AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

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.





AfterDawn: News

BBC tests Planet Earth II in 4K, HDR on iPlayer

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:19

BBC tests Planet Earth II in 4K, HDR on iPlayer The BBC has started running a test delivery of Planet Earth II content in 4K Ultra HD in HDR.

For now, it is limited to a number of recent Smart TV models that can than run the iPlayer app, and it will become available on more TVs and devices over time.

The test includes footage from the superb Planet Earth II documentary series. The content sports four times as many pixels as full HD 1080p, and also a superior colorful image due to high dynamic range (HDR), which is supported in a lot of newer smart TVs and monitors.

"One of the clips is a frog on a leaf with lots of rain, and the reason this is so interesting is that the redness of the frog is a really deep Ferrari red that you would never get in broadcast television at the moment," explained Phil Layton, head of broadcast and connected systems at BBC Research & Development.

"We want to show that this is how the BBC could make ultra-high definition HDR material available to iPlayer and we want to use this as a trigger to work with manufacturers to get their products updated so there's a pathway there for future on-demand BBC content."

It will be quite some time before 4K and HDR broadcasts will become common at the BBC however, due to higher production costs and a low rate of support for either advancement in televisions in British households.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

FIFA 17 pushing 'gay propaganda', Russian MPs claim

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 7:00

FIFA 17 pushing 'gay propaganda', Russian MPs claim Russian MPs are seeking a probe of EA Sports' FIFA 17, claiming it is in violation of a 2013 law banning homosexual propaganda.

The bizarre complaint from the MPs stems from a campaign in England last month by Stonewall, an LGBT rights advocacy group. The rainbow laces campaign saw Premier League footballers wearing rainbow colored laces on their boots during matches.

In response, EA Sports backed the campaign and allowed FIFA 17 players to obtain a free rainbow-colored kit (pictures) in-play.

This is what prompted Russian parliamentarians to raise questions about the legality of the game since the passing of legislation in 2013 that outlaws "gay propaganda".

They have asked consumer protection and communications oversight agencies to launch a probe into the game, with some suggestions that it may even be illegal in the country. Irina Rodnina, MP for the United Russia party, said that authorities need to "verify the possibility of distributing this game on the territory of the Russian Federation."

Others have suggested that an age-rating change may be required.

Read more at The Guardian.





AfterDawn: News

Supreme Court sides with Samsung, throws out $399 million ruling

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 6:46

Supreme Court sides with Samsung, throws out $399 million ruling Samsung was handed a major win in its global patent fight with Apple over its Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Samsung, dismissing a $399 million ruling against the South Korean firm in a case over alleged patent infringement in the design of several of Samsung's Galaxy-branded smartphones and devices.

In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court threw out an appeals court ruling that ordered Samsung to pay $399 million to Apple. The ruling, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, found that a patent violator does not have to pay out the entire profit from the sales of products that used infringing design elements, if the infighting designs only covered certain components.

Samsung and Apple will return to court once again, as the case has been sent back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.

In response, Samsung lauded the ruling as a victory for those who promote creativity, innovation and competition, while Apple said it remains confident that the lower courts will send a powerful signal that "stealing isn't right."

Source: Reuters





AfterDawn: News

Music industry unimpressed with $1 billion revenue from YouTube

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 6:01

Music industry unimpressed with $1 billion revenue from YouTube YouTube has paid over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising revenue, and that is apparently not enough!

Earlier this week, Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer at YouTube, wrote a blog post titled, "A billion reasons to celebrate music on YouTube," in which he revealed that the video service had paid over $1 billion to the music industry in the past 12 months, sourced from advertising revenue alone.

Kyncl went on to observe that this demonstrates that multiple platforms and models for monetizing music are coexisting and generating significant revenues for music companies.

He also hit an optimistic note about the growth in online advertising, at the expense of other forms of media, and what it means for generating revenue for music going forward.

$1 billion is a lot of money, but not enough according to the IFPI, which in response seemed to question even the validity of the claim.

"Google has today issued more unexplained numbers on what it claims YouTube pays the music industry," a spokesperson for the IFPI wrote.

Even if the figure is accurate, it still provides little reason to celebrate for the IFPI.

"With 800 million music users worldwide, YouTube is generating revenues of just over US$1 per user for the entire year. This pales in comparison to the revenue generated by other services, ranging from Apple to Deezer to Spotify," the IFPI responds.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Apple Music hits 20 million paid subscribers in 18 months

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 5:48

Apple Music hits 20 million paid subscribers in 18 months Apple's music subscription service has already hit an impression 20 million paying subscribers.

Apple Music launched on June 30, 2015, and has already managed to tally up 20 million paying subscribers, which grew by more than 3 million since September. More than half of these paying subscribers are not U.S.-based, and according to Apple's Eddie Cue, more than 60 percent of customers that use Apple Music have not purchased content from the iTunes Store in the past year.

The vast majority are "new customers", rather than dormant users, Cue told Billboard.

Apple Music is available to paying subscribers in over 100 countries around the world already. By managing to bag high profile exclusives to its service initially, Apple managed to link its service to some of the past 18 months' biggest music releases from artists including Drake, Frank Ocean, DJ Khaled and Travis Scott.

Cue expects to see more growth for Apple Music, and more growth for music streaming services overall as the total number is still comparatively low to the number of music consumers online. Apple Music rival Spotify claims more than 40 million paying subscribers, and more than 100 million users in total.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 running soon on Snapdragon chips

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 5:32

Windows 10 running soon on Snapdragon chips Microsoft and Qualcomm have revealed that full featured Windows 10 will run on the next generation of Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors.

Microsoft will try bringing its flagship Desktop OS, Windows 10, to ARM-based chips once again, following the disappointing attempt at running a version of Windows 8 on ARM architecture, Windows RT.

This development is very different to the limited Windows RT, this will be the full version of Windows 10 with legacy support for Win32 software and support for universal Windows applications, so running Photoshop, or Microsoft Office suites or Windows 10 games shouldn't be a problem.

"We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with Qualcomm Technologies," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft.

"We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are. Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love - touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more - anytime, anywhere."

We are told to expect the first Snapdragon-based devices running Windows 10 as early as next year.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Sony PS4 passes major sales milestone

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Dec 2016 5:11

Sony PS4 passes major sales milestone Having been available for three years, Sony's PlayStation 4 games console has just passed a key sales milestone this month.

The Japanese CE firm announced that as of December 6, it has sold more than 50 million PS4 units around the world. That is the number sold to customers and also includes the PS4 Pro variant. For comparison, the PS4 reached 50 million unit sales 17 months faster than its predecessor, the PS3, released in 2006.

By May this year, Sony had sold 40 million PS4s around the world, so sales of the console continue to be strong. In fact, Sony said that the PlayStation brand had its best performing week in its history after this year's Black Friday, though some figures have shown the console was outsold by Xbox Ones.

On the software side, 369.6 million games across retail and digital downloads have been sold, according to Sony.

Sony did not specify how many PS4 Pro units have been sold, nor did it provide official figures for PlayStation VR. Nevertheless, with an estimated 25-30 million Xbox One units sold, Sony is holding on to its lead in the current generation even though the Microsoft console has been outselling the PS4 in recent months.





AfterDawn: News

Android malware leads to 1 million Google account breaches

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 13:44

Android malware leads to 1 million Google account breaches A new variant of Android malware has resulted in over 1 million Google account breaches, according to a security firm.

Check Point discovered the new variant of the 'Gooligan' malware recently, and has exposed the damage done to victims. It roots Android devices and steals e-mail addresses and authentication tokens, allowing attackers to access Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive, and G Suite.

Many breached accounts are associated with enterprises around the world, according to Check Point's data.

The Gooligan variant is infecting an estimated over 13,000 new devices every day, most of which are in Asia. It is delivered through infected apps when they are installed on an Android device, and also by malicious links that unsuspecting victims open.

Gooligan targets devices on Android 4 (Jelly Bean, KitKat) and 5 (Lollipop), which represents about 74% of Android devices in use.

In addition to stealing e-mail addresses and authentication tokens, it also fraudulently downloads and rates apps from Google Play to the victim's devices. Check Point estimates that around 30,000 apps are fraudulently installed on devices every day by the malware.

If you suspect you might be a victim, you can use Check Point's free online tool to check your e-mail address against known breached accounts.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Trump election prompts Archive.org to plan Canadian website

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 13:21

Trump election prompts Archive.org to plan Canadian website Archive.org has cited the U.S. President Election result as a reason why it plans to open a backup site in Canada in order to protect its library.

Opening with a reminder that the history of libraries is one of loss, Archive.org details its plan to setup a second operation outside of the United States in order to protect its content. The Web archive stores billions of copies of webpages and archives content from 300 million websites every week, making it possible for Internet users to go back in time to view webpages as they were years ago (sometimes up to 20 years).

It also archives more than 3 million e-books, old software, games and audio recordings. The Political TV Ad Archive is often users by journalists when fact checking political candidates.

"On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change," the archive.org announcement reads.

"For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a Web that may face greater restrictions."

Read more from Archive.org





AfterDawn: News

No Man's Sky developer didn't mislead customers, regulator says

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 13:00

No Man's Sky developer didn't mislead customers, regulator says The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has cleared Hello Games, the developer of No Man's Sky, of false advertising following complaints from players.

Many players were very underwhelmed with the product they purchased and felt they had been misled by Hello Games, pointing to the screenshots and videos that were put out ahead of the game's release. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received enough complaints in the UK to prompt its own investigation, and has now issued its verdict.

The ASA has found that the content put out ahead of release and its Steam page were largely representative of the final product, and unlikely to have mislead customers. Some differences between the trailer and the final product were noted by the ASA, but were not deemed significant deviations by the regulator.

A recent "Foundation" update to No Man's Sky was positively received and reportedly brought thousands of disgruntled players back to playing, at least initially.

You van view the ASA's final report on its investigation of No Man's Sky on its website.





AfterDawn: News

Brits will soon get Piracy Alerts from ISPs

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 12:49

Brits will soon get Piracy Alerts from ISPs Starting next year, British Internet users may get Piracy Alert notices through their Internet Service Provider if illegal file sharing is detected.

The alert system will be similar to one in the United States, only there does not seem to be any punitive measures on the table for alleged pirates in Britain who receive such an alert. The focus instead is to be educational, following on from PR campaigns aimed at the public and schools by the Creative Content UK (CCUK) initiative.

Primarily, the focus will be on repeat offenders. The alert will provide details on the files being illegally shared and instruct the alleged pirate on how to stop sharing them, while also suggesting legal alternatives.

"Educational emails will help account owners and others who use their accounts to do the right thing and get their content from legitimate sources," a spokesperson told the TorrentFreak blog.

"As well as providing links to help the customer find legal sources of content in future, the email will direct the user to further resources to answer any questions they may have about how the information was obtained and how to make sure their account is not used to infringe content again."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

YouTube now supports 4K Live Streaming

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 12:40

YouTube now supports 4K Live Streaming YouTube now supports 4K Live Streaming for both standard video and for 360-degree video, and you can watch it tomorrow.

The video giant wants to show off its shiny new feature by streaming the Game Awards tomorrow in 4K resolution. 4K video displays 8 million pixels (2160p), with four times more image definition than Full HD 1080p video (hence the name).

YouTube will support 4K 2160p live streaming on its services at 30 frames per second, or 60 frames per second.

Support for 4K video uploads and playback was enabled by YouTube more than six years ago, but now with so much focus on Live Streaming and 360-degree video content, YouTube is trying to lead the way as 4K screens become less expensive and in our devices.

YouTube has added technical information on streaming 4k / 2160p @30fps and 4K / 2160p @60fps to its YouTube Help pages.

You can view the Game Awards live in 4K tomorrow from here.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix now supports Film and TV Series downloads for Offline Viewing

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Nov 2016 12:29

Netflix now supports Film and TV Series downloads for Offline Viewing Netflix has finally enabled offline viewing for its millions of subscribers, allowing Films and TV shows to be downloaded at no extra cost.

It has been one of the most requested features from customers of the streaming giant for years, and finally Netflix has given in. Subscribers will now be able to download film and TV show video to their devices in order to view them offline when they don't have access to a reliable connection.

A download option will be present on the details page for film or a TV show, so you can just download it and watch it later on.

Initially, not all content will be available for download but plenty of popular options already are, including Orange is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown.

You need to update your Netflix app to the latest version to enable downloading. For now, the feature is available on iOS and Android platforms.






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