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Linux Mint is working on a new tool called Web App Manager
by Paul Hill
In its monthly update, the Linux Mint project announced that it’s working on a new app called Web App Manager that’ll let users turn their favourite websites into stand-alone applications that can be found in the start menu and be pinned to the taskbar. The Mint team is developing the tool in collaboration with the Peppermint OS team which has built a similar tool before.
As things stand right now, the Peppermint team has a tool called ICE that lets you turn websites into web apps. In a thread on GitHub, the head of Linux Mint, Clem Lefebvre suggests that the ICE back-end be separated from the interface so that the Mint team and Peppermint team can use their own respective interface. This plan isn’t definite yet but has been suggested.
Gallery: Web App Manager
According to the images that have been made available, users will be presented with a list of web apps that they have already created. Users can remove and edit these or add a new web app. When creating a new web app, users will need to supply the app’s name, web address, an icon, which category it should be included in on the menu, which browser it should open in, and there’s a toggle to hide the browser's navigation bar.
Another nice aspect to these web apps is that they’re created with their own browser profile and appear in their own window. Not only does this give users help to separate their general browsing from their web app browsing but it also makes switching between apps on the Alt-tab selector a bit easier.
The Web App Manager is currently available for download but keep in mind that it is beta quality and isn’t fully translated. Around November or December when Linux Mint 20.1 launches, the new Web App Manager will probably be included.
By Hamza Jawad
A majority of Microsoft employees want to continue working with ICE, as per a recent survey
by Hamza Jawad
A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times unveiled an open letter posted on Microsoft's internal message board, signed by over 300 employees, that denounced the company's work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Now, a recent survey conducted by TeamBlind shows that a majority of Microsoft employees that took part in the survey are content with collaboration between the tech giant and the law enforcement agency.
A total of 1,180 Microsoft employees participated in the survey that ran from June 20 through June 28. The picture below shows the exact breakdown of how they responded to the question being asked.
As can be observed by compiling the percentages of people who chose option A or option C, 44.32% of the employees who took part in this survey want the company to either revise the conditions of its contracts with the ICE, or end them altogether. The remaining 55.68% are content with some form of collaboration with the law enforcement agency.
Interestingly, of the total 5,166 Blind app users who took part in the survey, around 57% want the tech giant to end or alter its contracts with the ICE, with only 43% being content with the current agreements in place. This implies that the general public is not in favor of Microsoft associating itself with the immigration agency, at least in the way it currently is doing so.
Microsoft has faced severe backlash following the continuance of its work with the ICE in the past few weeks. The Trump administration's decision to enact a policy that led to about 2,000 children of illegal immigrants being separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border last month sparked major controversy. Microsoft's existing contract with ICE - which was initially largely ignored - led to the tech giant being caught in the crossfire, although the company insisted that it was not working "on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border".
It should be noted that with the tech giant currently employing over 120,000 people, this survey that undertakes the views of less than 1% of its total workforce is not enough to gauge the overall feeling among all employees. However, considering that only around 22% of those involved in this survey want to completely stop working with the ICE, it can perhaps be said that a majority of the firm's total workforce would not have a drastically different view on the matter.
Source and image: TeamBlind
Microsoft says it's 'dismayed' at the separation of children following ICE contract backlash
by Muhammad Jarir Kanji
Microsoft has come under a great degree of scrutiny in recent days regarding its work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which was first announced in January. While the contract was largely ignored initially, recent policy decisions by the Trump administration regarding immigration have fomented considerable discontent both within the company and without.
The Trump administration this week enacted a policy that would separate the children of illegal immigrants at the border from their families, generating much controversy. This, along with the purported living conditions of the children, have turned into a massive political debate within the U.S., and Microsoft seems to have been unwittingly caught in the crossfire.
Firstly, the company has faced severe backlash on social media from groups disagreeing with the policy. In response, the company has issued a statement suggesting it disagreed with the recent policy initiative by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming,
Without clarifying the exact details of the work Microsoft is doing for ICE, and what manner of computation the company's Azure cloud computing platform is providing for the government agency, Microsoft did clarify that it was not working "on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border", and that it was "not aware of Azure or Azure services being used for this purpose."
Microsoft certainly seems to have been caught off-guard with this development, as the company even temporarily pulled the section pertaining to ICE from its January blog post, before blaming the change on a mistake by an employee and reinstating it.
Tensions within the company have gone beyond just an uncoordinated response, however, as Gizmodo reports multiple employees within the company have also shown their vexation at the Microsoft's work with the embattled immigration agency.
Source: The Verge
Amazon is reportedly returning to the smartphone market with new 'Ice' phones
by Andy Weir
Hot mess: Amazon's ill-fated Fire Phone Amazon released its first - and so far, only - smartphone in July 2014, but it wasn't exactly the big hit the company was hoping for. Estimates suggested that Amazon had sold just 35,000 of its Fire Phones across the United States in its first three weeks of availability, and it didn't take long for the firm to slash prices in an effort to shift some of its stocks.
A year ago, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos commented on the Fire Phone's disastrous launch. "If you think that's a big failure," he said, "we're working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip."
Amazon clearly isn't afraid to try new things, even if they might end poorly, but the company will no doubt be hoping for some degree of success as it reportedly prepares to re-enter the crowded smartphone market. NDTV's Gadgets 360 reports that Amazon is working on a new line of handsets, known as 'Ice', although it's not yet clear if that's an internal development codename, or if that branding will be applied to the devices when they launch.
Significantly, Amazon is said to be making a big change on the software side of things. According to unnamed sources, the Ice phones will run "the latest version of Google's Android operating system with Google Mobile Services (GMS) such as Gmail and Google Play". Amazon's current range of Fire devices do not support GMS.
It's not yet clear how many handsets Amazon is working on, but the report states that at least one device will go on sale this year, targeting the budget smartphone segment, with availability in emerging markets such as India.
One device is said to have a display around 5.2 to 5.5 inches in size, and one configuration reportedly has a Snapdragon 435 processor, 13MP rear camera, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, and a fingerprint sensor on the back. It's expected to be priced around Rs.6,000 INR (roughly $93 USD) in India, and will ship with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, with support for Google Assistant. Curiously, it's not yet clear if the handsets will support Amazon's own Alexa digital assistant.
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