Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

OSNews

Syndicate content OSNews.com
Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 57 min 15 sec ago

What's going on with Microsoft's Surface Andromeda device?

Thursday 19th of July 2018 10:04:36 PM
Zac Bowden has published an article making sense of all the news and rumors regarding Microsoft's Andromeda device, its dual-screen foldable tablet thing. According to his sources, the device is not cancelled, but delayed until next year because the custom UI Microsoft is building for it needs more time. The Andromeda device runs an experience tailored for its unique form-factor, which is built on top of Windows Core OS. This tailored experience is known as Andromeda OS and includes no legacy UIs and bloat. Microsoft is doing the exact same thing with Surface Hub 2, which also runs a custom tailored version of Windows Core OS known as Aruba and built specifically for that large collaborative device form factor. Therefore, it's important to stress that Andromeda OS is unlike any version of Windows 10 available on the market today; it's an entirely new Windows OS experience powered by CShell that's built from the ground up for mobile dual-screened multitasking. Because of this, Microsoft needs more time to ensure the OS is well-baked. Bowden's article is probably the closest to the current state of Andromeda.

Google's Loon brings internet-by-balloon to Kenya

Thursday 19th of July 2018 09:56:36 PM
Google's sister-company Loon has announced its first commercial deal: partnering with Telkom Kenya to deliver connectivity to the region. The firm's antennae-dangling fleet will ride the wind high above parts of the African country. Sometimes, crazy ideas do seem to work.

Bloomberg: Fuchsia intended to replace Android in five years

Thursday 19th of July 2018 06:36:36 PM
Well, here it is. I've been saying for 18 months now that Fuchsia clearly felt like a whole lot more than "just" a research operating system, and that I believed its developers' ultimate goal is to replace Android, which is a dead end. This Bloomberg article by the usually well-informed Mark Gurman is the clearest indication yet that such is, indeed, the end goal. But members of the Fuchsia team have discussed a grander plan that is being reported here for the first time: Creating a single operating system capable of running all the company's in-house gadgets, like Pixel phones and smart speakers, as well as third-party devices that now rely on Android and another system called Chrome OS, according to people familiar with the conversations. According to one of the people, engineers have said they want to embed Fuchsia on connected home devices, such as voice-controlled speakers, within three years, then move on to larger machines such as laptops. Ultimately the team aspires to swap in their system for Android, the software that powers more than three quarters of the world's smartphones, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The aim is for this to happen in the next half decade, one person said. CEO Sundar Pichai hasn't signed off on all of this just yet, so it's by no means 100% guaranteed - and a lot can change in five years. That being said, it's getting easier and easier to see which way the wind's blowing. There's also reports of Fuchsia's security and privacy oriented design getting in conflict with Google's ad-driven business model. The company must also settle some internal feuds. Some of the principles that Fuchsia creators are pursuing have already run up against Google's business model. Google's ads business relies on an ability to target users based on their location and activity, and Fuchsia's nascent privacy features would, if implemented, hamstring this important business. There's already been at least one clash between advertising and engineering over security and privacy features of the fledgling operating system, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ad team prevailed, this person said. It's sad to hear that, but in the end, not exactly surprising.

Chrome OS isn't ready for tablets yet

Thursday 19th of July 2018 05:23:36 PM
So this is supposed to be a review of the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, a tablet that was designed explicitly and exclusively for the education market. Acer and Google say teachers really wanted a tablet form factor for the classroom, and they really don't want to have to figure out how to manage an entirely new operating system when they're already all in on Chrome OS. And so here it is, finally: an honest-to-goodness Chrome OS tablet. Keep this article in mind when you read the next item I'm about to post.

Chinese iCloud user data is now handled by a state-owned telco

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 10:28:38 PM
If you're an Apple customer living in China who didn't already opt out of having your iCloud data stored locally, here's a good reason to do so now. That information, the data belonging to China-based iCloud users which includes emails and text messages, is now being stored by a division of China Telecom, the state-owned telco. The operator’s Tianyi cloud storage business unit has taken the reins for iCloud China, according to a WeChat post from China Telecom. Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch. Privacy is very important to us at Apple. Unless you're Chinese - then you're shit out of luck.

Windows 10 getting support for leap seconds

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 10:25:56 PM
Microsoft is bringing support for leap seconds - yes, that one extra second - to Windows, starting with Windows 10 Redstone 5 and Windows Server 2019. With the upcoming updates for Windows 10, Microsoft's operating system now deals with leap seconds in a way that is incredibly accurate, UTC-compliant, and traceable. Leap seconds typically occur every 18 months, resulting in one extra second. The extra leap second occurs to adjust with the earth’s slowed down rotation, and an extra second is added to UTC in order to keep it in-sync with mean solar time. To deal with the extra second more appropriately, Windows 10 will now display that extra second, instead of directly jumping to the next one, making it the world's first OS to have full support for leap seconds. I didn't know operating systems didn't fully support leap seconds. That is a big surprise to me.

Google CEO responds to EU Android fine

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 10:22:51 PM
Google's CEO Sundar Pichai has responded to the EU's antitrust fine regarding Android. The blog post is exactly what you'd expect - a lot of fluffy language about how amazing Android is and how it helps little kids pet bunnies and all that stuff, with remarkably little substance. There's really no actual reply to the three core claims in the EU ruling, which makes the response rather weak. One part stood out to me though. The phones made by these companies are all different, but have one thing in common - the ability to run the same applications. This is possible thanks to simple rules that ensure technical compatibility, no matter what the size or shape of the device. No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules - they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks. This hits at the core of the ruling, because according to the EU, established through years of research and verifiable through leaked copies of the agreements Google signs with Android device makers, the very problem is that Android bans Android device makers from making or shipping Android devices that do not use Google's version of Android. Pichai seems to claim here that that's not true, but this is something that ought to be easily verifiable, and I doubt the EU would hand down this fine if the agreements between Android device makers and Google didn't clearly specify this. We'll have to wait and see if Google can substantiate all of this, because if not, Pichai just flat-out lied in an official statement from the company.

Microsoft announces preview of Windows 10 IoT Core Services

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 10:14:22 PM
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how businesses gather and use data to develop competitive insights and create new financial opportunities. As IoT technology matures and our partners gain more experience, they are evolving their business models to increase the overall return on investment of their IoT solutions. This includes adding recurring revenue, enhancing security, and reducing support costs. At Computex a few weeks back, we announced Windows 10 IoT Core Services, which enables our IoT partners to commercialize their solutions running on Windows 10 IoT Core. We are now excited to announce the public preview of this service along with details on purchasing and pricing. As described in our previous blog, IoT Core Services provides 10 years of operating system support along with services to manage device updates and assess device health. I have no idea what any of this means, but I'm just the copier and paster.

EU fines Android for $5 billion for Android antitrust violations

Wednesday 18th of July 2018 11:18:50 AM
Update: here's the full press release. Here's the three main violations: In particular, Google: has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store); made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks"). Original article continues below. Google has been hit with a record-breaking €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine by EU regulators for breaking antitrust laws. The European Commission says Google has abused its Android market dominance by bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system. Google has also allegedly blocked phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android, and "made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively bundle the Google Search app on handsets. I'm okay with bundling applications, but I'm 100% opposed to large corporations like Google blocking competing companies from running forked versions of Android - allowed through Android's licensing - and wealthy corporations basically buying dominance by sending large sums of money to in this case carriers and manufacturers that smaller companies could never afford. That being said, I do feel like the way we determine what is and is not corporate behaviour damaging to consumers and the market needs some serious overhaul. I've asked this question on OSNews before, but even though Apple doesn't have the market share to qualify as a monopoly, does anyone really want to argue that Apple - which sucks up virtually all of the profits in the handset market, despite its small marketshare - does not have power and influence over the mobile market akin to Google's? Which player has more influence over a market - the player with 10% market share sucking up 90% of the profits, or the player with 90% marketshare sucking up only 10% of the profits? I'm no economist so I'm not going to claim I know the answer, but it sure does seem like relying solely on market share to evaluate market dominance seems shortsighted, at best.

Do you really need to properly eject a USB drive?

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:45:14 PM
Pull a USB flash drive out of your Mac without first clicking to eject it, and you'll get a stern, shameful warning: "Disk Not Ejected Properly." But do you really need to eject a thumb drive the right way? Probably not. Just wait for it to finish copying your data, give it a few seconds, then yank. To be on the cautious side, be more conservative with external hard drives, especially the old ones that actually spin. That's not the official procedure, nor the most conservative approach. And in a worst-case scenario, you risk corrupting a file or - even more unlikely - the entire storage device. This is terrible advice for regular users, but I have to admit that I, too, don't really use the safe eject features of operating systems, unless I want to eject right after completing a write operation.

Chinese researchers achieve quantum-entanglement record

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:42:29 PM
Scientists have just packed 18 qubits - the most basic units of quantum computing - into just six weirdly connected photons. That's an unprecedented three qubits per photon, and a record for the number of qubits linked to one another via quantum entanglement. So why is this exciting?

Riot's approach to anti-cheat

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:40:01 PM
Combating cheats is an ever-evolving arms race. The scope and complexity of cheat development grows every year along with the stakes in online gaming. The pressure is on for game studios to level up when it comes to detecting and preventing bad actors. I'm Michael "Perma" VanKuipers, and I used to be one of those bad actors; I spent over a decade developing cheats for various games and earned the ire of at least one large game studio in the process. These days I work on Riot's Anti-Cheat team, helping secure League of Legends from scripts, bots, and exploits. In this article, I'm going to show you some of the details and strategies behind our latest anti-cheat initiative, including a technical overview of the steps we took to mitigate certain types of cheating. I've been playing League of Legends for six years, and I may (I wasn't sure) have seen cheating once or twice. Riot's work seems to be paying off.

Slackware turns 25

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:37:26 PM
On July 16th, 1993, Slackware Linux distribution was officially released. Based entirely on the Softlanding Linux System (SLS) system, it was designed for the machines with a 3.5" boot floppy. Over the past 25 years, Slackware has turned out to be one of the most influential Linux distros around. Truly a staple of the Linux world.

Microsoft kills Win32 Skype client in favour of UWP version

Tuesday 17th of July 2018 10:35:10 PM
Coming over the summer, Microsoft is going to add integrated call recording (something that previously required third-party applications and a deprecated API), read receipts to show when a message recipient has read a message, and end-to-end encryption of text and audio chat using the Signal protocol. Microsoft is also making Skype audio and video calls easier to integrate into streams such as those used on Mixer and Twitch. Support for the NDI API means that streaming applications such as Xsplit and OBS can use a Skype call as an audio/video source. That means they can be overlaid on games or other content, just as is already done with webcam input. [...] There is, however, a price to pay for this: the traditional Win32 Skype client is being end-of-lifed and will not be supported beyond the end of August this year. Users of the Win32 client will have to upgrade to Skype 8.0 (the desktop version of the new unified app) in order to be able to continue to use the network. Another staple Win32 application bites the dust. Don't read anything into it though, since people still seem convinced Win32 has a future.

NVIDIA unifies GeForce Now across PCs and Shield TV

Monday 16th of July 2018 06:43:27 PM
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

Monday 16th of July 2018 06:41:05 PM
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.