AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

AfterDawn: News

Samsung apologizes for workers' deaths and illnesses

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Nov 2018 12:11

Samsung apologizes for workers' deaths and illnesses Samsung Electronics has apologized to workers and their families for cases of serious illness and even death.

In resolving a long-standing dispute that lasted for more than a decade, Samsung has made a formal apology to all victims of work-related diseases. Samsung chief executive Kim Ki-nam expressed his deep regrets on behalf of the company to the victims.

"Beloved colleagues and families have suffered for a long time, but Samsung Electronics failed to take care of the matter earlier," Kim said, reports Yonhap.

"We lacked being considerate of such pains and promptly settled the issue. Samsung Electronics also did not fully and completely manage potential health risks at our chip and liquid-crystal display production lines. Today, we wish to express a sincere apology to the workers who suffered from diseases, as well as their families."

The dispute started after the death of Hwang Yu-mi from leukemia in 2007. She had worked in a Samsung chip production line and her father, Hwang Sang-ki, kicked off a campaign against Samsung seeking to win redress for staff who had been affected.

"Honestly, today's apology made by a Samsung Electronics CEO is not sufficient for the victims of the work-related diseases," Hwang Sang-ki said.

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AfterDawn: News

Cord cutting: ESPN sheds 2 million subscribers

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Nov 2018 12:00

Cord cutting: ESPN sheds 2 million subscribers The Pay TV industry continues to suffer subscriber losses attributed to cord cutting, according to new figures from Disney for its 2018 fiscal year.

Cord cutting is observed as masses of Pay TV subscribers who are dropping premium television packages and turning instead to online competition such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube Premium and more. This can significantly reduce spending on entertainment in the home.

According to Disney's 2018 fiscal year report, ESPN shed over two million subscribers compared to the 2017 report. In 2017, ESPN's subscriber base stood at around 88 million and reduced to 86 million over the past year. The figures come from Nielsen Media Research estimates.

Disney also saw other subscriber losses for popular channels. Disney Channel witnessed its subscribers drop from 92 million in 2017, to 89 million in 2018. Disney Jnr and Disney XD both lost three million subscribers too, while Freeform fell by two million.

Disney had 201,000 employees worldwide as of September 30, 2018.

Source: Variety





AfterDawn: News

Bitcoin crashed below $5,000 this week

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Nov 2018 3:15

Bitcoin crashed below $5,000 this week Bitcoin fell to its lowest point this year on Tuesday when it crashed far below $5,000.

The cryptocurrency hit a high of $20,000 in December 2017 when retail investors piled in to try to take advantage of the rapidly expanding bubble. On Tuesday, it had lost over 75 percent of that value since December, sinking as far as $4,327 before recovering some of the losses later.

Current slumps are blamed on heavy selling at Asian exchanges, which is also affecting other lesser users cryptocurrencies. More broadly, financial markets have experienced drops in recent weeks as doubts over Apple Inc. hit Wall Street and poor retail results hit European exchanges.

Another possible reason for Bitcoin's woes is last week's hard fork of Bitcoin Cash, in which a software upgrade split the fourth largest cryptocurrency into two separate currencies.

Asian venues are popular with crypto speculators as very few in Western countries lend Bitcoin to traders. Many mainstream investors won't touch Bitcoin due to its volatile swings in price, weak regulatory oversight, and concerns over its market infrastructure.





AfterDawn: News

SpaceX gives its BFR a new name

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Nov 2018 3:02

SpaceX gives its BFR a new name Elon Musk's SpaceX launch provider has given its upcoming BFR rocket and spacecraft system a new name.

Musk took to Twitter to announce that the BFR's upper stage spacecraft would simply be named 'Starship'. Another Twitter user promptly challenged the name, pointing out that unless the spacecraft can actually visit other stars, it is not a 'starship'.

In typical fashion, Elon Musk replied that "Later versions will."

Starship is the name given to the spacecraft that will house payloads and passengers, while the giant rocket booster that will blast it into space will be called the 'Super Heavy'. The name likely comes from the payload capacity of the BFR, which can blast 100,000kg (220,000lb) to orbit, classing it as a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle in the company of the Saturn V, the Soviet N1 and the SLS Block 1 and SLS Block 2 Cargo.

SpaceX' Super Heavy and Starship system are still very much in development, but the firm recently announced it is abandoning plans to make the Falcon 9 rocket completely reusable and will focus all resources on the new system. The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage booster is routinely recovered and reused by SpaceX now, slashing the cost of launch significantly for customers.





AfterDawn: News

YouTube offering ad-supported movies

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Nov 2018 6:35

YouTube offering ad-supported movies YouTube is now offering some feature-length films for free, supported by advertisements.

It added the films to the service quietly in October to its "Movies & Shows" section, and currently has around 100 movies. Most of them are legacy movies of course, but they do include the original Terminator and Rocky, for example.

Typically, YouTube uses its Movies & Shows section to sell or rent access to feature-length films. The free streaming option showed up in October for the first time.

"We saw this opportunity based on user demand, beyond just offering paid movies. Can we do ad-supported movies, free to the user?" Rohit Dhawan, director of product management at YouTube, told AdAge.

"It also presents a nice opportunity for advertisers."

In the future, Dhawan thinks that some individual films on the service will be sponsored by advertisers.

More info: AdAge





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft considering Xbox without a disc drive

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Nov 2018 6:23

Microsoft considering Xbox without a disc drive Microsoft is considering releasing its next Xbox One variant without a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive, according to a report.

Thurrott cites sources in reporting that Microsoft will release the new Xbox One variant without the disc drive at a considerably lower price. It estimates that an Xbox One without a Blu-ray drive can easily shave $100 off the price of the console.

Microsoft is also said to be considering a 'disc to digital' exchange program, allowing for Xbox One owners to drop their physical copies into a store to receive a digital download code in return.

The sources also said Microsoft is working on a revamped Xbox One S that does still retain a Blu-ray disc drive, as the company is conscious of the fact that a lot of gamers still prefer to have a physical copy of a game rather than downloading it.

A disc-drive-less Xbox One console would launch next year, according to the sources. It is also not part of Microsoft's next generation Scarlett consoles. The aim is to sell the console for around $200 or less.

Source: Thurrott





AfterDawn: News

Nintendo reaches $12 million settlement against ROM sites

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Nov 2018 1:26

Nintendo reaches $12 million settlement against ROM sites The operators of two websites that distributed ROM copies of old retro games have agreed to pay Nintendo over $12 million in damages.

The defendants in the case are a married couple who ran LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co. They admitted to copyright and trademark infringement for the unauthorized distribution of the ROMs after Nintendo filed a complaint in federal court in Arizona.

Immediately after the complaint, the websites were taken offline. Several other major distributors of ROMs took down their websites afterward too, potentially fearing that legal action may be on the horizon.

Settlement discussions ensued between the site operators and Nintendo and produced a resolution to the case. They admitted their involvement in running the site and to direct and indirect copyright and trademark infringement offenses, and agreed to a large settlement.

"Plaintiff is hereby awarded judgment against all Defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount of $12,230,000," the settlement reads, reports TorrentFreak.

A judge has to approve the proposed settlement to close the case. It is unlikely the operators will end up paying such a large sum. In other copyright and trademark infringement cases, the public settlement figure has been far larger than the actual monetary exchange that comes after. The intention of such a large public figure is to deter similar practices.

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AfterDawn: News

Man pleads guilty in fatal 'swatting' case

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Nov 2018 1:25

Man pleads guilty in fatal 'swatting' case A California man has pleaded guilty to making a hoax call to police that resulted in the death of an innocent man in Kansas, among other crimes.

The 25-year-old man had made a hoax call to police in Wichita, Kansas, disguising his phone number to appear to be local. He informed the police that he had shot his father and was keeping other family members hostage. Police responded quickly to the given address and fatally shot a man who had allegedly failed to comply with orders to keep his hands in the air in plain sight.

Earlier this year, the police officer who fired the fatal shot was cleared of wrongdoing.

Prosecutors alleged that the defendant had set out to spoof armed police into turning up at the address over an online gaming dispute. This sinister practice is known as "swatting". A third-party had given him the address, but the intended target had moved out of the premises. When police arrived, the victim stepped outside to see what was going on and was fatally shot by police soon after.

The defendant in the case also pleaded guilty to other crimes including making hoax bomb threats to the FBI, schools, universities and more.

Source: BBC News





AfterDawn: News

Steam fixes bug allowing free game downloads

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Nov 2018 22:26

Steam fixes bug allowing free game downloads Steam has fixed a flaw that could have allowed users to download and play unlimited games for free.

The bug was discovered by researcher Artem Moskowsky, who received $15,000 for the discovery and an addition $5,000 for making a private disclosure. Steam's portal for game developers housed the flaw, allowing anybody to generate license keys for games.

The portal allows developers to generate license keys for their software. This allows developers to share games with journalists for review, for example. Mr. Moskowsky discovered that he could easily manipulate the feature to generate unlimited license keys for other software.

"I managed to bypass the verification of ownership of the game by changing only one parameter," he told The Register.

Like other outlets, Valve has an award program for security researchers who find and report flaws and vulnerabilities that can be exploited. It allows them to fix the problem before it could be used for malicious purposes. In this case, Valve determined that nobody had exploited the flaw to generate license keys.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix on Wii will stop working in January

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Nov 2018 22:17

Netflix on Wii will stop working in January Netflix will stop working on Nintendo's Wii console by the end of January 2019, the Japanese firm has confirmed.

The Wii is an aging console, having been released by Nintendo to much enthusiasm in 2006. It had support for many third-party services through apps, including Netflix. However, from January 2019, Netflix and other streaming apps will no longer work on the console.

Nintendo informed customers about the change through an email and also posted a notice on the web.

Nintendo has announced that it will close the Wii Shop Channel on the Nintendo Wii in 2019. As a result, all video streaming services on the Wii, including the Netflix Channel, are no longer available to new members as of July 31, 2018. Nintendo Wii U users are not impacted by this change.

Thankfully Netflix and other streaming apps are available across a plethora of devices, if not built directly into your television. Regardless, this will come as a bummer for some users who might have been using the Wii console primarily to stream content at this point.

With the closure of the Wii Shop channel, the Wii console will be useful only for playing offline games you already possess.

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AfterDawn: News

Volkswagen to sell 20,000 electric car

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Nov 2018 21:23

Volkswagen to sell 20,000 electric car Volkswagen is set to take on Tesla Motors and other manufacturers of electrics with its own all-electric that it aims to sell for less than 20,000, or about $23,000.

The German automaker is planning to convert three factories to make the all-electric vehicles, according to reports. Reuters cites a source in reporting that plans for the "MEB entry" will be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on November 16.

Plans call for a production volume of the all-electric vehicle in the 200,000 range. It also has plans for an electric van, the ID Buzz, according to the source.

Volkswagen is also set to discuss alliances with SK Innovation, a battery cell manufacturer. Its plans to enter the all-electric space comes at a time when cities are moving against diesel cars over health and pollution concerns associated with the vehicles. Additionally, Volkswagen has been working on its image since it was revealed that it had cheated diesel emissions tests.

Source: Reuters News Agency





AfterDawn: News

Amazon releases Alexa app for Windows 10

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Nov 2018 21:18

Amazon releases Alexa app for Windows 10 Amazon has released an Alexa App for Windows 10 that is available to download now.

It has already been present on some Windows 10 devices but is not being rolled out to users in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. It will be rolled out to other territories next year.

To access it, users will have to use a hotkey or clicking a button, although some devices will support the use of the Alexa app hands-free. You can use the Alexa app to control things like music playback and smart home devices but there are some early limitations.

For example, there is no initial support for the Pandora or Spotify music apps. It also cannot be used to control voice or video calls. Those features will be supported soon, however.

More info: www.microsoft.com





AfterDawn: News

YouTube lands on Nintendo Switch

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Nov 2018 21:16

YouTube lands on Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch users can now watch YouTube videos on the console, with support for 360-degree content.

The availability of YouTube for Nintendo Switch was strongly hinted at in recent weeks. It became available for the console on Thursday and can be used in handheld mode or docked to the television. To control YouTube on Switch, the user will need to use the right Joy-Con's analog stick.

One interesting nugget is that the Joy-Con can be used to control 360-degree videos on YouTube, meaning you won't have to physically move as you do on phones and other devices.

With YouTube on Switch you can access music videos, gaming live streams and everything in your YouTube subscriptions.

More Info: www.nintendo.com

Via: Engadget





AfterDawn: News

Spotify to extend Connect to free users

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Nov 2018 21:37

Spotify to extend Connect to free users Spotify will allow free tier users of its music streaming service to use its Connect function to stream music to devices.

Spotify Connect allows users to use devices on the same WiFi network to play music. These devices can be games consoles, media set-top boxes, Windows PCs and more. The user can continue to select music using their phone or other devices through Connect.

The feature has been limited to Spotify's premium subscribers to this point. However, the music streaming giant will allow users of its ad-supported service to use Connect soon with compatible devices. Of course, they will still hear ads and still have other limitations of the free tier.

Spotify has been loosening restriction on free tier users recently, allowing on-demand listing for some selected playlists. It has also experimented with skippable ads down under.

Source: The Verge





AfterDawn: News

YouTube deletes Red Dead Redemption 2 clips

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Nov 2018 21:29

YouTube deletes Red Dead Redemption 2 clips YouTube has removed clips of Red Dead Redemption 2 after a BBC report pointed out videos showing a non-playable character being assaulted and killed.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was released in October to critical acclaim and staggering sales. Like its predecessor, it allows the player to control the protagonist in a sandbox environment. The player can interact with other non-playable characters in a variety of ways, and the game even has an honor system that reflects the moral values of the player.

Just like with Grand Theft Auto and many similar games, this freedom can allow the protagonist to carry out seemingly violent action against non-playable characters, or NPCs. Some of these actions may seem distasteful.

After the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, plenty of videos of gameplay footage flooded to YouTube as can be expected. Some videos were of the protagonist assaulting or killing an NPC suffragette.

The BBC News website clearly took offense to this footage and went as far as to question YouTube about the videos. As a result, YouTube deleted eight of ten videos the BBC complained about. Furthermore, an unnamed YouTuber with over 470,000 subscribers reportedly had his YouTube account deleted after the BBC complaint.

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