posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Called the Partnership for American Innovation, the group warned that steps to stop the PAEs could also hurt truly innovative companies. Companies signing on to the effort so far are Apple Inc., DuPont, Ford Motor Co., General Electric, IBM Corp, Microsoft Corp and Pfizer Inc. [...] In particular, the group would oppose efforts to make software or biotechnology unpatentable. Google, Cisco and other supporters of efforts to curb frivolous patent litigation from PAEs, often termed "patent trolls," supported a bill that easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December. Software patents are destructive and hinder innovation. Apple, Microsoft, and the other members are actively lobbying to limit innovation in the technology industry. This, in turn, will harm the American economy, and cost the American people tens of thousands of jobs. It's easy to sound like a politician.

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posted 14 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 15 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 15 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 15 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 15 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 16 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 16 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 17 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 17 days ago on OSNews
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.

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posted 17 days ago on OSNews
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?

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posted 21 days ago on OSNews
Jolla has released the first builds of Sailfish OS for the Nexus 4. Installation isn't exactly easy, and the builds are far, far from complete or stable (the display is even watermarked to say as such), but it does constitute Sailfish' first steps beyond the Jolla phone. Take note of all the disclaimers - and if you're okay with taking the plunge, have fun.

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posted 21 days ago on OSNews
We know you've been wanting it, and starting today, you can download Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad from the App Store. The apps have the robust capabilities and familiar look and feel that is unmistakably Office, while offering a fantastic touch experience built from the ground up for iPad. With the free versions of the apps, you can read your Word documents, view your Excel data and present with PowerPoint. Your documents will look as good as they do on your PC and Mac®, and better than ever on your iPad. With an Office 365 subscription, you can edit and create new documents with the iPad. It looks pretty good, and as a heavy Office users, I can't wait until this hits Android tablets. On a related note: Office for phones (both iOS and Android) has gone completely free. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that iOS got touch Office before Windows. I feel like I'm in the twilight zone.

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posted 22 days ago on OSNews
Major new features for this release include a significant update to the experience for finding and installing applications, as well as major facelifts for the Videos and gedit applications. Those who have high resolution displays will benefit from greater support, and users will experience better start up times as well as more efficient resource usage. They will also be able to quickly organize their applications with the new application folders feature. I remember a time when GNOME and KDE releases were big deals here. Feels like eons ago, a distant memory from an irrelevant past.

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posted 22 days ago on OSNews
Notch was working with the Oculus team to bring Minecraft to the Rift - and then the Facebook news hit. He immediately cancelled the project. I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me. And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition. It seems like Notch sums up the general response to Facebook acquiring Oculus pretty well.

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posted 22 days ago on OSNews
In early March, 2007, as Google was expanding fast and furiously, one of its recruiters from the "Google.com Engineering" group made a career-ending mistake: She cold-contacted an Apple engineer by email, violating the secret and illegal non-solicitation compact that her boss, Eric Schmidt, had agreed with Apple's Steve Jobs. What happened next is just one of many specific examples of how people's lives were impacted by the Techtopus wage-theft cartel that was taken down by the Department of Justice antitrust division, and is currently being litigated in a landmark class action lawsuit. This story sent shivers down my spine. What a bunch of horrible, unethical scumbags. Sadly, their criminal behaviour won't really have any meaningful consequences. These people reside above the law.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones. What the heck does Facebook need this for? Great news for the Oculus men and women though.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones. What the heck does Facebook need this for? Great news for the Oculus men and women though.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
The Computer History Museum announced today that it has, with permission from Microsoft Corporation, made available original source code for two historic programs: MS-DOS, the 1982 "Disk Operating System" for IBM-compatible personal computers, and Word for Windows, the 1990 Windows-based version of their word processor. Great move by Microsoft - this ensures these programs remain available for eternity.

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posted 23 days ago on OSNews
HTC has released the new HTC One, the updated version of the last year's best Android phone nobody bought. The Verge already has its review up, and its conclusion is exactly as you expect. There are a lot of great Android phones on the market right now, but two stand out: the Nexus 5 and the new HTC One. The Nexus 5 is Google's purest vision for Android, the One the platform's most mature and developed form. I desperately wish it took better pictures, and I'm reluctant to buy or recommend it until it does, but I like absolutely everything else. It's fast, long-lasting, does everything a phone should, and does it all with totally unparalleled class and style. From motion gestures to the Dot View case, it has genuinely new, genuinely useful features. It may not outsell Samsung and the relentless marketing sure to follow the feature-rich Galaxy S5, but HTC executives say they don't care. They say they just want to build a phone for people who like nice things. It's really hard to argue with that quality feel that last year's One had, and which this year's model improves. I think it's pretty much the only Android phone that can measure up to the iPhone in this department - and now, it also has an SD card slot.

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posted 24 days ago on OSNews
BioWare developer Manveer Heir held a passionate talk about stereotypes in videogames, for a group of developers at GDC. Heir backed up his ideas with research throughout the presentation. To begin, he cited a 2009 study, The Virual Census Representing Gender, Race and Age in Videogames, which analysed the primary and secondary characters of a large set of games and found that the elderly, children, black, hispanic and female characters were all uder-represented compared to the social makeup of the United States at the time. Heir also looked at the top 25 metacritic games of 2013. While half let players play as a woman, or an ethnic minority character, none facilitated both. I always play as a female character if the game gives me the option. In fact, if a game does not allow me to play as a female character for no discernible reason, I will not buy it. This is not some sort of holier-than-thou quest; it's just my preference. I really want game developers to move beyond the generically handsome early-thirties shaven-head five o'clock shadow American. It's boring, it's lazy, it's pandering to the lowest common denominator. This is one of the reasons why the Saints Row games have always appealed to me. Want to be a short, fat Asian woman wearing construction jeans and a fishnet halter top? Go head. Want to play as a cross-dressing thin giant with huge pink Bambi eyes and flaming red hair? No problem. Games that allow its players this kind of freedom are relatively rare, and that's a shame. Heir's speech got a lot right, however. It was an important and powerful moment this year because, ultimately, it wasn't about storming barricades or attacking individuals. It was a message from one developer to a room of developers, asking everyone to go away and raise the issue with colleagues in their respective organisations. It was a well-reasoned, well-researched and impactful, and took pains to avoid falling into some familiar traps. It wasn't a drum-banging speech for those already in complete agreement. It didn't, as these things sometimes do, reflect more on the author than the issue. The anger behind Heir's words made it an energising listen, but the speech didn't accuse or condescend, and didn't draw battle lines. That's exactly where the debate needs to go. Nothing changes if everyone digs trenches. Hopefully they take something away from this.

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posted 24 days ago on OSNews
Fantastic article about design on Android by Cennydd Bowles, design lead at Twitter. Android design is indeed more difficult than iOS design in that it offers fewer constraints. But any skilled designer can handle that with a bit of effort. My uncharitable interpretation for this class of responses is simple laziness, and if Android forces designers to drop a pixel-perfect mentality and adopt approaches that suit a diverse world, then that’s no bad thing. The evidence is out there for all to see. Android developers - developers who are Android-focused instead of iOS-focused - come up with absolutely beautiful Android applications all the time. I have no doubt that it's harder to do so on Android than it is on iOS, but the cold and harsh truth is that there are also a hell of a lot more Android users and devices out there. If your iOS application requires two full-time developers, is it really fair to expect your Android application to require the same, even though the user base is four to five times as large? A translation consisting of 3000 words takes me about a work day. A translation of 12000 words takes me four work days. None of my clients expects me to translate 12000 words in the same amount of time as 3000 words without a serious degradation in quality. Bowles also dives into the argument that Android users are less willing to pay than iOS users. Socially, excluding Android users seems almost prejudicial. Unlike Android is difficult, this isn't about about mere convenience; it's a value judgment on who is worth designing for. Put uncharitably, the root issue is "Android users are poor". If you are an iOS developer, and you port your Android application over as a side-project, is it really so surprising that Android users aren't buying your application? Could it simply be that your potentially poor iOS-to-Android port simply isn't even worth paying for? If you do not develop and design with Android's strengths in mind, Android users won't be as willing to pay as your iOS users, the platform whose strengths you do develop and design for. A translation English into Dutch, and since this is my speciality, I'm pretty good at it and my clients are willing to pay good money for my services. I could also translate German into Dutch, but since my German isn't nearly as good as my English, my clients aren't going to pay for it. I can translate German into Dutch just fine, but the quality will be far less than my English-to-Dutch translations. Even then, Android's userbase is far larger than iOS', so even if only 50% of your Android users pay, and 100% of your iOS users (unlikely figures), Android still provides a more worthwhile revenue stream. Still, the core issue is that Android is a different platform and ecosystem than iOS, with different strengths and weaknesses, and as such, requires different talents and mindsets. Translating English is different than translating German. I realise that. Developers should realise the same, and understand that being a good iOS developer does not make you a good Android developer - or vice versa.

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posted 25 days ago on OSNews
Some financial services companies are looking to migrate their ATM fleets from Windows to Linux in a bid to have better control over hardware and software upgrade cycles. Pushing them in that direction apparently is Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows XP on April 8, said David Tente, executive director, USA, of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA). "There is some heartburn in the industry" over Microsoft's end-of-support decision, Tente said. Say what you want about Microsoft, but when it comes to clear and well-communicated support cycles, they belong at the very top. This is the ATMIA's own fault for not properly getting ready for the future even though XP's EOL has been known years and years in advance, and has even been extended a few times.

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posted 26 days ago on OSNews
I spend a fair amount of time working with legacy operating systems. Apart from being obsolete themselves they suffer from a common problem - the web browsers are simply unusable on a present day Internet. You start by getting JavaScript error on google.com and it only gets worse once you go further. Try going to microsoft.com with IE 1.5 or qnx.com with the last version of Voyager. This just doesn't work. With rapid progression of web standards, the situation will only be getting worse in time. Something had to be done. This is some really cool stuff.

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posted 27 days ago on OSNews
This is a project for breathing new live in Helios, an OS from the 90's. Helios was developed by the (now defunct) company called Perihelion Ltd., mainly targeting the INMOS Transputer but later adding other CPUs like the ARM series or TMS320c4x DSPs when INMOS' decline became clear. The project's website has more details.

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