posted 10 days ago on OSNews
Sundar Pichai has outlined the rules the company will follow when it comes to the development and application of AI. We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use. How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right. So today, we're announcing seven principles to guide our work going forward. These are not theoretical concepts; they are concrete standards that will actively govern our research and product development and will impact our business decisions. We acknowledge that this area is dynamic and evolving, and we will approach our work with humility, a commitment to internal and external engagement, and a willingness to adapt our approach as we learn over time. It honestly blows my mind that we've already reached the point where we need to set rules for the development of artificial intelligence, and it blows my mind even more that we seem to have to rely on corporations self-regulating - which effectively means there are no rules at all. For now it feels like "artificial intelligence" isn't really intelligence in the sense of what humans and some other animals display, but once algorithms and computers start learning about more than jut identifying dog pictures or mimicking human voice inflections, things might snowball a lot quicker than we expect. AI is clearly way beyond my comfort zone, and I find it very difficult to properly ascertain the risks involved. For once, I'd like society and governments to be on top of a technological development instead of discovering after the fact that we let it all go horribly wrong.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
Windows Insider Preview build 17686 includes a hint that Microsoft may soon allow users to "switch to S mode". If true, the software giant may finally reverse on of the worst design decisions in Windows history. You can see this hint by opening the Settings app and typing S mode. As you can see in the shot above, Settings provides a search hint for a Settings interface called Switch to S Mode. I would definitely use this switch; I pretty much run only Store Applications on my Surface Pro 4 anyway, and an easy switch to allow classic Win32 applications if the need arises seems useful.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
An anonymous user sent this one in, and even though it's old - 2014 - I hadn't read it yet, and I don't think it's ever been posted here. It's a Monday night in Bristol in July 1983. Your parents are downstairs watching Coronation Street while you skulk in your bedroom under the pretence of doing homework. In reality, you're hunched over your cassette recorder, fingers hovering over the buttons in feverish anticipation. A quiver of excitement runs through you as a voice from the radio announces: "and now the moment you've all been waiting for..." There's a satisfying clunk as you press down on play and record simultaneously, and moments later the room is filled with strange metallic squawks and crackles. "SCREEEEEEEEEEE..." You're listening to the Datarama show on Radio West and partaking in the UK's first attempt to send a computer program over local radio. Joe Tozer, who co-hosted the show, recalls how it all began: "I think it was just one of those 'ping!' moments when you realise that the home computer program is just audio on a cassette, so why not transmit it over air? It just seemed a cool idea." I have very little experience with using cassettes as a data storage medium, except for that one time, somewhere in the late '80s or early '90s, where a neighbour kid and I loaded Rambo for the C64 from a cassette tape. That's the only time I ever did such a thing, and in hindsight, I'm glad I got experience this era of computing, even if it was only once.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
Apple made a big splash at WWDC this year when it announced that it would be letting developers port their iOS applications over to the Mac sometime next year - and that Apple had already started the process by bringing over the iOS versions of the Home, Stocks, News, and Voice Memo apps to macOS 10.14 Mojave. The project - rumored to be codenamed Marzipan - is still in the early stages, and Apple isn't even planning on offering it to developers until 2019. And there's already a fair amount of confusion and outcry over what Apple's doing here: whether or not it will see the death of the traditional Mac app as we know it, exactly how these new kinds of apps will work, whether they'll feel like traditional "native" Mac apps, and even whether or not it's fair to call these apps "ports". So here's what's actually going on. A fair overview of "Marzipan" and what it could mean for the future of the Mac.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
ReactOS has unveiled its Google Summer of Code project, undertaken by Victor Perevertki. My project is both simple and complicated. I want to add to ReactOS an option to install on and boot from BTRFS partitions. There are a few little things left to implement this: BTRFS support in bootloader. Fixes in cache controller and memory manager in order to boot with WinBtrfs driver. It is getting better every week, but right now used only with fastfat driver for FAT32. My primary goal for this internship is implement BTRFS support in FreeLdr - our bootloader. Another great GSoC project to keep an eye on.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
In a blog post, Microsoft announced Visual Studio 2019. Because the Developer Tools teams (especially .NET and Roslyn) do so much work in GitHub, you'll start to see check-ins that indicate that we're laying the foundation for Visual Studio 2019, and we're now in the early planning phase of Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio for Mac. We remain committed to making Visual Studio faster, more reliable, more productive for individuals and teams, easier to use, and easier to get started with. Expect more and better refactorings, better navigation, more capabilities in the debugger, faster solution load, and faster builds. But also expect us to continue to explore how connected capabilities like Live Share can enable developers to collaborate in real time from across the world and how we can make cloud scenarios like working with online source repositories more seamless. Expect us to push the boundaries of individual and team productivity with capabilities like IntelliCode, where Visual Studio can use Azure to train and deliver AI-powered assistance into the IDE. Our goal with this next release is to make it a simple, easy upgrade for everyone - for example, Visual Studio 2019 previews will install side by side with Visual Studio 2017 and won't require a major operating system upgrade. The company doesn't have a release date yet.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
At the AMD press event at Computex, it was revealed that these new processors would have up to 32 cores in total, mirroring the 32-core versions of EPYC. On EPYC, those processors have four active dies, with eight active cores on each die (four for each CCX). On EPYC however, there are eight memory channels, and AMD's X399 platform only has support for four channels. For the first generation this meant that each of the two active die would have two memory channels attached - in the second generation Threadripper this is still the case: the two now 'active' parts of the chip do not have direct memory access. I feel like the battle for the highest core count at the lowest possible price while still maintaining individual core clock is really the new focus for Intel and AMD. My only hope is that this will spur better and easier parallelisation in software so that we can all benefit from this battle.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
Developer conference season is coming to an end with Apple's WWDC this week, and the main takeaway is that between Google's "Digital Wellbeing" and Apple's "Screen Time", the two biggest smartphone developers are taking some time to discourage smartphone overuse. On the surface, the two companies are taking very similar approaches with the tools they're offering to present information to users. Apple and Google are both adding new dashboards, with options for more zoomed-out perspectives on how you're spending your time, along with more granular views of how often you're using individual apps - down to the minute. There's data on how many notifications you've received, where they're coming from, and breakdowns of when you're actually on your phone. I like these features. I don't really need them - I don't even use my phone all that much - but I do like that they give me insight into how long I use certain applications, how often I pick up my phone, and so on. Neat data to have.

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posted 11 days ago on OSNews
Apple has one hardware-specific feature planned that wasn't announced at Monday's WWDC keynote. In iOS 12, users will be able to use Live Listen, a special feature previously reserved for hearing aids certified through Apple's Made for iPhone hearing aid program, with their AirPods. After enabling the feature in the iPhone's settings, users will be able to use their phones effectively as a directional mic. This means you can have AirPods in at a noisy restaurant with your iPhone on the table, for example, and the voice of whomever is speaking will be routed to your AirPods. What a great accessibility feature for people with hearing problems.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Facebook and Google were paid millions for political advertising purposes in Washington but failed for years to publish related information - such as the advertiser's address - as required by state law, alleges a lawsuit by the state's attorney general. Washington law requires that "political campaign and lobbying contributions and expenditures be fully disclosed to the public and that secrecy is to be avoided".

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Alexa for PCs, announced earlier this year, brings the cloud-based voice service to Windows 10 computers. Today, we introduce Alexa for PC solutions from Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs). Customers use PCs every day for business and entertainment. We believe voice is the next major disruption in the PC category, which is an important part of our "Alexa Everywhere" vision. Four Windows 10 PCs have been added to our portfolio of qualified ODM solutions integrated with Alexa: An all-in-one desktop from Wistron, and convertible notebooks from Compal, Quanta, and Wistron. All of these pre-tested, final-product designs have been built for a far-field Alexa experience, with Intel CPUs, drivers, wake word engine, and microphone arrays. I find Amazon devices very off-putting. I know Alexa devices are popular in the US, but does anyone outside of the US use Alexa?

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
For years, Facebook's sneakiest data-collector has been the "Like" button. Any site that wants Facebook traffic needs one, which means they're just about everywhere. And in order to work right, the button needs to log you in - which is to say, it needs to know who you are. How else would Facebook know who liked the post? Even if you don't click, Facebook registers that you loaded the button, which means they get a map of every Like-enabled site you've been to, just the kind of data that advertisers will pay to target against. Today at WWDC, Apple took a direct shot at that system and Facebook itself. Onstage, Apple's VP of software Craig Federighi described Safari's new anti-tracking features in unusually confrontational terms. "We've all seen these like buttons and share buttons," Federighi told the crowd. "Well it turns out, these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not. So this year, we're shutting that down." This is one of the very rare cases where competing corporate interests actually work out in the favour of consumers. One way or another, this will be added to all browsers.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Alongside the launch of Intel's first 5 GHz processor, the 6-core Core i7-8086K, Intel today also showcased a 28-core single socket machine also running at 5 GHz. The system on display scored 7334 in Cinebench R15, and Gregory Bryant (SVP and GM of Intel Client Computing Group) explicitly stated that it would be coming in Q4 this year. No other details were provided, however for it to exist in a current platform, this new processor would likely be in LGA2066 (X299) or LGA3647 (the server socket). Intel technically already makes 28-core monolithic designs in the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform with the Xeon Platinum 8180, which is a $10k processor, which runs a lot slower than 5.0 GHz. This sounds like an absolutely insane processor few of us will ever get to enjoy.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Yesterday at WWDC 2018, Apple revealed macOS Mojave, which is set to bring users a Dark Mode, redesigned Mac App Store, organizable Stacks, streamlined screenshots, and more when it launches wide in the fall. Alongside the new features, Apple has confirmed that it is deprecating OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) and OpenCL (Open Computing Language) in favor of Metal. This means that apps built using OpenGL and OpenCL will still run in Mojave, but they will no longer be updated after macOS 10.14 launches. Apple encourages games and "graphics-intensive apps" built with OpenGL to adopt Metal ahead of Mojave's launch, and apps that use OpenCL for computational tasks "should now adopt Metal and Metal Performance Shaders." This is going to be a major burden for small game developers.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Unveiled at Computex 2018, the Asus ZenBook Pro is the new pinnacle of Asus' premium laptop range, and it comes with an attention-grabbing new feature: a smartphone-sized touchscreen in the place of the regular touchpad. I got to grips with the two ZenBook Pro models and their so-called ScreenPads here in Taipei, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well implemented and potentially useful this apparent gimmick feature is. The touchpad seems like such an obvious place to put a secondary display, so I'm glad laptop makers are experimenting with it. That being said, I think I would personally prefer the display itself to not be a full-colour smartphone-like display, but rather a more basic black and white (or grey and white) OLED display that almost visually disappears into the chassis itself. On the Asus Zenbook Pro, the touchpad jumps out at you and demands attention, which I don't particularly like.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
As I said, there's one aspect of macOS Mojave that we really do have to talk about. Macs and iOS devices have been getting closer and closer to each other in terms of functionality, and now Apple is bridging that gap with an announcement that the company will be making it easier to port iOS applications over to macOS at its WWDC. Apple has already been testing its new frameworks, with the recently revealed News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps that Apple introduced with Mojave all actually being ported versions of the iOS apps. According to Apple, the cross-platform porting is made possible by integrating elements of iOS's UIKit frameworks directly into macOS, alongside the existing AppKit framework used on desktop. The point during the keynote where Apple announced this was odd - they put up a slide with the question if Apple will ever merge iOS and macOS, followed by a slide that simply said "no". However, they then followed by saying that a large part of all the mac OS Mojave features they just announced were actually ports from iOS, which really takes the wind out of that seemingly definitely "no". We're not merging iOS and macOS, but by the way all the new apps you just saw are iOS apps! In any event, this is the Marzipan project Mark Gurman scooped late last year, and it will present a massive sea change for Mac and iOS developers alike. With how popular iOS is compared to macOS, all your favourite macOS applications will eventually be iOS applications ported over to run on macOS. It simply makes very little economic sense to have two separate applications fully optimized for each of the two platforms; it's much easier to develop an iOS application that oh-by-the-way also runs on macOS. So no, iOS and macOS aren't merging in the sense that they're going to be the same operating system, but once most macOS applications are just ported iOS applications, can you really argue that the distinction between the two platforms really matters?

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
And, as expected, Apple also previewed macOS 10.14, nicknamed Mojave. Apple today previewed macOS Mojave during its keynote event at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. Version 10.14 of the Mac operating system introduces a slew of new features, including a Dark Mode, Dynamic Desktop wallpapers, Desktop Stacks, a redesigned Mac App Store, and more. I wasn't particularly overly impressed with what Apple demonstrated regarding Mojave - nice features, sure, but nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary. As with the other previewed operating systems, the first developer preview is available today, and the final release will ship in Autumn. There's one thing about Mojave we have to talk about, though - but that deserves its own news item.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Apple previewed iOS 12 today, and two features stand out to me as exciting and interesting. First, a focus on performance for the many, many people using older iPhones and iPads. The company said it is putting a particular focus on ensuring the update works smoothly on older devices. To give a point of reference, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said iOS 12 will launch apps up to 40% faster and bring up the keyboard up to 50% faster on an iPhone 6 Plus. Federighi said the update will make a compatible phone "instantly ramp up performance to its highest state" when it recognizes that it needs a performance boost - such as when you're loading an app - then more quickly bring it down to help preserve battery life. While you should always take these "faster than" claims with a grain of salt, I really do hope they're at least partially true, because Apple is not cutting off support for any older device with iOS 12 - iOS 12 will run on every device that currently also supports iOS 11. The second interesting feature is Shortcuts, which is effectively the amazing app Workflow that Apple acquired last year, integrated into Siri. The update will bring new features to Apple's Siri digital assistant as well. The biggest of the bunch is a feature called Shortcuts, which will let users create a voice prompt to ask Siri to perform commonly-made actions with third-party apps, and let developers integrate further with the assistant for certain quick actions. Apple gave the example of assigning the phrase "help me find my keys" in conjunction with the Tile app: if you say that, Siri could be made to automatically activate the Tile app and use it to help you find your keys right from within the Siri interface. You could also assign a multistep routine to the assistant: a custom phrase like "heading home," for instance, could prompt Siri to start up a favorite radio station, adjust your home thermostat, send a message to your spouse, and tell you how long it'll take to reach your house. There's ton of other things, and there's one other I'd like to highlight specifically: grouped notifications. Finally. The first iOS 12 developer preview is available today, and the final version will, as always, ship this Autumn.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
At WWDC this morning, Apple previewed watchOS 5, the newest version of the Apple Watch operating system. The update adds a number of new fitness and communications features that Apple says will help Watch owners "stay healthy and connected." As always, coming in Autumn. Also, expect a list of Apple-related news items because of WWDC.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
As Facebook sought to become the world's dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users' personal information. Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers - including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung - over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, "like" buttons and address books. Well, that's one way for companies like Apple and Microsoft to claim to care about privacy, while at the same time still getting access to vast amounts of personal data.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
That is why we are so excited about today's announcement. More than 28 million developers already collaborate on GitHub, and it is home to more than 85 million code repositories used by people in nearly every country. From the largest corporations to the smallest startups, GitHub is the destination for developers to learn, share and work together to create software. It's a destination for Microsoft too. We are the most active organization on GitHub, with more than 2 million "commits," or updates, made to projects. Microsoft has been a developer-focused company from the very first product we created to the platforms and tools we offer today. Building technology so that others can build technology is core to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. It's official now.

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posted 14 days ago on OSNews
In the past, device makers have focused on safeguarding these keys by storing the keys in secure locations and severely restricting the number of people who have access to them. That's good, but it leaves those people open to attack by coercion or social engineering. That's risky for the employees personally, and we believe it creates too much risk for user data. To mitigate these risks, Google Pixel 2 devices implement insider attack resistance in the tamper-resistant hardware security module that guards the encryption keys for user data. This helps prevent an attacker who manages to produce properly signed malicious firmware from installing it on the security module in a lost or stolen device without the user's cooperation. Specifically, it is not possible to upgrade the firmware that checks the user's password unless you present the correct user password. There is a way to "force" an upgrade, for example when a returned device is refurbished for resale, but forcing it wipes the secrets used to decrypt the user's data, effectively destroying it.

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posted 14 days ago on OSNews
This guide shows how to install LineageOS without GApps with the help of signature spoofing and microG, so that you can have Push Notifications, Location Services and the like, without needing to have Google Play Services installed (without Google-anything for that matter). It was made possible by the hard work of creators, maintainers and community around LineageOS, microG, XPosedFramework, F-Droid, Yalp Store and many others. Exactly what it says on the tin.

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posted 15 days ago on OSNews
GrafX2 is a bitmap paint program inspired by the Amiga programs ​Deluxe Paint and Brilliance. Specialized in 256-color drawing, it includes a very large number of tools and effects that make it particularly suitable for pixel art, game graphics, and generally any detailed graphics painted with a mouse. The program is mostly developed on Haiku, Linux and Windows, but is also portable on many other platforms. This program has been around since the early '90s, and runs, among other platforms, on Haiku today. Amazing.

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posted 15 days ago on OSNews
Now, ReactOS can fully build ReactOS, even with the USB stack. Be it a LiveCD or a BootCD! And just because we can, here LiveCD is mounted in ReactOS to show it. Thanks FreeBSD for your qsort implementation. The building ReactOS wiki page has been updated with the new information. A pretty major milestone for any operating system!

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