Archive for August, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Fast Forward: Hybrid CrossFire for Fusion

Ever since multicore processors appeared a few years ago, programmers have been complaining about them. Distributing a software workload among multiple CPUs isn’t as easy as running a single-threaded program on a single CPU. Now AMD is doing something even more difficult—but it’s the future of computer science.


Image courtesy CNET

As you’ve heard, AMD’s new Fusion processors combine multiple CPUs and a GPU on one chip, like Intel’s “Pineview” Atom processors. In some cases, programmers can distribute workloads across all the CPUs and the GPU, and those workloads needn’t be graphics. This general technique is called asymmetric multiprocessing on a heterogeneous multicore processor.

No doubt you’re familiar with AMD’s CrossFire technology, which boosts performance by linking multiple graphics cards together. Usually, this is symmetric multiprocessing on homogeneous processors (identical GPUs). But AMD’s Hybrid CrossFire works with different graphics cards or even with a graphics card and an integrated-graphics chipset. Before, adding a graphics card usually bypassed the weaker integrated graphics.

AMD derives Fusion graphics from ATI Radeon discrete graphics, so the latest integrated GPUs aren’t the weaklings they used to be. Why waste the Fusion GPU if the user upgrades to a full-fledged graphics card? So AMD will allow Hybrid CrossFire configurations using Fusion graphics and discrete graphics.


Image courtesy Legit Reviews

It’s logical but nontrivial. The graphics driver must balance the workload across an integrated GPU and a discrete GPU that are related like cousins but not identical like twins. The GPUs use different memory and different I/O buses. In addition, some programs will try to use the GPUs and the multiple CPUs!

If you just heard a scream, it was probably a programmer. Buy the poor soul a Jolt cola. Asymmetric multiprocessing on heterogeneous multicore processors is a tough challenge, but it’s the future of computing. I’m confident the programmers are ready.

Tom Halfhill was formerly a senior editor for Byte magazine and is now an analyst for Microprocessor Report.

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PostHeaderIcon Introducing SEOmoz PRO Perks

Posted by AndrewDumont

Howdy, SEOmoz family! I’m Andrew, the new Business Development Director over at SEOmoz, and this is my first post on the blog. Great relationships are all about kicking things off on the right foot… or at least that’s what I hear. That in mind, SEOmoz PRO members, we’ve got a nice little treat for you. 

If you’ve spent any time poking around the PRO Dashboard, you’ve probably run into something called the "PRO Member Discount Store." Sound familiar? Initially, the idea was to pack it full of amazing discounts on web services we loved, exclusively for PRO members. Due to a lack of vetting on our part, the store quickly turned into a catch all that didn’t provide much value at all, and that ain’t right. We figured it was time to revive that property, with its oh so good intent.

But before we get into the unveiling, we first wanted to talk about goals. In rethinking the discount store, we knew we had to keep the following principles at the core:

  • Quality – With the previous store, we lost track of the most important thing; quality. For service discounts to provide value, they need to be 1) competitive and 2) available for services we know and love. In the new store, you’ll notice the quality in services and discounts the moment you hit the page. 
  • Exclusivity – Without focusing on exclusivity, we weren’t able to offer up the type of competitive discounts we knew you wanted. In the new store, we cut back on the number of services, and in turn increased the size of discounts offered. 
  • Simplicity – When you’re on the verge of a great deal, you want to take advantage of it right away. In the new store, we removed all of the guess work, making the path to coupon redemption simple, and only one step away.

With that, ladies and gents, we give you SEOmoz PRO Perks.

Jammed packed with some of the hottest services on the web, you’ll quickly see why we’re calling them perks. We went out and talked to our favorite tools in the social monitoring, affiliate management, customer service and on page optimization space, to bring you some serious heat right off the bat. To provide a few highlights, here are some of our current perks.  

  • 50% Off Unbounce
  • 50% Off Geckboard
  • 40% Off Invoicera 
  • 40% Off WooThemes
  • 30% Off SnapEngage
  • 30% Off ViralHeat
  • 20% Off Wistia 
  • 20% Off Get Satisfaction
  • And much more…

Piqued your interest? Head on over to SEOmoz’s new PRO Perks store, and indulge as you wish — being an SEOmoz PRO definitely has its perks. If you’re still not an SEOmoz PRO, there’s no better time than the present to give our 30-day free trial a go. 

Have some ideas for other services you’d like to see in our PRO Perks store? Drop me a line at andrew[at], or let us know in the comment section below. We want to make sure that our PRO Perks are consistenly bringing that hotness. 

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PostHeaderIcon Netflix Testing New Kid-Friendly UI

netflixTech-savvy parents know there is a lot of kid-friendly content on Netflix. The only problem is that many young ones lack the reading ability or manual dexterity to navigate to the shows themselves. Enter the Netflix “Just for Kids” section. This new UI is being previewed for some users already, but the company hasn’t said anything about it.

The entire UI of this section is different from the rest of Netflix. Right at the top are pictures of various popular characters like Hello Kitty and Big Bird. The kids can click on one to pull up all the TV and movie content that has them in it. These pages are heavy on screenshots and short on wordy descriptions. 

There are also some suggestion specially tailored to kids on the main page. Netflix has not said what its plans are for this UI. It might be a preliminary test and we’ll never see this again. Or this could be the first phase in a surprise feature rollout. 

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