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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft pushes update for serious Windows flaw

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 May 2017 12:20

Microsoft pushes update for serious Windows flaw Microsoft has quickly patched an unmasked security vulnerability in its software that potentially allowed attackers to hijack a PC.

The remarkable thing about this particular flaw is its association with Microsoft's anti-malware tool, Windows Defender. An attacker could target a victim with a malicious e-mail, an instant message or a crafted link.

According to reports, the victim wouldn't even have had to open an e-mail as the exploit would be triggered once the anti-malware tool scanned it.

The bug in question affected Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10, and was patched by an out-of-cycle update released by Microsoft in advance of the so-called "Patch Tuesday" round-up.

Researchers at Google's ProjectZero discovered the flaw at the weekend and expressed delight at Microsoft's speedy response.

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AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens utilized in spine surgery solution

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 May 2017 12:26

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens utilized in spine surgery solution Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality system has been integrated into a new spine surgery solution from Scopis.

The Holographic Navigation Platform has been developed to offer greater precision and speed to surgeons, and better outcomes to patients undergoing open and minimally-invasive spinal procedures. By integrating HoloLens, surgeons can benefit from mixed reality in a number of useful ways. For example, surgeons can plan the positioning and alignment of pedicle screws during multiple vertebrae fixation surgeries.

While wearing the HoloLens glasses, the surgeon can see the planned positioning of the pedicle screws projected into view, overlaid exactly onto the patient.

"This allows the surgeon to find the screws' planned positions faster and to align surgical instruments interactively with the holographic visualization," Scopis claims in press material.

Watch Scopis' video on the Holographic Navigation Platform below:

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AfterDawn: News

Uber's Greyball prompts criminal probe in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 May 2017 12:16

Uber's Greyball prompts criminal probe in U.S. Uber's controversial use of 'Greyball' to evade regulators and law enforcement is now the subject of a criminal investigation, according to a report.

Greyball would tag certain users and show them a different version of the standard app. Tagged users would see false data about the location of nearby Uber vehicles. Using Greyball, Uber protected itself and its drivers from fraudulent activity and also to prevent drivers from potential physical harm.

However, the same system was reportedly used to thwart regulators. The system identified local officials and would make it impossible for them to hail a real Uber ride. This was allegedly done to protect drivers from fines or from having their cars impounded.

In December 2014, Uber allegedly used Greyball to evade 16 Portland Bureau of Transportation officials, denying them dozens of rides, according to the Reuters news agency.

It has now cited sources in reporting that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Uber's use of Greyball.




AfterDawn: News

Rasberry Pi turns into a smart gadget with the help of Google

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 May 2017 13:34

Rasberry Pi turns into a smart gadget with the help of Google Raspberry Pi is where many ingenious gadgets of the future take their first steps. An affordable and very versatile platform allows tons of creativity and possibilities in molding your own gadgets.

Now Google is making the RasPi a little smarter.

The new edition of the official Raspberry Pi magazine MagPi includes a new type of accessory for the Raspberry Pi which lets you integrate Google's Assistant to your creation. In essence it's a piece of technology from Google Home that can be inserted into a Raspberry Pi 3, Pi Zero or Pi 2.

Obviously in addition to the actual Voice HAT, which stands for Hardware Accessory on Top, board the addon includes a speaker and a microphone for both delivering the voice commands as well as hearing the responses. You also get all the necessary wires.

The companies have coined a term Artificial Intelligence Yourself, or AIY, that describes the aim to make AI more accessible to hobbyist and homebrew software creators.

Unfortunately at this point the Voice HAT is only available with the MagPi magazine, and is sold out, but Raspberry Pi has told Wired that it might release it separately. That would seem smart, at least after the HAT has done its job and attracted more subscribers.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo is not giving up on handheld consoles, here's 2DS XL

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2017 15:06

Nintendo is not giving up on handheld consoles, here's 2DS XL One would have thought that the time of handheld consoles would have come to an end, after all many, if not most, of us have a very powerful computer in our pockets already. The two Japanese gaming powerhouses, Nintendo and Sony, have been in the forefront of handheld gaming but have they given up already?

Well, PlayStation Vita, the latest handheld gaming console by Sony was released more than five years ago. Sony has placed its bets on PlayStation 4, and seems to be doing really well. Perhaps it might even release a new PlayStation 5 sooner than you'd think as it is not investing in the development of handheld consoles.

Nintendo on the other hand has been relying on their success with handhelds. Within the past 5 years, after PS Vita was announced, the company has released several upgrades to the DS line. Even its new home gaming console Switch can be used in handheld mode.

This regardless that the company has seen huge traction in smartphone games with Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run. Now the company has announced another DS product.

Nintendo has released a product called 2DS XL which is an updated version of the 2DS console released in late 2013. Unlike the 3DS which is designed for stereoscopic 3D the 2DS XL plays only traditional 2D games.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube is revamping its UI, adds Dark Mode, and you can try it out now

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2017 12:31

YouTube is revamping its UI, adds Dark Mode, and you can try it out now YouTube turned 12 this year and to celebrate the last pre-teen year the video platform is updating its look. The new user interface has adopted a design philosophy from the parent company Google.

The new UI takes the Material Design from Google's Android operating system which makes the website look more simplistic but does not affect the functionality in any meaningful sense. The layout hasn't been changed which isn't a susprise, after all people are very familiar with how the platform works, but YouTube hopes the new UI gives a more spacey and less busy feel to the site.

In addition to the new UI there are some new features though. For example, now users can choose to use a Dark Mode theme instead of the normal lighter theme. The Dark Mode is obviously good if you use the website in a dark room.

YouTube has also introduced a slight technical change in the use of JavaScript. They now use Google's own Polymer JavaScript libraries which should prove to be more efficient and faster.

You can try out the new UI here even though it has not been finished and officially launched yet.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft offers free Windows 10 Pro upgrade to Surface Laptop buyers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2017 11:32

Microsoft offers free Windows 10 Pro upgrade to Surface Laptop buyers Microsoft unveiled yesterday the new Windows 10 S operating system which in effect is a lite version of company's flagship product. Also revealed was the first traditional laptop to come out of Redmond.

It was quickly argued that the biggest problem of the laptop is the operating system that cripples such a well equipped and at least seemingly well built machine. Windows 10 S allows app installs only from the Windows Store and therefore millions of programs are not available for the system.

Fortunately The Verge has found out that Surface Laptop owners will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. Normally the fee is $49, which to be honest, doesn't sound too bad, considering the improvement that comes with app freedom.

This deal only lasts for the rest of the year, though, and if you are buying some other Windows 10 S product you are out of luck and have to shell out the money if you want to upgrade.

Microsoft also is giving away one year license of Office 365, which is coming to the Windows Store, with Surface Laptop.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils Surface Laptop: Lighter, thinner, and faster than MacBook Air

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 May 2017 12:25

Microsoft unveils Surface Laptop: Lighter, thinner, and faster than MacBook Air Microsoft has today announced a new Surface product, which is the company's first traditional laptop. The device, aptly named Surface Laptop, is indeed not a hybrid like the Surface Book, and is more reasonably priced.

According to Microsoft, the 13.5 inch 3:2 display on Surface Laptop is the ever thinnest in a laptop. This and the fact that everything inside the device has been packed super tight means that at .57" and 2.76 lbs it is both thinner and lighter than even the MacBook Air.

The display is said to produce 3.4 million pixels so its resolution (2256 x 1504) is around the traditional QHD but with 3:2 aspect ratio differentiates itself from both the widescreen 16:9 or 16:9 (MacBook Air) laptops as well as the old school 4:3 displays.

According to Microsoft's own Panos Panay the Surface Laptop is also more powerful than the competition. With Intel's Core i5 and i7 processors Panay claims it is up to 50 percent faster than MacBook Air. With all that power the promised 14.5 hour battery life (with video playback) seems like a good deal, especially considering the weight.

The keyboard is surrounded by alcantara fabric that we first saw on Surface Pro 4 keyboard, and Microsoft has managed to retain a respectable 1.5 mm press depth.

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AfterDawn: News

WATCH: SpaceX rocket landing as you've never seen one before

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 9:09

WATCH: SpaceX rocket landing as you've never seen one before SpaceX video shows the landing of the rocket booster right from stage separation to the landing zone, both from the ground and from the rocket itself.

Videos showing SpaceX landing the booster stage of its Falcon 9 rockets are not new, but this webcast is clearly their best yet. It was broadcast today, covering the NROL-76 launch. Due the classified nature of the mission, SpaceX did not broadcast video of the second stage.

This presented the rocket firm with an opportunity however, to broadcast the landing of the first stage of the rocket from stage separation back to the surface of Earth. In a split-screen broadcast, SpaceX tracked the booster as it fell at high speed toward the Earth, oriented itself and slowed itself down to land safely. It also had an onboard camera as before.

The landing was a success and the video footage, as well as the detailed narration, gives the rest of us an idea of how tricky this manoeuvre is.

Watch the NROL-76 Launch Webcast below (the launch happens around 17:50 into the video).

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AfterDawn: News

VIDEO: Elon Musk's vision for avoiding traffic with tunnels

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 5:05

VIDEO: Elon Musk's vision for avoiding traffic with tunnels Mr Musk's 'Boring Company' has shown a concept video for a subterranean network of tunnels that zips cars from place to place.

If you have spent time listening to Elon Musk opine, then you probably have heard him passionately complaining about traffic. The SpaceX & Tesla Motors CEO had tweeted last year that he was going to avoid traffic by getting a tunnel boring machine.

Apparently, it wasn't just a passing thought that Elon decided to tweet to the world, but a statement of intent. A SpaceX employee recently leaked a picture of a tunnel boring machine with a company logo for "The Boring Company" painted on. The photo was taken down but not before Business Insider grabbed and re-posted it.

Last week, 'The Boring Company' released a concept video. In the mock up, cars are seen parking on a street-level platform before being lowered into a tunnel and whisked off at high speed to a location and being elevated to the street.

Here is that video:

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AfterDawn: News

PlayStation 5 could arrive in 2018?

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 4:32

PlayStation 5 could arrive in 2018? An analyst is predicting that Sony will speed up its console refresh cycle and release the PlayStation 5 in the second half of 2018.

The gap between the original PlayStation console and the PlayStation 2 console was six years (1994, 2000). Sony then released the PlayStation 3 console six years later, in 2006. Back in late 2013, Sony dropped the PlayStation 4 onto the market, this time the gap between the debut was seven years.

However, Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong is predicting that the next major console release from Sony will be in the second half of 2018, just five years since the original PS4. Thong had accurately predicted the release of the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.

There are many reasons why Thong could be proven right again. With the release of the PS4, Sony switched to x86 architecture with AMD chips, as did rivals Microsoft with the Xbox One. It is very unlikely that Sony would opt to switch to custom processors with a PS5, and so maintaining backward compatibility with the PS4 titles shouldn't be a problem.

Market forces also may speed up the refresh cycle for the iconic console. More than ever, games consoles are competing with mobile platforms, low cost devices and increasingly affordable and convenient high-quality PC gaming. In this changing market, a seven year gap between PlayStation releases is probably unlikely.




AfterDawn: News

Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 4:13

Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia The Turkish authorities have blocked access to Wikipedia, citing a 'smear campaign' against the country.

The block was announced by the BTK telecommunications watchdog, citing a law that allows it to block access to content on the Internet if it is deemed a threat to national security, or if it is obscene. Wikipedia.org has been blocked by the authorities on the grounds that it is engaged in a smear campaign against Turkey by linking the country to militant groups.

"Instead of coordinating against terrorism, it has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena," Anadolu, a state-controlled news organization, reported.

The ban will only be lifted if the online encyclopaedia complies with demands from the Turkish government, according to the Reuters news agency.

Censorship of this kind is likely to concern rights' campaigners who have blown the whistle on infringements on freedom of speech and other rights in Turkey in the past year.




AfterDawn: News

Facebook homepage listed in takedown notice over football piracy

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 4:01

Facebook homepage listed in takedown notice over football piracy In an unfortunate display of how piracy-related censorship activity can identify innocent targets, a recent takedown request listed www.facebook.com as an infringing URL.

The takedown notice, spotted by TorrentFreak, was sent to Google by NetResult on behalf of the Premier League. Such notices request that Google remove results from its Search service that offer unlicensed video streams of football matches for free.

In the past, large scale efforts to block access to (or lower the visibility of) websites that engage in copyright infringement have been criticized for catching innocent targets in the web. This little snafu - in which NetResult identified https://www.facebook.com as a link that should be removed from Google's search results - is a rather dramatic example of an innocent party being identified and targeted.

Fortunately for Facebook, Google decided not to comply with the takedown request and Facebook's homepage can still be found by the world's most popular search engine.

Read More: TorrentFreak




AfterDawn: News

Selling pre-loaded media boxes for piracy is illegal, EU court suggests

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 3:46

Selling pre-loaded media boxes for piracy is illegal, EU court suggests The European Court of Justice (ECJ) finds that the sale of media set top boxes pre-loaded with piracy-enabling add-ons can be considered illegal.

The court handed down its decision last week in a case related to the sale of such media boxes in the Netherlands. Pre-loaded media boxes (sometimes incorrectly labelled as 'Kodi Boxes') come with apps and add-ons that provide access to streams of movies, TV shows, music and even live television. The sources for the content typically don't have the express permission of the copyright holder for distribution.

In this case, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN took action against a business selling such pre-loaded boxes. Eventually, the case found its way to the ECJ for interpretation, and the court came to the conclusion that the sale of such devices can be considered illegal under EU copyright directives.

"It is common ground that the sale of the 'filmerspeler' multimedia player was made in full knowledge of the fact that the add-ons containing hyperlinks pre-installed on that player gave access to works published illegally on the internet," the ECJ decision reads.

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AfterDawn: News

Remedy Entertainment planning an IPO, listing on Nasdaq North First

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Apr 2017 9:35

Remedy Entertainment planning an IPO, listing on Nasdaq North First Remedy Entertainment, the Finnish game developer behind hit games such as Max Payne, plans on listing on Nasdaq First North. The company says in its press release that it estimates the listing to happen next month.

Remedy's first hit game was Max Payne which introduced the bullet time effect from the movie Matrix into gaming in 2001 and got its film adaptation in 2008 starring Mark Wahlberg. The company has since created critically-acclaimed titles Alan Wake and most recently Quantum Break.

According to Remedy the listing will drive its future strategy that includes creating "high-quality games to the global market more often," which makes sense for a company that has been notoriously slow in releasing games. The company has managed to perform well with the games but it has taken up to 5 years to cook up one.

They also plan to develop games for multiple platforms, which hasn't been the case with its titles. The company hopes the listing will ensure better position to hold on to the ownership of their IP. Alan Wake and Quantum Break both have been published by Microsoft and been Xbox and Windows exclusives.

First North is Nasdaq's European stock exchange division for small and growing businesses that has lately seen activity from other Nordic gaming companies as well. Earlier this year a Finnish mobile game studio Next Games, known for its Walking Dead mobile game, also listed on Nasdaq Helsinki's First North market.

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