Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Nov 2018 23:14 UTC
Intel

Despite having officially launched back in July, Intel's Xeon E desktop platform has yet to see the light of day in systems casually available to users or small businesses. This should change today, with the official embargo lift for reviews on the parts, as well as the announcement today that SGX-enabled versions are coming for Server use. The Xeon E platform is the replacement for what used to be called the E3-1200 family, using Intel's new nomenclature, and these parts are based on Intel's Coffee Lake (not Coffee Lake Refresh) microarchitecture. We managed to get a few processors in to test, and today we'll start by examining most of the six-core family.

Another great and detailed benchmark by AnandTech.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Nov 2018 23:10 UTC
Apple

People have found out that you can only install macOS and Windows 10 on Apple's new Macs equipped with the T2 security chip.

By default, Microsoft Windows isn't even bootable on the new Apple systems until enabling support for Windows via the Boot Camp Assistant macOS software. The Boot Camp Assistant will install the Windows Production CA 2011 certificate that is used to authenticate Microsoft bootloaders. But this doesn't setup the Microsoft-approved UEFI certificate that allows verification of code by Microsoft partners, including what is used for signing Linux distributions wishing to have UEFI SecureBoot support for Windows PCs.

Right now, there is no way to run Linux on the new Mac hardware. Even if you disable Secure Boot, you can still only install macOS and Windows 10 - not Linux. Luckily, Linux users don't have to rely on Macs for good hardware anymore - there are tons of Windows laptops out there that offer the same level of quality with better specifications at lower prices that run Linux just fine.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 4th Nov 2018 21:22 UTC
In the News

It was supposed to be a big win for the state of Wisconsin: Foxconn was going to build a massive LCD factory in the state, raking in a massive state subsidy. Fast-forward a few years, and little seems to have come of the deal.

But what seemed so simple on a napkin has turned out to be far more complicated and messy in real life. As the size of the subsidy has steadily increased to a jaw-dropping $4.1 billion, Foxconn has repeatedly changed what it plans to do, raising doubts about the number of jobs it will create. Instead of the promised Generation 10.5 plant, Foxconn now says it will build a much smaller Gen 6 plant, which would require one-third of the promised investment, although the company insists it will eventually hit the $10 billion investment target. And instead of a factory of workers building panels for 75-inch TVs, Foxconn executives now say the goal is to build "ecosystem" of buzzwords called "AI 8K+5G" with most of the manufacturing done by robots.

Polls now show most Wisconsin voters don't believe the subsidy will pay off for taxpayers, and Walker didn't even mention the deal in a November 2017 speech announcing his run for re-election. He now trails in that re-election bid against a less-than-electric Democratic candidate, the bland state superintendent of public instruction Tony Evers.

It all seemed so promising. So how did everything go so bad so quickly?

The jobs supposedly created through this deal would cost the state government over 300,000 dollar per job - which is an absolutely terrible investment. In order to get there, Foxconn received special exemptions from environmental rules and regulations, raising concerns about pollution.

Also, but unrelated, boondoggle is a great word.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 3rd Nov 2018 18:30 UTC
OpenBSD

You won't find nearly as many online resources about setting up OpenBSD, because honestly, you really don't need any. Unlike much of Linux and FreeBSD, the included manuals are high quality, coherent, and filled with practical examples. You also need very little third party software to do basic tasks - almost everything you need is well-integrated into the base system.

You'll notice that many features that require toil to achieve on FreeBSD, such as suspend on lid close, working volume buttons, and decent battery life, work out of the box on OpenBSD. You can tell the developers actually use this thing on their personal devices.

And while the official OpenBSD FAQ has all you need to get an installation up and running, it takes a bit of grinding to massage the base installation into a seamless laptop experience. So, I wrote this guide to give you a jump start. Things should just work as long as you have a non-bleeding-edge, semi-mainstream laptop, but ThinkPads are your best bet. Enjoy!

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 3rd Nov 2018 02:46 UTC
Linux

System76, the company making and selling Linux laptops, has unveiled the Thelio, a fully custom designed and built desktop machine. Everything about the machine is custom - from the case to the special IO board that monitors temperatures all across the case and optimizes airflow accordingly. This IO board and the case design are fully open source, so anyone can improve upon the designs or tinker with them.

The Thelios comes in three sizes, and can be specced with anything from basic Ryzen or Core CPUs all the way to Threadripper and dual Xeon processors, accompanied by the usual assortment of Radeon or GeForce video cards. You can add multiple video cards, including the brand new RTX cards. The biggest machine goes up to 768 GB of ECC memory, and if you add all the most expensive bells and whistles, the Thelio Massive will go beyond the €80,000 price point. Luckily, the smallest model starts at a more reasonable €1099.

I like this. This goes way beyond just slapping a few standard components in an off-the-shelf box - this is actually designing a beautiful and airflow-optimized computer running Linux, and that's exactly what we need more of. I'm keeping an eye on this machine, because even though I have no intention of replacing my current workstation, I have to say I am very much tempted by what System76 has done here.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Nov 2018 21:49 UTC
Linux

Nitrux is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu suitable for laptops and desktop computers. Nitrux provides all the benefits of the Ubuntu operating system combined with a focus on portable, redistributable application formats like AppImages. Nitrux uses the LTS branch of Ubuntu as a basis using only the core system and then slowly building up to ensure a clean user experience. Nitrux is suitable for newcomers to Linux as well as *nix experienced users. Nitrux uses KDE Plasma 5 and KDE Applications; we also use our in-house software suite Nomad Desktop adding to the user experience.

This sounds very similar to Elementary OS, but instead of Gnome and Gtk+-oriented, it's built around Qt and KDE technologies. I like distributions that try to do something more interesting than being just another random Gnome or KDE distribution, and I especially like how the open source Linux community seems to be focusing more and more on polish, design, and simplicity lately. Very welcome additions to the Linux world.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Nov 2018 00:59 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source

For some years now, one has not had to look far to find articles proclaiming the demise of the GNU General Public License. That license, we are told, is too frightening for many businesses, which prefer to use software under the far weaker permissive class of license. But there is a business model that is based on the allegedly scary nature of the GPL, and there are those who would like to make it more lucrative; the only problem is that the GPL isn't quite scary enough yet.

I'm sure we can have a civil discussion about the merits and demerits of the GPL.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Nov 2018 00:56 UTC
In the News

There are plenty of dead words in languages all over the world, but can the same be said about ghost words? Floating around the murky regions of digitized Unicode values are anywhere between 60 and 100 yūrei-moji - literally, "ghost characters" - haunting the Japanese kanji lexicon.

A fascinating and obscure form of digital archeology.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 2nd Nov 2018 00:51 UTC
Apple

Since Apple introduced the iPhone 11 years ago, smartphones have become ubiquitous, and the market for them is saturated. To maintain growth, Apple has employed a shrewd strategy: Charge more for the devices.

Journalists and analysts have explained how Apple is doing that by dividing the number of iPhones sold in a given quarter into the revenue Apple earns from them to calculate the average selling price.

That's not going to be so easy anymore.

[...]

But after those figures were reported, Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer, said in a conference call that the company would no longer disclose how many iPhones, iPads or Mac computers it sold. As a result, journalists and analysts will no longer be able to track how Apple's swelling prices are improving its profits.

Here's the problem for Apple: iPhone sales have flatlined, and Mac and iPad sales have consistently been going down for a while now. Since Tim Cook's Apple has been unable to find the next big thing (after the iPod and iPhone), the only way to maintain growth is to increase the average selling price. Sell less units, but charge more for each unit sold.

This strategy is working - for now. This gravy train ain't infinite, though, and there's only so many price hikes you can pull off before you reach a ceiling.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Nov 2018 22:30 UTC
In the News

Silicon Valley technology giants such as Facebook and Google have grown so dominant they may need to be broken up, unless challengers or changes in taste reduce their clout, the inventor of the World Wide Web told Reuters.

The digital revolution has spawned a handful of U.S.-based technology companies since the 1990s that now have a combined financial and cultural power greater than most sovereign states.

Tim Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, said he was disappointed with the current state of the internet, following scandals over the abuse of personal data and the use of social media to spread hate.

I couldn't agree with him more - but I'd like to expand this beyond just the online or technology sector. In all kinds of sectors there are companies that are far too large and rich, and thus powerful, to continue to exist unabated. We've broken up powerful companies before, but the odds of it ever happening again seem slim - companies have been very successful at fostering an anti-government atmosphere in which corporations are seen as idols to be worshipped rather than potentially harmful entities that need to be kept in check.

 

Linked by Yann64 on Thu 1st Nov 2018 20:34 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

In line with the momentum generated by Haiku beta release, several improvements and bug fixes have been done over the past month to applications, servers, drivers, kernel and the build system. Also, the Java port has returned. Read all the details in the More details on Haiku monthly activity report.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st Oct 2018 20:57 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Sailfish 3 now fully packetizes the offering for multitude of corporate and governmental solutions. In line with the regional licensing strategy, Sailfish 3 has a deeper level of security making it a solid option for various corporate and organizational solutions, and other use cases. In addition to the security and corporate features there are many user experience highlights for Sailfish 3.0.0. Sailfish 3 brings the new Top Menu, giving you quick access to lots of functions with a single swipe. The new Light Ambiences will show you your device in a whole different light. SD card support has been improved with better formatting and encryption, and you can use external storage through USB On-The-Go. Also in this release we have quick keyboard layout switching, a dedicated Gallery folder for screenshots and Xperia XA2 support for Sailfish X. Finally, there are system-wide speed improvements: both the new app launch and in-app page opening paths are considerably quicker now. Things load faster.

It's a pretty massive release, but since I doubt much has changed on the applications and third party developer support fronts, I have a hard time seeing any value in dedicating effort into updating and using my Jolla phone and tablet to give the platform yet another chance. Still, good to see they're still going strong.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st Oct 2018 20:52 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In the children's gaming app Doctor Kids, a popular purchase in the Google and Amazon app stores, kids get to play doctor in a children's hospital. They clean patients' teeth as a dentist, straighten crooked bones inside an X-ray scan, and play optometrist by helping kids with blurry vision find the right prescription glasses, all against a backdrop of brightly colored characters and a twinkling soundtrack.

Until suddenly, the game is interrupted. A bubble pops up with a new mini game idea, and when a child clicks on the bubble, they are invited to purchase it for $1.99, or unlock all new games for $3.99. There's a red X button to cancel the pop-up, but if the child clicks on it, the character on the screen shakes its head, looks sad, and even begins to cry.

Next time you see Tim Cook or Sundar Pichai on stage waxing lyrically about how much they value society and how humbled they are they are playing role in making the world a better place, just remember - Apple and Google are complicit in extorting money from toddlers.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Oct 2018 22:46 UTC
Fedora Core

This release is particularly exciting because it's the first to include the Fedora Modularity feature across all our different variants. Modularity lets us ship different versions of packages on the same Fedora base. This means you no longer need to make your whole OS upgrade decisions based on individual package versions. For example, you can choose Node.js version 8 or version 10, on either Fedora 28 or Fedora 29. Or you can choose between a version of Kubernetes which matches OpenShift Origin, and a module stream which follows the upstream.

Other big changes include GNOME 3.30 on the desktop, ZRAM for our ARM images, and a Vagrant image for Fedora Scientific.

You know where to get it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Oct 2018 22:37 UTC
Apple

Apple today revealed the all-new iPad Pro, with an edge-to-edge LCD "Liquid Retina" display, slimmer bezels, no Home Button, Face ID, and a magnetic attachment support for the new Apple Pencil. The new 11-inch iPad Pro has the same footprint as the previous 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but now with a bigger display thanks to the slimmer bezels. The 12.9-inch version is actually smaller than the previous 12.9-inch model but with the same screen size.

These look like solid updates, but if you're smart, wait until next year when the new iOS release is announced - it's bound to have a number of iPad-focused improvements that will really tell you where Apple wants to take the iPad. Right now, these new iPad Pros offer little over existing iPad Pros other than spec bumps, but once iOS 13 has been detailed, we'll have a far better grip on what these new iPad Pros can do.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Oct 2018 22:25 UTC
Apple

Apple led today's event by talking about two of its most-loved devices: the MacBook Air and the Mac mini. While Apple customers may have loved these devices since their debuts, Apple hasn't shown them much love over the past couple of years.

That changed today with the introduction of the new MacBook Air (which includes updates like a Retina display, Touch ID, and Apple's butterfly keyboard) and a new Mac mini (which got a big spec bump with quad- and hexa-core processors). Today's event brought the biggest hardware changes that both devices have seen in a long time, and yet they still have a lot in common with their predecessors - and that's a good thing.

The new MacBook Air and Mac Mini are very welcome and much-needed spec bumps - they hadn't been updated in years - but especially the MacBook Air almost feels like a practical joke. It uses low-power don't-call-them-Atom processors that run at 5W and are only dual-core, with base 8GB of RAM - and Apple charges €1350 for said base model, which needs to push a lot of pixels for that new Retina display. Back when the previous generation MacBook Air was new, it was a good deal at its around €1000 price point, but this new one is impossible to justify. The new Mini has the same pricing problem, but at least offers full power processors and a bit more configurability.

These are incredibly expensive computers for the paltry performance they offer - especially since they're tasked with running macOS - but I'm sure they'll still sell well, since performance hasn't really been the Mac's strong point these last few years anyway. These expensive, underpowered Macs are the new normal.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Oct 2018 22:16 UTC
Apple

This is the kind of tale that you don't hear every day. Eric Wooldridge is a Systems Specialist at Morris Hospital near Chicago. During the installation of a new GE Healthcare MRI machine, he started getting calls that cell phones weren't working. Then, some Apple Watches started glitching.

What a fascinating story.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Oct 2018 11:39 UTC
General Development

Lua is a scripting language developed at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) that has come to be the leading scripting language for video games worldwide. It is also used extensively in embedded devices like set-top boxes and TVs and in other applications like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Wikipedia. Its first version was released in 1993. The current version, Lua 5.3, was released in 2015.

Though mainly a procedural language, Lua lends itself to several other paradigms, including object-oriented programming, functional programming, and data-driven programming.5 It also offers good support for data description, in the style of JavaScript and JSON. Data description was indeed one of our main motivations for creating Lua, some years before the appearance of XML and JavaScript.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Oct 2018 23:49 UTC
Windows

How can I stop Windows 10 updates? Whether it’s preventing Windows 10 from kicking off a critical update during a presentation, or deferring Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature update because of worries about data loss, it’s a question we’ve all asked. You shouldn’t block all Windows 10 updates. But you can manage them.

Unpopular opinion incoming that will trigger a lot of people: if a Windows Update reboot ruins your live presentation or prevents you from studying, it's your own damn fault. Windows doesn't just update out of the blue - it downloads and installs whatever it can in the background, and it takes a long, long time before it just goes into rebooting your device to complete the installation process. Windows gives warnings and plenty of time for you to manually reboot your device, and if it's a device that's running all the time - like desktops often do - it will just reboot automatically overnight.

Computers require maintenance, and modern computers actually require very little of it, with updating their software being one of the very few things users still have to do. Nobody bats an eye at cleaning their kitchen and its appliances or sticking to their car's maintenance schedule, but suddenly, when it comes to computers, nobody seems to be willing to accept the same responsibility.

If you have an important presentation tomorrow, just check Windows Update to make sure everything's up to date. Not doing so and having your presentation ruined by a reboot? Shouldn't have ignored the warnings for weeks.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Oct 2018 23:36 UTC
Internet & Networking

Pew surveyed more than 3,400 U.S. Facebook users in May and June, and found that a whopping 44 percent of those ages 18 to 29 say they've deleted the app from their phone in the last year. Some of them may have reinstalled it later.

Overall, 26 percent of survey respondents say they deleted the app, while 42 percent have "taken a break" for several weeks or more, and 54 percent have adjusted their privacy settings.

Facebook is terrible in every possible way. The product in and of itself is bad - terrible website and applications - and what it does to people is also bad, worse even. Garbage chain mail-like posts, obviously fake news and stories, massive echo chamber, targeting for election manipulation, and god knows what else.

I don't have the application anymore, the bookmark is gone from my browser, and I'm planning on deleting my account as well. Facebook is garbage, and nobody should use it.