What happened to RISC processors?

Yesterday I had a pretty nice conversation with a colleague at work about the NeXT computer and why it has been so revolutionary. Not many people know but HTML has been invented on such a NeXT workstation in the CERN research facility. It also has been the first web-server of the world wide web with a nice “don’t tun off” sticker that is common even today (at least in the company I work at there are some Mac Pro machines in the London office that are dedicated servers – of course we have server farms with tons of server-racks but, yea there are still the “don’t turn off” sticker servers around). So why has it been so far ahead of time? First there is the OS… a true multi-tasking OS with features like the dock (just recently copied by Microsoft in Windows 7 and an essential part of OS X). It was really impressive! Second is for sure the hardware that included a magneto-optical drive as a floppy disk replacement (similar to a portable hard-drive or CD-RW). At that time people had 5,25″ and 3,5″ drives that couldn’t compare to what the NeXT introduced.

Not sure why but I associate the NeXT with the time when RISC came up… although it never had a RISC processor (it ran on Motorola’s CISC 68030 and later the 68040 CPU) there have been plans to build a RISC based NeXT workstation: http://simson.net/ref/NeXT/nextworld/94.4/94.4.Apr.PA-RISC1.html Probably they would have released it at some point if Apple didn’t buy the them (Steve Jobs has been fired around 1984 from Apple and founded NeXT after that)

So what happened to the promising RISC technology? Well… it has been many years in Macs as the PowerPC G3, G4 and G5 processor. So Mac OS X (basically the successor of NeXTStep OS) ran on RISC for many years and is back now where it started, on a CISC processor but now built by Intel. Is the RISC-age really over now that PowerPC is history? The latest Mac OS X version doesn’t even work on PowerPC Macs. Not entirely sure if it’s over but devices like the Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console run an IBM Xenon CPU or the recently released Apple iPad with the A4 ARM CPU are all RISC.

There are voices that say that after multi-core the next thing will be to focus on RISC (again) to gain speed without toasting the CPU with clock-ranges above 3-4 GHz: http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=663085&seqNum=3

Goodbye Moto?

A Motorola has been my first cell phone around ’99 or 2000. It looked like the one on the picture above. It barely fit into the pocket of my jeans but it had WAP (wireless Internet if someone doesn’t remember – most WAP sites are still up BTW).  Since then I never bought a Motorola cell phone again but the company was pretty successful with their phones later and even kept up with Apple by releasing the Droid smart-phone.

Now I read that the company is being re-organized petty heavily and that parts have been sold to Nokia. Is this just a way of streamlining the business or the beginning of the end?

More: http://blogs.forbes.com/investor/2010/07/27/motorola-apple-and-a-touch-of-schadenfreude/


The surprising truth about what motivates us

So funny… I can confirm this 100%! People who earn too much money tend to behave like retards at work and people who really believe in something are the best performers and really make a difference.

BTW: I also contribute in community software projects (for free of course) – this my website: http://www.pazurmapping.com/

More: http://www.cognitivemedia.co.uk/

Author of the book about this topic: http://www.danpink.com/

HTC EVO vs iPhone4

Hilarious! 😀 The guy who made this video nearly lost his job at Best Buy although he didn’t say anything about it in his video.

Personally I don’t like Google Android (that the HTC EVO runs for example) but I think it will continue to grow market-share as phone makers just need some fancy OS on their smart-phones or tablet computers. I think Google will discontinue their Nexus One bullshit thingy at some point. They already closed the online-ordering site for it. What should I say about the iPhone? For me the iPhone is still the coolest smart-phone ever built and as with all other Apple hardware or software (like the Mac and Mac OS) it was clear that some competitor will copy them one day and try to take away their business. It’s pretty weird it’s Google though. I don’t think Microsoft is really out of the game either… Windows Mobile is still a great mobile OS and the new Windows Phone 7 just looks cool. Where is Yahoo! in this mobile game BTW? Well, Yahoo! does now Apps for both platforms:


Games for Windows

I always thought that the “Games for Windows” badge is some compatibility badge that games get when they run well on Windows machines but it turns out that Microsoft tries to market their Xbox 360 controller with it! Grand Theft Auto IV doesn’t work with my Speedlink Striker 2 gamepad… it needs this Microsoft Xbox 360 controller for Windows although Grand Theft Auto Vice City works with it. I noticed the same with Star Wars Force Unleashed. IMHO this Xbox controller is absolutely ugly!

More: http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-us/aboutgfw/pages/gamesforwindows.aspx

Apparently there is a workaround to play with the gamepad I have (It’s a Speedlink Strike 2 – see picture below – is basically a PS3 gamepad that looks much better than the Xbox 360 gamepad)

A software called Xpadder can simulate the gamepad by using keyboard mappings and works according to their support with GTA IV: http://xpadder.com/forum4/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=1812

What does Xpadder let you do?
– Play PC games with poor or no gamepad support
– Add gamepad support to emulated, internet and DOS games
– Play multiplayer games with each player using a gamepad
– Control video/music players using their shortcut keys
– Use a gamepad with a browser or any Windows program

Download: http://xpadder.com/ – it’s 10$ so pretty affordable

Russian spies

Modern Russian spies are active on social networks like Facebook or Linkedin. Anna Chapman, one of the accused Russian spies even uploaded videos on YouTube.

Facebook deleted Anna Chapman’s profile pretty fast but Linkedin left it till this weekend. I even sent Anna a “friend invite” on Linkedin with the words: I like James Bond movies. Please add me. 😀 Now also Linkedin deleted her profile. Probably on the request of MI5 or FBI/CIA.

From all the Russian spies who have been caught Anna is the most fascinating one. She could be straight from a James Bond movie! Her father was a KGB agent and she is as well (but for the successor organization SWR). How cute!