AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty

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.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix enjoys surge of new subscribers in late 2017

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jan 2018 11:00

Netflix enjoys surge of new subscribers in late 2017 Streaming giant Netflix added a record number of new subscribers to its service in the fourth quarter of 2017, which it has credited to investment in original content.

Netflix now has more than 117 million paying subscribers for its service, the majority of whom are now located outside the United States. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Netflix added a record 8.3 million subscribers, of which 6.36 million were international subscribers.

The firm recorded revenue of $3.3 billion during the quarter which is up almost a third compared to the same period of 2016. Profits were reported at $186 million, up almost 300 percent year over year.

Netflix is crediting the good news with its investment in original content. New seasons of hit shows including Stranger Things, the Crown, Black Mirror and investments in new films such as Bright (starring Will Smith) provided Netflix with a strong line up for the past few months. It also has to be noted that Netflix did increase its prices during the quarter.

The service is now available in more than 190 countries around the world and is investment more in local content.

AfterDawn: News

Intel advises users to stop installing CPU patches

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Jan 2018 10:51

Intel advises users to stop installing CPU patches Intel is now advising customers not to install previously released patches to address serious CPU flaws that were disclosed publicly this month.

Meltdown and Spectre have been demonstrated to put sensitive and private information at risk, if exploited successfully. The flaw exists in hardware and so there was never going to be easy ways to mitigate. Meltdown is a flaw that is exclusively only to Intel CPUs, whereas Spectre affects chips from Intel, AMD or ARM-based chips.

Intel began pushing out patches to mitigate the issues earlier this month, but is now advising the users stop installing them. The new advice comes after users and firms reported reported dramatic slowdowns and unpredictable behavior, including constant reboots or a failure to boot at all.

The chipmaker says it understand what has caused the unpredicted outcomes and is now advising that customers start testing early versions of new patches that it is putting out, and has apologized publicly for the disruption its change of advice has caused.

AfterDawn: News

Playboy sues Boing Boing over hyperlink to centerfolds

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jan 2018 10:39

Playboy sues Boing Boing over hyperlink to centerfolds News site Boing Boing is defending itself from a lawsuit brought by Playboy alleging copyright infringement because the site linked to Playboy centerfolds.

A blog post on Boing Boing contained a hyperlink to a gallery of Playboy centerfolds and another to a YouTube video with similar content. Playboy alleges that this amounts to copyright infringement and is suing the popular news blog.

It is important to point out that Boing Boing had nothing to do with the creation of the Imgur gallery, or the YouTube video, it merely linked to both in a blog post.

"The world can't afford a judgment against us in this case -- it would end the web as we know it, threatening everyone who publishes online, from us five weirdos in our basements to multimillion-dollar, globe-spanning publishing empires like Playboy," Boing Boing warns.

It is not alone in its fight against the lawsuit however. Daniel Nazer, Electronic Frontier Foundation Staff Attorney, argues that Boing Boing's use of the hyperlinks is protected under fair use principles.

"Boing Boing's reporting and commenting on the Playboy photos is protected by copyright's fair use doctrine. We're asking the court to dismiss this deeply flawed lawsuit," he said.


AfterDawn: News

Kim Dotcom sues government for billions

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jan 2018 10:24

Kim Dotcom sues government for billions Founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload is suing the government of New Zealand for billions of dollars.

Megaupload allowed users around the world to upload files to its service which could be later downloaded by others with the same link. In January 2012, New Zealand police raided the home of founder Kim Dotcom while investigating alleged copyright infringement offenses.

In the six years that has passed since the raid, the Kim Dotcom saga has dragged on as he has fought extradition to the United States on copyright infringement charges.

Kim is now suing the government of New Zealand, claiming up to $6.8 billion in damages due to all lost business opportunities since 2012, his legal fees, the damage to his reputation and more.

At the core of his defense is the assertion that the warrants used for the raid on his mansion in January 2012 were based on Section 131 of the 1994 Copyright Act of New Zealand. Technically, under that copyright act, online copyright infringement is not a crime.

Source: BBC News

AfterDawn: News

Reports: Chromecast devices killing WiFi networks

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2018 20:24

Reports: Chromecast devices killing WiFi networks Users report that Google devices with the Cast features are causing network connectivity problems on their home WiFi networks.

Devices that seem to cause issues once connected to some networks include Chromecast and Google Home devices. The issue appears to affect some routers from ASUS, Linksys, Netgear, Synology and TP-Link. It appears that the issue is due to the devices flooding the router with data packets when recovering from a sleep state.

TP-Link linked the problem to MDNS multicast discovery packets. Under normal circumstances, these packets normally sent in a 20-second interval, but TP-Link determined the devices will sometimes broadcast a large amount of these packets at a very high speed in a short amount of time.

This occurs when the device is awakened from its "sleep" state, and could exceed more than 100,000 packets. The longer your device is in "sleep", the larger this packet burst will be.

TP-Link has issued some firmware updates for affected devices, which you can find here. Mean while, Google is also looking for a solution to the problem which it says affects only a small number of users.

(via: Engadget)

AfterDawn: News

HP recalls notebook, mobile workstation batteries over safety concerns

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Jan 2018 6:41

HP recalls notebook, mobile workstation batteries over safety concerns HP is recalling batteries for some notebook or mobile workstation products after numerous reports of overheating, property damage and a burn injury.

It estimates that about 50,000 batteries are involved, sold with products between December 2015 and December 2017. HP received eight reports of battery packs overheating, melting, or charring, including three reports of property damage totaling $4,500 with one report of a minor injury involving a first degree burn to the hand.

The batteries were shipped with or sold as accessories for HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series), HPx360 310 G2, HP Envy m6, HP Pavilion x360, HP 11, HP ZBook (17 G3, 17 G4, and Studio G3) Mobile Workstations.

HP is providing battery replacement services by an authorized technician at no cost. Additionally, HP is also providing a BIOS update that places the battery in "Battery Safety Mode" so that the notebook or workstation can be safely used without the battery by connecting to an HP power adaptor.

If the validation process identifies a battery as being eligible for replacement, the BIOS update should be applied and the system should be rebooted. During the reboot process, an option will be presented to enable Battery Safety Mode.


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