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Microsoft Tells Devs to Talk to the Bots
March 31, 2016
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and members of his leadership team, speaking to developers Wednesday at the Build 2016 conference, introduced their vision to infuse human speech and machine learning into the company's consumer and enterprise businesses. Nadella and Executive VP Terry Myerson introduced upgrades to Windows 10 and Cortana as well as technology called "Conversations as a Platform."
Apricity OS Is Clean and Classy
March 29, 2016
If you're looking for a quick, clean and classy Linux distro, look no further than the Apricity OS beta. Either of the two available flavors -- GNOME or Cinnamon -- is sure to give you a pleasant computing experience. The latest beta version was released last month. Betas can be frustrating and Arch Linux can be challenging, but Apricity's developers ease that pain.
You Rang? Microsoft's Holoportation Redefines Face-to-Face Communication
March 29, 2016
Microsoft on Monday unveiled its version of a teleporter, called "holoportation," which was designed to transmit 3D models of people anywhere in the world. Holoportation compresses, transmits and reconstructs the 3D scans to Microsoft's HoloLens and other head-mounted displays. It lets headset wearers interact with remote users in 3D as if they were in the same space, according to Microsoft.
Google Gets Serious About Cloud Services
March 28, 2016
Google, which lags Amazon and Microsoft in cloud infrastructure services, last week released a slew of machine learning and analytics products and services. The Cloud Machine Learning platform provides access through REST APIs to the technologies powering Google Now, Google Photos and voice recognition in Google Search. The tools are designed to let users build predictive analytics models.
Apple's CareKit Gives More Power to the Patient
March 23, 2016
Perhaps worthy of more attention than it received at Apple's Loop You In event on Monday is CareKit. The open source platform will allow developers to create consumer-focused applications to help patients communicate with healthcare providers and closely monitor their own health conditions. Similar to ResearchKit, CareKit applies many of the same tools to patient care.
Remix OS Fills Android Desktop Void
March 15, 2016
The ability to run the Android OS as a fully functional desktop on PCs took a giant leap forward this month with a release that merges the Android-x86 Project with Jide Technology's Remix OS distribution. Android-x86 Project developer Chih-Wei Huang late last month announced on the project's website a partnership with Jide. He started the Android-x86 Project in 2009.
HPE Floats Machine Learning in the Cloud
March 15, 2016
Hewlett Packard Enterprise last week announced the public availability of its HPE Haven OnDemand Machine Learning as a Service. The Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform provides more than 60 APIs and services that deliver deep learning analytics on a variety of data, including text, audio, images and video. Launched in beta in 2014, HPE Haven OnDemand has more than 12,750 registered developers.
Devs Get to Noodle With Android N
March 14, 2016
Google last week announced a developer preview of Android N, the forthcoming release of its mobile operating system. The release comes early; it was widely expected to be announced in May at Google I/O 2016, the Google developers conference. Releasing a work-in-progress build earlier in the development cycle will give Google more time to incorporate feedback from developers.
Opera Desktop Browser Comes With Ad Blocking Baked In
March 11, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced that new version of its desktop browser will have ad blocking built in. Users can block ads in other browsers, but only through add-on programs called "extensions." With ad blocking built in, Opera's Web engine can perform the task better than extensions. "People care about speed in a Web browser," said Krystian Kolondra, SVP for global engineering at Opera.
Microsoft Sees the Light and Joins Eclipse
March 10, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced it was joining the Eclipse Foundation as a solutions member. Membership will enable the company to collaborate more closely with the Eclipse community, which has more than 240 members. It also provides an outlet for delivering tools and services for all development teams. Microsoft will be able to improve its cloud services, SDKs and tools.
Epic Games Founder Rails Against Microsoft's Walled Garden
March 8, 2016
Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney last week called on Microsoft to remove the walls it's building around the Windows Store with its Universal Windows Platform initiative. The problem is that it is impossible to install and update UWP apps from third-party publishers outside of the Windows Store, he wrote in an op-ed. Microsoft could remove the option to support apps that haven't been approved.
Google Joins Effort to Stop Zika Virus Spread
March 7, 2016
Google last week announced it would contribute $1 million to the UN Children's Fund to support the global fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. A team of Google engineers has volunteered to work with UNICEF to analyze data in an effort to figure out the viral infection's path. It also will match employee donations with the goal of giving an extra $500,000.
Fresh Raspberry Pi Has Better Hardware Baked In
March 1, 2016
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Monday announced the availability of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B for $35, the same price as the previous model. It is the second major upgrade to the board in just over a year. The hardware upgrade boosts the single-core processor of the original Pi to a faster, more capable quad-core chipset in the Pi 3. The current model is based on a 64-bit chipset.
Microsoft Invites Devs to Tinker With HoloLens
February 29, 2016
Microsoft on Monday announced that its HoloLens Development Edition was available for preorder, with units set to ship to developers beginning March 30. The company early last year introduced the holographic computer technology as a feature for Windows 10. It later announced a partnership with Volvo that would allow the application to be applied to the automobile sales floor.
RebeccaBlackOS Is a Class Act
February 26, 2016
RebeccaBlackOS is a Debian Testing-based live distribution that offers a developmental view of Wayland-based Linux desktop sessions. A few other distro makers have prototypes of Wayland running, but the options for different desktop environments available all from one live-session DVD caught my attention. Anyone curious about where Wayland development is headed can get a first look from RBOS.
Microsoft Buys Xamarin to Boost Cross-Platform Development
February 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a platform provider for mobile app development. Xamarin's platform will be used in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio, enabling developers to build apps using C# to deliver fully native mobile app experiences across platforms, including Android and iOS, said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie.
The Downside of Linux Popularity
February 25, 2016
Popularity is becoming a two-edged sword for Linux. The open source operating system has become a key component of the Internet's infrastructure, and it's also the foundation for the world's largest mobile OS, Google's Android. Widespread use of the OS, though, has attracted the attention of hackers looking to transfer the dirty tricks previously aimed at Windows to Linux.
IBM Meets VMware and Apple Swift in the Cloud
February 23, 2016
IBM on Monday announced cloud-focused deals with VMware and Apple at its InterConnect conference. The strategic partnership with VMware would facilitate IBM's positioning in the hybrid cloud services territory and help the company grow its cloud service offerings, according to IBM. Enterprises that use VMware technologies will be able to run services on 45 IBM Cloud data centers around the world.
Google Gives iOS Devs Open Source EarlGrey Testing Tool
February 22, 2016
Google last week introduced EarlGrey, a functional user interface testing framework for Apple iOS apps. YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google Translate and Google Play Music have successfully adopted the framework, the company said. EarlGrey has been open sourced under the Apache license. Developers can add it to their projects using CocoaPods or manually add it to Xcode project files.
Glitches Mar Makulu's Appeal
February 17, 2016
Makulu 10 Xfce edition continues developer Jacque Raymer's track record of pushing the limits with useful and innovative features to keep his distro line a step ahead of the crowd. He released Makulu 10 Xfce this week after more than 12 months in the making. The focus is stability, speed and social integration. The Xfce edition can claim success with two of those three goals.
Unity and SteamVR Unite for Native Vive Support
February 16, 2016
Unity Technologies last week announced that the Unity Platform has been retooled to offer native support for SteamVR, the software foundation for HTC Vive. The move will save effort and resources, whether developers build made-for-VR titles or merely build virtual reality support into traditional games. In addition, Valve introduced an advanced rendering plug-in developed for Unity.
New SourceForge Owners Start Trust Repair
February 11, 2016
SourceForge on Tuesday announced that it has pulled the plug on its DevShare program amid growing rebellion from software developers and a change of ownership. SourceForge Media announced the termination notice with a promise of other policy changes coming soon. DevShare was an opt-in revenue-sharing program for developers that was started in 2013.
Amazon Opens Lumberyard to Game Devs
February 11, 2016
Amazon on Tuesday announced that it has widened its footprint in the game industry, complementing its development studio with the Lumberyard 3D game engine. Based on core components of Crytek's CryEngine, Lumberyard will support development for PCs and consoles (Xbox One and PlayStation 4). Amazon plans to add support for mobile devices and virtual reality gear soon.
Zenwalk 8 Beta Led Me Down a Rocky Road
February 1, 2016
Zenwalk is a Linux distro that seems to be in a state of flux. I took a gamble with the Zenwalk 8.0 beta edition, released last month, after several colleagues raved about its improvements. Chalk that up to potentially bad advice. It's not that Zenwalk is a bad distro. It is an uncooperative and strange experience. A lot can be said about not having to struggle with a problematic OS version.
Oracle Pulls Plug on Java Browser Plug-In
January 30, 2016
Oracle earlier this week announced its decision to scrap its Java browser plug-in. The plug-in, a frequent target of hackers, won't be included in the next version of JDK 9, which is expected to ship in September. Oracle's action was motivated by browser makers' withdrawal of support for the plug-in. Developers of applications that depend on it need to consider alternatives, the company said.
Walmart Opens OneOps Cloud Management to the Masses
January 28, 2016
Walmart on Tuesday announced that it has posted the code for its OneOps cloud application life cycle management platform on GitHub. The company developed OneOps for building and launching cloud applications across frequently changing storage environments. It lets e-commerce vendors deploy apps on platforms from Microsoft, Rackspace and CenturyLink to OpenStack private or hybrid environments.
FCC Chief Proposes End of Set-Top Box Rule
January 28, 2016
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday announced that he'd shared with colleagues a long sought-after proposal to loosen the set-top box's grip on home entertainment. The proposal seeks to spur competition and consumer choice in an arena dominated by large cable and satellite television providers. Wheeler's proposal would provide a mechanism for creating new ways to access video content.
Fast Times With Nelum OS
January 26, 2016
Nelum OS is a light and fast live-installable Linux distribution family offering three separate releases. The distro is a brand-new entry to the land of Linux, with its initial release posted earlier this month. It is an unusual twist on what you usually see with a Linux release. For example, the virtual desktops can be changed simply by scrolling the mouse wheel or finger scrolling the touchpad.
Brave Browser Promises to Defend Users' Privacy
January 21, 2016
Brave Software, helmed by Brendan Eich, who cofounded Mozilla and created the JavaScript programming language, on Tuesday released the 0.7 developer version of its Brave browser. Brave is an open source project that promises to block Internet greed and ugliness, while improving speed and protecting privacy. Basically, it blocks ads containing tracking pixels and cookies.
Chrome Browser to Blaze With Brotli
January 21, 2016
Google Chrome users will get faster Web access soon through the Brotli open source compression algorithm, which has been rolled out to the M49 release of Chrome. That's in Canary -- which is designed for devs -- so it's not clear when Brotli will surface in the browser. It gives 20 to 26 percent higher compression ratios over its Zopfli algorithm and provides faster page loads, the company said.
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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
They're intrusive and creepy.