posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The makers of MacKeeper - a much-maligned software utility many consider to be little more than scareware that targets Mac users - have acknowledged a breach that exposed the usernames, passwords and other information on more than 13 million customers and, er... Users. Perhaps more interestingly, the guy who found and reported the breach doesn't even own a Mac, and discovered the data trove merely by browsing Shodan - a specialized search engine that looks for and indexes virtually anything that gets connected to the Internet. The most surprising news here is that apparently at least 13 million Mac users have this piece of scamware installed. You know, it's almost as if Mac users are not the special flower children some people would like us to believe, and are just as susceptible to social engineering and lapses in judgment as anyone else. Who knew, right?

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Qubes OS, the security-focused operating system that Edward Snowden said in November he was "really excited" about, announced this week that laptop maker Purism will ship their privacy-focused Librem 13 notebook with Qubes pre-installed. Built on a security-hardened version of the Xen hypervisor, Qubes protects users by allowing them to partition their digital lives into virtual machines. Rather than focus solely on security by correctness, or hide behind security by obscurity, Qubes implements security by isolation - the OS assumes that the device will eventually be breached, and compartmentalises all of its various subsystems to prevent an attacker from gaining full control of the device. Qubes supports Fedora and Debian Linux VMs, and Windows 7 VMs. Purism is also aiming to eventually have a completely open laptop - top to bottom - but they're not quite there just yet (e.g. BIOS is still a major issue).

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Commander Keen is an episodic video game developed by id Software in the early 1990s. The series focuses on the adventures of Billy Blaze, an 8-year-old boy who travels through space and assumes the secret identity of "Commander Keen". The series was successful at replicating the side-scrolling action of the Nintendo Entertainment System Super Mario Bros. games in DOS. The cartoon-style platform games are notable for their pioneering use of EGA graphics and shareware distribution, and they were some of the first games by id Software (who went on to later develop Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake). The games were also exciting to the PC gaming community of the time because of John D. Carmack's smooth-scrolling graphics game engine, which first allowed smooth side scrollers on PC by only redrawing the elements of the screen that actually changed frame to frame. Today is Commander Keen's 25th birthday. Keen was one of the very first games I ever played, and everybody I knew at the time was into Keen as well. We swapped floppies around with Keen on them, and I must've finished many of the episodes countless times. Commander Keen is part of my childhood, and a landmark in (PC) gaming. In honour of Keen's 25th birthday, John Romero published a video today, in which he shows id Software's "port" (reverse engineering is probably more accurate) of Super Mario Bros. 3 to the PC. It was created without Nintendo's consent, and then sent to Nintendo for evaluation. The company had no interest in it, but the knowledge gained would come to use for Keen. Fascinating.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Apple is beginning to push fullscreen pop-up ads for the iPhone 6s to people opening the App Store app on some older iPhone models, according to a rush of user complaints. [...] Apple has previously marketed new devices through things like App Store banners and collections, but this is the first time Apple has temporarily prevented people from using an app simply for the sake of marketing - at least when excluding the Apple Music sign-up screen seen after launching the iOS Music app for the first time. I got the ad as well, but on my iPhone 6S, which makes even less sense. This is just sleazy and scummy. Apple's been pushing a lot of sleazy advertisements into iOS lately, which is kind of ironic when you think about it. The company that keeps spouting the "if you're not paying for it, you're the product" nonsense, is the one pushing sleazy advertisements into their mobile operating system, while Google, the advertising company, is not.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
I have a Samsung RF4289HARS refrigerator. The Google calendar app on it has been working perfectly since I purchased the refrigerator August 2012. However, with the latest changes in Google Calendar API, I can no longer sign in to my calendar [scroll to top; I have no idea where the permalink is in this horrible UI]. I receive a message stating "Please check your email in Google Calendar website". I can sign in fine on my home PC and have no problem seeing the calendar on my phone. Perhaps this is a Samsung issue, but I thought I would try here first. Has anyone else experienced this problem and what was the solution? Pretty sure this is in the Book of Revelation somewhere.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
On December 8, 2015, Microsoft released Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile updates on a global scale testing the Windows as a Service (WaaS) model. Besides the syncing of cumulative OS updates between desktop and phone, the event revealed that carriers seem to be sidelined. Here is why that is and what changed between Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile. Essentially, Microsoft seems to have "blackboxed" the radio stack, so that it can push updates without affecting it. Very, very nice.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
It appears that the Pixel C was planned as launch hardware for a new, all-touch version of Chrome OS which at some point got canceled - necessitating a switch to Android. The story is a lot more complicated than that, though. What follows is the best timeline we could piece together showing the Pixel C's troubled development history. The launch of the Pixel C is baffling. Not only is it lacking features that Android needs to work well on the device, it's also got numerous bugs, indicating the Android port was done in a rush. I just don't understand why Google didn't just wait with this device until Android 6+1 with multiwindow was done. Now they've severely blemished their Pixel name.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
An early preview of the new Android Emulator is now available to try out. As a part of Android Studio 2.0, the latest version of the Android Emulator can help you test your app on a wide range of screens size and configurations beyond the physical Android hardware you use to test.Moreover, using the official Android emulator enables you to test with latest Android versions. Google claims this new version contains serious performance improvements - which were sorely, badly needed - and it sports a brand new interface.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Google's Chromebooks have overtaken Apple products as the most popular devices in American classrooms, but Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will not be following the search giant's approach to the education market, which has been a stronghold for Apple since the early days of the Mac. "Assessments don’t create learning," Cook said in an interview with BuzzFeed News Wednesday, calling the cheap laptops that have proliferated through American classrooms mere “test machines." ChromeBooks are pushing Apple further and further away in education, and Google claims that at the end of 2015, there will be more ChromeBooks in US schools than all other devices combined. This is clearly very frustrating for Apple, who always had a strong foothold in education. However, if Tim Cook really thinks ChromeBooks are popular because of testing or their price, he's delusional. One of the primary reasons he fails to mention: ChromeBooks are infinitely easier to manage than iPads. Virtually every teacher or school employee I've ever heard talking about this was frustrated with the lack of proper centralised management for iPads, whereas ChromeBooks are dead easy to manage, control, and replace. Combined with their low cost and real keyboard, any school worth its salt would choose ChromeBooks. Instead of attacking the competition who seems to understand education better than you do, Mr. Cook, you might want to focus on, you know, creating a good product for education.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The Pebble Time Kickstarter project brought more than just color, voice, and ergonomic design to our family of smartwatches. The campaign also introduced a focused and delightful new operating system with Pebble Firmware 3.0. Featuring the timeline interface to organize your past, present, and future, 3.0 is all about delivering the best ways to get things done from your wrist. During the campaign, we promised to bring support for Pebble Time's 3.0 operating system to the rest of our lineup as well. We're happy to announce that timeline, unlimited apps, and more are on their way to Pebble Classic and Pebble Steel this month. I'm still not entirely used to watches being a playground for operating systems now.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
In their latest article, the developers of the Genode OS Framework document the long-winded way to their new ARM TrustZone demo on the USB Armory - an open source flash drive sized computer. This undertaking was motivated by the prospect to put Linux, which normally runs on the USB Armory, under the supervision of a significantly less complex Genode hypervisor. This construction enables shielding sensitive information like cryptographic keys from Linux by exposing them to Genode only and thereby drastically reduces the attack surface. The article illustrates how the TrustZone technology is used to isolate Genode from Linux without compromising the rich feature set of Linux, and how both worlds can safely communicate with each other. Finally, the article provides you with all tools and information for easily bringing the demo to your own USB Armory.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Pixel C reviews are pouring in, and they're all virtually the same: pretty awesome hardware, but Android on tablets just isn't any good. The Verge: But the performance issues, the lack of apps, and the lack of split-screen functionality show that, right now, Android isn’t really even trying to participate in that future. Simply put: the Pixel team has mostly delivered something really good, the Android team has not. Android may not be Google’s answer for the next generation of computing on a tablet. Maybe that will have to wait for whatever weird hybrid ChromeOS / Android thing that Google is supposedly working on. Ars: iOS and Windows are both much better suited to a larger form factor device. Maybe some day Google will implement that "experimental" multi-window mode, which will help. However, right now it's selling a $650 tablet/keyboard combo that can display a single app at a time. Even with a hypothetical split screen mode, you'd still have to deal with a sea of phone apps from developers that are reluctant to implement a large-format layout, in part because even Google doesn't take its own tablet platform seriously. They're all right, of course. That being said, it's clear the Pixel C isn't really intended as a mass-market product - at least, not right now. No, the real purpose of the Pixel C is to serve as a development device for Google's Android developers, who are currently, by all accounts, working hard not only on combining Android and Chrome OS, but also on bringing more traditional functionality, such as multiwindow, to Android. Android is movin' on up, and the Pixel C is nothing more than the ladder Google's Android developers need to get there.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Farewell Firefox OS smartphones. Mozilla today announced an end to its smartphone experiment, and said that it would stop developing and selling Firefox OS smartphones. It will continue to experiment on how it might work on other connected devices and Internet of Things networks. Firefox OS was doomed from the start, just as all the other attempts at competing with iOS and Android. The cold, harsh, and sad truth is that modern mobile computing just isn't conducive to small and upstart platforms. You need the applications, you need the scale, you need the hearts and minds. And all of those are taken by Google and Apple, and nobody else matters. It's too late.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Apple's released a whole bunch of point releases today - iOS 9.2, watchOS 2.1, and tvOS 9.1. These are all relatively minor point releases focused on bug fixes, so don't expect your experience to change in any drastic or meaningful way - unless, of course, one of the fixed bugs affected you. You know where to get them.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Verizon is pushing for phones to be equipped with technology to make use of unlicensed spectrum to speed up the internet and clear congestion, but not everybody's happy. That sounds great, say Google, Microsoft, Comcast, and others, except for one thing. The proposed system, called LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum or LTE-U, which relies on a combination of new, small cell towers and home wireless routers, risks disrupting the existing Wi-Fi access most people enjoy. For several months, the three companies have been among a group lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to delay LTE-U's adoption pending further tests. All three declined to comment for this story, referring instead to an Oct. 23 FCC filing they joined that claims LTE-U "has avoided the long-proven standards-setting process and would substantially degrade consumer Wi-Fi service across the country." Let me put it like this: since the intricacies and specifics of wireless technology and its possible interactions are far beyond my own personal comprehension, I'll just make the safe bet and side with whomever is opposing the carriers, which in this case are Microsoft and Google, and Comcast. ...oh.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
According to leaked documents from the Ministry of Interior the French government is considering two new pieces of legislation: a ban on free and shared Wi-Fi connections during a state of emergency, and measures to block Tor being used inside France. Right, because the answer to people who want to attack our freedom is to restrict our freedom.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
At JSConf in Florida today, Microsoft announced that it is open sourcing Chakra, the JavaScript engine used in its Edge and Internet Explorer browsers. The code will be published to the company's GitHub page next month. Good move, but they should just go the whole way.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The HTC HD2 began its life unassumingly enough back in 2009 as a simple Windows Phone 6.5-powered smartphone. We highly doubt HTC knew of the legacy the phone would end up carrying. As most of you probably know, we're talking about how dev-friendly and dev-embraced the phone has been over the years, finding various ports of Unix, modern versions of Windows Phone up to 8, Firefox OS, and of course Android. Over the years, the HTC HD2 has seen Android 2.1, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, and now Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The HD2 might be the greatest phone of all time.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Two major developments related to Linux hosted version of AROS reached significant milestones in November. Jyrki Koivisto continued development of the USB driver that communicates directly to Linux USB subsystem and brought it to a state where storage devices now can be accessed on the AROS side. Second development, the ALSA based AHI driver developed by Krzysztof Smiechowicz reached release level and is now included in the AROS nightly builds. It replaces the obsolete OSS based driver. This development was done based on bounty hosted by Power2People.org and this bounty has been closed as well. While on topic of bounties, a bounty to deliver a working implementation of FUSE filesystem and read/write driver for NTFS filesystem has been completed by Frederik Wikstrom. The bounty was also hosted by Power2People.org. The sources of the port are not yet integrated into AROS, but are freely available on GitHub. AROS has finally been posting development news on its website again, making it a little easier to follow what's going on. Great progress!

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Today we launched the open source Swift project along with the Swift.org website. We couldn't be more excited to work together in an open community to find and fix issues, add enhancements, and bring Swift to new platforms. Apple's Swift is open source now. Swift is made up of a number of different projects, providing a complete ecosystem for building great software. The Swift compiler project interprets Swift syntax, produces diagnostics to help you write correct code, and employs LLVM to generate machine instructions. The LLDB project is a first-class debugger that includes a REPL for interactive programming. And the Swift standard library project includes all the core types and basic functionality you need to write software in Swift. Today, we released two additional projects for Swift in open source: the Core Libraries project, and a new Swift Package Manager project. It's also available on Linux.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
If the global Internet is going to be warped to suit governments' interests, we must ensure that it isn't broken up into cantonized national networks with less privacy, less efficiency, less commerce and less speech. That means making it easier for foreign governments to get data when that access is justified and harder when it is not. International agreements are one solution, and America and Britain are rumored to be negotiating such a deal. In the meantime, American technology companies should be free to comply directly with foreign government requests for data, as long as that access is warranted and meets international standards of due process and human rights. If America fails to allow such access, it will happen anyway in a brute and extralegal manner - and the result will be a less secure, less efficient Internet. Hand over data, with all the privacy risks that involves, or the internet breaks up. Really? That's the best we can? Those are the outcomes we have to settle for? What a deception.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
If you are an iOS developer, the Windows ecosystem can appear a strange and frightening place. Writing an app for Windows requires an investment in all kinds of new things: new tools (Visual Studio), new languages (C#), new APIs and Controls (Win32, XAML), new graphics engines (DirectX) and before you know it, life seems too short and wouldn't another Flappy Birds clone be more fun anyway? Fear not, brave adventurer, for Project Islandwood is here.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
With the just released version 15.11, the Genode OS framework takes a big step towards desktop computing. On that account, its GUI and audio stacks have become much more modular, dynamic, and flexible. Moreover, the release features the port of Intel KMS from Linux, extends the support for the USB Armory and Xilinx Zynq-7000, and introduces new file-system infrastructure such as a VFS server. In their release documentation, the Genode developers dedicate an entire section (including screenshots) to the ambition to use Genode as desktop OS. It turns out that the framework's existing component architecture solves a number of difficult problems in new and elegant ways. For example, the configuration of all types of components - be it low-level device drivers or high-level GUI components - can be edited live with a plain text editor. The changes become effective by merely saving a file. This works even for components that have no means or permissions to access a file system at all. Another interesting twist on classical GUI-integration features is Genode's new copy-and-paste mechanism that prevents the clipboard to be misused by malicious applications as a covert information channel while retaining the convenience of traditional clipboard mechanisms. At a lower level, the desktop theme of the release is supported by the new Intel KMS driver ported from the Linux kernel. It allows the use of multiple displays, and screen resolutions can be switched on the fly. With nearly 70,000 SLOC of Linux kernel code, the porting was a major feat. This work continues the pattern of reusing Linux kernel code, which already enabled Genode to use the Intel wireless stack, the Linux USB stack, and the Linux TCP/IP stack as user-level components. The Intel KMS driver is interesting also in another respect: Since it is tightly coupled with the Intel GEM and DRM infrastructure of the Linux kernel, those subsystems had to be ported as well. So the driver may become a suitable starting point for the development of a future GPU multiplexer. Thanks to the developer's continuous focus on making the framework fit for day-to-day computing, Genode is now used by a hand full of die-hard Genode enthusiasts as their primary OS. Still, many tasks are carried out via a guest OS in VirtualBox. But all of the circa 40 underlying components such as the kernel, device drivers, protocol stacks, and a growing number of applications are working nicely together and are stable and fast enough to get productive work done. Besides the main focus on desktop computing, the release is not short of other areas of improvement. Xilinx Zynq-7000 has been added to the supported platforms, TrustZone on the USB Armory received a lot of attention, and a new VFS server makes Genode's file-system infrastructure much more flexible. Those and many more topics are covered by the detailed release documentation.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Mozilla chairperson Mitchell Baker: Therefore I believe Thunderbird should would thrive best by separating itself from reliance on Mozilla development systems and in some cases, Mozilla technology. The current setting isn't stable, and we should start actively looking into how we can transition in an orderly way to a future where Thunderbird and Firefox are un-coupled. I don't know what this will look like, or how it will work yet. I do know that it needs to happen, for both Firefox and Thunderbird's sake. This is a big job, and may require expertise that the Thunderbird team doesn't yet have. Mozilla can provide various forms of assistance to the Thunderbird team via a set of the Mozilla Foundation’s capabilities. Are there still any Thunderbird users left? It's been in maintenance mode for a while, and there's several great alternatives (some of them even based on Thunderbird). That being said, having Thunderbird as a separate entity from Firefox, that can make its own decisions, could benefit the open source project greatly.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The one thing that disappointed me about the Robin was the state of its software optimization. Nextbit hopes to ship out the first handsets to preorder customers and Kickstarter backers in late January, but it still has a long way to go until its software is up to the task. The Robin's current Android build is slow, in spite of the capable Snapdragon 808 processor within, and unfortunately buggy. The camera app, for example, is not yet functional, so there's nothing to judge one of the phone's key components on. This phone would be a lot more interesting if they cut the cloud nonsense, and just focused on delivering this unique design as a high-quality, affordable pure Android phone.

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