Jailbreaking a Subaru QNX

Via Hackaday:

[Scott Gayou] has a Subaru, a car that has an all-in-one entertainment system head unit that is typical of what you’d find across a host of manufacturers. His account of jailbreaking it is a lengthy essay and a fascinating read for anyone. He starts with a serial port, then an SSH prompt for a root password, and a bit of searching to find it was made by Harman and that it runs the closed-source realtime OS QNX. From there he finds an official Subaru update, from which he can slowly peel away the layers and deduce the security mechanism. The write-up lays bare his techniques, for example at one point isolating the ARM assembler for a particular function and transplanting it bodily into his own code for investigation.

A very good account of this obscure jailbreaking adventure.

Intel says it will exit the 5G modem market

From The Verge:

Intel this evening said it has decided to leave the 5G mobile modem market to focus its efforts more on 4G and 5G modems for PCs, smart home devices, and its broader 5G infrastructure business. The announcement comes just hours after Apple and Qualcomm struck a surprise settlement in the two companies’ ongoing patent infringement and royalties dispute related to Apple’s use of Qualcomm modems in the iPhone.

It’s likely Intel’s decision here was what prompted Apple and Qualcomm’s decision to settle just as lawyers were presenting opening arguments at the latest courtroom trial that began just yesterday in Southern California.

I love it when things make sense.

Epic vs. Steam: the console war reimagined on the PC

There’s a war brewing in the video game industry, and it’s getting uglier by the day. Steam, the longtime leading digital distributor for the PC platform, is facing a significant challenge from an equally large and powerful player: Fortnite creator Epic Games, which launched its own PC games store last year. The ensuing competition has morphed into a console war-like debate for a modern generation of players who grew up under the unhindered dominance of Steam, a platform now facing its first real form of competition since it arrived on the scene nearly 15 years ago.

I’m glad we’re seeing more and more competition in this space. Steam is a hot mess, both the store and the application itself, and the more competition Valve has to deal with, the better. I’m tired of Valve approving every single garbage reskin “indie” title, leading to an endless stream of terrible “games” that makes it incredibly hard to find the few gems among the pile of feces, and I’m tired of the Steam client being a huge, slow behemoth of an application that regularly crumbles under its own sheer bloat (on Windows – let’s not even get started on the Linux and Mac versions).

Valve has had this market all to itself for far too long, and they’ve grown complacent. I welcome the competition from GOG, Epic, Humble, and all the others.

Apple, Qualcomm agree to drop all litigation

From the company’s joint press release (at either Apple’s or Qualcomm’s website):

Qualcomm and Apple today announced an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm. The companies also have reached a six-year license agreement, effective as of April 1, 2019, including a two-year option to extend, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

And just like that, one of the possibly most expensive lawsuits in technology is a thing of the past.

Google comes under fire for sabotaging other browsers once again

It’s no secret that Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and while a lot of that might be owed to its quality, some believe that Google intentionally sabotaged competing browsers in order to grow in popularity. A former Mozilla executive has lashed out at the Mountain View company for repeatedly and continuously finding less-than-desirable ways to promote its own browser.

Jonathan Nightingale posted a series of tweets over the weekend, detailing some of the events that took place between Google and Mozilla over the years. Nightingale starts by pointing out that Google typically played nice with Mozilla before Chrome was a thing, but things turned sour once Google’s browser launched. While the company kept trying to convince Mozilla that both organizations were on the same side, things would often break in Firefox for no real reason.

This is really not that surprising. The only reason Google plays nice with Mozilla is the same reason Microsoft invested in Apple in the late ’90s and kept its products available on Mac OS despite the fact the Mac was basically dead: they need an antitrust lightning rod.

Netherlands competition authority launches investigation into abuse of dominance by Apple in its App Store

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will investigate whether Apple abuses the position it has attained with its App Store. ACM will do so following indications that ACM has received from other app providers over the course of its market study into app stores. That market study has been published today.

Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: ‘To a large degree, app providers depend on Apple and Google for offering apps to users. In the market study, ACM has received indications from app providers, which seem to indicate that Apple abuses its position in the App Store. That is why ACM sees sufficient reason for launching a follow-up investigation, on the basis of competition law.’

This will be a long, protracted legal battle – in multiple European countries.

iOS 13: dark mode, detachable panels, Safari and Mail upgrades, undo gesture, volume HUD, more

9to5Mac has a long list of features that are coming to iOS 10.3. The biggest change is definitely multiwindow on the iPad, which iOS sorely needs.

There are many changes coming to iPad with iOS 13, including the ability for apps to have multiple windows. Each window will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen, but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely, similar to what an open-source project called “PanelKit” could do.

These cards can also be stacked on top of each other, and use a depth effect to indicate which cards are on top and which are on the bottom. Cards can be flung away to dismiss them.

This definitely will make iOS a far more mature and capable operating system, and I can’t wait to try this out on my iPad Pro. All it needs now is proper mouse support, and we got ourselves a proper operating system.

The first picture of a black hole made Katie Bouman an overnight celebrity. Then internet trolls descended.

Katie Bouman, a researcher who helped create the first image of a black hole, quickly gained internet fame Thursday for her role in the project after a photo of her went viral.

But internet trolls soon followed, questioning Bouman’s work and floating false claims that she did not have much of a role in the project. Colleagues rallied to her defense, but the situation highlighted the vitriol that women continue to face on the internet, and the continued vulnerability of major internet platforms to trolling campaigns.

Isn’t it funny how it’s always men?

Game Boy CPU manual

This document was designed to help you programming the Game Boy Classic, Game Boy Pocket, Super Game Boy and Game Boy Color (basics – you will need additionaldocuments for GBC specific programming). It was ment to be a complete handbook to start right off coding forthe hardware. The documents consists of three major parts.

The first is the ‘GBSpec.txt’ (also known as the Pan Document) by Pan of Anthrox, Marat Fayzullin, Pascal Felber, Paul Robson, Martin Korth, kOOPa. This will be found in paragraph 1.

The second is a mixture of several documents from ‘Game Boy Assembly Language Primer (GALP) V1.0’ by GABY (GAmeBoY). It contains opcodes, time duration and the affected flags per ASM command and the. This can befound in paragraph 2.

The third is a summary of specifications and commands for Nintendo Super Game Boy speciffic programming bykOOPa and Bowser. See paragraph 3.

Some light reading to kick off the week.

Gmail making email more secure with MTA-STS standard

We’re excited to announce that Gmail will become the first major email provider to follow the new SMTP MTA Strict Transport Security (MTA-STS) RFC 8461 and SMTP TLS Reporting RFC 8460 internet standards. Those new email security standards are the result of three years of collaboration within IETF, with contributions from Google and other large email providers.

Google hopes other email services will also adopt these new security standards.

You no longer need to use Safely Remove Hardware when removing a USB drive on Windows 10

From a Microsoft support document (as discovered by Neowin):

Windows defines two main policies, Quick removal and Better performance, that control how the system interacts with external storage devices such as USB thumb drives or Thunderbolt-enabled external drives. Beginning in Windows 10 version 1809, the default policy is Quick removal.

In earlier versions of Windows the default policy was Better performance.

What this means is that starting with Windows 10 version 1809, you no longer need to use the Safely Remove Hardware process when removing a USB drive, because there’s no longer any write operation caching going on. You can still change this policy if you want to.

Video of Apple’s W.A.L.T. in action

SonnyDickson.com has footage of a very unique Apple prototype device.

There has been a lot said about Apple’s development of the iPhone, and the history and inspiration behind the device – such as this notable 1983 concept of a “Telephone Mac”. One of the most notable examples of this is Apple’s lesser known desk phone known as the W.A.L.T. (Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone).

The W.A.L.T., which was announced at MacWorld 1983, was never released to the public, and only a very small handful of prototypes were ever constructed for the device. One of the few known samples of this was sold on eBay for $8,000 back in 2012. It was even prototyped in both “classic Mac” color and a somewhat more “business looking” dark gray color.

The device is basically a special PowerBook 100 in a unique, custom case, with a touchscreen, running a special version of System 6. Awesome to see this rare device in working order.

The Windows 10 May 2019 Update RTM build is now available in the Release Preview ring

Today, Microsoft announced that it’s releasing the May 2019 Update to the Release Preview ring, and it’s available now. In order to sign up, you’ll need to go to the Windows Insider Program tab, click ‘Get started’, and choose the option for ‘Just fixes, apps, and drivers’. After your PC reboots, you’ll need to check for updates, as it’s only being offered to ‘seekers’ right now.

The build that you’ll get is build 18362.30, and that’s the release candidate for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. It’s possible that there will be cumulative updates between now and when it’s released next month, but the major build number should stay at 18362, unless there are some real dealbreakers that are found.

I tried to install this latest update, but I was confronted by a most unhelpful dialog. After working so much on my Linux laptop lately, where there’s almost always an easy way to figure out why something’s going wrong and fix it, it starts dawning on you just how incredibly infuriating it is when you run into such unhelpful, user-hostile dialogs.

Why I don’t care about CPU architecture: my emotional journey

When OSNews covered the RISC V architecture recently, I was struck by my own lack of excitement. I looked into it, and the project looks intriguing, but it didn’t move me on an emotional level like a new CPU architecture development would have done many years ago. I think it’s due to a change in myself, as I have got older. When I first got into computers, in the early 80s, there was a vibrant environment of competing designs with different approaches. This tended to foster an interest, in the enthusiast, in what was inside the box, including the CPU architecture. Jump forwards to the current era, and the computer market is largely homogenized to a single approach for each class of computing device, and this means that there is less to get excited about in terms of CPU architectures in general. I want to look at what brought about this change in myself, and maybe these thoughts will resonate with some of you.

US Congress is about to ban the government from offering free online tax filing

Just in time for Tax Day, the for-profit tax preparation industry is about to realize one of its long-sought goals. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are moving to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system.

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., passed the Taxpayer First Act, a wide-ranging bill making several administrative changes to the IRS that is sponsored by Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Mike Kelly, R-Pa.

In one of its provisions, the bill makes it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system of tax filing. Companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block have lobbied for years to block the IRS from creating such a system. If the tax agency created its own program, which would be similar to programs other developed countries have, it would threaten the industry’s profits.

This is straight-up corruption.

Reasons to abandon Windows for Linux

Had enough of Windows 10’s hassles? Unless you plan to install Windows 7, which is going to lose support from Microsoft on January 14, 2020, or have the cash to spare for an Apple device, there aren’t many other options for a computer operating system except some flavor of Linux.

Although you can expect a learning curve when changing platforms, Windows users who are curious about the state of Linux for mainstream computing might come away surprisingly satisfied after finding a suitable distribution for their machine and spending time getting familiar with the new environment.

Here are five-plus reasons why you could easily wind up preferring Linux instead of Windows as the default operating system on your desktop or laptop.

Regardless of any preferences you think you might have, assuming you have the means to do so, it is always a good idea set some time apart every now and then and take a good look at the system you’re using, possible alternatives, and how difficult it would be to switch. This fosters the kind of thinking that prevents you from being locked into a platform or ecosystem too easily.

How to improve MacBook Pro performance and thermals

From personal experience, I am aware that heat issues on laptops are often caused by a poor application of the stock thermal paste (also known as “thermal interface material” or TIM), provided that the cooling system is functioning. The reason is simple: the thermal paste – as the name suggests – is supposed to facilitate the transfer of the heat from the CPU/GPU to the heatsink. This only works efficiently, though, if a very thin layer of thermal paste is applied between CPU and heatsink in such a way that minimises the chance of creating “air bubbles” (air has a bad thermal conductivity). So the problem is that very often, the stock thermal paste is applied in factories in ridiculously large amounts, that often spread out of the die of the CPU and that most certainly achieve the opposite effect by slowing down, instead of facilitating, the transfer of heat from CPU to heatsink. Sadly, Apple doesn’t seem to be any different from other manufacturers from this point of view, despite the higher prices and the generally wonderful design and construction quality. Plus, often the stock thermal paste used by some manufacturers is quite cheap, and not based on some very efficient thermally conductive material.

This is a very common problem, and one that is actually fairly easily rectified if you have even a modicum of understanding of how a screwdriver works. I’m planning on replacing the stick thermal paste on my XPS 13 9370 just to see if it will make a difference. I run Linux on it – KDE Neon – and Linux is slightly less efficient at decoding video than Windows, causing more fan spin-up. There’s a very real chance replacing the thermal paste will give me just enough thermal headroom to address this issue.

Microsoft Chromium-based Edge preview builds available

In December, we announced our intention to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Our goal is to work with the larger Chromium open source community to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers.

Today we’re embarking on the next step in this journey – our first Canary and Developer builds are ready for download on Windows 10 PCs. Canary builds are preview builds that will be updated daily, while Developer builds are preview builds that will be updated weekly. Beta builds will come online in the future. Support for Mac and all supported versions of Windows will also come over time.

At this point, the builds really do feel like Chrome with some UI modifications, so I don’t see any reason other than curiosity and developer prep to use these builds. Still, I’m keeping it installed to keep up with the progress, but at the same time, I’m surprised it doesn’t seem to update through the Microsoft Store, instead opting for its own update mechanism.

These are the kinds of tiny details they ought to sweat, because the one advantage these application stores do have is centralised updating (like Linux systemshave had for ages).