‘Best Firefox ever’ pours on the speed


Firefox is now more efficient than its rivals.
Firefox is now more efficient than its rivals.
Photo: Mozilla

Mozilla is rolling out its “best Firefox ever,” promising a perfect balance between speed and efficiency.

Firefox version 54 finally uses multiple processes for improved performance just like its rivals, so a complex webpage in one tab won’t impact your experience in another. What’s more, it uses less memory than other browsers on macOS, Mozilla says.

Google is developing a new operating system for everything


Google's new operating system takes its name from colors.
Google's new operating system takes its name from colors.
Photo: Google

A brand new operating system with a colorful name is currently under development at Google, according to a new project page found on GitHub.

Google hasn’t officially acknowledged that it’s working on the project, but the new operating system could possibly replace Chrome OS and Android by being able to run on pretty much everything.

Hacking for the good guys is a lucrative skill to learn [Deals]


PWYW Pentester
With companies like Instagram paying big bug bounties, it's a great time to learn ethical hacking.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Finding faults in a computer system can mean exploiting it — which is what we’ve been conditioned to think of when we hear the term “hacker” — or it can mean you’re trying to find ways of making the system stronger.

That’s what so-called white hat hacking is all about, and it’s a skill that’s becoming increasingly lucrative as more and more businesses are looking to do business over secure networks. This Ethical Hacker and Pentester Pro Bundle is a great way to join the light side of the hacking workforce, and you can get it for whatever you’re willing to pay.

There’s never been a better time to learn Linux [Deals]


Linux is more relevant than ever, and now you can add it to your skillset for an unbeatable price.
Linux is more relevant than ever, and now you can add it to your skillset for an unbeatable price.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

As more people learn the importance of open software and operating systems, Linux is more relevant than ever. Learning Linux can seem imposing, but even if you have no idea what a command line is, this bundle of lessons will make you a maestro of one of the most relevant software platforms in the world. The entire set of five courses, clocking in at over 22 of hours, is just $19.

Here’s some of what’s included:

How to try Ubuntu Linux without risking your Mac


Ubuntu running on my Macbook Pro -- beautiful.
Ubuntu running on my Macbook Pro -- beautiful.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Have you ever wanted to try out a different operating system on your Mac? Ever since Apple started using Intel chips in their computers, it’s been super simple to run Windows and even popular Linux distributions via Boot Camp, virtual environments like Parallels and VMWare Fusion, and the like.

The problem is that you need to use up precious system resources to run these things on your Mac. Even virtual machines take up disk space, as does running Boot Camp and partitioning your main Hard drive. What if you just want to test something out on your Mac before fully committing?

Turns out it’s fairly easy to run Linux on your Mac without using up any bit of your hard drive. Using a flash drive and some Terminal commands, you can check out a distribution like Ubuntu running right on your Mac without having to sacrifice a thing. Here’s how.

From Dick Tracy to Apple Watch: 70 years of smartwatches



Smartwatches: 70 years of wristastic action

The Apple Watch is far from the first smartwatch in history. With its debut in the wearables field, Apple is hoping to do what it does best: Swoop in and revolutionize a niche technology with a lot of promise but few mass-market successes.

In the case of the smartwatch, Apple's tackling an idea that has existed in the popular consciousness since the 1940s. Check out the gallery above to see some of the concepts that paved the way for Tim Cook and his team.

Dick Tracy's 2-Way Wrist Radio

Famous comic book detective Dick Tracy got his first wrist radiophone in 1946. During the same time period, there were several real attempts to create a similar device. In 1954, Sylvania constructed a prototype with transistors. In 1963, a Los Angeles company called Davenport & Waldon actually advertised one for $7. Sadly, with the exception of Dick Tracy’s famous smartwatch, none of the others worked as described. If they worked at all, that is.

Picture: Dick Tracy

The world's first digital watch

This isn’t exactly a smartwatch by the modern definition, but a digital display featuring glowing numbers instead of hands seemed pretty darn smart in 1972, the same decade Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak teamed up to create Apple.

This Hamilton-produced Pulsar watch was the world’s first to feature such a display. It was 18-karat gold and carried a price tag of $2,100 (that's the equivalent of $11,949.50 in today's money, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator). Hamilton provided a futuristic clock for Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the former head of the company's Pulsar division said that effort inspired his team to create the world’s first digital watch. The LED display was initially red, although a green version came later.

Photo: Diginut

The future of smartwatches (in the '70s)

The Pulsar might have been the reality of digital watches around the time that Apple started, but what was predicted by the age’s futurists? The 1979 Usborne book Future Cities: Homes & Living Into the 21st Century describes the arrival of "wrist-phones" or “ristos.” These devices, the authors predicted, would work with cellphones and GPS equipment.

"City dwellers of tomorrow could have a small gadget of enormous benefit — a wristwatch radio-telephone,” the book notes. "With a wristwatch radio, you could talk to anyone, wherever you happened to be.... If you were late for an appointment, it would be easy to let the other people know.... It ought to be impossible to get lost in tomorrow's world, in a city or out of it.... The wrist-phone can provide guidance back to the nearest town.” Pretty accurate, no?

Picture: EDC Publishing

The first Apple Watch?

Imagine if Cupertino had tried to create an Apple Watch back at the time of the original Macintosh. In fact, that’s not all that far from the truth. Apple didn’t exactly make it themselves, but the Seiko RC-1000 Wrist Terminal could interface with a number of popular computers at the time, including the Apple II, II+ and IIe.

It arrived in 1984, and featured scheduling, memos, world times and a four-function calculator app — all with just 8KB of ROM and 2KB of RAM. Even better, its multicolored successor, the RC-4500, was known as the “Wrist Mac.”

Photo: World of Spectrum

The medium is the MessageWatch

From the mid-'80s until the mid-'90s, Seiko was the company most associated with smartwatches. This 1995 Seiko MessageWatch could show caller IDs (by way of FM sideband frequencies), as well as updating sport scores, stock prices and weather forecasts. You could even send messages with it.

Sadly, Seiko discontinued the service on December 31, 1999, thinking that the combined threat of mobile phones and the Y2K bug (remember that?) was going to destroy whatever consumer interest there was left in the device.

Photo: HR Trend Institute

The open-source smartwatch

Tech pioneer Steve Mann was hailed as the “father of wearable computing” when he built an open-source smartwatch capable of running Linux in 1998. Two years later, IBM teamed up with Citizen to build the so-called WatchPad based on the latest version of Linux. It never made it to market, but it was packed with amazingly modern-sounding features including voice-enabled Bluetooth connectivity, a fingerprint sensor and an accelerometer sensor.

There were even plans for it to be used for cashless shopping and dining, as well as automated check-ins. Admittedly it wasn’t the most stylish wearable we’ve ever seen.

Photo: IBM Research


Samsung's first smartwatch

Samsung's 1999 smartwatch, the SPH-WP10, came about because of the company’s premature belief that the mobile phone market was already at saturation point. Working as a cross between a phone and a watch, the SPH-WP10 had a battery life of 90 minutes’ talk time, or 60 hours on standby. It cost close to $700. Few people remember it today, but it preceded the Galaxy Gear by more than a decade.

Photo: Samsung

A forgotten fossil

This 2003 smartwatch started development in 1999 when engineer Donald Brewer tried to get a version of Palm OS to work on a watch. At almost 45,000 cubic millimeters, the first prototype was described as a "boat anchor."

Brewer kept going, however, and millions of dollars were poured into a project that eventually produced a series of impressive smartwatches, capable of running a range of different apps. The line never shed its bulky aesthetic, though, while other common complaints included poor water-resistance, low battery life and a screen that was too dim to read and too small to manipulate text upon. It lasted until 2005.

Photo: Danski14/Wikipedia

Enter the Pebble

Investors and consumers alike are skipping Pebble

Photo: Pebble

Grinding Gears

The Galaxy Gear series of smartwatches represented Samsung’s big leap into the wearables space. Unfortunately, it’s been harshly reviewed by critics and proven a sales dud. Last October it was reported that 30 percent of the Galaxy Gear watches sold by Best Buy were returned by unhappy customers.

Still, at least the debacle has shown competitors what not to do. Samsung's Galaxy Gear TV commercial was laughably bad, too.

Photo: Samsung

Hello, Moto

An Android Wear-based device released by Motorola earlier this month, the Moto 360 is one of the most stylish smartwatches we’ve seen. Along with the expected phone-pairing functionality, it also boasts a heart rate sensor, pedometer, ambient light sensor and wireless charging. It wasn’t universally adored by any means, but in terms of combining aesthetics with functionality, this is the smartwatch for Apple to beat.

Photo: Phone Arena

At last: the Apple Watch

Apple Watch supply is finally catching up with demand.

Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

China’s Government-Approved OS Wants To Take On Android & iOS



BlackBerry and Windows Phone might be having a hard time trying to break up the monopoly on mobile software held by Android and iOS, but that hasn’t stopped the Chinese government from having a go with a platform of its own.

Built by a company called Shanghai Liantong in conjunction with ISCAS (Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences), COS — which stands for China Operating System — aims to take on Android and iOS by providing better localization for things like language input and cloud services.