AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 upgrade woes sends woman to Microsoft offices for help

Written by James Delahunty @ 31 May 2016 8:25

Windows 10 upgrade woes sends woman to Microsoft offices for help A Finnish woman turned up at Microsoft offices demanding help after a Windows 10 update rendered her computer useless.

Microsoft has come under fire for how aggressively it pushes users of older versions of Windows to upgrade to its shiny new Windows 10 consumer operating system. Some even go as far as to accuse the Redmond-based giant of deception. When users do decide to give in to the constant nagging and upgrade, they would hope for a painless transition but that hasn't always been the case.

In Finland, one lady turned up at Microsoft offices demanding to be helped after a botched attempted update from Windows 7 to Windows 10. According to reports out of Finland, she even threatened to sue the company if she wasn't helped.

Leena Aro's attempted upgrade to Windows 10 resulted in nothing more than a black screen with a spinning circle that never moved on to anything else. After failing to restore her PC to Windows 7, Aro had enough and decided to confront someone at Microsoft. Aro is a photographer and had thousands of images stored on her PC that she was naturally concerned about.

"On Monday, I went to their offices. Surprisingly, they allowed me in, when I threatened to sue them," she said, according to digitoday.fi.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft guts phone business, will cut 1,850 jobs

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2016 7:58

Microsoft guts phone business, will cut 1,850 jobs Microsoft has announced plans to streamline its smartphone business, trimming more than 1,850 jobs mostly in Finland.

Having completed the purchase of Nokia's handset only a couple of years ago, Microsoft now plans to drastically trim its smartphone business with the loss of around 1,850 jobs worldwide. Approximately 1,350 of these jobs are located in Finland, where Microsoft plans to shut its research and development site in Tampere.

The Redmond-based firm bought Nokia's once-dominant handset unit for $7.2 billion in 2014.

"We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation -- with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same," said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

"We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms."

Microsoft will continue to support its Lumia smartphones and the development of Windows 10 Mobile, but its unclear whether it will develop new phones.

The firm will write down $950 million due to these changes, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.





AfterDawn: News

Report: PS4.5 'Neo' brings 4K, faster CPU, GPU and RAM

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 3:43

Report: PS4.5 'Neo' brings 4K, faster CPU, GPU and RAM According to a report, Sony's new PS4.5, codenamed 'Neo', will feature support for 4K output and improve the CPU, GPU and RAM.

Specifically, the Neo will also have a CPU with 8 Jaguar Cores but clocked at 2.1 GHz, compared to the original PS4. It also features an Improved GPU: AMD GCN, 36 CUs at 911 MHz. Like the original, it will pack 8 GB GDDR5 RAM, but will kick up to 218 GB/s from 176 GB/s.

The specs come from Giant Bomb, cited from documents obtained by the site.

Owners of PS4s should be happy that Sony will require that all games run on both the original and Neo hardware, although of course they will run better on the Neo. Older games can also be patched to take advantage of the upgraded specs too, perhaps pushing up the framerate.

Developers also won't be permitted to offer exclusive options or unlockables for Neo owners.

The documents don't provide a release schedule for the upgraded hardware, but do state that all games shipping in October or later will need to support the Neo.





AfterDawn: News

Music firms want KickassTorrents blocked

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 3:17

Music firms want KickassTorrents blocked Music firms in Australia are appealing to the Federal Court to enforce a blockade against KickassTorrents, one of the most popular torrent websites in the world.

Legislation enacted in the region last summer allows copyright holders to appeal to the Federal Court to order to the blocking of infringing websites at the ISP level. This move is being made by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS, demanding that KickassTorrents be blocked in the country.

Among the member labels cited are the usual suspects, including Universal, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and so on.

"Online infringement continues to be a major threat to the sustainability of the Australian music industry. Illegal offshore sites like Kickass Torrents show a complete disrespect for music creators and the value of music," said Jenny Morris OAM, Chair of the APRA Board.

"Australian music fans already have access for free if they choose to the world's repertoire of music via more than 20 legitimate licensed online music services. Blocking access to sites like Kickass Torrents is all about supporting those services and allowing the writers whose songs are available on them to be paid for their work."

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon Prime Video now available as monthly subscription service

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 3:05

Amazon Prime Video now available as monthly subscription service Amazon Prime Video will be available as a stand-alone monthly subscription service in a bid to capture more of the streaming video market.

As it stands, members of Amazon's Prime subscription service pay $99 per year. Amazon will also offer a monthly $10.99 subscription to Prime, while offering Amazon Prime Video standalone for $8.99 per month. Analysts see the change as a threat to rival Netflix.

"Amazon certainly has the brand name, the customer relationships, and the focus on high-quality consumer experiences to impact the growth in Netflix's U.S. subscriber base," RBC Capital Markets analysts said in a note.





AfterDawn: News

Supreme Court rejects Google Books copyright case

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 2:52

Supreme Court rejects Google Books copyright case The Authors Guild copyright law case against Google Books will not be examined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A group of authors filed a lawsuit against Google over a decade ago in response to its planned service. Google Books makes it easy for consumers to search through the contents of millions of books that have been scanned by Google over the years, and display excerpts from books that match the queries.

In 2013, a court dismissed the authors' case against Google and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also found no fault with Google's practices in this regard.

Google argues that the service does not allow users to read any substantial portion of a book, but instead only returns excerpts from books and even lets them know where they can buy a copy. This, according to Google, makes it simpler for readers to rediscover works or to discover entirely new books they have never read.

To date, Google has scanned more than 20 million books, according to the Reuters news agency.





AfterDawn: News

YouTube is 'The Devil', says manager of Metallica, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 2:39

YouTube is 'The Devil', says manager of Metallica, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more Peter Mensch, who has managed many huge acts including Metallica, Muse, Snow Patrol and more, described YouTube as 'the devil' to BBC Radio Four.

Mensch argued on the programme that the model offered by YouTube to artists (placing ads around their music content) was unsustainable. "If someone doesn't do something about YouTube, we're screwed," he said. "It's over. Someone turn off the lights."

His comments channel the findings of an IFPI report which warned about a widening value gap between the volume of music consumed on YouTube, SoundCloud and other user-upload services, and the amount of revenue generated as a result. Specifically, it it estimated that 900 million consumers on those sites generated around $634 million for the music industry last year, whereas 68 million subscribers of paid services generated around $2 billion.

Defending itself, YouTube says it has paid out over $3 billion to the music industry, though it didn't provide a timeframe. YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl responded to Peter Mensch's comments by citing agreements artists have with record companies, and how their income compares to those who are signed up directly with YouTube and paid directly.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube gets 360-degree live streaming & spatial audio

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 2:20

YouTube gets 360-degree live streaming & spatial audio YouTube has introduced 360-degree live streaming video support, and support for spatial audio as it aims to make its services more immersive for viewers.

YouTube introduced support for 360-degree videos over a year ago, but now it is upping its game with support for live streaming too. This year's Coachella music festival will serve as a kind of example of what can be accomplished, when YouTube will live stream select artist performances in 360 degrees this weekend.

In addition, YouTube is also supporting spatial audio for on-demand YouTube videos, adding depth, distance and intensity to audio to deliver a better experience. If you are using an Android device, you can check this out yourself using this playlist.



A YouTube blog post reads: "Students can now experience news events in the classroom as they unfold. Travelers can experience faraway sites and explorers can deep-sea dive, all without the physical constraints of the real world. And today's kids dreaming of going to a basketball game or a concert can access those experiences firsthand, even if they're far away from the court. What were once limited experiences are now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time."





AfterDawn: News

RuuviTag, an open-source Bluetooth Sensor Beacon, heading to KickStarter

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Apr 2016 1:52

RuuviTag, an open-source Bluetooth Sensor Beacon, heading to KickStarter RuuviTag is a low power, compact Bluetooth beacon solution that can monitor its surroundings in various ways, that can be implemented to other devices and projects due to its open development.

Aside from being just a standard proximity beacon, it can also monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure and acceleration, and can be easily adjusted to cover different kinds of needs without programming or electronic knowledge. The device can operate for several years on a single coin battery.

Flashing the device doesn't require wires, however all the necessary pins and buses are still available for serious evaluation. You can check out the hardware GitHub repository for more information.

The device could potentially be used for a large number of things, such as to monitor weather or even as a device to warn you when something is moved, such as a bicycle.

The project is heading to KickStarter soon, but more information (including technical specs) can be found at ruuvitag.com





AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Guy plays Flappy Bird and Snake on e-cigarette, and so can you

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Apr 2016 5:44

WATCH: Guy plays Flappy Bird and Snake on e-cigarette, and so can you Have a eVic-VTC Mini e-cig and an urge to try something fun? This guy has managed to get Flappy Bird and Snake running on his e-cig and tells you how to as well.

Balzs Bank uploaded videos showing the games running on his e-cig device and providing instructions on how to do it yourself for Flappy Bird (at your own risk, of course!).
Here's the video of Flappy Bird.



Here are the instructions for Flappy Bird.

You can download the firmware file (.bin) from here:

https://goo.gl/AKdSGH (MEGA)
https://goo.gl/NP51qa (Google Drive)


DISCLAIMER: Flash this firmware at your own risk. I will not take any responsibility for damaging your device.

INSTRUCTIONS

Install game:
1. Download and unzip the compressed folder.
2. Connect the eVic-VTC Mini to the computer.
3. Open the official UpdateFirmware.exe (it's in the archive or you can download from Joyetech's site).
4. Click Update button then select FlappyBird.bin.
5. Enjoy (or not) the 'game'.
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AfterDawn: News

The Division: Fix promised for disappearing agents

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Apr 2016 5:27

The Division: Fix promised for disappearing agents Ubisoft is aware of issues players of Tom Clancy's The Division are having with their agents disappearing, and promises it will bring them back.

Players develop their agent characters over time as they play the online game, and so many people were shocked when their built-up characters suddenly disappeared altogether. The problem seemed to effect the Xbox One version exclusively.

Ubisoft confirmed that there was a problem and has already fixed it.

"The issue was caused by a malfunctioning server that couldn't synchronise character data correctly and corrupted them instead. The game client was unable to read this corrupted data, and simply assumed that the character didn't exist," the developer told the BBC News website.

The server has since been restored to normal functions so the issue won't affect any new players, and those who have been affected are assured that the character is not gone and a fix will be available shortly to restore them.

While The Division had a relatively stable launch, problems arose when an update (v1.1) was pushed out to players.





AfterDawn: News

Gears of War 4 trailer brings nostalgia, excitement to fans

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Apr 2016 4:57

Gears of War 4 trailer brings nostalgia, excitement to fans A new trailer for the upcoming blockbuster shooter Gears of War 4 hit the web this past weekend and has been well received by fans of the series as it jumps into the next generation.

It is almost a decade ago since Gears of War was launched first on the Xbox 360 console, giving gamers a taste of what the (then) new generation had to offer them. Some will recall a well-received trailer showing Marcus Fenix running through war torn streets and alleys before encountering a giant corpser, all to the tune of Gary Jules - Mad World.

Gears of War 4 will bring the series "properly" to the next generation, exclusively on Xbox One (though it may follow on PC). The new trailer, titled "Tomorrow" takes us forward 25 years when JD Fenix (son of Marcus Fenix and Anya Stroud from the previous titles) is forced to battle a new enemy. In the few days since the trailer has been released it certainly has had a positive response.

If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

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AfterDawn: News

Music streaming services drive rise in Vinyl sales, research shows

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Apr 2016 4:49

Music streaming services drive rise in Vinyl sales, research shows A rise in the sale of physical Vinyl copies of albums has been linked to music streaming services in a research poll conducted by ICM.

The data showed that half of consumers who had bought a vinyl copy of an album did so after listening to the music on streaming services or other platforms. Free, ad-supported services appear to drive more sales than paid competitors.

Those aged between 25-34 buy the most physical vinyl copies of albums, according to the ICM data, followed by those aged 35-44. In 2014, vinyl sales hit a 21 year high when 2.1 million LPs were purchased in the UK, representing an eighth straight year of growth in demand, which seems to be continuing into 2016.

However, the research also showed that many of the buyers don't purchase the vinyl copy to listen to it. In fact, 7 percent of respondents had no turntable, and simply buy a physical copy to collect it and/or support the artist.

"I have vinyls in my room but it's more for decor. I don't actually play them," Jordan Katende, a student in Manchester, told the BBC News website. "It gives me the old-school vibe. That's what vinyl's all about.


Source: BBC News





AfterDawn: News

U.S. ISPs should pay for piracy, group says

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Apr 2016 4:46

U.S. ISPs should pay for piracy, group says Anti-piracy firm CEG TEK has suggested that Internet Service Providers in the United States should pay fines when subscribers repeatedly commit copyright infringement.

It made the suggestion to the U.S. Copyright Office as part of its consultation with the public on copyright issues. Among its suggestions is a proposed $30 fine to be dished out to an ISP each time a subscriber is caught committing piracy. The fine would apple after an initial warning.

CEG TEK seeks settlement from Internet users it alleges to have infringed copyright of its clients, usually an adult entertainment company. These requests are sometimes forwarded to the alleged pirate by an ISP, but most large providers have chosen not to.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) does not require that ISPs forward all copyright notices and settlement requests to their subscribers. CEG TEK would rather that the U.S. move to a model that is more like that of Canada.

"Canada's ISPs forward such notices at no charge to copyright owners. Setting up forwarding systems is relatively easy and inexpensive, and is similar to ISPs normal bill-forwarding systems," the company argued, reports TorrentFreak.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube 'not liable' for copyright infringement

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Feb 2016 8:09

YouTube 'not liable' for copyright infringement A German court has found that YouTube is not liable for copyright infringement when a user uploads a video to the service illegally.

The sole responsibility for such infringement lies with the uploader and not YouTube, according to the Higher Regional Court Munich (OLG). GEMA, an organization representing songwriters and publishers, was disappointed with the decision of the court.

"Today's decision is most regrettable. The court has obviously followed YouTube's argument that it is only the uploaders who are responsible for the contents that are retrievable via the service", said GEMA General Counsel, Dr Tobias Holzmuller, reports Music Business Worldwide.

"We consider this to be wrong. Furthermore, the decision is not justified from an economic perspective, as it continues to enable YouTube to generate high advertising revenues without passing them on to musical authors."

GEMA - which represents more than 70,000 members - maintains that YouTube should obtain licences for the use of content just like any other music service online. To date, YouTube has never paid any licence fee to the group.


Source: www.musicbusinessworldwide.com






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