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AfterDawn: News

Imgur sold to MediaLab

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 28 Sep 2021 4:10

Imgur sold to MediaLab Popular image sharing site, Imgur, has been sold to MediaLab.

Imgur, established back in 2009, announced on 27th of September, 2021 that it has been sold to American holding company MediaLab. MediaLab is a Los Angeles-based company that has recently acquired several online brands, most of which have been slightly in decline in terms of their popularity.

Imgur has been known to host viral images and memes and has been particularly popular among Reddit users for years, until Reddit introduced its own image hosting service back in 2016.

Site has been among the most popular online destinations in the world: according to Alexa, it was 112th most popular site in the world as of end of September, 2021.

MediaLab's other acquisitions in recent years include messaging service Kik, anonymous messaging service Whisper and song lyrics database Genius.

According to the official statement by Imgur, MediaLab is committed to fund Imgur's upcoming new services and features.




AfterDawn: News

EU plans to make USB-C mandatory - Apple isn't happy about the idea, at all

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 24 Sep 2021 10:39

EU plans to make USB-C mandatory - Apple isn't happy about the idea, at all European Union is getting tired of Apple's own charging cables. EU has tried to lure manufacturers to voluntarily adopt standard charging port in the past, but Apple has refused to participate.

Now, European Commission has proposed a legislation that would require not only Apple's iPhone, but tons of other product categories, too, to start using USB-C as their standard connection.

The proposal would require all smartphones, but also tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld game consoles to use USB-C for charging. Proposed legislation would also remove the need for manufacturers to ship their products with chargers. The idea is that once all products use the same, standard charging port, people need much less chargers and thus, removing mandatory chargers from products would reduce also e-waste.

Apple, unsurprisingly, opposes the proposed legislation and says that such measure would curb innovation. Then again, Apple itself uses USB-C in many of its products, including the latest iPad mini and its many of its laptops.




AfterDawn: News

Lithuania: Don't buy Chinese phones! If you use one, get rid of them

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 Sep 2021 6:50

Lithuania: Don't buy Chinese phones! If you use one, get rid of them Baltic state Lithuania is urging its citizens to avoid Chinese phones. Country's defence ministry has published a recommendation to Lithuanian citizens advising them to get rid of Chinese phones, if they have one.

The statement was made after it was found that Xiaomi's phones sold in Europe had a built-in censorship mechanism installed in them. The censorship mechanism detects and censors terms such as "Free Tibet" and "democracy movement", Lithuanian state-run cybersecurity body told this week.

Now, Lithuanian Defence Ministry recommends consumers to avoid Chinese mobile phones and even urges them to "throw away" the phones they're currently using if they're made by Chinese brands.

According to Lithuania, even very recent Xiaomi models, such as Xiaomi Mi 10T, included the hidden censorship and detection code. According to Reuters, the detection program was turned off in phones sold in the European Union region, but was present in the phones, nevertheless.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies, aged 81

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 17 Sep 2021 6:33

Computing pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies, aged 81 One of the pioneers of the 1980s home computer revolution, Sir Clive Sinclair has died. He was best known for his Sinclair home computers, released in early 1980s. Sinclair computers were extremely popular in many countries back then, even surpassing the other iconic 1980s computer, Commodore 64, in many regions.

Most notable of the 1980s Sinclair computers was - by far - the first Sinclair's color computer, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, released in 1982. It was hugely popular, especially in Sinclair's home country, the United Kingdom, but also in various other countries.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum


One of the interesting facts about the budget-friendly Sinclair ZX Spectrum is that the computer was so good that several unauthorized clones were made in Eastern European communist countries in 1980s and those clones became de facto home computers behind the Iron Curtain back then. Due this weird history, ZX Spectrum remains one of the most popular demoscene retro computers in Eastern Europe and Russia.

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AfterDawn: News

Firefox adds suggestions to searches, plans to introduce sponsored links

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 16 Sep 2021 7:11

Firefox adds suggestions to searches, plans to introduce sponsored links Chrome and Safari have offered direct link suggestions for their users for years now when typing a search term into the browser's address bar. Now, the open source browser Firefox joins the party.

Firefox Suggest feature just rolled out and it does exactly what the name implies it should do. Basically, when one enters a very standard search phrase to the Firefox's address bar, say, like France, the browser automatically suggests a France's Wikipedia page link below the address bar.

However, Firefox plans to add contextual suggestions to the feature soon. This would take information like user's location and previous behaviour into account. So, in case you're looking for a specific pizza chain, like Domino's, the suggestion link could be your nearest Domino's local page rather that the corporate frontpage.

Obviously, in order to use contextual suggestions, Firefox would have to collect information about its users - and pass that information to its servers. A move that many users worried about their privacy aren't going to be happy about.

Furthermore, Firefox plans to add a possibility for companies to bid on search terms and then show those sponsored links as the suggestions. So, when you're typing Domino's pizza chain name to the address bar, you might get a suggestion for Pizza Hut's link instead.

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AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi promises 3 major Android updates for Xiaomi 11T and 11T Pro

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 09 Sep 2021 5:54

Xiaomi promises 3 major Android updates for Xiaomi 11T and 11T Pro Long support for major Android updates is becoming an increasingly important competitive aspect in phone market nowadays. Now Chinese tech giant Xiaomi joins the bandwagon and improves its support singificantly.

For the upcoming Xiaomi's flagship model line, the company promises three major Android updates and four years worth of security updates. New flagship phones are about to be announced on 15th of September and will consist two models: Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro.

As Android 12 hasn't been released yet, the phones will most likely launch with Android 11 and thus, will get Android 12, Android 13 and Android 14 over the years.

Company press statement states:

Xiaomi is committed to providing users with industry-leading hardware and lasting performance. In continuation of this commitment to users, Xiaomi is further extending the life cycle of Xiaomi's smartphones by ensuring three generations of Android operating system updates. This way, users can choose to use their current devices for a longer period, and enjoy the latest features along with it. At the same time, we will also provide users with security updates that ensure their devices operate securely for a longer period of time.

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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp stops working on millions of Android and iPhone models

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 08 Sep 2021 6:00

WhatsApp stops working on millions of Android and iPhone models After November 1st, 2021 WhatsApp will no longer work on millions of existing phones.

Company has announced that it will cease the support for older operating system versions for both, Android and iOS. This means that people still using rather old phones will be blocked out of the instant messaging service.

From November onwards, the support for Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and iOS 9 versions is gone - meaning that people using phones with those operating system versions wont be able to log in to WhatsApp. Also, the messaging features will cease for users using the outdated operating systems.

The only option is to purchase a new phone - or to update the existing phone's operating system, if there's an update available, but not yet installed to the phone.

iOS 9 was originally released in September, 2015 so the WhatsApp support for that iOS version lasted for more than six years. Android 4.0.4 got even longer lifespace: it was released in March, 2012 so WhatsApp supported that particular Android version for almost a decade.

From November, 2021 onwards, the minimum OS requirements are as follows:

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or newer
  • iOS 10 or newer




AfterDawn: News

Two new Roomba models spotted: Roomba j7 adds obstacle detection, uses AI

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 08 Sep 2021 5:21

Two new Roomba models spotted: Roomba j7 adds obstacle detection, uses AI Several people in various robot vacuum related Reddit channels have spotted Roomba j7 robot vacuum. While iRobot doesn't have any details of the new model yet, its advertisements have been shown in Canadian TV and some Canadian retailers seem to already list it on their websites.

New Roomba j7 seems to be a an upgraded version of the Roomba i7, which we consider currently the best overall robot vacuum in the market.

The key new feature here is the new camera module that has been added to the device's bumper. Similarly to the Roborock S6 MaxV, the new camera is used to detect obstacles in the floor: say, clothes, wires, pets, etc. Most likely the Roomba j7 will use the camera and machine learning to understand whether the objects it spots are actually obstacles that should be avoided.

Roomba j7 retail box

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AfterDawn: News

Right now: Instagram is down, globally

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 02 Sep 2021 7:39

Right now: Instagram is down, globally Facebook-owned Instagram seems to be down, globally, for most of its users. Some users have reported that the service works, but very, very sluggishly.

According to various services that monitor websites' uptimes report that Instagram's problems started at around 10:30 UTC today.

Other Facebook's services, such as its namesake main site or WhatsApp aren't affected by this. At least not right now.

Instagram according to DownDetector


The above situation is the report by DownDetector, screenshot taken few minutes ago before publishing this news article.

As it has taken almost an hour by now for Instagram to get their servers working, frustrated people have started posting related memes to the social media..




AfterDawn: News

Windows 11: Check if TPM is enabled on your computer

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Sep 2021 6:46

Windows 11: Check if TPM is enabled on your computer In this short guide we will look at how you can check the status of Trusted Platform Module (TPM) on your PC ahead of the coming launch of Windows 11.

TPM provides for hardware level support for a range of security and digital management services. It can be used for DRM systems to protect content, to protect digital licensing, to enhance security of full disk encryption solutions like Bitlocker (Windows) or dm-crypt (Linux), and more.

To run Windows 11, you will require at least TPM 1.2. Unfortunately, if you have TPM 1.2 you will be running Windows 11 in an unsupported state, which could mean missing out on some updates for compatibility reasons. Therefore, TPM 2.0 is recommended for a Windows 11 upgrade and should make the process a lot easier. If you do not have TPM hardware then you will be unable to run Windows 11 on your system at all, according to Microsoft.

There are other requirements for Windows 11 (EFI Secure Boot, GPT etc.) as well, but this short article is just about checking to see if TPM is Enabled, or if it is present, and what version of TPM it is.

How to check TPM status in Windows 10?



The simplest way to check on the status of TPM in Windows 10 is to check the Security processor details in Windows settings. To get there just do follow these simple steps.

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AfterDawn: News

HOWTO: Install Netflix App on rooted Android device

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Sep 2021 1:04

HOWTO: Install Netflix App on rooted Android device 'This app is no longer compatible with your device. Contact the developers for more info.' If you are getting this message from Google Play when trying to install Netflix, then maybe this little guide can help you.

Several years ago, Netflix began using the Windvine digital rights management (DRM) system as part of their content protection efforts. A side effect of this change is that Android devices with a rooted OS, an unofficial ROM, or even an unlocked bootloader could no longer download the Netflix app from the Play Store.

In fact, if you searched for the app on the Play Store with such a device, it will not even show up. You have to manually find the URL for Netflix so that it will open in the Play Store. At present, this is the URL that will launch your Play Store app and bring you to Netflix.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.netflix.mediaclient


All may not be lost however as you may be able to sideload the app. To be clear, this won't work for everyone. It really depends on the Android OS, how it was rooted, and more. However, if you are using something like LineageOS on a relatively new device, this should work.

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AfterDawn: News

HOWTO: Boot Android device into Safe Mode

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Sep 2021 9:27

HOWTO: Boot Android device into Safe Mode Are you having trouble with your Android device? If you find that your device has become sluggish, is freezing, takes too long to boot or any of a host of other performance concerns, you may want to boot into Safe Mode.

Most Android users will only ever encounter Safe Mode if their device boots into it automatically. This can happen for a variety of software and hardware related reasons. It is usually a sign of trouble if it happens automatically.

What is Safe Mode? Why would you use it?



Even though it can be a bad sign if your device automatically boots into Safe Mode, it can be very useful to boot into manually. For starters, in Safe Mode the device will not have third party apps running. It will also automatically put the device in Airplane Mode which disables the Wi-Fi and other networking from boot. You can enable these yourself in Safe Mode if you exit Airplane Mode.

If you reboot your device into Safe Mode and the problems you were having seem to be gone, then the issue is probably down to one or more third party Apps behaving badly. If the problems persist, it is the Android system (perhaps a botched update or an unofficial ROM that is not fully compatible?) or there is a hardware issue (e.g. degrading storage, battery).

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AfterDawn: News

Windows 11 will be available on October 5th

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 31 Aug 2021 9:44

Windows 11 will be available on October 5th Microsoft announced its upcoming operating system, Windows 11 back in June, 2021. The beta version of the OS has been publicly available since July and has been downloaded and tested by millions of users.

Now, Microsoft has finally announced when the new Windows version will be available for regular users, too. The date is October 5th, 2021.

On that date, the first Windows 10 users will be prompted to install a new version of the Windows to their PCs. Also, on that date, those who don't have a valid Windows 10 license, can directly go and purchase a Windows 11 license for their PC. And, obviously, plethora of desktop PCs and laptops with pre-installed Windows 11 will hit the store shelves on that day, across the globe.

Windows 11 will be completely free update for all Windows 10 users.

The update will be delivered through regular Windows Update and it will be phased, so only handful of users will actually get it on 5th of October. Microsoft expects the entire rollout to be complete by mid-2022, so some of the current Windows 10 users will have to wait quite some time until their OS will be updated automatically to the new version.

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AfterDawn: News

China's new legislation: Teenagers can't play for more than three hours

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 31 Aug 2021 3:00

China's new legislation: Teenagers can't play for more than three hours China is curbing its gaming addiction with iron first. Country just rolled out a new legislation that forces game developers to curb teenagers gaming hours down to just three per week.

According to the new legislation, gaming companies are required to control how many hours teenagers between 15yo and 17yo play video games (no matter what the platform, including mobile pgone games, console games and PC games). Country now allows teens to play only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 8pm and 9pm local time. And on public holidays, too, but again, between the one hour time slot between 8pm and 9pm.

If game developers don't play by the rules, China can simply ban their games, for good.

And as we're talking about China, this is really enforced. Gaming and media giant Tencent took pro-active steps already in July, 2021 and introduced facial recognition to all of its games in China. Every player is required to verify their gaming ID with a valid personal identification document when creating an account. And Tencent's games will occasionally use facial recognition during the gaming session to check that the person whose account is used, is really playing the game.

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AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi clarifies its branding, gets rid of "Mi"

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 24 Aug 2021 4:11

Xiaomi clarifies its branding, gets rid of "Mi" Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi has always had a rather confusing naming policy for its products, whether the products are mobile phones, robot vacuums or electric scooters. But now, company has announced that it will finally clarify the branding, to some degree.

This announcement follow the recent launch of Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 of which, apparently, is now internationally sold as Xiaomi Mix 4 - note, the removal of the "Mi" there.

According to a statement made for XDA-Developers, this will be the way forward for the company from now on. So, no more "Xiaomi Mi", but just "Xiaomi".

The change will affect all Xiaomi's product brands, not just phones, but also e-scooters, robot vacuums, laptops, etc.

Sure enough, this will be a welcomed change for most consumers. But Xiaomi still has a plethora of stuff to confuse its potential customers: like its affiliations with non-Xiaomi brands, such as Redmi, POCO, Roborock and Ninebot that tend to blend into Xiaomi's "digital world" to one degree or another. But this one is a change to the better, definitely.





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