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Religious group wants Netflix to remove an Amazon Prime show

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Jun 2019 12:12

Religious group wants Netflix to remove an Amazon Prime show A petition doing the rounds seeking the removal of a 'blasphemous' show from Netflix is met with amusement and ridicule.

There have been many such petitions shared around social media that demand streaming services remove content that offers certain groups of people. In that sense, this is nothing new. However, when you want a streaming service to remove a show from their platform, make sure that the show is actually on their platform.

It turns out that the petition - posted by Christian group Return To Order - was demanding that Netflix remove 'Good Omens' from its platform, despite the fact that Good Omens is actually a show on Amazon Prime. At its height the petition gathered about 35,000 signatures, but unfortunately they seem to have now removed it, undoubtedly prompted by the ridicule.

"This is another step to make Satanism appear normal, light and acceptable," the organization noted on its website originally, according to BGR.

"We must show our rejection. Please sign our petition, telling Netflix that we will not stand silent as they destroy the barriers of horror we still have for evil."


AfterDawn: News

VidAngel faces $62.4 million judgement for illegal streaming

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Jun 2019 11:39

VidAngel faces $62.4 million judgement for illegal streaming A service that cleaned out objectionable material from Hollywood films and streamed them to customers is ordered to pay studios for copyright infringement.

VidAngel would buy physical DVD copies of films and then manually remove sexual content, violence, profanity and other stuff that isn't considered family-friendly. It would then offer the sanitized version of the film for streaming through its online service.

The operators of the website believed the practice was entirely legal under the Family Entertainment And Copyright Act, which provides legal safe haven for tech products and services that are used to censor aspects of films.

However, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte had previously ruled that VidAngel's service was illegal and ordered the service shut down in December 2016. This only left a jury decision on damages up in the air.

Hollywood heavyweights Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. had requested the jury impose the maxiumum $125 million penalty for illegally streaming 819 separate movies. Meanwhile, the VidAngel defense attorney asked the jury only to impose the minimum $600,000 penalty, arguing that VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon was genuinely under the impression the service was legal under federal law.


AfterDawn: News

Facebook virtual currency Libra to face U.S. Senate banking committee

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Jun 2019 10:59

Facebook virtual currency Libra to face U.S. Senate banking committee Only a couple of days after Facebook and partners announced Libra, a U.S. Senate panel has already scheduled a hearing probing the proposed virtual currency.

Libra is a proposed permissioned blockchain virtual currency backed by Facebook and a wide range of partners that make up the Libra Association. While it doesn't have banks among its members, it does include MasterCard and PayPal.

When the virutal currency (sometimes called cryptocurrency, although it is quite different to Bitcoin and others) was announced by Facebook this week, it was immediately met with concerns over data usage and other things.

Maxine Waters, the U.S. Representative for California's 43rd congressional district, who oversees the House Financial Services Committee, called on Facebook to halt the development of the product. She wanted the U.S. congress and federal regulators to have time to examine the proposal.

Today the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has scheduled a hearing for July 16, 2019. The hearing is described as, "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations."

While the Banking Committee website says that witnesses will be announced at a later date, Reuters reports that David Marcus, who heads up Facebook's blockchain efforts, will be one of them.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung advised users to scan TVs for viruses and malware

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Jun 2019 10:44

Samsung advised users to scan TVs for viruses and malware Earlier this week, Samsung raised eyebrows by sharing a video instructing users of its smart TVs to run virus scans on them regularly.

Samsung's smart TVs run on the Linux-based Tizen operating system. We are all familiar with running anti-malware software and even running virus scans on your PCs if we have suspicions. Samsung posted a tweet with an embedded video to its Samsung Support USA account reminding users that the same practice should apply to their televisions.

"Scanning your computer for malware viruses is important to keep it running smoothly. This also is true for your QLED TV if it's connected to Wi-Fi," the tweet reads.

"Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks."

An embedded 19-second video then guided users through a process using the remote control to access a sub-menu to activate virus checks. The video and tweet have since been removed by Samsung.

That is likely due to unexpected responses that ranged from users excmlaiming that this is an example of why you shouldn't connect your TV to Wi-Fi at all, to others pointing out that it's pointless advice because the TVs typically come loaded with specialized smart TV-focused McAfee security software that runs in the background.


AfterDawn: News

UK's adult websites block to be delayed

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Jun 2019 9:49

UK's adult websites block to be delayed The proposed age verification system for controlling access to adult entertainment websites (the UK's 'porn block') has reportedly been shelved indefinitely.

With the goal of attempting to protect underage Internet users from adult-oriented content, the UK government has been planning to implement an age verification system. It has already been delayed twice as it faces considerable criticism.

Sky News reports that Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Secretary Jeremy Wright will inform the Parliament that the system has been shelved for now. It was supposed to go into effect on July 15.

According to Sky sources, the issue was bureacratic, rather than technical.

Ever since it was first proposed in 2015 and has proceeded since, it has faced criticism. Understandably, it raised privacy concerns as the habits of Internet users could be tracked. It also had the potential to open people up to blackmail.

On top of that, some in the adult entertainment industry decried the fact that social media platforms like Tumblr or Twitter were to be exempt, meaning the producers of the content would be behind the block while the content could be easily accessible on those platforms.

AfterDawn: News

Best Buy will repair Apple devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Jun 2019 9:34

Best Buy will repair Apple devices Apple and Best Buy have announced a partnership to provide Apple-certified repairs for iPhones, iPads etc. at almost 1,000 stores across the United States.

Apple-certified repairs at an Apple store or an authorized service provider are performed by trained experts who use genuine Apple parts. Every repair is backed by Apple. With its partnership with Best Buy and authorized third party service providers, eight out of ten Apple customers will be within 20 minutes of an authorized service provider.

Best Buy's Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products. Aside from Best Buy, there are over 1,800 third-party Apple authorized service providers in the US.

This will help Apple customers who are located hours away from the closest Apple store.

"At Apple, we're dedicated to providing the best customer service in the world," said Tara Bunch, Apple's vice president of AppleCare.

"If a customer ever needs to repair their products, we want them to feel confident those repairs are done safely and correctly. We're always looking at how we can reliably expand our network of trained technicians and we're excited to partner with every Best Buy store so it's even easier for our customers to find an authorized repair location near them."

AfterDawn: News

YouTube to remaster old music videos

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Jun 2019 9:32

YouTube to remaster old music videos YouTube and Universal Music Group are to remaster just under 1,000 music videos with HD picture and improved audio.

YouTube likely houses the largest collection of music videos publicly available. A lot of these music videos are older and were shot and produced for tube televisions. On top of that, some of the audio quality of older music videos lags because a lot were intended for televisions with mono speakers.

From today, over 100 music videos that have been remastered to much higher video and audio quality can be found on YouTube, with the rest of almost 1,000 videos expected to be finished by the end of the year. Every week will see new remastered videos.

They will be available from the same URL as always and will be marked with a "Remastered" label in the description.

Videos that have already been remastered and are available are from artists including titles from Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Boyz II Men, George Strait, Janet Jackson, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Maroon 5, Meat Loaf, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, Smokey Robinson, The Killers, Tom Petty and more.

Here's an example of a remastered video.


AfterDawn: News

Libra: Facebook announces global cryptocurrency

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Jun 2019 6:10

Libra: Facebook announces global cryptocurrency The social media giant has partnered with dozens across industries in its ambitious plans to bring about a global cryptocurrency during the first half of 2020.

Along with partners that include MasterCard and PayPal, it has established the Libra Association, based in Geneva. Banks are curiously not among the listed partners for the Libra Association so far. The association will govern the global Libra cryptocurrency, while at the same time a Facebook subsidiary called Calibra will offer digital wallets.

Digital wallets allow consumers to store, receive and send cryptocurrency units.

Facebook and its partners are aiming the Libra system at both established commerce but also aim to offer financial services to some consumers in the world who previously have had no access to such services. It isn't likely to be an easy ride for Facebook and friends however, as scrutiny immediately followed the announcement of Libra.

Digital rights and privacy activists have raised concerns over how much more private data can be amassed by Facebook as it facilitates payments and transactions around the world. The social media giant has a very spotty record when it comes to the use of user data already.


AfterDawn: News

Huawei seeking trademark for own mobile platform

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jun 2019 2:17

Huawei seeking trademark for own mobile platform Huawei has been all over the news recently, thanks to Trump administration blacklisting the company.

It is becoming increasingly hard to be competitive for Huawei if the blacklist goes into full effect and U.S. as well as many European ones can't or won't do business with them.

There's still ways for Huawei to avoid this, and even Trump's Treasury Secretary has noted that Huawei might be cleared off the blacklist if negotiations go appropriately.

However, tech companies are making sure that they'll avoid tariffs as much as possible if Trump and Xi Jinping don't find common ground.

For Huawei tariffs are the least of their problems. Things like not having an operating system (Android) or processors for their smartphones is far greater problem than losing some of the profitability, and they are preparing for that too.


AfterDawn: News

Apple expands to Windows 10 – iCloud available in Microsoft Store

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jun 2019 11:56

Apple expands to Windows 10 – iCloud available in Microsoft Store Apple has never really been one to bridge the gap between operating systems, ecosystems, and platforms.

The company's stronghold over things like iMessage are essentially keeping people locked into iOS, although arguments could be made its totally escapable.

However, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel, as Apple seems to be more willing to expand some of its services to competing platforms. After all, for example, Apple Music is available on Android and iTunes (later replaced with Apple TV after iTunes was effectively killed) was released earlier this year for LG and Samsung TVs

Now iCloud is making its way to competing operating systems. Apple and Microsoft have become closer partners, and Apple has released iCloud for Windows 10's Microsoft Store.

While you could've been using iCloud on Windows all along, there hasn't been an iCloud app in the Microsoft Store for it.

With the new iCloud app for Windows you can easily sync your data to the cloud using File Explorer. It supports iCloud Drive, iCloud Photos, as well as Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, and Bookmarks. For Mail, Contacts, Calendars you'll need Outlook 2016 or later.


AfterDawn: News

Tech companies are moving manufacturing out of China to avoid tariffs

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jun 2019 11:36

Tech companies are moving manufacturing out of China to avoid tariffs After Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn, assured investors that iPhones could be assembled outside the China if needed, others are following suit.

According to Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has started producing their next-generation game console, two of them to be exact. This means the dual successor to highly successful Nintendo Switch is just around the corner.

It also means that current trade issues between China and the U.S. might really affect where and how it is manufactured and shipped.

Nintendo is reportedly ready for the effects the trade war might have with their products, and has already moved some of the manufacturing out of China. This will allow them to avoid profit killing tariffs.

While officially Nintendo hasn't commented on this, they do say that majority of Switch manufacturing is located in China.

Not only is Nintendo avoiding China but, according to Bloomberg, Google is moving some of its production out of the country. Google's smart home division Nest is manufacturing more of the devices in Taiwan and Malaysia.


AfterDawn: News

Apple is planning on buying Intel's failed modem business?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jun 2019 1:39

Apple is planning on buying Intel's failed modem business? Apple's rise to the top with the iPhone was nothing short of miraculous, but things haven't necessarily been going as great after Steve Jobs passed, although they are again closing in on that $1 trillion.

Market cap was rising until it hit a trillion dollars last year, but since it has hit some big roadblocks.

One of them was the failure with 5G. Apple's sole modem partner was Intel, who completely flopped with their 5G modem development. Not only were they late to the party, but they eventually had to pull out entirely.

For Apple this meant costly settling and negotiations with their courtroom rival Qualcomm, full price of which has yet to be determined. Worse yet, there is still no word on 5G iPhone, although that is not necessarily a surprise.

However, the partnership with Qualcomm is definitely not what Apple would consider optimal. They would much rather not work with the company that makes most Android modems, and have either an exclusive partner or, better yet, produce their own modem.


AfterDawn: News

Mozilla updates Firefox logo after major news

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jun 2019 12:06

Mozilla updates Firefox logo after major news Mozilla's Firefox has been in a slow and painful decline ever since Google announced their own web browser, Chrome, approximately 10 years ago.

Not only has Firefox's market share been cut in third but the company has become increasingly dependent on search engine partnerships and the royalties they provide.

That's why the company has just announced a new premium version of Firefox. A massive move from the company that has provided, and keeps providing, a free to use web browser.

While the premium Firefox is only going to hit the testers this fall, the company has already revamped Firefox's image quite a bit.

Mozilla has also determined that in the future Firefox will encompass not only the browser but a larger group of software, including Firefox Send, Firefox Monitor, and Firefox Lockwise. Thus, it is only reasonable that the browser be called Firefox Browser from now on.

Well, whether you'll be calling it that (you won't), that is indeed the official name. It also means that Firefox has gotten a brand new logo that spans over all the apps.

As you can see below, Firefox the brand has a different logo than the browser, but the two are completely different from Send, Monitor, and Lockwise.


AfterDawn: News

Film photography is making a comeback with Fujifilm's new black & white film

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jun 2019 9:44

Film photography is making a comeback with Fujifilm's new black & white film Not many of the younger generation of photographers know what developing a photo is like. However, apparently the ones that have learned about it are interested.

There's interest enough for Fujifilm to bring back photographic film to the market. The company has started producing a new version of its iconic black-and-white Acros photo film.

The new product is called Neopan 100 Acros II. They are producing both a 35 mm as well as 120 film variants of this monochrome technology that we thought had been largely forgotten.

This nearly 200 years old method of photography has some new technology inserted in it. According to Fujifilm, a new Super Fine-Σ technique improves the sharpness and produces a more fine graininess compared to the original Neopan 100 Acros.

Fujifilm will start selling the film in Japan this fall and expansion is in store if there is demand.

AfterDawn: News

Foxconn: Apple won't feel the brunt of the trade war

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jun 2019 9:29

Foxconn: Apple won't feel the brunt of the trade war The best example of the escalation of the trade war between China and the U.S. is of course Trump blacklisting world's number two smartphone manufacturer and top 5G competitor Huawei.

However, there is no trade war where there is no retaliation. China has warned that it is willing to blacklist companies in America, and elsewhere, who abide by what Huawei calls unconstitutional ban.

Furthermore general trade war actions, like tariffs, could damage other companies as well. One of the main ones in the line of fire is of course Apple, who've had troubles in China.

Fortunately Apple's key supplier Hon Hai, better known here as Foxconn, is assuring investors that drastic trade war acts are not going to leave Apple without iPhones, Bloomberg reports.

According to Foxconn, they have all the necessary facilities to keep on producing iPhones for American consuming needs. Thus, even if the trade war would escalate further and make it necessary to build iPhones outside China, that is possible according to the Taiwanese contract manufacturer.


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