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Exploring the Future of Computing



Last Build Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:54:01 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2001-2017, David Adams
 



GNUSTEP live CD 2.5 released

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 20:56:11 GMT

After almost 8 years (we talked about it, of course), a new version of the GNUSTEP live CD has been released - version 2.5, for amd64. The live CD is based on Debian 9, has low hardware requirements, and uses Linux 4.9 with compressed RAM and no systemd. The live CD is a very easy and non-destructive way of testing out and playing with GNUSTEP, a free software implementation of OPENSTEP. It's been a long, long time since I got to use our glorious *STEP database category. Isn't that one beautiful icon?



FreeBSD 11.1 released

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:24:40 GMT

FreeBSD 11.1 has been released, and as you can tell by the version number, it's a point release. The release announcement, release notes, and errata are available for your perusal. FreeBSD users already know full well how to upgrade - they're probably already running it - and newcomers can go to the download page to download the proper ISO.



Adobe discontinues Flash

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:11:51 GMT

Today, Adobe announced that Flash will no longer be supported after 2020. Microsoft will phase out support for Flash in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer ahead of this date. Flash led the way on the web for rich content, gaming, animations, and media of all kinds, and inspired many of the current web standards powering HTML5. Adobe has partnered with Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Apple, and many others, to ensure that the open web could meet and exceed the experiences that Flash has traditionally provided. HTML5 standards, implemented across all modern browsers, provide these capabilities with improved performance, battery life, and increased security. We look forward to continuing to work with Adobe and our industry partners on enriching the open web without the need for plug-ins. We will phase out Flash from Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, culminating in the removal of Flash from Windows entirely by the end of 2020. Adobe's own announcement is coughing up HTTP 500 errors right now; hence the link to Microsoft's announcement. You can also read Apple's/WebKit's announcement, and the one from Chrome/Google.



MaXX Desktop Indy 1.1 released

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 23:26:40 GMT

A new version of the MaXX Desktop hasbeen released. We linked to the project almost two months ago, but the short of it is that it is a continuation of 5dwm.org and intends to bring the IRIX desktop to Linux. New features in this release include new xterm-330 with support for UTF-8 characters, SGI color schemes for GTK applications, a new console, new configuration files, SGI demos, as well as other small fixes. And I'll keep putting these in the otherwise entirely useless and defunct SGI database category.



OpenMoko: 10 years after

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 23:22:51 GMT

Michael Lauer, employee #2 at OpenMoko, has written a detailed article about the project and its eventual demise. For the 10th anniversary since the legendary OpenMoko announcement at the "Open Source in Mobile" (7th of November 2006 in Amsterdam), I've been meaning to write an anthology or - as Paul Fertser suggested on #openmoko-cdevel - an obituary. I've been thinking about objectively describing the motivation, the momentum, how it all began and - sadly - ended. I did even plan to include interviews with Sean, Harald, Werner, and some of the other veterans. But as with oh so many projects of (too) wide scope this would probably never be completed. As November 2016 passed without any progress, I decided to do something different instead. Something way more limited in scope, but something I can actually finish. My subjective view of the project, my participation, and what I think is left behind: My story, as OpenMoko employee #2. On top of that you will see a bunch of previously unreleased photos (bear with me, I'm not a good photographer and the camera sucked as well). Mr. Lauer ends the article on a sad but entirely true note: Right now my main occupation is writing software for Apple's platforms - and while it's nice to work on apps using a massive set of luxury frameworks and APIs, you're locked and sandboxed within the software layers Apple allows you. I'd love to be able to work on an open source Linux-based middleware again. However, the sad truth is that it looks like there is no business case anymore for a truly open platform based on custom-designed hardware, since people refuse to spend extra money for tweakability, freedom, and security. Despite us living in times where privacy is massively endangered. If anyone out there thinks different and plans a project, please holler and get me on board! We'd all love such a project to succeed.



Microsoft Paint gets deprecated

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:53:15 GMT

Microsoft has announced - through a boring table, because Microsoft - that MS Paint has been deprecated. This means that it will soon be removed from Windows completely, superseded - supposedly - by their new Paint 3D. When Microsoft Paint will officially be removed from Windows has yet to be confirmed, while a precise date for the release of the Windows 10 Autumn Creators Update is equally up in the air. Whether, like Clippy, Windows users will celebrate or decry Paint's removal, it will be a moment in the history of Windows as one of its longest-standing apps is put out to pasture. To be honest, I don't quite understand why you'd use Paint for anything since Paint.NET is far more capable and also free.



The "Million Dollar Homepage" as a decaying digital artifact

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:05:17 GMT

But to what extent has this history been preserved? Does the Million Dollar Homepage represent a robust digital artifact 12 years after its creation, or has it fallen prey to the ephemerality common to internet content? Have the forces of link rot and administrative neglect rendered it a shell of its former self? I remember this quite well - and I can't believe it's already been 12 years. As the article notes, it serves as a great preserved microcosm of that era's web - good and bad.



An interactive map of the Odyssey

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:36:51 GMT

Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are, in my humble view, two of the greatest works of art of all times. From a very young age, I started reading children-friendly versions of the two stories, and later, during ancient Greek class in high school, we translated parts of the original works. Personally, I prefer the Odyssey, but I guess the Iliad is probably the greater, more popular epic. Thanks to the blessings of modern computing, the internet, and technology, we can now make beautiful interactive maps of stories, and I've been thoroughly enjoying The Odyssey Map today. I've seen such maps before, but not as smooth and nicely illustrated as this one. Add it to the list of awesome historical maps, such as the amazing 200-year topographical history of The Netherlands, or the countless interactive maps of the Roman Empire.



Debian 9.1 released

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:25:22 GMT

The Debian project is pleased to announce the first update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. This isn't actually a new version or anything like that; a Debian point release just means a number of packages have been updated.



Microsoft extends support deadline for Clover Trail PCs

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 20:52:27 GMT

Microsoft finally broke its silence on the status of devices built on the Intel Clover Trail CPU family. Owners of those devices who had taken advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer discovered recently that those PCs were unable to upgrade to the Windows 10 Creators Update, released in April 2017 and now rolling out widely to the installed base of Windows 10 PCs. In an e-mailed statement, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed today that no software fix is on the way. But in a major shift in its "Windows as a Service" policy, Microsoft agreed to continue delivering security updates to those devices for another six years. Under the existing policy, those security updates would have ended in early 2018. Support for hardware has to end at some point, but this seems rather crude.



Google denies funding biased research

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:12:22 GMT

It turns out we got played. The WSJ report that Google was funding research specifically to influence lawmakers for its own benefit seems to have been an Oracle-created hit job. Google's director of public policy Leslie Miller said the CfA's report was "highly misleading" and accused it of inflating the numbers by attributing funding to Google when it actually came from associations to which Google belongs. Miller also points out the non-profit's own transparency issues, given that the CfA's only known backer is Oracle. I should've checked the source of the actual report - and specifically, its funding - and I did not. My apologies. While this certainly doesn't magically mean Google is a saint, it does cast this specific report in a very, very different light.



Google Glass 2.0 is a startling second act

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:01:18 GMT

What they didn't know was that Alphabet was commissioning a small group to develop a version for the workplace. The team lives in Alphabet's X division, where Glass was first developed as a passion project of Google cofounder Sergey Brin. Now the focus was on making a practical workplace tool that saves time and money. Announced today, it is called Glass Enterprise Edition. That's what Erickson wears every day. She works for AGCO, an agricultural equipment manufacturer that is an early adopter of Glass EE. For about two years, Glass EE has been quietly in use in dozens of workplaces, slipping under the radar of gadget bloggers, analysts, and self-appointed futurists. Yes, the population of those using the vaunted consumer version of Glass has dwindled, tired of being driven out of lounges by cocktail-fork-wielding patrons fearing unwelcome YouTube cameos. Meanwhile, Alphabet has been selling hundreds of units of EE, an improved version of the product that originally shipped in a so-called Explorer Edition in 2013. Companies testing EE - including giants like GE, Boeing, DHL, and Volkswagen - have measured huge gains in productivity and noticeable improvements in quality. What started as pilot projects are now morphing into plans for widespread adoption in these corporations. Other businesses, like medical practices, are introducing Enterprise Edition in their workplaces to transform previously cumbersome tasks. They obviously followed my advice from way back in 2014, well before the Enterprise Edition was announced. Totally. In all seriousness, this is the perfect market for devices like Glass. I don't feel like these kinds of devices have much of a place in our personal lives, but in our professional lives it can improve safety quite a bit by giving people access to information that would otherwise require them to look away from what they are doing.



The best keyboard ever is back

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:29:07 GMT

You may not know the Model F by name, but you know it by sound - the musical thwacking of flippers slapping away. The sound of the '80s office. The IBM Model F greeting the world in 1981 with a good ten pounds of die-cast zinc and keys that crash down on buckling metal springs as they descend. It's a sensation today's clickiest keyboards chase, but will never catch. And now it's coming back. I used several of these growing up, and I've come to understand I'm the only one who didn't - and doesn't - like mechanical keyboards one bit - I find them tiring and way too loud. I want the thinnest possible keyboard with the shortest possible travel while still having a decent, satisfying, but very quiet click. I find Apple's Magic Keyboard is the exact right keyboard for me, but I also know I'll be one of the very few, especially on a site like OSNews.



Fastest way to delete large folders in Windows

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:12:10 GMT

A much faster, bare metal approach to deleting large and complex folders in Windows is via the command line. Of course, repeatedly having to navigate directories while executing commands via a terminal quickly becomes a tedious experience. In this post, I will walk through the process of creating a simple batch file and wiring it up to a handy right-click context menu from Windows Explorer to delete sophisticated directories in a hurry and without interruption. Small tip (from 2015, so I'm a tad late), explained very well, that a lot of people could benefit from.



Jide discontinues Remix OS

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:33:31 GMT

We'll be restructuring our approach to Remix OS and transitioning away from the consumer space. As a result, development on all existing products such as Remix OS for PC as well as products in our pipeline such as Remix IO and IO+ will be discontinued. Full refunds will be issued to ALL BACKERS via Kickstarter for both Remix IO and Remix IO+. In addition any purchases made via our online store that has remained unfulfilled will also be fully refunded. This requires no action from you as we will begin issuing refunds starting August 15th. I'm shocked.