posted 15 days ago on OSNews
It wasn't meant to be this way. Windows XP, now no longer supported, wasn't meant to be popular. For all its popularity and sustained usage, people seem to have forgotten something important about it: it sucked. The Ars forums are a place for geeks to hang out and chat about tech, and especially in the light of the hostility shown towards Windows 8, we thought it might be fun to take a look at how our forum dwellers reacted when first introduced to Microsoft's ancient operating system. How times change.

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on OSNews
Fortunately though, Mozilla keeps on trucking, and Firefox OS appears to be constantly improving. The latest version available is 1.3.0, with the latest preview being 1.4. Now, sources from China have gotten their hands on a ton of screenshots and new information regarding Firefox OS 2.0, and we must say, the UI looks quite pretty. This looks quite good indeed.

Read More...
posted 16 days ago on OSNews
HTC's latest flagship device, the One M8, is one of the best Android smartphones now available on the market, but what would happen to it if Google stripped the phone of some of its customizations? That's essentially what the Google Play edition of the new One offers. Plunk down $699 and you'll have access to an unlocked and (mostly) unadulterated version of the M8 with stock Android 4.4 (also known as KitKat). While the market will deem the Galaxy S5 the best Android flagship of the current crop of phones, I personally think it's this one. However, if the major Chinese manufacturers manage to get Google Play editions, I honestly would see no reason for anyone to avoid them. Chinese OEMs like Oppo offer the same (or better) specifications, have top-notch build quality, and usually sport great community support - but at half the price.

Read More...
posted 16 days ago on OSNews
Heartbleed, a long-undiscovered bug in cryptographic software called OpenSSL that secures Web communications, may have left roughly two-thirds of the Web vulnerable to eavesdropping for the past two years. Heartbleed isn't your garden-variety vulnerability, so here's a quick guide to what it is, why it's so serious, and what you can do to keep your data safe. Serious.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
It's finally here. After 12 years, 6 months, and 12 days on the market, Windows XP has hit its end of life. It will receive its last ever set of patches on Windows Update today, and for the most part, that will be that. Any flaws discovered from now on - and it's inevitable that some will be discovered - will never be publicly patched. How bad is this going to be? It's probably going to be pretty bad. By some measures, about 28 percent of the Web-using public is still using Windows XP, and these systems are going to be ripe for exploitation. I never liked Windows XP (I used BeOS during XP's early days, and Mac OS X and Linux during XP's later days), so I'm glad to see it go. This terrible operating system should have died out years ago.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
AnandTech's usual in-depth review. Overall the Galaxy S 5 is a solid replacement to the GS4 (and definitely to any previous Samsung device). I find that pretty much all the flagships offer some set of tradeoffs that prevent any one from being the perfect device (iPhone's screen size, GS5's materials, M8's camera). It's unfortunate because I'd really like to crown a single device the king of them all, but instead we're faced with a handful of differing optimization points. Samsung got it almost perfect with the GS5. With a metal body, a rear facing camera with larger pixels (perhaps with some tweaks to camera output processing), a better NAND controller, and stereo front facing speakers, the GS5 would probably be perfect. As much as I dislike Samsung - they simply have no taste - the fact of the matter is that reviews of their flagships are virtually always positive, and users have clearly voted with their wallets. Apparently I belong to a minority.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
It looks like the Internet of Things could be the next big computing battleground, and Microsoft seems willing to sacrifice a few battles in order to win that war. Facebook is chasing virtual reality; Google wants home automation, smartwatches, and internet-connected glasses. More than 200 billion devices are likely to be connected to the internet by 2020, a huge example of the way the technology industry will shift and new battles will emerge. Satya Nadella believes the future isn't Windows desktops, Windows tablets, and Windows Phones. It's not Windows everywhere, it's Microsoft everywhere, offering software and services for every device - including an entire world of interconnected devices that have yet to be built. The speed with which is doing this u-turn makes it quite clear that people within the company wanted to do this for a long, long time (otherwise it could not have been done this quickly), which implies that Ballmer may have simply held these changes back. The elephant in the room here is that while people talk about Microsoft as if the company is down and out, it's still hugely profitable and has consistently been posting great financial results. It's just that Microsoft's money isn't coming from sexy products like smartphones and tablets, but from enterprise and backend stuff - stuff the technology press either can't write about, doesn't understand, or both. It's very similar to all those articles claiming Apple no longer innovates and disrupts, even though the company sent shockwaves through the microprocessor world. In any case, it seems like Microsoft finally found the right direction in this new world.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
I'm using the URL slug headline for this one (check the link). This map showing the locations of 280 million individual posts on Twitter shows a depressing divide in America: Tweets coming from Manhattan tend to come from iPhones. Tweets coming from Newark, N.J., tend to come from Android phones. If you live in the New York metro area, you don't need to be told that Manhattan is where the region's rich people live, and the poor live in Newark. Manhattan's median income is $67,000 a year. Newark's is $17,000, according to U.S. Census data. This fascinates me, as it seems to be a very American thing. In The Netherlands, Android has an 80% market share, and we have far lower poverty rates than the US (that Newark median income is crazy low by Dutch standards). I'm pretty sure the situation is similar for many other West-European nations. This raises an interesting question: is it 'Android is for poor people' - or is it 'Android is for poor people in America'?

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
PulkoMandy of the Haiku operating systems reported that he has successfully added HTML5 video support to WebPositive (the default Haiku web browser) as part of his ongoing contract work. The report on the Haiku website gives some more details about the work that went into getting HTML5 video to work.

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on OSNews
According to documents obtained exclusively by The Verge, Google is about to launch a renewed assault on your television set called Android TV. Major video app providers are building for the platform right now. Android TV may sound like a semantic difference - after all, Google TV was based on Android - but it's something very different. Android TV is no longer a crazy attempt to turn your TV into a bigger, more powerful smartphone. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," writes Google. "It's all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction." It will be "cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast." What does that all mean? It means that Android TV will look and feel a lot more like the rest of the set top boxes on the market, including Apple TV, Amazon's Fire TV, and Roku. All these devices look the same. It's going to be very hard to stand out if they all have the same services. On top of that - I'm not putting a separate box next to my TV. Why can't my tablet or PC act as the box? This is 2014, is it not? If you see a separate box, they blew it.

Read More...
posted 20 days ago on OSNews
Internal Apple documents from last April shown in court today paint the picture that the company was scrambling to identify and determine ways to compete with devices running Android, as well as keep sales of the iPhone from petering out amid growing competition. Pages from a 2014 planning document last April, shown during a cross-examination of Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller, noted that smartphone growth rates were declining, something that could impact iPhone sales. Worse yet, the document said, was growing consumer interest for less expensive, larger-screened smartphones, with a headline on the page reading "consumers want what we don't have." Apple is doing just fine in the US. In large parts of Europe and the rest of the world - not so much. I don't mean to say they are in trouble or will die - so let's get that strawman out of the way straight-up - but Apple's leadership (unlike some others) is smart enough to know that what matters is not last year, this year, or even next year - what matters is five years from now. Once people get accustomed to relatively cheap, non-iOS devices with large screens, they won't be going back to a phone with a tiny (by comparison) display that costs twice as much. So yes, those larger-screen iPhones are coming.

Read More...
posted 20 days ago on OSNews
At its Build developer conference today, Microsoft announced that it was open sourcing a wide array of its .NET libraries and related technologies and creating a group, the .NET Foundation, to oversee the development and stewardship of the open source components. Perhaps the highlight of the announcement today was that the company will be releasing its Roslyn compiler stack as open source under the Apache 2.0 license. Roslyn includes a C# and Visual Basic.NET compiler, offering what Microsoft calls a "compiler as a service". This is more than just a code dump - Microsoft is launching the .NET Foundation, with representatives from Microsoft, GitHub, and Xamarin, among others, to act as stewards for the various related open source projects.

Read More...
posted 21 days ago on OSNews
Folks have been asking about our early Linux efforts and support for Valve's SteamOS and Steam Machines. We have good news for you! The 4.1 source code has initial support for running and packaging games for Linux and SteamOS. We love Linux! And another major game engine adds Linux and SteamOS support (CryEngine did so as well).

Read More...
posted 21 days ago on OSNews
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves. We didn’t act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better. Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He's made this decision for Mozilla and our community. The only sensible move.

Read More...
posted 21 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.

Read More...
posted 22 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.

Read More...
posted 22 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.

Read More...
posted 22 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.

Read More...
posted 22 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.

Read More...
posted 23 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.

Read More...
posted 23 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.

Read More...
posted 23 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.

Read More...
posted 24 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.

Read More...
posted 24 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.

Read More...
posted 24 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?

Read More...