AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

The legendary Amiga is 30 years old

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Jul 2015 1:58

The legendary Amiga is 30 years old The Commodore Amiga 1000 (or A1000) was released on July 23, 1985, and is still considered to have been years ahead of its time.

It stood out from the crowd for several reasons. Firstly, it sported a color graphical user interface (4096 colors) at a time when Apple's Macintosh cost considerably more (~$1000 more or so) with a black and white display. Most Amiga 1000 units were sold with an RGB monitor, but it did feature a built-in composite video output to support other monitors.

AmigaOS was a truly multitask operating system too.

Under the hood, it packed a Motorola 68000 CPU (7.16MHz NTSC, 7.09MHz PAL) upgradable officially to a 68010 and to other CPUs via third party route. While the 68000 was common in 1985, the Amiga 1000 features three additional co-processors for multimedia operations.

The Amiga 1000 had 256 KB of Amiga Chip RAM, which was officially upgradable to 512 KB and further with third party upgrades. Further hardware upgrades were possible through the included 86-pin expansion port.

When the Amiga 500 model launched a couple of years after for a cut price of $700, it established Amiga as a popular gaming system, with sales of around 6 million units.


AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn's HIGH.FI news app for Android, Windows Phone is a year old!

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jun 2015 22:06

AfterDawn's HIGH.FI news app for Android, Windows Phone is a year old! For the past year, thousands of you have been satisfying your needs for news content with our HIGH.FI app, and we couldn't be happier to have you!

The app, built by AfterDawn (our first!), was made to simply aggregate news content from all over the web. We wanted to make an app that could drag in news from everywhere and still could be categorized and filtered, without getting too bloated. In a way, we wanted to build a kind of "pre-loaded Feedly".

About a year ago, that app debuted for Windows Phone devices titled HIGH.FI, after the domain that provides a lite-version of the service for Desktops. Surprisingly, people liked it and several months later we dropped an Android app onto Google Play.

With no significant promotion other than our own, HIGH.FI is approaching 10,000 installations on Windows Phone, and 14,000 on Android. It has an aggregate rating of 4.1/5.0 on Google Play, which also surprised us for our first app. It turns out there are plenty of news junkies like us who find this app useful, and thousands of you use it everyday! Thank you for choosing to keep our app and using it so often because it has kept it a priority even as we are on the verge of some major updates and changes at AfterDawn.


AfterDawn: News

Court tells woman to remove BitTorrent, P2P software

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 11:40

Court tells woman to remove BitTorrent, P2P software An accused Dallas Buyers Club pirate has been told to remove P2P and BitTorrent software in order to avoid a $7,500 fine.

The woman was accused of downloading Dallas Buyers Club illegally using BitTorrent software, along with many thousands of other people targeted who have paid settlements of typically around $3,500.

In an interesting exception in an Oregon court is worth noting, however. A woman was essentially spared having to pay $7,500 in damages to the makers of Dallas Buyers Club as long as she promised not to pirate movies again in the future. She was offered this option due "extenuating circumstances" and "financial hardship."

The judgment was dug up by TorrentFreak.

The lady in the case had to agree to a permanent injunction that included a commitment to "immediately delete all unlicensed video and audio content in her possession and subject to her control, together with any and all BitTorrent clients on any computers(s) she owns or controls together with all other software used to obtain media through the Internet by BitTorrent peer-to-peer transfer or exchange."

AfterDawn: News

Twitter brings Periscope live streaming app to Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:56

Twitter brings Periscope live streaming app to Android Twitter's live streaming app Periscope is now available to download for compatible devices from Google Play after previously being available only on iOS.

Twitter bought Periscope earlier this year at a reported cost of $100 million, before relaunching the app for iOS on the App Store. It allows users to livestream to the public or to select users, and lets viewers interact with the broadcaster by sending them love (hearts) by tapping on their mobile screens.

Now Android users can get in on the fun, but only if your device is running Android 4.4 KitKat or newer.

The app is mostly the same as the iOS variant but there are a few noteable differences. For example, if a viewer is distracted by a phone call they have to take, then an alert will be put on the Android home screen after the call ends. Tapping the alert will return the viewer to the broadcast immediately.

It also reportedly gives more control over app notifications than the iOS variant.

Periscope has already been the subject of controversy as some users breached its terms and conditions by rebroadcasting HBO's Game of Thrones, and even the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Junior boxing event earlier this month.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition unveiled

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:28

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition unveiled Samsung announced the new special edition Iron Man Galaxy S6 edge smartphone ahead of its initial release in South Korea.

The smartphone is the result of an ongoing partnership between Samsung Electronics and Marvel. The Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition package is equipped with a vibrant red and gold Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge including 64GB of storage and matching wireless charger, as well as a clear cover that enhances the device's exclusive design.

"We are excited to be able to offer our world-class Galaxy S6 edge smartphone designed especially for Iron Man fans through our continued collaboration with Marvel," said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics.

"The limited edition Iron Man Galaxy S6 edge embodies the power of the iconic Avenger with a dual-curved edge design and advanced features that will provide Marvel fans with the ultimate entertainment experience."

It's initial launch is May 27 in Korea, followed by China and Hong Kong in June.

Here's an official unboxing video:


AfterDawn: News

Skype in court over user data request

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:08

Skype in court over user data request Skype has failed to comply with a request to hand over customer information to authorities to aid in a criminal investigation.

The Microsoft-owned online communications firm has been dragged into court in Belgium after it failed to hand over customer data to authorities to aid a criminal investigation.

A court based in Mechelen, north of Brussels, sought information on messages and calls that were exchanged over the Skype service. All telecoms operators in the country are required to comply with such requests in certain circumstances.

A court spokesman said the question now is whether or not Skype is also a telecoms operator, and if established to be so, it will have to hand over the information and may be fined, according to the Reuters news agency.

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Cortana coming to iPhone & Android this year, Microsoft confirms

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 9:47

Cortana coming to iPhone & Android this year, Microsoft confirms Microsoft announces Cortana will land on iPhone and Android devices this year, and more goodies coming over the next couple of months.

Cortana on Android and iPhone will be capable of much of the same things as on Windows Phone, including having Cortana remind you to do something, to provide notifications of sports scores, track flight information, and so on. However, because Cortana won't have the same OS-level access on iOS and Android, it won't be able to launch apps on command, and the user won't be able to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying "Hey Cortana".

Changes you make on one device will be reflected when you use Cortana on any device, including iOS and Android.

Microsoft will also soon make the new Phone Companion app available on the Windows 10 Preview. It will help to sync your Windows, iOS or Android phone with your Windows 10 PC.

We can also expect the updated Xbox Music app for Android and iPhone in June or July, which will enable streaming your music files from your OneDrive account.


AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 10:50

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure An original founder of the Pirate Bay will challenge the seizure of the and domain names, it has been confirmed.

Fredrik Neij will appeal the Swedish court's ruling that ordered the two domain names to be seized by the Swedish government. Neij is not interested in the domain names himself though, instead he has concerns with how the court came to the decision to order the seizure.

The court had identified Fredrik Neij as the holder of the two domain names, even though they are held under a third party's name. Since Neij has been prohibited under threats of sizeable fines not to be associated with the operation of the Pirate Bay, and he is due to be released from prison soon, being identified as being the holder of the Pirate Bay domains by a court of law could complicate things.

"The prosecution has alleged two things. One is that crimes have been committed via The Pirate Bay. Fredrik Neij really has no views on this. The second is that he is involved in The Pirate Bay operation," said lawyer Jonas Nilsson.

With Neij's release on the horizon, it is in his self-interest to reject any determination by a court of law that he is in any way involved with the administration of the Pirate Bay.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:29

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error A Netflix billing glitch has resulted in some customers reporting that their accounts were charged the monthly fee for the service multiple times in a single day.

The error seems to be limited to customers in Australia and New Zealand. One customer reported that he had been charged 11 times on Sunday by Netflix, before going into redraw.

Another customer in New Zealand tweeted that, "Netflix just charged me my monthly fee of $12.99 FOUR TIMES IN ONE DAY," adding that "And they're trying to charge me again but it won't let them because they've taken all the f***ing money out of my account."

Netflix said the problem has only affected a small number of its users in the region.

"While no extra money was withdrawn from users' accounts, it may take several days for the authorisations to drop from users' bank accounts," Neflix said in a statement.

"Members may contact Netflix customer service if they have additional issues. We regret any inconvenience related to the problem."

AfterDawn: News

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:26

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play Useless 'Minecraft' apps promising cheats and other materials on the Google Play store were actually laced with scareware warnings about non-existent viruses.

Over 600,000 Android users installed at least one of the malicious apps. The goal of the apps is to get an unsuspecting user to sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80EUR per week.

ESET reported its discovery last week on its blog, detailing over 30 different apps that had managed to get through Google's malware filter, Bouncer. They were uploaded to the market over the past 9 months from different developer accounts, though they all likely come from the same source.

"According to public data from the Google Play store, several of them were installed between 100.000 500.000 times and the total number of installations of all 33 scareware applications lies between 660.000 and 2.800.000," ESET Malware Researcher, Lukas Stefanko, writes.

The apps have pretty much no functionality. Instead, any interaction with the apps just brought up warnings about dangerous virus infections. Eventually, the app would prepare a text message in the phone's default SMS application, appearing to be a code to activate an antivirus product. In reality, if the user sends it, they will sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80 EUR per week.


AfterDawn: News

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:19

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers An eight-hour long "swatting" live stream on YouTube leads police to a 17 year old, later charged with extortion, criminal harassment, making false police reports and more.

The Canadian cannot be named due to his age, but reports say he identified as part of the group Lizard Squad. He was accused of harassing targets he found on League of Legends and on Twitter, usually because they wouldn't accept his friend request.

Victims had their personal information, including financial records, posted online. The worst of all offences he admitted to was swatting, in which a false report would be made to police with the goal of getting a heavily armed response unit to show up the victim's location.

In one case, a University of Arizona student dropped out after multiple cases of swatting against her and her family.

The teen was eventually tracked down by police after tips were received about an 8 hour long YouTube live stream in which he had multiple people swatted.

He faces sentencing on June 29.

NOTE: Image accompanying the article is a screenshot of swatting occurring during a live stream. It is not linked to this particular case.

AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii 'likely' started home fire, investigators say

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 17:16

Nintendo Wii 'likely' started home fire, investigators say A fire that damaged an RV home and burned up much of its owners possessions earlier this week was likely started by an Nintendo Wii console, according to fire investigators in Colorado Springs.

A news report by a local NBC news channel KOAA 5 quoted the fire department as saying all other possible sources of ignition for the blaze had been ruled out. "I got a phone call from the neighbors saying my camper was on fire," Trevor Pellegrin said.

"When I opened the door, I got thrown back by thick black smoke and flames."

The roof was damaged by the flames, as well as clothes that ignited and the man's television had started to melt. The Wii console was rendered a charred ugly mess. Luckily, Pellegrin managed to save some of his personal items but lost a lot to the fire.

The Wii console was switched off, but still plugged into an electrical outlet when he left. Typically games consoles are left plugged in by owners 24/7.

On very rare occasions, home entertainment electronics are linked to fires, but it's often a case of an overloaded electrical outlet or problems with wiring.

More info:
Video report:


AfterDawn: News

U.S. ISP ordered to identify BitTorrent users

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 17:14

U.S. ISP ordered to identify BitTorrent users A court in the United States has ordered an Internet Service Provider to produce personal details of account holders linked to IP addresses allegedly used to pirate music using BitTorrent software.

Cox Communications must identify the account holders behind the "Top 250" IP addresses from a total of more than 150,000 IP addresses. BMG and Round Hill Music sued Cox last year claiming that the ISP had forfeited protection under the DMCA's safe harbor provisions by failing to disconnect repeat infringers.

AfterDawn: News

Android reset flaw affects 500 million+ devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 17:13

Android reset flaw affects 500 million+ devices The factory reset option in the Android mobile operating system may not be as reliable as you'd think, according to new research.

Using the factory reset is common when giving away / selling an old smartphone or tablet, clearing out personal information so the new owner can start afresh, and the previous owner can rest assured that all personal information is wiped.

But.. what if the data is not wiped properly? A study from Cambridge University has raised doubts about the reliability of this function across Android hardware. It focused on tests performed on 21 devices from five manufacturers, running different versions of the popular operating system.

Unfortunately, the researchers could successfully recover partial data after the factory reset was carried out. Even with Full Disk Encryption, some data recovery was still achieved.

In 80 percent of the devices, the researchers could recover the master token required to access Google services. They could also recover login information for other services, as well as images, videos, contacts and so on.

There are a variety of reasons for the problem, with one being manufacturers failing to include adequate drivers that would be needed to properly erase the internal memory, or removable flash memory of a device.


AfterDawn: News

Google: Why we send piracy settlement letters to Fiber users

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 14:21

Google: Why we send piracy settlement letters to Fiber users Google forwards anti-piracy notices and settlement demand letters to Google Fiber subscribers, even though other Internet Service Providers in the U.S. choose now to, and here's why.

The search giant claims that it sends users the information as part of its commitment to transparency. Other ISPs don't forward settlement demand notices to their subscribers, since the offences referenced are still only allegations.

Google's decision to forward these notices to subscribers of its super-fast Fiber broadband raised a few eyebrows.

"When Google Fiber receives a copyright complaint about an account, we pass along all of the information we receive to the account holder so that they're aware of it and can determine the response that's best for their situation," a Google spokesperson said, reports TorrentFreak.

The spokesperson did go on to say that Google believes there are "better options" to fighting piracy than targeting individual users.

Firms such as CEG-TEK attempt to monetize the notice systems in place in the U.S. and other regions by demanding settlements from Internet users for alleged incidents of copyright infringement. Some ISPs feel that it is better not to forward these demands to their customers.

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