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Exploring the Future of Computing
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FCC releases final proposal to end net neutrality

OSNews By Anonymous on 22/11/2017 pm30 23:58:00

The FCC has released the final draft of its proposal to destroy net neutrality. The order removes nearly every net neutrality rule on the books - internet providers will be free to experiment with fast and slow lanes, prioritize their own traffic, and block apps and services. There's really only one rule left here: that ISPs have to publicly disclose when they're doing these things. The US already has absolutely terrible internet compared to most developed nations, and this will only make it worse. What an absolutely and utterly bad proposal - clearly the result of deep-rooted corruption and bribery among US carriers and the US government. Read the article
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Replacing x86 firmware with Linux and Go

OSNews By Anonymous on 22/11/2017 pm30 23:58:00

The Intel Management Engine (ME), which is a separate processor and operating system running outside of user control on most x86 systems, has long been of concern to users who are security and privacy conscious. Google and others have been working on ways to eliminate as much of that functionality as possible (while still being able to boot and run the system). Ronald Minnich from Google came to Prague to talk about those efforts at the 2017 Embedded Linux Conference Europe. Read the article
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Android collects locations when location services are disabled

OSNews By Anonymous on 21/11/2017 pm30 17:09:00

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers - even when location services are disabled - and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals' locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy. Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice. The cell tower addresses have been included in information sent to the system Google uses to manage push notifications and messages on Android phones for the past 11 months, according to a Google spokesperson. The were never used or stored, the spokesperson said, and the company is... Read the article
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"Desktop compositing latency is real and it annoys me"

OSNews By Anonymous on 21/11/2017 pm30 17:03:00

I wiped off my Windows 10 installation today. It wasn't because of the intrusive telemetry or the ads in the start menu but desktop composition. It adds some slight but noticeable latency that makes typing feel uncomfortable. In Windows 7 you can turn it off. If you're fine with unresponsive UI operations and graphical tearing, then, sure, go back to Windows 7 or earlier and turn off compositing to get a few ms back when typing. Read the article
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Google adds Fuchsia support to Apple's Swift

OSNews By Anonymous on 20/11/2017 pm30 22:56:00

Google's in-development operating system, named 'Fuchsia,' first appeared over a year ago. It's quite different from Android and Chrome OS, as it runs on top of the real-time 'Magenta' kernel instead of Linux. According to recent code commits, Google is working on Fuchsia OS support for the Swift programming language. There's a tiny error in this summary form AndroidPolice - Fuchsia's kernel has been renamed to Zircon. All this has been playing out late last week and over the weekend - Google is now working on Swift, and some took this to mean Google forked Apple's programming language, while in reality, it just created a staging ground for Google to work on Swift, pushing changes upstream to the official Swift project when... Read the article
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Intel plans to end legacy BIOS support by 2020

OSNews By Anonymous on 20/11/2017 pm30 22:42:00

Computer users of a certain age will remember BIOS as ubiquitous firmware that came loaded on PCs. It was the thing you saw briefly before your operating system loaded, and you could dig into the settings to change your computer's boot order, enable or disable some features, and more. Most modern PCs ship with UEFI instead. But most also still have a "legacy BIOS" mode that allows you to use software or hardware that might not be fully compatible with UEFI. In a few years that might not be an option anymore: Intel has announced plans to end support for legacy BIOS compatibility by 2020. This most certainly affects many older operating systems - especially older hobby and alternative operating systems that were... Read the article
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IBM Blue Lightning: world's fastest 386?

OSNews By Anonymous on 20/11/2017 pm30 21:41:00

The Blue Lightning CPU is an interesting beast. There is not a whole lot of information about what the processor really is, but it can be pieced together from various scraps of information. Around 1990, IBM needed low-power 32-bit processors with good performance for its portable systems, but no one offered such CPUs yet. IBM licensed the 386SX core from Intel and turned it into the IBM 386SLC processor (SLC reportedly stood for "Super Little Chip"). Fascinating footnote in processor history. Read the article
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Sun's Project Looking Glass debuted 14 years ago

OSNews By Anonymous on 20/11/2017 pm30 21:37:00

Almost 14 years ago, way back in 2003, Sun Microsystems unveiled Project Looking Glass, a 3D desktop environment written in Java and making extensive use of Java 3D. The demo, by Jonathan Schwartz, always stuck with me over the years, and since YouTube recommended the demo to me today, I figured it'd be interesting to you remind you all of simpler times, when flipping windows around and 3D rendering in Java actually managed to get us excited (something no other project would ever manage to... Wait.). Project Looking Glass was developed for about three years, and it actually saw a 1.0 release in late 2006. It's one of those random projects exploring what we then thought could be the future of... Read the article
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Did Microsoft manually patch their Equation Editor executable?

OSNews By Anonymous on 17/11/2017 pm30 12:51:00

Really, quite literally, some pretty skilled Microsoft employee or contractor reverse engineered our friend EQNEDT32.EXE, located the flawed code, and corrected it by manually overwriting existing instructions with better ones (making sure to only use the space previously occupied by original instructions). This... This is one hell of a story. The unanswered question is why, exactly, Microsoft felt the need to do this - do they no longer have access to the source code? Has it simply become impossible to set up the correct build environment? Amazing. Read the article
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How to set up a Pixelbook for programming

OSNews By Anonymous on 16/11/2017 pm30 23:47:00

Well, I've really done it. I've taken a pure and unsullied Google Pixelbook, which at one time was fast and secure in all ways, and made it into a crashy mess. My crime? The desire to code. I'm going to walk you through my process for converting this machine into something that's marginally desirable for programming, but I just wanted to warn you before I begin: this isn't easy, clean, intuitive, or practical. There are rumors that Google is working on better ways to make Chrome OS a host for other flavors of Linux or Linux apps, but right now we're basically working with hacks, and hacks hurt. Because these hacks hurt, I'd implore you to read this entire guide before attempting... Read the article

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