Google back in 2005:
There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages.
The company confirmed to the Guardian that it is testing a system with about 30 advertisers in the US in which it shows banner ads for companies including SouthWest Airlines on pages which include them in web search results.
And people wonder why I have zero trust in companies.
So, The New York Times has updated its style guide, and the most intriguing change - for me - is that NYT editors are now allowed to spell e-mail as 'email'.
"By popular demand, we're going to remove the hyphen from e-mail," wrote Times editor Patrick LaForge in a post on the newsroom's internal blog, he confirmed in an email. The Times had been one of the last holdouts still using the hyphenated "e-mail," a vestige of the "information superhighway" era of the Internet. The AP stylebook removed the hyphen in email in 2011. But the e- prefix is not completely dead at The Times; e-book will maintain its hyphenated status.
E-mail is actually a very problematic word in Dutch as well. Technically speaking, 'e-mail' is an abbreviation of 'electronic mail'. In Dutch, compound nouns consisting of a loose letter or acronym combined with a regular noun are always hyphenated (for instance, we write 'tv-zender', which means 'TV channel'). This means that the the noun 'e-mail' is always hyphenated in Dutch. This is where it gets interesting.
Many Dutch people, especially in casual writing, spell 'e-mail' without a hyphen. Personally, I would never do this, since correct spelling and grammar is a huge part of my job (I'm a translator with my own little translation business), but it's still quite common. This is quite problematic because 'email' without a hyphen means something completely different. 'Email', in Dutch, means 'enamel', as in tooth enamel. For language geeks such as myself, reading "Ik stuur je wel even een email" ("I'll send you an enamel") is weirdly hilarious.
The hyphenation rule regarding compound nouns with single letters or acronyms is a very solid rule in Dutch, and it's unlikely an exception will be made for e-mail.
We can go even deeper into the intricacies of the Dutch language. Obviously, 'e-mail' can function both as a noun and as a verb - which, obviously, can be conjugated. This is where the idiosyncrasies of the Dutch language really start adding up, leading to what can only be regarded as one of the biggest abominations recently added to Dutch. Here's a summarised present tense/paste tense conjugation of the Dutch verb 'e-mailen':
|ik e-mail||ik e-mailde|
|hij/zij e-mailt||hij/zij e-mailde|
|wij e-mailen||wij e-mailden|
So far, so good - this doesn't look very weird to native Dutch speakers. Now let's take a look at the past participle, used in a present perfect (as a sidenote: I'm not sure I'm using the correct English grammatical terms for all the tenses - I purposefully unlearned those years ago because I found they interfered with my instinctive ability to form proper English tenses).
|ik heb ge-e-maild|
Double hyphen! Even though this is correct, proper Dutch verb conjugation and spelling, many language experts will actually advise against using this, urging people to come up with workarounds ("Ik heb een e-mail gestuurd"; "I have sent an e-mail") instead. The weird thing is that in speech, 'ge-e-maild' sounds perfectly fine; in writing, however, it looks like you're stuttering while choking on a chili pepper. It's just... Wrong. Even though it's correct.
There are more instances like this, where the rise of computer technology and the dominance of English has spawned some seriously disturbing Dutch verb conjugations (my personal favourite: 'ge-ftp'd'). These clearly look alien and foreign to us Dutch today, and only time will tell if they ever get assimilated into Dutch spelling in such a way that they will lose their alien nature.
So, there's a new patent reform bill in the US that is supposed to put an end to "patent trolls".
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), has introduced a bill [PDF] that directly attacks the business model of "patent trolls." The bill has a real chance at passing, with wide backing from leadership in both parties.
Don't believe all the cheers online - this bill is a disaster. What it essentially does is make it very hard for smaller companies to file patent lawsuits. While this does, indeed, make it harder for small patent trolls to operate, it has the side effect of shifting the balance of power even more in favour of the larger companies. Additional costs and legal legwork are a huge hindrance for small companies, but entirely inconsequential for large companies which employ the same patent trolling tactics as actual patent trolls, such as Apple's software and design patent abuse or Microsoft's mafia practices regarding Android.
With this bill, it will become a lot harder for a small, innovative startup with a great idea to protect itself against the big players. I would call that an unintended side effect, were it not that I am a huge cynic and know perfectly fine that this is anything but 'unintended'.
Early this year, I decided to take a risk.
As a geek, I like to reward those in the industry that try to be bold. That try to be different. That try to leave the beaten path. That look at the norm in the market, and decide to ignore it. Despite all its flaws, Microsoft did just that with its Metro user interface, incarnations of which are used on both Windows Phone and Windows 8.
I was a Windows Phone user since day one. I bought an HTC HD7 somewhere around release day, and imported it into The Netherlands, a year before the platform became available in The Netherlands. I wanted to reward Microsoft's mobile team for trying to be different, for being original, for not copying iOS and Android and instead coming up with something fresh and unique. Despite all the limitations and early adopter issues, I loved it.
We've got some exciting news for BlackBerry 10 customers out there - today your favorite smartphone is getting even better with the release of BlackBerry 10.2 OS, which will available for download starting this week.
I'd love to see a BB10 device out in the wild.
According to Apple, Mavericks has a dual focus. Its first and most important goal is to extend battery life and improve responsiveness. Secondarily, Mavericks aims to add functionality that will appeal to "power users" (Apple's words), a group that may be feeling neglected after enduring two releases of OS X playing iOS dress-up.
Is that enough for Mavericks to live up to its major-release version number and to kick off the next phase of OS X's life? Let's find out.
To open Nokia World 2013 in Abu Dhabi, former CEO Stephen Elop unveiled Nokia's first tablet alongside several new handsets. Rumors had been building that some bigger Lumias were coming, with Windows Phone Update 3 including support for 1080p phones, and fuzzy pictures of increasingly larger handsets being leaked. Looking over the lineup and specifications, there's a lot to like in the new Lumias.
I like the new Asha phones the most. The Lumias are just more of the same, and still limited not by hardware, but by software.
The French Minitel never ceases to amaze me.
In 1984 the government allowed developers to create services for the Minitel. The government took a 30% cut and passed the rest on to developers (sound familiar?) creating the world's first app store. From a user's perspective using apps on the Minitel was frictionless - you were just billed for what you used through your phone bill.
How big was this app store? In the nineties it was pulling in over a billion USD a year! This is an astronomical sum when you consider France's population size. Though the crossover point is near, the Minitel in its lifetime paid out more to developers than Apple has to iOS developers to date. Companies would advertise their apps in the subway, on highway billboards, and on television.
Amazing. This could very well be the first application store, something many people think is a new phenomenon invented by Apple.
Ars Technica has a great article about what, exactly, Google is doing to retain (or retake) control over Android. Many things were already known, and have, in fact, been discussed here before. For instance, the Open Handset Alliance prohibits its members from forking Android or using other companies' forks. This had been known for a long time, and has always been an important aspect of the OHA - its goal is to prevent the fragmentation of Android, after all. Another thing we've always known is that the Google Applications - like YouTube and such - have always been closed source, and that a license is required to use them (they are freely available though, and Android is completely usable about them.
There are two bigger problems, however. First, the more Google moves parts of Android to Google Play (such as the keyboard or calendar), the less open source Android becomes.
For some of these apps, there might still be an AOSP equivalent, but as soon as the proprietary version was launched, all work on the AOSP version was stopped. Less open source code means more work for Google's competitors. While you can't kill an open source app, you can turn it into abandonware by moving all continuing development to a closed source model. Just about any time Google rebrands an app or releases a new piece of Android onto the Play Store, it's a sign that the source has been closed and the AOSP version is dead.
There's definitely an opportunity here for groups like CyanogenMod - and in fact, that's exactly what's happening. For instance, CM has created the camera application Focal, which is available in the Play Store. In other words, most of the Google Applications can be recreated and improved upon easily, after which they can be placed in the Play Store. An exception, of course, is the Play Store application itself, but even that one has alternatives, such as the Amazon App Store.
A bigger problem, however, are the Google Play Services. This is an Android application - closed source - that provides developers with access to a whole bunch of Google's APIs. It's becoming more and more mandatory.
Taking the Android app ecosystem from Google seems easy: just get your own app store up and running, convince developers to upload their apps to it, and you're on your way. But the Google APIs that ship with Play Services are out to stop this by convincing developers to weave dependence on Google into their apps. Google's strategy with Google Play Services is to turn the "Android App Ecosystem" into the "Google Play Ecosystem" by making a developer's life as easy as possible on a Google-approved device - and as difficult as possible on a non-Google-approved device.
In other words, there's a lot going on at Google to prevent more forks, such as Kindle Fire, from happening. I had no issues with Google's own applications being closed source (you can easily replace them), but the Play Services are a much bigger issue. As more and more applications adopt Play Services, the harder it'll become to run Android 'Google free' - and that's not exactly an ideal situation.
I had a brief Twitter conversation with Anand Shimpi of Anandtech about this, and he was as perplexed as I was. Nobody could explain the technical basis for this vast difference in idle power management on the same hardware. None of the PC vendors he spoke to could justify it, or produce a Windows box that managed similar battery life to OS X. And that battery life gap is worse today - even when using Microsoft's own hardware, designed in Microsoft's labs, running Microsoft's latest operating system released this week. Microsoft can no longer hand wave this vast difference away based on vague references to "poorly optimized third party drivers".
The new Surface Pro 2 gets 6.6 hours of web browsing battery life. The MacBook Air 11", which has more or less the same hardware and battery, gets more than 11 hours.
I have a Surface RT - the first generation - and as such, I know why. Windows 8 might have Metro running on top of it hiding a lot of it, but Windows 8.x carries just as much baggage, cruft, and outdated shit with it as previous versions of Windows have. Windows 8/8.1 - and Metro in particular - simply suck. Slow, clunky, jarring, cumbersome, battery-sucking, restricted, and limited, with a crappy selection of rush-job, rarely updated applications. You know how resizing windows on Windows 7 or OS X is all nice and fluid? Why, then, is it a slow and jittery operation that brings Windows 8 Metro to its knees?
It's simple: just like battery life, it's a symptom of Microsoft's Windows team not having the balls to truly go for a clean break, as the Windows Phone team have done. And lo and behold, Windows Phone - even WP8, which runs on the same NT kernel - has none of the slowness and crappiness issues that continue to plague Windows 8 Metro (although WP has its own set of issues unrelated to these).
If you want a smooth, modern laptop today - get a MacBook. If you want a smooth and modern tablet, get the Nexus 7 or an iPad. Microsoft still has nothing to show for itself in these areas.
After the customary six months of incubation, Ubuntu 13.10 - codenamed Saucy Salamander - has hatched. The new version of the popular Linux distribution brings updated applications and several new features, including augmented search capabilities in the Unity desktop shell.
Although Saucy Salamander offers some useful improvements, it's a relatively thin update. XMir, the most noteworthy item on the 13.10 roadmap, was ultimately deferred for inclusion in a future release. Canonical's efforts during the Saucy development cycle were largely focused on the company's new display server and upcoming Unity overhaul, but neither is yet ready for the desktop.
It's also the first version available for phones. Well, for the Nexus 4.
Less than a year ago we were preparing to launch Windows 8, which introduced our vision of highly personalized mobile computing. And here we are today announcing the global availability of Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving the product to create a richer customer experience. We are excited to have customers start updating their devices today and getting to experience new Windows devices this holiday season.
Out now for free for everyone with Windows 8.
Jorma Ollila, ex-chairman of Nokia, admits Windows Phone was the wrong choice.
While Nokia brought in Elop and focused on Windows Phone, Ollila admits Microsoft's software hasn't helped the company. "We were not successful in using Microsoft's operating system to create competitive products, or an alternative to the two dominant companies in the field", he says, while noting it's "impossible to say what would have happened to the company if different decisions had been made in early 2011 or at some other time."
As if failing sales, a terrible financial situation, and a sale to Microsoft weren't enough evidence to conclude Windows Phone was the wrong choice for Nokia, we now have it straight from Nokia itself.
I think many who extol Android's flexibility fall into the tinkerer category, including some tech bloggers. They love all the ways they can customize their phones, not because they're seeking some perfect setup, but because they can swap in a new launcher every week. That's fun for them; but they've made the mistake of not understanding how their motivation differs from the rest of us.
A whopping 70%-80% of the world's smartphone owners have opted for Android over iOS. You could easily argue that 3-4 years ago, when Android was brand new, that it was for early adopters and tinkerers. To still trot out this ridiculous characterisation now that Android is on the vast majority of smartphones sold is borderline insanity.
Choice is not Android's problem. People who assume out of a misplaced arrogance that they represent the average consumer are the problem.
Apple has told two suppliers of its lower-cost iPhone 5C that it is reducing orders in the fourth quarter, according to a report by Dow Jones news agency Wednesday, raising concerns about weaker-than-expected demand for the new product.
Apple began selling it's the new low-price option last month in 11 markets, including the U.S. and China, but consumers have focused on the more expensive 5S model, which was launched at the same time.
While demand for the costlier version, that comes with a fingerprint sensor and faster chips, outstripped expectations - especially the gold-colored version - the iPhone 5C has failed to generate as much interest.
Leave it to the media to turn higher-than-expected demand for the more expensive model into bad news.
Efforts to reboot one of the oldest surviving mass-produced computers are under way in Milton Keynes.
The National Museum of Computing has taken delivery of what it believes is the last ICT 1301 computer to ever have a chance of working again.
The stock launcher in Android 4.4 is getting a version number bump - from 3.x to 4.x - and it's also renamed to Google Experience. On top of that, something interesting is happening.
There's another interesting thing happening here. If you take a look at stock Android 4.3, you will see that the current launcher's package name is com.android.launcher. The new one is com.google.android.gel. Now look at Google's current selection of apps in the Play Store. Almost all of them start with "com.google.android" instead of "com.android."
I'm not saying with 100% certainty that we're going to see the launcher released to the Play Store, but to me, it certainly looks like it. At least eventually and not necessarily with KitKat.
Other currently integrated parts of Android also receive the name change in their packages. It seems like Google is finally doing what it should have done ages ago. If you can't get device makers and carriers to update Android, just put as much of Android as possible in the Play Store. If this also allows crapware-riddled devices from e.g. Samsung to be converted to proper stock, then that's a big plus too.
Please let this be true.
AnandTech has reviewed the new Chromebook 11 from HP/Google.
Chrome OS is extremely purpose built and it is something that should bring about great concern to those at Microsoft. I personally don't have a problem with Windows 8, but purpose built is hardly a phrase that applies to the OS - at least if you're talking about it on a more traditional PC. I suspect by the time we get to Windows 9, Microsoft will have a better answer to the critics of 8/8.1, but that gives Google and its Chrome OS partners at least another year of marketshare erosion. At the beginning of this mobile journey I remember x86 being an advantage for Intel, and we all know what happened to that. Similarly, I remember Windows/Office being advantages for Microsoft. If Microsoft doesn't find a quick solution for making low cost Windows PCs just as well executed as Chrome OS devices, it'll find itself in a world where Windows no longer matters to entry-level/mainstream users.
Apple's taken over the high-end, Google is taking over the low-end, and in mobile, the company barely registers.
Microsoft's next CEO faces a herculean task.
This is not a joke. Let me repeat: this is not a joke.
The roll-out of the previous update - GDR2 - isn't even complete (thank you, carriers), and Microsoft is already pushing out the next one, GDR3. This update for Windows Phone 8 is the last one before 8.1 comes out next year, and brings with it a number of small improvements, such a close button in the multitasking view, a driving mode, support for newer hardware and 1080p displays, a rotation lock, and more.
There's no telling as of yet when Windows Phone 8 users will be getting the update, but non-branded phones will most likely get it first. On top of that, if you're a Windows Phone developer, you can get the update straight away.