AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Petteri Pyyny

AfterDawn: News

Tinder's new Tinder Platinum explained: messages without a match, priority likes

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 07 Aug 2020 5:07

Tinder's new Tinder Platinum explained: messages without a match, priority likes Tinder, the world's most popular dating app, has introduced a new subscription tier, dubbed as Tinder Platinum. The new subscription level adds on top of the existing tiers (Tinder Gold and Tinder Plus), introducing two important new features to the app.

First and foremost is the feature called Messages without a match, which basically allows one to send a short message (max 140 characters) to the recipient even when there's no match between the two.

In order to send such message, sender must be subscribed to the Tinder Platinum. Message is then attached to a super like that user sends to the recipient. The recipient sees the superlike, along with the message and then decides whether to like the sender or not.

If the recipient doesn't like the sender back, sender wont be able to send further messages. If recipient likes the sender back, a new Tinder match is formed and the two can then continue chatting as normal Tinder matches.

Tinder Platinum: Message before match explained

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AfterDawn: News

Thousands of American companies have broken EU law for the past two weeks

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 03 Aug 2020 4:45

Thousands of American companies have broken EU law for the past two weeks One of the most important privacy court rulings in recent history was delivered two weeks ago when EU Court stroke down the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement. Privacy Shield agreement between EU and the United States allowed American companies to store and process EU user data within the United States.

But EU Court ruled that because United States allowed its intelligence agencies to access such data, the agreement between EU and US had to be terminated immediately. Since then, basically all American companies that maintained the user databases in U.S. soil and had EU users, were breaking EU legislation.

Problem is massive: Companies wishing to maintain unified user database must basically move it out of the United States - or United States as a country to change its national laws that permit its intelligence agencies to do surveillance on its own soil. Obviously the latter option is highly unlikely to happen.

Technically splitting user database into two separate sets, with separate rules, processes and data location would be a massive technical challenge to the Internet gients like Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

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AfterDawn: News

Free Netflix for 83 years? That's right, Netflix launches a game where you can win exactly that

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 17 Jul 2020 7:38

Free Netflix for 83 years? That's right, Netflix launches a game where you can win exactly that Netflix is launching a browser-based game today called The Old Guard. The player that achieves the high-score is entitled to a "immortal" Netflix subscription of of 1'000 months.

1'000 months is roughly 83 years, so it should last, if not your entire lifetime, pretty much into anyone's retirement. The game itself obviously advertises Netflix's similarly named movie, which in turn, is based on graphuc novel by Greg Rucka.

The game itself is a browser-based, top-down beat 'em up video game. Game will be available only for two days, launching on 17th of July, 2020 at 8pm PST and will close two days later, on 19th of July, 2020 at 8pm PST. Whoever has the highest score by end of the time period, wins the "immortal" Netflix subscription, worth appx. $9'000.

Game is available at www.oldguardgame.com.





AfterDawn: News

Nintendo and LEGO announce The LEGO NES Console

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 14 Jul 2020 9:37

Nintendo and LEGO announce The LEGO NES Console As the retro computing boom continues, this was probably something to be expected, somehow. LEGO and Nintendo have joined forces and created a gaming console made out of lego bricks.

The LEGO NES Console isn't a really functional gaming console, but a replica of the iconic Nintendo NES console, but made out of lego bricks. It aalso comes with a od-fashioned TV set, again, made out of bricks and, obviously, a game controller and Super Mario Bros. game. The TV set is equipped with a tiny crank. Rotating the crank will move a tiny Mario across the screen.

Nintendo The LEGO NES Console


The set goes for sale on 1st of August in all official LEGO stores across the globe and will also be available through LEGO's own online store. The set will then be released to other retail channels (toy stores, supermarkets and other online stores) at the beginning of 2021. The set costs appx $250 / 230, depending on region.

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AfterDawn: News

Feeling masochistic? You can now study Finnish with Duolingo

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 25 Jun 2020 10:56

Feeling masochistic? You can now study Finnish with Duolingo Duolingo is the most popular language-learning apps in the world, but its selection of languages has always been somewhat limited, currently standing at 36 different languages for those studying in English.

Now, Duolingo has added a language to its selection that it calls the most requested language ever, Finnish. Spoken mostly in Finland (the home country of AfterDawn), the language is spoken only by appx. 5.5 million people in the world.

Language itself is notoriously difficult to master for people who speak English as their mother tongue. Depending on ranking, it ranks the most difficult language to master - or at least in top ten in all such ranking lists. Duolingo explains in-depth in their blog entry why Finnish is so difficult for English speakers (or anyone speaking Latin-based languages)

Finnish Grammar meme

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AfterDawn: News

Google launches Keen, AI-powered interest-based service

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 Jun 2020 11:04

Google launches Keen, AI-powered interest-based service Google has pretty silently launched a whole new product, dubbed as Keen. At first, it seems that Keen is sophisticated attack on Pinterest, a service/app that tries to make topple Pinterest's de facto status among various hobby groups.

But looking at deeper level, Keen might be something else too. It basically is a interest-based system, where users can create interest groups, then add content (images, links and more) to those groups. Google's own search algorithms and its in-house AI will then add further content, automatically, to the group.

Keen was born out of Google's Area 120, a project where Google engineers can test and invent new products - and was then promoted as a public product, over the past weekend.

As far as the Pinterest comparisons go, Keen could be used for something entirely different too: some wonder if it could become a sophisticated, personalized, interest-based "search bubble" for specific topics, that Google feeds with new content. Bit like partially crowd-sourced version of existing Google Discover service.

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AfterDawn: News

Foodora confirms massive data breach: Over 700'000 account details leaked

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 16 Jun 2020 7:54

Foodora confirms massive data breach: Over 700'000 account details leaked One of the Europe's largest food delivery companies, Foodora, has confirmed that its user account data has been compromised. Company, owned by its parent, Delivery Hero, is based in Germany, but operates in 14 countries, mostly across Europe.

In data breach, more than 700'000 user accounts have been leaked. Leaked data included user names, addresses, phone numbers and full names of Foodora customers. Additionally, at least some passwords were leaked, too. Foodora maintains that none of the payment information or credit card details have been breached.

According to reports, many of the Foodora users involved with the security breach, have started getting suspicious emails, typically localized to the customer's language or country of residence. It is strongly recommended to check whether your data has been compromised - you can use services like this to see if your account was one of the compromised ones.





AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn's 21st birthday

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 10 Jun 2020 4:00

AfterDawn's 21st birthday Damn. It is once again time for me to look back and realize how old I am. And how long it has been when we originally launched this little project of ours, called AfterDawn. Exactly 21 years ago we launched our site - to the whopping userbase of appx. five people (our friends who we bombarded with links to our site via IRC).

To somehow put this time in some kind of a context: when our site was launched, the dominant search engine was called AltaVista and majority of our first year users were still using dial-up modems to connect to the Internet.

Technologies have changed - we started AfterDawn as a source of information for people interested in MP3 technology and software. Somehow we then pivoted to cover DVDs, video technologies and P2P. And then, online services. And then mobile phones. And, and.. Only thing that has been constant in this business, is the fact that everything changes. The way how people read news has changed dramatically, as have the technologies people use and we cover. We have simply adapted to the new realities. And will continue to do so, in order to stay relevant.

These past 21 years have been an incredible journey for me and my colleagues. To get some kind of an idea what this journey has involved, you might want to read my last year's coverage where I tried to summarize all the changes we've gone through over these past 21 years.

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AfterDawn: News

Instagram for MSX released: instagr8

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 26 May 2020 8:27

Instagram for MSX released: instagr8 Yes, you read the headline right. The 8-bit computer back from 1980s is still very much alive. Sold mostly in Japan and in various European countries back in the day, the MSX hobbyist are making sure that the MSX will be relevant, also in 2020s.

So, to bring the almost 40 year old computer to modern times, there's now Instagram client for it: instagr8. Software itself works on both, the original MSX standard (dubbed nowadays often as MSX1) and on more modern MSX2 computers. As one might expect, the picture quality of Instagram photos is much better when used on MSX2 computers.

Here's a short demo of the software, running on original MSX1:



MSX1 specs aren't exactly top notch nowadays: mere 3.52MHz CPU (or, in modern terms: 0.00352GHz) and with 25kb of free RAM memory to run your own software. To make up this shortfall, most of the code itself has been shifted to server-side processing. Basically, the proxy server in between does most of the heavy lifting and converts the image to be better suited for the ancient computer model. But nevertheless, the project is quite awesome, as you can see from the videos here!

instagr8 is open source project and its code can be found from itse official Github page. As MSX1 standard doesn't include any form of network connectivity, the software also requires a cartridge called GR8NET that adds HTTP layer, network connectivity and more to the MSX1 device.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft open sourced its legendary BASIC intepreter

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 May 2020 11:10

Microsoft open sourced its legendary BASIC intepreter Microsoft's feeling towards open source community have taken a full U-turn during the past couple of years. Most notably, company acquired the beloved GitHub back in 2018.

Besides acquiring GitHub, Microsoft has also realized its own importance in history of technology and has open-sourced several of its historic products. Most notably, company released the source codes of MS-DOS operating system back in 2018.

Now, the trend continues, as Microsoft has decided to release the source codes for GW-BASIC, the BASIC programming language intepreter that originally shipped with MS-DOS 2.0, back in 1983. Intepreter has been developed with 8088 assembly, meaning that in order to tinker with it, you need to know assembly - not high-level programming languages, like C or Java. But the source is there, so anyone can get it and start developing even better BASIC intepreter, if they feel like it. And of course, the source code is available through GitHub. Obviously.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube decided: 720p is no longer HD

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 May 2020 7:34

YouTube decided: 720p is no longer HD It might sound like a very small change, but it is interesting decision nevertheless. YouTube has recently changed its video quality classification in a way that no longer categorizes 720p video as High Definition (HD) video.

From now on, only videos with 1080p resolution or higher are being listed as HD videos in YouTube listings. This is also visible when user changes the quality of the video playback - there, the small HD label appears only for 1080p and beyond.

YouTube itself hasn't commented on the change, but the trend is pretty clear. A decade ago, yes, 720p could be realistically categorized as "high definition", as most videos were still using 480p resolution (or worse) and 1080p was the de facto best video quality available for most people. But since then, 4K videos have become commonplace, as have TV sets and services that are capable to ourput such videos.

YouTube 720p ei ole en HD


For comparison, the good olde 720p video has 921'600 pixels in each video frame. Meanwhile, the most common 4K videos, using UHD resolution, have 8 294 400 pixels per frame. Thus, 4K videos have almost ten times higher resolution than 720p videos.

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AfterDawn: News

United States extends Huawei ban into 2021

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 14 May 2020 11:36

United States extends Huawei ban into 2021 President Donald Trump has extended the ban of several Chinese telecom manufacturers, namely Huawei, to May 2021.

Ban essentially bars American compnies from using telecom equipment manufactured by Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, citing national security risk as the reason.

However, The U.S. Commerce Department has granted several extensions that have allowed U.S. companies to continue business with Huawei. Current extension is set to expre on Friday, but it is highly likely that it will be extended once again.

The trade war between United States and China is most visible with Huawei's consumer products where company has abandoned the use of Google services. Basically all new Huawei phones are sold without Google Play, Youtube and other Google products. It also means that consumers buying new Huawei phones can't access the Google Play to download new apps, but they have to rely on much more limited selection of alternative app stores.

Rooting Huawei phones has proven to be tricky, so there are no easy options for those who want to buy Huawei phone, but also want to use familiar Google services.





AfterDawn: News

Google to ditch Chromecast? Replacement rumored

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 07 May 2020 3:04

Google to ditch Chromecast? Replacement rumored Several sources claim that Google is planning to retire its popular Chromecast media streaming device line and replace it with Android TV -based device.

According to rumors, the upcoming device would carry Google Nest brand, to be in line with company's other "smart home" devices. Device itself would use Android TV, like many other popular media streaming solutions, such as Roku and Android Fire TV.

Chromecast itself isn't an independent media streaming solution, but rather a playback device where user can "cast" videos from his/her phone or computer that the Chromecast would then happily output to user's TV set. Android TV-based device, however, would be completely independent device, allowing user to use a traditional remote control to watch material from select providers, such as YouTube and Netflix.

Chromecast fans wouldn't be forgotten: the rumored device would also include Google Cast support, meaning that it would still function exactly like Chromecast does, if needed.

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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp photo sending doesn't work now - for anyone

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 01 Apr 2020 5:33

WhatsApp photo sending doesn't work now - for anyone WhatsApp is experiencing a major outage with its service as of now. Sending photos doesn't work, whether the user is using Android or iPhone device.

The sending itself seems to "work", but recipient gets only blurred version of the image with an option to download the picture. Once user clicks the download symbol, WhatsApp throws an error about download failing.

Problems started about 21:00 UTC on 1st of April and haven't been fixed as of now (21:30 UTC).


Current WhatsApp status at DownDetector





AfterDawn: News

Pokemon Go reacts to coronavirus - Now you can play the game without leaving your home

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 13 Mar 2020 8:25

Pokemon Go reacts to coronavirus - Now you can play the game without leaving your home Pokemon Go is still one of the most popular mobile games in the world. The very core of the game involves wandering around your community, pushing your walking mileage and catching pokemons that appear while you're walking around.

Now, due the coronavirus pandemic, such activities are less and less popular around the globe. Game developer Niantic has now reacted to this situation.

Starting last night, players of the game can get almost-free bundle of so-called incense items to the game. The bundle costs only one pokecoin (the currency used in the game, equaling roughly to $0.01 or 0.01) and contains 30 incense units.

With incense, players can stay at home and use the incense to attract pokemons to their home that wouldn't appear there otherwise. The incense unit has been part of the game since the very beginning, but it has always cost much more - and is typically considered most useful for those players in rural areas, where there aren't very many places where pokemons spawn on their own.

Pokemon Go Incense deal during the coronavirus outbreak

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