Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Dec 2018 21:20 UTC
Microsoft

At Build 2018, I outlined our approach to helping you be more productive when developing apps, including the introduction of .NET Core 3.0. We also started decoupling many parts of the Windows development platform, so you can adopt technologies incrementally. Today at Microsoft Connect(); 2018 Conference we shared the next steps - specifically to support innovations in UI:

  1. .NET Core 3.0 Preview 1 adds support for building client apps using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and XAML Islands.
  2. WPF, Windows Forms, and Windows UI XAML Library (WinUI) are now open source, so you can create experiences with the freedom you want.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Dec 2018 21:16 UTC
Google

Flutter, Google's UI toolkit for building mobile Android and iOS applications, hit its version 1.0 release today. In addition, Google also today announced a set of new third-party integrations with the likes of Square and others, as well as a couple of new features that make it easier to integrate Flutter with existing applications.

 



Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Dec 2018 01:33 UTC
Windows

Well, I sure didn't expect this kind of news to land in the middle of the night.

Microsoft's Edge web browser has seen little success since its debut on Windows 10 back in 2015. Built from the ground up with a new rendering engine known as EdgeHTML, Microsoft Edge was designed to be fast, lightweight, and secure, but launched with a plethora of issues which resulted in users rejecting it early on. Edge has since struggled to gain any traction, thanks to its continued instability and lack of mindshare, from users and web developers.

Because of this, I'm told that Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, a rendering engine first popularized by Google's Chrome browser. Codenamed Anaheim, this new web browser for Windows 10 will replace Edge as the default browser on the platform. It's unknown at this time if Anaheim will use the Edge brand or a new brand, or if the user interface between Edge and Anaheim is different. One thing is for sure, however; EdgeHTML is dead.

I use Edge, but not necessarily because of the rendering engine - I use it because of its proper Windows UI and snappy overall performance. If Microsoft can maintain those strong points while switching to Chromium, that's a plus in my book. It does raise concerns about the further consolidation of the web on Chromium (or Blink, more accurately) and WebKit, but since nobody used or cared about Edge anyway, I doubt this news has any real impact on this specific issue.

 

Linked by Daniel Nesbitt on Tue 4th Dec 2018 00:45 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Blueway Software Works (who purchased the intellectual property rights to PC/GEOS from the estate of Frank Fischer of Breadbox when he passed away) seems to have published the source code for PC/GEOS on their GitHub repository.

This repository is the official place to hold all the source code around the PC/GEOS graphical user interface and its sophisticated applications. It is the source to build SDK and release version of PC/GEOS. It is the place to collaborate on further developments.

While I can't ascertain the exact version that they have published, it looks like it contains all of the UI options/themes provided in Ensemble 2.0 onwards (i.e. Motif, OS/2 2.0 PM and Windows 95). It also looks like they have published the source code for all of the Breadbox titles (extra games and so on) that were sold separately. By the looks of it, they are also re-factoring the source to allow it to be compiled on Windows and Linux with more modern toolchains.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Dec 2018 00:39 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

A great article about a number of things that make Haiku (and BeOS) unique. There's a lot to cover here, so I'll just take a random sample to quote here:

Really, the first feature a new user will notice, before even noticing packages (which I covered first as they were new to the Beta) is the Be user interface. It manages to remain fundamentally true to itself, while also being quite powerful.

The BeOS user interface was one of my favourite user interfaces ever created. There was something unassuming, simple, and straightforward about it, and it always looked very appealing and attractive to me. The Haiku developers and designers have managed to modernize the visual aspects of the user interface very well, and thanks to their beautiful icons and light modernisations in every UI element in the operating system, it still looks really nice today.

I have enough experience in this industry to know that the odds of lots of application developers picking up Haiku to create useful applications re slim, at best, but I'm just going to ignore my own (justified) skepticism and keep hoping magic happens here.

On a related note, the latest Haiku monthly activity report is out, and details the work done since the release of the first beta.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Dec 2018 23:49 UTC
Amiga & AROS

A few months ago I watched "From Bedroom to Billions", it triggered some serious nostalgia and a lot of memories came flooding back. So on a whim, I decided to see if I could pick-up an Amiga on eBay to replay some of those old games that I loved as a child.

It turns out it's not too hard. There's a thriving community that still uses and loves the Amiga. There's also a fair number of people on eBay who refurbish and upgrade them with a 4GB memory card containing workbench and a bunch of software and games. This is very handy because, even if you did manage to buy the original games, there's no guarantee they will work due to the magnetic platters getting mouldy or damaged over the last 30 years. Yes, that's real life bit rot in action.

The market for older computers like these and associated modern expansion cards and add-ons to make using them a little less frustrating in modern times is actually a lot larger than most people seem to think, and anything from using SD cards as boot drives to things like ethernet and WiFi are often available as well. Even if you don't purchase these computers, it's still fun to browse sites like eBay to see what's on offer.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Dec 2018 23:36 UTC
3D News, GL, DirectX

NVIDIA is proud to announce PhysX SDK 4.0, available on December 20, 2018. The engine has been upgraded to provide industrial grade simulation quality at game simulation performance. In addition, PhysX SDK has gone open source, starting today with version 3.4! It is available under the simple 3-Clause BSD license. With access to the source code, developers can debug, customize and extend the PhysX SDK as they see fit.

I'm not well-versed enough in this area to gauge how big of a deal this news it, but regardless, it seems like a good contribution to the open source community.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Dec 2018 15:50 UTC
Microsoft

Microsoft is working closely with Intel on a new dual-screen Surface device powered by Windows Core OS that's similar to Intel's Copper Harbor prototype that was revealed earlier this year. Codenamed "Centaurus", this device is akin to Microsoft's canceled Courier project, which saw the company conceptualize the idea of a digital journal in 2010. Centaurus marks the second dual-screen device we believe Microsoft is currently working on internally, the first of which is codenamed "Andromeda."

Next year could be the year of dual-screen or even bendable screen devices. Microsoft has been exploring this for years now.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Dec 2018 15:27 UTC
3D News, GL, DirectX

The recent boom in artificial intelligence has produced impressive results in a somewhat surprising realm: the world of image and video generation. The latest example comes from chip designer Nvidia, which today published research showing how AI-generated visuals can be combined with a traditional video game engine. The result is a hybrid graphics system that could one day be used in video games, movies, and virtual reality.

Impressive technology. I can see how this will eventually make it a lot easier to generate graphics for 'realistic' games.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 1st Dec 2018 00:26 UTC
Legal

Samsung's latest bendable screen technology has been stolen and sold to two Chinese companies, according to prosecutors in South Korea.

The Suwon District Prosecutor's Office charged 11 people on Thursday with stealing tech secrets from Samsung (SSNLF), the office said in a statement.

The prosecutors allege that a Samsung supplier leaked blueprints of Samsung's "flexible OLED edge panel 3D lamination" to a company that it had set up. That company then sold the tech secrets to the Chinese firms for nearly $14 million, according to the prosecutors.

Samsung invested 130 million dollars and six years of work to develop this technology - only to have it stolen and sold to Chinese competitors. Crazy.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Nov 2018 23:52 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption

Internal Facebook documents seized by British lawmakers suggest that the social media giant once considered selling access to user data, according to extracts obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Back in April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told congress unequivocally that, "We do not sell data." But these documents suggest that it was something that the company internally considered doing between 2012 and 2014, while the company struggled to generate revenue after its IPO.

This just goes to show that no matter what promises a company makes, once the shareholders come knocking, they'll disregard all promises, morals, and values they claim to have.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Nov 2018 23:47 UTC
Internet & Networking

On Halloween this year I learned two scary things. The first is that a young toddler can go trick-or-treating in your apartment building and acquire a huge amount of candy. When they are this young they have no interest in the candy itself, so you are left having to eat it all yourself.

The second scary thing is that in the heart of the ubiquitous IMAP protocol lingers a ghost of the time before UTF-8. Its name is Modified UTF-7.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 30th Nov 2018 23:47 UTC
General Development

A major difference between Go 1 and Go 2 is who is going to influence the design and how decisions are made. Go 1 was a small team effort with modest outside influence; Go 2 will be much more community-driven. After almost 10 years of exposure, we have learned a lot about the language and libraries that we didn't know in the beginning, and that was only possible through feedback from the Go community.

The Go team s revealing some things about the future of the programming language.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Nov 2018 01:54 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

Over the last year, I have been slowly pushing patches upstream to Vagrant introducing native Haiku support. Vagrant is an open-source tool to build and maintain portable virtual development environments. Essentially, Vagrant lets you deploy and rapidly customize a Haiku virtual machine with programmatic scripts.

Since we now have a new stable release, I have prepared some updated R1/beta1 images to play with under an official Haiku, Inc. account.

If I understand this correctly, this is the easiest way to setup a Haiku development environment. As someone who intends to snag up a decent used laptop to fully dedicate to Haiku, I will do whatever I can - no matter how little - to entice people to create applications for Haiku.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Nov 2018 01:49 UTC
Android

Google’s Pixel phones are far from perfect, but they are getting better year by year. Despite various flaws, they remain some of our favorite phones on the market. However, with the Pixel 3, Google has made it abundantly clear that almost no one should ever buy one of its phones at launch.

Coincidentally, I just bought a new phone to replace my iPhone X, and while the Pixel devices are not available in The Netherlands (they are only available in like 4 countries), as a thought exercise, I did include the Pixel in my deliberations as to what phone to buy. And you know what? Aside from its exceptional camera, the Pixel phones don't really seem to offer any benefits over other Android phones, while still being quite expensive.

The only redeeming quality is updates, but since OnePlus has been excellent with Android updates, I opted to buy the OnePlus 6T, which also happens to be considerably cheaper, despite having pretty much the same specifications. Virtually every single review also noted that the 6T had superior performance to the Pixel 3, which seems to have considerable performance issues.

With devices like the 6T on the market, is there really any reason to buy a Pixel at all?

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Nov 2018 22:47 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

Today we are launching EC2 instances powered by Arm-based AWS Graviton Processors. Built around Arm cores and making extensive use of custom-built silicon, the A1 instances are optimized for performance and cost. They are a great fit for scale-out workloads where you can share the load across a group of smaller instances. This includes containerized microservices, web servers, development environments, and caching fleets.

Interesting to see Amazon design its own ARM core specifically for its own product.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Nov 2018 22:33 UTC
Games

For many people, the chance to make PS4 and Xbox games is a dream job - but the reality of working conditions in the video game industry can be six-day working weeks, 24-hour shifts and unrelenting stress. Sam Forsdick speaks to the employees who have experienced the dark side of the industry.

Nobody - from cleaner to programmer - should be working or should be expected to work these kinds of hours in these kinds of conditions. It's inhumane and should be illegal in any functioning modern society. This is barbaric.

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Nov 2018 00:19 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

IHK/McKernel is a light-weight multi kernel operating system designed specifically for high performance computing. It runs Linux and McKernel, a lightweight kernel (LWK), side-by-side on compute nodes primarily aiming at the followings:

  • Provide scalable and consistent execution of large-scale parallel applications and at the same time rapidly adapt to exotic hardware and new programming models
  • Provide efficient memory and device management so that resource contention and data movement are minimized at the system level
  • Eliminate OS noise by isolating OS services in Linux and provide jitter free execution on the LWK
  • Support the full POSIX/Linux APIs by selectively offloading system calls to Linux

 

Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Nov 2018 00:16 UTC
Legal

Yesterday the Supreme Court held a hearing in the case Apple Inc. v. Pepper. “Pepper” is Robert Pepper, an Apple customer who, along with three other plaintiffs, filed a class action lawsuit alleging that App Store customers have been overcharged for iOS apps, thanks to Apple’s 30% commission that Pepper alleges derives from Apple’s monopolistic control of the App Store.

There are three points to make about this case.

A great examination of the case by Ben Thompson.

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Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Nov 2018 20:51 UTC
General Development

In 2017 NASA announced a code optimization competition only to cancel it shortly after. The rules were simple. There is a Navier-Stokes equations solver used to model aerodynamics, and basically, the one who makes it run the fastest on the Pleiades supercomputer wins the first prize.

There were a few caveats though. The applicant had to be a US citizen at least 18 years of age, and the code to optimize had to be in Fortran.