AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Tim Cook criticizes Facebook over privacy issues

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Mar 2018 8:05

Tim Cook criticizes Facebook over privacy issues 'We could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer... we've elected not to do that," Tim Cook.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has weighed in on the response to the Cambridge Analytica story by criticizing Facebook's use of its users' private data. During an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes and Recode's Kara Swisher, which will air on MSNBC soon, Cook suggested that Facebook should have regulated itself properly.

Cook was asked what he would do now if he was Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to which he simply insisted that he would not be in this situation in the first place.

"We've never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist," Cook reportedly said, warning such deep information on users can be exploited by advertisers and can even be used "against democracy."

While Cook admits that he usually gravitates toward no regulation because of unintended consequences, he believes that regulation of how firms like Facebook use data is necessary. In Apple's case, the customer is not the product, even though Cook admits the firm could make a lot more money if that was the case.


AfterDawn: News

Pandora introduces personalized playlists

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Mar 2018 7:51

Pandora introduces personalized playlists Pandora takes a leaf out of Spotify's book by introducing personalized soundtracks that are based on your listening tastes.

Personalized soundtracks are currently being tested with a small group of Premium users of the Pandora's services, but will roll out soon to all Premium subscribers. The playlists - similar to Spotify's Daily Mixes - will update every weeik to fit your moods, activities and favorite genres.

Pandora's personalized soundtracks are powered by its Music Genome.

"We apply a state-of-the-art ensemble of 75+ machine learning algorithms spanning bleeding-edge deep learning techniques, raw audio content analysis and collaborative filtering methods for listener preferences," writes Chris Phillips, Chief Product Officer, Pandora.

These new playlists will appear in the "Browse" section under "Featured Playlists" on the mobile app. The more you listen to differentiated music, the more playlists you'll get. Playlists can also be shared with friends who can check them out even if on Free tier service.

AfterDawn: News

Vive Pro available for pre-order

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Mar 2018 21:38

Vive Pro available for pre-order HTC's new upgraded Vive Pro is available to pre-order now ahead of its April launch, while the original bundle has had a price cut.

HTC is focusing on stepping up the technical side of its new VR producers rather than worrying about affordability for now (as Oculus seems to be focused on). The new Vive Pro, shown off at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Los Vegas, steps up the specs and design but also increases to a staggering $799.

For the additional coin, the OLED displays increase the resolution from 2160x1200 to 2880x1600 while the headset packs new built-in headphones with 3D audio and noise cancellation. A redesigned strap almost makes the headset more comfortable to wear compared to the older Vive.

The original Vive bundle is also getting a price cut to $499, a reduction of $100.

via: Engadget

AfterDawn: News

Self-driving Uber car kills woman in Arizona

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Mar 2018 21:16

Self-driving Uber car kills woman in Arizona Ride-hailing service Uber has suspended its North American self-driving vehicles tests after news of the first fatality involving one of the autonomous cars spread on Monday.

Police confirmed on Monday that a woman was struck by a self-driving vehicle being tested by Uber. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bicycle outside the crosswalk on a four-lane road in Tempe when an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode struck her at around 40 miles per hour. She died from her injuries later in hospital.

"The pedestrian was outside of the crosswalk. As soon as she walked into the lane of traffic she was struck," Tempe Police Sergeant Ronald Elcock told reporters. He said he believed that the woman may have been homeless.

Uber has been testing its vehicles in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Toronto, and will suspend all testing while the investigation is underway.

"Our investigators have that information, and they will be using that in their investigation as well as the Maricopa County Attorney's Office as part of their investigation," said Elcock.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix will let parents block individual movies and shows

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Mar 2018 21:04

Netflix will let parents block individual movies and shows Netflix will beef up the parent controls available to users of its service to make its platform more child appropriate.

As it stands, parents can use Netflix parental controls to prevent their children from accessing content above a specified maturity rating. The content can be hidden behind a PIN altogether, or parents can available of designated child accounts.

In order to give parents more control over what their children can access on the service, Netflix will allow parents to control access to individual movies and shows behind a security PIN.

Netflix will also begin displaying more prominently the maturity level rating for a series or film once a member hits play on a title.

More info:

AfterDawn: News

Spotify cracks down on hacked apps

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Mar 2018 21:02

Spotify cracks down on hacked apps Spotify appears to be cracking down on the use of unauthorized applications that allow users with Free accounts to get benefits of its paid Premium tier.

Some users with free accounts opt to download modified Spotify apps that allow them to get around some of the limitations of a Free account, and have some benefits of the paid Premium service. While having almost 160 million users of its service, around 71 million actually pay for Premium accounts whilst the rest of the active users are limited to lower quality, ad-supported service.

Free users who have been using modified apps have been receiving a warning from Spotify that reads as follows:

Dear User:

We detected abnormal activity on the app you are using so we have disabled it. Don't worry - your Spotify account is safe.

To access your Spotify account, simply uninstall any unauthorized or modified version of Spotify and download and install the Spotify app from the official Google Play Store. If you need more help, please see our support article on Reinstalling Spotify.

If we detect repeated use of unauthorized apps in violation of our terms, we suspend all rights, including suspending or terminating your account.

AfterDawn: News

Elon Musk quits AI ethics group he co-founded

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Feb 2018 15:57

Elon Musk quits AI ethics group he co-founded SpaceX and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has quit an artificial intelligence ethics group that he originally co-founded.

Having once said that AI is the biggest existential threat to humanity, Musk was part of the formation of OpenAI. The research group aims to promote and develop non-threatening artificial intelligence for the betterment of humanity.

Musk and others founded and donated money to the group largely due to concerns over the use of AI for destructive purposes, such as automous killer robots.

The decision to quit OpenAI is down to a potential future conflict of interest, as Tesla is developing its own artificial intelligence technology for its self-driving vehicles push. However, Musk will continue to donate and advise and OpenAI group.

Concerns have been raised about a potential arms race using emerging artificial intelligence technology.

AfterDawn: News

Disney fails to block Redbox from reselling movie download codes

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Feb 2018 15:54

Disney fails to block Redbox from reselling movie download codes Disney has been dealt a blow in its copyright lawsuit movie rental firm Redbox, which sought to halt the firm from reselling digital movie download codes.

Redbox is a kiosk movie rental service. It places thousouds of its DVD rental kiosks in public allowing customers to pick up a DVD copy of a film. Among its collection are many Disney films, which it purchased in retail DVD format.

Those retail Disney DVDs also come with an attachment digital movie download code, which can be redeemed for a free digital download of the same film on DVD. Redbox decided to repackage these download codes and sell them separately, prompting a lawsuit from Disney.

The entertainment conglomarate cited language on the packaging that states the download codes are not for resale or for transfer, but a California judge disagrees.

Judge Pregerson said that the wording on the packaging does not constitute an enforceable contract between the parties, and agreed with Redbox' assertion that Disney is misuing copyright.

A hearing in March will consider Redbox' motion to dismiss the case.

AfterDawn: News

PlayStation profiles now accessible from web browsers

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Feb 2018 12:12

PlayStation profiles now accessible from web browsers 'My PlayStation' is the new social destination on the Web for your PlayStation profile.

You can now login to the official PlayStation website and access My PlayStation from a link in the top right corner. This will bring you to a Facebook-like (though much more minimalist in appearance) profile. From here, you can access key PSN features from your web browser; Find friends, edit your PSN profile, view Trophies and more.

Previously you would have to do these things from your PS4 console or from an app on a mobile device. My PlayStation works with most major web browsers on Windows 10, MacOS 10, iOS 10 or above, Android 5 or above.

You can view your own Trophies and compare to those of your contacts, or send direct messages, too.

My PlayStation on the web is very minimalist and blank in appearance for the time being, but Sony promises it will continue to enhance and add more features to My PlayStation on a regular basis.

AfterDawn: News

Tesla hacked to mine cryptocurrency

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Feb 2018 12:11

Tesla hacked to mine cryptocurrency Tesla is investigating a reported hack of its cloud computing platform in order to stealthy mine cryptocurrency.

The all-electric automaker is assuring customers that there has been no hack or breach of customer data or of their vehicles. Instead, the instrustion seems to have been limited to internally used engineering test cars.

The breach was discovered and reported to Tesla by RedLock, and stems from the leak of login credentials to Tesla's Amazon Web Services environment. It was traced to a Kubernetes console, a system designed by Google for application management.

Cryptojacking - the practice of hacking computer systems and networks and mining cryptocurrency from their processing power - is become more common with interest in digital currencies at an all-time high. Past corporate victims of such attacks include Starbucks and even YouTube.

Cryptocurrency mining requires a lot of processing power, which in turn consumes a lot of electricity. Hackers can pass the cost extra electrical costs onto victims and mine digital currency using their systems without their knowledge or consent.

AfterDawn: News

Apple updates devices to fix 'text bomb' bug

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Feb 2018 17:47

Apple updates devices to fix 'text bomb' bug Apple has pushed updates across all of its devices to stop devices from crashing when processing a specific Telugu character.

A character from the native Indian language was found to cause Apple devices to freeze due to a memory corruption error. When the flaw became public, pranksters used text messages, social media and even Uber to cause devices to encounter the rare character and freeze.

Apple has issued updates for iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, smartwatches and TV boxes.

  • The latest version of iOS is 11.2.6.
  • The latest version of macOS is 10.13.3.
  • The latest version of tvOS is 11.2.6.
  • The latest version of watchOS is 4.2.3.

The problem was discovered by the developers of the Aloha mobile browser and reported on February 12.

More information: Apple security updates

AfterDawn: News

Samsung unveils record 30TB SSD

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Feb 2018 17:38

Samsung unveils record 30TB SSD Samsung breaks the storage capacity record for a single solid state drive with a new 30.72TB drive for enterprise solutions.

It had previously broken the world record in 2016 with a 15.36TB SSD. The new PM1643 drive is built on Samsung's latest V-NAND technology with 64-layer, 3-bit 512-gigabit (Gb) chips, delivering twice the capacity and performance of the previous 15.3TB line-up.

The PM1643 comprises 32 of the new 1TB NAND flash packages, each comprised of 16 stacked layers of 512Gb V-NAND chips, packed into the 2.5-inch frame.

Based on a 12Gb/s SAS interface, the new PM1643 drive features random read and write speeds of up to 400,000 IOPS and 50,000 IOPS, and sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,100MB/s and 1,700 MB/s, respectively.

"With our launch of the 30.72TB SSD, we are once again shattering the enterprise storage capacity barrier, and in the process, opening up new horizons for ultra-high capacity storage systems worldwide," said Jaesoo Han, executive vice president, Memory Sales & Marketing Team at Samsung Electronics.

"Samsung will continue to move aggressively in meeting the shifting demand toward SSDs over 10TB and at the same time, accelerating adoption of our trail-blazing storage solutions in a new age of enterprise systems."

AfterDawn: News

Sony cuts $100 from PSVR bundles

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Feb 2018 4:58

Sony cuts $100 from PSVR bundles Sony is seeking similar success it had with its holiday PlayStation VR discounts with a new temporary price cut.

PlayStation VR prices are being cut by $100 temporarily as Sony seeks to clear out winter stocks. The promotion will run from February 18 to March 3. Under the deal you can purchase the standalone PlayStation VR headset for $199.99 during the time period.

You can also purchase the PlayStation VR Doom VFR Bundle, including the PlayStation VR headset, PlayStation Camera, the PS VR Demo Disc 2.0 and the Doom VFR Blu-ray Disc. The bundle would set you back $299.99 MSRP.

Alternatively, you can get the PlayStation VR Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR Bundle with the PS VR headset, PlayStation Camera, two PlayStation Move controllers, the PS VR Demo Disc 2.0 and Skyrim VR (+ addons). During the promo the bundle will sell for $349.99 MSRP.

There are also reports that you can pick up the Gran Turismo Sport bundle for just $199.99, but availability would be an issue if true.

AfterDawn: News

Android Oreo will show you WiFi speeds before connection

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jan 2018 11:21

Android Oreo will show you WiFi speeds before connection Devices running the latest Android Oreo release will now give you an idea of the speed of a WiFi network before you connect to it.

Public WiFi is offered by local governments and private businesses for their customers everywhere now. However, the performance of public WiFi varies widely and sometimes public WiFi can be worse than even a poor cellular connection. Sometimes you might find yourself trying multiple public networks to find one that has enough speed for your task (streaming from youtube etc.)

Oreo will make this task a little bit easier. When it scans for nearby WiFi, it also will assess what kind of speed you can expect from it. It won't tell you a detailed result of its test, but will instead describe the speed as "slow" if its under 1Mbps, "OK" if it between 1Mbps and 1.5Mbps, "fast" if it is between 5Mbps and 20Mbps and "very fast" if it exceeds 20Mbps.

The change is rolling out now with Android Oreo 8.1.


AfterDawn: News

Integral to ship 512GB microSD card

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jan 2018 11:10

Integral to ship 512GB microSD card Integral Memory will ship the largest capacity microSD card commercially available in February, with its new 512GB microSDXC V10.

That would be one hell of a storage boost for a device, granted it supports microSDXC.

"The need to provide extended memory for smartphones, tablets and a growing range of other mobile devices such as action cams and drones has been answered." said James Danton, marketing manager, Integral Memory. "As a company, we are very proud to be the first to achieve the 512GB capacity milestone in microSDXC, worldwide."

Press information about the new card cites tests with a range of smartphones showing speed of up to 80MB/s, which is certainly not the fastest you could find but should be adequate for most media tasks like recording 4K video and such.

It will be available next month but there was no information given on how much one of these babies will cost.

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