posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The webOS Enyo team has released Moonstone (UI) and Spotlight (user interaction) libraries as part of a new webOS TV SDK>, powering the next generation of LG Smart TV. There is also a new version of Enyo coming (2.4). While Moonstone and Spotlight are certainly highlights of Enyo 2.4, you may be just as interested in the robust new data-layer support you’ll find in this release. Enyo 2.4 has support for observers, one- and two-way bindings, computed properties, models and collections, and a set of new data-aware UI controls.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Jonathan Mahler, on 'long-form' articles: What's behind this revival? Nostalgia, partly, for what only recently had seemed to be a dying art. And technology: High-resolution screens make it much more pleasant to read a long piece online than it was even a few years ago. Also the simple and honorable intention to preserve a particular kind of story, one that's much different from even a long newspaper feature, with scenes and characters and a narrative arc. Up until the moment I read this article, I had no idea there was a specific term for long(er) articles, let alone that some consider it a genre. I realised that virtually all of my reviews are apparently "long-form"; the Jolla review, for instance, was 9000 words long. I've done much crazier than that, though - the Palm article was 22000 words long. However, in both of these cases, I never intended for the articles to become that long, or in fact, to achieve any specific length. When I start out, I just have a number of things that I want to discuss, and I won't stop writing until all of those things are in the article. I will make a distinction between things that get lots of attention (say, the gestures in Sailfish) and things that get a passing mention (e.g., the backplate), usually based on some sort of combination between what I personally find interesting and what you, the readers, might find interesting. Since the gestures in Sailfish are at the core of the user experience, it gets a lot of attention; because the backplate and its hardware potential offers little to no benefit right now, it gets a passing mention. I also like to pick some sort of overarching red thread, like the whole The Last Resort thing in the Jolla/Sailfish review, to tie everything together and frame the article. This can be a dangerous thing, since it's usually very personal and can easily be misinterpreted as pretentious or have other unwelcome side-effects. Originally, I framed the Jolla/Sailfish article using Manifest Destiny, but I quickly realised that its pitch-black consequences were unacceptable in a mere technology article. Combine these things, and the article is done. Whether the resulting article turns out to be 2000 words or 10000 words is irrelevant to me; if it contains everything I want to convey, it's done. If it leaves things out just to be short and more digestible, it's a bad article. If it contains useless, irrelevant crap just to pad the word count, it's a bad article. Years ago, when both my best friend and I were writing our master's theses, we ended up with very, very different word counts - mine was 27000, hers was a mere 8000. Both contained all the required information; nothing more and nothing less. Both were graded positively. Word count is a measure of nothing. By now, some of you might be wondering why the sales pitch for the Palm article did contain the word count - which seems to contradict the above. My reasoning there was simple: we were selling the Palm article. I figured that since I was asking people to pay money for an article that was freely available on that very same page, I should at least give them information about what they were spending their money on. Long articles like the ones mentioned above are not for everyone. In fact, their potential audience is much, much smaller than, say, a three paragraph jab at software patents. While those jabs are fun - sort of - it's these long articles that are by far the most fulfilling to write. The Palm article alone took months and months of work - research, making notes, educating myself about low-level stuff, devising a structure, setting a tone, organising the six hundred different subjects I wanted to cover, the actual writing process, revising it all, while also doing my regular job, and so on - but it is by far the most rewarding experience I've ever had for OSNews. I'll never forget getting emails from former Palm executives and engineers - big names - congratulating me on a job well done. Writing articles like that is not easy, with my biggest enemy being a lack of time because OSNews is a hobby, not a full-time job (I wish it was!). A few weeks after publishing the Palm article, I started work on a similar article about Psion and Symbian, but due to work and personal life (which was rather tumultuous in 2013) sucking up a lot of time last year, I never found the time to continue work on it. With things having settled down since December, I'm making plans to dust off the Psion and Symbian material, possibly take a few weeks off work, and finish it. That article could end up being 8000 words, or 50000 words. I don't know. The goal is not be long, but to be comprehensive, and this is my inherent problem with the term "long-form". This term puts the focus on length instead of content, which absolutely baffles me. A good article is not defined by its length - or lack thereof - but by its content. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Satya Nadella needs to find Microsoft's new "a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software". Here's my stab at it: Microsoft services, sending data to and from every networked device in the world. The next ubiquity isn't running on every device, it's talking to every device. Interesting view.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
As Satya Nadella becomes the third CEO of Microsoft, he brings a relentless drive for innovation and a spirit of collaboration to his new role. He joined Microsoft 22 years ago because he saw how clearly Microsoft empowers people to do magical things and ultimately make the world a better place. Many companies, he says, "aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance." Say what you will - I won't say anything, I know nothing about this stuff - but I love this webpage introducing the new CEO. Very well done.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
A few days ago I inadvertently caused a bit of a fuss. In writing about GOG's Time Machine sale, I expressed my two minds about the joy of older games being rescued from obscurity, and my desire that they be in the public domain. This led to some really superb discussion about the subject in the comments below, and indeed to a major developer on Twitter to call for me to be fired. I wanted to expand on my thoughts. Fascinating article on Rock Paper Shotgun from John Walker on why he thinks software copyright (and possibly other kinds too) should come with a much shorter shelf life. Although ostensibly about videogames, much of it could be said to apply to recent events in mobile OS development too.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
I don't like writing negative articles that don't include a solution to the problem, but in this case, there is no solution. The state of in-app purchases has now reached a level where we have completely lost it. Not only has the gaming industry shot itself in the foot, hacked off their other foot, and lost both its arms ... but it's still engaging in a strategy that will only damage it further. Why are these gaming studios so intent of killing themselves? Because massive application stores created a race to the bottom - as well as a huge pile of crap to wade through. Ten to twenty years from now, we won't look back favourably upon the App Store or Google Play.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Every game that is featured on this site is either completely free with no advertising, has a one time up front cost or one time IAP to unlock the full content ad free. All screenshots are from a Nexus 7 2013, full sized and un-cropped. For your game to be considered please make sure the game is aesthetically pleasing and controls well on a touchscreen (no ports that were originally designed to be played with controllers). Games must also support proper full screen scaling (no letterboxing) and HD graphics for tablets. With mobile gaming torn to shreds by scummy in-application purchasing, this is a great initiative.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
In my review of Jolla and Sailfish, one of my biggest issues was the rather lacklustre browser, which didn't support landscape mode. Yesterday, Jolla released the January update for their operating system, version 1.0.3.8, which includes many small new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements, but most of all, it has vastly improved landscape support. Half of the screen no longer turns blank when opening the keyboard in landscape mode, and support for it has been added to the default browser - which suddenly becomes a whole lot more useful, since browsing the web without landscape mode was a major pain in the butt. Jolla has also implemented full gesture support in landscape mode; before this update, gestures would not rotate with the screen orientation, but now they do. The update contains a lot more improvements, and as promised, it was delivered in January. In addition, The New York Times has an article about Jolla as well. Not a lot of new information for those of us keeping up with all this stuff, but it's interesting to see major new soutlets talking about Jolla.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 has been released. The biggest new feature is much better support for Android applications - you no longer have to convert APK files into BAR files, and can install them as-is. BlackBerry details the other, smaller improvements as well. I still have yet to see any BlackBerry 10 device, which makes me sad - I'd love to see what it's all about.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Microsoft is once again planning to alter the way its Start Screen works in Windows 8.1 Update 1. While the software giant originally released Windows 8.1 last year with an option to bypass the "Metro" interface at boot, sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that the upcoming "Update 1" for Windows 8.1 will enable this by default. Like many other changes in Update 1, we’re told the reason for the reversal is to improve the OS for keyboard and mouse users. Wow, a touch interface does not work with a mouse and keyboard. Who saw that coming. I expect photos of many people eating crow.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
In October 2011, with the writing on the wall after Nokia switched to Windows Phone and closed the long-running MeeGo project, several former Maemo Nokians left the company ("Nokia was a coward"). With support from their old employer through the Nokia Bridge program, but without any access to Nokia's intellectual property or patents, the new company - called Jolla - continued the work that spawned the legendary N9, only able to use the open source parts of that phone's software. Late 2013, their work culminated in Sailfish, running on their own smartphone, the Jolla. In a way, this device and its software has been in the making since 2004-2005, and considering the rocky roads and many challenges these people had to overcome between then and now, the phone sometimes seems to radiate defiance and determination. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
In early January, while the rest of the consumer technology world at CES marveled at the sheer size of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy tablet, Google execs were dismayed by what they saw on the screen of the massive 12.1-inch slate - a fancy new user interface called Magazine UX. [...] Multiple sources familiar with the companies' thinking say the two technology giants began hammering out a series of broad agreements at CES that would bring Samsung's view of Android in line with Google's own. The results of the talks, which have only just begun dribbling out to the public, also underscore the extent to which Google is exerting more of its influence to control its destiny in the Android open source world. Dilemma. I don't like Google exerting control in this manner, but, on the other hand, anything that - for the love of god - makes Samsung stop building its own software for phones is a good thing. Tough call. Then again, this deal may also simply be another aspect of the big patent deal, indicating that this deal is about much more than patents alone. In any case, the recent renewed collaboration between Google and Samsung seems to indicate that Samsung has little to no intention to move away from Android, and with Samsung still shipping exactly zero Tizen devices, I have little hope we'll ever see that platform jump front and centre.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Google is selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, giving the Chinese smartphone manufacturer a major presence in the US market. Lenovo will buy Motorola for $2.91 billion in a mixture of cash and stock. Google will retain ownership of the vast majority of Motorola's patents, while 2,000 patents and a license on the remaining patents will go to Lenovo. Lenovo will pay Google $660 million in cash, $750 million in stock, with the remaining $1.5 billion paid out over the next three years. What.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Microsoft has joined the Open Compute Project, a consortium that Facebook created to share the designs of servers and other equipment that power the internet's largest data centers. Like other internet giants, Microsoft designs its own servers to be more efficient than standard boxes sold by the likes of HP and Dell. While Google has mostly kept its designs secret, Facebook has made its server and rack specifications public and has urged others to do the same. In theory, companies can swap best practices, and any vendor can sell servers identical to the ones that power Facebook's data centers. Microsoft joining Open Compute boosts the chances that the project might have some impact on the server industry. Good move.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Today, the Court of Appeals of The Hague rendered its judgment in the appeal of internet service providers XS4ALL and Ziggo against anti-piracy organization BREIN. In first instance, the District Court allowed Brein's claims: an IP-block and DNS-block. Purpose of the block was to prevent the subscribers of the providers to access The Pirate Bay-website. The Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, since the providers could show that the block had not been effective since the first ruling. In applying the case law from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the Court of Appeal held that an access provider is not under an obligation to take measures that are disproportional and/or ineffective. A win for us Dutch people, and hopefully, a ruling possible cases in other European countries can cite.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Smartphone users in South Korea will soon be able to have the option of deleting unnecessary pre-installed bloatware, thanks to new industry guidelines commencing in April. "The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players," said the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, in a press release. New regulations that fly directly in the face of the biggest player in mobile - Samsung. Odd, since we were told that Samsung owns the South-Korean government. I do wonder where the line is drawn, though. Will South-Koreans also be able to delete Newsstand and Weather from iOS, or the Calculator from Android?

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Ingrid Lunden explains the significance of the deal (I dislike her headline though, since it falsely implies Google and Samsung were at legal odds): First, the deal will bolster both Samsung and Google's patent positions against patent infringement allegations and subsequent litigation from competitors, and specifically Apple, which has been involved in acrimonious, multinational patent battles worth billions of dollars against Samsung for years now, over Samsung's Android-powered range of Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Second, it is a sign of how Google continues to put the patents it gained from its $12.5 billion Motorola acquisition to good use across the Android ecosystem. The ecosystem part is key here. I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see deals like this one appear with other OEMs.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Thirty years ago, Apple introduced the Macintosh with the promise to put the creative power of technology in everyone's hands. It launched a generation of innovators who continue to change the world. This 30-year timeline celebrates some of those pioneers and the profound impact they've made. Apple is also asking what your first Mac experience was. For me, it was a computer I had saved up for a long time. Back in those days - around 2002-2003 - the Mac was virtually non-existent here in The Netherlands (or at least in the area where I lived), and the only place I'd ever seen Macs was at the dental department. Colourful iMacs - fun machines. In any case, I was intrigued, and eventually bought an iMac G4 800Mhz. In my view, the most beautiful design the iMac ever had, but mine eventually died of a logic board failure within a few years (a notorious problem). I still think they're beautiful little machines, and would love to have the ultimate G4 iMac. After that first iMac, I owned several Macs - an original iMac, a PowerBook G4 15", a PowerMac G4 dual 450Mhz, a Cube, my current iMac from 2012, and my favourite, a 12.1" iBook G4. There's one Mac I really want to add to my collection as soon as possible: the iBook G3/466 Special Edition. If you have one of these and would like to get rid of it - let me know.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
One more tidbit about Windows 8.1 Update 1 from my aforementioned source: Update 1 may feature some of the work that Microsoft has been doing behind the scenes to reduce further the memory and disk space requirements for Windows. This would allow Windows 8.1 Update 1 to run on cheaper small tablets. Windows 8.1 Update 1, screen shots of which leaked earlier this week, is expected to allow users to pin Metro-style/Windows Store apps to their desktop task bars. Thumbnail previews of these Metro-style apps will be available from the Desktop task bar, according to additional screen shots. Windows 8.1 Update 1 also is expected to include close boxes for Metro-style apps. Seems like some welcome changes, but it's going to take a lot more for people to warm up to Metro. The biggest problem to me is that since there aren't any compelling Metro applications, there's simply no reason to put with its idiosyncrasies, especially on desktops. I cannot think of a single Metro application that is better than its desktop counterpart, nor is there any Metro application that is better than similar applications on competing platforms. Developers need users, and users need developers. Right now - Metro seems to lacks both.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple's Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google's Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other's employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple's board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt "got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple." Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information "verbally, since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?" This is why I always smile whenever I hear a pundit claim his or her pet company "does no evil" or has "moral standards". Companies are guided by one thing, and one thing alone: money. They have no morals. They have no moral compass. We see evidence of this every single day - whether it's poor working conditions in low-wage countries, scummy tax evasion techniques, or stuff like this, which is essentially robbing hard-working people of their money. It's important to note, though, that the way companies work in our society has also been a major factor in the development of our wealth, luxury, and scientific progress; so no, it's not all bad. However, I do wish companies would stop spouting the obvious nonsense that they "do no evil" or have "moral standards", when it's clear to everyone with more than two brain cells to rub together that that's just a bunch of marketing bullshit. I really feel for the people that actually believe that nonsense. Of course, the criminals responsible for the illegal behaviour described in the article should be put behind bars. Sadly, that won't happen.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Nokia has just posted its results for the fourth quarter of 2013 - this is the last set of quarterly results which include the devices division, which has been sold to Microsoft. The parts that remain at Nokia are doing relatively well, but the holiday quarter for Lumia was a letdown. Exactly how much of a letdown we can't say, since Nokia has - curiously, but tellingly - stopped reporting Lumia sales. However, they do state that Lumia sales in the fourth (holiday) quarter were down from the third quarter, but up from the year-ago quarter, meaning they sold anywhere between 4.4 and 8.8 million Lumias during the holiday quarter of 2013. Tweakers' Arnoud Wokke has done the math, and concludes Nokia sold between 7.55 and 7.98 million Lumias. Average selling price dropped again, most likely due to the popularity of the low-end 520. This gives Nokia a smartphone market share of about 2-3%. All in all, the devices division, with its crashing Asha sales and struggling Lumia sales, was a clear stone around Nokia's neck, kept somewhat afloat by cash injections from Microsoft. However, those injections apparently weren't enough, and by now, we can conclude that Microsoft was effectively forced to step in and buy Nokia's devices division - lest someone else do it. With this being the last quarter in which Nokia reports on its devices division, an era has come to an end. Now it's up to Microsoft to try and see if they can make something out of the Lumia brand - however, without the Nokia name, that's going to be a very tough sell. Just ask the Surface department.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Google led in lobbying spending by ten tech firms who pumped a combined $61.15 million into efforts to influence federal regulators and lawmakers in 2013, up 15.9 percent from a combined total of $52.78 million, according to records filed with the Clerk of the House this week. Apparently AT&T is not considered to be a technology company, because they spent more than Google. All in all, virtually all companies heavily increased their spending on legalised corruption in the US.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
I'm not exactly a fan of reporting on Kickstarter projects, but I guess I can't really ignore this one any longer. Thorium Core is a commercial distribution of ReactOS, the Open Source Windows compatible operating system, targeted for cloud computing Thorium Core is an attempt to build a commercial operating system and cloud services platform, based on ReactOS, which is an Open Source implementation of the NT architecture seen in modern versions of Windows. It would seem that cloning Windows NT - in the end a neverending chase while wearing a stone around your neck and with your feet glued to a concrete block on Jupiter - is no longer a reasonable future goal. I kind of have my doubts about this project, but as always - major credit for trying.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The Muen Separation Kernel is the world's first Open Source microkernel that has been formally proven to contain no runtime errors at the source code level. It is developed in Switzerland by the Institute for Internet Technologies and Applications (ITA) at the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR). Muen was designed specifically to meet the challenging requirements of high-assurance systems on the Intel x86/64 platform. To ensure Muen is suitable for highly critical systems and advanced national security platforms, HSR closely cooperates with the high-security specialist secunet Security Networks AG in Germany. The webpage contains instructions for building the kernel yourself, for installing it in a virtual machine, and for running it on real hardware.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Anybody following tech media in the past few years would instantly recognize the Thorne. He's a fanboy. That is, the kind of crazily obsessed tech enthusiast who appears to have become unhinged somewhere between peeling off his smartphone's screen protector and making his 457th comment on Android Central. He seems to love - as in, romantically love - his phone. He explodes with rage when somebody says anything less than glowingly positive about it. I've been dealing with fanboys for as long as I'm an OSNews editor - made worse by the fact that I don't really have a strong allegiance to any platform, and therefore, tend to criticise and praise each of them at the same time, on a weekly basis. This means I have to deal with all manner of fanboys, and while it sometimes can be quite tiring, it's just kind of adorable most of the time. The other side of the coin is being accused of being biased for or against something. I used to maintain a list of all the companies and products I was accused of being biased for or against. Interestingly enough, all of the companies and products mentioned appeared in both the biased for and biased against column. In other words, I was biased for and against every single company and product mentioned on OSNews at the same time. In the meantime, out in the real world, I try to use as many different products from as many different companies as (financially) possible, so that I gather as much as real-world experience as I can. So, in the past 18-24 months, I've bought a Nexus 7, HTC 8X Windows Phone, Surface RT, iMac, Find 5 (Android), a self-built Windows 8 PC, Nokia E7 (Symbian), iPhone 5S, Jolla, and only last week I added a Nokia N9 to my collection. On top of that, I've used a whole bunch of other classic devices to further expand my horizon. I love technology, regardless of brand or platform. So yes, I've probably had more experience with fanboys than just about anyone here on OSNews. However, the things I've had to deal with are minute compared to the things people like Joshua Topolsky from The Verge has had to deal with. The gist of this somewhat random collection of words: be happy OSNews is a relatively small, niche site. Sure, we get into our (in the grand scheme of things, pointless) debates, but at least virtually every regular commenter here displays a reasonable amount of intelligence and restraint. We could do a whole lot worse.

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