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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 46 min 34 sec ago

NVIDIA unifies GeForce Now across PCs and Shield TV

3 hours 1 min ago
NVIDIA this month is unifying its GeForce NOW service across all platforms that it supports, extending the latest iteration of the service for PCs and Macs to include NVIDIA's SHIELD TV consoles. From now on, all 225 games supported by the game streaming service will also run on the Android TV STB. The gaming industry's wet dream: no physical media, no downloaded games - just streaming.

The Twitch streamers who spend years broadcasting to no one

3 hours 3 min ago
Twitch, the leading live streaming platform where people play games, make crafts, and showcase their day-to-day lives, attracts over two million broadcasters every month. The number grows each year, thanks in part to how easy it has become to live stream, and platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube also increasingly encourage people to share and watch live stories. With the push of a button on your game console or phone, you can share whatever you’re doing at that exact moment with friends and strangers alike. The rise of popular (and profitable) influencers on platforms like YouTube and Twitch has also made the idea of being an online influencer aspirational. Some parents note that their children pretend to unbox toys to a nonexistent audience, and teachers report that their students often say they want to pursue YouTubing as a career. But when seemingly everyone wants to record footage or live stream, who ends up watching the content? Starting a career on platforms like Twitch often means spending some time broadcasting to absolutely no one. Discoverability is an issue: when you log into Twitch, the most visible people are those who already have a large following. While there are tools to find lesser-known streamers, most people starting out without built-in audiences from other platforms or supportive friends and family end up staring at a big, fat zero on their viewership counter. This lonely live stream purgatory can last anywhere from a few days, weeks, months, sometimes even years, depending on your luck. According to people who have gone through it, lacking an audience is one of the most demoralizing things you can experience online. This story feels so sad. Building and maintaining an audience is really hard, especially when you're dependent on platforms like YouTube and Twitch who can pull the rug out from underneath you at any time.

Running Amiga-like operating systems on QEMU

Sunday 15th of July 2018 10:04:09 PM
These are some notes on how to run Amiga like OSes (like AROS, AmigaOS and MorphOS) on QEMU that I've written to have some up to date info on the status and help new users. All this emulation in QEMU comes without any support and it's not expected to be complete or do everything one may desire or dream about. It's not a commercial product with a roadmap or any goal and still a work in progress which may never get finished. I'm doing it for personal interest and in my (limited) free time, no donations are solicited or accepted. So don't expect it to be anything more than a curiosity at the moment and its future depends on what the open source community makes of it. Keep this in mind when trying this. I'm giving this visibility so hopefully QEMU's PowerPC support for these Amiga-like operating systems can be improved.

Microsoft is updating Windows Notepad

Sunday 15th of July 2018 10:00:47 PM
Microsoft is giving its Notepad app for Windows a surprising amount of new features. While the software giant hasn’t updated Notepad for years, the next Windows 10 update will include some highly requested additions. Microsoft is clearly listening to Windows 10 users who use notepad for development, logs, or simple text manipulation. You’ll soon be able to do wrap around find and replace alongside the ability to zoom into text by holding down the ctrl key and using the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Microsoft is also adding in extended line ending support so that Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR) are supported in Notepad. The status bar will now be enabled by default in Notepad, and it includes the ability to display line and column numbers when word-wrap is enabled. I'd like to make a request for what Windows 3.11-esque application Microsoft should tackle next.

Nokia 6.1: best answer to "What Android phone should I buy?"

Sunday 15th of July 2018 09:55:20 PM
As someone who spends a lot of time with smartphones, I often get asked, "Hey Ron, what Android phone should I buy?" The high-end answer is usually easy: buy a Pixel phone. But not everyone is willing to shell out $650+ for a smartphone, especially the types of casual users that ask for advice. Beyond the flagship smartphones, things get more difficult within the Android ecosystem. Motorola under Google used to be great at building a non-flagship phone, but since the company was sold to Lenovo (which gutted the update program), it has been tough to find a decent phone that isn't super expensive. Enter HMD's Nokia phones, an entire lineup of cheap smartphones ranging from $100 to $400. HMD recently launched the second generation of its lineup, with phones like the Nokia 2.1, 3.1, and 5.1. We recently spent time with the highest end phone in this series that happens to be one of the few HMD devices for sale in the US: the Nokia 6.1. And for $269, you get a pretty spectacular-sounding package of a Snapdragon 630, a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, stock Android 8.1, fast updates, and a metal body. Nokia's Android phones seem well underway to become the default choice for people who want a good Android phone with fast updates at a decent price.

Debian 9.5 "released"

Sunday 15th of July 2018 09:52:52 PM
The Debian project is pleased to announce the fifth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror. I'm not a fan of publishing items for every single distribution release - other sites do that way better than I ever could - but there are a few distributions I do try to keep up with, and considering just how fundamental Debian is to many popular Linux distributions, it's always been an exception.

A look at Chrome's new tab design

Sunday 15th of July 2018 09:50:16 PM
Chrome is getting a major redesign soon, and this week new changes have started to land in the Chrome's nightly "Canary" build. Google is launching a new version of Material Design across its products, called the "Google Material Theme," and after debuting in Android P and Gmail.com, it's starting to roll out across other Google's major products. On Chrome, this means major changes to the tab and address bar. I haven't tried the new redesign yet - I don't use Chrome anyway - but judging by the screenshots, I can't say I'm a fan.

A single typo wrecked Aliens: Colonial Marines

Sunday 15th of July 2018 02:26:10 PM
In what feels like The Games Story Of The Year, during the Steam summer sale the much reviled Gearbox title Aliens: Colonial Marines was marked down to a stupidly low three dollars. A modder happened to notice that in the INI file for the game, there is a single typo that is - get this - responsible for many of the awful AI choices that the xenomorphs make in the game... Like running directly at you on their hind legs instead of crawling on the walls and using ducts to surprise you. A once horribly broken game is now... Functioning? Thanks to a single letter? Sure. That's about at 2018 as a games industry story can get. This is amazing.

Global PC shipments grew 1.4% in Q2 2018, first time in 6 years

Saturday 14th of July 2018 12:19:24 AM
The PC market has seen its first growth quarter in six years, according to research firm Gartner. The streak is over: Gartner found PC shipments were up globally in Q2 2018, the first quarter of year-over-year global PC shipment growth since the first quarter of 2012. Gartner estimates that worldwide PC shipments grew 1.4 percent to 62.1 million units in Q2 2018. The top five vendors were Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer. Lenovo in particular saw big gains (its highest growth rate since the first quarter of 2015), although that's largely due in part to the inclusion of units from its joint venture with Fujitsu. The economic crisis is over, and people and companies are buying PCs again.

The Andromeda journey continues

Friday 13th of July 2018 10:28:44 PM
Multiple sources have told me that Microsoft plans to overhaul the software and hardware before releasing the device. At this time, the software and hardware do not create a compelling solution that would move the needle for Microsoft and more importantly the Surface brand which is why when it came to the ‘go, no go’ decision earlier this year, it was not given the green light. [...] What you need to know about Andromeda is that the project is still alive inside of Microsoft but that it will not be released anytime soon. The company will re-work the hardware and software, see if it will move the needle, and if not, re-work again, until they find the right formula. Microsoft will not ship a project simply because the first phase is done, they are trying to get this right so that they don’t have another Lumia/Surface RT project on their hands. There's just not enough UWP applications at this point in time to support such a device.

Nintendo hid a NES emulator inside GameCube's Animal Crossing

Thursday 12th of July 2018 11:26:16 PM
Fans of the early-2000s era GameCube version of the original Animal Crossing likely remember the game including a handful of emulated NES titles that could be played by obtaining in-game items for your house. What players back then didn't know is that the NES emulator in Animal Crossing can also be used to play any generic NES ROM stored on a GameCube memory card. One has to wonder if there's any code from open source emulators in there.

Synaptics hints at "next-generation" security OS from Microsoft

Thursday 12th of July 2018 11:24:11 PM
Synaptics and AMD today announced that they're teaming up on a biometric security solution for consumer and business PCs built on AMD platforms. But for Microsoft watchers, the most curious portion of the announcement is that the biometric tech is squarely focused on a mysterious "next-generation operating system" from Microsoft. [...] It's not entirely clear what the biometric security OS is that Synaptics is referring to, as Microsoft itself hasn't announced any forthcoming releases. However, it could be related to a Microsoft project called Polaris, a more modern version of Windows 10 for desktops that Windows Central senior editor Zac Bowden reported on earlier this year. Built on an internal project called Windows Core OS, which aims to turn Windows into a modular OS, Polaris is said to focus on desktop, laptop, and 2-in-1 form factors. The goal of Polaris is to provide a shell that Windows users are familiar with, but while leaving behind legacy components in favor of UWP apps. According to our reporting, Polaris would still be able to utilize some form of virtualization to run Win32 programs. However, dropping legacy cruft would, in theory, allow Microsoft to create a more secure version of Windows 10. That's basically what I've been wanting Microsoft to do for a decade now, so I hope this is actually true. It'd be a big, bold move, but Win32 has run its course, and it needs to be contained and phased out.

Ambitious browser mitigation for Spectre attacks comes to Chrome

Thursday 12th of July 2018 09:51:59 PM
Google's Chrome browser is undergoing a major architectural change to enable a protection designed to blunt the threat of attacks related to the Spectre vulnerability in computer processors. If left unchecked by browsers or operating systems, such attacks may allow hackers to pluck passwords or other sensitive data out of computer memory when targets visit malicious sites. Site isolation, as the mitigation is known, segregates code and data from each Internet domain into their own "renderer processes," which are individual browser tasks that aren't allowed to interact with each other. As a result, a page located at arstechnica.com that embeds ads from doubleclick.net will load content into two separate renderer processes, one for each domain. The protection, however, comes at a cost. It consumes an additional 10 to 13 percent of total memory. Some of the performance hit can be offset by smaller and shorter-lived renderer processes. Site isolation will also allow Chrome to re-enable more precise timers, which Google and most other browser makers disabled earlier this year to decrease chances of successful attacks.

Nintendo's weirdest, and maybe rarest, classic console yet

Thursday 12th of July 2018 06:25:50 PM
The collectability of Nintendo's "classic mini" consoles cannot be overstated. Even after restocking the NES Classic Edition's original limited supply this year, the company has barely been able to keep up with demand for both its NES- and SNES-flavored dips back into the nostalgia pool, in the West or elsewhere. But if you thought those systems were limited and coveted enough, you ain't seen nothing. This week, Nintendo went one further by releasing a special-colored, new-games version of one of these systems, designed and marketed specifically for fans of Japanese Shonen Jump manga series like Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa, and Fist of the North Star. Shortly before Amazon Japan sold out of its allocation on Sunday morning, we slammed down $87 USD and placed an order to see what the Shonen Jump 50th Anniversary Famicom Classic Mini was all about. We quickly learned that this official Nintendo product is far from a slapdash release with a logo painted on. Nostalgia is one hell of a drug.

Apple partnered with Blackmagic Design on an external GPU

Thursday 12th of July 2018 06:22:08 PM
Apple finally found some time to spec bump the Touchbar models of their MacBook Pro laptops (without fixing the keyboard, so buyer beware), and alongside it, the company announced an external GPU enclosure it created in partnsership with Blackmagic. Alongside the release of new MacBook Pros, the company has taken an extra step toward embracing the tech by giving its seal of approval to a new system from Blackmagic - the simply named Blackmagic eGPU. The company does these kinds of partnerships from time to time - the LG UltraFine 5K Display being perhaps the most notable example. The $699 accessory features an AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics card and 8GB of DDR5 RAM in a fairly small footprint. There’s an HDMI port, four USB 3.1s and three Thunderbolt 3s, the latter of which makes it unique among these peripherals. The company says the on-board cooling system operates pretty quietly, which should fit nicely alongside those new, quieter MacBook keyboards.

Writing a Game Boy emulator

Wednesday 11th of July 2018 11:28:52 PM
Eventually, I decided to write a minimalist Game Boy interpreting emulator, without support for custom mappers or sound, (and probably many inaccuracies). I called the project Cinoop. Cinoop is written in C and is open source. It can be run on Windows, DS, GameCube, 3DS, Linux based OSes, PSP, and PS4.

I used Apple's new controls to limit a teenager's iPhone time

Wednesday 11th of July 2018 11:21:00 PM
I, for one, probably have a problem with compulsively picking up my phone. So when Apple announced new software to help people restrict the amount of time they spend on iPhones, I knew I had to test it on myself. I also wanted to try it on a "screenager", a teenager who is addicted to screens - exactly the kind of person generating so much concern. Just one problem: I don't have a child, so I needed to borrow one. Fortunately, my editor gleefully volunteered her 14-year-old, Sophie, to be a test subject. So last month, I lent Sophie an iPhone X loaded with an unfinished version of iOS 12, Apple's new operating system, that included the Screen Time feature, which is set for release this fall. We set up the account so that I was a parent, with the ability to set limits, and she was my child. Modern technologies like smartphones and tablets really pose a new kind of problem for parents, and parents today are only just now finding out how to deal with these. Since I happen to be remarkably aware of the harsh way parents tend to judge each other when it comes to how to raise children, I just want to point out that there really is no one true way to manage how children use these technologies, and on top of that, not every child is the same. And, of course, a child growing up in The Netherlands is not the same as that same hypothetical child growing up in Arco, Montana. In short, there's tons of variables here, so for the parents among us - for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged and all that.

ARM kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt

Wednesday 11th of July 2018 08:52:41 PM
Arm has taken offline its website attacking rival processor architecture RISC-V within days of it going live - after its own staff objected to the underhand tactic. The site - riscv-basics.com - was created at the end of June, and attempted to smear open-source RISC-V, listing five reasons why Arm cores are a better choice over its competitor's designs. However, the stunt backfired, with folks in the tech industry, and within the company's own ranks, slamming the site as a cheap shot and an attack on open source. Good on ARM's own employees for speaking up.

Small computer system supports large-scale multi-user APL

Wednesday 11th of July 2018 08:08:09 PM
Another article from a very much bygone era - we're talking 1977, and for sure this one's a bit over my head. I like being honest. APL (A Programming Language) is an interactive language that allows access to the full power of a large computer while maintaining a user interface as friendly as a desktop calculator. APL is based on a notation developed by Dr. Kenneth Iverson of IBM Corporation over a decade ago, and has been growing in popularity in both the business and scientific community. The popularity of APL stems from its powerful primitive operations and data structures, coupled with its ease of programming and debugging. Most versions of APL to date have been on large and therefore expensive computers. Because of the expense involved in owning a computer large enough to run APL, most of the use of APL outside of IBM has been through commercial timesharing companies. The introduction of APL 3000 marks the first time a large-machine APL has been available on a small computer. APL 3000 is a combination of software for the HP 3000 Series II Computer System2 and a CRT terminal, the HP 2641A, that displays the special symbols used in APL. Enjoy.

How smart TVs track more than what's on tonight

Tuesday 10th of July 2018 10:14:37 PM
The growing concern over online data and user privacy has been focused on tech giants like Facebook and devices like smartphones. But people's data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge. In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users. This is so deeply creepy.

More in Tux Machines

Kernel and Graphics: PDS, VKMS and Nouveau

  • PDS 0.98s release
    PDS 0.98s is released with the following changes 1. Fix compilation issue on raspberry pi. 2. Minor rework and optimization on balance code path. 3. Fix wrong nr_max_tries in migrate_pending_tasks. This is mainly a bug fix and minor optimization release for 4.17. The rework of balance code doesn't go well, it actually make more overhead than current implement. Another rework which based on current implement is still on going, hopefully be included in next release.
  • PDS-MQ CPU Scheduler Revised For The Linux 4.17 Kernel With Minor Optimizations
    Alfred Chen announced this week the release of PDS-mq 0.98s, his latest patch-set of this CPU scheduler against the Linux 4.17 upstream code-base and includes minor optimization work and bug fixes. The PDS scheduler stands for the "Priority and Deadline based Skiplist multiple queue scheduler" that is derived from Con Kolivas' former BFS scheduler with Variable Run Queue (VRQ) support. PDS design principles are to be a simple CPU process scheduler yet efficient and scalable. PDS-mq differs from Con Kolivas' current MuQSS scheduler.
  • Add infrastructure for Vblank and page flip events in vkms simulated by hrtimer
    Since the beginning of May 2018, I have been diving into the DRM subsystem. In the beginning, nothing made sense to me, and I had to fight hard to understand how things work. Fortunately, I was not alone, and I had great support from Gustavo Padovan, Daniel Vetter, Haneen Mohammed, and the entire community. Recently, I finally delivered a new feature for VKMS: the infrastructure for Vblank and page flip events. At this moment, VKMS have regular Vblank events simulated through hrtimers (see drm-misc-next), which is a feature required by VKMS to mimic real hardware [6]. The development approach was entirely driven by the tests provided by IGT, more specifically the kms_flip. I modified IGT to read a module name via command line and force the use of it, instead of using only the modules defined in the code (patch submitted to IGT, see [1]). With this modification in the IGT, my development process to add a Vblank infrastructure to VKMS had three main steps as Figure 1 describes.
  • The State Of The VKMS Driver, Preparations For vBlank & Page Flip Events
    One of the exciting additions to look forward to with the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle is the virtual "VKMS" kernel mode-setting driver. The driver is still a work-in-progress, but multiple developers are working on it.
  • NIR Continues To Be Prepped For OpenCL Support
    Longtime Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst who joined Red Hat several months ago has been working on Nouveau NIR support as stepping towards SPIR-V/compute support and this summer the work very much remains an active target.
  • Nouveau Gallium3D Moves Closer Towards OpenGL 4.5 Compliance
    While the RadeonSI and Intel i965 Mesa drivers have been at OpenGL 4.5 compliance for a while now, the Nouveau "NVC0" Gallium3D driver has been bound to OpenGL 4.3 officially. This Nouveau Gallium3D driver for NVIDIA "Fermi" graphics hardware and newer has effectively supported all of the OpenGL 4.4/4.5 extensions, but not officially. Originally the NVC0 problem for OpenGL 4.4 and newer was the requirement of passing the OpenGL Conformance Test Suite (CTS), which at first wasn't open-source. But now The Khronos Group has made it available to everyone as open-source. Additionally, the proper legal wrangling is in place so the Nouveau driver could become a conforming Khronos adopter under the X.Org Foundation without any associated costs/fees with Nouveau being purely open-source and primarily considered a community driver.

DistroWatch The Best Website For Distro Hoppers

The DistroWatch features release announcements of new versions of hundreds of Linux and other distributions. It does host reviews of distros, podcasts, and newsletters. DistroWatch first published by Ladislav Bodnar, the founder, and maintainer, on May 31, 2001. DistroWatch initially focused on Linux distributions. But later based on user requests, it went on adding different flavors of operating systems like BSD family, Android x86, Oracle Solaris, MINIX, and Haiku etc. The DistroWatch presents detailed information at one place in a very convenient manner. At the time of writing this article, the DistroWatch hosted information of more than 300 active distributions (referring the list of distros populated under drop-down feature on the first page of the DistroWatch) and more than hundred in queue. It is said that the DistroWatch lives out of advertising and donation. LinuxCD.org is the first to advertise on the DistroWatch site. Read more

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS Amazon Linux AMIs Now Support Amazon's SSM Agent

As of July 2018, Amazon's Linux AMIs (Amazon Machine Images) that are based on either the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating systems now come pre-installed with the AWS Systems Manager Agent (SSM Agent), an Amazon software designed to run on hybrid or Amazon EC2 instances in public and private clouds on AWS (Amazon Web Services). "With this new feature release, AWS Systems Manager Agent is installed by default on all instances launched or built from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (2018.07 and later) and 18.04 LTS (all versions) AMIs," said Amazon. "By having the agent pre-installed, you can quickly start using AWS Systems Manager features such as Run Command, State Manager, Inventory and Patch Manager." Read more

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