posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
One thing that iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have proven is that content makers can fight piracy by providing a better, easier service to paying customers. But what happens when piracy fights back with something just as convenient? A new app called Popcorn Time raises that very question. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Popcorn Time lets you stream the latest movies - including American Hustle, Gravity and Frozen - with just a couple clicks. The software uses BitTorrent to find and download movies, but eliminates the usual hassle of wading through sketchy torrent sites and waiting for the file to finish downloading. Basically, it's the version of Netflix that you've always wanted - and maybe have been willing to pay extra for - but that Hollywood may never allow. It's also a flagrant enabler of copyright violation, at least in the United States. It's the perfect product for movie lovers. It has a super-simple interface, completely abstracts Torrents away, works on the three major desktop platforms, and with one click and just a few minutes of waiting, you're watching a high-quality movie streamed through BitTorrent. The entertainment industry could have built this years ago. Except, they were too busy suing the shit out of the very people they should have been serving to realise all the technology they needed already existed. Had the entertainment industry not been the only industry in the world that is protected by a huge, special legal framework, they would have been forced to innovate much sooner - and they most likely would have built this a decade ago.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Two loosely related news items. During presentations and hands-on demos at Crytek's GDC booth, attendees can see for the first time ever full native Linux support in the new CRYENGINE. The CRYENGINE all-in-one game engine is also updated with the innovative features used to recreate the stunning Roman Empire seen in Ryse - including the brand new Physically Based Shading render pipeline, which uses real-world physics simulation to create amazingly realistic lighting and materials in CRYENGINE games. Second, Valve has released ToGL as open source, a Direct3D-to-OpenGL translation layer, which the company itself uses for Dota 2.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
iOS 7 is unlikely to run better on the iPhone 4 than it does in iOS 7.1. That's not to say that the experience is great - even stepping up to an iPhone 4S would get you noticeable gains in performance and overall smoothness - but it's better than it was, and it's as good as it's going to get. If you're sticking with the iPhone 4 for another year, iOS 7.1 makes performance tolerable enough that using the phone isn't unbearable. Good news for iPhone 4 owners - and good on Apple for taking care of this demographic.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
iOS 7.1 is packed with interface refinements, bug fixes, improvements, and new features. Apple CarPlay introduces a better way to use iPhone while driving. And you can now control exactly how long Siri listens and more. Getting the update is easy. Go to Settings. Select General. And tap Software Update. Getting the update is easy indeed. There's a certain other mobile operating system that could learn a few things from that one.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Not too many people will recall the short-lived era of the "MSX" initiative which was slated to pretty much take over the non-existent middle world where consumer electronics met personal computers. It was always believed, back then, that this is where the sweet spot of profits would emerge. What emerged was instead laughable MSX. It was one of Microsoft's greatest flops. The MSX was one of the first computers I ever used. I did basic BASIC stuff on it when I was a kid.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Out of the millions of things Samsung throws at a wall each year to see what sticks, they seem to have picked the fake leather on devices. The most recent victim? A Windows 8 laptop - the ATIV Book 9 'Style'. This thing joins the phones, tablets, and ChromeBooks Samsung has already tacked the fake leather onto. Genuine question: is there anyone in the audience here who likes this look? If so, why?

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Google is the force behind a potential delay in the first tablet to instantly switch between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.X using Intel technology, a fresh report from Asia says. A CNET source backs up this claim. The original source is DigiTimes, so some salt may be required, but sources confirmed it to Cnet. There's no detail on exactly which steps Google has actually taken, but it's clear this reeks quite strongly of the same illegal and despicable acts Microsoft committed 15 years ago to pressure OEMs into not shipping BeOS.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Jolla has been keeping their OS in beta testing program since November last year when they have finally released their device ahead of schedule. Since then we have seen 4 updates hitting our devices each month naturally and it's something we have not seen from any other manufacturer other than Jolla. And now here we are with the Sailfish 1.0 which will be released in about a week after this video was published. Nice detailed video about all the new stuff in the first non-beta release, Sailfish 1.0. It'll be released next week.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Microsoft is trying to convince politicians to take out targeted ads on Xbox Live, Skype, MSN and other company platforms as midterm elections begin heating up around the country. To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives. It's the latest move by tech companies to seize a piece of the lucrative political ad market. The ads, which would appear on the Xbox Live dashboard and other Microsoft products, combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users. Campaigns can then blast ads to selected demographic categories, or to specific congressional districts. And if the campaign brings its own list of voter e-mail addresses, Microsoft can match the additional data with individual customer accounts for even more accurate voter targeting. This from the company behind "Scroogled". On a more general note, hypocrite company behaviour like this should be illegal. A company should not be able to say "leave company Abc behind because they do xyz, and come join us!", only to then turn around and do xyz as well. This is lying, and should be punishable in some way.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Microsoft finalized its upcoming Windows 8.1 Update recently, but the company appears to be sharing it a little early today. While the software maker is expected to release the update officially in April, Microsoft has only detailed a few of the features in the update and has not yet provided an official release date. Links to download a final version of the Windows 8.1 Update, thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Update service, have been discovered. A series of patches are required to obtain the full update, but once installed the new desktop-friendly features are enabled.The update can be downloaded via a registry change, or through direct links, but we recommend waiting for Microsoft to officially release it through the normal Windows Update channels in April. Don't try this on a production machine.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The Mozilla Foundation has begun an investigation after tech juggernaut Dell appeared to be asking customers to pay GBP 16.25 ($27) to install its free web browser Firefox on newly purchased Dell kit. What.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Nadella, who succeeded Ballmer one month ago, took a step this week by unraveling part of a restructuring his predecessor put in place in one of his last acts as chief executive officer. Nadella appointed onetime Democratic political operative Mark Penn to the just-invented post of strategy chief and shuffled other executives to resolve an unwieldy setup Ballmer had established in the marketing department. Interesting look at the goings-on surround Ballmer's end.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
What's missing on all non-Microsoft platforms, as it turns out, is a formalized way to view at least two mobile apps side-by-side on screen. This is a feature that Microsoft added to Windows 8 and then improved dramatically in Windows 8.1, and while many desktop users scoff at its simplicity, it remains a key differentiator. Windows, as I've noted before, is unparalleled when it comes to productivity, even in the mobile world. Pretty sure Google will introduce windowing support soon in Android, possibly within the next 18-24 months (Android 5.0, perhaps?). It seems inevitable. iOS, on the other hand - we'll see.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems’ platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay. Yes, Apple CarPlay runs on QNX. Makes sense - I'm guessing (?) in-car software needs a lot of certification and testing, which QNX' in-car platforms all already have.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
CDE 2.2.1 has been released on March 1. The release includes various bugfixes, a NetBSD port and improvement for UTF-8 locales with a new Greek UTF-8 translation.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The inevitable happened. Google apps got installed on the freshly announced Nokia X after a crafty member of XDA Developers rooted the Android handset. The root was achieved via the Framaroot app. The bootloader of the device is unsurprisingly locked, so instead of flashing a single zip file, users need to copy the apk files for Google apps via a root explorer application. After the root, Nokia X also runs Google Now Launcher without breaking a sweat. And with that Frankenlauncher out of the way, the Nokia X suddenly became worth buying.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Homegrown mobile phone-maker Karbonn Mobiles is all set to launch dual-OS (operating system) devices, which will support both Android and Windows, by June. The company has just signed the licence agreement with Microsoft to make Windows-based phones and will put this along with its existing Android system to bring out the dual-OS phones in about six months, the company's chairman Sudhir Hasija said. I wonder what will happen if Google were to resort to the same illegal tactics that Microsoft used to force OEMs into not dual-booting BeOS back in the day. In the end, I'm just filing this one under 'poetic justice'. Shoe's on the other foot now, Redmond.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A new tipping point in the world of tablets: today the analysts at Gartner have released their tablet sales numbers for 2013, and Android has topped the list for the most popular platform for the first time, outselling Apple’s range of iPad tablets nearly twofold. Of the 195 million tablets sold in 2013, Android took nearly 62% of sales on 121 million tablets, while Apple sold 70 million iPad tablets for a 36% share. In comparison, last year, Apple led the tablet category with nearly 53% of sales on 61 million units, compared to Android at nearly 46% with 53 million tablets sold. This was always inevitable. Apple won't mind though - they're still raking in the profits.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
With the release of version 14.02, the Genode project has added two major features to the OS-construction framework: Using VirtualBox on top of Genode/NOVA, a wide range of unmodified guest OSes can now be integrated as components into Genode-based systems. The second feature is the addition of the file systems of the NetBSD kernel as rump kernels. The release documentation covers plenty of further improvements. With storage and virtualization, the new release addresses two topics that are fundamental for using Genode as general-purpose OS, and both topics have been approached in a pretty holistic manner. When it comes to storage, the project has significantly advanced over the past year but a few key pieces were still missing, namely mature file systems and a block cache. After having investigated FUSE-based file systems in the previous release, the project started exploring so-called rump kernels, which enable the execution of subsystems of the NetBSD kernel at user level. Originally, the rump kernel project was created to ease the development of drivers on NetBSD. The basic idea behind them is to link a driver to a stripped-down version of the NetBSD kernel that does not contain any privileged instruction. Hence, it can be executed in user mode. To interact with the outside world, a rump kernel uses a small so-called "hypercall" interface. By implementing this interface on top of the Genode API, rump kernels have become usable on Genode now. The immediate benefit is the availability of the time-tested file systems of the NetBSD kernel. But in the future, other NetBSD subsystem such as the TCP/IP stack or device drivers could be considered just as well. At block level, the project took the chance to redesign the internal interfaces of the existing block-level components to support fully asynchronous operation. This step enables the effective use of modern disk-controller features such as native command queuing, and even the out-of-order processing of block requests. As the cherry on top of this line of work, there is a new block-cache component. Over the past 5 years, virtualization has always played a role for the project. It started with running the paravirtualized OKLinux on top of the OKL4 microkernel. Later L4Linux was made available to Genode running on the Fiasco.OC kernel. Once the NOVA hypervisor found its way to the framework, the project embraced the use of the Vancouver virtual machine monitor, which enabled the use of unmodified Linux kernels. However, none of these solutions appealed well for a large user base, mainly because they were difficult to use or lacked features. By adding support for VirtualBox on top of NOVA, the project has finally found an answer to the question for product-grade virtualization on top of the framework. The integration of VirtualBox with Genode was no ordinary porting work but quite an engineering feat, which turns the architecture of VirtualBox pretty much upside down. In contrast to the host operating systems already supported by VirtualBox, Genode's version does not extend the host kernel in any way. VirtualBox leverages hardware-based virtualization (VT-x) but lives as a plain user-level program with no special privileges. As with each new version, there are numerous smaller improvements and new features. For example, a new pseudo file system called trace-fs makes it possible to interactively use Genode's event tracing mechanism via Unix tools such as cat, grep, and echo. All the changes are covered in detail in the release documentation of version 14.02.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Google's Android head, Sundar Pichai, on security (original in French): We cannot guarantee that Android is designed to be safe, the format was designed to give more freedom. When people talk about 90% of malware for Android, they must of course take into account the fact that it is the most popular operating system in the world. If I had a company dedicated to malware, I would also be addressing my attacks on Android. Malware authors may be writing a lot of malware for Android, but they're not very good at it - less than 0.001% of all application installations on Android (in and outside of Google Play) penetrate Android's security. In other words, this is a complete non-issue - no matter how often antivirus companies and certain bloggers drum it up.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The Ubuntu Touch smartphone OS has come a long way, but it still has further to plod before it's ready for market - all Canonical will tell us that it hopes to see an Ubuntu phone before the end of this year. Nevertheless, now that some phone manufacturers are on board with the project, we've been able to play with a couple of prototypes: One was just a non-functioning handset from a Spanish company called BQ, showing off plain but solid build quality reflective of a mid-tier device. The other was more interesting - a re-purposed Android handset from a second Ubuntu partner, Meizu, which makes light work of the operating system and interface. It looks a bit choppy to me, but alas, it's a development build.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. High Chancellor Cameron will not be pleased this information is out.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
We're excited to announce the first Ara Developers' Conference, to be held April 15-16, 2014. The Developers' Conference will be held online, with a live webstream and interactive Q&A capability. A limited number of participants will be able to attend in person at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. We plan a series of three Ara Developers' Conferences throughout 2014. The first of these will focus on the alpha release of the Ara Module Developers' Kit (MDK). The MDK, which we expect to release online in early April, is a free and open platform specification and reference implementation that contains everything you need to develop an Ara module. Project Ara is that modular smartphone concept Google/Motorola unveiled last year. I'm excited to see that it's actually moving beyond concept to arrive in developers' hands. I love crazy, pie-in-the-sky innovation like this. Google is really getting all PARC-y lately.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Samsung has such a large presence at Mobile World Congress that it doesn't just have one giant booth; there are also several smaller ones scattered around the show halls. While the main booth exclusively shows Android phones and the biggest product of the show was the Android-based Galaxy S5, one of the most important areas for Samsung is a small booth tucked away in the last hall of MWC: a Tizen booth. Here, in the "App Planet" section of Mobile World Congress, Samsung has actual Tizen phones on display - phones with an OS that is fully under Samsung's control. Samsung's choice between Android and Tizen is one of the more interesting stories in tech right now, so when we stumbled upon this booth, we immediately grabbed our cameras and started snapping. Two things stand out while reading the linked article and watching the video. First, just how unremarkable it all looks and functions. It could easily be mistaken for a Samsung Android device if you squint a bit. This is, perhaps, not surprising, considering the TouchWiz influences. Second, and perhaps more surprisingly, just how snappy, complete, and ready-to-go it all seems to be. Despite the obviously sparse application store, this could easily be sold to consumers right now. I wonder what the future will hold for Tizen. I'm sure the recent agreements between Google and Samsung preclude the operating system from actually shipping on prominent devices, but I wonder if such a moratorium also applies to limited availability phones and tablets in specific markets.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
John Gruber, on Google's Project Tango: Google is starting to remind me of Apple in the '90s: announcing more cool R&D prototypes than they release actual cool products. Even the R&D team names are similar - Google's is called "Advanced Technology and Projects"; Apple's was called "Advanced Technology Group". Funny. Google's 'moonshots' actually remind me more of another R&D-focused company. Interestingly enough, without that company, the computer industry would have been set back decades, and Apple would most likely have been reduced to a footnote in computer history. I would rather large companies spend their cash on potentially awesome research that may (or may not) advance computer technology and the human race, than have them stash it away in shady overseas bank accounts.

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