Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Eleven years ago, after Steve Jobs came back to run Apple, he proclaimed it was time to completely dismantle Apple's then System 9 Operating System and rebuild and redesign from scratch. Apple successfully did so and Apple's Operating System 10 was released and strategically rebranded as OS X. "X" being the Roman numeral for 10.
Upon introducing OS X, Apple decided they would try to come out with a new and improved version every year and a half or so, and to make things even cooler they would name each version after a big cool cat, and thus they decided to name their first version 10.0 as Cheetah. Next was 10.1 as Puma; 10.2 as Jaguar; 10.3 as Panther; 10.4 as Tiger and 10.5 as Leopard, which is the name of the current Apple Macintosh Operating System.
At the Apple World Wide Developers conference in June of 2008, Steve Jobs said Apple's next operating system, 10.6 would be named Snow Leopard. Nice name, but what shocked all the Apple developers, including myself, was he said they would be adding no new features and instead they would essentially be taking OS X apart and putting it back together again.
In my opinion as a developer and designer, this is the most amazingly radical, and intelligent thing Apple could do–but what exactly does this mean?
When Apple originally built OS X, it only ran on the Motorola Power PC platform, which was fairly limited. A few years ago, Apple announced that for the first time in their history, they were switching their entire architecture to run on Intel chips.
Doing so was very challenging, and because Apple did not want to upset customers, they devised a strategy, whereby any new Apple software written would run successfully on both microprocessors, but this came at a cost–a rather high cost. In making the software so it could run on both systems, know as a "Universal Binary" Apple had to make compromises. Apple created a technology they dubbed "Rosetta" that allowed Motorola code to run in emulation mode, and this tended to slow things down.
As Apple moved forward with Intel something came along to skew Moore's Law. Moore's Law argued microchips would double their speed every year or so and the challenge Intel was running into was the chips were running way too hot and cost too much to produce, but they came up with a brilliant idea, and that was to create what is known as dual and quad core microprocessors.
The formal name of Intel's new chips that parallel process are, Intel Core 2 Duo and they have very quickly become ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive.
Essentially you double or quadruple the speed by adding more microprocessors which is called parallel processing. The challenge with parallel processing is that OS X was originally architected around a single core architecture. All Apple computers sold today have at least 2 cores, and the Mac Pro comes standard with 8 cores.
The greatest challenge is the current operating system can't take very good advantage of the multiple cores, so Apple has decided once again to go back the drawing board, and completely dismantle OSX, and put it back together from scratch. Before I go into detail, I want to commend Apple for taking this ultra-profound and incredibly intelligent approach.
In rebuilding OSX, another technology came along beside multi-core Central Processing Units (CPU) which is known as multiple GPU, which stands for Graphics Processing Unit, which is as revolutionary as multiple core technology.
In the old days, the microprocessor would complete the computations for the video, then computers started getting cards dedicated just to graphics known as graphics cards.
Today graphics cards, are incorporating multiple processor GPUs which are also starting to take advantage of multiple processor technology.
This new architecture that optimizes GPU computing and parallel processing is know as Open CL, which provides significant tools for developers to write and optimize code that can take complete advantage of the next generation multi-core graphics cards as well as multiple core processors, on the main microprocessor.
Essentially, Apple is optimizing their architecture to take complete advantage of parallel processing, and the net results of this will be absolutely astounding!!!
We will see a radical increase in speed and stability while seeing a decrease in heat output and energy consumption. As a matter of fact, Apple will be shrinking the footprint of their Operating System by 2/3. That is not a typo. They will be decreasing the size by close to 70% and one of the ways to do this is to throw out all the legacy code for Power PC Architecture, meaning that Snow Leopard 10.6 will likely not run on older legacy Power PC machines.
At WWDC, Apples annual World Wide Developers Conference, Steve Jobs announced there would be no more features added to 10.6, but as the OS is trimmed by up to 70%, so will all of the Apple applications, including Mail, Address book, Safari browser, iPhoto, Finder–virtually no application or process will be untouched by this overhaul.
By making everything so efficient, this will significantly increase battery life on portables, while significantly decreasing power usage on desktop machines. Also, laptops should run much, much cooler.
Another huge benefactor are the new state of the art solid-state hard drives that are starting to slowly creep into laptops. Solid state hard drives show so much potential because there are no moving parts, but they are very expensive and small.
Apple realizes that prices will creep down, and size will grow, but they figure it is smart to optimize in both directions, which in my estimation is brilliant engineering. Future desktops will also likely benefit from solid state drives. It is likely at some point in the not so distant future all hard drives will be replaced with solid-state drives.
Microsoft strangely has only ever done the exact opposite of Apple, which is called writing "Bloat code."
Bill Gates once reasoned that since the processors double in computing power every year to year and a half, that Microsoft did not have to worry about optimizing their code. Gates reasoned the extra computing power would just eat through the code faster, thus Microsoft ended up with the worlds largest piece of Swiss Cheese.
This ultra-lazy and inelegant solution put forth by Gates has resulted in a nightmare for Microsoft. As a matter of fact, Microsoft's number one strategic partner, Intel recently announced they would not upgrade ANY of their own computers to Microsoft's over a year old and latest operating system known as Vista.
No wonder Bill Gates recently retired. Essentially Bill Gates parachuted out with a Ton of cash. Microsoft has not been innovating for a long, long time and has been resting on their laurels for an equally long time.
Microsoft is a giant and has been quietly imploding in slow motion. So slow in fact that most people don't notice the implosion–but I always have.
The future is looking very bright for Apple and I take my hat off to them. Apple is continuing to take the road less traveled, while Microsoft continues to take the path of least resistatnce, which gets you just that–the least.
Apples shrewd and adroit long-term strategy is paying off in spades!!! Snow Leopards are beautiful creatures and it looks like Apple's Snow Leopard will be as well.
Update: Snow Leopard will be 64Bit. To read a fascinating article that shares all the details click here.
It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong. —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. —James Russell Lowell
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Anyone can stand out by looking like an idiot. —Hal Rebenstein
In my mind the three Kings of the Sedan are the Lexus LS, Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 Series. It is rare that any of the three Kings launch an all-new Sedan, and BMW just did.
The new BMW 750i sports a 4.4 liter, 400 horsepower, twin-turbo V8 that does 0-60 in six seconds, which seem a little slow to me. I think it should be doing it in under 5.5 seconds.
BMW will also offer a 12 cylinder version 760i. All models have a new 8 speed transmission that offers smoother shifting and better gas milage.
There is a four-wheel steering option on the 2009 model and in the future there will be an all-wheel drive option.
I think the four-wheel steering option is amazing and I don't understand why nobody offered this in the past. Cars equipped with four-wheel steering handle much better and benefit from a significantly smaller turning radius.
I think the design of the upcoming 2009 7-Series is looking great!!!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I don't know what happened to this prototype Cadillac or if it is coming to market, but it sure looks cool. It looks like a stealth airplane.
Every detail is important. Where do you have a meeting? What is the surrounding environment? People who don't think about these things have a harder time in business. It's got to be the right place. It's got to be the right color. It's got to be the right choice. Everything has to be strategized. You have to know where you're going to come out before you go in. Otherwise, you lose. —Michael Ovitz
Moisture farming is coming to the kitchen soon. Kilmatec's Base 1 AirWater Machine can extract 5 Gallons (20 Liters) of water from the air in a 24 hour period.
It also makes purifies the water for drinking for drinking buy running the water through an ultraviolet light chamber and carbon filter.
The Base 1 also heat and cools the water, so essentially it is a water cooler that never needs to be refilled. Kimatec has also devised an option what comes with a solar panel that keeps water flowing in even the worst conditions.