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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago

Reuters: Samsung approaches BlackBerry about buyout - source

Wednesday 14th of January 2015 09:20:02 PM
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd recently approached BlackBerry Ltd about buying the company for as much as $7.5 billion, looking to gain access to its patent portfolio, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters. South Korea's Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, which represents a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry's current trading price, the source said. Executives from the two companies, which are working with advisers, met last week to discuss a potential transaction, the source said, asking not to be identified because the conversations are private. Big news, if true.

'To beat the iPhone, you have to beat the iPhone's camera'

Wednesday 14th of January 2015 08:44:50 PM
For a show overrun with various visions of smart drones and smarter homes for the future, the present of CES was remarkably uniform. I saw more iPhones in the hands of CES attendees than I did Android phones across the countless exhibitor booths. From the biggest keynote event to the smallest stall on the show floor, everything was being documented with Apple's latest smartphone, and it all looked so irritatingly easy. I don't want an iPhone, but dammit, I want the effortlessness of the iPhone's camera. I really don't give a rat's bum about my phone's camera (does it take pictures? Yes? Okay I'm good), so I'm about as interested in this as watching grass grow, but it's a consistent iPhone strong point according to iOS and Android users alike. Since I like science: are there any proper tests concerning this?

This is Google's latest Project Ara prototype

Wednesday 14th of January 2015 08:34:00 PM
Google's Project Ara modular smartphone project is arriving soon, at least if you're in Puerto Rico. At its Project Ara Module Developers Conference today, Google said that it plans to launch a pilot in Puerto Rico in the second half of this year, selling phone chassis and modules through local carrier partners, as well as through a fleet of small trucks. I like this project. I have no idea if it's going anywhere, but at least someone is having the guts to try and experiment with new and/or different ideas. That's science, and that's how we move forward.

Windows Phone getting even cheaper with two new phones

Wednesday 14th of January 2015 08:30:11 PM
While one phone is a member of a new 400 series, and the other is a 500 series device, the two handsets are far more similar than they are different. Both use 1.2GHz Snapdragon processors; dual-core in the 435, quad-core in the 532. Both have 4-inch 800×480 screens, with the 532 supporting the Glance feature found on many other Lumias. Both have 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, and both support microSD cards up to 128GB. Both are 3G devices supporting up to 42Mbps HSDPA. Both have VGA-quality front-facing cameras. The biggest practical difference is in the rear-facing cameras: 2MP fixed focus on the 435, 5MP fixed focus on the 532. These are basically the Nokia X devices, but with Windows Phone. They look very interesting and tempting, but I'm not exactly comfortable running Windows Phone on hardware this low-end; the operating system and its core applications will work fine, but most non-core Microsoft and third party applications are slow even on higher-end hardware, so I shiver at the thought of how they run on this hardware.

A comparative introduction to FreeBSD for Linux users

Wednesday 14th of January 2015 08:27:17 PM
This series will show you how to get started with a FreeBSD cloud server. The first article will explain some of the differences between Linux and FreeBSD. The tutorials that follow cover the basics of FreeBSD security, maintenance, and software installation. If you are new to FreeBSD, this series will help you get up and running quickly. I'm sure many die-hard FreeBSD users will find this series of article pointless, but I think it's an interesting and useful introduction to the platform.

Samsung releases its first Tizen phone again

Wednesday 14th of January 2015 05:09:03 PM
Samsung seems to have finally really honestly for realsies released its first Tizen phone. In terms of the hardware, the Z1 comes with a 4-inch WVGA TFT display, 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 768MB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, microSD card slot up to 64 GB, 3.1 MP camera at the back, VGA front shooter, dual-SIM connectivity, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and a 1,500 mAh battery. The device is certainly underwhelming when it comes to the spec sheet, but Samsung claims that the "lightweight" Tizen OS would run without any issues on the hardware on offer. With the Z1, Samsung is looking to lure in customers with attractive content deals. Remember - hope springs eternal.

Microsoft BASIC for 6502 original source code from 1978

Tuesday 13th of January 2015 11:15:05 PM
This is the original 1978 source code of Microsoft BASIC for 6502 with all original comments, documentation and easter eggs: [...] Given all this, it is safe to assume the file with the Microsoft BASIC for 6502 source originated at Apple, and was given to David Craig together with the other source be published. Which, coincidentally, makes it quite illegal, since this code is being published without Microsoft's or Bill Gates' permission. Still, a very interesting look at a very crucial bit of code - at least, from an industry perspective.

Is Google lost? A reflection on Android navigation

Tuesday 13th of January 2015 11:08:59 PM
I remember my first Android device, and how it differed to the ones I have now in one major point: navigation keys. My old Motorola XT316 (a mid-range phone for Latin American markets) came with Froyo 2.2 and featured 4 TFT capacitive navigation keys: menu, home, back, and the long gone "search". Android phones have come a long way since that OS, and since the early days of archaic UI design and choppy performance. Now we have the most beautiful and smoothest Android, and arguably one of the best Operating Systems... But there's something that I really think has not improved all that much despite all the optimizations, and that is navigation. While there's always room for improvement, I do think Android has much, much bigger problems than this, like, you know, updates?

Why DNS in OS X 10.10 is broken, and how to fix it

Tuesday 13th of January 2015 11:40:29 AM
For 12 years, the mDNSResponder service managed a surprisingly large part of our Mac's networking, and it managed this task well. But as of OS X 10.10, the mDNSResponder has been replaced with discoveryd, which does the same thing. Mostly. Some of the bugs in Yosemite discussed in an article linked last week seem to have origins in moving from mDNSResponder to discoveryd. Here is an explanation of what specifically is not working, and how to fix it. However, it is not for the faint of heart: you can potentially leave your Apple in an unbootable state, and who knows what will happen when an update is installed.

CyanogenMod for Android One

Tuesday 13th of January 2015 11:37:56 AM
Android One represents Google's attempt at reaching "the next billion users" - starting today, CyanogenMod 11 (KitKat) builds are available for the 'sprout' devices. As the devices are currently setup for CM11 only (work on CM12 is in progress) these builds will trickle once a week, every Sunday. This release represents a few firsts for us. Not only are these the first Android One devices and first official release of CM for these devices, the Android One device is the first ever officially supported Mediatek device. Mediatek (MTK) devices have been notoriously difficult for the developer community to complete fully functional bring-ups, and this marks a milestone in that effort. Hopefully this also means good news for other Mediatek devices.

What happens when you install the top 10 Download.com apps

Tuesday 13th of January 2015 11:35:46 AM
We installed the top 10 apps from Download.com, and you'll never believe what happened! Well... I guess maybe you might have a good guess. Awful things. Awful things are what happens. Join us for the fun! Braver women and men than I.

The 8080 at 40: what's next for the mighty microprocessor?

Monday 12th of January 2015 08:15:11 PM
It came out in 1974 and was the basis of the MITS Altair 8800, for which two guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote BASIC, and millions of people began to realize that they, too, could have their very own, personal, computer. Now, some 40 years after the debut of the Intel 8080 microprocessor, the industry can point to direct descendants of the chip that are astronomically more powerful. So what's in store for the next four decades? Forty years old. The industry and technology sure have changed since then.

Supreme Court asks DOJ to weigh in on Google-Oracle

Monday 12th of January 2015 08:11:36 PM
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Obama administration for its views on an appeals court's conclusion that Oracle's Java application programming interfaces are protected by copyright. The move (PDF) by the justices indicates that the high court is interested in the hotly contested intellectual property dispute. But whether the Supreme Court will enter the legal thicket won't be announced until after the administration responds in the coming months. Yes, this Oracle idiocy is still a thing.

UK prime minister Cameron wants to ban encrypted communication

Monday 12th of January 2015 08:07:07 PM
David Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for new surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris. The Prime Minister said today that he would stop the use of methods of communication that cannot be read by the security services even if they have a warrant. But that could include popular chat and social apps that encrypt their data, such as WhatsApp. Apple's iMessage and FaceTime also encrypt their data, and could fall under the ban along with other encrypted chat apps like Telegram. Part of Cameron's speech has been posted on YouTube.

Smartphone resolution wars: 1440p and beyond

Monday 12th of January 2015 05:45:20 PM
The debate between FHD vs QHD has been strong within mobile enthusiast communities. While many people want to get their hands on the latest and greatest of display technology, others argue that QHD is simply not worth the downsides and that FHD is more than enough. So what should we look for in our phones? Let's find out. I've never seen a mobile QHD display before, so I have no idea if it makes any sense on a mobile device.

Ori: a secure distributed file system

Monday 12th of January 2015 05:35:51 PM
Ori is a distributed file system built for offline operation and empowers the user with control over synchronization operations and conflict resolution. We provide history through light weight snapshots and allow users to verify the history has not been tampered with. Through the use of replication instances can be resilient and recover damaged data from other nodes.

Teensy Z80, part 1: intro, memory, serial I/O, and display

Sunday 11th of January 2015 09:18:11 PM
So my project over the holiday season was decided: TeensyZ80. I wanted to have a usable Z80 running its own code, with the teensy supporting it providing the RAM, I/O peripherals, and clock. Very interesting. It's only the first part; the second part is available too!

The history of grep, the 40 years old Unix command

Saturday 10th of January 2015 12:38:01 AM
grep is a Unix command line utility (well most Unix utilities are command line) that searches the input files for pattern and prints lines that contain the pattern. If you are reading this you, you are probably no stranger to grep. grep was written by Ken Thompson, the same guy who wrote Unix. grep first appeared in Unix v4 with limited features as compared to today's grep. I've used grep so much over the years. One of the countless little utilities that's the staple of all UNIX-like systems that you never really think about, but use all the time.

The software and services Apple needs to fix

Saturday 10th of January 2015 12:34:23 AM
Many of us have been grumbling quite publicly since iOS 7 and Mavericks shipped that the fit and finish we expect either on release or shortly afterwards for Mac OS X and iOS has slipped. That we spent a lot of time dealing with bugs or, if we write about Apple, teaching people how to avoid them or work around them. That software and OS problems, once they occur, are rarely fixed in part or full; features we need are removed rather than matured; and new features are added that aren't fully baked. [...] Part of what makes these sorts of statements reasonable, though, is to enumerate the problems, whether they're long-running or unique to Yosemite or iOS 8 (or to the last two releases of each system). Here's a list of regularly recurring issues or fundamental problems I've seen supplemented by those provided by others. Comprehensive list of persistent issues you hear a lot of people - users and die-hard Apple developers alike - rant about all the time (via Daring Fireball).

Android gets its own Surface clone

Friday 9th of January 2015 11:26:37 PM
Microsoft, it seems, is not the only company that believes in the concept of a productivity tablet. And it's not the only company that thinks that a kickstand and a magnetic keyboard are all it takes to transform a tablet into a mobile workstation. The Jide Remix, made by a trio of former Google engineers, is for all intents and purposes a Microsoft Surface that's built for Android. It's about as cloney as you can get, but the fact that is still looks very nice is testament to just how pretty Surface really is, and how much sense the concept makes. Surface's hardware is excellent - it's just the software side that always let it down. I don't think Android is going to fix that.

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Don't Use Ubuntu, Use Mint - or elementary

Tech Drive-in today listed seven reasons he prefers elementary OS over Ubuntu. Despite all that, Michael Larabel today reported on the improved performance of Ubuntu 15.04 on newer machines. Read more

7 reasons why I prefer elementary OS Freya over Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn"

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Don't Use Ubuntu, Use Mint - or elementary

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