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Messenger drops support for most Windows Phone models, permanently

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 28 Mar 2017 5:54

Messenger drops support for most Windows Phone models, permanently Facebook has announced that it will stop supporting the Messenger platform for Windows Phones running WP8.1 or older. As over 75 percent of Windows Phone models are still running WP8.1 or older, rather than the new Windowd 10, this effectively kills the instant messaging app for WP.

Furthermore, the Facebook's flagship application versions still supporting messaging through the app itself (rather than forcing users to use Messenger's own app) will stop working by end of March, 2017. This change includes also all older versions of Android apps. So, if you have postponed updating your Facebook app in order to keep using Messenger through it, you are running out of time now. Facebook made the announcement through its Messenger blog.

The blow to WP platform is hard - and even harder, considering the fact that Microsoft itself dropped Skype's support for WP8.1 earlier this month.

Facebook will send an email to affected users and suggest alternative routes, such as switching to a new phone, updating to Windows 10 (an option which is out of reach for most WP users, due small RAM capacity in most sold devices) or using Messenger through desktop browser.

AfterDawn: News

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Vimeo music copyright case

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Mar 2017 16:29

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Vimeo music copyright case The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to examine a copyright infringement case against Vimeo brought by music firms, dating back to 2009.

Vimeo was sued in 2009 by Vivendi SA's Capitol Records and units of Sony Corp, for copyright infringement related to 199 videos hosted by the service. The music firms alleged that Vimeo was hosting content that included songs from famous artists like the Beach Boys, without appropriate permission.

In 2013, a federal court dismissed the claims against most of the music videos, citing a protective clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which exempts providers from liability as long as it can be demonstrated that they handle copyright infringement notices.

The court did not dismiss claims relating to pre-1972 recordings, finding that since the U.S. Congress included recordings in the scope of federal copyright law that year, pre-1972 recordings are instead protected by state law.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals examined the initial ruling, and last year found that the DMCA applies in claims made both under federal and state law, in a win for Vimeo, prompting the record labels to reach out to the highest court in the land.


AfterDawn: News

PS4 Pro to support 4K Video playback

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Mar 2017 16:06

PS4 Pro to support 4K Video playback Owners of Sony PlayStation 4 Pro consoles will now be able to play videos in 4K resolution thanks to an update to the Media Player app.

Previously, you could play 4K video from YouTube, Netflix or Hulu on a PS4 Pro device, but not your own personal videos shot in 4K on your phone, or 4K files you retrieve online.

An update to the Media Player app will enable the PS4 Pro to play videos in 4K resolution saved on a USB stick or streaming from a Home Server. The video must be packaged in the MP4 media container format, and not in the popular matroska (MKV) format, unfortunately.

For those who own PlayStation VR as well as a PS4 Pro, Media Player will also update to support playback of 4K VR video content. PS VR's display resolution is 1920 X RGB X 1080, so 4K VR videos will be displayed in a higher image quality compared to HD VR videos.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung may sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 handsets

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Mar 2017 16:00

Samsung may sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 handsets Following the nightmare release and recall of millions of Galaxy Note 7 handsets, Samsung is planning to sell refurbished models in some locations.

The South Korean firm already carried out an internal investigation into overheating and fires with multiple Galaxy Note 7 handsets after the device launched. Now that it is confident it has identified the problem, Samsung is detailing its plans for the millions of devices that have been sent back by customers.

It has revealed that devices shall be considered to be used as refurbished phones or rental phones where applicable. Previous reports suggested that Samsung is thinking of the Vietnamese and Indian markets in a possible resale plan, but it really depends on the firm's consultation with national regulatory bodies.

As for devices that will not be resold, Samsung intends to salvage whatever it can as part of the recycling process and in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible.

Galaxy Note 7 components such as semiconductors and camera modules shall be detached by companies specializing in such services and used for test sample production purposes. Samsung will also attempt to retrieve precious metals from the devices such as copper, nickel, gold and silver by utilizing eco-friendly companies specializing in such processes.

AfterDawn: News

Apple updated iOS to 10.3 with minor updates to tvOS and watchOS

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Mar 2017 14:04

Apple updated iOS to 10.3 with minor updates to tvOS and watchOS Apple's mobile OS's latest version has been in beta testing for weeks now. Today the Cupertino giant has finally finished ironing out the bugs and released iOS 10.3 to the public.

The new update brings a few visible changes even though its been under work for three months.

Among those are the new Find My AirPods under the Find My iPhone app, new and improved transition animations when closing and opening an app, a new widget for podcasts, and weather forecast in Apple Maps.

What's more important, though, is the file system change under the hood. Apple has moved away from HFS+ to its new Apple File System (APFS) which should prove to be more efficient especially with NAND flash memory. Apple has also said that it allows better encryption.

This might well be the last major update to iOS before WWDC in June and the release of iOS 11.

Apple also released minor updates to Apple Watches in watchOS 3.2 as well as Apple TV in tvOS 10.2.

AfterDawn: News

Man blackmails movie studios, plan backfires

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Mar 2017 15:26

Man blackmails movie studios, plan backfires Piracy has definitely been in decline during the past decade but there are still some industries that are suffering a lot – at least by their metrics – from illegal downloads.

While Spotify and the likes have largely killed music piracy, there isn't a similar solution for the movie industry. And no, Netflix isn't the doing it yet, even if they might get there one day.

Now someone has decided to take piracy to a more sinister level. A man who had acquired a leaked version of an upcoming movie, The Boss Baby, blackmailed the studios behind the animation for 20 bitcoins or he'd release the copy.

While he did choose an untraceable method of payment his tracks weren't covered perfectly. In fact, the studios managed to backtrack the traces of the Serbian copy to distributor MEGAKOM and from there on to a translator's PC where the blackmailer got his copy. According to the translator, the 26 year old Momčilo Đinović got the copy without her knowledge.

Instead of doing what most movie pirates do, let it loose in the peer-to-peer networks, Đinović contacted DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox for some extra cash. Obviously that was a critical mistake as instead of the nearly 20 000 U.S dollar payout he got his hand caught in the cookie jar.


AfterDawn: News

Senate voted to allow selling your browser history to advertisers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Mar 2017 12:11

Senate voted to allow selling your browser history to advertisers The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to allow service providers to sell private web browsing data to third parties, namely advertisers. Under Democratic control the Senate voted to apply new Federal Communications Commission rules to internet service providers (ISPs) last October but the proposal to eliminate them has now passed the Senate 50-48.

Once the ruling is passed, after a Republican majority in the House votes for it, your ISP can sell your private web browsing data to third parties without seeking acceptance from either the consumer or the courts. Usually ISPs would sell the data to advertisers or ad networks for them to target you more efficiently.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called what seems to be an inevitable reversal of the FCC rules a "crushing loss for online privacy". If the House of Representatives pass the reversal it can be only be stopped by a President's veto. Will Trump be worried about privacy of the citizens in this case? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Ars Technica has released a new guide on explaining how this new ruling might affect you and in what ways you could fight it. This includes using HTTPS, VPN services or Tor.

AfterDawn: News

Super Mario Run now available for Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Mar 2017 21:50

Super Mario Run now available for Android Nintendo has decided to launch Super Mario Run a little earlier than expected for Android devices.

Super Mario Run has been available for iOS since December. It is Nintendo's first game made available for mobile platforms and enjoyed a huge launch on iOS, with over $50 million in revenue in a month.

You can download Super Mario Run from Google Play for free and play the first three stages. At that point, you will need to pay up $10 to unlock the rest.

The first version available on Android is v2.0, so will likely include the updates since the initial release on iOS. It requires Android 4.2 and above.

You can get it now from Google Play.

AfterDawn: News

Gamers report PS4 update kills WiFi

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Mar 2017 21:41

Gamers report PS4 update kills WiFi A number of PlayStation 4 owners are reporting that the PS4 version 4.50 update has disabled WiFi on their consoles.

The first complaints about the issue were posted to the PlayStation forums after the update was pushed out to users. In the couple of weeks since the update, the same thread has amassed more than 250 comments.

Engadget also reported that one affected console owned by a staff member had the same issue, with the console reporting the NW-31297-2 error code, but that reconfiguring the console's WiFi settings will not fix the issue.

Sony is aware of the problem and is reportedly looking for a solution, but some users on the PlayStation forums have already resorted to purchasing WiFi extenders with Ethernet ports to get around the issue.

PS4 version 4.50 brought several useful new features, including support for external USB 3.0 hard drives and Boost Mode for legacy games on the PS4 Pro model.

AfterDawn: News

Apple's new Clips app helps create, well, clips

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Mar 2017 11:42

Apple's new Clips app helps create, well, clips Apple announced today a new iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED as well as a new iPad with old tech. If neither a charity version of last year iPhone or an iPad with rather uninspiring features don't excite you, then maybe the third product is up your alley.

The Cupertino giant introduced a new app called Clips. Like we've come to expect from Apple, there is no play-on-words here, it's exactly what you're thinking. It's an app that allows you to easily generate video clips.

The app aims to be as straightforward and easy to use so iPhone (maybe a red one) and iPad (maybe the new one) users can get their footage fast and effortlessly to the social media sphere. The one thing that makes it stand out from the crowd is the ability to edit the videos with voice only with a support to 36 different languages.

It is not meant for professional video production but instead has kind of the same approach as Snapchat. You can decorate your videos with special effects, pictures, and text. You can share the finished product on for example Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, and Messages.

Clips will be available on the App Store in early April for free. You need and iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2, iPad Air or any other Apple device that is newer than those. It also requires iOS 10.3.

AfterDawn: News

Apple releases a new iPhone, (PRODUCT)RED for charity

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Mar 2017 11:02

Apple releases a new iPhone, (PRODUCT)RED for charity Apple has today announced new products in its Spring Event. The new, or refreshed, iPad might get most of the attention but another new product introduced today might be even closer to Apple's own heart.

Tim Cook and his company introduced today a new iPhone 7 model. The new red model is a continuation of Product Red – or (PRODUCT)RED – lineup by Apple which raises money to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Apple, like many other companies including Coca-Cola, Nike and Starbucks, have supported Product Red years in their efforts against the massive public health concern in 3rd world countries. Apple's first contribution to the campaign was 10 years ago with the iPod nano Product Red. Today's iPhone 7 Product Red follows suit with the same features as a normal iPhone 7 but with a vibrant matte red finish.

Red iPhone 7 is available in both the traditional form factor as well as the Plus model.

In another small iPhone update, Apple changed iPhone SE's storage capacity. The previous options (16 and 64 GB) were doubled to 32 and 128 GB.

AfterDawn: News

Apple revealed a new iPad with old tech

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Mar 2017 10:41

Apple revealed a new iPad with old tech Apple has today revealed new products in its annual Spring Event. The event usually pales in contrast to the main fall event which iPhone is used and even often garners less attention than the developer focused WWDC in June.

However, there's always some excitement when Apple releases new hardware. This time around Apple updated their iPad lineup but unfortunately it's not as exciting as one might think.

The new iPad is a refresh of the traditional 9.7 inch, lower-end, iPad. The new version even uses older tech, such as the A9 chip used in iPhone 6s. You know, the phone released in 2015.

The iPad Air has been removed from the lineup so excluding the smaller iPad mini 4 the "iPad" is now the only option in addition to iPad Pro. The new iPad has an 8 megapixel camera, 10 hours battery life, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, .

The prices start at $329 and preorders go live this Friday, March 24th. It will be available in both WiFi and WiFi+Cellular, latter of which starts at $459, 32 or 128 GB, and in Silver, Gold and Space Gray.


AfterDawn: News

Sony to end PlayStation 3 production after 10 years

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Mar 2017 12:19

Sony to end PlayStation 3 production after 10 years Still remember the first time you played Resistance: Fall of Man or Ridge Racer 7? I might well be that it was over 10 years ago on a brand new PlayStation 3. Now after over 80 million sold PS3 consoles Sony is allegedly seizing production.

Reports from Gematsu have it that Sony has decided to call it quits with PS3 after over 10 years of production. The production of the last model, a black 500GB PS3, will be ended "soon" according to Sony's Japanese website.

PlayStation 3 was released in November 2006 almost a year after its rival Xbox 360. Now after approximately a year after Microsoft stopped the Xbox 360 production, Sony is ready to move on too. According to Wikipedia, to this date they have both sold an almost identical 84 million units within their 10 year lifespan.

Sony is definitely ready to move on and reap the benefits of the new generation. PlayStation 4 has outsold Xbox One every step of the way and is looking to easily surpass PS3's numbers in few years. Sony has sold over 50 million PS4 units in just over three years.

PlayStation 4 might very well surpass the 100 million mark and the first PlayStation but it probably will never reach the heights of PlayStation 2 with over 150 million units sold.

AfterDawn: News

Court orders ISP to identify 5,300 alleged pirates

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Mar 2017 13:49

Court orders ISP to identify 5,300 alleged pirates The details of Internet users alleged to have shared films including London Has Fallen, and Mechanic: Resurrection, have to be handed over by an ISP.

The decision came from Sweden's relatively new Patent and Market Court, and it obliges Telia to identify 5,300 subscribers that are alleged to have downloaded and shared blockbuster films. Those allegations come from Guardaley, which has a business model of tracking alleged pirates and being part of legal efforts to gain settlements from them.

"There is probable cause of infringement of copyright in the films in that they were made unlawfully made available to the public via file sharing networks," the Court wrote in its judgement.

"The applicants' interest in having access to the information outweighs any opposing interests, including the interest of the individual [subscribers] to remain anonymous."

Telia says that it values the privacy of its customers but it is legally obliged to comply with the court's order.

Read more at TorrentFreak

AfterDawn: News

Google's e-mail scanning settlement rejected by judge

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Mar 2017 13:32

Google's e-mail scanning settlement rejected by judge A federal judge has rejected a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Google over the scanning of e-mails.

Google serves ads to users of its Gmail service based on the contents of their e-mails, which has prompted questions from privacy and rights activists for years. However, while Gmail users may agree to agree to such usage of their data by Google, those who don't use Gmail clearly have not.

That is the at the core of the class action lawsuit against Google that it is seeking to settle. Plaintiffs argue that Google's scanning of e-mails sent by non-Gmail users to Gmail users violates the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California Invasion of Privacy Act.

Google presented a proposed settlement but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. It provided for up to $2.2 million in fees and expenses for the plaintiffs lawyers, but none for the plaintiffs. Judge Koh questioned whether the settlement would ensure Google's compliance with the law in the future.

Koh also found proposed disclosure notices to be inadequate, comparing to a similar accord with Yahoo that requires more disclosures.

"In sum, based on the parties' current filings, the court cannot conclude that the settlement is fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable," Koh wrote, reports Reuters.

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