AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2015 7:44

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI Microsoft has been revealing the makings of Windows 10 this week. One of the most important aspects of all of its OS versions is the messaging. Now Skype team shows what its been up to.

The new Skype will come preloaded on all Windows 10 platforms be it phone, tablet, or PC. The new and updated Skype has been designed Windows 10 in mind but will of course land on Mac, iOS, and Android among others.

Microsoft's efforts are indeed in creating one app to rule them all. Like the competitor's iMessage it allows both SMS and instant messages to be sent from the same app, enabled by the linking of phone numbers and Skype names. It is available on all major platforms too, unlike the Apple's offering.

The new layout divides the view on panels and has a clean, simple look. Round icons are familiar from both Apple's and Google's messengers, as well as earlier versions of Skype.

Skype team promises more updates during the development in the next few months, and well keep you posted.

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AfterDawn: News

Britain wants to ban secure messaging because of terrorists

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jan 2015 12:00

Britain wants to ban secure messaging because of terrorists As Je suis Charlie has become the trending topic around the internet politicians are pressured to make decisions on new anti-terrorists acts.

In the United Kingdom the Prime Minister David Cameron is calling out for a backdoor to all secure messaging or else ban it.

According to Engadged the UK Prime Minister doesn't want terrorists to have means for private messaging without the possibility of government intervention.

The conservative party leader wants a new legislation in effect in 2016 as the Draft Communications Data Bill will be terminated. Known as the Snooper's Charter the bill requires companies to retain certain information of their users' communication.

This would first mean that the party would have to win this year's election and gain huge amount of traction for such a radical act.

The ban of such services would mean Whatsapp, Snapchat and the likes would be considered illegal – not to mention other encrypted data services – unless the special access is created.

It is highly unlikely the companies behind that messaging platforms would remove the encryption to the extent that it would become insecure.

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon signs Woody Allen for first ever TV show

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jan 2015 11:29

Amazon signs Woody Allen for first ever TV show In addition to Netflix the e-commerce giant Amazon is trying to fight against the Hollywood's overbearing control over TV shows.

Now Amazon has signed the legendary Woody Allen for an upcoming TV series.

The details are still extremely scarce. Amazon told that the series will feature all new 30 minute episodes but of what nature is yet unknown. The show will be written and directed by Allen.

Woody Allen himself doesn't have more details, saying: "I don't know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to begin. My guess is that [Amazon Studios'] Roy Price will regret this."

The series will premiere next year on Amazon Prime Instant Video. What kind of plot or who will star the series are obviously completely undisclosed.





AfterDawn: News

What to expect from Galaxy S6? Business Insider says metal

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2015 9:12

What to expect from Galaxy S6? Business Insider says metal Samsung is preparing another flagship press event at this years Mobile World Congress in March. A lot depends on this one phone and its possible accessories as Samsung's stocks in the smartphone industry have been withering.

According to the information Business Insider has gathered from "sources familiar with the company's plans" Samsung will introduce not only one but two flagship variants at the event.

In addition to the two phones BI notes another revision of Gear smartwatch is coming. It will be the first one with a round display for the Korean company.

The sources say that the construction of one of the phones will include metal as is expected after the launch of Galaxy Alpha – the predecessor of metal design flaunting Alpha series – and Galaxy Note 4. It is however not yet known in what fashion the metal is used.

The non-metal variant features an Edge-like curved display. Galaxy Note Edge features a curved display that wraps around the right side of the phone (pictured above).

Business Insider notes that Samsung's plans can still change before the press event in early March.





AfterDawn: News

House of Cards continues on Feb 27th – watch the new trailer!

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2015 8:18

House of Cards continues on Feb 27th – watch the new trailer! The Netflix original that has since the first season defined the service – House of Cards – is continuing on February 27th. The Emmy and Golden Globe winning drama series has now released a new trailer for the upcoming season.

Starred by the Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey the third season returns maybe in a even darker tone than before. According to the trailer there will be more stress in the White House and in the hands of Francis Underwood.

The season will appear on Netflix in one package as usual and will feature thirteen all new episodes.

The first and the second season are of course available still in the streaming service if one desires a recap before the new season begins. Meanwhile watch the intense trailer below.





AfterDawn: News

Spotify now caters to mostly mobile users

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2015 8:02

Spotify now caters to mostly mobile users The web is quickly shifting towards the mobile and not unlike web, the music streaming is one of the more popular activities on a mobile device. And so in their latest press event Spotify has told that it is now more popular on phones and tablets than on desktop.

According to the new stats the desktop app is used by 45 percent of the users while the phones and tablets combine to 52 percent – phones are at 42% and tablets 10%.

The figures could be even more into favor of mobile if the company had stepped into it more aggressively. Last year Spotify reached into mobile with more apps and new shuffle-only and ad-supported models.

Currently the music streaming service says it has 60 million active subscribers of which 15 million are paying customers. This years possible introduction of Apple's new streaming service will keep Spotify on its toes and try to expand especially on mobile.





AfterDawn: News

Google search finds a new top result for Pirate Bay

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Jan 2015 12:44

Google search finds a new top result for Pirate Bay The future of The Pirate Bay is anything but certain. After last month's raid the website – or atleast it's functionality – has been down. Now Google has decided to move on and select the new number one.

The site is rumored to make a comeback soon. If that happens after the countdown on the official website runs down to zero remains to be seen.

Whatever the fate of the website will be Google's web search has decided that with "pirate bay" search it is no longer the most relevant website, TorrentFreak notes.

Google search reveals a new number one holder which is "Old Pirate Bay", a cloned website by the popular torrent site isoHunt. Other searches including Bing and Bing-powered Yahoo still rely on the official thepiratebay.se as the most relevant result.

Which one of the sites seems more relevant to you, the functional or the official website?





AfterDawn: News

Sony compensates the down time for Plus members

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jan 2015 13:14

Sony compensates the down time for Plus members Sony has told that it will be adding free extension to PlayStation Plus members' subscriptions. The down time was caused by a DDoS attack that targeted both Sony's and Microsoft's servers.

Sony thanks the patience of its customers and will be reimbursing the lost subscription time and more. The extension will be five days and will easily cover the lost time – although not the Christmas gaming. Extension will be added automatically.

In addition Sony has decided to provide a discount for any games, TV shows, or movies in one cart purchase. This 10% discount will be given later this month.

Even if the compensation seems like a rather minor one Engadget estimates that the cost of just the extended subscription time to Sony is over $5 million.





AfterDawn: News

Apple releases The Interview on iTunes

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Dec 2014 10:05

Apple releases The Interview on iTunes Sony Pictures' controversial comedy The Interview was released a couple days ago on Google Play and Microsoft's Xbox service after Sony themselves released the movie online. Now Apple jumps on the bandwagon a couple of days later, reports Recode.

The movie starring James Franco and Seth Rogen was given the green light by Sony after cancelling the premiere because of threats. Hackers who obtained confidential data in a security breach have been threatening Sony and the theaters for possible releases. The threats have not materialized.

The reason behind Apple's reluctance to add the movie immediately after Sony had contacted the online distributors to release the film was not revealed. The prices are the same $6 for rental and $15 for purchase as they are in the competing services.

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AfterDawn: News

FBI: Even government defenses could have surrendered to the Sony hackers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2014 9:06

FBI: Even government defenses could have surrendered to the Sony hackers The malware that penetrated the cyber defenses of Sony and allegedly captured terabytes of data was a difficult one to deal with, says FBI official to the Congress.

Speaking to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee assistant director of the FBI's cyber division Joseph Demarest said that nine out of ten corporate cyber defenses would have been helpless against the malware.

Malware that the security company Sony hired to investigate called "unprecedented" did not penetrate because of lack of preparation. According to Demarest the attack could have posed serious threat even to state government security systems.

Ars Technica notes that there has yet to be any clarification on behalf of Sony, the security company Mandidant or the FBI what made the malware unprecedented and so dangerous. And even if Sony is let off the hook on cyber defense, it is still under question if they could have prevented a leak of such magnitude.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix to soon have up to 20 originals a year

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Dec 2014 10:43

Netflix to soon have up to 20 originals a year Netflix has been increasing their portfolio of tv shows steadily during the past couple of years. The pace is only going to get higher says the Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in an interview at a media conference.

Sarandos said that customers will be able to expect as much as 20 premieres a year from Netflix in five years. These premieres would be either brand new Netflix original tv shows or new season premieres. That would mean that in average there would be a new premiere almost every two weeks.

Sarandos also made it clear that it is always in Netflix's interest to increase the availability of its service and new regions will be added in the future.

In addition to increasing its tv show production the streaming giant is launching more original movies to further reduce the dependence on Hollywood studios and their content.





AfterDawn: News

The slimmer the better? This is now slimmest smartphone: Vivo X5Max

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Dec 2014 9:03

The slimmer the better? This is now slimmest smartphone: Vivo X5Max The Chinese love their slim smartphones. The world's thinnest smartphone has been a three horse race between Oppo, Gionee, and Vivo – all of which are from China. Now the latter has introduced the newest king of the hill.

Called Vivo X5Max the slimmest smartphone on the planet is just 4,75 millimeters thin. Regardless of its thinness the phone is packed with almost everything you'd expect from a modern smartphone. It has a 5.5 inch Full HD display, 13 and 5 megapixel cameras, 16 gigs of microSD expandable memory and 2 gigs of RAM.

The phone is powered by the mid range Snapdragon 615 chip that is a quad-core SoC with 64-bit capabilities that can be taken advantage of as soon as the phone gets updated to Android Lollipop.

The battery is "only" 2200 mAh due to the thinness but Vivo has managed to retain the 3.5 mm audio plug unlike its competitor Oppo.

Vivo says that X5Max packs the audio experience you'd expect from its siblings, and even surpasses them. Also the karaoke function gets a mention.

Vivo begins selling the phone in China this Friday for what is just under $500. There is no word on European or US variants.





AfterDawn: News

Exclusive: HTC One Mini M8 leaked by retailers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 May 2014 5:18

Exclusive: HTC One Mini M8 leaked by retailers We've known for quite a while that HTC One (M8) will have a little brother like its predecessor. HTC One mini 2 or whatever it might be called has been rumored and leaked since February. Now we've got assurance that it indeed is coming – and we have a price as well!

According to rumors the smaller version of M8 will sport the same aluminum body but the display has been reduced to 4.5 inches. The resolution of the display is said to be 720p, the SOAC is Snapdragon 400 instead of 801 and the camera loses its UltraPixel name but gains megapixels (13mpix vs 4mpix).

According to the two different online retailers in Finland the model will be released next Tuesday, May 13th. It will be priced at around 520 euros which is a whopping $720 and approximately $580 before taxes. That doesn't sound too inexpensive for a smartphone with a 720p display.

It's also worth noting that the retailers call it HTC One Mini M8 instead of the rumored HTC One mini 2.





AfterDawn: News

Apple exec page has changed, Jony Ive missing

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Feb 2014 5:46

Apple exec page has changed, Jony Ive missing The design guru of Apple Jonathan Ive has disappeared from the Executive Profiles page on Apple website. The profile of Apple Senior VP of Design is still available via a direct link and the Google cache shows him on the Executive Profiles.

Last summer missing went the technologies executive Bob Mansfield who had been transferred. Therefore the removal doesn't necessarily mean that Jony Ive has left the company.

It seems that there are also other errors on the website currently so we'll be waiting for confirmation or correction by Apple.

Jony Ive has been an Apple executive since 1997 when he joined to lead the company's design team. After iOS boss Scott Forstall left the company Ive totally revamped the design of the mobile operating system as well.

Edit: Jony Ive is back on the page.





AfterDawn: News

Google buys AI company DeepMind

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Jan 2014 5:09

Google buys AI company DeepMind The search giant Google likes to buy companies – Wikipedia lists a total of 143 acquisitions during 14 years. The most recent acquisition is now an artificial intelligence company DeepMind.

According to website Re/code, Google has bought the London AI company DeepMind for $400 million. The Information however says that Google had to shell out $500 million. Neither of them is a lot when you compare to Nest, a locations company bought for 2.3 billion just a couple of weeks ago (or a billion dollar Waze), but for a more niche segment and not being a household name it's quite a price tag.

DeepMind website describes what it does as "building learning algorithms for simulations, e-commerce and games". Re/code's sources say that in the AI community DeepMind is considered a "formidable player" and competed against the likes of Google for talent. They also said that it has secured more than $50 million in funding.

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