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.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jan 2015 17:45 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

The debate between FHD vs QHD has been strong within mobile enthusiast communities. While many people want to get their hands on the latest and greatest of display technology, others argue that QHD is simply not worth the downsides and that FHD is more than enough. So what should we look for in our phones? Let's find out.

I've never seen a mobile QHD display before, so I have no idea if it makes any sense on a mobile device.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th Jan 2015 17:35 UTC
General Development

Ori is a distributed file system built for offline operation and empowers the user with control over synchronization operations and conflict resolution. We provide history through light weight snapshots and allow users to verify the history has not been tampered with. Through the use of replication instances can be resilient and recover damaged data from other nodes.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 11th Jan 2015 21:18 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

So my project over the holiday season was decided: TeensyZ80. I wanted to have a usable Z80 running its own code, with the teensy supporting it providing the RAM, I/O peripherals, and clock.

Very interesting. It's only the first part; the second part is available too!


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 10th Jan 2015 00:38 UTC
General Unix

grep is a Unix command line utility (well most Unix utilities are command line) that searches the input files for pattern and prints lines that contain the pattern. If you are reading this you, you are probably no stranger to grep.

grep was written by Ken Thompson, the same guy who wrote Unix. grep first appeared in Unix v4 with limited features as compared to today's grep.

I've used grep so much over the years. One of the countless little utilities that's the staple of all UNIX-like systems that you never really think about, but use all the time.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 10th Jan 2015 00:34 UTC

Many of us have been grumbling quite publicly since iOS 7 and Mavericks shipped that the fit and finish we expect either on release or shortly afterwards for Mac OS X and iOS has slipped. That we spent a lot of time dealing with bugs or, if we write about Apple, teaching people how to avoid them or work around them. That software and OS problems, once they occur, are rarely fixed in part or full; features we need are removed rather than matured; and new features are added that aren't fully baked.


Part of what makes these sorts of statements reasonable, though, is to enumerate the problems, whether they're long-running or unique to Yosemite or iOS 8 (or to the last two releases of each system). Here's a list of regularly recurring issues or fundamental problems I've seen supplemented by those provided by others.

Comprehensive list of persistent issues you hear a lot of people - users and die-hard Apple developers alike - rant about all the time (via Daring Fireball).


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 9th Jan 2015 23:26 UTC

Microsoft, it seems, is not the only company that believes in the concept of a productivity tablet. And it's not the only company that thinks that a kickstand and a magnetic keyboard are all it takes to transform a tablet into a mobile workstation.

The Jide Remix, made by a trio of former Google engineers, is for all intents and purposes a Microsoft Surface that's built for Android.

It's about as cloney as you can get, but the fact that is still looks very nice is testament to just how pretty Surface really is, and how much sense the concept makes. Surface's hardware is excellent - it's just the software side that always let it down.

I don't think Android is going to fix that.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 9th Jan 2015 23:22 UTC
General Development

Today, we're excited to release the alpha version of Rust 1.0, a systems programming language with a focus on safety, performance and concurrency.

This release marks a huge milestone for Rust and its community.

It's feature-complete now (hence the 1.0).


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 9th Jan 2015 22:52 UTC
Internet Explorer

Microsoft is preparing to unveil a new browser in Windows 10, codenamed Spartan, and leaked images are providing an early glimpse at the Internet Explorer successor. Chinese site Cnbeta has published screenshots showing the simple interface of Spartan and the Cortana digital assistant integration. The Verge revealed yesterday that Spartan will include digital inking support to share and annotate web pages, and deep Cortana integration in the address bar and throughout the browser.

The shots also show that the desktop side of Windows 10 will have a completely new theme - very flat and Metro. I like it.


Written by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Jan 2015 20:15 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Early December 2014, I bought the Moto 360 with Android Wear. As someone who loves both watches and technology, it seems like a great time to jump into the world of smartwatches, and see if it has evolved beyond the bulky '80s stuff that has come before. I'll first give you a concise history of smartwatches, after which I will dive into Wear and the 360 themselves.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Jan 2015 20:15 UTC

The latest version of North Korea's custom Linux distribution, Red Star OS - that one with the OS X style interface - has leaked onto the internet. While the guy who talked about technology in North Korea on the 31C3 conference said he didn't see anybody using Red Star seriously, it's an interesting distro to check out.

While we're making jokes about North Korea, it's easy to forget that regime puts millions of people in concentration camps to starve and murder them.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Jan 2015 20:12 UTC

Set-top boxes and streaming sticks are decent, cost-effective ways to turn the TV you already have into a "smart TV," but Intel has an intriguing new option for those of you who want something a little more versatile. The Intel Compute Stick is a full Bay Trail PC complete with a USB port, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a micro SD expansion slot, and you'll be able to get them with both Windows 8.1 and Linux.

Fascinating. I want one.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Jan 2015 01:08 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

LG and Audi's smartwatch collaboration is the most desirable wearable of CES 2015, and while the carmaker says it's just a prototype, the device offers a tantalizing glimpse of future LG wearables. Or at worst an agonizing look at a beautiful watch we'd love to own.

We tracked down the Audi/LG watch - still officially nameless, by the way - in Las Vegas today, and we can exclusively reveal that it's not running Android Wear as originally believed. In fact, it's packing completely different software based on LG's Open webOS.

...I give up.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Jan 2015 23:39 UTC

The developer dashboard has been updated, and there's some big movement this month. In the post holiday window, KitKat is up a healthy 5.2% and Gingerbread drops another 1.3%. One thing you won't see on the chart is Lollipop. Android 5.0 still hasn't hit the 0.1% threshold to be included in the data, just like last month.

Google Play Services mitigates a lot of the concerns about updates - not that many people seem to understand that - but this is still Android's biggest weakness by a huge margin. Sadly, it's also something Google seems to be doing little about. Also, this.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Jan 2015 23:34 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Two scenarios for the smartwatch market, put forth by Ben Bajarin. Scenario one:

Apple will easily strongly influence the smart watch category in 2015 and 2016. It is hard to argue against Apple’s vertical advantage and tight control of their entire ecosystem. This advantage undoubtedly will give them a dominance in the early stages of a category. If a number of things play out, we can see them command the category for the long term.

And scenario two:

Another possible scenario is the smart watch category shapes up very much like the smart phone category. Apple succeeds at their goal to acquire the top 20% of the market and rake in the majority of the profits. While Android Wear, or another third party licensable smart watch OS, provides the software platform to the vast majority of hardware companies making smart watches.

I'm currently writing my Moto 360 and Android Wear review, and I don't think either of these scenarios will happen. My prediction: the current generation is going nowhere. They are cumbersome, finicky, uncomfortable, and unpleasant to use. They solve a problem that's not really a problem.

While some awesome future technology could change things, the current state of technology is simply not good enough.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th Jan 2015 23:22 UTC

Intel's big goal last year was to eliminate conflict minerals from its processors and supply chain, and this year it's putting some of its money into something completely different: diversity. During its keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show today, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company plans to spend $300 million over the course of the next five years to improve diversity. That goes for both the underrepresentation of women, as well as minorities in the technology industry, something that's become a hot button topic as technology companies try to diversity their workplaces, and increase the appeal of computer science courses.

As for why this is happening now, Krzanich cited issues faced in gaming and technology over the past year, alluding to Gamergate, which the company became embroiled in following an advertising snafu.

Good move by Intel - and a clear sign the company distances itself sharply from the GamerGate idiots.


Linked by martini on Wed 7th Jan 2015 23:20 UTC
OS/2 and eComStation

bww bitwise works GmbH announced the availability of 4.1.1 for OS/2 and eComStation. It is offered as a free download in several languages like English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian. An important piece of software for users of this operating system.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Jan 2015 23:51 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Dell is back with a brand new XPS 13 this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, and it looks like the best one yet. After gradually improving the screen with a new model last year, 2015's XPS 13 will ship with an even better and truly beautiful 13.3-inch "infinity" display. It has an incredibly tiny 5.2mm bezel on the top and sides. While previous models of the XPS 13 have always had an impressively small bezel, the latest feels truly edge-to-edge, and it's dazzling to look at. Dell hasn't just stopped at thin bezels, though, and the 2015 model now has an optional 3200 x 1800 high-resolution touchscreen display. That’s a massive improvement over the 1366 x 768 resolution we disliked on the original.

Like so many other Windows laptops over the past few years, this one looks amazing, and can easily hold its own versus a MacBook Air. However, this paragraph doesn't do it for me. You can now imagine me furiously scrolling down and skimming the article, hoping to...

Ah, there it is!

Alongside that, Dell has vastly improved the trackpad. I usually hate most Windows laptop trackpads, but I was very surprised with the new XPS 13. It’s using a glass button and a precision trackpad, which is something Microsoft has been encouraging OEMs to implement. Precision trackpads allow Windows 8.1 to directly control the pointer, multi-touch, and gesture support in trackpads, making them feel more like a mini touch-screen with smoother scrolling and better zooming and panning support. Gliding around with the Dell XPS 13 felt very smooth, although we’ll need to review it fully to test exactly how good it is. Either way, you’ll want a precision trackpad on your next laptop.

Now I'm truly intrigued. Touchpads are the last bastion where Apple's laptops truly outshine the competition by a huge margin, and despite years of tiny improvements, Windows laptops rarely even got close. The first laptop that does... Oh boy.