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AfterDawn: News

Samsung runs out of Galaxy phones to loan out in new 'Test Drive' program

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Aug 2015 21:59

Samsung runs out of Galaxy phones to loan out in new 'Test Drive' program Samsung announced last week that for $1, iPhone owners could test out new Galaxy smartphones for 30 days in an effort to get some users to switch over.

After just a few hours, Samsung has announced that their test program is a hit and there are none left available to rent. iPhone owners looking to try out a Galaxy S6 Edge, the new Galaxy S6 Edge+ or the new Note 5 will have to wait a little bit.

"We're now working quickly on how to make the Ultimate Test Drive available to even more people," said a spokesperson, although they would not comment on how many devices were available for loan in the first place.

Check out the program here: Ultimate Test Drive

AfterDawn: News

Germany rules that taking pictures of food infringes the chef's copyrights

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Aug 2015 21:38

Germany rules that taking pictures of food infringes the chef's copyrights According to a new report, Germany has apparently ruled that taking photos of food can infringe on the chef's copyrights.

Sharing images of the food can be illegal, and if you are taking photos at a famous restaurant, you must ask the master chef for permission before you upload it to Instagram.

In 2013, a German court widened copyright law to include applied arts, meaning almost everything can be copywritten if you build it. The report even notes that any restaurant owner can put up a notice in their restaurant that photos cannot be taken without permission and it is acceptable.

Of course, such measures could lead to less innovation in the world of food, but for now it seems that the law is little known, even in Germany.


AfterDawn: News

Spotify apologizes for 'scary' privacy policy update

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Aug 2015 20:52

Spotify apologizes for 'scary' privacy policy update Earlier this week, Spotify updated its privacy policy and it quickly angered and outraged users.

Under a section that read "Information Stored on Your Mobile Device," Spotify noted that "with your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files." As you can imagine, there was considerable outrage as to why a streaming music service would need your contacts or your photos so CEO Daniel Ek posted a new blog post to clear up the confusion.

The post in its entirety:

We are in the middle of rolling out new terms and conditions and privacy policy and they've caused a lot of confusion about what kind of information we access and what we do with it. We apologize for that. We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will and will not be used.

We understand people's concerns about their personal information and are 100 percent committed to protecting our users' privacy and ensuring that you have control over the information you share.

So let me try and clear things up.

In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts. Let me be crystal clear here: If you don't want to share this kind of information, you don't have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience.


AfterDawn: News

Popcorn Time users sued in the U.S., two men arrested in Denmark

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Aug 2015 22:39

Popcorn Time users sued in the U.S., two men arrested in Denmark A number of Popcorn Time users have been sued in a U.S court for viewing and sharing a film using the popular BitTorrent-based app.

The complaint was filed in an Oregon District Court, identifying 11 IP addresses allegedly used while downloading and sharing "The Cobbler". All IP addresses are linked to Comcast customer accounts. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants ordering they halt pirating movies, and up to $150,000 in damages.

More than likely the alleged pirates will receive a settlement offer in time, as is common with BitTorrent users sued for sharing content without consent. Popcorn Time doesn't resemble a BitTorrent client, but it does connect to BitTorrent swarms to download the content in the background.

In another interesting case linked to Popcorn Time, two men were arrested this week in Denmark for operating websites that provided information about Popcorn Time.

What makes their arrest interesting is the fact that their websites offered no copyright-infringing content at all, nor did they even host Popcorn Time apps for visitors to download. Instead, the sites posted updates about Popcorn Time and provided instructions and tips on using the apps.


AfterDawn: News

Report: BlackBerry's first Android phone is coming this November

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Aug 2015 22:59

Report: BlackBerry's first Android phone is coming this November According to new reports, BlackBerry is preparing an Android smartphone for release this November on all the major U.S. carriers.

Codenamed the BlackBerry Venice, the device will be the company's first smartphone to not run on proprietary BlackBerry software.

The new leak comes via "retired" leaker Evan Blass who also posted a detailed picture of the device. If accurate, the Venice will be a slider that slides to expose a full tactile keyboard bringing back the most popular option for smartphones in 2009.

If the other piece of the report is also accurate (all four major carriers), that will be a huge boost for BlackBerry as the company has struggled to secure deals with all the carriers in the past especially since the carriers will no longer use marketing dollars on their devices.


AfterDawn: News

Former Sony brand Vaio is back with a new expensive notebook

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Aug 2015 22:39

Former Sony brand Vaio is back with a new expensive notebook Vaio, the computer brand once owned by Sony, is trying to make a comeback.

Sony sold the brand last year to a private-equity fund as it tried to exit unprofitable businesses and the firm immediately discontinued global sales as it tried to makeover the brand in Japan.

Vaio Corp. will begin selling new notebooks in Microsoft retail stores starting in October and CEO Yoshimi Ota also noted that the company will attempt a move into Brazil using Positivo Informatica as a partner.

The brand will likely have a hard time making a comeback. Even in Sony's home of Japan, Vaio only has 1 percent market share. The global PC market in general continues to contract and Vaio will have to compete against giants like Dell, HP and Lenovo with just one factory and 250 employees.

However, Ota says the company will be profitable by attacking the super high-end niche market, rather than trying to take market share like Sony did. "At the new Vaio, I ask every project team to make realistic goals and be accountable," Mr. Ota said.

The new designs will sell for about $2,199 in the U.S., and the first model - VAIO Canvas Z - is really more of a "giant tablet" that has an i7 processor, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM and a detachable keyboard. The device is being aimed at graphic designers, photographers and high-end Mac users.


AfterDawn: News

Snapchat was hemorrhaging money in 2014

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Aug 2015 22:06

Snapchat was hemorrhaging money in 2014 Valued at $15 billion by venture capitalists, it appears that Snapchat has a long way to go before it is even remotely profitable.

According to a new report, Snapchat lost $128 million between January and November 2014 while only bringing in $3 million in revenue. That being said, the company only started ads last October, so the revenue could be much higher this year but there is evidence to the contrary.

Snapchat's new killer feature, 'Discover,' which allows media properties to offer micro-broadcasts saw a huge surge in popularity when it launched, but traffic (and ad revenue) have both fallen off a cliff since then, says the report. Snapchat was allegedly asking for $750,000 per day from advertisers but has since dropped their rates to just $20 per 1000 views.

Only in a tech bubble could a company with no chance of ever being profitable be valued at $15 billion.


AfterDawn: News

The upcoming Microsoft Surface phone is codenamed 'Juggernaut Alpha'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Aug 2015 23:52

The upcoming Microsoft Surface phone is codenamed 'Juggernaut Alpha' Microsoft is clearly not being subtle in codenaming their upcoming Surface Phone.

According to sources, the device is code named 'Project Juggernaut Alpha.' Of course, a juggernaut is a large, overpowering and unstoppable force which Microsoft certainly hopes its flagship device will be.

Now, we have a look at the alleged specs, which are (true to the name) very powerful:

Display: 14402560 16:9 AMOLED 5.5″ ClearBlack with Gorilla Glass 4
Processor: Intel Atom x3 (SoFIA) 64-bit
Camera: Back: 21MP PureView Zeiss 6-lens, and the selfie camera will be a 8MP Zeiss Wide-Angle
RAM: up to 4GB RAM (base model will have 3GB and top model will have 4GB)
Operating System: Windows 10 Mobile
Storage: Internal storage of 64GB or 128GB expandable to 256GB with microSD.
Surface Pen
USB Type-C
Wireless Charging
Aluminium & Magnesium unibody

Now, whether the smartphone will remain a rumor or actually launch remains to be seen but Microsoft will be aiming high if it does.


AfterDawn: News

Fallout Shelter touches over 1 million installs in less than a week for Android

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Aug 2015 23:30

Fallout Shelter touches over 1 million installs in less than a week for Android Android fans rejoiced last week when Bethesda announced that Fallout Shelter was finally headed to the platform.

The game, first announced at E3, should excite fans of the classic Sims games as it takes features of Sims, Sim City and Sim Tower.

In Fallout Shelter - a dystopian future - you create a "vault" underground to survive, basically building homes and trying to find a mate while protecting your vault from thieves.

Check it out on Google Play here.


AfterDawn: News

Baboom, started by Kim Dotcom, launches to disrupt streaming music industry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Aug 2015 22:04

Baboom, started by Kim Dotcom, launches to disrupt streaming music industry First teased in 2011, music streaming service Baboom has finally launched.

The service is inviting consumers to sign up and begin creating collections either through the Web app or via its Android and iOS mobile apps.

Despite offering features that are similar to Spotify and others, Baboom is fundamentally different. Its entire platform is "direct-to-fan." Musicians who use the service will receive 90 percent of the revenue from their music and gain full transparency of the platform's 'Fair Trade Streaming' initiative, which promises to make sure fees are distributed properly to artists.

As with most streaming services, you can register as a standard (free) user or a premium ($9.99 per month) user. Free users get unlimited streaming, with ads, and the option to create collections of up to 100 songs. Premium users get unlimited collections, no ads, mobile streaming and "exclusive experiences," although it is unclear what that may entail.

Kim Dotcom, of MEGA infamy, first announced the service in 2011, and then named it and teased it again in 2013. Last year, Dotcom "stepped down" from the service as he claimed the music industry's hatred of him was delaying the service from launching.


AfterDawn: News

It's official: Android M is 6.0 Marshmallow

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Aug 2015 0:01

It's official: Android M is 6.0 Marshmallow After a week of teasing, Google has confirmed that its upcoming Android M mobile operating system will take the name Marshmallow and will take version number 6.0.

The early confirmation came when Google added the giant Android statue to its building, with the statue holding a giant marshmallow.

Later in the day, the company released Android 6.0 Preview 3 images to load to your Nexus devices, confirming the operating system would not be version 5.2 as previously expected.

If you'd like the update, you can get it here: Android Devs Blog

AfterDawn: News

Ad blockers will cost ad industry $21.8 billion in 2015

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Aug 2015 23:29

Ad blockers will cost ad industry $21.8 billion in 2015 According to a new report, the use of ad blockers will cost the ad industry $21.8 billion this year, and could potentially spell the end of free content in the future.

The new report comes via PageFair and Adobe, which says that 200 million monthly Internet users are now using ad blockers via their browsers, up 41 percent year-over-year.

Over 77 million users in Europe use ad blockers, followed by 45 million in the U.S. Interestingly, Greece had the highest percentage of users of ad blocking services, at 36.7 percent of all Internet users.

"It is tragic that ad block users are inadvertently inflicting multi-billion dollar losses on the very websites they most enjoy. With ad blocking going mobile, there's an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse," says PageFair in the report.

The figure is expected to jump even higher later this year after Apple introduces ad blocking software for its Safari browser.


AfterDawn: News

Dallas Buyers Club pirates will remain anonymous following court ruling

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Aug 2015 23:11

Dallas Buyers Club pirates will remain anonymous following court ruling Earlier this year, the backers of the critical hit Dallas Buyers Club won the right to obtain the names and addresses of 4700 John/Jane Does that they believe had downloaded and shared unauthorized copies of the film.

The individuals were all users of Australian ISPs iiNet, Dodo, Internode, Amnet Broadband, Adam Internet and Wideband Networks.

Justice Nye Perram has denied the claim from Dallas Buyers Club LLC (DBC LLC), and will not lift the temporary stay without the company changing its demands. DBC LLC is trying to charge thousands of dollars in licensing fees to everyone who allegedly shared the film, but the Judge said that demand is "so surreal as not to be taken seriously. If such a claim were made in a proceeding for copyright infringement in this Court I am satisfied that it would be dismissed summarily without trial ... as a case having no reasonable prospects of success."

Smartly, Justice Jerram also said that pirates should only be required to pay back the "equivalent cost of renting the film on iTunes and the costs DBC incurred in finding the name" of each pirate.


AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 quickly takes 4.95 percent of OS market share

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Aug 2015 22:45

Windows 10 quickly takes 4.95 percent of OS market share In under three weeks, Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system has quickly taken significant market share.

The OS has been well received, and is free for legitimate Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 owners.

According to StatCounter, Windows 10 has reached 53 million installs, good for 4.95 percent of a massive market.

By comparison, Windows 8.1 had 13.09 percent market share before Windows 10 was released, following nearly two years on the market. OS X 10.10 only had 4.74 percent share, meaning in three weeks Windows 10 has surpassed Apple's year-old OS.

Windows 7 remains with the lion share at 60.75 percent, but that number is expected to continue falling.


AfterDawn: News

CurrentC mobile payment app possibly delayed until next year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Aug 2015 22:46

CurrentC mobile payment app possibly delayed until next year CurrentC, the mobile payments app backed by major retailers, may be delayed until next year.

The app is backed by the consortium known as MCX, a group that includes 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS Health, Darden Restaurants; HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe's, Michaels, Publix, Sears Holdings, Shell Oil Products US, Sunoco, Target Corporation and Walmart.

MCX CEO Brian Mooney says an initial pilot will launch in Columbus, Ohio next month, but the group will not rush the global rollout. "This is a long game," Mooney said. "Certainly going faster is always better -- that's not necessarily a debatable point. But we're going to do it right."

CurrentC is very different than apps like Apple Pay (and soon, Samsung Pay and Android Pay) as the app does not allow you to link your credit/debit cards. You can either hook up your checking account, use a store gift card, or attach the retailer's private-label payment cards.

Unfortunately for the group, CurrentC might already be dead on arrival. Two key members, Best Buy and Rite Aid, will begin accepting Apple Pay later this year after an exclusivity period ends with CurrentC.


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