AfterDawn: Tech news

Latest news

AfterDawn: News

Google integrates Now into "everything", calls it Now on Tap

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2015 15:51

Google integrates Now into "everything", calls it Now on Tap At Google I/O the Mountain View search giant revealed a new feature on Android M that will ensure you'll use their search no matter what app you are using. The company calls this feature Now on Tap.

Now on Tap is a more integrated version of Google Now. It allows you to search contextual information with one tap. The feature automatically recognizes searchable elements from the display view whether its a movie title in a text message or a point of interest on Twitter app. The AI behind it can also suggests reminders.

Google says that app developers do not have to do anything special in order to add the functionality. It also suggests reminders.Now on Tap works Android-wide on all apps, although it probably searches only text.

The feature is used by pressing and holding the home button and if relevant information is not found the user can search using the Google Now voice search.

CNET has kindly shared a little video from the Google I/O keynote explaining how the feature works.


AfterDawn: News

Brillo is Google's next take on IoT

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2015 15:41

Brillo is Google's next take on IoT Google has been among the very first to get very excited about Internet of Things (IoT). Every day items and devices that include internet connectivity and use it to enhance the experience.

That is what Google's three billion dollar Nest is all about. However, Google hasn't really managed to do anything remarkable with IoT. Is it about to change with their new Brillo platform?

Brillo is a new try to conquer homes with smart devices. It's essentially a lite version of Android that only has the simplest of functions and features, including of course Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The communication between Brillo devices and smartphones or cloud services is done with a protocol named Weave.

The platform is naturally compatible with Nest systems but it remains to be seen if it will actually gain some traction among the developers.

AfterDawn: News

Google's new Photos service offers unlimited storage for free!

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2015 11:52

Google's new Photos service offers unlimited storage for free! Google's one of the biggest announcements at Google I/O was the new photo cloud service that it calls Photos ‐ naturally. The service to replace the mess that is Google+ photos and Picasa offers unlimited storage for free. Can't beat that, right?

Google's offering is very compelling. Photos is said to work on "all devices" and offers storage for personal photos and videos for free. There is no limit in quantity but quality is limited to 16 megapixels in still photos and Full HD in videos.

Google did say that the compression it uses to reduce file size retains the picture quality almost identical. For original pictures Google offers 15 gigabytes of Drive space for free.


AfterDawn: News

Google reveals Android M and its core features

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2015 11:21

Google reveals Android M and its core features Google officially unveiled the operating system update that is currently known as Android M at Google I/O. Even though it doesn't have a full name or a version number yet Google did give specifics about the features.

Android M will be an update that focuses largely on quality, speed, and user experience rather than new functionality. There are however new features but they might not sound flashy to the end user.

Firstly Android M will bring a revamped app permission system. In the new version the permissions are not asked as the user installs the software but instead when they are used. This makes installing apps faster and permission requests more relevant.

Custom Chrome Tabs allows apps to use Chrome browser in a cleaner way. The user will get the app's user interface even in websites that the app opens with Chrome. It's a customized web view that includes all the functionality of Chrome.

One of the most important technological advances in the works is mobile payment. Google has addressed this before with Google Wallet but has now introduced a new feature called Google Pay. In addition to support for fingerprint sensors across Android devices this feature is ready to challenge iPhone and Apple Pay.


AfterDawn: News

Google Maps to finally be offline friendly

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2015 11:08

Google Maps to finally be offline friendly If there's anything that Google had to do with their maps it was adding proper offline support for mobile. And that is exactly what they've done at this year's Google I/O. There is a catch though.

Google announced that Maps app is becoming offline friendly with not only the map pictures but also navigation with voice assistance. The app currently only allows to download small areas for offline use and there is no navigation.

The company didn't reveal how the roll out will be happening but it did refer to developing countries a lot which might mean that in the US and Europe the feature might not appear immediately.

In addition to maps the YouTube app will feature offline mode as well. The videos can be downloaded for 48 hours after which they delete themselves. Good news to travelers.

AfterDawn: News

Bug in iMessage freezes the device

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2015 11:02

Bug in iMessage freezes the device A bug has been found in iOS that allows a certain message to crash your iPhone or iPad. The bug in the messaging app or notifications makes the device freeze when receiving specific Arabic text string in iMessage.

The string shown in the picture crashes the device in such a way that it is unusable until fixed. Luckily there is a simple fix: send another message to the device. You can do this with Siri or from another device.

Since Apple has also acknowledged that the bug exists and suggests using Siri to answer the message. This also unfreezes the device. Apple also recommends to remove the entire conversation.

It seems that the bug is in parsing of the Arabic language or specific text format. Apple has promised a fix to the issue in the next software update. Until then you have to rely on these workarounds.

AfterDawn: News

Court tells woman to remove BitTorrent, P2P software

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 11:40

Court tells woman to remove BitTorrent, P2P software An accused Dallas Buyers Club pirate has been told to remove P2P and BitTorrent software in order to avoid a $7,500 fine.

The woman was accused of downloading Dallas Buyers Club illegally using BitTorrent software, along with many thousands of other people targeted who have paid settlements of typically around $3,500.

In an interesting exception in an Oregon court is worth noting, however. A woman was essentially spared having to pay $7,500 in damages to the makers of Dallas Buyers Club as long as she promised not to pirate movies again in the future. She was offered this option due "extenuating circumstances" and "financial hardship."

The judgment was dug up by TorrentFreak.

The lady in the case had to agree to a permanent injunction that included a commitment to "immediately delete all unlicensed video and audio content in her possession and subject to her control, together with any and all BitTorrent clients on any computers(s) she owns or controls together with all other software used to obtain media through the Internet by BitTorrent peer-to-peer transfer or exchange."

AfterDawn: News

Twitter brings Periscope live streaming app to Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:56

Twitter brings Periscope live streaming app to Android Twitter's live streaming app Periscope is now available to download for compatible devices from Google Play after previously being available only on iOS.

Twitter bought Periscope earlier this year at a reported cost of $100 million, before relaunching the app for iOS on the App Store. It allows users to livestream to the public or to select users, and lets viewers interact with the broadcaster by sending them love (hearts) by tapping on their mobile screens.

Now Android users can get in on the fun, but only if your device is running Android 4.4 KitKat or newer.

The app is mostly the same as the iOS variant but there are a few noteable differences. For example, if a viewer is distracted by a phone call they have to take, then an alert will be put on the Android home screen after the call ends. Tapping the alert will return the viewer to the broadcast immediately.

It also reportedly gives more control over app notifications than the iOS variant.

Periscope has already been the subject of controversy as some users breached its terms and conditions by rebroadcasting HBO's Game of Thrones, and even the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Junior boxing event earlier this month.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition unveiled

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:28

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition unveiled Samsung announced the new special edition Iron Man Galaxy S6 edge smartphone ahead of its initial release in South Korea.

The smartphone is the result of an ongoing partnership between Samsung Electronics and Marvel. The Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition package is equipped with a vibrant red and gold Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge including 64GB of storage and matching wireless charger, as well as a clear cover that enhances the device's exclusive design.

"We are excited to be able to offer our world-class Galaxy S6 edge smartphone designed especially for Iron Man fans through our continued collaboration with Marvel," said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics.

"The limited edition Iron Man Galaxy S6 edge embodies the power of the iconic Avenger with a dual-curved edge design and advanced features that will provide Marvel fans with the ultimate entertainment experience."

It's initial launch is May 27 in Korea, followed by China and Hong Kong in June.

Here's an official unboxing video:


AfterDawn: News

Skype in court over user data request

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:08

Skype in court over user data request Skype has failed to comply with a request to hand over customer information to authorities to aid in a criminal investigation.

The Microsoft-owned online communications firm has been dragged into court in Belgium after it failed to hand over customer data to authorities to aid a criminal investigation.

A court based in Mechelen, north of Brussels, sought information on messages and calls that were exchanged over the Skype service. All telecoms operators in the country are required to comply with such requests in certain circumstances.

A court spokesman said the question now is whether or not Skype is also a telecoms operator, and if established to be so, it will have to hand over the information and may be fined, according to the Reuters news agency.

AfterDawn: News

Cortana coming to iPhone & Android this year, Microsoft confirms

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 9:47

Cortana coming to iPhone & Android this year, Microsoft confirms Microsoft announces Cortana will land on iPhone and Android devices this year, and more goodies coming over the next couple of months.

Cortana on Android and iPhone will be capable of much of the same things as on Windows Phone, including having Cortana remind you to do something, to provide notifications of sports scores, track flight information, and so on. However, because Cortana won't have the same OS-level access on iOS and Android, it won't be able to launch apps on command, and the user won't be able to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying "Hey Cortana".

Changes you make on one device will be reflected when you use Cortana on any device, including iOS and Android.

Microsoft will also soon make the new Phone Companion app available on the Windows 10 Preview. It will help to sync your Windows, iOS or Android phone with your Windows 10 PC.

We can also expect the updated Xbox Music app for Android and iPhone in June or July, which will enable streaming your music files from your OneDrive account.


AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 10:50

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure An original founder of the Pirate Bay will challenge the seizure of the and domain names, it has been confirmed.

Fredrik Neij will appeal the Swedish court's ruling that ordered the two domain names to be seized by the Swedish government. Neij is not interested in the domain names himself though, instead he has concerns with how the court came to the decision to order the seizure.

The court had identified Fredrik Neij as the holder of the two domain names, even though they are held under a third party's name. Since Neij has been prohibited under threats of sizeable fines not to be associated with the operation of the Pirate Bay, and he is due to be released from prison soon, being identified as being the holder of the Pirate Bay domains by a court of law could complicate things.

"The prosecution has alleged two things. One is that crimes have been committed via The Pirate Bay. Fredrik Neij really has no views on this. The second is that he is involved in The Pirate Bay operation," said lawyer Jonas Nilsson.

With Neij's release on the horizon, it is in his self-interest to reject any determination by a court of law that he is in any way involved with the administration of the Pirate Bay.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:29

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error A Netflix billing glitch has resulted in some customers reporting that their accounts were charged the monthly fee for the service multiple times in a single day.

The error seems to be limited to customers in Australia and New Zealand. One customer reported that he had been charged 11 times on Sunday by Netflix, before going into redraw.

Another customer in New Zealand tweeted that, "Netflix just charged me my monthly fee of $12.99 FOUR TIMES IN ONE DAY," adding that "And they're trying to charge me again but it won't let them because they've taken all the f***ing money out of my account."

Netflix said the problem has only affected a small number of its users in the region.

"While no extra money was withdrawn from users' accounts, it may take several days for the authorisations to drop from users' bank accounts," Neflix said in a statement.

"Members may contact Netflix customer service if they have additional issues. We regret any inconvenience related to the problem."

AfterDawn: News

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:26

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play Useless 'Minecraft' apps promising cheats and other materials on the Google Play store were actually laced with scareware warnings about non-existent viruses.

Over 600,000 Android users installed at least one of the malicious apps. The goal of the apps is to get an unsuspecting user to sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80EUR per week.

ESET reported its discovery last week on its blog, detailing over 30 different apps that had managed to get through Google's malware filter, Bouncer. They were uploaded to the market over the past 9 months from different developer accounts, though they all likely come from the same source.

"According to public data from the Google Play store, several of them were installed between 100.000 – 500.000 times and the total number of installations of all 33 scareware applications lies between 660.000 and 2.800.000," ESET Malware Researcher, Lukas Stefanko, writes.

The apps have pretty much no functionality. Instead, any interaction with the apps just brought up warnings about dangerous virus infections. Eventually, the app would prepare a text message in the phone's default SMS application, appearing to be a code to activate an antivirus product. In reality, if the user sends it, they will sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80 EUR per week.


AfterDawn: News

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:19

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers An eight-hour long "swatting" live stream on YouTube leads police to a 17 year old, later charged with extortion, criminal harassment, making false police reports and more.

The Canadian cannot be named due to his age, but reports say he identified as part of the group Lizard Squad. He was accused of harassing targets he found on League of Legends and on Twitter, usually because they wouldn't accept his friend request.

Victims had their personal information, including financial records, posted online. The worst of all offences he admitted to was swatting, in which a false report would be made to police with the goal of getting a heavily armed response unit to show up the victim's location.

In one case, a University of Arizona student dropped out after multiple cases of swatting against her and her family.

The teen was eventually tracked down by police after tips were received about an 8 hour long YouTube live stream in which he had multiple people swatted.

He faces sentencing on June 29.

NOTE: Image accompanying the article is a screenshot of swatting occurring during a live stream. It is not linked to this particular case.

   Older entries  

News archive