posted 1 day ago on OSNews
Many were waiting for the day when new and strong Amiga(One) will appear. That happened now. Currently, the X5000 can be purchased with the dual-core processor. In the future, a more powerful machine will be available. Is it worth buying the current model or wait for a four-core version? A look at the new X5000. Note that the author is Polish (I think), and English isn't her or his first language.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Alphabet Inc.'s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company's plans. The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web. Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said. An ad-blocker from Google? Something tells me this won't go down well with antitrust regulators.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products. That's about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, "to stop mining the earth altogether". Apple plans to stop mining for rare-earth materials, and exclusively use recycled materials (from iPhones and other Apple products, presumably). Incredibly ambitious goal - one among many environmental goals the company revealed yesterday - and quite laudable. They have the money to blaze these trails, and I'm glad they're using it for this.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
I challenge anyone to receive a notification on Samsung s Galaxy S8 and not be charmed by the elegant blue pulse of light that traces the contours of the phone's gorgeous screen. This sort of subtlety, this sort of organic, emotive, instant appeal is not something I ever expected Samsung would be capable of. But the company once judged to have cynically copied Apple's iPhone design has exceeded all expectations this year: the 2017 version of Samsung's TouchWiz brings its software design right up to the high standard of its hardware. I have always hated TouchWiz. It was ugly, overbearing, complex, and annoying. Keyword here is was. As per my philosophy to never rot stuck in a single brand or platform, I replaced my Nexus 6P with a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge a few weeks ago. I was assuming I'd have to root it and install a custom ROM on it within days, so I had the proper files and reading material ready to go the day the phone arrived. But as I was using the phone for a few days, it dawned on my that TouchWiz on the S7 Edge was... Not that bad. I buy off-contract, so I didn't get any carrier crapware (as far as I know, Dutch carriers don't really do crapware to begin with), and even Samsung's own stuff was remarkably sparse, and you could hide most of Samsung's stuff anyway. I was pleasantly surprised. I was even more pleasantly surprised when it dawned on me that several parts of TouchWiz were superior to Google's stock Android versions. The stock Android alarm/clock application is a UI disaster, but the TouchWiz version is clean, simple, and much easier to use. TouchWiz' contacts application, too, sports a cleaner look and I find it easier to use than the stock version. Most of all, though, Samsung's settings application is so much better than the stock Android one in terms of looks, organisation, search capabilities, and so on, that I'm surprised Google hasn't copied it outright. Within just a few days, I thought to myself "...okay right so that's why Samsung dominates Android and has 80% smartphone market share in The Netherlands". Samsung has truly cleaned up TouchWiz, and I'm curious to see if I hit that thing everybody is talking about where Samsung phones get slower over time, something that didn't happen to my Nexus devices. CGP Grey once said, in one of his videos: The trick is to keep your identity separate from your opinions. They're objects in a box you carry with you, and should be easily replaceable if it turns out they're no good. If you think that the opinions in the box are "who you are", then you'll cling to them despite any evidence to the contrary. Bottom line: if you always want to be right, you need to always be prepared to change your mind. I try to apply this as much as possible, including here on OSNews. Any longterm reader of this site knows I haven't been kind to TouchWiz over the years. A few weeks with a modern Samsung phone has completely changed my mind.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
In the latest Windows Insider build, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) now allows you to manually mount Windows drives using the DrvFs file system. Previously, WSL would automatically mount all fixed NTFS drives when you launch Bash, but there was no support for mounting additional storage like removable drives or network locations. Now, not only can you manually mount any drives on your system, we've also added support for other file systems such as FAT, as well as mounting network locations. This enables you to access any drive, including removable USB sticks or CDs, and any network location you can reach in Windows all from within WSL. There's a lot of work being done on WSL.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
Most people running Windows like having multiple apps running at the same time - and often, what's running in the background can drain your battery. In this latest Insider Preview build (Build 16176), we leveraged modern silicon capabilities to run background work in a power-efficient manner, thereby enhancing battery life significantly while still giving users access to powerful multitasking capabilities of Windows. With "Power Throttling", when background work is running, Windows places the CPU in its most energy efficient operating modes - work gets done, but the minimal possible battery is spent on that work. My biggest worry with technology like this is that it affects unsaved work. Luckily, you're supposed to be able to turn it on and off.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
The review embargo for the Samsung Galaxy S8 was lifted today, so there's reviews all over the place - and they're all pretty much universally positive, so also kind of uninteresting. An article in The New York Times stood out, though. When a splashy new smartphone hits the market, consumers often weigh whether to place an order right away or to wait and see how others react to the device. But with the Galaxy S8, Samsung's first major smartphone release since the spontaneously combusting Galaxy Note 7 was discontinued last year, there isn't much of a debate. Your best bet is to wait to buy the roughly $750 device - not just for safety reasons, but also because other uncertainties surround it. Since I think you should never rush out and buy a complex and expensive device like a smartphone on release day anyway, this is sage advice. However, it is quite unusual for a major publication to just flat-out tell consumers to wait and not buy the latest and greatest new smartphone from Samsung (or Apple, for that matter) in such an overt, put-it-in-the-headline kind of way. The next paragraph in the NYT article makes me suspicious. Samsung declined to provide an early review unit of the Galaxy S8 to The New York Times, but several consumer electronics experts who tried the device ahead of its release this Friday were cautiously optimistic about the product. Even so, they said the phone had some radical design changes that might make people uncomfortable, a few key features were unfinished and Samsung’s recent safety record remained a concern. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the above article would not have been written had the NYT been given a review unit of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The tone of the entire article is mildly vindictive, like it was written by someone scorned. It feels a little unprofessional for a publication like the NYT to do this. That being said - the advice still stands: don't rush out on release day for expensive and complex equipment like a smartphone. Wait a few weeks to see if there's any teething problems before plonking down hundreds of euros.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer plans to make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments. Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? That’s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways. This is exactly the kind of thing technology should be used for in a democracy: to provide (relatively) easy insight into otherwise incredibly obtuse and splintered government data. Well done.

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posted 6 days ago on OSNews
Sorry for the delay on this one - it's been a... Busy weekend for me personally, so I'm only just now catching up with most of the news from the past few days. Codenamed "Zesty Zapus", Ubuntu 17.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.10-based kernel, and much more. Ubuntu Desktop has seen incremental improvements, with newer versions of GTK and Qt, updates to major packages like Firefox and LibreOffice, and stability improvements to Unity. This is possibly the last release to feature Unity, which makes it oddly notable. Interesting, too, how that lines up with the Z name.

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posted 6 days ago on OSNews
After offering in-browser emulation of console games, arcade machines, and a range of other home computers, the Internet Archive can now emulate the early models of the Apple Macintosh, the black-and-white, mouse driven computer that radically shifted the future of home computing in 1984. I'm not entirely sure on the legalities of what the Internet Archive is doing - since I don't see any confirmation Apple is participating in this - but I'm obviously very happy they're doing this.

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posted 6 days ago on OSNews
This post is about experimenting with imitating and extending the window management concepts from the venerable Plan9, Rio. The backstory and motivation is simply that I've had the need for a smaller and more 'hackable' base than the feature-heavy Durden environment for a while, and this seemed like a very nice fit.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
Welcome to this massive PowerPC goodness crammed series. During these videos, we'll be packing the absolute best technology that this machine can support into this gorgeous Blue & White G3 minitower, creating what I believe will be the fastest B&W G3 on the planet. This is the most involved Power Mac upgrade series I've ever produced, changing every single major component in this box and adding as much as I can to make this machine fly. Sit back, relax and enjoy some mighty fine PowerPC geeky goodness. This is a series of very long videos detailing the entire process. Not the flashiest production values - but honestly, that's a good thing. The creator's excitement is contagious, and it makes me want to undertake a similar project. Just tons of fun to watch, sit back, and relax.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
I've been fascinated by the cell phone parts markets in Shenzhen, China for a while. I'd walked through them a bunch of times, but I still didn't understand basic things, like how they were organized or who was buying all these parts and what they were doing with them. So when someone mentioned they wondered if you could build a working smartphone from parts in the markets, I jumped at the chance to really dive in and understand how everything works. Well, I sat on it for nine months, and then I dove in. I never stopped to think you could do this - but it makes sense. Very cool.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Released to manufacturing on November 8, 2006 and shipping to consumers on January 30, 2007, Windows Vista had a troubled development and a troubled life once it shipped. But it was an essential Windows release, laying the groundwork for Windows 7 and beyond. For all the criticism that Vista and Microsoft received, the company never really backtracked on the contentious aspects of the release. After a while, those aspects just stopped being contentious. I reviewed Windows Vista way back in 2006 for OSNews, in two parts, followed by another look at the operating system five months later (my fascination with post-XP Windows started all the way back in 2003, when I wrote a Longhorn review for OSNews - three years before I actually joined the OSNews team). The importance of Windows Vista cannot be overstated. In hindsight, it was probably the most important Windows release since Windows 95, as it was a massive overhaul of countless crucial aspects of Windows NT that we still use and rely on today. A new graphics stack, a new audio stack, a new networking stack, a complete overhaul and cleaning of the lowest-level parts of the kernel, and so much more. Windows Vista ended many terrible design decisions from the XP and earlier days. No more kernel access for developers, a new driver model, no more programs running as administrator, and so on. Microsoft forced Windows users to bite the bullet and endure endless UAC dialogs, but it all paid off in the end. And on a personal note, Windows Vista came after Windows XP, and Windows XP was one of the worst operating systems I have ever used. I despise Windows XP, and would rather use a $200 2005 Acer laptop with Vista than a fancy 2009 Sony VAIO or whatever running XP. Windows Vista set the scene for Windows 7 to murder Windows XP for good, and for that reason alone, Vista gets 56 thumbs up from me. Vista was part of a very large undertaking inside Microsoft to completely overhaul the low-level parts of Windows, to prepare the platform for the next decade and beyond. It led to Windows 7, Windows Phone, Windows on the Xbox One, and countless other variants. Not all of those are or were successful, but each of them are still fruits of the incredible engineering work Microsoft's women and men undertook to salvage the architectural trainwreck that was Windows XP and earlier. They did an absolutely amazing job, and on this day, I commend them for it.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 6.1. This is our 42nd release. We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of more than twenty years with only two remote holes in the default install. As in our previous releases, 6.1 provides significant improvements, including new features, in nearly all areas of the system.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
The right to repair movement is spreading. In recent weeks legislators in Iowa, Missouri, and North Carolina have introduced bills that would make it easier for you to fix your electronics, joining eight other states that introduced right-to-repair legislation earlier this year. The bills would require manufacturers to sell replacement parts to consumers and independent repair companies and would also require them to open source diagnostic manuals. It would also give independent repair professionals the ability to bypass software locks that prevent repairs, allowing them to return a gadget back to its factory settings. No-brainer laws in any functioning democracy. I hope these US states show the way, so other states - and hopefully, other countries - will follow.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Late last year, I upgraded my old MBP to the 2016 model with a Skylake processor. As I was debugging a kernel exploit, it turned out that SMAP was enabled inside my VMWare Fusion VM. I wanted to avoid dealing with SMAP, but couldn't figure out how to disable it in Fusion. Luckily, VirtualBox VMs do not support SMAP (yet?). This post will be a step-by-step guide on how to setup macOS kernel source-level debugging using VirtualBox. Though all the step examples are geared toward VirtualBox, this guide can also be used to setup kernel debugging on VMWare Fusion since it's even more straightforward in Fusion.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
The DPT-RP1 offers a similar 13.3-inch display as its predecessor, but dramatically improves the resolution from 1200 x 1600 dots to 1650 x 2200 dots. The screen is a "non-slip" panel, which the company says will improve the experience of annotating documents with the included digital pen. The new design is also thinner, lighter, and faster than the previous version; Sony notes that the entire device is roughly as thick as a stack of 30 pages of paper. I love e-paper and e-ink displays, but other than serving their purpose on e-reader devices, it seems the technology hasn't progressed towards more generic use cases such as smartphones and tablets.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Today, many can be forgiven for thinking that the digital communications revolution kicked off during the mid-1990s, when there was simply an explosion of media and consumer interest in the World Wide Web. Just a decade earlier, however, the future was now for the hundreds of thousands of users already using home computers to communicate with others over the telephone network. The online culture of the 1980s was defined by the pervasiveness of bulletin board systems (BBS), expensive telephone bills, and the dulcet tones of a 1200 baud connection (or 2400, if you were very lucky). While many Ars readers certainly recall bulletin board systems with pixelated reverence, just as many are likely left scratching their heads in confusion ("what exactly is a BBS, anyway?"). It's a good thing, then, that a dedicated number of vintage computing hobbyists are resurrecting these digital communities that were once thought lost to time. With some bulletin board systems being rebooted from long-forgotten floppy disks and with some still running on original 8-bit hardware, the current efforts of these seasoned sysops (that is, system administrators) provide a very literal glimpse into the state of online affairs from more than three decades ago. And while services such as the Internet Archive are an excellent resource for studying the growth of the World Wide Web as it's frozen in time, these hobbyists are opening portals today for modern users to go places that have been long forgotten. I was too young to experience the BBS age - I'm from 1984 - so I always like to read up about it whenever I get the chance. This is an excellent article on the topic.

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posted 14 days ago on OSNews
In a fascinating example of poor timing, disk images of OS/2 2.0 pre-release level 6.605 from July/September 1991 were missing for over 25 years, only to show up literally one day after the 25th anniversary of the OS/2 2.0 release (big thanks to a very helpful reader!). This is a pretty unique pre-release of OS/2 2.0, and as such, it's great it's been saved like this.

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posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Ikea recently launched their Trådfri smart lighting platform in the US. The idea of Ikea plus internet security together at last seems like a pretty terrible one, but having taken a look it's surprisingly competent. Hardware-wise, the device is pretty minimal - it seems to be based on the Cypress WICED IoT platform, with 100MBit ethernet and a Silicon Labs Zigbee chipset. It's running the Express Logic ThreadX RTOS, has no running services on any TCP ports and appears to listen on two single UDP ports. As IoT devices go, it's pleasingly minimal. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised when it comes to non-IT companies and IT security.

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posted 18 days ago on OSNews
As we learned this week, the 2013 trash can Mac Pro is going to... Well... The trash can. Apple has promised a new "modular" Mac Pro for sometime after 2017. In the light of this news, I thought it would be interesting to look back a model, to the "cheese grater" Mac Pros Apple sold from 2006 until 2013. The cheesegrater is a truly iconic Mac. I love it. On a related note, here's some interesting tidbits and nuggets I've picked up regarding the new Mac Pro from people and sources who know their stuff. The Mac Pro was in limbo inside Apple. The decision to go ahead and develop a modular Mac Pro replacement seems to have been made only in recent months, with development starting only a few weeks ago, which makes it clear why Apple said it won't ship this year. I have no idea how long it takes to develop a new computer like a Mac Pro, but I think we can expect the new Mac Pro late 2018 at the earliest, but most likely it won't be until early 2019 before it ships. What made Apple do a 180? Well, after the announcement of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, orders for refurbished "old" MacBook Pros supposedly went through the roof, and after the initial batch of reviews came out, they shot up even higher. This response to the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar took Apple completely by surprise. Combined with the problems surrounding the LG UltraFine 5K display and the constant negativity from professional Apple users, the company decided to double down on professional users. As Apple announced, we'll be getting a new Mac Pro and an iMac Pro as a result. In addition, Apple is said to be exploring additional Retina MacBook Pro models without the Touch Bar, and other pro-oriented features, such as hooking an iPad Pro up to a Mac to use it as a Cintiq-like device. All in all, there is definitely excitement in the air regarding professional Mac use, and to be honest - that's been a while. Personally, I'm still very cautious, because in the end, all we got yesterday was a more official version of Tim Cook's endless "we've got great stuff in the pipeline, trust us!" meme that's been going on for a few years now. Until we get it - and that may still be 2 years away - the new Mac Pro is vapourware. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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posted 18 days ago on OSNews
The Basic level gathers a limited set of information that is critical for understanding the device and its configuration including: basic device information, quality-related information, app compatibility, and Windows Store. When the level is set to Basic, it also includes the Security level information. The Basic level helps to identify problems that can occur on a particular device hardware or software configuration. For example, it can help determine if crashes are more frequent on devices with a specific amount of memory or that are running a particular driver version. This helps Microsoft fix operating system or app problems. Use this article to learn about diagnostic events, grouped by event area, and the fields within each event. A brief description is provided for each field. Every event generated includes common data, which collects device data. The long, long, long list of data Microsoft gathers when Windows 10's data collection is set to 'basic'. Some... Light reading as the Windows 10 Creator's Update, which is now available, installs (you can also wait until 11 April to get it through Windows Update).

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posted 18 days ago on OSNews
Mark Shuttleworth, dropping a bombshell on a boring Wednesday: We are wrapping up an excellent quarter and an excellent year for the company, with performance in many teams and products that we can be proud of. As we head into the new fiscal year, it's appropriate to reassess each of our initiatives. I'm writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. [...] I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts. In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a 'better the devil you know' approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms. What the Unity8 team has delivered so far is beautiful, usable and solid, but I respect that markets, and community, ultimately decide which products grow and which disappear. That just happened.

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posted 19 days ago on OSNews
Once upon a time, a friend of mine accidentally took over thousands of computers. He had found a vulnerability in a piece of software and started playing with it. In the process, he figured out how to get total administration access over a network. He put it in a script, and ran it to see what would happen, then went to bed for about four hours. Next morning on the way to work he checked on it, and discovered he was now lord and master of about 50,000 computers. After nearly vomiting in fear he killed the whole thing and deleted all the files associated with it. In the end he said he threw the hard drive into a bonfire. I can't tell you who he is because he doesn't want to go to Federal prison, which is what could have happened if he'd told anyone that could do anything about the bug he'd found. Did that bug get fixed? Probably eventually, but not by my friend. This story isn't extraordinary at all. Spend much time in the hacker and security scene, you'll hear stories like this and worse. It's hard to explain to regular people how much technology barely works, how much the infrastructure of our lives is held together by the IT equivalent of baling wire. Computers, and computing, are broken. It's from 2014, but drop everything you're doing right now and read this. Go on. Don't put it off. Read it.

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