Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st Jul 2013 14:12 UTC
Internet & Networking From The Guardian:

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

This is not PRISM - but a different system. The slides are damning, as always.

It validates claims made by Edward Snowden, and makes it clear that US government officials have been lying all along. There's no court order required for any of this - in a supposedly modern democracy. Crazy.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st Jul 2013 12:28 UTC
Games

Just 160,000 Wii U consoles were sold worldwide between April and June, along with 1.03 million software units. The figure is a 51.3 percent decrease on last quarter; the console has now sold 3.61 million units around the world despite Nintendo's initial prediction of 5.5 million systems moved by the end of March.

To put the 160000 figure in perspective - Microsoft sold 140000 Xbox 360s in just the US, in June alone, and that's after a sharp sales drop, for a console that's 8 years old. Nintendo is not doing well.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jul 2013 23:08 UTC
Google "In the net neutrality vision of the world, broadband providers simply deliver packets as they are paid to do. When it was just a set of online services, Google happened to fall on the side of citizens and used to advocate against broadband companies controlling the pipes. Now that it’s an ISP itself, Google is becoming a net neutrality hypocrite." This is why trusting companies - any company - is simply a bad idea. Companies don't care about you, and those that say they do are liars.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jul 2013 22:14 UTC
Google Other than reports that the Android 4.3 update has improved performance on the Nexus 7, Google seems to have addressed the performance degradation issue as well. "It appears that Google has fixed the performance degradation problem with the Nexus 7 by finally adding TRIM support in Android 4.3 (which also applies to all devices that have been upgraded, though I never had any performance issues with my Nexus 4), as noticed by Brian Klug at Anandtech. This means, in theory, that performance on the device should remain usable, even as time goes on and I continue to use my tablet to do all of the things it was designed for. I'll be watching it closely (and probably be very vocal about it if performance drops off a cliff as it did before), but I actually have a usable tablet once again, and I didn't have to shell out upwards of $200 again to get there." My Nexus 7 feels like new now that I've wiped my custom ROM and installed stock 4.3. I'm skeptical about whether or not Google has managed to solve the performance loss over time though, since it seems to be caused by low-quality NAND, and not by software.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 30th Jul 2013 19:59 UTC, submitted by daff
Amiga & AROS The interview details, among many other things, the follow up to the AmigaOne X1000: "The Cyrus development is the future replacement for the Nemo motherboard when the supply of P.A. Semi CPUs finally dries up or the price becomes commercially unviable. The Cyrus board was the original Revision 1.0 prototype and was completed towards the end of last year. Cyrus Plus is the Revision 2.0 board which includes additional PCIe and PCI slots. The Cyrus design is based on the Freescale P5020 CPU which is a dual-core 64-bit PowerPC SoC. It also supports DDR3 RAM and includes an improved Xena/Xorro combination." Crazy powerful hardware for an operating system that doesn't even support any for of SMP. I admire the hardware they've been able to build and sell, but the real issue is, of course, AmigaOS itself - touch-ups, sure, but it's still heavily outdated in almost every aspect and can't really make much use of the powerful hardware it is given.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Jul 2013 21:19 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Nokia's vice president Bryan Biniak: "We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say 'time is of the essence'. Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn't do us any good when I have phones to sell today." Later Biniak adds: "As a company we don't want to rely on somebody else and sit and wait for them to get it right." There was a simple solution to this problem.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Jul 2013 21:12 UTC, submitted by judgen
Window Managers "In the longer term, most Razor-qt components will fully be integrated into the LXDE-Qt and both teams will focus on the same project. Looking further ahead, the GTK version of LXDE will be dropped and all efforts will be focused on the Qt port. We, the main developers and administrators of the projects, will try to figure out where we align and where we have differences to grind out."

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Jul 2013 17:51 UTC
Google "We had a lot of internal discussion on this, and have concluded that it's more Android than ChromeOS. To be specific, it's actually a modified Google TV release, but with all of the Bionic/Dalvik stripped out and replaced with a single binary for Chromecast. Since the Marvell DE3005 SOC running this is a single core variant of the 88DE3100, most of the Google TV code was reused. So, although it's not going to let you install an APK or anything, its origins: the bootloader, kernel, init scripts, binaries, are all from the Google TV." This thing just keeps getting more awesome.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Jul 2013 16:48 UTC
In the News "The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications today released its report on IT pricing in Australia, making 10 recommendations and concluding that the long-discussed 'Australia tax' is real." One of the recommendations is to make geo-blocking circumvention legal - and as a last resort, the committee recommends the government to make geo-blocking illegal altogether. Pretty strong language.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 29th Jul 2013 08:54 UTC
Games "The Super Game Boy is probably the coolest piece of video game hardware in existence. It's also probably the biggest wasted opportunity in video games. It's been pretty much entirely forgotten about now, because - as is pretty common with neat hardware made by Nintendo - very, VERY few games ever really took advantage of it at all. And it's a shame, because the unique visual style of Super Game Boy-compatible games, in addition to just looking really neat, can teach a lot about effectively using colour in games. The ones that do work exist in a really bizarre stylistic place."

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 28th Jul 2013 14:06 UTC
General Development "There is a reason I use 'old' languages like J or Lush. It's not a retro affectation; I save that for my suits. These languages are designed better than modern ones. There is some survivor bias here; nobody slings PL/1 or Cobol willingly, but modern language and package designers don't seem to learn much from the masters. Modern code monkeys don't even recognize mastery; mastery is measured in dollars or number of users, which is a poor substitute for distinguishing between what is good and what is dumb. Lady Gaga made more money than Beethoven, but, like, so what?" This isn't just a thing among programmers. The entire industry is obsessed with user numbers, number of applications, and other crap that is meaningless when you consider programming to be art. When I post a new item about some small hobby operating system, the comments will be filled with negativity because it's no Windows or iOS, whereas only ten years ago, we'd have lively discussions about the implementation details. And then people wonder why that scene has died out.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 27th Jul 2013 12:50 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Windows Windows NT turned 20 years old today. From a 1998 story about NT, written by Mark Russinovich, "I'll take you on a short tour of NT's lineage, which leads back to Digital and its VMS OS. Most of NT's lead developers, including VMS's chief architect, came from Digital, and their background heavily influenced NT's development. After I talk about NT's roots, I'll discuss the more-than-coincidental similarities between NT and VMS, and how Digital reacted to NT's release."

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 27th Jul 2013 12:47 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "StatCounter's latest Internet Wars Report found that, in the month of June, Samsung devices accounted for 25.43 percent of smartphone Internet usage, compared to 25.09 for Apple's iPhone devices. Samsung has moved into the leadership position in smartphone web use over the course of the last year, which has seen the South Korean tech giant's share grow from 19.46 percent just 12 months ago." Android sales outpacing everything else is starting to show up in usage statistics.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Jul 2013 16:56 UTC
In the News "According to the CONTEXT data, Android tablets now account for 61.2 percent of the Western European tablet market, more than double the 25.1 percent recorded the same time last year. Apple iOS devices, meanwhile, fell to 37.2 percent of Western European tablet market sales by distribution, from 71.2 percent at the same time last year." This is nothing short of a catastrophic collapse of iPad market share in Europe. Furthermore, "This analysis also screens out the effect of Windows 8, credited in some quarters with helping to drive increased tablet market share and cut into Apple’s tablet lead, but in fact with little to no impact, according to CONTEXT." And yes, Windows 8 on tablets is a dud.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Jul 2013 14:56 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "In smartphones, it's not all about Apple and Samsung anymore. For several years, these two companies have dominated the mobile phone-making business, successively one-upping each other with ever sleeker, more technologically sophisticated iPhones and Galaxy handsets that left would-be rivals grasping. But now the competition is stirring, and consumers are giving another look to brands they once ignored." Not only is Samsung now more profitable in mobile than Apple (next goalpost please), smaller Android manufacturers, such as LG, ZTE, and Lenovo, are making huge inroads, and are raking in growing profits - in fact, these three now belong to the top 5 mobile device makers. The common parlance that only Samsung is making a profit off Android is simply no longer true.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Jul 2013 09:52 UTC
Legal "The pornography filtering system praised by David Cameron is controlled by the controversial Chinese company Huawei, the BBC has learned. UK-based employees at the firm are able to decide which sites TalkTalk's net filtering service blocks." The irony. It hurts.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Jul 2013 08:33 UTC
Google "Android 4.3 has a hidden feature! It's called 'App Ops' and it lets you selectively disable some permissions for your apps. Is some misbehaving app constantly pinging your location and draining your battery in a few hours? You can fix that now." Terrible name, fantastic feature. Also: finally.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Jul 2013 21:41 UTC
General Development "Forth is a simple, natural computer language. It has achieved remarkable acceptance where efficiency is valued. It evolved in the 1960s on a journey from university through business to laboratory. This is the story of how a simple interpreter expanded its abilities to become a complete programming language/operating system."

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Jul 2013 16:32 UTC
Legal "The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users' private Web communications from eavesdropping. These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users." Well. "And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillence coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission." When quoting a work of fiction befits the state of reality better than reality itself, shit has officially hit the fan.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Jul 2013 21:51 UTC
Games Microsoft will allow self-publishing on the Xbox One - Every Xbox One will be a development unit. "Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We'll have more details on the program and the timeline at gamescom in August." No matter how much Microsoft screwed up the initial PR around the new Xbox, this is just awesome news.