Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Aug 2015 23:16 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

And right now, early adopters and smartphone aficionados are really the limit of OnePlus' customer base. Though the company has been able to build tremendous amounts of hype and attention through its fan forums, social media accounts, and on technology blogs, the reality is that OnePlus is far from a household name at this point. Selling 1.5 million phones, as OnePlus did for its first phone, is certainly impressive for an upstart company, but it pales in comparison to the number of units Apple and Samsung move each quarter.

I find these numbers jaw-dropping, to be honest. This completely unknown - at the time - company managed to sell 1.5 million of its first phone, and now its second phone has already seen more than one million pre-orders. I don't know about you, but I find that really, really impressive.

As for the headline question - I find that unlikely at this point, but does it really matter? Does every company need to be either Apple or Samsung to be considered even remotely interesting by American/western technology media?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Aug 2015 23:11 UTC
Android

After skipping the month of July, Google is back in August with the latest distribution numbers for each version of Android. The numbers show that Android Lollipop is now on 18.1 percent of devices, making the jump from 12.4 percent when distribution numbers were last reported in June. Interestingly, KitKat is now on 39.3 percent, marking a tiny increase from 39.2 percent when numbers were last reported. Jelly Bean took a slight dive, making up 33.6 percent of installs, down from 37.4 percent in June.

I always find these distribution numbers depressing.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Aug 2015 21:31 UTC, submitted by Thexder
Apple

On the heels of the recent 6.0.2 [ed. note: and I posted it again because I'm dumb] build of the Apple IIgs System Disk set, comes the next revision. Many loose ends have been tied up and documentation has been updated with changes described in detail.

This release has been packaged as six 800K disk images in BXY format (Shrinkit Compatible Binary II Encoded), .PO format, and as a versatile 32MB ‘Live Installer in .PO format that boots to Finder for immediate access to all portions of the System Software and installing without the need of mounting multiple images or swapping floppies. This image can also be installed to a 32MB partition, CD ROM, etc.

An absolutely amazing initiative, and so far, it seems like it's sticking. Awesome.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Aug 2015 21:28 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces

In 1996 Don Gentner and Jakob Nielsen published a thought experiment, The Anti-Mac Interface. It's worth a read. By violating the design principles of the entrenched Mac desktop interface, G and N propose that more powerful interfaces could exceed the aging model and define the "Internet desktop."

It's been almost 20 years since the Anti-Mac design principles were proposed, and almost 30 since the original Apple Human Interface Guidelines were published. Did the Anti-Mac principles supersede those of the Mac?

Here I reflect on the Mac design principles of 1986, the Anti-Mac design principles of 1996, and what I observe as apparent (and cheekily named) Post-Mac design principles of 2016... Er, 2015.

Quite a read, but definitely worth it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Aug 2015 11:12 UTC
In the News

Three months ago, Mr. Price, 31, announced he was setting a new minimum salary of $70,000 at his Seattle credit card processing firm, Gravity Payments, and slashing his own million-dollar pay package to do it. He wasn't thinking about the current political clamor over low wages or the growing gap between rich and poor, he said. He was just thinking of the 120 people who worked for him and, let's be honest, a bit of free publicity. The idea struck him when a friend shared her worries about paying both her rent and student loans on a $40,000 salary. He realized a lot of his own employees earned that or less.

Yet almost overnight, a decision by one small-business man in the northwestern corner of the country became a swashbuckling blow against income inequality.

Whether you support his actions or not, ask yourself this question: what does it say about our society that a young man slashing his own salary to increase that of his employees draws more ire than a CEO raising his own salary to 70 times that of an average employee?

Most mystifying of all, though, are the employees leaving because their coworkers got a pay raise to $70000, while they themselves already earned $70000. I don't understand this mindset. You still have your salary. You still get your $70000, except now your fellow men and women on the work floor also get it. Is your self-worth really derived from earning more than the people around you? Is your sense of self really dictated by how much more you earn than Jim from accounting or Alice from engineering?

Maybe I'm just too Dutch and too little American to understand this mindset, but I firmly believe this world would be a massively better place if more CEOs cut their own salaries to raise that of their employees.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Aug 2015 10:49 UTC
Games

If you're interested in the intricacies of game engine development, you should definitely keep track of Gavan Woolery's Voxel Quest. The latest blog post deals with a whole bunch of new stuff implemented in the voxel-based engine.

The fact that VQ has undergone three tech revisions over two years probably seems a bit ridiculous, and maybe it is. Something like this would normally kill a game. That said, the point here is not just to make a game (plenty of people are doing that already), but to make a unique engine, and that could not happen in a vacuum. All I know is that I am finally happy with where the engine is at in terms of performance and flexibility, and I couldn't have gotten here without knowing everything I've learned since the start.

So the most common question I get, of course, is how does this stuff work? It is actually simpler than it might seem.

Voxel Quest is more about developing a unique game engine than it is about developing a unique game, but its developer wants to release the engine as open source so that others can do cool stuff with it too.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Aug 2015 10:43 UTC
Windows

When Microsoft released Windows 95 almost 20 years ago, people packed into stores to be among the first lucky buyers to get their hands on this cutting edge new technology. Microsoft had an iron grip on productivity software in the enterprise, but even ordinary consumers were accustomed to paying hundreds of dollars for software. Two decades later, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10. But most people won’t have to rush out and purchase a copy. Anyone with a copy of Windows dating back to Windows 7 can upgrade for free, a first for Microsoft.

Whether we're talking tiny smartphone applications, or entire operating systems, people now expect software to be free. It's a reality that, obviously, hurts software makers the most. If you'd told me only a few years ago Microsoft would adapt to this new reality this (relatively) quickly, I wouldn't have believed it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Aug 2015 10:39 UTC
Android

With Lollipop, Google did something that developers had wanted for a while: a dev preview of the upcoming Android build. With the M release, it made that even better with OTA updates for the first time... But that hasn't gone quite as smoothly as we'd hoped it would.

I'm not going to make the joke about Android updates.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 31st Jul 2015 22:45 UTC
Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. is considering an investment in Uber Technologies Inc. at a valuation of about $50 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The WSJ confirms the report.

I'm not so sure what to think of Uber. They are disrupting the horrible, horrible taxi market with a clearly superior product - I loved using Uber when I was in New York late last year - but at the same time, they are incredibly slimy. Not sure I would want to be associated with a company like this.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 31st Jul 2015 22:37 UTC
General Development

The Facebook application for Android isn't exactly, shall we say, best-in-class for a multitude of reasons, but at least Facebook is trying to improve it. This is their latest effort.

In our exploration of alternate formats, we came across FlatBuffers, an open source project from Google. FlatBuffers is an evolution of protocol buffers that includes object metadata, allowing direct access to individual subcomponents of the data without having to deserialize the entire object (in this case, a tree) up front.

Might be useful for other Android developers as well.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 31st Jul 2015 22:33 UTC
Windows

A Microsoft employee who wishes to remain anonymous to the public has informed Windows Central that as of 8 AM this morning, the Windows 10 OS has reportedly been installed on a massive 67 million machines.

Even more interesting is the claim that Microsoft hit a max bandwidth of 15 Tb/s, topping the previous record of Apple's 8 Tb/s during their last OS push. Microsoft has reportedly reserved up to 40Tb/s "from all of the third-party CDNs combined".

These are pretty insane numbers.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Jul 2015 22:29 UTC
Windows

Microsoft started rolling out Windows 10, its shiny new operating system from 29th of July and there have been reports of bugs and issues with installing the Windows 10 operating system on PC/Laptops. Of course, with new OS come new error messages but this one takes the cake.

Question time: which mail application of which operating system has a dialog that reads "bummer"? Your prize will be a firm handshake, to be administered by yourself or by whoever is standing closest to you.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Jul 2015 22:23 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

Hello, it has been some time since my last article, in the meantime I continued to improve things out and since I changed some important parts of the media_kit, I think it's correct to notify the community about new and 'old' features added recently. This is an article mostly written for application developers, but I tried to explain the improvements made with simple words so I hope it will be interesting to anyone.

Of all the alternative operating systems from the golden days (2000-2005 or so), Haiku is one of the very few - possibly the only one - still going strong. And by "going strong" I mean seeing a ton of development seemingly without seeing a sort of definitive release. They're trying to reach zero by endlessly dividing by 2, it seems, getting ever so much closer to zero without actually getting there.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Jul 2015 22:14 UTC
Google

Google may soon offer a new version of its Google Glass wearable later this fall. A new report says that the company will keep the hype down on this release, as it plans to offer it to businesses working in healthcare, manufacturing, and energy.

Like I said over a year ago:

No, I think the real value of Glass lies in an entirely different area Google seems to have been ignoring so far. It's a far less sexy area than the world of designer glasses and paragliders, but one that offers far, far more potential: 'traditional' workplaces. Construction. Road works. Law enforcement. The military. Farmers. Firefighters. Plumbers. Roofers. You name it. People who work with their hands in potentially dangerous environments, who can use the heads-up display for at-a-glance, crucial information while out in the field.

If I can come up with something, anybody can.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Jul 2015 22:14 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

The latest numbers from market research firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker show that Apple remains the largest vendor in a declining tablet market, shipping 10.9 million iPads in the second quarter of 2015. While the iPad continues to be the best-selling tablet, its worldwide market share fell below 25% as Apple faced increased competition from low-cost rivals Lenovo, Huawei and LG.

With phones hitting 5.5-6.0" now, there's very little need for tablets.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Jul 2015 23:22 UTC
Windows

Tom Warren's got a good piece up in which he interviews a number of people responsible for the development of Windows 10. Lots of interesting bits of information, but this one stood out to me.

He's also surprisingly blunt when he characterizes Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8, products he was intimately involved in developing. "We've had a couple of, sort of, practice runs with phone and PC," Belfiore says, before pivoting to the presumably brighter future with Windows 10, "We now have all the devices lined up. I don't expect to see the platform change again, in the same way it has before."

What he calls "practice runs", I call the most expensive failure in Microsoft's - and possibly all of technology's - history. When you add up all the years of development, marketing, the endless amount of bribes cash injections to keep Nokia from dumping Windows Phone, the actual acquisition of Nokia's mobile assets, the subsequent wholesale dumping of all those assets - it adds up to billions and billions of dollars down the drain, wasted, for naught. And the poison icing on this horrible cake?

They're continuing to scale down the phone part of Windows even further.

The practice run quote made me look back upon the past few years of reporting about Windows Phone and Nokia, about how many of us - myself at the forefront here on OSNews - realised years ago what a colossal failure Windows Phone was, and that small number of people insisting all was well with Windows Phone, how its market share was growing rapidly, how Nokia was doing great financially (*), and so on, and so forth. There were no tanks in Baghdad.

In this case, it sucks to be right, because these "practice runs" cost thousands and thousands of people their jobs.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Jul 2015 22:38 UTC
Intel

The Itanium may not have been much of a commercial success, but it is interesting as a processor architecture because it is different from anything else commonly seen today. It's like learning a foreign language: It gives you an insight into how others view the world.

The next two weeks will be devoted to an introduction to the Itanium processor architecture, as employed by Win32.

There's part one, two, and three - with more to come.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Jul 2015 08:47 UTC
Microsoft

Summing up these 45 pages, one can say that Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties. The company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent "or as necessary".

You done got Scroogled.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Jul 2015 15:42 UTC
Windows

Microsoft has been releasing updates to build 10240 on an almost daily basis since it hit RTM. Most of the patches are important security or bug fixes and rather useful but some have reported crashes occurring as a result of the updates. As we had previously reported, Microsoft has made updates mandatory and automatic, thus stopping users from opting out of unwanted updates or till the update has been checked by other users. A new troubleshooting package, KB3073930, however, allows you to hide or block Windows or driver updates.

With Windows 10 being released in a few hours, bookmark the knowledge base article or download the update blocker tool mentioned in the article right away. While one can debate the merits - or lack thereof - of forced automatic updates, there's one huge, giant misstep Microsoft has taken with this: they will also force graphics drivers updates through Windows Update, and without this tool, there's no way to block them.

I have had such horrible experiences with graphics drivers updates over the course of my life - from back in the 3dfx days all the way up until my current Radeon 970X Special Overlocked Whatever Edition With Kittens - that I am very careful and deliberate about these updates. I generally schedule some time for these late on Friday, but only when I know I won't have any work over the weekend so I have a few days of performing possible fixes.

So, when I checked Windows Update last night and say that Microsoft secretly wanted to shove an AMD Radeon graphics driver update down my throat, I nearly panicked. To be clear: my machine is running the official AMD drivers from the AMD website, and not the AMD drivers Microsoft itself distributes through Windows Update. Had I not blocked this update, who knows what could've happend with possible conflicts or version mismatches or whatever.

Luckily, I found this tool and blocked the update - and as it turns out, that was probably the right thing to do. This past weekend, Microsoft forced a completely broken NVIDIA graphics driver update to its Windows 10 users, causing a whole slew of problems.

My view might be horribly jaded, but I have the suspicion that graphics driver updates are a huge source of issues with Windows. As such, who in their right mind at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to force these update upon users?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 28th Jul 2015 15:29 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

This article is both a tutorial, a war story and a conceptual introduction to GNU Hurd in which I set up a cross-toolchain, and give a colorful tour through some rough edges of the GNU build system. My host system is Slackware Linux 14.1 (running on -current), i686 - which I find preferable due to its highly vanilla nature, running software almost entirely without distro-specific patching.