AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Petteri Pyyny

AfterDawn: News

20 years ago: Napster vs CuteMX, movie industry gets its own boogieman: DeCSS

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 30 Nov 2019 6:28

20 years ago: Napster vs CuteMX, movie industry gets its own boogieman: DeCSS In our article series, we're digging into AfterDawn's news archive and looking what happened exactly 20 years ago. This article series also celebrates AfterDawn's 20th anniversary.

So, we're digging into our news archive and trying to figure out what was hot and what was not, back in November, 1999 when our site was only four months old. I'd like to remind you, our readers, that back then, AfterDawn was strictly focused on digital audio and video technologies and reporting events in those genres. More generic "all about tech" arrived to our site much later.

New file sharing software pop up almost daily



As Napster has grabbed the headlines across the world, competitors appear on almost daily basis to take a slice of the growing file sharing business. Legal or not, there's a goldrush among software developers those days, hoping that somehow, file sharing would be deemed legal and one of the players would emerge out of the wars as the winner.

In our news back in November, 1999, we covered several software releases related to file sharing software. One of the strongest players back then was CuteMX. Software itself didn't live for very long, as the developers decided to call it quits after Napster's troubles with the law started to grow. But for a very short time, back then, it was considered as the top contender to Napster - superior technically in many ways.

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AfterDawn: News

Google removes popular torrent client, LibreTorrent, from Play Store because it has too many copycats

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 26 Nov 2019 9:52

Google removes popular torrent client, LibreTorrent, from Play Store because it has too many copycats In one of those "WHAT?" decisions, Google has removed one of the most popular torrent client, LibreTorrent from its Android app store.

LibreTorrent has become extremely popular among Android users simply bacuse it doesn't use aggressive advertising and it simple works as should. So, as the app has a good reputation, it has sparked tons of copycats in Google Play store, with name variations created from LibreTorrent's official name. Typically, those clones use 3rd party torrent code and come bundled with massive pile of aggressive advertising, creating a bad user experience.

One would imagine that Google would clean its store by kicking out the copycats?

Nope. Instead, Google has decided to remove the official LibreTorrent from its store.

After this rather surprising move, the developer of the app filed an appeal to get his app listed back to the Play store. Google, however, refused to do so, stating that "We don't allow apps that spam users or Google Play, such as apps that are duplicative and low-quality".

Good reasoning. Only problem with that is the fact that it applies to all the LibreTorrent clones, not to the official product itself. Only way for the author to get the app listed again would be to change its name and add it as a completely new app to the Play Store - losing the millions of downloads, reviews and the name recognition of the app. The very name recognition that caused the mess in the first place.

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AfterDawn: News

Star Wars show The Mandalorian set to break TV piracy records as Disney+ isn't widely available

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 Nov 2019 6:33

Star Wars show The Mandalorian set to break TV piracy records as Disney+ isn't widely available It was kinda inevitable, really. TV series piracy is booming again, thanks to a one TV series that is availabke only in handful of countries.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Star Wars universe has always been extrenely popular - and in recent years, even more so. In fact, the final movie in the original movie series is set to hit the movie theaters in December, 2019. Then, you create a first live action, made-for-adults TV series to the Star Wars universe, with massive budget. Series gets extremely good ratings in IMDB (pilot has the average of 9.3/10 and two other episodes have also average around 8.5/10).

Only legal way to watch the series is recently launched Disney+ service.

And Disney+ service is only available in five countries in the world.

What happens? You have a massive amount of people who are eager to watch the show, no matter what.

So, even those people who kinda dropped the whole torrenting business half a decade ago or so - when Netflix et al finally arrived to most countries, providing a legal way to binge-watch movies and TV shows - are back into the piracy game again. Disney+ is currently available only in United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

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AfterDawn: News

Major WhatsApp security problem revealed: Your phone can be breached - Update now!

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 Nov 2019 5:52

Major WhatsApp security problem revealed: Your phone can be breached - Update now! Facebook who owns the extremely popular messaging app WhatsApp has announced that they have found a potentially very dangerous security problem with WhatsApp.

Issue is related to video playback within the WhatsApp software and namely, to a buffer overflow problem related to MP4 videos. Malicious party can send a specially crafted MP4 video file to the recipient and hijack the phone, without user even knowing about it.

The video itself would play just fine, but in the background, the specially crafted MP4 file could open the phone operating system for hackers to run their own code on the phone. Such malicious code can be pretty much anything: mining cryptocurrency for the criminals, sending out millions of spam emails to other recipients, to be part of a denial-of-service attacks against other services, etc.

The bug is related to parsing the elementary stream metadata of MP4 video files.

There's a patched version of WhatsApp available for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone users.

Affected versions:

  • Android versions prior to 2.19.274
  • iOS versions prior to 2.19.100
  • Enterprise Client versions prior to 2.25.3
  • Windows Phone versions before and including 2.18.368

So, head to your phone's app store immediately and update your WhatsApp right away!





AfterDawn: News

20 years ago: Mobile phones about to play MP3 .. and.. what? Legal music? Online?!

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 31 Oct 2019 4:21

20 years ago: Mobile phones about to play MP3 .. and.. what? Legal music? Online?! In our article series, we're digging into AfterDawn's news archive and looking what happened exactly 20 years ago. This article series also celebrates AfterDawn's 20th anniversary.

So, we're digging into our news archive and trying to figure out what was hot and what was not, back in October, 1999 when our site was only four months old. I'd like to remind you, our readers, that back then, AfterDawn was strictly focused on digital audio and video technologies and reporting events in those genres. More generic "all about tech" arrived to our site much later.

Our first ever stories about cell phones


As said, our focus back then, was strictly with digital audio and video. But the October, 1999 marks the first time in our history that cell phones were mentioned in our news. Looking at our (and everybody else's) news coverage nowadays and it seems that smartphones and related technologies are the thing that nowadays makes the headlines. Things have changed, truly.

Well, anyway, back in October, 1999 we published a press release from a Finnish mobile phone manufacturer. No, not Nokia. But another one, called Benefon. Company had just launched the first-ever GSM phone that had a built-in GPS navigation in it. Pretty revolutionary 20 years ago. It actually took several years until GPS navigation became a commonplace with phones.

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AfterDawn: News

Internet celebrates its 50th birthday today - This is how it all started (..with a crashing connection)

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 29 Oct 2019 5:48

Internet celebrates its 50th birthday today - This is how it all started (..with a crashing connection) Exactly 50 years ago today, on 29th of October, 1969, the first message was sent over something that we nowadays recognize as the Internet. Basically, today marks the date when the first ever message was successfully (more about that later..) was over a long distance computer network.

On 29th of October, 1969, Leonard Kleinrock, a graduate student at the UCLA, tried to send a message to Stanforrd University, to Charley Kline ja Bill Duvall.

Kleinrock tried to send a simple word from UCLA to Stanford: LOGIN.

But as these things go, the terminals crashed before the entire message was sent out.

So, the first message ever sent over the Internet was simply LO.

The team managed to sent the entire LOGIN word about an hour later, but history nowadays remembers mostly the "LO".

After that message, the development of the Internet's predecessor, ARPANET, started taking shape over the upcoming decades, finally, in 1990s, transforming into a mainstream medium that we know as the modern Internet. Nowadays, 29th of October is widely celebrated as the Internet Day.





AfterDawn: News

What is a WEB-DL video?

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 27 Oct 2019 7:00

What is a WEB-DL video? The term WEB-DL relates to online piracy of movies and TV shows. It indicates the original source of the pirated movie or a TV show.

WEB-DL simply means that the pirated material in distribution was originally copied from a web download source, such as from Netflix, Hulu or similar service. As such services use various video resolutions and bitrates, the term itself doesn't tell how good or bad the quality of the pirated video is.

The WEB-DL file has been typically "ripped" or copied from a online streaming service, either by capturing the video file from stream or by copying the offline download of the video, removing its copy protections. As the source material is in a digital format, the original quality is deemed good, depending of the web download resolution and bitrate.

As mentioned, the term WEB-DL itself doesn't indicate what resolution the file is in, so the term is typically associated with another acronym, telling its video resolution. Such terms include 720p and 1080p (=FullHD).

Pirated video files in WEB-DL format are distributed either in their original file format or converted to another file format, depending on person who originally copied the material and his/her preferences for the file. If the video is distributed as-is, in the same format as it was streamed or downloaded, the resulting, distributed file is lossless (compared to the original stream/download), meaning that its quality is 1:1 to the originally downloaded file.

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AfterDawn: News

What means HDRip?

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 25 Oct 2019 5:54

What means HDRip? The term HDRip is often used in online video (TV shows, movies) piracy. The term indicates the source of the pirated TV show or a movie.

Term HDRip is used to describe video that has been "ripped" from a HDTV broadcast, by one mean or another. As HDTV broadcasts vary with the used resolution, the term itself doesn't necessarily indicate what resolution the ripped video is in.

"Ripping" process itself means simply a way to copy the material, digitally. In HDRip's case, the "ripping" has been done either by a digital capture card, recording the broadcasted TV show or by, for example, copying the material from a DVR device that has stored it without copyright protection flags. This also means that a digital source has been the source material for the video, meaning that the original material is pretty good / near perfect.

HDRips, however, can be either distributed as-is (in the very same bitrate and resolution as they were ripped in) or by compressing them to another format or smaller resolution. Thus, often, the term HDRip is paired with a term indicating the resolution the video is in, like 720p or

1080p.

You should also check these commonly used acronyms for pirated video material:

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AfterDawn: News

Stranger Things 4 first official teaser trailer released - Watch it here!

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 30 Sep 2019 12:46

Stranger Things 4 first official teaser trailer released - Watch it here! It has been just few months since Stranger Things' season 3 ended, but now Netflix has already released the first official teaser trailer of the upcoming Stranger Things 4 in its social media accounts.

Very short teaser wont reveal much, but according to the post, "we're not in Hawkins anymore".

You can watch the video below:



(if video wont play properly, try this link)





AfterDawn: News

OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro release date confirmed - here are the rumored specs

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 16 Sep 2019 11:24

OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro release date confirmed - here are the rumored specs OnePlus has confirmed that it will launch its new phone line on 10th of October, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

As the "T" model is typically a relatively minor update to the previous model, we can expect to see everything to get little bit better, faster and bigger. As with OnePlus 7, the upcoming OnePlus 7T will also have its more expensive version with OnePlus 7T Pro. And if the old tradition continues, bit later, a "McLaren" special edition will be launched that will push everything a bit further that is packed with Pro model.

Generally reliable leaker, OnLeaks, has published the rumored specs already.

The anticipated specs for OnePlus 7T:

  • Display: 6.55" 2400x1080, 90Hz, HDR10+, in-display fingerprint sensor
  • CPU: Snapdragon 855+
  • GPU: Adreno 640
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB / 256GB
  • Battery: 3800mAh

And the specs for OnePlus 7T Pro:
  • Display: 6.65" 3100x1440, 90Hz, HDR10+, in-display fingerprint sensor
  • CPU: Snapdragon 855+
  • GPU: Adreno 640
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Battery: 4085mAh

To push the boundaries of its famed Warp charging, the new Warp Charge 30T should be 20 percent faster than the one found with OnePlus 7 Pro.

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AfterDawn: News

20 years ago: Matrix vs Titanic, which movie will break the record? Also: MP3 arrive to your home stereo system, ...

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 28 Aug 2019 5:41

20 years ago: Matrix vs Titanic, which movie will break the record? Also: MP3 arrive to your home stereo system, ... In our article series, we're digging into AfterDawn's news archive and looking what happened exactly 20 years ago. This article series also celebrates AfterDawn's 20th anniversary.

So, we're digging into our news archive and trying to figure out what was hot and what was not, back in August, 1999 when our site was only 2 months old. I'd like to remind you, our readers, that back then, AfterDawn was strictly focused on digital audio and video technologies and reporting events in those genres. More generic "all about tech" arrived to our site much later.

DVD releases were back then what the Netflix releases are now: Matrix as an example


Back in 1999, DVD players were The Tech that many households were planning to get for the "entire family's Christmas present" - i.e. the most sought-after tech that had hit the mainstream. Thus, new DVD movie releases were also big news back then, just like, say Netflix's next month's releases are now.

In the autumn of 1999, the most anticipated movie release among the tech enthusiasts was definitely The Matrix, which was about to be released on DVD format in September. Warner Home Videos, who owned the DVD rights, was hoping that Matrix would become the first movie ever to sell over one million DVDs. But, at around the same time, in in the end of August, another blockbuster made its way to DVD format, too: Titanic. Which one won the race? Well, ;Matrix did.

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AfterDawn: News

Disney+: List of supported devices, launch date, pricing and countries that will get it

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 19 Aug 2019 10:22

Disney+: List of supported devices, launch date, pricing and countries that will get it Disney has finally revealed what devices will be supported once the new subscription service, Disney+, will launch in November. Service is set to launch with pretty aggressive pricing, set to be $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, if paid annually.

At the launch, the list of supported platforms and devices is already pretty impressive, with just one notable exception there:

  • Apple TV
  • Android (phones and tablets)
  • Android TV
  • Chromecast
  • Desktop web browsers, including Chrome
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Playstation 4
  • Roku devices
  • Roku TV
  • Xbox One

Most notable "not there" in the list is definitely the Amazon's Fire TV.

Launch countries and pricing


As said, the service will launch in November. On November 12th to be exact, in United States, Canada and Netherlands. List of all countries that will get the service in November are (but not necessarily on 12th of November):
  • United States
  • Canada ($8.99CAD/mo or $89.99CAD/year)
  • Netherlands (6.99/mo or 69.99/year)
  • Australia ($8.99AUD/mo or $89.99AUD/year)
  • New Zealand ($9.99NZD/mo or $99.99NZD/year)

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AfterDawn: News

Huawei released its own operating system to rival Android: Harmony OS

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 09 Aug 2019 6:36

Huawei released its own operating system to rival Android: Harmony OS Even though there's a ceasefire between United States and Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the company is determined to seek alternatives to Google-controlled Android. Today, those plans came to life today as Huawei released its own operating system, called Harmony OS.

Announcement was made during Huawei's own annual developer conference in China. According to Huawei, the new operating system is suitable for all kinds of devices, ranging from small IoT devices to full-blown smartphones and tablets.

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AfterDawn: News

20 years ago: Sonique vs Winamp - the era of Windows software appearance customizations

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 31 Jul 2019 11:00

20 years ago: Sonique vs Winamp - the era of Windows software appearance customizations In our article series, we're digging into AfterDawn's news archive and looking what happened exactly 20 years ago. This article series also celebrates AfterDawn's 20th anniversary.

So, lets see what kinds of news we wrote back in July, 1999. I'd like to remind you, our readers, that back then, AfterDawn was strictly focused on digital audio and video technologies and reporting events in those genres. More generic "all about tech" arrived to our site much later.

Software update: Winamp


One of our core news reporting areas back in the day was to report about major a/v software updates. And one of the most note-worthy of those was definitely Winamp and its Winamp v2.24 update back in July, 1999.

Back then, Winamp was - by far - the most popular music player software in the world. It was light-weight, supported all the music formats available back then and most of all, it was extremely customizable.

But Winamp's story from those haydays to the modern times has been a bumpy, interesting - and bit sad. Software was originally developed by a small company called Nullsoft and, originally, by its founder, Justin Frankel. Entire Nullsoft was sold to AOL at the beginning of June, 1999 - just before AfterDawn was launched - for a whopping $400 million.

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AfterDawn: News

FaceApp is a Russian app - Will it leak your data to Putin's administration?

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 Jul 2019 8:41

FaceApp is a Russian app - Will it leak your data to Putin's administration? FaceApp is an image manipulation app that caused a craze in social media back in 2017. Now, the craze is back, after the company updated its ageing filter last weekend. To be honest, the ageing filter is simply amazing - the results are very, very believable and realistic.

But. The company developing FaceApp is based in Russia. And this means that, as per Russian legislation, all data passed to the company, can be accessed by Russian security and military services, if they want to.

Old Kurt Cobain - FaceApp from r/interestingasfuck


Kurt Cobain via FaceApp's ageing filter


So, does the app upload all of your images and data to Russian servers? Apparently, the answer is no. Sure, the app asks for your permission to access your phone's images, but it only accesses the one you select for manipulation.

A security researcher has tested what the app actually sends to the Internet and where the data goes to. The conclusion is that all the uploads are being sent to Google or Amazon -owned cloud servers, located in U.S., Australia or Europe, depending on applied filter and user's own location. The actual image manipulation with filters is being done on servers, which then sends the processed image back to the user's smartphone, once finished.

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