Adam Scheinberg Archive

NetBSD Gains Hardware Accelerated Virtualization

NetBSD, the highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system known for its platform diversity, has gained hardware-accelerated virtualization support via an improved NetBSD Virtual Machine Monitor (NVMM). A virtualization API is provided in libnvmm, that allows to easily create and manage virtual machines via NVMM. It’s always nice to see the major BSD distributions gain expanded hardware and software support. It will come as no surprise to anyone that we believe that competition is always a good thing when it comes to operating systems.

Review: Commander One Finder Alternative

For all of the strengths of OS X, two of the complaints recycled year after year are the aged filesystem, HFS+, with its lack of file integrity, and the file manager, the Finder. While replacing HFS+ remains out of our reach, an alternative to the Finder for day-to-day tasks has been achievable for some time. Enter "Commander One," a dual-pane file manager that seeks to fill in the holes that the Finder has famously left. Let's dig in and see what Commander One has to offer.

Why I’m making the jump to Android, one year later

In June of last year, I finally decided to commit to an Android device. I had carried every flagship iPhone up through that point from the original iPhone to the 5S. To the world around me, I heaped the praise into a life transforming device, but in my tech circles, and on my blog, I frequently posted about my frustration, mostly with shackles and intentional limitations imposed. So last year, why I decided to make the jump to Android. I outlined 10 reasons why I was finally ready to make the jump to Android’s 4.4 release, KitKat. A year has passed. It's time to revisit my original assertions and complaints with some follow up and see where I stand one year later.

Amazon announces Fire Phone

At long last, Amazon.com has entered the mobile phone market, as expected. The impressively spec'ed "Fire Phone" stacks up with a 4.7" Gorilla Glass display, a 2.2Ghz CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a 13 Megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture, certainly very competitive with today's Android flagships. Amazon has, quite wisely, included a number of hardware and software features and services that set it apart from the competition. The Fire Phone also boasts unlimited cloud storage of photos.

The Fire Phone has stereo speakers and a hardware camera button that help it stand out from the crowd. Prime customers? You all get the motherlode of content, so you'll be testing those speakers with access to a million songs recently made available via Amazon Prime Music. And if you're not a Prime member? Gotcha covered! You get one year of Prime for free (existing Prime users are extended a year).

Amazon has included their now-trademark Mayday Button, which provides 24/7 support. While this may seem unnecessary, take for example iOS 8, where there are literally dozens of new features to potentially confuse a user, or Android, where major version jumps change the entire UI of the phone. A dedicated support mechanism is a novel and likely welcome addition to the smart phone lineup.

A new service called Firefly that, much like Shazam, can not only listen, but "see." Optical recognition can help you identify (and subsequently purchase) books, TV shows, movies, games, music, and products. And the best part? There's an API for third parties to tie into it. This is going to be a very interesting feature.

Dynamic Perspective is billed by Amazon as "A custom-designed sensor system that responds to how you hold, view, and move your phone." It looks pretty amazing, and appears to give you not only standard gyroscopic control, but also a unique Z-axis subject distance, making for some very interesting effects and system responses to twisting, tilting, and peeking. You can read more about this feature and get the SDK on the Fire Phone developer's page.

The Fire Phone is available today for pre-order and is exclusive to AT&T, where it is free with AT&T Next, $199 on contract, or $649 off-contract.

Why I’m making the jump to Android

I am taking the plunge and moving from an iPhone to an Android device. I've been waiting a long time for Android to get to the point that it was fast and responsive enough, with a big enough application warehouse, wide enough support, and a smooth enough experience, to support me. Android is maturing with a consistent, system-wide look-and-feel, almost every major service now has an Android app as the counterpart to its iOS-first experience, and has a bright future with wearables, home automation, and more.

I certainly won't be the first person to change ecosystems entirely. Several have done it before, some looking for change or claim freedom, some aiming to save money, some because someone prompted them, some think they may be conforming by going with the ever-stylish Apple. I am doing it for this reason: for me, Android is now a better platform than iOS.

Introducing Short URLs

With the rise of microblogging services like Twitter and Identi.ca, the length of URLs has been the subject of much discussion. Some research has even suggested that long URLs cost us significant dollars, and that by shortening URLs, one could realize significant cost savings in bandwidth. As such, today, we're unveiling OSNe.ws, our own short URL service. OSNe.ws links are currently peppered throughout the site: you can view them by hovering over any news item, any conversation, or at the end of any story via the "Tweet this!" link. Note that these links are 301 redirected to the appropriate OSNews.com page, there is no actual content living on OSNe.ws. We hope you enjoy this new service and that it encourages you to share our links more readily. Update by AS: Because everyone seems to be so focused on the "bandwidth savings" of links, let me be very clear: the new URLs are only for your convenience and saving characters in sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Identica where you're limited on characters.

OSNews Goes Open Source

We here at OSNews take open source software seriously. That's why, today, we're making our site's source code available to the public. While some sites have inline SQL statements, embedded passwords, afterthought modules, and sensitive data embedded into their pages, at OSNews, we have a strict system that employs no hacks whatsoever to extend functionality. This is why our site rarely changes look-and-feel and rolls out new features slowly, only after they've been rigorously tested. This code is offered under the BSD license: feel free to use it as you wish! So, today, we're proud to offer you the code that powers OSNews.com. Be sure to start with the README file to get started! Enjoy responsibly.

Editorial: Is Steve Jobs’ Health Fair Game?

The subject of Apple CEO (and Messiah) Steve Jobs has been in the news quite a bit lately. It's nearly making me sick, the nonstop debate -- not about his health, but rather, about whether or not it's okay to discuss his health in the first place. I'm here to tell you: it's perfectly fine. Long ago, Steve Jobs forfeited his right to any privacy on this matter. Read on and I'll tell you why.

Apple Winning Over Businesses with iPhone

"Apple has shown terrific growth over the past decade after virtually collapsing in the early 90s. However, one segment that it has never really been able to win back is the business sector. Not since the days of Apple IIe's or further back has Apple really enjoyed strong business adoption. And the business sector, consisting of everything from business laptops, to servers and business phones, is a huge revenue source so this was a big loss for Apple. However, Apple's hottest gadget, the iPhone is finally starting to win Apple a following in the business community."

What’s up with the GNOME Linux Desktop?

Seems that both Motorola and Google have interest in seeing the Linux mobile footprint evolve. With a combined contribution of $20,000, they are focusing on major changes for GNOME 3. "It will be more than a tweak," Stormy Peters stated. "It will be the whole user experience, from the look and feel, to how files are managed to how it syncs with your mobile phone -- really the whole package. It will be very much a change for users and how they use their computers."

The Xiph.Org Foundation Announces Theora 1.0

Theora is a video codec with a small CPU footprint that offers easy portability and requires no patent royalties. While the Theora bitstream format was standardized in 2004 and our beta releases have been used by millions, this 1.0 release is an important milestone reflecting the maturity and stability of the Theora codebase. A number of leading multimedia web groups already support Theora. Upcoming releases of Mozilla Firefox, the world's most popular open source browser, will support Theora natively, as will releases of the multi-platform Opera browser. Top-10 website Wikipedia uses Theora for all of its video.

Microsoft Announces Windows Azure Cloud Services

Microsoft today announced Windows Azure, a cloud services platform. According to the website, "Windows Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft data centers."

Interview with Horde Lead Developer Jan Schneider

Are you looking for an open source, Web-based e-mail and groupware suite with its own development framework, Ajax interface, more than 50 applications, an active developer community, and millions of end users all over the world? The Horde communication and collaboration suite may not be as well known as the big name commercial offerings, but according to lead developer and release manager Jan Schneider it has just as much to offer, and more.