Author Archives: pappp

Company behind Amiga OS 4 seems to be either going or is in fact bankrupt

Source: OSNews

Article note: Trying to follow the ownership of the Amiga IP is crazy. Looks like another episode.

So, I won’t be wasting too many words on this – partially because I’m not into cheap soap operas, and partially because there’s no way to know what’s going on with this nonsense without dedicating a year’s worth of detailed study into the subject. So it seems that the company Hyperion, which develops and owns the rights to Amiga OS 4 and Amiga OS 3.2 has gone into bankruptcy proceedings. The main shareholder of Hyperion, someone named Ben Hermans, has apparently set up several shell companies (or something?), and they might now own the rights to the two variants of Amiga OS, or they might not? And those shell companies have also gone into bankruptcy proceedings?

Hyperion has been managed by a receiver since last week (Update)
“Ben Hermans BV” (hereinafter: BHBV) is a private company with limited liability owned by Ben Hermans, which has held 97% of the shares in Hyperion since 2019 and acts as a ‘director’ of Hyperion on paper. In March, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against BHBV for the second time. In the same month, Ben Hermans had already initiated the founding of a new company with the same name.

As BHBV has not published any statutory annual reports since 2021, it is currently unclear whether the company still holds the majority of shares in Hyperion. Ben Hermans has not responded to an inquiry from amiga-news.de; the appointed liquidator Charlotte Piers tells us she’ll get back to us in the next few days with “a more detailed response”.

↫ Amiga-news.de

I stopped trying to keep track of this stuff years and years ago, but bits and bobs I’ve picked up since is that there’s been countless lawsuits flying back and forth, questions of rights ownership, and all sorts of other drama you can only keep track of by following the various different Amiga websites and forums in great detail on a daily basis.

As is Amiga tradition.

Amiga OS 4 is an interesting operating system that I spent some fun time with for an OSNews review way back in 2009, but at this point, if you’re truly hooked on the Amiga OS way of doing things, just stick to AROS. There’s technically also MorphOS, which is pretty great actually, but unless they sort out their own mess of being stuck to dying PowerPC Macs and move to x86 or ARM, they’re basically on borrowed time, too.

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It could soon be illegal to publicly wear a mask for health reasons in NC

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Such a microcosm of modern dysfunction. Dumb motherfuckers in positions of power. People loosing sight of reasonable policy in favor of ideological point scoring. The usual "party of small government" butting into other people's business on medical matters issue. Ugh.
It could soon be illegal to publicly wear a mask for health reasons in NC

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Spencer Platt)

The North Carolina State Senate on Wednesday voted 30-15, along party lines, in favor of a Republican bill that would make it illegal for people in the state to wear a mask in public for health reasons. The bill is now moving to the House, where it could potentially see changes.

The proposed ban on health-based masking is part of a larger bill otherwise aimed at increasing penalties for people wearing masks to conceal their identity while committing a crime or impeding traffic. The bill was largely spurred by recent protests on university and college campuses across the country, including North Carolina-based schools, against the war in Gaza. In recent months, there have been demonstrations in Raleigh and Durham that have blocked roadways, as well as clashes on the nearby campus of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some demonstrators were seen wearing masks in those events.

But the bill, House Bill 237, goes a step further by making it illegal to wear a mask in public for health and safety reasons, either to protect the wearer, those around them, or both. Specifically, the bill repeals a 2020 legal exemption, enacted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed for public health-based masking for the first time in decades.

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Google Search adds a “web” filter, because it is no longer focused on web results

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: It started showing up for me and is _delightful_, hides piles of trash. Now... can we have a way to at least by machine or by account make it the default behavior?
Google continues to change what it means to be the "Google" search engine.

Enlarge / Google continues to change what it means to be the "Google" search engine. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Google I/O has come and gone, and with it came an almost exclusive focus on AI. Part of the show was an announcement for Google Search that was so huge it was almost hard to believe: the AI-powered "Search Generative Experience (SGE)" that the company had been trialing for months is rolling out to everyone in the US. The feature, renamed "AI Overview," is here now, and it feels like the biggest change to Google Search ever. The top of many results (especially questions) are now dominated by an AI box that scrapes the web and gives you a sometimes-correct summary without needing to click on a single result.

AI Overview is a bit different from the SGE trials that were happening. First is that AI Overview is a lot faster than SGE. For some popular queries, it seems like Google is caching the AI answer, which should help with the high cost of running generative AI. For queries with cached overviews, you'll see the AI box load instantly, right along with the initial search results pop-in. SGE responses would come in word by word, like they are being typed by a person. When you aren't getting a cached result, you'll see a blank AI overview box that loads in with the search page, which will say "searching" while it loads for a second or two. Other times Google will try loading an AI Overview and fail, with the message "An AI overview is not available for this search." (As if anyone asked.)

When Google decides you've got an AI-appropriate query, it now takes a lot of scrolling to see web results. Google scrolls infinitely, so there are no "pages" anymore, but let's consider a "page" to be a full browser viewport height: The first page is an AI overview that takes up half the screen and then another answer box extracted from some website. Page two is a "People also ask" box suggesting other queries, then one search result, then a box for videos. Page three is the bottom half of the video box, then a "Discussions and forums" section with Reddit and Quora posts. It's not until page four and miles of scrolling that we get the traditional 10 blue links. This list isn't even counting an ad block, which would appear first normally. I've yet to see an ad block and AI overview at the same time, but I'm sure that's coming. Despite pushing AI Overviews live into production for everyone on the most premium spot on the Google Search page, Google still notes that "Generative AI is experimental."

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Google now offers ‘web’ search — and an AI opt-out button

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: One of our new features is a tool to ... turn off many our obnoxious new features, potentially rolling back some of the effects of years of enshitification.
An illustration of Google’s multicolor “G” logo
Illustration: The Verge

This is not a joke: Google will now let you perform a “web” search. It’s rolling out “web” searches now, and in my early tests on desktop, it’s looking like it could be an incredibly popular change to Google’s search engine.

The optional setting filters out almost all the other blocks of content that Google crams into a search results page, leaving you with links and text — and Google confirms to The Verge that it will block the company’s new AI Overviews as well.

Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge
This is the new Web button. You know, for all your Web searches.

“Isn’t every search a web search? What is Google Search if not the web?” you might rightfully ask.

But independent websites like HouseFresh and...

Continue reading…

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VMware Workstation Pro and Fusion pro go free for personal use

Source: OSNews

Article note: Hm, that's in the same vein as the license situation on VirtualBox's extensions: "Have these nice features for personal use and... our lawyers will eat you if you use them commercially without paying up." It's kind of reasonable for a Virt product.

After Broadcom acquired VMware, there’s been a steady stream of worrying or outright bad news for people using VMware products at home, for personal use, as enthusiasts. The biggest blow to the enthusiast market was the end of perpetual licensing, forcing people into subscriptions instead. Finally, though it seems we’re getting some good news.

The most exciting part is that Fusion Pro and Workstation Pro will now have two license models. We now provide a Free Personal Use or a Paid Commercial Use subscription for our Pro apps. Users will decide based on their use case whether a commercial subscription is required.

This means that everyday users who want a virtual lab on their Mac, Windows or Linux computer can do so for free simply by registering and downloading the bits from the new download portal located at support.broadcom.com.

↫ Michael Roy on the VMware blog

This is definitely good news for us enthusiasts, and it means I won’t have to buy a cheap VMware license off eBay every few years anymore, so I’m quite satisfied here. However, with VMware under Broadcom focusing more and more on the enterprise and squeezing every last penny out of those customers, one has to wonder if this ‘free for personal use’ is just a prelude to winding down the development of enthusiasts’ tools altogether.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a product going free for personal use was a harbinger of worse things yet to come.

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The new APT 3.0 solver

Source: Hacker News

Article note: The rpm (with dnf and zypper) and dpkg (with aptitude and this) ecosystems getting faster, _less_ prone to strangling themselves, and more cooperative with introspection has been nice. I'm very accustomed to pacman, and some of the new declarative, or compositional or otherwise unconventional package systems are ...interesting if not always desirable... , but there are a lot of tasks the old standbys and their ecosystems are a good tool for.
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Much Faster Cold Brew Through Cavitation

Source: Hack a Day

Article note: I read through the paper (some the chemistry is _way_ beyond me, but I could follow the rest) when one of the authors posted it in another venue I follow a few days ago. It's a _damn_ nifty trick with obvious commercial value.

Some coffee snobs might call this sacrilege. Cold brew is supposed to take a long time — that’s part of how it gets its characteristic smoothness. But a group of engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) have figured out a way to cut the time down from several hours to a mere three minutes, using ultrasonic waves.

Diagram showing the parts of the faster cold brew system -- the portafilter of a Breville espresso machine, plus a transducer and horn.Typically, the cold brew coffee process takes between 12 and 24 hours. Enough time to steep the grounds and extract the flavors without the benefit of hot water. This is how it differs from iced coffee, which is brewed hot and poured over ice.

Interestingly, the UNSW Sydney engineers’ process uses a typical prosumer-grade espresso machine and involves blasting the portafilter with a transducer and a horn. This transforms the coffee basket into a sonoreactor. Sound waves at a frequency of 38.8 kHz are injected at multiple points through the walls, generating acoustic cavitation within. You can read all about it in Ultrasonics Sonochemistry.

That’s not even the most exciting part. The study found that this arrangement is capable of doubling both the extraction yield and caffeine concentration, compared with non-soundblasted samples. The team sent samples of the coffee off to be evaluated on aroma, texture, flavor, and aftertaste. Although the one-minute extraction samples received similar ratings to a 24-hour brew in terms of flavor and aftertaste, they lacked the intensity and dark chocolate aroma of the longer brew. But the three-minute extraction samples scored quite highly in all areas, suggesting that the average cold brew drinker wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Would you like to roast your own beans at home? You can use a popcorn popper, but you might get tired of semi-uneven roasts and upgrade to a DIY wobble disk roaster.

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I Used Resume Spammers to Apply for 120 Jobs. Chaos Ensued

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Garbage heuristic NLP-parsers spraying noise at each other. Such a thing of our times.
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Boeing says workers skipped required tests on 787 but recorded work as completed

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: The modern executive refrain, "_I_ didn't engage in any malfeasance, I just created conditions in which every supplier and employee in the intentionally diffuse web of accountability could _choose_ to engage in malfeasance, or choose to be unemployed." We really need to find a way to prosecute that behavior before our society collapses.
An American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on a runway.

Enlarge / An American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner preparing to take off at Barcelona-El Prat Airport in Spain on May 1, 2024. (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether Boeing failed to complete required inspections on 787 Dreamliner planes and whether Boeing employees falsified aircraft records, the agency said this week. The investigation was launched after an employee reported the problem to Boeing management, and Boeing informed the FAA.

"The FAA has opened an investigation into Boeing after the company voluntarily informed us in April that it may not have completed required inspections to confirm adequate bonding and grounding where the wings join the fuselage on certain 787 Dreamliner airplanes," the FAA said in a statement provided to Ars today.

The FAA said it "is investigating whether Boeing completed the inspections and whether company employees may have falsified aircraft records. At the same time, Boeing is reinspecting all 787 airplanes still within the production system and must also create a plan to address the in-service fleet." The agency added that it "will take any necessary action—as always—to ensure the safety of the flying public."

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Ten years ago Microsoft bought Nokia’s phone unit – then killed it as a tax write-off

Source: The Register

Article note: It's weird reading about the Elop era (In which Microsoft executive Stephen Elop was hired to lead Nokia, publically sabotaged their platform projects, then returned to his former position at Microsoft when they bought Nokia's devices and services business for pennies on the dollar) as a historical piece. I had an n810 and was active on the Mameo forums while it was happening.

When bad management meets bad software, even great hardware is useless

Retrospective  Ten years ago Microsoft absorbed the handset division of Nokia. The world's biggest operating systems vendor was going mobile in a big way, and buying the erstwhile world leader in mobile phones to ensure its success.…

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