Nesting Buddy

Google Andromeda
A few months ago, rumors were circulating saying that Google is developing an Andromeda operating system for laptops, which would combine the best of its two worlds, including Android and Chrome OS. Google was even supposed to announce Andromeda, but that never happened.

The project, however, was not canned, and it's still in development. Google isn't even trying to hide it, although one should have to pay close attention to find traces of it out in the wild. That's what Daniel Matte did, explaining what Andromeda — or Fuchsia, as it might be called now — is all about.

"To my naive eyes, rather than saying Chrome OS is being merged into Android, it looks more like Android and Chrome OS are both being merged into Fuchsia," he said. "It’s worth noting that these operating systems had previously already begun to merge together to an extent, such as when the Android team worked with the Chrome OS team in order to bring Update Engine to Nougat, which introduced A/B updates to the platform."

Matte's findings seem to indicate that Google's future computer OS will work on a variety of devices, regardless of screen size or processor architecture. Andromeda will not replace Android, but rather expand Android’s reach and its power.

"My best guess is that Android as an API and runtime will live on as a legacy environment within Andromeda," Matte said. "That’s not to say that all development of Android would immediately stop, which seems extremely unlikely."

Furthermore, with Andromeda in place, developers will have the tools they need to code apps for Andromeda, Android, and iOS "with minimal extra work, in theory."

"Andromeda, however, will provide a laptop OS with native apps and backward compatibility with Android. It could very well look much the same visually as Chrome OS does now, however," Matte concluded.

"I also have to imagine the Android update problem (a symptom of the monolithic Linux kernel, in addition to starting conditions) will, at last, be solved by Andromeda, but one can never be too sure."

It’s unclear at this time how Andromeda updates will actually affect mobile devices that'll run the new OS or "old" Android versions. That’s assuming Google can also fix the carrier/OEM "problems." Since it's up to OEMs and carriers to create and release Android update, Google can't really fix Android annoying fragmentation issue.

Furthermore, it's not inconceivable to assume that Andromeda will also have VR and AR applications in the future, as well as advanced AI integration. This is speculation from yours truly at this point.

Interestingly, while researching the matter, Matte found that Google is already testing Andromeda — rather than just Android — on the brand new Snapdragon 835 processor, a chip that will power some of the hottest Android devices of 2017. Does this mean that the first Andromeda device might be released later this year? Will it be a tablet? A laptop? We have no way of knowing. Matte’s full report, complete with more technical details is available at this link.


Read More ...

Antivirus
As far as everyone is concerned, installing anti-virus is one of the first steps that most would recommend users do with a new PC build. However, it turns out not everyone subscribes to that line of thinking.

Ex-Mozilla developer Robert O’Callahan has gone so far as to say that anyone running the latest version of Windows 10 should delete it, as it risks creating more vulnerabilities than it protects against.

O'Callahan left the Mozilla Foundation in mid-2016, but worked there for many years, helping develop the Firefox browser, and more recently was involved with research into the "rr" record and replay debugging tool. In short, he knows his stuff, enough that when he says everybody don’t need something as seemingly essential as anti-virus, it’s worth taking notice.

This isn’t to say that O'Callahan believes security on a PC platform is worthless. Indeed he makes a specific claim that Microsoft’s anti-malware software, like Windows Defender, is a must. But as for everything else? He genuinely believes that it's a waste of time and in a worse case scenario, may actually make the system more vulnerable than if nothing was installed at all.

As an example of why this is the case, he highlighted bugs that Google's Project Zero vulnerability team have discovered in antivirus software. It appears to be just one, though the illustration does somewhat argue his point: if antivirus itself can have security vulnerabilities and doesn't do enough to ward against others, is it really necessary?

O'Callahan truly believes that it isn’t, citing one particular instance on his Eyes Above The Waves blog, where Firefox updates of yesteryear would be blocked by overzealous antivirus software. That meant that important security patches would not be delivered to users in a timely manner, all because they were using third-party anti-virus software.

He even goes so far as to highlight why it is he's only speaking about this "now that [he’s] left Mozilla for a while." It's because software developers need the cooperation of anti-virus makers, since if they were to tarnish a software's name with the idea that it's insecure or a tool for malware in its own right, that could have a massively negative effect on the developers' business.


Read More ...

Dummy Mannequin
One Washington State Patrol trooper has a very keen eyesight after he spotted a motorist using a dummy to commit a violation of the road rules.

The trooper spotted a driver attempting to outsmart the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane policy, by passing off a mannequin as a passenger, which is a dumb move really.

HOV lanes are reserved for carpools, vanpools, buses, motorcycles or any vehicle carrying two or more people.

"Early this morning, a Tacoma trooper caught an HOV violator driving 81 mph with this young lady in the passenger seat," read a post on the Washington State Patrol's Facebook page, along with a photo of the lifelike violation. "In case you didn't know...this doesn't qualify for HOV lanes!"

Trooper Todd Bartolac, a public information officer with Washington State Patrol, tweeted, "Violator was ticketed for speed and the HOV violation. On the positive side they were both wearing their seat belts! #buckelup"

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, state troopers use their discretion to determine whether to issue a ticket or a written warning. The state's current fine for illegally driving in an HOV lane is $136.

Bartolac said the mannequin was one of the most life-like he has ever seen, according to ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle.


Read More ...

The Predator
Remember the movie "The Predator" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Shane Black in 1987? Well, Black decided to give the movie a good reboot, but it appears to have missed some major story lines.

Everyone old enough to remember won't have problem how titular extraterrestrial creature will look like, but the cast is another matter. Last 20 February, filmmaker Black posted on twitter a photograph of himself with actors Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, and Keegan Michael-Key. The cast members looked dressed — and in some cases armed — for business, which is just as well given that Black also confirmed the film started shooting the day after.

"Partial cast ... beautiful human beings, good people," Black tweeted. "Also, killers. Cameras roll today. Follow me on Twitter for updates. Wish us luck."

Well, he may need a lot of luck after fans of the movie noticed some intriguing issue. For example, the all alpha male squad of elite soldiers were replaced by an almost black ensemble, a woman and a child. Is this a family movie? Why was there even a child there?

Nobody is a fan of a child in a violent movie where everyone knows already that he will definitely be alive after all the shooting, hacking, punching and skinning is done. Anybody wants to bet a US$ 100 that the kid survive the mayhem?

And if the producers do decide to buck the trend and the kid dies, this is the wrong franchise for that. Predators are sportsmen looking for difficult hunts ... something that could fight back. Something trophy worthy. So killing a kid wouldn't feel true to the character, right?

If the original plot is adopted, how does a 11-year old white boy fit into it? Maybe he was parasailing with his step-dad and was stranded? Will there be a T-Rex in this movie as well?

Black should know better because he was in the first movie. This is another example of another plot that was perfect the way it was. Can this lazy coddled generation put out anything original?


Read More ...

Facebook
Among Silicon Valley’s top tech employers, Facebook was viewed as the most vulnerable to U.S. President Donald Trump's expected crackdown on guest-worker visas and illegal aliens, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Labor Department filings.

More than 15 percent of Facebook's U.S. employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, giving the social media leader a legal classification as a H-1B "dependent" company. That is a higher proportion than Alphabet Google, Apple, Amazon.com or Microsoft.

That could cause problems for Facebook if Trump or Congress decide to make the H-1B programme more restrictive, as the president and some Republican lawmakers have threatened to do.

Both Trump and Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions have opposed the programme in its current form. They have also indicated that they are open to reforming it to "ensure the beneficiaries of the programme are the best and the brightest," according to a draft executive order seen by Reuters.

The Trump administration has not proposed any new rules that would target companies with the H-1B "dependent" classification. But the fact that Facebook alone among major tech companies falls into that category suggests it is the most exposed in the industry to any changes in H-1B visa policy.

H-1B visas are intended for foreign nationals in "specialty" occupations that generally require higher education, which according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) includes, but is not limited to, scientists, engineers or computer programmers. The government awards 85,000 every year, chiefly through a lottery system.

Companies say they use them to recruit top talent. But a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism by sceptics that those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. Critics also say the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.


Read More ...