Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Mar 2016 20:15 UTC
Amiga & AROS

A-EON Technology is pleased to announce the upcoming release of Warp3D Nova, its advanced 2D/3D shader based graphics system for AmigaOS 4 supporting selected RadeonHD 7xxx and Radeon Rx graphics cards with Southern Islands series GPUs.

Warp3D Nova delivers shader-based 3D graphics acceleration along with perpixel lighting and fluid rendering of larger vertex arrays as well as many other advanced graphics features. The addition of programmable shaders gives AmigaOS 4 developers an exciting new world of graphics possibilities. Warp3D Nova is a huge leap forward over earlier Warp3D and MiniGL implementations.

The AmigaOS clearly isn't the state of the art any longer - in case you've been living under a rock - but I am always surprised by the amount of development the platform is still seeing. Great work.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Mar 2016 20:08 UTC, submitted by garyd
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu

After the first few Ubuntu smartphones, it only made sense for Ubuntu to find its way to a tablet as well. The Aquaris M10 can now be preordered, and has the ability to switch between tablet mode and desktop mode, providing an interface for each.

When you switch to desktop mode, the scopes become windows which you can navigate using the touchscreen or with a mouse. You can also connect the tablet to a monitor to view your work on a larger screen. This convergence facilitates multitasking and expands the tablet’s possibilities as a work tool. What's more, it includes apps like LibreOffice and GIMP Image Editor, so you can use it without restrictions in a professional environment.

We're getting ever closer to an interface which automatically adapts to whatever screen or input devices it's connected to, which is something I personally would go for in a heartbeat. I find it incredibly silly that we're lugging around a phone and a laptop, have a desktop at home, and maybe even a tablet, when many of these devices are more than powerful enough to take on almost all computing tasks of any of them.

The Ubuntu tablet comes in two flavours, and starts at €259.


Linked by David Adams on Mon 28th Mar 2016 19:23 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless The release of the iPhone SE is emblematic of the "boringness" of the smartphone landscape. For the last few years, the only thing exciting about new smartphone releases was that they kept getting bigger. Now the tide has turned. An article at the Atlantic makes an interesting parallel: the codex, or the innovation now known as "the book" hasn't seen many innovations in centuries, but that doesn't mean that books are boring. It just means that the innovation is at the edges. The article points at the release of the Caterpillar S60 smartphone, designed for industrial use and featuring a thermal imaging camera, as indicative of a new trend of specialization that might make the mobile computing market interesting as it extends into ever more narrow niches.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Mar 2016 23:04 UTC, submitted by JPisini

Now here's a blast from the (somewhat recent) past: the Trinity Desktop Environment. TDE is a fork of the last available release of the KDE 3.x series, coming into existence in 2008. The project's been under steady development ever since, and the most recent release is R14.0.3. since this is just a maintenance release, it might be more fitting to look at the release notes for R14.0.0, the base release, from december 2014.

Unlike previous releases TDE R14.0.0 has been in development for over two years. This extended development period has allowed us to create a better, more stable and more feature-rich product than previous TDE releases. R14 is brimming with new features, such as a new hardware manager based on udev (HAL is no longer required), full network-manager 0.9 support, a brand new compositor (compton), built-in threading support, and much more!

Honestly, I have no idea how many people still see value in a maintained KDE 3.x desktop, but since I've personally always been a fan of KDE 3 (KDE 4 never really managed to convince me), I'm glad his project is still around offering the option for those among us who want to use KDE 3.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Mar 2016 22:35 UTC

Apple announced on Thursday that it was working with the entertainer and two veteran TV executives, Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, on a new show that will spotlight the app economy.

"One of the things with the app store that was always great about it was the great ideas that people had to build things and create things," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in an interview.

So a series about overworked, stressed out, underpaid, barely getting by developers who are at the mercy of Apple's approval and rejection process, and who worry about Apple stealing their idea, banning them, and then implementing said idea in iOS+1?

So a drama, then. I'm sure 2009, when apps still mattered, is going to love this.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Mar 2016 13:30 UTC
Internet & Networking

Two high-profile companies are shutting down development for two platforms this week. First, Facebook has announced it is ceasing development of the Facebook and WhatsApp applications for BlackBerry OS.

The app landscape continues to evolve, and in ways that are not always within our control. Recently, Facebook made the decision to discontinue support of their essential APIs for BlackBerry and WhatsApp announced they would end support for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS at the end of 2016.

In addition, Twitter announced it is ceasing development of its only application for desktop Windows, TweetDeck.

To better focus on enhancing your TweetDeck experience, we'll no longer support a standalone Windows app. If you use Windows, you'll still be able to visit TweetDeck on the web - nothing is changing about TweetDeck itself, just where you access it from. This change will take effect on April 15th.

TweetDeck was the only desktop Twitter client the company ever supported (it bought TweetDeck several years ago), and while it is far from perfect, it's the only desktop Twitter client that was halfway decent. Twitter never created a proper Win32 client, and neither did anyone else. They do have a Metro client developed by a third party, but it's pretty terrible and a horrible user experience on a desktop machine.

Unlikely as it is, I'm still stubbornly holding out hope somebody creates a nice and elegant Win32 Twitter client, because with the shutdown of TweetDeck, I don't have any options for using Twitter on the computing platform I use the most (i.e., Windows).


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Mar 2016 22:22 UTC, submitted by cbass
OSNews, Generic OSes

As a follow-up to Genode's 16.02 release, the project just published an in-depth article describing the experience with the RISC-V architecture and the steps taken to enable Genode on this platform.

The article is targeted at enthusiasts interested in the practical use of RISC-V and can also be used as a guideline on how to bring Genode to a different CPU architecture.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Mar 2016 22:21 UTC

Yesterday, the government made a surprising retreat in the San Bernardino encryption case, after an unnamed source revealed a new method of breaking iPhone lockscreen protections. After a hastily assembled conference call, the parties agreed to put the court order on hold until it could be determined whether Apple's help was still necessary.

But excerpts from a court transcript of that proceeding, published here for the first time, show the government was far less prepared for the new method than some have assumed. "We only learned about this possibility today, this morning," Assistant US Attorney Tracy Wilkison told the judge in the conference call. "We have a good faith basis at this point in order to bring it up." That timeline is consistent with recent court filings, which show the first successful demonstration of the method coming that Sunday.

What a weird story. Jonathan Zdziarksi has a theory about the supposed hack.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Mar 2016 22:14 UTC

Vizio, the successful American TV maker, has created a very interesting solution to the smart TV problem. Instead of building yet another smart TV platform or using Android TV, the company has worked very closely with Google these past two years to integrate Chromecast - renamed today to just Google Cast - right into the TV. Vizio then ships a pretty good Android tablet alongside their TV, with all the Google Cast stuff you already know from Chromecast built right in.

The company's solution is the Vizio Tablet Remote, which isn't a remote at all: it's a six-inch tablet running stock Android Lollipop on an eight-core Snapdragon processor with a very nice 1080p screen, a soft-touch back, dual speakers, and a wireless charging cradle. It lacks any dedicated buttons to control the TV - it only turns into a "remote" when you open Vizio's new SmartCast app or kick off a streaming session from another app that supports Cast, like Hulu or Netflix.

But you don't have to cast anything to the TV at all - after all, it's just an Android tablet. You can go ahead and watch Netflix on the Smart Remote if you want. You can download apps from the Play Store. You can cast Netflix to the TV and use the tablet to check Twitter. You can let a kid play games on the tablet and control the entire TV with the SmartCast app on your iPhone. The tablet is basically another small TV.

This is exactly what a smart TV should be. I have a Chromecast - the current hockey puck model - and it's probably one of the best technology products I've ever owned. It's so simple and elegant, and it just works. Now that I have it, I can't imagine ever having gone without it. Instead of shoving yet another ugly box underneath my TV or learning and installing apps on yet another platform, I can just use the damn phone in my pocket. Why would I want it any other way?

Vizio and Google have been smart about this whole thing too. The Google Cast portion of the TV is isolated from everything else, and updates comes straight from Google, so it's always up to date and in line with any other Google Cast device.

The big upsaide for both Vizio and consumers? They don't have to worry at all about getting deals with content creators and owners.

But by dropping any desire to put apps on the TV itself, Vizio completely sidesteps the platform war entirely. Every app in the Android and the iOS app stores that supports Google Cast is a P-Series app. And iOS and Android apps are the apps developers care about most, so they're often the best apps from a given service.

That means when Netflix and Hulu update their Android and iOS apps, they're also updating the P-Series experience. Vizio doesn't need to beg HBO and ESPN to support its TVs anymore, because they already support Google Cast - and thus the P-Series. There's no NFL Sunday Ticket app for the Apple TV, but the iOS and Android apps support Cast, so P-Series owners can pay to stream football.

Brilliant, and the future of smart TVs. These silly anachronistic glorified settop boxes like Android TV and the Apple TV? They are relics, old-world thinking. A TV should be a dumb screen ready to receive input from my phone or tablet, and Vizio built just that.

All they need to do now is ship to Europe.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Mar 2016 22:13 UTC
Mac OS X

Apple's new iPad Pro is the twelfth iPad to be released since the original debuted back in 2010, and it borrows features from two of Apple's existing tablets. The new iPad Pro has the size and weight of the iPad Air 2 - 9.7-inches, which Apple notes is by far the most popular of its three iPad size choices - while bringing over the power and accessories of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro launched last year. (Yes, the new iPad Pro and the existing iPad Pro have the same name - you'll have to get used to identifying them by size.)

Apple's event today was one of the most telling events it has held in years, and I specifically chose the new iPad Pro 9.7" to focus on. As far as products and announcements go, the event wasn't all that monumental; it was the tone and wording that really set this event apart from all others. This wasn't Apple talking about new products today - this was Apple talking about how it sees the future of personal computing.

On several occasions during the event, Apple referred to the iPad Pro - both the new 9.7" model and the old 12.9" model - as their vision for the future of personal computing, and Tim Cook referred to the 12.9" model as a "giant step" toward the "future of computing".

Read between the lines of today's event, and you could clearly see the writing on the wall: after letting the Mac and specifically OS X languish since the release of iOS, and after internal struggles about which of the two - or both - platforms to focus on going forward, it seems like Apple is letting the world know that it finally made a choice, and that choice is iOS.

I'm not basing this solely on today's event, of course, but also on the lack of development on OS X, the lack of consistent Mac hardware updates over the years, and insights I'm getting from people who... Know Apple things better than we do. I already mentioned it in the previous news item, and I'm going to state it plainly and bluntly again to drive the point home: as far as Apple is concerned, the Mac and OS X are the past. Their eventual death won't be sudden or clear-cut, but the gradual decline of the platform's importance in Apple has been ongoing for a long time now, and will only accelerate from here on out.

I'm not saying this is either good or bad - those of you who follow me on Twitter and are intimately aware of my 'life' with iOS can guess in which camp I belong - I'm just spelling out what's pretty obvious between the lines. I'll leave it up to you if this makes you happy or sad.

We've got an interesting number of years ahead.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Mar 2016 22:13 UTC

As a major update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new functions, important bug fixes, and feature refinements. Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of Night Shift mode, designed to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPhone or iPad display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum.

Still the only major upside for me to switching from Android to iOS: I already have iOS 9.3 installed.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Mar 2016 15:22 UTC

We'll get to the instructions, but first let's talk about what's actually here. Freeform Window Mode is just what we imagined. It's a dead ringer for Remix OS - multiple Android apps floating around inside windows - and might be the beginnings of a desktop operating system. It works on Android N phones and tablets, and once the mode is enabled, you'll see an extra button on thumbnails in the Recent Apps screen. To the right of the "X" button that pops up after a second or two, there will be a square shape - the same ugly placeholder art Google used for the split screen mode in the Android M Developer Preview.

Press the square symbol for an app and you'll be whisked away to a screen showing that app in a floating window that sits on top of your home screen wallpaper. The windows aren't floating above the Android desktop; it's just a blank wallpaper without any of your icons or widgets. The floating apps all have title bars like in Recent Apps. You can drag the apps around by the title bars or use the close and maximize buttons. Apps can be resized exactly how you would expect - press or hold on the edge of and all and move your finger, and you'll see the app change shape. Just like in split screen mode, apps will auto-switch between their tablet and phone layouts (with some apps dealing with this better than others). You can only resize in one direction at a time though; there doesn't seem to be a corner hotspot that will let you adjust the width and height.

It's honestly kind of amazing that we get to see both Apple and Google work on scaling up their mobile operating systems for desktop use, with the eventual end goal of replacing Chrome OS and OS X (get used to it, people - OS X is on its way out), and unify everything from desktop, to laptop, to tablet, to phone, in a single user interface that scales from top to bottom.

It's what Microsoft tried to do by scaling down, which honestly didn't pan out very well. We'll see if scaling up is a better approach, but exciting and interesting as it is to see this take shape before our very eyes, I still have my considerable doubts.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 20th Mar 2016 23:46 UTC

What's inside a counterfeit Macbook charger? After my Macbook charger teardown, a reader sent me a charger he suspected was counterfeit. From the outside, this charger is almost a perfect match for an Apple charger, but disassembling the charger shows that it is very different on the inside. It has a much simpler design that lacks quality features of the genuine charger, and has major safety defects.

Fascinating article, and much like his teardown of a real MacBook charger, filled with interesting information. It also comes with a warning: don't use counterfeit chargers. You may save a few euros, but it could easily cost you much more than that if things go bad.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Mar 2016 13:57 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Redox is a general purpose operating system and surrounding ecosystem written in pure Rust. Our aim is to provide a fully functioning Linux replacement, without the bad parts.

We have modest compatibility with Linux syscalls, allowing Redox to run many Linux programs without virtualization.

We take inspiration from Plan9, Minix, and BSD. We are trying to generalize various concepts from other systems, to get one unified design. We will speak about this some more in the Design chapter.

Redox runs on real hardware today.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Mar 2016 13:06 UTC

Technology companies could face civil penalties for refusing to comply with court orders to help investigators access encrypted data under draft legislation nearing completion in the U.S. Senate, sources familiar with continuing discussions told Reuters on Wednesday. The long-awaited legislation from Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, may be introduced as soon as next week, one of the sources said.

Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are idiots. This quote from senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, who used to be on the side of the FBI but now supports Apple, is really telling:

"I was all with you until I actually started getting briefed by the people in the Intel Community," Graham told Attorney General Loretta Lynch during an oversight hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I will say that I'm a person that's been moved by the arguments about the precedent we set and the damage we might be doing to our own national security."

All Graham needed was to talk to actual experts, and for him to be open about considering their arguments. If only all of them were so willing to listen to reason instead of pander to the cerebellar fears of the masses.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 18th Mar 2016 23:25 UTC
Amiga & AROS

The first killer app, VisiCalc, came out in 1979. It turned an ordinary Apple II into a financial planning tool that was more powerful and flexible than anything the world had ever seen. A refined version of this spreadsheet, Lotus 1-2-3, became the killer app that put IBM PCs in offices and homes around the world. The Macintosh, which floundered in 1985 after early adopter sales trailed off, found a profitable niche in the new world of desktop publishing with two killer apps: Aldus Pagemaker and Adobe Photoshop.

To keep up with the Joneses, the Amiga needed a killer app to survive - it found one with the Video Toaster.

This series has been running for a long, long time, and is still every bit as great.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 17th Mar 2016 23:13 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pushing to get a waiver allowing her to use a BlackBerry like President Barack Obama back in 2009, the National Security Agency had a very short list of devices approved for classified communications. It was two devices built for the Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME PED) program. In fact, those devices were the only thing anyone in government without an explicit security waiver (like the one the president got, along with his souped-up BlackBerry 8830) could use until as recently as last year to get mobile access to top secret encrypted calls and secure e-mail.

Despite $18 million in development contracts for each of the vendors selected to build the competing SME PED phones (or perhaps because of it), the resulting devices were far from user-friendly. The phones - General Dynamics' Sectéra Edge and L3 Communications' Guardian - were not technically "smart phones," but instead were handheld personal digital assistants with phone capability, derived from late 1990s and early 2000s technology that had been hardened for security purposes - specifically, Windows CE technology.

This is an absolutely fascinating piece of technological history here. Can you imagine using one of these monstrous things?


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 17th Mar 2016 20:11 UTC

Today, we're pleased to begin the roll-out of Windows 10 Mobile to select Windows Phone 8.1 devices. There are a lot of great new features in Windows 10 Mobile, like Continuum, Windows Hello and Cortana.

The current list is restricted to a subset of Lumia devices, and it seems like the first generation of Windows Phone 8.x devices - such as my HTX 8X - won't be getting the Windows 10 update. Microsoft will also disable insider builds for these first generation devices.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 16th Mar 2016 17:31 UTC
Amiga & AROS

Icaros Desktop 2.1 might be named "the handlers release", but also "the YouTube one", since the best enhancement over the previous versions are the addition of new NTFS and EX-FAT filesystem handlers and the free, read-only version of GoogleDrive handler, a "driver" which allows to mount your Google Drive handler onto AROS as if it was a normal USB stick or a CD-ROM. But that's not the only good news: we've talked bout YouTube because Deadwood did the miracle again, and we can now enjoy HTML5 video as well, playing your favourite contents from YouTube and other sites. But there have been lots of little/big additions, fixed and enhancements.

Icaros Desktop is a 'distribution' of AROS, the easiest (and cheapest, as in free) way to get a taste of an AmigaOS-like operating system on generic hardware.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 16th Mar 2016 17:19 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

The attack, which was targeted at US users, hit websites including the New York Times, the BBC, AOL and the NFL over the weekend. Combined, the targeted sites have traffic in the billions of visitors.

The malware was delivered through multiple ad networks, and used a number of vulnerabilities, including a recently-patched flaw in Microsoft's former Flash competitor Silverlight, which was discontinued in 2013.

That's why we have adblockers.