MS has been pushing its games for windows campaign very hard , and quite a few Vista exclusive DX10 games have been announced and a couple of them are already on the shelves. A couple of months back i had written about Falling leaf systems , which has been trying to crack DX10 games so that they run on older versions of windows . Now it seems though that Razor 1911 , one of the oldest , most famous warez guys have beaten them to it by sucessfully releasing a cracked version of Shadowrun Vista which also runs on Windows XP.

Read a part of the NFO below

Release Notes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tired of waiting for Falling Leaf to produce drivers so that you can play
Shadowrun in XP? The wait is over, because Razor1911 already has the remedy!
Yes, you read right. This game will also function in Windows XP (following the
installation procedure below).
This release will work with bot matches and lan mp. If you want to play
online, buy the game!
Install Notes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. Extract RARs
2. Install
3. Go into your installationfolder and delete the srsw_shadowrun.dll.
4. Copy srs_shadowrun.dll and srsx_shadowrun.dll to your installationfolder.
5. If you want the XP compatability, copy the files from the xp/ subdir to
your installationfolder.
6. If you want a shortcut on your desktop, this is the time to make one!
7. Play!
8. Have fun!
Razor 1911 Greetings


The OLPC project is finally taking their low cost laptop into production later this year , Their low cost laptop for children in third world countries is called XO which is expected to cost around $175 at launch though it is expected that volume production will push the costs down . On the other hand Intel has already started shipping small volumes of its own $285 low cost laptop called the Classmate to India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, and the Philippines . Intel plans to extend this to Malaysia Indonesia and Sri Lanka by the end of this year under its World ahead program .
Recently in an interview with the Washington Post, Intel VP Sean Maloney discussed the company’s plan for the Classsmate. He reiterates the fact that Classmate is not aimed at bridging the digital divide that exists between the West and the third world and I quote

“It is amazing how many mainstream, made in Taiwan or made in China, notebooks are sold in emerging markets. People have the same aspirations and brand aspirations. You can’t patronize people and say we get the big one with the 14-inch color screen and you get the little one, that’s not going to work. My view is that these things, like Classmate PC, are much better targeted at kids, with a much smaller screen, smaller keyboard. “

Moloney also states that the aim of the low cost classmate PC is to enable the children to access the World Wide web more than anything else . ( read the interview here ) .

Low cost alternatives like XO and Classmate face a lot of problems in realizing their goals . Take for example India where $285 translates to Rs 11,400 which is way beyond what a poor family can afford . Even if any of the state governments decide to bear the cost , even for 100,00 kids its going to cost them Rs 11,400,00000 or $28500000, now that’s is quite a big number . Subsidy is an option but not the definitive answer.
Content delivery is another hurdle , the software and the training material will have to be customized according to the particular needs of the country and that requires a support staff , fixing a conked laptop will require trained manpower which is another overhead especially when you are at such shoe string budgets.

Accomplishing the goals set by the OLPC project or Intel is not going to be easy, especially when there are over 2 billion children who do not have access to computers . Its a very long and winding road ahead

Find out more about OLPC here.

Read about Intel classmate .

Download the Classmate brochure here .

It’s tough work to make up for lost ground , especially so in the blistering fast semiconductor business . Remember the pre-core 2 duo days when AMD was the king , since then they have lost the lead on desktop processors in the most dramatic fashion . Huge losses in the last two quarters has put the chip major into quite a slump . The recent ATI acquisition is yet to bear fruit, and the recently launched R600 graphics platform has been more or less a disappointment, industry experts are now expecting AMD to go fabless .
The positive side of the story is the upcoming launch of their new architecture ‘Barcelona’ about which I had written a while ago, and a series of dual and quad core desktop processors branded ‘Phenom’ . Alongside this there will be the successor to the quad FX enthusiast platform called FASNB which will use a new AMD chipset . FASNB will have a socket for one or two Phenom processors , DDR3 support and will be able to employ the power of a pair of the new R600 based GPU’s in crossfire .
Production AMD Barcelona’s are expected by late August . AMD may not be done yet .

I have not been writing for a while .. almost a month now . I was down with typhoid and trying to make a presentable homepage for my my site www.ashwinrajiv.com , and The workshop has moved to www.ashwinrajiv.com/blog . Please do visit my site .

My feed has changed to http://feeds.feedburner.com/ashwinrajiv/workshop , Update your Blog Reader with this feed to continue reading my posts though I ll be mirroring my content here for a few months.

A special thank you to my friend Technayak for registering my domain with his lunarpages hosting account.

The guys at The Enquirer seem to have some dough about the next generation GPU from  nVidia , In an analyst webcast, Nvidia Investor Relations and Communications VP Michael Hara stated the top end card based on the G92 graphics processor will be ready for Christmas and that it will have computing power close to 1 TeraFLOP .
Time for some cools stats now , Intel’s latest quad core Core 2 extreme QX6700 runs at 2.6 GHz and has a peak floating point performance of 50 GFLOPS, while nVidia’s G80 ( powers the 8800GTX)  has a peak floating point performance of 330 GFLOPS, AMD’s R600 can do a max 450 GFLOPS  and the STI Cell B.E does close to 250 GFLOPS at max throughput . So if the G92 rumor holds it would mean that the G92 will outperform the cell by around 4 times and its predecessor G80 by about 3 times  in terms of computing power.
One problem with GPU’s  is the inability to support 64 bit floating point operations, which is necessary for almost all supercomputing applications . On the other hand GPU’s are far cheaper than supercomputer vector processors making their use in HPC( High performance computing) justified . nVidia had promised FP64 support on GPUs by late 2007 , So is G92 the promised chip , if so its going to have a big impact on the GPGPU movement and on HPC in general.
One little concern for me is the lack of titles for the PC which can take advantage of such horsepower , Crysis is a contender and so is SC-Conviction . TeraFLOP or not it’ll be interesting to see what kind of performance can the G92 can dish out.


First the big news , BT and Sony computer entertainment Europe(SCEE) have signed a four year deal to transform the PSP by adding wireless broadband communications functions including high quality video and voice calls and instant messaging. At first, only PSP-to-PSP calls will be supported but this will be soon followed by the ability to support calls and messages between PSPs, computers, regular phones and mobiles. The service will first be introduced in the UK and the rest of Europe . Surprisingly no details were released on when the service will be available in the US which has a PSP user base of 7.4 million . I guess this is Sony’s answer to the Nintendo DS , which is set to break all sales records for a gaming hand held before its time runs out , but there are a hundred reasons why this strategy won’t work at least with the current avatar of the PSP . Here are my top 5 reasons

  • Anybody who’s seen or held the PSP knows how big it really is, with its large screen and dedicated gaming buttons , its not something you would want to be seen talking into.
  • There are already so many complaints about PSP’s battery life and with video and voice calls , its anybody’s guess how long the battery would last.
  • Video calls will need a cam , and with Wi-fi the new hardware coming into the PSP will have some implications on the size of the device , will it get bulkier or is Sony going to rethink their whole design strategy for the PSP and release it as a new model with the current PSP existing as a low price model.
  • The D pad and associated buttons cant be used for messaging , of course they know that , does that mean more buttons or or rather a small alphanumeric keypad . I think touchscreen would be better , what impact will that have on the cost and size of the next gen PSP.
  • Last but not the least, the cost. Just how much is this gaming device cum phone cum Wi-Fi internet device cum media player going to cost , not as much as the PS3 I hope 🙂

What could be done otherwise is to improve the PSP as what it was meant to be , a portable gaming and media device : improve the battery life , provide descent internal storage, better content delivery and for god’s sake drop that damn UMD drive.

From the recent announcements of the chip majors , it seems the catch up games that they have been playing with each other are over.
What am I talking about ? First it was all about pushing clock speeds up , and more recently it’s been about putting more cores on a chip more efficiently than the other . But as the multicore architectures become more mature , chip majors like Intel and AMD have started to diverge on their multicore strategies . Intel is moving towards homogeneous cores while AMD and IBM look to be adopting a more heterogeneous approach .

Homogeneous as the word implies means all the processing units (cores) on a certain processor are of the same type and divide the workload between them for maximum efficiency . The heterogeneous approach is a little more complicated as it may be implemented in a lot of ways , different size cores for different dedicated functions is one approach . Another approach is where a problem’s workload is split between a general-purpose processor and one or more specialized, problem-specific processors. Heterogeneous computing is a broader research area and the concept has been around for a while now, it also encompasses efforts like GPGPU computing , the Clearspeed accelerators and more recent efforts like the AGEIA PHYSX co processor .The most recent and the best example of a heterogeneous processor would be the STI Cell B.E with its Power PC core and the 8 synergistic processor units . AMD has plans for a similar architecture and their first heterogeneous multicore offering may be a CPU and GPU in the client space.

On the software side ,task-level parallelism and workload partitioning continue to be the dominant issues for multi-core platforms for both heterogeneous and homogeneous architectures. These issues will be more acute on heterogeneous multi-core systems, since the specialized processors will throw up a new set of problems. I believe heterogeneous computing is geared towards extreme performance computing , the GPGPU movement and the Cell’s performance with folding@home proves this point. General purpose computing might go the homogeneous way , as the challenges are far lesser and are fast being resolved .