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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