AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

BitTorrent Inc. was acquired by a cryptocurrency billionaire

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Jun 2018 11:34

BitTorrent Inc. was acquired by a cryptocurrency billionaire The revolutionary peer-to-peer technology of the early 2000s, BitTorrent, has been in a decline after the likes of Netflix and Spotify have spread around the western world.

It took a few years before popular trackers, such as the 2003 established The Pirate Bay made it popular. At some point around 2007-2008 BitTorrent accounted for more traffic that HTTP in most regions.

BitTorrent is far from dead, of course, but it's far from the glory days a decade ago.

Rumors surrounding the company behind the technology, BitTorrent Inc., have suggested that there might be a acquisition in the works. Now blockchain entrepreneur and cryptocurrency billionaire, known from the Tron platform and its TRX currency, Justin Sun, has bought the company.

Variety reports, that the acquisition was already finished last week, and BitTorrent has informed their employees about the owner change. According to their information the talks began last Fall, and in January Sun signed a letter of intent to acquire the company.

Some controversy, however, was created by a lawsuit that was later dropped. In the lawsuit Sun claimed BitTorrent was negotiating with others after Sun had signed the letter of intent.

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AfterDawn: News

Massive iPhone manufacturer soon has a U.S. headquarters

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Jun 2018 11:03

Massive iPhone manufacturer soon has a U.S. headquarters The world's largest electronics contract manufacturer has established a new headquarters in the United States. The Taiwan based Foxconn is known for being the manufacturer of iPhones as well as other leading electronics products.

Foxconn has previously already announced a new display factory in Wisconsin, Reuters reports. Now the company has revealed its new North American HQ in Milwaukee, WI, roughly 30 miles from the plant.

The new U.S. HQ will be established in a seven-story building in downtown Milwaukee which can fit an estimated 500 employees. As expected it will work closely with the display factory and its 13,000 workers.

One might ask, why Wisconsin? Well, short story: money. Wisconsin has offered a three billion dollar offer in tax breaks over the upcoming decade and a half.





AfterDawn: News

Apple Maps down, all users affected

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Jun 2018 12:54

Apple Maps down, all users affected As you might know, Apple Maps isn't exactly the pinnacle of navigation and maps services. However, these days it doesn't lead you down a cliff as often as it used to, and most of the time it is perfectly fine for your daily navigation and map search needs.

Today, though, Apple Maps users have encountered unexpected problems with the service. According to reports, Apple's map service is suffering from downtime.

And Apple has acknowledged the issues as well. According to their own statement, all users are affected what seems to be a problem within the service itself.

Apple's System Status support page also shows both Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search marked with yellow and the word "Issue." Maps Display and Maps Traffic seem unaffected.

As expected, Apple has said to be working in order to clean this mess up as quickly as possible, and hopefully you'll find again full green list on the status page soon. Meanwhile, you can continue using Google Maps, just like you used before this problem.





AfterDawn: News

Apple updates macOS with dark theme, increases Facebook security

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Jun 2018 21:45

Apple updates macOS with dark theme, increases Facebook security Apple introduced yesterday the updated version of macOS. The 10.14 version carries the name macOS Mojave, and brings along a few interesting improvements.

Perhaps the most requested, and most visible, update is the new dark mode. People have been requesting a dark theme for quite a while, and now Apple provides us with a mode with both darker navigation elements and windows but also a custom dark wallpaper of the Mojave desert that obviously inspired the name of the release.

While dark mode might be the most visible new feature, it might be Desktop Stacks that are the most significant. Stacks are like folders, except with a click they explode on your desktop and when you click again they stack up again to clean up your desktop.

There are also improvements to Finder with a new Gallery view to show larger pictures and more metadata details as well as Quick Look now supports quick edits to both pictures and video.

Following Microsoft's suit Apple has updated their screenshots to have a quick link to edit and share straight after a screen grab has been taken.

Continuity on the other hand got a Continuity Camera feature which allows you to use your phone camera to take pictures for macOS devices and embed them easily to documents you are editing.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple unveiled iOS 12: Faster, improved AR experience, and Tongue Detection

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Jun 2018 21:04

Apple unveiled iOS 12: Faster, improved AR experience, and Tongue Detection Apple announced yesterday the new iOS 12 at WWDC in San Jose, California. The new version of Apple's mobile operating system will be available later this fall to all Apple devices released in 2013 and later.

One of the key focus points for Apple has been improving performance. According to the company, iOS 12 brings along speedier operation, more responsive experience and more performance to those apps that truly need it.

Apple has sped up app launch 40-70 percent from previous iteration. Under higher stress the platform performs even better compared to earlier versions being up to twice as fast.

Another big improvement, also extensively demoed on stage, is the AR support in iOS. Apple released a new augmented reality file format called USDZ. This allows companies like Adobe us it in their software, including Photoshop of course. Apple, and Lego, showed off the AR capabilities in a multiplayer games as well with the new Measure tools that allows users measure real life object from their iOS device's screen.

Obviously iOS 12 brings along updated apps with improved functionality. One of these apps is Photos that got a little bit smarter with some AI capabilities. One of the bigger improvements is the grouping of notifications, which has been highly requested for a while now.

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AfterDawn: News

Leak confirms dark mode in next macOS, screenshots

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jun 2018 16:11

Leak confirms dark mode in next macOS, screenshots One of the more important technology conferences of the year is upon us. Next week Tim Cook and co. will open the World Wide Developer Conference for, well, developers and press. As usual, we are expecting updates to operating systems, including iOS and macOS.

The updates will bring iOS version likely to iOS 12 and macOS to 10.14, and we've even got some leaked screenshots of the latter.

Software developer Steve Troughton-Smith has released some screenshots and even video with the help of 9to5Mac of the upcoming macOS UI. While not many new features are displayed there is one unmistakable difference to previous versions.

That is of course a dark theme.

Dark Appearance, as Troughton-Smith calls it, shows a darker UI theme that has been one of the more requested features for years. It seems to bring along not only darker gray tone in the UI elements and windows but also a new darker background.

Apple is likely to bring two different versions of the background image to accompany each theme.

It certainly looks good, and fortunately we don't have to wait much longer to hear more about it, and hopefully even the release isn't that far off.

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AfterDawn: News

Payment network crashes and leaves Visa users stranded

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Jun 2018 12:31

Payment network crashes and leaves Visa users stranded By far the largest credit card company in the world has suffered an unexpected problem. Visa's payment network has crashed in the UK and Europe, The Guardian reports.

This means that Visa card payments are not going through in many cases, and the company has acknowledged the faulty system. According to The Guardian, Visa has confirmed the problem and is currently looking into the cause of the outage.

It is not currently known in what portion of the UK and Europe this problem has manifested in, but media and users online have reported problems all across the continent. Some retailers haven't been able to take any Visa transactions while some report only a portion of the customers are affected.

According to FT ATMs are running out of money in some areas because of the crash.

The official statement reads: "Visa is currently experiencing a service disruption. This incident is preventing some Visa transactions in Europe from being processed. We are investigating the cause and working as quickly as possible to resolve the situation."

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AfterDawn: News

End of an era: Canon stops selling film cameras

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 May 2018 16:25

End of an era: Canon stops selling film cameras Canon, one of the more iconic camera companies, has been selling imaging products for 80 years. The company started in Japan before the World War II under the name Precision Optical Industry Co. and produced a film camera, The Kwanon, that was perhaps an omen of the company's future name.

Now nearly two decades ago company released its first digital camera for the consumers, and eight years ago it discontinued development of film cameras altogether. Nevetheless, there's still been some Canon film cameras for sale until this day.

Today Canon has officially stopped selling the last of their film cameras, EOS-1V. In a statement the company says that it will still provide repair for the camera until 2025.

EOS-1V is the predecessor to Canon's popular line of professional digital SLR cameras, EOS-1D, the latest of which is the over $5,000 Canon 1D X Mk II. The EOS moniker comes from Electro-Optical System, if you didn't know, and it first made the jump from mechanical lenses to electronic ones.

Obviously if you still want one you can go on on eBay and get yourself a used one for a few hundred bucks. Perhaps it'll become a collector's item at some point.





AfterDawn: News

Google takes the smart speaker crown from Amazon

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 May 2018 17:32

Google takes the smart speaker crown from Amazon Smart speakers have been one of the more popular tech trends in recent years. This odd coupling of audio equipment, smart home applications, and of course artificial intelligence, has been the focus of many of world's largest technology companies.

The trend was started by Amazon and their Echo line of smart speakers, and they've been wrecking havoc on the marketshare leaderboards ever since. Now couple years after Google has their Home lineup and Apple just entered the market with the new HomePod. Furthermore, the likes of Samsung are preparing to launch their own AI powered speakers.

It is now too, that Amazon has first time ever lost their lead in worldwide marketshare. Google has taken the number one spot, analytics firm Canalys reports.

Google sold a total of 3.2 million Google Home devices worldwide while Amazon managed to sell only 2.3 million units of their Echo lineup. The United States remained the leading market with 4.1 million smart speakers sold with China still distant 2nd and South Korea 3rd.

Just a year ago Amazon commanded the market with nearly 80 percent slice of the pie but it only hold 27.7% now. In addition to Google, Chinese manufacturer's including Alibaba and Xiaomi have gnawed on Amazon's share.

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon's Map Tracking feature lets you prepare for the delivery

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 May 2018 12:31

Amazon's Map Tracking feature lets you prepare for the delivery Amazon has launched a new feature for its users that allows them to track packages even more closely. In fact, the new feature lets you see where the package is currently on a map.

Map Tracking shows you the delivery truck's location on a small map in your neighborhood or at least nearby when it is closing in on a delivery. The tracking starts when the delivery is 10 stops away from you.

In the Map Tracking view you can find the approximate location as well as how many deliveries the truck will have to do before yours.

This allows you to either hurry home to receive your highly anticipated new toy or perhaps prepare for delivery (read: close the curtains, hide the bodies).

The feature was already available to selected few since last year but now it has reportedly been expanded to most if not all users. The Amazon app will remind you with a notification when Map Tracking is available.

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AfterDawn: News

OnePlus releases their newest flagship killer: Here's the OnePlus 6

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 May 2018 12:20

OnePlus releases their newest flagship killer: Here's the OnePlus 6 The Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus got its notoriety from years back when it vowed to destroy the flagship smartphones of its time with half the price. The company has since matured and dropped the flagship killer slogan but one could argue it really still is the same beast.

This week the company announced OnePlus 6, the latest of its impressive lineup of Android phones.

The device is the first glass sandwich design, which is water resistant but not IP certified, since the company's one-off cheaper model, OnePlus X, and it is definitely one of the more important changes in it. Obviously the system-on-chip has also been updated, and there are other slighter changes.

OnePlus 6 rocks the Snapdragon 845, 6 or 8 gigabytes of RAM, up to 256 GB of storage space, a dual camera setup, and a 6.28-inch Full HD+ resolution Optic AMOLED display covering 84 percent of the front panel which leaves you with a notch at the top, as you might expect.

The battery is the same 3300 milliamp unit from the previous model, and it supports the same super fast Dash Charging. Unlike rumors had it, there is no wireless charging despite the glass back.

The dual camera setup in the back is similar to OnePlus 5T but offers now larger sensors and thus larger pixel which translates to improved low light performance. Improving low light photography, as well as videos, OnePlus has also added an OIS. The megapixel counts are still 16 and 20.

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AfterDawn: News

Google One is the new, improved, and cheaper Drive

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 May 2018 8:08

Google One is the new, improved, and cheaper Drive Google has revealed a new service, or actually a renewed service, called the Google One. It is actually the good old Google Drive, one of the more popular cloud services, that has been rebranded and is a little bit easier on the wallet.

The search giant hasn't quite yet revealed the exact, official release date, and currently you can only register to receive news about the service on the website (one.google.com). However, Google does promise it in the coming months for the folks that already pay for Google Drive's storage.

At first Google One will be available in limited quantity which probably means that free tier Google Drive users will be stuck with the old service for a while.

If you've been thinking of getting some more cloud storage, though, you'll be happy to hear that Google One offer better deals than its predecessor. 100 GB package costs the same $1.99 but you now have a 200 GB and $2.99 option. The $9.99 tier has also been updated to hold twice as much stuff at 2 TB. Tiers above 2TB will stay the same price.

There's no news whether Google will kill Drive and when this would happen, but you'll probably be able to use it at least until Google One is available for all.





AfterDawn: News

Google Assistant robocalls too human to not include a disclaimer

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 May 2018 11:05

Google Assistant robocalls too human to not include a disclaimer Google's I/O conference keynote was focused largely on the improvements of Android, its apps, and the new navigation scheme Android P will bring along. It's perhaps hard to pick one that was more important than the others, but there surely was one that was the most controversial.

That is, of course, Google Duplex. That is the upcoming feature of Google Assistant, the search giant's super advanced voice assistant. In fact, Duplex makes Assistant so smart that it can make calls for you.

Pretty much everyone was flabbergasted about how natural the calls sound, although you won't be listening them as Assistant does this in the background, but many were also puzzled whether this might have ethical consequences.

Should the recipient know that he or she is not talking to a human? With all the "umms" and "mmhmms" Google Assistant had seemed to passed the Turing test in demo calls played back at the I/O stage.

And now, in an interview with CNET, Google agrees. Agrees not only that Turing test might have been passed but that it is necessary to make sure the receiving end of the call is aware that they are talking to a robot.

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AfterDawn: News

Mozilla has released a major update to Firefox

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 May 2018 11:35

Mozilla has released a major update to Firefox Mozilla has today announced a new version of their web browser, one which was once considered one of the greats. Firefox's new version number suggests that it might be one of the bigger updates in recent history.

Firefox v60 does bring some new features alongside more general updates to security, privacy, and obviously stability.

According to the company, though, the security and privacy aspects are one of the more important updates in this iteration. And many of you would probably agree in that these days it seems to be integral to provide strong protection against all ilks of privacy and security infractions.

There aren't a lot of eye candy in this update, and you won't see revamped UI either.

The new version will, however, include new features such as redesigned Cookies and Site Storage settings, Web Authentication API supporting USB tokens, enhancements to New Tab and Firefox Home, application of faster Quantum CSS engine, and improved camera privacy indicators.

You can read more about the update here.

You can download Firefox v60 from our download section or from Mozilla





AfterDawn: News

One of Windows' most long-standing issues was finally fixed

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 May 2018 13:14

One of Windows' most long-standing issues was finally fixed Microsoft's own developer conference Build 2018 ended yesterday, and while there were a myriad of updates to different tools within Windows, one of the updates that had the crowd cheering the most had to do with the little text editor called Notepad.

For years and years, actually a total of 33 years, Windows Notepad has been a pain in the behind for developers, and there's really one reason for it. It doesn't support the Linux operating system's line feed, that is it doesn't recognize when line is changed in the text.

Since 1985, that is the first version of Windows, the Notepad has served all sorts of users for taking notes and obviously even coding. However, never has it played well with other types of line feeds, including the ones Linux text editors use.

This means that in the worst case you'll just have one endless line, and everyone knows, or can imagine, how frustrating that is to edit.

While this seems like a minor problem, as the Microsoft presenter below notes (no pun intended), it's often the little things that matter the most. And thus, after decades of frustration from developers, Microsoft has fixed the Notepad and it finally supports Linux line feed.

You'll find the new, fixed and improved, Notepad in the upcoming updates of Windows 10.

Read more...





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