Carl Reiner takes on Intel jargoneers

There's a long history of hiring funny people such as John Cleese or Douglas Adams to spice up technology conferences that otherwise are pretty heavy going. Intel took its turn Monday, luring actor, comedian, director and author Carl Reiner to the stage for the launch of its first dual-core Xeon processor, code-named Paxville.

Carl Reiner
Credit: Stephen Shankland
Carl Reiner offers cash to those who'll
turn on their cell phones during
an Intel Xeon launch event.

It wasn't a random selection. Reiner directed "The Man With Two Brains," a comedy in which Steve Martin plays brain surgeon Michael Hfuhruhurr. And the new dual-core Xeon, with two processing engines on a single slice of silicon, is in a sense a chip with two brains.

Reiner poked fun at the dense thickets of technical jargon that laced Intel's news release.

"I'm 83 years old. Rock music I understand. Rap music I'm just about to understand. But you guys I will never understand," Reiner said. "What were you as kids?"

He also read an excerpt from Intel's news release: "The new dual-core Intel Xeon processors are expected to help improve the performance of today's dual-processor, 64-bit servers by up to 50 percent." Reiner's take: "When I saw that, I was so excited! I thought at most it would be 25 percent."

And after 60 minutes of PowerPoint presentations about front-side bus speeds and input-output acceleration technology, Reiner said he had none of the usual worries a comedian has with a follow-up act: "If I can't top what happened in the last hour...there wasn't one iota of humor!" Reiner said.

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