Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Mar 2015 22:56 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

This is one of the most satisfying projects I have done I think. Mainly because this is a real device and something so historically important. It is a fully functioning Enigma machine you can wear on your wrist. This is a three rotor Enigma machine as used by German Wermacht in WW2 for encoding messages.

Way cooler than any Android Wrist or iPhone Mini watch.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Mar 2015 17:44 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

The feature phone. Still big in Japan. Still being sold in the millions. Still relevant, though? And does it even matter what a 30-something tech writer at a Western tech site thinks? Japan's large elderly population - people who haven't even heard of Angry Birds, Gmail or Uber - they're the ones sticking to their flip phones. Hardy, easy to use and cheaper than an iPhone. (If you need a primer on the phenomenon of gara-kei, you should probably read up on that here, but in short, it's how Japan's mobile phone market sped ahead with early technologies, then faltered when smartphone competition arrived.) So let's try using one. The best and newest feature phone available in Japan, no less. It's pitched as bringing the best smartphone features to the flip form factor. Is it better than a plain, old smartphone? Good lord, no.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Mar 2015 22:50 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

AnandTech reviews the ASUS Zenbook UX305.

Overall, even with the knocks against it, this is a heck of a device for just $699. A Core M processor, which allows a fanless and therefore silent device, but still offers good performance, and much more performance than any other CPU which would allow for a fanless design. 8 GB of memory standard. A 256 GB solid state drive standard. A 1920x1080p IPS display, once again standard. ASUS has really raised the bar for what someone can expect in a mid-range device.

I honestly cannot believe that you can buy this much laptop for that kind of money these days - and unlike other cheap laptops, this actually isn't a piece of crap, but a proper, all-metal laptop that doesn't look like two stoeptegels slapped together.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Mar 2015 22:34 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

I remember a time when I didn't know - or care - what a bezel was. Now, thanks to the efforts of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, I may be able to forget about this component all together. (If you don't already know, it's the metal or plastic bit that surrounds a screen.) A slew of new devices have appeared this month - some leaked, some released officially - all showing companies doing their best to erase the bezel. It's one of the latest trends in smartphone design and has already made its way to the US in the form of the $239 Sharp Aquos Crystal and its infinity pool-like display. Looking at these devices it seems we'll be seeing a lot less edge in future.

I'm quite pleased about the bezel disappearing. The bezel is an irrelevant, useless part of displays, and it can be shaved off and removed.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Mar 2015 20:13 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Like the late American comedian Rodney Dangerfield, HTC is a company suffering from a chronic lack of respect. The Taiwanese phone maker has a pedigree of mobile innovation rivaling that of Nokia and Apple, but last week it had to change its CEO amid ambivalent feedback to its latest smartphone and a struggle to generate consistent profits. There are many challenges for new CEO Cher Wang to overcome in the months ahead, but beside the technical issue of just building better cameras, probably the most critical among them will be to reestablish the company’s respectability.

Great devices, but nobody buys them. Good luck getting out of that conundrum.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Mar 2015 20:04 UTC
Internet & Networking

The Pointer Events API is a low-level input API for mouse, touch and stylus introduced by IE. Pointer Events extends the MouseEvent model while offering a replacement for all uses of Mouse and Touch events. Based on the feedback we've received, and the productive collaboration in the Pointer Events working group, I now believe we should implement this API in Blink.

After this Google u-turn, only Apple refuses to support Pointer Events.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Mar 2015 00:19 UTC
Apple

There is an unfortunate climate of fear in the software community today. It is primarily in ephemeral video interviews and podcasts that we get any semblance of coherent criticism and even then it is reticent. Worse than the fact that this criticism is relegated to verbal discussions is that it is later renounced by the very same designers and developers when they are interviewed in the more permanent-seeming medium of the written word. In written interviews, these fair-weather critics go on to reverse their opinions and praise the products of modern minimalist UI design because it is more convenient not to risk questioning powerful industry leaders.

If there is just one article you read this month, let it be this one. Do not skip this.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Mar 2015 00:14 UTC
Linux

Our objective is to build the kernel network stack as a shared library that can be linked to by userspace programs to provide network stack personalization and testing facilities, and allow researchers to more easily simulate complex network topologies of linux routers/hosts.

Although the architecture itself can virtualize various things, the current design only focuses on the network stack. You can benefit network stack feature such as TCP, UDP, SCTP, DCCP (IPv4 and IPv6), Mobie IPv6, Multipath TCP (IPv4/IPv6, out-of-tree at the present moment), and netlink with various userspace applications (quagga, iproute2, iperf, wget, and thttpd).

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Mar 2015 19:56 UTC
Windows

Microsoft is now allowing developers to create apps for Windows 10. While the software maker is planning to release its operating system some time in the summer, developers can start getting used to the available tools today. Windows 10's apps will run across a variety of devices, including the Xbox One, PCs, phones, and tablets. This initial SDK preview will let developers tweak their apps to work across varying screen sizes and optimize them for both touch and mouse/keyboard usage.

You can now create a single application binary that will run on Xbox One, PCs, phones, tablets, and embedded stuff. It took them a long, long time, but it seem like they're finally making good on their promises. There's more information, too.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Mar 2015 18:59 UTC
Android

Earlier today, we announced an expanded global partnership with Samsung to deliver Microsoft mobile productivity services to both consumer and business customers. Building on that news, I’m pleased to share that we’ve also expanded strategic agreements with leading global OEM Dell, and regional OEMs including TrekStor of Germany, JP Sa Couto of Portugal, Datamatic of Italy, DEXP of Russia, Hipstreet of Canada, QMobile of Pakistan, Tecno of Africa, and Casper of Turkey, as well as top original device manufacturer Pegatron. These 11 hardware partners will pre-install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype on Android devices coming to market later this year.

Now this I can get behind, sort of - assuming the applications are removable. Microsoft's Office suite for Android is pretty good, and especially for someone like me who uses Office a lot, this is pretty great.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Mar 2015 18:52 UTC
Internet Explorer

In recent releases, we've talked often about our goal to bring the team and technologies behind our web platform closer to the community of developers and other vendors who are also working to move the Web forward. This has been a driving motivation behind our emphasis on providing better developer tools, resources for cross-browser testing, and more ways than ever to interact with the "Project Spartan" team.

In the same spirit of openness, we've been making changes internally to allow other major Web entities to contribute to the growth of our platform, as well as to allow our team to give back to the Web. In the coming months we'll be sharing some of these stories, beginning with today's look at how Adobe's Web Platform Team has helped us make key improvements for a more expressive Web experience in Windows 10.

Why don't they just do it right from the get-go, bite the bullet, and release their new engine as open source? Why this kinda stuff where only big players get to maybe possibly contribute? What's the point?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Mar 2015 18:49 UTC
Apple

Reviving an old computer is like restoring a classic car: There's a thrill from bringing the ancient into the modern world. So it was with my first "real" computer, my Mac Plus, when I decided to bring it forward three decades and introduce it to the modern Web.

Exactly what you expect. Great story.

 

Linked by Alfman on Mon 23rd Mar 2015 10:42 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

The annual Pwn2Own hacking competition wrapped up its 2015 event in Vancouver with another banner year, paying $442,000 for 21 critical bugs in all four major browsers, as well as Windows, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Reader.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Mar 2015 22:50 UTC
Windows

At its WinHEC hardware conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft talked about the hardware requirements for Windows 10. The precise final specs are not available yet, so all this is somewhat subject to change, but right now, Microsoft says that the switch to allow Secure Boot to be turned off is now optional. Hardware can be Designed for Windows 10, and offer no way to opt out of the Secure Boot lock down.

I am so surprised. The next step, of course, is to ban the disable-secure-boot option altogether. Just like everyone who knows Microsoft predicted.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Mar 2015 19:05 UTC
Apple

Apple has seemingly decided to crack down on antivirus and antimalware apps, removing them from the App Store. Although there has been no official statement from Apple on a policy change, Apple's loose guidelines allow them to pull pretty much anything at any time, particularly something like antivirus which has questionable utility within the sandboxed iOS environment of iPhones and iPads.

Great move by Apple. Get rid of these scammers. I hope Google follows soon.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Mar 2015 18:20 UTC
Google

According to the report, for one example, Google took content from companies like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Amazon. In the latter case, Google lifted product rankings and placed them in their own search results for those products. When the companies complained to Google about the process, Google threatened to remove them entirely from results. The Journal quotes this section of the report: "It is clear that Google’s threat was intended to produce, and did produce, the desired effect, which was to coerce Yelp and TripAdvisor into backing down." The Commission ultimately had Google agree to let websites opt out of the process.

And this is one, why the authorities need to keep close tabs on large companies, and two, why the close ties between those same authorities and companies need to be severed as much as possible. Even mere lobbying should be illegal.

 

Linked by neticspace on Fri 20th Mar 2015 18:12 UTC
Internet Explorer
The Korean government has finally announced its plans to start removing the troublesome ActiveX software from public websites later this month in order to create a more user-friendly Internet environment.

For long, this tech-savvy country has been stuck in a time warp with its slavish dependence on Internet Explorer.

ActiveX is an ancient piece of technology that is still prominent in South Korea. It has its multiple problems that sometimes bring down the whole banking system or the public service system every year. The good news is that it will finally be over according to this news.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Mar 2015 13:13 UTC
Google

Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer is creating a smartwatch in partnership with American technology firm Google. The watch is an attempt to compete with devices by consumer-electronics makers, particularly the much-hyped watch by Apple. While TAG is the first traditional watchmaker to pair with Google, the partnership could open the door to other collaborations with high-end brands owned by LVMH, including Hublot and Zenith. One of the questions raised by Apple's $10,000 gold smartwatch is whether users will consider it a luxury item, and wear it for status as well as convenience.

TAG Heuer is a pretty big player in the classic, mechanical watch market, so this could be pretty big for both Google and classic watchmaking. Imagine a watch with a traditional, mechanical movement and a modern chip and display - stamped with that ever-important Swiss Made. A step closer to my ideal.

Unless it's square, of course, because that would be tasteless.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Mar 2015 00:53 UTC
Linux

Sure - if you want a fast, well-built, well-equipped 4K laptop preloaded with Ubuntu, with most of the potential edge-case configuration issues already taken care of, with an active set of developers working to ensure that the necessary repos are kept current, and with an actual, for-real OEM warranty and support. The M3800 Developer Edition is what an OEM-loaded Linux laptop should be, and it's got the added bonus of being supported by Barton George and a small, dedicated group of Linux enthusiasts at Dell. Those folks are backed by Dell's significant resources and are in constant contact with Canonical.

The value proposition is pretty clear there, but the question is whether or not that value proposition is worth the extra money versus buying a less-expensive base laptop and loading the Linux distro of your choice. There's going to be a lot of overlap between the M3800 Developer Edition's target market and the segment of potential customers who have no problem with just rolling their own Linux installation on a Thinkpad or even on a MacBook. For those folks, how much is it worth to have Dell do the heavy lifting?

I guess the problem is this: a machine like this is for developers and enthusiasts. However, developers and enthusiasts have no issues with getting a cheaper model and installing and running Linux themselves. This puts this expensive Dell Linux laptop in a sort of demand limbo - which is sad, because it looks like a great machine.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 18th Mar 2015 22:30 UTC, submitted by KLU9
GNU, GPL, Open Source

Stallman expanded and formalized his ideas in the GNU Manifesto, which he published in the March, 1985, issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal of Software Tools, thirty years ago this month. "So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor," he wrote, "I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free. I have resigned from the AI Lab to deny MIT any legal excuse to prevent me from giving GNU away." The nearly forty-five-hundred-word text called for collaborators to help build a freely shareable Unix-like operating system, and set forth an innovative method to insure its legal protection.

Stallman is one of the greatest technology visionaries. He will never achieve the popularity status of businessmen like Jobs and Gates, but his contributions to technology - directly and indirectly - are immeasurable.

And he was right all along.