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New Products

PiixL's Jetpack

The Jetpack, says its maker PiixL, is an open gaming hardware platform designed for gamers who value both performance and interior design. With Jetpack, raw, unprecedented—and hackable—gaming power meets living-room entertainment with a beautiful design. After releasing its EdgeCenter product, PiixL has become an expert at designing TV-centric PC hardware and is now set to break new ground with this latest release. With more than 500 watts of thermal capacity available to house the fastest components, Jetpack promises to be the most powerful machine offered in such a compact package, asserts PiixL. Designed around PiixL's leading-edge cooling architecture, Jetpack uses a new generation of centrifugal fans to stay ultra-quiet at all times while being able to host factory overclocked Core i7 processors, up to one Terabyte of SSD storage, and the latest graphics cards from NVIDIA, including Titan and GTX780s. Jetpack is optimized to complement Linux and Windows, with a special focus on SteamOS, which combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen.


Linutop PC

Packing additional punch into a more petite package is the new Intel Atom-based Linutop 5 miniature, energy-efficient PC. Linutop 5 is a ready-to-use small PC, designed to reduce maintenance costs. Compact and powerful with a 1.6GHz fanless Intel ATOM processor, Linutop 5 is designed for applications, such as no-maintenance professional use, public Internet access, office applications and digital signage. The 4GB of internal Flash memory replaces the hard drive, and energy consumption has dropped to a mere 14 Watts, the same as a compact fluorescent light bulb. A new security feature can lock the Linutop Operating System and protect the Flash memory from wearing out by limiting write cycles. Once set up, the Linutop software is protected. In lock mode, Linutop can recover its state at each startup, minimizing maintenance costs. Linutop 5 is powered by the new Linutop OS based on the latest long-term service Ubuntu version 12.04.


The Hello World Program

Learning about computer science and programming tends to be dry and not all that accessible to kids. In an effort to make Linux and computer programming more accessible for young people—not to mention really fun—a pair of LA-based brothers have developed The Hello World Program, a kid-friendly educational video puppet show that covers tech topics as diverse as Python, Linux, Web design, video editing, 3-D modeling and animation, graphic design and, of course, puppet making! Hello World is the creative effort of brothers Jared and JR Nielsen who grew up in a rural area and made their own fun by staging puppet shows, making their own toys and shooting short stop-motion videos. “We don't want a boring future, and we think the best way to avoid that is by encouraging and educating the young and old to actively produce their own media”, says Jared Nielsen. At the time of this writing, the Nielsen bothers are pitching Hello World on Kickstarter in order to leapfrog it to the next level. “We will definitely be continuing with the project whether or not we reach our funding goal”, commented JR Nielsen. “Our time line and distribution may change as a result”, he added, “but we are still set to produce the same content regardless of the Kickstarter outcome.” A boring future has indeed been preempted.


Undo Software's UndoDB

As devices and systems become more capable, the software becomes ever more important and complex. As such, software developers bear an ever-growing burden in terms of both quality and time to market. An updated—and groovy—solution to these issues is version 4.0 of Undo Software's UndoDB, a reversible debugger for Linux. UndoDB allows Linux software developers to record their program's execution and then “wind the tape” back and forth in real time to get a clear picture of their program's execution, significantly reducing the cost of bugs to software vendors. The most notable new features in the new version 4.0 are support for ARM processors and Android Native. Undo also notes that Linux developers have an alternative way to utilize its solution: ARM recently integrated UndoDB into its flagship software development studio, ARM DS-5 Professional Edition.


Axios Systems' assyst

Because this latest update of the assyst IT Service Management (ITSM) solution makes it more akin to social media, the folks at Axios Systems believe that it is now destined to revolutionize the ITSM industry. assyst is a purpose-built solution, designed to transform IT departments from technology-focused cost centers into profitable business-focused customer service teams. Axios says that assyst enables faster, less costly delivery and support of IT services, allowing its clients to offer unparalleled multichannel support. This latest release of assyst now offers guided help, enhanced reporting, enhancements to the assystNET self-service portal and, most notably, IT Resource Performance Management (IT RPM). IT RPM promotes collaboration and innovation within IT, helping to establish IT as a business driver while reducing incoming calls to the service desk. It also allows a business to leverage staff as a valuable asset through rapid capture and transfer of knowledge as an integrated part of the service management processes through the aforementioned social-media tools, namely crowdsourcing, leaderboards and social profiles.


University of Applied Science Rapperswil's Muen Separation Kernel

As initiatives like the new Muen Separation Kernel mature, open source is destined to play an ever greater role in the development of safe and secure systems. To this end, the Institute for Internet Technologies & Applications at the University of Applied Science Rapperswil (Switzerland), together with corporate partner AdaCore, announced a preview release of the Muen Kernel, which enforces a strict and robust isolation of components. The isolation shields security-critical functions from vulnerable software running on the same physical system. To achieve the necessary level of trustworthiness, the Muen team used the SPARK language and toolset to prove the absence of runtime errors formally. The Muen developers used SPARK with a zero-footprint runtime, a mode where no runtime environment, and only a minimum of supporting code, is required. The name “Muen” is a Japanese term that means “unrelated” or “without relation”, reflecting the main objective for a separation kernel: ensuring the isolation between components.

muen.codelabs.ch, www.adacore.com

Rami Rosen's Linux Kernel Networking (Apress)

Because Linux-kernel networking is a complex topic, you don't want to be bothered with extraneous miscellanea. This is the approach you'll find in Rami Rosen's Linux Kernel Networking: Implementation and Theory. Publisher Apress says that readers will not be overloaded with cumbersome line-by-line code walk-throughs not directly related to the topic at hand. Readers will find exactly what they need, with in-depth explanations in each chapter and a quick reference at the end of each chapter. Apress also claims that the title is the only up-to-date reference guide to understanding how networking is implemented in the latest version of the Linux kernel. In years to come, the book is sure to be indispensable, because so many devices now use Linux or operating systems based on Linux, and because Linux is so prevalent in the data center, for example, due to Xen.


Eric Redmond's Programming Google Glass ( Pragmatic Bookshelf)

If the government frantically regulates a widget before it's even out, you know you gotta' get your hands on one. Today's widget in question is Google Glass, a programmable, wearable Android-powered computer with an optical head-mounted display. The new book Programming Google Glass: The Mirror API by Eric Redmond exists to kick-start users' Glassware development. Core topics include exploring interfacing with Glass, developing a Glass application via the Mirror API, tracking a Glass's geolocation, creating rich interactions by responding to user inputs and capturing or serving up user images and videos. This is the book to read for a shortcut to this brave new world. Now, says publisher Pragmatic Bookshelf, is the best time to be an early adopter of a technology that quickly will become more advanced, nuanced and ubiquitous.


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