posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer is creating a smartwatch in partnership with American technology firm Google. The watch is an attempt to compete with devices by consumer-electronics makers, particularly the much-hyped watch by Apple. While TAG is the first traditional watchmaker to pair with Google, the partnership could open the door to other collaborations with high-end brands owned by LVMH, including Hublot and Zenith. One of the questions raised by Apple's $10,000 gold smartwatch is whether users will consider it a luxury item, and wear it for status as well as convenience. TAG Heuer is a pretty big player in the classic, mechanical watch market, so this could be pretty big for both Google and classic watchmaking. Imagine a watch with a traditional, mechanical movement and a modern chip and display - stamped with that ever-important Swiss Made. A step closer to my ideal. Unless it's square, of course, because that would be tasteless.

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Sure - if you want a fast, well-built, well-equipped 4K laptop preloaded with Ubuntu, with most of the potential edge-case configuration issues already taken care of, with an active set of developers working to ensure that the necessary repos are kept current, and with an actual, for-real OEM warranty and support. The M3800 Developer Edition is what an OEM-loaded Linux laptop should be, and it's got the added bonus of being supported by Barton George and a small, dedicated group of Linux enthusiasts at Dell. Those folks are backed by Dell's significant resources and are in constant contact with Canonical. The value proposition is pretty clear there, but the question is whether or not that value proposition is worth the extra money versus buying a less-expensive base laptop and loading the Linux distro of your choice. There's going to be a lot of overlap between the M3800 Developer Edition's target market and the segment of potential customers who have no problem with just rolling their own Linux installation on a Thinkpad or even on a MacBook. For those folks, how much is it worth to have Dell do the heavy lifting? I guess the problem is this: a machine like this is for developers and enthusiasts. However, developers and enthusiasts have no issues with getting a cheaper model and installing and running Linux themselves. This puts this expensive Dell Linux laptop in a sort of demand limbo - which is sad, because it looks like a great machine.

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Stallman expanded and formalized his ideas in the GNU Manifesto, which he published in the March, 1985, issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal of Software Tools, thirty years ago this month. "So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor," he wrote, "I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free. I have resigned from the AI Lab to deny MIT any legal excuse to prevent me from giving GNU away." The nearly forty-five-hundred-word text called for collaborators to help build a freely shareable Unix-like operating system, and set forth an innovative method to insure its legal protection. Stallman is one of the greatest technology visionaries. He will never achieve the popularity status of businessmen like Jobs and Gates, but his contributions to technology - directly and indirectly - are immeasurable. And he was right all along.

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Microsoft is putting a big effort into improving trackpad navigation for Windows 10. While Windows 8 introduced new precision trackpads with the help of Intel, Microsoft is building on its previous work by standardizing gestures for laptops that use precision trackpads. Windows 10 will include multi-finger gestures to access new features like the notification center, Cortana, and virtual desktops. Windows trackpads have traditionally been a pain point for laptop owners, and it's something PC makers have largely ignored despite it being the primary input mechanism and key to using a laptop. I've heard this promise so many times from Microsoft and its OEMs, but while improvements have been made, they're simply not even close yet to Apple's trackpads.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
SCO, which went bankrupt after an unfavorable ruling four years ago and has auctioned off all of its assets, exists now only as a vehicle for the quixotic lawsuit against IBM for misappropriation of its Unix source code. Apparently, the 2010 ruling left a small opening, because the suit is back. To the extent that they operate at all, the company's leader is now a well-respected former federal judge named Edward Cahn. Officially, he's a Chapter 11 trustee, which means that, in bankruptcy, the company's lenders or investors can appoint someone to oversee a reorganization and essentially direct the company toward activities that will maximize the recovery of the debt. Cahn's sole responsibility is to see if he can wring any money out of SCO's remaining asset (the lawsuit), which means that this circus will continue until the lenders decide that the likelihood of a settlement doesn't justify the legal costs.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Microsoft is working with Xiaomi on a Windows (Phone) 10 ROM for one of Xiaomi's Android phones. Neither Microsoft nor Xiaomi provided specific details of the Windows 10 software being trialled, but TechCrunch understands from sources that it effectively overrides Android, turning the Xiaomi phone into a Windows 10 device complete with Microsoft services. (Which the company hopes will dazzle Android owners into making the switch.) That's to say that the software doesn't offer a dual boot option, which Microsoft has pushed in the past in India. This is a ROM, based on Windows, that operates much like software from Cyanogen - a company Microsoft was incorrectly linked with an investment in - and other custom ROMs developed by the likes of Tencent and Baidu in China. This is such an obvious move I honestly can't believe it took them this long. Microsoft has always had a pretty relaxed and permissive attitude towards the ROM crowd (I can know from way back in the PocketPC days), and releasing Windows 10 ROMs for popular Android phones is a great way to get enthusiasts interested in trying out your platform. I personally really enjoy using Windows Phone, but my HTC 8X is quite outdated, and I would install Windows 10 on my Nexus 5 in a heartbeat if Microsoft offered it.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows has always been global with more than 1.5 billion users around the world and here in China hundreds of millions of PCs operate Windows today. In addition, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade not just for paying Windows 7, 8, and Windows Phone 8 customers, but also for pirates. In other words, those with unlicensed copies of Windows 7 or 8 will get the free upgrade to Windows 10 as well.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Since then the ‘%’ has gone from strength to strength, and today we revel in a whole family of “per â€"â€"â€"â€"” signs, with ‘%’ joined by ‘‰’ (“per mille”, or per thousand) and ‘‱’ (per ten thousand). All very logical, on the face of it, and all based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the percent sign came to be. Nina and I can comfort ourselves that we are not the first people, and likely will not be the last, to have made the same mistake. I love stories like this. The history of our punctuation marks and symbols.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
The Unicode Consortium has launched a very controversial project known as Han Unification: an attempt to create a limited set of characters that will be shared by these so-called "CJK languages." Instead of recognizing these languages as having their own writing systems that share some common ancestry, the Han unification process views them as mere variations on some "true" form. To help English readers understand the absurdity of this premise, consider that the Latin alphabet (used by English) and the Cyrillic alphabet (used by Russian) are both derived from Greek. No native English speaker would ever think to try "Greco Unification" and consolidate the English, Russian, German, Swedish, Greek, and other European languages' alphabets into a single alphabet. Even though many of the letters look similar to Latin characters used in English, nobody would try to use them interchangeably. Pretty damning explanation of how some of the most popular languages in the world are treated as second class citizens by the Unicode Consortium. Not coincidentally, this consortium is pretty much entirely run by American and European men and (a few) women.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Nintendo finally confirmed today it will be making the leap to mobile game development as part of a new partnership with DeNA. According to a statement released by the companies today, new Nintendo IP will be developed for smart devices and specifically optimized for this platform. In other words, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS you can expect entirely new titles on mobile. I'm interested to see what Nintendo can do to cope with the inherent limitations of touchscreen gaming.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Neptune is calling its new project the Neptune Suite. At its most basic, it's six different pieces of hardware that Neptune promises will work seamlessly with one another. Yet where every major company with a smartwatch (short of Samsung), has put the heavy lifting on people's smartphones for things like network connectivity and apps, Neptune wants to put it on your wrist. hub In the middle of it all is a wrap-around, water-resistant smartwatch called "the hub," which has a 2.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, a 3G/LTE modem that works with nano-SIM cards, and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. Joining it are a "pocket screen" and "tab screen," which expand the screen on the hub using super-fast, short-range wireless standard 802.11ad WiGig. Adding to that are three accessories: a keyboard that can turn the tablet into a notebook of sorts; a dongle with HDMI that will let you push what's on your hub to other screens (like Google's Chromecast); and last but not least, a set of wireless headphones. A very interesting idea, but in my view, a misguided one. This idea would work a lot better if the central device wasn't an unwieldy, huge bracelet, but the smartphone. I long for the day my smartphone can replace my PC, connecting to displays and peripherals without ever taking it out of my pocket.

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Google Play, Google's marketplace for Android applications which now reaches a billion people in over 190 countries, has historically differentiated itself from rival Apple by allowing developers to immediately publish their mobile applications without a lengthy review process. However, Google has today disclosed that, beginning a couple of months ago, it began having an internal team of reviewers analyze apps for policy violations prior to publication. And going forward, human reviewers will continue to go hands-on with apps before they go live on Google Play. I haven't noticed any slowdowns or complaints from developers so far.

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on OSNews
While Microsoft has dropped hints that the Internet Explorer brand is going away, the software maker has now confirmed that it will use a new name for its upcoming browser successor, codenamed Project Spartan. Speaking at Microsoft Convergence yesterday, Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela revealed that the company is currently working on a new name and brand. "We're now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10," said Capossela. "We'll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we'll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing." The only sensible move. The Internet Explorer name is tainted far, far beyond repair.

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Apple Pay itself should, in theory, cut down on fraud because it makes stealing credit card information almost impossible. Each time a transaction takes place, Apple generates the equivalent of a new credit card number so the merchant never actually sees a customer's information. The vulnerability in Apple Pay is in the way that it - and card issuers - "onboard" new credit cards into the system. Because Apple wanted its system to have the simplicity for which it has become famous and wanted to make the sign-up process "frictionless", the company required little beyond basic credit card information about a user. Nor did it provide much information to the banks, like full phone numbers and addresses, that might help them detect fraud early. The banks, desperate to become their customers' default card on Apple Pay - most add only one to their iPhones - did little to build their own defenses or to push Apple to provide more detailed information about its customers. Some bank executives acknowledged that they were were so scared of Apple that they didn't speak up. The banks didn't press the company for fear that they would not be included among the initial issuers on Apple Pay. It seems the Apple Pay fraud is a bit more complex than it just being the banks' fault. This is what happens when one company becomes so big and dominant that everyone else dances to their tunes. We've seen it before in technology, and it seems we are entirely unwilling to learn. In any case, letting a secretive, closed technology company take care of my payments seems like an incredibly stupid thing to do. I much prefer our banks to handle it - they're shady, too, of course, but at least here in The Netherlands, there are at least a lot of government and media eyes focussed on them, and they have far stricter laws and regulations to adhere to than a random technology company.

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Windows devices can be lightweight and highly mobile, yet, when you need it, have the full capabilities of the Windows OS. The Windows Storage and Deployment Teams, the people who bring modern storage APIs, Storage Sense, setup, and servicing to your phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop would like to introduce you to how they are giving Windows 10 a compact footprint. Now that Windows runs on all manners of devices - from cheap phones to expensive gaming rigs - Windows' storage footprint is even more important than it already was. I'm glad Microsoft is losing sight of these lower-level things while working on Windows 10's user-facing features. That being said, the measures detailed in the blog post look an awful lot like treating the symptoms instead of the actual cause.

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Engadget takes a look at the Recreated Sinclair Spectrum. With no embeddable games, the keyboard relies upon existing iOS and Android apps. Elite bundles a free app that launches with a short soundbite of the Spectrum loading sound and offers a number of free games, including exclusive rights to Chuckie Egg, and access to Sinclair BASIC. Other games can be unlocked via 79p ($1) in-app purchases. During my demo, I led Hen-House Harry through a number of levels and the gameplay was exactly like I remember it, as was the tactile feel of the rubberized keyboard. You don't realize just how much you missed those 8-bit soundtracks and super-simple graphics. I love that we live in an age where incredibly niche devices like this can be made and sold.

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney's Steve Jobs documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, debuted over the weekend at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival in Austin, Texas. Financed by CNN Films, the 127-minute doc was described by its maker as delivering a "far more complex interpretation" of Jobs than any of the previous movies depicting the life of Apple's iconic co-founder. But what did the press think? Well, the first reviews are out and, while they're generally strong, they certainly don't describe a documentary that paints Jobs in a favorable light - or one that contains too many revelations that will be new to anyone who read Jobs' maligned 2011 biography by Walter Isaacson. Interestingly enough, this is the same director behind the praised documentary about the criminal organisation 'scientology'. Moreover, Apple has actually deemed it worthy enough to attack the documentary, claiming it is "inaccurate and mean-spirited". A more glowing endorsement has never existed, I would say.

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on OSNews
Imagination Technologies is a British company that has recently entered full production of a board based on MIPS computer architecture. The single-board computer has been designed to allow developers to create applications for mobiles, gaming, Internet of Things, and wearables. Interesting, and more exotic, alternative to the Pi.

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on OSNews
The Galaxy S6 is set to mount the biggest challenge to Apple's iPhone 6 to date, so it's only natural to want to compare the dimensions and proportions of the two. I found that a strangely difficult task with the press images provided from both manufacturers: Apple still hides the iPhone's camera bulge in profile shots and Samsung's front and back pictures are shot at slightly different sizes. So I have rescaled the press photos in accordance with the official specs, and used The Verge's magical image slider to get an idea of the difference in size. Interesting comparison images. It also highlights the utter idiocy of the kneejerk Pavlovian "it's a copy!" reactions from the usual suspects. These two devices are nothing alike.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
From complaints about the Intel Core-M processor to the color choices to the decision to use USB-C, it seems that anyone with skin in the Mac game has found something to pick on regarding the new Macbook. I think it's all utter bullshit. The thing that spec monkeys need to remember is that most people don't care about what they care about. Most people buying new computers aren't interest in how many cores a CPU has or how many GB of RAM or storage it has. Very few of the people I sell computers to have more than a passing interest. They want to know what the computer can do. What problems it solves for them. While the gushing, endless praise for Apple/Mac/OS X in the article borders on the nauseating (hey it's iMore, what did you expect), I do agree with the main point. A similar reaction could be seen when Samsung announced the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, where 'power users' started complaining about the non-removable back and lack of an SD card slot as if it these 'issues' matter one bit to the masses buying Galaxy phones (or any other brand, for that matter). It's something I like to refer to as 'the bubble'. You can become so enveloped in the platforms and devices you use that you end up in a bubble. Your own specific use case becomes all that you can see, and because you read the same websites as other people inside your bubble do, it's easy to lose perspective of what lies beyond your bubble. The end result is that you think stuff like removable batteries or SD card slots actually matter to more than 0.1% of the smartphone buying public, or that not having an USB port matters to the people buying this new MacBook. The same happened with the original iPhone, the first iMac, and god knows what else. A lot of people - vocal people - assume their own use case is the benchmark for everyone, and as such, if some new piece of kit does not fit that use case, it must, inevitably, fail. I always try to make sure that I look beyond my own bubble - that's how I can lament the Apple Watch as a ugly, square, computery iPhone Wrist, while still acknowledging that it will most likely do quite well, because what I want in a smartwatch - watch first, computer fourth or fifth - is probably not what most other people want. This new MacBook is going to be a huge success, and so will the new Galaxy S6. Nobody cares about removable backs, SD card slots, or ports.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
"Discover HAIKU" is your gateway to the world of HAIKU. Delivered to you on a premium quality 8GB USB stick, you can boot to it directly, or install it to an empty hard drive volume on your computer. It comes with a new, up-to-date version of HAIKU, introductory videos, and a mile-long list of tested, proven programs and tools that will make your adventure exciting. Looks like it's made by TuneTracker Systems - not exactly an unknown name in the BeOS world. Still, couldn't you just download the latest Haiku nightly? I don't think Haiku has an update system in place yet, so I wonder how this 'distribution' keeps itself up to date.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
Google has announced the end of its project hosting service. As developers migrated away from Google Code, a growing share of the remaining projects were spam or abuse. Lately, the administrative load has consisted almost exclusively of abuse management. After profiling non-abusive activity on Google Code, it has become clear to us that the service simply isn’t needed anymore. New project creation is already disabled on March 12. On August 24 the site will go read-only, to be completely shut down by Janury 25, 2016. Project data is promised to be available as tarball download throughout 2016.

Read More...
posted 17 days ago on OSNews
Microsoft is working on an advanced version of its competitor to Apple's Siri, using research from an artificial intelligence project called "Einstein." Microsoft has been running its "personal assistant" Cortana on its Windows phones for a year, and will put the new version on the desktop with the arrival of Windows 10 this autumn. Later, Cortana will be available as a standalone app, usable on phones and tablets powered by Apple's iOS and Google's Android, people familiar with the project said. Does anybody actually use these digital assistants? Google Now is kind of useful because it actually anticipates what you need, but even then, it seems like it's for a niche group of people (e.g. those who travel a lot). Aside from the gimmick factor of asking Siri or Cortana funny questions, and the occasional setting of an alarm - does anybody actually use these things?

Read More...
posted 18 days ago on OSNews
In April, one of the open source code movement's first and biggest success stories, the Network Time Protocol, will reach a decision point. At 30 years old, will NTP continue as the pre-eminent time synchronization system for Macs, Windows, and Linux computers and most servers on networks? Or will this protocol go into a decline marked by drastically slowed development, fewer bug fixes, and greater security risks for the computers that use it? The question hinges to a surprising degree on the personal finances of a 59-year-old technologist in Talent, Ore., named Harlan Stenn. Amazing how such an important protocol hinges on just one man.

Read More...
posted 19 days ago on OSNews
Google has stopped selling the Nexus 5, the company's 2014 flagship Android smartphone. A Google spokesperson told The Verge today that "while some inventory of Nexus 5 still exists (with our retail and carrier partners), our focus is on the Nexus 6 at this time." Searches for the older model on Google's new hardware store show that the Nexus 5 is no longer available for purchase direct from Google. This leaves the Nexus series without an affordable, yet powerful smartphone - which in turn means that right now, I have absolutely no idea which Android smartphone to recommend. The Nexus 6 is too expensive and too large (and personally, I find it hideous), and everything else leaves you at the mercy of OEMs when it comes to updates (i.e., you ain't getting any). I really hope Google has a refreshed Nexus 5 in the pipeline.

Read More...