AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Mozilla updated Firefox to v64.0

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2018 11:33

Mozilla updated Firefox to v64.0 Mozilla has released a new update to their web browser Firefox. The new versio, v64.0, doesn't bring any major features, but there is a few new features and plenty of other improvements.

This includes improvements to performance and easier performance management. You'll now find a new Task Manager page from about:performance, which allows you to get a better picture of power consumption by tab.

New enhanced tab management on the other hand allows you to select multiple tabs from the tab bar and close, move, bookmark, or pin them quickly.

Mozilla has also improved the recommendations engine that will now suggest new and relevant Firefox features, services, and extensions based on how you use the web. This feature is only enabled in regular browsing and doesn't affect private browsing.

Other updates include changes to web developer tools including WebVR support and macOS keyboard fixes among other things.





AfterDawn: News

These were Google's most popular searches in 2018

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2018 9:15

These were Google's most popular searches in 2018 As the year closes to an end, Google has released their traditional list of top searches for the year. There's a clear trend, and it's a rather gloomy one.

Good news don't seem to be anywhere, so it is not a surprise that many of the top spots in Google searches were celebrities that died this year.

Whether it was the untimely death of a 28-year-old DJ Avicii, the suicide of troubled chef Anthony Bourdain or the unfortunate although more expected passing of a legendary Stan Lee, top ten was filled with demise.

Google, however, took the results to a different direction in their video "Year in Search 2018" where they did feature few of the celebrities that passed this year, including Stephen Hawking and Anthony Bourdain. The video is more hopeful and focuses on people searching for good things, which apparently they did more than ever.

The top spot was taken by World Cup, which was held in Russia this year, and the only other non-person taking a spot in top 10 was the movie Black Panther. News category included searches like Royal Wedding, Hurricane Florence, and Election Results.

You can find more about the top global searches here.

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AfterDawn: News

OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition with even faster speeds

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Dec 2018 11:08

OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition with even faster speeds OnePlus held a launch event today in Woking, UK where it joined McLaren in their McLaren Technology Centre to unveil the latest and most definitely greatest smartphone to date.

New OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is a take on the company's current flagship where speed is bumped up even further. For those who don't know much about the latest OnePlus device, it is focused on speed already.

The new McLaren Edition comes with a tagline Salute to Speed, and brings a few more improvements to quickness. While the main chip is the same Snapdragon 845, there is an improvement on RAM.

The McLaren version has a whopping 10 gigabytes of random access memory, an upgrade to an already impressive 8 GB on the regular OnePlus 6T. OnePlus has been pushing boundaries in RAM for years now, and they seem to be determined to be on the leading edge.

In addition to speeding up the multitasking with more RAM, the OnePlus 6T McLaren has a new Warp Charge 30 technology, which charges the phone with lightning speed.

OnePlus 6T is already one of the fastest charging phones on the planet, and this might make the new version the ultimate champion in charging speeds.

It means that only a 20 minute charge will top the battery with a day's power, this usually means with OnePlus phones 60 to 70% charge, without even heating the phone excessively.

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AfterDawn: News

Google is speeding up Google+ shut down after a security bug

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Dec 2018 10:17

Google is speeding up Google+ shut down after a security bug Google revealed two months ago that it was time to shut down their social media platform Google+.

For years Google+ has been considered a dead platform, even though it still has some 100 million users. In October, the search giant announced that it would close Google+ by next August.

Now, after learning about a security hole in Google+ code, they've decided that it should be run down quicker than originally intended.

New schedule is that Google+ will shut down four months earlier in April, 2019. The reason of closure is still the low usage base, but after finding a bug in the code last month that could pose a threat to information security, Google wants to limit the chances of any kind of breach.

The bug was fixes on the spot, and there is no known abuses of the security hole it created. The bug gave app developers access to users' data that wasn't meant public, including names, birth dates and email addresses.

Obviously Google+ has not been the company's priority for quite some time, and thus there's a worry that other bugs might be found, too.

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AfterDawn: News

Several iPhone models could banned in China

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Dec 2018 10:00

Several iPhone models could banned in China Apple and Qualcomm have been duking it out in the court rooms over patents. It used to be Apple and Samsung but nowadays American chip manufacturer is Apple's key rival, it seems.

Now a court in China has ruled against Apple in a case regarding two patents, WSJ reports. This will potentially bring a halt to some iPhone imports.

Fortunately ruling does not affect the most recent iPhone generation, but all the models from iPhone 6s to last years iPhone X are under threat of not being allowed to be sold in the country.

The case was about software patents so nothing physical on the device is disallowing the sales of the iPhones, and Apple could change their operating system to accommodate the patents.

One of the patents has to do with resizing a picture and another app management using a touch screen.

Apple stressed that this is just Qualcomm's ploy to misdirect from its own wrongdoings. The court battle will continue indefinitely and more rulings and appeals are expected.

For now Apple seems confident, and claims that all its iPhone models will stay on sale.

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AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 Lite is another try at challenging Chromebooks

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2018 10:17

Windows 10 Lite is another try at challenging Chromebooks Windows has been the operating system of choice for computers almost since its inception but Microsoft has never managed to scale it down to lighter, smaller, and less powerful devices in the same way.

Whether it is Windows Mobile, Windows RT, or even the latest Windows 10 S for more portable computers, Microsoft's lighter OS offerings have never gotten popular.

Microsoft has a new ace up its sleeve, according to Petri.com.

This time around it is known as Windows 10 Lite, and according to the information it is designed from the ground up to dethrone Chromebooks as the go to cheap computers.

Windows 10 Lite is supposedly designed to run with low power, turn instantly on and be always connected in the same way as ChromeOS. It replaces Windows 10 S, which is upgradeable to full-fledged Windows 10.

There is no word on whether Windows 10 Lite is also upgradeable as well, but seeing that it doesn't support traditional Windows executables, only UWP and PWA apps, it seems obvious that it is a completely separate experience.

Also, it will likely not be sold separately. Only OEMs will have access to it for it to be pre-installed, which makes sense.

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AfterDawn: News

Galaxy S10's 5G chip and ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor released

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2018 9:18

Galaxy S10's 5G chip and ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor released All the major smartphone events for the year are long gone, except for a Nokia event today in Dubai, so it is perhaps time to start focusing on next years early offerings.

Qualcomm agrees and has today announced new products that will land on many of the upcoming year's greatest smartphones.

At their Snapdragon Summit in Maui, the company is debuting the new top-of-the-line Snapdragon system-on-chip and other products.

The new Snapdragon 855 is, of course, Qualcomm's flagship product and will be heading to dozens of top notch Android smartphones next year. So what can we expect?

Well, first off Qualcomm calls it "the world's first commercial mobile platform supporting multi-gigabit 5G." In addition to supporting 5G it will improve AI performance up to 3x.

According to TechCrunch, Qualcomm is also designing a designated gamer version of the chip called "Snapdragon Elite Gaming", although other details are still not revealed.

Another interesting announcement out of Maui is a new ultasonic fingerprint sensor, which will likely be seen in the upcoming Galaxy S10, just like the new Snapdragon chip.

Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensors are promising to be faster than last years in-screen sensors. In addition it should work even when the finger or display are dirty is the screen has a screen protector, TechCrunch reports.

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AfterDawn: News

Q&A site Quora hacked: 100 million accounts compromised

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2018 10:21

Q&A site Quora hacked: 100 million accounts compromised One of the largest Q&A website in the world, Quora, has been hacked. The company has released a statement saying that an unauthorized entry was made an attained user information from the database.

A security breach by a malicious source resulted in leakage of information from approximately 100 million user accounts. That's a third of the websites 300 million user base.

According to the company, they've hired a security team to help them investigate the breach, informed the law enforcement, and are in the process of informing all affected users.

The leaked date includes personal information such as names, email addresses, encrypted (hashed) passwords, and data imported from linked networks when authorized by users.

The database that was breached also stored the questions, comments, answers as well as private messages.

Quora has logged out all affected users and reset the passwords for users that use password as an authentication method.

No social security numbers, credit card information or other extremely sensitive information were stored on Quora's databases.

Quora believes it has found the security hole but the investigation is still on-going.

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AfterDawn: News

New PowerPoint translates in real-time

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2018 9:47

New PowerPoint translates in real-time Microsoft is taking big steps to renew Windows 10 and some of its core apps and functions. Updating the iconography of Office, and eventually entire Windows 10, is one of the most recent steps.

New updates, due next year, to PowerPoint on the other hand will bring new AI functions. This means that PowerPoint will support real-time translating.

Real-time translating is used to generate captions for slides from one language to another. You can use it also to turn your speech into caption in the same language.

To easily make a more inclusive presentation, you can switch the translation depending on the audience and thus use the same slides for different audiences.

Microsoft is also bringing the real-time translation and subtitling to Skype calls which might be an even more useful feature.

Real-time translating is said to arrive in January 2019, and it will land on both Windows and Mac, as well as the cloud version, Office 365.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to abandon Edge for Chromium

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2018 9:13

Microsoft to abandon Edge for Chromium Just a few years ago, in the eve of Windows 10, Microsoft made the decision to retire the good ol' Internet Explorer for a new and improved browser.

Windows 10 launched with this new Microsoft Edge browser, a completely new and revamped browser experience. Unfortunately not a lot of people were impressed as the adoption rate has been low enough for Microsoft to plan some radical reroutes.

According to The Verge, Microsoft is already developing a new browser to replace Microsoft Edge. The browser is known in dev teams as codename Anaheim, and is based on Google's Chromium.

Chromium is Google's open source web browser project which is the basis on the world's leading browser Google Chrome.

According to the information gathered by The Verge, Microsoft doesn't have enough resources to keep developing the core functions of the browser including enhancing speed, and thus is looking into switching from proprietary tech inside Edge to Google's Chromium.

Once Microsoft's switch is done, assuming the rumors are correct, it will be a field day for web developers. Microsoft and Google sharing web engines will for sure make it easier to develop websites.

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AfterDawn: News

PlayStation Classic is now available for $99

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2018 9:06

PlayStation Classic is now available for $99 Sony has today launched officially its newest gaming console. No, it's not the PlayStation 5, instead it's, of course, the PlayStation Classic.

Sony revealed PlayStation Classic mid-September, and now couple months later it is ready to be released to the public. Today also marks the 24th anniversary of the original PlayStation, a perfect day for a PlayStation Classic launch.

The new mini console brings old school aesthetics from the nineties in a tiny package that holds 20 pre-installed games and includes two controllers.

Retro consoles have recently been super popular after the initial NES Classic in July 2016 from Nintendo.

Amazon, for example, sells the console for $99.

The games include Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, R4 Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms.





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft updated Office icons, plans to expand to entire Windows 10

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2018 8:51

Microsoft updated Office icons, plans to expand to entire Windows 10 Microsoft has been working on revamping Windows UI and especially Office over the past months. Now the company has announced the new palette that will bring new color to the Office 365 icons.

The last the Microsoft updated the icons was in 2013, a couple years before Windows 10 launch. Now the software giant has updated the icons to reflect their new visual language better.

You'll still have a blue Word icon, a green Excel, and an orange PowerPoint, but simpler while still retaining the descriptive elements expressing what each application is used for.

The Office icons are just a beginning, says head of Office design at Microsoft Jon Friedman. The same design language will gradually find its way to all of Windows 10.

While Friedman doesn't give us a timeline, and he does say it's a huge undertaking and it has just begun, we can expect the new look to be introduced to other aspects of Windows 10 next and following year.

Obviously bringing all of Microsoft's products under the same design is the purpose eventually.

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AfterDawn: News

Massive leak: Hotel chain's servers hacked, up to 500M compromised accounts

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2018 9:48

Massive leak: Hotel chain's servers hacked, up to 500M compromised accounts Hotel chain Starwood Hotels has released a statement today saying their database system was compromised. As a result, hackers have gained access to information of up to 500 million individuals.

Starwood Hotels, which is part of Marriott International, reports that the illicit entry to their systems was detected on September 10th, but after closer look it was revealed that the system might have been compromised for years.

The database vulnerability was abused first in 2014, and after years of access Marriott estimates that hackers have had access to information from up to 500 million individuals.

At least 327 million customer names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of births, genders, email addresses, Starwood rewards information, arrival and departure dates, reservation dates, communications preferences and even passport information were leaked.

Also encrypted credit card information was among the data leaked.

Marriot noted that it will be contacting all customers that were affected by email starting today.

Marriott bought Starwood Hotels in 2015 making it the world's largest hotel company. Starwood Hotels includes 11 hotel brands, including the likes of W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, and Element.





AfterDawn: News

Long-standing trade show CeBIT calls it quits after 33 years

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Nov 2018 14:16

Long-standing trade show CeBIT calls it quits after 33 years Deutsche Messe, the organizer behind the computer expo CeBIT, has made the decision to no longer host CeBIT Hannover next year.

This means that IT trade show CeBIT's 33 year run has come to an end. According to a Deutsche Messe press release some parts of CeBIT will be integrated into Hannover Messe trade show and others organized by the same group.

The reason given for the cancellation of once thriving trade show was simply lack of attendance and space bookings.

For over thirty years CeBIT has been the home of computer and information technology innovation. The final CeBIT, for now at least, was in held June, 2018.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple trying to counter rumors of iPhone XR's lousy sales

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Nov 2018 12:05

Apple trying to counter rumors of iPhone XR's lousy sales As soon as it was clear that Apple would be introducing a new cheaper iPhone, and this would be months before the actual announcement, people were quick to call it the next big thing.

Many, including some of us here at AfterDawn, were sure this was going to be a huge seller, perhaps even breaking records.

Just a month later rumors have suggested that this not actually be the case, but instead it was indeed the opposite. According to rumors Apple has had to reduce the production estimates, and that's not a good look.

The iPhone component manufacturers have also issued warnings for their quarterly results which has been taken to indicate bad iPhone sales.

Apple's stock has been in decline ever since the new iPhone XR launched late last month, and now it was time for Apple to try an rectify the situation.

Apple's Greg Joswiak has told in an interview with CNET that iPhone XR hasn't been the problem it has been portrait to be. According to Joswiak, the iPhone XR has "been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available."

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