Saturday, April 18, 2009

Microsoft Claim Windows 7 Will Be More Secure Than Linux And Leopard

Will Windows 7 be the most secure operating system ever? Microsoft seem to think so. Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner made the following bold statement yesterday:

"Vista today, post-Service Pack 2, which is now in the marketplace, is the safest, most reliable OS we’ve ever built. It’s also the most secure OS on the planet, including Linux and open source and Apple Leopard. It’s the safest and most secure OS on the planet today. Everything that we’ve learned in Vista will be leveraged in Windows 7, but certainly when we broke a lot of the compatibility issues to lock down user account controls, to lock do

wn the ability to manipulate states and all the things, that was a very painful process for us to grow through, but we had to do it. And the reason that Windows 7 will be successful is because of the pain we took on Vista. Because from a compatibility standpoint, if it works on Vista, it will work on Windows 7. If it doesn’t work on Vista, it won’t work on Windows 7."

I’m glad he stopped short of saying that Windows 7 will be the most secure operating system in the universe!

I have to say that I tend to agree with Kevin Turner. No OS is probed and attacked as often as Windows, yet it manages to keep its users safe. Yes there are always stories in the press about individuals and users who have been infected…but in the majority of cases these users haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect themselves i.e. downloading the latest virus definitions or running a decent firewall.

Gone are the days of 15 year old hackers thinking it was funny to send porn links via viruses. Most hackers now operate purely for commercial gain, and one of the reasons why hackers don’t probe Linux or Leopard as thoroughly as Windows is because even if they were successful the potential returns would be less because there are fewer users.

Producing Windows 7 has been a major undertaking for Microsoft and so far the signs are that it’s going to be major success, and it is unlikely that users will be as reluctant to Buy Windows 7 as they were with Windows Vista. Microsoft should be applauded for making an OS that can work with the millions of different hardware combinations that are possible with PCs, that provides a stable platform for developers, and that is also very safe.

With Windows 7, Microsoft finally might become cool.

Microsoft Zune HD, Zune Cell Phone May Be Coming

Microsoft Corp. may be preparing a rather significant launch of new Zune multimedia devices. The timeline is rather suitable for big product launches as during holidays a lot of people make more impulsive purchases. Currently there are rumours about portable digital media player with high-definition video playback capability as well as Zune mobile phone.

There is information that Microsoft is currently considering one of the three ad companies for a launch campaign of its project code-named Pink [and Purple], which is believed to be Zune software and services for mobile phones running Windows Mobile operating system. That said, Pink and Purple can easily be a Zune-branded cell phone, or an environment allowing Windows Mobile-based phones to listen, purchase, share and manage music files. The market, however, is not full of multimedia-oriented Windows handsets , hence, a Zune-branded cell phone is still a possibility.

















Meanwhile, a web-site has published photos of what is claimed to be Zune HD portable digital media player. There are no technical specs and the pictures in general hardly give a lot of details even about the look. However, since many manufacturers now have music players with touch-sensitive screens, it would be logical for Microsoft to have one as well.

Earlier this year Microsoft confirmed intention to release “new Zunes before the 2009 holiday season” and that those music players would “be a surprising step up from the current models”, hence, a new Zune-branded music player is completely possible. On the other hand, a “surprising step” from the available models would be an introduction of a Zune phone.

Kingston Releases “Extremely Profiled” DDR3 Modules for Notebooks

Kingston Technology, the world’s largest producer of memory modules, has unveiled memory modules that enable higher performance of notebooks based on Intel’s latest Centrino 2 platform with DDR3 memory thanks to extreme memory profiles (XMP) technology.

Kingston HyperX DDR3 XMP SO-DIMM 4GB kit (two modules per 2GBs) can operate at 1066MHz with CL5 5-5-15 latency settings and 1.5V voltage. Since they come pre-programmed with JEDEC and XMP profiles, such speed and timings may be set on virtually any notebook.

“The HyperX DDR3 XMP SO-DIMMs were tested on the Flextronics W840 DI notebook PCs with great success. DDR3 notebook users can now enjoy the same benefits such as lower latencies and voltages that enthusiasts and gamers have had for years with HyperX memory for desktop computers,” said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager at Kingston.

It remains to be seen whether the market of SO-DIMMs with XMP is actually large. So far, OCZ Technology and Kingston have announced appropriate memory modules, but other makers yet have to follow. Still, only the market will prove whether the idea of improved laptop memory sub-systems performance is a popular idea among notebook users.

Intel Ships One Millionth Nehalem Family Microprocessor

Despite of tough economic environment, sales of expensive desktops as well as workstations remain on high level, according to Intel Corp., whose chief executive officer said that shipments of central processing units (CPUs) featuring Nehalem micro-architecture have almost reached a milestone of one million units shipped.

“If you combine Intel Core i7 and Intel Xeon 5500-series processors, this week Intel expects to ship its one millionth Nehalem-based microprocessor, demonstrating that the market still responds to the best performing products. […] It’s in very good volume now for that segment of the market, although it is a fairly high-end segment of the market,” said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer and president of Intel, during a conference call with financial analysts.

Intel Nehalem processors bring a number of important innovations to the company’s desktop and server platforms. The new chips sport built-in memory controllers, utilize new processor bus, new cache sub-system, SSE4.2 instructions, new micro-architecture and so on. It is also important that the Nehalem processors’ design allows integration of both general-purpose x86 cores as well as graphics processing engines.

According to Mr. Otellini, Intel is already shipping its next-generation code-named Westmere processors to its customers. Westmere chips are the second iteration of Nehalem micro-architecture.

“We have shipped thousands of Westmere samples to over 30 OEM customers already,” the head of Intel told analysts.

On the 19th of April Intel reported first-quarter revenue of $7.1 billion, down 26% annually and 13% sequentially; operating income of $670 million; net income of $647 million, a 55% decrease year-over-year, but a 176% increase quarter over quarter and earnings per share (EPS) of 11 cents.

“We believe PC sales bottomed out during the first quarter and that the industry is returning to normal seasonal patterns. Intel has adapted well to the current economic environment and we're benefiting from disciplined execution and agility.We're delivering a product portfolio that meets the needs of the changing market, spanning affordable computing to high-performance, energy-efficient computing,” said Paul Otellini.

DirectX 11 Set to Enable Standardized GPGPU on Existing Hardware

In spite an old saying, sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks. Microsoft DirectX 11 application program interface (API) due later this year will enable support of compute shaders 4.0 version on DirectX 10-class graphics chips, giving them additional programmability and simplifying implementation of the new technology.

General-purpose processing on graphics processing units (GPGPU) is gaining popularity slowly, but surely. Unfortunately, at present there is only one standard application programming interface – OpenCL - that supports all graphics chips available today. But apparently, DirectX 11, which will enable GPGPU, physics, artificial intelligence, etc. programming via compute shaders, will also be able to take advantage of present GPUs, albeit with some limitations.

In order to popularize compute shaders (CS) among developers, the DirectX 11 includes not only compute shaders 5.0, but also compute shaders 4.0 (for Direct X10 hardware) and 4.1 (for DirectX 10.1 hardware), which are not supported by DirectX 10. Compute shaders 4.0/4.x have a number of limitations compared to version 5.0, including maximum number of threads per group (768), thread group shared memory (16KB vs. 32KB in CS 5.0), absence of atomic operations or append/consume and so on. CS 5.0 will also offer better interaction with graphics pipeline (e.g., it can output to textures), double precision and so on.

The main aim of compute shaders 4.x is to allow game developers to practice with compute shaders technology, enable GPGPU via DirectX as well as let game developers to use CS for complex rendering-related tasks instead of pixel shaders so to gain performance.

Beta version of DirectX 11 as well as drivers that support compute shaders 4.x are available from Microsoft, ATI/AMD as well as Nvidia.