Author Archive | Patrick Moorhead

Your Questions, AMD’s Answers

Technologizer;s Q&A[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Here’s the inaugural edition of a new feature: Technologizer Q&A. We’ll give you the opportunity to pose questions to interesting technology companies. First up is chipmaker AMD–many thanks to VP of Advanced Marketing Pat Moorhead for answering these queries.

Got nominations for other companies you’d like answers from? Let me know–I’m lining up subjects for future installments.]

Fernando Garcia asks:

I have always asked the following question. Why is it that AMD will not step up advertising? A good 70% of the consumer public,still does not know what AMD is. I used to work for Best Buy and on the average day, one out of eight persons I would speak to knew what AMD was. Whenever I asked a customer  about processors automatically they would say Intel.

Pat answers:

Simply taking out more advertising does not guarantee a product’s success. I think the best way to answer that is AMD chooses to focus differently. We first focus on making our customers and their channel partners successful by investing in them, not leveraging off their brandsby sandwiching them between AMD logos. We want to invest in our customers’ success. For those people who are specifically focused on the “processor,” we have very high awareness and market directly to end user groups. These include but are not limited to enthusiasts, gamers, DIYers, Fortune 1000 and government decision makers, etc.

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How Bright Do You Keep Your Notebook Screen?

(Here’s another guest post by Pat Moorhead, Vice President of Advanced Marketing at AMD. Pat’s postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. You can find Pat at Twitter as @PatrickMoorhead.)

The current defacto standard used by PC makers to measure notebook battery life is MobileMark 2007 (MMO7). This piece takes a look at the basic facts behind the notebook brightness settings recommended by MM07, comparing that to some typical home electronics devices and the average settings some consumers are using for their notebook displays.

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Facebook 1.5 for BlackBerry: A More Integrated Experience

facebooklogoI got real excited when I heard about the new Facebook application 1.5 for BlackBerry phones, thinking it would provide the same functionality as is delivered on my iPod Touch or my wife’s iPhone. Question is, does it even come close to the iPhone interface, or does it leverage the strength of the BlackBerry?

I instantly appreciated the following improvements on my BlackBerry Bold:

  • Viewing comments on someone’s status.  Hard to imagine, but no, you couldn’t do that before on a BlackBerry.
  • Commenting on a status update and commenting on those comments.
  • Connecting your Facebook contacts to your BlackBerry’s contacts.  Here is where it gets really interesting.  While in Facebook 1.5, you choose a contact and it gives you the option choose to “Connect to BlackBerry Contact”.  You then get the chance to “Select Contact” from your BlackBerry address or create a “New Contact”.  If the person already in your BlackBerry address book it marks that contact as a Facebook contact then places the avatar picture in the BlackBerry address book.  If it’s a new contact and you choose “New Contact”, it creates a new one in the BlackBerry address book.  In either case, if you don’t have the person’s phone number, it will send a message asking them for it.
  • Connecting your Facebook messages to the BlackBerry’s inbox. Message integration is easy to explain… you see Facebook messages in the BlackBerry’s universal inbox with a Facebook icon to let you know it’s from Facebook.  You can also go into BlackBerry messages and select “Facebook”, to send a message over FaceBook.  I can also go into my BlackBerry address book, choose a friend on FaceBook, then either send that person a message, write on his or her wall, or poke him or her.  This leverages the BlackBerry’s universal inbox and address book.
  • Connecting your FaceBook calendar to BlackBerry’s.  I did not try out the calendar function as I don’t use that in Facebook.  I did go into the BlackBerry calendar and it would allow me to pick “Send using FaceBook.”

So the new FaceBook 1.5 BlackBerry application does leverage BlackBerry’s strengths.  This is impressive to me as I believe for my uses, BlackBerry has a superior universal inbox, calendar, and address book.  But I still want some of the items available on the iPhone, such as the application bar and the ability to easily view photos, links,  the live feed, notes, and other apps.  I can’t have it all!

If you have a BlackBerry and want to give the new Facebook a spin, try it out here. Here are a few images of it in action:






Why Your Notebook Battery Life Never Quite Seems Equal to the Claims

[A NOTE FROM HARRY: Please welcome Patrick Moorhead of AMD to Technologizer’s roster of contributors. He’ll be writing both topics relating to his day job and others that simply stem from his experiences as a gadget enthusiast.]

Do you ever feel like the actual battery life on your notebook never quite equals the information that appears in promotional material? For example, you may see “up to five hours,” but actually get about half that.  Well, you aren’t alone.  I hear it all the time, and if you do a quick Twitter search on the topic, you’ll see lots of discussion.

I can assure you that no devious plot exists to mislead you. It really comes down to a few simple factors.

#1: Measurements are best case: Like a car’s “highway miles per gallon” which gauges the best case (cruising at a sustained speed for an extended period without stop-and-go driving), notebook battery life is typically based on MobileMark 2007. This benchmark primarily measures battery life while the notebook is doing nothing–not even wirelessly connecting to the Internet. A “city-driving” equivalent of notebook battery life doesn’t exist…yet.

#2: Different strokes for different folks: We all use notebooks differently, and therefore will see different battery durations.  Some watch HD web videos on YouTube, some may just do email, and some play more games than others. all of which will mean varying battery life.  You can see this data from AMD here that shows the phenomenon.  (Disclosure: I work for AMD) This also shows that battery life varies depending on the combination of components inside a machine.

#3: Battery life varies over time: The longer you own your notebook, use it, charge, and recharge, over and over again, the more the battery loses its effectiveness.  So theoretically, your longest battery life will be on the first day you crack open the packaging.  See all the people selling new batteries for old notebooks?  Some even say that battery life is variable with heat.

So what should you do?

  • Grade battery life on a curve–let’s say, 60% of the claimed performance. If the label says 10 hours, my guess is it’s probably only about 6 hours in real use.
  • Ask your retailer and systems providers to provide the “city miles per gallon,” or, using the tried and tested cellphone analogy, “talk-time.” They all have Web sites–and when all else fails, you can ask them over Twitter.

I may have not added back 40% of your battery life, but hopefully you know why you only get 60% of it!

Pat Moorhead is Vice President of Advanced Marketing at AMD. You can find him on his AMD blog, Twitter, FriendFeed, and LinkedIn. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.