Adobe: Flash Player to reach end-of-life in 2020

In a move that should come as no surprise given the declining need for proprietary rich Internet plug-ins, Adobe on Tuesday said it will cease updating and distributing its Flash Player at the end of 2020.

Content creators will instead be encouraged to migrate existing content to new, “open” formats such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly. Adobe cited the advent of these standards as having matured enough to provide capabilities pioneered by Flash. “Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plug-ins directly into browsers and deprecating plug-ins,” the company said.

Adobe said it will continue with development of new web standards including HTML5 while participating in the WebAssembly Community Group. Indeed, seeing the writing on the wall, Adobe has been making accommodations for HTML5 for several years now. The company’s Animate CC tool, for designing animations, supports both HTML5 and WebGL. Apple’s refusal to support Flash on its wildly popular iOS mobile platform was perhaps the watershed moment for the technology. Flash also has had its share of security issues. YouTube backed away from Flash in 2015, defaulting to HTML5.

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Business and financeGulliver

Has Ryanair become too nice?

THREE years ago, Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, made the sudden decision to be nicer to its customers. Before that, brusqueness had been part of its strategy. Fares were low, but check-in staff were famously ruthless. One family was charged €600 ($701) to print their forgotten boarding passes (“idiots” according to Michael O’Leary, the airline’s boss, when they complained). Gatekeepers would obsessively check carry-on bags, demanding huge fees for those a smidgen over the limit. That culture started at the top. Mr O’Leary liked to berate his passengers, the second their expectations rose. “You’re not getting a refund so fuck off. We don’t want to hear your sob stories. What part of ‘no refund’ don’t you understand?”, he once told them.

It was a highly successful, perhaps even clever, strategy. The airline went from being an insignificant Irish operator to Europe’s second largest carrier after Lufthansa, regularly reporting juicy profits. Every time Mr O’Leary mooted the idea of installing…Continue reading

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Government

FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon’s Discount Pricing Practices

The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon’s discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company’s pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. “Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process,” observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

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ApprovedBusinessBusiness and finance

Thanks to streaming services, China’s consumers have begun paying for music

HONEST souls intent on paying full whack for the music they listen to used to have a hard time in China. In the era of compact discs, rare was the shop which did not sell counterfeits. The same held true when discs turned into downloads and online streams of songs: hardly any service charged money.

Slowly but surely, China is becoming a market where people pay for music. Over the past five years, digital-music revenues for the recording industry nearly quadrupled, to $195m; most of that amount comes from music streaming (see chart). That sum may still be a tiny fraction of the global total of $7.8bn, but streaming has clearly taken off in China.

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My ode to Microsoft Paint

We were all a little giddy at the time.

In 1985, I was in college trying to focus on my journalism classes and avoiding any responsibility for any future work endeavors.

I’d often sneak into the computer lab in the afternoon and hammer away on a clunky IBM keyboard. I wrote an entire science fiction novel at the time. I hacked into the computer lab back end, the system that locked computers after hours. In these early days of computing, it was all DOS all of the time. You had no other options.

Then, one glorious sunny day that fall, two new computers arrived that looked and acted differently from the rest. They were outliers. The screen flashed an awkward Windows logo at first, the mouse moved a pointer with instant precision, and there was an app called Microsoft Paint that seemed to live on a wholly different periphery of existence. You could paint anything. You could draw anything. It was remarkable. If the hand of God had reached down through the dust-stained windows in what was an old Catholic monastery converted into a college and revealed the infinite epoch of time immortal, it would have been a distraction (and perhaps a little weird). I was in love. MS Paint was here and nothing would ever be the same again.

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My Ode to Microsoft Paint

We were all a little giddy at the time.

In 1985, I was in college trying to focus on my journalism classes and avoiding any responsibility for any future work endeavors.

I’d often sneak into the computer lab in the afternoon and hammer away on a clunky IBM keyboard. I wrote an entire science fiction novel at the time. I hacked into the computer lab back end, the system that locked computers after hours. In these early days of computing, it was all DOS all of the time. You had no other options.

Then, one glorious sunny day that fall, two new computers arrived that looked and acted differently from the rest. They were outliers. The screen flashed an awkward Windows logo at first, the mouse moved a pointer with instant precision, and there was an app called Microsoft Paint that seemed to live on a wholly different periphery of existence. You could paint anything. You could draw anything. It was remarkable. If the hand of God had reached down through the dust-stained windows in what was an old Catholic monastery converted into a college and revealed the infinite epoch of time immortal, it would have been a distraction (and perhaps a little weird). I was in love. MS Paint was here and nothing would ever be the same again.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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Chips

Microsoft Adds AI to HoloLens Silicon

The next version of Microsoft’s HoloLens may be better at navigating reality than the current version of the mixed-reality headset, thanks to a new coprocessor the company announced Sunday. The second version of HoloLens’ custom multiprocessor — called a “holographic processing unit,” or HPU — will incorporate artificial intelligence technology, Harry Shum, executive vice president of the Artificial Intelligence and Research Group.

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