There’s been quite a bit going on around SketchUp HQ lately, what with the Trimble thing and the launch of our exciting new SketchUp Showcase and all. But Tyler and the rest of the Engineering gang haven’t just been sitting on their hands, either. Today, they’ve got a fresh new SketchUp maintenance build for you as well. Nothing major, but there’s some good stuff in it.
As usual, you can read all the details here, but for those who just care about the highlights:
- We’ve fixed some more crashes folks reported in Ruby Observers.
- Those of you with many Ruby extensions installed should no longer suffer from greyed-out menu items.
- SketchUp Pro network licenses on Windows now allow multiple instances to run on the same machine at one time.
- …and the usual collection of performance improvements, security updates and bug fixes.
SketchUp will notify you the next time it checks for an update, but if you just can’t wait, download a fresh install right now.
The R programming language has become one of the standard tools for statistical data analysis and visualization, and is widely used by Google and many others. The language includes extensive support for working with vectors of integers, numerics (doubles), and many other types, but has lacked support for 64-bit integers. Romain Francois has recently uploaded the int64 package to CRAN as well as updated versions of the Rcpp and RProtobuf packages to make use of this package. Inside Google, this is important when interacting with other engineering systems such as Dremel and Protocol Buffers, where our engineers and quantitative analysts often need to read in 64-bit quantities from a datastore and perform statistical analysis inside R.
Romain has taken the approach of storing int64 vectors as S4 objects with a pair of R’s default 32-bit integers to store the high and low-order bits. Almost all of the standard arithmetic operations built into the R language have been extended to work with this new class. The design is such that the necessary bit-artihmetic is done behind the scenes in high-performance C++ code, but the higher-level R functions work transparently. This means, for example, that you can:
• Perform arithmetic operations between 64-bit operands or between int64 objects and integer or numeric types in R.
• Read and write CSV files including 64-bit values by specifying int64 as a colClasses argument to read.csv and write.csv (with int64 version 1.1).
• Load and save 64-bit types with the built-in serialization methods of R.
• Compute summary statistics of int64 vectors, such as max, min, range, sum, and the other standard R functions in the Summary Group Generic
For even higher levels of precision, there is also the venerable and powerful GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library and the R GMP package on CRAN, although Romain’s new int64 package is a better fit for the 64-bit case.
We’ve had to work around the lack of 64-bit integers in R for several years at Google. And after several discussions with Romain, we were very happy to be able to fund his development of this package to solve the problem not just for us, but for the broader open-source community as well.
Two years ago we released the Page Speed browser extension and earlier this year the Page Speed Online API to provide developers with specific suggestions to make their web pages faster. Last year we released mod_pagespeed, an Apache module, to automatically rewrite web pages. To further simplify the life of webmasters and to avoid the hassles of installation, today we are releasing the latest addition to the Page Speed family: Page Speed Service.
Page Speed Service is an online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages. To use the service, you need to sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google. Page Speed Service fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices, and serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe. Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times. Now you don’t have to worry about concatenating CSS, compressing images, caching, gzipping resources or other web performance best practices.
In our testing we have seen speed improvements of 25% to 60% on several sites. But we know you care most about the numbers for your site, so check out how much Page Speed Service can speed up your site. If you’re encouraged by the results, please sign up. If not, be sure to check back later. We are diligently working on adding more improvements to the service.
At this time, Page Speed Service is being offered to a limited set of webmasters free of charge. Pricing will be competitive and details will be made available later. You can request access to the service by filling out this web form.