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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.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Icefilms streaming site is down but not for good

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:06

Icefilms streaming site is down but not for good A popular video streaming site has disappeared leading to some speculation that it was shut down by authorities.

Icefilms is a very popular site that streams movies and TV shows. It has been down for about 24 hours with visits to its homepage only showing up an Icefilms logo, or perhaps nothing at all. The presence of the Icefilms logo on an Amazon server surprised some users of the site.

However, there's nothing to be concerned about for users of the portal, as the site is just experiencing some hosting issues and expects to be back online and fully operational in the news few days.

That's according to TorrentFreak, citing a source familiar with Icefilms.

Icefilms doesn't even show up in Google results anymore which probably led to more panic from its regular users, and some ISPs block access to the site at the request of the entertainment industry.




AfterDawn: News

Apple forced to stop online sales in Russia as currency falls apart

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Dec 2014 23:55

Apple forced to stop online sales in Russia as currency falls apart Apple has stopped online sales of its products in Russia today citing the "extreme" depreciation of the Russian national currency, the ruble.

Russia's currency has been decimated in the past few months, and fell as much as 19 percent today against the US Dollar, falling to as low as 80 ruble per USD, before settling at 67.

"Our online store in Russia is currently unavailable while we review pricing," said Apple in a curt statement. "We apologize to customers for any inconvenience."

The ruble had traded at about 20 ruble per dollar for the better part of the last five years.

Last month, as the collapse of the ruble was gaining steam, Apple raised the price of its iPhones by 25 percent to protect themselves, but the depreciation has gotten too steep now.

Source:
Bloomberg




AfterDawn: News

NBC will live stream their broadcast programming, as long as you have a TV subscription

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Dec 2014 23:40

NBC will live stream their broadcast programming, as long as you have a TV subscription NBCU has joined CBS, HBO and others in offering live streaming of their broadcast programming online and on mobile devices.

Unlike the aforementioned company's service, however, you will need to have a TV subscription to get access to the live streaming.

The online service will launch this week while mobile viewing will launch early next year. In addition to the broadcast live streams, there will also be additional video-on-demand content.

Just like with other services, to access the content you will have to login with your pay TV credentials (usually your email and password) and then authorize the device.

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AfterDawn: News

Instagram adds first new filters since 2012

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Dec 2014 23:18

Instagram adds first new filters since 2012 Massive photo sharing service Instagram has added two new filters this week, the first additions to the service since December 2012.

"Photography trends have evolved," said Instagram in a statement. "We've seen tremendous creativity within the community, not only in the moments they share, but in the time spent carefully composing and editing photos and videos to bring out emotions and make them beautiful."

Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Perpetua, and Aden are the new filters, and each offers "less dramatic" changes to your photos.

Instagram has two dozen filters, but you have the option to re-arrange your favorites and hide ones you may never use to keep the list smaller and more manageable.

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AfterDawn: News

Video: Here is the English-language trailer for Final Fantasy XV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Dec 2014 22:18

Video: Here is the English-language trailer for Final Fantasy XV Back in September, Square Enix released a trailer for the upcoming Final Fantasy XV (aptly named because it is the 15th game in the series), but there was one problem for us in North America: The trailer wasn't in English.

Three months later the trailer is now available in English, and gamers can get pumped again (the last version did have subtitles, so you could follow it).

The trailer promises to be a "sneak preview" of the game which is still likely over a year away, but Square Enix has promised a demo will launch sometime in 2015. For now, enjoy the preview and the four protagonist's roadtrip through some fantasy sci-fi world.

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AfterDawn: News

Nest smart themostat owners can now control the device with Google voice controls

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Dec 2014 21:39

Nest smart themostat owners can now control the device with Google voice controls Google has noted this week that Android or iOS smartphone users will now be able to control their Nest smart thermostat with voice controls via the Google widget or via Google Now.

For example, using the "OK Google" command will allow you to say additional phrases like "change the temperature to.." or "set Nest to..." and your device will adjust accordingly.

In addition, there will be a new Google Now card that will display when the system had adjusted itself.

As with most apps, you will need to opt-in to give Google access to your Nest account, and to enable the Nest Google Now card. Just like with many voice commands, the abilities are limited, at least for the time being, but it is still very cool to be able to change the temperature without having to get up.

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AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay suspect released from custody

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 14:30

Pirate Bay suspect released from custody After being in custody for almost a week, a man allegedly linked to the Pirate Bay website was released from custody in Sweden yesterday.

It is believed the man may have been a moderator on the Pirate Bay site but this hasn't been confirmed. In any case, prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad stated that the individual is suspected of copyright law violations.

"The suspicions relate to a violation of copyright law. Everything is being analyzed now and new hearings may possibly be held," he said.

The Pirate Bay was taken down in a raid last week in Sweden, and there was reportedly just one arrest in connection to the site so far. It has remained officially offline ever since, but there has been some efforts to keep its database alive and well until it may eventually return.

There appears to be a new investigation into the site and its operators, and TorrentFreak claims to have seen evidence that one of the original founders, Fredrik Neij, remains a suspect. Neij is currently in prison serving a ten month sentence after being arrested by Thai immigrations in November.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Pirate Bay-misstänkt satt på fri fot: www.idg.se (SWE)
PIRATE BAY SUSPECT RELEASED AFTER RAID ARREST: torrentfreak.com




AfterDawn: News

VIDEO: GTA Online Heists trailer released

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 14:03

VIDEO: GTA Online Heists trailer released Grand Theft Auto 5 Online Heists have been known to be in the works for some time now, and today we finally have gotten a trailer to look at.

In Early 2015, players will be able to take part in four player heists online. The update will provide over 20 hours of additional gameplay and 20 total missions. The missions will require players of rank 12 or higher, and one will have to be a leader, according to GTA Online producer Imran Sarwar, who gave an interview about the update to IGN.

The leader will be required to have an apartment with enough room for a planning board, and will have to do a lot of prep work such as assembling a team and determining a plan and so on.

Alternatively, you can take on another role in the heist.

Read the IGN interview here, and view the trailer below.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony Pictures sued by ex-employees, citing failure to protect data

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:48

Sony Pictures sued by ex-employees, citing failure to protect data The nightmare continues for Sony Pictures as it now faces a lawsuit from former employees alleging that it failed to protect their data, which was exposed in November's massive breach.

Two former employees sued the studio in a class action after a hacking group called Guardians of Peace broke into its network and stole enormous amounts of data in late November. Ever since the breach, the hackers have leaked over a terabyte of information online, including personal details of employees and movies stars.

Even unreleased films showed up on BitTorrent sites and other sources after the massive data breach at the studio.

A lawsuit was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and it alleges that Sony failed to secure its network and protect employee data from hackers, making them liable to some extent.

It seeks compensation for any damages caused as a result of the exposure of sensitive information.

It's likely that Sony will face more legal complaints as a result of the breach, which could cost it over $100 million in the long run. This saga is likely to drag on for a while yet.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Ex-Sony employees sue, claim company failed to protect data: www.reuters.com




AfterDawn: News

HBO Go now on Amazon Fire TV, price drops to $79

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:39

HBO Go now on Amazon Fire TV, price drops to $79 HBO Go has finally arrived on Amazon's Fire TV set-top-box for subscribers of HBO.

It is available right now for Amazon's Fire TV with an HBO subscription through participating affiliates, with integration of its full catalog into Fire TV's voice search. For HBO subscribers with Fire TV Stick, HBO Go will be available for streaming in Spring 2015.

"We're thrilled to add HBO GO, the most requested service, to Fire TV in time for the holidays. HBO has produced some of the most groundbreaking and award-winning TV shows and movies, and we are excited to bring this amazing content to our customers, all of which is accessible via voice search on your Fire TV remote," wrote Peter Larsen, Vice President Amazon Devices.

Larsen was eager to point out that the number of services available through Fire TV has quadrupled since it was launched. Over 700 apps and games are now available for the device, which typically sells for $99, but is reduced to $79 at the present time and will stay that way until December 28.

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