Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | August 9, 2012 - 07:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Qt, nokia, Digia
Ars Technica reports 125 employees at Nokia will move to Digia in a deal to relocate the open toolkit, Qt, away from the cellphone manufacturer. The deal reassures developers of software -- especially open sourced software -- their toolkit will continue to be maintained. Qt is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Symbian and MeeGo with other platforms such as Android and iOS planned for support.
I have a special place in my heart for Qt because of a couple of programming projects I have worked on. Finding a good cross-platform interface framework is more difficult than you would think. One project required developing a text-style editor for both Windows and Linux. Qt provided classes for dockable windows and panels, Webkit browser support, and just about anything else I could need.
It really was a cute framework – literally, that is how you pronounce it.
I was one of the first to get a little tenseness in my gut when Nokia started to partner with Microsoft and their Windows Phone platforms. Nokia was slowly distancing themselves from the framework they owned at the time. The Linux and other open source communities were getting quite involved with Qt due to how closely it is tied with KDE. Microsoft is embracing open source communities more than they have been but I would hesitate to trust them that much.
GTK+ is basically the viable alternative to Qt.
So developer framework choice could very well have been between The Gimp and a gimp.
There has been no word on the finances of the transaction.
It is still yet to be seen whether Digia will be a good owner of the framework. Certainly the most recent analogy was the purchase of Java along with the rest of Sun and its assets to Oracle. That certainly did not end up as the best of situations for the end-users of the platform.
Thankfully the framework is published under the GPL along with their commercial license. Should GPL-compatible applications require the framework they would be able to fork from whatever the latest supported GPL release would be and continue on from that point.
Software which uses Qt in a way which is not GPL-compatible still has a few worries going forth. Digia appears to be have some level of trust by the community. We will need to stay tuned to see.
Introduction and Design
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2012 - 03:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Siggraph, opengl, OpenGL ES, OpenGL 4.3, OpenGL ES 3.0
OpenGL turned 20 as of the start of this year. Two new versions of the API have just been released during SIGGRAPH: OpenGL 4.3 and OpenGL ES 3.0. Ars Technica put together a piece to outline the changes in these versions – most importantly: feature parity between Direct3D 11 and OpenGL 4.3.
As much attention as Direct3D gets for PC gamers – you cannot ignore OpenGL.
Reigning in graphics hardware is a real challenge. We desire to make use of all the computational performance of our devices but also make it easy to develop for in as few times as possible. Regardless of what mobile, desktop, or other device you own – if it contains a GPU it almost definitely supports either OpenGL or OpenGL ES.
Even certain up-and-coming websites utilize the GPU to break new ground.
The Khronosgraph says 20 years.
Two new versions of OpenGL were recently published: OpenGL 4.3 as well as OpenGL ES 3.0. For the first time OpenGL allows programmers to access compute shaders which makes it easier to accelerate computations which do not work upon pixels, vertices, or geometry without bringing in OpenCL or some other API. Unfortunately this feature does not appear to carry over to OpenGL ES 3.0.
OpenGL ES is also important, not just for native mobile development as it is intended, but also because it is considered the basis of WebGL. It is likely that a future WebGL revision will contain the OpenGL ES 3.0 enhancements such as many rendering targets, more complex shaders, and so forth.
But it seems like the major reason why these two revisions were released together – apart from their timing aligning with the SIGGRAPH trade show – is because OpenGL and OpenGL ES have been somewhat merged. OpenGL ES 3.0 is now a subset of OpenGL 4.3 rather than some heavily overlapping Venn diagram. Porting from one specification to the other should be substantially easier.
So happy birthday, OpenGL – just don’t go down the toilet on your 21st.
Subject: Mobile | August 1, 2012 - 02:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: google, nexus 7, andriod, jellybean, tablet, tegra 3
By now you may be familiar with the Tegra 3 powered, 1280x800 IPS display Nexus 7, but if you've been away then The Tech Report can fill you in on what you have missed. At 7.8" x 4.7" the resolution is a respectable 216 pixels per inch as well as being of a nice size for both portability and usability. The mini USB port can come in handy in several ways but the one thing it cannot do is offer you external storage for your Nexus 7 which is a bit of a pain considering there is a $50 premium on the 16GB model over the 8GB base. There are some flaws but considering that at $200 it is significantly less expensive than its competitors, there is a lot of good things to say about Google's new tablet.
"For just $199, Google's Nexus 7 tablet serves up a 1280x800 display, a Tegra 3 SoC, and the very latest version of Android. We take a closer look at the budget wonder and break out our high-speed camera to capture Jelly Bean's responsiveness improvements in action."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet @ XSReviews
- Google Nexus 7 Tablet Review @ Legit Reviews
- First Two Weeks with an ASUS Transformer Tablet @ Techgage
- MSI GT70 0NC 17.3" @ Kitguru
- Samsung Series 9 (NP900X4C) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display @ Techspot
- Toshiba Satellite U845W Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M5 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Sony VAIO T13 review: Ultrabook according to Sony @ Hardware.info
- GLBenchmark 2.5 Performance on Modern Android Smartphones & Tablets @ AnandTech
- GLBenchmark 2.5 Performance on iOS and Android Devices @ AnandTech
- Orange San Diego - Intel Inside Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Motorola Atrix HD @ Techspot
Introduction and Design
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile | July 27, 2012 - 02:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, winRT, gpgpu
Paul Thurrott of Windows Supersite reports that Windows 8 is finally taking hardware acceleration seriously and will utilize the GPU across all applications. This hardware acceleration should make Windows 8 perform better and consume less power than if the setup were running Windows 7. With Microsoft finally willing to adopt modern hardware for performance and battery life I wonder when they will start using the GPU to accelerate tasks like file encryption.
It is painful when you have the right tool for the job but must use the wrong one.
Windows has, in fact, used graphics acceleration for quite some time albeit in fairly mundane and obvious ways. Windows Vista and Windows 7 brought forth the Windows Aero Glass look and feel. Aero was heavily reliant on Shader Model 2.0 GPU computing to the point that much of it would not run on anything less.
Washington State is not that far away from Oregon.
Microsoft is focusing their hardware acceleration efforts for Windows 8 on what they call mainstream graphics. 2D graphics and animation were traditionally CPU-based with a couple of applications such as Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and eventually Chrome allowing the otherwise idle GPU to lend a helping hand. As such, Microsoft is talking up Direct2D and DirectWrite usage all throughout Windows 8 on a wide variety of hardware.
The driving force that neither Microsoft nor Paul Thurrott seems to directly acknowledge is battery life. Graphics Processors are considered power-hogs until just recently for almost anyone who assembles a higher-end gaming computer. Despite this, the GPU is actually more efficient at certain tasks than a CPU -- this is especially true when you consider the GPUs which will go into WinRT devices. The GPU will help the experience be more responsive and smooth but also consume less battery power. I guess Microsoft is finally believes that the time is right to bother using what you already have.
There are many more tasks which can be GPU accelerated than just graphics -- be it 3D or the new emphasis on 2D acceleration. Hopefully after Microsoft dips in their toe they will take the GPU more seriously as an all-around parallel task processor. Maybe now that they are implementing the GPU for all applications they can consider using it for all applications -- in all applications.
Introduction, Design and Connectivity
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 20, 2012 - 01:11 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: transformer prime, transformer pad, transformer infinity, tablet, asus
ASUS recently announced that they will be bringing the latest version of Google's Android operating system – Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" to its line of Transformer tablets. Among the tablets to receive the update are the ASUS Transformer Pad, ASUS Transformer Pad Prime, and ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity. They will be getting the updates within the next couple of months, and more specific release dates will be announced closer to launch, according to the company.
The Transformer Prime tablet with keyboard dock
ASUS further stated that they are continuing to evaluate the feasibility of upgrading other devices to Jelly Bean, but there is nothing official in regards to devices that will for sure get it beyond the tablets listed above.
In an email, Senior Technical marketing Manager Gary Key stated the following:
"At ASUS, one of the key commitments we make to our customers is a relentless drive to deliver the best user experience. We constantly strive to achieve this goal through our ‘Design Thinking’ philosophy that includes regular software and firmware updates for our products."
While I don't have a Transformer tablet myself, It's great to see that they are continuing to support their devices, unlike a certain smartphone manufacturer (heh, yeah I'm still jaded over my Infuse 4G's update situation). If you have a ASUS tablet, be on the lookout (or follow PC Per!) for the Jelly Bean updates as it has some really neat new features.
For now though, you will have to settle for watching Ryan ogle over his Nexus 7 on this week's podcast :).
Quick glance at the new MBP
The newly released retina-screen MacBook Pro has been an interesting product to me since it was first announced. I have long been a proponent of higher resolution screens for PCs, hoping for the lower cost screens that we are just now finding in the Korean 27-in screen market (like the Achieva Shimian we recently reviewed). When Apple announced a 15-in notebook with a screen resolution of 2880x1800, my hopes were raised that other vendors would take note and duplicate the idea – thereby lowering costs and increasing visual quality for users across the board.
While I didn’t have enough time with the retina MacBook Pro to give it a full review, I did spend an afternoon with one that had Windows 7 installed. After getting some benchmarks and games installed I thought I would report back to our readers with my thoughts and initial impressions on the laptop from a PC perspective.
The hardware inside the new retina MacBook Pro includes an Ivy Bridge Core i7-3720QM processor, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete GPU, 512GB Apple-branded solid state drive, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt and of course that impressive 2880x1800 screen.