posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Ars Technica: The spec sheet, as announced, is still pretty vague, but Atari has confirmed a few notable things, starting with a price point between $250 and $300. In exchange for costing roughly as much as a Nintendo Switch, Xbox One S, or PlayStation 4, the Ataribox will come packed with an "AMD customized processor with Radeon graphics technology." Additionally, this will not be an Android system. Instead, the Ataribox will run Linux "with a customized, easy-to-use user interface." Open, hackable Linux-based consoles don't exactly have a great track record, so colour me skeptical. Wouldn't be the first time my skepticism turns out to be spot-on. I don't think the Ataribox is the next Commodore USA, but I'm afraid its fate will be the same, regardless.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Consistency is Apple's main motivation given for switching the results from Microsoft's Bing to Google in these cases. Safari on Mac and iOS already currently use Google search as the default provider, thanks to a deal worth billions to Apple (and Google) over the last decade. This change will now mirror those results when Siri, the iOS Search bar or Spotlight is used. "Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari," reads an Apple statement sent this morning. "We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible." Interesting move. The only logical move, of course - Bing is terrible - but still interesting if you look at the relationship between Apple and Google.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Once again there's been a release of the "game engine meets display server meets multimedia framework" project, Arcan, and of its reference desktop environment Durden. Among the many new engine feature this time around, we find: improved crash recovery, much improved support for Wayland clients, and initial support for OpenBSD. Among the DE features, we find window slicing and overlays, input multicasting, and LED controller profiles. Refer to the full release announcement for more details and videos.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Apple has released macOS High Sierra. macOS High Sierra is designed to improve on the previous macOS Sierra operating system with some major under-the-hood upgrades and a handful of outward-facing changes. Apple File System (APFS), a file system designed for solid state drives, is the new default for these drives in macOS High Sierra. APFS is safe, secure, and optimized for modern storage systems. It features native encryption, safe document saves, stable snapshots, and crash protection, plus it brings performance improvements. An interesting new feature in high Sierra that was only recently unveiled: the new version of macOS checks your Mac's firmware against Apple's own database once a week to see if it's been tampered with.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
China has largely blocked the WhatsApp messaging app, the latest move by Beijing to step up surveillance ahead of a big Communist Party gathering next month. The disabling in mainland China of the Facebook-owned app is a setback for the social media giant, whose chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been pushing to re-enter the Chinese market, and has been studying the Chinese language intensively. WhatsApp was the last of Facebook products to still be available in mainland China; the company's main social media service has been blocked in China since 2009, and its Instagram image-sharing app is also unavailable. WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, which the Chinese government (and western governments) don't like. Either WhatsApp would give China a backdoor, or China would block WhatsApp. This seems to indicate WhatsApp stuck to its encryption. Let's see what happens to the other big western messaging service with end-to-end encryption still available in China: iMessage. We can safely assume that if iMessage isn't blocked soon, Apple caved, and gave China its backdoor.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The "Bionic" part in the name of Apple's A11 Bionic chip isn't just marketing speak. It's the most powerful processor ever put in a mobile phone. We've put this chip to the test in both synthetic benchmarks and some real-world speed trials, and it obliterates every Android phone we tested. As far as SoCs go, Apple is incredibly far ahead of Qualcomm and Samsung. These companies have some serous soul-searching to do. I can't wait for AnandTech to dive into the A11 Bionic, so we can get some more details than just people comparing GeekBench scores.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The unfinished feeling in iOS 11 mostly comes from UI and animation. UI elements in iOS are quite inconsistent, mixing a variety of UI elements, which might look quite similar but introduce a disconnected feeling for UX. The inconsistency of those elements majorly stems from those UI element updated in iOS 11, such as Large Title and new Search Bar. In my opinion, those newly introduced elements, which might be unfamiliar and new even to Apple engineers, have caused many inconsistent UI experience in iOS 11. Many of you will look at this and consider it a bunch of whiny nonsense, but the problem with Apple being lax on details is that it turns into a case of monkey see, monkey do. Third party developers will become lax as well, leading to an overall degradation of UI quality and consistency. This is the last thing iOS, which has never exactly been a visually consistent operating system to begin with, needs. People go nuts because the ports on the bottom of a Samsung phone - which you effectively never look at - aren't aligned, yet, ever since iOS 7, Apple has basically been winging its iOS UI design and polish. Something about grading on a curve.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Rick Osterloh, Google's senior vice president of hardware, writes: About a year and a half ago, I joined Google to pursue my dream job to create compelling hardware products, built with Google's smarts at their core. As a first step, we brought together various consumer hardware-related efforts and established a single hardware organization within the company. Our team's goal is to offer the best Google experience - across hardware, software and services - to people around the world. Last fall, we introduced our first family of Made by Google products, including Pixel smartphones, Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View and Chromecast Ultra, and we're preparing to unveil our second generation of products on October 4. We're excited about the 2017 lineup, but even more inspired by what's in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years. Creating beautiful products that people rely on every single day is a journey, and we are investing for the long run. That's why we've signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we've already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we're excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property. This may elicit some flashbacks to Google buying Motorola, but said purchase was more about patents than it was about the company's hardware business - and even after selling Motorola, it turned out this was actually a pretty good deal. Google's sale of Motorola supposedly was part of a series of deals with Samsung, which included a patent-sharing agreement and Samsung promising to stick closer to stock Android. It seems like Google is feeling more confident now, and is willing to risk agitating Samsung by investing in their own hardware capabilities.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Redox 0.3.3 has been released. Redox is an operating system written in Rust. This release brings much lower memory usage with ISO - 480 MB instead of 1300 MB. There are also other bug fixes, features, and improvements.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Swift 4 is now officially released! Swift 4 builds on the strengths of Swift 3, delivering greater robustness and stability, providing source code compatibility with Swift 3, making improvements to the standard library, and adding features like archival and serialization. You can watch a quick overview of it by watching the WWDC 2017: What's New in Swift presentation, and try out some of the new features in this playground put together by Ole Begemann.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
iOS 11 has been released, and if you have an iPhone or iPad, you should really update right now. It's a big release, and especially iPad users will get to enjoy an overhauled user experience on their tablets. If you're not convinced, be sure to read the only two reviews you need: the one by fervent and enthusiastic (his enthusiasm for the iPad is infectious, in a good way) iPad user Federico Viticci, and the Ars Technica review written by Andrew Cunningham. I've been using the betas on my 2017 iPad Pro 12.9", and it truly transforms how you use the iPad, to the point where I can use mine comfortably for work (translating, posting OSNews stories - like this one - and so on). No macOS or Windows laptop is as responsive and fluid as this iPad Pro, and the battery life of this machine is so good, it's probably illegal in 12 US states. Unlike macOS or Windows, I don't have to spend time fighting with iOS 11 to get it to do what I want, like fidgeting with windows, or anxiously managing battery life because otherwise I won't get through a day, or manage applications. And trust me, there's no PC - not even my own €4000 monster PC - that is as fluid and responsive as this iPad Pro. The iPad Pro with iOS 11 is the truest realisation yet of it just works. I'm not going to claim this is for everyone, or that you should ritually sacrifice your ThinkPad and run to the Apple Store and get the iPad Pro. However, after a few months of use, there's no way I'm ever going back to a traditional laptop. That being said - my only complaint about the 2017 iPad Pro 12.9" is an odd one: it's not a mobile device. I am a sit down behind my desk kind of person. I work and compute behind a desk, with a large display at eye height and a comfortable chair. The iPad Pro isn't suited for this kind of work, as it forces you to look down, which due to back problems I cannot do for longer periods of time. What I really want is a small iOS box I can hook up a display, keyboard, and mouse to. Apple already makes such a box - the Apple TV - so I know they can do it. Mouse and keyboard support is probably coming to iOS over the coming years, and with the Mac Mini languishing, it feels like they might be working on just such a box. I'd easily pay €500-700 for such a machine. I know stating iOS is a great general purpose computing platform tends to be controversial - I myself have been skeptical about this very thing for years - but iOS 11 and the iPad Pro have utterly convinced me. This is the platform I want for laptop and desktop computer use. Windows and macOS feel like the past now.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Talos recently observed a case where the download servers used by software vendor to distribute a legitimate software package were leveraged to deliver malware to unsuspecting victims. For a period of time, the legitimate signed version of CCleaner 5.33 being distributed by Avast also contained a multi-stage malware payload that rode on top of the installation of CCleaner. CCleaner boasted over 2 billion total downloads by November of 2016 with a growth rate of 5 million additional users per week. Given the potential damage that could be caused by a network of infected computers even a tiny fraction of this size we decided to move quickly. On September 13, 2017 Cisco Talos immediately notified Avast of our findings so that they could initiate appropriate response activities. The following sections will discuss the specific details regarding this attack. Don't use registry cleaners. They serve no purpose.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
If you're a demanding computer user, sometimes your 13-inch Ultrabook laptop just won't quite cut it. For those looking for a little more computing power, HP's new Z8 workstation could be just the answer. The latest iteration of HP's desktop workstations packs in a pair of Intel Skylake-SP processors, topping out with twinned Xeon Platinum 8180 chips: 28 cores/56 threads and 38.5MB cache each running at 2.5-3.8GHz, along with support for up to 1.5TB RAM. Next year, you'll be able to go higher still with the 8180M processors; same core count and speeds, but doubling the total memory capacity to 3TB, as long as you want to fill the machine's 24 RAM slots. Those processors and memory can be combined with up to three Nvidia Quadro P6000 GPUs or AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 parts if you prefer that team. The hefty desktop systems have four internal drive bays, two external (and a third external for an optical drive), and nine PCIe slots. Storage options include up to 4TB of PCIe-mounted SSD, and 48TB of spinning disks. A range of gigabit and 10 gigabit Ethernet adaptors are available; the machines also support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. Thunderbolt 3 is available with an add-in card. This is one hell of a beast of a machine, and something most of us will never have the pleasure to use. That being said - I've always been fascinated by these professional workstations, and the HP ones in particular. Current models are obviously way out of my price range, but older models - such as a model from the Z800 range - are more attainable.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
I have become the unofficial standard bearer for webOS, the operating system created by Palm for the Pre and its successive devices. It was a wildly innovative and smart foundation for a smartphone done in by performance problems, mediocre hardware, and most of all by US carriers who acted as kingmakers for other companies. So as the bearer of a thoroughly-tattered banner, I’ve been hearing a lot of people ask what I thought about the iPhone X and how it borrows many of the ideas first introduced by Palm. Here’s what I think: it’s great, and also it’s silly compare the state of tech in 2017 with the state of tech in 2009. Just because Palm did some stuff first doesn’t take away from Apple is doing them now. Context matters, and our context today is very different. WebOS had some great ideas, but on a technical level, the operating system was a mess. It was a major battery hog, slow, and basically nothing more than a tech demo made in WebKit on top of a largely unmodified Linux kernel, running on mediocre hardware. WebOS wasn't a product worthy of the Palm name.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licences. Today, 31 organisations are publishing an open letter in which they call for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. Good initiative, and a complete and utter no-brainer. Public money, public code.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Zircon is the core platform that powers the Fuchsia OS. Zircon is composed of a microkernel (source in kernel/...) as well as a small set of userspace services, drivers, and libraries (source in system/...) necessary for the system to boot, talk to hardware, load userspace processes and run them, etc. Fuchsia builds a much larger OS on top of this foundation. Google changed the name for this project from Magenta to Zircon, which seems like an opportune time to highlight it.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Today, we are thrilled to unveil the next step in our journey for Windows Server graphical management experiences. In less than two weeks at Microsoft Ignite, we will launch the Technical Preview release of Project "Honolulu", a flexible, locally-deployed, browser-based management platform and tools. Project "Honolulu" is the culmination of significant customer feedback, which has directly shaped product direction and investments. With support for both hybrid and traditional disconnected server environments, Project "Honolulu" provides a quick and easy solution for common IT admin tasks with a lightweight deployment. I've never managed any servers, so it's difficult for me to gauge how useful of popular tools like these are. What is the usual way people manage their servers?

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Metroid, which debuted in 1986, would go on to spawn one of Nintendo's most-revered franchises. The ongoing adventures of bounty hunter Samus Aran differed quite a bit from the company's other big names, like Zelda and Mario. In comparison, Metroid was dark and solemn, with a looming feeling of isolation and a powerfully alien sense of place, inspired in large part by the first Alien film. It was also a game that felt unique in its structure. While Metroid was a 2D, side-scrolling game, it took place in an expansive, interconnected world. Players could explore in a nonlinear fashion, and would often have to return to areas using newfound abilities. The game went on to spawn a number of beloved follow-ups, including the sublime Super Metroid in 1994, and the Metroid Prime spinoff series that transformed the 2D adventures into a first-person, 3D experience. Most recently, Nintendo is set to release Metroid: Samus Returns on the Nintendo 3DS, the first traditional side-scrolling Metroid in nearly a decade. But the importance of Metroid can be seen in more than the games released by Nintendo. The series has also had a profound influence on gaming as a whole, inspiring a generation of designers along the way. I ordered a special edition New 3DS XL just for the new Samus Returns. The Metroid series is one of my favourite series in gaming, and many of them are classics all of us have played at some point in our lives. Personally, I greatly prefer the 2D, side-scrolling Metroid games, as the series foray into 3D/FPS - the Prime series - fell a bit flat to me.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The world has become like an eerily banal dystopian novel. Things look the same on the surface, but they are not. With no apparent boundaries on how algorithms can use and abuse the data that's being collected about us, the potential for it to control our lives is ever-growing. Our drivers' licenses, our keys, our debit and credit cards are all important parts of our lives. Even our social media accounts could soon become crucial components of being fully functional members of society. Now that we live in this world, we must figure out how to maintain our connection with society without surrendering to automated processes that we can neither see nor control.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
If you value the security of your data - your email, social media accounts, family photos, the history of every place you've ever been with your phone - then I recommend against using biometric identification. Instead, use a passcode to unlock your phone. Can't argue with that - especially in place where law enforcement often takes a... Liberal approach to detainees.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
With the iPhone X revealed, we really have to start talking about its processor and SoC - the A11 Bionic. It's a six-core chip with two high-power cores, four low-power cores, and this year, for the first time, includes an Apple-designed custom GPU. It also has what Apple calls a Neural Engine, designed to speed up tasks such as face recognition. Apple already had a sizeable performance lead over competing chips from Qualcomm (what Android phones use) in single-core performance, and the A11 blasts past those in multicore performance, as well. Moreover, the A11 also performs better than quite a number of recent desktop Intel chips from the Core i5 and i7 range, which is a big deal. For quite a few people it's really hard to grasp just how powerful these chips are - and to a certain extent, it feels like much of that power is wasted in an iPhone, which is mostly doing relatively mundane tasks anyway. Now that Apple is also buildings its own GPUs, it's not a stretch to imagine a number of mobile GPU makers feeling a bit... Uneasy. At some point, these Apple Ax chips will find their way to something more sizable than phones and tablets.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Aside from new iPhones, theres more Apple news - the company has set release dates for iOS 11 - 19 September - and macOS High Sierra - 25 September. I can't say much about High Sierra - I don't have a Mac - but iOS 11 is an absolute must, especially for iPad users. I've been using it for a long time now on my 2017 iPad Pro 12.9", and I haven't looked back to my laptop since buying it and installing iOS 11 on it. iOS 11 is a huge leap forward for the iPad, and it'll make your tablet feel like a new, and much more capable device.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Apple held its iPhone event today, but since the three major leaks got everything right - read our previous items on the leaks to get the full details - there's really not much to add here, other than the pricing for the new iPhones. The 'regular' iPhone 8 will be about €50 more expensive this year, so take that into account when planning your upgrade. The iPhone X (pronounced "ten" by Apple, "ex" by people with good taste), however, carries a very hefty pricetag, especially in Europe and the UK - the base 64GB model is $999 in the US, and a staggering €1159 in Europe (and an equally staggering £999 in the UK). I think it's definitely a nice looking phone, and can certainly hold its own against other small-bezel phones from Samsung, LG, and others (especially others), but especially outside of the US, that's one hell of a price tag. Going over the magic €1000 mark feels like crossing a psychological threshold from high-end brand new smartphone territory into high-end brand new laptop territory, and that's a tough pill to swallow. The additional problem here is that the iPhone 8 simply looks outdated compared to all the minimal bezel phones of this year, and certainly so next to the iPhone X in stores for the iOS users among us. I'm up for contract renewal, and since I'm the kind of person to switch platforms about once a year, I was definitely interested in switching to iOS again by buying the iPhone X. However, that €1159 price tag is way, way beyond the outer limit of my comfort zone.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
9to5Mac is reporting on a leak of the iOS 11 GM release, which details quite a few things about the new iPhone we could only rumour and guess about up until now. Here we go. W're digging through the iOS 11 GM we received this evening to unpack what we can learn about the D22 'iPhone 8' and the rest of the lineup ahead of Apple's big unveiling on Tuesday. It looks like the infamous HomePod leak left a few surprises for us after all. The first discovery is a stunning set of new wallpapers coming with iOS 11 and the first look at the LTE Apple Watch. Next up: new and confirmed features coming to the OLED iPhone. This is a major leak, and confirms several of the final details regarding the iPhone Pro or iPhone X or whatever the more expensive iPhone will be called. The leak confirms the removal of any form of home button - phyisical or virtual - replacing it with a gesture-based UI, as we talked about before. The power switch will also gain some new features, allowing you to set it up to control things like Siri and Apple Pay. iOS 11 also comes with animated animal emojis, which is a sentence that makes me sad. Among many more things I could link to, the leak also reveals how Face ID - the replacement for Touch ID - will work, and how to set it up. The HomePod leak, the recent Bloomberg story by Mark Gurman, and now this GM leak basically leaves nothing left to the imagination - aside from the name and perhaps pricing.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
9to5Mac is reporting on a leak of the iOS 11 GM release, which details quite a few things about the new iPhone we could only rumour and guess about up until now. Here we go. W're digging through the iOS 11 GM we received this evening to unpack what we can learn about the D22 'iPhone 8' and the rest of the lineup ahead of Apple's big unveiling on Tuesday. It looks like the infamous HomePod leak left a few surprises for us after all. The first discovery is a stunning set of new wallpapers coming with iOS 11 and the first look at the LTE Apple Watch. Next up: new and confirmed features coming to the OLED iPhone. This is a major leak, and confirms several of the final details regarding the iPhone Pro or iPhone X or whatever the more expensive iPhone will be called. The leak confirms the removal of any form of home button - phyisical or virtual - replacing it with a gesture-based UI, as we talked about before. The power switch will also gain some new features, allowing you to set it up to control things like Siri and Apple Pay. iOS 11 also comes with animated animal emojis, which is a sentence that makes me sad. Among many more things I could link to, the leak also reveals how Face ID - the replacement for Touch ID - will work, and how to set it up. The HomePod leak, the recent Bloomberg story by Mark Gurman, and now this GM leak basically leaves nothing left to the imagination - aside from the name and perhaps pricing. Update: and we have the name too: iPhone X. Apple listened to me (this is a joke).

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