AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn's HIGH.FI news app hits first milestone

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Feb 2015 8:10

AfterDawn's HIGH.FI news app hits first milestone AfterDawn launched its first mobile app last year and today we'd like to thank users who have installed it, regularly use it and have provided excellent feedback.

While based in Northern Finland, AfterDawn has staff in a handful of countries and on multiple continents. We all speak English but most of the staff speaks multiple languages, and of course our services are provided in different languages too. One thing we all have in common though is a bit of an addiction to news content, primarily technology-related news, and every day links bounce back and forth across staff, many of which have been collected and added to "read later" lists that always grow longer and never shorten.

It seems natural then that the first time we decided to throw an app into the wild, it was a news app. HIGH.FI automatically pulls news headlines from hundreds of sources on all topics and allows you to very easily customize the type of news you want to see.

Thank you for 10,000 installs on Android!

It was first made available to Windows Phone 8 users in June 2014, and later became available for Android on September 9. Today, we realized that it has been installed more than 10,000 times on Android devices and there's more every hour, while it has previously hit 7,500 on Windows Phone 8.


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens fills world with holograms

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Jan 2015 19:29

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens fills world with holograms Walk on Mars? Microsoft showed off some promising and intriguing technology today in the form of Windows Holographic, and the HoloLens visor.

Microsoft wants to blend your digital world with the real world, using a visor called HoloLens with its new Windows Holographic technology. It promises to be able to give you access to your digital world in extremely useful ways without requiring a screen.

With Windows 10, Universal Apps can be used and interacted with as Holograms using the new system, making it possible to place 3D holograms in the world around you. Microsoft is providing a set of APIs for developers to take their apps into the "real world" too.

Microsoft HoloLens is the world's first "untethered holographic computer", according to the Redmond giant, requiring no wires, no phone to enable it and not even a connection to a PC. Using HoloLens, you can look at Holograms in the real world around you in 3D and even hear them in surround sound.

It is already being put to good use by NASA, which has revealed a collaboration with Microsoft on the development of software called OnSight. Working with HoloLens, NASA scientists can use data from the Curiosity Rover to virtually "walk" on Mars in the area surrounding the rover.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft shows off Windows 10 on PC, smartphones and tablets

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Jan 2015 19:08

Microsoft shows off Windows 10 on PC, smartphones and tablets Microsoft is moving away from its traditional view of Windows as its flagship OS product overwhelmingly focused on Desktop, and toward that of a service across devices.

Windows 10 is expected to be released later this year (sometime around the fall) and will be available as a free upgrade for devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, with the goal of getting as many Windows users as possible to the latest Windows experience.

It runs across PCs, smartphones and tablets and utilizes Universal Apps to synchronize content, notifications and more. The Windows Phone era seems to be coming to an end.

Microsoft's demonstrations today showcased how much Microsoft is focused on enhancing the user interface too. We saw a more modern looking Start Menu for example and over all, the visuals on display were quite a step up from where they were just back in September with the launch of the Windows Insider program.

For 2in1 devices (laptop/tablet), we also saw a "continuum mode" that changes Windows Apps to full screen display and optimizes for touch-screen when the keyboard is disconnected, while a new Task View really eases multitasking. The Windows automatically revert to their original size when the keyboard is re-attached.


AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 will be free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 users

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Jan 2015 12:53

Windows 10 will be free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 users Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for users of devices running Window 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 for a time.

The announcement was made by Terry Myerson at an event showcasing Windows 10's consumer experience features to date. The next iteration of Microsoft's most popular product will be released later this year, projected for the fall, and will let Microsoft close the door on the Windows 8 era.

It's not clear how exactly the free upgrade will work for users running Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, but it will be limited to its first year of availability.

No doubt an upgrade will depend on hardware, and limited to verified genuine copies of Windows.

AfterDawn: News

Sony Hack: Major theater chains drop 'The Interview'

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 15:30

Sony Hack: Major theater chains drop 'The Interview' Due to be released on December 25, The Interview has been dropped or delayed by the five largest theater chains in the United States, according to reports.

Regal Entertainment Group confirmed on Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter that it would not be showing The Interview from December 25 as planned.

"Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres," the chain said in a statement.

THR also cited knowledgeable sources in reporting that AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment also have decided against screening the movie.

The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After the movie was announced, it was condemned by North Korea as an "act of war".

Following the devastating data breach at Sony Pictures, the hacking group claiming responsibility for the attack - Guardians of Peace (GoP) - allegedly demanded that Sony cancel the release of the movie.


AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry Classic tempts business, retains QWERTY keyboard

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 14:56

BlackBerry Classic tempts business, retains QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry is back in business! The new BlackBerry Classic smartphone retains the time-tested physical QWERTY keyboard, and packs a 3.5-inch touchscreen.

Running the latest BlackBerry 10 OS, the new BlackBerry Classic features a 720x720, 3.5-inch, 294 PPI touch screen, and an 8-megapixel rear camera that can record 1080p video at 30fps. There is also a front-facing 2-megapixel camera supporting 720p recording.

Under the hood, it packs a Qualcomm MSM 8960 1.5GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. For storage, the BlackBerry Classic comes with 16GB internal storage, and using a MicroSD card this can be expanded up to 128GB.

It promises up to 22 hours mixed battery life from its non-removable 2515 mAh Lithium-ion battery.

It retains BlackBerry's time-tested physical keyboard with a 35-key backlit QWERTY pad, one of BlackBerry's most adored features in its past smartphones when it ruled the roost in the business world.

BlackBerry refers to its new classic as a "no-nonsense" smartphone built to meet the needs of productive people who appreciate the speed and accuracy that can be found with a physical QWERTY keyboard, leaving no doubt that it's main goal with the Classic is to return its loyal business users and perhaps regain some who have moved to other platforms.


AfterDawn: News

Bill Gates: 2014 wasn't as bad as you think

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 13:15

Bill Gates: 2014 wasn't as bad as you think Ebola, Ukraine, Gaza, Malaysian Airlines MH370 & MH17, Terrorism, Mass Protests, Robin Williams' suicide and plenty other things were beamed into our skulls in 2014, but Bill Gates is ever the optimist.

Being exposed to the media, you can be forgiven for thinking that things are constantly getting worse and worse. Simply put, fear sells. If it bleeds, it leads. It is very easy to be cynical and have a negative outlook on the future, but Bill Gates is far more optimistic as he looks back on 2014 and toward the future... and not just because he's insanely rich.

No, instead Gates has reminded us that a lot of good things happened in 2014 too, even if it doesn't make the headlines. Just as he did at the end of 2013, Gates is drawing attention to some of the highlights from 2014, and some of it is pretty great.

In 2014, for the 42nd year in a row (at least), the child mortality rate has fallen. "More kids are living to see their fifth birthday than ever before," Gates asserts, as he highlights the drop in the number of children dying globally from preventable causes. In fact, the child mortality rate is falling faster than ever anticipated, and Gates highlights an article in The Economist showing that over 13.6 million children's lives have been saved since 2001.


AfterDawn: News

NO! ISP refuses to block Pirate Bay

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:52

NO! ISP refuses to block Pirate Bay An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is refusing to block access to the Pirate Bay website as several large media firms have dragged it to court.

Website blocking is becoming a common practice, particularly in Europe. Entertainment industry players have put a lot of focus on ISPs, forcing them through legal channels to block access to unlicensed sources of content and most have done as they have been told by courts in their respective states.

Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget has decided it won't just comply however. It was subject to legal action in November from several major entertainment companies to force it to block the Pirate Bay. The notorious BitTorrent site was operational at the time, but has since been taken down in a raid in Stockholm.

"Bredbandsbolaget's role is to provide its subscribers with access to the Internet, thereby contributing to the free flow of information and the ability for people to reach each other and communicate," the ISP said in a statement, reports TorrentFreak.

"Bredbandsbolaget does not block content or services based on individual organizations' requests. There is no legal obligation for operators to block either The Pirate Bay or Swefilmer. There are other legal means to stop infringement of rights, but there is no provision in Swedish law that forces an Internet provider to block its subscribers' access to services and content."


AfterDawn: News

Google beefs up GMail security by blocking unsafe extensions

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:42

Google beefs up GMail security by blocking unsafe extensions Google has made further improvements to the security of your GMail contents by blocking "bad" extensions from loading unsafe code.

Specifically, Google has added support for Content Security Policy (CSP) for GMail on Desktop. It aims to protect users from bad browser extensions loading code that interferes with a GMail session, or even worse malicious extensions that compromise the security of your private e-mail.

The search giant has warned however that some legitimate extensions may need to be updated to work correctly following the change, but noted that most legit extensions you will use with GMail already implemented support for CSP.

Google is very security conscious about GMail. It requires that HTTPS be used by default and even serves images through secure proxy servers.

Any improvements to security and privacy are always welcome.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix addresses Offline Playback question once and for all

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:33

Netflix addresses Offline Playback question once and for all We've been waiting for Netflix to finally give a verdict on the possibility of Offline Playback and the streaming firm finally has.

Speaking with TechRadar, Netflix's director of corporation communications and technology, Cliff Edwards, has ruled out the possibility of Offline Playback, or "cached playback". Other streaming service offer users the ability to download and temporarily store programming, and Netflix has been asked repeated by its customers for the same privilege.

"It's never going to happen," Edwards told TechRadar.

The reason, according to Edwards, is that Netflix views it as a short term fix for a wider problem. That problem is a lack of access to speedy wireless coverage. However, Netflix expects that in the coming years, wireless access will greatly improve in most places, making Offline Playback features obsolete.

Are you a Netflix customer? Do you think that Offline Playback should be enabled by the service?

Sources and Recommended Reading:
Netflix: offline viewing is 'never going to happen':

AfterDawn: News

Terror threat prompts 'The Interview' premiere cancellation

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:18

Terror threat prompts 'The Interview' premiere cancellation The Sony Pictures hack saga took a nefarious turn yesterday when an apparent terrorism threat was made against move theaters that show 'The Interview'.

The note - which even referenced the 9/11 terrorist attacks - warned movie goers to stay clear of locations where the movie is being shown. Sony Pictures said it would not pull the movie from distribution, but would understand if individual theaters decided not to screen it.

One such cancellation that was surprising is a New York premiere of the comedy. It was scheduled to be screened at the Sunshine Cinema in Lower East Side, New York, on Thursday, but Landmark has confirmed its cancellation. It didn't, however, directly attribute the cancellation to any threat of violence.

Carmike Cinemas, which operates in 41 states, also will not show the film.

Sony Pictures was the target of a massive attack in which terabytes of data were stolen. That data has been leaking to the Internet slowly ever since, and has caused turmoil at the studio. A lawsuit has already been filed against Sony Pictures for failing to protect data by former employees.

All in all, the data breach could cost Sony Pictures in excess of $100 million.


AfterDawn: News

Icefilms streaming site is down but not for good

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Dec 2014 12:06

Icefilms streaming site is down but not for good A popular video streaming site has disappeared leading to some speculation that it was shut down by authorities.

Icefilms is a very popular site that streams movies and TV shows. It has been down for about 24 hours with visits to its homepage only showing up an Icefilms logo, or perhaps nothing at all. The presence of the Icefilms logo on an Amazon server surprised some users of the site.

However, there's nothing to be concerned about for users of the portal, as the site is just experiencing some hosting issues and expects to be back online and fully operational in the news few days.

That's according to TorrentFreak, citing a source familiar with Icefilms.

Icefilms doesn't even show up in Google results anymore which probably led to more panic from its regular users, and some ISPs block access to the site at the request of the entertainment industry.

AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay suspect released from custody

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 14:30

Pirate Bay suspect released from custody After being in custody for almost a week, a man allegedly linked to the Pirate Bay website was released from custody in Sweden yesterday.

It is believed the man may have been a moderator on the Pirate Bay site but this hasn't been confirmed. In any case, prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad stated that the individual is suspected of copyright law violations.

"The suspicions relate to a violation of copyright law. Everything is being analyzed now and new hearings may possibly be held," he said.

The Pirate Bay was taken down in a raid last week in Sweden, and there was reportedly just one arrest in connection to the site so far. It has remained officially offline ever since, but there has been some efforts to keep its database alive and well until it may eventually return.

There appears to be a new investigation into the site and its operators, and TorrentFreak claims to have seen evidence that one of the original founders, Fredrik Neij, remains a suspect. Neij is currently in prison serving a ten month sentence after being arrested by Thai immigrations in November.

Sources and Recommended Reading:
Pirate Bay-misstänkt satt på fri fot: (SWE)

AfterDawn: News

VIDEO: GTA Online Heists trailer released

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 14:03

VIDEO: GTA Online Heists trailer released Grand Theft Auto 5 Online Heists have been known to be in the works for some time now, and today we finally have gotten a trailer to look at.

In Early 2015, players will be able to take part in four player heists online. The update will provide over 20 hours of additional gameplay and 20 total missions. The missions will require players of rank 12 or higher, and one will have to be a leader, according to GTA Online producer Imran Sarwar, who gave an interview about the update to IGN.

The leader will be required to have an apartment with enough room for a planning board, and will have to do a lot of prep work such as assembling a team and determining a plan and so on.

Alternatively, you can take on another role in the heist.

Read the IGN interview here, and view the trailer below.


AfterDawn: News

Sony Pictures sued by ex-employees, citing failure to protect data

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Dec 2014 13:48

Sony Pictures sued by ex-employees, citing failure to protect data The nightmare continues for Sony Pictures as it now faces a lawsuit from former employees alleging that it failed to protect their data, which was exposed in November's massive breach.

Two former employees sued the studio in a class action after a hacking group called Guardians of Peace broke into its network and stole enormous amounts of data in late November. Ever since the breach, the hackers have leaked over a terabyte of information online, including personal details of employees and movies stars.

Even unreleased films showed up on BitTorrent sites and other sources after the massive data breach at the studio.

A lawsuit was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and it alleges that Sony failed to secure its network and protect employee data from hackers, making them liable to some extent.

It seeks compensation for any damages caused as a result of the exposure of sensitive information.

It's likely that Sony will face more legal complaints as a result of the breach, which could cost it over $100 million in the long run. This saga is likely to drag on for a while yet.

Sources and Recommended Reading:
Ex-Sony employees sue, claim company failed to protect data:

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