Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Aug 2015 17:28 UTC
Google

While Google remains committed to industry-wide adoption of HTTPS, there isn't always full compliance on third party ad networks and custom creative code served via our systems. To ensure ads continue to serve on iOS9 devices for developers transitioning to HTTPS, the recommended short term fix is to add an exception that allows HTTP requests to succeed and non-secure content to load successfully.

Confirmed: Google wants me to switch to iOS.

Disgusting.

 

Linked by David Adams on Thu 27th Aug 2015 00:48 UTC
BSD and Darwin derivatives Jordan Hubbard spoke recently at the Bay Area FreeBSD Users Group to discuss NextBSD, a "spork" of FreeBSD. He "covers why mach ports are extremely useful in some cases and no UNIX IPC primitive is an adequate substitute." There's a video of the BAFUG talk and copies of the original slide deck that goes into some detail about NextBSD.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Aug 2015 18:04 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

This year's Galaxy Note 5 is an outstanding device - combining power with grace, and utility with handsome looks - but it also has a pretty major design flaw. The phone's stylus can be inserted into its silo in both orientations, which is a change from previous S Pen designs, and one of those orientations can result in permanent damage to the Note's functionality. If you are unfortunate enough to slide your S Pen in the wrong way, you'll have a hard time unjamming it from the slot (though eventually you should be able to pry it away), but more importantly, you might disable the Note's stylus detection feature. It's a big problem that can result from a very small mistake. Samsung has now issued a response, and well, the answer is that you should read and adhere to the manual.

Grab the pitchforks everyone, we got ourselves 'nother -gate!

I can't believe they shipped this thing with this design flaw, especially since it's so easy to fix: just make the 'wrong' end of the stylus a little bit wider so you can't stick it in the wrong way et voilà, problem fixed.

Samsung's response is silly. They should've said "we're replacing all Note 5 styluses with a newer model that can't be inserted the wrong way around, and all damaged devices will be replaced free of charge".

And done.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Aug 2015 17:55 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Today the Contiki team announced the release of Contiki 3.0, the latest version of the open source IoT operating system! The 3.0 release is a huge step up from the 2.x branch and brings support for new and exciting hardware, a set of new network protocols, a bunch of improvements in the low-power mesh networking protocols, along with a large number of general stability improvements.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Aug 2015 17:54 UTC, submitted by JRepin
KDE

This release of Plasma brings many nice touches for our users such as much improved high DPI support, KRunner auto-completion and many new beautiful Breeze icons. It also lays the ground for the future with a tech preview of Wayland session available. We're shipping a few new components such as an Audio Volume Plasma Widget, monitor calibration tool and the User Manager tool comes out beta.

There's a video too.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Aug 2015 13:24 UTC
Apple

Over the last few days I've been testing an experimental content blocker called Crystal, which promises to speed up browsing on iOS. I've been particularly impressed by the results and taken aback by how much removing trackers, ads and other scripts makes a difference over a cellular connection.

The content blocker is a major selling point for iOS, in my opinion. On Android, this will always be a hack - third party tools, root, that sort of thing - and never properly integrated into the operating system, even though it should be.

Good move by Apple, and together with a lack of a decent Android headset out right now, it's pushing me towards an iPhone when my contract renewal is up in October.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Aug 2015 08:26 UTC
Windows

The level of Windows 10 paranoia reached new heights this week when reports suggested that Microsoft would wipe torrents and pirated software from people's hard drives. Nonsense, of course, but all the recent privacy concerns were enough to have the operating system banned from several torrent trackers.

Another creepy story here. Windows 10's privacy is turning into a headache for Microsoft. It won't be long now until prime time and daytime news shows start picking this stuff up, and blow it out of proportion - deserved or no.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Aug 2015 08:22 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

Ever since I wrote on Thursday about the Ashley Madison hack and resulting reactions and consequences, I've heard from dozens of people who used the site. They offer a remarkably wide range of reasons for having done so. I'm posting below one email I received that I find particularly illuminating, which I very lightly edited to correct a few obvious typographical errors.

It gets even worse than this email. There are gay men and women in countries where being gay is punishable by death, who were using this site to meet other gay men and women, in secret. This hack will out them, possibly leading to their death.

This hack and spreading of private information is just as bad as any other, similar hacks. Despicable as it is, cheating is not a crime, and even if it were, do we really want to live in a world with mob justice? And yes, the parent company in this particular case isn't exactly of clear conscience, but that's no reason to throw its users under the bus - or have them murdered by barbaric, mediaeval governments.

I know a lot of people like the world to be black and white, because it's simple, easy to understand, and doesn't strain the brain. Sadly for them, that's not how the world works.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Aug 2015 08:09 UTC
Google

What went unannounced was that most of the original team that built Now had departed, many of them just before I/O, according to multiple sources. Some had grown frustrated that the product, born within Android, was shuttered into search inside of Google, they said. And Sundar Pichai, Google's SVP and incoming CEO, did not prioritize the product as much as Page.

The exits reveal the hiccups Google has incubating new products that reach across multiple units of the tech giant. They also expose some key traits of Pichai's leadership style - and some of the many hurdles he has ahead as he marshals Google’s core business.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 23:34 UTC, submitted by toralux
Google

I didn't believe it would be possible at first, but after spending the better part of a week on Chrome 46 I'm blown away. Memory consumption seems to have halved, groggy slow tabs are snappier than ever and my battery life isn't shamefully bad anymore - also, my laptop's fans aren't constantly blowing.

It's going to take a lot of convincing to get me to switch from Safari back to Chrome on my MacBook Pro.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 23:30 UTC
Linux

For those who haven't kept up with bcache, the bcache codebase has been evolving/metastasizing into a full blown, general purpose posix filesystem - a modern COW filesystem with checksumming, compression, multiple devices, caching, and eventually snapshots and all kinds of other nifty features.

I'll admit I had to do a bit of reading to educate myself on what bcache actually is. Fascinating to see that it has evolved into a full-blown file system.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 23:28 UTC
Games

Twenty years ago, on August 21, 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in North America. The stilt-legged tabletop gaming console, which offered a unique red stereoscopic 3D display, attempted to ride a wave of popular interest in virtual reality. It was a risky, innovative gamble for Nintendo that didn't pay off, leaving many to wonder why it existed in the first place.

I vaguely recall the magazine talk of this thing (I was 9 at the time), but I never actually got to see one, let alone play one.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 22:21 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones

Today we are announcing some major upcoming changes to Firefox add-ons. Our add-on ecosystem has evolved through incremental, organic growth over the years, but there are some modernizations to Firefox that require some foundational changes to support.

Extensions play a central role in Firefox' appeal, so they have to be very careful with how they implement these changes.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 21:38 UTC
General Development

I spent a lot of time as a kid playing (generally, pretty terrible) games on my Game Boy. Having never written code for anything other than 'regular' general purpose computers before, I've been wondering recently: how easy is it to write a Game Boy (Advance) game?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 21:36 UTC
Windows

Microsoft released the third cumulative update to Windows 10 last week. But surprisingly, the supporting document associated with the patch - known as KB3081438 - was devoid of any information pertaining to what the update contained, except that "it includes improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10". This surprised many users of the OS, keeping in mind that Microsoft was forthcoming about the fixes in the previous two cumulative patches. The company has now offered an explanation regarding its policy of change logs regarding Windows 10 patches.

It seems like nobody is taking the time anymore to write proper changelogs. Application and even operating system updates are void of any accompanying info, so you have no idea what's new, changed, fixed, or improved.

A unwelcome development.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Aug 2015 13:03 UTC
Multimedia, AV

An ill-timed Spotify privacy policy update has generated an online backlash against the music streaming service just days after the messy Ashley Madison leak. With privacy firmly in the minds of internet users this week, Wired jumped straight on Spotify's new policy to brand it an "eerie" agreement "you can't do squat about."

My CDs never ask me to agree to a privacy policy.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Aug 2015 22:55 UTC
Android

Recent changes to the rules phone makers need to follow to get a Google approved version of Android have allowed for certain apps to no longer be mandatory. Google Play Games, Google Play Books, Google+ and Google Newsstand now join the ranks with Google Earth and Google Keep as apps that aren't a required part of the Google applications package. They are still in the Play Store, are still regularly updated and will work just as well for those of us who want them. And this is how things ought to be. In fact, we'd like to see even more Google apps get sent packing, but still be there in the Play store for those who want them.

Good. The less crapware - even stock crapware - on our phones, the better. I hope Apple follows in Google's footsteps, because iOS is accumulating a seizable amount of crapware too.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Aug 2015 21:05 UTC
Google

It turns out that when you make an unconventional phone that lets you swap out its core components, it can be hard to make that same phone stay put together - at least compared to today's smartphones. Google's Project Ara team has tweeted an explanation for why its pilot test plans were reworked and delayed: the current model wasn't faring well when dropped. "No more electropermanent magnets," the team tweeted.

That's what you get when you push the envelope.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Aug 2015 21:01 UTC
General Development

This release includes significant changes to the implementation. The compiler tool chain was translated from C to Go, removing the last vestiges of C code from the Go code base. The garbage collector was completely redesigned, yielding a dramatic reduction in garbage collection pause times. Related improvements to the scheduler allowed us to change the default GOMAXPROCS value (the number of concurrently executing goroutines) from 1 to the number of logical CPUs. Changes to the linker enable distributing Go packages as shared libraries to link into Go programs, and building Go packages into archives or shared libraries that may be linked into or loaded by C programs (design doc).

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Aug 2015 20:59 UTC
Android

Out of all the BlackBerry 'Venice' slider leaks thus far, none have really given us a full look at the keyboard on the upcoming device and that, of course, has left some folks skeptical of everything we've seen recently. Looking to end some of those doubts, @evleaks, has now posted up a follow-up to the first leaked render of the device that clearly shows off that glorious BlackBerry keyboard.

Instant buy if this comes out in time for my contract renewal in October. Finally a modern Android device with a hardware keyboard.