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Week in Review: Microsoft shows off Windows 10 and HoloLens, WhatsApp hits your browser, Google getting into wireless carrier business

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 21:48

Week in Review: Microsoft shows off Windows 10 and HoloLens, WhatsApp hits your browser, Google getting into wireless carrier business This week was pretty heavy in major tech news, headlined by Microsoft's unveiling of Windows 10 and HoloLens.

Here were the top stories for the week:



Microsoft shows off Windows 10 on PC, smartphones and tablets
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 for PC, smartphones and tablets, the first of their operating systems to be truly universal. More importantly, Microsoft says the OS will be available as a free upgrade for devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Read more about all of the new features of Windows 10, here: Windows 10 in-depth at Afterdawn



WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens fills world with holograms
Microsoft also unveiled the first stages of HoloLens, an incredible piece of tech that allows you to interact with your world via holograms. It is easier to watch the video, and read on to learn more here at Afterdawn.

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AfterDawn: News

Google issues statement in response to Android's WebView security issues

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 19:52

Google issues statement in response to Android's WebView security issues Over the past month, there have been multiple major reports relating to the web security flaw of older versions of Android that could allow for remote attacks.

The flaw is related to WebView, the mobile framework that allows apps to display websites without a separate browser.

Adrian Ludwig has posted a long Google+ article discussing why Google cannot upgrade older versions of Android and what hundreds of millions of users can do to stay protected. Read it in full, here:

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AfterDawn: News

IMAX, Carnival announce first theater on a ship

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 13:23

IMAX, Carnival announce first theater on a ship IMAX and massive cruise line operator Carnival have unveiled the "world's first IMAX Theatre on a ship."

The theater will be part of Carnival's new monster ship, the Carnival Vista. The ship will be ready to sail in March 2016, and is the largest in the fleet.

Both companies say the the ship features an "IMAX screen three decks high, providing guests with the most immersive cinematic experience. Guest will be able to take in the latest Hollywood blockbusters and IMAX documentaries."

Here's a few mocks of the ship and the IMAX display:

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AfterDawn: News

Celebrating 100 years since the first transcontinental phone call was completed

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 11:39

Celebrating 100 years since the first transcontinental phone call was completed Flying way under the radar today is the 100th anniversary of a major historical event: the first ever transcontinental phone call being completed.

On January 25th, 1915 a four-way call was made "between Alexander Graham Bell in New York; his assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco; President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, DC; and Theodore Vail, President of American Telephone and Telegraph company (AT&T) in Jekyll Island, GA."

The words spoken for the first ever call? "Ahoy! Ahoy! Mr. Watson, are you there? Do you hear me?"

It took over 3400 miles of wire on three circuits to connect San Francisco to NY, with 130,000 telephone poles and thousands of tons of copper. All of the infrastructure work was done by horse and wagon, as trucks were not yet truly viable.

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AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm dogged by overheating in its Snapdragon 810 chip

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 10:47

Qualcomm dogged by overheating in its Snapdragon 810 chip Over the past week, Qualcomm has been dogged by reports that claim that its new high-end Snapdragon 810 chip generates too much heat and smartphone makers are staying away.

One major report from the week claimed that Samsung is being forced to use their own Exynos chip for the upcoming Galaxy S6 flagship because the 810 overheated the phone too much. Qualcomm is working on an updated version, but it is unclear if it will be ready in time for the launch of the new device.

LG, on the other hand, is said to have worked around the heating issues by updating the cooling system for their upcoming high-end devices, including the G Flex 2.
"Heat levels don't depend entirely on the CPU (mobile processor) but also on how the phone's internal cooling system is designed," said Choi Yong-su, a vice president for LG's smartphone development.

Qualcomm is the biggest chipmaker in the world, and the Snapdragon 810 is a big part of its 2015 sales plans. Some analysts estimate profits could be reduced by up to 8 percent if the Snapdragon 810 is a dud.

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AfterDawn: News

China denies it hacked Microsoft's Outlook email service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 10:10

China denies it hacked Microsoft's Outlook email service China's cyberspace regulator has outright denied that the Chinese government had anything to do with an alleged hacking of Microsoft's Outlook email service last weekend.

On Monday, GreatFire.org, an online censorship watchdog, reported that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) was responsible for a "man-in-the-middle" attack in which it took control of the channel to monitor communications.

CAC spokesperson called the accusation "groundless slander" aimed to "incite dissatisfaction and smear China's cyberspace management system."

The news comes just a day after reports began surfacing of Chinese authorities blocking VPN services that were allowing Chinese citizens to access Google-based properties like Gmail and Google Drive, which are banned in the nation.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony is giving away freebies to settle PlayStation Network hack lawsuit from 2011

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 9:53

Sony is giving away freebies to settle PlayStation Network hack lawsuit from 2011 Sony has announced today that is taking claims to settle the class action lawsuit that was brought against it over the massive PlayStation Network hacking in 2011 that took down the network for a week and saw the personal details of nearly 100 million people stolen.

Reads the settlement page: "There is a proposed settlement with Sony Network Entertainment International LLC ("SNE"), Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC ("SCEA"), and Sony Online Entertainment LLC ("SOE") in a class action lawsuit about the illegal and unauthorized attacks in April 2011 on the computer network systems used to provide the Sony PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and SOE services (the "Intrusions").

Accountholders can get benefits if they had a PlayStation Network ("PSN") account, a Qriocity account, or an SOE account at any time before May 15, 2011."


There are, sadly, quite a few restrictions including Sony looking into how active your account has been since the hacks and whether you have any credits in your account. Also, the options depend on whether you took advantage of the freebies the company gave out in 2011 as part of their 'Welcome Back" promotion. Regardless, you are either going to get a free old game, free themes, or a free 90 day subscription to PS Plus, but current subscribers are not eligible.

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AfterDawn: News

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2015 7:44

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI Microsoft has been revealing the makings of Windows 10 this week. One of the most important aspects of all of its OS versions is the messaging. Now Skype team shows what its been up to.

The new Skype will come preloaded on all Windows 10 platforms be it phone, tablet, or PC. The new and updated Skype has been designed Windows 10 in mind but will of course land on Mac, iOS, and Android among others.

Microsoft's efforts are indeed in creating one app to rule them all. Like the competitor's iMessage it allows both SMS and instant messages to be sent from the same app, enabled by the linking of phone numbers and Skype names. It is available on all major platforms too, unlike the Apple's offering.

The new layout divides the view on panels and has a clean, simple look. Round icons are familiar from both Apple's and Google's messengers, as well as earlier versions of Skype.

Skype team promises more updates during the development in the next few months, and well keep you posted.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony delays their earnings report due to last year's massive cyber attack

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 0:07

Sony delays their earnings report due to last year's massive cyber attack Sony has said this week that it is delaying the reporting of its quarterly earnings as it continues to assess the damage from the cyberattack that took down Sony Pictures last year.

The company says it will still have a news conference on February 4th, but will not announce the results until later this year. Sony will give updated financial forecasts for the quarter, as well.

Hackers hit the company, taking down servers and entire networks while claiming to have stolen 100TB of data. Thousands of emails were released, often with humiliating results for Sony Pictures execs and celebrity actors. Five of the company's films, including 'Annie' and 'Fury' were also leaked, which hurt financially because many of the movies had not even hit theaters yet.

In addition, the company's financial and accounting software have been offline since the attack, along with other important platforms.

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AfterDawn: News

Walmart begins selling their own streaming stick, the Vudu Spark

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 23:17

Walmart begins selling their own streaming stick, the Vudu Spark Walmart's streaming stick, the Vudu Spark, is now available for sale.

The HDMI dongle is selling for just $25, undercutting Roku, Google and Amazon's rival devices. Walmart is currently selling the device in just 2400 of its stores, but it should be available online in the very near future.

Of course, at the extremely cheap price comes very little functionality. Walmart is not including a power adapter and just adding a USB cable (so you need to use your TV's USB port or BYOC), and the device only has Vudu installed, with little word on whether it can accept other apps like the popular Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

You can connect via 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and the dongle supports up to 1080p and 7.1 surround sound.

If the price wasn't enticing enough, you get $25 in Vudu credit for activating and using the device for 5 months ($5 per month).

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple accounted for 50 percent of Q4 phone activations in the U.S.

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 18:16

Report: Apple accounted for 50 percent of Q4 phone activations in the U.S. According to a new survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, 50 percent of all phone activations in the U.S. were for Apple devices like the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Samsung remained relatively dominant, as well, at 26 percent of activations and LG came in third with 11 percent. Everybody else had minor shares, including HTC, Motorola and Nokia. Even Amazon and Blackberry made guest appearances combining for 1 percent of activations.

The survey also noted that 25 percent of previous Samsung owners switched to iPhones, while 18 percent of previous LG owners doing the same.

Keep in mind that the survey was only 500 subjects, which could mean the figures have significant margins of error.

Source:
GSMA




AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp launches Web client

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 17:47

WhatsApp launches Web client WhatsApp has launched their first web client, allowing desktop and mobile users to use the cross-platform messaging service directly from their Web browser.

Reads the company's post:

"Today, for the first time, millions of you will have the ability to use WhatsApp on your web browser. Our web client is simply an extension of your phone: the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device -- this means all of your messages still live on your phone.

To connect your web browser to your WhatsApp client, simply open https://web.whatsapp.com in your Google Chrome browser. You will see a QR code --- scan the code inside of WhatsApp, and you're ready to go. You have now paired WhatsApp on your phone with the WhatsApp web client. Your phone needs to stay connected to the internet for our web client to work, and please make sure to install the latest version of WhatsApp on your phone. Unfortunately for now, we will not be able to provide web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations."


The service has 700 million users, and is now owned by Facebook. The limitations on Apple users is certainly a bummer, but can hopefully be lifted in the future.

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AfterDawn: News

China has begun blocking VPN services

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 17:12

China has begun blocking VPN services According to experts and major tech companies, China has begun blocking VPN services that allow users to browse more anonymously and to avoid censorship in the nation.

VPN provider Golden Frog noted on its site that many of its popular services have been hit by the new controls, and popular service Astrill says their VPN protocols giving Apple users access to Gmail, Facebook and more have been blocked.

"The Chinese government has attempted to curtail the use of VPNs that its citizens use to escape the Great Firewall for a couple years," wrote Golden Frog President Sunday Yokubaitis in a statement. "This week's attack on VPNs that affected us and other VPN providers is more sophisticated than what we've seen in the past."

'The Great Firewall' is a reference to the Chinese government's blocking of thousands of sites and services because they contain "sensitive data" that the government does not want citizens to see. Many foreigners and many businesses in China use VPNs to access Google tools or other blocked data. The new move is particularly painful for smaller businesses that need such access.

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AfterDawn: News

Don't forget, 'The Interview' is now available on Netflix

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 16:38

Don't forget, 'The Interview' is now available on Netflix As a reminder, if you are a Netflix subscriber and haven't yet seen the now infamous 'The Interview,' it is available to stream starting today.

The company did not discuss the terms of the deal, but it certainly marks the quickest time in which a major motion picture has been made available via the streaming service.

Sony Pictures recently announced that the film brought in $46 million from digital rentals and sales and from theater showings in a a couple hundred independent theater chains. The movie will hit Blu-ray on February 17th.

The movie dominated headlines in December after Sony Pictures was decimated by a cyber attack and the attackers threatened a terrorist attack on movie theaters leading the major U.S. chains to suspend the release. Sony then made film available online as a rental or purchase on Christmas, where it became the top online film of all-time.

Source:
Netflix




AfterDawn: News

Google, Sony, Apple, others all sued over decades old music

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 0:07

Google, Sony, Apple, others all sued over decades old music Zenbu Magazines has filed seven proposed class action lawsuits against all the major streaming music providers over music from little known artists with recordings before 1972.

The suits are against Apple, Sony Entertainment, Google, Rdio, Songza, Slacker and Escape Media Group (Grooveshark).

At the basis of the suit is copyright laws, which were amended by Congress in the 1970s but only protected tracks written after Feb. 15, 1972. Radio, satellite radio, TV, movies and other performers have been able to use the music without any real issues but that all changed when in 2013 'The Turtles' filed a $100 million class action suit against SiriusXM and Pandora claiming that its recording were protected by state laws and they are entitled damages and profits.

Zenbu owns recordings from The Flying Burrito Brothers, Hot Tuna and New Riders of the Purple Sage, each of which has pre-'72 recordings.

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