AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Twitter is catching joke thieves, removing tweets

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Jul 2015 9:33

Twitter is catching joke thieves, removing tweets Twitter followers are a commodity that can be turned into cash. So it is understandable that the fight for followers is fierce.

A lot of the Twitter accounts that have a tremendous amount of followers are celebrities and media who naturally have that kind of following, but it is possible to create a following for yourself even without much of a presence in the real world.

One of the ways is to have snarky commentary and witty jokes. However, since it is really hard to come up with original jokes there has been a surge of tweet thieves. Twitter is now removing the tweets on copyright grounds, The Verge reports.

A tweet by @runolgarun (Olga Lexell) has been stolen and removed at least five times, noted Twitter user @PlagiarismBad. Lexell also has confirmed on Twitter that she in fact requested the removal of these stolen tweets. She says that they were tweeted by spam bots that had also stolen other jokes, and that the tweets were removed by Twitter without further questions.

AfterDawn: News

China lifts the decade and a half long ban on game consoles

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Jul 2015 8:19

China lifts the decade and a half long ban on game consoles China has had an peculiar ban on video game consoles for 15 years. Since last year it hasn't affected companies registered in he Shanghai Free Trade Zone anymore, but now it's finally time to end the ban altogether, WSJ reports.

The Ministry of Culture revealed earlier this week that the ban will lift from the whole country. That means that manufacturing and selling video game consoles is again allowed. This obviously opens up the game market in a huge way.

Companies including Sony and Microsoft are surely looking to commit into China more now. Sony told Wall Street Journal this was "great news" for the company.

In 2000 China decided on the video game console ban to prevent possible harmful influences to its youth. Presumably China has noticed there hasn't been proof of such effect in other countries.

AfterDawn: News

Chromecast celebrates the second birthday with free music and movies

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jul 2015 7:48

Chromecast celebrates the second birthday with free music and movies Google has decided to offer once again freebies for Chromecast users. To celebrate the second birthday of Chromecast Google is offering free movies and music.

The offers featured on this website include 90 days of free music courtesy of Google Play as well as a free movie rental from the same service.

There's no hurry to redeem the freebies though, as the movie rental will be available to redeem until the end of the year and the music pass until the end of January 2016.

AfterDawn: News

Apple has a huge problem with its money

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jul 2015 7:31

Apple has a huge problem with its money One problem you wouldn't think Apple has is money. Well, it seems that that's exactly one of the problems the company has. However, it is not lack thereof but instead the location.

Apple holds much of its cash overseas where it is not as convenient as it would be in the US. Tim Cook and company have to find out a way to use it or transfer it without paying a huge amount of US taxes, Bloomberg reports.

The cupertino tech giant has now almost 90 percent of its cash stored in offshore subsidiaries. That makes this a 200 billion – yes, billion – dollar problem.

These subsidiaries are not required to pay the 35 percent corporate tax rate of United States but it also means that Apple cannot use them for acquisitions – or much of anything really.

Obviously Apple is trying to lobby a tax reform for the corporate tax that is the highest in the industrialized world while some want the cash overseas to be taxes in the same fashion as in the US.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube mobile app gets an update

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jul 2015 7:15

YouTube mobile app gets an update Google has released a new version of the YouTube mobile app. The app gets a facelift in form of new three new tab layout.

The update features three new tabs: Home, Subscriptions and Account. It is now available for Android devices and iOS will get it "soon".

Home tab is for exploring the content that is customized with user behavior and other factors calculated by the recommendation engine. Subscriptions shows your favorite channels and Account tab lets you browse your playlists, history, and your uploads.

The mobile app has now also been updated to support full screen vertical video.


AfterDawn: News

UK High Court rules CD ripping illegal, again

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Jul 2015 15:20

UK High Court rules CD ripping illegal, again The British government decided last year that CD and DVD ripping, amongst other format changes, are allowed as long as the copy is not redistributed and the original piece has been acquired legally. This isn't the case anymore as High Court reverts the decision.

The High Court took the case after music industry claimed it was illegal to copy material without a fair compensation. And indeed the court ruled that copies without proper payment to the right holders is illegal.

The music and movie industry rejoice but the result might hinder the job of some teachers and researchers. It is however highly unlikely that the ruling will be enforced upon the masses.

The government's view on the subject was that the backups of individuals do not create a significant financial deficit to the creators and therefore didn't need to be funded.

AfterDawn: News

Are SIM cards soon a thing of the past?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Jul 2015 14:25

Are SIM cards soon a thing of the past? SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards have existed for decades and even though they are gradually getting smaller they are still around. Maybe not for long though if GSMA and the likes of Samsung and Apple have their way.

According to Financial Times Samsung and Apple are in talks with telecom representing GSM Association to launch a new kind of electronic SIM card. Even though nothing is written in stone yet, GSMA says that operators including Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, and Orange are joining the world's two largest smartphone companies in supporting the eSIM.

The electronic SIM card would allow instant switching of operators without physically fiddling with the device. Apple tested the concept on its LTE equipped iPads but the support from the operatorss for the "Apple SIM" remained relatively weak.

The electronic SIM is said to possible enter the consumer markets as soon as 2016.

AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 is ready for the limelight

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Jul 2015 13:42

Windows 10 is ready for the limelight Microsoft has finalized the Windows 10 software and the Windows Insider Program members are now able to try out the commercial version.

The Verge reports that build 10240 is the final release which will be installed by the PC manufacturers on their first Windows 10 computers. The same version is the one that Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be able to upgrade on July 29th – unless last minute fixes are released.

Microsoft doesn't want to call the version finished for obvious reasons. There might still be smaller bug fixes and other tweaks before the launch date. And even after that the operating system continues to evolve.

AfterDawn: News

Apple revealed a new iPod, first update since 2012

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Jul 2015 11:11

Apple revealed a new iPod, first update since 2012 Apple has announced a new iPod Touch earlier this week. The company hasn't been updating the iPod portfolio since 2012 but now, after the release of Apple Music, the time was right.

The new iPod Touch features the same A8 processor from latest generation iPhones but the display is only four inches diagonally. The resolution is 1136 x 640.

There are two cameras aboard: 8 megapixel snapper in the back and a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera in the front. Fifth generation Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.1 are supported. However, no GPS or NFC support.

You can choose between 16, 32, 64, or 128 gigabytes of storage and the prices are $199, $249, $299, and $399 respectively. Apple also refreshed iPod shuffle and iPod nano with new color options.

AfterDawn: News

Nokia wants to enter the smartphone market again

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Jul 2015 7:04

Nokia wants to enter the smartphone market again Nokia released a statement earlier this week addressing the rumors of a possible future smartphone. The Finnish company had earlier suggested that it would be interested in creating a smartphone but now the new press release makes it official – or more so.

Ever since Nokia sold the mobile phone business to Microsoft there has been chatter in the media about a possibility for Nokia to re-enter the market. After the unveiling of N1 (pictured), an Android tablet, Nokia as a company has been more involved in the discussion about a possible phone as well.

The statement comes conveniently just after Microsoft has told about layoffs that affect most harshlly towns in Finland. Microsoft, however, still holds the rights for Nokia name in smartphones.

At earliest Nokia could launch a new smartphone under that name in the last quarter of 2016. So there is more than enough time to find a licensing partner – after all Nokia doesn't own the manufacturing plants anymore.

AfterDawn: News

Google to establish massive scale free WiFi in New York

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Jun 2015 11:55

Google to establish massive scale free WiFi in New York Google-owned company Sidewalk Labs has announced acquisition of Control Group and Titan, two companies that are building a free city wide WiFi. The project will launch in September in New York City, Bloomberg reports.

The project aims to bring free and "superfast" WiFi to the city of New York and especially for tourists to exploit. It will use old phone booths – which there are thousands of – to provide WiFi hotspots as well as free phone charging, phone calling, and internet browsing.

It's been estimated that over $500 million can be made from the advertisements over the next 12 years.

Google has been interested in global free WiFi for quite some time and this is the first big push into that area. We will certainly hear more about similar plans in new cities in the future.

AfterDawn: News

Taylor Swift "happily" gives 1989 for Apple to stream

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Jun 2015 13:25

Taylor Swift "happily" gives 1989 for Apple to stream Apple Music has done it. Convincing Taylor Swift that streaming music is a good thing. Well, good enough even for her newest baby, 1989.

Last year Taylor Swift removed all her music from the world's most popular music streaming service Spotify. Other streaming services that did not have an ad-supported free model got to keep her music. However, the new album, titled 1989, was never added to any music streaming service.

Some, including yours truly, thought the pop princess wanted to keep it strictly off streaming and reap profit solely from traditional album sales. After saying no to Rhapsody, Tidal, and Apple Music it seemed the only possible outcome. But after over five million albums sold, it has come time to give a streaming service 1989.

Quick backstory to Apple vs Swift: Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple stating that she didn't like that they wouldn't pay artists from listens during the Apple Music three months trial. That, in fact, she said was the reason 1989 was not going to be on Apple Music. She gave Apple an opportunity to make it all better, though, by simply paying the artists.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix is en route to top all network channels in viewership

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Jun 2015 11:23

Netflix is en route to top all network channels in viewership Netflix's rate of expansion and popularity in the US and beyond has been impressive the past few years. It has challenged cable channels like HBO but new analysis suggests that network channels are the next target.

FBR Capital analyst Barton Crockett said that according to the first quarter numbers Netflix is on par with ABC and NBC. The streaming giant which is not included in the Nielsen ratings would score an average of 2.6 with its three month 10 billion hours streamed, says Crockett.

Disney's ABC and Comcast's NBC are at same 2.6 but their ratings are declining unlike Netflix's viewership. Netflix recently announced it will be expanding to Spain and Portugal in October which will increase the impressive "40%-plus compound annual rate" Crockett told investors about.

AfterDawn: News

Apple caves to Taylor Swift's request

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Jun 2015 10:26

Apple caves to Taylor Swift's request Apple introduced it's new music streaming service with a three month trial period. For customers a three month free of pay trial period seems like a great deal. However, for artists the news wasn't that good. In fact, Apple said that it won't be paying artists for the listens during the three month period at all.

Taylor Swift argued that it was a shocking and disappointing in an open letter released on Tumblr. Only hours after it was released Apple took another look at the policy and decided to change it.

Apple boss Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that Apple will be paying artists for the listens during the three month trial period as well. At this point it is unknown though how the pay compares to pay from a normal listen. Also it is unclear if Taylor Swift will indeed now bring the hugely successful album 1989 to Apple Music That would make Apple Music the first music streaming service to feature the album in question.

AfterDawn: News

Taylor Swift declares Apple Music "shocking, disappointing"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Jun 2015 10:08

Taylor Swift declares Apple Music "shocking, disappointing" As we reported earlier this week Taylor Swift has denied Apple Music her latest masterpiece called 1989. Now the pop princess explains herself in an open letter to Apple.

This open letter, dubbed "To Apple, Love Taylor", starts off by explaining what a great relationship she has had with one of the most influential companies in history – both technologically and in the music industry. The letter, however, quickly turns for the worse for Apple.

Swift says she's been shocked and disappointed by Apple Music's three month trial period during which it doesn't pay the artists for the songs listened. According to Swift this is not what "historically progressive and generous company" should do.

She continues to explain that this is not about her – even though it is just her one album – but instead the starting and struggling artists that are rid of one quarter of a year's pay. Swift makes sure to say multiple times how much she respects Apple as a company and what they've done but says this particular thing is wrong.

The letter closes saying that it's not too late for Apple to change its policy and that Apple shouldn't ask for this because "we don't ask you for free iPhones".


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