AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

US Supreme Court to review App Store commissions litigation

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Jun 2018 12:13

US Supreme Court to review App Store commissions litigation The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to take up a lawsuit against Apple relating to App Store commissions, at the request of the Cupertino iPhone maker.

The antitrust lawsuit dates back to 2011 when it was filed by iPhone owners in a federal court in California. It alleges that Apple has monopolized the market for iPhone software applications by linking them to the App Store, and through its 30 percent commission may be causing consumers to pay more that they might if they could purchase from competitors.

A federal judge in Oakland, California initially threw out the lawsuit out arguing that the higher fees that consumers potentially pay are passed on to them by developers.

However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco revived the case last year, finding that Apple directly sells iPhone apps to consumers and so must face antitrust claims when made.

The outcome of this case could affect many other markets where individuals are the ones who set prices, such as StubHub, Amazon's Marketplace or even eBay.

Apple had support for the Supreme Court review of the case from the Trump Administration.

Source: Reuters News Agency




AfterDawn: News

iOS 12 will share location data with 911 centers during emergency calls

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Jun 2018 11:59

iOS 12 will share location data with 911 centers during emergency calls Apple has revealed that iOS 12 will automatically and securely share accurate location information with 911 call centers when you make an emergency call in the United States.

In 2015, Apple launched Hybridized Emergency Location (HELO) to help address problems with getting location information from mobile users making emergency calls. Approximately 80 percent of all 911 calls made in the United States are make from mobile devices, but landline-era infrastructure has frustrated the ability of 911 call centers to get accurate location info in cases.

Apple announced that it will begin using RapidSOS's Internet Protocol-based data pipeline to quickly and securely share HELO location data with 911 centers. The system will deliver the emergency location data of iOS users by integrating with many 911 centers' existing software.

"Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

"When every moment counts, these tools will help first responders reach our customers when they most need assistance."

FCC regulations require that all carriers be able to locate emergency callers to within 50 meters at least 80 percent of the time by 2021. Apple feels its technology and integration with RapidSOS's system puts it well ahead of the deadline.

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AfterDawn: News

BitTorrent Inc. was acquired by a cryptocurrency billionaire

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Jun 2018 11:34

BitTorrent Inc. was acquired by a cryptocurrency billionaire The revolutionary peer-to-peer technology of the early 2000s, BitTorrent, has been in a decline after the likes of Netflix and Spotify have spread around the western world.

It took a few years before popular trackers, such as the 2003 established The Pirate Bay made it popular. At some point around 2007-2008 BitTorrent accounted for more traffic that HTTP in most regions.

BitTorrent is far from dead, of course, but it's far from the glory days a decade ago.

Rumors surrounding the company behind the technology, BitTorrent Inc., have suggested that there might be a acquisition in the works. Now blockchain entrepreneur and cryptocurrency billionaire, known from the Tron platform and its TRX currency, Justin Sun, has bought the company.

Variety reports, that the acquisition was already finished last week, and BitTorrent has informed their employees about the owner change. According to their information the talks began last Fall, and in January Sun signed a letter of intent to acquire the company.

Some controversy, however, was created by a lawsuit that was later dropped. In the lawsuit Sun claimed BitTorrent was negotiating with others after Sun had signed the letter of intent.

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AfterDawn: News

Xbox Game Pass gets FastStart in latest preview build

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Jun 2018 9:14

Xbox Game Pass gets FastStart in latest preview build Microsoft is rolling out its latest beta system update to Xbox One Preview Beta members and some Delta Ring users and it enables FastStart for Xbox Game Pass downloads.

FastStart is a system that uses Machine Learning to prioritize the downloading of elements of games so that they will be available to begin playing much faster than usual. It focuses on the elements of games that are needed to begin playing and prioritizes them over others.

Given it is a preview build however (1806.180612-1920), Microsoft is looking for feedback on the install performance of the following titles:

  • The Flame in the Flood
  • Fuzion Frenzy
  • Screamride
  • Spelunky
  • Casey Powell Lacrosse 16
  • Dovetail Games Euro Fishing
  • The Golf Club

Other than that the update brings fixes for problems with games, apps, localization, party chat and YouTube.




AfterDawn: News

Tesla Model 3 production hits 3,500 vehicles per week

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Jun 2018 6:55

Tesla Model 3 production hits 3,500 vehicles per week Tesla is ramping up production of its Model 3 all-electric vehicle as delays hit its bottom line and workforce.

The all-electric carmaker had aimed to produce 5,000 of its Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of 2017. Instead, almost six months later the firm is trying to hit that target by the start of July. Production issues have hit Tesla hard financially as it burns through cash on its assembly lines and the construction of its ambitious Gigafactory.

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the firm was laying off around nine percent of its workforce in pursuit of profitability by year's end.

A Tesla e-mail, obtained by Electrek, shows that Tesla is now producing around 500 of the vehicles per day to 3,500 per week. Some portions of the line are as high as 700. There are still problems with some parts of the production line however, including the paint shop at the end of the line.

Over the weekend, Elon Musk tweeted his appreciation for the Tesla team for building an entire new general assembly line in just three weeks. He also showed off a photo of the first dual motor model to come off the production line.

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AfterDawn: News

Kaspersky halts cybercrime collaboration in spat with EU Parliament

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Jun 2018 6:40

Kaspersky halts cybercrime collaboration in spat with EU Parliament A European Parliament motion has spurred Kaspersky to halt collaboration with European agencies in cybercrime, including its anti-ransomware work.

Despite the European Commission finding that there was no danger associated with Kasperksy Labs' software back in April, a motion in the European Parliament has specifically identified Kaspersky software as 'malicious', prompting an angry response from the firm.

Eugene Kaspersky, founder of the cybersecurity firm, said it had no choice but to take definitive action. For the time being, Kaspersky will not collaborate with European cybercrime agencies until it gets clarification from the European Parliament about its statement.

Unfortunately, this also includes Kaspersky's contribution to "No More Ransom", which provides tools and methods to record data that has been encrypted by ransomware.

The United States and the United Kingdom have previously removed Kasperksy software from some of their government systems.




AfterDawn: News

Massive iPhone manufacturer soon has a U.S. headquarters

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Jun 2018 11:03

Massive iPhone manufacturer soon has a U.S. headquarters The world's largest electronics contract manufacturer has established a new headquarters in the United States. The Taiwan based Foxconn is known for being the manufacturer of iPhones as well as other leading electronics products.

Foxconn has previously already announced a new display factory in Wisconsin, Reuters reports. Now the company has revealed its new North American HQ in Milwaukee, WI, roughly 30 miles from the plant.

The new U.S. HQ will be established in a seven-story building in downtown Milwaukee which can fit an estimated 500 employees. As expected it will work closely with the display factory and its 13,000 workers.

One might ask, why Wisconsin? Well, short story: money. Wisconsin has offered a three billion dollar offer in tax breaks over the upcoming decade and a half.




AfterDawn: News

Apple Maps down, all users affected

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Jun 2018 12:54

Apple Maps down, all users affected As you might know, Apple Maps isn't exactly the pinnacle of navigation and maps services. However, these days it doesn't lead you down a cliff as often as it used to, and most of the time it is perfectly fine for your daily navigation and map search needs.

Today, though, Apple Maps users have encountered unexpected problems with the service. According to reports, Apple's map service is suffering from downtime.

And Apple has acknowledged the issues as well. According to their own statement, all users are affected what seems to be a problem within the service itself.

Apple's System Status support page also shows both Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search marked with yellow and the word "Issue." Maps Display and Maps Traffic seem unaffected.

As expected, Apple has said to be working in order to clean this mess up as quickly as possible, and hopefully you'll find again full green list on the status page soon. Meanwhile, you can continue using Google Maps, just like you used before this problem.




AfterDawn: News

NBC Sports app comes to PS4

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Jun 2018 6:54

NBC Sports app comes to PS4 The NBC Sports app, which streams thousands of hours of premium NBC Sports content annually, is available to download for PS4 consoles now.

The app annually streams thousands of hours of premium content that is presented across NBC, NBCSN, Golf Channel, and Olympic Channel. At the moment it is also streaming the football matches from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Already in 2018, the NBC Sports app has streamed the NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game, Super Bowl LII, PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Premier League, Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, PLAYERS Championship, French Open, and Triple Crown, among others.

Besides the PS4, you can get the NBC Sports app for Xbox One, Windows 10, Fire TV, Fire Stick, Fire Smart TV, Fire tablets, Android tablets, Android phones, iPhone, iPad Apple TV. It is also compatible with Chromecast, Roku and some Samsung Smart TVs.




AfterDawn: News

AT&T's $85 billion Time Warner deal closes

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Jun 2018 6:32

AT&T's $85 billion Time Warner deal closes AT&T has closed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner following a favorable court ruling.

The Trump Administration was opposed to the No. 2 Carrier in the United States acquiring Time Warner. In November 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit aimed at halting the proposed acquisition arguing that it would be harmful for consumers.

In the lawsuit, the DOJ argued that AT&T owning both DirecTV and Time Warner would provide it an unfair advantage over rival pay TV providers. U.S. District Judge Richard disagreed with the DOJ and ruled that the proposed takeover does not violate antitrust laws in the United States.

Despite the deal being closed, the DOJ still has sixty days to appeal if it should choose to do so.

Judge Leon's decision was predicted to prompt a wave of takeovers between tech and media companies in the United States. Within days, Comcast had offered to purchase 21st Century Fox' media assets in a $65 billion all-cash deal. Comcast sent a letter directly to the Fox board, attempting to sway it away from a deal with the Walt Disney Company.

Source: Reuters News Agency




AfterDawn: News

Comcast makes $65 billion offer for Fox' media assets

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jun 2018 8:30

Comcast makes $65 billion offer for Fox' media assets Comcast is trying to sway Twenty-First Century Fox away from an agreed deal with Disney last year by making a 'superior offer'.

Fox agreed to sell almost all of its media assets to the Walt Disney Co in December for $52 billion in stock. Now, Comcast has sent a letter to the 21st Century Fox' Board of Directors offering $65 billion in cash for the same assets. Fox's movie and television studios, its share of Hulu, FX and more are included.

Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said that he is confident the deal will be approved by regulators. While not mentioning this week's court decision that paved the way for AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, that is generally considered to be the source of Roberts' confidence, and a defining moment for media.

If the Fox Board decide that they would prefer to go with Comcast's offer then Disney will have up to five working days to respond, potentially kicking off a bidding war.

You can read the letter sent to the Twenty-First Century Fox Board at www.cmcsa.com




AfterDawn: News

Cortana used to bypass Windows 10 security

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jun 2018 8:14

Cortana used to bypass Windows 10 security Microsoft has pushed out a fix for a flaw with the Cortana assistant that could be exploited to unlock a Windows 10 computer.

McAfee reported the flaw to Microsoft back in April, and Microsoft has included an update to address the issue in this month's Patch Tuesday load of fixes and tweaks. Windows 10 devices on default settings will apply the update over the next day or so.

The flaw took advantage of the fact that Cortana listens for commands even when a Windows 10 PC is locked, coupled with the regular indexing of files on attached storage to make searching faster.

"This will come as a surprise and lies at the core of all the issues we found, but simply typing while Cortana starts to listen to a query on a locked device will bring up a Windows contextual menu," Cedric Cochin and Steve Povolny wrote on a McAfee blog post detailing a potential attack.

With a contextual menu displayed and search results coming from indexed files and applications (and in cases the contents of the file are indexed), a malicious actor could see sensitive contents of text files and other documents that has been indexed.

The McAfee team went further though and even detail a path to a password reset and login in a blog post here.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to challenge Amazon in checkout-free retail stores

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jun 2018 5:19

Microsoft to challenge Amazon in checkout-free retail stores According to a report, Microsoft is working on technology to compete with Amazon Go in delivering checkout-free shopping markets.

The Amazon Go store allows customers to enter when they scan their smartphone. A combination of cameras and sensors identify what items they remove from the shelves. When the customers finish their shopping and leave the premises, Amazon bills their on-file credit cards immediately for the purchases.

Microsoft is also working on similar technology to challenge Amazon in the new arena, according to a report by the Reuters News Agency. It cites six people familiar with Microsoft's developments in reporting that the Redmond giant has shown sample technology to retailers around the world, including Walmart.

The technology tracks what shoppers add to their carts on the fly, eliminating the need for a checkout line. According to the sources, a group of between ten and fifteen people have presented some of their efforts to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in person.

Using technology to eliminate or reduce the need for checkout lines in stores is seen as a major shift in retail shopping, and Amazon is currently at the head of the queue. It is inevitable that more competitors will come in to offer different solutions to retailers.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to release next-gen Xbox in 2020?

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jun 2018 7:32

Microsoft to release next-gen Xbox in 2020? According to a report, Microsoft is aiming to release its next generation Xbox hardware in 2020.

At Microsoft's E3 press conference this past weekend, the Redmond-based firm confirmed that it is already developing new "Xbox" hardware. Whether this meant another console in the Xbox One family, or something next generation, was not revealed of course. Given that Microsoft just released the Xbox One X last year, rumors swirled that the new Xbox hardware is actually next generation Xbox hardware.

According to sources cited by Thurrott, that's exactly what the new hardware is. It reports that Microsoft is developing its next generation Xbox hardware, codenamed Scarlett, and that it will be released in 2020. Moreover, the sources describe Scarltt as a "family of devices."

As you would expect, no technical details or any other clues were shared. Microsoft launched its previous Xbox generations in the month of November, suggesting that November 2020 is the likely target date. This would mark eight years between the launch of the Xbox One (November 2013) and the next generation hardware. Xbox One also launched eight years after the November 2005 debut of the Xbox 360.

Source: Thurrott

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AfterDawn: News

Tesla cutting 9 percent of workforce

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jun 2018 5:07

Tesla cutting 9 percent of workforce Tesla is cutting approximately 9 percent of its workforce as the firm pursues profitability, Model 3 production boost.

The cuts were announced by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an e-mail sent out to employees this week. Musk said that the cuts were part of a simplification of Tesla's management structure.

"As part of this effort, and the need to reduce costs and become profitable, we have made the difficult decision to let go of approximately 9 percent of our colleagues across the company," the email reads.

"These cuts were almost entirely made from our salaried population and no production associates were included, so this will not affect our ability to reach Model 3 production targets in the coming months."

The hotly-anticipated Model 3 been marred with production problems so far and Tesla is aiming to hit a goal of 5,000 models produced weekly by the end of this month. For the time being, Tesla is burning through cash as it works on its assembly line, new projects like the Model Y and the construction of its ambition Gigafactory.

Regardless, Musk disagrees with analysts' predictions that Tesla will seek to raise capital later this year as he eyes profitability and positive cash flow in Q3 and Q4.

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