The MorphOS development team is proud to announce the public release of MorphOS 3.4, which introduces faster R300 graphics drivers, improved video playback on G5-based systems, support for non-native display resolutions on various PowerBooks, screen blanker password protection, and numerous bug fixes and other improvements. For an overview of the included changes, please read our release notes.
Some serious improvements in there. Their market is probably small, but they release new versions at a relatively stable pace. One of the very few alternative operating systems that has managed to survive over the years where so many others fell.
There's this one other thing about the Jolla phone that sets it apart from the competition. In marketing terms, it's called The Other Half, the backside of the phone, which can be replaced and is 3D-printable. While the two The Other Halfs shipping with the first wave of pre-order customers have tiny RFID chips in them for communication (it instructs the phone to download a matching background and sounds), the Jolla phone also has a set of electrical contacts on the back of the exposed device - I2C.
This is one of the wildcard when it comes to Jolla - there's lots of possibilities here, such as a backplate with an additional battery, or even one with an integrated sliding keyboard. One of Jolla's engineers already added wireless charging to his backplate using I2C, to illustrate what it possible.
I'm really curious what other people are going to come up with - if at all. Right now there's probably little commercial interest to create products for The Other Half, but if Jolla manages to pick up enough steam, we might see some really cool stuff coming out of this.
We just discovered an issue in both 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 today which causes update of the store token required for accessing store repositories to fail. A fix for that has been pushed a few minutes ago: The update to version 184.108.40.206 you might be seeing on your device soon contains exactly this one fix to keep store access working.
These men and women know what they're doing. They're not overselling, and they keep their promises. A very promising start.
A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the first disclosures prompted by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was "almost Orwellian" in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be "aghast" at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans' communications data.
It's just a preliminary ruling, and while the judge stated that he would most likely uphold the preliminary ruling after the merits of the case have been handled, there's probably thousands of appeals and stuff like that where this could crumble into dust.
Once a government has obtained a power, it rarely releases it. That's the nature of government - it can only grow.
Microsoft is preparing to ship its Windows Phone 8.1 update with two significant changes: a notification center and a Siri-like personal assistant. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is currently beta testing copies of Windows Phone 8.1 internally, with plans to fully detail its features at BUILD 2014 in April. A highly requested notification center feature will be added to the software, and we're told it's enabled by swiping down from the top of the screen in a similar way to iOS and Android.
Pretty sure this update will turn it all around.
The conclusion may sound redundant at this point, but it is fairly simple: if you want to have a discussion about Android and iOS (and there are plenty of incredibly interesting discussions to be had), think about the issues you want to cover, and break each down on their own terms. Trying to bundle arguments under and umbrella term like "fragmentation" is just lazy and it holds very little meaning at this point.
At the end of the day, I always get the feeling that the people yelling the loudest about "fragmentation" are people on the sidelines, who've never coded for Android at all. That's not to say it's not a problem at all - it's just to say that it's an area where the competition does a better job. Android's device diversity certainly creates additional challenges for Android developers, much in the same way that Apple's inconsistent App Store policies creates additional challenges for iOS developers.
Each platform has its weaknesses, but none have been as aggressively made larger than it really seems to be than Android's supposed fragmentation. Unravelling this positive feedback loop among these bloggers should make for fascinating material.
As promised, Valve has released the first test release of SteamOS. From the FAQ:
SteamOS is a fork (derivative) of Debian GNU/Linux. The first version (SteamOS 1.0) is called 'alchemist' and it is based on the Debian 'wheezy' (stable 7.1) distribution.
The major changes made in SteamOS are:
- Backported eglibc 2.17 from Debian testing
- Added various third-party drivers and updated graphics stack (Intel and AMD graphics support still being worked on)
- Updated kernel tracking the 3.10 longterm branch (currently 3.10.11)
- Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay
- Configured to auto-update from the Valve SteamOS repositories
You need to have an NVIDIA card for it to work, since Intel and AMD graphics are currently not yet supported (work is underway).
Yesterday, we published a blog post lauding an extremely important app privacy feature that was added in Android 4.3. That feature allows users to install apps while preventing the app from collecting sensitive data like the user's location or address book.
After we published the post, several people contacted us to say that the feature had actually been removed in Android 4.4.2, which was released earlier this week. Today, we installed that update to our test device, and can confirm that the App Ops privacy feature that we were excited about yesterday is in fact now gone.
If there's one thing that needs some serious love in Android, it's the application permissions. I carefully look at them every time I install an application, but I'm guessing most people don't. While there's only so much stupidity technology can solve, Android's application permissions are, indeed, quite overwhelming at times. I'm not a particular fan of modal dialogs every time an application needs permission for something (the iOS way) either, so I'm not sure how this can be addressed in a user-friendly way.
App Ops seemed like a decent compromise that allowed for lots of finetuning of permissions, per application. Luckily, I'm using a custom ROM that re-enables it, Google be damned. Google claims App Ops may break some applications - well, that's not really any of my concern. If an application breaks because I do not give it permission to find out if I'm on the toilet or not - there's always an uninstall button.
So, Google better have some serious improvement in mind for application permissions, or they're just making sure regular users don't get into the habit of blocking Google's data collection. I hope the former, but I'm reasonably sure it's the latter.
Reviving an old computer is like restoring a classic car: There's a thrill from bringing the ancient into the modern world. So it was with my first "real" computer, my Mac Plus, when I decided to bring it forward three decades and introduce it to the modern Web.
It's amazing what's possible on these old machines.
This website runs an emulator of the Amiga 500 inside of Chrome by using Portable Native Client, a way to run existing C/C++ in the browser in a safe way across operating systems and across machine architectures. On the main page you can boot the Amiga, insert floppy disks, play the games, and generally pretend it's still the late 80s.
SteamOS will be made available when the prototype hardware ships. It will be downloadable by individual users and commercial OEMs. (But unless you're an intrepid Linux hacker already, we're going to recommend that you wait until later in 2014 to try it out.) We'll post info soon about that. Oh, and stay tuned for the in-home streaming beta to begin soon, too!
The first moment of truth for Valve.
The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is considering making Windows RT and Windows Phone free for OEMs, to combat Android.
We understand that any decision to axe the license fees for Windows Phone and Windows RT would be backed by a push for revenue from Microsoft’s apps and services. Microsoft has been experimenting with ads in Windows 8 apps, and any associated revenue from those apps and the company’s built-in Bing search results would help offset the lack of license fees. Microsoft would also push consumers to subscribe to services like SkyDrive, Office, and Skype for additional revenue.
So, let me get this straight. In April this year, a Microsoft-sponsored antitrust complaint about Android had this to say:
Google's predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google's dominant mobile platform.
And we have the whole Scroogled campaign (I felt dirty just for visiting that site).
And now they're considering doing the exact same things they claim Google is doing unfairly? Does this company have any internal consistency whatsoever?
Ina Fried has just confirmed the Nokia Android phone - and even argues that Microsoft might go ahead with actually releasing it.
According to a Nokia source, the software has a look more similar to Windows Phone than to the "squircle" icons used on the Asha. Normandy would also serve as a way to deliver Microsoft services such as Bing and Skype.
That is seen by some at Microsoft as a more palatable alternative than seeing more of those first-time smartphone buyers sign up not just for Android but also for Google's array of services.
Makes sense. It does raise another question, though: wouldn't this be yet another operating system Microsoft would need to develop and support?
Nokia has been building its own Android phone according to multiple sources familiar with the company's plans. Codenamed Normandy, and known internally at Nokia under a number of other names, the handset is designed as the next step in low-end phones from the Finnish smartphone maker. We understand that Nokia has been testing "Normandy" with a special "forked" variant of Android that's not aligned with Google's own version, akin to what Amazon does with its Kindle Fire line.
The release of this phone is slated for 2014, and is supposedly "full steam ahead". I guess this will depend on how quickly Microsoft can complete the acquisition.
Unfounded speculation on my end: could this be the reason Microsoft went ahead and bought Nokia's devices division? A successful Nokia Android phone would be quite embarrassing for them, after all.
Canonical has just signed its first deal to supply a smartphone with its mobile operating system, Canonical founder and product strategy leader Mark Shuttleworth revealed in an interview here at the LeWeb conference. He wouldn't say which company has agreed to use the Linux-based OS, but said it will be offered on high-end phones in 2014.
Two changes supposedly coming to the next version of Windows, according to veteran Paul Thurrott:
Metro apps running in windows on the desktop. As you can today with third-party utilities such as ModernMix, the next version of Windows will let users optionally run Metro apps in floating windows on the desktop.
Start menu. After bringing back the Start button in Windows 8.1, Microsoft will take the next logical step in the next Windows version and make the Start menu available as an option. It's possible this will appear only on those product versions that support the desktop.
This would be Microsoft admitting they got Windows 8 all wrong.
Joaquin Almunia's strongest language was reserved for Nokia, which is in the process of selling its devices business to Microsoft, giving rise to fears that the remaining part of Nokia will make more aggressive use of its patents portfolio.
Almunia said that the commission had dismissed the possibility that "Nokia would be tempted to behave like a patent troll" when it cleared the way for Microsoft to acquire Nokia's devices division - but warned that "if Nokia were to take illegal advantage of its patents in the future, we will open an antitrust case."
This is a real threat. The gutted Nokia still holds a considerable amount of patents, and they've already shown remarkable willingness to sue Android device makers over them. Good to know the EU is on top of it.
While my Jolla still hasn't shipped, the community isn't sitting still at all. Sailfish has already been ported to Jolla's spiritual predecessor - yes, the Nokia N9 can now run Sailfish OS. The beautify of it all is that you don't even need to remove Harmattan, since it can dual-boot. It's relatively complete too, since GPS, A-GPS, Bluetooth, wifi and 'Calling Functions' are already working.
In addition, Sailfish' first update, version 220.127.116.11 has been detailed in its changelog - it's mostly a bugfix and stability release. So, when the pre-order devices arrive at our doorsteps, we'll have a software update waiting
The giants of the tech industry are uniting to wage a campaign for sweeping reforms to the National Security Agency.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and AOL are setting aside their business rivalries to demand that Congress and President Obama scale back the government's voracious surveillance.
These companies had little to no qualms about teaming up with the US government back when it was all done in relative secrecy, but now that it's out in the open, they're acting like heroes. This campaign would never have been launched if Snowden hadn't blown the whistle, which means the motive behind this new campaign is money - not morality.