Wi-Fi Light Bulbs to run the Open Source Contiki OS

The open source Contiki operating system and its commercial Thingsquare distribution are making strides towards the connected home. According to a Computerworld article, a new LED light bulb manufacturer is putting small computers into their light bulbs. Each computer runs the Contiki OS, which gives each bulb an IP address and allows them to be controlled with a smartphone application. To connect the bulbs to the application, the bulbs use both Wi-Fi and the much lower power IEEE 802.15.4 mesh technology.

OpenVMS taken out back, single gunshot heard

"HP has announced the end of support for OpenVMS, the ancient but trustworthy server operating system whose creator went on to build Windows NT. OpenVMS started out as VAX/VMS on Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX minicomputers, then later was ported to DEC's fast Alpha RISC chips – before the Compaq acquisition of Digital led to their untimely demise. HP ported the software to the Itanium, but HP isn't going to bother moving to the last generation of IA64 and support will finally end in 2015." The article seems to have confused the end of support of VMS (which projected to happen some time after December 2020) with the end of IA64 sales for machines that support VMS and/or the end of support of the Alpha version of the operating system, but it seems either way that the venerable operating system is on its way to meeting the same fate as MPE.

Windows Red: a serious plan to fix Windows 8

First looks at Windows 'Blue' have revealed an upgrade composed of cosmetic fixes, suggesting that Microsoft may be blowing its chance to turn the tide on Windows 8 blow back, and make good on its promise to truly 'rethink' Windows 8 with the release of Windows Blue. As a result, InfoWorld has issued an open letter to Microsoft to consider Windows 'Red' -- what InfoWorld is calling a 'serious plan' to fix the flaws of Windows 8, one that could rescue Microsoft's currently flagging promise to deliver a modern computing experience on both PCs and tablets.

AIDE v2 adds C/C++ support

Appfour added, among other features, C/C++ support to its new version of AIDE. From Android-IDE, "Now you can write parts of your app or your whole app in C/C++ on your device. AIDE supports the Standard Android NDK toolchain (GCC 4.6 + Bionic, STL, ...). No changes are necessary if you want to build an app developed on a PC with Eclipse. C/C++ development is fully integrated: Build errors appear in the error list and files can easily be navigated to with Go to file. The editor supports C/C++ syntax highlighting."

A journey through the CPU pipeline

"It is good for programmers to understand what goes on inside a processor. The CPU is at the heart of our career. What goes on inside the CPU? How long does it take for one instruction to run? What does it mean when a new CPU has a 12-stage pipeline, or 18-stage pipeline, or even a 'deep' 31-stage pipeline? Programs generally treat the CPU as a black box. Instructions go into the box in order, instructions come out of the box in order, and some processing magic happens inside. As a programmer, it is useful to learn what happens inside the box. This is especially true if you will be working on tasks like program optimization. If you don't know what is going on inside the CPU, how can you optimize for it? This article is about what goes on inside the x86 processor's deep pipeline."

A perspective: developers vs. Microsoft

"Most people understand that Windows is used by a variety of people who have a variety of needs, ranging from corporate server to workstation to POS terminals to home PC and beyond. Most people accept that whenever Microsoft updates Windows, it has to balance the competing requirements to find some kind of workable compromise. There is however another set of competing requirements that many do not really register, even those that call themselves power users or are IT admins. It is a conflict between developers/programmers and Microsoft itself."

Linux 3.9 Released

After ten weeks of development Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux kernel 3.9. The latest version of the kernel now has a device mapper target which allows a user to setup an SSD as a cache for hard disks to boost disk performance under load. There's also kernel support for multiple processes waiting for requests on the same port, a feature which will allow it to distribute server work better across multiple CPU cores. KVM virtualisation is now available on ARM processors and RAID 5 and 6 support has been added to Btrfs's existing RAID 0 and 1 handling. Linux 3.9 also has a number of new and improved drivers which means the kernel now supports the graphics cores in AMD's next generation of APUs and also works with the high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips which will likely appear in Intel's next mobile platform. Read more about new features in What's new in Linux 3.9.

LWJGL 2.9.0 released

The Lightweight Java Game Library provides a simple API to OpenGL, OpenAL, OpenCL and Game Controllers enabling the production of state of the art games for Windows, Linux and Mac. Version 2.9.0 contains a complete rewrite of the mac backend, support for FreeBSD, new OpenGL/OpenCL extension and bug fixes. The library is used by many high profile games such as Minecraft, Spiral Knights, Revenge of the Titans, Project Zomboid, Starsector, JMonkeyEngine, etc.

Haiku gets ASLR and DEP

"Starting with hrev45522, address space layout randomization (ASLR) and data execution prevention (DEP) are available in Haiku. These two features, which have actually become a standard in any modern OS, make it much harder to exploit any vulnerability that may be present in an application running on Haiku, thus generally improving system security."

Apple’s broken promise: why doesn’t iCloud ‘just work’?

Via The Verge: "iCloud, perhaps more than any Apple software product, is meant to 'just work'. When Apple introduced iCloud, it made clear its hopes to eradicate settings menus and file systems in favor of automation. Steve Jobs pledged to do a better job than he did on MobileMe, Apple's notoriously horrible stab at web services a few years ago. With iCloud, changes you make to documents on your computer show up instantly on your iPhone and vice versa. 'It just works,' Jobs exclaimed when he first demoed the service in 2011, 'Everything happens automatically'." Except, it doesn't. Not for non-trivial data requirements where you want to use Core Data.

Apple in crosshairs of Chinese government smear campaign?

Every year on World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), government-controlled China Central Television (CCTV) broadcasts a special report (in Chinese) damning companies for abusing Chinese consumers. This year the targets included Apple. Apple was accused of giving Chinese consumers worse service than customers in other countries, specifically of giving them replacements that included cases from their old phone, while customers in the UK would get a 100% new product.