There have been three bigger updates to particles stuff during the last couple of weeks. Mostly things are just like they have been in the past, but only better!
The point cache code has gone through some major changes internally and during the recode I added compression support for all disk caches. So now you can enjoy smaller file sizes in all simulations, not just smoke. I also wrote quite a lengthy post about everything point caches to the new code.blender.org blog, so check out that too (even if you're not so much into the technical stuff there are some ideas about future functionality in the end which you people might find interesting ;)
Hair children now have parting controls, a long hair mode and kink flatness. More about these in a demo video as soon as I have time to make one!
I finally merged Stephen Whitehorn's (chickencoop) viscoelastic sph particle springs patch to trunk, so there are some nice new options for fluid particles. I'll try to make a demo video about this too, so expect to hear from me again soon :)