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AfterDawn: News

Dr. Dre to star in Apple's first original program

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Feb 2016 23:18

Dr. Dre to star in Apple's first original program According to the Hollywood Reporter, legendary rapper and producer Dr. Dre is starring and executive producing Apple's first original program, 'Vital Signs.'

The show is being described as a "dark semi-autobiographical drama" and each episode will focus on a different emotion and how Dre's character (himself) handles it. In addition to Dre, the sources say the show will also star Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae.

Sources also claim there is a plethora of violence and sex, and one of the first two episodes will feature an orgy.

It is unclear if the show will be released on iTunes and Apple TV exclusively, but there seems to be confirmation that the show's first season will be available in its entirety right from the launch, just like original shows on Netflix.

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AfterDawn: News

Google says goodbye to Picasa

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Feb 2016 22:38

Google says goodbye to Picasa Google has announced today that it will no longer support their long-standing Picasa photo application.

As of March 16th, 2016, the Picasa apps will no longer be supported although you can continue to use it indefinitely.

The move is not unexpected given that Google has been investing heavily in the newer Google Photos app for desktop and mobile, but Google will make it easy to archive Picasa web albums and convert them to Google Photos.

"We know for many of you, a great deal of care has gone into managing your photos and videos using Picasa--including the hours you've invested and the most precious moments you've trusted us with,"
writes Anil Sabharwal, Head of Google Photos. "So we will take some time in order to do this right and provide you with options and easy ways to access your content."

If you don't want to try Google Photos, the company is also creating "a new place for you to access your Picasa Web Albums data." It's unclear what that site will be, but it will offer tools to "view, download, or delete" your Picasa Web Albums and will save your metadata.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube Red Originals are now live

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2016 11:21

YouTube Red Originals are now live YouTube Red, Google's premium version of the site, has its first streaming original programming.

Red, which allows subscribers to play videos in the background on mobile devices, and usually without ads, has four original programs available now. There are new pieces from YouTube king and queen PewDiePie and Lilly Singh, a feature-length Lazer Team film from Rooster Teeth and Dance Camp from AwesomenessTV.

Coming soon is a new CollegeHumor show and 'Fight of the Living Dead,' a show where popular YouTubers will be placed in "a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse."

The service costs $9.99 per month in the U.S. and includes a free subscription to Google Music.

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AfterDawn: News

You can reserve at Tesla Model 3 starting on March 31st with just $1000 down

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2016 10:50

You can reserve at Tesla Model 3 starting on March 31st with just $1000 down Elon Musk has confirmed today that the Tesla Model 3 will be officially unveiled next month (although we are unlikely to see too much) and that you can begin reserving a car on March 31st.

On that date, you can make a reservation at any Tesla store, and on April 1st you can reserve one online. The reservation will require a $1000 down payment, which will go towards the car's $35,000 base price tag.

Musk did note that there will be no "Signature Series" this time around, but early adopters will likely have to buy a Model 3 with a few higher-end options pre-installed, suggesting the $35,000 price tag will be a bit low if you are reserving now.

The Model 3 is expected to go on sale in August, 2017 and will offer 200 miles per charge at minimum.

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AfterDawn: News

Russia wants Apple, Microsoft and Google to pay more taxes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2016 10:36

Russia wants Apple, Microsoft and Google to pay more taxes German Klimenko, Russian president Vladimir Putin's new Internet adviser, really wants Apple, Microsoft and Google to pay more taxes.

"We are breeding the cow and they are milking it," Klimenko said in regards to the three tech giants and the tax rates they pay for business done in Russia.

Klimenko believes raising taxes on the U.S.-based companies will help Russian competitors such as Mail.ru to better compete. In Parliament, Klimenko has a staunch ally, Andrey Lugovoi, a former KGB officer accused of murdering UK agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, but who has denied all wrongdoing.

Lugovoi has already proposed a bill to apply an 18 percent VAT on certain revenue brought in by Google, Apple, Microsoft and others. Those transactions include ads, games, movies, marketplace transactions and cloud computing."

There are scores of other bills going up for vote as Russia tries to fight its way out of the worst recession in two decades.

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AfterDawn: News

MySpace acquired by Time Inc. in 'game changing' event

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2016 10:20

MySpace acquired by Time Inc. in 'game changing' event Time Inc has acquired Viant, the parent company of MySpace, in what the company is calling a "game changing" event.

Time is the parent company of popular publications like Fortune, People and, of course, Time, which is over 90 years old.

CEO and Chairman Joe Ripp did not disclose the financial details but did note that the acquisition is all about first-party data, including up to 1 billion email addresses.

Viant acquired MySpace for $35 million in 2011, taking the dead social network from News Corp who had bought it for $580 million in 2005.

Time says "Targeting ad delivery to the optimal audiences; linking devices back to real people; converting ad spending to actual sales and closing the ROI loop," are the plans for MySpace.

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AfterDawn: News

Opera receives large buyout offer from Chinese firms

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2016 10:03

Opera receives large buyout offer from Chinese firms Opera, the browser company, has received a $1.2 billion buyout offer from a group of Chinese firms, and the company's board has unanimously voted to approve the offer.

A few of the best-known names from the consortium are Qihoo 360 and Kunlun, and the group is backed by investment funds.

The offer is a 53 percent premium to Opera's current stock price on the Osla exchange, suggesting the Chinese firms really want the company, at any price.

"There is strong strategic and industrial logic to the acquisition of Opera by the Consortium," Opera CEO Lars Boilesen said on Wednesday. "The Consortium's ownership will strengthen Opera's position to serve our users and partners with even greater innovation, and to accelerate our plans of expansion and growth."

Opera has been actively shopping itself since August of last year as losses have mounted and share in the browser market have fallen, leading to slower ad sales.

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia has almost completed their acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2016 9:38

Nokia has almost completed their acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent Last April, Nokia announced its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent for 15.6 billion in an all-stock deal that was intended to strengthen the company's telecom-equipment market share.

As of writing, Nokia has acquired 91 percent of Lucent's shares, suggesting the transaction will close in the coming weeks.

Nokia has begun combining operations for the two companies in an effort to better rival giants Ericsson and Huawei.

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AfterDawn: News

HBO NOW falls short of expectations with 800,000 subscribers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Feb 2016 22:55

HBO NOW falls short of expectations with 800,000 subscribers HBO CEO Richard Plepler has revealed today that the HBO NOW streaming service has 800,000 subscribers, well below industry expectations of 1-2 million.

NOW allows consumers to stream HBO shows and movies standalone without a cable TV subscription, similar to services like Hulu and Netflix.

Despite the lower than expected numbers, Plepler says the company "is just getting started" and that recent launches on the PlayStation and Xbox consoles will boost numbers significantly.

Additionally, Plepler noted that extra content would be coming soon that should boost the userbase: "We've not yet put out the content like Jon Stewart, Bill Simmons, Vice daily news show, that we think is particularly suited for those platforms," Plepler added.

HBO Now costs $14.99 per month and is available on nearly all platforms.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple TV is finally getting voice dictation

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Feb 2016 22:19

Apple TV is finally getting voice dictation Thanks to the latest tvOS beta released this week, we have confirmation that the popular Apple TV set-top box is finally getting voice dictation - a long awaited feature.

At launch, the device only accepted text entry, despite having support for Siri. Siri is usually pretty bad, but needing to type in questions to Siri is even worse. This should fix that issue.

As of Apple tvOS 9.2 beta 3, you can now speak into the Siri remote for any text field, and the voice dictation will also support the spelling of usernames and passwords, although it probably still makes sense to type in your password to avoid mistakes.

Additionally, you can search the App Store from any page in the Apple TV interface by holding down the Siri button and speaking commands.

In non-Siri updates, the tvOS update will also allow you to group apps into folders on the Apple TV home screen, just like on your iPhone.

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AfterDawn: News

Final Fantasy IX now available for Android for $17

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Feb 2016 21:45

Final Fantasy IX now available for Android for $17 Square Enix has finally released the remade Final Fantasy IX for Android, available now for $16.99.

The title was initially released for the original PlayStation, and was one of the more popular games for the console.

As with other ports, Square Enix has added HD graphics, auto-save, achievements and other modern "game-boosting" features.

Of importance, you will not be able to play this game if you have thousands of selfies saved since the game requires 8GB of storage just to download it. The initial download from the Google Play is 1.4GB, and the rest comes via installation.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player is now available

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Feb 2016 21:12

Samsung's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player is now available Samsung's first Ultra HD Blu-ray player is available for sale now, about two weeks earlier than expected, at least if you live in Southern California.

Retailers like Fry's have units in stock in SoCal, and online with a shipping date of the 16th or later. Other companies, like Best Buy, have updated their pre-order pages to show a February 10th ship date.

Additionally, there are some 4K Blu-rays available, as well, although the selection leaves much to be desired.

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AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay will let you stream torrents through your browser thanks to Torrents Time

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Feb 2016 20:55

Pirate Bay will let you stream torrents through your browser thanks to Torrents Time The Pirate Bay has integrated the new Torrents Time plugin, allowing users to stream torrents directly from their browser.

If you have Windows or OS X and are running IE, Chrome or Firefox, you can hit the new "Stream It" option on the torrent page rather than download the content.

Currently, the option is in beta, but users seem to like the ability to stream. Torrents Time works on other warez sites, but The Pirate Bay appears to be the first of the majors to implement it.

Says Torrents Time: "By harnessing the incredible abilities of torrents, you can transform your website, in a matter of seconds to an amazing, simple to use streaming website. With Torrents Time you'll be able to [...] generate more revenue than with any other monetization company while putting a stop to annoying ads."

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft and GoPro sign a patent licensing deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2016 11:49

Microsoft and GoPro sign a patent licensing deal Microsoft and GoPro announced a patent licensing deal earlier this week for "certain file storage and other system technologies."

It is unclear what patents are specifically included in the licensing deal but both companies appear to be excited by the prospects.

"This agreement with GoPro shows the incredible breadth of technology sharing enabled through patent transactions,"
said Nick Psyhogeos, president of Microsoft Technology Licensing. "Microsoft's licensing of personal wearable technologies is seeing strong demand as we partner with companies from all industries to optimize solutions for their customers around the globe."

There is speculation that the deal will cover licensing of the exFAT file system for storage media of 32GB and larger. GoPro currently uses FAT for 32GB and 64GB cards, which forces files larger than 4GB to be split up. This can be a nuisance if you are recording larger videos.

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AfterDawn: News

Here is VAIO's new Windows Phone flagship

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2016 11:24

Here is VAIO's new Windows Phone flagship Despite its struggles, Microsoft's Windows Phone (Windows 10 Mobile) program could be getting a boost from a well-known brand.

VAIO, the brand born of Sony and then spun-off in 2013, is back to making hardware and they have just announced a new Windows 10 smartphone.

The new VAIO Phone Biz (what?!) will launch in April in Japan in partnership with NTT DoCoMo and will sell for 50,000 (about $420) unlocked.

Overall, the device seems like a step up from the boring, plastic Lumia phones of year's past (where are you, Surface Phone?) including an aluminum design, a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD, dual cameras (13MP/5MP), 3GB RAM and a mid-range Snapdragon 617 processor under the hood.

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