Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 00:11 UTC
Android

Got an Xperia Z3 and a home address somewhere in the Kingdom of Sweden? Sony wants your help with testing its next round of software updates for Android, which the company has rounded up in an initiative it's calling "Android concept." The goal, says Sony, is to develop new software "from the ground up," meaning no additional Google Play apps like YouTube on the test build, just the core Google communications software and Sony's stack of custom apps like Camera, Music, and Xperia Lounge.

Yet another random, disparate, limited, little, and utterly insignificant 'effort' to merely test bringing regular updates to Android devices. This is pointless. This is not what Android needs. At all.

Android needs Google to step up and reign its OEMs in.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2015 18:59 UTC
Apple

At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me - Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I've spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.

As if all of that wasn't enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I'm missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don't care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again.

Wait, you mean entrusting your data blindly to a company without managing your own local backup is a bad idea? I am so surprised.

The cloud should never be your only storage medium. It should be an additional storage medium. How on earth do supposedly tech savvy people make such a stupid mistake?

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2015 18:42 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

For its part, Vector Graphic went on to become one of the best known PC makers of the late 1970s. Like Apple, it was one of the first computer companies to go public, and like Apple, it set its products apart from the crowd with its attention to industrial design.

But unlike Apple, Vector vanished from the face of the earth. It faded from our collective memory because it did not survive the massive industry upheaval brought about by the release of the IBM PC in late 1981. Very few PC makers did. But the story of how the Vector trio went from nothing to soaring success - and then collapse - is a tale worth retelling.

There must be so many local computer companies in all corners of the world that have been nearly forgotten. A treasure trove of fascinating stories.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2015 00:01 UTC
Apple

Beats 1 radio wasn't the only Apple service to temporarily go down during the MTV's VMA nominee announcements. As TechCrunch first reported and Apple's own status page confirmed, many more of Apple's services experienced issues Tuesday morning that stretched into the afternoon. Normal service was restored just before 2PM ET. The outages appeared limited to services related to Apple's online storefronts, but "limited" here is a relative term as many popular services are apparently tied in: Apple Music, Apple Radio, the App Store, Apple TV, the Mac App Store, iTunes Match, and even OS X Software Update all suffered problems. The outage wasn't universal, but still proved an unexpected headache for users.

From what I understand, iTunes Music was having problems for European users since late last week.

The cloud is the future.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 23:52 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

The Jolla phone recently got its long-awaited keyboard 'other half', and Jolla Users just published a long video detailing this new addition to the Jolla family. The Other Half Keyboard, as it's officially called, was a Kickstarter project completed in someone's garage - figuratively speaking - and the video does indeed show that while clever, the product is a bit unwieldy and too large for my tastes. I do admire the whole project, though - it's quite something to build a product from nothing all the way to shipping to users, especially something as niche as this.

Realistically speaking, however, this is not the product for those of us looking for a modern smartphone with a real keyboard.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 19:40 UTC
Google

With Google Drive, you can keep all your important files in one place, then open them with your choice of apps and devices. Building on this open approach, we recently made it possible to launch your favorite desktop applications directly from Google Drive. And today we're taking it a step further by bringing Google Drive to Microsoft Office. Using the new Google Drive plug-in, people using Office for Windows can now open their Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents stored in Drive, then save any changes back to Drive once they're done.

There's an interesting bit of speculation making the rounds about recent activity between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft is, step by step, selling off or shutting down all parts of the company that directly compete with Google - ads, maps, and even Windows Phone seems to be contested right now - which may mean nothing, or, it may mean closer cooperation between the two companies is afoot. Bing is interesting exception, but even that may be sold off in some way sooner rather than later (although Microsoft will most likely retain at least several crucial parts of it for Cortana).

Don't be surprised when you see more Microsoft-oriented software from Google in the near future.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 19:33 UTC
Windows

Now, your reaction to this might be, "How could this possibly work? You are just randomly ignoring instructions!" But the strange thing is, this idea was so crazy it actually worked, or at least worked a lot of the time. You might have to hit Ignore a dozen times, but there's a good chance that eventually the bad values in the registers will get overwritten by good values (and it probably won't take long because the 8086 has so few registers), and the program will continue seemingly-normally.

Your random periodic reminder to read The Old New Thing.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 19:31 UTC
Apple

The FTC has launched an investigation into Apple's dealings with competing music streaming services in its App Store, according to multiple sources. The investigation is targeting Apple's 30 percent fee charged to subscription services who sign up new users through the App Store. This has been a major point of conflict between Apple and rival music services as The Verge reported back in May.

The FTC's inquiries have picked up over the recent weeks, on the heels of its initial investigation into whether Apple pressured labels to kill Spotify's free streaming tier. Sources with direct knowledge of the matter tell The Verge that the FTC has already issued subpoenas to music streaming services as it gathers more information to determine whether Apple's App Store rules are anticompetitive.

The sooner they crack open the App Store, the better.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jul 2015 22:54 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

Ashley Madison, an online dating website that specifically targets people looking to have an affair, has been hacked by a group that calls itself Impact Team. A cache of data has been released by the Impact Team, including user profiles, company financial records, and "other proprietary information." The company's CEO, Noel Bilderman, confirmed with KrebsOnSecurity that they had been hacked, but did not speak about the extent of the breach.

I'm really surprised by the amount of comments online stating that this is not a problem, because they're just "cheaters" anyway, so they don't deserve privacy, right?

Cheating on your "loved" one is despicable, low, and disgusting (and an immediate, unequivocal relationship/friendship termination in my book), but one, it's not illegal, and two, even if it were, mob justice is not the way to go. This hack and possible release of personal information is just as bad as any other hack.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jul 2015 22:45 UTC, submitted by wigry
Apple

After 22 years, 2 months, 2 days and 2 hours since System 6.0.1 was released, this is a summary of the visible changes. There have been many bugs fixed and many features added that are not immediately visible - they will enable developers to create better future products. Be sure to also read the Shortcuts file on the SystemTools3 disk for more information.

Crazy.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jul 2015 18:59 UTC
Internet & Networking

Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:

But man, the web browsers on phones are terrible. They are an abomination of bad user experience, poor performance, and overall disdain for the open web that kicked off the modern tech revolution. Mobile Safari on my iPhone 6 Plus is a slow, buggy, crashy affair, starved for the phone's paltry 1GB of memory and unable to rotate from portrait to landscape without suffering an emotional crisis. Chrome on my various Android devices feels entirely outclassed at times, a country mouse lost in the big city, waiting to be mugged by the first remnant ad with a redirect loop and something to prove.

With The Verge itself being the poster child for how slow the mobile (and non-mobile) web can be, this article did leave a bit of a funny taste in my mouth. Luckily, The Verge's parent company - Vox Media - is going to put its money where its mouth is, and focus entirely on performance - with solid promises we can hold them to. Very nice.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jul 2015 18:53 UTC
.NET (dotGNU too)

Today, I am excited to announce that Visual Studio 2015 and .Net 4.6 are available for download.

These releases are the next big step in the journey we outlined last November to bring the productivity of Visual Studio and .NET to any developer working on any kind of application while also delivering a new level of innovation in developer productivity for all Visual Studio developers.

 

Linked by charlieg on Sun 19th Jul 2015 15:05 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

A significant new development as Haiku continues pushing towards a stable release.

Since the switch to our package manager, there was no longer a way to influence the boot process at all. The only file you could change was the UserBootscript which is started only after Tracker and Deskbar; the whole system is already up at this point.

The launch_daemon gives the power back to you, but also allow software you install to automatically be started on system boot as well. You can also even prevent system components from being started at all if you so wish.

A summary of features:

Furthermore, it allows for event based application start, start on demand, a multi-threaded boot process, and even enables you to talk to servers before they actually started.

Read the full article for a detailed description.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Jul 2015 15:04 UTC
Games

Ladies and gents, meet Smart Boy, the Game Boy-inspired smartphone. Designed by Pierre Cerveau, it has everything a Nintendo lover could dream of giving a phone, from power-saving 8-bit mode to a 'Game Bat' controller that basically turns the thing into a DS. I might actually cry because this beautiful phone will probably never be made.

Probably a bit too retro for most, but if Nintendo made this, I would be all over it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 19th Jul 2015 15:02 UTC
Apple

With this week's update to the entire iPod lineup, many have been asking "Who are iPods even for these days?" Well, I worked the last 3 years managing an electronics department for Target, and have sold a lot of Apple devices over that time. Since Apple doesn't break down demographics for who is buying each device, I thought I would share my experience.

Kind of exactly as you expect it to be.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 17th Jul 2015 18:48 UTC
Windows

Microsoft will force Windows 10 Home users to download and install updates to its operating system without any options to turn them off. A final version of the OS, distributed to testers this week, contains a clause in the end user license agreement (EULA) that reveals Windows 10 users will receive "automatic updates without any additional notice." The changes have left some Windows users concerned.

We'll get some registry switch within a matter of weeks or even days I'm sure, but the prospect of forced automatic updates is an odd one - I've had some issues with Windows updates not working out very well in the recent past, and as such, I kind of like to retain control over how and when updates are applied.

That being said, I'm sure it's great news for the huge loads of outdated, insecure machines you have to fix on holidays while visiting family.

 

Linked by David Adams on Fri 17th Jul 2015 17:20 UTC
Internet & Networking Ars Says, "Remember how, a decade ago, we told you that the Internet was running out of IPv4 addresses? Well, it took a while, but that day is here now: Asia, Europe, and Latin America have been parceling out scraps for a year or more, and now the ARIN wait list is here for the US, Canada, and numerous North Atlantic and Caribbean islands. Only organizations in Africa can still get IPv4 addresses as needed. The good news is that IPv6 seems to be picking up the slack."

 

Linked by David Adams on Fri 17th Jul 2015 17:20 UTC, submitted by flypig
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless As Jolla hinted earlier this month, it announced the first Sailfish licensee at Mobile World Congress Asia as being Intex. Intex is claimed by Jolla to be India's second largest smartphone manufacturer, and manufactures in both India and China, and has a range of Android phones sold under the Aqua brand. The phone should appear by the end of the year.

 

Linked by David Adams on Fri 17th Jul 2015 17:16 UTC, submitted by Álvaro Jurado
OSNews, Generic OSes Harvey is an effort to get the Plan 9 code working with gcc and clang. According to the team: "Our aim is to provide a modern, distributed, 64 bit operating system that does away with Unix's wrinkles and allows for new ways of working. At this point we have an AMD 64 bit kernel with many changes and improvements. For example, a new modern, simplified syscall system. We use gdb to investigate problems and we can compile in Linux or OSX using Harvey's headers and libs; no need to change anything else. It's fast compiling the whole system and boots quickly. Though we are working in many other features, all Plan 9 traditional userland is available. At this moment, we are working to move console and mouse out of kernel, ttyfs file server in user space, and improved ANSI/POSIX environment where gcc or clang can live, and we plan to add X11 with rio-like multiplexing, bash and other shells and many other well known things that people want in their machines. We are focusing in server set up for now, but keeping in mind end-user. All of this, of course, keeping classic and beautiful distributed features of old Plan 9."

 

Linked by David Adams on Fri 17th Jul 2015 17:12 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems The battle for Smart TV dominance continues to ratchet up, with Google and Firefox now both wading into the same connected space. The former has reignited its living room ambitions via Android TV, while open source rival Firefox has partnered with Panasonic. You might reasonably expect both to be cut from much the same cloth, but having lived with new tellies from each camp, I can reveal there’s a world of difference. One is lithe, intuitive and fun to use. The other isn’t.