Category Archives: News

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Windows 10’s new app tabs feature has disappeared and might not return

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Microsoft has been teasing and failing to deliver mid-90s BeOS feature since the early 2000s.

Microsoft had been planning to introduce a tabbed apps feature in Windows 10, dubbed Sets. The company tested it with Windows Insiders, but decided not to ship it with a major release of Windows 10. It now looks like the Sets feature may never appear in Windows 10. Microsoft program manager Rich Turner revealed over the weekend that “the Shell-provided tab experience is no more,” but that adding tabs to the Windows command line is a priority.

ZDNet now reports that Microsoft has dropped plans for Sets, because the company has moved Edge over to Chromium. Edge was a big part of Sets, and it would load as part of a new tab in every Universal Windows App. It’s clear that Microsoft is prioritizing work on its new Edge browser over features...

Continue reading…

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Selective Empathy Can Chip Away at Civil Society

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Hey look, a serious book on a drum I've been beating for years.
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Facebook: Yeah, we hoovered up 1.5 million email address books without permission. But it was an accident!

Source: The Register

Article note: We "accidentally" vacuumed up and analyzed millions of people's data using the access we demanded. The only question is "Is Facebook criminally incompetent, or simply criminal." Neither is a good look.

So that's all OK then

Facebook has admitted to harvesting email contacts from 1.5 million people without permission.…

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The University Is a Ticking Time Bomb

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Article isn't wrong about the problem, but doesn't even _consider_ professionalizing teaching faculty. It notices that overworked unstable adjuncts provide an inferior educational experience, but also seems to assume that being taught by people whose attention is largely devoted to scrabbling for the dwindling pool of public funding and metric-gamed publication output that their professional future is almost entirely dependent on is magically educationally superior. To teach enrollments anything like current demand with tenure track primarily-research faculty would require a massive increase in public funding for research (which would be fine too), or you're just changing the problem to a 7-year professional life as each cohort doesn't stand a chance at tenure because of teaching demands and lack of funding. So open up the process. I'd _jump_ at a tenure-track position where my DOE was primarily teaching and only expected to be 20% research. Positions like that would solve the problem without requiring highly improbable external actions.
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As China Hacked, U.S. Businesses Turned a Blind Eye

Source: Hacker News

Article note: There are a whole lot of perverse incentives at work here.
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Congress is about to ban the government from offering free online tax filing

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Kleptocracy anyone?
Congress is about to ban the government from offering free online tax filing

Enlarge (credit: Ken Teegardin)

Just in time for Tax Day, the for-profit tax preparation industry is about to realize one of its long-sought goals. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are moving to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system.

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), passed the Taxpayer First Act, a wide-ranging bill making several administrative changes to the IRS that is sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa).

In one of its provisions, the bill makes it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system of tax filing. Companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block have lobbied for years to block the IRS from creating such a system. If the tax agency created its own program, which would be similar to programs other developed countries have, it would threaten the industry’s profits.

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How to Improve MacBook Pro Performance and Thermals

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Interesting to see non-enthusiast (either high-end/gaming or vintage) folks starting to learn about garbage thermal compounds and their age degradation. I guess the usable lifespans on computers are getting such that it will come up more.
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After years of insisting that DRM in HTML wouldn’t block open source implementations, Google says it won’t support open source implementations

Source: Boing Boing

Article note: Surprising no one, it turns out the DRM-in-HTML EME proponent's claim that it wouldn't block open/free browsers and web technologies was absolute bullshit, and the process was a sham enacted to secure power for entrenched interests.

The bitter, yearslong debate at the World Wide Web Consortium over a proposal to standardize DRM for web browsers included frequent assurances by the pro-DRM side (notably Google, whose Widevine DRM was in line to be the principal beneficiary) that this wouldn't affect the ability of free/open source authors to implement the standard.

The absurd figleaf used to justify this was a reference implementation of EME in open source that only worked on video that didn't have the DRM turned on. The only people this impressed were people who weren't paying attention or lacked the technical depth to understand that a tool that only works under conditions that are never seen in the real world was irrelevant to real-world conditions.

Now the real world has arrived, and it was just as predicted. Samuel Maddock is a free software developer who is creating a new browser called Metastream, derived from Chromium, the free/open version of Google's Chrome. Metastream is designed to allow users to "playback videos on the web, synchronized with other peers."

This is obviously not a copyright violation of any kind. Metastream allows users to stream copies of videos they are allowed to see, but synchronizes playback so they can watch them together. In an age of Twitch, this is obviously useful (also: it's something I personally ghost-wrote in to the BBC's 2006 Charter Renewal document as a favor to one of the people involved, so it's something that major rightsholder groups like the idea of, too).

Maddock wanted to allow his users to do this with the videos they pay to watch on Widevine-restricted services like Hulu and Netflix, so he applied to Google for a license to implement Widevine in his browser. Four months later, Google sent him a one-sentence reply: "I'm sorry but we're not supporting an open source solution like this" (apparently four months' delay wasn't enough time to hunt up a comma or a period).

The connection to the Article 13 debate should be obvious: for years, advocates for the Directive insisted that it could be implemented without filters, but of course it requires filters. Likewise, for year, EME's backers insisted that it wouldn't prevent us from having open, auditable, free-as-in-speech browsers that anyone could inspect, improve and distribute. But of course it does.

Of course it does.

I’m now only left with two options regarding the fate of Metastream: stop development of a desktop browser version, or pivot my project to a browser extension with reduced features. The latter requiring publishing to the Google Chrome Web Store which would further entrench the project into a Google walled garden.

I tried creating a web browser, and Google blocked me [Samuel Maddock]

Boy howdy, this is one subject where I loathe saying "I told you so", but... I sure told you so.[1] [Diaz/Hacker News]

(via Four Short Links)

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Google’s constant product shutdowns are damaging its brand

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: No shit.
An artist's rendering of Google's current reputation.

Enlarge / An artist's rendering of Google's current reputation. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

It's only April, and 2019 has already been an absolutely brutal year for Google's product portfolio. The Chromecast Audio was discontinued January 11. YouTube annotations were removed and deleted January 15. Google Fiber packed up and left a Fiber city on February 8. Android Things dropped IoT support on February 13. Google's laptop and tablet division was reportedly slashed on March 12. Google Allo shut down on March 13. The "Spotlight Stories" VR studio closed its doors on March 14. The goo.gl URL shortener was cut off from new users on March 30. Gmail's IFTTT support stopped working March 31.

And today, April 2, we're having a Google Funeral double-header: both Google+ (for consumers) and Google Inbox are being laid to rest. Later this year, Google Hangouts "Classic" will start to wind down, and somehow also scheduled for 2019 is Google Music's "migration" to YouTube Music, with the Google service being put on death row sometime afterward.

We are 91 days into the year, and so far, Google is racking up an unprecedented body count. If we just take the official shutdown dates that have already occurred in 2019, a Google-branded product, feature, or service has died, on average, about every nine days.

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Symbolics Lisp: Using the DEC Alpha as a Programmable Micro-Engine (1993) [pdf]

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Holy shit there is a lot of good stuff in here. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to the LISPers, but, from a 1993 paper: 1. Correctly predicting that microcoding was coming back to deal with the CPU-Memory speed difference. 2. Fuckin' cycle-counting performance instrumentation feedback IN THE TEXT EDITOR. I STILL WANT THAT SHIT.
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