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AfterDawn: News

New Pandora app for Xbox One allows background streaming while you game

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Dec 2014 13:31

New Pandora app for Xbox One allows background streaming while you game The Xbox One continues to improve its entertainment capabilities, adding Pandora and few other new apps to its repertoire.

Reads Pandora's release statement: "Pandora for Xbox One is a best-in-class application native to Xbox One and loaded with really exciting and innovative new features. We customized our HTML5-based Pandora for TV interface specifically for the Xbox One, and also stayed true to Pandora's mission of being the effortless source of music for Pandora listeners. Pandora on Xbox One takes advantage of all the functionality the platform has to offer and our team built the application to look amazing on the biggest screen in your home."

Xbox gamers will be able to "Snap" Pandora, meaning they can still play music even while gaming. Additionally, the app uses Kinect Gestures and Voice Commands and the app will also have a "persistent mini-player, which provides quick access to playback controls while browsing within the application."

According to Pandora, the move was a natural fit. 76 percent of their young male users who also game were using Pandora in the background while they were playing games anyway.

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AfterDawn: News

And on the 12th day of Christmas, Microsoft slashed the price of Xbox Music in half

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Dec 2014 13:14

And on the 12th day of Christmas, Microsoft slashed the price of Xbox Music in half Over the last 11 days, Microsoft has been running their "12 Days of Deals" promotion for the holidays, offering discounts on everything from games and consoles to PCs and more.

For the final day (tomorrow), the company is slashing the price of their 12-month Xbox Music subscription to $49.90 from its usual $99.90. If you live near a Microsoft Store, you can get the annual pass for just $29, a very good deal even if you are not a fan of Microsoft.

Xbox Music works similar to other unlimited streaming services like Spotify and Google Play All Access, allowing you to stream a catalog of over 30 million tracks and listen from your console, mobile device and Windows computer.

Microsoft says the deal is limited to 3 per customer, and you will receive a code via email to sign up. The deal starts at 8am EST on December 19th.

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AfterDawn: News

Madonna: Leaked album is stolen demo with unfinished tracks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Dec 2014 13:00

Madonna: Leaked album is stolen demo with unfinished tracks Earlier this week, Madonna's yet untitled 2015 album was supposedly leaked to the Internet.

The artist quickly took to Instagram to let fans know that the tracks were from "unfinished demos stolen long ago" and also urged fans to not download and listen.

Madonna later made another post that called the leak "artistic rape" and a "form of terrorism," but that post was deleted almost immediately and thankfully for the artist as it was a huge over-exaggeration and completely insensitive.

The upcoming album, likely to be called 'Iconic,' will feature production from big name acts like Avicii, Diplo and Ryan Tedder. A few of the leaked songs, including 'Rebel Heart' and 'Bitch I'm Madonna,' feature sounds that could certainly fit in with what we know about the legitimate album.

Interested parties can likely find the album on YouTube before it is taken down.

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AfterDawn: News

Plex now available for PS3, PS4 with limitations

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Dec 2014 22:56

Plex now available for PS3, PS4 with limitations A little over a month after Plex released an app for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, the personal media streaming company has released apps for the Sony PS3 and PS4.

Reads the company's post: "We noticed this meteoric rise just a week ago [to fan requests for the support], and--jolted out of our usual slack-jawed complacency--we set ourselves up with some intravenous caffeine drips and coded for three days straight. In less time than it took to create, well, the Universe, we had the app running on the PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4, so we took the rest of the week off and played a bunch of hacky sack.

OK, in all honesty, it did take us a bit longer than that. Like, we actually started working on it before the Xbox One app. But we're finally done, and we're super happy to tell you that it's launching today in Europe and most of Asia. The US launch will happen in the near future (along with other locations), but we don't have a date for you yet. And let's be real, hasn't your spouse been bugging you about moving to Italy since they watched A Good Year? Now might be the perfect time. Crush grapes with your bare feet, get fleeced by an opera-singing gondolier, and use Plex on the PlayStation® before ze Americans.
"

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AfterDawn: News

U.S. to blame North Korea for Sony Pictures hack

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Dec 2014 21:52

U.S. to blame North Korea for Sony Pictures hack According to numerous media outlets, U.S. government officials will announce tomorrow that North Korea was indeed behind the devastating hack on Sony Pictures.

The accusation certainly raises questions, as the attack by a foreign government could be considered an act of war, especially given the damage caused and the alleged reasons for the hack: embarrassment and monetary damage.

Investigators suspect the attack was carried out by North Korea's elite government "Unit 121" hacking team, the same group that had been linked to other large-scale attacks against South Korean targets.

The U.S. officials do have concerns that blaming North Korea outright could put their ally Japan in danger, given their closer geographical proximity.

Despite the expert routing of the traffic away from the original attackers, there were still plenty of links back to North Korea from the offset. The group claiming the hack, "Guardians of Peace," used broken English and skeleton graphics in their initial warnings matching similar warnings from previous attacks on South Korean banks and telecoms. The attack code was also written in Korean and written during Korean working hours.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony has no plans to ever release 'The Interview' - no DVD, Blu-ray, no VOD, no TV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Dec 2014 20:30

Sony has no plans to ever release 'The Interview' - no DVD, Blu-ray, no VOD, no TV Sony Pictures has now decided against ever releasing 'The Interview' in any form, almost guaranteeing themselves a $100 million loss on the film.

A spokesman made the quick and blunt statement tonight that "Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film."

The studio made the decision tonight to cancel the release of the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy, after the major movie theater chains in the U.S. decided to not show the film following terrorist threats against movie theaters and movie theater patrons.

By never releasing the film in any kind of media, the studio will guarantee themselves a nearly $100 million loss on the production of the movie, marketing and promotion expenses, and broken contracts. The budget of the film itself was $42 million.

Sony could still sell the rights to the film to another studio, but there are likely to be few suitors unless the price is so low that it potentially worth the risks.

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AfterDawn: News

Nearly everyone in Hollywood is outraged by Sony and the movie theater chain's 'act of cowardice' in canceling 'The Interview'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Dec 2014 20:00

Nearly everyone in Hollywood is outraged by Sony and the movie theater chain's 'act of cowardice' in canceling 'The Interview' Following news that all the major U.S. movie theater chains would not be showing 'The Interview,' Sony Pictures announced it was canceling the release of the film, which was slated to open on Christmas in the U.S.

While a minority praised the move, which was made because the cyber criminals threatened terrorist attacks on movie theaters, most of vocal Hollywood seems to be outraged by the decision.

Here are a few of the most notable tweets on the decision:

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AfterDawn: News

The hackers win: Sony cancels release of 'The Interview' as movie theaters bail

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Dec 2014 19:39

The hackers win: Sony cancels release of 'The Interview' as movie theaters bail Just hours after major U.S. theater chains said they would not screen the film following terrorists threats, Sony has canceled the release of 'The Interview,' a comedy in which Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong Un.

The movie had been scheduled for release on December 25th.

Earlier today we reported that Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, and Cineplex Entertainment all blocked showings of the new film, which would have accounted for 23,000 screens in North America.

Reads Sony's statement: "In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."

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AfterDawn: News

Sony Hack: Major theater chains drop 'The Interview'

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 15:30

Sony Hack: Major theater chains drop 'The Interview' Due to be released on December 25, The Interview has been dropped or delayed by the five largest theater chains in the United States, according to reports.

Regal Entertainment Group confirmed on Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter that it would not be showing The Interview from December 25 as planned.

"Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres," the chain said in a statement.

THR also cited knowledgeable sources in reporting that AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment also have decided against screening the movie.

The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After the movie was announced, it was condemned by North Korea as an "act of war".

Following the devastating data breach at Sony Pictures, the hacking group claiming responsibility for the attack - Guardians of Peace (GoP) - allegedly demanded that Sony cancel the release of the movie.

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AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry Classic tempts business, retains QWERTY keyboard

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 14:56

BlackBerry Classic tempts business, retains QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry is back in business! The new BlackBerry Classic smartphone retains the time-tested physical QWERTY keyboard, and packs a 3.5-inch touchscreen.

Running the latest BlackBerry 10 OS, the new BlackBerry Classic features a 720x720, 3.5-inch, 294 PPI touch screen, and an 8-megapixel rear camera that can record 1080p video at 30fps. There is also a front-facing 2-megapixel camera supporting 720p recording.

Under the hood, it packs a Qualcomm MSM 8960 1.5GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. For storage, the BlackBerry Classic comes with 16GB internal storage, and using a MicroSD card this can be expanded up to 128GB.

It promises up to 22 hours mixed battery life from its non-removable 2515 mAh Lithium-ion battery.

It retains BlackBerry's time-tested physical keyboard with a 35-key backlit QWERTY pad, one of BlackBerry's most adored features in its past smartphones when it ruled the roost in the business world.

BlackBerry refers to its new classic as a "no-nonsense" smartphone built to meet the needs of productive people who appreciate the speed and accuracy that can be found with a physical QWERTY keyboard, leaving no doubt that it's main goal with the Classic is to return its loyal business users and perhaps regain some who have moved to other platforms.

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AfterDawn: News

Bill Gates: 2014 wasn't as bad as you think

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 13:15

Bill Gates: 2014 wasn't as bad as you think Ebola, Ukraine, Gaza, Malaysian Airlines MH370 & MH17, Terrorism, Mass Protests, Robin Williams' suicide and plenty other things were beamed into our skulls in 2014, but Bill Gates is ever the optimist.

Being exposed to the media, you can be forgiven for thinking that things are constantly getting worse and worse. Simply put, fear sells. If it bleeds, it leads. It is very easy to be cynical and have a negative outlook on the future, but Bill Gates is far more optimistic as he looks back on 2014 and toward the future... and not just because he's insanely rich.

No, instead Gates has reminded us that a lot of good things happened in 2014 too, even if it doesn't make the headlines. Just as he did at the end of 2013, Gates is drawing attention to some of the highlights from 2014, and some of it is pretty great.

In 2014, for the 42nd year in a row (at least), the child mortality rate has fallen. "More kids are living to see their fifth birthday than ever before," Gates asserts, as he highlights the drop in the number of children dying globally from preventable causes. In fact, the child mortality rate is falling faster than ever anticipated, and Gates highlights an article in The Economist showing that over 13.6 million children's lives have been saved since 2001.

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AfterDawn: News

NO! ISP refuses to block Pirate Bay

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:52

NO! ISP refuses to block Pirate Bay An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is refusing to block access to the Pirate Bay website as several large media firms have dragged it to court.

Website blocking is becoming a common practice, particularly in Europe. Entertainment industry players have put a lot of focus on ISPs, forcing them through legal channels to block access to unlicensed sources of content and most have done as they have been told by courts in their respective states.

Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget has decided it won't just comply however. It was subject to legal action in November from several major entertainment companies to force it to block the Pirate Bay. The notorious BitTorrent site was operational at the time, but has since been taken down in a raid in Stockholm.

"Bredbandsbolaget's role is to provide its subscribers with access to the Internet, thereby contributing to the free flow of information and the ability for people to reach each other and communicate," the ISP said in a statement, reports TorrentFreak.

"Bredbandsbolaget does not block content or services based on individual organizations' requests. There is no legal obligation for operators to block either The Pirate Bay or Swefilmer. There are other legal means to stop infringement of rights, but there is no provision in Swedish law that forces an Internet provider to block its subscribers' access to services and content."

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AfterDawn: News

Google beefs up GMail security by blocking unsafe extensions

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:42

Google beefs up GMail security by blocking unsafe extensions Google has made further improvements to the security of your GMail contents by blocking "bad" extensions from loading unsafe code.

Specifically, Google has added support for Content Security Policy (CSP) for GMail on Desktop. It aims to protect users from bad browser extensions loading code that interferes with a GMail session, or even worse malicious extensions that compromise the security of your private e-mail.

The search giant has warned however that some legitimate extensions may need to be updated to work correctly following the change, but noted that most legit extensions you will use with GMail already implemented support for CSP.

Google is very security conscious about GMail. It requires that HTTPS be used by default and even serves images through secure proxy servers.

Any improvements to security and privacy are always welcome.




AfterDawn: News

Netflix addresses Offline Playback question once and for all

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:33

Netflix addresses Offline Playback question once and for all We've been waiting for Netflix to finally give a verdict on the possibility of Offline Playback and the streaming firm finally has.

Speaking with TechRadar, Netflix's director of corporation communications and technology, Cliff Edwards, has ruled out the possibility of Offline Playback, or "cached playback". Other streaming service offer users the ability to download and temporarily store programming, and Netflix has been asked repeated by its customers for the same privilege.

"It's never going to happen," Edwards told TechRadar.

The reason, according to Edwards, is that Netflix views it as a short term fix for a wider problem. That problem is a lack of access to speedy wireless coverage. However, Netflix expects that in the coming years, wireless access will greatly improve in most places, making Offline Playback features obsolete.

Are you a Netflix customer? Do you think that Offline Playback should be enabled by the service?


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Netflix: offline viewing is 'never going to happen': www.techradar.com




AfterDawn: News

Terror threat prompts 'The Interview' premiere cancellation

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:18

Terror threat prompts 'The Interview' premiere cancellation The Sony Pictures hack saga took a nefarious turn yesterday when an apparent terrorism threat was made against move theaters that show 'The Interview'.

The note - which even referenced the 9/11 terrorist attacks - warned movie goers to stay clear of locations where the movie is being shown. Sony Pictures said it would not pull the movie from distribution, but would understand if individual theaters decided not to screen it.

One such cancellation that was surprising is a New York premiere of the comedy. It was scheduled to be screened at the Sunshine Cinema in Lower East Side, New York, on Thursday, but Landmark has confirmed its cancellation. It didn't, however, directly attribute the cancellation to any threat of violence.

Carmike Cinemas, which operates in 41 states, also will not show the film.

Sony Pictures was the target of a massive attack in which terabytes of data were stolen. That data has been leaking to the Internet slowly ever since, and has caused turmoil at the studio. A lawsuit has already been filed against Sony Pictures for failing to protect data by former employees.

All in all, the data breach could cost Sony Pictures in excess of $100 million.

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