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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Cellphones

Hands On With Ubuntu For SmartPhones 127

Posted by timothy
from the looking-slick dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Ubuntu for smartphones may be pretty late to the smartphone ecosystem, but as the hands-on video demonstrates, Canonical has been paying attention. The operating system is just called Ubuntu, allowing the company to complete their illusion that this operating system offers everything that desktop Ubuntu runs. If you're a fan of the Unity UI you will find yourself right at home with this interface since every bit of Ubuntu has visual cues that come straight from Unity. As the video shows, the animations looked great, and the phone feels incredibly fast. The top bar of the OS has several icons across it, offering a quick glimpse into things like battery life, messages and others. Settings for every app are available by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, in a gesture that is quite similar to the one used in Windows 8 to access the menu. Given that it's early days for the OS, Ubuntu is far from perfect. For instance, their welcome screen allows for way too many apps to be rapidly accessible without a pin lock of some kind."
Cellphones

Apple's App Store Tops 40 Billion Downloads; Generates $7 Billion For Developers 177

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-money-more-apps dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the eyes of the tech world fixed on CES this week, Apple this morning conveniently decided to issue a press release announcing that the iTunes App Store has now topped over 40 billion downloads. That's an incredible feat, to be sure, but even more incredible is that nearly half of those downloads occurred in 2012. In December alone, iOS users downloaded over 2 billion applications, setting a monthly record in the process."
Microsoft

Windows RT Jailbroken To Run Third-Party Desktop Apps 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-at-last dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We all knew it was just a matter of time, now it looks like Windows RT has been Jailbroken. From the article: 'The hack, performed by Clokr, exploits a vulnerability in the Windows kernel that has existed for a long time — since before Microsoft ported Windows from x86 to ARM, in fact. Basically, the Windows kernel on your computer is configured to only execute files that meet a certain level of authentication. There are four levels: Unsigned (0), Authenticode (4), Microsoft (8), and Windows (12). On your x86 Windows system, the default setting is Unsigned — you can run anything you like. With Windows RT, the default, hard-coded setting is Microsoft (8); i.e. only apps signed by Microsoft, or parts of Windows itself, can be executed.'"
Iphone

Your iPhone Will Soon Detect Bad Breath 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the smell-bad dept.
Julie188 writes "A tiny San Francisco startup, Adamant Technologies, is trying to give your iPhone a sense of smell and taste.. The company has created a computer chip that works with a bunch of tiny sensors to digitize these senses. The first app planned is a consumer device that plugs into an iPhone and detects bad breath."
Software

Toyota To Show Off Autonomous Prototype Car At CES Show 126

Posted by samzenpus
from the technology-take-the-wheel dept.
coondoggie writes "Toyota is going to show off its autonomous car/accident avoidance technology at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas nest week. The 2013 Lexus LS uses what the car company calls its Intelligent Transport System and is fitted with on-board radar, video cameras and sensors to monitor the road, surroundings, and the driver all with the goal of preventing accidents and avoiding problems."
Input Devices

'Gorilla Arm' Will Keep Touch Screens From Taking Over 610

Posted by Soulskill
from the 2013-is-the-year-human-civilization-becomes-lopsided dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "With Windows 8, Microsoft has made a billion-dollar gamble that personal computing is taking a new direction and that new direction is touch, says David Pogue. It's efficient on a touchscreen tablet. But Microsoft expects us to run Windows 8 on our tens of millions of everyday PCs. Although touch has been incredibly successful on our phones, tablets, airport kiosks and cash machines, Pogue says touch will never take over on PCs. The reason? Gorilla Arms. There are three big differences between tablet screens and a PC's screen: angle, distance and time interval. The problem is 'the tingling ache that [comes] from extending my right arm to manipulate that screen for hours, an affliction that has earned the nickname of gorilla arm.' Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s but Microsoft is betting that Windows 8 will be so attractive that we won't mind touching our PC screens, at least until the PC concept fades away entirely. 'My belief is that touch screens make sense on mobile computers but not on stationary ones,' concludes Pogue. 'Microsoft is making a gigantic bet that I'm wrong.'"
Books

Death of Printed Books May Have Been Exaggerated 465

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-think-it's-mark-twain's-fault dept.
New submitter razor88x writes "Although just 16% of Americans have purchased an e-book to date, the growth rate in sales of digital books is already dropping sharply. At the same time, sales of dedicated e-readers actually shrank in 2012, as people bought tablets instead. Meanwhile, printed books continue to be preferred over e-books by a wide majority of U.S. book readers. In his blog post Will Gutenberg Laugh Last?, writer Nicholas Carr draws on these statistics and others to argue that, contrary to predictions, printed books may continue to be the book's dominant form. 'We may be discovering,' he writes, 'that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction) but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction) and are well suited to certain reading situations (plane trips) but less well suited to others (lying on the couch at home). The e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute.'"
Handhelds

Ask Slashdot: Using a Tablet As a Sole Computing Device? 417

Posted by Soulskill
from the hard-to-play-quake-that-way dept.
cashman73 writes "My mother's six year old desktop computer finally bit the dust due to an electrical surge. It's out-of-warranty, and not really worth fixing. Plus, I'm 2,500 miles and two time zones away, so I can't exactly troubleshoot things from here. I recently got a new tablet, and even 80% of the things I do are done easier with it. Plus, she really likes the size, convenience, portability, and the screen. Virtually everything she does is simple web browsing, email, light photo sharing but no heavy editing, and other simple tasks. We're thinking that using a tablet as her sole 'computer' might be the best solution here. What are other Slashdotter's experiences using tablets without a separate desktop computer?"
Amiga

Catch Up Via Video With World of Commodore 2012 51

Posted by timothy
from the vic-20-with-cf-card-and-time-machine dept.
Leif_Bloomquist writes "Videos of the presentations from the recent World of Commodore, held December 1st 2012 in Toronto, have been published on YouTube. The presentations range from new product announcements to remakes of classic Commodore games for iPhone, from animation and music performances to coding tutorials and discussions for retro platforms. The revived World of Commodore is held annually on the first weekend of December by the Toronto PET Users Group."
Microsoft

US Military Signs Modernization Deal With Microsoft 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-fighter-jets-with-solid-color-rectangles dept.
Dupple writes with news that Microsoft has signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and the Defense Information Systems Agency to modernize the software those organizations use. According to Microsoft, the deal will cover 75% of all Department of Defense personnel, and bring to them the latest versions of SharePoint, Office, and Windows. The deal awards Microsoft $617 million, which is after discounts to the software totaling in the tens of millions. Interestingly, DISA's senior procurement executive said, "[The agreement] recognizes the shift to mobility. Microsoft is committed to making sure that the technology within the agreement has a mobile-first focus, and we expect to begin to take advantage of Microsoft’s mobile offerings as part of our enterprise mobility ecosystem."
Android

The Android SDK Is No Longer Free Software 535

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fragmentation-at-all-costs dept.
New submitter tian2992 writes "The new terms for the Android SDK now include phrases such as 'you may not: (a) copy (except for backup purposes), modify, adapt, redistribute, decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, or create derivative works of the SDK or any part of the SDK' among other non-Free-software-friendly terms, as noted by FSF Europe's Torsten Grote. Replicant, a free fork of Android, announced the release of Replicant SDK 4.0 based on the latest sources of the Android SDK without the new terms."
Networking

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deploy Small Office Wi-Fi SSIDs? 172

Posted by timothy
from the call-them-all-linksys-done dept.
First time accepted submitter junkfish writes "I am not able to install a controller based Wi-Fi solution in my office due to cost, but I like presenting my users with a single SSID rather than an array of four or five differently named SSIDs from different access points. What is your experience deploying multiple wireless access points with the same SSID and password? I have been doing this with Cisco 1040 series Access Points this year, and have had good success. It seems like the client is able to determine which AP is best to connect to, and is able to roam around the office without too much of an interruption when it connects to a different AP. Is this sloppy practice? Or does the general state of the 802.11 provide for this sort of resiliency? I am really interested in your opinion because I have not seem too much documented on this subject."
Google

Google, FTC Settle Antitrust Case 59

Posted by timothy
from the fairly-uneventful-on-the-surface dept.
itwbennett writes "According to an ITworld report, 'Google has agreed to change some of its business practices, including allowing competitors access to some standardized technologies, to resolve a U.S. Federal Trade Commission antitrust complaint against the company.' This includes 'allow[ing] competitors access to standards-essential patents the company acquired along with its purchase of Motorola Mobility.' Also among the business practices Google has agreed to stop is 'scraping Web content from rivals and allegedly passing it off as its own, said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.'" SlashCloud has some more details, including links to the agreement itself and Google's soft-pedaling description of "voluntary product changes."
Cellphones

Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone? 230

Posted by timothy
from the small-but-dedicated-band-of-belgian-craftsmen dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Canonical whipped back the curtain from its upcoming Ubuntu for smartphones, it set off a flurry of blogosphere speculation about the open-source operating system's chances on the open market. But which company would actually build such a device? Apple and Research In Motion and Nokia are all out of the running, for very obvious reasons. Motorola, as a subsidiary of Google, is also unlikely to leap on the Ubuntu bandwagon. While Hewlett-Packard has flirted with smartphones in the past, most notably after its Palm acquisition, the company doesn't seem too focused on that segment at the moment. That leaves manufacturers such as HTC, which currently offer devices running either Google Android or Windows Phone. But given Android's popularity, it might prove difficult for Canonical to convince these manufacturers to do more than release a token Ubuntu device—especially if Google and Microsoft apply counter-pressure."
Ubuntu

Quad-Core Stick PC Runs Ubuntu 72

Posted by timothy
from the these-are-getting-awesome dept.
New submitter asola writes with this cool piece of small (ha!) news from Liliputing: "This Freescale i.MX6-quad based stick will officially support Ubuntu in addition to Android. This is a first among the newfangled category of ARM-based stick PCs. This Ubuntu may very well have the hw accelerated Gstreamer plugins created by Freescale for the i.MX6 so full HD video playing will be available under Ubuntu as well."

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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