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Air pressure disrupts TV in the UK

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Nov 2017 12:09

Air pressure disrupts TV in the UK Some TV viewers in the UK are having signal problems due to atmospheric conditions, according to Freeview.

Freeview allows TV viewers to pick up TV signals in the UK using antennae. Yesterday, viewers started reporting problems with signal. One consequence for many users was the inability to watch The Great British Bake Off final because of the disruption. Freeview responded to the affected viewers today, urging them not to attempt retuning to alleviate the issue.

We're aware that high air pressure is currently affecting TV and radio signals for some viewers in England and Wales. We're unable to prevent or remedy this. We recommend that you do not retune your equipment as reception will return to normal once the weather changes.

TV and radio signals can be affected by atmospheric conditions, including high air pressure (which brings fine weather), heavy rain or snow.

More Info:

AfterDawn: News

GameStop's PowerPass offers used video game rentals

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Oct 2017 16:47

GameStop's PowerPass offers used video game rentals GameStop has detailed its new PowerPass service, which will allow subscribers to rent used video games from GameStop stores for a fee.

PowerPass will cost a subscriber $60 for six months. For the fee, the subscriber can visit their local GameStop and "rent" a different game at any time during the subscription period. There is a one game at a time limit.

At the end of the six month period, the customer can pick a title to keep at no additional cost.

There is one prerequisite however; you need to be a free or paid member of GameStop's Power-Up Rewards program to sign up for PowerPass.

Is such a "used game rental service" worth the typical cost of a single blockbuster title for six months?

Via: Engadget

AfterDawn: News

YouTube TV app now available for Android TV devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 30 Oct 2017 16:45

YouTube TV app now available for Android TV devices YouTube is now offering a YouTube TV app designed for Android TV devices, including NVIDIA SHIELD, Xbox One and TVs with Android TV built-in.

Over the new few weeks, apps will also roll out for Smart TVs oif major brands, including LG, Samsung, Sony, along with Apple TV. YouTube TV launched in April this year, streaming live sports, local and national news to phones, tablets and computers. More than half of the time spent using YouTube TV includes the use of Chromecast, so it's a no brainer to release an app for Android TV devices.

YouTube TV is currently available in all top 50 metro areas in the United States, and will continue to quickly expand to other markets.

The features you can expect from the YouTube TV app for Android TV include:

  • Control your live TV experience with your TV's remote control or game controller.
  • For a more cinematic look, we made the background dark on your TVs.
  • A new Live guide made for your big screen so you can get a sneak-peek at what's airing soon.
  • Never miss the action with our background playback experience built for your big screen.
  • Easily pick up where you left off on another device when you get home.
More Info: YouTube TV

AfterDawn: News

How much are you willing to pay for a screen repair? Apple reveals iPhone X pricing

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Oct 2017 11:48

How much are you willing to pay for a screen repair? Apple reveals iPhone X pricing Many modern smartphones aren't easily repairable, and even if you are handy with electronics you might be in for a pickle replacing a broken screen. Getting them repaired professionally, though, might equal highway robbery.

This is especially true if you've just pre-ordered the new iPhone X, as we've found out due to Apple releasing their pricing for iPhone X repairs. As MacRumors first noted the non-warranty service pricing for the iPhone X are definitely up there.

If the problem is not covered by the one-year limited warranty, i.e. a manufacturing defect, a screen repair (read: screen replacement) will cost you a flat fee of $279. Everything else? You'll pay $549, more than 50% of the original price of the phone. So expect to see a lot of broken and probably never to be repaired iPhone X backs.

You can, of course, anticipate these problems and buy the one off $199 AppleCare+ which will cover up to two incidents with a $29 deductible for screen damage and $99 for other damage.

It does sound like AppleCare+ might be worth the investment if you have slippery fingers but adding another $200 to an already crazy starting price of $999 is a tall ask. Have you pre-ordered the iPhone X, and what do you think?


AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp updates emoji set in latest version

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Oct 2017 21:48

WhatsApp updates emoji set in latest version Facebook's WhatsApp has gotten around to pushing out the upgraded emoji set it showed off several weeks ago.

The new emojis are available starting with version 2.17.395 (stable) on Android. Whether they are better is entirely up to each user, but they do appear to be more "expressive" of emotion and several non-facial emojis look much better than before (e.g. the "mouse" emoji is now clearly a computer mouse!).

When WhatsApp pushed the new emoji set to the beta build earlier this month, they were immediately compared to several emojis used in Apple's iOS because some do bear a striking resemblance.

If emojis are your thing, the new set should be available as long as you have the latest WhatsApp version on your device. WhatsApp also recently announced the "delete for everyone" feature, which allows WhatsApp users to delete text messages they have sent to a recipient, as long as they do so within a seven minute window and all participants in the conversation have a version with the feature present.

AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp added one of the most anticipated features

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Oct 2017 17:26

WhatsApp added one of the most anticipated features World's most popular instant messaging platform has announced a new feature. WhatsApp, a mobile messaging platform that has attracted over one billion users, has added a deleting feature to its app.

New feature is as simple as it sounds: it allows users to delete sent messages. However, you've been able to remove the messages from your app even before but now the messages can be removed from even the recipients devices.

The new delete function can be found within the post editing tools. Now when you long press the message and select the delete function (the trashcan icon) you'll be hit with a dialog asking whether you want it deleted from all devices or your device only. Previously you didn't have the former option.

There are some limitations, obviously. You can only delete – or perhaps cancelling would be a more apt term – messages from all devices if they've been sent within seven minutes. After that you'll only be able to remove the post from your own apps.

Also to not confuse people, WhatsApp replaces the message with one saying the original message has been deleted.

The feature will hit your iPhone or Android device in the coming weeks so you might not have the update yet on your mobile device.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube is the new TV, time to move on cable

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Oct 2017 12:16

YouTube is the new TV, time to move on cable Streaming TV has come to stay, just accept it Comcast. Obviously online on-demand services like Netflix are hugely popular but YouTube might be an even bigger player if it manages to combine the on-demand side of things with live TV.

According to new figures from the parent company Alphabet, YouTube is watched more than 100 million hours every day. And maybe even more importantly, way more people are watching it via their TV sets.

The use of TV when watching YouTube has increased around 70 percent since last year. This includes all TV devices that are somehow connected to the internet, be it a smart TV with a YouTube app or a dumber one with a Chromecast dongle or an Apple TV.

Earlier this year Google announced that YouTube is being watched a billion hours every day. That means that watching on TV is grabbing a fairly nice slice of the entire YouTube watching pie. Obviously computers and probably especially mobile is still where it's still at.

As internet based solutions are grabbing marketshare cable companies are fighting back by raising prices. At the same time Google has been improving their Google Fiber availability with the first location without TV subscription and supporting YouTube TV.


AfterDawn: News

WSJ: New iPhone 8 sales disappointing, pressure on iPhone X

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Oct 2017 11:54

WSJ: New iPhone 8 sales disappointing, pressure on iPhone X Apple's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been available for over a month but sales might have not been what Apple wanted. According to Customer Intelligence Research Partners, a consumer research company, Apple's new iPhones are far behind last years models.

CIRP told Wall Street Journal that iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have accounted for only 16% of iPhone sales in the quarter ending in September. That is a huge difference to last years 44% accounted by iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

This time around things were different, though, so there's a lot that can change after the iPhone X in released next week. However, iPhone X supply is rumored to be very limited so that is probably not going to change percentages in favor of Apple.

What will change is that Apple's marginals increase tremendously with the more expensive device. It might also make customers waiting for the iPhone X switch to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus after the long waiting times are exposed.

According to analysts many customers are currently waiting for the iPhone X. How many of them are in the end willing to pay the rather hefty price, starting at $999, and possibly wait weeks or even months for the device remains to be seen.


AfterDawn: News

Apple claims Bloomberg's Face ID report "completely false"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Oct 2017 11:54

Apple claims Bloomberg's Face ID report "completely false" Apple has released a statement regarding yesterday's Bloomberg report on Face ID and its problems. According to the Cupertino company the reports is "completely false."

As we reported yesterday, Bloomberg had received information that suggested Apple had loosened some quality control in their Face ID technology that is heading to the new iPhone. According to the report there were several problems within the manufacturing process, and thus Apple had to drop quality in order to get sufficient amount of components in time for the launch of the iPhone X.

This, according to a short statement by Apple, is entirely false. Apple clarifies that unlike Bloomberg suggested the 3D camera remains the same accuracy it was when first introduced. This means that there's a "1 in a million probability of a random person unlocking your iPhone with Face ID."

However, if you want to split hairs, and of course we do, then that specific claim still doesn't invalidate the report about manufacturing problems just the fact that accuracy has been reduced from 1 in a million since the unveiling. Perhaps before September 12, the unveiling, it was more accurate.


AfterDawn: News

Amazon deliver Prime packages inside your home, here's Amazon Key

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Oct 2017 14:10

Amazon deliver Prime packages inside your home, here's Amazon Key Amazon is constantly trying to come up with new ways to sell and deliver you products whether its acquiring Whole Foods, trying to perfect drone delivery, or prototyping stores without lines or checkouts with Amazon Go.

Now Amazon has come up with a new concept that gets rid of the package theft problem some portion of Prime members struggle with. Amazon Key allows the delivery man (or woman) to drop the package in your house.

As you might imagine this requires some specific technology that most might not have. You'll need smart lock, one of several supported by Amazon, and you need Amazon Cloud Cam, a new security camera released by Amazon. The latter will cost you $120 and the locks, depending on your choice, start at around $130.

As said, the reason Amazon unveiled this new service is the package theft problem that some unequivocally have. Obviously if the package is left on the other side of the door there's a big difference.

However, the e-commerce behemoth obviously realizes that people don't want to let delivery man, or anyone else, in willy-nilly. That's where the security camera comes in.


AfterDawn: News

Bloomberg: Apple struggling to get Face ID tech in iPhone X

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Oct 2017 11:44

Bloomberg: Apple struggling to get Face ID tech in iPhone X Rumors had it even before the launch of iPhone X last month that a new authentication technology would pose problems for Apple. The feature, later christened as Face ID, was so hard to manufacture that the phone would have to be released later in very limited quantity.

A new report from Bloomberg details the problems Apple has had, and perhaps is still having, with the new face recognition technology employed by the upcoming iPhone X. According to Bloomberg Apple has had to compromise in quality to get the phones ready.

To speed up production Apple has had to dropped the quality requirements of the Face ID dot projector, one of three main components in the Face ID technology. The dot projector creates a 3D model of the users face which is used to authenticate comparing it to a saved model.

It is extremely hard to manufacture, fragile, and even the slightest faults, measured in microns, might make the component not viable. While Apple has had to drop the definition of the model making component, it is still said to be more accurate than the Touch ID.


AfterDawn: News

Yet another new Nokia smartphone expected next week

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Oct 2017 14:55

Yet another new Nokia smartphone expected next week The Finnish phone brand, known for its indestructible phones back in the day, was revived last year. Company behind the Nokia branded smartphones, HMD Global, has so far released five Android phones, but there's a new one coming soon.

The release party is held in India next week, and it's still unknown which device the company will unveil. There are a few options after releasing Nokia 3, Nokia 5, Nokia 6, Nokia 7 (the one in the picture), and Nokia 8. Obviously that leaves at least five options if you just look at the numbers, but a few of them have been rumored more than others.

Nokia 4 or Nokia 1 haven't really been in the rumor mill much at all and you can probably scrap those. Nokia 9, a new super high-end flagship, has been rumored but it might be too soon after Nokia 8 release so it is more likely that it will be the Nokia 2.

Nokia 2 would be the cheapest of the bunch which would probably mean a relatively small 720p screen and especially a really low price point. While previously India as a release place would suggest a cheap phone, that isn't necessarily the case anymore. So it could be that there's a more high-end phone to come, perhaps something about the recently unveiled Nokia 7, which is a higher mid-tier smartphone.


AfterDawn: News

Facebook revamping the news feed radically, makes more room for ads?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Oct 2017 11:12

Facebook revamping the news feed radically, makes more room for ads? Facebook is allegedly currently trialing a new news feed where the main feed might be swarmed by ads. This would entail that some more relevant posts get moved to a secondary feed.

According to the information by The Guardian the new feed is being tested in six countries that include Slovakia and Serbia.

Facebook's new approach would mean that most of the content from liked paged would be moved from the main feed to the secondary feed, and thus the main news feed would consist of posts by friends as well as so-called promoted posts, also known as advertisements.

This would obviously mean that if a news source wants to reach the Facebook users they have to promote their piece or otherwise it'll be shown only in the secondary. And we all know what happens when you demote something to, for example, Google's second page or further.

It of course could be that people who want to follow liked paged, including the ones publishing news, will start following two pages instead of one but so far in the trial it doesn't look like it. According to the Guardian the user engagement has dropped between 60 and 80 percent.


AfterDawn: News

Google's advocacy of HTTPS a soaring success

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Oct 2017 15:33

Google's advocacy of HTTPS a soaring success Google has released a new blog post which celebrates the success in adoption of secure web connections. A year ago the search giant announced that it would start giving preferential treatment to secured websites, now a year later it seems to have all worked out amazingly.

In its web browser, Chrome, Google started to mark websites using regular HTTP and included visible forms as not secure. This meant that most websites had to make conscious efforts to adopt HTTPS.

Obviously no website wants to be marked anything else than secure in any browsers, much less on the popular Chrome, and thus web services have been getting more safe in spades. According to Google 71 out of 100 most popular websites in the world now use HTTPS. An impressive increase of 37% in just one year.

The fight for safer web is far from over but Google's efforts have definitely paid off, and we can expect the trend to continue as the rest are moving towards HTTPS as well.

You can't, however, disregard the effect of project Let's Encrypt which brought free and easy to use SSL certificates to the public, and more importantly to webmasters. Before Let's Encrypt many of the admins would have had to pay hundreds, even thousands, of dollars every year just to buy the certificates. While that might not be a problem for the top 100 websites it does help significantly with less popular ones.


AfterDawn: News

As cable TV falters, broadband prices go up

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Oct 2017 13:13

As cable TV falters, broadband prices go up Cable TV has been in decline for quite some time and there's no reason to believe that cord-cutting is slowing down any time soon. Netflix et al have just made this particular entertainment sector better, and there's no going back to clunky DVRs.

While internet based television, or streaming media in general, is becoming more popular you still need the means to acquire the content. That's where cable companies usually come in trying to force you into home phones and TV packages to drop your internet prices to reasonable levels.

The U.S. is largely divided into areas controlled by either Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable, or Comcast. So often you have no real choice where you'll get your internet from.

And unfortunately for most of us that means that you might be facing a fairly steep rise in prices in the near future.

According to Investor's Business Daily cable companies are looking to increase internet prices to keep up with the profits that have been suffering because of decline in cable TV subscriptions.

Comcast and Charter Communications (Spectrum) report Q3 results next week and according to analysts we'll see a further decline in TV business. According to Morgan Stanley cable as a result companies hiked the internet-only plan prices as much as 12% from year prior to an average of $66/mo.


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