Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Jan 2013 23:06 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless And so, today, RIM announced its Hail Mary - a brand new mobile operating system (well, sort-of new), as well as two new devices. In addition, the Canadian company also officially changed its name from Research In Motion to Blackberry. The first few reviews of Blackberry 10 are already out, and it's not bad. The problem, however, is that in the case of Blackberry, 'not bad' could easily mean 'not good enough'.
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RE[5]: Wishy Washy What?
by Neolander on Fri 1st Feb 2013 19:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Wishy Washy What?"
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I can confirm this, but the amount of things they are allowed to do is much more robust.

There are various types of background tasks that fire when a predefined trigger condition is met. Things like "User logs on", "User obtains internet", "AC power is plugged in" And other things like periodic updates as often as 15 minutes.

You can also do background audio and background file upload/downloading and executing a background task when receiving a push notification.

If you need to keep an underlying socket connection awake in the background, you can have up to 7 apps which do this in the background and provide real time communication.


I don't disagree that there is much to do here. I think its a significant step forward for Windows 8, but it's far from ideal for a variety of scenarios.

Looking forward, I'm sure WinRT will be improved to support a wider range of situations in which background processing is useful.

I'm sure there will always be corner cases that are missed, but I think this addresses a decent number of use cases.

Is there also support for "pure" background processing tasks, such as computing a 3D render or encoding a video ? OSs that go the whitelisting route often have issues with this basic scenario, and it is certainly annoying to have to keep staring at a progress bar out of fear that if you hide a productivity application, it will stop doing its job.

Microsoft cedes control to the developer because they know best what they'd like to save. Sometimes it isn't necessary to save the entire state of an app if you just need to save a few select values within your UI.

Maybe I just need to save the current page, and the value of a single scrollbar.

That is true, but it is to be expected that not every developer will bother to go through his whole codebase, looking for every bit of state which he can find, deciding what to save and what not to save, and then centralizing pointers to everything in one place and serializing everything.

In the event when someone would not do that, the OS should provide a reasonably graceful fallback, such as swapping the application's address space out when RAM gets full, and waiting until both RAM and swap space are full before starting to kill off stuff to free up space.

Microsoft takes very seriously the speed to suspend and resume. I think if it takes more than a few seconds on a low power PC you fail certification.

Developers are forced to be mindful of what they save, when they save it.

It seems strange to put strong constraints on suspend times, since it is not something which users actually experience. Sometimes, saving more data right now allows one to resume more quickly later, especially when that data is very expensive to regenerate (typical example being a heavy webpage loaded over an EDGE network connection).

Personally in my own apps I do a progressive save in which I take advantage of idle CPU time to periodically save non volatile state to the disk. It reduces the amount I need to save at a later time.

Then again, if there were no restrictions on suspend times, you could achieve a similar effect in a simpler way by having the "suspending" thread run at a low priority, both from a CPU and I/O scheduling point of view.

The way you do it reminds me of how I'm basically reinventing pre-emptive multitasking on a work project, because the programming environment that we use has a mostly synchronous API coupled with a totally brain-dead multithreading implementation.

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