Linked by David Adams on Sat 25th Jul 2015 17:30 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Plasma Phone OS (or simply Plasma Phone) is a complete software stack for mobile devices and includes the following libre technologies: Plasma Mobile (a Plasma-based shell), KWIN/KWayland, Voicecall, Ofono, RIL, OHM, Telepathy. It allows to run several Qt-based applications to run on top of it, for example: Plasma apps, Ubuntu Touch based apps, Sailfish OS based apps, Nemo based apps.

The website is pretty minimal, but the first few comments on this Hacker News post gives a good overview.

 

Linked by David Adams on Sat 25th Jul 2015 17:24 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

BoingBoing posted a short movie by The MIT Media Lab's Knotty Objects group and noted hardware hacker Bunny Huang ask the question, "What if phones were designed to please their owners, rather than corporations?" In Southern China, where the majority of the world's mobile phones are made, there's a vibrant market for phones designed for all conceivable niches, where carrier subsidies, marketing campaigns, patents, trademarks, and other corporate-serving restrictions are ignored. If there's a possible market demand for a particular design, then someone makes a phone to meet that demand. It's a brief video, but worth a watch.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 25th Jul 2015 16:25 UTC
Apple

Dave Winer, like Linus Torvalds, noticed something strange was happening to his e-mail, which led him to figure out what was going on.

On Wednesday I wrote about a problem I've been seeing with GMail, or so I thought. Messages that I knew I must be getting were not showing up in any of my mailboxes in GMail. But when I searched for them, they would show up.

I heard from other people who had seen the same behavior.

And I heard from two people from Google who work on GMail, who asked all the right questions. And gave me really detailed instructions on how to help them debug this.

Creepy.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2015 22:54 UTC
Android

Ars Technica has a review of Android Auto.

While we love the interface, we just wish there was more of it. Android Auto only covers a subset of the things you would want to do on an infotainment system. The result is an interface that - depending on what you want to do - will have you bouncing back and forth between two different interfaces. It's almost like installing Windows 8 in your car - you've got one modern, incomplete interface paired with a more comprehensive legacy interface. Android Auto can't control the AM/FM radio, CD player, or satellite radio. You also can't adjust the screen brightness, pair a device with the car, or mess with any other settings. Every time you start the car, it launches the ugly stock infotainment system, and you've got to plug your phone in and hit the Android Auto icon. Expect to switch from the beautiful-but-limited Android Auto interface to the slow, chuggy, tasteless OEM interface a lot.

Can anyone with knowledge on the matter explain to me why, exactly, car manufacturers have such outdated, crappy in-car software? And why, even when we have something like Android Auto that could power everything, do they insist on only letting it do a subset, dumping you back to their own crap software for everything else? Why is the car itself running Gingerbread (yes, Gingerbread!)?

Why are they so incompetent?

 

Linked by martini on Fri 24th Jul 2015 22:43 UTC
OS/2 and eComStation

Bww bitwise works has announced the fitfh beta of its Firefox port to OS/2 and eComStation. Bww bitwise works also announced that they are makking progress porting SWT/Eclipse, and that they are starting to work on porting a newer version of VirtualBox to OS/2.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2015 22:39 UTC
Internet & Networking

Did you know that The Verge delivers you to around 20 companies for advertising & tracking purposes? I didn't. That might foul up your web experience a little bit. Maybe we should try something different.

The Verge obviously isn't alone in this. There's a reason I use an ad blocker.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2015 22:13 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu

Aside from the app void and the questionable value of Scopes, Ubuntu Phone is a bit of a nightmare to use the majority of the time. Something's often refreshing in the background, causing the phone to slow down. Apps take longer to load than they should, and even then you're probably waiting on a web app. The gesture-based navigation is unrefined; there are bugs and glitches all over the place; and in general, many core experiences are severely lacking in polish. Despite years of development, Ubuntu Phone still feels like an early beta, and I think Canonical needs to think long and hard about the implementation of Scopes and bump native apps up the agenda. There's nothing wrong with trying to be different, but there's a reason Android/iOS are so popular. Ignoring the headway they've made in refining the mobile experience is, in my mind, setting yourself up for failure.

It's taking Canonical way, way too long. If the much further along Sailfish and Jolla can't really make a serious dent into anything, it's easy to imagine this won't go anywhere either.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2015 22:09 UTC
Amiga & AROS

With the permission of Electronic Arts, Inc. the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use, the source code to the 1986 version I of DeluxePaint. There are 89 files of C language source, comprising almost 17,000 lines of code in about 474 KB of text.

The CHM keeps on doing awesome stuff like this. Also thanks to EA for releasing this historic code.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 22:01 UTC
Geek stuff, sci-fi...

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the "habitable zone" around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another "Earth."

All the recent successes in space - Philae/Rosetta, New Horizons, the never-ending stream of discoveries from Keppler, like this one - actually make me sad, because it makes me wonder how much more we could've achieved and discovered has we not developed this anti-science and pro-war climate we've been living in for a while now.

Maybe these new achievements will reignite the hunger for space. We can hope.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 21:54 UTC
Mac OS X

Apple needs to change its priorities for the Mac App Store or just shut the whole thing down. As it now stands, developers who are tired of being second-class citizens are making that decision for them and leaving on their own.

Even as a mere user the Mac App Store is a horrible experience. It's slow, has a crappy user interface, and many developers ignore it anyway. They might as well shut it down.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 21:50 UTC
Apple

The change should help end the annual frustration experienced by app developers when users running beta versions of iOS discovered a third party app wasn't compatible with the beta software and then left a 1-star rating on the App Store. Poor reviews on the App Store can hurt sales, and developers often can't do anything to fix the problem because they can't submit software built for the new versions of iOS whilst it remains in beta, and the bug could be one for Apple to fix, not the developer.

Good move, although it ook them way too long.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 10:21 UTC
Internet & Networking

Rupert Loman, owner of Gamer Network which boasts Eurogamer, Games Industry, Rock Paper Shotgun, VG247 and more within its network of sites, says that ad-blockers are a real threat to the future of journalism.

"Ad blocking is probably the biggest existential threat to the future of online games journalism," he told MCV.

Cry me a river.

 

Linked by David Adams on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 06:34 UTC
Amiga & AROS The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA is holding a two day event celebrating the Amiga, and other events will be held around the world. The museum's event will include exhibits of Amiga machines and other computers of the era from Commodore, Apple and Atari, speakers, rare artifacts and art, and a special showing of a new Amiga documentary.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2015 00:11 UTC
Android

Got an Xperia Z3 and a home address somewhere in the Kingdom of Sweden? Sony wants your help with testing its next round of software updates for Android, which the company has rounded up in an initiative it's calling "Android concept." The goal, says Sony, is to develop new software "from the ground up," meaning no additional Google Play apps like YouTube on the test build, just the core Google communications software and Sony's stack of custom apps like Camera, Music, and Xperia Lounge.

Yet another random, disparate, limited, little, and utterly insignificant 'effort' to merely test bringing regular updates to Android devices. This is pointless. This is not what Android needs. At all.

Android needs Google to step up and reign its OEMs in.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2015 18:59 UTC
Apple

At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me - Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I've spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.

As if all of that wasn't enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I'm missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don't care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again.

Wait, you mean entrusting your data blindly to a company without managing your own local backup is a bad idea? I am so surprised.

The cloud should never be your only storage medium. It should be an additional storage medium. How on earth do supposedly tech savvy people make such a stupid mistake?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2015 18:42 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

For its part, Vector Graphic went on to become one of the best known PC makers of the late 1970s. Like Apple, it was one of the first computer companies to go public, and like Apple, it set its products apart from the crowd with its attention to industrial design.

But unlike Apple, Vector vanished from the face of the earth. It faded from our collective memory because it did not survive the massive industry upheaval brought about by the release of the IBM PC in late 1981. Very few PC makers did. But the story of how the Vector trio went from nothing to soaring success - and then collapse - is a tale worth retelling.

There must be so many local computer companies in all corners of the world that have been nearly forgotten. A treasure trove of fascinating stories.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2015 00:01 UTC
Apple

Beats 1 radio wasn't the only Apple service to temporarily go down during the MTV's VMA nominee announcements. As TechCrunch first reported and Apple's own status page confirmed, many more of Apple's services experienced issues Tuesday morning that stretched into the afternoon. Normal service was restored just before 2PM ET. The outages appeared limited to services related to Apple's online storefronts, but "limited" here is a relative term as many popular services are apparently tied in: Apple Music, Apple Radio, the App Store, Apple TV, the Mac App Store, iTunes Match, and even OS X Software Update all suffered problems. The outage wasn't universal, but still proved an unexpected headache for users.

From what I understand, iTunes Music was having problems for European users since late last week.

The cloud is the future.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 23:52 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

The Jolla phone recently got its long-awaited keyboard 'other half', and Jolla Users just published a long video detailing this new addition to the Jolla family. The Other Half Keyboard, as it's officially called, was a Kickstarter project completed in someone's garage - figuratively speaking - and the video does indeed show that while clever, the product is a bit unwieldy and too large for my tastes. I do admire the whole project, though - it's quite something to build a product from nothing all the way to shipping to users, especially something as niche as this.

Realistically speaking, however, this is not the product for those of us looking for a modern smartphone with a real keyboard.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 19:40 UTC
Google

With Google Drive, you can keep all your important files in one place, then open them with your choice of apps and devices. Building on this open approach, we recently made it possible to launch your favorite desktop applications directly from Google Drive. And today we're taking it a step further by bringing Google Drive to Microsoft Office. Using the new Google Drive plug-in, people using Office for Windows can now open their Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents stored in Drive, then save any changes back to Drive once they're done.

There's an interesting bit of speculation making the rounds about recent activity between Microsoft and Google. Microsoft is, step by step, selling off or shutting down all parts of the company that directly compete with Google - ads, maps, and even Windows Phone seems to be contested right now - which may mean nothing, or, it may mean closer cooperation between the two companies is afoot. Bing is interesting exception, but even that may be sold off in some way sooner rather than later (although Microsoft will most likely retain at least several crucial parts of it for Cortana).

Don't be surprised when you see more Microsoft-oriented software from Google in the near future.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2015 19:33 UTC
Windows

Now, your reaction to this might be, "How could this possibly work? You are just randomly ignoring instructions!" But the strange thing is, this idea was so crazy it actually worked, or at least worked a lot of the time. You might have to hit Ignore a dozen times, but there's a good chance that eventually the bad values in the registers will get overwritten by good values (and it probably won't take long because the 8086 has so few registers), and the program will continue seemingly-normally.

Your random periodic reminder to read The Old New Thing.