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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

Continuous: C# and F# IDE for the iPad

Thursday 7th of July 2016 07:41:51 PM
Continuous gives you the power of a traditional desktop .NET IDE - full C# 6 and F# 4 language support with semantic highlighting and code completion - while also featuring live code execution so you don’t have to wait around for code to compile and run. Continuous works completely offline so you get super fast compiles and your code is secure. Continuous gives you access to all of .NET’s standard library, F#’s core library, all of Xamarin's iOS binding, and Xamarin.Forms. Access to all of these libraries means you won’t be constrained by Continuous - you can write code exactly as you’re used to. It's absolutely baffling neither Apple nor Microsoft made this application. While I doubt this will suddenly make tablet-doubters such as myself take tablets seriously as the future of computing, it's exactly these kinds of applications that can really show what a platform is capable of. I'd love for applications like this to prove me wrong when it comes to the future of tablets.

Samsung is doomed

Thursday 7th of July 2016 09:50:40 AM
Ben Thompson, 8 July, 2014: Ultimately, though, Samsung's fundamental problem is that they have no software-based differentiation, which means in the long run all they can do is compete on price. Perhaps they should ask HP or Dell how that goes. Dan Frommer, 31 July, 2014: But we've seen this story before. This particular chart shows Nokia's adjusted closing price from the day Apple released the first iPhone, in 2007, to the day in 2013 when Microsoft announced it would acquire Nokia's struggling handset business. [...] For Samsung, there's no easy fix. Se Young Lee (and Ben Thompson again, curiously enough), 4 August, 2015: The coming years are set to be more somber for the South Korean tech giant, as it is forced to slash prices and accept lower margins at its mobile division in order to see off competition from rivals including China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Xiaomi Inc in the mid-to-low end of the market. Behind Samsung's reality-check is the fact it is stuck with the same Android operating system used by its low-cost competitors, who are producing increasingly-capable phones of their own. "The writing has long been on the wall for any premium Android maker: as soon as low end hardware became 'good enough,' there would be no reason to buy a premium brand," said Ben Thompson, an analyst at Stratechery.com in Taipei. Horace Dediu, 13 October, 2014: So the short answer is that Samsung needs to create new categories or businesses. The challenge for them is that they need to control the platform and service infrastructure. These are currently out of their control and I’m not quite sure how they can regain that control. Fast-forward to today: Samsung Electronics' earnings guidance for the second quarter of 2016 show the company expecting to record its strongest profits in more than two years. [...] The results suggest Samsung's best quarterly performance since it made an 8.49 trillion won operating profit in early 2014 before entering a slump that it's only recently started to bounce back from. The figures are preliminary, though Samsung is usually accurate in its forecasting. Samsung is doomed.

The tyranny of messaging and notifications

Wednesday 6th of July 2016 10:50:21 PM
It would be nice if, like most email services, these major and forthcoming messaging services could somehow interoperate in the same client of your choice, so they could all somehow learn your preferences and you could use a single scheme of settings and preferences to control their behavior (maybe you could "snooze" them) and their notifications. But that seems highly unlikely. Palm's webOS operating system had a feature something like this called Synergy, but it's defunct. Or, you know, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. could come together and create a single, open, open source, standardised messaging platform for which everybody can make clients. They could, perhaps, call it "Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol" or XMPP. Of course, that would require those companies actually giving a rat's bum about their customers, which they don't really do, so suck it up, Mossberg.

Update on the Louis Rossmann case

Wednesday 6th of July 2016 10:46:05 PM
An update to the Rossman story we talked about earlier this week: I am told by my attorney that Apple & the firm like my channel, are fans of it, and are friendly. I am as surprised by this as any of you are. I'm still interested in the precise issue they have with the channel, as it isn't often customary for high end Manhattan lawfirms to reach out to me to tell me that they're fans. It is persistently clear that there is an issue they have with the content, but I don't know what it is yet. That in and of itself is bothersome and unnerving, but whatayagannado. Peculiar case.

"The single reason I trust Google with my data"

Wednesday 6th of July 2016 10:42:19 PM
In any case, I tend not to worry too much. And I tend to not worry too much about all the digital data I hand over every minute of every day. That's not to say I don't care. I certainly do. And there are some companies I trust more than others. Cable company? Screw 'em. I'd unplug if I could. But I don't think I'm quite ready to subject my wife and kids to that. Cell carrier? They're only after one thing. (Except for when I'm on Project Fi. Those guys rock.) But Google? Google probably knows more about me than anyone. Probably more than I know myself. That's never been more apparent than when I scrolled through the first 100 pixels or so of the My Activity section on my Google account. Everything I've searched for. Apps I've used. Websites I opened. Destinations I've navigated to. All there, and pretty much in real time. There really seem to be two groups of people: those that value the openness of Google regarding the data it collects, giving you insight and control over it, and those that value the secrecy of Apple, trying to keep everything on your device in a way that it can't be tracked to you. The debate passes me by, because I treat my devices as if they are public devices; I don't put anything on there that I don't want other to see, read, or know about. A device is not my mind, so I don't treat it as such. I don't trust any company - Google, Apple, my carrier, or whatever - and I have enough understanding of technology to know that nothing connected to the internet is really private or safe. The idea of "trusting" a company with my deepest private data is wholly alien to me.

Victorians had the same concerns about technology as we do

Tuesday 5th of July 2016 11:34:33 PM
We live, we are so often told, in an information age. It is an era obsessed with space, time and speed, in which social media inculcates virtual lives that run parallel to our "real" lives and in which communications technologies collapse distances around the globe. Many of us struggle with the bombardment of information we receive and experience anxiety as a result of new media, which we feel threaten our relationships and "usual" modes of human interaction. Though the technologies may change, these fears actually have a very long history: more than a century ago our forebears had the same concerns. Literary, medical and cultural responses in the Victorian age to the perceived problems of stress and overwork anticipate many of the preoccupations of our own era to an extent that is perhaps surprising. Fascinating look at how people were afraid of new technology over a century ago.

National organ donor registration comes to iPhone

Tuesday 5th of July 2016 11:30:33 PM
Apple and Donate Life America announced today that, for the first time ever, iPhone users will be able to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor right from the Health app with the release of iOS 10. Through a simple sign up process, iPhone users can learn more and take action with just a few taps. All registrations submitted from iPhone are sent directly to the National Donate Life Registry managed by Donate Life America. The ability to quickly and easily become a nationally-registered donor enables people to carry their decision with them wherever they go. There's a lack of donors in many, many countries, and relatively simple initiatives like this can do a lot to get people to sign up to be a donor and potentially save a lot of lives. Great initiative by Apple and Donate Life America.

BSD for Linux users

Tuesday 5th of July 2016 12:50:29 PM
It's been my impression that the BSD communit{y,ies}, in general, understand Linux far better than the Linux communit{y,ies} understand BSD. I have a few theories on why that is, but that's not really relevant. I think a lot of Linux people get turned off BSD because they don't really understand how and why it's put together. Thus, this rant; as a BSD person, I want to try to explain how BSD works in a way that Linux people can absorb. While there's overwhelming similarity between the operating systems in most cases, there are also a lot of differences. As you probe more into the differences, you find that they emerge from deep-seated disagreements. Some are disagreements over development methodology, some over deployment and usage, some about what's important, some about who's important, and some about which flavor of ice cream is superior. Just comparing the surface differences doesn't tell you anything; it's the deeper differences that both explain and justify why each group does things the way they do. The article is undated, but I seem to recall it's actually quite old (2005-ish or so). Still, it's an interesting read.

Louis Rossmann's repair videos might get taken down

Saturday 2nd of July 2016 12:15:40 AM
We talk a lot on this blog about why it's getting harder to fix electronics. Not just because of how those devices are designed, but also because a lot manufacturers don't want anyone to know how to fix them. And those companies can issue legal threats to keep repair information - like schematics and repair manuals - out of public view. It looks like Louis Rossmann, an independent Apple repair tech, is fending off a legal attack from one of those companies. [...] For context, Louis does board-level repairs of Apple laptops. You can't do that and you can't teach other people how to fix boards without circuit schematics - which he shows on his channel. Most electronics companies don't share schematics with the public. And certain companies might argue that showing schematics on video is a violation of their copyright. (Louis, by the way, was one of the most vocal supporters of a Right to Repair law in New York that would have protected independent repair techs and given them more access to repair information. Apple's lobbyists killed the bill before it could be voted on.) Happy 4th of July, America.

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

Android Leftovers

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Apache Graduates Another Big Data Project to Top Level
    For the past year, we've taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support. Only days ago, the foundation announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. And now, Apache Twill has graduated as well. Twill is an abstraction over Apache Hadoop YARN that reduces the complexity of developing distributed Hadoop applications, allowing developers to focus more on their application logic.
  • Spark 2.0 takes an all-in-one approach to big data
    Apache Spark, the in-memory processing system that's fast become a centerpiece of modern big data frameworks, has officially released its long-awaited version 2.0. Aside from some major usability and performance improvements, Spark 2.0's mission is to become a total solution for streaming and real-time data. This comes as a number of other projects -- including others from the Apache Foundation -- provide their own ways to boost real-time and in-memory processing.
  • Why Uber Engineering Switched from Postgres to MySQL
    The early architecture of Uber consisted of a monolithic backend application written in Python that used Postgres for data persistence. Since that time, the architecture of Uber has changed significantly, to a model of microservices and new data platforms. Specifically, in many of the cases where we previously used Postgres, we now use Schemaless, a novel database sharding layer built on top of MySQL. In this article, we’ll explore some of the drawbacks we found with Postgres and explain the decision to build Schemaless and other backend services on top of MySQL.
  • GNU Hyperbole 6.0.1 for Emacs 24.4 to 25 is released
    GNU Hyperbole (pronounced Ga-new Hi-per-bo-lee), or just Hyperbole, is an amazing programmable hypertextual information management system implemented as a GNU Emacs package. This is the first public release in 2016. Hyperbole has been greatly expanded and modernized for use with the latest Emacs 25 releases; it supports GNU Emacs 24.4 or above. It contains an extensive set of improvements that can greatly boost your day-to-day productivity with Emacs and your ability to manage information stored across many different machines on the internet. People who get used to Hyperbole find it helps them so much that they prefer never to use Emacs without it.
  • Belgium mulls reuse of banking mobile eID app
    The Belgium government wants to reuse ‘Belgian Mobile ID’ a smartphone app for electronic identification, developed by banks and telecom providers in the country. The eID app could be used for eGovernment services, and the federal IT service agency, Fedict, is working on the app’s integration.
  • Water resilience that flows: Open source technologies keep an eye on the water flow
    Communities around the world are familiar with the devastation brought on by floods and droughts. Scientists are concerned that, in light of global climate change, these events will only become more frequent and intense. Water variability, at its worst, can threaten the lives and well-beings of countless people. Sadly, humans cannot control the weather to protect themselves. But according to Silja Hund, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, communities can build resilience to water resource stress. Hund studies the occurrence and behavior of water. In particular, she studies rivers and streams. These have features (like water volume) that can change quickly. According to Hund, it is essential for communities to understand local water systems. Knowledge of water resources is helpful in developing effective water strategies. And one of the best ways to understand dynamic water bodies like rivers is to collect lots of data.

Development News

  • JavaScript keeps its spot atop programming language rankings
    U.K.-based technology analyst firm RedMonk just released the latest version of its biannual rankings of programming languages, and once again JavaScript tops the list, followed by Java and PHP. Those are same three languages that topped RedMonk’s list in January. In fact, the entire top 10 remains the same as it was it was six months ago. Perhaps the biggest surprise in Redmonk’s list—compiling the “performance of programming languages relative to one another on GitHub and Stack Overflow”—is that there are so few surprises, at least in the top 10.
  • Plenty of fish in the C, IEEE finds in language popularity contest
    It's no surprise that C and Java share the top two spots in the IEEE Spectrum's latest Interactive Top Programming Languages survey, but R at number five? That's a surprise. This month's raking from TIOBE put Java at number one and C at number two, while the IEEE reverses those two, and the IEEE doesn't rank assembly as a top-ten language like TIOBE does. It's worth noting however that the IEEE's sources are extremely diverse: the index comprises search results from Google, Twitter, GitHub, StackOverflow, Reddit, Hacker News, CareerBuilder, Dice, and the institute's own eXplore Digital Library. Even then, there are some oddities in the 48 programming environments assessed: several commenters to the index have already remarked that “Arduino” shouldn't be considered a language, because code for the teeny breadboard is written in C or C++.