AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Vimeo music copyright case

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Mar 2017 16:29

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Vimeo music copyright case The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to examine a copyright infringement case against Vimeo brought by music firms, dating back to 2009.

Vimeo was sued in 2009 by Vivendi SA's Capitol Records and units of Sony Corp, for copyright infringement related to 199 videos hosted by the service. The music firms alleged that Vimeo was hosting content that included songs from famous artists like the Beach Boys, without appropriate permission.

In 2013, a federal court dismissed the claims against most of the music videos, citing a protective clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which exempts providers from liability as long as it can be demonstrated that they handle copyright infringement notices.

The court did not dismiss claims relating to pre-1972 recordings, finding that since the U.S. Congress included recordings in the scope of federal copyright law that year, pre-1972 recordings are instead protected by state law.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals examined the initial ruling, and last year found that the DMCA applies in claims made both under federal and state law, in a win for Vimeo, prompting the record labels to reach out to the highest court in the land.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

PS4 Pro to support 4K Video playback

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Mar 2017 16:06

PS4 Pro to support 4K Video playback Owners of Sony PlayStation 4 Pro consoles will now be able to play videos in 4K resolution thanks to an update to the Media Player app.

Previously, you could play 4K video from YouTube, Netflix or Hulu on a PS4 Pro device, but not your own personal videos shot in 4K on your phone, or 4K files you retrieve online.

An update to the Media Player app will enable the PS4 Pro to play videos in 4K resolution saved on a USB stick or streaming from a Home Server. The video must be packaged in the MP4 media container format, and not in the popular matroska (MKV) format, unfortunately.

For those who own PlayStation VR as well as a PS4 Pro, Media Player will also update to support playback of 4K VR video content. PS VR's display resolution is 1920 X RGB X 1080, so 4K VR videos will be displayed in a higher image quality compared to HD VR videos.





AfterDawn: News

Samsung may sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 handsets

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Mar 2017 16:00

Samsung may sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 handsets Following the nightmare release and recall of millions of Galaxy Note 7 handsets, Samsung is planning to sell refurbished models in some locations.

The South Korean firm already carried out an internal investigation into overheating and fires with multiple Galaxy Note 7 handsets after the device launched. Now that it is confident it has identified the problem, Samsung is detailing its plans for the millions of devices that have been sent back by customers.

It has revealed that devices shall be considered to be used as refurbished phones or rental phones where applicable. Previous reports suggested that Samsung is thinking of the Vietnamese and Indian markets in a possible resale plan, but it really depends on the firm's consultation with national regulatory bodies.

As for devices that will not be resold, Samsung intends to salvage whatever it can as part of the recycling process and in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible.

Galaxy Note 7 components such as semiconductors and camera modules shall be detached by companies specializing in such services and used for test sample production purposes. Samsung will also attempt to retrieve precious metals from the devices such as copper, nickel, gold and silver by utilizing eco-friendly companies specializing in such processes.





AfterDawn: News

Super Mario Run now available for Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Mar 2017 21:50

Super Mario Run now available for Android Nintendo has decided to launch Super Mario Run a little earlier than expected for Android devices.

Super Mario Run has been available for iOS since December. It is Nintendo's first game made available for mobile platforms and enjoyed a huge launch on iOS, with over $50 million in revenue in a month.

You can download Super Mario Run from Google Play for free and play the first three stages. At that point, you will need to pay up $10 to unlock the rest.

The first version available on Android is v2.0, so will likely include the updates since the initial release on iOS. It requires Android 4.2 and above.

You can get it now from Google Play.





AfterDawn: News

Gamers report PS4 update kills WiFi

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Mar 2017 21:41

Gamers report PS4 update kills WiFi A number of PlayStation 4 owners are reporting that the PS4 version 4.50 update has disabled WiFi on their consoles.

The first complaints about the issue were posted to the PlayStation forums after the update was pushed out to users. In the couple of weeks since the update, the same thread has amassed more than 250 comments.

Engadget also reported that one affected console owned by a staff member had the same issue, with the console reporting the NW-31297-2 error code, but that reconfiguring the console's WiFi settings will not fix the issue.

Sony is aware of the problem and is reportedly looking for a solution, but some users on the PlayStation forums have already resorted to purchasing WiFi extenders with Ethernet ports to get around the issue.

PS4 version 4.50 brought several useful new features, including support for external USB 3.0 hard drives and Boost Mode for legacy games on the PS4 Pro model.





AfterDawn: News

Court orders ISP to identify 5,300 alleged pirates

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Mar 2017 13:49

Court orders ISP to identify 5,300 alleged pirates The details of Internet users alleged to have shared films including London Has Fallen, and Mechanic: Resurrection, have to be handed over by an ISP.

The decision came from Sweden's relatively new Patent and Market Court, and it obliges Telia to identify 5,300 subscribers that are alleged to have downloaded and shared blockbuster films. Those allegations come from Guardaley, which has a business model of tracking alleged pirates and being part of legal efforts to gain settlements from them.

"There is probable cause of infringement of copyright in the films in that they were made unlawfully made available to the public via file sharing networks," the Court wrote in its judgement.

"The applicants' interest in having access to the information outweighs any opposing interests, including the interest of the individual [subscribers] to remain anonymous."

Telia says that it values the privacy of its customers but it is legally obliged to comply with the court's order.

Read more at TorrentFreak





AfterDawn: News

Google's e-mail scanning settlement rejected by judge

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Mar 2017 13:32

Google's e-mail scanning settlement rejected by judge A federal judge has rejected a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Google over the scanning of e-mails.

Google serves ads to users of its Gmail service based on the contents of their e-mails, which has prompted questions from privacy and rights activists for years. However, while Gmail users may agree to agree to such usage of their data by Google, those who don't use Gmail clearly have not.

That is the at the core of the class action lawsuit against Google that it is seeking to settle. Plaintiffs argue that Google's scanning of e-mails sent by non-Gmail users to Gmail users violates the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California Invasion of Privacy Act.

Google presented a proposed settlement but it has been rejected by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. It provided for up to $2.2 million in fees and expenses for the plaintiffs lawyers, but none for the plaintiffs. Judge Koh questioned whether the settlement would ensure Google's compliance with the law in the future.

Koh also found proposed disclosure notices to be inadequate, comparing to a similar accord with Yahoo that requires more disclosures.

"In sum, based on the parties' current filings, the court cannot conclude that the settlement is fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable," Koh wrote, reports Reuters.





AfterDawn: News

Google Play Music offers more quality control

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Mar 2017 13:22

Google Play Music offers more quality control Google Play Music now lets users select what quality level they would like to hear from the service while using WiFi.

Previously, quality adjustments were only offered when using mobile data. From now however, users can now select between low, normal, high and always high while on Wi-Fi connections and for downloaded tracks, though Google does not specify what bitrate each setting corresponds with.

With Spotify, quality can range from 96kbps at the low end, to 320kbps at the high end, though Spotify seems to be preparing the launch of Spotify Hi-Fi which will offer users lossless quality audio for an extra monthly fee.

Tidal already provides subscribers with lossless CD-quality audio.

Quality settings allow users to control their data usage and avoid going over ISP restrictions and incurring extra fees as a result.

Get Google Play Music for Andorid from Google Play.

Get Google Play Music for iOS from iTunes.





AfterDawn: News

Spotify may delay new albums for free users

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Mar 2017 13:14

Spotify may delay new albums for free users Music streaming service Spotify may delay the availability of certain new albums to its millions of users who listen for free.

Spotify is currently in contract renewal negotiations with three major record firms - Universal, Sony and Warner - and the Financial Times reports that Spotify has had to put forth delayed album availability for free users as a compromise position.

While most of its users listen for free, Spotify has still enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, just recently passing 50 million paying premium subscribers globally. Naturally, the revenue that trickles through to record labels and rights holders from paying users is much higher than those who use Spotify's free, limited and ad-supported service.

Securing licensing contracts with major labels is obviously crucial for Spotify to remain on top of the music streaming business, but it is still fighting a battle to reach profitability, and has already pushed back plans for an IPO to 2018.

Still, Spotify has continued to grow its paying user base rapidly even after Apple threw its hat in the streaming business, and has fended off other services including Google Play Music and Tidal.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Chrome 57 to throttle background tabs further to save energy

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Mar 2017 12:33

Chrome 57 to throttle background tabs further to save energy Chrome 57 will place further limits on CPU usage of background tabs in the browser to save energy and prolong battery life.

Chrome 57 will delay timers to limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in background. Tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC won't be affected.

Google claims that his throttling mechanism leads to 25% fewer busy background tabs. Hopefully this will have a noticeable effect on background battery life for laptop / chromebook users in particular.

The long term goal is to suspend background tabs entirely rely on new APIs for service workers to do work in the background.

Any step toward making the web browser more efficient will be welcomed by users, as browsers can be a drain on hardware resources and of course, the battery life.





AfterDawn: News

Some PS4 titles will soon be available on PC

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Mar 2017 12:23

Some PS4 titles will soon be available on PC PlayStation 4 titles will soon be available to play on PC through Sony's PlayStation Now service.

PlayStation Now currently lets users stream over 400 PS3 titles to the PlayStation 4 console, or to a Windows PC, and soon Sony will finally add PS4 titles to the service.

All of the games in the service, including PS4 games, will be included with a single PS Now subscription.

Sony didn't provide details on which titles will be initially available and when the PS4 expansion is available to all subscribers, but it will be sending out invites to some current PS Now subscribers to join a private test with PS4 games.

As with the PS3 games currently available, PS4 titles will also use cloud save so you can switch between the PS4 and PC platforms and keep your progress.

Game streaming options are likely to become more popular in the coming years. Microsoft recently announced Xbox Game Pass, which would let users stream 100 Xbox One games with a flat fee every month.





AfterDawn: News

PSA: Windows Vista support ends in April

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Mar 2017 14:04

PSA: Windows Vista support ends in April After a decade of support Microsoft is preparing to abandon Windows Vista, meaning no new updates will be available after April 10, 2017.

Lucky for Microsoft, the installed based of Windows Vista is far smaller than that of Windows XP when it reached the end of its cycle. Approximately 1% of Desktop users are still using Windows Vista, considered to be one of Microsoft's least desirable consumer Desktop operating systems.

"Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences," reads a Microsoft page about the end of Vista support.

Ideally, Microsoft would hope that users will update their computer to Windows 10, though it has reminded users that some hardware changes may be necessary for the upgrade.

Moving to Windows Vista's successor, Windows 7, will buy another few years of the support, with the comparably more successful OS due to reach the end of support in January 2020.

via: Softpedia





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft will let users test apps before installing

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Mar 2017 13:54

Microsoft will let users test apps before installing Microsoft's Playable Ads will let Windows 10 users try out an app before downloading it and installing it onto their devices.

The user can click / tap a promo ad and a full version of the app will stream to their device for three minutes, letting them test it out fully without downloading and installing it. It is convenient for the end user as you don't have to install something before testing it, and useful for the developer because it will reduce the number of disinterested users who will leave an app unused or just uninstall it shortly after downloading it.

Since the new Playable Ads are inline expandable ads, the user will not leave the current app context after ad click. Users can abandon the app stream at any point of time.

Developers don't really have to do anything to participate, as Microsoft does all the background work. No need for new packages or anything.

The feature is currently being tested as part of a limited preview.





AfterDawn: News

PS4 update brings boost mode, external storage support and more

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Mar 2017 19:28

PS4 update brings boost mode, external storage support and more Sony is releasing the PS4 4.50 update which will bring some nice new features to PS4 consoles.

It was no secret that Sony was bringing support for USB 3.0 external hard disk drives to the console (min capacity of 256GB, max capacity of 8TB). With the update, users can set their external drive as storage for games and apps and can easily transfer data from the internal hard drive to the external drive.

The update also brings Boost Mode to the PS4 Pro which can improve the performance of legacy titles that have not been have not been patched to take advantage of the PS4 Pro's faster CPU and its faster and double-sized GPU. This can provide a noticeable frame rate boost to some games with variable frame rates, and can provide frame rate stability for games that are programmed to run at 30 Hz or 60 Hz.

Boost Mode can also result in shorter load times, but it is not guaranteed to work on all games. You can enable it in Settings, under System.

Other improvements include GIF support, custom wallpaper, voice chat for Remote Play, improvements to resolution under PS VR and more.

Below is a video detailing the update.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Premier League to target football streaming servers that feed 'Kodi boxes'

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Mar 2017 18:29

Premier League to target football streaming servers that feed 'Kodi boxes' The Premier League has secured a court order which will allow it to have access to servers streaming football matches blocked in the UK.

The main target is IPTV sources for football match streams that can be viewed through software like Kodi. Streaming live football is nothing new, but has increased in popularity in recent years with the rise of the so called "Kodi box".

A Kodi box is typically an Android-based set top box that has the Kodi media center software installed.

Kodi itself has nothing to do with piracy and its development team strongly objects to the use of its brand when such devices are marketed as providing access to pirate streams. Many of these so called "fully loaded" boxes don't just include Kodi and add-ons, but come with other Android apps like Mobdro which provide access to a lot of live TV channels, including premium sports channels.

Since the software supports third-party add-ons it has become popular for piracy add ons that provide access to streams of all kinds of material, including live television content.

Some add-ons focus on Sports, maybe even exclusively on football, and the Premier League intends to try to block servers that stream football matches. On the individual side, it is not clear if streaming infringing content in the UK is illegal at all, whereas downloading pirated content certainly is an offence. That uncertainly is not likely to last long with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) describing streaming as a "piracy epidemic".






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