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

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

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.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th May 2015 23:03 UTC
Mac OS X
Regardless of the many issues people were reporting with discoveryd, Apple went ahead and released it anyway. As a result, this piece of software is responsible for a large portion of the thousand cuts. Personally, I've wasted many hours just trying to keep my devices talking to each other. Macs that used to go months between restarts were being rebooted weekly. The situation is so bad that I actually feel good when I can just kill discoveryd and toggle the network interface to get back to work.

Seems to be a huge paint point in OS X right now. I've experienced this issue once with my new retina MacBook Pro since I got it (a week ago), and it basically stops any data from being transferred to the Mac. The wireless connection remains online, but it just does't transfer any data. I hope Apple gets to fixing this soon.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th May 2015 16:27 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

This is a small 32bit (i586) kernel written using the Nim programming language.

I have been wanting to do this for a while but it wasn't until people in the #nim IRC channel inquired about Nim OS dev and the rustboot kernel inspired me that I finally did it.

It doesn't do much, but it doesn't need to. Its purpose is to provide a starting point for anyone wishing to write an OS in Nim.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th May 2015 21:14 UTC

The Department of Justice is looking closely into Apple’s business practices in relation to its upcoming music streaming service, according to multiple sources. The Verge has learned that Apple has been pushing major music labels to force streaming services like Spotify to abandon their free tiers, which will dramatically reduce the competition for Apple’s upcoming offering. DOJ officials have already interviewed high-ranking music industry executives about Apple’s business habits.


Sources also indicated that Apple offered to pay YouTube’s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube. Apple is seemingly trying to clear a path before its streaming service launches, which is expected to debut at WWDC in June. If Apple convinces the labels to stop licensing freemium services from Spotify and YouTube, it could take out a significant portion of business from its two largest music competitors.

This clearly calls for an official EU investigation into Google.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th May 2015 20:11 UTC

Microsoft's Windows chief, Terry Myerson, isn't pulling any punches against Android this week. Speaking during a keynote appearance at Microsoft's Ignite conference in Chicago, Myerson knocked Google's Android update plans. "Google ships a big pile of... code, with no commitment to update your device," Myerson said, with an intentional pause that left the audience laughing. "Google takes no responsibility to update customer devices and refuses to take responsibility to update their devices, leaving end users and businesses increasingly exposed every day they use an Android device."

He's completely right, of course, but his words does have a souer taste when you look at Microsoft's Windows Phone and Windows RT update history and near future.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th May 2015 20:09 UTC, submitted by shiny

Have you ever played a video game and wondered what rules you could bend? What's behind the flagpole in Super Mario Bros, can you skip a dungeon in Legend of Zelda or beat the BubbleMan with his own gun?

Sometimes the game authors themselves leave cheat codes that implement interesting game rules like flying, all weapons etc. Game genie codes and glitches like cartrigde tilting can also provide a ton of fun. But what if the game you like has no exotic codes, and the only game genie codes you can find online give you infinite ammo? You break the game yourself, of course!


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th May 2015 08:51 UTC

Apple can’t grow like this forever. No company can.

In a few short years, Apple has become the biggest company on the planet by market value - so big that it dwarfs every other one on the stock market. It dominates the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index as no other company has in 30 years.

With the kind of money Apple has in reserve, and the kind of growth figures the company is still demonstrating each quarter, this seems like a very, very, very distant future. Apple will remain on top like this for a long, long time.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 4th May 2015 08:49 UTC

One of the big news stories to come out of Build 2015 was the Objective C tools that Microsoft is introducing to welcome iOS developers to Windows 10. This is amazing news, but there's a small elephant in the room, and that's Swift. Apple announced this at its WWDC 2014 developer conference, and is the newest way that iOS developers are building apps. But that doesn't mean Microsoft has forgotten about it. It's "going there."

Microsoft's really going all-in on this.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 2nd May 2015 21:49 UTC

Steven Troughton-Smith has been looking into the how and what behind Microsoft's ability to compile Objective-C code for Windows 10, and the history of it all is interesting. It turns out that Microsoft's current implementation was initially developed by a company called Inception Mobile for BlackBerryOS 10. It took iOS Objective-C and converted as much as possible to Java or C++, hooking into the native platform APIs. It still works similarly on Windows 10.

After trying to woo BlackBerry, Inception Mobile tried to shop it around to Samsung for its Tizen platform. The audio file of the company's presentation at the Tizen Developer Conference 2013 is still available, too.

Eventually, as we know now, Inception Mobile was acquired by Microsoft, and its co-founder Salmaan Ahmed ended up at Microsoft. And lo and behold: Ahmed was a speaker at this year's Build conference, under the title "Compiling Objective-C Using the Visual Studio 2015 C++ Code Generation that Builds Windows, SQL, .Net, and Office".

In other words, this technology has been in development for a long time, and looking at the slides and listening to the presentation from the past few years indicates that the technology was platform-agnostic, working on BlackBerryOS, Tizen, Android, and now Windows.

Very interesting. Apparently BlackBerry and Samsung saw no real value in this technology - at least, not enough to acquire it or include it in their platforms, whereas Microsoft jumped on it and turned it into a big deal for Windows 10.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st May 2015 20:18 UTC

RISC OS Open Limited (ROOL) are pleased to announce the much anticipated latest stable RISC OS release, it incorporates a massive 454 changes for the Tungsten platform (used in the IYONIX pc from Castle Technology), 484 changes for the OMAP3 platform (used in the ARMini from RComp), and 423 changes for the IOMD platform used in the Acorn Risc PC/A7000/A7000+.

For the first time the stable release includes the OMAP4 port, a Cortex-A9 processor used in the PandaRO from CJE Micros and ARMiniX from RComp.

Still going strong.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st May 2015 20:12 UTC
General Development
In this tutorial, I will show you how to compile from source and install the current stable version of GCC with Graphite loop optimizations on your OS X computer. The instructions from this tutorial were tested with Xcode 6.3.1 and Yosemite (OS X 10.10).


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st May 2015 10:16 UTC

The positives far outweigh the negatives for me personally. The audio could be louder and the price more accessible for those with sensory impairment and reliant on the sort of accessibility features Apple offer.

I am now very happy to own an Apple Watch and look forward to making it work well for me.

Molly Watt has Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes deafblindness. Her first few days with the Apple Watch are probably unlike that of any other reviewer, considering her situation. Quite insightful.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st May 2015 10:02 UTC

A completely clean-room implementation of Minecraft beta 1.7.3 (circa September 2011). No decompiled code has been used in the development of this software.

I miss the old days of Minecraft, when it was a simple game. It was nearly perfect. Most of what Mojang has added since beta 1.7.3 is fluff, life support for a game that was “done” years ago. This is my attempt to get back to the original spirit of Minecraft, before there were things like the End, or all-in-one redstone devices, or village gift shops. A simple sandbox where you can build and explore and fight with your friends. I miss that.

Only the server component is implemented at the moment, so they're still using the official Minecraft client (hence the textures). Interesting project nonetheless.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st May 2015 07:31 UTC

But no one has benefited from China’s growing appetite for smartphones more than Apple. Even as the developed world was becoming saturated with iPhones, Apple kept expanding its sales with the help of China. The iPhone first became available in China in 2009, relatively early in its now gloried history, and has kept growing in line with the country’s expansion in disposable income and smartphone demand. This past quarter, Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the United States, belying prognostications that the Chinese market wouldn’t be receptive to such a premium, high-margin device.

With Europe being pretty much a lost cause for Apple, China really stepped in and offered the company more growth potential than Europe ever could.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st May 2015 07:27 UTC

While Microsoft is planning to launch Windows 10 on PCs this summer, the phone part of the operating system will debut at a later date. Speaking at a media event at Build in San Francisco today, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore explained the company's plans for the launch of Windows 10. “Our phone builds have not been as far as long as our PC builds," explained Belfiore. “We’re adapting the phone experiences later than we’re adding the PC experiences.”

If you were hoping to move all your Windows stuff over to Windows 10 on the same date - nope.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Apr 2015 19:25 UTC

We demonstrated a number of exciting new scenarios, made possible through HoloLens powered by Windows 10. Among other things, we announced that for the very first time, we would provide an opportunity for thousands of developers at Build to experience our hardware.

So far, the feedback we have received has been pretty incredible and the possibilities that we asked people to imagine are coming to life. The era of holographic computing is here and today I'm honored to share more information about our HoloLens hardware and how it works to make holograms real.

Awesome stuff. Yesterday at Build, they demonstrated how regular Windows 10 universal applications load up just fine inside HoloLens, with 'windows' that you can move around and place around your environment. Pretty neat.


Written by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Apr 2015 17:53 UTC

Right now, virtually all reporting about Apple focusses on its biggest new product in years - the Apple Watch. It's the centre of the Apple media show, and no matter where you go on the web, there's no way to get around it or avoid it - even here on OSNews. Apple is the biggest company in the world, so this makes perfect sense, whether you like it or not. Even if the Apple Watch does not sell well by Apple's standards, it will still be a billion dollar business, and it will still leave a huge mark on the industry.

However, I think Apple has a much more interesting new product on the shelves. This new product got its stage time during the various keynotes, and it sure isn't neglected by the media or anything, but I think its potential is so huge, so game-changing, that it deserves way, way more than it is getting.

I've been using touch devices for a really long time. From Palm OS and PocketPC devices, to iPhones and Android phones, and everything in between. I've used them with styluses, my fingertips, my fingernails, but there has always been a hugely important downside to touch interaction that made it cumbersome to use: the lack of any form of tactile feedback. In all these years, I've never learned to type properly on touch devices. I still regularly miss tap targets, and I still need to look at my device whenever I want to tap on something. It's cumbersome.

Apple's new Force Touch and Taptic Engine technology has the potential to change all of this.

This week, I bought a brand new 13.3" retina MacBook Pro, equipped with the fancy new trackpad technology. Remember the hype on stage as Apple unveiled this new technology? For once, they weren't overselling it. This really feels like some sort of crazy form of black magic. The trackpad does not move; it does not physically depress, and yet, when you use it, it's indistinguishable from a traditional trackpad.

When the device is off and the trackpad is, thus, unpowered, "clicking" on the trackpad feels just like trying to click on any other rigid surface. A blind person would not know she is touching a trackpad. Turn the device on, however, and the technology comes to life, turning this inanimate piece of glass into something that feels exactly like a traditional trackpad, clicks and all.

Using Force Touch - where you press down a little harder - is an even stranger sensation; it feels identical to a camera's two-stage shutter button, even though there's no actual downward movement of the pad. My brain still doesn't quite comprehend it. I know how the technology works and what's happening, but it's still downright amazing.

With the ability to give this kind of detailed tactile feedback to your fingers, Apple is on the cusp of solving the problem of the lack of tactility on touchscreens. Once this technology is further refined, it will surely find its way to iPhones and iPads, allowing you to feel individual keys on the virtual keyboard, and buttons in the user interface. Not only will this allow people to type more accurately and find their way around their device, it will also mean that one of my best friends, who is suffering from a very rare degenerative eye condition that will leave her close to blind within 15-20 years, could possibly continue to use an iPhone.

Force Touch and the Taptic Engine are, despite their horrible names, the most exciting products Apple has unveiled since the original iPhone. I'm excited to see where Apple takes this, and once it makes its way to the iPhone, I will have to think long and hard about my choice of mobile platform.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Apr 2015 14:12 UTC
Debian and its clones

It is with huge pleasure that the Debian GNU/Hurd team announces the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2015.

This is a snapshot of Debian "sid" at the time of the stable Debian "jessie" release (April 2015), so it is mostly based on the same sources. It is not an official Debian release, but it is an official Debian GNU/Hurd port release.

A relatively easy way to check the status of Hurd.