AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Fully loaded 'Kodi box' sellers arrested

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Feb 2017 1:35

Fully loaded 'Kodi box' sellers arrested Police have arrested sellers of so called 'Full Loaded Kodi Boxes' as pirate streaming add-ons become more popular.

The devices are typically low-cost Android-based media set top boxes that come with apps and add-ons pre-installed. Despite being called 'Kodi boxes', they have nothing at all to do with the development of the Kodi media center software.

Last year, developers of Kodi threatened legal action against individuals who use the Kodi brand or images while selling devices marketed to enable piracy.

Kodi, formerly XBMC, is a very powerful media center solution that can run on Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android. Its support for third party add-ons has made it very popular, as third-party add-ons can provide access to live TV, including live sports, while some provide a Netflix-like experience with access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows, all without paying a subscription fee.

That does not make Kodi illegal of course, but marketing a media device as "fully loaded" with piracy add-ons pre-installed may be illegal in some places. It is currently being tested in the UK.

In the latest action against the growing trend of streaming, five traders were arrested in the UK for advertising and selling such devices online. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) estimates that the individuals have earned more than 250,000 selling such devices.


AfterDawn: News

Film and music streaming geoblocking to be eliminated in EU

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Feb 2017 1:21

Film and music streaming geoblocking to be eliminated in EU EU Netflix, Sky, Amazon, etc. subscribers will be able to continue using their service as they travel through the 28 nation bloc, if current proposals go through.

An agreement made on Tuesday between the European Parliament and Malta, which currently holds the rotating presidency in the EU, is likely to see subscription service barriers between states abolished. Essentially that means that customers of services such as Netflix and Sky should be able to access their subscription services if they travel to another EU member state.

The move has some opposition from rights holders, but is seen as a positive step for subscribers who travel frequently throughout the 28 nation bloc. It would effect services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Sky and Apple Music.

The plan is yet to be formally approved but is expected to be part of new regulations that come into force at the beginning of 2018.

Many subscription services lock their subscriber to their home country because the library of content offered varies in different territories. If this regulation comes into effect, the subscriber should have access to the same library of content they have in their home country, but it does not force streaming services to offer the same content to all 28 EU member states.

AfterDawn: News

Dropbox is now available on Xbox One consoles

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 15:12

Dropbox is now available on Xbox One consoles If you have an Xbox One and a Dropbox account, you can now access the content in your cloud storage using the new app for the console.

It's the first universal Windows app for cloud storage on the gaming console, letting you view and share your photos, videos, and other files from the cloud.

With the app you can easily manage your files on an interface designed for TVs, using either a gamepad or media remote. You can upload content from your Xbox One, comment on files and share them.

Media stored in your Dropbox account can also be viewed on your Xbox One, and your video content will stream from Dropbox to the Xbox One to save you storage space on your HDD.

The app can be gotten from the Xbox Store for free.

AfterDawn: News

WATCH: First trailer for 'The OA', Netflix Original Series debuting Friday

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 14:47

WATCH: First trailer for 'The OA', Netflix Original Series debuting Friday Have time for one more mysterious show in 2016? Eight episodes of The OA will debut on Netflix this Friday, December 16, and this trailer should whet your appetite.

The show casts Brit Marling (The East) in its leading role, and it being produced by Plan B and Anonymous Content (Mr Robot, The Revenant). Promotional material has kept details intentionally limited, but from the trailer, the story revolves around a young woman (Prairie Johnson) who has been missing for seven years.

She meets her parents in the trailer, and we are informed that this is the first time she has ever seen them, given that she was blind all of her life - a disability that has mysteriously vanished.

The rest of the trailer seems to be dedicated to giving us glimpses of her memories, some of which may be dream sequences going by the Instagram account for The OA.

Eight hour long episodes of The OA will be available on Netflix from Friday. Will you binge watch it?


AfterDawn: News

PSA: $25 gift card included with cut-price PS4 Uncharted 4 Bundle at GameStop

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 14:18

PSA: $25 gift card included with cut-price PS4 Uncharted 4 Bundle at GameStop Sony has reduced the Uncharted 4 PS4 Slim bundle price to $249, and now you can also get an additional $25 gift card on top.

The offer is from GameStop and is valid in the United States. Once you purchase the Uncharted 4 PS4 Slim bundle for $249, GameStop will e-mail you a $25 digital gift card in addition. You can see the details of the offer from the GameStop web store.

The bundle includes a new slim 500GB PlayStation 4 console with a matching DualShock 4 controller, and a physical copy of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.

It is being sold by retailers in the United States at the cut price of $249 and will be until December 24. Of course, the free gift card only comes with an order from GameStop.

Microsoft has also cut $50 off the price of Xbox One S bundles in the United States.

(via: Gamespot)

AfterDawn: News

Blocking Pirate Bay is a 'dangerous' path toward 'censorship', ISPs warn court

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 9:56

Blocking Pirate Bay is a 'dangerous' path toward 'censorship', ISPs warn court Internet Service Providers are arguing in court against the mandated blocking of the Pirate Bay and similar websites, warning about the dangers of censorship and its implications.

The ISPs in question are Sweden's Bredbandsbolaget and Telenor. Both have made their case to an appeals court in the country as rights holders argue that ISPs should be mandated to block websites like the Pirate Bay, otherwise they are complicit in copyright infringement activities of their subscribers.

A district court already disagreed with the rights holders, which reportedly include Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Nordisk Film and the Swedish Film Industry. That decision is now being appealed and has forced the ISPs to warn the court of the chilling implications of such mandatory blocking.

"It is a dangerous path to go down, which forces Internet providers to monitor and evaluate content on the Internet and block websites with illegal content in order to avoid becoming accomplices," the companies write in a joint statement.

"The copyright holders argue that the blockades they request are similar to those in neighboring Nordic countries. But with the legislation we have in Sweden, it means rightsholders' demands require a form of censorship that has no equivalent in any other EU country."


AfterDawn: News

PSA: Microsoft offering $50 off all Xbox One S bundles

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 9:41

PSA: Microsoft offering $50 off all Xbox One S bundles You can get an Xbox One S bundle at the moment for $50 less thanks to a holiday season offer from Microsoft.

The offer is valid from now until Saturday, December 24, at all participating retailers in the United States. With the offer, you could pick up the Xbox One S Battlefield 1 Bundle for $249, which includes a 500GB HDD, a full download of Battlefield 1 and a month of EA Access.

Alternatively you could get the Xbox One S Minecraft Favorites Bundle for the same price, which also features a 500GB HDD, full game download of Minecraft for Xbox One and Windows 10, and 13 community-favorite content packs.

If you anticipate the need for more storage space, you can get the Xbox One S Gears of War 4 Bundle which packs a 1TB HDD and a full game download of Gears of War 4 for Xbox One and Windows 10, for $299.

Participating outlets include Amazon, Target, GameStop, Best Buy, and Microsoft Store.

AfterDawn: News

Tesla settles Model S P85D performance lawsuit

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 9:30

Tesla settles Model S P85D performance lawsuit Tesla Motors has reached a settlement deal with 126 customers who claimed the E.V. manufacturer's marketing for the Model S P85D was misleading.

All 126 customers are from Norway, a top market for fully electric vehicles due to government subsidies aimed at boosting fully electric transportation in the country. The American car maker was sued by the customers who claim that the marketing for the Model S P85D was misleading because it overestimated the horsepower.

Tesla has denied that its marketing material was misleading, but it has come to a settlement with the customers.

According to Norwegian paper, Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), Tesla has agreed to pay 65,000 Norwegian crowns ($7,700) to each of the dissatisfied customers, or alternatively they can choose from some car upgrade options.

The settlement amounts to roughly half of what they sought in their lawsuit. Proceedings were due to begin on Monday, but lawyers for the firm and its customers informed the Oslo District Court that they wished to withdraw the case.

The Model S P85D was first introduced in late 2014, but is no longer among the Model S lineup available from the company in Norway.

Source: Reuters News Agency

AfterDawn: News

The Grand Tour is the most pirated TV show ever

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Dec 2016 9:11

The Grand Tour is the most pirated TV show ever The first episodes of Amazon's super expensive 'The Grand Tour' are the most pirated TV show episodes ever, according to an industry analyst.

The Amazon Video exclusive, starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, has an astonishing 160 million budget as Amazon looks to lure subscribers to its Prime service. So far the show has been well received and generated many millions of viewers.

However, it has broken another record for viewers that might not prompt much celebration from Amazon, as is reportedly the most pirated show ever. It dethroned HBO's 'Game of Thrones' rather quickly, according to industry analyst Muso, which tracks piracy affecting digitally distributed content.

Muso's numbers show that the pilot episode of The Grand Tour was downloaded illegally more than 7.9 million times. The second episode followed with 6.4 million illegal downloads, and the third at 4.6 million. Pirates in the United Kingdom are responsible for the largest chunk of downloads, at about 13.7 percent.

Given that Amazon was hoping to use the show to bump subscribers in the UK, where the three former Top Gear presenters are very popular. The reboot of BBC's Top Gear after the departure of Clarkson, Hammond and May has been a failure, with Chris Evans already quitting as a host and ratings tanking.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung will kill Note7s with software update soon (except on Verizon)

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Dec 2016 16:48

Samsung will kill Note7s with software update soon (except on Verizon) Samsung will make Note7 devices that have not been returned effectively useless with a software update later this month, though Verizon has announced it will opt out of the update.

Having already pushed out an update that limits the charge level to just 60 percent and nags the user about the recall, Samsung is going to go further later this month and disable the charging of a Note7 device entirely. The South Korean firm says that 93% of Note 7s sold in the United States have already been returned as part of its global recall.

"Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we've had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned," reads Samsung's recall page.

"To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices."

"If you have not yet returned your device, you should immediately power it down and contact your carrier to obtain a refund or exchange."

After Samsung revealed the update, Verizon released a statement announcing that it will opt out of the update, pointing out that there are other safety considerations to take into account.


AfterDawn: News

PS4 outsells Xbox One in November in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Dec 2016 16:22

PS4 outsells Xbox One in November in U.S. Sony's PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles outsold Microsoft's Xbox One during November, ending a trend that had the Xbox One on top since July.

The report comes from Gamespot, which cites a Sony spokesperson, but does not give a number of units sold. The NPD Group figures for video game sales are not due to be released until next week.

Sony released its slim PS4 revision in September this year, then followed it up with PlayStation VR in October. In November, it released the PlayStation 4 Pro which comes with 4K output. To what degree the newer consoles made up PS4 sales in November is not clear at this point, but November is a good month to get back on top.

Globally the PS4 is far ahead of the Xbox One, having sold more than 50 million units as of this week after around three years on the market. Microsoft's Xbox One sales are estimated between 25-30 million globally.

Source: Gamespot

AfterDawn: News

YouTube to dish out millions in unclaimed songwriter royalties

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Dec 2016 15:19

YouTube to dish out millions in unclaimed songwriter royalties YouTube is to pay out millions of dollars in unclaimed songwriter royalties for tracks on the service between August 2012, and December 2015.

In an agreement with the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) it will attempt to pay royalties for tracks with unknown owners. While the official figure was not made public, the New York Times puts it at more than $40 million. Publishers need to opt in to claim royalties.

Those who do opt in will be provided with a list and have a window in which to claim ownership of certain tracks. This opt-in period opens next Monday, December 12, and ends on February 28, 2017.

As part of the arrangement with the NMPA, the same process will be repeated over the next three years.

"It is essential that we work with digital services like YouTube... to fix the challenge of incomplete ownership information to ensure royalties are no longer unmatched and music owners are paid accurately by the platforms that rely on their work," said NMPA founder and chief executive David Israelite in a statement.

YouTube recently celebrated paying out over $1 billion in revenue to the music industry in a twelve month period, but the IFPI responded with skepticism and calls for legislation to address the "value gap" in online music consumption.


AfterDawn: News

Election Hacking: Obama orders review of cyber attacks, foreign interference

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Dec 2016 14:51

Election Hacking: Obama orders review of cyber attacks, foreign interference U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to conduct a full review of cyber attacks and foreign interference in the run up to the Presidential election.

In October, the U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) accused the Russian government of directing the compromise of e-mails belonging to U.S. persons and institutions, with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) being the most significant breach.

The hacked information made its way to several organizations, including Wikileaks, and then was published for public consumption.

Lisa Monaco, Obama's homeland security adviser, said the President has made it clear he wants the report to be completed and presented before he leaves office on January 20, 2017.

"The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process ... and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress," Monaco said, reports the Reuters News Agency.

This is not the first time that a Presidential election has been subject to such attacks. In 2008, the campaigns of both then-Senator Barack Obama, and Senator John McCain, were subject to cyber attacks believed to have originated in China.


AfterDawn: News

Sony cuts $50 from PS4 bundle price this month

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:46

Sony cuts $50 from PS4 bundle price this month Sony is once again taking $50 off the price of a PS4 bundle for two weeks this month.

If you missed out on Black Friday deals for a PlayStation 4, then this offer might interest you. Just as it did last December, Sony is offering a $50 discount on a bundle - the Uncharted 4 PS4 Bundle - between December 11 and December 24.

During that period, U.S. customers can get the Bundle for $249.99. In Canada, you can pick up the Uncharted 4 PlayStation 4 Bundle for $329.99 CAD until December 29th.

The Uncharted 4 PS4 bundle includes the slimmer PS4 model with a 500 GB hard drive, a DualShock 4, and the critically acclaimed Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. The new cooperative and solo mode, Uncharted 4: Survival, launches this month.

Sony announced this week that it has sold more than 50 million PS4 consoles since its initial release in 2013. This Black Friday weekend was the best weekend for the "PlayStation brand" in its history, and is the reason why this special offer has been extended to a further two week period this month.

AfterDawn: News

Google to use 100% renewable energy by 2017

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:35

Google to use 100% renewable energy by 2017 Google's operations around the globe will be powered by renewable sources of energy by next year.

It will reach 100% renewable energy usage for its global operations, including its energy-gobbling data centers and its offices. Google is the world;s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy.

The cost of wind and solar energy has decreased 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, in just six years, according to Google. Its renewable energy purchase commitments to date result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally.

"Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning, and we're always working on new ideas to make sustainability a reality," wrote Urs Hlzle, Senior Vice President or Technical Infrastructure, Google.

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