AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Petteri Pyyny

AfterDawn: News

Android 13 officially released

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 15 Aug 2022 2:24

Android 13 officially released Without much fanfare, Google just released the final, stable version of Android 13 operating system.

As usual, the new operating system is already available for all supported Google Pixel phones, starting with Pixel 4 series. Pixel 3 and older wont be eligible for the update and they're considered to have reached their end.

Android 13 beta is already available to selected handsets outside the Google Pixel family. All major Android manufacturers (Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and more) have at least one of their models enrolled to Android beta program.

Android 13 improves privacy controls, the way how audio can be cast to various output devices and much, much more.

There's already a list of phones expected to get the Android 13 update available. Obviously, as manufacturer announce their detailed release plans, the list will evolve and grow.

For full list of changes - technical or more visible ones - Google's developer site has a very detailed list of changes since Android 12.

AfterDawn: News

Russia introduces new 100 rouble bill - but you can't get it from ATMs or to pay with it

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 01 Jul 2022 11:39

Russia introduces new 100 rouble bill - but you can't get it from ATMs or to pay with it "What looks and feels like a real paper money, but doesn't work?" Well, obviously, that is Russian paper money.

Russian Central Bank officially introduced the updated 100 rouble bill today. The bill shows a Soviet Soldier Memorial as its main image and bill is supposed to replace the previous 100 rouble bill currently in circulation.

But there's a small problem with all that: you can't withdraw the new bill from ATMs and you can't pay with it in stores.

And why is that? Because ever since Russia launched its attack against Ukraine, Western companies have refused to deliver any technology to Russia. And it just happens to be that 60 percent of all Russian ATMs are made by Western companies and whopping 100 percent of all the cash registers in the country are made by Western companies.

Thus, in order to get the new bill into circulation, the ATMs and cash registers need to be updated in order to recognize the new bill. And Western manufacturers simply wont do that due the sanctions against Russia. Even banks refuse to take the bill, as they don't have updated hardware to detect fake bills from authentic ones.

So, new paper money theoretically exists, but it can't be used.


AfterDawn: News

Internet Explorer finally dies, after 27 years

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 14 Jun 2022 2:04

Internet Explorer finally dies, after 27 years Very rarely any piece of computer software is so loved and hated as Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer has been throughout its lifespan. But finally, after 27 years, IE is being killed off.

Microsoft released the first version of IE back in 1995. But it wasn't until the turn of the millennium when the browser finally managed to become the most popular web browser in the world.

Partially that success was because of Microsoft's shady tactics, like bundling IE tightly with its Windows operating system. But partially, the reason was also due the fact that back then, IE was simply a faster and more nimble browser than the previous #1, Netscape Navigator.

IE quickly solidified its top position, despite the arrival of open source contender, Firefox. Firefox never manager to get past IE in terms of global popularity and IE became quickly de facto browser during the first years of 2000s.

Microsoft was so certain of its pole position that the company didn't even bother to do any major updates to its browser: Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001, but it took over five years for IE7 to arrive.

That era when IE dominated is remembered with horror by many old-time web developers, as IE was notoriously bad at supporting any web standards, whatsoever. Basically during those years, web developers had to create two separate versions of their websites: one for everything else and one for IE only.


AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn's 23rd birthday

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 10 Jun 2022 2:59

AfterDawn's 23rd birthday Damn. Time flies. Our news output has temporarily slowed down quite dramatically during the past year or so, but we're still here, after all these years.

Yes, 23 years ago today, our site officially launched, back in 1999. Since those days, lots of things have changed - in technology, culture, our personal lives and Internet. But our site is still here, having survived all these years - good times and the bad ones.

I wont go over our history and our roller-coaster years now, as I've done so three years ago, extensively when our site turned 20 years old.

Again, I'd like to thank all of you who have supported our site over all these years. Thank you, everybody!

-Petteri Pyyny, CEO
AfterDawn Oy

P.S. Now, AfterDawn has existed over half of my life, which is kinda weird thing to think about..

AfterDawn: News

End of an era: iPod discontinued - the device that revolutionized music industry

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 May 2022 4:06

End of an era: iPod discontinued - the device that revolutionized music industry Sure, there were digital music players well before Apple introduced its first iPod back in 2001. But iPod was the device that made digital music a mainstream reality.

It also paved a way for new music industry revenue models by introducing legal and easy-to-use ways to purchase digital music. Since then, the digital music purchase model has died and been replaced by a streaming services, such as Spotify. But it was the iPod and Apple's music store that acted as catalysts for that transition.

Apple has already retired most of its iPod models, but the iPhone-like Apple iPod touch has remained in production. Until now.

Apple has announced that it will cease the production of iPod touch immediately and the device will be available through retail channels until the supplies last.

AfterDawn: News

Tiny player that changed the entire world: Winamp is now 25 years old

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 26 Apr 2022 3:13

Tiny player that changed the entire world: Winamp is now 25 years old Sometimes history is shaped by small steps, leading into giant leaps. Those steps were taken in late 1990s by several tech companies - and as the result, the entire music business industry went through a shock that changed it permanently. One of those catalysts was a small Windows music player.

Legendary Winamp was arguably the first user-friendly audio player capable to play MP3 audio files. The very first version of Winamp was released back in 21st of April, 1997. So, it has been now 25 years since that event.

With hindsight, it is easy to see how various factors were in play back in those days. German tech institute Fraunhofer had developer the first digital audio file format that produced good enough quality with small enough filesizes.

CD-ROM drives were getting more and more popular, allowing people to transform their CD discs into digital MP3 files. And finally, along came the first MP3 player that made it easy and fun to manage massive music libraries - and not to hog your slow Pentium PC's all resources while doing all that.

Since those days, MP3 players have mostly vanished in favor of streaming services, such as Spotify. Even Winamp has been in hiatus for ages now - despite making a small comeback back in 2018 with its latest version.


AfterDawn: News

Android 13 beta released

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 26 Apr 2022 2:56

Android 13 beta released After the initial developer edition, Google has now launched the first official beta version of Android 13 operating system.

While the developer edition, launched back in February, was meant for .. well, developers, the new beta version is meant for all Android enthusiasts. Obviously, those willing to test the new OS are supposed to be users that can tolerate inevitable bugs, missing features and even data loss. But also for those who are willing to sacrifice such minor things in order to get a taste of the future.

Compared to the developer edition, Android 13 beta 1 doesn't cater much new to play with. Most notable changes involve the way media players work in Android.

In previous Android versions, if an app requires an access to files stored into the device, user must grant full permissions for the app to do so. With Android 13, app can specifically request access to only selected file types, such as images, videos or music - thus, mitigating the risk that the app could get into more sensitive data stored on the phone.

Another media related enhancement is for audio playback. Now Android can tell the app what output devices are available and which one of those the app could use. This should made it easier to add smart functionalities to media apps, like ability to choose the output device directly within the app (say, you might want to blast your Spotify playlist to your Bluetooth speaker while also having several other BT devices connected to your phone).


AfterDawn: News

List of Android Performance class 12 phones (updated)

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 26 Mar 2022 9:26

List of Android Performance class 12 phones (updated) Google introduced a new measure for Android phones with its Android 12 operating system. The new measure, dubbed as Performance class indicates to app developers how good the phone is, performance-wise.

Previously, game and app developers had to to guessing on whether the phone user is using, is capable of running games in full detail or to have enough oomph for certain heavy-weight app features.

With the introduction of Performance class inside Android itself, app developers can simply check from the operating system if the current phone is deemed powerful enough.

Currently, the highest possible classification is Performance Class 12. So, a game developer might only allow highest graphic details available only to phones that are classified as Performance class 12 phones.

Some of the Performance class 12 criteria:

  • at least 6GB of RAM memory
  • at least 12 megapixel rear camera
  • rear camera must be able to record 4K video @ 30fps framerate
  • device must be initialize a video codec in less than 50ms, even when under heavy load
  • when playing FullHD video, device must drop less than 1 frame every 10 seconds of playback video
  • must have at least 400dpi pixel density on display
  • at least FullHD display
  • must have minimum of 4MP selfie camera, with FullHD @ 30fps recording capability

Just meeting the requirements on paper is not enough, the device must also pass the certification process in order to gain the classification.


AfterDawn: News

OnePlus 8 series finally gets stable Android 12

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 20 Mar 2022 8:00

OnePlus 8 series finally gets stable Android 12 Since late 2020, OnePlus has been struggling to push out its Android updates in timely manner, which has frustrated its loyal fans quite a lot. But finally, some relief is coming: Android 12 goodness arrives to its year 2020 high-end line of phones.

OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8T started receiving Android 12 update as of yesterday.

According to OnePlus, the launch is phased, meaning that the full rollout of the OTA updates will happen in upcoming weeks, depending on region, model and carrier.

European users will have to wait a bit further, as the initial rollout is only for North American and Indian users. OnePlus cites "regulatory" issues for postponing the EU OTA slightly.

After Android 12 update, both OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro should get one more major Android update: Android 13. And the OnePlus 8T will get two major Android updates after this one: Android 13 and Android 14.


AfterDawn: News

Sony's surprise: Android 12 coming to Sony Xperia 10 II and Xperia 10 III

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 14 Mar 2022 3:54

Sony's surprise: Android 12 coming to Sony Xperia 10 II and Xperia 10 III For recent years, Sony, has had a very limited selection of phones available globally. But even with a limited selection, company's track record for delivering Android updates hasn't been exactly a top notch. This seems to be changing.

Sure enough, Sony has been quite fast with providing Android 12 updates to its two hign-end phone series: Xperia 5 and Xperia 1 series. As per current Sony's Android 12 update status, Android 12 has been already released to year 2020 and year 2021 high-end models.

But originally company promised only one major Android update to its mid-priced phone series, Xperia 10. Now it seems that they've decided to opt for a better-than-promised update coverage. Sony's mobile phone division announced on its official Instagram account that both Xperia 10 II and Xperia 10 III are getting Android 12 "soon".


AfterDawn: News

Loved by users, hated by Google: YT Vanced discontinued

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 13 Mar 2022 4:35

Loved by users, hated by Google: YT Vanced discontinued Alternative YouTube player for Android, YT Vanced, is being discontinued. The app has been loved by its users and is probably one of the most downloaded Android apps that cannot be found from official Google Play store.

As YT Vanced app offers pretty much everything you could wish for for a YouTube app, it is also truly hated by Google. YT Vanced removed all the video ads from the player, but also uses crowdsourcing to detect sponsored messages by YouTubers - and allows skipping those, too.

It also allows background playback, thus, making it a viable Spotify alternative in order to play music from YouTube on your phone, without forcing to keep the player visible.

And the list of enhancements YT Vanced offers over official YouTube app goes on and on: true dark mode, saving battery for OLED displays, better gestures, showing the dislike counts, etc etc.

As most of the YT Vanced's features blatantly violate Google's TOS for YouTube, the app has never been found from official Google Play store. Instead, you'd have to download the .apk directly from the developers' website.

But it seems that Google's long-reaching hand has finally gotten to the developers: YT Vanced announced on its official Twitter account that the project will be discontinued.


AfterDawn: News

Russia to legalize software and movie piracy

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 Mar 2022 7:29

Russia to legalize software and movie piracy As Russia has been pushed to isolation after it attacked Ukraine and country is now considering ways how to deal with the new situation. As Russian society is heavily relying on Western technology, country has to decide how to overcome the situation where it doesn't have access to Western software, chips and more.

Even Russian heavy industry and many critical civilian corporations rely on Western software like databases, CRM systems and, obviously, Windows operating system. Some of those have open source alternatives available, but in order to quickly transition a sizable corporation from one platform (and set of enterprise software) to another one isn't a task that can be completed within a reasonable timeline.

Thus, Russian Ministry of Economic Development has laid out a plan on how to deal with the new situation. One of the proposed methods is to basically allow full-blown software piracy. It would allow using software from companies that don't do business with Russia anymore, whether the Russian user has a license or not. Proposal would make the use of such software non-punishable in Russian courts.


AfterDawn: News

Spotify is down globally - again

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 08 Mar 2022 1:40

Spotify is down globally - again Today, at around 18:00 UTC, Spotify went burning down - globally. Users haven't been able to log in to the streaming service since the service interruption began.

According the DownDetector, a service that monitors thousands of websites and services, the problems started immediately at around 18:00 UTC and have been on-going since then.

Spotify down 2022-03-08
Spotify status, according to DownDetector service

Problem has been noticed at Spotify, too, as they've tweeted about the issue on their official account:


AfterDawn: News

Realme Android update policy outlined (2022)

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 23 Feb 2022 4:59

Realme Android update policy outlined (2022) Fastest growing phone brand in the world is currently Realme. Realme is a manufacturer that is owned by the same umbrella company that owns OnePlus, Oppo and Vivo, too.

Realme is currently pushing its way to Western European markets with affordable, yet feature-rich Android phones. Company uses its own Android skin, called Realme UI and has been slightly slow to make bold promises about its Android update policy in general.

But they recently clarified how they plan to deliver Android updates for their phones.

Here's the outline:

  • Realme GT and Realme GT Pro series will get three major Android updates
  • Realme GT Neo and Realme GT Master series will get two major Android updates
  • "Number models", such as Realme 8, will get two major Android updates
  • For everything else, such as Realme C series, Realme doesn't make any promises whatsoever, so phones might get only one Android update - or none at all.

For the upcoming updates, here's the summary of Realme's current handsets and how they'll get updated within next year or so:

AfterDawn: News

Google testing new dark mode: yellow links, actual black background

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 19 Feb 2022 10:57

Google testing new dark mode: yellow links, actual black background Google's search results page is arguably the most visited webpage in the world. Due its huge popularity and instant recognition value, Google has been reluctant to change its core appearance. Most of the visual elements of the results page have remained intact for more than two decades.

But as we found out recently, Google is now conducting a limited test on handful of users that would change one very specific thing on its search results page: the link colors.

Company has kept the results' colors in "standard webpage blue" since the searvh itself was launched, back in 1990s.

But with the new limited dark mode test, Google has changed the link color for results from that good olde blue to pale yellow.


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