Tuesday, November 24. 2015
Via The Daily Dot
People with Android devices might be a bit frustrated with Google after a report from the New York District Attorney's office provided detailed information about smartphone security, and Google's power to access devices when asked to by law enforcement. The report went viral on Reddit over the weekend.
Google can unlock many Android phones remotely when given a search warrant, bypassing lock codes on particular devices. The report reads:
Forensic examiners are able to bypass passcodes on some of those [Android] devices using a variety of forensic techniques. For some other types of Android devices, Google can reset the passcodes when served with a search warrant and an order instructing them to assist law enforcement to extract data from the device. This process can be done by Google remotely and allows forensic examiners to view the contents of a device.
When compared to Apple devices, which encrypt by default on iOS 8 and later, Google's seemingly lax protection is irksome. The report continues:
For Android devices running operating systems Lollipop 5.0 and above, however, Google plans to use default full-disk encryption, like that being used by Apple, that will make it impossible for Google to comply with search warrants and orders instructing them to assist with device data extraction. Generally, users have the option to enable full-disk encryption on their current Android devices, whether or not the device is running Lollipop 5.0, but doing so causes certain inconveniences, risks, and performance issues, which are likely to exist until OEMs are required to standardize certain features.
In October, Google announced that new devices that ship with the Marshmallow 6.0 operating system (the most recent version of Android) must enable full-disk encryption by default. Nexus devices running Lollipop 5.0 are encrypted by default as well. This means that Google is unable to bypass lock codes on those devices. However, because of the massive fragmentation of Android devices and operating systems, Google can still access lots of Android devices running older versions when asked to by law enforcement.
And despite the encryption updates to the Android compatibility documentation, a number of devices are exempt from full-disk encryption, including older devices, devices without a lock screen, and those that don't meet the minimum security requirements.
The number of devices that actually have full-disk encryption appears to be low. Just 0.3 percent of Android devices are running Marshmallow and more than 25 percent of Android devices are running Lollipop 5.0, but most of those aren't Nexus, according to ZDNet.
When compared to Apple, Google's security appears lacking. Apple made encryption mandatory in iOS 8 back in 2014, which of course extends to iOS 9, its most recent mobile OS update. Data shows that 67 percent of Apple users are on iOS 9, and 24 percent of devices are still on iOS 8. Just nine percent of devices run an older version of iOS.
Android users are often at the mercy of carriers who decide when to roll out Android updates, which is an obstacle for some Android owners who want the latest OS.
If you do have a compatible device and want to enable encryption, head over to your security settings and select "encrypt device."
Tuesday, October 06. 2015
Binaural audio consists in recording audio sounds in the exact same way as humans are naturally perceiving it. Listening to binaural audio may only be performed by the use of a headset, making the resulting experience hyper-realistic. Many more details may be found on the binaural recording wikipedia page.
Wednesday, September 09. 2015
We invariably imagine electronic devices to be made from silicon chips, with which computers store and process information as binary digits (zeros and ones) represented by tiny electrical charges. But it need not be this way: among the alternatives to silicon are organic mediums such as DNA.
DNA computing was first demonstrated in 1994 by Leonard Adleman who encoded and solved the travelling salesman problem, a maths problem to find the most efficient route for a salesman to take between hypothetical cities, entirely in DNA.
Deoxyribonucleaic acid, DNA, can store vast amounts of information encoded as sequences of the molecules, known as nucleotides, cytosine (C), guanine (G), adenine (A), or thymine (T). The complexity and enormous variance of different species’ genetic codes demonstrates how much information can be stored within DNA encoded using CGAT, and this capacity can be put to use in computing. DNA molecules can be used to process information, using a bonding process between DNA pairs known as hybridisation. This takes single strands of DNA as input and produces subsequent strands of DNA through transformation as output.
Since Adleman’s experiment, many DNA-based “circuits” have been proposed that implement computational methods such as Boolean logic, arithmetical formulas, and neural network computation. Called molecular programming, this approach applies concepts and designs customary to computing to nano-scale approaches appropriate for working with DNA.
It’s circuitry, but not as we know it. Caltech/Lulu Qian, CC BY
In this sense “programming” is really biochemistry. The “programs” created are in fact methods of selecting molecules that interact in a way that achieves a specific result through the process of DNA self-assembly, where disordered collections of molecules will spontaneously interact to form the desired arrangement of strands of DNA.
DNA can also be used to control motion, allowing for DNA-based nano-mechanical devices. This was first achieved by Bernard Yurke and colleagues in 2000, who created from DNA strands a pair of tweezers that opened and pinched. Later experiments such as by Shelley Wickham and colleagues in 2011 and at Andrew Turberfield’s lab at Oxford demonstrated nano-molecular walking machines made entirely from DNA that could traverse set routes.
One possible application is that such a nano-robot DNA walker could progress along tracks making decisions and signal when reaching the end of the track, indicating computation has finished. Just as electronic circuits are printed onto circuit boards, DNA molecules could be used to print similar tracks arranged into logical decision trees on a DNA tile, with enzymes used to control the decision branching along the tree, causing the walker to take one track or another.
DNA walkers can also carry molecular cargo, and so could be used to deliver drugs inside the body.
Why DNA Computing?
DNA molecules’ many appealing features include their size (2nm width), programmability and high storage capacity – much greater than their silicon counterparts. DNA is also versatile, cheap and easy to synthesise, and computing with DNA requires much less energy than electric powered silicon processors.
Its drawback is speed: it currently takes several hours to compute the square root of a four digit number, something that a traditional computer could compute in a hundredth of a second. Another drawback is that DNA circuits are single-use, and need to be recreated to run the same computation again.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of DNA over electronic circuits is that it can interact with its biochemical environment. Computing with molecules involves recognising the presence or absence of certain molecules, and so a natural application of DNA computing is to bring such programmability into the realm of environmental biosensing, or delivering medicines and therapies inside living organisms.
DNA programs have already been put to medical uses, such as diagnosing tuberculosis. Another proposed use is a nano-biological “program” by Ehud Shapiro of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, termed the “doctor in the cell” that targets cancer molecules. Other DNA programs for medical applications target lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), which are defined by the presence or absence of certain cell markers and so can be naturally detected with true/false Boolean logic. However, more effort is required before we can inject smart drugs directly into living organisms.
Future of DNA Computing
Taken broadly, DNA computation has enormous future potential. Its huge storage capacity, low energy cost, ease of manufacturing that exploits the power of self-assembly and its easy affinity with the natural world are an entry to nanoscale computing, possibly through designs that incorporate both molecular and electronic components. Since its inception, the technology has progressed at great speed, delivering point-of-care diagnostics and proof-of-concept smart drugs – those that can make diagnostic decisions about the type of therapy to deliver.
There are many challenges, of course, that need to be addressed so that the technology can move forward from the proof-of-concept to real smart drugs: the reliability of the DNA walkers, the robustness of DNA self-assembly, and improving drug delivery. But a century of traditional computer science research is well placed to contribute to developing DNA computing through new programming languages, abstractions, and formal verification techniques – techniques that have already revolutionised silicon circuit design, and can help launch organic computing down the same path.
Tuesday, June 30. 2015
The ancient Library of Alexandria may have been the largest collection of human knowledge in its time, and scholars still mourn its destruction. The risk of so devastating a loss diminished somewhat with the advent of the printing press and further still with the rise of the Internet. Yet centralized repositories of specialized information remain, as does the threat of a catastrophic loss.
Take GitHub, for example.
GitHub has in recent years become the world’s biggest collection of open source software. That’s made it an invaluable education and business resource. Beyond providing installers for countless applications, GitHub hosts the source code for millions of projects, meaning anyone can read the code used to create those applications. And because GitHub also archives past versions of source code, it’s possible to follow the development of a particular piece of software and see how it all came together. That’s made it an irreplaceable teaching tool.
The odds of Github meeting a fate similar to that of the Library of Alexandria are slim. Indeed, rumor has it that Github soon will see a new round of funding that will place the company’s value at $2 billion. That should ensure, financially at least, that GitHub will stay standing.
But GitHub’s pending emergence as Silicon Valley’s latest unicorn holds a certain irony. The ideals of open source software center on freedom, sharing, and collective benefit—the polar opposite of venture capitalists seeking a multibillion-dollar exit. Whatever its stated principles, GitHub is under immense pressure to be more than just a sustainable business. When profit motives and community ideals clash, especially in the software world, the end result isn’t always pretty.
Sourceforge: A Cautionary Tale
Sourceforge is another popular hub for open source software that predates GitHub by nearly a decade. It was once the place to find open source code before GitHub grew so popular.
There are many reasons for GitHub’s ascendance, but Sourceforge hasn’t helped its own cause. In the years since career services outfit DHI Holdings acquired it in 2012, users have lamented the spread of third-party ads that masquerade as download buttons, tricking users into downloading malicious software. Sourceforge has tools that enable users to report misleading ads, but the problem has persisted. That’s part of why the team behind GIMP, a popular open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop, quit hosting its software on Sourceforge in 2013.
Instead of trying to make nice, Sourceforge stirred up more hostility earlier this month when it declared the GIMP project “abandoned” and began hosting “mirrors” of its installer files without permission. Compounding the problem, Sourceforge bundled installers with third party software some have called adware or malware. That prompted other projects, including the popular media player VLC, the code editor Notepad++, and WINE, a tool for running Windows apps on Linux and OS X, to abandon ship.
It’s hard to say how many projects have truly fled Sourceforge because of the site’s tendency to “mirror” certain projects. If you don’t count “forks” in GitHub—copies of projects developers use to make their own tweaks to the code before submitting them to the main project—Sourceforge may still host nearly as many projects as GitHub, says Bill Weinberg of Black Duck Software, which tracks and analyzes open source software.
But the damage to Sourceforge’s reputation may already have been done. Gaurav Kuchhal, managing director of the division of DHI Holdings that handles Sourceforge, says the company stopped its mirroring program and will only bundle installers with projects whose originators explicitly opt in for such add-ons. But misleading “download” ads likely will continue to be a game of whack-a-mole as long as Sourceforge keeps running third-party ads. In its hunt for revenue, Sourceforge is looking less like an important collection of human knowledge and more like a plundered museum full of dangerous traps.
No Ads (For Now)
GitHub has a natural defense against ending up like this: it’s never been an ad-supported business. If you post your code publicly on GitHub, the service is free. This incentivizes code-sharing and collaboration. You pay only to keep your code private. GitHub also makes money offering tech companies private versions of GitHub, which has worked out well: Facebook, Google and Microsoft all do this.
Still, it’s hard to tell how much money the company makes from this model. (It’s certainly not saying.) Yes, it has some of the world’s largest software companies as customers. But it also hosts millions of open source projects free of charge, without ads to offset the costs storage, bandwidth, and the services layered on top of all those repos. Investors will want a return eventually, through an acquisition or IPO. Once that happens, there’s no guarantee new owners or shareholders will be as keen on offering an ad-free loss leader for the company’s enterprise services.
Other freemium services that have raised large rounds of funding, like Box and Dropbox, face similar pressures. (Box even more so since going public earlier this year.) But GitHub is more than a convenient place to store files on the web. It’s a cornerstone of software development—a key repository of open-source code and a crucial body of knowledge. Amassing so much knowledge in one place raises the specter of a catastrophic crash and burn or disastrous decay at the hands of greedy owners loading the site with malware.
Yet GitHub has a defense mechanism the librarians of ancient Alexandria did not. Their library also was a hub. But it didn’t have Git.
The “Git” part of GitHub is an open source technology that helps programmers manage changes in their code. Basically, a team will place a master copy of the code in a central location, and programmers make copies on their own computers. These programmers then periodically merge their changes with the master copy, the “repository” that remains the canonical version of the project.
Git’s “versioning” makes managing projects much easier when multiple people must make changes to the original code. But it also has an interesting side effect: everyone who works on a GitHub project ends up with a copy own their computers. It’s as if everyone who borrowed a book from the library could keep a copy forever, even after returning it. If GitHub vanished entirely, it could be rebuilt using individual users’ own copies of all the projects. It would take ages to accomplish, but it could be done.
Still, such work would be painful. In addition to the source code itself, GitHub is also home to countless comments, bug reports and feature requests, not to mention the rich history of changes. But the decentralized nature of Git does make it far easier to migrate projects to other hosts, such as GitLab, an open source alternative to GitHub that you can run on your own server.
In short, if GitHub as we know it went away, or under future financial pressures became an inferior version of itself, the world’s code will survive. Libraries didn’t end with Alexandria. The question is ultimately whether GitHub will find ways to stay true to its ideals while generating returns—or wind up the stuff of legend.
Friday, June 19. 2015
Google, Microsoft, Mozilla And Others Team Up To Launch WebAssembly, A New Binary Format For The Web
Via Tech Crunch
The idea is that WebAssembly will provide developers with a single compilation target for the web that will, eventually, become a web standard that’s implemented in all browsers.
Mozilla’s asm.js has long aimed to bring near-native speeds to the web. Google’s Native Client project for running native code in the browser had similar aims, but got relatively little traction. It looks like WebAssemly may be able to bring the best of these projects to the browser now.
As a first step, the WebAssembly team aims to offer about the same functionality as asm.js (and developers will be able to use the same Emscripten tool for WebAssembly as they use for compiling asm.js code today).
It’s not often that we see all the major browser vendors work together on a project like this, so this is definitely something worth watching in the months and years ahead.
Thursday, June 18. 2015
Via Tech Crunch
While companies like Facebook have been relatively open about their data center networking infrastructure, Google has generally kept pretty quiet about how it connects the thousands of servers inside its data centers to each other (with a few exceptions). Today, however, the company revealed a bit more about the technology that lets its servers talk to each other.
It’s no secret that Google often builds its own custom hardware for its data centers, but what’s probably less known is that Google uses custom networking protocols that have been tweaked for use in its data centers instead of relying on standard Internet protocols to power its networks.
Google says its current ‘Jupiter’ networking setup — which represents the fifth generation of the company’s efforts in this area — offers 100x the capacity of its first in-house data center network. The current generation delivers 1 Petabit per second of bisection bandwidth (that is, the bandwidth between two parts of the network). That’s enough to allow 100,000 servers to talk to each other at 10GB/s each.
Google’s technical lead for networking, Amin Vahdat, notes that the overall network control stack “has more in common with Google’s distributed computing architectures than traditional router-centric Internet protocols.”
Here is how he describes the three key principles behind the design of Google’s data center networks:
Monday, June 08. 2015
According to the Labor Department, the U.S. economy is in its strongest stretch in corporate hiring since 1997. Given the rapidly escalating competition for talent, it is important for employers, job seekers, and policy leaders to understand the dynamics behind some of the fastest growing professional roles in the job market.
For adults with a bachelor’s degree or above, the unemployment rate stood at just 2.7 percent in May 2015. The national narrative about “skills gaps” often focuses on middle-skill jobs that rely on shorter-term or vocational training – but the more interesting pressure point is arguably at the professional level, which has accounted for much of the wage and hiring growth in the U.S. economy in recent years. Here, the reach and impact of technology into a range of professional occupations and industry sectors is impressive.
Software is eating the world
In 2011, Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen coined the phrase “software is eating the world” in an article outlining his hypothesis that economic value was increasingly being captured by software-focused businesses disrupting a wide range of industry sectors. Nearly four years later, it is fascinating that around 1 in every 20 open job postings in the U.S. job market relates to software development/engineering.
Although most of these positions exist at the experienced level, it is no surprise that computer science and engineering are among the top three most-demanded college majors in this spring’s undergraduate employer recruiting season, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Discussion about the robust demand and competition for software developers in the job market is very often focused around high-growth technology firms such Uber, Facebook, and the like. But from the “software is eating the world” perspective, it is notable that organizations of all types are competing for this same talent – from financial firms and hospitals to government agencies. The demand for software skills is remarkably broad.
For example, the top employers with the greatest number of developer job openings over the last year include JP Morgan Chase, UnitedHealth, Northrup Gruman, and General Motors, according to job market database firm Burning Glass Technologies.
Data science is just the tip of the iceberg
Another surge of skills need related to technology is analytics and the ability to work with, process, and interpret insights from big data. Far more than just a fad or buzzword, references to analytical and data-oriented skills appeared in 4 million postings over the last year – and data analysis is one of the most demanded skills by U.S. employers, according to Burning Glass data.
The Harvard Business Review famously labeled data scientist roles “the sexiest job of the 21st century” – but while this is a compelling new profession by any measure, data scientists sit at the top of the analytics food chain and likely only account for tens of thousands of positions in a job market of 140 million.
What often goes unrecognized is that similar to and even more so than software development, the demand for analytical skills cuts across all levels and functions in an organization, from financial analysts and web developers to risk managers. Further, a wide range of industries is hungry for analytics skills – ranging from the nursing field and public health to criminal justice and even the arts and cultural sector.
As suggested by analytics experts such as Tom Davenport, organizations that are leveraging analytics in their strategy have not only world-class data scientists – but they also support “analytical amateurs” and embed analytics throughout all levels of their organization and culture. For this reason, the need for analytics skills is exploding within a variety of employers, and analytics and data-related themes top many corporate strategy agendas.
Analytics: Digital marketing demands experienced talent
Change is also afoot as digital and mobile channels are disrupting the marketing landscape. According to the CMO Council, spending on mobile marketing is doubling each year, and two-thirds of the growth in consumer advertising is in digital. In an economic expansion cycle, awareness-building and customer acquisition is where many companies are investing. For these reasons, marketing managers are perhaps surprisingly hard to find.
For example, at high-growth tech companies such as Amazon and Facebook, the highest volume job opening after software developer/engineer is marketing manager. These individuals are navigating new channels, as well as approaches to customer acquisition, and they are increasingly utilizing analytics. The marketing manager is an especially critical station in the marketing and sales career ladder and corporate talent bench – with junior creative types aspiring to it and senior product and marketing leadership coming from it.
The challenge is that marketing management requires experience: Those with a record of results in the still nascent field of digital marketing will be especially in demand.
Social media: not just a marketing and communications skill
Traditionally thought of in a marketing context, social media skills represent a final “softer” area that is highly in demand and spans a range of functional silos and levels in the job market — as social media becomes tightly woven into the fabric of how we live, work, consume and play.
While many organizations are, of course, hiring for social media-focused marketing roles, a quick search of job listings at an aggregator site such as Indeed.com reveals 50,000 job openings referencing social media. These range from privacy officers in legal departments that need to account for social media in policy and practice, to technologists who need to integrate social media APIs with products, and project managers and chiefs of staff to CEOs who will manage and communicate with internal and external audiences through social media.
Just as skills in Microsoft Office have become a universal foundation for most professional roles, it will be important to monitor how the use of social media platforms, including optimization and analytics, permeates the job market.
The aforementioned in-demand skills areas represent more of a structural shift than an issue du jour or passing trend. It is precisely the rapid, near daily change in software- and technology-related skills needs that necessitates new approaches to human capital development. While traditional long-term programs such as college degrees remain meaningful, new software platforms, languages, apps and tools rise annually. Who in the mainstream a few years ago had heard of Hadoop or Ruby?
Each month, new partnerships and business models are being formed between major employers, educational institutions and startups – all beginning to tackle novel approaches to skills development in these areas. Certificate programs, boot camps, new forms of executive education, and credentialing are all targeting the problem of producing more individuals with acumen in these areas.
As technology continues to extend its reach and reshape the workforce, it will be important to monitor these issues and explore new solutions to talent development.
Sunday, May 17. 2015
Via The Register
Mozilla has released the first version of its Firefox browser to include support for Encrypted Media Extensions, a controversial World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) spec that brings digital rights management (DRM) to HTML5's video tag.
"Nearly everyone who implements DRM says they are forced to do it" the FSF said at the time, "and this lack of accountability is how the practice sustains itself."
Nonetheless, Mozilla promoted Firefox 38 to the Release channel on Tuesday, complete with EME enabled – although it said it's still doing so reluctantly.
"We don't believe DRM is a desirable market solution, but it's currently the only way to watch a sought-after segment of content," Mozilla senior veep of legal affairs Danielle Dixon-Thayer said in a blog post.
The first firm to leap at the chance to shovel its DRM into Firefox was Adobe, whose Primetime Content Delivery Module for decoding encrypted content shipped with Firefox 38 on Tuesday. Thayer said various companies, including Netflix, are already evaluating Adobe's tech to see if it meets their requirements.
Mozilla says that because Adobe's CDM is proprietary "black box" software, it has made certain to wrap it in a sandbox within Firefox so that its code can't interfere with the rest of the browser. (Maybe that's why it took a year to get it integrated.)
The CDM will issue an alert when it's on a site that uses DRM-wrapped content, so people who don't want to use it will have the option of bowing out.
Restricted content ahead ...
If you don't want your browser tainted by DRM at all, you still have options. You can disable the Adobe Primetime CDM so it never activates. If that's not good enough, there's a menu option in Firefox that lets you opt out of DRM altogether, after which you can delete the Primetime CDM (or any future CDMs from other vendors) from your hard drive.
Finally, if you don't want DRM in your browser and you don't want to bother with any of the above, Mozilla has made available a separate download that doesn't include the Primetime CDM and has DRM disabled by default.As it happens, however, many users won't have to deal with the issue at all – at least not for now. The first version of Adobe's CDM for Firefox is only available on Windows Vista and later and then only for 32-bit versions of the browser. Windows XP, OS X, Linux, and 64-bit versions of Firefox are not yet supported, and there's no word yet on when they might be.
Monday, April 27. 2015
Via The Verge
After months of rumors, Microsoft is revealing its plans to get mobile apps on Windows 10 today. While the company has been investigating emulating Android apps, it has settled on a different solution, or set of solutions, that will allow developers to bring their existing code to Windows 10.
iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps, and Microsoft is enabling this with two new software development kits. On the Android side, Microsoft is enabling developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and for iOS developers they’ll be able to take advantage of their existing Objective C code. "We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications," explained Microsoft’s Terry Myerson during an interview with The Verge this morning.
The idea is simple, get apps on Windows 10 without the need for developers to rebuild them fully for Windows. While it sounds simple, the actual process will be a little more complicated than just pushing a few buttons to recompile apps. "Initially it will be analogous to what Amazon offers," notes Myerson, referring to the Android work Microsoft is doing. "If they’re using some Google API… we have created Microsoft replacements for those APIs." Microsoft’s pitch to developers is to bring their code across without many changes, and then eventually leverage the capabilities of Windows like Cortana, Xbox Live, Holograms, Live Tiles, and more. Microsoft has been testing its new tools with some key developers like King, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, to get games ported across to Windows. Candy Crush Saga as it exists today on Windows Phone has been converted from iOS code using Microsoft’s tools without many modifications.
During Microsoft’s planning for bringing iOS and Android apps to Windows, Myerson admits it wasn’t always an obvious choice to have both. "At times we’ve thought, let's just do iOS," Myerson explains. "But when we think of Windows we really think of everyone on the planet. There’s countries where iOS devices aren’t available." Supporting both Android and iOS developers allows Microsoft to capture everyone who is developing for mobile platforms right now, even if most companies still continue to target iOS first and port their apps to Android at the same time or shortly afterward. By supporting iOS developers, Microsoft wants to be third in line for these ported apps, and that’s a better situation than it faces today.
Alongside the iOS and Android SDKs, Microsoft is also revealing ways for websites and Windows desktop apps to make their way over to Windows universal apps. Microsoft has created a way for websites to run inside a Windows universal app, and use system services like notifications and in-app purchases. This should allow website owners to easily create web apps without much effort, and list those apps in the Windows Store. It’s not the best alternative to a native app for a lot of scenarios, but for simple websites it offers up a new way to create an app without its developers having to learn new code languages. Microsoft is also looking toward existing Windows desktop app developers with Windows 10. Developers will be able to leverage their .NET and Win32 work and bring this to Windows universal apps. "Sixteen million .NET and Win32 apps are still being used every month on Windows 7 and Windows 8," explains Myerson, so it’s clear Microsoft needs to get these into Windows 10.
Microsoft is using some of its HyperV work to virtualize these existing desktop apps on Windows 10. Adobe is one particular test case where Microsoft has been working closely with the firm to package its apps ready for Windows 10. Adobe Photoshop Elements is coming to the Windows Store as a universal app, using this virtualization technology. Performance is key for many desktop apps, so it will be interesting to see if Microsoft has managed to maintain a fluid app experience with this virtualization.
Collectively, Microsoft is referring to these four new SDKs as bridges or ramps to get developers interested in Windows 10. It’s a key moment for the company to really win back developers and prove that Windows is still relevant in a world that continues to be dominated by Android and iOS. The aim, as Myerson puts it, is to get Windows 10 on 1 billion devices within the next two to three years. That’s a big goal, and the company will need the support of developers and apps to help it get there.
These SDKs will generate questions among Microsoft’s core development community, especially those who invested heavily in the company’s Metro-style design and the unique features of Windows apps in the past. The end result for consumers is, hopefully, more apps, but for developers it’s a question of whether to simply port their existing iOS and Android work across and leave it at that, or extend those apps to use Windows features or even some design elements. "We want to structure the platform so it’s not an all or nothing," says Myerson. "If you use everything together it’s beautiful, but that’s not required to get started."
Microsoft still has the tricky mix of ported apps to contend with, and that could result in an app store similar to Amazon's, or even one where developers still aren't interested in porting. This is just the beginning, and Windows universal apps, while promising, still face a rocky and uncertain future.
Friday, April 24. 2015
Via SD Times
I recently attended Facebook’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, where I had a revelation on why it is going to be impossible to succeed as a technology vendor in the long run without deeply embracing open source. Of the many great presentations I listened to, I was most captivated by the ones that explained how Facebook internally developed software. I was impressed by how quickly the company is turning such important IP back into the community.
To be sure, many major Web companies like Google and Yahoo have been leveraging open-source dynamics aggressively and contribute back to the community. My aim is not to single out Facebook, except that it was during the F8 conference I had the opportunity to reflect on the drivers behind Facebook’s actions and why other technology providers may be wise to learn from them.
Here are my 10 reasons why open-source software is effectively becoming inevitable for infrastructure and application platform companies:
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