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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 36 min ago

The post-Mac interface

Monday 3rd of August 2015 09:28:28 PM
In 1996 Don Gentner and Jakob Nielsen published a thought experiment, The Anti-Mac Interface. It's worth a read. By violating the design principles of the entrenched Mac desktop interface, G and N propose that more powerful interfaces could exceed the aging model and define the "Internet desktop." It's been almost 20 years since the Anti-Mac design principles were proposed, and almost 30 since the original Apple Human Interface Guidelines were published. Did the Anti-Mac principles supersede those of the Mac? Here I reflect on the Mac design principles of 1986, the Anti-Mac design principles of 1996, and what I observe as apparent (and cheekily named) Post-Mac design principles of 2016... Er, 2015. Quite a read, but definitely worth it.

A company copes with backlash against the raise that roared

Saturday 1st of August 2015 11:12:17 AM
Three months ago, Mr. Price, 31, announced he was setting a new minimum salary of $70,000 at his Seattle credit card processing firm, Gravity Payments, and slashing his own million-dollar pay package to do it. He wasn't thinking about the current political clamor over low wages or the growing gap between rich and poor, he said. He was just thinking of the 120 people who worked for him and, let's be honest, a bit of free publicity. The idea struck him when a friend shared her worries about paying both her rent and student loans on a $40,000 salary. He realized a lot of his own employees earned that or less. Yet almost overnight, a decision by one small-business man in the northwestern corner of the country became a swashbuckling blow against income inequality. Whether you support his actions or not, ask yourself this question: what does it say about our society that a young man slashing his own salary to increase that of his employees draws more ire than a CEO raising his own salary to 70 times that of an average employee? Most mystifying of all, though, are the employees leaving because their coworkers got a pay raise to $70000, while they themselves already earned $70000. I don't understand this mindset. You still have your salary. You still get your $70000, except now your fellow men and women on the work floor also get it. Is your self-worth really derived from earning more than the people around you? Is your sense of self really dictated by how much more you earn than Jim from accounting or Alice from engineering? Maybe I'm just too Dutch and too little American to understand this mindset, but I firmly believe this world would be a massively better place if more CEOs cut their own salaries to raise that of their employees.

How does Voxel Quest work now?

Saturday 1st of August 2015 10:49:49 AM
If you're interested in the intricacies of game engine development, you should definitely keep track of Gavan Woolery's Voxel Quest. The latest blog post deals with a whole bunch of new stuff implemented in the voxel-based engine. The fact that VQ has undergone three tech revisions over two years probably seems a bit ridiculous, and maybe it is. Something like this would normally kill a game. That said, the point here is not just to make a game (plenty of people are doing that already), but to make a unique engine, and that could not happen in a vacuum. All I know is that I am finally happy with where the engine is at in terms of performance and flexibility, and I couldn't have gotten here without knowing everything I've learned since the start. So the most common question I get, of course, is how does this stuff work? It is actually simpler than it might seem. Voxel Quest is more about developing a unique game engine than it is about developing a unique game, but its developer wants to release the engine as open source so that others can do cool stuff with it too.

Why Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 for free

Saturday 1st of August 2015 10:43:38 AM
When Microsoft released Windows 95 almost 20 years ago, people packed into stores to be among the first lucky buyers to get their hands on this cutting edge new technology. Microsoft had an iron grip on productivity software in the enterprise, but even ordinary consumers were accustomed to paying hundreds of dollars for software. Two decades later, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10. But most people won’t have to rush out and purchase a copy. Anyone with a copy of Windows dating back to Windows 7 can upgrade for free, a first for Microsoft. Whether we're talking tiny smartphone applications, or entire operating systems, people now expect software to be free. It's a reality that, obviously, hurts software makers the most. If you'd told me only a few years ago Microsoft would adapt to this new reality this (relatively) quickly, I wouldn't have believed it.

Unsurpsingly, Android M Developer Preview 3 has been delayed

Saturday 1st of August 2015 10:39:29 AM
With Lollipop, Google did something that developers had wanted for a while: a dev preview of the upcoming Android build. With the M release, it made that even better with OTA updates for the first time... But that hasn't gone quite as smoothly as we'd hoped it would. I'm not going to make the joke about Android updates.

Microsoft said to consider funding Uber

Friday 31st of July 2015 10:45:16 PM
Microsoft Corp. is considering an investment in Uber Technologies Inc. at a valuation of about $50 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The WSJ confirms the report. I'm not so sure what to think of Uber. They are disrupting the horrible, horrible taxi market with a clearly superior product - I loved using Uber when I was in New York late last year - but at the same time, they are incredibly slimy. Not sure I would want to be associated with a company like this.

Improving Facebook performance on Android with FlatBuffers

Friday 31st of July 2015 10:37:30 PM
The Facebook application for Android isn't exactly, shall we say, best-in-class for a multitude of reasons, but at least Facebook is trying to improve it. This is their latest effort. In our exploration of alternate formats, we came across FlatBuffers, an open source project from Google. FlatBuffers is an evolution of protocol buffers that includes object metadata, allowing direct access to individual subcomponents of the data without having to deserialize the entire object (in this case, a tree) up front. Might be useful for other Android developers as well.

Windows 10 installed on 67 million PCs as of this morning

Friday 31st of July 2015 10:33:04 PM
A Microsoft employee who wishes to remain anonymous to the public has informed Windows Central that as of 8 AM this morning, the Windows 10 OS has reportedly been installed on a massive 67 million machines. Even more interesting is the claim that Microsoft hit a max bandwidth of 15 Tb/s, topping the previous record of Apple's 8 Tb/s during their last OS push. Microsoft has reportedly reserved up to 40Tb/s "from all of the third-party CDNs combined". These are pretty insane numbers.

More in Tux Machines

Embedded/Devices

Leftovers: OSS

  • The FCC Builds Open-Source Video Calling For The Deaf
    The FCC has gotten behind a new platform that helps the deaf talk to each other over video link. The idea of Accessible Communications for Everyone, or ACE as it’s being called, is that it lets all kinds of different apps talk to each other. It’s kind of how you can email anyone without worrying what app they use, only for video, and text and audio, all together.
  • Why Intel made Stephen Hawking's speech system open source
  • NodeConf EU all set for blarney in 'Nodeland'
    It's NodeConf EU time again -- the third annual gathering of what is hoped to be 400 of the top influencers in Node.js at Waterford Castle from September 6th to 9th.
  • 3 steps for planning a successful open source meetup
  • Starting in September, Chrome will stop auto-playing Flash ads
    Google has announced that, beginning September 1, Chrome will no longer auto-play Flash-based ads in the company's popular AdWords program
  • Apache Software Foundation Makes Lens, a Big Data Tool, a Top Level Project
    Whenever the Apache Software Foundation graduates an open source project to become a Top Level Project, it tends to bode well for the project. Just look at what's happened with Apache Spark, for example. Now, the Foundation (ASF), which is the steward for and incubates more than 350 Open Source projects, has announced that Apache Lens, an open source Big Data and analytics tool, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP).
  • Intel Pumps OpenStack Up
  • LibreOffice 5.0.1 released, to keep the momentum going
  • First Update to LibreOffice 5 Lands
    The Document Foundation today announced the first update to the milestone LibreOffice 5.0 released a few weeks ago. This is a bug fix release bringing over 75 commits since version 5.0 was unveiled August 5. It is recommended that those using the 5.0 branch upgrade their LibO installs with today's update.
  • Salesforce Aura ventures into open source -- to a point
    Salesforce's splashy new UI, the Lightning Experience, is more than a pretty face. It was built with Aura, the company's open source UI framework, available for use independent from Salesforce's services. With Lightning -- and Aura -- Salesforce emphasizes how users can design applications that not only look great, but plug into more than Salesforce. Where, then, does Salesforce's open source offering end with Aura, and where do its own services begin?
  • Infosys talks open source, cloud and value
    Last year, when Infosys hired Abdul Razack to own the company’s platform division, he came with a mandate to use open source first. Eleven months on and Infosys Information Platform (IIP) is flourishing with 120 projects on the go, some proofs of concept, many moving to production, but with open source at their heart in most situations.
  • Eclipse Foundation Moving to Donations to Support Open Source Projects
  • Intel invests $60 million in drone venture
    Intel is investing $60 million in UAV firm Yuneec, whose prosumer “Typhoon” drones use Android-based controllers. Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich and Yuneec International CEO Tian Yu took to YouTube to announce an Intel investment of more than $60 million in the Hong Kong based company to help develop drone technology. No more details were provided except for Krzanich’s claim that “We’ve got drones on our road map that are going to truly change the world and revolutionize the industry.” One possibility is that Intel plans to equip the drones with its RealSense 3D cameras (see farther below).
  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 28 [Ed: out fo date now]
    Join the FSF and friends every Friday to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones.
  • What Will Become of the World’s First Open Source GPU?
    Dr. Karu Sankaralingam, who led the team’s effort at the University of Wisconsin, where the project is based, says that building an open source or any other hardware project is bound to incur legal wrangling, in part because the IP almost has to be reused in one form or another. Generally, he says that for open source hardware projects like this one, the best defense is to use anything existing as a base but focus innovation on building on top of that. He says that to date, AMD has not been involved in the project beyond a few individuals offering some insight on various architectural elements. In other words, if the team is able to roll this beyond research and into any kind of volume, AMD will likely have words.

Security Leftovers

  • Friday's security updates
  • Security updates for Thursday
  • nsenter gains SELinux support
    nsenter is a program that allows you to run program with namespaces of other processes
  • Iceland boosts ICT security measures, shares policy
    Iceland aims to shore up the security of its ICT infrastructure by raising awareness and increasing resilience. And next to updating its legislation, Iceland will also bolster the police’s capabilities to tackle cybercrime.
  • A Project to Guarantee Better Security for Open-Source Projects
    Open-source developers, however, can take steps to help catch these vulnerabilities before software is released. Secure development practices can catch many issues before they become full-blown problems. But, how can you tell which open-source projects are following these practices? The Core Infrastructure Initiative has launched a new "Best Practice Badge Program" this week to provide a solution by awarding digital badges to open-source projects that are developed using secure development practices.

Hortonworks and NSA