Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 18th Apr 2015 17:09 UTC

Windows Phone fans pining for the days of Metro panoramas and integrated experiences have had a tough couple of years, with Microsoft steadily removing many of the platform's user experience differentiators. But as I've argued, there's reason behind this madness. And now an ex-Microsoft design lead who actually worked on Windows Phone has gone public and agreed with this assessment. You may have loved Windows Phone and Metro, but it had to change.

A different theory for Microsoft moving Windows Phone closer to Android's UI design, from former Windows Phone executive Charlie Kindel (who now works at Amazon).


Linked by JRepin on Fri 17th Apr 2015 19:32 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

It has been roughly a year and a half since the last release of the GNU Hurd operating system, so it may be of interest to some readers that GNU Hurd 0.6 has been released, along with GNU Mach 1.5 (the microkernel that Hurd runs on), and GNU MIG 1.5 (the Mach Interface Generator, which generates code to handle remote procedure calls). New features include procfs and random translators, cleanups and stylistic fixes, some of which came from static analysis, message dispatching improvements; integer hashing performance improvements, a split of the init server into a startup server and an init program based on System V init, and more.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 17th Apr 2015 19:29 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

The next Sailfish OS version has been released for early access users. It's got a few very welcome changes - first and foremost, IMAP idle/push support, meaning emails will now arrive as the arrive, instead of on a schedule. There's also a new split landscape keyboard, and some gesture feedback has been added. In addition, there's a bunch of security updates, improvements to Android application support, and more.

Assuming no big issues arise from the early access release, it'll be pushed to regular users.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 16th Apr 2015 12:25 UTC

Rumors of a Microsoft and Cyanogen partnership have been making the rounds recently, and the Android mod maker is confirming them today. In an email to The Verge, Cyanogen says it's partnering with Microsoft to integrate the software giant’s consumer apps and services into the Cyanogen OS. Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office will all be bundled later this year. As part of the partnership, Microsoft has committed to creating "native integrations" on Cyanogen OS.

"Taking Android away from Google" to give it to Microsoft. Will these people never learn?

Cyanogen just signed its own death warrant with this. I knew Cyanogen would be going down the drain the moment they started courting venture capitalists.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 16th Apr 2015 08:40 UTC
Mac OS X

Nearly 15 years ago, I wrote my first review of Mac OS X for a nascent “PC enthusiast's" website called Ars Technica. Nearly 15 years later, I wrote my last. Though Apple will presumably announce the next major version of OS X at WWDC this coming June, I won't be reviewing it for Ars Technica or any other publication, including the website you're reading now.

The best software reviewer in the business calls it quits.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Apr 2015 11:01 UTC

Aside from the investigation into Google's search business, the EU is also investigating Android.

The European Commission has been examining Google’s Android operating system for nearly three years, and it is now ready to launch a formal investigation into claims of unfair app bundling. Google services and apps like Maps, Chrome, and YouTube are often bundled with Android devices, and competitors have complained that it’s giving Google an unfair advantage. Regulators previously questioned telecom companies and phone manufacturers, to see whether Google forces them to bundle apps or services at the expense of competitors.

I'm glad they're investigating this, if only to finally get all these secret agreements between Google and OEMs (and carriers!) out in the open. In fact, with mobile communications having become such a crucial utility in our society, I think all agreements related to the interplay between carrier, OEM, and software maker should be out in the open, ready to face public scrutiny. As consumers of this vitally important utility, we have a right to know what kind of shady stuff is going on between the T-Mobiles, Vodafones, Googles, Apples, and Samsungs of this world.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Apr 2015 10:46 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Nokia - the actual Nokia back in Finland, not the failing smartphone part Microsoft was forced to buy to save Windows Phone - has decided to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. Combined, that's a lot of mobile IP in one place.

The combined company will have unparalleled innovation capabilities, with Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs and Nokia's FutureWorks, as well as Nokia Technologies, which will stay as a separate entity with a clear focus on licensing and the incubation of new technologies.

Another interesting tidbit: Nokia is not allowed to make smartphones for a while, but Alcatel-Lucent does make smartphones. On top of that - Alcatel-Lucent... Owns Palm.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Apr 2015 10:38 UTC

Feature-wise, 4.0 doesn't have all that much special. Much have been made of the new kernel patching infrastructure, but realistically, that not only wasn't the reason for the version number change, we've had much bigger changes in other versions. So this is very much a "solid code progress" release.

Despite the version number, not a big deal.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Apr 2015 21:32 UTC

Google will on Wednesday be accused by Brussels of illegally abusing its dominance of the internet search market in Europe, a step that ultimately could force it to change its business model fundamentally and pay hefty fines.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, is to say that the US group will soon be served with a formal charge sheet alleging that it breached antitrust rules by diverting traffic from rivals to favour its own services, according to two people familiar with the case.

Could be a huge blow to Google - but at the pace the EU moves, this will take forever.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Apr 2015 21:29 UTC

The FCC officially published its new net neutrality rules to the Federal Register yesterday, opening the door to legal challenges. Opponents wasted no time. CTIA, the trade association that has represented the wireless industry since 1984, filed a lawsuit with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals today. In a blog post, the group wrote that it intends to push back against "the FCC’s decision to impose sweeping new net neutrality rules and reclassifying mobile broadband as a common carrier utility." The National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the American Cable Association also filed suits along similar grounds.

The blatant and rampant corruption in the US cable/internet/etc. market has been going on long enough. The US' internet is barely better than that of a 3rd world country, and these despicable companies are to blame.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Apr 2015 20:54 UTC, submitted by AmigaOS
Amiga & AROS

Contrary to some news items posted on certain websites, Hyperion Entertainment CVBA is not in a state of bankruptcy. Due to an unfortunate set of cirucmstances, the company was temporally listed as "bankrupt" despite the fact that the conditions for bankruptcy were never met and that in the eyes of the law, the company was never bankrupt.

Development of AmigaOS 4 (which recently culminated in the release of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition) is and has been ongoing albeit that some resources had to be directed away to support the upcoming hardware of A-EON Technology.

Good to have this mishap cleared up.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Apr 2015 19:05 UTC

Apple today announced ResearchKit, a software framework designed for medical and health research that helps doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using mobile devices, is now available to researchers and developers. The first research apps developed using ResearchKit study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and have enrolled over 60,000 iPhone users in just the first few weeks of being available on the App Store. Starting today, medical researchers all over the world will be able to use ResearchKit to develop their own apps and developers can also contribute new research modules to the open source framework.

It's on github.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Apr 2015 23:08 UTC

Microsoft has been keeping its promise on releasing more frequent builds of Windows 10, but this is not stopping private versions to leak onto the web. Windows 10 build 10056 was just spotted outside the walls of Redmond, and it shows significant cosmetic changes and various improvements coming to the operating system.

Whether you like the changes or not - I personally do - it's interesting to see Windows 10 evolve this openly.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Apr 2015 22:58 UTC

To fully understand the Android rendering optimizations and pipeline a low-level understanding of GPUs graphics pipeline is necessary. Because no vendor is very specific about the internals of their GPU architecture, one has to sift through marketing presentations, blog posts and white papers to find the relevant pieces of information. Therefore, most of the information presented here is to be considered a simplification of what the hardware actually does.

A very detailed look at Android's graphics pipeline.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Apr 2015 16:14 UTC

When Apple first showed off the Apple Watch, I was stunned. It looked glorious and larger than life. Shiny and precision-machined. Like an object from the future that time-traveled back to the present just to blow everyone away.

This past Friday, the first day that the public was allowed to handle and play with the Apple Watch, everyone who had been obsessing over videos and photographs finally got the chance to use one firsthand. I made it to the Apple Store on Friday and was one of those people.

I came away underwhelmed and a little disheartened.

It's almost as if carefully orchestrated press events attended by nothing but employees and hand-picked, pre-approved press outlets, as well as fake renders on a company website, are not a good way to gauge a new product.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Apr 2015 16:02 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

How to improve user experience? How to invent new ideas? Why are some designs changing? How to ensure that new ideas actually improve the user experience (UX)?

There are many more design related questions for sure. In this blog we will start to provide you with design insights, explain what is important to us, what is our way of working, our project objectives, evaluations and conclusions as well.

In short: how we design Sailfish OS.

A fluff piece, of course, but still somewhat interesting in the run-up to Sailfish OS 2.0.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 11th Apr 2015 11:18 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

AnandTech has its usual in-depth review up for the HTC One M9, and it comes in two parts because of an extensive HTC software update midway through their review process. Their conclusion is... Not good.

Overall, further testing of the One M9 basically confirms my fears, which were that the One M9 is effectively a sidegrade of the One M8 at best. I really did want to like this phone, as I still find the One M7 to be a great phone to use. I really wanted to see a phone from HTC that was worthy of an upgrade from the One M7, but the One M9 isn’t that phone. In fact, given that the One M8 is at least 200 dollars cheaper than the One M9 on contract, I find it incredibly difficult to recommend the One M9. It will definitely have its fans, but overall there are more negatives than positives. Given the competitive positioning of the One M9, the timing of the Snapdragon 810, and the strength of the Galaxy S6 I’m faced with an intense sense of déjà vu. It almost feels like we’re back where we started 3 years ago with the Sensation and Galaxy S2. I can't think of a better way to describe the situation HTC is in, which is alarming to say the least. The One M9 can't be another Sensation, but it feels like it is.

This is not what HTC needs - at all. It seems like all the negative points of previous One devices remain, while it also adds a number of new problems. If HTC really wants to turn itself around - it needs to bring more than this.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 10th Apr 2015 16:46 UTC

Google's Chrome is the best web browser for my needs. Apple's MacBooks are the best computers for my needs. So why is the combination of the two such a wretched and chronically compromised situation? Almost every advice column on how to improve MacBook battery life begins with the suggestion to avoid using Chrome in favor of Apple's more efficient Safari browser. The idea that Chrome is a big and profligate battery drain on MacBooks has existed almost as long as the browser has been available, and most benchmarks reiterate it by showing Chrome's gluttonous consumption of system resources for seemingly basic tasks.

Does the same apply to Chrome for Windows or Linux? I don't have a laptop, so I have no way of testing it out.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 10th Apr 2015 16:38 UTC

The folks over at have gotten their hands on a new build of Windows 10 for phones; this latest build comes with a set of UI changes and enhancements; mainly a revamped multitasking screen. The new multitasking screen shown above displays open/recent apps in a card like manner, similar to how Meego or BB10 showed them, allowing you to quickly view all your open apps at once, while presumably still swiping them away (or simply pressing "x") to close them.

Those screenshots remind me of this.


Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Apr 2015 22:05 UTC

Some folks like to call it fragmentation, others call it choice, but by any name there are certainly a lot of different Android phones. Building applications that need to work with all of them is no easy task. You have wildly different hardware configurations that make for a big difference in performance, and even though one apk file can work on every one of them, there's still the issue of needing an app to run smoothly on low-end devices without sacrificing features on high-end devices. When you're talking about an app as popular as Facebook, this can quickly become a nightmare for the folks doing the coding.

Facebook showed everyone at the Big Android Meat and Greet a new solution that's simple - the Device Year Class component.

A clever method for developers to tailor their applications for specific Android phones - and it's open source.