, but if you want to few the whole slide deck for yourself, you can see it here == ==


On top of that, Microsoft had a very respectable sized both & threw a great party Tuesday Night, so, clearly, Microsoft (follow them on Twitter: @MSFTWEB for “Microsoft Windows Embedded Business” – not Web=WWW) was large & in charge as you might say. Clearly, they are deeply invested in this space & given how many areas of “rub” they have going on (Windows vs Linux vs Mac OS X, Microsoft Office vs OpenOffice vs Google Docs, etc.) they clearly must see the Embedded Market Segment as an exciting place to be.  And, as anyone that follows me on Twitter will tell you I’m know Microsoft Fanboy (I love all OSes equally), I will say I was genuinely impressed by what I saw from the folks from Redmond.


Speaking of Impressed, in my humble opinion, my friends at Dell (follow them on Twitter: @DellOEM) were also impressive.  They also had a healthy sized booth, showing all kinds of cool things including well-designed Kiosks & the always popular always popular “Video Arcade” Demo:


Plus Sarah M (Twitter: @SarahMatDell) was a marvelous hostess for the Dell party. 


Additionally, Ms. Mercer also was a fabulous co-panelist with me for the delightful Using Twitter in the Embedded Marketplace session, moderated by Patrick Hopper (@patrickhopper) with Andrian Valenzuela (@adrianvalenz) from TI & Chris Gammel (@Chris_Gammel) also on the panel. And, of course, thanks to Karen Field from EETimes (@KarenField) for coordinating the panel! In my opinion, I thought the panel went pretty well & I think, together, we identified the 2 leading reasons why Engineers aren’t embracing Twitter:

  • At 1st Glance (before you log in) Twitter is 99.999\% NOISE
  • After you sign-in for the 1st time, Twitter is 99.999\% SILENCE

In reality, neither extreme is good and, IMHO, the quickest way to fix this is to add “Channels” to the initial page of Twitter.  For example, let’s say there was an “Engineering” Channel (which you could see whether you log-in or not), it might look for the following words: Engineer, Engineering, Design, Board Layout, Compiling, etc. – several key words that are (usually) only spoken/Tweeted by Engineers or people that play Engineers on TV.  It could be further refined by EXCLUDING certain phrases like “Sanitation Engineer” or “Web Design” or “Surf Board” and such to further improve the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR).


In my opinion, Engineers on Twitter today is like “Women on the Web” in the early 1990s. There was a time when some 80\% of the people on the Internet were Men. Why? Because women can’t read? No. Because women could get a hold of computers? Nope. Primarily it was because, at some early point, MOST of the CONTENT on the Internet weren’t topics women tended to care about. However, at that point, someone could have concluded:


“Don’t bother with female-friendly content, there is are no women on the Internet”


Conversely, someone could have said:


“Oh My Gosh! There are no women on the Internet – quick, let’s corner this market”


As memory serves, iVillage took the second approach & in 1999 reached a $1.86 Billion Market Capitalization after its IPO.  Granted, that was during the boom era of the Internet, but even half a decade later in 2006, it was acquired NBC/Universal for $600M – not bad for a website that catered to an audience that “didn’t exist” (or at least didn’t when it started).


To me, the same will hold true for Engineers on Twitter – I shared with the crowd the most recent “Tweets per Day” chart directly from @Twitter itself. You can’t look at that picture & even BEGIN to tell me that “Twitter has peaked!” If anything it is as strong. I’d personally estimate that by the ringing of the new year, we’ll be around 100M Tweets / Day (TpD or, for the ÜberGeeks among you, ≈1.1kHz).  And, 18 Months later, I could see it hitting 200M TpD around July, 2012.  Now, I don’t want to start some kind of Mantion’s Law of Twitter that the Tweets / Day will double every 18 Months, but what if that held true? If in January, 2011 we hit 100M, then by January 2017, we’d be around 1.6 Billion TpD, or 18kHz.  Fortunately, given that every Tweet is only about 160 Bytes (we’ll round up to 200 to be safe), that would only translate to 3.7 MBps or about 30 Mbps – far less than DS-3 Line & probably about what most home broadband connections will be by then.  Unfortunately, that is ONLY for the “source” traffic & does not account for the hundreds of millions (maybe billions) of “drains” to that traffic.  Even if there were only 300M subscribers by then, that could be nearly 9 Petabits / second of traffic, if everyone followed everyone else.  Since I will never, EVER follow @LadyGaGa, we know this worst can’t happen, but it does help to illustrate why Twitter needs so many servers to keep up with their traffic.  Sometimes, nobody cares about what it takes to maintain something if they just take it for granted.  


And that brings me to my #1 Problem Facing Embedded:


Nobody Knows (or Cares) What Embedded Is!


Specifically, at some horrible junction, the word “consumer electronics” somehow got disassociated with the word “Embedded.” Pragmatically, almost ALL of THE Coolest things on the market (Robots, cell phones, Smart TVs, Music Players, Game Consoles, Robots – yes they deserve to be listed twice) are EMBEDDED Products. By that, I mean that when you hit the big green “ON” button, you expect it to just work.  And, by in large, you don’t expect to EVER do maintenance on it.  In an ever evolving role, we do now expect its functionality to increase over time by downloading “apps” to it (unlike your old Boom Box that you never expected to get any better down the road). But, still, you hit the “jump” button & you expect it to look back at you and say “how high?” Unfortunately, it seems that “Embedded” has somehow evolved to a dirty word, or at least a boring one, getting associated with gas pumps, ATM machines (yes, I know that’s redundant) and many other vital, but “boring” machines that just don’t generate excitement.


I won’t pretend that I know what the solution is.  Do we change this market segment from “Embedded” to “Science Fiction?” Do we change the “Embedded Systems Conference” to the “Gadgets & Gizmos Expo?” I don’t know but we need to look at doing something because somehow, when you tell someone you went to an “Embedded Show” there is a pity in their eyes that demonstrates a glaring lack of awareness of all the miraculous things we are working on so, in the comments below, write in your suggestions on how to fix this! Also, feel free to add what you saw at ESC 2010 Boston that you thought was memorable!

IDF 2010 Highlights

Posted by Geek8ive Oct 1, 2010


Wow!  That has got to be my first word with commenting on #IDF10: Wow!


Why Wow? Well, let’s see, some highlights that I saw:



o    The 1st Intel Processor with plain-old PCIe as a System Bus

o    Opens the doors to loads of very unique possible designs

o    Anything from Intel Chipsets, to 3rd Party Chipsets to FPGAs can work with it

o    Select SKUs can do the “Industrial Temp Range” of -40°C to 85°C

o    The cheapest SKU (E620) starts at $19 (Direct/Tray/1ku Volumes, etc.)




o    It will be Tunnel Creek processor & FPGA all in one package

o    It will be Intel’s 1st “configurable” processor




o    There is a high-level “getting to know me” Fact Sheet

o    At least 5 deep-dive classes (select the “ARC” Track from that Tab)

o    A STELLAR Demo of playing StarCraft II on built-in Sandy Bridge Graphics

o    Disclosures that “Sandy Bridge” will span from Notebooks to Desktops & Servers




o    10 Cores & 20 Threads per Processor

o    Up to 2TB (TeraBytes) of memory possible in a single system

o    But it will still work with the current Intel® 7500 Chipset




o    LeVar Burton (@levarbuton on Twitter) was hired to promote SmartTV

o    Ian Thomas (@ITonMission on Twitter) got to interview LeVar about #SmartTV

o    There was both Google TV & Microsoft TV being displayed

o    But most importantly, I got to meet LeVar, albeit briefly – nice guy!




o    Acquired by Intel in 2007, it has doubled its number of products

o    Showed a Demo of how much more realistic cloth can look in games

o    Also show how much more realistic blowin’ stuff up can look (see the full keynote)




o    To me, MeeGo has made huge strides in since IDF 2010 Beijing

o    One great MeeGo product launch was the WeTab by Neofonie & 4tiitoo

o    So a demo of a Media Phone made by Gemtek (here’s a picture)




o    First, the AppUp Community on the show floor was on fire (always busy!)

o    Second, the “AppUp Experience” was raging in the Metreon

o    Third, AppUp gave away a CAR to a great developer!




o    Run Applications, Control Plane, Packet Processing, & Signal Processing on 1 architecture

o    For example, we had a Demo of >10 MILLION Pkts/sec per core

o    As shown during the keynote, this performance can scale linearly

o    The savings from consolidated hardware would be HUGE

o    The savings from consolidating developer teams might be HUGER

o    In the end, everyone wins!


Some other nice things is, I thought the show was very well attended about 6,500 attendees – plus, >40\% of the attendees were “focusing on Embedded” – so a really good show for us.  In my opinion, I thought the news that came out was overwhelmingly positive.


To me, the only downside (besides there just being TOO MUCH to do in 3 days) was I’m in a toss-up on what I need to buy for the Holidays this year:



Which would you suggest?


So, if you went to IDF – what did you like the most?


If you didn’t get to go to IDF, here are some helpful links:



What else to you want to know?

Let me first start by saying I’m really excited about #IDF10 coming up here in less than a week! Before I get any farther, I’m using “#IDF10” because that is the #Hashtag to use in Twitter to keep on top of all the action. All the Social Media Artificers (SMAs) from Intel (including our own Embassadors) will be using that take to keep you abreast of all the “haps” (or are they “Twaps” on Twitter?) so you don’t miss a beat. So, with that bit of guidance out of the way, here is a “broad overview” of some of the amazing Embedded things happening at #IDF10:


Doug Davis Keynote

The 4sq Venue to look for: #IDF10 Keynotes


Sorry, can’t give you a blow-by-blow of what he’s going to say, but I do know our own Doug Davis, Vice President & General Manager of Intel’s Embedded and Communications Group (ECG) will be giving part of the Keynote on Tuesday. Without letting too many cats out of the bag, I can tell you it will mostly be an Intel® Atom™ processor-focused keynote with lots of cool announcements & demos – both for Embedded-focused stuff & other, more general topics.  Not something you are going to want to miss!

Embedded Zone & Community

The 4sq Venue to look for: #IDF10 Embedded Zone and #IDF10 Embedded Community


At a high level, the Embedded Zone will have several nifty (yes, I know it’s not the 1950s, I’m trying to bring “nifty” back) demos, including stuff on Digital Signage, In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI), a Robotic Arm (cuz Geeks ♥ Robots), a “Digital Nexus” for your home, “Breakthrough Performance for Packet Forwarding” and “Flexible Scalable Networking with RouterBricks” on Intel® Xeon® processors (ping @Intel_Jim for details), plus a bonus demo that I can only say “involves music” (you’ll have to see it for yourself). In addition, the following companies (in alphabetical order) will be demoing in the “Embedded Community”

  • 6Wind
  • Dialog
  • Emerson
  • Green Hills Software
  • Kontron
  • Lauterbach
  • Macraigor Systems LLC
  • Oki
  • Portwell
  • ROHM
  • SBS Science & Technology

Want to know more about what they are doing? Come by & check them out!



Embedded Labs

The 4sq Venue to look for: #IDF10 Embedded Labs


We will actually have two labs being brought to you by the Embedded group. One of them (EMBL003 & EMBL004) is kind of like a friendly race – take a board, pick your OS, & see who can get their board up first.  The first team that gets a message out to @devboard is the winner.  Like an obstacle course but with thumb drives instead of cargo nets run by the nearly-famous @Intel_Stewart. The other lab (EMBL001 & EMBL002) is focused on how Intel® vPro™ Technology can really help people to make embedded applications that are easier to manage – especially remotely.


Embedded Track

The 4sq Venue to look for: #IDF10 Embedded Track


On Tuesday, after Doug’s Keynote, there will be 5 embedded-focused classes (EMBS001, EMBS002, EMBS003, EMBS004, EMBS005) and 1 “Hot Topic Q&A” (EMBQ001).  On the communications front, we have 3 classes (COMS001, COMS002, COMS003) and 1 “Hot Topic Q&A” (COMQ001 « Starring the lovely & talented @Intel_Jim).  Click each link to get a description or go here: & put “EMB” or “COM” in the search bar & search on “Session ID.”  You can also set up you own “Forum Planner” by going here & picking the above course to add to your schedule:


Embedded Poster Chats

The 4sq Venue to look for: (none at this time)


This is a bit of a different approach.  Most activities at IDF consist of detailed slide decks or course work based on a topic.  With the Poster Chats, we have topics, but it is up to the audience to get involved, get interactive, & bring questions that you want answered.  I have personally run these before & for my money, I like these the most.  Your Mileage May Vary, but when not come by if you’ve got an opening & get involved.  Don’t worry – it is exactly like Social Media, except you do it in real live & your thumbs don’t get tired! To find out more, go here: & look for:

  • Intel® vPro™ Technology Implementation in Embedded Applications
  • Signal Processing with Intel® Architecture
  • Packet Processing on Intel® Architecture

All 3 will be Monday, September 13 from 11am - 1pm.




So, just some closing remarks – in addition to following myself (@Geek8ive), both @Intel_Jim & @Intel_Stewart will also be there, Tweeting live from the Show Floor when possible.  In addition, @RoseSchooler will also be there (but you know how busy we keep GMs @ shows like this!) as will @TunnelCreek (just in case there is any news) but you can also run searches on “#IDF10” (plus #IVI & #DigitalSignage) as great #Hashtags to not only track for IDF happenings in general, but also the Embedded-focused topics specifically.  Lastly, we do have an entire page of the IDF site devoted strictly to Embedded:


So, if you’re there - @Reply me & let’s see if we can meet face-to-face & grab a YFrog picture!  Let me know in the comments below what you are looking forward to the most (or what you would have liked to see).  See you in a week!

I’m sure that, if you’re involved with social media & your customer base is primarily engineers & the like, you’ve seen this story by my friend Karen Field:


It is a good article, well written & well researched.  You should take 6-minutes & read it yourself, but to “Tweet” the summary:


Engineers hate Twitter b/c it's mostly random/useless garbage ("I ate a burrito")
from people that have nothing better 2 do so #LittleValue


OK, I actually can’t argue with that at all.  On the surface, without modification, Twitter is literally as valuable as dirt.  HOWEVER, the catch phrase there was “without modification” which is similar to saying:


A hole in a mountain, without any work or tools, has #LittleValue


But, what if you had tools & had picked a good place to put that hole, say next to a rich vein of gold or diamonds or whatever?  And you had some folks willing to do a little work to get said gold or diamonds or whatever out of the ground & into your pockets? Then what do you call that hole? That’s right, a gold/diamond/whatever mine.  More specifically, what do you call a whole in the mountain that is next to a vein of diamonds BEFORE anyone realizes there is diamonds just 3 inches away? And Undiscovered Diamond Mine (UDM) & that, my friends is exactly what Twitter is for Engineers: A UDM (because we all know engineers ♥ acronyms).


Let’s break down the 3 ways in which Twitter will go from a UDM to an actual diamond mine:

  1. Twitter is all about Numbers
  2. Twitter has a fairly open & useful API
  3. Twitter can be fun, once you get used to it



Twitter is all about Numbers:


According to TechChrunch, Twitter is attracting roughly 200 Million unique visitors a month & well north of a Billion (with a Capital “B”) Tweets a month.  So far, big numbers, but so what? A Billion Paper Bags of Dog Poo still aren’t valuable.  Unless, of course, 2\% of the originating dogs are fed diamonds, then that means there are 20 Million bags containing diamonds & NOW that is worth something if you can get to it.  Fortunately for Twitter, the tools to separate the diamonds from the poo are pretty darn good.


However, let’s go about this the other way.  From the perspective of an “Engineer,” of the roughly 1 Billion people online, how many know something that an Engineer would care about?  Maybe 2\% or roughly 20 Million people? OK, but now how many different things can they tell you? Let’s pretend there are 10,000 “Engineering Knowledge Gems” (or EKGs), that they can tell you, such as what the “/g” flag means on a RegEx string (/g = global or all instances) or where can I get the latest CM6 release for HTC Hero?  Fortunately, we know that Engineers pride themselves on being smart so it is HIGHLY likely that any good engineer would probably know at least 100, like, in Windows 7, if you hold down the <win> key & press the Left or Right arrows, it is übereasy to put 2 different windows side-by-side for comparison purposes.  So, now you only need to follow a few hundred people to get all 10,000 EKGs (given statistical distributions) and that is a very accomplishable number.  Even better, if you are looking for a specific EKG, you can do a quick search in Twitter for it using:


For example, when is the official release of MeeGo coming?  As fast as you can type “MeeGo Release” you can find your answer: October (as said by my good friends @MeeGoExperts).  For the interactive part of this Blog, Go ahead & put your own query into Twitter Search.  Did you get what you were looking for?  If not, post it as a comment below & I’ll see what I can do to help.


Bottom Line: There are big numbers involved with Twitter & even if only 2\% use Twitter, or 400,000 from are assumed 20 Million that have anything worthwhile to say.  And, with things like #FollowFriday &, dialing the Signal-to-Noise ratio up to a useful level is VERY easy – especially for smart folks like Engineers :)



Twitter has a fairly open & useful API:


Personally, I believe one of the things that made Twitter so successful is they have tried from early on to make it very easy for people to work with them.  That would help to explain the almost STAGGERING LIST of Twitter Apps in existence today.  If you have ANY interest in all about the Twitter API, here is a great place to start:


When you are done reading all the documentations, you can go right in and get Twitter Libraries, from ActionScript/Flash to VB.NET & nearly everything in-between, including Java, PHP, & Ruby.  So, nearly whatever your language of choice, you can get started coding to get whatever it is you want out of Twitter.  Plus, there is a bunch of other ways that you can do a little “creative searching” to get other things, such as All Tweeps with “Engineer” in their Bio.  Specifically, if you are looking to find people with a “WXYZ” in their bio, use this Google search string:


intext:"Bio * WXYZ"


Right now, you just get back a big list of >229,000 folks (oddly similar to the answer above), so there is no measure of how popular they are, when their last Tweet was, or other attributes that might make them compelling to follow, but I’m sure a “Twitter Bio Search Tool” will be out by the end of the year because, quite frankly, it’s overdue!  Alternatively, maybe just “bio:WXYZ” will get added to Twitter’s official list of operators.  Regardless, if you want some more tricks like the above, then read this article.



Twitter can be fun, once you get used to it:


Let’s face it, we all have enough work to do.  Just having another way to get information is probably not compelling enough to make an Engineer to want to use it.  However, if we can give them something that makes their easier and is fun to do at the same, then we have a winner.  Unfortunately, at first glance, to most engineers, the “value” of Twitter is not overly apparent.  For example, here’s the current “Trending Topics” on Twitter:



I may not recognize them all, but the ones I do recognize, I don’t really care about.  So, if an Engineer wants to “check out” Twitter, the only thing seen is things over very little value to Engineers.  Fortunately, this is not the first time this has happened.  In the early 1990’s ≈80\% of the people on the “Inter-Net” (remember when it was written like that?) were men.  Why? Because for a lot of women that were, shall we say, “Geekly-Challenged,” the World Wide Web was all about geeky topics that held very little interest for them (but not our beloved #GeekGirls – they’ve been rocking the Web since Mosaic!).  Like a Redneck at the Opera or a Blueblood at NASCAR – they took one look around and left.  BUT, the Web grew.  Sites like “” came along specifically to give women a place to feel welcome, a place to talk about what they wanted to talk about, not the best packet length to optimize Fast Ethernet connections.  Now, by most reports I’ve seen, women are at least on parity with men & some studies suggest that women spend more time online then men.  But, one could argue, that never would have happened if the web continued to only have content that held little interest to most of them.


So, what is a disillusioned Engineer to do?  For now, start small.  Think of Twitter as just another RSS feed – but one that can be very timely.  Also, in the area of “who to follow” – really think about someone before you follow them.  Don’t follow people unless their last 20 Tweets were “mostly” interesting. 


Here’s the “Simple 6 Steps to Get Started with Twitter

  1. Sign-up with Twitter (one of the best things about Twitter, is you can change just about everything in your account down the road, from your TwID or handle to your Avatar, background, etc., so no “OMG, this name is for LIFE” fears)
  2. Get Adobe Air (needed for most Twitter Clients)
  3. Get a Twitter Client (I recommend Tweetdeck personally, but Seesmic is also popular & Mixero specifically cites that it is “Reducing the Noise”)
  4. Do a “search” for a topic through the Twitter Website like Linux or Android or WiMAX or PR2 Robot & look at a few people that are Tweeting by opening them up in new Tabs
  5. Just find 3-5 folks that seem to really talk about stuff you care about & follow them
  6. Your Twitter Client will automatically add them to your List


That’s it – in between meetings, during boring meetings, or when you just need a little mental break (like a Snickers but for your brain, not your stomach) – switch over to your Twitter Client & see what’s going on.  Of someone says some especially interest, go ahead & use the “ReTweet” or “RT” function to share that out – it literally takes 10 seconds to do:


(Screenshot from Mixero Twitter Client)


Time wise, just spend 15 minutes a day doing Tweeter – 10 minutes reading – 3 minutes “RTing” what you found interesting & 2 minutes trying to find just ONE new Tweep a day.  Do that for a week, and I’m sure you’ll have learned something new or at least made you laugh.  Does that sound like too much work? Here’s a list of folks that I can personally say “bring it” for the Geeky among us:


There – 10 great Tweeps for any Geek to follow.  If you have other suggestions – put them in the comments below because “sharing is caring” (rule #1 for social media) :D

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