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Developing native Android Apps with Beacon Mountain

Welcome to my blog about what is Beacon Mountain and what it brings to Android development.

Please refer to the Beacon Mountain website for further information on system requirements.


Description:

Beacon Mountain provides a productivity-oriented design, coding, and debugging tools for native apps targeting Android-based ARM and Intel Atom processor-based devices, including smartphones and tablets. The tools are compatible with Eclipse and support popular Android SDKs.  

For which Android Apps is Beacon Mountain targeted?

Beacon Mountain is for app developers who are writing native Android apps. Apps that are memory intensive or whose performance may be critical may not run well in a virtual machine.  For those apps, being able to embed C and C++ components within the app will allow the best performance.  For other apps where performance or memory usage is not critical, developers may choose to develop apps using HTML5, making their deployment to many environments quick and easy.  If you are interested in learning more about HTML5 app development, check out the Intel(r) XDK.

Some key features of Beacon Mountain are:

  • It provides a simple and fast installation of popular Intel developer tools as well as some third party tools. This is actually a pretty big deal if you have ever tried installing the individual tools separately.  Beacon Mountain installs them all and insures that all the paths are correct.
  • It is compatible with and augments existing Android SDK and NDK toolkits
  • It supports Apple OS X*, Microsoft Windows* 7 and 8 host systems.

Beacon Mountain installs the following Intel tools for x86 (the licenses required by these installations are free):

  • Intel(r) HAXM is hardware-assisted virtualization engine (hypervisor) that uses Intel Virtualization Technology to speed up Android development. Intel HAXM can only be used with the Android SDK and the Android x86 emulator images provided by Intel. Your system MUST have an Intel Processor that supports Intel Virtualization Technology(VT).  For more information on platform capabilities go to ark.intel.com.
  • Intel(r) Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel GPA) is  a suite of graphics analysis and optimization tools to help game developers make games and other graphics-intensive applications run faster.
  • Intel(r) Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel IPP) Preview is an extensive library of software functions for multimedia processing, data processing, and communications applications for Windows*, Linux*, Android*, and OS X* environments.
  • Intel(r) Threading Building Blocks (Intel TBB) is  a widely used, C and C++ library for creating high performance, scalable parallel applications.
  • Intel(r) Software Manager is a utility that allows users to:
    • Download and install updates for your Intel® Software Development Products. (This feature has not yet been activated for Beacon Mountain.)
    • Manage subscription status of installed software.
    • Find out about the latest news for Intel® Software Development Products
  • Samples and Configurations

The following 3rd Party tools are installed:

  • Google Android SDK (ADT Bundle) 
  • Android* NDK
  • Eclipse Integrated Development Environment
  • Android* Design downloads
  • Cygwin* (for Windows operating systems) – The current version 0.6.1 installs Cygwin but this will be removed starting in version 0.7.

Note that Beacon Mountain is still in a Beta (version 0.6.1 – pre-1.0) production state and therefore you will find updated versions periodically.  Should you decide to update and reinstall:

The installer checks for a preexisting installation, as follows:

  • Windows: If previous BeaconMountain deployment is found:

    • To preserve possible user changes, the installer copies BeaconMountain, .android, and IntelSamples folders to corresponding archive locations with _xx at the end of the name, e.g. BeaconMountain_01.
    • Installer upgrades only the components that changed.
    • At end of process, upgraded product components are in the original locations with possible user changes saved off “to the side”.
    • User can then integrate any of their specific changes from BeaconMountain_01, etc. if desired. (There may be nothing to do.)
    • Once any changed data has been integrated, the archive folders (names ending with _xx) can be removed.
  • OSX: If previous BeaconMountain deployment is found:
  • To preserve possible user changes, the installer moves BeaconMountain, .android, and IntelSamples folders to corresponding archive locations with _xx at the end of the name, e.g. BeaconMountain_01.
  • Installer reinstalls all components in the normal locations.
  • At end of process, upgraded product components are in the original locations with possible user changes saved off “to the side”.
  • User can then integrate any of their specific changes from BeaconMountain_01, etc. if desired. (There may be nothing to do.)
  • Once any changed data has been integrated, the archive folders (names ending with _xx) can be removed. 

How to uninstall (Windows):

  • Go to the “Add/Remove Programs” dialog in the Control Panel and select Beacon Mountain.
  • You can choose whether or not to remove any other development materials left over in your user folder (e.g. .android and IntelSamples folders) by Beacon Mountain after the uninstall completes.

If you have difficulties or suggestions, there is a Beacon Mountain discussion forum where you can post questions (see the link in the Quick Links box.)


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Intel(R) AMT KVM or SOL Sessions Causing Screen to Flicker

Welcome to my blog about Intel(R) Active Management Technology. The question below was posted on the vPro Expert Center.

Special Thanks to Vitaly Lubart, Senior SW/FW Engineer at Intel, for answering this question.


Question:

Connecting to any Intel AMT Client  via a SOL and\or KVM causes the AMT Client’s screen to flicker about once every 10 seconds. The screen goes black for approximately one second and then the display returns to normal. The flicker is OS independent and happens in the BIOS, during boot, while doing OEM diagnostics, and inside the OS itself. It happens on multiple models of Dell Optiplex (990 and 960). The AMT Clients have only the Intel onboard graphics and nic. 

Answer:

This is an expected behavior for the Intel AMT KVM remote control feature when working in some BIOSes, as well as DOS . It is caused by an integrated Gfx HW limitation of the KVM feature that is needed for showing the User Consent Sprite while the display is in VGA mode.  When the display is in VGA mode the display image cannot be shown along with the Sprite so when the Sprite User Periodic Notification is being shown, the screen itself cannot be displayed. 

For this reason the Sprite User Periodic Notification is done once in about 10 sec (instead of 3 sec for non-VGA mode).

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Intel® AMT 9.5: New Features for 2013

Welcome to my blog about the recent release of Intel® AMT 9.5.  This blog will list the new features moving from Intel AMT 8.x to Intel AMT 9.x.

Description:

Intel has recently launched the latest Intel AMT 9.x processors:

  • 2-Chip processors supporting the 9.0 version of the Firmware
  • 1-Chip processors supporting the 9.5 version of the Firmware.

Intel AMT 9.x comes with the 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 Processors that support Intel vPro Technology.  

In my last blog, Intel® vPro Technology™ Release 9.0: Platform Requirements I covered what platorm components to look for when shopping for a system supporting Intel AMT 9.0. Here, I will cover what is new with Intel AMT 9.0 and Intel AMT 9.5.

Note that the main difference with the 9.5 version of the firmware is that it runs on the Y and U Series of Intel’s Core roadmap (Extreme-Low Power and Ultra-Low Power Ultrabooks and Tablets.)  The 9.0 version of the firmware will run on the M and H Series of Intel’s Core Processor Roadmap (Notebooks and Desktops.)

The Intel AMT SDK supporting Intel AMT 9.0 and Intel AMT 9.5 can be downloaded from the Busineness Client Community.  The Implementation and Reference Guide can be viewed on-line here.

What is new with Intel AMT 9.0 and Intel AMT 9.5: 

  • Now Microsoft Windows 8 Compliant
  • The Intel AMT release 9.x addesses support for Windows* SSPI secure sessions in the Redirection and KVM libraries. This option is provided in addition to Open SSL.
  • Any configuration software can now synchronize the Intel AMT network time to coordinate with UTC. See the section called “Enable Local Time Sync” in the Intel® AMT Implementation and Reference Guide.
  • The Intel AMT network can now be enabled and disabled. See the section called “Enable/Disable Intel AMT Network” in the Intel® AMT Implementation and Reference Guide.
  • The User Notification Service and Local Manageability Service capabilities have been unified into a single group of capabilities now referred to collectively as the Local Manageability Service. See the section called “Local Manageability Service” in the Intel® AMT Implementation and Reference Guide.
  • The ability to configure a headless platform remotely without the need for local user-consent has been added.
  • Intel AMT 9.x supports 5 new power states in order to support the added Graceful Shutdown feature. See the section called “Change System Power State” in the Intel® AMT Implementation and Reference Guide. The new power states are:
  • 4: Sleep-Deep, corresponding to ACPI state G1, S3, or D2
  • 7: Hibernate (Off Soft), corresponding to ACPI state S4, where the state of the managed element is preserved and will be recovered upon powering on
  • 11: Diagnostic Interrupt (NMI) corresponding to the system reaching ACPI state S5 followed by ACPI state S0. This is used to represent system non-maskable interrupt.
  • 12: Off – Soft Graceful, equivalent to Off Soft but preceded by a request to the managed element to perform an orderly shutdown.

What is new with the Intel AMT 9.5 SDK:

  • As of the Intel AMT 9.0 SDK, the SOAP interface has been replaced by WS-Man.
  • Ubuntu support for Linux added.  (Libraries included for RH5, SuSE11, Ubuntu: both 32 bit and 64 bit.)
  • ISO images can now be used with Redirection on Linux
  • Introduction of wireless only platforms.  Those features which are dependent on a wired LAN connection are not supported on the wireless only platforms.  For example:  Heuristic Policies , Automatic Synchronization of IP Addresses , Local Setup Directly to Admin Control Mode , 802.1x Profile Configuration   
  • Udated the PuTTY Terminal Emulator with the Aljex client.  Aljex client is a terminal emulator fork of PuTTY with Several enhancements for vertical/VAR integration.     

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RDRAND library for Java

Welcome to my blog about the Intel(r) Secure Key Technology. In this blog I am providing some URLs regarding the Implementation Guide and a pointer to a Java Utility wrapping librdrand (provided by the community.)

Description:

Intel® Secure Key, previously code-named Bull Mountain Technology, is the Intel name for the Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures instruction RDRAND and its underlying Digital Random Number Generator (DRNG) hardware implementation. Among other things, the DRNG using the RDRAND instruction is useful for generating high-quality keys for cryptographic protocols.

This Digital Random Number Generator Software Implementation Guide is intended to provide a complete source of technical information on RDRAND usage, including code examples. 

I would like to acknowledge one of our Community Members, Hemanta P for providing a link to his RDRAND Java Project:
lizalab-rdrand-util.   Hemanta is looking for feedback so go and check it out!

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