Google's dilemma: A faster but fragmented Web?

Google wants a Web that looks very different from today's. Instead of more or less static sites, perhaps spiced up with a new comment popping up on your Facebook page, Google wants Web apps that are indistinguishable in performance and sophistication from native programs like high-end games or Photoshop.

But Google faces a tough choice: What's the best way to get to that future?

The promise of the route it's trying to take, a technology called Native Client, shines in the sophisticated online photo-editing tools for Google+ that launched this month. The problem is that Native Client … Read more

Ready or not, iPhone 5S pushes apps into the 64-bit future

iOS developers, start your 64-bit engines.

The iPhone 5S and its Apple A7 chip mark the beginning of the mobile industry's transition to a new processor architecture. Even though the vast catalog of older 32-bit apps will still work, the 64-bit move means that sooner or later programmers will have to take the plunge.

So how do they feel about that? CNET heard from many iOS app developers, and some themes emerged:

• Some are excited by the 64-bit nature of the A7, but more are eager to sink their teeth into other improvements that come along with ARM Holdings' … Read more

Linux development by the numbers: Big and getting bigger

Linux is growing -- that we knew. Now we know how fast.

In the last two years, the number of developers who collectively create Linux has increased from 1,131 with version 3.0 in July 2011 to 1,392 with version 3.10, released in June 2013, according to the Linux Foundation's latest annual Linux development report. Also on the rise: the lines of code in the project, the number of changes accepted into each new version, and the frequency at which those changes arrive.

"This rate of change continues to increase, as does the number of … Read more

The real reasons Apple's 64-bit A7 chip makes sense

Apple injected a lot of marketing hyperbole into its claims about the wonders of 64-bit computing when it showed off the A7 processor at the heart of the new iPhone 5S. But there are real long-term reasons that Apple is smart to move beyond the 32-bit era in mobile computing.

The iPhone maker did indeed beat its smartphone rivals to the 64-bit era with the A7, and the processor may indeed vault over its predecessor's performance. The hyperbole came when Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, speaking at Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C launch event on Tuesday, linked those … Read more

NoFlo's crowd-funding effort helps coders go with the flow

Anyone who has done any amount of programming has drawn flowcharts, either detailed diagrams or rough sketches, outlining how one thing leads to another in software works. Now a project called NoFlo has surpassed its $100,000 fund-raising goal to build the idea into programming tools.

The NoFlo team members raised the funding to build a user interface for the approach, which has been around for decades and is called flow-based programming. Generally, flowcharts are design tools that don't make it beyond the mockup stage, but NoFlo is designed to be a crucial part of how people construct programs … Read more

NRA joins ACLU in suit against NSA's surveillance program

Now here's an unlikely duo: the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association.

The two have bonded in their fight against the National Security Agency's mass spying program that came to light in June. The NRA joined the ACLU's lawsuit against the government agency on Wednesday by filing a "friend of the court" legal brief.

"The mass surveillance program threatens the First Amendment rights of the NRA and its members," the NRA writes in the brief (PDF). "The mass surveillance program could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, … Read more

Time Warner Cable offers antenna to customers who want CBS

Time Warner Cable is trying to find a way around the CBS blackout.

The company on Friday announced that affected Time Warner Cable customers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York, and elsewhere can walk into one of its retail locations in those areas and pick up a free over-the-air antenna. With that tuner in hand, customers will be able to access the blacked-out CBS broadcast stations.

CBS, the parent company of CNET, and Time Warner Cable have been in a bitter battle over broadcast rights. The companies have so far not come to an agreement, leading to a … Read more

Samsung starts after-school software clubs in South Korea

Samsung's Junior Software Academy has kicked off in South Korea, allowing students to use after-school activities to learn about software and engineering.

In a Samsung Village blog post, the South Korea firm said Tuesday that after-school activities and lessons will "help children learn basic software technologies to become fresh sprouts of the software industry."

The Junior Software Academy is for students between 11 and 17. Software classes will be offered at 500 schools throughout South Korea, reaching 10,000 students, according to the company. Lessons will be held mainly after school or during the weekends, starting this … Read more

OpenCL 2.0 brings new graphics-chip power to software

The Khronos Group announced OpenCL 2.0 on Monday, an update designed to give graphics chips more independence and therefore power when running general-purpose software.

OpenCL provides a standard mechanism for software to tap into the computational power of graphics chips, and the Khronos Group standardizes it. It announced a provisional 2.0 specification the Siggraph 2013 conference this week, planning to make it final after a six-month feedback period.

Graphics processing units (GPUs) are geared for graphics chores, of course, but they're also becoming steadily more capable of handling jobs ordinarily assigned to the general-purpose central processing unit (… Read more

Aereo could benefit from CBS-Time Warner Cable dispute

Streaming startup Aereo could be the big winner in high-stakes contract negotiations between CBS and Time Warner that have recently become very contentious.

CBS Corp., which is the parent company of CNET, has been negotiating a new carriage pact with Time Warner for its flagship network under an extension to their previous agreement that expired June 30. In a sign that talks are taking on a sour tone, CBS started running ads in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas on Thursday saying Time Warner Cable customers could lose access to its shows on Wednesday, which is when that extension expires. … Read more