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Linus Torvalds, The Creator of Linux, Back In The Driver’s Seat

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Linux’s creator Linus Torvalds refuses to make speeches as to why he opted for a public conversation instead, with his dear friend Dirk Hohndel, the Chief Open Source Officer of VMware during the Open Source Summit Europe in Lyon, France. In the course of the discussion, Torvalds then revealed that he does not think he is a programmer anymore. 

 “I don’t know coding at all anymore. Most of the code I write is in my emails. So somebody sends me a patch … I reply with pseudo code. I’m so used to editing patches now I sometimes edit patches and send out the patch without having ever tested it. I literally wrote it in the mail and say, ‘I think this is how it should be done,’ but this is what I do, I am not a programmer.”

Torvalds added, “I read and write a lot of email. My job really is, in the end, is to say ‘no.’ somebody has to say ‘no’ to. And because developers know that if they do something that I’ll say ‘no’ to, they do a better job of writing the code.”

“Sometimes the code changes are so obvious that no messages really required, but that is very very rare.” Torvalds continued. 

Torvalds also expressed his criteria in the discussion, “explain why the code does something and why some change is needed because that in turn helps the managerial side of the equation, where if you can explain your code to me, I will trust the code.”

In conclusion, Torvalds is not a developer but instead a code manager and maintainer. And he is okay with it. He shared that he sees one of his primary goals is to be as responsive when people send him patches. 

The Linux creator also mentioned that one of his roles is to give feedback. He also acknowledges that he is having fun since developments have gotten much more relaxed (having advanced tools and better documentation) 

In the end, Torvalds admittedly said that he might be slightly not having fun due to set rules in place. He noted that it was much more thrilling back in the days where there was much banter, and you could explore new things. 

What’s Happening Now?

Torvalds said, “I’m starting the usual merge window activity now, and it is not going to be kernel development as usual. We did talk about the fact that now Kroah-Hartman, also known as “Greg,” has written rights to my kernel tree, and if it is easier to share the load, then maybe we’ll add another maintainer after further discussion.”

What About His Break?

Torvalds distanced himself from managing the Linux Kernel just because he needed to. He explained, he needed to change some of his behavior, which had affected and had possibly driven people away from the development project. His sentiment was to take time off and get some help on how to understand and respond to people’s emotions appropriately. 

Ever since then, with the help of a professional, he expects his progress as a continuing process. 

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The 10 Greatest & Irreplaceable iPad Apps

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Ten years ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched the iPad. Once termed in 2010 as a “super gadget,” the iPad made it more convenient to access and navigate apps on the 9.7-inch screen. 

“The iPad will define an entirely new category of devices that will connect people with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before,” Steve Jobs said. Ten years later, with the iPad’s portability, a variety of apps and user-friendly interface have made it a household device and is also being used for classroom and office purposes. The iPad can be used for drawing, binge-watching, surfing, reading, and even for work. 

The iPad is also suitable for gaming, and the Apple Arcade mobile game services have more than 100 games you can play on your iPad and other Apple devices! 

With that said, we have ten apps that have transformed the iPad into a powerful and helpful tool in today’s modern world. Check them out.

  • Netflix 

The Netflix app on the iPad made it more accessible for us to stream our favorite content anytime, anywhere on a much larger screen. These became useful for parents and are very suitable for viewing your favorite shows while traveling. 

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 

The Lightroom app is a gem, especially for professionals who are on the go. With a combination of premium and free features, the app helps professionals import and work on their photos. 

  • Flipboard 

This is a curation tool that recognizes your interests and delivers you videos and podcasts. Established in the year 2010, Flipboard was one of the first apps to take advantage of the iPad’s magazine-like layout. Today, you can bundle content according to your interest, such as articles, recipes, photography, etc.

  • Amazon Kindle 

The Amazon Kindle became a game-changer and created a new content playground – e-books. The app enables you to buy e-books on Amazon and read them on your iPad. This made the iPad even more accessible and convenient as it can handle multiple tasks. 

  • Procreate 

This art app made for the iPad is designed for creative professionals, aspiring artists, and hobbyists. The app allows you to export or import art as Adobe Photoshop files. 

  • Star Walk 

This detailed astronomy app won the 2010 Apple Design Award. How does it work? If you use this app and point your tablet in the night sky, it will show you a labeled map of planets, stars, constellations, and satellites from your current location. 

  • Notability 

This comprehensive note-taking app lets you combine drawings, handwritten notes, and even audio recordings.

  • Duet Display

This app can transform your iPad into a second monitor for your desktop, phone, or laptop. With zero lag time, this productivity tool works great via software; this means it eliminates the need for dongles or cables. 

  • YouTube 

One of the most popular apps for the iPad, the YouTube app, helped further the iPad’s reputation as a mobile content consumption platform. 

  • LumaFusion 

This app shows that the iPad is not only great for streaming videos but also for making them. This video editing app is a multitrack video editor used by professionals such as journalists, video producers, and even filmmakers. 

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Google CEO On AI: Regulation Of Artificial Intelligence Is Needed

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With the fast-advancing technology we have today, there has been much improvement in the way we things work in our daily lives. However, there has also been much controversy about how such advanced technologies like AI can be easily abused. Sundar Pichai of Google speaks up about his stand about artificial intelligence.  

Sundar Pichai, Alphabet and Google CEO said in a recent interview that there’s a need for artificial intelligence to be regulated. He emphasized the importance of having such a regulation. Pichai acknowledged that AI is useful and powerful but argues that there is a need to balance the potential harms of AI with social opportunities. As to what this “balance” should be and how tight the suggested regulation ought to be is vague.

Pichai gave examples on some areas of AI development such as health tech and self-driving cars and said that those require tailored rules. He didn’t specifically comment on the White House’s stand and the regulatory principles it proposed nor the EU’s plan on banning facial recognition for the next five years. 

The Google CEO emphasized the value and potential of AI while also mentioning its potential dangers. He gave examples of the misuse of deep fakes. These are computer-generated clips designed to make them look authentic. 

Nevertheless, what Pichai is clear about is to have the international community to be able to reach an agreement regarding the regulatory issues as a key step. It’s possible that he’s also suggesting the internal handling of AI by Alphabet as a guideline for this. 

The CEO said that the systems and rules that the company set in plays help in avoiding bias. The privacy and safety of the people are its priority. However, there’s room for debate on how successful Alphabet has been with this endeavor. 

Back in 2019, Google introduced an independent ethics board. However, the ethics board was shut down in just less than two weeks. It was because of the controversy regarding those who had been appointed to the board. 

Pichai added that the company won’t be deploying AI that will be supporting violations of human rights as well as mass surveillance. Unlike other competitors of Google, the company doesn’t sell software for facial recognition which has a high potential for abuse. But there are still serious concerns about Google and threats to human rights violations. 

Among the points raised by Pichai is that if the principles continue to remain just on paper, they will be meaningless. Yes, there is a need for AI to be regulated. But as important as these regulations, there should also be a regulatory body that has the power and authority to enforce them. There need to be significant consequences for those who abuse such tools. Maybe then, there will be a difference. 

Sundar Pichai will be at the World Economic Forum to speak regarding important matters such as AI regulations. The forum will be held in Switzerland this week. Pichai will be there along with Ren Zhengfei of Huawei and Satya Nadella of Microsoft. 

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You Could Have One Of These Battery-Draining Ads On Your Phone

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Many developers actively participating in e-commerce understand the magnitude of competition in the market and sometimes, going undercover to reap the same benefits as legitimate competitors is the unfair route to achieving desperate goals – Google Play here is one of many whose eyes were thrown dust on.

On Bitdefender’s recent Tuesday report, 17 heavily ad-rich apps were revealed to have populated Google Play. These apps can apparently still bombard your phone with ads even at their dormancy.

With a couple tactics up their sleeves, Bitdefender researchers with antivirus provider disclosed the apps’ behavior to avoid detection by Google. Among many, the apps hide their presence after 48 hours; randomly display ads after holding off for four hours; and hew their code into different files. Their working code apparently abides by Google Play’s descriptions to appear legitimate, earning all 17 a combined 550,000 installations.

One racing simulator app analyzed by Bitdefender is one that charges in-app fees in exchange for the promise of added features. Although holding up the end of the bargain, the displayed ads aren’t told to be aggressive at popping up to the point that they would drain batteries and sometimes even prevent the enjoyment of the game. The ad displays appear when a random number less than three coincides with an established value. This means that as the user unlocks the phone, it has an approximately 33.33% chance of seeing an ad. The apps’ mechanisms allow their ads to disperse into multiple activities and display at unpredictable time intervals with the use of modified adware developer kits to avoid the detection of patterns leading to the source. Moreover, the app splits into two resource files: one with the ad-serving code and one with the working game code.

“Users see multiple ads either in-game when pressing different buttons or even if not in the app,” Bitdefender reported. “The frequency at which ads appear while in the game depends on a random value. In half the cases, there is a probability that when using some game functionalities, an ad pop[s] up.”

Albeit not classified as malware with solely ad-displaying functions, the apps were still discovered to be culprits of battery drainage. Who knows what their new updates will bring? Compiled below is a list of 17 Google Play apps found by Bitdefender to gobble up your phone’s battery life.

  1. Car Racing 2019
  2. QR & Barcode Scan Reader
  3.  4K Wallpaper (Background 4K Full HD)
  4. Backgrounds 4K HD
  5. Today Weather Radar
  6. File Manager Pro – Manager SD Card/Explorer
  7. Clock LED
  8. VMOWO City: Speed Racing 3D
  9. Barcode Scanner
  10. Explorer File Manager
  11. Screen Stream Mirroring
  12. Period Tracker – Cycle Ovulation Women’s
  13. QR Code Reader & Barcode Scanner Pro
  14. Wallpapers 4K, Backgrounds HD
  15. Mobnet.io: Big Fish Frenzy
  16. QR Code – Scan & Read a Barcode
  17. Transfer Data Smart

“In terms of registered receivers, the first one is for android.intent.action.BOOT_COMPLETED. When the broadcast is received, the app will begin an activity, which starts a job scheduler for showing ads. The scheduled service starts after 10 minutes and shows an ad only once. The scheduler recreates itself by calling the method from the activity that created it initially, then starts again after 10 minutes.

Another receiver the app registers is for android.intent.action.USER_PRESENT. Whenever the user unlocks the device, if at least 4 hours have passed since the app installed it, there is a chance an ad will show. That’s because the ad displays are programmed by generating a random number of less than 3 that is checked against a value. If the number generated is equal to the check number, an ad appears. Therefore, the probability of displaying ads is once every three times the user unlocks the phone,” Bitdefender wrote.

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