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WhatsApp Status feature explained

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 24 Feb 2017 5:05

WhatsApp Status feature explained WhatsApp added a feature called "Status" to its app in February, 2017, copying the feature from the likes of Snapchat, Instagram and Messenger.

What it is then?

To put it simply, Status has now its own tab within the WhatsApp application, where you can see your contacts' statuses and where you can update your status. Status is a video, picture or a short text that will be shown to all of your contacts for the next 24 hours. Updating your status, however, does not send it out as a message to your contacts, but simply is shown inside the Status tab in WhatsApp app.

So, unless your contacts visit their app's Status tab, they wont know that you've updated your status.

Now, statuses disappear automatically after 24 hours - and there is no archive of past statuses, so once the status has been visible for 24 hours, it simply disappears, for good.

By default, your status is visible to all the people you have in your WhatsApp contact list. However, under security and privacy settings, you can limit that to specific people only - or to make it visible everybody, even to those who you haven't added to your contact list.

WhatsApp status feature

AfterDawn: News

Upcoming Galaxy S8 revealed in new photos with Always On Display

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Feb 2017 11:48

Upcoming Galaxy S8 revealed in new photos with Always On Display Just over three weeks ago we had you the first reputable Galaxy S8 leak (picture above) which showed both front and back of the device. Unfortunately the picture didn't reveal much because of its quality but fortunately now PhoneArena has released a few better pictures.

Being the most anticipated device of Spring 2017 rumors have been going crazy lately. However, before today we haven't seen good quality pictures of the device close up and with the display on.

The new pictures show that the upcoming Galaxy S8 seems to come with an array of sensors on the top of the device and as expected the display takes up almost the whole front panel. This seems to mean that the physical home button has been removed and thus the fingerprint reader moved.

The pictures also show the Edge Apps that take use of the curved Edge display on the S8. Maybe even more interestingly two of the pictures show the Always On display feature which shows the clock (and some other information) even when the phone is not active.


AfterDawn: News

A surprise feature from the world's most popular messaging platform

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Feb 2017 10:28

A surprise feature from the world's most popular messaging platform WhatsApp has long ago surpassed SMS in popularity and its billion users is rivaled only by Facebook Messenger, both obviously owned by Facebook.

WhatsApp's road to success has really been very simple. The company made a simple, easy-to-use, phone number based messaging system that didn't have many faults. Over time they've implemented new features but they've never tried to reach too far.

One thing they have been pioneering is security. WhatsApp messages and now even videos and calls are all encrypted if the user so desires. The latest new feature was Groups, which allows users to create multiple group chats.

Now, however, WhatsApp has come up with a surprise feature. The new feature is actually a new iteration of the status that has pretty much always been a part of WhatsApp but not an integral part by any means.

Status takes now more of a center stage and its essentially a carbon copy of Snapchat's Stories feature. Thus the status now allows you to add pictures, videos, or even GIF animations. Pictures can be enhanced with emojis or hand-drawn accents. The status updates self-destruct after 24 hours.

While the update will come to all mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows) it will roll out gradually starting today.

AfterDawn: News

No taxation without representation unless you're a robot, suggests Bill Gates

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Feb 2017 13:06

No taxation without representation unless you're a robot, suggests Bill Gates Bill Gates is obviously known from creating one of the worlds largest technology companies and becoming the richest man on earth for it. Now the previously often even hated CEO of Microsoft has become a futurist and a philanthropist.

Saving lives by eradicating malaria might be the most important job of the Gates Foundation but Bill has been also vocal about the challenges that future, especially automation and AI, brings along. In an interview with Quartz, Bill Gates suggests that when robots start working instead of men and women, we should tax them the same way.

In his view robots will free us from the labor of producing some of the things and services we need so we can move more on to things that cannot – at least as easily – be replaced. Those are some of the more empathetic jobs such as caring and teaching professions.

Because robots won't probably have their own bank accounts and won't be given actual money the income tax would be replaced with a tax that would target the owner of the robot, which would be the company. In Gates' view this would slow down the adoption of automation as well as fund the population that is jobless because of it.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung's reputation in free fall after exploding phones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Feb 2017 12:34

Samsung's reputation in free fall after exploding phones Samsung's catastrophic launch of one of last year's most anticipated smartphones had a clear impact on the company's overall reputation, suggests a new report. An annual poll conducted by The Harris Poll reveals that Samsung's reputation has plummeted in the United States, Engadget reports.

The poll that was conducted on little over 30 000 U.S. adults between November 28 and December 16 puts Samsung in the 49th spot among the top companies. While this might not seem like an awful result you have to bare in mind that Samsung has been in the top-10 the previous two years. It is not hard to see a connection with exploding Note7 smartphones in last September and October.

The Reputation Quotient ranking of around 75 points puts Samsung just ahead of USPS while competitors like Google and Apple are 8th and 5th respectively with 82-odd points. That in itself should be telling.

Obviously there are still companies that are rated way worse and companies that have recently had even bigger controversies. These include everyone's favorite telecommuncations company Comcast and Volkswagen, which is known for its air fresheners, both of which are at approximately 63 points and rank 90th and 91st respectively.


AfterDawn: News

Apple's original TV show Planet of the Apps gets a trailer

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Feb 2017 12:42

Apple's original TV show Planet of the Apps gets a trailer Apple has positioned itself against some of the biggest TV and movie conglomerates by beginning the production of its own content. Following Netflix's and Amazon's lead, the Cupertino based giant has released a trailer of one of its first original TV shows.

The show is aptly called Planet of the Apps and is to applications what Shark Tank is to business ideas. Well, actually, it is a combination of Shark Tank in terms of pitching the idea of the app and The Voice in which the celebrity judges choose whether they want to help out the pitcher.

As the video shows, the pitch to the celebrity judges (Jessica Alba,, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Gary Vaynerchuk) is just the first step. If they are accepted by one – or if many, they can choose their mentor – they must prepare for a pitch to four members of venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners.

The best will get a featured spot on the App Store (obviously) and a lot of publicity. The show will be exclusive to Apple Music.

AfterDawn: News

Cortana reminds you even when you forgot to add the reminder

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Feb 2017 13:22

Cortana reminds you even when you forgot to add the reminder Microsoft has announced an update to its voice assistant Cortana with a single new feature. The so-called Commitment feature allows the Windows 10 assistant to remember things you forgot to add to your reminders.

How does this thing actually work? Well, it's as simple as your assistant going through your emails and remembering to add reminders for you. Cortana essentially reads your emails and determines whether there are any commitments that you make.

Once it finds one of these instances it saves a reminder with the subject, persons involved and possible deadline. The result is, as seen in the picture and video, a surprise reminder that will present you with the part of the email that triggered the feature as well as who the commitment was made to, ie. the recipient of the email.

Microsoft's Cortana assistant might not be the most popular of the voice assistants but it is definitely challenging the competition in terms of machine learning. Google's new Google Assistant is also heavily focused in machine learning and context specificity.


AfterDawn: News

Fully loaded 'Kodi box' sellers arrested

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Feb 2017 1:35

Fully loaded 'Kodi box' sellers arrested Police have arrested sellers of so called 'Full Loaded Kodi Boxes' as pirate streaming add-ons become more popular.

The devices are typically low-cost Android-based media set top boxes that come with apps and add-ons pre-installed. Despite being called 'Kodi boxes', they have nothing at all to do with the development of the Kodi media center software.

Last year, developers of Kodi threatened legal action against individuals who use the Kodi brand or images while selling devices marketed to enable piracy.

Kodi, formerly XBMC, is a very powerful media center solution that can run on Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android. Its support for third party add-ons has made it very popular, as third-party add-ons can provide access to live TV, including live sports, while some provide a Netflix-like experience with access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows, all without paying a subscription fee.

That does not make Kodi illegal of course, but marketing a media device as "fully loaded" with piracy add-ons pre-installed may be illegal in some places. It is currently being tested in the UK.

In the latest action against the growing trend of streaming, five traders were arrested in the UK for advertising and selling such devices online. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) estimates that the individuals have earned more than £250,000 selling such devices.


AfterDawn: News

Film and music streaming geoblocking to be eliminated in EU

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Feb 2017 1:21

Film and music streaming geoblocking to be eliminated in EU EU Netflix, Sky, Amazon, etc. subscribers will be able to continue using their service as they travel through the 28 nation bloc, if current proposals go through.

An agreement made on Tuesday between the European Parliament and Malta, which currently holds the rotating presidency in the EU, is likely to see subscription service barriers between states abolished. Essentially that means that customers of services such as Netflix and Sky should be able to access their subscription services if they travel to another EU member state.

The move has some opposition from rights holders, but is seen as a positive step for subscribers who travel frequently throughout the 28 nation bloc. It would effect services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sky and Apple Music.

The plan is yet to be formally approved but is expected to be part of new regulations that come into force at the beginning of 2018.

Many subscription services lock their subscriber to their home country because the library of content offered varies in different territories. If this regulation comes into effect, the subscriber should have access to the same library of content they have in their home country, but it does not force streaming services to offer the same content to all 28 EU member states.

AfterDawn: News

Nintendo explains how to use their upcoming game console Switch

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Feb 2017 15:05

Nintendo explains how to use their upcoming game console Switch It's been months since Nintendo first unveiled its upcoming gaming console to the public but we still have to wait over three weeks to get our hands on one. However, Nintendo – as well as unofficial rumors – have given us some new information about the device and its features in the past couple of months.

However, there's still some things that aren't as clear as we would hope them to be. How do the controllers work? Can you use it separately? How about multiplayer gaming? Well, many of the questions have been answered in a new video Nintendo published on YouTube today.

Due in early March, Switch consists of a handheld console, a dock for your TV as well as two JoyCon controllers that can be used in different ways. In the video Nintendo goes through the different methods of playing, which include, the Handheld Mode with JoyCons attached to the tablet, the TV Mode with the controllers attached to the JoyCon Grip, and using JoyCon controllers separately in the Tabletop Mode.


AfterDawn: News

Former NSA contractor followed in Snowden's footsteps?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Feb 2017 12:59

Former NSA contractor followed in Snowden's footsteps? When it comes to leaking government secret there are few names that have more weight than Edward Snowden. A man who's been featured in an Oscar-winning documentary may have inspired a new leaker.

According to Washington Post, prosecutors are currently seeking for indictment as soon as this week for a former National Security Agency contractor that allegedly leaked secret government information.

Harold T. Martin III has been accused of stealing over 50 terabytes of information from the agency and will likely be charged with violating the Espionage Act. The 52-year-old was arrested in August last year and has been detained since. In October, Martin requested to be released pending a trial but was refused by a U.S. District Judge.

Martin was a former contractor for the NSA and was part of the agency's elite hacker unit, Tailored Access Operations. Some of the leaked data has been said to reveal secret techniques and tools used by the TAO. Estimates have it that this is the largest theft of government data in U.S. history and could include as much as 75 percent of TAO hacking tool data.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix original programming is destroying Amazon's and Hulu's in comparison

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Feb 2017 17:44

Netflix original programming is destroying Amazon's and Hulu's in comparison Netflix in globally a streaming giant no one has managed to challenge. However, in the United States, there are few streaming services that could if not topple at least put pressure on Netflix. A new report from Parrot Analytics, though, suggests that Netflix is a force to be reckoned with in one specific category: original programs.

According to the analytics company the lead Netflix has in terms of original program viewership has only increased in the past 12 months. A steady growth has been met with largely stagnant competitors.

Amazon has managed to create some buzz in the last weeks of 2016 which might suggest that its highly anticipated car show The Grand Tour has been doing well. The Grand Tour of course being the show by former BBC's Top Gear trio. But one or two hit shows aren't going to be enough to challenge Netflix.

Netflix's last years original hit shows included Stranger Things, The OA, The Get Down, and Luke Cage.


AfterDawn: News

Apple's year ended in record figures

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Feb 2017 16:18

Apple's year ended in record figures For the past year of two Apple's future hasn't seemed quite as bright as we've been used to. After record iPhone sales for year after year the growth slowed down and threatened to start, what some called, an inevitable decline.

Apple fought through, though, and had some amazing news to tell about the last quarter, which marks the first quarter for the fiscal year 2017. With 78.3 million iPhones sold, most in any quarter so far, the company posted a record-setting $78.4 billion in revenue. Earnings at $3.36 was another record high for the Cupertino giant and the net profit topped $17.9 billion.

We're thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple's highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

Tim Cook also added that the App Store saw record customer activity and the company is very excited about upcoming products.

"Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline."


AfterDawn: News

Apple loses the number one spot in China

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 Jan 2017 16:06

Apple loses the number one spot in China Apple's iPhone has been the number one smartphone around the world for much of the last 10 years. Even in China, which the Cupertino, CA compnay had a slow and tough start but managed to clinch the number one spot in 2012.

After 2012 the ride hasn't been exactly smooth either, but the spot has been captured every year by Apple – until now. A new smartphone model has overtaken Apple's iPhone as the most popular smartphone in China, CNBC reports.

Last year Apple's most popular iPhone model was the iPhone 6s released in fall 2015 and it managed to move approximately 12 million units in 2016. Even though China's smartphone sales is far from the huge growth couple years back, Apple's 21 percent decline in sales is unnerving for the giant.

The new king of smartphones in China comes from the multitude of manufacturers their homeland produces. Although selling a whopping nearly 17 million million R9 (pictured: R9 Plus) units you might have not even heard of the brand, unless regularly watching America's Next Top Model which, as you might have guessed, has been sponsored by the company.


AfterDawn: News

Apple joins Google, Facebook, Amazon, to study and advance AI

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Jan 2017 14:41

Apple joins Google, Facebook, Amazon, to study and advance AI It is clear that artificial intelligence is going to be a huge part of future computing. It might not mean Haley Joel Osment's David from 2001 movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence is going to be reality for quite some time but computer learning and other AI technologies are going to play an increasingly important role in our lives even in the very near future.

This is definitely what most of the technology giants believe as they combine forces to educate the industries and public about what all of this might mean. The research collaboration is called Partnership on AI, shortened from Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society, and it has just added another big, perhaps the biggest, name to its already impressive list of contributors.

The creation of Partnership on AI tracks back to last fall, in September to be precise, when a number of leaders from the world's largest technology giants decided to have a serious conversation about what type of challenges AI poses to the society and what kind of benefit one could reap from its emergence.

Now the research firm has announced that one of the early collaborators, Apple, has been named one of the founding members alongside Google/DeepMind, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon. It also added six new members to its Board of Trustees to join the six board members that represent the founding members. New members come from leading AI foundations and universities, including OpenAI, UC Berkeley, and MacArthur Foundation.


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