Sunday, February 26, 2006

Meet the Octopiler

Do you ever have days when you do a lot but you don't have a lot to show for it? I spent nearly 3 hours working on Diffy Q homework, but I kept getting wrong answers and trying to understand it, and so I still have to see the professor during office hours to get myself squared away. Anyway, those of you who are tech-savvy have no doubt heard of a compiler, which turns high level code into assembly. IBM is apparently working on an octopiler, named such because their Cell processor (included in the PS3) has 8 Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs), which is what they're initially building it for. In a nutshell, this is meant to optimize code compilation for eight processors rather than the standard one processor most programmers are accustomed to. How far along are they? They've written a pretty little paper about it. How well will games run without this? I can't imagine it being done before next year, and even estimating its completion at next year would be wishful thinking. The good news about this is that while it's pretty likely you won't see a quantum leap between PS2 and PS3 games, a couple of years down the line you will start seeing some magically awesome stuff, and it's likely to blow the Xbox 360 out of the water at that point. Of course the completion of such a compiler would lead to more research on such technology and better systems for scientific and mathematical purposes. We may even be able to crack more RSA encryption keys quicker.

It's only a mockup, don't get too excited
It's clear that Nintendo's offering won't be able to compete power-wise with the likes of this Cell processor, but EA has hinted that the Revolution controller will have touch sensitivity. This may be falsified or she may have mean to say "pressure sensitivity" or something like that, unless Nintendo really does have an ace up their sleeves. Maybe they'll have a big reveal at E3. Speaking of Nintendo, Gamespot put up a cool 40 minute video feature all about the original NES to celebrate it having come out about twenty years ago. It really does bring back some memories, especially of Nintendo Power and having to blow the dust out of those cartridges. Do you remember Dvorak's little piece on why Apple will switch to Windows? One techie put up a rather well-supported rebuttal of it that pretty much lays to rest all of Dvorak's key arguments. I still think that Dvorak is a loon, but then again, he always has been. Google has denied rumors that it would be competing with Paypal as soon as they arose, and yet they now have a vehicle for transmitting credit card payments for items on Google Base. I guess they could just keep it as a localized service, but they're almost too ambitious for that. Lastly, Paint.NET has finally come out with a 2.5 release, and the only drawback is that you have to follow the yellow brick road to installing a couple of pieces of Microsoft software for it to install, .NET being more prominent. However, I'm still recommending it to you because it's worth it to swallow the extra installs to enjoy the easy-to-use interface and sickeningly fast load time (at under 5 seconds, it puts Photoshop to shame). If you don't want to shell out for Photoshop, settle for this.

In an astonishing turn of events, the number one film in America this weekend was Madea's Family Reunion with over $30 million despite abysmal reviews (for being too scattered in genre) and very little marketing (at least here in Austin). Another big shocker was that Running Scared (featuring Paul Walker) got $3.1 million despite being most people's pick for #1 this weekend, and Doogal didn't do much better at number eight. My pick for next weekend is Ultraviolet because its action and hot leading lady will probably attract people. Todd MacFarlane revealed that he's been working on an animated Spawn movie to redeem the series, and while he's hoping for it to be picked up by a television network and split up, he's also willing to go direct-to-DVD with it. I don't know if that series has enough pull for that to do well on DVD. AICN put up some improvements to the Spider-man 3 picture released last week that fans will appreciated. Lastly, Apple Trailers has the new trailer for a movie called Stick It, which, despite its similarity to the title of Bring it On, is rooted in gymnastics and I have to admit that it looks like it could be much better than most teen movies (just ignore the trailer voiceover and you'll see it, too).

Now, predictably, for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Baby step:: Pink (as in baby clothes)

  2. Wasted:: Trashed

  3. Reggie:: Bush

  4. Pitiful:: Merciless

  5. Acting out:: Rage

  6. Tomato:: Hamburger

  7. Bad night:: Bad week

  8. Trip:: iTrip

  9. Finance charges:: Accounting

  10. Sport:: Fitness

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