Microsoft open sources its Infer.NET machine learning framework

Microsoft appears to be in a benevolent mood after deciding to make its cross-platform machine learning framework open source.

The company’s Infer.NET framework is used for model-based machine learning. It was first born at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK in 2004 and later released for academic use in 2008.

Hundreds of papers have since been published using the framework across a variety of fields, everything from information retrieval to healthcare. In 2012, Infer.NET...

By Ryan Daws, 08 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI.

Vulnerability in GitLab’s API exposed confidential data

Popular web-based repository manager GitLab has fixed a bug with its API which may have exposed confidential data about projects.

An insecure direct object reference within the GitLab Events API made information such as private notes, merge requests, and issues available.

In a post, GitLab Director of Security Kathy Wang wrote:

“We discovered that this exposure dates back to June 22, 2017, with the 9.3 release. GitLab’s...

By Ryan Daws, 05 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Git, Industry, Platforms.

Fastai is a Python library aiming to make AI simpler

A startup called Fastai is aiming to help developers carry out AI-related tasks with its deep learning library for Python.

Fastai was cofounded by two University of San Francisco employees. Rachel Thomas is a professor at the university, while Jeremy Howard is a research scientist.

Python has become almost synonymous with AI development due to being fast, robust, portable, and scalable. Some of the world’s most popular AI frameworks such as TensorFlow, Deap, and Chainer are designed for...

By Ryan Daws, 03 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, API, Development Tools, Industry, Platforms.

Apple Watch apps became 64-bit due to ‘Bitcode’ feature

Apps developed for the Apple Watch transitioned from 32-bit to 64-bit last month thanks to the ‘Bitcode’ feature hidden in Xcode.

The feature was added to Xcode 7 three years ago in November 2015. While optional for iOS apps, it was mandatory for watchOS and tvOS. Now we know why,

Rather than update and recompile each app for 64-bit, Bitcode sits between human-written code and machine code to prevent this being necessary. Bitcode provides a partially-compiled app to Apple which can be completed...

By Ryan Daws, 02 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, App Stores, Development Tools, Platforms, Wearables.

Microsoft open sources MS-DOS (for real this time!)

After over 30 years, Microsoft is making MS-DOS fully open source as part of a “re-release” without the restrictions of the last.

Many will not have seen MS-DOS for decades, but the 1983 OS remains among the most important software ever written.

Indicating the importance of the OS, MS-DOS was added to the Computer History Museum in 2013. In doing so, the original source codes were transferred.

The clause of MS-DOS in the Computer History Museum was that people were prohibited from using it for...

By Ryan Daws, 01 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Industry, Windows.

Analyst: Supreme Court won’t rule on App Store fees until mid-2019

Developers awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling in a case against Apple over its App Store fees may have to wait until mid-2019.

Benjamin Schachter, Analyst at Macquarie Research, expects the verdict will be heard soon but the ruling won’t be made until early next year. Furthermore, any potential financial impact will be at least a year away.

The case against Apple was filed in 2011 by a group of app developers who allege that Apple has engaged in anti-competitive behaviours in taking a cut from...

By Ryan Daws, 28 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, App Stores, Industry, iOS, Monetisation, Platforms.

Apple simplifies beta testing apps with TestFlight links

Apple developers who use the company’s TestFlight beta testing service can now share invite links with up to 10,000 people.

The new feature aims to simplify the process for both developers and testers.

Developers create a public link which can be shared with multiple users instead of having to create an invite for each.

Potential testers can simply click the link to be guided through installing the required TestFlight app, in addition to downloading the requested beta.

In

By Ryan Daws, 27 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, Development Tools, iOS, Platforms, Testing.

Microsoft unveils Cortana Skills Kit for enterprise developers

Microsoft has announced Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise during this year’s Ignite conference, enabling custom AI experiences for businesses.

Developers may already be aware of the Cortana Skills Kit as it’s been available to build consumer experiences for some time. As its name suggests, the version announced today is tailored at building enterprise solutions.

Javier Soltero, Microsoft CVP in charge of Cortana, said:

“At heart, we are about providing valuable assistance...

By Ryan Daws, 26 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Development Tools, Enterprise, Platforms.

Android Studio 3.2 released boasting over 20 new features

Google has released the latest version of Android Studio with over 20 new features including some relating to the ‘Pie’ release of the OS.

Among the major new features is support for ‘App Bundles’ which is Google’s new way of packaging Android apps to shrink their size.

Google’s research has found the larger an app is, the fewer installs it receives. Size reductions achieved by using App Bundles varies but Twitter saved 35 percent, Jomo...

By Ryan Daws, 25 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Development Tools, Platforms.

BlueStacks emulates Android ‘6x faster’ than leading smartphone

Popular emulator BlueStacks claims to provide six times faster performance when running Android software on a PC than a leading benchmarked smartphone.

BlueStacks was created back in 2009 by Jay Vaishnav, Suman Saraf, and Rosen Sharma. No other emulator has achieved quite the same level of success – even receiving investment from the likes of Samsung, Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and more.

The emulator’s latest update, 4.0, looks set to add even more fans.

According to BlueStacks,...

By Ryan Daws, 19 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Mobile, Windows.

Linus shows humility in apology to Linux kernel developers

Linux creator Linus Torvalds isn’t known for mincing his words, but in his latest update, he’s apologised for his rude behaviour towards kernel developers.

The apology was made in the latest email to kernel developers regarding the most recent Linux 4.19-rc4 release.

Only a quick note was made regarding the actual kernel, mentioning small changes and being ‘fairly average in size for this stage in the release cycle’. However, the ‘other, much longer, part’ (in Linus’...

By Ryan Daws, 18 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Industry, Platforms.

Mozilla aims to expand WebVR's capabilities with the WebXR API

Mozilla is building a new API called WebXR aiming to expand the capabilities of WebVR and enable the creation of mixed reality experiences on the web.

WebVR was first conceived in spring 2014 by Vladimir Vukićević from Mozilla with the aim of providing an open source API for displaying VR content on the web. On March 1st 2016, the Mozilla VR team and the Google Chrome team announced version 1.0 of the WebVR API.

The API is supported across many browsers including Firefox,...

By Ryan Daws, 17 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, iOS, Mobile, VR.

Facebook is using AI to help developers track down bugs

Facebook is releasing an AI-powered tool called SapFix which aims to help software developers track down pesky bugs in their code.

SapFix detects errors in code and suggests possible fixes to developers. Currently, it fixes bugs spotted by Sapienz – a software testing tool by Facebook – but the company promises it will be able to find errors in any code.

The AI works by rolling back the code which has caused an...

By Ryan Daws, 14 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Development Tools, Facebook, Testing.

Pusher 'Beams' enables read receipts for push notifications

Pusher has launched a new feature called 'Beams' which provides developers with read receipts for their push notifications, similar to using most IM apps.

Read receipts are not exactly a groundbreaking new feature. Since the early days of SMS, users have been able to opt-in to receive alerts when their messages have been successfully delivered to another device.

With the rise of instant messaging, the feature has become somewhat default. Now when you use popular services like Facebook Messenger you...

By Ryan Daws, 07 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Analytics, Android, API, Apple, iOS.

Android's latest OS distribution stats are in, and it's still a problem

The long-standing issue of many active Android devices running older versions of Google’s operating system continues.

Android 7.0 (and 7.1) ‘Nougat’ remains the most popular Android version in-use today with 30.8 percent of the devices, although now being two years old. Last year’s release, Android 8.0 ‘Oreo’ is on just 14.6 percent of devices.

Android 9.0 ‘Pie’ was fully announced last month and began rolling out to select devices. Many users expect a rollout...

By Ryan Daws, 04 September 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Devices, Mobile, Platforms.

Consumers are more satisfied with Apple CarPlay over Android Auto

In the battle to become the car platform of choice, it seems Apple’s CarPlay is winning in satisfaction over Google’s Android Auto.

In a survey conducted by J.D. Power, more consumers are satisfied with CarPlay than Android Auto. This is despite most drivers preferring Google Maps over Apple Maps.

On a 1,000 point scale, CarPlay beat Android Auto 777 to 748. It’s not a substantial difference by any means, but notable regardless.

In terms of mapping choice, the majority (56%) choose Google...

By Ryan Daws, 31 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Apple, iOS, Platforms.

Google upgrades its speech APIs with improved features

Google has updated its Text-to-Speech and Speech-to-Text APIs with a range of feature improvements alongside support for more languages.

For many developers, the addition of 17 new WaveNet-based voices for a variety of languages will be the highlight of today’s update.

WaveNet is Google’s technology which uses machine learning to create a natural-sounding voice when performing text-to-speech.

By Ryan Daws, 29 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: API, Cloud.

Fortnite developer and Google have an Epic spat over vulnerability​​​​​​​

Fortnite developer Epic is not too pleased with the way in which Google publicly disclosed a security vulnerability with the game’s Android installer.

Rather than pay the 30 percent cut which Google takes from distributing games through its Play Store, Epic decided to bypass the official app store in favour of its own installer.

Sideloading games poses an increased risk to consumers as it bypasses many of...

By Ryan Daws, 28 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Gaming, Hacking, Industry, Platforms, Security.

Twitter makes third-party apps worse by killing ‘legacy’ APIs

Despite promises to improve its relationship with developers, Twitter continues targeting third-party apps by killing ‘legacy’ APIs.

Most of the core functionality is still available but more limited and not as attractive as Twitter’s official app which it’s clearly pushing users towards.

For example, popular Twitter client Tweetbot had to put out this changelog:

- Timeline streaming on WiFi is now disabled. Your timelines will now refresh automatically every 1-2...

By Ryan Daws, 17 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: API, Platforms, Social media.

Google will soon be reviewing every WearOS app for quality

Google will soon be reviewing every WearOS app to ensure those on the platform are high quality as part of its bid to revitalise the platform.

WearOS has struggled to take off quite as people hoped. Part of the reason is a perceived lack of reason to hand over hundreds of pounds for a glorified notification extender.

To help ensure users find good apps for WearOS, Google will soon be assessing whether submitted apps are of a decent standard.

Having a WearOS app review by Google was optional as of Android Wear...

By Ryan Daws, 16 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: App Stores, Platforms, Wearables.