Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Oct 2017 21:14 UTC
BSD and Darwin derivatives

DragonFlyBSD 5.0 is the first release with preliminary boot support for HAMMER2, the project's new filesystem.

Preliminary HAMMER2 support has been released into the wild as-of the 5.0 release. This support is considered EXPERIMENTAL and should generally not yet be used for production machines and important data. The boot loader will support both UFS and HAMMER2 /boot. The installer will still use a UFS /boot even for a HAMMER2 installation because the /boot partition is typically very small and HAMMER2, like HAMMER1, does not instantly free space when files are deleted or replaced.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Oct 2017 10:47 UTC
Windows

All of the new design changes to Windows 10 are demonstrated in a new video from Microsoft. It’s a good showcase of how subtle the changes are, but it doesn’t tease much for the future. Microsoft’s Fluent Design System is designed to be the true successor to Microsoft's Metro design, and will appear across apps and services on Windows, iOS, and Android. Microsoft is focusing on light, depth, motion, material, and scale for its Fluent Design, with animations that make the design feel like it's moving during interactions in Windows.

Like Metro applications before them, these Fluent applications look really nice, but it's all for naught. Microsoft showed off its redesigned Outlook application for Windows (and macOS), and guess what? It's a Win32 application.

If not even Microsoft itself is interested in making Metro/Fluent applications, why should anyone else?

Microsoft's approach to Metro/Fluent has been baffling from day one, and it doesn't seem like anything's changing any time soon. They made really great Metro Office applications, but then proceed to hide them from the Windows Store behind the "mobile" tag, and artificially cripple them by not allowing you to open more than one document per Office application.

Even when Microsoft does make great Metro/Fluent applications, they artificially cripple them.

I have no idea what Microsoft is doing, and I don't blame developers for giving them the finger. They are telling an unreliable, unfocused, unclear, and chaotic developer story, and any developer worth her salt wouldn't touch the Windows Store/Metro/Fluent with a ten-foot pole.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Oct 2017 13:24 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

With all the infrastructure changes and improvements, paired with the bug fixes in our master Haiku branch, we are slowly and steadily moving towards the R1 Beta 1 release which will live in its own R1(!) branch.

R1 Beta 1 installations should slowly roll towards the final R1 release via package updates. R1 Beta 1 is going to be a big step towards our first stable release.

The exact dates are still not solid. I know we have been saying "soon" for quite a while... But soon.

...

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Oct 2017 13:09 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Assembler/C-Script/Lisp 64 bit OS. MIMD, multi CPU, multi threaded, multi core, multi user.

Runs on OSX or Linux for x64, PI64 Linux for Aarch64. Will move to bare metal eventually but it's useful for now to run hosted while experimenting. When time allows I will be doing a VM boot image for UniKernel type appliances and a WebAssembly target to play around within the browser.

Allows modelling of various network topologies with point to point links. Each CPU in the network is modelled as a separate host process, point to point links use shared memory to simulate CPU to CPU, point to point, bi directional connections. There is no global bus based networking on purpose.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Oct 2017 13:08 UTC
In the News

Some years ago, already working in 'active transport', and seeking to deepen my understanding around urban design, I took the opportunity to take a family holiday for a week in the Netherlands. Among many many reactions to the experience, one big one I experienced was simply surprise that nobody had told me about most of the amazing things I'd see.

I've been meaning simply to write a list of these amazing things for years now. Unfortunately I'm not all that sure that there is any way to convey the 'amazingness' to those who haven't visited.

The Netherlands is one of the most - if not the most - densely populated western countries, which forced urban planners to get creative. Growing up and living in The Netherlands it's easy to take for granted just how good we are at traffic and urban design. That is, until you take a trip abroad to pretty much any other country - even our beloved neighbours like Germany or Belgium - and realise just how terrible everyone else is at properly segmenting and protecting cyclists and pedestrians, even in densely populated and tightly packed cities.

Urban design is a fascinating subject, and once you start paying attention to it here in The Netherlands, you'll discover an endless array of affordances to protect cyclists, pedestrians, and cars (yes!), while also creating neighbourhoods that usually have only one entry/exit point for cars so they can't be used for through traffic, all designed with the goal of corralling cars away from where people actually live.

I often wonder - will this make The Netherlands a haven for self-driving cars, or a hell?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Oct 2017 12:44 UTC
Windows

Microsoft breaches the Dutch data protection law by processing personal data of people that use the Windows 10 operating system on their computers. This is the conclusion of the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) after its investigation of Windows 10 Home and Pro. Microsoft does not clearly inform users about the type of data it uses, and for which purpose. Also, people cannot provide valid consent for the processing of their personal data, because of the approach used by Microsoft. The company does not clearly inform users that it continuously collects personal data about the usage of apps and web surfing behaviour through its web browser Edge, when the default settings are used. Microsoft has indicated that it wants to end all violations. If this is not the case, the Dutch DPA can decide to impose a sanction on Microsoft.

Kind of weird how Microsoft is found to be breaking the law, but they don't get punished for it; only if they refuse to stop breaking the law will they be fined. Interesting.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Oct 2017 09:38 UTC
Legal

Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung Electronics' CEO, vice chairman, and the head of its hugely successful components business, has announced his resignation. He will step down from the CEO role, as well as his positions on the board and as CEO of Samsung Display, in March 2018.

"It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off," Kwon said in a letter sent to employees. "As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry."

The unnamed "crisis" in Kwon's letter no doubt includes the imprisonment of Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the entire Samsung group, on corruption charges. While Lee didn't take a hands-on role in Samsung Electronics' regular business, Kwon's resignation is the first sign that the scandal could have a major impact on the company's operations and culture.

South Korea are a bunch of amateurs. Everybody knows real freedom-loving countries legalise corruption and rebrand it as Lobbying™ so that companies like Apple, Google, and others can legally bribe politicians and buy political favours without fear of being imprisoned.

Get with the program, South Korea.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Oct 2017 21:31 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

This update, 2.1.2 alias Kiiminkijoki, fixes dozens of bugs reported by our community and adds many improvements. It makes the new Dropbox service interface available and improves some security features. 2.1.2 also contains the basic support for Sony Xperia X devices for development purposes (available for a limited user group only).

This might be the first release I've seen which contains a feature or fix that isn't coming to the original Jolla Phone - namely, the updated Android support. The original Jolla Phone was released in December 2014, so that's not a hugely terrible run.

 

Linked by intric8 on Thu 12th Oct 2017 21:19 UTC
Amiga & AROS

A "new" piece of software, quietly created 15 years ago, that allows Amiga 1000 users to load their Kickstart 1.3 or 3.1 (or "morph" between the two on a soft reset after loading 3.1) off a single disk has been discovered. The software is called TwinKick and is downloadable via Aminet. The linked post includes detailed instructions on how to create this disk.

Being able to switch between the two Kickstarts is pretty incredible. Although seeing 3.1 load onto a Amiga 1000 - off a floppy - is pretty mind blowing by itself.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Oct 2017 23:49 UTC, submitted by JRepin
KDE

Today KDE publishes this autumn's Plasma feature release, KDE Plasma 5.11. Plasma 5.11 brings a redesigned settings app, improved notifications, a more powerful task manager. Plasma 5.11 is the first release to contain the new "Vault", a system to allow the user to encrypt and open sets of documents in a secure and user-friendly way, making Plasma an excellent choice for people dealing with private and confidential information.

This screenshot of the new Vault feature with a selection in a selection because you like selections is just so KDE - and I mean that in a teasing, loving way.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Oct 2017 23:45 UTC
Intel

The Intel Management Engine ('IME' or 'ME') is an out-of-band co-processor integrated in all post-2006 Intel-CPU-based PCs. It has full network and memory access and runs proprietary, signed, closed-source software at ring -2, independently of the BIOS, main CPU and platform operating system - a fact which many regard as an unacceptable security risk (particularly given that at least one remotely exploitable security hole has already been reported).

In this mini-guide, I'll run through the process of disabling the IME on your target PC.

Apparently, the IME co-processor runs... MINIX 3. That is incredibly fascinating. This means every post-2006 Intel PC runs MINIX.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Oct 2017 19:44 UTC
Windows

In a series of tweets, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore has revealed that the software giant is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile. While Windows Phone fans had hoped Microsoft would update the platform with new features, it's now clear the operating system has been placed into servicing mode, with just bug fixes and security updates for existing users.

I was a first adopter of Windows Phone 7 - so much so I imported a device from the US during launch week. It was an amazing operating system to use, and I loved it. Soon, however, it became clear Microsoft was unable to attract developers to the platform, and even those applications that did make it weren't particularly good - not even the ones written by Microsoft itself, which were often simple HTML-based apps, which simply weren't good advocates for the platform. As a Windows Phone user, you were always scraping the very bottom of the barrel when it came to applications.

To make matters worse, the move to Windows NT with Windows Phone 8 was a disaster. Existing phones weren't updated, and instead, only got an entirely pointless Windows Phone 7.8 update. This didn't do anything to enamour users to the platform, which makes it all the more weird when Microsoft did it again when Windows Phone 10 was released. In any event, Windows Phone 8 did mature over its short lifetime, gaining many features other platforms had had for ages. Sadly, the application situation never improved, and to this day, the Windows Store is a ghost town.

It really sucks that Windows Phone became a victim of blatant mismanagement and market forces, because I still love the operating system and its unique UI. One day, I'll have to sit down and write the counterpart to my Palm retrospective, covering the entire PocketPC/Windows Mobile/Windows Phone era.

It's been a wild ride.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Oct 2017 19:26 UTC
Mac OS X

Reported by Matheus Mariano, a Brazilian software developer, a programming error was discovered in Apple’s most recent operating system, High Sierra, that exposed passwords of encrypted volumes as password hints. A serious bug that quickly made the headlines in technology websites everywhere.

Apple was prompt to provide macOS High Sierra Supplemental Update to customers via the App Store, and ensured that every distribution of High Sierra in their servers included this update.

I decided to apply a binary diffing technique to the update to learn more about the root cause of this bug and hypothesize about how the defect could have been prevented.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 7th Oct 2017 19:55 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Joshua Topolsky:

The "notch" on the new iPhone X is not just strange, interesting, or even odd - it is bad. It is bad design, and as a result, bad for the user experience. The justification for the notch (the new Face ID tech, which lets you unlock the device just by looking at it) could have easily been accomplished with no visual break in the display. Yet here is this awkward blind spot cradled by two blobs of actual screenspace.

[...]

Plenty has been written about the mind-numbing, face-palming, irritating stupidity of the notch. And yet, I can't stop thinking about it. I would love to say that this awful design compromise is an anomaly for Apple. But it would be more accurate to describe it as the norm.

Apple really, really wants you to "embrace the notch" and consider it a design element. With the home button gone, the iPhone X lost the iconic shape we've come to expect from iPhones, and to set a recognisable shape for the iPhone for the next decade, Apple chose the notch, and decided to embrace it.

The goal of the industry is clearly to move to truly fullscreen displays; no notches like the Essential phone or the iPhone X, and no thin chins and foreheads like the Galaxy S8 or the LG V30. With Apple trying to build a visual brand around the notch, we're going to be inundated with article after article explaining how the notch is great design, how it's a good idea, how it actually makes a lot of sense to have the notch because of [insert pseudoscience], how it is the pinnacle of design.

And all those articles will look entirely foolish once Android phones start moving to true fullscreen with under-display cameras and sensors in a few years from now, after which Apple will drag its feet, only to eventually move to true fullscreen displays 2-3 years later, at which point the authors of the aforementioned articles will do a complete 180 overnight, as if the notch never happened.

Notches and chins and foreheads are necessary imperfections due to technological limitations on the way to fullscreen perfection. Pretending they are not will only make you look foolish five years from now.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2017 22:44 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

My thoughts tend to go to dark places these days. And so when I watched Google on Wednesday trot out one after another of its homegrown computing devices for every task and every nook of our homes, I went straight to dystopia: R.I.P. digital competition.

Nothing to add.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2017 22:37 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

A couple years ago, Lenovo announced its plans to build a "retro" ThinkPad that would resurrect design elements of ThinkPads past as an homage to the brand's long history.

That ThinkPad is now real. Check out the ThinkPad 25, sold to commemorate 25 years of ThinkPads.

I'm just going to leave this here for you lovely ThinkPad people. This isn't for me, but I'm not here to ruin your party.

Do clean up after yourselves.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2017 22:33 UTC
Multimedia, AV

Nilay Patel on the further disappearance of the headphone jack, and its replacement, Bluetooth:

To improve Bluetooth, platform vendors like Apple and Google are riffing on top of it, and that means they’re building custom solutions. And building custom solutions means they’re taking the opportunity to prioritize their own products, because that is a fair and rational thing for platform vendors to do.

Unfortunately, what is fair and rational for platform vendors isn’t always great for markets, competition, or consumers. And at the end of this road, we will have taken a simple, universal thing that enabled a vibrant market with tons of options for every consumer, and turned it into yet another limited market defined by ecosystem lock-in.

This is exactly what's happening, and it is turning something simple and straightforward - get headphones, plug it in literally every single piece of headphones-enabled audio equipment made in the last 100 years, and have it work - into an incompatibility nightmare. And this incompatibility nightmare is growing and getting worse, moving beyond just non-standard Bluetooth; you can't use Apple Music with speakers from Google or Amazon, and Spotify doesn't work on the Apple Watch.

Removing the headphone jack was a user-hostile move when Apple did it, and it's still a user-hostile move when Google does it.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2017 10:42 UTC
Internet & Networking

Email is such a pain in the butt. We've been doing everything in our power to fight the influence it has on our lives, to minimize the spam, the marketing, the burden. That burden leads lots of folks to fruitlessly hunt for the perfect email client like I hunt for the perfect word processor. Others have followed the path of least resistance: Either Gmail or Outlook. But there was a time when we didn't feel this way, when getting email was actually exciting. The email client Eudora, named for Eudora Welty, was designed to capture this excitement - the idea that mailboxes were no longer tethered to physical space. But even as the die-hards held on, it couldn't. Tonight's Tedium ponders the demise of Eudora, and whether we lost something great.

I don't have a lot of experience with Eudora personally, but I know it had quite the enthusiastic and fervent fanbase back then.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Oct 2017 10:37 UTC
Games

Players will have the chance to explore Assassin's Creed Origins' virtual Egypt free of combat and story constraints in a new "Discovery Tour" gamemode, developer-publisher Ubisoft announced today.

Discovery Tour turns Origins' map, as the company puts it, into a "combat-free living museum, with guided tours that let players delve into its history firsthand." Given the lengths Ubisoft went to creating a large-scale as-accurate-as-possible map of the country, hiring historians and Egyptologists as consultants, this is a chance for the developer to showcase its map and the functioning virtual world it's created, rather than it simply existing as a backdrop for action.

This is a great move, as it turns what is normally 'just' a game into a tool that can be used for education and learning, or something more casual as just walking around in a beautiful environment without having to worry about being attacked or killed or whatever.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Oct 2017 11:06 UTC
Legal

The European Commission has concluded that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Luxembourg must now recover the illegal aid.

Remember when Tim Cook lied about the EU only going after Apple because Apple is big? Apple's illegal deal with Ireland is just one on a long, long list of illegal deals the EU is cracking down on.

Anyway, speaking of the 13 billion euro Apple stole from EU citizens:

The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as required by a Commission decision.

[...]

Today, more than one year after the Commission's decision, Ireland has still not recovered any of the illegal aid. Furthermore, although Ireland has made progress on the calculation of the exact amount of the illegal aid granted to Apple, it is only planning to conclude this work by March 2018 at the earliest.

The crackdown on these illegal tax deals hopefully only represents the first step in cracking down on the grotesquely questionable conduct of large technology (and other sectors) companies. Backroom deals between governments and powerful corporations so they can effectively avoid paying any taxes while the rest of us do our civic duty by paying our taxes to pay for our schools, roads, hospitals, police, firefighters, and so on are a travesty.

If Apple, Amazon, Google, and others want to make use of the juicy fruits of European welfare states, they better start paying their fair share.