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Category: Principled Technologies

Lots of things are happening!

The WebXPRT 2015 community preview hasn’t even been out two weeks yet, but there are already hundreds of runs in the database. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now is a good time! (login required)

As I mentioned last week, Bill and Justin are at Intel Developer Forum 2015 – Shenzhen. Here’s their home away from home this week.

booth

Bill and Justin have been having a lot of good conversations and have found a lot of interest in an open development community. We’re looking forward to having even more members in Asia soon!

On Monday we released the CrXPRT white paper. If you want to know more about the concepts behind CrXPRT 2015, how it was developed, how the results are calculated, or anything else about CrXPRT, the white paper is a great place to start.
Finally, the MobileXPRT 2015 design document is coming in the next couple of weeks. What would you like to see in the next version of MobileXPRT? 64-bit support? New types of tests? Improvements to the UI? Everything is on the table. This is the time to make your voice heard!
Eric

Golden tickets

We (Bill and Mark) are on our way home from CES. There were lots of cool things to see, from electric cars to health and fitness wearables to all manner of mobile devices. And, more, a whole lot more.

We enjoyed seeing many of those products, but that was not our primary mission at the show. Our main goal was to spread the word about the XPRT benchmarks. We did that by visiting multiple mobile-device members and giving out to many of them a very special golden ticket. Yes, we’re talking a physical, Willy Wonka-style golden ticket. The two-sided tickets look really cool.

One side invites folks to be heard by joining the BenchmarkXPRT community. The other offers them the opportunity to have PT test devices for free with all the applicable XPRT benchmarks. All a vendor has to do to get this free testing is send the device to PT. We hope to get many devices in-house and to provide a great many results on our Web sites.

We wore the new BenchmarkXPRT shirts as we walked the floor.

We will soon be sending one shirt—and one golden ticket—to each member of the community. Please make sure we have your latest mailing address so we can ship those to you.

-Bill & Mark

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Sprucing things up

A major goal of the BenchmarkXPRT benchmarks is to be useful to the people who buy consumer devices, most of whom do not have experience running benchmarks. As these people have started discovering the benchmarks, we’ve been learning a lot about how to make the benchmarks clearer and easier to use.

We’re working on a lot of things: making the data clearer and easier to understand, giving better feedback about what the benchmark is doing, making the controls clearer and easier to find, making the documentation more accessible, and more. We also need to make the UIs of the benchmarks more unified, so that the benchmarks appear to be the members of the same family.

Because we take this effort very seriously, we are involving the PT design team in a more integral way. These are the same people who spearheaded the Web site redesign and produced the BenchmarkXPRT videos. (See their most recent video here.)

We’ll keep you informed about the design process as we go. If you have complaints or suggestions, it’s not too late. Please post to the forums or send an email to benchmarkxprtsupport@principledtechnologies.com.

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Extreme makeover

Last week, we unveiled redesigned Web pages for BenchmarkXPRT. We’ve been working on this redesign for a while. We think you’ll find the pages to be a lot sleeker and more attractive. The HDXPRT page, for example, is far less cluttered and easier to navigate. There’s a new white papers page. The members’ area has a new tabbed design that will let you access the member resources for any benchmark form a single page.

We will be redesigning the blog and forums over the next few weeks. Log into the forum or send an e-mail to benchmarkxprtsupport@principledtechnologies.com and tell us what you think about the new design!

As we mentioned in the blog post What a week!, WebXPRT does not collect any personally identifying information. (The WebXPRT data collection page details all the information the benchmark collects.) The benchmark does not attempt to verify that the user agent string is correct under the assumption that the user or browser had some reason for setting it the way it is.

This has caused some people to be confused when, for example, the results for a phone running the stock Android browser say that the phone used Safari. Most modern browsers have the ability to change the user agent string and misidentify themselves, as that version of the Android browser did by default. In fact, you can usually override the browser’s default, should you want to. For example, Google Chrome version 26.0, the version I’m using right now, allows you to choose from multiple versions of IE, Firefox, Chrome, iPhone, iPad, Android, and others. You can even type in a custom string.

So, if you think WebXPRT misidentified your browser, it’s worth checking the user agent string. The instructions for doing this vary by browser, but are usually pretty straightforward. If you’re curious about why browsers offer this feature, you can search for “user agent spoofing” to find explanations of the pros and cons.

Eric

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The umbrella is open

Last week, we told you that we were going to be reorganizing the XPRT benchmarks under the BenchmarkXPRT umbrella. We’ve now taken a big step forward. The BenchmarkXPRT.com Web site is live.

BenchmarkXPRT.com is now the one place to go for news about all the benchmarks. When you visit the HDXPRT site, you’ll notice that the TouchXPRT and WebXPRT links are gone. The HDXPRT.com site is now specific to HDXPRT, and so matches the TouchXPRT.com and WebXPRT.com sites.

As part of this effort, we have also created a new Facebook page and Twitter feed for BenchmarkXPRT and they are already active. However, so that no one misses any important information, we will redundantly post the news to the old HDXPRT page and tweet to the old HDXPRT account until April 1.

The next step in the process will be converting the existing HDXPRT Development Community memberships to be BenchmarkXPRT Development community memberships. The new memberships will work like the ones you have now. However, you’ll also have the ability to follow specific benchmarks. That means that any time there’s news related to a specific benchmark, you’ll be notified. In the next couple of days, we will send an email to the members explaining this in more detail and giving the specific date of the cut over.

We will also be renaming the HDXPRT forums to be BenchmarkXPRT forums, and reorganizing the forums themselves.

As we’ve said before, this new organization better fits with the reality now, and gives us flexibility for the future. Who knows how when the family might grow again?

Eric

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There is such a thing as too much

There’s been a lot of excitement about TouchXPRT recently. However, we haven’t been ignoring HDXPRT. On November 9, we released a patch that lets HDXPRT support Windows 8. We’ve now integrated the patch into HDXPRT2012, so all copies of HDXPRT 2012 going forward will install on Windows 8 without the need for a separate step.

As promised, we will be releasing the source code for HDXPRT 2012. We anticipate having it available for community members by December 14.

During the comment period for HDXPRT, this message came through loud and clear: HDXPRT 2012 is too big and takes too long to run. So we are working hard to find the best way to reduce the number of applications and scenarios. While we want to make the benchmark smaller and faster, we want to make sure that HDXPRT 2013 is comprehensive enough to provide useful performance metrics for the greatest number of people.

We’re working toward having an RFC in late January that will define a leaner, meaner HDXPRT 2013, and will reflect the other comments we have as received as well.  If you have thoughts about which applications and scenarios are most important to you, please let us know.

In other news, CES is coming in January, and Principled Technologies will be there! Once again, Bill is hoping to meet with as many of you in the Development Community as possible. We’ll have a suite at the Hilton and would love for you to come, kick back, and talk about HDXPRT, TouchXPRT, the future of benchmarks, or about the cool things you’ve seen at the show. (Bill loves talking about gadgets. Last year, he went into gadget overload!)

If you plan to be at CES, but are stuck working a booth or suite, let us know and Bill will try to stop by and say hi. Drop us an email at hdxrpt_CES@principledtechnologies.com and we will set up an appointment.

Finally, we’re really excited about the big changes at the Principled Technologies Web site. The new Web site gives us a lot of opportunities. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at ways the Development Community can take advantage of them.

Eric

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