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

The state of Android updates: who's fast, who's slow, and why

Thursday 21st of August 2014 03:13:16 PM
For every Android update, Google's release of code to OEMs starts an industry-wide race to get the new enhancements out to customers. So how did everyone do this year? Who was the first with KitKat, and who was the last? What effect does your carrier have on updates? How has the speed of Android updates changed compared to earlier years? Nice overview that may help during your next purchasing decision, and which neatly illustrates Android's biggest weakness. Interestingly enough, it doesn't include non-stock ROMs.

RetroBSD: Run old BSD Unix on a microcontroller

Tuesday 19th of August 2014 09:31:31 PM
Modern microcontrollers are becoming quite beefy. The Microchip PIC32 line is actually an implementation of the MIPS32 4K architecture - and with 512K of flash and 128K of RAM you can even run Unix! RetroBSD is a port of BSD 2.11 for the PIC32. You might not be able to run X11, but it is still very useful and a great reminder of how small Unix used to be - and how far it has come.

HTC One M8 for Windows unveiled... For very few people

Tuesday 19th of August 2014 08:24:54 PM
As expected, HTC has just announced a new smartphone with Windows Phone called the HTC One M8 for Windows. The new device is the same as the HTC One M8 with Android, albeit it comes with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 preinstalled. Sounds great, especially since it may be possible to dual boot or switch operating systems once the XDA crowd gets its hands on this thing. But then... The HTC One M8 for Windows is an exclusive device for U.S. carrier Verizon. Yeah. Good luck, with that.

How to boot a PDP-11

Monday 18th of August 2014 10:39:56 PM
Via TechCrunch: You want to play Adventure, but don't know how to turn on the PDP-11? These instructions are for booting our dual rack machine from its RL01 drives, although booting the single cabinet machine from the RK05 is very similar. How to boot a PDP-11. Yes.

Interview: Jim Yurchenco, creator of Apple's first mouse, Palm V

Monday 18th of August 2014 10:34:31 PM
While the article focuses on Jim Yurchenco's work on building Apple's first mouse, as a Palm adept, I'm obviously more interested in his other great contribution to the computing world: he built the Palm V. "That was a really important product for us, and the industry", Yurchenco says. "It was one of the first cases where the physical design - the feel and touch points - were considered to be as important as the performance." That wasn't lost on users; the device sold like wild and helped shape modern gadget-lust. Ars Technica's review of the device came with a disclaimer: "Remember, if you don't intend to buy a Palm V, under no circumstances should you allow yourself to look/touch/hold/feel/smell/see/inspect/rub/behold/taste or have any type of contact with one." I touched upon this in a lot of detail in my Palm retrospective, but in this day and age of iOS vs. Android, wherein everybody seems to think the portable computer era started with the iPhone, it can't be stressed enough just how much Apple - and thus, the entire current smartphone industry - owes to Palm. Whether it's software - iOS draws heavily from Palm OS - or hardware. I wrote: The Pilots that had come before were strictly utilitarian, focused on businessmen and women instead of general consumers. The Palm V changed all this. Its shape would define the company's products for years to come. It had smooth curved sides with a slightly wider bottom than top section, making it all not only look distinct and beautiful, but also very comfortable to hold. Whether you looked at other PDAs, smartphones, or mobile phones of its era - there was nothing else like it. Everybody else was building plastic monstrosities. [...] The Palm V was a smashing success. For the first time, a mobile computing device was designed to be beautiful, and "it turned out to be very successful. We turned it into a personal artefact, or a personal piece of jewellery or something and [Microsoft] couldn't compete with that," according to Hawkins. The Palm V made pocket computing fashionable. The relationship between Palm OS and iOS is very thick - but so is the one between the Palm V and the iPhone.

The anti-Facebook

Monday 18th of August 2014 08:47:32 PM
Founded in 2010 and based in San Francisco, Nextdoor is a odd outlier among today's social networks. Signing up is an onerous process, requiring substantial proof of both your identification and address. People post messages, but they are seen only by others in the immediate area, and there is no share or retweet button to proliferate messages across the network. It feels more like a modern update on a message board or web forum than a social network. But it has struck a chord across the country. When The Verge first reported on Nextdoor back in July of 2012, it was in 3,500 neighborhoods. Today, the company is announcing that it reached 40,000 neighborhoods, or roughly one in four American communities, with 10 or more active users. I had never heard of Nextdoor, but it sounds fascinating. Where Facebook has become an endless stream of crap because people willy-nilly added everyone to their friends list (tip: don't do that. I mostly only 'friend' people I truly care about and lo and behold, my Facebook feed is always interesting), Nextdoor prevents that by focusing solely on the people around you - literally around you. I would love for this to come to The Netherlands. Sounds very useful in, say, remote communities.

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