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Updated: 1 hour 18 min ago

European Parliament passes full net neutrality

Thu, 03/04/2014 - 1:33pm
Two years ago, The Netherlands was the first European country to codify full net neutrality, and at the time, I expressed the hope that it would serve as a template for EU-wide net neutrality. Well, good news everyone: the European Parliament just accepted full net neutrality, essentially a copy/paste from the Dutch law. We did get lucky, though - the original proposal included an exception for undefined "special services", a potentially massive loophole for ISPs. Thanks to Dutch European parliament member Marietje Schaake, the special services exemption was dropped, so that strong net neutrality has now been codified EU-wide - at least by the EP. In addition, today's set of new legislation also includes an end to roaming charges within the EU, which is great news for the travelers among us. All in all, a good day for the web.

Microsoft releases WinJS as open source

Wed, 02/04/2014 - 10:07pm
This project is actively developed by the WinJS developers working for Microsoft Open Technologies, in collaboration with the community of open source developers. Together we are dedicated to creating the best possible solution for HTML/JS/CSS application development. Another bit of Build news: WinJS has been released under the Apache 2.0 license.

Microsoft officially unveils Windows Phone 8.1

Wed, 02/04/2014 - 6:02pm
During the Build keynote, Microsoft also officially unveiled Windows Phone 8.1. Most of its features have long been known, so I'm not going to go into all of them in detail, but suffice it to say this is a huge update. Microsoft focuses a lot on its Google Now and Siri alternative Cortana (The Verge has a great article on it), which works more or less in the same way, but with one interesting strength: integration with third party applications. Windows Phone 8.1 will become available for developers this month, and will be pushed to current devices in the coming months. It will also be available on new devices during that same timeframe - and it'll arrive on all Windows Phone 8 devices (every time a Microsoft employee points this out, an Android 2.3 device explodes). I am very psyched for this massive update. It might not make much of a difference in the marketplace, but that doesn't really matter for me personally. This simply looks like a fantastic update, and I can't wait until my developer-ready HTC 8X gets the developer update.

Microsoft unveils universal Windows applications and more

Wed, 02/04/2014 - 5:54pm
Microsoft's Build keynote is ongoing, and there's so much news coming out for Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox One, that it's hard to keep up. The biggest announcement? Universal Windows applications - a single application that runs on phones, tablets, PCs, and yes, even the Xbox One. Of course, developers can still optimise the user interface per device, but it will be one single application binary. Another piece of news is that several versions of Windows will be available for free: Windows for smartphones, tablets smaller than 9", and the new Windows for the internet of things will all be free. This is, of course, an inevitable consequence of Android's dominance. Microsoft also shed some light on the future of Windows 8 - and the biggest announcement here is that a future update will allow Metro applications to run in windows on the desktop. In addition, Microsoft has unveiled a new Start menu, that looks like the Windows 7 Start menu with a section for live tiles. These two changes further the merger of desktop and Metro that already started with the Windows 8.1 Update. In addition, Microsoft also gave a small preview of Office for Metro - about time - built as a universal application. This is just a selection of things that stood out to me during the keynote, and I have to admit this is some seriously cool stuff. It might be too late - I don't know - but that doesn't make it any less cool.

T-Mobile US will no longer carry BlackBerry devices

Wed, 02/04/2014 - 9:13am
By the looks of it, BlackBerry chief John Chen wasn't appeased by T-Mobile's attempt to make peace - in fact, things have only escalated: T-Mobile will no longer carry any BlackBerry device. In a press release today, the company formerly known as RIM announced that it has chosen not to renew T-Mobile's license to sell its products when it expires on April 25th, 2014. This doesn't exactly look like smart business for a company in trouble, but alas, I am no CEO. Who knows - maybe it's the brilliant move that will save BlackBerry. More likely - it is not.

AMD's Jaguar microarchitecture

Tue, 01/04/2014 - 9:50pm
AMD claims that the microarchitectural improvements in Jaguar will yield 15% higher IPC and 10% higher clock frequency, versus the previous generation Bobcat. Given the comprehensive changes to the microarchitecture, shown in Figure 7, and the additional pipeline stages, this is a plausible claim. Jaguar is a much better fit than Bobcat for SoCs, given the shift to AVX compatibility, wider data paths, and the inclusive L2 cache, which simplifies system architecture considerably. Some impressive in-depth reporting on the architecture which powers, among other things, the current generation of game consoles.

Android development articles for iOS developers

Tue, 01/04/2014 - 5:06pm
The online magazine objc.io has a new issue up - focusing on Android instead of iOS and OS X. Admittedly, this started out as an April Fools' joke. But we quickly realized that we actually could make a really good issue about this. After all, it's interesting to Objective-C developers to learn something about what development on the other major mobile platform is like, as well as what we can learn from it. A set of articles of specific interest to iOS developers wishing to get their toes wet on Android development. No politics, just code.

The new Mozilla CEO's political past is imperiling his present

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 11:45pm
For the Internet community, the principles of free speech and equal rights are foundational. But in recent days, those issues are clashing at Mozilla, the nonprofit foundation and tech company behind the Firefox browser. At issue is Brendan Eich, a co-founder of Mozilla, inventor of the much used Javascript programming language and the newly appointed CEO of the company. Eich made a $1,000 donation to the campaign for California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. The donation had come to light in 2012, but fizzled. Opposing same-sex marriage is no different than opposing interracial marriage. As a Dutchman, it baffles me that an organisation like Mozilla appointed a man with such medieval ideas.

Apple's Cyclone microarchitecture detailed

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 9:35pm
AnandTech on Apple's A7 processor: I suspect Apple has more tricks up its sleeve than that however. Swift and Cyclone were two tocks in a row by Intel's definition, a third in 3 years would be unusual but not impossible (Intel sort of committed to doing the same with Saltwell/Silvermont/Airmont in 2012 - 2014). Looking at Cyclone makes one thing very clear: the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn't aim high enough. I wonder what happens next round. This is one area where Apple really took everyone by surprise recently. When people talk about Apple losing its taste for disruption, they usually disregard the things they do not understand - such as hardcore processor design.

Round two: Apple, Samsung suit up for another patent war

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 9:08pm
The Verge, summarising the first US patent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung: Apple was awarded just over $1 billion in damages, though that figure was later cut down to $939.8 million after the judge pointed out errors in the way the jury did its math. Those damages were retried, and came in lower than the original figure, though the entire amount has since been appealed, and Samsung hasn't paid a penny. Alongside that, Apple and Samsung failed to win bans against one another's products in the US, making the first trial seem like nothing more than a legal spectacle. Or, just call it what it is: an abject failure on both company's sides, and a huge waste of money that could have gone to product development, higher salaries, or even shareholder returns. Two gigantic and hugely profitable companies using despicable weaponry - and all, for, nothing. But in the midst of all that was a very real threat: another lawsuit, one that targeted more successful devices from both companies, and used easy-to-understand patents covering basic software features. Apple filed it against Samsung in February 2012, targeting 17 devices. Samsung responded in kind, and this week the pair go head to head once again; the outcome could be very different. Here's what to expect over the next weeks and months as these two titans clash again in California's courts. So, prepare for another week of lawyers laughing all the way to the bank, while two companies with more money than they know what to do with waste precious time of the US justice system that could be spent elsewhere, and better. Let the cheering contest continue. Which faceless corporation that cares none about you do you root for?