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AfterDawn: News

Sony cuts $50 from PS4 bundle price this month

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:46

Sony cuts $50 from PS4 bundle price this month Sony is once again taking $50 off the price of a PS4 bundle for two weeks this month.

If you missed out on Black Friday deals for a PlayStation 4, then this offer might interest you. Just as it did last December, Sony is offering a $50 discount on a bundle - the Uncharted 4 PS4 Bundle - between December 11 and December 24.

During that period, U.S. customers can get the Bundle for $249.99. In Canada, you can pick up the Uncharted 4 PlayStation 4 Bundle for $329.99 CAD until December 29th.

The Uncharted 4 PS4 bundle includes the slimmer PS4 model with a 500 GB hard drive, a DualShock 4, and the critically acclaimed Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. The new cooperative and solo mode, Uncharted 4: Survival, launches this month.

Sony announced this week that it has sold more than 50 million PS4 consoles since its initial release in 2013. This Black Friday weekend was the best weekend for the "PlayStation brand" in its history, and is the reason why this special offer has been extended to a further two week period this month.




AfterDawn: News

Google to use 100% renewable energy by 2017

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:35

Google to use 100% renewable energy by 2017 Google's operations around the globe will be powered by renewable sources of energy by next year.

It will reach 100% renewable energy usage for its global operations, including its energy-gobbling data centers and its offices. Google is the world;s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy.

The cost of wind and solar energy has decreased 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, in just six years, according to Google. Its renewable energy purchase commitments to date result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally.

"Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning, and we're always working on new ideas to make sustainability a reality," wrote Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President or Technical Infrastructure, Google.




AfterDawn: News

BBC tests Planet Earth II in 4K, HDR on iPlayer

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:19

BBC tests Planet Earth II in 4K, HDR on iPlayer The BBC has started running a test delivery of Planet Earth II content in 4K Ultra HD in HDR.

For now, it is limited to a number of recent Smart TV models that can than run the iPlayer app, and it will become available on more TVs and devices over time.

The test includes footage from the superb Planet Earth II documentary series. The content sports four times as many pixels as full HD 1080p, and also a superior colorful image due to high dynamic range (HDR), which is supported in a lot of newer smart TVs and monitors.

"One of the clips is a frog on a leaf with lots of rain, and the reason this is so interesting is that the redness of the frog is a really deep Ferrari red that you would never get in broadcast television at the moment," explained Phil Layton, head of broadcast and connected systems at BBC Research & Development.

"We want to show that this is how the BBC could make ultra-high definition HDR material available to iPlayer and we want to use this as a trigger to work with manufacturers to get their products updated so there's a pathway there for future on-demand BBC content."

It will be quite some time before 4K and HDR broadcasts will become common at the BBC however, due to higher production costs and a low rate of support for either advancement in televisions in British households.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

FIFA 17 pushing 'gay propaganda', Russian MPs claim

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:00

FIFA 17 pushing 'gay propaganda', Russian MPs claim Russian MPs are seeking a probe of EA Sports' FIFA 17, claiming it is in violation of a 2013 law banning homosexual propaganda.

The bizarre complaint from the MPs stems from a campaign in England last month by Stonewall, an LGBT rights advocacy group. The rainbow laces campaign saw Premier League footballers wearing rainbow colored laces on their boots during matches.

In response, EA Sports backed the campaign and allowed FIFA 17 players to obtain a free rainbow-colored kit (pictures) in-play.

This is what prompted Russian parliamentarians to raise questions about the legality of the game since the passing of legislation in 2013 that outlaws "gay propaganda".

They have asked consumer protection and communications oversight agencies to launch a probe into the game, with some suggestions that it may even be illegal in the country. Irina Rodnina, MP for the United Russia party, said that authorities need to "verify the possibility of distributing this game on the territory of the Russian Federation."

Others have suggested that an age-rating change may be required.

Read more at The Guardian.




AfterDawn: News

Supreme Court sides with Samsung, throws out $399 million ruling

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 6:46

Supreme Court sides with Samsung, throws out $399 million ruling Samsung was handed a major win in its global patent fight with Apple over its Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Samsung, dismissing a $399 million ruling against the South Korean firm in a case over alleged patent infringement in the design of several of Samsung's Galaxy-branded smartphones and devices.

In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court threw out an appeals court ruling that ordered Samsung to pay $399 million to Apple. The ruling, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, found that a patent violator does not have to pay out the entire profit from the sales of products that used infringing design elements, if the infighting designs only covered certain components.

Samsung and Apple will return to court once again, as the case has been sent back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.

In response, Samsung lauded the ruling as a victory for those who promote creativity, innovation and competition, while Apple said it remains confident that the lower courts will send a powerful signal that "stealing isn't right."

Source: Reuters




AfterDawn: News

Music industry unimpressed with $1 billion revenue from YouTube

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 6:01

Music industry unimpressed with $1 billion revenue from YouTube YouTube has paid over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising revenue, and that is apparently not enough!

Earlier this week, Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer at YouTube, wrote a blog post titled, "A billion reasons to celebrate music on YouTube," in which he revealed that the video service had paid over $1 billion to the music industry in the past 12 months, sourced from advertising revenue alone.

Kyncl went on to observe that this demonstrates that multiple platforms and models for monetizing music are coexisting and generating significant revenues for music companies.

He also hit an optimistic note about the growth in online advertising, at the expense of other forms of media, and what it means for generating revenue for music going forward.

$1 billion is a lot of money, but not enough according to the IFPI, which in response seemed to question even the validity of the claim.

"Google has today issued more unexplained numbers on what it claims YouTube pays the music industry," a spokesperson for the IFPI wrote.

Even if the figure is accurate, it still provides little reason to celebrate for the IFPI.

"With 800 million music users worldwide, YouTube is generating revenues of just over US$1 per user for the entire year. This pales in comparison to the revenue generated by other services, ranging from Apple to Deezer to Spotify," the IFPI responds.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple Music hits 20 million paid subscribers in 18 months

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 5:48

Apple Music hits 20 million paid subscribers in 18 months Apple's music subscription service has already hit an impression 20 million paying subscribers.

Apple Music launched on June 30, 2015, and has already managed to tally up 20 million paying subscribers, which grew by more than 3 million since September. More than half of these paying subscribers are not U.S.-based, and according to Apple's Eddie Cue, more than 60 percent of customers that use Apple Music have not purchased content from the iTunes Store in the past year.

The vast majority are "new customers", rather than dormant users, Cue told Billboard.

Apple Music is available to paying subscribers in over 100 countries around the world already. By managing to bag high profile exclusives to its service initially, Apple managed to link its service to some of the past 18 months' biggest music releases from artists including Drake, Frank Ocean, DJ Khaled and Travis Scott.

Cue expects to see more growth for Apple Music, and more growth for music streaming services overall as the total number is still comparatively low to the number of music consumers online. Apple Music rival Spotify claims more than 40 million paying subscribers, and more than 100 million users in total.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 running soon on Snapdragon chips

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 5:32

Windows 10 running soon on Snapdragon chips Microsoft and Qualcomm have revealed that full featured Windows 10 will run on the next generation of Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors.

Microsoft will try bringing its flagship Desktop OS, Windows 10, to ARM-based chips once again, following the disappointing attempt at running a version of Windows 8 on ARM architecture, Windows RT.

This development is very different to the limited Windows RT, this will be the full version of Windows 10 with legacy support for Win32 software and support for universal Windows applications, so running Photoshop, or Microsoft Office suites or Windows 10 games shouldn't be a problem.

"We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with Qualcomm Technologies," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft.

"We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are. Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love - touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more - anytime, anywhere."

We are told to expect the first Snapdragon-based devices running Windows 10 as early as next year.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony PS4 passes major sales milestone

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 5:11

Sony PS4 passes major sales milestone Having been available for three years, Sony's PlayStation 4 games console has just passed a key sales milestone this month.

The Japanese CE firm announced that as of December 6, it has sold more than 50 million PS4 units around the world. That is the number sold to customers and also includes the PS4 Pro variant. For comparison, the PS4 reached 50 million unit sales 17 months faster than its predecessor, the PS3, released in 2006.

By May this year, Sony had sold 40 million PS4s around the world, so sales of the console continue to be strong. In fact, Sony said that the PlayStation brand had its best performing week in its history after this year's Black Friday, though some figures have shown the console was outsold by Xbox Ones.

On the software side, 369.6 million games across retail and digital downloads have been sold, according to Sony.

Sony did not specify how many PS4 Pro units have been sold, nor did it provide official figures for PlayStation VR. Nevertheless, with an estimated 25-30 million Xbox One units sold, Sony is holding on to its lead in the current generation even though the Microsoft console has been outselling the PS4 in recent months.




AfterDawn: News

This is how Netflix packages its new offline content

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2016 11:22

This is how Netflix packages its new offline content One of the most anticipated features of all time on Netflix must have been offline viewing. This feature that has been largely shrugged off by Netflix and even been denied of any viability finally made it and was made official last week.

Now, what this means is that you can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows even when you don't have an internet connection, given that you've downloaded the content beforehand. There are some limitations as Netflix is rolling it to more content over the coming months but if the show or movie is downloadable it has a Download link right next to the "Add to My List" button on movies or next to the play button of each episode in shows.

One thing that needs to be remembered though before downloading all 52 episodes of House of Cards in case you need to take a flight at some point. Downloading TV shows and movies takes up a lot of space.

Netflix has done their home work and know how to encode and package their content for offline viewing, but there's a some oddities too. During the fall the company tested both HEVC and VP9 with a sample size of over 5000 videos grabbed from over 500 shows and movies.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Chrome kills Flash on Mac, Windows, and Linux in one big swing

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2016 16:17

Chrome kills Flash on Mac, Windows, and Linux in one big swing Google released the version 55 of Chrome browser this week and it has one of the biggest updates in recent history. The new browser no longer plays Flash videos on default.

Google has for a long time been a proponent of HTML5 video and this has been evident especially in its video platform YouTube. Now the company has decided to reduce Flash on all three major desktop browsers to an even less meaningful status.

Flash will still be used if that is all the website offers, 9to5Google points out, but defaulting to HTML5 video will reduce dramatically which video technology the majority will use. This will be remembered as one of the final nails in the coffin for Adobe Flash.

This is an extremely good thing for users in many ways. HTML5 is far more secure, power efficient, and especially offers performance that is leaps and bounds beyond Flash, and this update will force many web developers to switch away from the old technology.

Chrome users will now be prompted if they want to enable Flash when entering a site with Flash content. However, the top 10 sites (YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch.tv, Amazon.com, and Mail.ru) in the world in addition to website that have no HTML5 support are exempt from the rule for the next 12 months.




AfterDawn: News

Apple's device lock can be bypassed with a simple trick

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2016 16:03

Apple's device lock can be bypassed with a simple trick A new video has surfaced that shows how simple it is to bypass the iPhone and iPad device lock activation. This means that a thief that got their hands on your iDevice could get in with a simple trick.

Apple's devices provide a device lock feature which allows to lock out the device even after it's been lost. The remote lock however seems to be far from perfect, because of a bug in device lock activation.

According to a video uploaded to YouTube this bug can be exploted so that the activation will be bypassed. Normally the device can be unlocked only with Apple ID and password.

To unlock the device user can join a WiFi network of choice. By entering network name and other fields that exceed a certain limit the software crashes and for a split second shows the home screen. If you are quick you can enter the device by pressing the power button or accessing Siri.

Both iOS 10.1 and 10.1.1 are vulnerable with this type of exploit, Security Week reports.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple is investing more in Maps, challenging Google with drones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2016 16:36

Apple is investing more in Maps, challenging Google with drones Apple's 2012 released Maps-application was early on a far cry from what its main competitor Google had to offer. After four years of development the service has improved immensely – certainly not making you drive to ocean as much – but is still playing catch-up to Google Maps.

According to Bloomberg< Apple is trying to take on Google Maps with new investments in few different technologies. The first one is to use drones to quicker update maps instead of using camera vans that move slower.

Drones would probably not replace the data coming from ground level cameras but the sources say that they could quickly see changes in roads, examine street signs and spot construction sites.

According to the sources the other way Apple intends to improve the maps is by adding indoor viewing to Maps with a technology bought last year. Known as indoor.io (previously What A Map) the indoor mapping project aims to guide iPhone users within high population density settings such as airports. It uses a variety of ways to determine the location, including pressure sensors, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Android malware leads to 1 million Google account breaches

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 13:44

Android malware leads to 1 million Google account breaches A new variant of Android malware has resulted in over 1 million Google account breaches, according to a security firm.

Check Point discovered the new variant of the 'Gooligan' malware recently, and has exposed the damage done to victims. It roots Android devices and steals e-mail addresses and authentication tokens, allowing attackers to access Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive, and G Suite.

Many breached accounts are associated with enterprises around the world, according to Check Point's data.

The Gooligan variant is infecting an estimated over 13,000 new devices every day, most of which are in Asia. It is delivered through infected apps when they are installed on an Android device, and also by malicious links that unsuspecting victims open.

Gooligan targets devices on Android 4 (Jelly Bean, KitKat) and 5 (Lollipop), which represents about 74% of Android devices in use.

In addition to stealing e-mail addresses and authentication tokens, it also fraudulently downloads and rates apps from Google Play to the victim's devices. Check Point estimates that around 30,000 apps are fraudulently installed on devices every day by the malware.

If you suspect you might be a victim, you can use Check Point's free online tool to check your e-mail address against known breached accounts.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Trump election prompts Archive.org to plan Canadian website

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 13:21

Trump election prompts Archive.org to plan Canadian website Archive.org has cited the U.S. President Election result as a reason why it plans to open a backup site in Canada in order to protect its library.

Opening with a reminder that the history of libraries is one of loss, Archive.org details its plan to setup a second operation outside of the United States in order to protect its content. The Web archive stores billions of copies of webpages and archives content from 300 million websites every week, making it possible for Internet users to go back in time to view webpages as they were years ago (sometimes up to 20 years).

It also archives more than 3 million e-books, old software, games and audio recordings. The Political TV Ad Archive is often users by journalists when fact checking political candidates.

"On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change," the archive.org announcement reads.

"For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions."

Read more from Archive.org





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