David Adams Archive

Daringfireball on Google’s App Aesthetic

As Google’s new “material” design language evolves, it’s very clearly heading in a different direction than iOS. Talking about flatness is simply too superficial to be a useful discussion. Superficially, iOS and Android seemingly converged toward flatness (and Windows Phone, of course, was there already), but once you get past those surface similarities, all three mobile platforms are evolving in noticeably different ways.

GCHQ: Silicon Valley is Terrorist “Command and Control” Network

The new head of GCHQ , Robert Hannigan, has spoken out strongly against American Internet companies. The BBC reports: "His concerns appear to be twofold. Firstly the fact that militant organisations such as Islamic State (IS) are using Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to promote themselves and the increasing sophistication that extremists are showing in their use of such platforms. And secondly he is not happy about pledges from Microsoft, Google, Apple and Yahoo to make encryption a default option to protect users from government snooping."

David Pogue’s Android Lollipop Review

Lollipop is out, though, of course, the only way to get it now is to buy a new device that supports it. And, according to Pogue, disappointment for people who like upgrading their OSes is only one of the ways that the new Android disappoints. It's flat. Perhaps too flat, and guilty of a myriad of user experience sins. But it's also chock full of new, improved, and useful features, many of which were cribbed from inspired by other platforms, like battery saver, do not disturb, new unlocking, phone to phone transfer, user accounts.

Serious OS X Yosemite Vulnerability Discovered

Emil Kvarnhammar, a hacker at Swedish security firm Truesec, calls the vulnerability "rootpipe" and has explained how he found it and how you can protect against it. It's a so-called privilege escalation vulnerability, which means that even without a password an attacker could gain the highest level of access on a machine, known as root access. From there, the attacker has full control of the system. It affects the newest OS X release, version 10.10, known as Yosemite. Apple hasn't fixed the flaw yet, he says, so Truesec won't provide details yet of how it works.

Amiga fun with IcAROS Desktop 2.0

The highly anticipated version 2.0 of AROS distribution Icaros Desktop is now available for download. AROS is now an almost-20-years old open source attempt to rewrite the original AmigaOS 3.x operating system from Commodore, starting with its API documentation. Icaros Desktop extends AROS features with many 3rd party programs and libraries, providing a full preconfigured environment to allow modern tasks. In this new version, which has been released 2 years after the latest one, AROS' Workbench clone "Wanderer" can be replaced by x86-native port of DirectoryOpus 5 Magellan, which has been configured to act like a modern GUI, old Amiga programs can run in a more polished emulation layer (AmiBridge) which does not require original Amiga ROMs and Operating System, and whole AROS system files have been replaced with a newer branch, which also includes a new, faster and more reliable TLSF memory manager. For full size screenshots and downloads, you can follow this link.

Xiaomi: World’s #3 Handset Manufacturer?

China’s Xiaomi only sells its smartphones and other devices in a handful of markets… but they’re big markets with large populations including China and India. So even though you can’t easily buy a Xiaomi phone in the US or Europe, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that the company is selling a lot of phones. In fact, with Xiaomi shipping 18 million phones in the third quarter of 2014, two different reports suggest the company just became the third biggest smartphone company in the world.

eComStation, OS/2 Warp and WarpStock

The Warpstock annual conference was held on Oct 24 to 26 on St. Louis, Missouri. These conferences are related to the OS/2 and eComStation platform. Currently there are two reviews of the event online at OS2World and at WarpCity2 blog. Between the relevant news there is a new company called "Arca Noae" that will focus on software development for the platform. They are working on ACPI, USB, Network and other drivers for the platform. Additionally Mensys also gave some light why there haven't been activity on the last year. Arca Noae announced driver releases and software subscription products for the users of this platform.

Microsoft Band: A wearable device with support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

It's got a built-in GPS, so you can wear in around and don't have to take your phone. It's svelte and stylish. The display is small (keeping the device small) but it's high resolution and touchscreen. In addition to all the standard quantified self stuff, it supports mail, messaging, calendar, and alerts. It costs $199, and it's on sale now (for preorder). Most importantly, you can load it with Starbucks credit and use it to pay for lattes. Looks like a winner.

Windows Update Bricking Counterfeit USB Dongles

The FTDI FT232 chip is found in thousands of electronic baubles, from Arduinos to test equipment, and more than a few bits of consumer electronics. It’s a simple chip, converting USB to a serial port, but very useful and probably one of the most cloned pieces of silicon on Earth. Thanks to a recent Windows update, all those fake FTDI chips are at risk of being bricked. This isn’t a case where fake FTDI chips won’t work if plugged into a machine running the newest FTDI driver; the latest driver bricks the fake chips, rendering them inoperable with any computer.

Visopsys 0.75 Released

Visopsys is an alternative OS for PC-compatibles. Version 0.75 is the third update this year, and is particularly focused on hardware, adding USB 3.0 (XHCI) and APIC interrupt controller support, as well as improved USB 2.0 and hub support. Downloads are available from here, and details are available in the change log