AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

'The Last of Us Part II' delayed due to COVID-19

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2020 11:17

'The Last of Us Part II' delayed due to COVID-19 The hotly anticipated sequel to The Last of US has been pushed back due to the ongoing pandemic.

Naughty Dog revealed that the sequel will not make its May 29 release date and has been pushed back indefinitely. The reason for the delay is due to the coronavirus pandemic gripping the globe and the negative consequences it would have for a smooth rollout, and not because of any development delays.

In fact, Naughty Dog said they are in the midst of fixing the final bugs and development is almost complete.

"We were faced with the reality that due to logistics beyond our control, we couldn't launch The Last of Us Part II to our satisfaction," the developer said in a statement.

"We want to make sure everyone gets to play The Last of Us Part II around the same time, ensuring that we're doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone. This meant delaying the game until such a time where we can solve these logistic issues."

AfterDawn: News

Facebook launches Messenger Desktop client for Windows, Mac OS

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2020 11:14

Facebook launches Messenger Desktop client for Windows, Mac OS Facebook has finally released a Desktop client of its Messenger service for Windows and Mac OS systems.

The release of the Messenger Desktop client comes as Facebook reports a 100% increase in people using their desktop browser for audio and video calling on Messenger. Now, users can break out of the messenger and use the native client instead.

It is available from the Windows Store for Microsoft Windows, and the Mac App Store for Apple Mac devices. Being only available from the Windows Store means only Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 will be compatible with the app.

Key Features of the Messenger Desktop client:

  • Group video calls on a larger screen. Stay in touch with family and friends, join a workout, or host a virtual happy hour.

  • Easy to connect. You don't need to know someone's email or phone number since all your Facebook friends have Messenger.

  • Multitasking. Your chats are easily accessible, and you can pop in and out of the app while doing other things on your computer.

  • Notifications. You can receive notifications for new messages, so you can quickly find the chat you're looking for. But you're in control -- you can choose to mute and snooze notifications.


AfterDawn: News

COVID-19: HBO will stream The Wire, The Sopranos, Veep, McMillions, more for free

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2020 11:11

COVID-19: HBO will stream The Wire, The Sopranos, Veep, McMillions, more for free Some of HBO's most popular shows, documentaries, and a selection of movies will be available to stream for free without subscription from today.

Full series of several major TV shows including the Sopranos will be available to stream for free during the COVID-19 emergency. he content will be available through HBO NOW and HBO GO, but only for users in the United States at this time.

Viewers will be able to stream the content from April 3.

So far the confirmed freebie list includes:

TV Shows

  • Ballers
  • Barry
  • Silicon Valley
  • Six Feet Under
  • The Sopranos
  • Succession
  • True Blood
  • Veep
  • The Wire
  • The Apollo
  • The Case Against Adnan Syed
  • Elvis Presley: The Searcher
  • The Inventor
  • Jane Fonda in Five Acts
  • I Love You, Now Die
  • McMillion$
  • True Justice
  • United Skates
  • We Are the Dream
  • Isn't it Romantic?
  • The LEGO Movie 2
  • POKMON Detective Pikachu

via: Engadget

AfterDawn: News

Zoom apologizes and says it's fixing security and privacy issues

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2020 11:09

Zoom apologizes and says it's fixing security and privacy issues Zoom has apologized for security and privacy concerns that have arisen as it explodes in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Executive Eric Yuan wrote a lengthy post on the company's blog apologizing for the lapses in privacy and security that have come to light in the past few weeks. During that time frame, Zoom has seen unanticipated staggering growth as more people rely on video conferencing for work and education during the coronavirus pandemic.

In December, Zoom experienced a maximum of ten million meeting participants. Now with around half of humanity under some kind of social restrictions to slow the COVID-19 spread, that number has exploded to 200 million.

However, Zoom has been plagued by privacy questions and security issues. For starters, Zoom was found to be sending data to Facebook from users, even if they weren't Facebook users. Hosts of meetings were also able to track attendees.

Additionally, it did not offer end-to-end encryption despite saying otherwise. On top of those privacy concerns, there were also some security issues including Zoombombing.

Zoombombing is the practice of uninvited guests joining video conferences and becoming disruptive. They either get into the conferences by gaining access to a link sent to those invited, or they would guess nine-digit ID codes to find live conferences.


AfterDawn: News

Tesla can make ventilators if there is a shortage, Elon Musk says

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Mar 2020 1:06

Tesla can make ventilators if there is a shortage, Elon Musk says Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has tweeted that the carmaker can make ventilators at its factories if there is a shortage.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss has tweeted a bit recently about the COVID-19 pandemic and seems to have taken some flack for suggesting the panic over the virus will do more damage than the virus.

Whether true or not, Elon responded to a tweet asking him if Tesla's factories could make ventilators.

"We will make ventilators if there is a shortage," Musk responded. Later he was told there was a shortage now and he replied by asking for the details of hospitals currently experiencing a shortage.

Tesla's main Fremont factory has been impacted by a "shelter in place" order in the Bay Area that seeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.


AfterDawn: News

EU: Drop HD video during pandemic

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Mar 2020 1:02

EU: Drop HD video during pandemic As Internet Service Providers note an increase in Internet usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU is suggesting you lower your resolution.

European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Thierry Breton is urging streaming providers to act to keep the Internet working smoothly as more people depend on it to work or learn from home.

The Frenchman has already reportedly spoken to Netflix chief Reed Hastings about the concerns of high demand on Europe's Internet infrastructure. Breton also is urging Europeans to #SwitchToStandard - to watch videos in standard definition and not high definition or UltraHD 4K.

In comments to the Financial Times, Hastings pointed out that Netflix has adaptive streaming technology that automatically adjusts the resolution of streaming video depending on the available bandwidth in a local area.


AfterDawn: News

COVID-19: Microsoft Teams users rockets to 32 million

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Mar 2020 12:59

COVID-19: Microsoft Teams users rockets to 32 million Microsoft's Teams service has seen its daily users skyrocket as more employees take their work home.

Teams is a group chat and conference app that is suited to an online work environment. In November, Microsoft revealed that it had 20 million users. Businesses are charged for full-featured access to Teams, but it is also available for free for consumers.

Rival Slack had reached 12 million active users by October. COVID-19 pandemic is sending a lot of workers home and services like Slack and Teams are indispensable tools.

Discord also saw a surge in use over the past month and increased its live streaming limits to address it.

Microsoft also said Teams is helping in the medical field too.

It cited St. Luke's University Health Network in Pennsylvania which will start using Teams for videoconferencing with patients, including those in high-risk groups with regard to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

AfterDawn: News

Sony PlayStation 5 hardware specs are revealed

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Mar 2020 12:56

Sony PlayStation 5 hardware specs are revealed We now know the final specs of what's under the hood of Sony's PlayStation 5 (PS5) console, which will launch later this year.

Sony wants the specs of the PlayStation 5 to enable a step up worthy of being called next-generation, though it stresses that something like the total TFLOPs figure won't necessarily tell the full story in terms of performance. However, it is still worth taking a look at the raw hardware specs to see what they are packing into this new system.

Mark Cerny is demonstrating PS5 system architecture as I type, but the raw details of the hardware are already online thanks to Digital Foundry. In a nutshell, here is what the PS5 will pack under the hood:

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU: 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
  • GPU Architecture: Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory/Interface: 16GB GDDR6/256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 448GB/s
  • Internal Storage: Custom 825GB SSD
  • IO Throughput: 5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
  • Expandable Storage: NVMe SSD Slot
  • External Storage: USB HDD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive
PlayStation 5, like Xbox Series X, will support ray-tracing which makes the propogation of light and its interaction with objects in-game more realistic. For example, water becomes transparent and light sources will be distorted under way. Also, light passing through a colored semi-transparent object will cast a colored shadow.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix sued over 'Central Park Five' series

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Mar 2020 12:21

Netflix sued over 'Central Park Five' series The streaming giant is being sued for defamation by a prosecutor involved in the infamous 1989 case.

A four-part mini-series about an infamous criminal case in 1989 is the subject of a defamation lawsuit targeting Netflix. The 'Central Park jogger case' emerged from the sexual and physical assault of a 28-year-old lady who was jogging in central park, and numerous other assaults, on April 19, 1989.

The case resulted in the conviction of five youths - the "Central Park Five" - who received sentences ranging from 5-15 years in prison. Prosecution of the teens relied on confessions made by the boys to police, which were later withdrawn.

In 2001, serial rapist and convicted murderer Matias Reyes confessed to the attack on the woman in the case. His DNA matched with samples taken from the scene and he also provided additional confirmatory evidence. The convictions of the Central Park Five were vacated in 2002.

Now a former prosecutor in the case is suing Netflix over a miniseries - When They See Us - based on the case. Linda Fairstein filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. It alleges that the Netflix series depicts her as a mastermind of a racist plot. The victim in the case was white, while four of the convicted teenagers were black and one was Hispanic.


AfterDawn: News

Resident Evil 3 demo for PC, consoles arrives tomorrow

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Mar 2020 11:57

Resident Evil 3 demo for PC, consoles arrives tomorrow A demo for the remake of 1999 hit Resident Evil 3 will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One from tomorrow, March 19.

The remake has been in development for three years and will follow the remake of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 which both rolled out in the past couple of years. The return of the critically acclaimed survival horror series has been a success and Resident Evil 3 is eagerly anticipated.

In Resident Evil 3, players will follow Jill Valentine's escape from Racoon City, which was overcome by zombifying viruses produced by the nefarious Umbrella Corporation.]

The game will be released in full on April 3 and will also include multiplayer Resident Evil Resistance, which lets players join a group of survivors or as a mastermind who sets traps to kill other players.

An open beta for Resident Evil Resistance will be available from March 27.


AfterDawn: News

Fox sells Roku stake, buys Tubi TV for $440 million

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Mar 2020 11:37

Fox sells Roku stake, buys Tubi TV for $440 million Fox buys ad-supported movie and TV show streaming service and funds it by selling its stake in Roku.

Fox Corp has announced that it sold its five percent stake in Roku, which it first invested in back in 2013, and has acquired Tubi TV for $440 million. It may also pay up to an additional $50 million in deferred considerations and unvested options.

Tubi TV is an ad-supported streaming service. According to Tubi, its users spend 160 million hours per month watching content on the service, which features movies and television shows.

In swapping its investment in Roku for the Tubi TV acquisition, Fox said it was "essentially exchanging a passively held minority investment for full ownership and control of a leadership position in the free ad-supported streaming market."

Tubi TV will continue operations as an independent subsidiary of Fox, retaining founder Farhad Massoudi in the role of CEO.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

AfterDawn: News

COVID-19: Tesla can't continue normal operations at Fremont plant

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Mar 2020 11:34

COVID-19: Tesla can't continue normal operations at Fremont plant Authorities say that Tesla cannot continue normal operations at its primary production plant in the United States.

The all-electric car maker employs more than 10,000 at its plant in Fremont, Alemada County. The plant has produced more than 415,000 electric vehicles as of the end of December 2019.

Alameda is under order to "shelter in place" along with eight other counties to limit activity as COVID-19 cases increase in California. Only essential businesses can continue normal operations during the lockdown.

"Tesla is not an essential business as defined in the Alameda County Health Order. Tesla can maintain minimum basic operations per the Alameda County Health Order," a county sheriff's office spokesman said, reports Reuters.

Under the order, non-essential businesses can only maintain basic operations which including things like maintaining the value of inventory or processing payroll.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had already urged employees who felt unwell in any way to stay at home, but Tesla had planned to continue production.

AfterDawn: News

Universal to make films available for rental on theatrical release dates

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Mar 2020 10:12

Universal to make films available for rental on theatrical release dates NBCUniversal announced that Universal Pictures will make movies available for digital rental on the same day as a theatrical release.

The news comes as coronavirus fears have shut theaters in countries around the world. The Hunt, The Invisible Man and Emma, will be available on a wide variety of the most popular on-demand services for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S., from this Friday, March 20.

DreamWorks Animation's Trolls World Tour has its opening on April 10 and will be available for digital rental the same day.

"Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable," said Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal

"We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible."

Movie studios have considered releasing movies online during their theatrical run for years, only to be pushed back by theater chains who see it as an obvious threat to their revenues.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft shuts stores due to coronavirus pandemic

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Mar 2020 10:09

Microsoft shuts stores due to coronavirus pandemic The Redmond software giant has notified customers that its stores will be shut while the world deals with the spread of the ongoing pandemic.

The company e-mailed customers to explain to them that it has made this decision and why.

"We are closing Microsoft Store locations to help protect the health and safety of our customers and employees. During this unprecedented time, the best way we can serve you is to do everything we can to help minimize the risk of the virus spreading."

Microsoft will continue to pay its store employees for their scheduled hours as the premises are closed, however. Rival Apple closed all of its stores outside of mainland China starting several days ago.

Advice from governments in North America, Europe, and around the world is to limit gatherings of people to slow the spread of the virus and take pressure off of health authorities who face a struggle to deal with the serious cases.

Source: Engadget

AfterDawn: News

COVID-19: Uber pooled rides suspended in United States, Canada

Written by James Delahunty @ 17 Mar 2020 10:08

COVID-19: Uber pooled rides suspended in United States, Canada Uber users will not have the option to pool rides with others riders headed in the same direction for the time being.

Uber riders can typically choose to share a ride with up to three other passengers who are headed in the same direction. It is a way to cut costs and for the service to be more efficient. However, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Uber has decided to disable the option for customers in Canada and the United States.

"Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve," senior vice president Uber Rides and Platform Andrew Macdonald said, reports Reuters.

Decisions on whether to limit the service in countries outside of the U.S. and Canada will be made on a case-by-case basis as more data emerges on the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to the same report, the Uber app will also prompt users only to travel when it is necessary. Users are also asked to clean or sanitize hands before and after a ride, to sit in the backseat and to keep windows lowered for ventilation to reduce the chance of transmitting the virus.

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