AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile data hack exposes 15 million customers

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Oct 2015 12:21

T-Mobile data hack exposes 15 million customers A data breach at a credit agency has exposed personal data of over 15 million T-Mobile customers, or potential customers, the carrier has warned.

Experian, which processes credit applications on behalf of T-Mobile, has publicly disclosed a security breach detected on Sept 15th, which may affect millions of T-Mobile's customers. The data breach affected a server that contained personal information for consumers who applied for T-Mobile USA postpaid services between Sept. 1, 2013 and Sept. 16, 2015.

While no payment card information or banking information was exposed during the breach, the information that was accessible may put millions of individuals at increased risk of identity theft. The server stored records containing names, addresses, social security number, date of birth, ID information (drivers license, passport numbers etc.) and other information used for T-Mobile's credit assessment.

While the social security numbers and I.D. information was encrypted on the server, Experian has determined that the encryption may have been compromised.

Experian has notified federal and international law enforcement agencies of the hack and is cooperating with the investigation. It is also notifying the individuals who may have been affected and is offering free credit monitoring and identity resolution services for two years through ProtectMyID.


AfterDawn: News

Which Xbox One holiday bundle should you buy this year?

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Oct 2015 11:33

Which Xbox One holiday bundle should you buy this year? Microsoft has announced six Xbox One holiday bundles that will go on sale before the end of 2015, here is a quick comparison of what they all offer.

Microsoft has gone a little Bundle crazy this year, but we will only focus on the six detailed in the past week and not previously announced bundles, such as the Halo 5 bundle or the Xbox One Elite bundle. We'll take a look at what's on offer, when they are available (and for pre-order) and what they will cost.

The six new Xbox One bundles announced this week by Microsoft are:

  • Xbox One Rise Of The Tomb Raider Bundle
  • Xbox One 1TB Holiday Bundle
  • Xbox One The LEGO Movie Videogame Bundle
  • Xbox One Special Edition Gears Of War Bundle
  • Xbox One With Kinect Bundle
  • Xbox One Fallout 4 Bundle
So let's take a look at what comes with each bundle!

Xbox One Rise Of The Tomb Raider Bundle

The Rise of the Tomb Raider bundle will be available starting in November for $399 USD. Here's what you get:
  • Xbox One console with 1TB HDD
  • Full-game download of the highly anticipated Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • The exclusive Tactical Survival Kit Content Pack, which contains a new outfit and weapon skin for Lara
  • Full-game download of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
You can pre-order the bundle now from the Microsoft Store.

Xbox One 1TB Holiday Bundle

The Xbox One 1TB Holiday Bundle will be available starting 28 October for $399 USD. Here's what you get:
  • 1TB Xbox One console
  • Xbox One wireless controller with 3.5mm headset jack
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Rare Replay, featuring 30 iconic games from Rare
  • Ori and the Blind Forest full game download
  • Xbox 360 Gears of War collection
You can pre-order it from the Microsoft store now.

Xbox One The LEGO Movie Videogame Bundle

The Xbox One The LEGO Movie Videogame bundle will be available in October for $349 USD. Here's what's included with the bundle:
  • 500GB Xbox One console
  • Xbox One wireless controller with 3.5mm headset jack
  • The LEGO Movie Videogame
It is already available from the Microsoft Store and other outlets.

Xbox One With Kinect Bundle

The Xbox One with Kinect Bundle will be available starting in October for $499 USD. The bundle will include:
  • Xbox One 500GB Console
  • Kinect for Xbox One
  • Full game download of Dance Central Spotlight
  • Full game download of Kinect Sports Rival
  • Full Game Download of Zoo Tycoon
The exact date isn't announced yet but it is available to pre-order from Microsoft already.

Xbox One Special Edition Gears Of War Bundle

The Xbox One Special Edition Gears of War Bundle will be available starting in November for $349 USD. The bundle includes:
  • Xbox One 500GB Cirrus White console and controller
  • Full download of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Superstar Cole multiplayer skin
  • Early access to the Gears of War 4 Beta
While not exclusively part of the bundle, it is worth pointing out that for a limited time, when you play Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on the Xbox Live service, you will also receive the Xbox 360 Gears of War collection playable on Xbox One for free. This bundle is exclusive to Walmart in the United States.

Xbox One Fallout 4 Bundle

The Xbox One Fallout 4 Bundle will be available 10 November for $399 USD. You can already pre-order the bundle today. This what you will get in the bundle:
  • 1TB Xbox One console
  • Xbox One wireless controller with 3.5mm headset jack
  • Fallout 4 full game download
  • Fallout 3 full game download, now playable on Xbox One
  • 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial

For me, the Fallout 4 bundle would appeal the most, but it comes down to personal preferences. Microsoft previously announced a whole bunch of bundles available in multiple territories to cater to different tastes as the holidays approach.


AfterDawn: News

HTML5 replacing Flash? BBC is latest to edge away

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Oct 2015 21:39

HTML5 replacing Flash? BBC is latest to edge away Why is everybody seemingly running with open arms to HTML5, and away from Adobe Flash?

Back in 2007, it was considered a drawback that Apple would snub Adobe's Flash plugin in the browser on its brand new iPhone, and it would later continue to ignore Flash products in future iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe even stated that Apple's decision meant that users were being denied a full web experience, citing the extremely high rate of Flash support on Desktop web browsers and its use on millions of webpages.

It wasn't until 2010 that Steve Jobs explained to customers why Flash won't be supported in Apple's mobile products. Chief among Jobs' concerns were the proprietary nature of Flash, its chequered security track record and its efficiency for video playback. Jobs' favoured the comparably open HTML5 standard to Flash, and the advantage of hardware decoding for H.264 video (which Flash supported by then, but hardware decoding support was inconsistent between sites).

Security concerns stood out for Jobs for good reason. The Adobe Flash plugin for major web browsers has been a consistent target for hackers seeking vulnerabilities as a means to attack web users. New Adobe Flash security flaws are still very common, and it seems Adobe is in a constant race to save the image of Flash.


AfterDawn: News

Americans to lose $1.5 billion to common scam in 2015, says Microsoft

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Oct 2015 20:22

Americans to lose $1.5 billion to common scam in 2015, says Microsoft Are you one of the estimated 3.3 million Americans caught up in this common scam this year?

If you haven't been targeted with it, you likely know friends or family who have been. It is simple, but very effective and common enough that Microsoft feels the need to educate the public about it.

It would work something like this: You receive a phone call from an unknown or blocked number, and a polite sounding person on the other end is revealed as an employee of Microsoft, calling to inform you that your PC or other device has been compromised with malicious software. The polite employee then offers to help.

At this point, you may be asked to follow instructions that will either take you deep into your operating system settings, or to a webpage where you can download a client that will allow this nice person to fix your problem for you. The software will allow the other person access to your computer.

After this point however, things will likely take a clearly suspicious turn as you will inevitably be enlightened on the fee you will need to pay for fix the "problem". It would not be uncommon for your device to be locked at this point until you pay the fee, and unfortunately a lot of people do pay up. So many pay up, in fact, that Microsoft predicts that tech support scams of this nature will hit an estimated 3.3 million Americans this year, and generate $1.5 billion for the scammers.


AfterDawn: News

Apple TV gets first major upgrade in years

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2015 18:00

Apple TV gets first major upgrade in years Apple is pursuing your living room again with the first major hardware and software revamp of the Apple TV since 2012.

The new Apple TV device (which just looks slightly bigger on the outside) will run on a new operating system called tvOS, which is based on iOS. Apple will provide the tvOS SDK to enable developers to utilize the increased power under the hood, and especially the considerable remote control upgrade.

The Siri Remote improves how you can select, scroll and navigate through your favorite content using a glass touch surface that handles both small, accurate movements as well as big, sweeping ones. It features a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope which developers can use to create motion-controlled apps and games.

With its internal mic, the Siri Remote can be used to search TV shows and movies by title, genre, cast, crew, rating or popularity using your voice, and Apple TV now supports Universal Search like Microsoft's Xbox services, meaning you won't have to know which content is available from which app beforehand.

Viewers will also be able to use voice commands during playback, such as asking "Siri, what did he say?", which will prompt the playback to skip back a few seconds and enable captions.


AfterDawn: News

Apple unveils huge iPad Pro, new Pencil stylus

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2015 17:34

Apple unveils huge iPad Pro, new Pencil stylus The iPad Pro has gained considerably in size and power over the iPad Air 2, and Apple has decided to embrace the stylus.

iPad Pro measures 12" x 8.68" x 0.27" (305.7mm x 220.6mm x 6.9mm) dominated by a 12.9‑inch Retina display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 (264ppi). It weighs 1.57lb (713 grams) for the Wi-Fi only model, and slightly heavier at 1.59lb (723 grams) for the Wi-Fi+ Cellular model.

Under the hood it packs Apple's latest SoC, the A9X which boasts improvements over the A8X inside the iPad Air 2, including double the memory bandwidth. Apple decided to focus on its improvements over the A7 mostly though (iPad Air), claiming the A9X provides 2.5x faster CPU processing and 5x faster GPU processing over the A7. As for how much RAM is packed in the iPad Pro, honestly we have no idea right now but the suggestions around are that it has 2GB, just the iPad Air 2.

There isn't much to talk about in regard to camera improvements, the iPad Pro features the same 8MP iSight camera on the back and FaceTime HD camera on the front as the iPad Air 2.

It promises up to ten hours battery life (nine hours if you spend all of your time surfing) on a full charge.


AfterDawn: News

Apple unveils iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2015 16:50

Apple unveils iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Apple spices up its iPhone stocks with 4K video recording, 3D touch, Live Photos, the powerful A9 chip and more.

The details leaked about the latest iteration of iPhones from Apple in recent weeks came pretty close, which has become commonplace for a company that once kept its secrets so close to its chest. The new iPhone 6s is accompanied by the iPhone 6s Plus - available in gold, silver, space gray and the new rose gold metallic finishes - and both packing Retina HD displays and ultra-strong glass. Additionally, both use 7000 series aluminium so we're unlikely to see "bending" claims this time.

As expected, the iPhone 6s retains a 4.7-inch LED-backlit display (1334 x 750), and the iPhone 6s Plus keeps the 5.5-inch display (1920 x 1080).

Apple paid special attention to "3D Touch", which is basically the "Force Touch" feature that Watch owners will be familiar with. With it, users can press down on elements on the screen with different levels of force to bring up content. For example, you can press down lightly to peak at a photo, or an e-mail on the relevant app, or you can press down with more force to get into the content itself. Apple calls this "Peek and Pop".


AfterDawn: News

Feds: Ex Tesla engineer hacked boss's email, leaked confidential information

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 20:27

Feds: Ex Tesla engineer hacked boss's email, leaked confidential information A former Tesla engineer has been charged with computer crime offenses after allegedly accessing his former Boss's e-mail account and leaking information.

Nima Kalbasi, a 28 year old Canadian citizen, was fired from Tesla Motors in December, but later allegedly accessed Tesla's e-mail servers without authorization. Once gaining access to his former Boss's e-mail account, Kalbasi is accused of stealing confidential information, including employee assessments, which he then shared with former colleagues.

He also is alleged to have leaked confidential information online and attempting to harm Tesla's reputation and credibility by making false and misleading comments.

Kalbasi was apprehended while crossing the border from Canada to the United States on August 24. He appeared in U.S. District Court in San Jose on August 27, and is charged with two counts of felony computer intrusion, and one count of misdemeanor computer intrusion.

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the felony charges, and one year in prison for the misdemeanor charge.

Tesla Motors is based in Palo Alto, California, designing and manufacturing high-end electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model S. The firm just announced that its mass market Model 3 vehicle will be available to pre-order from March, 2016, starting at $35,000. The car itself won't go into production for two years as Tesla waits on the output from its highly-ambitious Gigafactory, under construction in Nevada.


AfterDawn: News

UK resident arrested for Pirate Bay torrents

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 19:39

UK resident arrested for Pirate Bay torrents British police arrested a man on Thursday morning for allegedly uploading torrents to popular sites to help distribute music files.

The 38-year old was arrested in Everton, Liverpool, during a raid carried out by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which investigates copyright infringement and counterfeiting in the United Kingdom.

According to the TorrentFreak blog, the man was a regular uploader of torrents to the Pirate Bay, and also to KickassTorrents. He would, allegedly, upload torrents that could be used to download and share compilations of popular music, such as the UK Top 40 hits.

In the past five years, he allegedly uploaded hundreds of torrents.

According to the PIPCU, the man also ran a separate site that offered individual tracks and acapella versions, and generated a "significant" amount of revenue through advertisements. The man was tracked down through a PIPCU investigation with cooperation from PRS for Music.

"He is also believed to be illegally uploading the UK Top 40 Singles to various torrent sites on a weekly basis as they are published by the official charts company," a PIPCU release reads.


AfterDawn: News

Google Chrome to use less memory and power

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 19:15

Google Chrome to use less memory and power Following an update, Google's Chrome browser should use less memory and be less of a burden on battery life.

It's not exactly a secret that Google's Desktop web browser likes to consume a lot of RAM, particularly for users that tend to have a large number of tabs open. There are ways to reduce the memory usage in Chrome manually, such as using add-ons that suspend tabs after a period of inactivity, or setting plug-ins (Flash etc.) as "click to play".

With the latest updates for Chrome, Google aims to ease the burden the browser puts on a system. The browser can now aggressively clean up old, unused memory when a webpage isn't busy with a task, which Google claims reduces memory usage per website by about 10 percent on average.

For complex web apps it is even better, with tests showing that up to a quarter of memory used by the tab can be freed.

Users of the Chrome browser will also have noticed that sometimes the browser can really lock up a system when restoring tabs that were previously opened. Google has made changes to improve tab restoration too, as Chrome will now restore tabs from most to least recently viewed and can detect when the computer is running low on resources and halt tab restoration temporarily.


AfterDawn: News

Popcorn Time users sued in the U.S., two men arrested in Denmark

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Aug 2015 22:39

Popcorn Time users sued in the U.S., two men arrested in Denmark A number of Popcorn Time users have been sued in a U.S court for viewing and sharing a film using the popular BitTorrent-based app.

The complaint was filed in an Oregon District Court, identifying 11 IP addresses allegedly used while downloading and sharing "The Cobbler". All IP addresses are linked to Comcast customer accounts. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants ordering they halt pirating movies, and up to $150,000 in damages.

More than likely the alleged pirates will receive a settlement offer in time, as is common with BitTorrent users sued for sharing content without consent. Popcorn Time doesn't resemble a BitTorrent client, but it does connect to BitTorrent swarms to download the content in the background.

In another interesting case linked to Popcorn Time, two men were arrested this week in Denmark for operating websites that provided information about Popcorn Time.

What makes their arrest interesting is the fact that their websites offered no copyright-infringing content at all, nor did they even host Popcorn Time apps for visitors to download. Instead, the sites posted updates about Popcorn Time and provided instructions and tips on using the apps.


AfterDawn: News

Game Drive for Xbox provides 2TB external storage via USB 3.0

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Aug 2015 11:36

Game Drive for Xbox provides 2TB external storage via USB 3.0 Seagate has teamed up with Microsoft's Xbox team to make the first external drive designed exclusively for Xbox One or Xbox 360.

The green external device packs 2TB of extra storage to load up with games and other data, and supports USB 3.0 for top performance with Xbox One. Ditching discs and downloading games is convenient in many ways but can present a problem when it comes to capacity. The latest generation of consoles come with at least 500GB of internal storage, but upgrades are necessary sooner than you might think.

The simplest solution is an external storage device. The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox One and Xbox 360 will be ready for data transfer and storage in a matter of seconds, just plug and play.

"Free up space on your console's internal drive while consolidating 50+ Xbox One games into a single location," Seagate's product page reads.

Game Drive goes on sale later this month from Gamespot, Amazon and the other usual suspects, with a MSRP of $109.99 USD.

AfterDawn: News

How to force Windows 10 upgrade

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Aug 2015 7:17

How to force Windows 10 upgrade Are you still waiting for your free upgrade to Windows 10? It may take days or weeks to be ready for you, but if you don't want to wait then maybe this can help.

NOTE: These instructions require that you edit the Windows registry in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, and that you have been offered (and have reserved) your free upgrade. You are completely responsible for your actions. Please also remember that these instructions do not guarantee a flawless upgrade to Windows 10, so make sure to backup ALL of your personal files and be ready to deal with a recovery operation if necessary. All you will learn to do here is force Windows to start the update for you, rather than waiting. We are not responsible for any mistake you make or problem you might encounter.

With that aside, there are several methods floating around that allow you to bypass the waiting period in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, meaning you can begin the upgrade to Microsoft's shiny new consumer OS now. The method shown here only requires that you add or edit a registry value. It worked for us on multiple systems, but we can't guarantee it on every system.

STEP 1 - Open RegEdit and Navigate to OSUpgrade Key


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Halo Wars 2 coming Fall 2016

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Aug 2015 21:08

WATCH: Halo Wars 2 coming Fall 2016 Microsoft has revealed that the sequel to the Halo Wars real-time strategy game will drop during the Fall of 2016.

It is being developed by Creative Assembly (Total War) and will be available on both Xbox One and Windows 10 next fall. Microsoft used its Gamescom media presentation to show off a short video that doesn't provide much information, but we are told it will tout fast-paced action, massive battles, and an all-new Halo story.

The original Halo Wars was released in 2009, developed by the now-closed Ensemble Studios.

Check out the short video:

AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Quantum Break is star-studded, coming April 2016

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Aug 2015 20:57

WATCH: Quantum Break is star-studded, coming April 2016 From the developers of Max Payne and Alan Wake, Quantum Break will arrive on April 5, 2016 and features a star-studded cast.

Quantum Break is part video game, part in-game live-action show, where your in-game choices will affect the outcome of the fast-paced fusion between game and show, "illustrating one story perceived in many ways for a completely unique entertainment experience."

It is being developed by Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne, Alan Wake) and published by Microsoft Studios, and set around a time travel experiment that has gone horribly wrong forcing time itself to break down. The story's three main characters (Jack Joyce, Beth Wilder, and Paul Serene) gain some time manipulation abilities.

It is broken up into segments of gameplay that are followed by an episode of the show.

Quantum Break features a really impressive cast that you will recognize instantly from TV shows:

  • Shawn Ashmore ("X-Men: Days of Future Past") as Jack Joyce
  • Dominic Monaghan ("Lost") as William Joyce
  • Aidan Gillen ("Game of Thrones") as Paul Serene
  • Lance Reddick ("Fringe") as Martin Hatch
  • Marshall Allman ("True Blood") as Charlie Wincott
  • Patrick Heusinger ("Black Swan") as Liam Burke
  • Mimi Michaels ("The Ugly Truth") as Fiona Miller
  • Amelia Rose Blaire ("True Blood") as Amy Ferraro
  • Brooke Nevin as Emily Burke
  • Courtney Hope as Beth Wilder
  • Jacqueline Pinol as Sofia Amaral
  • Jeannie Bolet as Kate Ogawa
  • Sean Durrie as Nick Marsters

Check out the Quantum Break - Time Is Power trailer:


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