programming

Change of heart? IE11 might speed Web graphics with WebGL

Microsoft's next version of Internet Explorer might just support WebGL, a standard for accelerated 3D graphics on the Web that the company previously has attacked as a security risk.

A leaked version of the next version of Windows, code-named Blue, came with a version of IE11, and developer's scrutiny of the browser shows evidence of WebGL.

"It seems like WebGL interfaces are defined but not functional at this time," said Web developer and author Francois Remy in a blog post this week. That means that the IE11 build has some infrastructure in place to support WebGL, … Read more

Google shows interest in ASM.js, Mozilla's plan for fast Web apps

At least some at Google want to embrace a Mozilla-backed project to speed up Web apps written with JavaScript -- even though it competes directly with Google's own Native Client and Dart programming technology.

Mozilla has been working for months on a technology called ASM.js, which it hopes will boost JavaScript performance, especially in combination with a related Mozilla-spawned technology called Emscripten. JavaScript powers Web apps such as Google Docs, and ASM.js is a special "extremely restricted" subset of the programming language that's designed to make it easier for developers to bring existing software … Read more

Despite Google patent efforts, VP8 no shoo-in for Web video

A Google patent-licensing deal two weeks ago dramatically improved the fortunes of its VP8 video technology, but Nokia has added a barricade to what has already been an arduous road to adoption.

VP8 is a codec -- technology to encode and decode video or audio data for compact storage and efficient network streaming. Despite passionate debates about VP8 vs. the incumbent codec, H.264, most people need never care about video codecs.

But as video becomes ever more deeply embedded in the Net -- TV entertainment, chatting with friends, videoconferences for business, online schooling for children -- the video codec … Read more

Microsoft backs away from Flash ban in IE10

An about-face in Internet Explorer 10 shows Microsoft is not merely backing off from its hostility toward Flash Player, but actually warming up to the Adobe Systems browser plug-in for competitive reasons.

In September 2011, Microsoft declared that browser plug-ins are a relic from the Internet's early days, calling them bad for battery life, security, reliability, and privacy, and said that it would ban them when IE10 was running with Windows 8's Metro user interface, now called the "immersive UI."

But Microsoft gave Flash a reprieve in May 2012 by building a special version of Adobe'… Read more

Burn CDs, DVDs, and data discs using Express Burn for Mac

There are many programs, both free and paid, that can be used to manage files for CDs, DVDs, and data discs. Express Burn for Mac, while functional, may not justify the price required for the full version.

Express Burn for Mac is available as a free trial version with an upgrade for $69.95. The limitations on the trial version aren't apparent from either the program itself or the developer's Web site. The download was fairly quick, but the installation required careful attention to avoid downloading additional, nonadvertised programs set to be downloaded by default. These included a … Read more

Crave Ep. 109: The greatest drinking game ever

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This week on Crave, William Shatner has some choice words for J.J. Abrams, and we toss one back in the greatest drinking game ever invented. Cheers! Plus, we dodge a bullet the size of a football field as an asteroid nearly collides with Earth. Phew. … Read more

Netflix support coming to ARM-based Chromebooks

Those who've bought the low-cost Samsung Chromebook will be able to watch Netflix streaming video -- at some point.

"We are collaborating with Google on a solution for ARM-based Chromebooks," said Netflix spokesman Joris Evers last night.

He didn't share details on the company's schedule or its technical approach to bringing its service to Chrome OS, Google's browser-based operating system.

Most Web apps work just fine on the $249 Samsung Chromebook even though it has a Samsung ARM processor rather than the x86 chip found in all other computers running Google's Chrome OS. … Read more

New PlayStation may debut this month

Friday's CNET Update deciphers the shapes:

Stories from today's tech news roundup:

- Sony expected to unveil a new PlayStation this month -- before E3

- Verizon has new prepaid plans for 3G smartphones

- Nokia is researching a new material called graphene

- HBO Go may be coming to Apple TV

- Amazon beefs up its Prime Instant Video streaming with Downton Abby and is also creating original kids shows

- Netflix premiered the series, "House of Cards," and all 13 episodes are available now

- CNET's Download team highlights free alternatives to the new Office 2013 and Office 365Read more

Orbiting robot gas station gets closer to reality

It's a bummer running out of gas, especially when the nearest station is 22,000 miles away.

But a project to set up a gas station on the International Space Station made a big leap forward this week with the successful refueling of a mock satellite by a robot.

Dextre, a twin-armed robot from Canada, topped off the fuel tank in the mockup, showing how satellites' life can be extended, according to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Operating on the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) module, Dextre removed safety caps and cut through retaining wires before transferring liquid ethanol to the mockup, which is about the size of a washing machine.

The CSA-NASA achievement is the first of its kind, and may help reduce the growing pile of dead satellites and space junk orbiting overhead. … Read more

Google's Native Client reaches ARM-based Chromebooks

Google has finished a version of its Native Client programming technology that extends beyond mainstream x86 PC processors into the world of ARM chips.

Native Client, or NaCl for short, is designed to let programmers easily adapt the C or C++ software they've written for native software so that it can run as a part of Web apps, too. It's designed for high performance, but it's also got security mechanisms built in to counter the risks of running malicious code directly on the processor. The first version of NaCl, though, only worked on personal computers using Intel … Read more