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Updated: 24 weeks 6 days ago

Google denies altering YouTube code to break Microsoft Edge

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 13:26
A former Microsoft intern has revealed details of a YouTube incident that has convinced some Edge browser engineers that Google added code to purposely break compatibility. In a post on Hacker News, Joshua Bakita, a former software engineering intern at Microsoft, lays out details and claims about an incident earlier this year. Microsoft has since announced the company is moving from the EdgeHTML rendering engine to the open source Chromium project for its Edge browser. [...] Google disputes Bakita's claims, and says the YouTube blank div was merely a bug that was fixed after it was reported. "YouTube does not add code designed to defeat optimizations in other browsers, and works quickly to fix bugs when they're discovered," says a YouTube spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. "We regularly engage with other browser vendors through standards bodies, the Web Platform Tests project, the open-source Chromium project and more to improve browser interoperability." While we're unlikely to ever know the real story behind this particular incident, I don't doubt for a second that Google would do something like this.

How Amazon, Apple, and Google played the tax-break game

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 13:19
It took about 30 minutes for Williamson County commissioners to unanimously approve a roughly $16 million incentive package for Apple Tuesday morning, bringing the total amount the tech giant is likely to receive in exchange for choosing Austin as the site for its newest campus to a cool $41 million. The new addition is set to be Apple's second campus in the Austin, Texas, area - located less than a mile from the company's existing facility, established five years ago. It comes with the promise of a $1 billion dollar investment from Apple in the area and the addition of up to 15,000 new jobs. But the details of the incentive package Williamson County whipped up to woo Apple tell a slightly different story. In the contract approved by county officials, Apple committed to spending at least $400 million on the new campus and creating 4,000 jobs over 12 years. The contract says the jobs don’t necessarily have to be on the new campus in order for Apple to receive the promised incentives, but rather can be anywhere within Williamson County. Shady and shoddy deals like these are only the tip of the iceberg - and don't think this is merely an American thing. This entire past year in The Netherlands has been dominated by our newly elected government wanting to shove through an incredibly unpopular tax cut specifically designed to appease major (partly) Dutch multinationals like Shell and Unilever - a 2 billion euro tax cut while various important social services like police, education, and healthcare desperately need better pay and working conditions. In the end, under immense public and political pressure, the tax cut was cancelled, but it goes to show that these things happen everywhere - in large, powerful nations like the US, but also in small, insignificant welfare states like The Netherlands.

A first look at the Fuchsia SDK

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 21:08
With the significant news this week that the Fuchsia SDK and a Fuchsia "device" are being added to the Android Open Source Project, now seems like a good time to learn more about the Fuchsia SDK. Today on Fuchsia Friday, we dive into the Fuchsia SDK and see what it has to offer developers who might want to get a head start on Fuchsia. Fuchsia is the only publicly known truly new operating system designed and built by one of the major technology companies. It's strange to think this may one day power Chromebooks and "Android" devices alike.

MIPS goes open source

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 21:03
Without question, 2018 was the year RISC-V genuinely began to build momentum among chip architects hungry for open-source instruction sets. That was then. By 2019, RISC-V won't be the only game in town. Wave Computing announced Monday that it is putting MIPS on open source, with MIPS Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and MIPS' latest core R6 available in the first quarter of 2019. Good news, and it makes me wonder - will we ever see a time where x86 and x86-64 are open source? I am definitely not well-versed enough in these matters to judge just how important the closed-source nature of the x86 ISA really is to Intel and AMD, but it seems like something that will never happen.

Dr. Google is a liar

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 20:58
It started during yoga class. She felt a strange pull on her neck, a sensation completely foreign to her. Her friend suggested she rush to the emergency room. It turned out that she was having a heart attack. She didn’t fit the stereotype of someone likely to have a heart attack. She exercised, did not smoke, watched her plate. But on reviewing her medical history, I found that her cholesterol level was sky high. She had been prescribed a cholesterol-lowering statin medication, but she never picked up the prescription because of the scary things she had read about statins on the internet. She was the victim of a malady fast gearing up to be a modern pandemic - fake medical news. While misinformation has been the object of great attention in politics, medical misinformation might have an even greater body count. As is true with fake news in general, medical lies tend to spread further than truths on the internet - and they have very real repercussions. We already see the consequences of this with abusive parents not vaccinating their children based on clearly disproven lies and nonsense, but it also extends to other medical issues. What's especially interesting is that this affects people with higher educations a lot more than people with lower educations - might overconfidence be a slow and insidious killer (have a cookie if you catch that reference without Googling/DDG'ing)? In any event, while people not vaccinating their children should obviously be tried for child abuse, I can't say I can really care about what people do to their own bodies. If a grown adult wants to trust some baseless Facebook nonsense or whatever over qualified medical personnel, then she or he should be free to do so - and suffer the consequences.

Windows monthly security and quality updates overview

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 20:51
Today's global cybersecurity threats are both dynamic and sophisticated, and new vulnerabilities are discovered almost every day. We focus on protecting customers from these security threats by providing security updates on a timely basis and with high quality. We strive to help you keep your Windows devices, regardless of which version of Windows they are running, up to date with the latest monthly quality updates to help mitigate the evolving threat landscape. That is why, today, as part of our series of blogs on the Windows approach to quality, I'll share an overview of how we deliver these critical updates on a massive scale as a key component of our ongoing Windows as a service effort. After Microsoft's recent stumbles with Windows updates, the company has been putting out a number of blog posts about how it approaches updates. This particular blog post explains some of the inside baseball on the various categories updates get placed in, as well as the various tests the company runs to ensure updates are safe and reliable - exactly the area where Microsoft has been failing lately.

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