posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Pop quiz, hotshot: When's the last time you saw a Sharp phone in the United States? The Sharp FX from years back? Maybe the FX Plus? If you're anything like me, your mind will hearken back to chunky clamshell classics like this one. Long story short, it's been ages since Sharp has had any kind of mobile presence around these parts. That's something the Japanese company is finally ready to change, and it's aiming to do it with a splash. Enter the AQUOS Crystal, one of the most striking phones you'll ever see. It's finally available for $149 on Boost Mobile now and Sprint will get it come October 17th, but we have questions -- so many questions. Has Sharp figured out a way to crack the all-too-fickle US market? Are we looking at a classic case of style over substance? The AQUOS Crystal (and its higher-end, Japan-only brother) looks stunning. Hopefully, this is where the future is going: displays becoming nothing but glass, without bezels or bodies. This way, displays would truly integrate and disappear into our surroundings, so they aren't always the centre of attention. Put the AQUOS Crystal next to any other current phone, and they all look decidedly dated and old-fashioned. I hope this new US effort works out well for Sharp, because it's really too bad that their often interesting and striking devices are Japan-only.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
My ultimate fear is that the complacent state of the Mac App Store would lead to the slow erosion of the Mac indie community. The MAS is the best place to get your software, it comes bundled with your OS, it's very convenient but when all the issues compound, developers will vote with their feet and continue the slow exodus. I feel that Apple needs to encourage the availability of high quality software rather than quantity over quality - the first step would addressing the core issues that have been known for years. The Mac platform would be a much worse place if we prioritise short-term gains, boasting about the hundreds of thousands of free abandonware rather than concentrate on the long-term fundamentals to sustain a healthy and innovative ecosystem. It's finally starting to dawn on people that application stores' primary goal is not to make the lives of developers easier. No, the one true goal of application stores is to drive the price of software down to zero or near-zero - and if the side effect of that is that the independent and small developers who built your platform go out of business or leave the platform altogether, that's just too damn bad. It was fun in the short term, when the low-hanging fruits were ripe for the picking, but everyone with more than two brain cells to rub together could see the unsustainability of it all. The 'app economy' is pretty close to bust, and I suspect zero to none of the suggestions listed in this article will be implemented by Apple. It's not in their interest to raise the prices of software in their application stores.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions represent the largest share of mobile subscriptions today (over 85% of the world's population). In developed markets there has been rapid migration to more advanced technologies, resulting in a decline in GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions. Despite this, GSM/EDGE will continue to represent a large share of total mobile subscriptions. This is because new, less affluent users in developing markets will likely choose a low-cost mobile phone and subscription. In addition, it takes time for the installed base of phones to be upgraded. GSM/EDGE networks will also continue to be important in complementing WCDMA/HSPA and LTE coverage in all markets. I live in one of the richest countries on earth, and supposedly we have 100% coverage for 3G from all three major carriers. The truth is, however, more muddied. The town where I live technically has T-Mobile 3G, but only the very lowest quality, resulting in T-Mobile customers (like me) effectively never having a 3G connection in town. Interestingly enough, the moment I leave town - literally the moment I cross the road that marks the end of town - I magically have a perfectly stable 3G connection all the way to the coast (about 4km away). Those 4km consists almost exclusively of cow pastures and uninhabited coastal sand dunes. So please, developers, take 2G into account. Even in developed nations, there are many people who ain't getting more.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Apple's Jony Ive, on Xiaomi's style and products that are... "Inspired" by Apple. There is a danger...I don't see it as flattery. I see it as theft. (Talking about copying desings in general). When you're doing something for the first time and you don't know it's going to work. I have to be honest the last thing I think is "Oh, that is flattering. All those weekends I could've been home with my family...I think it's theft and lazy. I don't think it's OK at all." Xiaomi is shameless about trying to be as Apple-like as can be, and while you all know how I feel about Apple's tendency to claim it invented and owns everything, with Xiaomi Apple certainly has a very strong point.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
With Windows 10, the update approach is set to change substantially. Microsoft is acknowledging the need, and even desirability, of making regular incremental improvements to its operating system. It's also, however, acknowledging the different appetite for change between consumers and enterprise users. While all users, both enterprise and otherwise, will be using the same core operating system, for the first time, there will be different update policies for different kinds of user. The old fiction of not making feature changes to a shipping operating system is finally being put to bed. A very sensible move in the current computing environment. I wonder if regular users, too, can opt for the slower update policy. There's a UI for the settings in the Windows 10 Technical Preview, but it's non-functional.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Dozens of those players are now in Seoul, at the fourth world championship. On Oct. 19, the finals will be held in a stadium built for soccer's World Cup, with 40,000 fans expected and many times that number watching online. Last year, Riot Games says, 32 million people around the world saw a South Korean team win the Summoner's Cup, along with a grand prize of $1 million, in the Staples Center in Los Angeles. That's an audience larger than the one that tuned in to the last game of the N.B.A. finals that year. I play League of Legends, and the sheer size of the game and everything related to it still baffles me. I, too, watch the World Championships live, I play almost every day, watch other people play on live streams and youTube, and I'm still enjoying it. Quite the phenomenon.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
So there you have it. As of October 4, Google Now has a clear lead in terms of the sheer volume of queries addressed, and more complete accuracy with its queries than either Siri or Cortana. All three parties will keep investing in this type of technology, but the cold hard facts are that Google is progressing the fastest on all fronts. Not surprising, really, considering Google's huge information lead. Still, I have yet to find much use for these personal assistants - I essentially only use Google Now to set alarms and do simple Google queries, but even then only the English ones that do not contain complicated names.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
It's our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users' concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance - including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges. So, today, we have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to publish our full Transparency Report, and asking the court to declare these restrictions on our ability to speak about government surveillance as unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is already considering the constitutionality of the non-disclosure provisions of the NSL law later this week. Good move by Twitter.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
It begins with simple threats. You know, rape, dismemberment, the usual. It's a good place to start, those threats, because you might simply vanish once those threats include your family. Mission accomplished. But today, many women online - you women who are far braver than I am - you stick around. And now, since you stuck around through the first wave of threats, you are now a much BIGGER problem. Because the Worst Possible Thing has happened: as a result of those attacks, you are NOW serving Victim-Flavored Koolaid. And Victim-Flavored Koolaid is the most dangerous substance on earth, apparently. And that just can't be allowed. The fact that I have to turn off comments on articles about the systematic abuse women receive from these low-life idiots on a small site like OSNews is all the proof you need. Until I no longer receive abusive comments for pointing out this issue, comments will remain closed.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
The first thing you notice about the IBM Model M keyboard, when you finally get your hands on it, is its size. After years of tapping chiclet keys and glass screens on two- and three-pound devices, hefting five pounds of plastic and metal (including a thick steel plate) is slightly intimidating. The second thing is the sound - the solid click that's turned a standard-issue beige peripheral into one of the computer world’s most prized and useful antiques. I have a Model M somewhere at my parents' house, with the very rare Dutch keyboard layout (we use US English now). However, I absolutely detest keyboards like that. I prefer keyboards with a decent click, but as little travel as possible, so that it requires as little pressure as possible to press a key, yet still get a decent click. Surprisingly - to some, perhaps - I am a huge fan of Apple's separate (so non-laptop) keyboard, and you can pry mine from my cold, dead hands. However, I know I'm in the minority, and the Model M is a hugely popular beast of a keyboard. Great article by The Verge.

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posted 2 months ago on OSNews
Jaakko Roppola, senior designer at Jolla, writes: I get asked this a lot so I did a post about it. Simple really. A Sailfish application has a much higher UX potential than any other platform counterpart. The whole operating system is designed around an unobstructed and efficient use of applications. What you as a user want to do. That's all well and fine, and we all know why native applications are superior to less-than-native counterparts - which in the case of Sailfish comes down specifically to Android applications, which it supports quite well. The reality, however, is that these reasons are not even remotely enough to draw developers of native applications to Sailfish. Early this year, I wrote a comprehensive review of Jolla and Sailfish. Since then, a lot of people have been asking me to revisit that review, and go into the current state of the platform. It's something that I've been wanting to do for a while now, but I've been putting it off because to be honest - there is very little to tell. The general conclusion of the review was that Sailfish was a good operating system considering its age, with a comprehensive user interface that was a joy to use, and that was both fast, smooth, and intuitive. Being a new platform, its biggest issue was of course the lack of third party applications - but even there, the platform got off on a good start with a few high-quality applications such a WhatsApp client, a great Twitter client, a barebones but decent Facebook client, and a few others. For a platform that was only a few weeks or months old at the time, that was a great running start. Sadly, even though we're almost a year down the line, the state of the platform is still pretty much exactly the same. The operating system itself has improved even further, and continues to do so at a decent pace. Every time I boot my Jolla, Sailfish delights me with its intuitive and smooth, one-handed interface. Between the review and now, we've seen like 10 proper operating system updates, and each of them have improved the operating system in noticeable ways. It's nowhere near as complete or full-featured as Android, iOS and WP, but it will certainly cover users of those platforms just fine. As far as third-party applications go, however, the situation is - and let's not sugar-coat it - dire. The applications I highlighted in my review and again a few paragraphs above are still pretty much the only proper Sailfish applications today, with the note that the Facebook client hasn't seen any development in months and is, as far as I can tell, abandoned. Other than that, virtually every time I get my hopes up when I see tweets about "new" Sailfish applications, it's yet another Android application that also works on Sailfish. Of course, we all knew this was going to be the hardest - and largest - piece of the Sailfish puzzle. However, I did expect more than what we have now. I'm sure the lack of support for paid applications plays a role here, discouraging more professional, non-hobby developers from joining in on the fun as a side-project. Whatever the cause, we're still looking at a third-party applications landscape that isn't much better than what I saw back in January. It could be that there's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes to get developers interested, but so far, we haven't seen much sign of that. I'm obviously not going to write off the platform or anything like that - the operating system is too good and fun for that - but progress on the application front is sorely, sorely needed. Right now, my Jolla spends most of its time in my device drawer, only to be booted up when there's an update or when I'm bored. Sailfish deserves more, but I'm not sure how they're going to get it.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The reality, though, is that Apple Pay is an exceedingly secure mobile payment platform. In fact, it may very well be the safest way to make any type of credit card payment. To understand why, below is a general overview of how the system works behinds the scenes. Note that this article is meant to paint the Apple Pay process in broad strokes, as a good portion of the nitty-gritty technical details aren't yet publicly known and, due to security considerations, may never be fully disclosed. Keywords: credit card. Europe and much of the rest of the developed world has already left those insecure cards behind, using chip and PIN-based systems using debit cards instead. In other words, Apple Pay could be nice for the antiquated US payment market, where Apple still has a decent market share to pull this off. Europe? I'm not so sure.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
In September 2011, the two companies entered a seven-year cross-licensing agreement for mobile-related patents. The payments for the first year were made without fuss. In August 2013, Samsung told Microsoft that it had assessed the value of the royalties owed for the second year as over $1 billion. Payment of this fee was due in October, but Microsoft says that no payment was received until late November 2013. Redmond's complaint says that Samsung owes more than $6.9 million in interest fees for the late payment (per the terms of the original licensing agreement). What changed between August and October? In September 2013, Microsoft announced that it was buying Nokia's Devices division. The software giant asserts that Samsung is both claiming that Nokia's devices are not covered by the cross-licensing deal - and hence violating Samsung's own patents - and that the Nokia purchase voids the licensing agreement in its entirety. Only in bizarro-idiotic-upside-down world can you not contribute a single line of code to a product and yet still get $1 billion a year simply by sitting on your ass. Windows 8 on tablets was a colossal flop and Windows Phone barely gets by, and this is how Microsoft pads the numbers in mobile. Classy.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The #GamerGate hashtag is inextricably linked to campaigns of harassment and its proponents have been demonstrably manipulated by a small number of people who want to hurt others for fun. Until now it has had no major successes, but by giving in to its demands and pulling its advertising from Gamasutra, Intel has legitimized a movement that has shown itself to be anti-feminist, violently protectionist, and totally unwilling to share what it sees as its divine right to video games. Strung along by both American right-wingers and 4chan. This whole 'GamerGate' thing is so laughably pathetic it makes my sides hurt.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
To mark the 40th anniversary of the prototype demonstration in Kildall´s backyard tool shed in Pacific Grove in the fall of 1974, the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use, the source code of several of the early releases of CP/M. The CHM is doing some amazing work in preserving ancient software for the ages.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
In short, while Apple's hardware continues to impress me, their software has gone downhill at a rapid pace. iPhoto is an unusable mess with the volume of photos I now have. Aperture has been discontinued and is badly lagging behind in terms of both performance and features. iTunes takes forever to launch, and is bloated mess of way too many features and functions. iCloud is still a mess that I wouldn't dream of storing my important data in. iOS 7 crashed so often that I became intimately familiar with the Apple logo that appeared every time it did. iOS 8 fixed the crashing, but introduced thousands of little paper cut like bugs. I used to install updates from Apple the second they came out, now I wait a few days to see if they are actually any good. Something is brewing, and it's been brewing for a while now if you follow iOS and Apple developers online.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
So, why did Microsoft skip version 9, jumping straight to Windows 10? On Reddit, someone who claims to be a Microsoft developer, points us into an interesting direction. Microsoft dev here, the internal rumours are that early testing revealed just how many third party products that had code of the form if(version.StartsWith("Windows 9")) { /* 95 and 98 */ } else { and that this was the pragmatic solution to avoid that. I want this to be true. It's perfect.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Microsoft finally surprised us all: At the eagerly-awaited first briefing for the next Windows, the firm revealed that they had decided to skip the 9 and call it Windows 10 instead. From a features perspective, we only learned about a few minor new features that hadn't already leaked. And as promised, the technical preview won't ship until October. Which starts tomorrow, by the way. To say that this was a different kind of Windows event is a major understatement. I want to focus on the details of the announcement here, but it's at least worth pointing out that Terry Myerson's team is approaching Windows 10 with a completely different - for the better - approach. Not just when compared to the past few releases. But when compared to every Windows release from the past 20 years. Everything is new again. It's looking like a good release so far - I'm especially very happy with the further neutering of Metro and the Expose-like functionality. Odd they're skipping 9 though.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
We already reported on this one yesterday, but it's official now: after a preliminary investigation, the EU has accused Ireland of providing illegal state aid to Apple by means of Apple-specific low tax rates which the EU states do not conform to market standards. In addition, while there are certain specific cases in which state aid is legal, none of those seem to apply in this case. These cases cover things like aid to severely impoverished regions, natural disaster relief, important projects of common European interest, and similar things. At this stage, the Commission considers that the measure at issue appears to constitute a reduction of charges that should normally be borne by the entities concerned in the course of their business, and should therefore be considered as operating aid. According to the Commission practice, such aid cannot be considered compatible with the internal market in that it does not facilitate the development of certain activities or of certain economic areas, nor are the incentives in question limited in time, digressive or proportionate to what is necessary to remedy to a specific economic handicap of the areas concerned. Possible fines, which could run in the billions of euros, would be on Apple. So, unlike what some of our readers vehemently claimed - "There is no possibility of a fine upon Apple whatsoever" - Apple could very well end up paying billions of euros. The Commission wishes to remind Ireland that Article 108(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union has suspensory effect, and would draw your attention to Article 14 of Council Regulation (EC) No 659/199935, which provides that all unlawful aid may be recovered from the recipient. This is only the beginning. Several other companies and countries - Google, Starbucks, The Netherlands, Luxembourg - are also under investigation, and will likely face similar proceedings in the near future.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Chromebooks are fast, easy to use and secure. They bring the best of the cloud right to your desktop, whether that's Google Drive, Google+ Photos or Gmail. Today, in partnership with Adobe, we're welcoming Creative Cloud onto Chromebooks, initially with a streaming version of Photoshop. This will be available first to U.S.-based Adobe education customers with a paid Creative Cloud membership - so the Photoshop you know and love is now on Chrome OS. No muss, no fuss. This streaming version of Photoshop is designed to run straight from the cloud to your Chromebook. It's always up-to-date and fully integrated with Google Drive, so there's no need to download and re-upload files - just save your art directly from Photoshop to the cloud. For IT administrators, it's easy to manage, with no long client installation and one-click deployment to your team's Chromebooks. This is quite interesting - and a direct assault on Windows and OS X. We'll have to see just how well it works, but if it works well, and a lot of the heavy lifting is done server-side, it might a winner.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
The European Union will accuse Apple of taking illegal aid from the Irish state through sweetheart tax deals over two decades, the Financial Times reported on Monday. A European Commission investigation into Apple's tax affairs in Ireland, where it has a rate of less than 2%, has found that the company benefited from illegal state aid, the newspaper reported, citing sources close to the matter. Nail these corporate criminals.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Since announcement of the BlackBerry Passport in Toronto, London and Dubai, there has been over 200,000 devices sold across Amazon and Shop BlackBerry. As noted by BlackBerry CEO John Chen on the Q2 2015 earnings call, the BlackBerry Passport has moved to the number one spot on the Amazon unlocked device list and sold out through ShopBlackBerry within the first six hours after sales had gone live. I'm pretty sure all the really, really funny people are already making very, very funny jokes about these numbers compared to the quazillion iPhones Apple sold in three nanoseconds. We're all laughing. Really, we are.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
So here I am on a battered PowerBook that will barely hold a charge, playing with classic Mac OS (version 9.2.2) and trying to appreciate the work of those who developed the software in the mid-to-late '90s (and to amuse my co-workers). We're now 12 years past Steve Jobs' funeral for the OS at WWDC in 2002. While some people still find uses for DOS, I'm pretty sure that even the most ardent classic Mac OS users have given up the ghost by now - finding posts on the topic any later than 2011 or 2012 is rare. So if there are any of you still out there, I think you're all crazy... but I'm going to live with your favorite OS for a bit. Ars Technica rewrote the article I wrote eight years ago.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
By now you may have heard about a new bug found in the Bash shell. And unless you're a programmer or security expert, you're probably wondering if you should really worry. The short answer is: Don't panic, but you should definitely learn more about it, because you may be in contact with vulnerable devices. This bug, baptized "Shellshock" by Security Researchers, affects the Unix command shell "Bash," which happens to be one of the most common applications in those systems. That includes any machine running Mac OS X or Linux. A very simple and straightforward explanation of this major new security issue. The OSNews servers were updated yesterday.

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posted 3 months ago on OSNews
Apple has released iOS 8.0.2. It's available now via Settings > General > Update or over Lightning to USB tether to iTunes on your Mac or PC. This comes just one day after the iOS 8.0.1 update left iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers unable to use Touch ID or connect to cellular networks. Apple promised a fix within days and delivered it with a day. Quick response by Apple.

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