In case anyone is wondering why the new look and feel for Windows 8, I have a few bits of interesting information you might want to consider while pondering this question. Aside from the obvious which is just to provide something new to the masses to make their operating system look like it’s evolving here are some very real factors that might have played a part in their design decision.
ARM is becoming a significant if not dominant computing platform in the world today as many manufacturers have signed up to create ARM based platforms. So in case you’re not up on the technology yet here are a few key points.
First of all ARM is not a single chip or chipset. It’s actually a hardware architecture which puts RISC at the center of the technology. RISC and CISC have long been competing hardware processing unit design philosophies. The principle behind RISC is to create processing units that have very simple instruction sets so that software can be designed as efficiently as possible by optimizing and balancing mathematical operations with memory access operations. At the very core of software development mathematical and memory fetch operations are really the only things that a processing unit is concerned about.
What is the current adoption rate of RISC in the hardware manufacturing market and who are the drivers of this technology? Well interestingly enough, although RISC and the Adavnced RISC Machine (ARM) architecture have been around since the 1980s, a very significant driving force behind RISC today is IBM. You’ll see these three initials pop up in one RISC based project after another since they first conceived of the PowerPC architecture.
I know everyone equates PowerPC with Apple who was actually one of the principal partners in driving this technology with the Apple PowerPC line of computers. Also, at the time Apple was always associated with Motorola who was the CPU manufacturer favored by Apple at the time. However it was IBM that assisted Apple and Motorola to create a new platform to rival the existing dominant Microsoft and Intel alliance. Those of you who remember the original feud between Microsoft, Intel and IBM will recall the PS/2 architecture which failed just years before the first PowerPCs hit the market. The PowerPC was actually the result of an alliance between Apple, IBM and Motorola known as AIM.
The reason I mention RISC technology is that I’ve just discovered that the power behind the XBox 360 is a triple core power house using three 3.2Ghz PowerPC cores. So if anyone is wondering what happened to the PowerPC well it’s still alive and well! Also, as a side note you might be interested in knowing that the Playstation 3 also uses RISC technology with a slightly different configuration. The PS3 uses a RISC based technology they’ve called, “Cell” which was the result of another IBM alliance between Sony, Toshiba and IBM known as “STI”.
So, keeping all of this in mind, it seems like little more than a coincidence that the same user interface look and feel that Microsoft has baked into the XBox 360 and Windows Mobile 7 is now finding it’s way back into the main desktop user interface in the form of the Metro UI in the Microsoft Windows 8. It seems like a statement to me that Microsoft recognizes the dominance of the once underdog technology RISC and are preparing themselves for mobile finally!
As a follow up to my posts about Google’s self-driving cars project I wanted to bring attention to this news article regarding a new billion dollar venture to create a city in the middle of America for testing automation technologies.
The point of the town is to enable researchers to test new technologies on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. For instance, while some researchers will be testing smart technologies on old grids, others might be using the streets to test self-driving cars.
Read more here: Hobbs, NM, picked as site of scientific ghost town
As a follow up to a previous posting regarding some of the cutting edge projects going on at Google these days, I am very excited to share with you this latest news piece covering the progress on the Google self-driving car project. Las Vegas, NV has become the first public test bed for the Google self-driving car.
LAS VEGAS — Nevada drivers could soon be sharing the road with vehicles that don’t need them.
Department of Motor Vehicles officials said Monday they’ve issued Google the nation’s first license to test self-driving cars on public streets, after conducting demonstrations on the Las Vegas Strip and in Carson City that show the car is as safe — or perhaps safer — than a human.
Read the rest on New York Daily News, “Google’s self-driving cars get license for test drive in Nevada“.
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A little known secret is that I’m a staunch Microsoft fan. That’s not to say that I have tunnel vision when it comes to the technology industry. I know there are other big players in today’s market and I don’t discount any of them but I’ve been developing Windows software for over 15 years now and so I have my reasons to be in the Microsoft camp, not the least of which is that I’ve seen them slowly roll over, mow down and out spend every competitor that has come up against them so although they may be ruthless to some degree, I’ve also witnessed how much they do for their own community.
Honestly, I can’t think of any other billion dollar company in corporate America today that has done more for others (while helping themselves obviously) than Microsoft. It’s this sense of community that makes Microsoft a company you can get behind. I also see this same strategy being employed by Google which gives me the sense that they are one of a kind even if they compete with each other to some degree they really have very different beginnings and their ecosystems are slightly offset.
Microsoft has always been and continues to be the king of desktop operating systems while Google has now claimed it’s roll as the center of the Internet for information and now social media with their Google+ service. Also, on a side note, I think it’s appropriate that Regina Dugan has joined the Google team. In case you missed this news, Regina Dugan is the former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which is the agency responsible for the Internet technology we not only enjoy but upon which we are dependent. Although she only served as the director of DARPA for three years, it’s obvious she must’ve have seen something in the future of Google to give up her position as the director. Perhaps it was just a bigger paycheck, but still you don’t spend all those years in the defense industry to move to the directorship of the nation’s leading research agency in defense and then move on without a good reason.
From what little I know about Regina I believe the reason must’ve have been her interest in robotics (which by the way is also an interest of mine). Have you heard about this “self-driving” car project Google started in 2010. The plan is to create a car which can navigates street on it’s own (ala Demolition Man or Minority Report) in order to make the streets safer and cut down on traffic accidents. You won’t hear something like that coming out of Apple. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that dig). Anyway, here’s the latest from Google on their self-driving car project. This video was just posted March, 2012.
So, back to my point which was simply that I ran across this article on the Internet which highlights the big win for Microsoft in the mobile market with the first time a phone Window Mobile phone has been universally accepted by reviewers with few if any complaints. That’s according to the author though I’m pretty sure the AT&T Title was very popular in it’s day about five years ago. What phone was that anyway? Well it is the highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 900. That’s great news for all of us Windows developers waiting to get back in the driver’s seat! If you’re interested in reading more about the reviews of the new Windows Mobile phone you can read about it on Paul Thurrot’s Supersite for Windows, “WinInfo Short Takes, April 6, 2012“.
The reason I was so excited to read this was aside from confirming my suspicion that Microsoft is going to be coming out of the gates in the next few years, I found a great new resource for a pro-Microsoft journalist. I’m getting a headache listening to everyone talk about how profitable Apple is, and not being able to say anything about it. Of course those of us who are developers and actually understand the technology and the market, know that Apple’s days are numbered. So in closing I just wanted to refer you to this great site I found for qualified Microsoft news and information. Click here for Paul Thurrott’s Supersite.
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If you’re still saving up for that XBox 360 or just can’t justify the cost of a $300 game system you might be happy to learn that Microsoft is planning on launching a new promotion which will include an XBox 360 4GB system for $99. Apparently this will come with a bundle that includes a $15/mo. subscription to XBox Live Gold.
Read more about it on Geek-O-System, “Report: Microsoft Planning To Launch $99 Xbox With Subscription Plan“
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As one reporter writes,
“Not many people watch TV live anymore, and that’s not necessarily a problem.”
Indeed that’s not a bad thing for Microsoft and “The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator”. This is a leading edge comic book concept which brings the power of web technologies such as HTML 5.0 together with an innovative new comic book design which uses “crowd sourcing” to add value to the usual comic book experience.
Since the Internet is all about free promotion and the power of masses of interested participants this seems like it could be the latest hit in a series of new ideas springing to life on the Internet as more and more companies are embracing targeted viewer ship and larger than life “special interest groups”.
That’s just my opinion, but have a look for yourself. Read the original interview with Edgar Wright the comic book author contracted to create this original Internet based comic book.
5 Minutes on The Verge: Edgar Wright
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Here’s an exciting new project from IBM that could generate renewed interest in batter powered vehicles. If successful, it seems like this technology could lead to cheaper and more environmentally friendly solutions for generating power for homes as well, though I’m probably getting ahead of myself by saying thing. Check it out and you be the judge!
How it works: During discharge (driving), oxygen from the air reacts with lithium ions, forming lithium peroxide on a carbon matrix. Upon recharge, the oxygen is given back to the atmosphere and the lithium goes back onto the anode.
Read more on the IBM site, “The Battery 500 Project”.
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Will Apple’s growth continue in China? Or won’t it?
This is a very interesting thread on the future of Apple in one of the fasting growing mobile phone markets (still) in the world. If I may quote myself here as saying the following,
I hate to beat a dead horse here, but I also have to point out that Apple is in last place when it comes to “Cloud” technologies which is another upcoming technology that should spur on innovation in mobile phone software development.
I think the investors today don’t understand how critical software development is to any hardware platform these days. Google is far superior to Apple when it comes to fostering the development community for so many reasons, not the least of which is the barrier to entry. The cost to develop for Google which includes the Google Marketplace, Google Apps and Android is practically zero.
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