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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

Warren slams tech companies for anticompetitive practices

Thursday 30th of June 2016 10:14:30 AM
[US senator Elizabeth] Warren had different beefs with Google, Apple and Amazon, but the common thread was that she accused each one of using its powerful platform to "lock out smaller guys and newer guys," including some that compete with Google, Apple and Amazon. Google, she said, uses "its dominant search engine to harm rivals of its Google Plus user review feature;" Apple "has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services" that compete with Apple Music; and Amazon "uses its position as the dominant bookseller to steer consumers to books published by Amazon to the detriment of other publishers." "Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and ... they deserve to be highly profitable and successful," Warren said. "But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again." Before we start, I strongly urge you to watch Warren's actual speech, instead of just reading the linked article. Warren explains clearly why the extreme consolidation and monopolisation in all manner of sectors in America is absolutely terrible for consumers, killing competition, dampening innovation, and maintaining high prices. Obviously, this entire speech is music to my ears. Warren is the obvious - and effectively inevitable - VP pick for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, meaning that if she were to beat the Republican nominee come November, the United States will have a Europe-style democratic socialist as vice-president. Obviously, this has the monopolistic US companies and their corporate cheerleaders shaking in their boots. Thanks to the unexpectedly successful Sanders campaign, Clinton is effectively forced to pick Sanders' friend and ideological compeer as her VP, directly threatening the free ride these companies have been getting for decades since the Reagan years, perpetuated by both Republicans and Democrats ever since. It won't be immediate - the VP position is more of a mindshare podium than one of policy-making - but it represents a huge shift in how the United States government and its politics treat the business world. There's a reason Tim Cook is raising money for Paul Ryan.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming August 2

Thursday 30th of June 2016 09:58:36 AM
The next major Windows 10 update, the Anniversary Update, is going to be released just slightly too late for its namesake event. The operating system first shipped on July 29, 2015. The Anniversary Update will come a few days after the first anniversary of that release, on August 2. You will install this update. Or else.

*Google is actively breaking my Android workflow*

Tuesday 28th of June 2016 09:53:48 PM
Speaking of software sucks, take a look at this screenshot of Chrome for Android. Do you notice something out of the ordinary? While you look, let me give you a little history. Way back when Android Lollipop was released, Google introduced a feature called "merge tabs and apps" and enabled it by default for all Lollipop users. Basically, what it did was turn individual Chrome tabs into application windows in Android's application switcher. If you have an understanding of how Android works, this makes perfect sense; this turns tabs into full citizens of the Android application and intents workflow. Starting with - I think? - Android Marshmallow, Google turned the feature off, but kept it as an option in Google Chrome, so that those of us that liked it could turn it back on. Obviously, this was the first thing I always turned on when setting up any new Android device; it just makes sense from an Android perspective. It smooths out the workflow, and makes sure that tab management becomes a thing of the past; they are discarded just like other Android applications. Sadly, starting with Chrome 51, released a few weeks ago, the Android or Chrome or whatever team decided to remove the option altogether. The release notes stated: When Android Lollipop was released last year, we moved Chrome tabs to live alongside apps in Android’s Overview app switcher. Our goal was to make it easier for you to switch between your open apps and websites. However, we heard from many of you that you could not find the tabs you created. This was especially difficult on phones that do not have a dedicated Overview button. While considering how to make Chrome work better for everyone, we brought the tab switcher back into Chrome so you can find your Chrome tabs in a single place. Look for a new way to manage your open tabs in coming releases. This single change has thoroughly ruined the way I use my phone. I now have upwards of 60 - and growing - "open" tabs, because the Chrome team wants me to manually keep track of and close every individual tab that gets opened while using Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other applications. I now have to keep track of not only running applications in the switcher, but also open tabs in the tab switcher, the latter of which can only be opened with a button in Chrome all the way at the top of my ginormous Nexus 6P display. The tab switcher itself, meanwhile, is a finicky clusterfuck of imprecise swipes and physics nonsense, making it all incredibly frustrating to use. Update: this paragraph was added later as clarification. In addition, if you tapped on a link in, say, Fenix (Twitter) and read the website in the tab and then pressed back, said tab was automatically closed. This automatic closing of tabs with the back button does not happen with the inferior new method, hence the asinine clutter build-up. Trying to switch to a specific tab I may have opened earlier in the day is an exercise in frustration now, since instead of just opening the application switcher and finding it a few swipes up (I don't use many applications), I now have to first find Chrome or launch it from my homescreen, find the tab switcher button all the way at the top, count to ten as I try to use the asinine tab switcher, and then hope I can find it somewhere among the more than 60 - and growing - "open" tabs and UI input lag caused by having to render all these tabs in that weird 3D space. As someone who keeps track of world news, things like UEFA Euro 2016, technology news, and so on, all throughout the day, I end up with countless interesting tabs that get opened on Twitter, other social media, instant messenger, and so on. The Chrome team has actively decided to break my workflow, and there's no way for me to get it back - probably just because instead of looking at the how or why, they just looked at their precious, precious user data, and called it a day. Looking to the future, with (freeform) windowing coming to Android, the change makes even less sense. Having tabs as part of the regular application switcher surely makes sense from a multitasking and multiwindow perspective, automatically giving Android users the ability to have multiple tabs side-by-side, in a way that is consistent with using other applications side-by-side. How are they going to implement this now? Will Android users have to deal with multiple Chrome windows, each with their own tab switcher? Where do tabs of closed windows go? What madness is this? I find solace in that I'm not alone. Countless friends have expressed their hatred for the removal of merge tabs and apps (I've seen some of my programmer friends with well north of 100 "open" tabs), and the Chrome for Android reviews in the Play Store are riddled with angry one-star reviews. Google's forums, too, are filled with angry users. I'm hoping the angry comments and one-star reviews will make the Chrome team reconsider and bring back the option to merge tabs and apps, the Only True Android Way™ to manage tabs. I'm sure tons of people here will consider this whining, but imagine if you're a programmer, and someone randomly took away your ability to insert tabs, forcing you to use spaces instead (or vice versa). That twitch you feel? That's us right now, every time we use Android. For the first time in my life, I actually rated an application on an application store. Guess how many "stars" (why is it always stars?) I gave to Chrome for Android. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

Microsoft restores function of 'X' button on window

Tuesday 28th of June 2016 09:53:18 PM
Microsoft officials said late on June 27 that the new update experience -- with clearer "upgrade now, schedule a time, or decline the free offer" - will start rolling out this week. Microsoft will also revert to making clicking on the red X at the corner of the Windows 10 update box dismiss the update, rather than initiate it, as it has done for the past several weeks. If you had told me only a few months ago that Microsoft would be putting out a press statement extolling how it made sure that the close button on a window frame actually closed the window instead of initiating something crappy people don't want, I'd have called you crazy. Why do we let software makers get away with producing crap? Why does software suck so much?

Microsoft draws flak for pushing Windows 10 on PC users

Monday 27th of June 2016 10:56:26 PM
A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein's computer started trying to download and install the new operating system. The update, which she says she didn't authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, Calif., travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time. "I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein said. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update." When outreach to Microsoft's customer support didn’t fix the issue, Goldstein took the software giant to court, seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer. She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company. We accept so much crap from software makers, so it feels good if someone manages to get back at them for the terrible quality of software in general.

Announcing .NET Core 1.0

Monday 27th of June 2016 06:49:14 PM
We are excited to announce the release of .NET Core 1.0, ASP.NET Core 1.0 and Entity Framework 1.0, available on Windows, OS X and Linux! .NET Core is a cross-platform, open source, and modular .NET platform for creating modern web apps, microservices, libraries and console applications. This release includes the .NET Core runtime, libraries and tools and the ASP.NET Core libraries. We are also releasing Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extensions that enable you to create .NET Core projects. You can get started at https://dot.net/core. Read the release notes for detailed release information.

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