Install Windows the Arch Linux way

Installing Windows strictly through the Command Line is an important tool to have. If Windows changes the installer or out of box experience, you can bypass any changes with this guide!

I had no idea this was possible. I knew you could open up cmd.exe during installation and do certain things there, but I didn’t know you could perform the entire Windows installation this way. I’m not entirely sure what the use cases are, but it’s definitely a neat trick.

Raspberry Pi RP2040 becomes Palm OS PDA

The Raspberry Pi is known for its versatility and ability to run different operating systems but it seems that the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico can also run an OS. This impressive foray into the world of Palm PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) emulation on our favorite microcontroller comes from Dmitry Grinberg. They have shared an early demo of his platform known as rePalm in which he manages to run PalmOS on a Raspberry Pi Pico.

We mentioned Grinberg’s work before – this person is a Palm OS wizard, and the progress he’s making will prove invaluable once the remaining stock of Palm OS devices – half of which is in my office – starts breaking down.

Windows 11’s next update arrives on September 26th with Copilot, AI-powered Paint, and more

Microsoft will release its next big Windows 11 update on September 26th. The update will include the new AI-powered Windows Copilot feature, a redesigned File Explorer, a new Ink Anywhere feature for pen users, big improvements to the Paint app, and much more.

Windows Copilot is the headline feature for the Windows 11 23H2 update, bringing the same Bing Chat feature straight to the Windows 11 desktop. It appears as a sidebar in Windows 11, allowing you to control settings on a PC, launch apps, or simply answer queries. It’s integrated all over the operating system, too: Microsoft executives demoed using Copilot to write text messages using data from your calendar, navigation options in Outlook, and more.

Copilot feels like Clippy 3.0 – yes, 3.0, if you know your Microsoft history – and I have zero interest in any of it. I don’t want to be second-guessed or receive “helpful” advice from a glorified autocomplete that’s hogging both bandwith and CPU cycles that I’d much rather put to use somewhere else. I’m absolutely baffled by this weird obsession Microsoft has to shove “AI” into every nook and cranny of their products.

Am I just out of touch? If this what Windows users want?

Android 14 adds support for using smartphones as a webcams

When you plug an Android phone into a PC, you have the option to change the USB mode between file transfer/Android Auto (MTP), USB tethering (NCM), MIDI, or PTP. In Android 14, however, a new option can appear in USB Preferences: USB webcam. Selecting this option switches the USB mode to UVC (USB Video Class), provided the device supports it, turning your Android device into a standard USB webcam that other devices will recognize, including Windows, macOS, and Linux PCs, and possibly even other Android devices.

Webcam support in Android 14 is not enabled out of the box, however. In order to enable it, four things are required: a Linux kernel config needs to be enabled, the UVC device needs to be configured, the USB HAL needs to be updated, and a new system app needs to be preloaded.

iOS recently introduced this feature as well, and it makes a ton of sense for Android to go down the same path.

Intel Xeon MAX 9480 deep dive: 64GB HBM2e on board

Today we have something that has taken months to write, and we feel that the best we have done is to give a sense of what Intel’s coolest CPU is capable of. The Intel Xeon MAX 9480 combines 56 cores with memory on the package. The memory is not standard DDR5. Instead, it is 64GB of HBM2e, the same kind of memory found on many GPUs and AI accelerators today. What seemed like a straightforward review at the outset became absolutely fascinating, especially when we pulled all of the DDR5 memory from a system and watched it boot. Let us get to it.

Few of us will ever get to use one of these – especially since they’re specifically designed for a supercomputer – but maybe we’ll get lucky and they end up on eBay or AliExpress ten years from now.

Can browser choice screens be effective?

Mozilla has conducted one of the first – maybe even the first – studies into the effectiveness of browser choice screens, and they conclude:

This research showed that browser choice screens have the potential to be effective. Well designed browser choice screens can improve competition, giving people meaningful choice and improving people’s satisfaction and feelings of control. And they can do all of this without overburdening people or taking too much of their time. What’s more, people have strong preferences: it turns out they want the ability to choose their default browser (rather than being assigned one by the operating system/device manufacturer); they also want to pick from a wider range of browsers.

You can download the full report from Mozilla.

Today I learned this weird Windows keyboard shortcut opens LinkedIn

If you’re running Windows try holding down CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + WIN + L. Then watch in bemusement as LinkedIn opens in your default browser. Windows watcher Paul Thurrott posted this bizarre keyboard shortcut on X (Twitter), noting that it’s an operating system hotkey.

So why does Windows even have this? It’s all part of the Office key that Microsoft introduced on some of its own keyboards a few years ago. The Office key replaced the usual right-hand Windows key, offering up the ability to hold the key in combination with another one to quickly open Office apps.

Absolutely bizarre.

The funniest outcome of this is a joke feature request by KDE developers in the KDE bugzilla, demanding a shortcut key combination be added to KDE to open LinkedIn to achieve “feature parity” with Windows, which sparked a flurry of proposed “fixes” and additional feature requests – with this one definitely being my favourite.

Intel unveils Meteor Lake architecture: Intel 4 heralds the disaggregated future of mobile CPUs

During the opening keynote at Intel’s Innovation event in San Jose, Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger unveiled a score of details about the upcoming Meteor Lake client platform. Intel’s Meteor Lake marks the beginning of a new era for the chipmaker, as they move away from the chaotic Intel 7 node and go into a rollout of their Foveros 3D packaging with EUV lithography for their upcoming client mobile platform. Meteor Lake uses a tiled, disaggregated chiplet architecture for its client-centric processors for the first time, changing the very nature of Intel’s consumer chips going forward. And, according to Intel, all of these changes have allowed them to bring some significant advancements to the mobile market.

Intel’s first chiplet-based consumer CPU breaks up the common functions of a modern CPU into four individual tiles: compute, graphics, SoC, and an I/O tile. Within the makeup of the compute tile is a new pair of cores, a P-core named Redwood Cove and a new E-core called Crestmont. Both these cores promise IPC gains over their previous counterparts, but perhaps the most interesting inclusion is a new type of E-core embedded directly into the SoC tile, which Intel calls ‘Low Power Island.’ These new LP E-cores are designed with the idea that light workloads and processes can be taken off the more power-hungry compute tile and offloaded onto a more efficient and lower-powered tile altogether. Other major additions include a first-for-Intel Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which sits within the SoC tile and is designed to bring on-chip AI capabilities for workloads and inferencing, paving the way for the future.

With Meteor Lake, Intel is aiming to put themselves in a more competitive position within the mobile market, with notable improvements to compute core hierarchy, Intel’s Xe-LPG Arc-based graphics tile looking to bolster integrated graphics capabilities, and an NPU that adds various AI advantages. Meteor Lake also sets the scene for Intel and modular disaggregation, with Foveros 3D packaging set to become a mainstay of Intel’s processor roadmap for the future, with the Intel 4 process making its debut and acting as a stepping stone to what will become Intel’s next mainstay node throughout its fabs, Intel 3.

AnandTech takes its usual in-depth look at Intel’s upcoming Meteor Lake platform, which seems like it will be a rather radical shift for the company. It’s also the first generation whithout Intel’s Core ix naming scheme, so things might be a bit confusing for a while post-launch.

Long-term support for Linux kernel to be cut as maintainence remains under strain

Here’s one major change coming down the road: long-term support (LTS) for Linux kernels is being reduced from six to two years.


Why? Simple, Corbet explained: “There’s really no point to maintaining it for that long because people are not using them.” I agree. While I’m sure someone out there is still running 4.14 in a production Linux system, there can’t be many of them. 

Another reason, and a far bigger problem than simply maintaining LTS, according to Corbet, is that Linux code maintainers are burning out. It’s not that developers are a problem. The last few Linux releases have involved an average of more than 2,000 programmers — including about 200 new developers coming on board — working on each release. However, the maintainers — the people who check the code to see if it fits and works properly — are another matter.

The longer LTS support windows were put in place mostly for embedded devices, and as Ars Technica explains, it’s Android in particular that is affected by this change.

GNOME 45 released

The GNOME project is excited to present the latest GNOME release, version 45. For the new version we’ve focused on refining your daily interactions, enhancing performance, and making the overall experience smoother and more efficient. From subtle design tweaks to functional upgrades, GNOME 45 is all about refining the core desktop environment you rely on.

GNOME 45 comes with a new Activities indicator, which replaces the “Activities” button with workspaces indicator, letting you know at a glance which workspace you’re on. A lot of work has gone into improving search performance, and they’ve added an indicator to let you know when your camera is in use. The image viewer has been replaced by an entirely new application, and there’s a new camera application as well. Of course, this is just a small selection – there are countless improvements and fixes in all the core GNOME applications.

GNOME 45 will find its way to a distribution near you.

Microsoft is testing folders for the Recommended section in Windows 11’s Start menu

As it turned out, Microsoft is testing the idea of adding folders to the Recommended section in Windows 11’s Start menu, giving users access to more recently added applications and suggested files. The release notes do not mention the change, and enabling it requires a third-party app called ViVeTool.

I was forced to use Windows for a little while on a new laptop, and the current Start menu is an atrocious mess. Somehow I doubt adding folders to an already useless section of the Start menu is going to make it any less of a disaster.

New Huawei SoC features processor cores designed in-house

Four of the eight central processing units in the Mate 60 Pro’s “system on a chip” (SoC) rely purely on a design by Arm, the British company whose chip architecture powers 99 percent of smartphones.

The other four CPUs are Arm-based but feature Huawei’s own designs and adaptations, according to three people familiar with the Mate’s development and Geekerwan, a Chinese technology testing company that took a closer look at the main chip.

I could design my own processor cores too if had the means of a genocidal, totalitarian superpower.

Google Chrome will automatically play YouTube videos in PiP if you switch tabs

Google Chrome is getting a new feature that automatically plays YouTube and other videos in picture-in-picture mode (PiP) when you switch tabs or windows. Chrome’s new PiP feature is coming to desktops, including Windows 11, Windows 10, macOS and ChromeOS.

If you’re watching a video on Chrome and decide to hop over to another tab, the browser will automatically place your video into a handy Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode. This new feature is similar to the “Automatically turn on picture in picture for video sites” option in Microsoft Edge Canary.

This seems like another one of those “helpful” browser features you need to turn off because at random moments it’ll obscure part of the web page you’re looking at.

Who is asking for features like this?

Circles do not exist

However almost every “circle” you can see in printed media (and most purely digital ones) are not, in fact, circles. Why is this?

Since roughly the mid 80s all “high quality” print jobs have been done either in PostScript or, nowadays almost exclusively, in PDF. They use the same basic drawing model, which does not have a primitive for circles (or circle arcs). The only primitives they have are straight line segments, rectangles and Bézier curves. None of these can be used to express a circle accurately. You can only do an approximation of a circle but it is always slightly eccentric. The only way to create a proper circle is to have a raster image like the one above.

Shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? I’m sure nobody is using PDF for anything that would require the kind of precision needed for a perfect circle, like CAD drawings for laser cutters and similar machinery. Right?

Again one might ask whether this has any practical impact. For this case, again, probably not. But did you know that one of the cases PDF is being considered (and, based on Internet rumors, is already being used) is as an interchange format for CAD drawings? Now it suddenly starts mattering. If you have any component where getting a really accurate circle shape is vital (like pistons and their holes), suddenly all your components are slightly misshaped. Which would not be fun.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Java 21 released

Java 21 introduces the notion of sequenced collections, the Z Garbage Collector (ZGC) has been extended to maintain separate generations for young and old objects for improving Java app performance, virtual threads are now out of preview form, and the Windows 32-bit x86 port has been deprecated for removal.

Java 21 also brings some new preview features including string templates, the latest iteration on the foreign function and memory API, unnamed classes and instance main methods, scoped values, and structured concurrency.

You can find the GPL-licensed OpenJDK builds at the OpenJDK website, and the closed source builds from Oracle are also available.

Windows Subsystem for Linux September 2023 update

We know that WSL is used for a wide array of workflows and we want to help you get the best performance and quality experience from these workflows. That’s why we are introducing new features listed below as experimental features, so you can try them and provide us feedback and we will make the features you love as default! Here’s the summary of what we’re adding:

  • Added support for new opt-in experimental features
    • autoMemoryReclaim – Makes the WSL VM shrink in memory as you use it by reclaiming cached memory
    • Sparse VHD – Automatically shrinks the WSL virtual hard disk (VHD) as you use it
    • Mirrored mode networking – A new networking mode for WSL that adds new features and improves network compatibility
    • dnsTunneling – Changes how WSL resolves DNS requests to improve network compatibility
    • firewall – Applies Windows firewall rules to WSL, and allows for advanced firewall controls for the WSL VM
    • autoProxy – Makes WSL automatically use the proxy information from Windows to improve network compatibility

WSL isn’t exactly my cup of tea so I know relatively little about it, but I do know it’s quite popular. This looks like a big update with a ton of new features to play around with.

Stadia’s death was due to a ‘self-sustaining cycle’ of lacking games and players, lead says

In court documents from the FTC vs Microsoft case, Google Stadia’s former product lead Dov Zimring was called to discuss the cloud gaming platform and competition in the gaming space. This led to several comments on why Stadia couldn’t compete in the industry from Google’s own point-of-view.

Exactly what you expected: lack of players led to a lack of games, which led to an even bigger lack of players, and so on. What surprises me most is not that this happened – but the fact they were surprised by this? I mean, getting a foothold in the gaming industry is incredibly hard, and requires you to be 110% in, and for the long haul at that. You have to be in all the way for the long term – anything less and you might as well not even try.

I am baffled that nobody at Google was like – if we do this, we have to commit to at least ten years of perseverance, through lean times with few subscribers and massive investments and losses, only to recoup them later once the ball starts rolling. Consoles are sold at a loss for a reason.

Web apps are better than no apps

There’s a certain community in tech that’s very vocal about their preference toward native apps. I share that sentiment, yet sometimes people take this idea too religiously. Unfortunately, the actual choice is about having an app or not, and I’d rather take something over nothing.

I mean, sure, but that doesn’t negate the fact that web applications – or, more specifically, Electron and Electron-like applications – are just bad. Any time I see an Electron application offered, I instantly know the developers behind the project do not respect me as a user. They choose their own convenience over my experience as a user, and while that’s a perfectly valid choice they can make, it does mean I’m not going to use your service.