Thurrott Daily: April 24

Thurrott Daily: April 24
His name is Jason. (Yes, this is from an earlier movie. Whatever.)

Tech tidbits from around the web.

4/24/2016 11:26:35 AM

Inside Bash on Windows

Mary Jo Foley is going Bash Mode this week in highlighting a Channel 9 video that explains how Microsoft implemented Bash in Windows 10.

Spoiler alert: There’s no secret Linux kernel hidden in Windows 10. Instead, it’s the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that was developed by the Windows Kernel team is what provides the foundation that enabled the Linux binaries to run on Windows.

WSL includes a user mode session manager, pico provider drivers that emulate a Linux kernel and pico processes that host the unmodified user mode Linux, like Bash, as Microsoft officials explain in an April 22 blog post.

The post and video are worth checking out for those whose hearts beat just a little quicker when they see an OS architectural diagram.


Using Project Fi with non-Nexus phones

Well this is embarrassing, and a timely reminder that I need to actually review Project Fi now that I’ve been using it for months: Neowin’s Rich Woods tried something that honestly never occurred me, in testing whether Google’s Project Fi SIM would work with non-Nexus phones, including, go figure, Windows phone. And the answer is, yes, it does work. Sort of.

According to Google, Project Fi only works on a Nexus 5X, 6, and 6P. There’s also a variety of tablets that can use the service – including devices made by Apple and Samsung.

Of course, if you’re a T-Mobile or AT&T subscriber, you can pop your SIM into any GSM phone and it will work. You might not get LTE, but you have the right to make that sacrifice in order to choose the phone you want.

This was without a doubt the most surprising revelation in the time that I spent with Project Fi. You can use the service with any unlocked device, and even devices that are locked to T-Mobile’s network.

So, the iPhone 6S worked “flawlessly,” Woods writes, while a T-Mobile-based Windows phone works fine for calls, cellular data, and sending SMS messages, but you can’t receive texts. Interesting.

Android N will support 3D Touch too

I’ve seen this reported all over, so long story short: Android N will support pressure-sensitive display screens, or what Apple calls 3D Touch. But the right-click functionality works fine without such a screen—you just push and hold, duh—there’s no need to limit the functionality to a subset of devices. Smart.

Apple Watch apps must be standalone by June

When Apple Watch first shipped, one of my big complaints—thebiggest was and still is the terrible, non-discoverable user experience—was that its apps were really just tethered iPhone apps. But with watchOS 2, Apple finally let developers create standalone Watch apps. And as of this June, standalone apps will be mandatory, according to this note on the Apple Developer site:

Starting June 1, 2016, all new watchOS apps submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later.

This is smart because requiring apps to run right on the Watch will betray how underpowered it is, leading to the release of a faster second-generation version.

Another out for Apple

Apple avoided a painful legal defeat when the FBI was able to use a third-party tool to break into a terrorist’s iPhone. And this past week, it got another out. The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Justice Department on Friday night dropped a court case trying to force Apple Inc. to help authorities open a locked iPhone, adding new uncertainty to the government’s standoff with the technology company over encryption.

In a one-page letter filed with a Brooklyn federal court Friday night, the government said an individual had recently come forward to offer the passcode to the long-locked phone. The filing means that in both of the high-profile cases pitting the Justice Department against Apple, the government first said it couldn’t open the phone, only to suddenly announce it had found a way into the device as the case proceeded in court.

“Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case,” prosecutors said in their terse letter to the judge. “Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone. Accordingly, the government no longer needs Apple’s assistance to unlock the iPhone, and withdraws its application.”

Apple declined to comment.

I’m sure it’s real comment was: “Whew.”

Jason Bourne trailer

I’m a big fan of the original Jason Bourne trilogy of books by Robert Ludlum (the subsequent books by Eric Van Lustbader are only OK; I’ve read almost all of them too). And like many, I’m also a big fan of the movies, though only the first one bears any resemblance to the source material. Which confuses me: In the books, there is an ongoing storyline that pits Bourne against a master terrorist called Carlos the Jackal, and it seems that this would make for a greatmovie. So with Matt Damon stepping back into the role, I had hopes they would do the right thing and go back to the books.

Nope. But “Jason Bourne” (terrible name) looks pretty damn great regardless.

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