Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th May 2015 21:00 UTC
General Development

Today we are very proud to announce the 1.0 release of Rust, a new programming language aiming to make it easier to build reliable, efficient systems. Rust combines low-level control over performance with high-level convenience and safety guarantees. Better yet, it achieves these goals without requiring a garbage collector or runtime, making it possible to use Rust libraries as a "drop-in replacement" for C. If you'd like to experiment with Rust, the "Getting Started" section of the Rust book is your best bet (if you prefer to use an e-reader, Pascal Hertleif maintains unofficial e-book versions as well).

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th May 2015 18:09 UTC, submitted by spudley99
Mozilla & Gecko clones

Panasonic Smart TVs powered by Firefox OS are optimized for HTML5 to provide strong performance of Web apps and come with a new intuitive and customizable user interface which allows quick access to favorite channels, apps, websites and content on other devices. Through Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs, developers can leverage the flexibility of the Web to create customized and innovative apps and experiences across connected devices.

Great news for Mozilla, of course, but I honestly wonder about the longevity of the smart TV. Much like the smartwatch, it feels like whole lot of forced hype with little to show for itself.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th May 2015 13:54 UTC, submitted by Rohan Pearce
OSNews, Generic OSes

MenuetOS 1.0 has been released.

It all started as a question if computer programming could be made more efficient. And Menuet has matured to be an operating system with modern features including pre-emptive multitasking, smp, usb, tcp/ip, transparent GUI and many other features. And above all, MenuetOS is 100% assembly written operating system. With version 1.00, we made small history today.

Congratulations to the MenuetOS team for sticking with it - this is a great achievement. ComputerWorld Australia has an interview with Ville Turjanmaa, its creator.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 13th May 2015 20:45 UTC
Windows

Windows 10 is coming this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages. Today, we are excited to share more details on the Windows 10 Editions.

We designed Windows 10 to deliver a more personal computing experience across a range of devices. An experience optimized for each device type, but familiar to all. Windows 10 will power an incredibly broad range of devices - everything from PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and Surface Hub. It will also power the world around us, core to devices making up the Internet of Things, everything from elevators to ATMs to heart rate monitors to wearables. No matter which Windows 10 device our customers use, the experience will feel comfortable, and there will be a single, universal Windows Store where they can find, try and buy Universal Windows apps.

The supposed appeal of Windows 10 is that's universal, no matter the device, so to still have different versions for consumer devices (i.e., I can understand separate server and IoT stuff) seems counter-intuitive.

That being said - Windows Mobile is back. Makes it all worthwhile.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th May 2015 21:49 UTC
Android

Today Google announced that it has officially expanded Android One to Turkey. The launch represents the program's debut in Europe, and brings the total count (so far) to seven countries. Android One, which Google unveiled last September, aims to spread affordable smartphones throughout the developing world. The devices run a close-to-stock version of Android, though up until now the hardware has been somewhat underwhelming.

Do we have an Indian readers with Android One devices? How has the experience been?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th May 2015 21:44 UTC
Games

The strangest thing about Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is how it's over a decade and a half old and I'm not sick of it. I don't just mean it's old but I still like it: I mean I still play it regularly. I don't think I ever really stopped. I can hardly remember when I didn't play it. I have no idea how many times I've finished it.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the best games ever made, and the very pinnacle of the 2D pixellated era. The textures, the animations, the level backgrounds, the monster design - it's the best that era had to offer, and as far I'm concerned, it's never been topped. While I understand some consider Super Metroid to be the better of the two, I strongly believe Symphony of the Night is the better of the two.

Luck would have it, then, that its creator, Koji Igarashi, just managed to get its spiritual successor funded via a Kickstarter campaign. Big name studios were not interested in helping him build it, so he decided to do it on his own. Castlevania composer Michiru Yamane is also on the team, as is the studio behind several Mega Man games, as well as several other big names.

We're living in a great era for gaming right now. Thanks to crowdfunding, we're already in the middle of a great renaissance for the classic isometric RPGs, with brand new, successful titles such as Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, Divinity: Original Sin, and many others rekindling the glory of games like Baldur's Gate and Planescape Torment, and many other genres no longer deemed interesting by the big players are now seeing new games thanks to crowdfunding. I can't stress how thrilled I am that the man behind Symphony of the Night will finally be able to make the successor he always wanted, but that the big names wouldn't let him.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th May 2015 14:48 UTC
Google

Following a Reddit AMA on government surveillance, Google has admitted that while it does encrypt Hangouts conversations, it does not use end-to-end encryption, meaning the company itself can tap into those sessions when it receives a government court order requiring it to do so. This contrasts with the end-to-end encryption used by some services, like Apple's FaceTime, which cannot be tapped even by the company offering the service.

Wait, you mean to tell me large technology companies are shady and nebulous for PR reasons?

Surely that can't be true, right? Why would they lie?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th May 2015 14:45 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies (MCST) has announced it's now taking orders for its Russian-made microprocessors from domestic computer and server manufacturers. The chip, called Elbrus-4C, was fully designed and developed in MCST's Moscow labs. It's claimed to be the most high-tech processor ever built in Russia, and is comparable with Intel Corp's Core i3 and Intel Core i5 processors.

I'd rather have a processor hand-built by the director of the NSA than one designed and built in Russia.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th May 2015 14:40 UTC
General Development

I work for a certain corporation which uses a certain product. This is its story. To put the quality of this product into perspective, let me say it's been in development for about 20 years and has pretty much no users (besides my corp and some "hey - let's make our own Linux crappy distro, which no one will ever use" fanatics) and no community. It was written by a C programmer who "doesn't like the notion of 'type' in programming". Let that be a prelude of what's to follow. Envy those who don't know it; pity those who use it.

The product is called Enlightenment Foundation Libraries and it's the absolutely worst piece of shit software you can imagine.

Poor Tizen.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th May 2015 09:45 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The first microprocessor, the TMX 1795, had the same architecture as the 8008 but was built months before the 8008. Never sold commercially, this Texas Instruments processor is now almost forgotten even though it had a huge impact on the computer industry. In this article, I present the surprising history of the TMX 1795 in detail, look at other early processors, and explain why the TMX 1795 should be considered the first microprocessor.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th May 2015 17:43 UTC, submitted by judgen
Mono Project

This is the first Mono release that contains code from Microsoft's open sourced .NET code. We are only getting started with this work. We are swiftly moving ahead in mono/master much more code that is being replaced and ported.

This version also is the first one to ship with C# 6.0 enabled by default. Learn all about C# 6.0 in only eight minutes on this presentation.

The release notes will tell you more.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th May 2015 17:41 UTC
Android

Google's Android operating system is set to give users more detailed choices over what apps can access, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter remains private. That could include photos, contacts or location. An announcement of the change, which would put Android closer in line with Apple Inc.’s iOS, is expected for Google’s developer’s conference in San Francisco this month, one of the people said.

If there's ever been a use case for 'finally', this is it. iOS gains Android features, Android gains iOS features. They pressure each other into becoming better, and we, all, benefit.

The Apples and Googles of this world might rather not have to deal with it, but isn't competition beautiful?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th May 2015 22:51 UTC
Windows

"Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10." That was the message from Microsoft employee Jerry Nixon, a developer evangelist speaking at the company's Ignite conference this week. Nixon was explaining how Microsoft was launching Windows 8.1 last year, but in the background it was developing Windows 10. Now, Microsoft employees can talk freely about future updates to Windows 10 because there's no secret update in the works coming next. It's all just Windows 10. While it immediately sounds like Microsoft is killing off Windows and not doing future versions, the reality is a little more complex. The future is "Windows as a service."

Call me a convert. Instead of having to buy several copies of Office every few years for multiple computers (I require Office for my translation company), I now have a €99/year Office subscription allowing me to install Office on 5 PCs and 5 mobile devices. I know most of our readers are not a fan of this model, but I, personally, am all for it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th May 2015 22:43 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Still, for those who have taken the plunge, Amazon continues providing software updates. Fire OS 4.6.1 includes a fair number of changes, but the largest is one Amazon doesn't mention - it updates the underlying version of Android from 4.2 Jelly Bean to 4.4 KitKat. KitKat is still a year-and-a-half old at this point, but that's a year newer than Jelly Bean, and it's still the most-used version of Android according to Google's developer dashboard.

Why anyone would buy these outdated Amazon frankendroid devices is beyond me.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th May 2015 21:41 UTC
General Development

My dislike for application stores, the race to the bottom they enabled, and the myth of it being a great way for small developers to make it big is well-documented at OSNews, so yeah, I couldn't pass up this story (don't click the link yet!). Developer Sam Soffes released an interesting application on the Mac App Store, and when he looked at how well his application as doing later that day, he was in for a shock.

For launch, the price was $4.99. I may play with that some over time. I was originally thinking $2.99 and a bunch of folks on Twitter said $4.99 was better. Anyway, Redacted was #8 top paid in the US and #1 top paid in Graphics at the end of launch day. It was also at the top of Product Hunt with 538 up votes! Wow!

This sounds amazing, right? Surely, this is a story of an indie developer making it big, becoming a millionaire overnight. Good feels were had all around, right?

Now read the post.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th May 2015 22:13 UTC
Apple

Federico Viticci's iOS 9 wishlist contains my number one gamebreakinig missing feature in iOS:

Seven years into the App Store, I struggle to find a reasonable motivation for not allowing users to set different default apps on iOS. I believe Apple should accept that they can't make the perfect email client or web browser for all kinds of users, and, just like custom keyboards, they should let users choose their favorite app for a specific set of core tasks. If personalization of a user's iOS device has truly become a priority at Apple, then it should be extended to activities that users frequently perform on an iPhone or iPad.

If Apple were to finally make this possible, there's going to be a whole lot of Google iPhones and Google iPads out there.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th May 2015 19:50 UTC
Windows

As always, AnandTech has the only review of the new Surface 3 that really matters.

So with those caveats aside, we can finally get to the conclusion that you have likely guessed already. The Surface 3 is a great device. The build quality is really at the top level of any OEM out there. The form factor is finally the right one after two previous generations that got it slightly wrong. The weight is lighter than any previous Surface, and just as balanced. Performance of the x7 Atom CPU is great for light tasks, and if you need more than light tasks then this is not the device for you. As a tablet, it is great to use in either orientation, with the portrait mode being especially good now for browsing the web. The kickstand is improved, they keyboard is improved, the base tier steps up to 64 GB of storage, making it actually useful without immediately adding micro SD to the mix.

When I was weighing the pros and cons of the retina MacBook Pro vs. the Surface, I eventually ended up not going with the Surface because of the keyboard and trackpad. As nice as the Surface hardware is, its detachable keyboard and trackpad (whether it's the Pro or the regular) are several orders of magnitude worse than those on the MacBook Pro, which are best-in-class (well, the trackpad at least). Those are the primary input methods for my kind of use, so the MBP won out in the end.

The point: Microsoft should just make a Surface laptop. Keep the detachable model as well if you want, but also offer a proper Surface laptop that can compete with actual laptops.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th May 2015 19:43 UTC
Android

Hugo Barra, currently Xiamoi's vice president of international and formerly VP of Google's Android vision, on SD cards in an interview with Engadget:

"For high performance devices, we are fundamentally against an SD card slot."

Barra backed up his statement by pointing out that his team didn't want to sacrifice battery capacity, ergonomics, appearance and, in the case of the new Mi 4i, the second Micro SIM slot for the sake of letting users add a storage card. More importantly, microSD cards "are incredibly prone to failure and malfunctioning of various different sorts," and the fact that there are a lot of fake cards out there - and we've seen it ourselves - doesn't help, either.

In case you disagree with him, The Verge's review of the LG G4 states it's a pretty decent phone.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th May 2015 19:33 UTC
Apple

imgix is an image processing and delivery service that provides a supremely flexible, high performance, ultra-reliable solution to the problem of serving images on the modern internet. We operate our own hardware, run our own datacenters, and manage our own network infrastructure. At imgix's scale, maximizing efficiency and performance in image processing is critical for success. For this reason, we decided to incorporate Mac Pros in planning the build of our next generation image renderers. Because no existing Mac Pro server rack suited our needs, we designed and built our own.

Crazy custom build. Can't be cheap.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th May 2015 23:13 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y

This is a nice article overall, but this part stood out to me.

The history of Apple and Microsoft’s relationship has often been one of direct confrontation. Whether it’s Surface vs. iPad, Zune vs. iPod, or the classic PC vs. Mac, the two American giants have often competed for the same clientele, trying to sate the same needs.

This is a common misconception. While the two companies certainly had their tussles (the look and feel lawsuit being a major one), most of it was nothing but marketing - riling up their own fanbases. During most of their history, these two companies have had close ties, working together very closely on many projects. The supposedly great rivalry between these two companies existed mostly between its fans, not between the companies themselves. They've always needed each other, and continue to need each other to this day.

In fact, in fighting Google, these two companies have been working together more closely than ever before. If you think the sudden onslaught of patent abuse against Android and its OEMs from Microsoft and Apple (and Oracle, another company with close ties to Apple and Microsoft) was a coincidence, I have a bridge to sell you.

I always find it fascinating that the idea that Apple and Microsoft are bitter rivals has survived to this day.