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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp reaches 900 million users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 20:39

WhatsApp reaches 900 million users WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has announced this week that the popular messenger app has now reached 900 million monthly active users.

The Facebook-owned company has grown by 100 million users in the last five months, and 200 million in less than a year, but growth is slowing from the ferocious pace it had before.

Parent Facebook has 1.49 billion monthly active users and its own Messenger app has 700 million users so it seems that Facebook really is connecting the world.

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AfterDawn: News

Feds: Ex Tesla engineer hacked boss's email, leaked confidential information

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 20:27

Feds: Ex Tesla engineer hacked boss's email, leaked confidential information A former Tesla engineer has been charged with computer crime offenses after allegedly accessing his former Boss's e-mail account and leaking information.

Nima Kalbasi, a 28 year old Canadian citizen, was fired from Tesla Motors in December, but later allegedly accessed Tesla's e-mail servers without authorization. Once gaining access to his former Boss's e-mail account, Kalbasi is accused of stealing confidential information, including employee assessments, which he then shared with former colleagues.

He also is alleged to have leaked confidential information online and attempting to harm Tesla's reputation and credibility by making false and misleading comments.

Kalbasi was apprehended while crossing the border from Canada to the United States on August 24. He appeared in U.S. District Court in San Jose on August 27, and is charged with two counts of felony computer intrusion, and one count of misdemeanor computer intrusion.

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the felony charges, and one year in prison for the misdemeanor charge.

Tesla Motors is based in Palo Alto, California, designing and manufacturing high-end electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model S. The firm just announced that its mass market Model 3 vehicle will be available to pre-order from March, 2016, starting at $35,000. The car itself won't go into production for two years as Tesla waits on the output from its highly-ambitious Gigafactory, under construction in Nevada.

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AfterDawn: News

UK resident arrested for Pirate Bay torrents

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 19:39

UK resident arrested for Pirate Bay torrents British police arrested a man on Thursday morning for allegedly uploading torrents to popular sites to help distribute music files.

The 38-year old was arrested in Everton, Liverpool, during a raid carried out by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which investigates copyright infringement and counterfeiting in the United Kingdom.

According to the TorrentFreak blog, the man was a regular uploader of torrents to the Pirate Bay, and also to KickassTorrents. He would, allegedly, upload torrents that could be used to download and share compilations of popular music, such as the UK Top 40 hits.

In the past five years, he allegedly uploaded hundreds of torrents.

According to the PIPCU, the man also ran a separate site that offered individual tracks and acapella versions, and generated a "significant" amount of revenue through advertisements. The man was tracked down through a PIPCU investigation with cooperation from PRS for Music.

"He is also believed to be illegally uploading the UK Top 40 Singles to various torrent sites on a weekly basis as they are published by the official charts company," a PIPCU release reads.

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AfterDawn: News

New Chrome update will reduce the incredible amount of RAM the browser uses

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 19:23

New Chrome update will reduce the incredible amount of RAM the browser uses Fans of Google's Chrome browser know that if they want to have multiple tabs open then you better have 32GB of RAM free since the browser has inexplicably over time become a huge memory hog.

Google appears to agree and Chrome 45 is now available with focuses on efficiency and better speeds.

"Speed is one of the founding principles of Chrome. As the web evolves and sites take advantage of increasing capabilities, Chrome's performance--how fast pages load, how smooth scrolling is, how much memory is consumed, and how long your battery lasts--becomes even more important. So in the latest release of Chrome we've included a ton of improvements to make your browsing use less memory and power," says Google.

Additionally, Chrome will now restore your tabs in order from how recently they have been used so you can jump right back in even more efficiently. Finally, "Chrome can now detect when a webpage isn't busy with some other task, and use the free time to aggressively clean up old, unused memory. In practice we found that this reduced website memory usage by 10% on average, but the effect is even more dramatic on complex web apps. With Gmail, for example, we can free up nearly a quarter of the memory used by the tab," adds the company.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Chrome to use less memory and power

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 19:15

Google Chrome to use less memory and power Following an update, Google's Chrome browser should use less memory and be less of a burden on battery life.

It's not exactly a secret that Google's Desktop web browser likes to consume a lot of RAM, particularly for users that tend to have a large number of tabs open. There are ways to reduce the memory usage in Chrome manually, such as using add-ons that suspend tabs after a period of inactivity, or setting plug-ins (Flash etc.) as "click to play".

With the latest updates for Chrome, Google aims to ease the burden the browser puts on a system. The browser can now aggressively clean up old, unused memory when a webpage isn't busy with a task, which Google claims reduces memory usage per website by about 10 percent on average.

For complex web apps it is even better, with tests showing that up to a quarter of memory used by the tab can be freed.

Users of the Chrome browser will also have noticed that sometimes the browser can really lock up a system when restoring tabs that were previously opened. Google has made changes to improve tab restoration too, as Chrome will now restore tabs from most to least recently viewed and can detect when the computer is running low on resources and halt tab restoration temporarily.

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AfterDawn: News

Firefox for iOS now available as preview

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 14:56

Firefox for iOS now available as preview Mozilla has announced this week that their first public preview of Firefox for iOS is now available.

The rollout has started modestly just in New Zealand, but should be expanded soon.

Says Mozilla: "Our goal is to create a great browsing experience for iOS with Firefox. With this first public preview we will be collecting feedback in one country, before we extend availability to get feedback in a few more countries prior to a full public launch. Feedback from this preview release will help us build new features and bring Firefox for iOS to the App Store in rest of the world later this year."

The preview includes Mozilla 'Intelligent Search,' which suggests search results and offers answers from multiple search providers. As with other Mozilla products, you can sync over your desktop browser history, passwords and even active tabs.

You can sign up to try the preview here.

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AfterDawn: News

Hulu to offer ad-free version of streaming service for $12

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 1:05

Hulu to offer ad-free version of streaming service for $12 Hulu has announced this week that the company will begin offering an ad-free version of its streaming service for $11.99 per month, marking the first time since its launch that you will be able to watch content without commercials.

Until now, Hulu's premium streaming catalog cost $7.99 per month but still had ads. What made the service premium was the ability to watch shows that are currently on TV the day after they aired on Fox, NBC or ABC, a feature that is so far unmatched by other services.

In its efforts to take on Netflix, (which has 4x the amount of paying subscribers), Hulu recently announced a deal with Epix to bring new movies to the service, including popular titles from Lionsgate and Paramount.

"You can split people into two categories: ad avoiders and ad acceptors," said Hulu. "There are clearly people who just are not going to buy Hulu because there are ads. We think we can bring them back into the fold with new content and this new choice."

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AfterDawn: News

IFA: Samsung unveils first Ultra HD Blu-ray player

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Sep 2015 22:43

IFA: Samsung unveils first Ultra HD Blu-ray player Samsung has unveiled their first Ultra HD Blu-ray player today at IFA 2015.

The players, and the standard, can provide four times the resolution of regular Blu-ray players, and up to 64 times "higher color expression" and 60fps video support.

All discs will be upscaled to UHD and will be compatible with 4K streaming services and HDR video. As is now becoming standard, dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) is supported, and there is a USB port up front.

In addition, Samsung has promised to expand the fledgling ecosystem for 4K/Ultra HD content and will partner with Netflix, Amazon, Canal Plus and others to create and distribute more UHD content.

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AfterDawn: News

Motorola unveils new series of Moto 360 smartwatches

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Sep 2015 9:46

Motorola unveils new series of Moto 360 smartwatches Motorola has today announced a new series of smartwatches in Berlin at the IFA trade show. The company aims to offer a more customizable and fashionable accessory to smartwatch lovers.

As the leaks and rumors had it Moto 360 comes in different versions and in different sizes. The new, regular Moto 360 comes in two versions, for men and for women, and in two sizes: 42mm (women and men) and 46mm (men). The display has the same "empty tire" look as the first generation Moto 360. Prices start from $299 and climb up to $429. Preorders start today and the products start shipping in a couple of weeks.

The other version is Moto 360 Sports which is – obviously – a more durable and sportier looking sibling of Moto 360 with largely the same features. It does, however, add GPS for activity tracking and a fixed silicone strap that will endure elements better. There is no price yet for the sport version but it will become available later this year.




AfterDawn: News

Is Google set to unveil new Nexus phones on September 29th?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 23:45

Is Google set to unveil new Nexus phones on September 29th? According to a new report, Google will unveil two new Nexus devices at a special event on September 29th.

If the many high-profile leaks are to be believed, Google will release a smaller mid-range Nexus device built by LG and also a high-end reference device built by Huawei.

The LG phone is expected to have a 5.2-inch screen, and the Huawei device will take a step back from the 6-inch Nexus 6 and be just 5.7 inches. Both devices will add fingerprint sensors but otherwise will not see large jumps in features.

Another guarantee is that both devices will run on Android Marshmallow. We will know more later this month.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, others form new group to develop next-generation media formats, codecs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 23:14

Netflix, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, others form new group to develop next-generation media formats, codecs A super group consisting of Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix have created the Alliance for Open Media, a project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies.

The Alliance has committed to a next-generation video format that will be interoperable and open; optimized for the web; scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth; designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware; capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

"Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem," said Gabe Frost, the Alliance for Open Media's Executive Director. "The Alliance for Open Media brings together the leading experts in the entire video stack to work together in pursuit of open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of video delivery."

The next-gen format will be royalty free.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung shows off new, rounder Gear S2 smartwatch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 22:45

Samsung shows off new, rounder Gear S2 smartwatch Samsung has unveiled their latest smartwatch this week, the Gear S2.

Differentiating itself from other rival watches is the fact that the device has a round rotating bezel and two side buttons (home and back).

As with Samsung's other watches, the Gear S2 runs on the company's own Tizen OS and not Android Wear. It is actually unclear which devices will be compatible with the device but we should know soon.

The Gear S2 includes NFC, Wi-Fi and also e-SIM, allowing for phone calls and some other tasks even when your phone isn't around. Although specs don't matter on watches, the S2 has 360x360 resolution, a dual-core 1.0GHz processor and 4GB internal storage.

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AfterDawn: News

Nu Image goes after more pirates, this time suing Popcorn Time users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 14:11

Nu Image goes after more pirates, this time suing Popcorn Time users Indie studio Millenium and its infamous affiliate Nu Image are now going after Popcorn Time users who allegedly viewed 2015's 'Survivor' starring Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich.

The companies claim that 16 users in Oregon, U.S., were responsible for over 10,000 unauthorized downloads of the film.

Each of the 16 have been accused of downloading and distributing multiple copies of the film across the BitTorrent network. The studios also claim that the individuals are "habitual copyright infringers."

The studios are also clearly looking to settle quickly and quietly without any kind of court involved since they offered to resolve the case for the "statutory minimum in damages, in this case, $750. In a court, each defendant could be liable for up to $150,000 for infringement.

Rads the suit: "It is our belief that the transfer of data, storing of physical data locally on a hard drive and facilitation and redistribution of stolen data to others should be considered a 'physical taking' under Oregon law and we felt compelled to take this opportunity to fight back and ensure that those who choose to engage in this type of behavior face real repercussions, just as a person would if they shoplifted a DVD or other physical consumer product from a retailer."

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon to allow offline viewing of streaming Prime Video content

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 23:43

Amazon to allow offline viewing of streaming Prime Video content In a pretty shocking move, Amazon has announced that all Prime subscribers will now have access to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing.

The feature had previously been available to Amazon Fire tablet owners but that has now been extended to Android and iOS tablets and smartphones (which encompass nearly 90 percent of all devices out there). Not all video is available but a significant portion is.

Amazon says the ability to download is as easy as just "tapping Download."

Prime membership costs $99 per year and gives subscribers free 2-day shipping on millions of items, free streaming through Amazon Prime Video with over 10,000 TV episodes and movies available and also free music streaming.

Check out the full selection here: Amazon Wherever You Go




AfterDawn: News

Sony PS4 update to add YouTube streaming support and boost storage

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 23:29

Sony PS4 update to add YouTube streaming support and boost storage Sony has given some insight into the upcoming PS4 firmware update version 3.00, codenamed Kenshin.

The update is currently in beta and Sony warned that some features will not make it to the final version.

A preview of the updates (via Sony):

Online storage capacity increase -- PS4 online storage capacity has increased from 1GB to 10GB for all PS Plus members. In 3.00 system software, you'll see that we added a handy usage meter to monitor your available storage capacity, and a new Auto-Upload menu has been added to Application Saved Data Management.

YouTube live -- PS4 owners will be able to live stream gameplay to YouTube. Live streams will be viewable across YouTube, including on the new YouTube Gaming mobile app and website.

Events -- A new hub for events has been added, giving an overview of activities taking place in the games you play most, as well as official broadcasts. For instance, you may see an update for a Double XP weekend, a special enemy appearing at a scheduled time, or seasonal events like in-game towns being decorated for the winter. You'll also receive notifications when the event starts, or if the timing changes.

Favorite Groups -- Favorite Groups has been added to the Friends app, letting you quickly access groups of people you like to play games with frequently. This will make the process of getting a game session up and running even easier.

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