Apple’s iOS App Store changed the way we think about software

Ten years ago today, Apple officially launched the iOS App Store and — for better or worse — it helped rewrite the rules of society. The iPhone, which debuted about a year prior, came with just north of 12 built-in apps to start. But with the coming of iOS 2.0 and the App Store, the sort of functionality you could squeeze out of Apple’s smartphone was only constrained by a developer’s imagination … and how much storage you had left.

Microsoft pulls Windows Sets “tabbed windows” feature from next release

Windows Sets.

First previewed last November, Sets, a new Windows interface feature that will make every window into a tabbed windows, has been removed from the latest Insider Preview build of Windows 10. Moreover, the Verge is reporting that the feature won’t be coming back in this year’s next major update, due in October.

This marks the second time that Sets have been included in a preview release, only to be removed at a later stage prior to the release of an update. When first announcing Sets, Microsoft was very careful to note that it wasn’t promising Sets for any particular release—or possibly even ever, given the complexities of application compatibility and uncertainty about how people will actually use the feature.

The promise of Sets is certainly high. Putting tabs in every window is a way of solving certain long-standing requests such as the demand for tabs in Explorer

Continue reading “Microsoft pulls Windows Sets “tabbed windows” feature from next release”

ACLU urges devs to safeguard users with anti-snooping measures

Apple recently announced that it was closing the loophole that allows authorities into iPhones via the charging and data port. The company said it wasn’t trying to defy police, but rather deter criminals and spies who aren’t bound by privacy laws. However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that government requests for personal data still represents a significant security risk to users, and is launching a guide for software developers to help them make more informed decisions about protecting the integrity of software update channels.

macOS Mojave’s dark mode makes late-night computing less painful

The leaks were on the ball: macOS Mojave will include a dark mode. While the existing operating system already lets you darken the menu bar and dock, Mojave will extend that to the entire interface, whether it’s Finder windows or apps like iTunes. A dynamic desktop can gradually shift your background, too, so you won’t have to remember to change the appearance when the sun sets. Apple pitches this feature as helpful for pro media editors looking to minimize distractions, but it’s also handy for virtually anyone who uses their Mac late at night.

Source: Apple

macOS leak hints at dark mode and desktop News app

Apple has inadvertently spoiled some of WWDC 2018’s mysteries in advance. Well-known developer Steve Troughton-Smith has spotted a hidden video on the Mac App Store showing off what looks like a new version of macOS with a system-wide dark mode — not just the menu bar and dock as you see today. There’s no guarantee this would translate to iOS, but it would be helpful for both late-night computing sessions and media creators who find bright graphics distracting. This wouldn’t be the only addition, either.

Source: Steve Troughton-Smith (Twitter)

What to expect at WWDC 2018

It’s officially June now, which means it’s time for us to pack our bags, get on a plane to California and take in the second major developer conference of the season: Apple’s WWDC. We’ll be on the ground at San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center next week scrounging up insights from as many presentations and developer sessions as we can crash. But as always, the show’s focal point is the Monday keynote where Apple lays out its future in software. Be sure to keep your browser locked on our liveblog when the keynote begins on Monday, June 4 at 10AM PT/1PM ET — until then, read on for a primer on all the things we expect see once the keynote unfolds.

YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music but won’t kill user uploads

Enlarge / The home screen of the revamped YouTube Music app, running on an iPad. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Google has confirmed that its revamped YouTube Music streaming service will eventually support key features of its Google Play Music app, including the ability for users to upload music files that may not exist in the service’s streaming catalog.

Google announced an overhaul for YouTube Music last week alongside a price bump for its YouTube Red service. It then began a “soft” rollout of the app for select users on Tuesday.

But the announcement of a revamped YouTube Music app has caused some confusion among those who subscribe to Google Play Music, a streaming music service Google launched in 2011 but has struggled to attract subscribers on the level of category leaders Spotify and Apple Music.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Don’t expect Apple to combine macOS and iOS anytime soon

At the end of 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple will merge its Mac and iOS software codebases. This would enable designers to create a single version that works on both platforms — and it was rumored to come as early as this year. But the tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook denied this, stating that a merger would inevitably require diluting one operating system to make software compatible with the other. The compromises wouldn’t be what users actually want.

Via: Apple Insider

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Next Gen Intel Processors Feature Redesigned Hardware to Address Spectre, Meltdown

In order to protect against the recent Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced today that the company’s next generation of processors will feature redesigned components.

The CEO added that Variant 1 of the vulnerabilities will continue to be addressed via software, while Variants 2 and 3 will be addressed with the hardware changes.

According to Krzanich, these changes will begin with Intel’s next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (code-named Cascade Lake) as well as 8th Generation Intel Core processors that expected to ship in the second half of 2018.

Intel also released a video today (above) with more information to help viewers understand Spectre and Meltdown.

Developers love trendy new languages, but earn more with functional programming

(credit: Stack Exchange)

Developer Q&A site Stack Overflow performs an annual survey to find out more about the programmer community, and the latest set of results has just been published.

JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language among professional developers, making that six years at the top for the lingua franca of Web development. Other Web tech including HTML (#2 in the ranking), CSS (#3), and PHP (#9). Business-oriented languages were also in wide use, with SQL at #4, Java at #5, and C# at #8. Shell scripting made a surprising showing at #6 (having not shown up at all in past years, which suggests that the questions have changed year-to-year), Python appeared at #7, and systems programming stalwart C++ rounded out the top 10.

These aren’t, however, the languages that developers necessarily want to use. Only three languages from the most-used top ten were in the most-loved

Continue reading “Developers love trendy new languages, but earn more with functional programming”

iTunes Store drops support for Windows Vista on May 25th

Ah, 2007: the days when Windows Vista was all the rage (or inducing rage), the Apple TV was brand new and music download stores were the hottest way to get the latest albums. Apple certainly remembers that year… and would like you to move on. The company has posted a support page warning that the iTunes Store will no longer work on Windows XP, Windows Vista and first-generation Apple TVs as of May 25th. iTunes itself will function, but new purchases and re-downloads are off limits. “Security changes” necessitate dropping these older platforms, Apple said.

Via: MacRumors

Source: Apple

The interface to send out a missile alert in Hawaii is, as expected, quite bad

Enlarge / A morning view of the city of Honolulu, Hawaii is seen on January 13, 2018.
Social media ignited on January 13, 2018 after apparent screenshots of cell phone emergency alerts warning of a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii” began circulating, which US officials quickly dismissed as “false.”
(Eugene Tanner/AFP/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

The Honolulu Civil Beat claims to have obtained a picture of the interface used to send out tests and missile alerts to the people of Hawaii, and it’s not pretty.

It appears the employee who sent out the mobile and broadcast missile alert that sent Hawaii into a panic for 38 minutes on Saturday was supposed to choose “DRILL – PACOM (CDW) – STATE ONLY” but instead chose “PACOM (CDW) – STATE ONLY” from an unordered list of equally unintuitive and difficult-to-read options.

Alienware revamps its Command Center app with a centralized game hub

Enlarge / The revamped Alienware Command Center’s home screen, with its game library on the right. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Another quick update out of CES: Gaming PC maker Alienware is refreshing the Command Center software that comes paired with its line of notebooks and desktops. The overhauled settings app will first arrive in February on a slightly updated version of the company’s Area 51 desktop, which loses a front USB port, adds a couple more fans and U.2 SSD support, and supports a wider breadth of LED colors on its chassis. The software will then come pre-installed on new Alienware devices going forward. Unfortunately, it won’t be available for the Dell subsidiary’s existing machines.

Apple updates macOS and iOS to address Spectre vulnerability

Just a few days after Apple disclosed how it would be dealing with the Meltdown bug that affects modern computers, it’s pushed out fixes for the Spectre exploit as well. iOS 11.2.2 includes “Security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre,” the company writes on its support page, while the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental Update does the same for your Mac laptop or desktop. Installing this update on your Mac will also update Safari to version 11.0.2.

Via: Rene Ritchie

Source: Apple iOS, Apple macOS

Meltdown and Spectre: Here’s what Intel, Apple, Microsoft, others are doing about it

Enlarge (credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/halfrain/5210931199/sizes/l)

The Meltdown and Spectre flaws—two related vulnerabilities that enable a wide range of information disclosure from every mainstream processor, with particularly severe flaws for Intel and some ARM chips—were originally revealed privately to chip companies, operating system developers, and cloud computing providers. That private disclosure was scheduled to become public some time next week, enabling these companies to develop (and, in the case of the cloud companies, deploy) suitable patches, workarounds, and mitigations.

With researchers figuring out one of the flaws ahead of that planned reveal, that schedule was abruptly brought forward, and the pair of vulnerabilities was publicly disclosed on Wednesday, prompting a rather disorderly set of responses from the companies involved.

There are three main groups of companies responding to the Meltdown and Spectre pair: processor companies, operating system companies, and cloud providers. Their reactions have been quite varied.

Read 52

Continue reading “Meltdown and Spectre: Here’s what Intel, Apple, Microsoft, others are doing about it”

Apple’s original graphical OS will be available for free in 2018

If you’ve ever wanted to try Apple’s graphical interface on the Lisa, the computer that preceded the Mac, you’ve been relegated to either using an emulator or (if you’re lucky) tracking down one of the rare, expensive machines. Thankfully, it’s about to get much easier. The Computer History Museum’s Al Kossow has revealed that the source code for the Lisa’s operating system and programs will be published for free sometime in 2018. And this isn’t some unofficial effort — Apple is reviewing the code itself.

Via: Gizmodo

Source: Google Groups

Apple Final Cut Pro X is ready to edit VR video

Apple isn’t just making the iMac Pro available to order — it’s also updating the creative software you’ll likely run on that iMac. A new upgrade to Final Cut Pro X adds support for both newer video technology and some key color editing tools. Most notably, the editing tool now handles VR video — you can edit 360-degree footage at high resolutions (8K “and beyond”), complete with motion graphics. And if you need to see how your work looks, you can preview it in real-time on an HTC Vive or other compatible headsets.

Source: Apple

Microsoft’s Q# quantum programming language out now in preview

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft today launched a preview version of a new programming language for quantum computing called Q#. The industry giant also launched a quantum simulator that developers can use to test and debug their quantum algorithms.

The language and simulator were announced in September. The then-unnamed language was intended to bring traditional programming concepts—functions, variables, and branches, along with a syntax-highlighted development environment complete with quantum debugger—to quantum computing, a field that has hitherto built algorithms from wiring up logic gates. Microsoft’s hope is that this selection of tools, along with the training material and documentation, will open up quantum computing to more than just physicists.

Given that quantum computers are still rare, Microsoft has built an as-yet-unnamed quantum simulator to run those quantum programs. The local version, released as part of the preview, can support programs using up to 32 quantum bits (qubits), using some 32GB

Continue reading “Microsoft’s Q# quantum programming language out now in preview”

Chrome to stop third-party software injections because they make it crash

Enlarge / This will hurt… a lot. (credit: ZaldyImg)

To boost the stability of Chrome, Google has announced that it’s going to start blocking third-party software from being injected into the browser.

Third-party software such as anti-virus scanners and video driver utilities often injects libraries into running processes to do things like inspect network traffic, or add custom menu options to menus. Malicious software can also do the same to spy on users, steal passwords, and similar. Google has found that people who have such injected code are 15 percent more likely to see their browser crash. As such, it’s going to start blocking such injections.

The change will start in Chrome 66, due in April 2018. If that version crashes, it will warn users that there is something injected that could be causing problems. Chrome 68, due in July 2018, will start blocking the injection; if the browser

Continue reading “Chrome to stop third-party software injections because they make it crash”

Apple fixes macOS bug allowing full access without a password

It didn’t take long for Apple to patch that nasty macOS High Sierra flaw that let intruders gain full administrator access (aka root) on your system. The company has released Security Update 2017-001, which should prevent people from gaining control over a Mac just by putting “root” in the username and hitting the Return key a few times. Needless to say, you’ll want to apply this fix as soon as you can if you’re running Apple’s latest desktop OS.

Source: Apple