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Microsoft cuts off Windows 7 support for older Intel computers
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-23 14:38:57

If your PC doesn't run Streaming Single Instructions Multiple Data (SIMD) Extensions 2, you apparently won't be getting any more Windows 7 patches. At least, that's what I infer from some clandestine Knowledge Base documentation changes made in the past few days.

Even though Microsoft says it's supporting Win7 until January 14, 2020, if you have an older machine - including any Pentium III - you've been blocked, and there's nothing you can do about it.

While support has to end somewhere - processors without SSE2 are really, really old - it's quite unfair to say you support Windows 7 until 2020, and then cut it off early for a number of customers. Consumer protection agencies should have something to say about this, right?

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Apple will replace faulty MacBook keyboards free of charge
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-23 14:33:20

It wasn't long after Apple changed the mechanisms of its MacBook keyboards that reports of sticky keys and other problems surfaced. Over time as anecdotal evidence mounted, it became apparent that the problem was widespread, but of course, only Apple knew exactly how common the issues were.

Now, in response to the keyboard problems, Apple has begun a keyboard service program to fix or replace keyboards with faulty butterfly switch mechanisms.

As usual when it comes to systemic defects in its products - hello PowerPC logic board failures - Apple really dragged its feet on this one. Unlike the Apple-verse, I'm not even going to commend them for this.

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'Machina' brings support for running Linux on top of Fuchsia
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-22 21:41:52

One of the greatest struggles of creating an entirely new OS, especially today, is the chicken-and-egg problem. Without good apps, why would consumers buy a product? And conversely, with no consumers, why would developers make apps?

We've looked, time and time again, at the possibility of Fuchsia getting Android compatibility, but what if it didn't stop there? If Fuchsia is to be a full-fledged laptop/desktop OS, shouldn't it also have some compatibility with apps for a traditional OS?

This is where the 'Guest' app becomes relevant. Guest allows you to boot up a virtual OS, inside of Fuchsia. Officially, Guest supports Zircon (Fuchsia) and Linux-based OSes (including Debian), but there’s also evidence that suggests it's being tested to work with Chrome OS. At the time of writing, I've only been able to successfully test Guest with a simple version of Linux.

Fuchsia is clearly so much more than just a research operating system. There's also a slightly older article from a few months ago looking at the various layers that make up Fuchsia, as well as various other articles about Google's new operating system.

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Windows NT and VMS: the rest of the story
By Thom Holwerda, submitted by JohnnyO on 2018-06-22 21:36:45

This is an article written 20 years ago by Mark Russinovich, which compares VMS and Windows NT.

When Microsoft released the first version of Windows NT in April 1993, the company's marketing and public relations campaign heavily emphasized the NT (i.e., New Technology) in the operating system's (OS's) name. Microsoft promoted NT as a cutting-edge OS that included all the features users expected in an OS for workstations and small to midsized servers. Although NT was a new OS in 1993, with a new API (i.e., Win32) and new user and systems-management tools, the roots of NT's core architecture and implementation extend back to the mid-1970s.

And now... The rest of the story: I'll take you on a short tour of NT's lineage, which leads back to Digital and its VMS OS. Most of NT's lead developers, including VMS's chief architect, came from Digital, and their background heavily influenced NT's development. After I talk about NT's roots, I'll discuss the more-than-coincidental similarities between NT and VMS, and how Digital reacted to NT's release.

Great read.

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WinUAE Version 4.0.0 Released
By special contributor Mike Bouma on 2018-06-22 21:33:03

Toni Wilen has released a massive new update of WinUAE. This major new release hosts a wealth of new features and bugfixes. Also check out Worthy's release trailer, a new commercial game by Pixelglass for the Amiga 500, which is also available as digital download for use in UAE.

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The best phone to buy right now
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-22 21:32:10

There are a lot of great smartphone options available at any given moment, so it can be a challenge to sort through them all if you're trying to choose the absolute best one. The stakes here can't be understated: your smartphone is the most important gadget in your life, and you ll probably be living with the one you buy for at least a year, if not two or three.

Most of the time, there's a phone that stands out from the pack in all the areas that matter: performance, value, camera, and support. But this year, depending on who you ask, you could get as many as four different answers for what the best phone is to buy. And depending on what kind of phone user you are, any one of them could be the ideal phone for you.

The answer has been the iPhone for years, and as long as expensive Android flagships don't get updates and the Google Pixel is only available in three countries, that's not going to change any time soon - whether Android people like it or not.

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Rust 1.27.0 released
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-21 22:49:45

Rust 1.27.0 has been released! As regular readers will know, I'm not a programmer and know very little about the two main new features in this release. The biggest new feature is SIMD.

Okay, now for the big news: the basics of SIMD are now available! SIMD stands for "single instruction, multiple data".

The detailed release notes have more information.

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Why the Supreme Court's software patent ban didn't last
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-21 22:45:04

The shifting rules about software patentability reflect a long-running tug of war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit loves software patents; the Supreme Court is more skeptical.

That fight continues today. While the Federal Circuit has invalidated many software patents in the four years since the Alice ruling, it also seems to be looking for legal theories that could justify more software patents. Only continued vigilance from the Supreme Court is likely to ensure things don't get out of hand again.

The 40-year-old Flook ruling remains a key weapon in the Supreme Court's arsenal. It's the court's strongest statement against patenting software. And, while software patent supporters aren't happy about it, it's still the law of the land.

That's the third US legal article in a row, but it's a great article that looks at the history of the tug of war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit.

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California net neutrality bill gutted due to AT&T bribes
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-21 22:41:51

A California net neutrality bill that could have been the strictest such law in the country was dramatically scaled back yesterday after state lawmakers caved to demands from AT&T and cable lobbyists.

While the California Senate approved the bill with all of its core parts intact last month, a State Assembly committee's Democratic leadership yesterday removed key provisions.

"What happened today was outrageous," Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the bill author, said. "These hostile amendments eviscerate the bill and leave us with a net neutrality bill in name only."

Corruption works.

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Online retailers can be forced to collect tax, high court rules
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-06-21 22:37:40

The U.S. Supreme Court freed states and local governments to start collecting billions of dollars in new sales taxes from online retailers, overturning a ruling that had made much of the internet a tax-free zone and put traditional retailers at a disadvantage.

News of the ruling caused shares of Internet retailers including Amazon.com Inc. and Wayfair Inc. to fall.

The court's 1992 decision involving catalog sales had shielded retailers from tax-collection duties if they didn’t have a physical presence in a state. Writing for the 5-4 court Thursday, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that ruling was obsolete in the e-commerce era.

The sticker price not being the actual price you pay at the register is one of those things that always baffles and annoys me whenever I'm visiting the US. It seems odd to me that physical retailers have to charge tax, but online retailers don't. Seems like an odd loophole that needed fixing.

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