AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Signal offers free encrypted video calls

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Dec 2020 2:41

Signal offers free encrypted video calls Signal has expanded its end-to-end encrypted communications to include video group calls.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to embrace video conferencing software for everything from school classrooms to corporate meetings.

Earlier in the year, Zoom came under fire after it was found its video was not subject to end-to-end encryption as had been claimed. There were also other security concerns that hit the service, which grew significantly during the pandemic.

Now, encrypted messaging app Signal has added group video chats to its line-up and like everything else it offers, it benefits from end-to-end encryption.

"Today, we're launching group calls in Signal with the latest versions of our apps. Group calls are free, private, and end-to-end encrypted," Signal's announcement reads.

A video call button will now be added to the top of group chats. When you start or join a group call, Signal will display the participants in a grid view. You can also swipe up to switch to a view that automatically focuses the screen on who is speaking, and it will update in real-time as the active speaker changes.

Free group calls are available starting today as long as the Signal app has been updated to the latest version. You won't see the call button in your legacy groups, but your legacy Signal groups will start automatically updating to New Groups in the coming weeks.

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AfterDawn: News

CD Projekt Red sorry for Cyberpunk 2077 issues

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Dec 2020 2:39

CD Projekt Red sorry for Cyberpunk 2077 issues The developer of the open-world, action-adventure RPG has apologized to customers who are experience technical issues and glitches.

Most of the problems seem to be limited to users of the previous generation of gaming consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, typically including choppy framerates and screen tearing. Reviewers had been given a PC version of the blockbuster, so the issues were not reported until after the release.

In an apology posted to its social media account, CD Projekt Red admitted it should have paid more attention to how the game performed on the older consoles and should have shown the game on the consoles before it premiered.



CD Projekt Red went on to promise major patches to address the issues with the first Patch #1 arriving in January. It will be followed by Patch #2 in February.

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AfterDawn: News

Pornhub purges millions of 'unverified' videos

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Dec 2020 2:37

Pornhub purges millions of 'unverified' videos One of the largest adult entertainment websites has removed millions of videos from its platform.

Pornhub had been under fire since a New York Times report allegedly discovered illegal content mixed in with its millions of erotic videos. Following the report, MasterCard stopped processing payments for the website while rival Visa is also conducting an investigation.

PornHub had blasted the move by the payment processors at the time, pointing out that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) had reported 118 incidents of child abuse material on PornHub, compared to 84 million reported by Facebook.

The new report did spark a major change in Pornhub policies, however. It decided that all uploaders of material would soon need to be verified. In line with that commitment, Pornhub has effectively removed millions of videos as it has suspended uploads from unverified accounts.

Most of the material on Pornhub is posted by unverified accounts.

It now says it is going further than any other platform in its trust and safety practices but also claims it is being targeted ultimately by groups that wish to abolish pornography outright.

"This means every piece of Pornhub content is from verified uploaders, a requirement that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter have yet to institute," the company said in a blog post.

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AfterDawn: News

Spotify forcing some users to change passwords

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Dec 2020 2:07

Spotify forcing some users to change passwords The discovery of a security bug that leaked user information to third parties has prompted the action.

Spotify is forcing some of its subscribers to change their passwords following the discovery of a security bug. The bug reportedly led to user information being incorrectly shared with third parties, and Spotify is contacting users of affected accounts.

Information shared unintentionally includes e-mail addresses, passwords, display names, and more. So far there is no evidence that the information has been used for nefarious purposes and Spotify has contacted third parties and ordered them to delete the data.

Affected users will have been issued a password reset, and so will be alerted by email to continue through the process to change their account password.

Affected users should also consider changing the password on other services if they had been using it for them also.





AfterDawn: News

Pornhub blasts Visa, Mastercard suspension

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Dec 2020 2:04

Pornhub blasts Visa, Mastercard suspension Pornhub highlights double-standards, concerns about income to models, following Mastercard, and Visa suspension.

Mastercard and Visa will no longer handle payments for massive adult entertainment platform. Coming just days after Pornhub announced strict new rules for its service, Visa and Mastercard have cut off the adult website.

Following a New York Times investigation that exposed exploitative and illegal content on the massive platform, along with deficiencies in monitoring uploaded content, Pornhub imposed new restrictions on users of the service.

It changes its policies so that users who upload content to the service will have to have their identity verified. Additionally, it banned the downloading of most content available on the service.

"Today, the use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content.... we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites," a Mastercard statement received by NYT's Nicholas Kristof reads.

After Mastercard's decision was revealed, Visa suspended Pornhub's acceptance privileges pending an ongoing investigation. Naturally, Pornhub is more than miffed by the moves and seemingly wishes to highlight double standards in its defense.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple sued by third-party app store used for jailbreak devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Dec 2020 2:00

Apple sued by third-party app store used for jailbreak devices Apple has been targeted by yet another lawsuit alleging wrongdoing over its device limitations.

This time the plaintiff in the case is Cydia (also known as SaurikIT), alleging that Apple illegally blocked all competition for its App Store. Cydia was founded in 2008 and became a very popular third-party alternative for users of Apple devices that had been jailbroken.

To jailbreak a device is to modify it to circumvent technical limitations and allow it to be used in ways unintended by the manufacturer.

In this case, an iPhone jailbreak would allow for the device to install applications from locations other than the App Store, among other things.

Cydia is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which has previously represented Samsung in disputes against Apple. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

It is not the first case against Apple this year over its App Store practices. Fortnite publisher Epic Games has sued Apple for removing the popular title from the App Store. In that case, Epic opted to use its own payment system to sidestep a 30 percent tally imposed by Apple.





AfterDawn: News

Disney+ subscription prices to rise

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Dec 2020 1:58

Disney+ subscription prices to rise Disney is increasing the monthly charge for access to Disney+ streaming platform.

U.S. users of the Disney+ streaming platform will have to fork out an extra dollar per month. The change will not occur until March next year and will see the Disney+ monthly price increase from $6.99 to $7.99.

This sets the annual cost of a Disney+ subscription at $79.99.

From March 26, 2021, the Disney Bundle including Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ will be priced at $13.99 per month. By 2024, Disney is projecting 230-260 million streaming customers and more than 350 million subscriptions across all services worldwide.

The price increase announcements came as Disney announced a whole roster of new content including Loki and Falcon series.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix: No more free trials in the U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Oct 2020 8:59

Netflix: No more free trials in the U.S. Having previously eliminated the free trial option for new customers in other territories, Netflix has confirmed it is killing the offer in the U.S. too.

For years, Netflix would tempt customers with 30 days of full access to its entire library. Potential customers could cancel before paying a monthly subscription fee for the world's largest streaming service. However, with more than 200 million subscribers, Netflix has decided to pull the plug on the freebie.

"We're looking at different marketing promotions in the U.S. to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience", a Netflix spokesperson said while confirming the reports, according to Reuters.

Competing services have started to eliminate similar options. Disney halted the free trial for its Disney+ service back in June.

Netflix does still offer its free portal for potential customers to watch some of its original content without paying.





AfterDawn: News

Apple unveils new 5G iPhone 12 models

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Oct 2020 8:50

Apple unveils new 5G iPhone 12 models On Tuesday, Apple unveiled four new iPhone 12 models bringing 5G to its smartphone line-up.

The four models include the Apple iPhone 12 mini, Apple iPhone 12, Apple iPhone 12 Pro, and Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. All of them support 5G wireless networks, which will be used when the operating system of the device determines it is required. For low-data requirements, it will drop to LTE 4G connectivity to save battery.

All models also run on Apple's proprietary A14 Bionic system chip. Each features an OLED display including its lower-end iPhone models for the first time. MagSafe wireless charging is also supported.

As leaks suggested, the iPhone 12 models have squared off edges rather than rounded edges, and each has a protective glass developed in conjunction with Corning, which develops Gorilla Glass.

Another previously leaked detail that turns out to be true is that the iPhone 12 models do not come with a charger or headphones. They do come with a USB-C compatible Lightning charging cable. Apple justifies the omissions on environmental grounds, finding that most people already have multiple chargers and also that by removing chargers the iPhones can be packed more tightly for shipping.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony reveals PS5 launch details including pricing, date, accessories, games, more

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Sep 2020 2:30

Sony reveals PS5 launch details including pricing, date, accessories, games, more PS5 Showcase provides PS5 console launch date and price, along with information on accessories and launch day games.

We are getting close to the next major console battle. This time, Microsoft's Xbox Series X goes up against rival Sony's PlayStation 5 for your cash. Where can you get a PS5 and when? How much will it cost? What accessories will be available at launch and what games will be available? How much will those cost?

Here's how it breaks down.

PlayStation 5 hardware launch details

There are two options for your PlayStation 5 purchase this fall. You can buy a PS5 with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive or you can purchase a PS5 Digital Edition at a lower cost. The lower cost results from the lack of a Blu-ray drive, if you hadn't already guessed, meaning that the only way to acquire games for this version is digitally.

Other than the Blu-ray drive, there is no other significant hardware difference between the two choices: they both the same x86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU and AMD Radeon RDNA 2-based graphics engine, support 4K graphics with ray-tracing, and both pack ultra-high-speed SSD with integrated I/O for speedy loading times.

Both consoles will be available in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea from November 12, and will launch a week later on November 19 in Europe, Middle East, South America, Asia and South Africa. Pre-orders are available now from select retailers.

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AfterDawn: News

Android 11: What devices are getting the official upgrade?

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2020 12:44

Android 11: What devices are getting the official upgrade? Android 11 was released in September 2020 - here's a list of devices confirmed or expected to receive an update to the latest operating system.

We will update this information as it changes over the months. This information is sourced from Google and also commitments from device manufacturers.

For a look at what Android 11 changes about the operating system, read this article covering the new features.

Android 11 is currently available - or coming soon - for the following phone models:


Google

  • Pixel 2
  • Pixel 2 XL
  • Pixel 3
  • Pixel 3 XL
  • Pixel 3a
  • Pixel 3a XL
  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4
  • Pixel 4a
Android 11 is available for Google's own models listed above immediately.

Samsung
  • Galaxy S10
  • Galaxy S10 +
  • Galaxy S10e
  • Galaxy S10 Lite
  • Galaxy S20
  • Galaxy S20 +
  • Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Galaxy Note 10
  • Galaxy Note 10+
  • Galaxy Note 20
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Android 11 is coming to these Samsung models, but the timing of its distribution is yet to be determined.

OnePlus

An open beta for these models is available for download now:
  • OnePlus 8 Pro
  • OnePlus 8
These models will get Android 11 later:
  • OnePlus Nord
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
  • McLaren Edition OnePlus 7T Pro
  • OnePlus 7T
  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
  • OnePlus 7
  • OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition
  • OnePlus 6T
  • OnePlus 6
Xiaomi

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AfterDawn: News

Android 11: Here's what's new in latest Android refresh

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2020 12:19

Android 11: Here's what's new in latest Android refresh The eleventh major revamp of the Android mobile operating system was officially released this week, and here are new features at a glance.

Android 11 was released on September 8 without a release name of a popular dessert, since that practice was halted with Android 10. The new Android 11 logo accompanies this news item and references the film 'This is Spinal Tap' by depicting a dial turned up to 11.

Most of the changes for this iteration happened under the hood, affecting performance, 5G connectivity, security and so forth. Yet there are still revamps that will be very noticeable to users who upgrade when their device is eligible, or get Android 11 on a brand new device.

Here we will take a look at the primary feature changes:

Conversations Notifications
Notifications from all messaging apps such as the internal Messages app, WhatsApp, Messenger and so on, will be packed together in Android 11. This way your notifications for received messages will not be mixing in with "likes" or other kinds of notifications that pack the notification area.

Conversations can be marked as priority to make them more visible on screen, and also to bypass Do Not Disturb mode if it is activated.

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AfterDawn: News

Fortnite dev sues Apple, Google and receives support

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Aug 2020 4:09

Fortnite dev sues Apple, Google and receives support Epic Games has received support from gamers and from other firms as it takes on Google and Apple in court over their App Store policies.

Epic recently offered Fortnite players a 20 percent discount on its in-game V-bucks currency if they paid Epic Games directly. Bypassing Apple and Google's internal payment systems meant that Epic could avoid paying the standard 30 percent fee to the tech giants.

Apple was the first to retaliate by kicking the megapopular Fortnite off of its App Store, meaning there is nowhere now for Apple products' users to install the game. Epic seemed to be primed and ready for Apple's action and released a parody video of Apple's icon 1984-themed advert.

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AfterDawn: News

Toshiba bows out of laptop business

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Aug 2020 9:47

Toshiba bows out of laptop business Japanese electronics giant has no presence left in laptop and PC market where it was operating for three and a half decades.

Toshiba transferred its remaining 19.9 percent stake in Dynabook to Sharp earlier this month. The transfer was enabled through a share purchase agreement reached between Sharp and Toshiba in 2018 when Sharp initially acquired 80.1 percent of Toshiba Client Solutions Co., Ltd (TCS).

TCS changed its brand name to Dynabook in January 2019.

The action means that Toshiba - a consistent name in PCs and laptops since 1985 - now has no presence left in the PC market, while Dynabook has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp.

Toshiba's first laptop was the T1100, released in 1985. Over the decades it had considerable success with its Satellite, Qosmio, and Protege devices.

Press release: toshiba.co.jp





AfterDawn: News

Leak: Xbox Series S confirmed through controller packaging, manuals

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Aug 2020 7:39

Leak: Xbox Series S confirmed through controller packaging, manuals Leaked packaging and materials for Xbox controller confirm the existence of the "Xbox Series S" console.

There has been growing evidence that Microsoft plans to release a cheaper, possibly disc-less version of its upcoming Xbox Series X next-gen console. The codename for the project is well known - Lockhart - and now its actual name may be confirmed as the Xbox Series S.

Twitter user Zak S obtained a white next-gen Xbox controller on OfferUp for $35 and The Verge verified its authenticity. The packaging and materials that come with the controller mention both the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S.

Earlier in the summer, leaked documents also showed that the Xbox Series X devkit (codenamed Dante) includes a Lockhart mode. The Lockhart hardware is expected to have 7.5GB of RAM (down from 13.5GB in the Series X) and a lower performance GPU. While it will pack the same CPU as the Series X, it's likely underclocked. Series S would be expected to be part of Microsoft's Xbox All Pass subscription push.

The focus of the Series X is also suggested to be on 1080p and 1440p resolution gaming, rather than 4K.

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