Ubuntu Edge – It’s the future, today.

A mobile device as powerful as a PC connected to a screen, keyboard and mouse for office work and touch input for the usage on the go is a concept I would have rather expected  from Microsoft but those guys seem to be too busy with cleaning up the mess of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 that are not compatible among each other. Instead the idea comes from Canonical, the makers of the great Ubuntu Linux operating system.

To build this device Canonical will need $32M for that kind of hardware. Especially in times of absolute government surveillance it’s more important then ever to support open and trusted infrastructures.

Please join me in supporting the campaign for funding the Ubuntu Edge device (I went for the 20$ perk just to support it): http://igg.me/at/ubuntuedge/x/4043517

If you want to invest more and can afford to spend even 800$ for this device I would like to encourage everyone to do so.

Make it happen! It’s the future, today.

Edit: Too bad the crowdfunding campaign didn’t reach the goal. It seems it’s too early for this kind of technology.

The future of the PC

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The machine on the photo above is my current PC. An AMD FX-6300@4,5GHz with 16GB RAM, Radeon HD 6870, Samsung 128GB 840 SSD, 1TB HDD and a case with 5x 120mm fans… but this desktop computer running Windows 7, built for optimal gaming performance and value, is a dinosaur. The desktop PC era is coming to an end and the big players in the PC world understood it. The Home Personal Computer that had a specific immobile place in your apartment or house is dead. Most people use notebooks, tablets, smart phones or video game consoles for media and content consumption as well as social actives. Microsoft made the bold move with Windows 8 and hardware makers along with chip makers like Intel and AMD try to adapt to the new situation. CPUs tend to become System-On-Chips integrating  GPUs even in the x86 world as they would try to copy ARM, the dominant architecture for mobile chips. For home consumers I think the Windows x86 PC will survive as a hybrid tablet and Microsoft did a good job so far in initiating this transition. They killed the desktop user interface along with the task bar and the start button and adapted Windows to work with a touch interface. Not many people know but Microsoft was behind the design of most first generation Windows 8 Tablet hardware along with releasing their own reference device, the Surface RT and Surface Pro (more info: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57561849-75/how-microsoft-became-a-control-freak-with-tablet-makers/).

The big question is if corporations will adapt to Windows 8. I talked with the IT support folks in my company and none of them can imagine using Windows 8 in the corporate environment. There is also a funny video about an admin reacting to Windows 8 on YouTube:

Everyone who is into content creation, will it be image or video/audio editing, print layout (aka DTP), web design or programming, won’t give up a mouse and a desktop user interface designed for it. No matter if on a Windows 7 PC, Linux PC, or Mac Pro or even a Notebook/Ultrabook or MacBook Pro/iMac/Mac mini. All of them are designed to be used with a track-pad or mouse. OK, it’s possible to do some nice content creation with touch and there are some cool Apps but I feel they are still toys compared to the mature software packages used on desktop machines. Also the classic office application suite is difficult to use on touch and you need also a wireless printer even though I reckon Microsoft did a good job with Office 2013. For typing a physical keyboard is a must but most Windows 8 tablets are hybrids anyway. It’s understandable why Microsoft want’s to keep this exclusive to Windows 8 and is not releasing an iOS Office version (more: http://www.zdnet.com/why-ballmer-doesnt-want-office-on-the-ipad-7000010566/). So the problem of Windows 8 is the hardware but it’s about innovative corporate hardware!

The following article by a professional analyst comes to the same conclusion more or less: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9236658/If_the_PC_dies_Windows_8_will_be_its_killer_says_analyst

So far I didn’t see many corporate hardware concepts for Windows 8 that are compelling enough but the ones that are our there come surprisingly from Dell (yes, the company that went private lately). It seems that most hardware makers like Lenovo with the Yoga 13 forgot to release a docking station. In my option an essential piece of hardware making life easier in a corporate environment is a docking station (or do you want to plug in your keyboard, mouse, wired network and monitor each time?). Windows 8 has multi-monitor support so such a configuration can work pretty well in my option (more: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/21/enhancing-windows-8-for-multiple-monitors.aspx).

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Another concept that makes sense is a kind of stand for the tablet that connects keyboard and mouse wireless.

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Of course you could tilt a touch PC like this Dell and use it in a kind of Star Trek Geordi La Forge manner by typing and touching the interface.

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My advice to Microsoft would be to release a set of Windows 8 (or Windows Blue by that time) reference devices similar to the Surface Pro especially optimized for the office corporate environment and content creation. The Surface Pro is a good start but more has to follow and most importantly those devices have to prove they improve efficiency similar to what is shown on the video below.

Another amazingly bad console game PC port

The Amazing Spider-Man game is absoutely great … but someone didn’t spend enough time on the quality assurance after the game has been released it seems. It stutters on AMD graphic cards with recent drivers. I’m not entiery sure if it’s maybe not the fault of AMD who didn’t add an optimzed profile for the game but you can easliy fix it by fooling the game in thinking you have an Nvidia graphics card! Check out a detailed instruction here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/212580/discussions/0/828925849355197850/#c828925849477117777

The problem with this workaround is that you have to delete the fake dll file each time and add it after running the launcher in the folder so I hope AMD or Beenox is going to fix it in a driver update of patch!

Also the developers didn’t add any proper anti-alias or it simply fails to work especially on indoor parts of the game. On a console it’s not that importat as you sit far away from your TV set but PC monitors are usually relatively close to your eyes. Turning on morphological anti-alias (http://sites.amd.com/us/game/technology/Pages/morphological-aa.aspx) helps a bit but not much. I guess you can really fix that it by using down-sampling anti-alias tools like this SSAA-Tool: http://www.tommti-systems.de/start.html

Tom Clancy’s EndWar

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Last year I got an Amazon.co.uk gift certificate from my company (I think it was for Christmas). After I found out that I can only redeem it on Amazon.co.uk and not on Amazon.de I left it for a while. Now I ordered a DVD for my wife and Tom Clancy’s EndWar for me 😀 The game arrived yesterday so it will be the first game on my new AMD Phenom II machine. I’m very curious and will post more soon. The voice recognition in the game must be very cool. I know, I know… I post about real military hardware and games lately. Sorry about that. 🙂

More Info about the game: http://endwargame.us.ubi.com/

Edit: I had only a few hours to test but the voice recognition is really a lot of fun! The focus on one unit is something new for me but you can just call other units via voice and let the engage in combat. Nice!

My “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” ad !

So finally here it is. My “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” ad 😀

Acer PREDATOR vs. Mac Mini

Intel Core 2 Quad 3.0GHz vs. 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

BTW: I don’t speak Taiwanese or whatever the language is and I don’t own an Acer Gamer PC. I just thought it might be a nice contrast! … but hell, this ACER is really a great machine. I really love the design:

Another funny “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” ad (probably more funny than mine):


Microsoft going crazy with “I’m a PC” campaign

After the epic fail of the Gates & Seinfeld ads Microsoft is going crazy. Now they ask users to make the “I’m a PC” ads. Outch! Did the “I’m a Mac I’m a PC” ad hurt so much? Wake up!

Info about the UGC (User Generated Content) campaign of Microsoft:
http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/10/microsoft-asks.html

So this is the original that hurt Microsoft so much:

Microsoft then launched this weirdo campaign that totally failed!

Linux users got also affected. The South Park version claimed that you can’t run games and office applications on Linux… imagine how pissed Linux fans get. Pahh!

I think that the PC doesn’t really need any special ads, but I like the HP “Personal Again” campaign FTW.

So why do I think the PC doesn’t need any special ads:

– There are tons of Applications. Remember? Developers, Developers?… yea. That guy was right.
– PC Hardware is affordable. You get simply more computing power for the same price.
– Games, yea… this is where Apple really missed the train! All the good stuff comes out for the PC.

… but I really started to think my own UGC – “I’m a PC” ad 😀 Let’s see. I need now free animation software. What about Synfig Studio? http://synfig.org/