Apple Opens the iOS 10 Kernel, Sony Compensates Linux Users… [Tech News Digest]
Apple opens iOS 10 to outsiders, Sony must pay for removing Linux support, Google Maps translates foreign business names, HP recalls some of its laptop batteries, and the largest Nerf gun in the world.
Apple Reveals the Core of iOS 10
Apple unveiled iOS 10 at WWDC 16 last week, and once the conference was over, the company released a preview of it to developers. However, as first reported by MIT Technology Review, there was a surprise lurking within the preview of iOS 10; an unencrypted kernel, the very core of Apple’s mobile operating system.
Was this a rare careless mistake on the part of Apple? It certainly seemed that way for a while, as an unencrypted kernel means developers and hackers alike can poke around in there and potentially find security weaknesses just waiting to be exploited.
However, this turns out to be a calculated gamble on Apple’s part, with the company issuing a statement claiming this was entirely intentional. The short statement read, “By unencrypting it we’re able to optimize the operating system’s performance without compromising security”.
It’s not quite clear how opening up the kernel in this way will optimize performance, but it will help security researchers find and report bugs inherent in iOS. Apple, and everyone else, just has to hope researchers find and report these bugs before hackers find and exploit them. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t yet have a bug bounty program , so it’s relying on goodwill instead.
Sony Pays for Removing Linux Option
Sony has finally agreed to compensate PS3 owners who had the option of using installing Linux on their games console removed against their will. This all happened in 2010, when Sony released the 3.21 firmware update for the PlayStation 3. This removed the “Install Other OS” feature, forcing everyone back to using Sony’s own operating system.
A class-action lawsuit was brought against Sony, and after six long years of litigation, the company has agreed to pay millions in compensation. On an individual basis this translates to $55 for everyone who installed Linux on their PS3 , and $9 for everyone who bought a PS3 knowing about the “Install Other OS” option. Another $2.25 million is going to the lawyers.
Eligible for the compensation are “all persons in the United States who purchased a Fat PS3 model in the United States between November 1, 2006, and April 1, 2010.” However, you have to prove not only that you owned a PS3 at that time, but also that you installed Linux on it. Which is a tough ask. Sony will be sending out emails to PlayStation Network users once a federal judge approves the settlement.
Google Maps Explains Foreign Businesses
— Ji??mmy?? Ro??cks™ ?? (@jimmyrocks) June 11, 2016
Google Maps is set to start explaining what businesses actually are rather than rely on customers’ knowledge of the names of chains. This means that as well as the name of the business, a description of what it does will also appear alongside its location.
This will be especially helpful for tourists visiting foreign countries , where business names are listed in a different language, and are therefore meaningless to anyone but locals. Available first in Japan, it’s hoped this feature will be rolled out worldwide before too long.
With the initial Japanese release, Google Maps will cover “more than 1,000 types of businesses” in 19 languages, including Arabic, Basque, Catalan, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.
HP Recalls Laptop Batteries
Worldwide voluntary safety recall and replacement program for certain batteries. To see if yours is affected, visit: https://t.co/kCH94gd8ia
— HP (@HP) June 14, 2016
HP is recalling a host of laptop batteries as they “have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers”. The batteries affected by the recalls “shipped with specific HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers sold worldwide from March 2013 through August 2015”.
This is a voluntary recall and replacement program, so while you’re not obliged to take part, HP is strongly urging all those affected to get involved. However, if your HP laptop is anything like mine, the battery will have stopped working by now anyway. In which case you can remove it completely and just run your laptop from the mains.
HP is proactively contacting customers it thinks are affected, and will provide a replacement battery for free once validated. To check for yourself you can browse the list of affected devices or download the HP Battery Program Validation Utility to let HP do the work for you.
Meet the World’s Largest Nerf Gun
And finally, while every single one of us has probably fired a Nerf gun at some point in our lives, none of us will have handled (or even seen) one as impressive as this. That’s because this is (probably) the largest Nerf gun the world has ever seen.
Created by YouTuber Mark Rober and the hosts of Eclectical Engineering, the world’s largest Nerf gun is an absolute monster. It’s all powered by a 3,000 PSI paintball tank, with PVC, brass, and 3D-printed materials holding the whole thing together. All of which makes it capable of firing darts at 40 mph.
You can make your own giant Nerf gun by following the Eclectical Engineering guide, but we wouldn’t recommend it, as this thing is powerful enough to injure you and everyone standing within range. Still, like these other homemade gadgets , it’s extremely cool to look at. [H/T CNET]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Is Apple right to open up the core of iOS 10? Did you ever install Linux on the PlayStation 3? Would you benefit from Google Maps explaining what businesses are? Are you affected by the HP battery recall? What everyday thing would you like to see someone build a supersized version of?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Ryan Hyde via Flickr