AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

ProtonMail Contacts offers zero-access encryption for Contact information

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Nov 2017 7:58

ProtonMail Contacts offers zero-access encryption for Contact information ProtonMail, the encrypted e-mail service, has now unveiled ProtonMail Contacts, which provides zero-access encryption for contact information.

Zero-access encryption means that the protected contact fields are encrypted in such a way that only you are able to decrypt and read them, not even ProtonMail can read them. While you can't encrypt the e-mail address of a contact (since ProtonMail needs to know where to send the email) you can encrypt other fields such as Address, Phone Number and Notes.

The goal of this feature is to provide another level of security for journalists and others who need to keep the identity of acquaintances (e.g. sources) as secret as possible while still being able to contact them.

In additional, digital signatures are utilizes to verify the integrity of contacts data, including the e-mail address. Verified fields are denoted with a tick. If verification fails (e.g. due to tampering), a very prominent red-background warning will display.

More information: ProtonMail

AfterDawn: News

U.S. ITC rules in favor of TiVo over Comcast in patent dispute

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Nov 2017 7:55

U.S. ITC rules in favor of TiVo over Comcast in patent dispute U.S. international trade body has prohibited Comcast Corp from importing types of set-top boxes in a patent dispute with Rovi Corp (now TiVo).

The ITC has prohibited the import and sale of Rovi's Xfinity X1 set-top box models that specifically violate two patents. It does not apply to legacy hardware that does not.

"Today's Commission Opinion reinforces the need for Comcast to take the necessary licenses to our IP," Rovi said in response to the commission's findings.

Comcast has confirmed it will appeal the body's decision. The ban could be overturned by U.S. President Donald Trump during the Presidential Review period.

Source: Reuters News Agency

AfterDawn: News

Uber fires employees after hack cover-up

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Nov 2017 7:51

Uber fires employees after hack cover-up Uber has fired two employees after a breach of user data was covered up last year, Dara Khosrowshahi has revealed to the public.

Khosrowshahi recently replaced co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO at the ride-sharing giant. In a blog post, he said that the October 2016 data breach had only been revealed to him recently, and that two employees whose job it was to respond appropriatelky to a data breach have been fired as a result.

The names and driver's license numbers of around 600,000 drivers in the United States were stolen in the breach, along with some personal information of 57 million Uber users around the world which includes names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

The breach happened after hackers gained access to proptietary information stored on the GitHub service, which was then used to access Uber information held by a cloud-storage provider. For the record, GitHub has confirmed that its security was not breached as part of the incident.

Uber has not found any evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the incident so far, but is providing affected drivers with free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

Uber drivers can get more information here, while Uber riders can seek information here.


AfterDawn: News

Skype pulled from Apple, Android app stores in China

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Nov 2017 7:46

Skype pulled from Apple, Android app stores in China Microsoft's Skype video-phone call and messaging service has disappeared from Apple's App Store in China, as well as stores for Android.

Apple confirmed to the Reuters news agency that the removal was down to the demands of Chinese authorites.

"We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law, therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China," a spokeswoman for Apple, said. "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business."

While Google Play is not available in China at all, other app stores that cater to Android devices also removed the Skype application presumably for the same reason.

The incident is the latest setback for foreign tech companies in China, where the countries Great Firewall of censorship has caused considerable tension between the communist government and the tech industry.

WhatsApp, Facebook's encrypted messaging service, has also had recent outages in China.

AfterDawn: News

Firefox Quantum delivers significant speed improvements

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Nov 2017 12:32

Firefox Quantum delivers significant speed improvements Mozilla has released Firefox Quantum across platforms with a new slick UI and an overhauled core engine, providing for a speedier and lighter experience.

It's twice as fast as Firefox from six months ago, or at least Mozilla claims, and when we tested it out we noticed significant improvements under the new Photon UI, including when switching between large numbers of open tabs. Browsing was also noticeable smoother. Quantum is also less of a memory hog.

The improved experience comes from a multitude of improvements under the hood, such as the new CSS engine, Stylo, that takes better advantage of today's hardware with multiple cores that are optimized for low power consumption.

Firefox has also changed the default search provider to Google in the United States and Canada. The decision was put down to a "focus on user experience and performance," but of course Firefox still comes with more than 60 search providers pre-installed, covering 90+ languages.

You can download Mozilla Firefox v57.0 (64-bit here) from AfterDawn or the Mozilla homepage.


AfterDawn: News

Bitcoin hits new high on Thursday

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Nov 2017 12:25

Bitcoin hits new high on Thursday Bitcoin peaked at an all-time high of over $7000 on Thursday, following an exciting week for the cryptocurrency.

CME Group, the largest derivatives exchange operator in the world, announced that it would launch a Bitcoin futures product before the end of 2017. This news drove the surging cryptocurrency to an all time high of $6,450 on Wednesday. Today, Bitcoin soared again, jumping over $7000 on the Bitstamp exchange. Bitcoin has seen seven-fold price increase this year, doubling since September.

Back in August, the BitCoin Cash spin-off had prompted fears that it would disrupt the persistent rise of the cryptocurrency, but instead its price had risen sharply compared to the USD.

Bitcoin is growing in popularity around the world too. Coinbase, which can be used to trade BitCoin, gets between 35,000 and 50,000 new users per day. It is also in the news more often, most recently due to the interest in Bitcoin on the Korean peninsula as tensions mount.

Source: >Reuters

AfterDawn: News

Amazon Prime Video lands on Xbox One

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Nov 2017 12:19

Amazon Prime Video lands on Xbox One Xbox One owners can now install an Amazon Prime Video app on the Xbox One family of consoles, including the upcoming Xbox One X.

Amazon Prime Video provides exclusive access to popular content including The Grand Tour, American Gods, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Prime Video also has content available in 4K UHD resolution, which is supported by the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.

Amazon Prime Video is available in more than 200 countries around the world. Existing subscribers only need to visit the Microsoft Store to download the Prime Video app.

For others, visit for more information.

AfterDawn: News

Facebook reports more than $10 billion in ad revenue

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Nov 2017 12:16

Facebook reports more than $10 billion in ad revenue The world's largest social network sees profits soaring in the third quarter driven by a large increase in ad revenue.

In the three months to the end of September, Facebook brought in more than $10.1 billion in advertising revenue. Overall, revenue was up year-on-year by 47 percent to $10.3 billion. Profits jumped 80 percent compared to the same period of last year, reaching $4.7 billion.

However, an increasing focus on security and integrity of the platform will impact future profits, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He told investors that Facebook is attempting to eradicate "false news", hate speech and bullying on its platform, which will be a considerable investment.

The social network has more than 2.07 billion users as of the end of September.

It is currently facing the scrutiny of lawmakers in the United States who are eyeing more regulation in the area to prevent propaganda from being used as a tool to influence elections. Facebook has reported that over 150 million people may seen some Russian propaganda efforts on its platform.

Zuckerbeg had previously described the hypothesis that fake news on Facebook had influenced the result of the U.S. Presidential electon as "pretty crazy".


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: The Grand Tour returns to Amazon Prime Video in December

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Nov 2017 12:12

WATCH: The Grand Tour returns to Amazon Prime Video in December Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond return to Amazon Prime Video in The Grand Tour Season 2 next month.

The Amazon Prime Video exclusive comes back to screens on December 8. The first episode of The Grand Tour broke Amazon Prime Video's previous records in the days after it landed on the platform beginning November 18, 2016.

Earlier this year, a short teaser trailer for Season 2 was released. However, both Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson had some difficult times in 2017, with the former being involved in a vehicle accident and latter being hospitalized for a life-threating case of pneumonia.

Another trailer was released by Amazon today giving us a taste of what is to come with Season 2.


AfterDawn: News

Air pressure disrupts TV in the UK

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Nov 2017 12:09

Air pressure disrupts TV in the UK Some TV viewers in the UK are having signal problems due to atmospheric conditions, according to Freeview.

Freeview allows TV viewers to pick up TV signals in the UK using antennae. Yesterday, viewers started reporting problems with signal. One consequence for many users was the inability to watch The Great British Bake Off final because of the disruption. Freeview responded to the affected viewers today, urging them not to attempt retuning to alleviate the issue.

We're aware that high air pressure is currently affecting TV and radio signals for some viewers in England and Wales. We're unable to prevent or remedy this. We recommend that you do not retune your equipment as reception will return to normal once the weather changes.

TV and radio signals can be affected by atmospheric conditions, including high air pressure (which brings fine weather), heavy rain or snow.

More Info:

AfterDawn: News

GameStop's PowerPass offers used video game rentals

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Oct 2017 16:47

GameStop's PowerPass offers used video game rentals GameStop has detailed its new PowerPass service, which will allow subscribers to rent used video games from GameStop stores for a fee.

PowerPass will cost a subscriber $60 for six months. For the fee, the subscriber can visit their local GameStop and "rent" a different game at any time during the subscription period. There is a one game at a time limit.

At the end of the six month period, the customer can pick a title to keep at no additional cost.

There is one prerequisite however; you need to be a free or paid member of GameStop's Power-Up Rewards program to sign up for PowerPass.

Is such a "used game rental service" worth the typical cost of a single blockbuster title for six months?

Via: Engadget

AfterDawn: News

YouTube TV app now available for Android TV devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Oct 2017 16:45

YouTube TV app now available for Android TV devices YouTube is now offering a YouTube TV app designed for Android TV devices, including NVIDIA SHIELD, Xbox One and TVs with Android TV built-in.

Over the new few weeks, apps will also roll out for Smart TVs oif major brands, including LG, Samsung, Sony, along with Apple TV. YouTube TV launched in April this year, streaming live sports, local and national news to phones, tablets and computers. More than half of the time spent using YouTube TV includes the use of Chromecast, so it's a no brainer to release an app for Android TV devices.

YouTube TV is currently available in all top 50 metro areas in the United States, and will continue to quickly expand to other markets.

The features you can expect from the YouTube TV app for Android TV include:

  • Control your live TV experience with your TV's remote control or game controller.
  • For a more cinematic look, we made the background dark on your TVs.
  • A new Live guide made for your big screen so you can get a sneak-peek at what's airing soon.
  • Never miss the action with our background playback experience built for your big screen.
  • Easily pick up where you left off on another device when you get home.
More Info: YouTube TV

AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp updates emoji set in latest version

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Oct 2017 21:48

WhatsApp updates emoji set in latest version Facebook's WhatsApp has gotten around to pushing out the upgraded emoji set it showed off several weeks ago.

The new emojis are available starting with version 2.17.395 (stable) on Android. Whether they are better is entirely up to each user, but they do appear to be more "expressive" of emotion and several non-facial emojis look much better than before (e.g. the "mouse" emoji is now clearly a computer mouse!).

When WhatsApp pushed the new emoji set to the beta build earlier this month, they were immediately compared to several emojis used in Apple's iOS because some do bear a striking resemblance.

If emojis are your thing, the new set should be available as long as you have the latest WhatsApp version on your device. WhatsApp also recently announced the "delete for everyone" feature, which allows WhatsApp users to delete text messages they have sent to a recipient, as long as they do so within a seven minute window and all participants in the conversation have a version with the feature present.

AfterDawn: News

Google unveils Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Oct 2017 15:01

Google unveils Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones As anticipated, Google today revealed two new powerful Pixel smartphones with considerable camera improvements, Google Assistant, Google Lens and more.

Google celebrates the fact that there is essentially feature parity between its new Pixel 2 and larger Pixel 2 XL. The differences are in display, battery, color and of course, price. The Pixel 2 handset packs a 5-inch OLED screen at 1920x1080, whereas the larger Pixel 2 XL upgrades to a 6-inch pOLED display at 2880x1440. For battery, the smaller handset includes a 2,700mAh battery and XL upgrades to 3,520mAh.

Pixel 2 color options include Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue, while Pixel 2 XL is available in Just Black and Black & White.

Under the hood, both pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, 4GB of RAM and a choice of 64GB or 128GB internal storage. They are water and dust resistant handsets and support fast charging (15 minutes provides up to 7 hours). Both run Android 8.0 Oreo (not 8.1 as predicted). A noticeable change is the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack with the new Pixels, but each does come with a USB-C adapter so you can keep using your headphones.

Another interesting feature is an always-on display which lets you see notifications at a glance on Pixel's screen without having to touch the power button, while a new "Now Playing" feature, exclusive to Pixel 2, automatically identifies the music playing around you and displays the information.


AfterDawn: News

Theresa May says Uber London ban is disproportionate

Written by James Delahunty @ 28 Sep 2017 20:19

Theresa May says Uber London ban is disproportionate UK Prime Minister says that the decision by TfL not to renew Uber's license to operate in London is disproportionate.

Theresa May weighed into the row over the decision by Transport for London (TfL) not to renew Uber's license to operate as a taxi service in the city, saying she felt the ban was disproportionate. May made her comments in an interview with the BBC ahead of the annual Conservative Party conference.

"Yes there are safety concerns and issues for Uber to address, but what I want to see is a level playing field between the private firms and our wonderful London taxis, our black cabs, our great national institution," May said.

"I want to see a level playing field. I think a blanket ban is disproportionate."

May went on to say that London mayor Sadiq Khan had put 40,000 jobs at risk, and disrupted the lives of an estimated 3.5 million Uber users, with the stroke of a pen. Khan, who is a member of the Labour party and chairs the TfL, had backed the decision not to renew the license over safety fears. The TfL finds that Uber is unfit to run a taxi service in the city.


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