AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

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:

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.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft xCloud not on iOS due to App Store rules

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Aug 2020 7:36

Microsoft xCloud not on iOS due to App Store rules Apple has clarified that Microsoft's cloud gaming service won't be available for iOS devices because it breaches its App Store rules.

Microsoft's xCloud gaming service is expected to launch on September 15, having been in beta testing since November of last year. It will allow users to stream games across a variety of devices from the cloud.

While it was available for testing on Apple's iOS devices, it will not be launching for them next month. According to Apple, the problem is that xCloud violates numerous rules enforced on developers.

Firstly, Apple's rules stipulate that all games that would be made available through the App Store are submitted to it for checks. This is an issue for xCloud because a large number of titles would be available through an interface on the app, with many games becoming available the same day as they launch for purchase.

Secondly, games must also appear in the search on the App Store, but that would not the case with the xCloud app. Furthermore, games available in the xCloud app would not appear in charts.

Microsoft is pushing back against Apple's explanation, however, pointing out that all the games available in the xCloud library would be probed by games' rating bodies like the Entertainment Software Rating Board in America, and that further checks should not be required on Apple's end.

AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 supports 100W charging, 0-50 percent in 5 minutes

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Jul 2020 10:19

Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 supports 100W charging, 0-50 percent in 5 minutes Qualcomm's new Quick Charge 5 standard dramatically increases charging speeds for smartphones.

First debuted in 2013, Quick Charge is a proprietary charging standard developed by Qualcomm to deliver speedier charging of devices. Through its first few refreshes, it bumped the voltage beyond the 5V limit imposed by the USB standard safely. Later it gained compatibility with USB-PD (USB Power Delivery) along with other improvements.

Each refresh reduces charging times due to higher power output, but Quick Charge 5 is a significant improvement. With a compatible device and charger, it can charge a 4,500 mAh battery to 50 percent in about 5 minutes. The same battery can be charged from dead to full in about 15 minutes.

Underlying the improvements is 2S battery support and 20 Volts of power delivery, for a max power output of 100W+. At the same time, it is 10C cooler in operation than Quick Charge 4, while being 70 percent more efficient and about four times faster.

Quick Charge is the leading charging platform for mobile devices. There are more than 1,000 certified accessories on the market, of which 250 are smartphones. Its competitors in the space include MediaTek Pump Express and OPPO VOOC, which is licensed to OnePlus as Dash Charge.


AfterDawn: News

Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' to debut internationally before U.S. release

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Jul 2020 9:03

Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' to debut internationally before U.S. release Christopher Nolan's hotly anticipated spy thriller will debut in theaters internationally a week before it debuts in the United States.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the release of Nolan's new thriller several times already, with Warner revoking any release date just a week ago. Today it was given theatrical release dates for scores of countries, most of which will have the film available to theatergoers a week before its available in the United States.

It will first be available on August 26 in 24 countries, among them the United Kingdom, Turkey, France, Italy etc. The next day it will be in theaters in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, and 15 others. On Friday, August 28, Tenet comes to East Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Vietnam.

The following Monday, September 3, it will be released in parts of the United States, but it depends on local COVID-19 policies. There is no date yet for the film's Chinese debut as the government has imposed a two-hour limit for films shown in theaters since they reopened.

Information on the plot of Tenet has been kept quiet, so a staggered rollout presents the risks of major spoilers leaking online, not to mention the threat of piracy. Still, Tenet looks set to be the first blockbuster to hit cinemas since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down movie theaters all around the world.


AfterDawn: News

Facebook takes EU commission to court over data requests

Written by James Delahunty @ 27 Jul 2020 8:49

Facebook takes EU commission to court over data requests Facebook is taking the European Commission to court over broad data requests that could violate its employees' privacy or expose sensitive information.

The top competition regulator in the European Union has two ongoing probes into Facebook. One deals with Facebook's collection and use of massive amounts of data, while the other is aimed at Facebook's online marketplace. As part of the investigation, Facebook says it has provided 315,000 documents to the EU commission.

However, Facebook is now taking the commission to court arguing that its data requests are resulting in irrelevant documents being passed onto the EU. On these documents could include, "highly sensitive personal information such as employees' medical information, personal financial documents, and private information about family members of employees."

The EU Commission is seeking documents that include 2,500 specific phrases, some of which are "big question", "shut down" and "not good for us." According to the social media firm, these phrases may result in documents being handed over that include information related to its security.


AfterDawn: News

Gorilla Glass Victus can survive 2 meter drop, Corning claims

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jul 2020 9:56

Gorilla Glass Victus can survive 2 meter drop, Corning claims Corning has revealed Gorilla Glass Victus and touted its improvements compared to its predecessor Gorilla Glass 6.

Over eight billion devices from 45 different brands have incorporated Gorilla Glass into their products. Consumers desire their mobile products to be durable and resistant to scratches and cracks. Nevertheless, most of us will have accidentally damaged a mobile device and we know that even scratches can affect usability.

It is good news then that the latest Gorilla Glass is reportedly much tougher than its predecessor. In lab tests, it has achieved drop performance up to 2 meters when dropped onto hard, rough surfaces. By contrast, Corning claims that competitive aluminosilicate glasses fail at about 0.8 meters.

Furthermore, it claims Victus is twice as scratch resistant as Gorilla Glass 6, and four times more resistant than competitive aluminosilicate glasses.

In the near future, Samsung will become the first customer to release a product using Gorilla Glass Victus.


AfterDawn: News

Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' not headed for VOD or streaming debut

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jul 2020 9:54

Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' not headed for VOD or streaming debut Despite being delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenet will not skip theaters for streaming or on-demand.

Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated spy film Tenet is currently on the shelf with no release date, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping movie theaters closed. While other films have skipped the theatrical release date and premiered online, Tenet will not be given the same treatment, or so said John Stankey, Warner Bros chief executive, to The Wrap.

"Is it going to happen on a movie like Tenet or something like Wonder Woman 1984? I'd be very surprised if that would be the case. In fact, I can assure you on Tenet that's not going to be the case."

Stankey went on to say that he still believes that theatrical is important going forward, and some films are going to be more enjoyable in theaters than at home.

Other reports suggested that Warner is considering releasing Tenet in cities on a case by case basis, depending on COVID-19 activity in the area and local policy. For now, we are in the dark.

AfterDawn: News

Plex adds over 80 TV channels to watch for free

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jul 2020 9:49

Plex adds over 80 TV channels to watch for free Plex has added more free content to its service, this time focusing on live television.

Since last year, Plex has been offering more than 14,000 movies, documentaries, and TV shows that can be watched on-demand for free. Now it has broadened its options by adding more than 80 television channels.

"Whether it's live news like Reuters, or kids shows like Toon Goggles, cooking shows on Tastemade, or sports on fubo Sports Network, or even eSports on IGN TV, we've got you covered," Plex announced on its website.

Find out more at:

AfterDawn: News

Steve Wozniak sues YouTube over Bitcoin scams

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jul 2020 9:47

Steve Wozniak sues YouTube over Bitcoin scams Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has joined with others in a lawsuit targeting YouTube over fake Bitcoin giveaways on the platform.

High profile Twitter users were the targets of a hack pushing a Bitcoin scam a week ago. Out of the blue, several verified users of Twitter - including President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and others - seemed to tweet about a Bitcoin giveaway. Twitter responded rapidly by removing the tweets and launched an investigation.

However, Twitter is not the only platform where crypto scammers operate. YouTube also hosts videos of fake Bitcoin giveaways or promotions that use images of famous people. One of those people is Steve Wozniak, and he has called out YouTube for its lackluster response to the problem.

He contrasted the response of Twitter to the recent hack which came on the "same day" and said, "YouTube has been unapologetically hosting, promoting, and directly profiting from similar scams."

The scams trick targets into sending Bitcoin to an address with the expectation that will get it back and more. Of course, they don't receive any funds in return. Some of the victims of the scam then reach out to people like Steve Wozniak, demanding their Bitcoin back.


AfterDawn: News

Ubisoft won't charge more for PS5, Xbox Series X games this fall

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jul 2020 9:56

Ubisoft won't charge more for PS5, Xbox Series X games this fall Ubisoft has revealed that it will not charge anything extra for games for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X when they launch this fall.

The next-generation consoles are set to land this holiday season kicking off another round as Microsoft and Sony go head to head for your money. 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive have already said they will charge an additional $10 for titles for the new consoles this fall.

By contrast, Ubisoft revealed during an earnings call on Wednesday that its next-gen games will retain the common $60 price tag this fall.

"We are concentrating on the Christmas releases. We have decided those games will be launched at $60"

2K previously revealed that the next iteration of its NBA 2K series will cost $70 for the new consoles when it drops this fall. Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion can be preordered for consoles already at $60.

AfterDawn: News

Video games not linked to violent behavior, study shows

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jul 2020 9:31

Video games not linked to violent behavior, study shows A meta-analysis of research going back over a decades shows that playing video games does not lead to violent behavior.

The meta-analysis (examining a bulk of pre-existing research to draw conclusions) covered more than 28 separate studies dating back to 2008 probing for links between aggressive behavior and video games and was led by Aaron Drummond of New Zealand's Massey University.

The researchers acknowledge that the bundled research does show a positive correlation between gaming and aggression, but the effect is so little as to fail to meet the criteria even as a "small effect". Furthermore, the study found that there is no accumulative effect from smaller changes in temperament after gaming sessions over the long term.

"The current research is unable to support the hypothesis that violent video games have a meaningful long-term predictive impact on youth aggression," the report said.

The history of the video games industry has been shadowed by suspicions or even outright assertions that games are dangerous and can promote violent behavior, even being blamed for horrific events like mass shootings on occasion.


AfterDawn: News

Slack files antitrust complaint over 'weak copycat' Teams

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jul 2020 9:06

Slack files antitrust complaint over 'weak copycat' Teams Slack has filed a complaint with the top competition regulator in the European Union, targeting Microsoft's Teams conferencing platform.

Comparing Microsoft's current practices and tactics with those of the 'Browser Wars' more than two decades ago, Slack VP Jonathan Prince is crying foul on Microsoft's bundling of Teams with its existing popular Office products.

Both group chat and conferencing products are very similar. In fact, they are so similar that Prince was comfortable describing the product as a weak copycat of Slack's product. He then goes on to compare Microsoft's deployment tactics for Teams to that of its bundling of Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system which resulted in an antitrust case in the U.S. two decades ago.

"They created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Office product, force installing it and blocking its removal, a carbon copy of their illegal behavior during the 'browser wars.'," Prince writes.

Teams launched in 2016 and was met with a trolling welcome placed in the New York Times by Slack. However, in the 4 years since Microsoft has seen its Teams userbase outgrow that of Slack.

Slack's position is that this growth is not generic, or based on the superiority of its product, but rather it's down to Microsoft producing an imitation and bundling it with existing popular software.


AfterDawn: News

Apple will give special iPhones to researchers to hack them

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jul 2020 9:03

Apple will give special iPhones to researchers to hack them Apple is to loan unrestricted iPhones to security researchers to help them discover vulnerabilities that threaten their security.

Apple pays out bounties of up to $1 million to researchers who find bugs in their products' that could potentially be used for nefarious purposes. It has started to loan Security Research Devices (SRD) to researchers with a record of finding such vulnerabilities.

These SRD iPhones are not restricted in the way off-the-shelf iPhones are. They will provide full root shell access to the researchers and allow them to run their own commands and so forth. This can't typically be done on an iPhone. Some devices that are jailbroken can be probed in this way but jailbreaks are rarer with newer iOS devices.

To apply to receive one of these devices, a researcher must be an account holder in the Apple Developer program, have a track record of finding security bugs, and also reside in a region Apple is comfortable with.

Any bugs found in Apple's code must be reported to Apple as soon as possible, and problems with third-party software are to be reported to the appropriate vendor. Researchers who have an SRD iPhone cannot use it for personal reasons, and it must remain on the premises of the researcher.

AfterDawn: News

Twitter investigating hack that targeted politicians, billionaires

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Jul 2020 10:59

Twitter investigating hack that targeted politicians, billionaires Twitter is investigating a coordinated social engineering attack targeting its employees which resulted in high profile accounts being compromised.

A number of high-profile Twitter accounts with a lot of followers were seemingly compromised on Wednesday and used to advertise a cryptocurrency scam. Accounts belonging to former U.S. President Barack Obama, entertainer Kanye West, billionaire Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others were caught in the event.

Each was used to tweet about a bogus giveaway. It promised that if any person sends $1,000 to a Bitcoin address, it will return $2,000, masked as a giveaway to the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports, the scammers involved received over $100,000 in transactions going by publicly available blockchain records.

Twitter responded to the incident promptly and stopped all verified accounts from tweeting at all. Later, it restored access to many of the accounts but for the time being, is keeping compromised accounts blocked.

So how did this happen? So far Twitter has determined that there has been a coordinated social engineering attack aimed at its employees. These employees were targeted because they had access to Twitter's internal systems and tools. A social engineering attack targets an unpatchable vulnerability in security systems; the human. It is essentially the act of tricking someone with access do what the attacker wants. For example, if Twitter employees were conned into believing an attacker was part of the company itself, they may have granted access or handed over sensitive information under false pretenses.


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