A short translation from bull**** to English of the Google Chrome Blink developer FAQ | VentureBeat

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by Rob Isaac

Rob Isaac is a New Zealand-based developer, technical analyst, and consultant. After the news that Google would be creating its own, Chrome-specific version of the Webkit browser rendering engine, called Blink, Isaac created this “translation” of Google’s developer FAQ for Blink. This FAQ was originally published on his website.

1 Why is Chrome spawning a new browser engine?

The WebKit maintainers wouldn’t let us attack Apple directly, by changing WebKit in ways that would make it perform badly on OS X and iOS.

Because they share a rendering , developer effort to ensure Chrome compatibility currently benefits Apple platforms for free. To prevent this, we must make Chrome and WebKit behave differently.

1.1 What sorts of things should I expect from Chrome?

Nothing yet. This is a political move, not a technical one.

However, while the Chrome user interface will not change in any significant way, we will be silently overwriting all existing installations of Chrome with our new rendering engine without your knowledge or consent.

1.2 Is this new browser engine going to fragment the web platform’s compatibility more?

Yes.

We intend to distract people from this obvious problem by continually implying that our as-yet unwritten replacement is somehow much better and more sophisticated than the rendering engine that until yesterday was more than good enough to permit us to achieve total dominance of the Windows desktop browsing market in less than two years.

This strategy has worked extremely well for Netscape, Microsoft, Apple and us in previous iterations of the browser wars, and we firmly believe that everyone in this industry was born yesterday and they will not recognise this for the total bullshit it so clearly is.

1.3 Hold up, isn’t more browsers sharing WebKit better for compatibility?

Yes. See 1.

1.4 How does this affect web standards?

We have sufficient market share on the desktop that a few months from now, we will be in a position to unilaterally dictate them.

We hope to leverage this control to achieve the same dominance in mobile eventually.

1.5 Will we see a -chrome vendor prefix now?

No. See 1.4.

1.6 So we have an even more fragmented mobile WebKit story?

Yes.

We encourage you to adopt Chrome on Android for your mobile browsing needs.

1.7 What’s stopping Chrome from shipping proprietary features?

Nothing.

1.8 Is this just a ruse to land the Dart VM or Native Client?

We’ve decided to avoid discussing unpopular topics like those for the time being.

1.9 What should we expect to see from Chrome and Blink in the next 12 months? What about the long term?

We have a direct strategic interest in destroying Apple’s mobile platforms because their lack of participation in our advertising and social ecosystems does not benefit our long term goals. You should expect Chrome and Blink changes in the short term to be focused in this direction.

In the longer term, we aim to have sufficient control over the installed base of web browsers to dictate whatever conditions we consider most appropriate to our business goals at the time.

1.10 Is this going to be open source?

Not really.

While you can certainly read the source code, we’re fully aware that actually tracking and understanding a modern HTML renderer is extremely difficult. In addition, the first changes we will make are intended specifically to break compatibility with WebKit, so the only organisation with sufficient resources to track our changes will no longer be able to do so.

In practice, this allows us to call the project “open” while simultaneously ensuring Google will be the only effective contributor to the Chrome and Blink source now and in the future. We’ve had enormous success co-opting the language of open source in the past to imply our products are better, and we aim to continue with that strategy.

1.11 Opera recently announced they adopted Chromium for their browsers. What’s their plan?

Opera have such a tiny market share that they have no choice other than to follow whatever strategy Chromium adopts. In this case, it means they will adopt the Blink renderer as quickly as possible.

1.12 Why is this is good for me as a web developer?

It isn’t. Our primary goal is to use your development efforts as leverage against our competitors. See 1.9.
Read more here

A short translation from bull**** to English of the Google Chrome Blink developer FAQ | VentureBeat.

Audi and T-Mobile Team Up for $15/Month In-Car Wireless Data Service

Charlie White

There’s a little secret about connecting to the Internet from your car: You usually must use your smartphone to do so, running up potentially shocking data charges along the way. T-Mobile and Audi want to make that cheaper for you with its new in-car data plan by offering wireless connectivity for $15 per month.

Audi Connect services are already sophisticated, creating a Wi-Fi network inside the vehicle that can be accessed by up to eight devices at the same time. Launched in 2011, it was the first of its kind, letting drivers access special versions of Google Voice Local Search, “My Audi Destination,” which works with Google Earth to display up to 50 destinations on the car’s screen. That gives you a look at your surroundings from Google Street View, a welcome sight to a lost traveler.

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This new plan requires the Audi owner to plunk down $450, which sounds like a fortune, but that includes 30 months of wireless data service.

This new plan requires the Audi owner to plunk down $450, which sounds like a fortune, but that includes 30 months of wireless data service. That’s 15 bucks a month. Not bad. Or, you can choose a $30 per month-to-month plan that doesn’t require a service contract. There are a few pricing increments between those two, as well.

Audi currently offers a six-month free trial of wireless data service when you buy the car, so if you don’t mind paying that $450 up front, it ends up being a better deal than exceeding the limits of your smartphone’s data plan as your in-car link to the Internet.

SEE ALSO: Is the 2013 Chevy Volt Worth It?

Another advantage of not using your smartphone for in-car connectivity is that you can either conserve battery power, or avoid having to plug your phone in every time you want to use it as a communications link in your car. For everyday use, that small inconvenience can quickly become an annoyance.

After testing a variety of cars with cellphone connectivity, I can vouch for the fact that running apps from your phone to be displayed in your car — especially GPS — runs a battery down with disconcerting rapidity. I think this kind of pricing for this new partnership between T-Mobile and Audi will become commonplace in the near future, and is destined to go even lower.

And there’s no need to distract yourself fumbling with a smartphone at 70 mph either.

Readers, do you think this $15/month deal is worth it? Let us know in the comments.

Photo and video courtesy Audi

Audi and T-Mobile Team Up for $15/Month In-Car Wireless Data Service.

Google Is Forking WebKit to Create a New Rendering Engine For Chrome and Opera

chrome

Google announced last night that it’s going to stop using WebKit—the rendering engine currently used by the likes of Safari and Chrome to display web pages—in favor of its own solution which will be called Blink.

That is, admittedly, super-nerdy news, but it’s important. Google claims that WebKit has been slowing down the way it develops its web browser. That’s mainly because of the way Chrome uses different methods to display web pages compared to other browsers—each tab in Chrome is a separate process—and WebKit doesn’t quite fit the mold. That means you can expect to see Google’s Chrome get better, quicker in the future. Google explains:

This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines-similar to having multiple browsers-will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.

What it actually means for the rest of the internet is unclear. WebKit is certainly the dominant rendering engine for the mobile web, thanks in the most part to its use in Safari which dominates mobile browsing. That means that, since Blink is a fork of WebKit and not a reinvention of the wheel, developers likely won’t have to do much to support the change. At least, in the first instance.

Elsewhere, Opera has announced that it’s joining Google in the shift, explaining that “the new engine that will power Opera’s browsers.” It could also be good news for Microsoft and Mozilla: currently, many mobile websites cater entirely for WebKit, and this shift might be enough to convince developers to shift to a more inclusive regime in the future. As for Apple, the major user of WebKit—well, it seems unlikely it will bother it at all.

Of course, it’s going to be a while before this has any major impact on the internet we all use. Blink’s still being developed, and will be first appear in Chromium before it eventually makes its way into Chrome. [Google via Verge]

Google Is Forking WebKit to Create a New Rendering Engine For Chrome and Opera.

AnandTech | The Great Equalizer 3: How Fast is Your Smartphone/Tablet in PC GPU Terms

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For the past several days I’ve been playing around with Futuremark’s new 3DMark for Android, as well asKishonti’s GL and DXBenchmark 2.7. All of these tests are scheduled to be available on Android, iOS, Windows RT and Windows 8 – giving us the beginning of a very wonderful thing: a set of benchmarks that allow us to roughly compare mobile hardware across (virtually) all OSes. The computing world is headed for convergence in a major way, and with benchmarks like these we’ll be able to better track everyone’s progress as the high performance folks go low power, and the low power folks aim for higher performance.

The previous two articles I did on the topic were really focused on comparing smartphones to smartphones, and tablets to tablets. What we’ve been lacking however has been perspective. On the CPU side we’ve known how fast Atom was for quite a while. Back in 2008 I concluded that a 1.6GHz single core Atom processor delivered performance similar to that of a 1.2GHz Pentium M, or a mainstream Centrino notebook from 2003. Higher clock speeds and a second core would likely push that performance forward by another year or two at most. Given that most of the ARM based CPU competitors tend to be a bit slower than Atom, you could estimate that any of the current crop of smartphones delivers CPU performance somewhere in the range of a notebook from 2003 – 2005. Not bad. But what about graphics performance?

To find out, I went through my parts closet in search of GPUs from a similar time period. I needed hardware that supported PCIe (to make testbed construction easier), and I needed GPUs that supported DirectX 9, which had me starting at 2004. I don’t always keep everything I’ve ever tested, but I try to keep parts of potential value to future comparisons. Rest assured that back in 2004 – 2007, I didn’t think I’d be using these GPUs to put smartphone performance in perspective.

 

AnandTech | The Great Equalizer 3: How Fast is Your Smartphone/Tablet in PC GPU Terms.

Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review | bit-tech.net

Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review | bit-tech.net.

We’ve lost a few water-cooling companies in recent years but one of the longest-standing, and still-running has to be Primochill. It has always been a big advocate of interesting reservoirs and general water-cooling customisation, but with the likes of EK Waterblocks and Phobya now on the scene, it’s had to revamp its range to keep up with the times.

We didn’t look at its recent Myriad reservoir, but we heard a few stories about it being tricky to fit together. For the moment, Primochill has turned its focus away from bay reservoirs and clearly spent some time pondering how to make a difference in the tube reservoir arena. its offering, called the Compression Tube Reservoir (CTR), looks to solve a number of problems encountered when using this type of reservoir. 

Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review


Its available in 80mm, 120mm, 240mm (tested) and 400mm variants, starting at a modest $40 and rising to $60 for the giant 400mm version. At the time of writing, we don’t have a firm UK price or stockist, but we’ll update the article as and when we do – at the moment, prices look like they’ll be somewhere between £30 and £50. It’s also one of the first tube reservoirs that’s available with different coloured acrylic, sporting blood red, yellow, UV blue and pink and even frosted versions.

Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review


If you’re keen on showing off your coolant, then the CTR has the lowest-profile end caps we’ve seen, allowing for a huge area of uninterrupted eye-candy with less than 10mm of the tube taken up securing the end caps. This is thanks to a new end cap fitting method, which we’re guessing gave the CTR its name, rather than having anything to do with compression fittings. One cap has four ports, with the other having two. Sadly, there are no blanking plugs provided and you’ll likely need to buy up to four of these if you’re just going with the standard inlet and outlet setup, to blank the remaining holes – something you don’t have to do with most other tube reservoirs.

Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review Primochill Compression Tube Reservoir Review


The caps are actually two-piece affairs but unlike pretty much every other tube reservoir we’ve used, they don’t involve threads. We’ve certainly been on the receiving end of at least one cracked reservoir having over-tightened the end caps to stop a persistent leak so we were keen to see just how Primochill has got around this. An O-ring is sandwiched in the middle of the two sections of end cap. We took one apart and were initially stumped as to how to get it back together again. The excited teenager in us then subsided and we did the sensible thing of reaching for the instructions. 

AnandTech | 3DMark for Android: Performance Preview

3DMark for Android: Performance Preview

As I mentioned in our coverage of GL/DXBenchmark 2.7, with the arrival of Windows RT/8 we’d finally see our first truly cross-platform benchmarks. Kishonti was first out of the gate, although Futuremark was first to announce its cross platform benchmark simply called 3DMark.

Currently available for x86 Windows 8 machines, Futuremark has Android, iOS and Windows RT versions of 3DMark nearing release. Today the embargo lifts on the Android version of 3DMark, with iOS and Windows RT to follow shortly.

Similar to the situation with GL/DXBenchmark, 3DMark not only spans OSes but APIs as well. The Windows RT/8 versions use DirectX, while the Android and iOS versions use OpenGL ES 2.0. Of the three major tests in the new 3DMark, only Ice Storm is truly cross platform. Ice Storm uses OpenGL ES 2.0 on Android/iOS and Direct3D feature level 9_1 on Windows RT/8.

The Android UI is very functional and retains a very 3DMark feel. There’s an integrated results brower, history of results and some light device information as well:

There are two options for running Ice Storm: the default and extreme presets.

3DMark – Ice Storm Settings
Default Extreme
Rendering Resolution 1280×720 1920×1080
Texture Resolution Normal High
Post-processing Quality Normal High

Both benchmarks are rendered to an offscreen buffer at 720p/1080p and then scale up to the native resolution of the device being tested. This is a very similar approach we’ve seen by game developers to avoid rendering at native resolution on some of the ultra high resolution tablets. The beauty of 3DMark’s approach here is the fact that all results are comparable, regardless of a device’s native resolution. The downside is we don’t get a good idea of how some of the ultra high resolution tablets would behave with these workloads running at their native (> 1080p) resolutions.

Ice Storm is divided into two graphics tests and a physics test. The first graphics test is geometry heavy while the second test is more pixel shader intensive. The physics test, as you might guess, is CPU bound and multithreaded.

Before we get to the results, I should note that a number of devices wouldn’t complete the tests. The Intel based Motorola RAZR i wouldn’t run, the AT&T HTC One X (MSM8960) crashed before the final score was calculated so both of those devices were excluded. Thankfully we got the Galaxy S 3 to complete, giving us a good representative from the MSM8960/Adreno 225 camp. Thermal throttling is a concern when running 3DMark. You have to pay close attention to the thermal conditions of the device you’re testing. This is becoming something we’re having to pay an increasing amount of attention to in our reviews these days.

Graphics Test 1

Ice Storm Graphics test 1 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of vertices while keeping the pixel load relatively light. Hardware on this level may have dedicated capacity for separate vertex and pixel processing. Stressing both capacities individually reveals the hardware’s limitations in both aspects.

In an average frame, 530,000 vertices are processed leading to 180,000 triangles rasterized either to the shadow map or to the screen. At the same time, 4.7 million pixels are processed per frame.

Pixel load is kept low by excluding expensive post processing steps, and by not rendering particle effects.

Although the first graphics test is heavy on geometry, it features roughly 1/4 the number of vertices from GL/DXBenchmark 2.7’s T-Rex HD test. In terms of vertex/triangle count, even Egypt HD is more stressful than 3DMark’s first graphics test. That’s not necessarily a bad thing however, as most Android titles are no where near as stressful as what T-Rex and Egypt HD simulate.

3DMark - Graphics Test 1

Among Android smartphones, Qualcomm rules the roost here. The Adreno 320 based Nexus 4 and HTC One both do very well, approaching 60 fps in the first graphics test. The Mali 400MP4, used in the Galaxy Note 2 and without a lot of vertex processing power, brings up the rear – being outperformed by even NVIDIA’s Tegra 3. ARM’s Mali-T604 isn’t enough to pull ahead in this test either; the Nexus 10 remains squarely behind the top two Adreno 320 based devices.

Graphics Test 2

Graphics test 2 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of pixels. It tests the ability to read textures, do per pixel computations and write to render targets.

On average, 12.6 million pixels are processed per frame. The additional pixel processing compared to Graphics test 1 comes from including particles and post processing effects such as bloom, streaks and motion blur.

In each frame, an average 75,000 vertices are processed. This number is considerably lower than in Graphics test 1 because shadows are not drawn and the processed geometry has a lower number of polygons.

3DMark - Graphics Test 2

As you’d expect, shifting to a more pixel shader heavy workload shows the Galaxy Note 2 doing a lot better – effectively tying the Tegra 3 based HTC One X+ and outperforming the Nexus 7. The Mali-T604 continues to, at best, tie for third place here. Qualcomm’s Adreno 320 just seems to deliver better performance in 3DMark for Android.

3DMark - Graphics

The overall score pretty much follows the trends we saw earlier. Qualcomm’s Adreno 320 leads things (Nexus 4/HTC One), followed by ARM’s Mali-T604 (Nexus 10), Adreno 225 (SGS3), Adreno 305 (One SV), Tegra 3 (One X+/Nexus 7) and finally Mali 400MP4 (Note 2). The only real surprise here is just how much better Adreno 320 does compared to Mali-T604.

Physics Test

The purpose of the Physics test is to benchmark the hardware’s ability to do gameplay physics simulations on CPU. The GPU load is kept as low as possible to ensure that only the CPU’s capabilities are stressed.

The test has four simulated worlds. Each world has two soft bodies and two rigid bodies colliding with each other. One thread per available logical CPU core is used to run simulations. All physics are computed on the CPU with soft body vertex data updated to the GPU each frame. The background is drawn as a static image for the least possible GPU load.

The Physics test uses the Bullet Open Source Physics Library.

3DMark - Physics

3DMark - Physics Test

The physics results give us an indication of just how heavily threaded this benchmark is. The quad-core devices are able to outperform the dual-core Cortex A15 based Nexus 10, despite the latter having far better single threaded performance. The Droid DNA/Optimus G vs. Nexus 4 results continue to be a bit odd, perhaps due to the newer drivers included in the Nexus 4’s use of Android 4.2 vs. 4.1.2 for the other APQ8064 platforms.

Read the full article here: AnandTech | 3DMark for Android: Performance Preview.