Archives: August 2005

Microsoft to release WinFS as an add-on to XP and Vista

Microsoft were originally going to include WinFS, the replacement for FAT32 and NTFS filesystems as an integral part of Vista (the operating system formally known as ‘Longhorn’), but it got pulled in order that they would not delay the shipping of Vista in 2006 (already late from previous expected release dates mind you).

Microsoft has recently annouced that they will be shipping WinFS as an add-on to XP and possibly Vista at a later point, in a series of beta releases for developers to play with and take advantage of the new file storage and searching capabilities.

This is sad because:

  • WinFS was to replace the antiquated NTFS and FAT32 based file systems, which have their legacy roots firmly planted in DOS. Both of these grew from the origins of MS-DOS. DOS was a great operating system and FAT worked fine when harddrives were only 40MB in size, but now we have 250GB drives (and 4 of these in my machine gives me 1 Terrabyte of online storage!) I can’t find a thing on my drive. I also have a much diverse collection of media on my machine that I need to be able to index and search in some logical order that makes sense to me personally. WinFS was promising to be a file system replacement that addressed these issues for todays data storage.
  • If WinFS is to be added as an add-on, and early beta versions are indicating that it is to be used as a service callable by an application, then this is a sad thing. Why? Because it indicates the DOS legacy filesystems are here to stay and applications have to be explicitly written to take advantage of the new filesystem storage and search capabilities. This means some of my files will be lost forever in the hierarchical structure of DOS based directories, will a smaller part of my files used by application XYZ will be stored elsewhere in this new filesystem. What sort of half-hearted solution is that? COme on Bill, I need to search all my junk on my machine, not just part of it with a particular application.

The other pressure against WinFS seeing light of day is the fact that the MSN boys have been off by themselves dreaming up Google Desktop Search type functionality, which although searching against my legacy DOS based filesystem, may offer me some hope of finding things on my machine, and therefore reduces the need for WinFS to get completed.

Of all the new features to be included in Longhorn that looked exciting it was this one, and now we may or may not get it, and if we do, it will be in an optional add on.

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Is Google becoming the new Microsoft?

The Register has an interesting compentary on an article that appeared in the New York Times, comparing Google to Microsoft in it’s early days.

Google is rapidly growing it’s core business from running a search engine, to including, well, everything else. This is what is worrying some industry analysts, as Google starts acquiring smaller companies to add to it’s portfolio and introducing more of it’s own technology innovations, it is becoming a technology juggernaut that could potentially devour everything in it’s path.

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Retro gaming on the PSP

Ok, so I just spent $250 on my PSP, which by the way is the most incredible piece of technoloigy I’ve seen for a couple of years, and what am I getting excited about? Running old arcade games on my PSP.

So the new games are incredible, but you just can’t beat the simplicity of the old classics. Released this month is Namco Battle Collection, which includes Dig Dug, Galaxian, Galaga, Pac Man, Ms Pac Man as well as a few more, and some remakes of the same games.

If that wasn’t good enough, then coming in November is Midway Arcade Treasures: Ultimate Classics, which includes such awesome old classics (20 in total) like Spy Hunter, Paperboy, Joust, Marble Madness, Rampage, Gauntley. Wow, now I know what I’m going to be doing in November :-)

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EBGames start taking preorders for XBox360

EBGames have already started taking orders for the XBox360, even though its not due until November time.

The store is offering two bundles:

  • The ‘Utimate’ bundle: based on the premium package (which is to retail at $399 and include the 20GB hard drive), and includes 4 games and an additional wireless controller
  • The ‘Core’ bundle: based on the core system (which is to retail for $299), which includes 4 games an an additional wired controlller.

The initial launch prices seem pretty high, but we haven’t seen the launch prices for the PS3 yet, which may be even higher according to rumors.

Incidentally, I just posted this wirelessly from my PSP Web Browser (the first paragraph anyway :-)

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Case study: Become.com – a massively scaled Java application

This is a great case study of a large scale Java application for an online shopping service called Become.com.

Become.com’s system is a massive web search engine that crawls the web for goods being sold and offers comparisons between like products. The crawler engine is written in Java and indexes more than 3 billion web pages and generates index data of over 8 terrabytes of data over 30 distributed servers during a 7 day run.

The crawler code is written in 39,000 thousand lines of code running over 40 to 50 machines, with 180Gb of total allocated memory and running upto 5000 threads.

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JSF verses Apache Tapestry

Phil Zoio has a great, very detailed article on TheServerSide.com comparing two web framework alternatives to Struts, JSF and Apache Tapestry.

Struts has long been the de facto standard web application framework, but over the past couple of years there have been many alternatives attempting to improve over some of the limitations of Struts.

One of the largest changes is many of the newer frameworks such as JSF and Tapestry are event driven and give more flexibility over Struts Actions. This allows you to tie client side events, such as value changes, validation results, form submits to server-side processing. JSF is also the Java EE 5.0 spec for ‘the’ web framework, and so will be supported on all the EE 5.0 application servers when they come out.

There has been a lot of noise over whether JSF may replace Struts – David Geary in his blog (author of Core Java Server Faces) gives a good set of reasons for why you should be considering using JSF instead of Struts for new projects.

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Linguine Maps – visualization of software relationships

When working on large projects, its often difficult to get the large picture in terms of relationships between different entities.

Software Secret Weapons have put together a utility called Linguine Maps that parses certain input files and builds a graphical display of the relationships between them. Currently it can handle ANT build files, DTDs, Apache OJB mapping files, and Hibernate mapping files.

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