Thurrott Daily: December 9

Thurrott Daily: December 9

Good morning. Here are some other tidbits from around the web.

12/9/2015 9:19:13 AM

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Vaio + Toshiba + Fujitsu?

Toshiba previously revealed that it was pursuing spinning off its PC business and combining it with that of Fujitsu. But The Wall Street Journal reports today that Vaio, which was spun off from Sony, is interested in getting into the consolidation game too.

Vaio is ready to consider a merger with the PC divisions of Toshiba Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., the company’s chief executive said. “If a deal is advantageous to Vaio, we would consider it,” Vaio CEO Yoshimi Ota said.

While a tie-up would allow Toshiba and Fujitsu to unload problem areas, it is unclear whether the new PC maker could survive global competition. The three companies’ units share the same weakness—poor global distribution—and would probably need significant job cuts, which are difficult in Japan, analysts said.

Toshiba Chief Executive Masashi Muromachi said this week the company planned to announce by the end of this year what it would do with its PC unit, adding that a deal with Fujitsu and Vaio was “an option.”

Well, consolidation is inevitable, but I feel like the shrinking of the PC market will also result in some firms just disappearing. And honestly, I’m not sure many would even notice if these three just disappeared.

EU seeks an end to confusing digital content rights

Among the many weirdnesses of the EU is that each member country still has its own rules and laws. Among these are digital media use rights, where the distributors of digital content—Netflix, Spotify, whatever—must license their content individually in each country. Which means, of course, that a user in one country can’t always use their own content when the travel to a different EU country.

Reuters reports that this could be coming to an end.

The European Union wants to allow consumers access to their subscriptions to online content such as TV, films, sports and music wherever they travel in the 28-member bloc, setting it up for a battle with media groups.

The proposal on “cross-border portability” was presented by the executive European Commission on Wednesday along with a longer-term strategy for making copyrighted works more easily available across the EU.

As always, those in power seek to prevent freedom to maximize profits, but there is no legitimate reason to block such usage. In fact, this needs to happen globally. And it will. Hopefully in our lifetimes.

Apple delivers iOS 9.2

My iPhone is busy updating to iOS 9.2 as I write this. So what’s new? A lot, as it turns out:

  • Apple Music improvements: You can now create a new playlist when adding a song to a playlist. Your most recently changed playlist is now listed at the top when adding songs to playlists. Download albums or playlists from your iCloud Music Library by tapping the iCloud download button. See which songs have been downloaded with the new download indicator next to each song in My Music and Playlists. See works, composers and performers while browsing Classical music in the Apple Music catalog.
  • A new Top Stories section in News so you can stay up to date with the most important news of the day (available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia).
  • Mail Drop in Mail for sending large attachments.
  • iBooks now supports 3D Touch to peek and pop pages from the table of contents, your notes and bookmarks, or from search results inside a book.
  • iBooks now supports listening to an audiobook while you browse your library, read other books, or explore the iBooks Store.
  • iPhone support for the USB Camera Adapter to import photos and videos.
  • Improved stability of Safari.
  • Improved stability of Podcasts.
  • Fixing an issue that caused mail attachments to be inaccessible for some users with POP email accounts.
  • Resolving an issue for some users that caused attachments to overlap text in Mail.
  • Fixing an issue where Live Photos could have turned off after restoring from a previous iCloud backup.
  • Addressing an issue that could cause search in Contacts to display no results.
  • Resolving an issue that could have prevented Calendar from displaying all seven days in week view.
  • Fixing an issue where Camera screen on iPad could be black when attempting to capture video.
  • Addressing an issue that could cause instability in the Activity app when viewing the day of Daylight Saving Time transition.
  • Fixing an issue that could prevent data from appearing in Health.
  • Fixing an issue that could prevent Wallet updates and Lock screen alerts from displaying.
  • Addressing an issue where updating iOS could prevent an alarm from going off.
  • Fixing an issue where some users were unable to login to Find my iPhone.
  • Fixing an issue that prevented some manual iCloud Backups from completing.
  • Addressing an issue where using the iPad keyboard could unintentionally trigger text selection mode.
  • Improved keyboard responsiveness when using Quick Reply.
  • Improved punctuation input on the 10-key Chinese (Pinyin & Stroke) keyboards with new expanded view of punctuation symbols and better predictions.
  • Fixing an issue on Cyrillic keyboards where caps lock would be enabled when typing in URL or email fields.
  • Accessibility improvements: – Fixing issues with VoiceOver when using Camera face detection. Adding support for VoiceOver to wake up the screen. Adding support for VoiceOver to invoke app switcher with 3D Touch gesture. Fixing an issue with Guided Access when trying to end phone calls. Improved functionality for Switch Control users when using 3D Touch. Fixing an issue with speech rate of Speak Screen.
  • Siri support for Arabic (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).

Mozilla kills Firefox OS for smart phones

I suspect many didn’t even know that Mozilla made a smart phone OS, or that it sold such a thing to end users via partners. No worries, they don’t anymore.

A statement from Mozilla senior vice president Ari Jaaksi:

“We are proud of the benefits Firefox OS added to the Web platform and will continue to experiment with the user experience across connected devices. We will build everything we do as a genuine open source project, focused on user experience first and build tools to enable the ecosystem to grow.

Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels.

We’ll share more on our work and new experiments across connected devices soon.”

Rafael got a Firefox phone, so I was able to try this thing out briefly several months back. It was slow, of course, and the app story wasn’t exactly inspiring. I do have Firefox on my Android and iPhone handsets, and I see that the firm just released a content blocking app on iOS called Focus. Supporting the major mobile platforms seems like the way to go. Whether you’re Microsoft or Mozilla.


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