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AfterDawn: News

Google launches iMessage-like feature to U.S. Android phones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Nov 2019 1:51

Google launches iMessage-like feature to U.S. Android phones Google has today started the rollout for its Rich Communication Service messaging feature on Android. RCS allows rich messaging on Android's default Messages app, including pictures and read receipts among other things, not unlike Apple's iMessage.

The company has been trying to work with carriers and partners to bring the feature to Android. However, now Google has decided to bypass some of the slow-moving machinery to implement it themselves.

The feature should come to all handsets in the U.S. shortly. The rollout has already began and you might be seeing a new popup window in Messages to suggest about the new chat features.

RCH uses Wi-Fi or cellular data connection to send rich messages in the SMS app. It allows sharing of higher quality images, including those precious meme gifs, as well as videos, and has support for read receipts and shows when the recipient is writing.

If you are among the first to find yourself with the new feature, you can enable it following the instructions of the popup window.

Currently the RCS is only available in France, Mexico, the U.S., and the U.K., but more countries are surely soon to join. Google said that U.S. customers should receive the feature broadly by the end of the year.


AfterDawn: News

SpaceX runs successful Crew Dragon tests after explosion

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Nov 2019 1:44

SpaceX runs successful Crew Dragon tests after explosion SpaceX has successfully run tests on its human-rated Crew Dragon capsule following an unfortunate explosion earlier this year.

The launch provider sent a Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station back in March this year. The mission was a success with a nominal launch and docking of the Crew Dragon to the station. After a few days, it left the ISS and returned to the surface of the Earth.

Unfortunately for SpaceX and NASA's short term goals, the same Crew Dragon that was docked to the ISS for several days subsequently exploded during a test in April. This pushed things back while SpaceX investigated the cause of the explosion during the tests, delaying America's return to human space flight following the retirement of the space shuttle.

Last month, SpaceX CEO met with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne following a public spat between the two. It was sparked by a tweet sent by Bridenstine that seemed to remind SpaceX of its delays in the crew launch area as the firm was showing off its latest developments with Starship.

SpaceX found that the explosion was due to a leak of a liquid oxidizer into high pressure helium tubes due to a fault component. The test was being carried out on the vehicle's launch escape system, which would separate the capsule from a failing rocket during ascent, protecting the lives of the astronauts on board.


AfterDawn: News

Rockstar Games apologizes for Red Dead Redemption 2 PC issues

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Nov 2019 1:28

Rockstar Games apologizes for Red Dead Redemption 2 PC issues Rockstar Games has provided an update for frustrated PC gamers after a rocky launch for its Read Dead Redemption 2 title on the platform.

Rockstar said it has been working around to clock to address issues that have affected RDD2 players since it launched last week, but acknowledged that despite the work there are still issues for some players. The developer identified game stuttering issues and linked them to "unforeseen issues related to specific combinations of Nvidia graphics drivers, Nvidia GPU cards and certain CPU's."

It is rolling out an update that will address the stuttering issue alongside other fixes, but it is still working with Nvidia to completely resolve the stuttering issue. It may take a few days for the developer to properly test new updates before they can be pushed out.

"We sincerely apologize for this temporary inconvenience and will update you as soon as we have more information to share," Rockstar said in a press release.

Players who are experience issues should report them at the Rockstar Games website here.

"And as a show of gratitude to our PC fans while we sort this out in the coming days, everyone who plays Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC this week and through to the holiday season will receive a complimentary care package for Red Dead Online that includes the Prieto Poncho and an assortment of provisions and ammo. Look for more details on the care package to come."

AfterDawn: News

Netflix and Nickelodeon to produce more original content

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Nov 2019 1:17

Netflix and Nickelodeon to produce more original content Netflix and Nickelodeon have announced a new deal to produce new animated content for Netflix' streaming service.

Under the new deal, the pair will produce new animated content based on Nickelodeon characters from its extensive library. Netflix has worked with Nickelodeon before on content like Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, and Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling.

Forthcoming content will also include specials based on The Loud House and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"Nickelodeon has generated scores of characters that kids love, and we look forward to telling wholly original stories that re-imagine and expand on the worlds they inhabit," said Netflix vice president of original animation, Melissa Cobb.

"We're thrilled to continue collaborating with Brian Robbins, Ramsey Naito, and the creative team at Nickelodeon in new ways as we look to find fresh voices and bring bold stories to our global audience on Netflix."

The announcement comes after Disney launched the Disney+ streaming service on Tuesday. Disney+ attracted ten million users in its first two days despite technical glitches.

AfterDawn: News

Motorola reveals its futuristic new Razr

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Nov 2019 12:40

Motorola reveals its futuristic new Razr Motorola Razr is among the most legendary mobile handsets ever to roam the earth, and now it has made a comeback.

As rumored, Motorola announced their modern day revamp of their epic clamshell phone. The new Razr is a clamshell design but with a full touch screen on the inside.

This is perhaps the most innovative way to use the new folding display technology we've seen to date. However, it comes with a steep price tag or $1499, and it's unfortunately a Verizon exclusive for the foreseeable future.

Let's take a look at the specs. While closed, the device looks pretty much like the old Razr phones with a 16 MP camera with f/1.7 and EIS. Under the camera you'll find a small 2.7 inch 800x600.

The secondary display can be used for quick look at the time and notifications, but it also makes the 16 MP camera work as a selfie shooter while the device is closed.


AfterDawn: News

Disney+ has already more than 10 million subscribers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Nov 2019 12:09

Disney+ has already more than 10 million subscribers Disney launched their hotly anticipated streaming service just couple days ago, and already it has become a strong competitor with subscriber count in the double digit millions.

In its first day, Disney+ managed to accrue more than 10 million subscribers, a surprisingly large audience which brought along some technical issues to deal with. Many of the subscribers had already joined before the launch, of course.

The company promoted their streaming platform many months earlier, occasionally with significantly reduced fees.

10 million users is nothing to scoff at. It took four years for HBO to accumulate similar numbers for their HBO Now service. Hulu, which has support of major cable companies behind it only has 28 million users at this point.

Netflix is still fairly far away with 60 million U.S. subscribers, but it will be interesting to see how figures develop in the coming months and years.

Disney has already managed to complete its first official goal of 10 to 18 million users in its first year, assuming that customers are not going to abandon the service. While the service launched with some strong titles, it remains to be seen whether Disney's updating catalog is enough to reel in additional customers.


AfterDawn: News

Google Chrome to shame slow websites

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Nov 2019 5:42

Google Chrome to shame slow websites Google's Chrome Browser will soon show varied warnings about slow loading webpages.

At some point in the near future, users of Google's Chrome Browser will start to see various flags and warnings about slow loading webpages as they browse the web. Google engineers refer to this planned practice as "speed badging", with the ultimate goal to alert users to slow websites and give some explanation as to why they are so slow.

The warnings will vary from text to graphic warnings that reflect the reasons for the delays. A webpage could load slowly if it uses inefficient coding, for example. However, the problem with the slow loading of a webpage may not lie with the developer of that particular website at all.

These days, a lot of page load delays are caused by the inclusion of third party elements in the webpage. These can include advertisers that have to be provided by the servers of an ad network (Google Adsence, for example). Another common element is the inclusion of analytics code which can require third party services (Google Analytics, for example).

More common nowadays again is the inclusion of social media and other gadgets, which also require the web browser to connect to third party servers to load elements.


AfterDawn: News

Disney+ hits technical snags on launch day

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Nov 2019 5:40

Disney+ hits technical snags on launch day Despite technical glitches affecting the new streaming service from the entertainment giant, Disney is positive about the reasons for the disruptions.

Some users who have signed up for the new Disney+ streaming service have experienced some technical difficulties on launch day. One common problem is the appearance of a blue screen featuring an image of Mickey Mouse, accompanied by a message instructing the user to exit the app and try again.

Whatever the glitches may be, Disney has explained that the problems are down to heavier demand for the new service that was anticipated for launch day.

"The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. ... we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them," Disney said in a statement, reports Reuters.

While that's a bummer for affected customers, this is a good sign for Disney as it aims to take on rivals in space including Netflix. Disney+ costs $7 a month and provides access to a library of around 500 films and over 3,500 TV show episodes from the company's extensive catalog.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix to halt on older Samsung Smart TVs, Roku boxes

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Nov 2019 1:42

Netflix to halt on older Samsung Smart TVs, Roku boxes If you have an older Samsung Smart Television then Netflix might not work anymore in a few weeks' times.

Due to the technical limitations of older devices, Netflix and other such services often have to kill official support for apps on those devices. The latest roundup of devices that will not have Netflix soon include several Samsung smart televisions and older Roku set top boxes.

Specifically, Samsung has confirmed that some of its Vizio line-up of smart TVs sold from around 8-9 years ago will no longer support Netflix from December 2nd. This is an unfortunate long term cost of being an early adopter of any new product.

"Netflix has announced that due to technical limitations, as of December 2, 2019, the Netflix streaming service will no longer be supported on several consumer electronics devices, including some from Samsung. This change will impact select 2010 and 2011 Samsung Smart TV models that were sold in the U.S. and Canada. Affected devices will receive a notification reflecting this change."

It's not the end of the world if your television is affected however. Things have changed dramatically since 2010 with streaming devices like Chromecast carrying a wide range of supported services with a low cost. A new Chromecast would not only fix the Netflix problem on your old Samsung TV, it would be an upgrade compared to the old functionality.


AfterDawn: News

App Defense: Play Store apps to get further scanning for malware

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Nov 2019 1:31

App Defense: Play Store apps to get further scanning for malware Google has partnered with several security firms in forming a group that aims to detect and prevent malware-laden apps from getting onto the Play Store.

There are currently more than 2.5 billion Android devices in the wild. Most get their apps from Google's Play Store. While Google does have systems in place to find malicious apps and prevent them from being published to the service, some do slip through the cracks from time to time.

In order to fight back, Google has announced the App Defense Alliance. Its members include ESET, Google, Lookout, and Zimperium. Google's Play Protect detection systems will be integrated with the partner's scanning engines.

Apps queued for publishing will face intense scrutiny from the technologies of each member of the alliance. Their systems use a combination of machine learning and static/dynamic analysis to detect abusive behavior. Google's position is that more eyes are better for detecting problems ahead of time.

For more info: App Defense Alliance

AfterDawn: News

Tesla to reveal 'cyberpunk' electric pickup truck

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Nov 2019 5:01

Tesla to reveal 'cyberpunk' electric pickup truck Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced when the company will show off its electric pickup truck.

Musk previously suggested that Ford's F-150 is a benchmark model for its electric pickup truck, which he says has a "cyberpunk" design. The goal, Musk said at a recent shareholder meeting, is that the Tesla pickup will meet or exceed the abilities of the Ford F-150.

The world will get a look at Tesla's take on an electric pickup on November 21 in Los Angeles. Musk announced the date and location on Twitter.

He went on to tweet that the date was strangely familiar, along with a link to the Opening Titles of the original Blade Runner, which is set in November 2019.

AfterDawn: News

Avengers: Endgame debuts on Disney+ sooner than expected

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Nov 2019 2:10

Avengers: Endgame debuts on Disney+ sooner than expected Disney's online streaming service is about to launch, and some of you might have already decided to subscribe, perhaps due to a persuasive deal that was in high demand.

There's going to be tons of stuff straight from day one, as the company has portrayed here in a three-hour marathon trailer spectacular. However, there's one film that will likely bring much more customers their way than all the old Disney cartoons combined.

We're of course talking about the blockbuster of all time, Avengers: Endgame.

It has now been revealed that Disney will release the movie earlier than previously suggested, perhaps to accrue more impressive early numbers for their streaming service. It was suggested earlier that the movie would hit Disney+ roughly a month after the service launched.

Avengers: Endgame joins launch titles, available immediately on November 12, alongside the likes of Star Wars show The Mandalorian and Captain Marvel. This is the case for the US and Canada, as well as the Netherlands.


AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay criminal investigation closes in Sweden

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Nov 2019 8:21

Pirate Bay criminal investigation closes in Sweden A criminal investigation resulting from a data center raid almost five years ago has come to a close with no conviction.

In December 2014, police raided a data center in Sweden. The action brought down several major BitTorrent websites and pushed the notorious Pirate Bay offline for around two months. As part of the investigation, police targeted Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij.

Prosecutors reportedly had evidence against Neij, but as of now, the case is formally closed. Under Swedish law, the prosecution needed to reach Neij for "final serving", which gives a defendant a chance to review the evidence in a case.

In the five years since the December 2014 raid, the prosecution failed to reach Neij for final serving, and now the time has run out. The statute of limitations has expired and so no case related to the 2014 raid can be made against him.

"The investigation was closed because the statute of limitations expired," prosecutor Anna Ginner told TorrentFreak.

"The investigation was finished. However, we did not manage to contact the suspect to give him the possibility to review the investigation on final serving."

While the criminal case is now closed, the aftermath of the raid did result in a tug of war over the domain, which ended up in possession of the Swedish state.


AfterDawn: News

20 years ago: Mobile phones about to play MP3 .. and.. what? Legal music? Online?!

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 31 Oct 2019 4:21

20 years ago: Mobile phones about to play MP3 .. and.. what? Legal music? Online?! In our article series, we're digging into AfterDawn's news archive and looking what happened exactly 20 years ago. This article series also celebrates AfterDawn's 20th anniversary.

So, we're digging into our news archive and trying to figure out what was hot and what was not, back in October, 1999 when our site was only four months old. I'd like to remind you, our readers, that back then, AfterDawn was strictly focused on digital audio and video technologies and reporting events in those genres. More generic "all about tech" arrived to our site much later.

Our first ever stories about cell phones

As said, our focus back then, was strictly with digital audio and video. But the October, 1999 marks the first time in our history that cell phones were mentioned in our news. Looking at our (and everybody else's) news coverage nowadays and it seems that smartphones and related technologies are the thing that nowadays makes the headlines. Things have changed, truly.

Well, anyway, back in October, 1999 we published a press release from a Finnish mobile phone manufacturer. No, not Nokia. But another one, called Benefon. Company had just launched the first-ever GSM phone that had a built-in GPS navigation in it. Pretty revolutionary 20 years ago. It actually took several years until GPS navigation became a commonplace with phones.


AfterDawn: News

Internet celebrates its 50th birthday today - This is how it all started (..with a crashing connection)

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 29 Oct 2019 5:48

Internet celebrates its 50th birthday today - This is how it all started (..with a crashing connection) Exactly 50 years ago today, on 29th of October, 1969, the first message was sent over something that we nowadays recognize as the Internet. Basically, today marks the date when the first ever message was successfully (more about that later..) was over a long distance computer network.

On 29th of October, 1969, Leonard Kleinrock, a graduate student at the UCLA, tried to send a message to Stanforrd University, to Charley Kline ja Bill Duvall.

Kleinrock tried to send a simple word from UCLA to Stanford: LOGIN.

But as these things go, the terminals crashed before the entire message was sent out.

So, the first message ever sent over the Internet was simply LO.

The team managed to sent the entire LOGIN word about an hour later, but history nowadays remembers mostly the "LO".

After that message, the development of the Internet's predecessor, ARPANET, started taking shape over the upcoming decades, finally, in 1990s, transforming into a mainstream medium that we know as the modern Internet. Nowadays, 29th of October is widely celebrated as the Internet Day.

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