AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Tesla's video shows us how full autopilot works in real life

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Oct 2016 15:39

Tesla's video shows us how full autopilot works in real life Tesla has been sneaking in autonomous driving feature to its cars for a while now. Depending on the model and what options you choose a Tesla car might already have a capability for fully autonomous driving.

In addition, Tesla has recently announced that all upcoming cars will be given the new autopilot mode that will enable fully automatic driving from start to finish. Now Elon Musk and the Tesla team has released a video showcasing what to expect from future autopilot.

In this impressive video the car drives completely without any aid from the passenger from the garage it starts to the parking spot it ends up picking at Tesla HQ. It even drops off the passenger before continuing the search for a free spot and doesn't choose the vacant spot meant for the handicapped.

It seems clear that this is what the future of transportation will be – at least when it comes to personal transportation. Soon you don't even have to pay the very premium price of the car in question (Model X starting at $74,000 and going as high as $150,000). Even the more affordable Model 3 (starting at $35,000) launching next year will have this feature.


AfterDawn: News

Apple to attend MWC first time ever

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Oct 2016 13:31

Apple to attend MWC first time ever The mobile industry's own trade show in Barcelona packs the most influential manufacturer's and developers every year but there's always at least one major name missing every year – Apple. The Cupertino giant has never attended the show, at least not with their own booth, but this is about to change, reports suggest.

According to a leak published by MacRumors Apple is listed as an exhibitor for he next years Mobile World Congress. Held in Feb 27 through March 2, the MWC 2017 seems to be the first trade show Apple is willing to give a pass in a long while.

After the information came public Apple's name was removed from the exhibitors list. It is unlikely however that this was a mistake or that Apple cancelled after the information was leaked to the public. It probably was intended as a surprise that unfortunately for the company didn't last because of a human (or computer) error.

The listing has it that Apple would be located in the App Planet in Hall 8.1 which suggests that we might hear more about the Planet of Apps television series and/or App Store updates. It's unlikely that we'll see any major product launches (or maybe an iPad?), as even most of the other manufacturers have decreased the number of significant launches at MWC.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix to increase original programming to almost two fold

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Oct 2016 17:28

Netflix to increase original programming to almost two fold Netflix has been steadily increasing their investment in original content, often dubbed Netflix Originals, and other exclusive programming. This year the company expects over 600 hours of original programming but even that is nothing compared to what's planned for 2017.

The streaming giant's execs have previously said that they aim to have original programming count for half of the new content. Next year they are going to get close to the goal by featuring more than a thousand hours of exclusive content.

In just two years Netflix would have increased the amount of said content from 450 hours to over 1000 hours. That is over 40 straight days worth of shows, documentaries, animations, and movies. Pretty much anyone that has seen the likes of Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, as well as the newest critically-acclaimed show Stranger Things would agree that new original content is a good thing – maybe even if the price increases a dollar or two.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung setting up booths at airports to stop Note7s taking off

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Oct 2016 17:16

Samsung setting up booths at airports to stop Note7s taking off Samsung's fiasco with the Note7 reached new heights when couple days ago US Department of Transportation banned all Note7s from all flights. Now it is illegal to carry a Samsung Galaxy Note7 to an airplane whether it is on or off.

The smartphone has a battery problem which can result in a fire which is obviously a huge hazard in a plane. Washington Post reports that Samsung is now setting up booths at airports to get more defect phones off the market and make sure people won't be fined for taking a prohibited item on board.

Samsung will be helping customers that still haven't returned their Galaxy Note7 even after two recalls and tons of media coverage. Samsung had to cancel the smartphone model's production and sales altogether after failing to relaunch late last month.

The booth are located before the TSA security screening and offer to copy your data to a new phone. Unfortunately Samsung probably won't be offer replacements from other manufacturers so you might have to choose a Galaxy S7 to enter your flight. Then again there are far worse options than the S7.

AfterDawn: News

Next major Windows 10 update coming in March?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Oct 2016 15:59

Next major Windows 10 update coming in March? Windows 10 has definitely been one of the more successful OS launches for Microsoft and even the growth after the initial launch has been decent thanks to free upgrade for a full year. Development however continues, and some clues have been found that we might see a major update in early 2017.

A twitter user has found clues of upcoming major update in a test version of Windows 10. The update is called Windows 10 Version 1703 which would suggest March 2017 launch as Microsoft names the version after year and month of targeted launch (Anniversary Update this July was 1607).

What can we expect to see in March? Well, at this point it is unknown what kind of features Microsoft is bringing to Windows in the so called Redstone 2 (RS2) update but according to The Verge we might see HomeHub software which enables remote control over smart home technology. We will keep you posted of any reliable sounding rumors which we'll most probably get during the upcoming months.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung customers are abandoning their preferred smartphone brand

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Oct 2016 14:23

Samsung customers are abandoning their preferred smartphone brand Samsung's battery catastrophe with the Galaxy Note7 smartphone is going to cost billions of dollars. The company has not only had to issue recall two times but had to stop the production and the selling of the model altogether. Now it seems that even this is not the entire extent of the damage.

Recently a survey asked current Samsung customers about their feelings towards Galaxy phones after the battery issues. Majority were still willing to stick with Samsung but a huge portion, nearly 40 percent, are going to look into competitors' devices when the time comes to replace their phone. Not surprisingly there's been an increase as a survey found after the first recall 34 percent were looking to change their smartphone brand.

Of these 40 percent nearly a third were thinking of switching to Apple's iPhones and the rest were going to look at other Android manufacturers.

Clearly this is not a good sign for Samsung which is trying to do some damage control with $100 vouchers for the people that stick with them. Hopefully, for Samsung, the people will see the problems as a one off and move on. As time goes by people will surely forget.

AfterDawn: News

Firefox is bringing in Chrome plugins

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Oct 2016 10:11

Firefox is bringing in Chrome plugins Mozilla has initiated what is called Project Mortar and aims to replace the current plugins with a new solution. It hopes to decrease the cost of development and maintenance of Firefox.

One of the ways is using other browsers' solutions and the company is already experimenting by porting a couple popular ones. It has ported already the PDF viewer PDFium and the Flash player Pepper Flash.

In order to enable stronger focus on advancing the Web and to reduce the complexity and long term maintenance cost of Firefox, and as part of our strategy to remove generic plugin support, we are launching Project Mortar.

Project Mortar seeks to reduce the time Mozilla spends on technologies that are required to provide a complete web browsing experience, but are not a core piece of the Web platform. We will be looking for opportunities to replace such technologies with other existing alternatives, including implementations by other browser vendors.Senior director of engineering at Mozilla, Johnny Stenback to Betanews

As Google's Chrome has a strong plugin support it seems like the natural option for Firefox. This will allow the company to focus on the development of the so-called core features of the browser.

AfterDawn: News

New Ethernet standard to speed up your wired connection without new cables

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Oct 2016 9:52

New Ethernet standard to speed up your wired connection without new cables Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has approved the new Ethernet standard proposed by the NBASE-T Alliance lead by Cisco and other industry leaders. The new standard improves the speed with current cables.

The standard IEEE 802.3bz allows up to 2.5 and 5 gigabit traffic in what are now one gigabit networks using Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables. According to Cisco, in the past 15 years, Cat5e and Cat6 cables have been installed in excess of an estimated 70 billion meters – that's more than 40 million miles.

The new standard allows networks to be upgraded without massive rewiring which brings obviously costs. As wireless connections have evolved to challenge the wired connections it is important to get wired connection a speed boost if they want to survive.

Even though the new standard doesn't require new cables, the networking equipment has to replaced with a new one that supports 802.3bz.


AfterDawn: News

Spotify in talks to buy SoundCloud – again

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Sep 2016 15:53

Spotify in talks to buy SoundCloud – again World's largest music streaming service Spotify has reportedly started talks about acquiring a competing streaming service SoundCloud. According to Financial Times, Spotify is closing in on a deal but there's no word on the price.

The Swedish streaming giant has tried to buy SoundCloud already twice but the companies haven't managed to agree on a price. Last summer SoundCloud finished another financing round with another 100 million dollars. Spotify attempted to buy SoundCloud quickly after but negotiation hit a wall quickly.

According to the new reports the negotiations have gone further this time but the deal is anything but signed.

SoundCloud has managed to create a lively community of creators which is probably Spotify's main interest. The co-founder of Spotify, Niklas Zennström, sees consolidation of independent streaming services almost inevitable to survive against the device manufacturers (e.g. Apple) that rely on other forms of revenue.

SoundCloud was valued at $700 million after the latest round of investments.

AfterDawn: News

Firefox might be killing your SSD, fix it with one simple step

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Sep 2016 15:12

Firefox might be killing your SSD, fix it with one simple step Modern web browsers offer amazing functionality, speed, and performance. One of the best features without question is the session recovery. This allows us to continue where we left of as if we never closed the browser, even in case of computer crashing. There is a definite drawback though.

Serve the Home's Sergei Bobik has noticed that especially Firefox likes to write excessive amounts of data on your drive in case recovery is needed. It can potentially amount to tens of gigabytes a day.

Also it not only eats your storage but slowly kills your SSD, if that is what you use. SSD's only allow certain amount of writes before they expire. Thus, having programs constantly writing on them is not good for their lifespan.

This seems to happen with Firefox even though it is not used. Bobik noticed that within 45 minutes of having Firefox open it had written over gigabyte of data to an SSD. At this pace tens of gigabytes per day can be accumulated. In his recent calculations the same problem seems to be in Chrome as well and it could backup restoration data more than 24 GB/day.

There's an easy fix to improve your SDD's lifespan and reduce storage used by Firefox. You can change the frequency of the data writeup, by default it is done every 15 seconds. Switch the browser.sessionstore.interval parameter by typing about:config in your Firefox address bar. Notice that the time is in milliseconds (15 000 = 15 seconds, 300 000 = 5 minutes).

AfterDawn: News

Elon Musk reveals plans to colonize Mars with "Big Fucking Spaceship"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Sep 2016 14:51

Elon Musk reveals plans to colonize Mars with "Big Fucking Spaceship" Elon Musk has revealed new plans for his space exploration company SpaceX. For a while we have known that the mad scientist plans to get humanity to Mars but when and how?

Now Musk has told us some very (and others not so) specific steps SpaceX is taking in order to make it possible for people to travel to Mars and make it a place they call home. The aim is to make the travel as "cheap" as a median mortgage in the US and to take just a couple of months.

If you haven't been following Musk's obsession with space exploration this might sound completely crazy. However, even NASA's new budget allows it to explore more and further making human missions to Mars a definite possibility in our lifetime.

Musk also unveiled plans for the spaceship, and the rocket carrying it to space. The ship is called Big Fucking Spaceship, I kid you not. It is obviously currently only a vision of what it takes to make travel affordable enough, including room for hundred or more people.

The development will take decades but Musk believes that within from 40 to 100 years we'll be sending Matt Damon to grow some crops.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube offers a badge to users, calls them Heroes

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Sep 2016 14:52

YouTube offers a badge to users, calls them Heroes There's not a lot of places that can be more vile than a YouTube comment section. And every day thousands upon thousands of illegal videos are uploaded to YouTube. All this needs to be cleaned up while maintaining YouTube as a free and open platform to voice your views.

YouTube, though, knows that there's a problem with unmoderated nature of the comment section as well as videos that do not serve a purpose that YouTube was made for, and now they've come up with a solution. Enter YouTube Heroes.

YouTube has introduced an initiative which recruits community volunteers to police the comments and content. These people which will be given the moniker YouTube Heroes will gain more power as they've flagged more videos and comments, as well as entered more captions.

There's no money to be made here but YouTube promises some perks like exclusive videochats, workshops, and even personal contacts within YouTube. These are things that not even channels with millions of subscribers have access to.

Obviously there's a million different problems with giving a badge and a gun to seemingly random YouTube users. They even get to mass flag videos like it's a good thing that less effort goes into flagging a video.


AfterDawn: News

Yahoo confirms the largest hack in history

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Sep 2016 13:36

Yahoo confirms the largest hack in history As we yesterday reported, inside information had it that Yahoo's alleged hack was real and that the company was only waiting to come forward and confirm it. Now, a day later, the internet giant has indeed confirmed what seems to be the largest hack of this type in the history of the internet.

According to Yahoo the hack that happened in late 2014 managed to collect information from its user accounts. The hacker, which the company believes to be a "state-sponsored actor", stole information from over 500 million users.

Thus far the largest hack has been attributed to MySpace, which affected around 427 million accounts. Yesterday as the numbers were still unclear suggestions of 200 million or hundreds of millions were circulating.

According to Yahoo among the leaked information are:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt)
  • In some cases encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers


AfterDawn: News

Massive leak might affect hundreds of millions of Yahoo accounts

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Sep 2016 19:04

Massive leak might affect hundreds of millions of Yahoo accounts Last month a hacker by the name of Peace claimed to possess information of millions upon millions of Yahoo accounts. At that point Yahoo did not comment on whether or not the leak had actually happened but said they would investigate. Now new information has it that the leak has happened.

Re/code's Kara Swisher suggests that the leak has indeed happened even though Yahoo has yet to confirm the fact. Furthermore Swisher is saying that Yahoo has the information but is trying to come up with a good strategy before reveling it to the public.

The hacker claimed to have information, such as usernames, easily decrypted passwords, as well as personal information like email addresses and birth dates of over 200 million users. The extent of the leak was not confirmed by Re/code's sources but they said it was "widespread and serious."

This might complicate things the acquisition by Verizon. Obviously the new owner of Yahoo would rather not have a burden of such a huge problem and this might affect the $4.8 billion price tag.

AfterDawn: News

Making the new iPhone costs more than ever

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Sep 2016 13:45

Making the new iPhone costs more than ever Apple's equipment has never come cheap, and there has always been a cheaper hardware version of the same product. This means couple of things. First, Apple knows their real power is in the software and secondly that profits are off the roof.

The new iPhone is certainly not an exception in this manner. The software can only be found on Apple's iPhones and the profits are going to be one of the highest in the industry with the most expensive version costing nearly a grand.

According to new information from IHS Markit though shows that the high price is not all for nothing. Teardown of the iPhone 7 revealed that the phone is more expensive to build than ever before. According to the estimate it cost 18% more than iPhone 6S with $224.80 (including materials and manufacturing costs). Even still it retails the phone starting at $649, almost three times as much.

Although Apple has had to increase the build costs for more innovative design and better components to ultimately fend off the Android flagships the IHS researchers say that profits are still far better than for Samsung, which puts around $265 worth of hardware in their flagship Galaxy S7.

It seems that Apple has pulled a good release this time around, selling out several models before launch, and might be in for a new upward trajectory.

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