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AfterDawn: News

Spotify has a new couples plan called Premium Duo

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jul 2020 11:07

Spotify has a new couples plan called Premium Duo If you have a significant other and you are sharing a music streaming service, especially Spotify with all kinds of algorithmic magic, you've definitely noticed some drawbacks.

On the other hand, if you both have the same service, there's probably quite a bit of overlap that makes it awfully uneconomical to have two plans. Well, turns out that Spotify has been thinking about rectifying these exact problems.

Cue Spotify Premium Duo.

Spotify's new couples plan, Premium Duo, offers two Premium accounts under the same umbrella. This allows them to enjoy the personalized and automized playlists separately but also to "unique benefits" as a couple at $12.99/mo. That's a three dollar premium compared to the regular Spotify Premium.

In addition to the custom playlists, users of course get access to the 50 million or so songs and an increasingly large catalog of podcasts, currently weighing in over 1 million podcasts and soon exclusively including the Joe Rogan Experience.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple has worked overtime to cut three month iPhone delay

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jul 2020 10:47

Apple has worked overtime to cut three month iPhone delay The COVID-19 crisis has affected a lot of industries is numerous different ways. For airlines and hotels it's been destructive but even technology companies have had their issues.

While China got through the epidemic fairly quickly and restarted production only after a month of pause, two at most, the cooperation between manufacturing in China and product design in Europe and the US was more complicated.

Among the affected was Apple, whose production was stalled and the development teams couldn't visit factories to make sure everything is running as planned. Rumors as early as March had it that Apple is considering postponing the iPhone launch.

This, however, might not be the case anymore, Nikkei reports. After long hours after things have moved on, Apple has slowly managed to claw back time.

According to the paper, Apple was three months behind schedule at the thick of it, which could've meant that this would've been the first year since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 that the company can't bring a successor to the world's leading smartphone to the market.

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AfterDawn: News

Discord becomes a place for more than just gamers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Jul 2020 10:54

Discord becomes a place for more than just gamers The introduction of chat room apps like Discord and Slack has made a huge impact on gaming communities and workplaces alike.

The former became the king of gamers overthrowing old-school programs that included the likes of TeamSpeak and Mumble. Offering more complex features and more thought-out interface it quickly became the de facto communications platform for gamers.

However, it has now saturated much of the market it wanted to capture, and thus is trying to explore new waters and conquer new lands.

The company says that it wants to be a communications platform for all kinds of daily conversing. Discord's new website claims it's "a new way to chat with your communities and friends."

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AfterDawn: News

The iPhone 12 might not come with a charger or EarPods

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Jul 2020 10:32

The iPhone 12 might not come with a charger or EarPods Upcoming iPhone launch is closing in, although it's yet unclear whether COVID-19 had effect on the release date, and much of the rumorsphere is focusing at this point in time on Apple's new smartphone. The latest of them claims that the company has made a first-of-a-kind decision: not to include a charger or EarPods.

Now, this is still only rumors, and one should take it with a grain of salt, but it does sound oddly Apple-like. Whether they are going to be asking an ungodly amount of money for such a simple and obligatory accessory or not, it's going to anger some folks.

There is an other side of the coin for this one too. Apple would be reducing waste quite a bit, one can imagine. After all, we've all got probably one too many wall chargers for our phones – even after populating nearly all sockets in our homes – and there's plenty of crappy wired headphones to go around.

This might also be a blessing in disguise, since Apple's chargers are often trash in terms of wattage. Perhaps you'll finally get a proper fast charger for your phone.

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AfterDawn: News

Disney removing three Star Wars movies from the canon?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2020 3:51

Disney removing three Star Wars movies from the canon? The original Star Wars saga was considered among the best of what both science fiction and Hollywood cinema had to offer. However, the same can't be said from the mess it has become in the past 20 years.

While some might like even most of what Lucasfilm has produced in the new millenium, most would agree that the consistency of the originals just isn't there.

This isn't limited to the fans of the epic saga but there are creators among the Lucasfilm family that do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to the legacy they are creating.

Rumors from inside the studio tell that Disney is considering removing the last three Star Wars movies from the official saga. While they wouldn't be entire scrapped from the history, they would create an alternative timeline and thus keep open possibilities for other products of the franchise.

It's said that among the characters butting heads are Disney+ hit show The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau and producer Kathleen Kennedy, whose been part of the latest Star Wars trilogy.

While the popularity of Star Wars franchise is still very much in tact, and The Mandalorian was a success among critics too, the box office figures went massively down from 2015 The Force Awakens towards last year's The Rise of Skywalker.

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AfterDawn: News

Another next gen Xbox to be revealed in August

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2020 10:56

Another next gen Xbox to be revealed in August Sony finally unveiled their upcoming gaming console, two of them in fact, just couple weeks ago. The next generation PlayStation took people by surprise due to it's very futuristic design language, which sparked both admiration and obviously memes.

Pictures of Microsoft's next-gen console has been out and about for a while now, but there's been rumors of another one. Now those rumors have gathered more wind in their sails, as leak suggests the lite version of this year's Xbox is going to be unveiled in August.

While initially the plans, per Eurogamer, were to unveil Xbox Series S in June, at this point it is clear that it's not going to happen. In fact, the company has now moved the event to August, The Verge reports.

Xbox Series S is likely going to be a similar sibling to Xbox Series X (pictured) as the Digital Edition of PS5 is to its bigger brother. It's going to run the same games with similar performance but is going to be missing an optical drive and perhaps some RAM and storage space.

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AfterDawn: News

WATCH: DVD player used to hack PS2

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Jun 2020 4:00

WATCH: DVD player used to hack PS2 Two decades after the PlayStation 2 console was released, a working exploit targeting the DVD player functionality is demonstrated.

In its life on the market, the PS2 has been hacked in many ways. The most obvious and complete method of hacking a PS2 is through the use of a modchip, most of which have to be soldered to the mainboard of the unit. Outside of modifying the board, there were disc swapping tricks that required a console to be opened to interfere with disc sensors. There were also some softmod methods that either involved using a modified memory card, or tricks that required the HDD expansion bay (not present on slim consoles).

The holy grail for booting unsigned / unauthorized code on a PS2 would be a method that required no modification at the hardware level, just insert the disc and watch it boot.

Twenty years after the console was introduced, software engineer CTurt has developed such a method. In a blog post, CTurt goes into detail on how he has managed to develop FreeDVDBoot - an entry-point software exploit for the console. The exploit targets the PS2's DVD-Video functionality (all PS2's can play DVDs).

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AfterDawn: News

Feeling masochistic? You can now study Finnish with Duolingo

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 25 Jun 2020 10:56

Feeling masochistic? You can now study Finnish with Duolingo Duolingo is the most popular language-learning apps in the world, but its selection of languages has always been somewhat limited, currently standing at 36 different languages for those studying in English.

Now, Duolingo has added a language to its selection that it calls the most requested language ever, Finnish. Spoken mostly in Finland (the home country of AfterDawn), the language is spoken only by appx. 5.5 million people in the world.

Language itself is notoriously difficult to master for people who speak English as their mother tongue. Depending on ranking, it ranks the most difficult language to master - or at least in top ten in all such ranking lists. Duolingo explains in-depth in their blog entry why Finnish is so difficult for English speakers (or anyone speaking Latin-based languages)

Finnish Grammar meme

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AfterDawn: News

Nvidia to develop a new AI for your Merdeces-Benz

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Jun 2020 11:54

Nvidia to develop a new AI for your Merdeces-Benz Ever since Elon Musk uttered the word autopilot, completely hands-off driving has been something all of us have been expecting in our next car. Unfortunately year after year, as it gets delayed, it seems more like a pipe dream.

Sure, it probably is still coming, but as long as Tesla seems like the only one developing one, we're going to have a bad time. Not only because of the limited resources but the incentives aren't there.

Fortunately for us, others think they can resolve the problem. Now Mercedes-Benz has signed a contract with Nvidia to produce them a car computer that would handle simpler things like OTA updates as well as autonomous driving.

The aim is to finish the project by 2024 with autonomous driving level 2 and 3 and parking at level 4, similar to what Teslas are capable at the moment.

Autonomous driving experience is rated at levels from zero to 5, the latter being complete autopilot without the need of user controls, the former, well, zero autonomy.

Nvidia is an interesting partner for Mercedes. They were the provider of Tesla's self-driving chips until Tesla announced their own custom silicon last year.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft shutting down Mixer, merges with Facebook Gaming

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Jun 2020 10:15

Microsoft shutting down Mixer, merges with Facebook Gaming Microsoft invested massive amounts of money trying to compete with Twitch as they acquired Beam in 2016 and re-introduced it as Mixer the next year.

After the initial introduction it took a couple years until 2019 before they started the real push with contracts with some of the largest streamers around. This included the likes of Ninja and Shroud, arguably two of the largest game streaming brands around on Twitch at that time.

This clearly wasn't enough to lure viewers to the service, perhaps due to the fact that many of the esports competitions that get up to hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers were mostly streamed on Twitch. This eventually resulted in failed experiment.

The company has announced that it is discontinuing Mixer and will be merging it with Facebook's similar section, Facebook Gaming. Mixer will shut down on July 22, and after that the traffic will redirect to facebook.com/gaming.

Both Ninja and Shroud have announced that they are figuring out what to do next. While Microsoft obviously makes it easy to join Facebook Gaming, they aren't stuck with any specific service from now on. This might mean they return to Twitch, although neither have decided yet what to do.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple releases trailer for Foundation, based on legendary Isaac Asimov series

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Jun 2020 3:53

Apple releases trailer for Foundation, based on legendary Isaac Asimov series Apple announced yesterday a lot of software updates, including the major ones with iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur and smaller ones to iPadOS as well as tvOS and watchOS.

Product launches weren't really happening but Apple did tease us with one for the Apple TV+. Alongside the updates to tvOS and Apple TV, the company revealed a trailer for the upcoming Apple TV+ exclusive Foundation.

The show has been in the works for years already, but slowly and surely it is coming to a close. Unfortunately we won't see it quite yet, and even a release date is still largely unclear. However, the trailer does reveal the show is coming to Apple TV+ next year.

Foundation is of course based on the epic sci-fi book series by Isaac Asimov under the same name. There's not much that we can determine from the two minute teaser in terms of the scope of the show but it does look grandiose like one would expect.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple TV gets picture-in-picture, Apple Watch face sharing

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Jun 2020 2:13

Apple TV gets picture-in-picture, Apple Watch face sharing Apple has made major changes to its two largest platforms with iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur. The iPadOS also got its update, albeit less dramatic than the two.

However, there were still more platforms to be updated, thanks to Apple's massive ecosystem. Apple Watch, i.e. watchOS, and Apple TV, i.e. tvOS, were updated too.

The former got new watch faces with the inclusion of the new tachymeter complication. Perhaps more importantly the watch faces are now more customizable, and you can even share them online and with friends.

One of the apps that got most improved is the Maps app that now brings better navigation, including cycling that was added also in iOS 14. Workout app also got significant update with the likes of Cooldown option.

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AfterDawn: News

New macOS Big Sur moves Apple closer to Intel-less future

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Jun 2020 12:41

New macOS Big Sur moves Apple closer to Intel-less future Usually iOS updates are the most important news from WWDC, and iOS 14 has some big changes, this time around macOS probably takes that cake as the most influential one.

This is mainly due to the fact that Apple finally made official what had been rumored. The company revealed, in a "one last thing" fashion I might add, that its abandoning Intel and told about its plans about transitioning to its own ARM-based CPUs.

Big Sur will be the first transitionary macOS update, which means that first Apple-designed CPUs will land in Macs within this year.

Apple has been slowly inching away from chips designed by third-parties into proprietary processors. Apple's own chips can now be found in the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's new iPadOS turns your iPad more into a computer, sort of

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Jun 2020 11:05

Apple's new iPadOS turns your iPad more into a computer, sort of Apple has announced a slew of software updates yesterday in its first virtual WWDC. One of the more interesting updates is the new version of iPadOS that pushes iOS towards computers.

The two operating systems are now developed separately, and this allows iPadOS to venture into more computer-like interface and functions.

The iPadOS 14 features now a side bar navigation that allows easier access to important features within apps. The menu allows the use of folders as well as well as drop down menus to group items like media albums.

While iPadOS is separate from iOS (read about the new iOS 14 here), there are of course lots of features that are added to both of them. This includes the new and improved Siri.

As you might imagine, Apple has been working on making Siri's answers better but it has also updated the UI. Siri now appears as a popup notification, which can both provide information as well as link to results.

Same kind of approach has been taken with phone calls too. They no longer take up the whole screen, instead a small window allows you to answer or decline the call.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple announces iOS 14: Finally widgets on the home screen!

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Jun 2020 1:34

Apple announces iOS 14: Finally widgets on the home screen! Apple's WWDC took place today virtually in Apple Park. The company's first product announcement was perhaps unsurprisingly the new version of iOS.

The iOS version 14 brings along some interesting new features. App Library makes the iPhone home screen combines apps automatically into libraries of related apps based on

Improved widgets now have more sizes, more information and you can finally move them into the home screen in addition to the widget view.

There's also a new widget type called Smart Stack. It automatically knows what to show depending on the time of the day.

Another neat feature added is picture-in-picture, which can play video and audio on top of your app or home screen.

Siri has been updated to show results quicker and on top of your current app as a notification. There's also updates to Siri's abilities, including sending audio messages, and new app called Translate will now translate between 11 languages.

Messages has been updated with pinned conversations, which helps you get to important messages even if they haven't been updated in a while. Memojis get now more styles, stickers and options, and inline messages and mentions have been added to groups.

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