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AfterDawn: News

Here is the RIAA's list of 50 top pirate sites that are an 'assault on our humanity'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 12:09

Here is the RIAA's list of 50 top pirate sites that are an 'assault on our humanity' As they do every year, the industry trade group RIAA has submitted its list of the top 50 "rogue" piracy sites to the U.S. government, and as usual the group has taken some liberties with its verbage.

For example, the group says this year in the filing with the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) that "We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights."

In addition, the group believes that many of the rogue sites believe they are operating to aid freedom of speech and government censorship, which is not true as they are still stealing other's copyrights to do so. "Some observers continue to suggest that the protection of expression is a form of censorship or restriction on fundamental freedoms, and some pirate sites cloak themselves in the language of freedom to justify themselves--sites like The Pirate Bay." added Neil Turkewitz, the RIAA's EVP. "We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights. If the protection of expression is itself a restriction on freedom of expression, then we have entered a metaphysical Wonderland that stands logic on its head, and undermines core, shared global values about personhood."

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AfterDawn: News

MEGA's Dotcom fighting to get back his seized millions

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 11:50

MEGA's Dotcom fighting to get back his seized millions In 2012, a Hong Kong court authorized to seizure of over $40 million worth of assets from bigger-than-life Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and he's still fighting to get it back.

Early that year, the U.S. government, in conjunction with authorities in Hong Kong and New Zealand, seized the site, arrested its top executives including Dotcom, and took servers, bank accounts and other assets. At the same time, Megaupload's Hong Kong offices were raided by officers, and Dotcom's home was raided, as well, where cars and other personal assets were taken.

Currently, the $40 million is being held under restraining order, but Dotcom's legal team is trying to have those funds set aside accusing the secretary of justice in the country of not being truthful when the the application to seize was presented.

"We are applying for [the order] to be set aside because the court has misrepresented the true position," Dotcom lawyer Gerard McCoy added. "Did the secretary for justice put his cards on the table face up? This application is a clear example of the duty either being ignored or simply misunderstood."

McCoy says the prosecution withheld information during the application process, most notably that Megaupload could not even legally be served with a criminal complaint in the U.S. due to not having a U.S. mailing address. "None of this was ever brought to the attention of the judge. It was all put to one side and never raised," McCoy said. If reports are true, it took the judge less than 20 minutes to authorize the seizure after the application was submitted back then.

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AfterDawn: News

Google's tweak to its search algorithm to leave out results from popular warez sites has destroyed their traffic, visibility

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 11:31

Google's tweak to its search algorithm to leave out results from popular warez sites has destroyed their traffic, visibility Google's continued practice of tweaking their search algorithm to leave out results from popular torrent sites and other warez sites has destroyed traffic to those sites and services.

Search results to popular sites like The Pirate Bay, Torrentz.eu and Kickass.to have fallen at least 45 percent in the last week, while other less known sites have seen their SEO visibility fall as much as 97 percent, effectively killing any traffic to the sites through Google.

Google started their tweaks against DMCA violators in August 2012, and began downranking sites that received high amounts of piracy-related complaints. Last year, the search giant received over 224 million DMCA takedown requests and that number is going to be much higher in 2014.

"In August 2012, we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA notices," added Katherine Oyama, Google's Senior Copyright Counsel last week. "We've now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting next week."

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AfterDawn: News

Oppo unveils world's slimmest smartphone: The R5

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 11:08

Oppo unveils world's slimmest smartphone: The R5 Chinese OEM Oppo has unveiled the world's slimmest smartphone, clocking in at just 4.85mm thick.

The new Oppo R5 beats out the previous record holding Gionee Elfie S5.1, which was 5.15mm thick. Oppo is well known for pushing the envelope with its phone and the new R5 still boasts impressive specs in the small casing.

R5 owners will get a 1080p 5.2-inch display, a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 SoC (octa-core quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), 2GB RAM, and dual 5MP/13MP cameras (both featuring f/2.0 aperture lenses). The entire phone is just 155g, has a 2000mAh battery and does include LTE support.

On the downside, there is no microSD slot, no 3.5mm headphone jack and 16GB internal storage meaning you will have to use a bundled microUSB adapter for your favorite headphones.

Oppo says the device will also feature "phase-shifting material" to ensure that internal components remain cool (just like a PC motherboard). In addition, the device runs on Android 4.4 fork Color OS 2.0, which is similar to its predecessor but includes much better gesture support and all Android upgrades.

Ready for launch in December, the device sells unlocked for $499.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft dropping price of Xbox One by $50 starting next week, including bundles

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Oct 2014 10:44

Microsoft dropping price of Xbox One by $50 starting next week, including bundles Potential Xbox One owners have received a gift from Microsoft this week, with the company offering the console and select bundles at a discount.

Beginning on Sunday, November 2nd, the console will be available for $349 in the U.S., a $50 discount. The deal is extended to special edition bundles, as well, including Assassin's Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive.

"Fans don't have to wait for Black Friday this year to enjoy great savings on Xbox One. We're offering our best price yet, with unprecedented choices and value, so more people can play on Xbox One this holiday," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, Microsoft. "We're gearing up for one of our biggest holidays ever and we are thrilled to offer fans up to $150 in savings on Xbox One and some of the biggest blockbuster games of the season."

Here is the full list, which truly includes some slick deals:

Xbox One Assassin's Creed Bundle for $349* ERP and Xbox One Assassin's Creed Bundle with Kinect for $449* ERP features what is shaping up to be the biggest, most intense Assassin's Creed game to date: Assassin's Creed Unity as well as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag on Xbox One. The Xbox One Assassin's Creed Bundle with Kinect also includes Dance Central Spotlight.

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AfterDawn: News

Say hello to the Amazon Fire TV Stick

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Oct 2014 22:08

Say hello to the Amazon Fire TV Stick Amazon has announced the newest addition to their streaming lineup of devices: The Fire TV Stick.

The HDMI streaming dongle will directly compete with the popular Chromecast and Roku Stick and it will cost just $39. By comparison, the Chromecast costs $35 and the Roku Stick costs $49.

Most interestingly, Prime subscribers can pre-order the streaming stick for just $19 until Wednesday making it a pretty great value at the price.

Strangely, Amazon is selling its voice-search-enabled controller (just like the one that comes with the Fire TV set-top) separately for $29.99, but if you use the company's remote control app (which is free) you can still get voice search on your mobile devices. The device comes with access to popular Amazon features like Whispersync, X-Ray and a free month of Prime if you aren't already a member.

Different from the Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick acts more like a mini set-top box and will not have "casting" ability to mirror from the page you are on.

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AfterDawn: News

Android 5.0 Lollipop headed to popular Samsung Galaxy S5 by December

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Oct 2014 21:32

Android 5.0 Lollipop headed to popular Samsung Galaxy S5 by December Although unconfirmed by Samsung as of yet, it appears that the new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system will go live for Galaxy S5 in December.

The popular flagship device should begin its update rollout earlier in December with all users getting the update by the end of the month in all regions.

Google's latest update will also see Samsung update its TouchWiz UI to match the "Material Design" features that are key to the new OS.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Drive and associated apps are down (CONFIRMED)

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 27 Oct 2014 12:09

Google Drive and associated apps are down (CONFIRMED) According to hundreds of Twitter posts, Google Drive and its associated apps, such as Google Docs, are down, globally.

Google hasn't confirmed the outage yet, but its app status monitoring page confirms the outage:







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AfterDawn: News

iOS 8.1 jailbreak is here, but without Cydia

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Oct 2014 23:19

iOS 8.1 jailbreak is here, but without Cydia The dev team PanGu has announced the launch of an iOS 8.1 jailbreak app, although as of writing it is very limited.

iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad owners with iOS 8-8.1 can use the tool, but it is SSH only (and only for Windows owners) without the Cydia marketplace installed. The average consumer or casual hobbyist usually needs their jailbreaking to be automated and easy, so most will stay away from this early tool but it is an encouraging sign and hardcore fans will be using it soon.

Cydia developer saurik also noted on Reddit that the team is aware of the new exploit and is working to get the store available soon.

If you are an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, iPad mini 2, 3, iPad (4th gen)/iPad Air/iPad Air 2, or last-gen iPod Touch owner with iOS 8 can try it here.




AfterDawn: News

Video: Here is the trailer for the upcoming Ridley Scott live-action 'Halo: Nightfall'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Oct 2014 21:05

Video: Here is the trailer for the upcoming Ridley Scott live-action 'Halo: Nightfall' Xbox One owners now have the first full-length trailer for the upcoming live-action series "Halo: Nightfall" produced by Ridley Scott of "Alien" and "Blade Runner" fame.

Microsoft teased the series over the summer, but now we have some actual dialogue and a look at the main characters (and enemies).

The new series revolves around agent Jameson Locke who is leading an investigation into biological weapons that are targeting just humans. Halo fans will recognize Covenant soldiers and some popular weapons including the energy sword. Locke is also the protagonist in the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians.

Antsy fans will be able to stream the first episode of the series on November 10th, a day before the official release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reveals strong Surface, Xbox revenue growth

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Oct 2014 18:40

Microsoft reveals strong Surface, Xbox revenue growth Earlier this week, Microsoft announced their latest quarterly earnings, showing an overall strong report.

Of note, the company's Surface revenue and Xbox sales grew significantly, both doubling year-over-year.

Surface revenue was up 127 percent YoY to $908 million for the fiscal Q1 2015, and Xbox console sales grew 102 percent to 2.4 million for the quarter. The Surface revenue increase should put to bed the rumors that Microsoft wants to shut down the tablets due to low sales.

"Customers are embracing our latest technologies from Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 to Azure and SQL Server," Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said in a statement. "Through great execution by our sales teams and our partners, we have been able to deliver our truly differentiated value to the marketplace."

Revenue in the Xbox division also increased by 58 percent as the Xbox One launched in 28 new nations throughout the world during the quarter. The Xbox One is clearly outmatched by the Sony PS4, which has outsold the console for 9 straight months, but the sales are still large and not expected to slow down anytime soon.

As an aside, Microsoft says they sold 9.3 million Lumia smartphones in the quarter, up just 5.6 percent YoY as the global smartphone race remains a two-horse race.

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AfterDawn: News

Spotify unveils Family plan allowing sharing between family at a discount

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Oct 2014 22:37

Spotify unveils Family plan allowing sharing between family at a discount Spotify has unveiled a new "Spotify Family" plan that will allow up to four family members to share one account but keep their listening separate.

The whole family can now have their own recommendations, playlists and history and all listening habits separate from everyone else sharing the account.

Adds Spotify of the plan:

Premium for everyone. Everyone on the plan gets the full Spotify Premium experience. Listen offline. Play any song, anytime, on any device. No restrictions. No ads.

The more the merrier. Having a family can be expensive. But music doesn't have to be. With Spotify Family, you can add up to four family members to your account, and each additional user gets 50% off Spotify Premium.

No tantrums. No more fighting over what to listen to, and no more interruptions when someone else logs in and starts playing.


"This is one of the most asked for features from our audience," says Ken Parks, Chief Content Officer at Spotify. "With today's announcement we're making it easier than ever for the whole family to experience Spotify Premium on their phones, at home and on the go."

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AfterDawn: News

Ouch: Sony looking to slash smartphone forecast, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Oct 2014 22:10

Ouch: Sony looking to slash smartphone forecast, again According to sources, Sony is preparing to slash its smartphone forecast once again, potentially a death knell for the company's turnaround efforts in the smartphone world.

If true, the company will slash its forecast from the current 43 million (for the year ended March 2015), and it will mark the third drop in the forecast since last April. The initial expectation was 50 million.

The company recently shocked investors and analysts by lowering its fiscal year earnings forecast to a loss of $2.14 billion, much higher than its original $400 million loss forecast.

Sony's latest forecast update is due to the company pulling its entry-level devices from emerging markets including China where they were complete flops. Besides being beat in the entry-level market by more popular and cheaper devices (like Xiaomi), the company cannot compete in the high-end, where Samsung and Apple continue with a duopoly.

The company confirmed Xperia devices will remain part of Sony's focus and turnaround efforts, but that they will only be high-end devices and that the company is no longer looking to take large global share, but just to stay relevant.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple gets back to their old ways and crushes earnings on strong iPhone sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Oct 2014 22:18

Apple gets back to their old ways and crushes earnings on strong iPhone sales Apple reported their quarterly earnings today, crushing estimates in nearly all categories but especially in revenue and iPhone and Mac sales.

Thanks to the new launch of the iPhone 6 and the large iPhone 6 Plus, Apple had a strong quarter in which Apple CEO Tim Cook was even quoted as saying, "we're selling everything we make."

Overall, revenue increased to $42.12 billion, up 12 percent year-over-year, blowing out expectations of $39.85 billion. Profits were up to $8.5 billion, up 20 percent year-over-year, and also beating expectations. iPhone sales were up 16 percent year-over-year, to 39.3 million, and Macs were another big winner up 21 percent YoY to 5.52 million.

The iPad remained a drag, with sales falling 13 percent to 12.3 million as the tablet market has generally stagnated despite some innovations. iPods continued their long-standing phase out, but still saw 2.64 million in sales, down 24 percent YoY.

Likely the best news for Apple was the iPhone ASP (average selling price), which jumped to $602.92 from $561.06, suggesting a nice amount of sales of the iPhone 6 Plus, which carries a very large price tag that starts at $750.

Let's not forget that Apple also has $155 billion in cash, which by taken by itself would make the company one of the largest twenty tech companies in the world.

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AfterDawn: News

'Call of Duty Advanced Warfare' trailer shows off a grim future, and a lot of Kevin Spacey

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Oct 2014 21:50

'Call of Duty Advanced Warfare' trailer shows off a grim future, and a lot of Kevin Spacey Activision has shown off the official launch trailer for the upcoming blockbuster smash "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare," ahead of its global November 4th launch.

The game (via the launch post) "takes players to a future devastated by a global attack. Rising from the chaos is Atlas, a Private Military Corporation led by the cunning Jonathan Irons. With the most powerful military force in the world, Atlas has effectively become a superpower for hire. Playing as Jack Mitchell, suit up in an advanced exoskeleton and join a highly-trained unit committed to restoring order.

The exoskeleton carries over into Multiplayer, where an all-new movement system changes the way players traverse the terrain. Chain together boost actions like jump, dodge, and dash in a fast and fluid style of play. Equip all-new abilities and armaments in the revamped Create-a-Class. Earn additional weapons and gear through in-game Supply Drops, outfitting your operator in the deepest customization experience in franchise history."

In the trailer, you will also see your fair share of an evil but powerful looking Kevin Spacey.

Check out the trailer here:





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