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Android Things and Google Assistant appear in new smart speakers, smart displays, and modules

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Android
Google

Google announced third-party products that run Android Things, Google Assistant, and Cast, including smart speakers from LG and iHome. There are also embedded modules from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Rockchip that will drive speakers and smart displays from JBL, Lenovo, Sony, and others.

Google has avoided the CES show in recent years, but has shown up big in 2018 to counter-attack Amazon’s voice assistant juggernaut Alexa with news about its rival, second place Google Assistant agent. We’ll focus here on new products that combine the Assistant voice agent with Google’s lightweight Android Things distribution. These include the LG ThinQ WK7 and iHome iGV1 smart speakers, and three new computer-on-modules: the Qualcomm SD212 Home Hub Platform, MediaTek MT8516, and Rockchip RK3229 SoM. The modules will drive speaker and smart displays from JBL, Lenovo, LG, and Sony, as well as smart speaker reference designs from three ODMs: Tymphany, Goertek, and Tonly.

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Chrome and Mozilla (Robert O'Callahan Unlocks Secrets)

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Google
Moz/FF
  • Robert O'Callahan: Ancient Browser-Wars History: MD5-Hashed Posts Declassified

    Another lesson: in 2007-2008 I was overly focused on toppling IE (and Flash and WPF), and thought having all the open-source browsers sharing a single engine implementation wouldn't be a big problem for the Web. I've changed my mind completely; the more code engines share, the more de facto standardization of bugs we would see, so having genuinely separate implementations is very important.

    I'm very grateful to Brendan and others for disregarding my opinions and not letting me lead Mozilla down the wrong path. It would have been a disaster for everyone.

    To let off steam, and leave a paper trail for the future, I wrote four blog posts during 2007-2008 describing some of my thoughts, and published their MD5 hashes. The aftermath of the successful Firefox 57 release seems like an appropriate time to harmlessly declassify those posts. Please keep in mind that my opinions have changed.

  • On Keeping Secrets

    Once upon a time I was at a dinner at a computer science conference. At that time the existence of Chrome was a deeply guarded secret; I knew of it, but I was sworn to secrecy. Out of the blue, one of my dinner companions turned to me and asked "is Google working on a browser?"

    [...]

    One thing I really enjoyed about working at Mozilla was that we didn't have many secrets to keep. Most of the secrets I had to protect were about other companies. Minimizing one's secrecy burden generally seems like a good idea, although I can't eliminate it because it's often helpful to other people for them to be able to share secrets with me in confidence.

  • Chrome is turning into the new Internet Explorer 6

     

    Chrome, in other words, is being used in the same way that Internet Explorer 6 was back in the day — with web developers primarily optimizing for Chrome and tweaking for rivals later. To understand how we even got to this stage, here’s a little (a lot) of browser history. If you want to know why saying "Chrome is the new Internet Explorer 6" is so damning, you have to know why IE6 was a damnable problem in the early ‘00s.

Syzbot: Google Continuously Fuzzing The Linux Kernel

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Linux
Google

On the Linux kernel mailing list over the past week has been a discussion about Syzbot, an effort by Google for continuously fuzzing the mainline Linux kernel and its branches with automatic bug reporting.

Syzbot is the automation bot around Syzkaller, the Google-developed unsupervised kernel fuzzer that has since been extended to support FreeBSD, Fuchsia, NetBSD, and Windows. For those curious how the Syzkaller fuzzer works, it's documented via their GitHub documentation and the main project site. Syzkaller has been heavily developed over the past nearly two years while Syzbot is the more recent effort.

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Linux-driven IoT gateway hooks up to Google Cloud analytics

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Linux
Google
Hardware

SolidRun’s “ClearCloud 8K” IoT gateway runs Linux on its quad -A72 MacchiatoBIN SBC with 1-, 2.5-, and 10GbE ports, and links to Google Cloud IoT Core.

SolidRun has launched a MacchiatoBIN ClearCloud 8K IoT gateway appliance with built-in software for connecting to Google’s beta-level Cloud IoT Core analytics service (see farther below). The $399 box is built around SolidRun’s open-spec, $349 Marvell MacchiatoBIN Mini-ITX networking SBC, which features 2.5GbE and 2x 10GbE SFP+ ports, along with a standard Gigabit Ethernet port. The ClearCloud 8K is intended for evaluation use only, and lacks FCC resale compliance for resale.

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More on Chrome 63

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Google
Software
Web

New Chrome Browser and End of Chrome Web Store

Filed under
Google
Web
  • Chrome 63 rolling out to Mac, Windows, and Linux w/ Flags redesign, Site Certificate shortcut

    Chrome 63 is rolling out to Mac, Windows, and Linux today with an assortment of developer-focused features and security fixes. The biggest additions in this desktop release are a redesigned chrome://flags page and a tweaked permissions dropdown.

  • Chrome Apps are dead, as Google shuts down the Chrome Web Store section

    More than a year ago, Google announced that Chrome Apps would be removed from Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of Chrome (but not Chrome OS) some time in 2017, and it seems we've come to that point today. Google has shut down the "app" section of the Chrome Web Store for those platforms, meaning you can't install Chrome Apps anymore. Google has started sending out emails to Chrome app developers telling them that Chrome Apps are deprecated, and while previously installed apps still work, the functionality will be stripped out of Chrome in Q1 2018.

Raspberry Pi Vision

Filed under
Google
Hardware
  • Google is making a computer vision kit for Raspberry Pi

    Google is offering a new way for Raspberry Pi tinkerers to use its AI tools. It just announced the AIY Vision Kit, which includes a new circuit board and computer vision software that buyers can pair with their own Raspberry Pi computer and camera. (There’s also a cute cardboard box included, along with some supplementary accessories.) The kit costs $44.99 and will ship through Micro Center on December 31st.

  • Google made a computer vision kit so your Raspberry Pi devices can see

    At Google I/O earlier this year, Google wasn't shy about discussing technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning and how it is committed to integrating them into its products and services. So, it's not surprising to see the company announce AIY Vision Kit. It includes a new circuit board and computer vision software that you can connect to your tiny, low-cost Raspberry Pi computer and camera.

  • Google introduces $45 AIY Vision Kit for DIY computer vision hardware projects

    Google is launching a new hardware and software kit aimed at developers and hackers who want to build products that incorporate computer vision… on a budget.

Microsoft Worker Leaves for Google, Criticizes Post-Windows Vista Dev Strategy

Filed under
Google
Microsoft

Microsoft employee Tim Sneath, who spent no less than 17 years with the company, announced in a blog post that he’s leaving the software giant to work for Google on the new Flutter mobile framework.

Sneath started his post by emphasizing how great Microsoft is, explaining that he company has “incredibly diverse interests” and is “filled with talented people.”

Despite the good parts, however, the former Microsoft Program Manager who worked on a series of projects for developers, discussed what he described as the “missteps” that the Redmond-based software giant embraced beginning with the Windows Vista era.

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Also: ‘Goodbye Microsoft, hello Linux’

The Fox Hunt - Firefox and friends compared

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web

So what should you use? Well, it depends. You want extensions, the entire repertoire as it's meant to be? Go with Pale Moon, but be aware of the inconsistencies and problems down the road. However, another piece of penalty is less than optimal looks. If you are more focused on speed and future development, then it's Firefox, as it offers the most complete compromise. The add-ons will make it or break it. Waterfox makes less sense, because the margins of benefit are too small.

My take is - Firefox. It's not ideal, but Pale Moon does not solve the problem fully, it combines nostalgia with technicals, and that's a rough patch, even though the project is quite admirable in what it's trying to do. Alas, I'm afraid the old extensions will die, and the new ones won't be compatible, so the browser will be left stranded somewhere in between. But hopefully, this little comparison test gives you a better overview and understanding how things work.

Finally, we go back to the question of speed. We've seen how one flavor of Fox stacks against another, but what about Chrome? I will answer that in a follow-up article, which will compare Chrome to Vivaldi, again based on popular demand, and then we will also check how all these different browsers compare using my small, limited and entirely personal corner of the Web. Stay tuned.

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Also: Firefox Private Browsing vs. Chrome Incognito: Which is Faster?

OnePlus 5T Launched

Filed under
Android
Google
  • OnePlus 5T Keeps the Headphone Jack, Introduces Face Unlock and Parallel Apps

    Five months after it launched its OnePlus 5 flagship Android smartphone, OnePlus unveiled today its successor, the OnePlus 5T, running the latest Android 8.0 (Oreo) mobile OS.

    OnePlus held a live event today in New York City to tell us all about the new features it implemented in the OnePlus 5T, and they don't disappoint as the smartphone features a gorgeous and bright 6.0-inches Optic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with multitouch, a 1080x2160 pixels resolution, 18:9 ratio, and approximately 402 PPI density. The design has been changed a bit as well for OnePlus 5T, which is made of anodized aluminum.

  • OnePlus 5T Launched: Comes With Bigger Screen, Better Dual Camera, And Face Unlock

    Whenever costly phones like iPhone X or Google Pixel 2 are bashed (here and here) and their alternatives are discussed, OnePlus is always mentioned. In the past few years, the company has amassed a fan base that has found the concept of “Never Settle” impressive.

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More in Tux Machines

Collaboration Events: Pakistan Open Source Summit, GNOME+Rust Hackfest, DataworksSummit Berlin

  • Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018 concludes [Ed: Not about software]
    A large number of attendees from industry, academia, government, and students participated in the summit. Portuguese Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa was the chief guest at the opening ceremony while former Naval Chief Admiral (r) Asif Sandila graced the occasion as the chief guest at the closing ceremony.
  • ‘Open Summit key to create industry-academy linkages’
    Ambassador of Portugal to Pakistan Dr Joao Sabido Costa has said that events such as the Open Source Summit are excellent for spreading awareness and for creating industry-academia linkages and enhancement of the information technology. He stated this while addressing a concluding ceremony of the two-day informative ‘Pakistan Open Source Summit 2018’ attended by large number of people from industry, academia, government and students. Former naval chief Admiral (R) Asif Sandila co-chaired the concluding session. Dr Joao Sabido Costa said that the organisations should utilise open source platforms to build their IT infrastructures in future. To build open source culture in Pakistan, he recommended roadmap with future activities and timelines for spreading open source.
  • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 2
    Yesterday we went to the Madrid Rust Meetup, a regular meeting of rustaceans here. Martin talked about WebRender; I talked about refactoring C to port it to Rust, and then Alex talked about Rust's plans for 2018. Fun times.
  • DataworksSummit Berlin - Wednesday morning
    Data strategy - cloud strategy - business strategy: Aligning the three was one of the main themes (initially put forward in his opening keynote by CTO of Hortonworks Scott Gnau) thoughout this weeks Dataworks Summit Berlin kindly organised and hosted by Hortonworks. The event was attended by over 1000 attendees joining from 51 countries. The inspiration hat was put forward in the first keynote by Scott was to take a closer look at the data lifecycle - including the fact that a lot of data is being created (and made available) outside the control of those using it: Smart farming users are using a combination of weather data, information on soil conditions gathered through sensors out in the field in order to inform daily decisions. Manufacturing is moving towards closer monitoring of production lines to spot inefficiencies. Cities are starting to deploy systems that allow for better integration of public services. UX is being optimized through extensive automation.

Today in Techrights

today's howtos

10 Great Linux GTK Themes For 2018

Customization is a big part of the Linux experience, and your desktop theme is no exception. The world of Linux desktop themes is an ever-evolving one, with new ones replacing old favorites all the time. Of course, the desktop environments and GTK itself are always changing, so that adds another dynamic element to consider. That said, some of the best desktop customization happens on the simplest desktop environments, like XFCE. As of now, in early 2018, there are some really excellent GTK themes available. These themes aren’t ranked in any particular order. That comes down to a matter or preference. Any one of them can add a whole new look to your GTK-based desktop. Read more