AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung backtracks on patch that disabled automatic Windows Updates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jun 2015 23:38

Samsung backtracks on patch that disabled automatic Windows Updates Earlier this week, Samsung outraged Microsoft and consumers by patching its Window PCs and disabling Window's automatic updates.

The update made it so users had to manually check for updates and then choose to install them. Outside of the obvious convenience issues, not having automatic updates is also a major security concern. Samsung, at least at first, did not see it that way. "As part of our commitment to consumer satisfaction, we are providing our users with the option to choose if and when they want to update the Windows software on their products," said the company's first statement.

As of writing, Samsung has backtracked on their original stance, and will be "issuing a patch through the Samsung Software Update notification process to revert back to the recommended automatic Windows Update settings within a few days."

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AfterDawn: News

Sirius XM settles lawsuit with record labels for over $200 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jun 2015 17:40

Sirius XM settles lawsuit with record labels for over $200 million Satellite radio giant Sirius XM has settled with the major record labels, ending a lawsuit in which the labels accused the company of playing songs that were written before 1972 without paying royalties for them.

Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Capitol Records, and ABKCO Music & Records all brought the lawsuit against Sirius in 2013, claiming that the company was not paying royalties for songs recorded before 1972 including tracks from popular artists like The Four Tops.

The year 1972 is important because that is when the federal copyright law went into effect. However, California did have a state copyright law before that year, which seems to have been enough to make sure the labels won this suit.

As part of the settlement, Sirius XM will be allowed to continue playing the tracks in question through 2017.

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AfterDawn: News

Google to establish massive scale free WiFi in New York

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Jun 2015 11:55

Google to establish massive scale free WiFi in New York Google-owned company Sidewalk Labs has announced acquisition of Control Group and Titan, two companies that are building a free city wide WiFi. The project will launch in September in New York City, Bloomberg reports.

The project aims to bring free and "superfast" WiFi to the city of New York and especially for tourists to exploit. It will use old phone booths – which there are thousands of – to provide WiFi hotspots as well as free phone charging, phone calling, and internet browsing.

It's been estimated that over $500 million can be made from the advertisements over the next 12 years.

Google has been interested in global free WiFi for quite some time and this is the first big push into that area. We will certainly hear more about similar plans in new cities in the future.




AfterDawn: News

Here's the story behind Microsoft's new Windows 10 desktop wallpaper

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jun 2015 0:12

Here's the story behind Microsoft's new Windows 10 desktop wallpaper Just like every time the company releases a new operating system, users will be treated to a new special desktop wallpaper.

The new Windows 10 logo will feature the classic Windows logo but the logo will be made out of light as Microsoft used lasers, projectors and some camera mapping to create the effect.

Microsoft's Windows 10 will be available on July 29th.

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AfterDawn: News

OnePlus 2 to launch on July 27th at VR event

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jun 2015 22:35

OnePlus 2 to launch on July 27th at VR event Chinese smartphone startup OnePlus has announced that their long-awaited flagship sequel will be unveiled on July 27th.

The company will livestream the launch in virtual reality starting at 7pm PDT on the 27th, and you can use a custom "cardboard" VR headset like those Google has created.

"A VR launch lets you stand right next to our team and our fans as we unveil our new flagship,"
company co-founder Carl Pei said in the announcement. "You'll be able to look around as you check out the phone in a new way and maybe even find a few hidden Easter eggs. It's a new way of thinking about a product launch. We aren't talking at you; we are talking with you."

The OnePlus Cardboard VR set will be available soon ahead of the launch: "We didn't cut any corners on production, and we're definitely losing money on this. But we want to share them with everyone."

Although we don't yet know all the details of the new phone, the company has been blogging bits and pieces. We do know the device will have a custom Snapdragon 810 processor and will also be the first smartphone with a USB-C port. We also know the device will run OnePlus' own OxygenOS operating system, based on Android Lollipop.

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AfterDawn: News

Taylor Swift "happily" gives 1989 for Apple to stream

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Jun 2015 13:25

Taylor Swift "happily" gives 1989 for Apple to stream Apple Music has done it. Convincing Taylor Swift that streaming music is a good thing. Well, good enough even for her newest baby, 1989.

Last year Taylor Swift removed all her music from the world's most popular music streaming service Spotify. Other streaming services that did not have an ad-supported free model got to keep her music. However, the new album, titled 1989, was never added to any music streaming service.

Some, including yours truly, thought the pop princess wanted to keep it strictly off streaming and reap profit solely from traditional album sales. After saying no to Rhapsody, Tidal, and Apple Music it seemed the only possible outcome. But after over five million albums sold, it has come time to give a streaming service 1989.

Quick backstory to Apple vs Swift: Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple stating that she didn't like that they wouldn't pay artists from listens during the Apple Music three months trial. That, in fact, she said was the reason 1989 was not going to be on Apple Music. She gave Apple an opportunity to make it all better, though, by simply paying the artists.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix is en route to top all network channels in viewership

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Jun 2015 11:23

Netflix is en route to top all network channels in viewership Netflix's rate of expansion and popularity in the US and beyond has been impressive the past few years. It has challenged cable channels like HBO but new analysis suggests that network channels are the next target.

FBR Capital analyst Barton Crockett said that according to the first quarter numbers Netflix is on par with ABC and NBC. The streaming giant which is not included in the Nielsen ratings would score an average of 2.6 with its three month 10 billion hours streamed, says Crockett.

Disney's ABC and Comcast's NBC are at same 2.6 but their ratings are declining unlike Netflix's viewership. Netflix recently announced it will be expanding to Spain and Portugal in October which will increase the impressive "40%-plus compound annual rate" Crockett told investors about.




AfterDawn: News

Apple Music signs on independent labels

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 15:38

Apple Music signs on independent labels Apple Music has signed deals with major independent label Beggars and indie digital rights organization Merlin.

The streaming music service that will launch at the end of this month has added over 20,000 independent labels and distributors with the new deals.

Merlin CEO Charles Caldas noted: "I am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we are happy to support the deal."

Apple recently did an about-face following a tirade from top artist Taylor Swift and had decided to pay the record labels even during the three month free trial they are offering all consumers of the service. It certainly seems that the decision has led to the indies signing up.

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AfterDawn: News

You can now get on-demand Showtime with discounted subscription through Hulu Plus

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 12:52

You can now get on-demand Showtime with discounted subscription through Hulu Plus Hulu has announced this week that they are partnering with Showtime to offer the company's new standalone streaming service at a discount as long as you are a Hulu monthly subscriber.

Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month and Showtime will cost you just $8.99, an 18 percent discount off the $10.99 it will cost as a standalone product.

Showtime offers some popular original content like Homeland, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and older library hits like Dexter and Nurse Jackie, and subscribers will not be inundated with ads.

It is unclear when the partnership will officially start, but you can get more info right from the source here.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft had to explain who will get Windows 10 for free, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 12:34

Microsoft had to explain who will get Windows 10 for free, again Thanks to another series of confusing blog posts from the software giant, Microsoft has had to backtrack again and explain who will get Windows 10 for free.

Last week, the company posted that Windows 10 testers (preview users) would also get a free upgrade to the full operating system when it drops on July 29th. It turns out the real policy is a bit more convoluted.

It is true that Windows 10 preview users will get a free copy, but your copy will only remain activated if you opt-in for all future preview updates. "Since we're continuing the Windows Insider Program you'll be able to continue receiving builds and those builds will continue to be activated under the terms of the Windows Insider Program," explained Microsoft's Gabe Aul.

If you decide to opt-out, then your genuine Windows 10 goes poof the next time it connects back to Microsoft for authentication.

Of course, genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users get a free upgrade on release day, unless Microsoft decides to 'clarify' the rules for that in the coming weeks.

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AfterDawn: News

For 10 year anniversary, Reddit reveals user stats

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 11:40

For 10 year anniversary, Reddit reveals user stats Reddit proudly posted long awaited user stats in advance of their 10 year anniversary, as the site continues to grow to new heights.

Here are the stats:


10 years, 0 months, 0 days
(ok, fine, technically it's 9 years, 11 months, 30 days, 22 hours, and 16 minutes at time of posting this at 10 am PDT)
(also 5,258,776 minutes, 87,646 hours, 3651 days, or 521 weeks)

16,063,942,290 upvotes
(and 2,563,574,752 downvotes)

1,715,454,785 comments
(.36% of which mention cats)

334,626,161 monthly page views per Reddit engineer
(also 7,637,686 unique monthly visitors per engineer, at 30 engineers--we're hiring more!)

190,227,552 posts
(36% self posts vs link)

36,136,190 user accounts
(26,222 of which include some variation of "pm me" or "don't pm me" requests)

$29,559,467.54 spent on 877,218 presents for RedditGifts exchanges
(in 201 gift exchanges)

1,867,184 months of Reddit Gold purchased
(804,952 of which you've gifted to someone)

853,824 subreddits created
(9,601 of which were active yesterday)

213,078 lines of code total
(1,081,873 lines of code added and 868,795 removed in 10,128 commits since Jan. 23, 2007, the second complete rewrite of Reddit)

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AfterDawn: News

iOS 9 will temporarily delete apps to make room for updates, patches then reinstall with data intact

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 11:12

iOS 9 will temporarily delete apps to make room for updates, patches then reinstall with data intact iOS 9 beta users were greeted with a highly-requested feature when they updated to beta 2 yesterday.

It appears that Apple is testing a feature that will allow the operating system to delete applications when you do not have enough free space to update to the latest iOS and when the update is complete it will reinstall your app with all the data still intact.

Additionally, Apple is also including a feature called "app thinning" to iOS 9 "which allows developers to distribute only the necessary portions of their apps to users, and Swift libraries built-in so developers don't have to include them with every app," says 9to5M.

If the features make it to the final release of iOS 9, it will be to the relief of iOS fans who always have the harrowing task of deciding what pictures, games and apps they need to delete in order to make room for the updated operating system.




AfterDawn: News

Uber to raise $1 billion from Chinese fund manager

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 10:47

Uber to raise $1 billion from Chinese fund manager Uber is preparing to raise an additional $1 billion thanks to an investment from Chinese fund manager Hillhouse Capital Group.

If completed, Hillhouse will purchase bonds that then convert in shares at a discount to Uber's eventual IPO price.

The move is very similar to a deal completed by Goldman Sachs in January in which the investment bank invested $1.6 billion in exchange for convertible bonds.

Uber is the most highly capitalized private startup in the world, and when it does IPO it is expected to have a market value in excess of $40 billion, making it one of the largest tech companies on the planet, as well.

The ride-hailing app is now available in 300 cities and is aggressively expanding in places like China, where it has already committed $1 billion for 2015.

Source:
WSJ




AfterDawn: News

Amazon Echo now available to all

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 10:16

Amazon Echo now available to all Amazon's smart speaker, the Echo, is now available to all without an invite.

The etailer launched the device last November, and it was generally met with favorable reviews, but available only by invite meant the average consumer was not getting their hands on it.

As of yesterday, however, everyone can now buy the Echo directly from Amazon for $180, with an estimated shipping date of July 14th.

The Echo is more than just a speaker, as it is also a "personal assistant" that can answer questions for you about traffic, your favorite sports teams, and today's weather, among many other things. You can also use it to power a smart home, or ask it to add an item to your Amazon shopping list.

Your notifications are also sent to your Android smartphone via the Echo app, meaning you can take Echo with you.

As a speaker, it is cheaper than a Sonos Play 1 (although the Sonos offers better features for music), but with all the rest of its smart features, the Echo may warrant a purchase.

Check it out here: Amazon Echo




AfterDawn: News

Google launches ad-supported version of Google Play Music integrating Songza tech

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2015 9:39

Google launches ad-supported version of Google Play Music integrating Songza tech Google has announced this week the launch of an ad-supported version of Google Play Music that is free and will include free curated playlists.

The playlists are built using Songza technology, the popular streaming app acquired by Google last year.

Each station is crafted towards your mood or your activity, and if you aren't doing anything, Google has included a top 10 list to help you out. The top 10 (currently) are Brand New Music, Driving, Working Out, Boosting Your Energy, Having Friends Over, Having Fun at Work, Entering Beast Mode, Waking Up Happy, Unwinding and Bedtime.

Available now in the U.S., the free Google Play Music is available via the desktop/browser now and later this week for both Android and iOS.

The new free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the U.S. It's available on the web today, and is rolling out this week to Android and iOS.

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