Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 17th Jan 2015 20:18 UTC

I'm going to describe steps needed to have the following system:

  • Dual-boot with Arch Linux / Mac OS X
  • Boot manager UEFI Gummiboot (simple, can handle several kernels easily)
  • Full disk encryption (Mac OS X and Arch Linux)
  • LVM support
  • Suspend to disk using a swapfile
  • Settings for a great battery life (~09h30)

I keep the Mac OS X partition, to be able to update the firmware later.

Incredibly detailed 'blog post' (I would call it a website) on how to get, well, Arch Linux running on the MacBook Pro Retina 2014. I know Arch is quite popular among OSNews readers, so I figured this would be of interest to some of you. The article is a work-in-progress, so more information is sure to follow.


Linked by j.k. on Fri 16th Jan 2015 22:02 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Version 8.2.0 of the embedded operating system FreeRTOS has just been released and is available to download. A complete list of changes is available, but personally I would highlight two of them: task notifications and some improvements of the popular ARM Cortex-M4F port.

Just a short introduction for those of you who have never heard about FreeRTOS before: it's a popular open source (released under a modified GPL license) embedded operating system (well, a multithreading library would be a more accurate description) which runs on many microcontrollers with just a few kilobytes of memory. It allows your embedded application to be split into several threads (called "tasks") with different priorities, and offers several mechanisms for synchronization/communication among tasks, dynamic allocation of memory etc.

The project officially supports quite a lot of combinations of toolchains and professional microcontrollers, however, it is not too difficult to port it to other microcontrollers. Would you like to run it on your Raspberry Pi? No problem, somebody has already ported it for you. You don't have a R.Pi? Never mind, you can try it in Qemu.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Jan 2015 18:16 UTC

The late film critic Roger Ebert once wrote:

Nevertheless, I remain convinced that in principle, video games cannot be art. Perhaps it is foolish of me to say "never," because never, as Rick Wakeman informs us, is a long, long time. Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.

I have always seen this as a man from an older generation failing to grasp new forms of media, expression, and art. As great a film critic as Ebert was, he completely and utterly missed the point with this oft-quoted statement. There's an endless list of games - large triple A and smaller, independent titles alike - that I would most definitely consider art and that will, in the future, end up in museums and art teachers' classes.

I normally don't really care what other people think, but I was reminded of this statement these past few weeks as I played through To The Moon, the critically acclaimed 2011 indie RPG from FreeBirdGames. The game tells the tale of two people aiding in granting a dying old man his last wish - to go to the moon. The game is relatively short - between 4 and 5 hours - but in that relatively short runtime, its creators manage to tell a moving, endearing, funny, emotional, and ultimately beautiful story that rivals - and, in my view, rises above - some of the best films and books ever created.

To The Moon is available on Steam, GOG, and even Origin, and I highly suggest you play it. If it doesn't fit your budget or you only want the story, I uploaded my experience with To The Moon for all to see. Even if you have no interest in video games, I would still strongly suggest experiencing this uniquely beautiful work of art.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Jan 2015 18:16 UTC

The fate of Google Glass has been up in the air these past few months, as developers seem to have stopped paying attention to the new-age eyewear and Glasshole sightings have decreased significantly. But Glass isn't done yet: Google's announcing today Glass is "graduating" from the Google X experimental projects incubator to become its own independent division - a division that will report into Nest's Tony Fadell. Current Glass head Ivy Ross will retain day-to-day authority, but she'll report to Fadell. Nest itself will remain separate and independent, and Tony will still be in charge there as well.

If you can sell a thermostat and smoke detector, you can pretty much sell anything. Maybe Fadell knows what to do with Glass.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Jan 2015 18:13 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

Verizon advertising partner Turn has been caught using Verizon Wireless's UIDH tracking header to resurrect deleted tracking cookies and share them with dozens of major websites and ad networks, forming a vast web of non-consensual online tracking. Explosive research from Stanford security expert Jonathan Mayer shows that, as we warned in November, Verizon's UIDH header is being used as an undeletable perma-cookie that makes it impossible for customers to meaningfully control their online privacy.

A virtually unchecked and unbound company with near-monopoly status in many US areas doing something scummy? I am so surprised.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Jan 2015 14:34 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Xiaomi, one of the fastest-growing tech companies in China, has announced its latest flagship device. The Mi Note is a 6.95mm-thick smartphone with a 5.7-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, options for a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3000 mAh battery, and curved glass on both the front and back panels; the company refers to the front glass as "2.5D" and the rear glass as "3D."

While Xiaomi has occasionally stoked accusations of Apple mimicry with devices like its Mi Pad, the Mi Note isn't really in that vein. It might not win any awards for industrial innovation, but it appears to be an understated product without much in the way of direct design lifts.

My dislike for Xiamoi's shamelessness is no secret, but this here seems to have a little more unique identity to it than its previous offerings - save for the name, of course. If this trend persists, they may be ramping up to more unique devices for western markets governed by excessively oppressive patent regimes.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 21:20 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd recently approached BlackBerry Ltd about buying the company for as much as $7.5 billion, looking to gain access to its patent portfolio, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters.

South Korea's Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry's current trading price, the source said.

Executives from the two companies, which are working with advisers, met last week to discuss a potential transaction, the source said, asking not to be identified because the conversations are private.

Big news, if true.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:44 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y

For a show overrun with various visions of smart drones and smarter homes for the future, the present of CES was remarkably uniform. I saw more iPhones in the hands of CES attendees than I did Android phones across the countless exhibitor booths. From the biggest keynote event to the smallest stall on the show floor, everything was being documented with Apple's latest smartphone, and it all looked so irritatingly easy. I don't want an iPhone, but dammit, I want the effortlessness of the iPhone's camera.

I really don't give a rat's bum about my phone's camera (does it take pictures? Yes? Okay I'm good), so I'm about as interested in this as watching grass grow, but it's a consistent iPhone strong point according to iOS and Android users alike. Since I like science: are there any proper tests concerning this?


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:34 UTC

Google's Project Ara modular smartphone project is arriving soon, at least if you're in Puerto Rico. At its Project Ara Module Developers Conference today, Google said that it plans to launch a pilot in Puerto Rico in the second half of this year, selling phone chassis and modules through local carrier partners, as well as through a fleet of small trucks.

I like this project. I have no idea if it's going anywhere, but at least someone is having the guts to try and experiment with new and/or different ideas. That's science, and that's how we move forward.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:30 UTC

While one phone is a member of a new 400 series, and the other is a 500 series device, the two handsets are far more similar than they are different. Both use 1.2GHz Snapdragon processors; dual-core in the 435, quad-core in the 532. Both have 4-inch 800×480 screens, with the 532 supporting the Glance feature found on many other Lumias. Both have 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, and both support microSD cards up to 128GB. Both are 3G devices supporting up to 42Mbps HSDPA. Both have VGA-quality front-facing cameras. The biggest practical difference is in the rear-facing cameras: 2MP fixed focus on the 435, 5MP fixed focus on the 532.

These are basically the Nokia X devices, but with Windows Phone. They look very interesting and tempting, but I'm not exactly comfortable running Windows Phone on hardware this low-end; the operating system and its core applications will work fine, but most non-core Microsoft and third party applications are slow even on higher-end hardware, so I shiver at the thought of how they run on this hardware.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 20:27 UTC

This series will show you how to get started with a FreeBSD cloud server. The first article will explain some of the differences between Linux and FreeBSD. The tutorials that follow cover the basics of FreeBSD security, maintenance, and software installation. If you are new to FreeBSD, this series will help you get up and running quickly.

I'm sure many die-hard FreeBSD users will find this series of article pointless, but I think it's an interesting and useful introduction to the platform.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Jan 2015 17:09 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Samsung seems to have finally really honestly for realsies released its first Tizen phone.

In terms of the hardware, the Z1 comes with a 4-inch WVGA TFT display, 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 768MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, microSD card slot up to 64 GB, 3.1 MP camera at the back, VGA front shooter, dual-SIM connectivity, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and a 1,500 mAh battery. The device is certainly underwhelming when it comes to the spec sheet, but Samsung claims that the "lightweight" Tizen OS would run without any issues on the hardware on offer. With the Z1, Samsung is looking to lure in customers with attractive content deals.

Remember - hope springs eternal.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Jan 2015 23:15 UTC

This is the original 1978 source code of Microsoft BASIC for 6502 with all original comments, documentation and easter eggs:


Given all this, it is safe to assume the file with the Microsoft BASIC for 6502 source originated at Apple, and was given to David Craig together with the other source be published.

Which, coincidentally, makes it quite illegal, since this code is being published without Microsoft's or Bill Gates' permission. Still, a very interesting look at a very crucial bit of code - at least, from an industry perspective.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Jan 2015 23:08 UTC

I remember my first Android device, and how it differed to the ones I have now in one major point: navigation keys. My old Motorola XT316 (a mid-range phone for Latin American markets) came with Froyo 2.2 and featured 4 TFT capacitive navigation keys: menu, home, back, and the long gone "search". Android phones have come a long way since that OS, and since the early days of archaic UI design and choppy performance. Now we have the most beautiful and smoothest Android, and arguably one of the best Operating Systems... But there's something that I really think has not improved all that much despite all the optimizations, and that is navigation.

While there's always room for improvement, I do think Android has much, much bigger problems than this, like, you know, updates?


Linked by Drumhellar on Tue 13th Jan 2015 11:40 UTC
Mac OS X

For 12 years, the mDNSResponder service managed a surprisingly large part of our Mac's networking, and it managed this task well. But as of OS X 10.10, the mDNSResponder has been replaced with discoveryd, which does the same thing. Mostly.

Some of the bugs in Yosemite discussed in an article linked last week seem to have origins in moving from mDNSResponder to discoveryd. Here is an explanation of what specifically is not working, and how to fix it. However, it is not for the faint of heart: you can potentially leave your Apple in an unbootable state, and who knows what will happen when an update is installed.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Jan 2015 11:37 UTC, submitted by twitterfire

Android One represents Google's attempt at reaching "the next billion users" - starting today, CyanogenMod 11 (KitKat) builds are available for the 'sprout' devices. As the devices are currently setup for CM11 only (work on CM12 is in progress) these builds will trickle once a week, every Sunday.

This release represents a few firsts for us. Not only are these the first Android One devices and first official release of CM for these devices, the Android One device is the first ever officially supported Mediatek device. Mediatek (MTK) devices have been notoriously difficult for the developer community to complete fully functional bring-ups, and this marks a milestone in that effort.

Hopefully this also means good news for other Mediatek devices.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Jan 2015 11:35 UTC

We installed the top 10 apps from, and you'll never believe what happened! Well... I guess maybe you might have a good guess. Awful things. Awful things are what happens. Join us for the fun!

Braver women and men than I.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jan 2015 20:15 UTC

It came out in 1974 and was the basis of the MITS Altair 8800, for which two guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote BASIC, and millions of people began to realize that they, too, could have their very own, personal, computer.

Now, some 40 years after the debut of the Intel 8080 microprocessor, the industry can point to direct descendants of the chip that are astronomically more powerful. So what's in store for the next four decades?

Forty years old. The industry and technology sure have changed since then.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jan 2015 20:11 UTC

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Obama administration for its views on an appeals court's conclusion that Oracle's Java application programming interfaces are protected by copyright.

The move (PDF) by the justices indicates that the high court is interested in the hotly contested intellectual property dispute. But whether the Supreme Court will enter the legal thicket won't be announced until after the administration responds in the coming months.

Yes, this Oracle idiocy is still a thing.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jan 2015 20:07 UTC
Internet & Networking

David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris.

The Prime Minister said today that he would stop the use of methods of communication that cannot be read by the security services even if they have a warrant. But that could include popular chat and social apps that encrypt their data, such as WhatsApp.

Apple's iMessage and FaceTime also encrypt their data, and could fall under the ban along with other encrypted chat apps like Telegram.

Part of Cameron's speech has been posted on YouTube.