Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Feb 2017 23:15 UTC
Apple

Apple Inc. is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel Corp. processors, according to people familiar with the matter.

The chip, which went into development last year, is similar to one already used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard's Touch Bar feature, the people said. The updated part, internally codenamed T310, would handle some of the computer's low-power mode functionality, they said. The people asked not to be identified talking about private product development. It's built using ARM Holdings Plc. technology and will work alongside an Intel processor.

And before you know it, you have a MacBook ARM.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Feb 2017 18:15 UTC
Apple

Earlier today, The Irish Times ran an "article" titled "Brussels broke the rules in its pursuit of Apple's €13bn". That sounds serious, and would definitely have you click. Once you do, you read an article written by "Liza Lovdahl-Gormsen" without any sources, which is basically an almost word-for-word rehash of letters and answers from Tim Cook about the tax deal. The lack of sources and Tim Cook-ery tone of the piece should set off thousands of huge and loud alarm bells in anyone's mind, but it isn't until the very last paragraph of the "article" that the reader stumbles upon this:

Liza Lovdahl-Gormsen is director of the Competition Law Forum and senior research fellow in competition law. This article was commissioned from her by Apple and supplied to The Irish Times

Pathetic and disingenuous at best, intentionally misleading and ethically reprehensible at worst. The fact that the biggest, richest, and most powerful company in the world has to resort to this kind of unethical behaviour should tell you all you need to know about how certain Apple is of its own claims about the tax deal.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Feb 2017 15:37 UTC
Apple

Ever launch an app on your iPhone and then get a pop-up warning that says the app may slow down your iPhone? (I have old versions of certain apps, so it shows up for me every once in a while.) That warning usually appears when you're using a 32-bit app. You can still run the app, and you probably don’t even notice the slowdown you've been warned about (at least in my personal experience).

Your ability to run that 32-bit app is coming to an end. As several other Mac sites have reported, Apple has updated the pop-up warning in the iOS 10.3 beta to say that the 32-bit app you're running "will not work with future versions of iOS." The warning goes on to say that the "developer of this app needs to update it to improve its compatibility."

It'd be interesting to know if this actually affects all that many people.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Feb 2017 00:50 UTC
Google

Historically, the code for Chrome for iOS was kept separate from the rest of the Chromium project due to the additional complexity required for the platform. After years of careful refactoring, all of this code is rejoining Chromium and being moved into the open-source repository.

Due to constraints of the iOS platform, all browsers must be built on top of the WebKit rendering engine. For Chromium, this means supporting both WebKit as well as Blink, Chrome's rendering engine for other platforms. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base.

There is no Chrome for iOS. It doesn't exist. Just because it has a Chrome-like UI doesn't mean it's Chrome. Chrome is the whole package - UI and engine. Without the engine, it's not Chrome. I understand Google wants to leverage the brand recognition, and I know I'm splitting hairs, but until Apple allows competing browser engines, iOS only has one browser, with a bunch of skins.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Jan 2017 03:51 UTC
In the News

Though we now have thousands of examples of these symbols, we have very little idea what they mean. Over a century after Cunningham's discovery, the seals remain undeciphered, their messages lost to us. Are they the letters of an ancient language? Or are they just religious, familial, or political symbols? Those hotly contested questions have sparked infighting among scholars and exacerbated cultural rivalries over who can claim the script as their heritage. But new work from researchers using sophisticated algorithms, machine learning, and even cognitive science are finally helping push us to the edge of cracking the Indus script.

The Indus Valley Civilization and the mysteries that surround it are deeply fascinating. It was contemporary to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, yet we know relatively little about it. It honestly blows my mind that computers can now be used to decipher its ancient script, which may give us a lot of insight into this civilisation.

Like in programming, language is key.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Jan 2017 00:43 UTC
Linux

This is the second in my series on finding an alternative to Mac OS X. Part 1 was about evaluating 13 alternative operating systems and then choosing one to use full time. The selected OS was elementary OS. The motivation for this change is to get access to better hardware since Apple is neglecting the Mac lineup.

If video is more your style I gave a short (10 min) talk at work on my adventures with Linux that covers the core content of this post.

This impromptu series is a great read. It's positive, focused on solutions instead of complaints, and is an honest effort to expand horizons and try out new and different (to the author) approaches to using his computer.

 

Linked by Drumhellar on Tue 31st Jan 2017 00:33 UTC
Oracle and SUN

After the recent removal of Solaris 12 from the Solaris road map inspired much speculation on the future of Solaris, Oracle has finally published a blog post detailing the cause of the removal, and the future of Solaris

Oracle Solaris is moving to a continuous delivery model using more frequent updates to deliver the latest features faster, while fully preserving customer and ISV qualification investment in the vast array of ISV applications available on Oracle Solaris 11 today. New features and functionality will be delivered in Oracle Solaris through dot releases instead of more disruptive major releases, consistent with trends seen throughout the industry.

In addition, support for current versions of Solaris 11 has been extended to beyond 2030. The actual updated roadmap is light on details, though, but it does appear that Solaris at least isn't dead just yet.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Jan 2017 22:27 UTC, submitted by AmiKit
Amiga & AROS

AmiKit 9 Reloaded has been released for the Mac.

Now it is super fast because it uses the latest WinUAE emulator running on Wine. This concept, paradoxically, is much faster and actually more stable than the previous E-UAE edition. ​

AmiKit 9 for Mac also includes the Rabbit Hole which allows you to launch Mac apps from AmiKit desktop! You can also open Amiga files with your favourite Mac apps!

AmiKit is basically a pre-configured AmigaOS environment that runs inside *UAE, but you do have to supply your own OS and ROM files.

 

Linked by gezelterrl on Mon 30th Jan 2017 20:22 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

VMS Software, Inc. today announced the immediate availability of the production release of VSI OpenVMS Alpha V8.4-2L1 for the Alpha hardware platform, including Alphas running on x86-based emulators. This OpenVMS Alpha version is based on, and inherits the benefits of, the latest version of VSI OpenVMS Integrity V8.4-2L1, released in September 2016.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Jan 2017 20:20 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The problem with laptops has, at least in recent years, been one of expandability. Once you buy a machine, you’re generally stuck with it, unless you’re willing to take it apart with repairs that have more in common with surgery than mechanics.

Part of this has to do with the complexity of our modern machines, but a bigger part is the fact that, simply, upgradability has become less of a concern for manufacturers.

But there was a time when laptop upgrades were a big deal - and that time was the 90s.

Here's the story of PCMCIA, an acronym only a 90s laptop owner could love.

I used a PCMCIA network card on my BeOS laptop (in 2001 or so), since the on-board network chip didn't have a BeOS driver. Good times.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 28th Jan 2017 13:43 UTC
In the News

Alphabet Inc.'s Google delivered a sharp message to staff travelling overseas who may be impacted by a new executive order on immigration from President Donald Trump: Get back to the U.S. now.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai slammed Trump's move in a note to employees Friday, telling them that more than 100 company staff are affected by the order.

The Trump regime's measures also impact the visa program for, among other long-time US allies, The Netherlands. Did anyone tell the Trump regime that it's a very bad idea to make it harder for your third largest investor to, uh, actually invest? Are these men really that dumb?

Interesting to note, though, that Google had to be actually impacted by the Trump regime before it spoke up (only in an internal memo, but still). Meanwhile, Elon Musk is kissing the ground Trump walks on, and Tim Cook, CEO of the most arrogantly and smugly (supposedly) liberal tech company is meeting with Trump, Trump's daughter (...?) and other Republican leaders. From other tech giants who always touted the liberal horn of equality and progressiveness - a deafening, but quite revealing, silence.

So far, it seems like the tech industry leaders are opting for appeasement instead of resistance to the Trump regime's corruption, conflicts of interest, racism, war on science, and Christian extremism. I would be disappointed if it wasn't so utterly predictable to anyone who wasn't blinded by the fake smiles, hollow promises, and empty praise of equality, science, and progressive ideals.

They still have time to be remembered as people who stood up for those that need it the most. I'm afraid, though, we will remember them as spineless cowards, hiding behind shareholders while the free world crumbles to dust.

I hope it'll be worth it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 23:27 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

I was just reading some Tweets and an associated Hackernews thread and it reminded me that, now that I've left Mozilla for a while, it's safe for me to say: antivirus software vendors are terrible; don't buy antivirus software, and uininstall it if you already have it (except, on Windows, for Microsoft's).

I've been saying the same thing here on OSNews for a decade now: antivirus software makers are terrible companies. Don't buy their crappy software only to let it infect your machine like a virus that slowly hollows out and kills your computer.

Stick to Windows' built-in Microsoft tool.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 23:24 UTC
KDE

We were not content with the quality of laptops available on the market. The majority shipped with proprietary and locked-in software solutions, filled with not-uninstallable bloat where the user was left at the mercy of whatever the company selling them a laptop saw fit for them to work with. As creators and makers we knew what it meant to be locked into a set of solutions defined by others. Many alternatives took whatever hardware they could find when they wanted to provide more free options and the end result was often lackluster and as such, lowering the enjoyment in using the computer, our main tool in creating, and shipping with underwhelming specs.

We saw a problem, and we solved it: The KDE Slimbook.

Basically a MacBook Air-like laptop, preconfigured with KDE Neon, at a relatively reasonable price. This is a very attractive laptop, and I would love to own one. Very nice work.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 21:41 UTC
Amiga & AROS

As the 1990s began, Commodore should have been flying high. The long-awaited new Amiga models with better graphics, the A1200 and A4000, were finally released in 1992. Sales responded by increasing 17 percent over the previous year. The Video Toaster had established a niche in desktop video editing that no other computer platform could match, and the new Toaster 4000 promised to be even better than before. After a rocky start, the Amiga seemed to be hitting its stride.

Unfortunately, this success wouldn't last. In 1993, sales fell by 20 percent, and Commodore lost $366 million. In the first quarter of 1994, the company announced a loss of $8.2 million - much better than the previous four quarters, but still not enough to turn a profit. Commodore had run into financial difficulties before, particularly in the mid-'80s, but this time the wounds were too deep. Sales of the venerable Commodore 64 had finally collapsed, and the Amiga wasn't able to fill the gap quickly enough. The company issued a statement warning investors of its problems, and the stock plunged. On April 29, 1994, Commodore International Limited announced that it was starting the initial phase of voluntary liquidation of all of its assets and filing for bankruptcy protection. Commodore, once the savior of the Amiga, had failed to save itself.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 21:01 UTC
Windows

Last week, details emerged of Microsoft's plans to develop a single, unified, 'adaptive shell' for Windows 10. Known as the 'Composable Shell', or CSHELL, the company's efforts were said to be focused on establishing a universal Windows 10 version with a standardized framework to scale and adapt the OS to any type of device, display size or user experience, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, consoles, large touchscreens, and more.

Today, Petri reported that Microsoft is working on a new shell for Windows known as 'Cloud Shell'. According to internal documentation referred to in that report, Cloud Shell is described as a "lightweight version of Windows designed for the modern computing world." It also hints at plans to introduce the Cloud Shell sometime in 2017 - but little else is known about the new shell besides that.

To this day, Windows 10 on the desktop is still a hodgepodge of both Metro and Win32 applications; Explorer, for instance, is still a Win32 application. I would assume that all this chatter relates to unifying the shell into a single, adaptable Metro application.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 00:58 UTC
Windows

Last year, we set out to make Windows 10 the best Windows ever for gaming. With Game Mode, it's our goal to now take things a step further to make the gaming experience on Windows even better. Our vision is that Game Mode optimizes your Windows 10 PC for an improvement in overall game performance. This week's Windows Insider build represents the first step on our journey with Game Mode.

Basically, it prioritises CPU and GPU resources for your game, so you can eek out a bit more performance. I'm not quite sure if there'll be a benefit for people at the higher end (I don't think my GTX1070 running at 2560x1440 will benefit much), but for slightly lower specifications it might just give that extra little bit for a more consistent experience.

All in all, I'm happy with these gaming-oriented features in Windows, but I really hate how Microsoft is slapping 'Xbox' on everything and tries to take me out of my beloved and trusted Steam environment. It reeks of utter garbageware like Uplay.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 00:47 UTC
General Development

This release represents over a year of development effort and around 6,600 individual changes. The main highlights are the support for Microsoft Office 2013, and the 64-bit support on macOS.

It also contains a lot of improvements across the board, as well as support for many new applications and games. See the release notes below for a summary of the major changes.

As awesome of a project Wine is, I wonder how many people actually use it on a daily basis. Maybe I'm wildly off base here (honestly, I probably am), but it seems like if you're running Linux, there's really nothing Windows applications offer that Linux can't.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jan 2017 09:34 UTC
Apple

Apple iOS point release betas usually aren't all that interesting, but the first iOS 10.3 beta contains a big change that, while probably being mostly transparent to the average user, is actually quite interesting.

When you update to iOS 10.3, your iOS device will update its file system to Apple File System (APFS). This conversion preserves existing data on your device. However, as with any software update, it is recommended that you create a backup of your device before updating.

Apple's developer documentation contains more information about APFS.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Jan 2017 23:32 UTC
In the News

Trump and his murder of Republican Christian extremists have declared war on science.

The US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and other employees in its main research division from publicly sharing everything from the summaries of scientific papers to USDA-branded tweets as it starts to adjust to life under the Trump administration, BuzzFeed News has learned.

According to an email sent Monday morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, the department told staff - including some 2,000 scientists - at the agency's main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.

And:

The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.

Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.

Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Jan 2017 23:22 UTC
Google

You might have used Google's new AMP project without even knowing.

It's a technology that makes mobile page results load very quickly on Google, it displays the content in a more uniform fashion. But there's a problem.

The content loads off of Google's own server, not from the website itself.

Everybody is complaining about AMP, and I'm just sitting here wondering if I ever even get to see an AMP page. Are they blocked by things like Ghostery and ad blockers?