theodp writes "In 'The Design That Conquered Google,' The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan reports that 'cards' — modeled after real cards — are set to become one of the dominant ways in which Google presents certain types of information to users. The power of a card as a visual-organization metaphor according to Matias Duarte (lead designer of Android), is that 'it makes very clear the atomic unity of things; it's still flexible while creating a kind of regularity.' Hey, maybe that Bill Atkinson was really on to something with that dadgum HyperCard software of his back in the '80s!"
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An anonymous reader writes with a link to a recent post on Red Hat senior interaction designer Máirín Duffy's blog with an illuminating look at Red Hat's design process, and how things like graphic elements, widget behavior, and bootup time are taken into account. It starts: "So I have this thing on my desk at Red Hat that basically defines a simple design process. (Yes, it also uses the word 'ideate' and yes, it sounds funny but it is a real word apparently!) While the mailing list thread on the topic at this point is high-volume and a bit chaotic, there is a lot of useful information and suggestions in there that I think could be pulled into a design process and sorted out. So I took 3 hours (yes, 3 hours) this morning to wade through the thread and attempt to do this."
New submitter geekoid writes "According to media reports about leaked Windows 8.1 code, the next incarnation of Microsoft's flagship operating system will have an option to boot directly to the desktop. People have discovered 'references to a "CanSuppressStartScreen" option in early builds of the Windows 8.1 registry.' There is also speculation that Microsoft will be re-implementing the Start button, though the claims come from nebulous 'sources,' rather than the leaked code. In light of recent reporting about the general distaste and design flaws of Windows 8's user interface, will Microsoft's updates be dynamic enough to stop the current Windows exodus?"
Hamburg writes "LyX joined this year's Google Summer of Code (GSoC 2013) as a mentoring organization. The LaTeX based open-source GUI LyX has been accepted to the GSoC for the first time. With LyX one can start using LaTeX without being used to 'program' documents. So it's an important entry point to the (La)TeX world, and a bridge between GUI word processors and LaTeX. This is a great opportunity for its development, now student developers can get financial support for contributing new features: successful contributions will earn a stipend of 5000 USD for the student and 500 USD for the organization, in this case the LyX project, who provides mentors to the students. There are already many project ideas, for example a GUI for editing layouts, a presentation mode, EPUB export, an outliner tool for intuitive writing, retina screen (HiDPI) support, and interactive concurrent editing. Would you like to take part, or do you have further ideas for improvements or features? Send your proposals to the lyx-devel mailing list, or simply comment here, what can be suggested to the LyX mentors."
jrepin writes "During Hack Week 9 at SUSE, longtime KDE hacker Will Stephenson started working on a project codenamed KLyDE. This project's aim is to bring KDE Plasma to the lightweight desktop market. It applies KDE's strengths of modularity and configurability to the challenge of making a lightweight desktop." Better said, Stephenson was able to devote lots of time to it; he's been working on the project for a few years now.
An anonymous reader writes "A Jolla Sailfish OS engineer has ported Wayland to run on Android GPU drivers. The implementation uses libhybis with the Android driver so that the rest of the operating system can be a conventional glibc-based Linux operating system, such as Mer / Sailfish OS. The code is to be LGPL licensed. The reported reasoning for making Wayland support Android GPU drivers was difficulty in ODM vendors not wishing to offer driver support for platforms aside from Android."
colinneagle writes "This week, the team at Digia rolled out the first alpha release of Qt 5.1, which is slated to have the first round of support for Android and iOS, with full support coming in 5.2. The goal is to make 5.1 completely usable for building complete, shippable apps for both mobile platforms. That means Qt can now be used to build native, smooth applications on Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS X and even BlackBerry 10, all with an excellent integrated development environment – QtCreator. Coming with version 5.1 is also something called 'Qt Quick Controls' — which is a set of nice, reusable user interface controls. Currently, it is focused on Desktop applications, but is expanding to add touchscreen-specific features. And, importantly, this release also brings 'Qt Sensors' into play. 'Qt Sensors' are pretty much exactly what they sound like — access to hardware sensors on devices where they are available, with built-in motion gesture recognition. Definitely a big plus for Android and iOS applications."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook has announced "Home" for Android smartphones (and, eventually, tablets). It's something less than a full Facebook mobile operating system, as some expected before the company's presentation, and more like an app update. Facebook also announced the Facebook Home Program, which will work with several carriers and device makers to pre-load Home onto select devices, including ones built by Samsung, Sony, ZTE, and Lenovo. The first "Home" phone will be the HTC First, a $99.99 phone that will ship April 12 from AT&T. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told analysts and journalists assembled for his presentation that Home was designed to reorient the phone and the Facebook mobile experience around people, not apps: "On one level, Home is the next mobile version of Facebook. On the other, it's a change in the relationship with the next generation of computing devices." Home essentially is a custom start screen for your Android phone, replacing the home screen with one centered on Facebook. While users can access other Android apps on the phone, the focus is on those apps that run on the Facebook platform. Home can also be enabled as a lock screen." Reader RougeFemme points out that France Telecom/Orange will be the first carrier in Europe.
An anonymous reader writes "Excerpts from the announcement: 'This release is a giant step forward from the 1.4 release. In this release, we have replaced many deprecated packages and libraries with new technologies available in GLib. We have also added a lot of new features (...) MATE 1.6 is the result of 8 months of intense development and contains 1800 contributions by 39 people, and more than 150 translators.' See the release notes for a list of changes and new features." They've unforked a number of old GNOME 2 libraries, relying instead of technology from GLib/Gtk+ 3 and other projects where it makes sense. None of the new features really stand out on their own, but it looks like there are dozens of small improvements that should make the desktop experience more pleasant.
harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, we've published David Greelish's interview with Alan Kay, the famously quotable visionary whose Dynabook proposal has provided much of the inspiration for advances in mobile computing for over 40 years now. Kay talks about his work, laments that the computer has failed to live up to its potential as an educational tool, and says that the iPad betrays the vision that he and others created at Xerox PARC and elsewhere in the 1970s."
An anonymous reader writes "Weeks after Canonical announced Mir, Wayland's display server protocol and Weston compositor have been forked. A contributor to Wayland found differing views with the project over desktop eye candy and other technical decisions to the X11 successor, which resulted in forming the Northfield and Norwood projects. The developer, Scott Moreau, has been outted from the project but has provided a lengthy explanation why the fork was needed to advance the Linux desktop."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft might want a piece of the mini-tablet market. The company has lowered the minimum screen resolution for Windows 8 tablets, from 1,366 x 768 pixels to 1024 x 768 pixels. "This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution," it wrote in an accompanying newsletter. "We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful." As pointed out by ZDNet's Ed Bott—cited by other publications as the journalist who first noticed the altered guidelines—that lowered resolution "would allow manufacturers to introduce devices that are in line with the resolutions of the iPad Mini (1024 x 768) and the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 (both 1280 x 800)." Whatever the contours of the smaller-tablet market, it's certainly popular enough to tantalize any potential competitor. But if Microsoft plunges in, it will face the same challenges that confronted it in the larger-tablet arena: lots of solid competitors, and not a whole lot of time to make a winning impression. There are also not-inconsiderable hardware challenges to overcome, including processor selection and engineering for optimal battery life."
Hot on the heels of the Gtk+ 3.8 release comes GNOME 3.8. There are a few general UI improvements, but the highlight for many is the new Classic mode that replaces fallback. Instead of using code based on the old GNOME panel, Classic emulates the feel of GNOME 2 through Shell extensions (just like Linux Mint's Cinnamon interface). From the release notes: "Classic mode is a new feature for those people who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. Built entirely from GNOME 3 technologies, it adds a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen. Each of these features can be used individually or in combination with other GNOME extensions."
An anonymous reader writes "The E17 Enlightenment project has released a new version of its Terminology terminal emulator. With Terminology 0.3 comes several fancy features, including the ability to preview video files, images, and PDF files from within the terminal. There's new escape sequences, inline video playback, and other features to this terminal emulator that's only built on EFL and libc."
kthreadd writes "Version 3.8 of the GTK+ GUI framework has been released. A new feature in GTK+ 3.8 is support for Wayland 1.0, the display server that will replace X on free desktops. Among the other new features are improved support for theming, fixes to geometry management and improved accessibility. There is also better support for touch, as part of an ongoing effort in making GTK+ touch-aware."
Rambo Tribble writes "This new, third edition of Sobell's book brings enhancements that add to the text's value as both a learning tool and a reference. This has always been a foundation book for those wanting a professional level of familiarity with Linux. The addition of chapters to introduce the Python language and MySQL database serves to offer the reader practical insights into additional Linux-related technologies." Read below for the rest of Rambo's review.
An anonymous reader writes "As expected, a new pre-public version of Windows Blue (build 9364) has leaked online and it reveals a handful of features that are coming in the next big Microsoft Windows 8 update." Several sites have screenshots from the build; Hot Hardware says "Assuming this is all completely legitimate, the most obvious change pertains to the Metro UI, including greater flexibility in sizing Live Tiles and customizing the Start screen, particularly as the Personalize setting (among others, including Devices and Share) is now under the Settings charm. The Name Group feature for the Start menu looks a little more polished, too."
An anonymous reader writes "Canonical's plan to develop the Mir Display Server for Ubuntu rather than going with their original plans to adopt Wayland has been met with criticism from KDE (and other) developers... The GNOME response to Ubuntu's Mir is that they will now be rushing support for the GNOME desktop on Wayland. Over the next two release cycles they plan to iron out the Wayland support for the GNOME Shell, the GTK+ toolkit, and all GNOME packages so that by this time next year you can be running GNOME entirely on Wayland while still having X11 fall-back support."
An anonymous reader writes "OSNews' managing editor Thom Holwerda has posted a lavish five-part retrospective on Palm, covering its history, user interface, internal technology, and competition. Holwerda first pays tribute to the pioneers of automatic handwriting recognition, including two remarkable stylus tablets (connected to mainframe computers) produced by RAND Corporation during the 1960s. The action picks up a couple decades later as Jeff Hawkins implements a handwriting recognition engine for his employer, the makers of the high end GRiD compass (MS-DOS) laptop. Hawkins dreamed of developing handwriting recognition for a device small enough to be carried around in one's pocket and cheap enough to be sold to a mass market. Along the way he had an epiphany: instead of trying to recognize the user's natural handwriting, why not create a simple alphabet that could be recognized reliably by the software? When Bill Gates entered the game, Hawkins had another big idea: why not compete against the Microsofts of the world by having fewer features, instead of more?" The handwriting recognition part is chock full of screenshots and video demos of early recognition systems, too.
hypnosec wrote in with news that XBMC has experimental Wayland support now. Even better, it's implemented by porting XBMC to SDL 2.0, something that will become important as SDL 1.2 development officially ended and SDL 2.0 should be out in the wild in the not-too-distant-future. The code is only a few days old and has a few serious limitations (input is broken and a bug in weston with threaded clients causes rendering hangs) , but it seems like a pretty good start. The port should also bring SDL 2.0 support to the X11 backend.