Category Archives: Geek Thing

Notepad++ – A nice Free replacement for Notepad

Notepad++ is a free (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License.

Based on a powerful editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. By optimizing as many routines as possible without losing user friendliness, Notepad++ is trying to reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions. When using less CPU power, the PC can throttle down and reduce power consumption, resulting in a greener environment.

This project is mature. However, there may be still some bugs and missing features that are being worked on. If you have any questions or suggestions about this project, please post them in the forums. Also, if you wish to make a feature request, you can post it there as well. But there’s no guarantee that I’ll implement your request.

You’re encouraged to translate Notepad++ into your native tongue if there’s not already a translation present in the Download Section. And if you want, help translating Notepad++ official site into your native tongue would be greatly appreciated.

I hope you enjoy Notepad++ as much as I enjoy coding it.

Here are the features of Notepad++ :

Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding
<!– Supported languages : C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, Javascript, RC resource file, makefile, ASCII art file (extension .nfo , screenshot1, screenshot2), doxygen, ini file, batch file, ASP, VB/VBS source files, SQL, Objective-C, CSS, Pascal, Perl, Python, Lua, TeX, TCL, Assembler, Ruby, Lisp, Scheme, Properties, Diff, Smalltalk, Postscript, VHDL, Ada, Caml, AutoIt, KiXtart, Matlab, Verilog, Haskell, InnoSetup and CMake.–> Supported languages :

C C++ Java C# XML HTML
PHP CSS makefile ASCII art (.nfo) doxygen ini file
batch file Javascript ASP VB/VBS SQL Objective-C
RC resource file Pascal Perl Python Lua TeX
TCL Assembler Ruby Lisp Scheme Properties
Diff Smalltalk Postscript VHDL Ada Caml
AutoIt KiXtart Matlab Verilog Haskell InnoSetup
CMake YAML COBOL D R PowerShell
If you have a colour printer, print your source code (or whatever you want) in colour.
User Defined Syntax Highlighting
It allows user to define his own language : not only the syntax highlighting keywords, but also the syntax folding keywords, comment keywords and the operators. ( screenshot1, screenshot2, screenshot3, screenshot4 ).
For most supported languages, user can make his/her own API list (or download the api files from dowload section). Once the api file is ready, type Ctrl+Space to launch this action (see screenshot). For more information about Auto-completion, please see Auto-completion HOWTO.
You can edit several documents at the same time.
You have two views at same time. That means you can visualize (edit) 2 different documents at the same time (screenshot). You can visualize (edit) in the 2 views one document at 2 different positions as well. The modification of document in one view will carry out in another view (i.e. you modify the SAME document when you are in clone mode, see screenshot).
Regular Expression Search/Replace supported
You can search and replace one string in the document by using the regular expression.
Full Drag ‘N’ Drop supported
You can open a document by drag & drop. You can also move your document from a position (or even a view) to another by drag & drop.
Dynamic position of Views
The user can set the position of the views dynamically (only in 2 views mode : the splitter can be set in horizontal or in vertical), see screenshot.
File Status Auto-detection
If you modify or delete a file which opened in Notepad++, you will be notified to update your document (reload the file or remove the file).
Zoom in and zoom out
That’s another fantastic function of Scintilla component. Just see screenshot.
Multi-Language environment supported
The Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic and Hebrew Windows environments are supported. See Notepad++ under the Chinese Windows , under the Arabic Windows and under the Hebrew Windows in action screenshot.
User can just click on the bookmark margin (located right side of line number margin) or type Ctrl+F2 to toggle a book mark. To reach the bookmark, type just F2 (Next bookmark) or Shift+F2 (Previous bookmark). To clear all bookmarks, click the Menu Search->Clear All bookmarks. See screenshot.
Brace and Indent guideline Highlighting
When the caret stay beside of one of those symbol { } [ ] ( ) , the symbol beside of caret and its symmetric opposite symbol will be highlighted, as well as the indent guideline (if any) in order to locate the block more easily. See screenshot1, screenshot2 .
Macro recording and playback

Engadget – ATI Eyefinity hands-on: we played with the ultimate PC rig, and we’re giving it away on the Engadget Show!

By Paul Miller

ATI’s Eyefinity has a real corner on the market when it comes to speedy, gamer-friendly multi-display setups for “real people,” and while plenty of ink has already been spilled on the HD 5870 card and the six-display experiences it can power, we just had a gander at possibly the most elite setup yet. The real key here are the Samsung SyncMaster MD230 displays we saw it demo’d with, which sport razor slim screen bezels and an easy-to-build, flexible 3 x 2 grid. Less in-your-face but equally as sexy is that BMW-designed Thermaltake Level 10 chassis (OK, it’s still pretty in-your-face). It’s a custom-configured iBuyPower system, which in addition to the $2k-ish display setup (an official price hasn’t been announced by Samsung) should swipe a few months of your salary without any trouble.

Too rich for you? Well, maybe you’d like to win one for free! That’s right, we’re going to be demonstrating this system on the Engadget Show this Saturday, and one lucky attendee is going to win their very own Eyefinity setup! You have to be there to win, of course.

Not convinced? Follow the link for some of our hands-on impressions, a lot more pictures and a quick video.

New Graphics Tech Promises Speed, Hyperrealism

By Priya Ganapati

Chipmakers have spent billions of dollars over the decades to create specialized processors that can help make computer graphics ever more realistic and detailed.

Now an Australian hobbyist says he has created a technology that can churn out high-quality, computer-generated graphics for video games and other applications without the need for graphics chips or processor-hungry machines.

“Major companies have got to a point where they improve the polygon-count in graphics-rendering by 22 percent a year,” says Bruce Dell, 32, the creator of the new technology, which he calls Unlimited Detail. “We have made it unlimited. It’s all software that requires no special hardware, so you get truly unlimited detail in your scenes.”

Dell is an unusual candidate for a computer-graphics revolutionary. He’s an autodidact who’s never been to a university and who ran a supermarket chain for about eight years.

But he claims to have found a way to search through trillions of voxels, the 3-D counterparts to pixels, to render a scene quickly. Voxels have so far been used largely in medical- and mining-graphics applications, not video games.

Bringing voxel-based rendering to the world of video games is an interesting idea, says Jon Peddie, founder of Jon Peddie Research. That’s because voxels could take a middle ground between two current rendering techniques: the fast but not graphically realistic world of polygon rendering (used by most video games today) and computationally resource-hungry and comparatively slow ray-tracing technology.

“With voxels, you create a volume of points and look at those points to see what the picture is all about,” says Peddie. “That gives a very accurate representations of the world you are trying to render, without taking up too much computational resources.”

Creating lifelike images through graphics-rendering usually requires major computing power. To recreate three-dimensional objects on a computer screen, programmers define a structure in terms of its geometry, texture, lighting and shading.

The resultant digital image is an approximation of a real-life object, but has a computer-generated–graphics feel to it. It also requires intensive computing power, which means graphics programmers must have state-of-the art machines with special chips from companies such as Nvidia and AMD.

In most 3-D graphics-modeling programs, the virtual depiction of almost every real-life object, such as a trees or a stone, starts as a little flat polygon. More-powerful processors can help the software have more of these polygons, which means increased roundness to the objects on screen. With enough computing power, billions of little polygons can be generated, and each made so small that it’s almost a dot.

Another alternative is to use ray tracing, a method in which the computer traces the path of light through space, simulating the effect on the light as it encounters different objects. That approach creates much more visually attractive scenes, but it is extremely intensive in its need for computational resources.

Dell says Unlimited Detail has an alternative to these systems. It uses billions of “point cloud” dots, or voxels, to accurately represent a world. To render an image, Unlimited Detail then acts as a search engine.

Dell says his algorithm can quickly figure out the dots needed to render a scene, search the data to find only those points, and pull them up quickly enough for smooth animation. He calls it “mass connected processing.”

“Instead of putting a trillion dots on screen and covering the ones you don’t use, we show only what needs to be done and how you can manipulate those dots,” says Dell.

It’s all so new that Dell, who claims to have single-handedly written the software, is still in the process of forming a company.

So how legitimate are his claims? It’s hard to evaluate. Few graphics programmers or industry analysts have actually seen his software at work. Dell says those who have are bound by tight nondisclosure agreements limiting their ability to talk about it.

And graphics chip makers such as Nvidia are not impressed.

“Voxel graphics have been around for quite some time, but they are not considered to be as precise as polygon-based graphics,” says Ken Brown, a spokesperson for Nvidia.

Graphics rendered using voxels can run on less-resource-hungry machines, but they can’t offer the same level of quality as ray tracing or rasterization, he says.

“With voxels, there are issues that come up with shading and coloring the images properly,” says Brown. “If you look at the screenshots that Unlimited Detail has posted, the images don’t look all that realistic.”

Some of those problems can be ameliorated by using better tools, but it can’t be done by a one-man band, say Brown and Peddie.

“There needs to be an infrastructure around every new rendering technique,” says Brown. “There have to be SDKs, tools and drivers, and these are things that teams of people from many different companies come together to create.”

As for claims that Unlimited Detail can do real-time graphics rendering on a machine with a single-core processor and no graphics card, Nvidia people say they’re skeptical. Searching through trillions of points of data would require large amounts of RAM (random access memory), and Dell isn’t sharing any details on how his algorithm deals with that problem.

Even if Dell can validate his claims, it could be years before graphics programmers start using the voxel-based technique that Dell is advocating, says Peddie.

“It will be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, because there are too many entrenched systems and legacy files to be managed,” he says. “Anybody who is making graphics-creation software like Adobe, Autodesk and Maya will have to change their way of doing things. That’s a pretty big thing to change.”

Major companies such as Microsoft and HP also have patents around voxels, and if Dell wants to go professional, he’ll have to make sure he’s not infringing on the work of other researchers.

“The jury is still out on this idea,” says Peddie. “But Bruce Dell seems real, very sincere, and the idea looks solid.”

To preview Dell’s technology check out his own video (Bottom of page):

Will light replace cables in blade servers?

In Lightfleet’s approach, light and mirrors replace the cabling traditionally used to connect the nodes in a blade server.   (Credit: Lightfleet)

by Ina Fried

A start-up has plans to turn the traditional approach to blade servers on its ear, and it’s not just smoke and mirrors. But it is light and mirrors.

For the past seven years, Lightfleet has been working on a technology that employs light signals to replace the cabling and switches typically used to connect various server nodes in a blade server. And as of December, it had delivered its first unit–to Microsoft’s Research’s labs.

Lightfleet’s first product is code-named Beacon, a 32-node server that uses dual-core Intel processors along with standard off-the-shelf disks, memory, and storage all in a package that stands about 16 inches tall on a server rack (9U in server speak).

What’s different is the way each node talks to the others, the so-called interconnections within the server. Although not typically the sexiest part of computing, the interconnections in a server blade play a critically important part in determining not just how fast it that server runs, but also how much power the whole data center uses and how much heat it throws off.

Just improving performance is a big deal. No matter how fast the chips and memory inside servers get, there is always the challenge of how fast one can connect the different nodes together. And, historically, the more nodes you put in a blade server, the more complex that job of interconnection gets.

But that’s not the case with Lightfleet’s approach. The company’s motto–all to all, all at once–may sound like a bad reinterpretation of the Three Musketeers’ slogan, but it’s the key to how the company gets around the standard bottleneck.

Instead of having to pass the message from one server to the next or use a switch to route the various signals, each of Lightfleet’s server nodes can broadcast the signal to all the others, and each node can receive the signal sent by every other node’s transmitters.

Think of traditional signaling as trying to make a series of messenger deliveries throughout Manhattan. Whether you have a Ferrari or a Pinto, you are only going to move so fast through traffic. And even if you have a fleet of cars, things will only speed up so much. Plus you have the hassle of distributing all the packages.

Lightfleet’s approach, meanwhile, is more akin to being able to deliver the messages by beaming them from rooftop to rooftop.

On the technical side, the receivers work a bit like a tiny video camera, capturing all of the light signals that come in so that something known as a demultiplexer can then translate the signals into a bunch of ones and zeroes.

Lightfleet is, of course, not the first to use optics for signal transmission. Fiber optics also take advantage of the fact that light moves faster than just about anything else. But with fiber optics, you’ve still got the signal only traveling from one point to another. With Lightfleet’s approach, each node can talk to all 32 nodes at once.

(Intel, meanwhile, proposes a technology called Light Peak that be used to connect PCs to all manner of peripherals.)

Based based in the tiny Pacific Northwest town of Camas, Wash., Lightfleet is still in its infancy, even after seven years of work. The company, which got angel funding in 2006, has just 22 employees and expects to ship just a handful of systems this year.

“We want to really support our customers this year and make sure each of them gets the maximum benefit,” said CEO John Peers. At the same time, he said, “You want to put out enough that we prove the claims we’re making.”

Still, the company hopes to follow in the footsteps of its far more famous customer and fellow resident of the Evergreen State.

“We hope to do to Camas what a certain company did to Redmond,” Peers said.

Lightfleet ended up with Microsoft as its first customer a bit by accident. Some folks on Wall Street had heard about Lightfleet’s technology and were interested in seeing it for themselves. Microsoft got wind of it and asked the company to stop by its New York offices while they were in town. Pretty soon, the colossus of Redmond was Lightfleet’s first customer.

“We would have given our right arm to give it to these folks but they were good enough to buy it,” Peers said.

A diagram showing Lightfleet’s broadcast system in action.  (Credit: Lightfleet)

Java creator says goodbye to Larry Ellison and ditches Oracle

By Trent Nouveau

Well, that didn’t take too long! James Gosling, the well-known father of the Java computer language, has officially bid adieu to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

“Yes, indeed, the rumors are true: I resigned from Oracle a week ago (April 2nd). As to why I left, it’s difficult to answer: Just about anything I could say that would be accurate and honest would do more harm than good,” Gosling confirmed in an official blog post.

“The hardest part is no longer being with all the great people I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years. I don’t know what I’m going to do next, other than take some time off before I start job hunting.”

It should be noted that Gosling was one of the highest profile (former) Sun Microsystems employees to part ways with Oracle since the software maker acquired the corporation for a whopping $7.5 billion.

In addition, former Sun Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz and Chairman Scott McNealy have also left the company in recent months.

So, where does that leave the future of Open Source and Java? Unfortunately, only Sir Larry Ellison can answer that.

Intel: Sandy Bridge processors on target for 2010

By Trent Nouveau

Intel has confirmed that production of processors featuring its next-gen Hi-K 32 nanometer (nm) “Sandy Bridge” architecture will kick off in late 2010.

The processors are expected to be the first to support the company’s Advanced Vector Extension (AVX) instruction set.

According to Intel executive VP David (Dadi) Perlmutter, AVX accelerates the trends toward floating point intensive computation in applications such as image, video, and audio processing, as well as engineering apps, including 3D modeling/analysis, scientific simulation and financial analytics.

“Sandy Bridge” is also slated to continue support for Intel’s AES New Instruction set (AES-NI), which includes seven software instructions to accelerate data encryption and decryption.

Finally, “Sandy Bridge” will feature Intel’s sixth-generation graphics core which is expected to significantly accelerate floating points, as well as video and processor intensive software.

Intel chip hits eight-core milestone

Intel’s Body Davis with eight-core chip: a milestone for Intel.   (Credit: Intel)

by Brooke Crothers

Intel is integrating the largest number of processing cores onto one chip in its history, a boon for server makers looking to squeeze more performance into less space.

The Xeon 7500 offers what Intel is saying is the largest performance leap in the history of its Xeon line, with an average three-fold jump in performance. And the feat of putting eight cores on one die–the raw chip–offers practical advantages to data centers. As a yardstick, data centers can replace 20 single core, four-chip servers with a single new Xeon 7500 processor series-based system, according to Intel.

Servers using the Xeon 7500 can use up to 256 chips per server, Intel said.

Like other Intel Core i series processors, the Xeon 7500 features a technology called “hyper-threading,” which can double the number of tasks–or threads–a processor can execute. So, an eight-core processor can handle 16 threads. This technology is not offered on prior-generation Core 2 chips.

Intel is also supporting more memory. New servers based on the 7500 will boast a four-fold increase in memory capacity, with support for up to 1 terabyte in four-processor configurations.

The Xeon 7500 follows an announcement from Advanced Micro Devices on Monday of a 12-core processor, which combines two six-core die.

“Both AMD and Intel are demonstrating huge leaps in performance per watt,” said Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist at In-Stat, adding that this represents the biggest challenge to high-end RISC server suppliers to date. RISC, or reduced instruction set computer, is chip technology offered in servers from Sun Microsystems and IBM.

But it’s not just about more cores. Intel, like AMD, is adding security and reliability features that make servers from companies like Cisco and Dell more attractive to customers who may have opted for RISC-based servers, according to McGregor.

And both Intel and AMD have increased the number of memory channels, which is a requirement for the most performance sensitive servers, McGregor said.

Pricing for the Xeon 7500 will range from $1,980 for a six-core X7542 to $3,692 to the eight-core X7560. This contrasts with a 12-core 2.3GHz AMD 6100 series chip priced at $1,386. But individual chip pricing has less significance for servers than for laptops and desktops, according to McGregor. Server suppliers price their systems based on a variety of criteria that diminish the impact of individual chip cost.

Server makers slated to supply Xeon 7500-based systems include Cisco Systems, Cray, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, NEC, Oracle, and SGI.