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Spotify in talks to buy SoundCloud – again

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Sep 2016 15:53

Spotify in talks to buy SoundCloud – again World's largest music streaming service Spotify has reportedly started talks about acquiring a competing streaming service SoundCloud. According to Financial Times, Spotify is closing in on a deal but there's no word on the price.

The Swedish streaming giant has tried to buy SoundCloud already twice but the companies haven't managed to agree on a price. Last summer SoundCloud finished another financing round with another 100 million dollars. Spotify attempted to buy SoundCloud quickly after but negotiation hit a wall quickly.

According to the new reports the negotiations have gone further this time but the deal is anything but signed.

SoundCloud has managed to create a lively community of creators which is probably Spotify's main interest. The co-founder of Spotify, Niklas Zennström, sees consolidation of independent streaming services almost inevitable to survive against the device manufacturers (e.g. Apple) that rely on other forms of revenue.

SoundCloud was valued at $700 million after the latest round of investments.

AfterDawn: News

Firefox might be killing your SSD, fix it with one simple step

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Sep 2016 15:12

Firefox might be killing your SSD, fix it with one simple step Modern web browsers offer amazing functionality, speed, and performance. One of the best features without question is the session recovery. This allows us to continue where we left of as if we never closed the browser, even in case of computer crashing. There is a definite drawback though.

Serve the Home's Sergei Bobik has noticed that especially Firefox likes to write excessive amounts of data on your drive in case recovery is needed. It can potentially amount to tens of gigabytes a day.

Also it not only eats your storage but slowly kills your SSD, if that is what you use. SSD's only allow certain amount of writes before they expire. Thus, having programs constantly writing on them is not good for their lifespan.

This seems to happen with Firefox even though it is not used. Bobik noticed that within 45 minutes of having Firefox open it had written over gigabyte of data to an SSD. At this pace tens of gigabytes per day can be accumulated. In his recent calculations the same problem seems to be in Chrome as well and it could backup restoration data more than 24 GB/day.

There's an easy fix to improve your SDD's lifespan and reduce storage used by Firefox. You can change the frequency of the data writeup, by default it is done every 15 seconds. Switch the browser.sessionstore.interval parameter by typing about:config in your Firefox address bar. Notice that the time is in milliseconds (15 000 = 15 seconds, 300 000 = 5 minutes).

AfterDawn: News

Elon Musk reveals plans to colonize Mars with "Big Fucking Spaceship"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Sep 2016 14:51

Elon Musk reveals plans to colonize Mars with "Big Fucking Spaceship" Elon Musk has revealed new plans for his space exploration company SpaceX. For a while we have known that the mad scientist plans to get humanity to Mars but when and how?

Now Musk has told us some very (and others not so) specific steps SpaceX is taking in order to make it possible for people to travel to Mars and make it a place they call home. The aim is to make the travel as "cheap" as a median mortgage in the US and to take just a couple of months.

If you haven't been following Musk's obsession with space exploration this might sound completely crazy. However, even NASA's new budget allows it to explore more and further making human missions to Mars a definite possibility in our lifetime.

Musk also unveiled plans for the spaceship, and the rocket carrying it to space. The ship is called Big Fucking Spaceship, I kid you not. It is obviously currently only a vision of what it takes to make travel affordable enough, including room for hundred or more people.

The development will take decades but Musk believes that within from 40 to 100 years we'll be sending Matt Damon to grow some crops.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube offers a badge to users, calls them Heroes

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Sep 2016 14:52

YouTube offers a badge to users, calls them Heroes There's not a lot of places that can be more vile than a YouTube comment section. And every day thousands upon thousands of illegal videos are uploaded to YouTube. All this needs to be cleaned up while maintaining YouTube as a free and open platform to voice your views.

YouTube, though, knows that there's a problem with unmoderated nature of the comment section as well as videos that do not serve a purpose that YouTube was made for, and now they've come up with a solution. Enter YouTube Heroes.

YouTube has introduced an initiative which recruits community volunteers to police the comments and content. These people which will be given the moniker YouTube Heroes will gain more power as they've flagged more videos and comments, as well as entered more captions.

There's no money to be made here but YouTube promises some perks like exclusive videochats, workshops, and even personal contacts within YouTube. These are things that not even channels with millions of subscribers have access to.

Obviously there's a million different problems with giving a badge and a gun to seemingly random YouTube users. They even get to mass flag videos like it's a good thing that less effort goes into flagging a video.


AfterDawn: News

Yahoo confirms the largest hack in history

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Sep 2016 13:36

Yahoo confirms the largest hack in history As we yesterday reported, inside information had it that Yahoo's alleged hack was real and that the company was only waiting to come forward and confirm it. Now, a day later, the internet giant has indeed confirmed what seems to be the largest hack of this type in the history of the internet.

According to Yahoo the hack that happened in late 2014 managed to collect information from its user accounts. The hacker, which the company believes to be a "state-sponsored actor", stole information from over 500 million users.

Thus far the largest hack has been attributed to MySpace, which affected around 427 million accounts. Yesterday as the numbers were still unclear suggestions of 200 million or hundreds of millions were circulating.

According to Yahoo among the leaked information are:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt)
  • In some cases encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers


AfterDawn: News

Massive leak might affect hundreds of millions of Yahoo accounts

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Sep 2016 19:04

Massive leak might affect hundreds of millions of Yahoo accounts Last month a hacker by the name of Peace claimed to possess information of millions upon millions of Yahoo accounts. At that point Yahoo did not comment on whether or not the leak had actually happened but said they would investigate. Now new information has it that the leak has happened.

Re/code's Kara Swisher suggests that the leak has indeed happened even though Yahoo has yet to confirm the fact. Furthermore Swisher is saying that Yahoo has the information but is trying to come up with a good strategy before reveling it to the public.

The hacker claimed to have information, such as usernames, easily decrypted passwords, as well as personal information like email addresses and birth dates of over 200 million users. The extent of the leak was not confirmed by Re/code's sources but they said it was "widespread and serious."

This might complicate things the acquisition by Verizon. Obviously the new owner of Yahoo would rather not have a burden of such a huge problem and this might affect the $4.8 billion price tag.

AfterDawn: News

Making the new iPhone costs more than ever

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Sep 2016 13:45

Making the new iPhone costs more than ever Apple's equipment has never come cheap, and there has always been a cheaper hardware version of the same product. This means couple of things. First, Apple knows their real power is in the software and secondly that profits are off the roof.

The new iPhone is certainly not an exception in this manner. The software can only be found on Apple's iPhones and the profits are going to be one of the highest in the industry with the most expensive version costing nearly a grand.

According to new information from IHS Markit though shows that the high price is not all for nothing. Teardown of the iPhone 7 revealed that the phone is more expensive to build than ever before. According to the estimate it cost 18% more than iPhone 6S with $224.80 (including materials and manufacturing costs). Even still it retails the phone starting at $649, almost three times as much.

Although Apple has had to increase the build costs for more innovative design and better components to ultimately fend off the Android flagships the IHS researchers say that profits are still far better than for Samsung, which puts around $265 worth of hardware in their flagship Galaxy S7.

It seems that Apple has pulled a good release this time around, selling out several models before launch, and might be in for a new upward trajectory.

AfterDawn: News

Pokémon GO's reign ends as Clash Royale gets an update

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Sep 2016 13:17

Pokémon GO's reign ends as Clash Royale gets an update After more than two months of sitting on the throne of the top grossing mobile app it has now come time for Pokémon GO to give someone else a try. Niantic's super popular augmented reality game has been losing players, and thanks to a new update, the new king is Clash Royale.

Supercell's newest game Clash Royale took the top spot in the top grossing iPhone apps in the US after this week's patch that brought a slew of new features. Challenges as well as new troops meant that players have been spending money on gems like there's no tomorrow.

Even though the 74 streak Pokémon GO had at the top spot is impressive it is nowhere near what Supercell's mega hit Clash of Clans managed, as SensorTower notes. It does though still hold the number one spot in at least 8 other countries.

Pokémon also still holds the top place in Google Play Store revenue.

AfterDawn: News

Apple releases macOS Sierra, brings Siri to desktop

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Sep 2016 15:06

Apple releases macOS Sierra, brings Siri to desktop As promised, Apple has released the new version of its desktop operating system for all to download. The new OS carries an entirely new name, macOS Sierra, and brings a few interesting features.

The new version was introduced at WWDC in June and shortly after, in early July, Apple released the public beta for early adopters. Now over two months of testing later macOS Sierra can be downloaded – first time ever – from the Mac App Store.

The most significant new feature of the free update is voice assistant Siri which can now be found on the desktop. If enabled it can be found as a separate icon in the taskbar. In addition to Siri, Sierra brings a new universal clipboard, Apple Pay for web, new emojis, as well as better optimization for storage and iCloud.


AfterDawn: News

Google to unveil Pixel smartphone on October 4

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Sep 2016 12:04

Google to unveil Pixel smartphone on October 4 As the rumors have had it, Google is having a press conference on October 4 and plans on introducing new Android devices. Or at least one, a smartphone that will be branded Pixel.

The press conference thus revolves around mobile devices and we will hear news about both the new device(s) as well as updates to the world's leading mobile operating system, Android. Currently it is not known whether the company intends to release multiple devices and perhaps tablets in addition to phones.

The biggest news we currently have is that Nexus will be replaced by Pixel. Previously the company has branded all of its own phones (manufactured by others) as Nexus devices but this is about to change. The new phone, or phones, will share the Pixel brand with tablets and laptops that Google has introduces in past years.

We might, and probably will, learn more about Daydream applications on new devices. The VR framework is said to come to not only a multitude of existing and upcoming smartphones but maybe even to a completely new standalone VR headset developed by Google.

That's what we have currently. See you on the 4th – or the day we have perhaps significant leaks.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung developing a proprietary headphone jack after Apple controversy?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Sep 2016 16:18

Samsung developing a proprietary headphone jack after Apple controversy? Apple's removal of the headphone jack from the latest iPhones seemed to many a huge mistake. However, it can be argued that it is a move that others will follow. After all it is an antiquated analog connector from years past.

It does sound crazy though that Samsung would be trying to develop a completely new separate port for headphones but that is exactly what Digital Music News reports. The report claims that Samsung is thinking of introducing a connection that would not be compatible with Apple's newest devices.

It seems like conspiracy theory but Apple's and other competing manufacturers' aren't really on the same page in a lot of things. Apple has approached connectors and connectivity in general in a very closed fashion.

What seems odd though is that the new USB Type-C connection in many of the new Android flagships would seem to be a way more sensible choice. Why would Samsung replace a headphone jack with another one instead of following Apple suit.

Also Apple would probably not be hurt too much from a incompatible connector since it's trying to move more and more to wireless.

AfterDawn: News

Community is Google's newest attempt at making YouTube more social

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Sep 2016 17:30

Community is Google's newest attempt at making YouTube more social YouTube has announced a new feature which will allow content creators to interact better with their audience. This Facebook's Wall-like feature is called YouTube Community and can be found as a separate tab on every channel.

It is pretty much as simple as the Wall. You can publish text, videos, images, and of course GIF animations. YouTube says that it is lightweight and that the posts will appear to subscribers of the channel in the Subscriptions feed on their YouTube mobile app. Notifications for new posts is also available.

The brand new Community tab on your YouTube channel gives you a new, simple way to engage with your viewers and express yourself beyond video.

Even though this might not seem like a groundbreaking feature it will likely make the communication with fans of the channel easier. Often announcements and other info are spread via services like Facebook and Twitter, which is obviously no optimal for YouTube. Now you might not have to subscribe to the YouTuber in several different services.

The feature is currently in limited beta use before it goes fully public. You can check the channels here.


AfterDawn: News

Music industry is once again worried about "ripping"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Sep 2016 17:18

Music industry is once again worried about "ripping" Music industry, like many others, are slow to adapt and because of that slow adaption they've had to come up with all kinds of reasons to why sales of antiquated media is slowing down. Now they've come up with a new, and in a way old, problem.

Obviously technologies like streaming have allowed music business to flourish in a completely unprecedented way but this is not the way the industry giants, record companies, and industry lobbyists want it to be. As music is closer to the consumer often the middle man can be left with not much to brag about.

The new problem according to the industry is with streaming services, or services that abuse streaming services. With CDs the problem was ripping, and now with streams like YouTube the problem is again ripping.

According to WSJ the recording industry is blaming third party software that allows consumers to download (rip) the audio out of YouTube streams and store it locally. This problem has "serious impact" on subscription numbers, says the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) report. This, even though the global sales of music increased significantly first time in decades. The 3.2% growth comes overwhelmingly from streaming which increased 45%.


AfterDawn: News

Apple launches iOS 10 as well as updates to Apple TV and Watch

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Sep 2016 14:28

Apple launches iOS 10 as well as updates to Apple TV and Watch Apple has launched today the new mobile operating system that comes with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The new iOS version is available for every iPhone user from up to iPhone 5.

The upgrade is also available to sixth generation iPod touch, iPad Mini 2, and fourth generation iPad and of course newer versions in the same product lines. It's available as an over-the-air update as well as downloadable from iTunes.

Some of the new features include a new and improved Control Center, updated lock screen, new widgets view, a redesigned Maps app, and a completely new Raise to Wake feature. Also the 3D Touch feature has been greatly improved and Apple Music brings on a new UI.

In addition Apple has released a new version of Apple TV's operating system tvOS as well as Apple Watch's operating system watchOS. The version 10 of tvOS brings a better control over iPhone remote app and watchOS improves both speed and battery life which are the two key aspects that desperately need improvement not only on Apple Watch but smartwatches in general.

AfterDawn: News

PlayStation 4 gets major update with HDR

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Sep 2016 13:15

PlayStation 4 gets major update with HDR Sony has revealed that PlayStation 4 has received its latest update. The patch version is a big 4.00 which means that there will be important new features to accompany the plethora of usual fixes and tweaks.

The patch codenamed Shingen is the patch that Sony promised while introducing its new Pro and Slim versions of PS4 last week. It will improve the user experience in many ways, one of them being an overhaul of the UI as well as Quick and Share Menus.

Even though all that is nice and everything the main feature everyone has been waiting for is HDR. A feature that was thought to be impossible for the older PS4 with the HDMI v1.4 is coming as promised. This will give all PS4 gamers more colorful and accurate depiction of the games on a HDR supporting TV set.

More information on 4.00 update can be found here.

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