posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A bunch of screenshots have been obtained by ITHome.it, a Chinese website, claiming to show off Windows 10 Build 10009, although the build information is covered up in the images, we'll just have to take their word for it. In the images it can be seen that many more standard icons have received the flattened treatment, among them: the Recycle bin, Control Panel and Drive icons. New icons have also appeared, but the images are rather small, but embedded for your enjoyment below. Huh.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
We've been testing pushing early updates to a small group of opt-in users for update9 and the connectivity hotfix. This went well so we're going one step further and making each software update available for opt in approximately one week before releasing it. We mainly expect this to be useful for developers and technically minded users who can handle potential problems (eg if you don't know how to do a backup and a restore then it may not be for you). Flip a toggle on your Jolla account settings page and you'll receive each new Sailfish update a week before general release so you can test it out. Needless to say, my switch has been flipped.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Apple released a beta version of OS X 10.10.3 today, and it includes the first preview of its new Photos application. Apple might have just fixed that for Mac users with the new Photos app. It's the final piece in a plan that Apple unveiled last June, and one that both fixes and unifies a patchwork system it rolled out in 2011. It's a rethink of how people manage their photo library on a Mac, something that's been iPhoto's home turf for more than a decade. Apple's discontinuing that software along with Aperture (which is aimed at pro photographers), in favor bringing the tools people have on their iPhones and iPads to the Mac. It's also been built with Apple's iCloud in mind instead of an afterthought, which feels years overdue. Over time, iPhote gradually turned into an iTunes-esque behemoth of a program that couldn't handle larger amounts of photos and generally had serious performance issues. This new Photos applications looks amazing, and I know many, many people who are going to love this.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
This is a story that involves lots of public intrigue, a futuristic wearable technology, a secret laboratory, fashion models, sky divers and an interoffice love triangle that ended a billionaire’s marriage. This is the story of Google Glass. Definitely a story that's worth a read, but I can't for the life of me understand why the author decided to add the 'love triangle' nonsense. It comes in out of nowhere, has no bearing on the story, and feels like it was only put in there to draw clicks. While I would expect such behaviour from Buzzfeed or celebrity gossip sites, it has no place in The New York Times.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Samsung's scale is such that when it chooses to change, the whole mobile industry feels the repercussions. So far, the key alterations from previous Galaxy S generations appear to be a move to an all-metal construction, a display that may be curved on one or both sides, and the repudiation of Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors in favor of a full reliance on Samsung’s own Exynos. These factors all matter individually, but taken as a whole they mark a major departure from the almost cynical pragmatism with which Samsung has approached its phones in the past. Let's address each one of them in turn. Samsung's problem is that all the things that caused its rapid growth in smartphones were things that were easily replicated both on the low end (Xiaomi etc.) and the high end (Apple). Samsung needs something unique for its smartphones, and aping Apple and HTC by moving to an all-metal construction is not going to do it, nor are gimmicky bent screens and whatnot. It may already be too late.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Two weeks ago we shared our plans to introduce new, Universal Office apps for Windows 10 including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, that can be installed on PCs, tablets and phones. Today, we're excited to announce that Word, Excel and PowerPoint are now available for technical preview on PCs, laptops and tablets running the Windows 10 Technical Preview! In the coming weeks, we'll open up our preview for the same apps on phones and tablets running Windows 10. It's three years too late, but we're finally - finally - getting proper, non-preview, non-beta, fully functional and grown-up Metro applications.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler: Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of "commercial reasonableness" under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers. That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections. Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply - for the first time ever - those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission. Great news for Americans.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A few hours ago, we spotted no less than five mentions of "Android 5.1" on Google's Indonesian Android One page. Considering that 5.1 is quite a jump from 5.0.2, and something like 5.0.3 seemed more likely as the next bug fixer, we were cautious to suggest it may have been a mistake or a very persistent typo. But as it turns out, Android 5.1 is real, and it's indeed shipping on Android One phones in Indonesia. ...but without a changelog, we have no idea what's in it, and as always, we have zero idea when anyone else is going to get it, if at all. Android™.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
OsmocomBB is an Free Software / Open Source GSM Baseband software implementation. It intends to completely replace the need for a proprietary GSM baseband software, such as drivers for the GSM analog and digital baseband (integrated and external) peripherals the GSM phone-side protocol stack, from layer 1 up to layer 3 In short: By using OsmocomBB on a compatible phone, you are able to make and receive phone calls, send and receive SMS, etc. based on Free Software only. This project is doing amazing work, but despite all the effort, it only supports very small number of phones based on one particular baseband chip because this one happens to accept unsigned firmware. It only supports 2G (and not even completely), so 3G and 4G are completely out of the question. Don't expect to flash this on your Samsung Galaxy Whatever any time soon. Aside from the immense technical knowledge, expertise, and dedication required to code your own baseband software, there's a huge legal barrier - it's pretty much illegal to use a baseband like this without explicit approval. In fact, the people behind the project do not use their software on carrier networks. Despite the fact that the need for a properly open source baseband firmware is obvious to everyone, the cold and harsh truth remains that we're not even close.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A few weeks ago, someone reported this to us at Medium: "I just started an article in Polish. I can type in every letter, except Ś. When I press the key for Ś, the letter just doesn't appear. It only happens on Medium." This was odd. We don't really special-case any language in any way, and even if we did... out of 32 Polish characters, why would this random one be the only one causing problems? Turns out, it wasn't so random. This is a story of how four incidental ingredients spanning decades (if not centuries) came together to cause the most curious of bugs, and how we fixed it. Interesting.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The very first BeOS story OSNews ever published - from 23 January 1998. Here's the same article rendered in the then-current OSNews website. More of the fallout from Apple's decision to bump off its cloners last Fall has settled over the Valley recently, falling particularly hard in Menlo Park, home of Be Inc.. It seems Apple has been loath to hand over the documentation for the "Gossamer" motherboard line of PowerPC 750 machines (popularly referred to as the "G3" line) that began shipping last November. In the past, Apple had been more than happy to hand over the documentation to its various motherboard designs, each having colorful names like Alchemy, Tanzania, and Tsunami. But the return of Jobs has chilled the once congenial relationship the two companies had, although both Motorola and IBM are more than happy to provide the BeOS team all the technical specs they desire. The result for Be users on PowerPC machines (right now they're the only kind, although BeOS for Intel is due in March) is that Apple's gradual improvements in motherboard design are forever off limits, forcing them into an upgrade path (if they choose to even stay on the PowerPC platform) dependent upon the processor upgrade cards offered by companies like Newer Technologies and PowerLogix. Steve Jobs closing off the entire company and cutting off access to its specifications is one of the four times Be, Inc. died. Fitting it is the subject of our very first BeOS story.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
A few years back, the Macintosh operating system was considered innovative and fun. Now many view it as dated and badly in need of a rewrite rather than a simple upgrade. Windows 95 is the most popular operating system in the world - but this operating system is in many ways a copy of the Mac OS, less the Mac's character. Many programmers and computer enthusiasts enjoy the command-line interface power of Unix - but Unix isn't nearly intuitive enough for the average end user. What users really want is an operating system that has an easy-to-use graphical user interface, takes advantage of the power of today's fast microprocessor chips, and is unencumbered with the burdens of backward compatibility. Enter Be, Inc., and the BeOS - the Be operating system. The glory days.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
AndroidCentral reviews some Dell Android tablet, and concludes: There's a lot to like in the Dell Venue 8 7840 tablet. The name is not one of those things. The display, however, most definitely is. Resolution quirks aside, Dell's got a gorgeous panel in this tablet. And the Intel Atom processor seems like it's pushing everything just as you'd expect a high-spec'd tablet to do. Battery life is pretty much on par with what we'd expect. And while on-board storage is close to shameful, Dell makes up for it with allowing for a massive amount of removable storage. I'm not interested in the tablet itself, but in its processor. I find it remarkable that Intel has reached a point where it can power mobile devices with comparable performance and battery life... But with x86-64, not ARM. Intel isn't new to mobile, of course - I have countless Xscale-powered PDAs - but that was ARM, not x86(-64). We're reaching a point where we have a standard architecture running from small phones all the way up to supercomputers. Remarkable.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Icaros Desktop is a distribution - if you will - of AROS. Its latest version was released over the weekend. Once again, system files have been brought to Jan 6 nightly build (with all the fixes introduced by Deadwood in AROS ABIv0), including changes to workbench themeing system and locale library. We've now fixed localization (which stopped working with update 2.0.2) and themes, whose structure has changed a little in the meanwhile (the 'revert' image that was originally included in a subdirectory, has been moved to its parent directory and renamed to 'DirUp', and this for every given theme in the distribution). Update 2.0.3 now reflects these changes and themes work again as expected. This means that Wanderer's "Parent" (or "go back", or "dir up" as you wish to call it) button is now working again, not only on X86 but even on 68K Wanderer, where it disappeared since v2.0.0.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
ELEKS decided to build a 3rd party Tesla application for the Apple Watch. So, from the development perspective, Apple Watch is currently a quite limited device with a weak potential for programmers. No, hold on. Perhaps this statement isn't entirely correct, since the smart watch isn't selling yet and we can only make our assumptions based on the SDK that is in its first Beta stage. As a result, we get rather mixed feelings from the smart watch. On the one hand - everything is beautiful, new and interesting, and on the other - the stripped-down functionality makes it impossible to develop beautifully designed really functional apps right now. Watch the video of the application in action. "Let me unlock my car by fiddling with the homescreen on my watch' tiny, stamp-sized screen, looking for the Tesla app, pressing and holding on one of the arbitrary screens of the application and pressing the tiny unlock button." Meanwhile, any sane person is already halfway home. As my general attitude towards the Apple Watch as well as my very negative review of Android Wear/the Moto 360 make clear, I just don't see any benefit in the way Android Wear/Apple Watch currently implement the concept of a smartwatch. It's just way too much fiddly and cumbersome computer on a far too tiny display on devices that require far too much charging. How long will it take for you to stop using that fiddly and time-consuming Tesla unlock process on your watch and just get out your keys/use keyless entry instead? Once the initial novelty wore off, my Moto 360 ended up in my device drawer within a matter of days. I don't see myself using it again, and so far, I've seen nothing to indicate the Apple Watch will be any different (for me! Your mileage may vary! This is an opinion! Yours may be different! Deal with it!).

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The new Pi sounds like a beast. Let's get the good stuff out of the way above the fold. Raspberry Pi 2 is now on sale for $35 (the same price as the existing Model B+), featuring: A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU (~6x performance) 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM (2x memory) Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1 Because it has an ARMv7 processor, it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10. That's not all. Microsoft has announced a free version of Windows 10 for IoT for the new Pi.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
In the spirit of continued transparency, I wanted to share a quick update on where we're at with our Android Lollipop rollout process. We've been working hard in the labs with Google and our carrier partners ever since the code release and are making great progress so far, but if you've been following the progress of this rollout you will know that Google has had to address several issues with this release. We've been diligently working to fix some of them on our end and incorporating Google's fixes as quickly as possible, but despite everyone's best efforts some carrier versions of the HTC One (M8) and HTC One (M7) will not meet our 90 day goal, which is February 1st. While we are committed to delivering within this time period, we are even more committed to ensuring these updates result in an even better experience with your device because that is what the updates are intended to do. I applaud HTC for doing everything it can to reach its own 90 day promise, and it really sucks for them and their customers that bugs from Google itself causes delays. Android updates remain an utter and total mess, and by far Android's biggest weakness.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Back in the days of Mac OS X 10.2-10.4, I toyed with backporting some of my programming projects, originally developed in Carbon with Project Builder, to MacOS 9, and downloaded MPW (since it was free, and CodeWarrior was not) to do so. The Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop was Apple’s own development environment for developing Mac apps, tracing its lineage from the Lisa Programmer’s Workshop, which was originally the only way to develop Mac apps (yes, in 1984 you could not develop Mac software on the Mac itself). A follow-up from last week's MPW story.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Following delays of over a year, Samsung finally shipped its first Tizen-powered handset, the Z1, earlier this month in India. The arrival of Tizen on smartphones - remember it's been on Samsung's Gear smartwatches for almost a year now - has been a long time coming, and there's been plenty of speculation among press and mobile industry watchers that Tizen could emerge as a viable alternative to Android for the Korean electronics giant. What we've found during our initial hands-on time with an Indian Samsung Z1, however, is a phone that's very much at ease with Google's ecosystem. I want one of these - if only to see what Samsung can build if they're not just shipping Android.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
The highlight of the new release is a far-reaching visual refresh, with menus, toolbars, status bars, and more being updated to look and work better. While LibreOffice retains the traditional menus-and-toolbars approach that Microsoft abandoned in Office 2007, the new version is meant to make those menus and toolbars easier to navigate. What are the reasons to use either OpenOffice or LibeOffice?

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
While there was no other information available on the paper’s website, the tweet echoes a report in the Beijing News (link in Chinese) that Apple chief executive Tim Cook informed Lu last month that Apple would let China's State Internet Information Office conduct "security checks" on all products that it sells on the mainland. China has been concerned that Apple devices like the iPhone enable the company - or worse, US intelligence agencies - to spy on Chinese citizens. [...] What would "security checks" entail? Apple hasn't provided any information on the matter and did not respond to requests for comment. But analysts said the most likely interpretation is that the company is giving Beijing access to its operating system source code in return for being able to continue to do business in China - arguably Apple's most important market, but one that has been imperiled by regulatory obstacles. This whole story seems highly unlikely to me. If Apple were to give the Chinese government access to the iOS source code, it'd leak all around the web in no-time. Even if Apple could somehow get a 100% guarantee that there would be no leaks, this whole thing seems incredibly un-Apple. Then again - it may simply be a fait accompli for Apple; if the Chinese government demands source code access in order for Apple to keep operating in the Chinese market, Apple may simply have no choice but to comply. Even if this story is true, the only possible way I could remotely see this work is Apple setting up a special, dedicated office on its own premises where Chinese government officials get a peek.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Working one day in August of 2007, I couldn't help but realize that my regular PC keyboard didn't serve me as much as possible. I had to move my hands between the various blocks of my keyboard excessively, hundreds if not thousands of times per day, and my hands were uncomfortably close to each other. There must be a better way, I thought. This realization was followed by an overwhelming feeling of excitement as I thought about creating the perfect hacker keyboard 0 and later, the realization that, as a software developer, I was hopelessly clueless about hardware.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
As vast and sophisticated as the mobile tech industry may have become, in the end it still relies on some very basic ways for making money. You can either sell hardware, like Apple's doing, or sell ads, which account for roughly the same proportion of Google's regular income. Netflix and Amazon's Kindle store have found success as cross-platform services, but spending on mobile software is unlikely to ever match that of the old days when we paid for Windows, Office, and Photoshop on the desktop. It's easier to sell things that a person can touch and interact with physically. This is why HTC is diversifying into selling weird cameras, why LG and Samsung keep churning out new smartwatches in search of a perfect formula, and why everyone at CES earlier this month had a wearable of some kind to show off. And in spite of their lamentations about tough competition, HTC, LG, and Lenovo are all generating profits from their smartphone operations, and Samsung's recent sales decline hasn't been enough to put the Korean company on the wrong side of the ledger. None of these manufacturers have a profit driver of the caliber of the iPhone, but they're running sustainable businesses even while relying almost wholly on Google's Android software. Just to illustrate: Apple has sold one billion iOS devices to date, and last year alone, one billion Android smartphones have been shipped (so this excludes tablets). These numbers - Apple's profits, Android devices shipped in just a year - are insane.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
An old (2010) story from former Sun employee Jeremy Allison. David Miller wrote (at the end of a long email explaining how Sparc Linux used cache optimizations to beat Solaris on performance): "One final note. When you have to deal with SunSOFT to report a bug, how "important" do you have (ie. Fortune 500?) to be and how big of a customer do you have to be (multi million dollar purchases?) to get direct access to Sun's Engineers at Sun Quentin? With Linux, all you have to do is send me or one of the other SparcLinux hackers an email and we will attend to your bug in due time. We have too much pride in our system to ignore you and not fix the bug." To which Bryan Cantrill replied with this amazing retort: "Have you ever kissed a girl?" Talk about missing the point and underestimating the competition. The article offers an interesting look at why Sun eventually failed. I stumbled upon this story because Rob Landley mentioned the girl comment in his email about BSD/SysV.

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posted about 1 month ago on OSNews
Remember the nonsense from CyanogenMod CEO McMaster we talked about a few days ago? It turns out the motivation for the baseless comments from McMaster may not exactly be his own. As always, follow the money. People familiar with the matter say Microsoft is putting money into Cyanogen, which is building a version of the Android mobile-operating system outside of Google's auspices. Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions, one of the people said. The person said the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest in Cyanogen because they're also eager to diminish Google's control over Android. The identity of the other potential investors couldn't be learned. Oh right.

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