Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Apr 2018 22:42 UTC, submitted by emmzee
Android

Google has long struggled with how best to get dozens of Android smartphone manufacturers - and hundreds of carriers - to regularly push out security-focused software updates. But when one German security firm looked under the hood of hundreds of Android phones, it found a troubling new wrinkle: Not only do many Android phone vendors fail to make patches available to their users, or delay their release for months; they sometimes also tell users their phone's firmware is fully up to date, even while they've secretly skipped patches.

On Friday at the Hack in the Box security conference in Amsterdam, researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of the firm Security Research Labs plan to present the results of two years of reverse-engineering hundreds of Android phones' operating system code, painstakingly checking if each device actually contained the security patches indicated in its settings. They found what they call a "patch gap": In many cases, certain vendors' phones would tell users that they had all of Android's security patches up to a certain date, while in reality missing as many as a dozen patches from that period - leaving phones vulnerable to a broad collection of known hacking techniques.

Android is a mess.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Apr 2018 22:39 UTC
Games

Growing up in the era of the Nintendo Entertainment System, I always wanted to create my own NES game. I scribbled ideas in notebooks, mapped out levels on graph paper and spent countless hours composing my own MIDI-based soundtracks to games that didn't exist. These ideas were lost to time until 2018, until I watched Joe Granato's documentary, The New 8-bit Heroes, about his quest to create the game of his childhood dreams. Now, with the successfully funded Kickstarter for his NESMaker software, the project may help to simplify the creation of homebrew NES games. Joe isn't the first one to do this, however, as homebrew has a long and storied history. Today's Tedium seeks to explore this corner of NES history and the creation of NES games over 20 years after the end of the system's commercial life.

 



Linked by garyd on Thu 12th Apr 2018 22:36 UTC
Google

Google has posted the beginnings of a documentation project around their microkernel based OS, Fuchsia. From the readme:

This document is a collection of articles describing the Fuchsia operating system, organized around particular subsystems. Sections will be populated over time.

 

Linked by uridium on Tue 10th Apr 2018 22:49 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The HP 9000 Series of computers spanned almost three decades and very diverse platforms of Unix computers. Both RISC and Unix, with a longer history, were developed into coherent products during the 1980s, moving from academia via industrial R&D to productization at a time when much computing was still done on mainframes, minicomputers and time-sharing machines such as DEC PDP, VAX, IBM AS/400 and System/360.

Paul Weissmann tells the story of the development and history of the HP9000.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Apr 2018 10:25 UTC
Windows

The Windows File Manager lives again and runs on all currently supported version of Windows, including Windows 10. I welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions.

Open source under an MIT-license, and runs on modern versions of Windows. This is certainly a blast from the past.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Apr 2018 10:22 UTC
Windows

I first gave up on Windows Phone back in December 2014. Microsoft's mobile platform was being left behind, and I was tired of not getting access to the apps everyone else was using. It took Microsoft a few years to finally admit Windows Phone is dead, and the company is no longer planning to release any new hardware running its mobile OS or update it with any features. I recently switched on an old Windows Phone to create a silly April Fools' joke about returning to using it as my daily device, and then it hit me: I really miss Windows Phone.

He's not alone. I loved the way Windows Phone worked and felt, but sadly, it just didn't have the applications, and Microsoft's various transitions really hurt the platform too. Too bad - it was innovative and fresh.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Apr 2018 00:13 UTC
Morphos

You have installed MorphOS to a compatible machine, but... now what? You could always go and install a pre-configured package like Chrysalis, but you would end up with a system configured for someone else's taste and you still wouldn't know how to actually use the operating system. If you are in this situation and would like to learn how MorphOS works, this is a tutorial for you! The tutorial will guide you through the things you should do and notice after a fresh install, with practical examples from basic configuration options to installing new software. It won't cover all the details and is just an opinion on how to proceed, but it should give you some knowledge how to continue on your own and make your own decisions.

I bought a used PowerBook last weekend - a 17" PowerBook G4 1.33Ghz with 512MB RAM with 2GB on the way - specifically for MorphOS and its recent 3.10 release, and I'm having a total blast. This guide is a great first stop after installing MorphOS, as is the accompanying tips and tricks article. Amiga-like operating systems have some very unique paradigms and ways of doing things, and articles like these really ease you into them, while offering a first few glimpses into the absolutely insane amount of customization options they offer.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Apr 2018 00:13 UTC
Intel

Intel first launched its 8th-generation branding last year. In the mobile space, we had the U-series Kaby Lake-R: four-core, eight-thread chips running in a 15W power envelope. On the desktop, we had Coffee Lake: six-core, 12-thread chips. In both cases, the processor lineup was limited: six different chips for the desktop, four for mobile.

Those mobile processors were joined earlier this year by Kaby Lake-G: four-core, eight-thread processors with a discrete AMD GPU on the same package as the processor.

Today, Intel has vastly expanded the 8th generation lineup, with 11 new mobile chips and nine new desktop processors, along with new 300-series chipsets.

Intel's naming scheme is a bit of a mess, isn't it? At this point I really have no idea what is what without consulting charts and tables. Can all the bright minds at Intel really not devise a more sensible naming scheme?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Apr 2018 00:07 UTC
Apple

At its launch back in 2010, the iPad was heavily criticized for being a big iPhone. iOS 11 and the iPad Pro proved that wasn't the case. Things further diverged with the introduction of the iPhone X, which has led to some confusion for anyone who regularly uses an iPad. I've been using an iPhone X and iPad Pro together for nearly six months now, and I often feel lost when moving back and forth between the devices - one with a physical home button, the other with webOS-like gestures. The result is a vastly different user experience, even though they run the same version of iOS on large rectangles of glass.

I also use both an iPhone X and an iPad Pro 12.9", and I actually don't see this as a problem at all. The two devices are vastly different, and I use them in completely different ways - one as a smartphone, the other as a laptop - so it only makes sense to use them differently. Forcing the iPad into the same gestures and UI as the iPhone only leaves it hamstrung; it restricts the iPad into being an oversized iPhone, while what I want is for the iPad to gain more and more features from classic operating systems like macOS and Windows.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Apr 2018 21:35 UTC
Games

While it's true Steam Machines aren't exactly flying off the shelves, our reasons for striving towards a competitive and open gaming platform haven't significantly changed. We're still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place for gaming and applications. We think it will ultimately result in a better experience for developers and customers alike, including those not on Steam.

Through the Steam Machine initiative, we've learned quite a bit about the state of the Linux ecosystem for real-world game developers out there. We've taken a lot of feedback and have been heads-down on addressing the shortcomings we observed. We think an important part of that effort is our ongoing investment in making Vulkan a competitive and well-supported graphics API, as well as making sure it has first-class support on Linux platforms.

Valve has done a lot for Linux gaming, and it's good to hear they pledge to continue doing so.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Apr 2018 23:24 UTC
Intel

XScale is a microarchitecture for central processing units initially designed by Intel implementing the ARM architecture (version 5) instruction set. XScale comprises several distinct families: IXP, IXC, IOP, PXA and CE (see more below), with some later models designed as SoCs. Intel sold the PXA family to Marvell Technology Group in June 2006. Marvell then extended the brand to include processors with other microarchitectures, like ARM's Cortex.

With the smartphone and tablet revolution dominated by ARM, with Windows and Apple moving to ARM, we can probably say that, with the magical superpower of hindsight, Intel selling its XScale business to Marvell will probably go down as one of the biggest blunders in technology history.

The entire computing world is slowly moving to ARM - first smartphones, then tablets, now laptops, soon surely servers and desktops - leaving Intel (and AMD, for that matter) in a terrible position.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Apr 2018 23:16 UTC
OpenBSD

We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 6.3. This is our 44th release. We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of more than twenty years with only two remote holes in the default install.

As in our previous releases, 6.3 provides significant improvements, including new features, in nearly all areas of the system.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Apr 2018 20:10 UTC, submitted by toralux
Apple

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple's devices - including Macs, iPhones, and iPads - work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

This shouldn't be at all surprising. Apple's own Ax chips are quite amazing, but still limited in how far they can be pushed because of the small form factors they're being used in. On top of that, everything seems to be pointing towards the latest Windows-on-ARM devices having multiple-day battery life, with which Intel chips simply can't compete. It makes 100% sense for Apple to put its own processors inside Macs.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 31st Mar 2018 15:41 UTC
Morphos

Objective-C is conceptually similar to BOOPSI - it's generally an add-on to the C programming language. In both Obj-C and BOOPSI calling a method implies calling a dispatcher function that resolves the actual method to call and invokes it. With the addition of reference counting to BOOPSI in MorphOS, both follow the same memory management principles.

The main difference comes from the fact that BOOPSI classes need to be manually created with functions being manually assigned their IDs and let's not even start on the extra hassle of having to write the code for the dispatchers. This made programmers reluctant to add new classes in their applications, in turn making the overall code less object oriented.

Here's where Objective-C fills in.

Meanwhile, the MorphOS team has also released an early beta of the operating system's future default email client, Iris. It uses many of the new features introduced in MorphOS 3.10, and support IMAP, OAth2 for Gmail and Outlook, and much more.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Mar 2018 22:47 UTC
Amiga & AROS

Ars Technica's long-running series on the history of the Amiga continues, with part 12 published today. As always - required reading.

The year 2000, which once seemed so impossibly futuristic, had finally arrived. Bill McEwen, president of the new Amiga Inc., celebrated with a press release telling the world why he had bought the subsidiary from Gateway Computers.

"Gateway purchased Amiga because of Patents; we purchased Amiga because of the People." It was a bold statement, the first of many that would come from the fledgling company. Amiga Inc. now owned the name, trademark, logos, all existing inventory (there were still a few Escom-era A1200s and A4000s left), the Amiga OS, and a permanent license to all Amiga-related patents. They had also inherited Jim Collas' dream of a revolutionary new Amiga device, but none of the talent and resources that Gateway had been able to bring to bear.

The Amiga world is one of the strangest subcultures in technology. I can't believe it's still going sort-of strong, and in various flavours even.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Mar 2018 22:42 UTC
Mac OS X

macOS 10.13.4, released to the public yesterday afternoon, introduces official support for eGPUs (external graphics processors) on Thunderbolt 3 Macs. Alongside the release, Apple has published a detailed support document that outlines how eGPU support works and provides graphic card and chassis recommendations for use with your Mac.

External GPUs seem like an incredibly clunky solution to a problem I doubt many people actually have. If your workload relies heavily on GPU power, you're probably not using Apple laptops anyway.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Mar 2018 22:02 UTC
Amiga & AROS

The following article is a historical look at the era that spawned the first raytracers for home computers, a predecessor to Blender among them. It's possible thanks to the fact, that, for the first time, the program and source code of said predecessor are publicly available.

Today Blender is one of the industry leaders, but it started quite small, three decades ago. If you ever wondered when and where some of the most iconic Blender conventions like "right-click select" or 3D cursor originated, it's then, in the Amiga era, even before Blender was born.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Mar 2018 22:01 UTC
Linux

After starting with Ubuntu, Microsoft has added a number of Linux distributions to its Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) Linux runtime environment. A Windows machine can simultaneously offer an Ubuntu, SUSE, Debian, and Kali "personality," providing users with a choice of the different distributions' preferences and package management.

But if your distribution isn't yet available or if you want a Linux installation that's customized just the way you like it, there's now an answer: Microsoft has an open source tool for building your own Linux package. The tool is aimed at two groups: distribution owners (so they can produce a bundle to ship through the Microsoft Store) and developers (so they can create custom distributions and sideload them onto their development systems).

Neat.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Mar 2018 01:46 UTC, submitted by Alfman
Legal

A US federal court has overturned the jury's decision in favour of Google from 2016.

Google's use of Java shortcuts to develop Android went too far and was a violation of Oracle's copyrights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Tuesday. The case - first filed in 2010 - was remanded to a federal court in California to determine how much the Alphabet Inc. unit should pay. Oracle had been seeking $8.8 billion, though that number could grow. Google expressed disappointment and said it's considering its next steps in the case.

The dispute, which could have far-reaching implications for the entire software industry, has divided Silicon Valley for years between those who develop the code that makes software steps function and those who develop software programs and say their "fair use" of the code is an exception to copyright law.

"It's a momentous decision on the issue of fair use," lawyer Mark Schonfeld of Burns & Levinson in Boston, who's been following the case and isn't involved. "It is very, very important for the software industry. I think it's going to go to the Supreme Court because the Federal Circuit has made a very controversial decision."

This could be one of the absolute worst legal decisions in technology history.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Mar 2018 04:48 UTC
Android

New to Android Studio 3.1 is a C++ performance profiler to help troubleshoot performance bottlenecks in your app code. For those of you with a Room or SQLite database in their your app, we added better code editor support to aid in your SQL table and query creation statements. We also added better lint support for your Kotlin code, and accelerated your testing with an updated Android Emulator with Quick Boot.