AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (5 / 2017)

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft promises a variety of Always Connected computers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 May 2017 5:08

Microsoft promises a variety of Always Connected computers Microsoft has informed us at Computex trade show that its partners are going to unveil a slew of new so-called Always Connected computers in the upcoming months. These computers, mainly laptops of varying form factors, will include an integrated LTE modem that allows the computers to be, well, always connected.

The concept has brewed a long time within Microsoft, and it is certainly not the first time company has tried to bring computers equipped with modems to consumers. ARM based computers were one of the main points in the Windows 8/Windows RT division.

Now the Redmond titan, however, believes that the technology is mature enough. Always Connected computers are said to be released from multitude of manufacturers, including ASUS, Hp, VAIO, Xiaomi, and the leading PC manufacturer Lenovo.

They come equipped with either Intel's or Qualcomm's chips, which include the popular smartphone flagship system-on-a-chip Snapdragon 835 found in for example the new Galaxy S8. All the computers run Windows 10, albeit different versions for ARM and Intel chips.

The computer come with their own eSIM slot and are thus mostly meant for people that are on the move, such as students and business customers, who don't want the hassle of sharing their mobile data from a smartphone.

AfterDawn: News

Intel's credit card sized computer is coming to refrigerators near you

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 May 2017 2:56

Intel's credit card sized computer is coming to refrigerators near you Intel has announced that it will start the commercializing of a concept called Compute Card. This credit card sized computer concept is obviously incredibly small and light which means it will make a lot of new kind of computer applications possible, says Intel.

What makes the Compute Card great is that it allows the modular use of computer technology in a new way. When you can easily detach and reattach the computing part of whatever system is it a part of, this means that the separate hardware, whether it be the Compute Card or the remaining equipment can be modified or replaced easily.

This kind of feature would be essential in devices like TVs, refrigerators, and cars among other Internet of Things applications.

Compute Card will come available in four different models that vary in performance. The processors used include a dual-core and 1.2Ghz Kaby Lake Core i5-7Y57 and a less powerful quad-core Celeron 3450. All four versions of Compute Card include four gigabytes of RAM, 128 GB SSD storage, Wi-Fi (ac), and Bluetooth 4.2.


AfterDawn: News

U.S. won't ban electronics from European flights for now

Written by James Delahunty @ 31 May 2017 1:37

U.S. won't ban electronics from European flights for now Air passengers flying to the United States from European countries will not be subjected to an electronics ban, at least for the time being.

That was made clear today by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Dave Lapan in a statement. It followed consultation between Secretary of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, and European counterparts, which included EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and the EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc.

It was expected that an electronics ban that would keep laptops and other equipment out of the cabin on U.S. bound flights could be announced, but it didn't come to pass. However, the possibility has not been ruled out in the future depending on the circumstances.

"Secretary Kelly affirmed he will implement any and all measures necessary to secure commercial aircraft flying to the United States – including prohibiting large electronic devices from the passenger cabin – if the intelligence and threat level warrant it," the DHS statement reads.

Aside from that clarification, the three agreed on a need to raise the bar for aviation security globally, including through a range of potential seen and unseen enhancements. Additionally, the parties agreed to continue to work together to secure global aviation and to maintain clear lines of communication and cooperation.

AfterDawn: News

SoundCloud arrives on Xbox One, beta lands on Windows 10

Written by James Delahunty @ 31 May 2017 1:20

SoundCloud arrives on Xbox One, beta lands on Windows 10 Xbox One had gotten its own SoundCloud App, letting subscribers access their full music collection, playlists and so forth on the Microsoft platform.

SoundCloud can be controlled with voice commands via Cortana. All of the typical SoundCloud features are abailable, including your favorite tracks and newest releases.

Subscribers can find new artists and songs that you can't find anywhere else to create unique playlists--discover new remixes from well-known and up-and-coming artists.

Whether you're a SoundCloud Free, SoundCloud Go, or SoundCloud Go+ user, the app is optimized to seamlessly integrate your SoundCloud music collection on Xbox One.

The SoundCloud app for Xbox One can be gotten from the Xbox Store.

Additionally, The SoundCloud Beta app for Windows 10 PCs is also available from today from the Windows Store.

More Info: SoundCloud Blog


AfterDawn: News

Court: Parents have no right to dead girl's Facebook

Written by James Delahunty @ 31 May 2017 1:16

Court: Parents have no right to dead girl's Facebook The parents of a deceased teenager have been denied the right to access their late daughter's Facebook account by an appeals court.

In late 2015, a regional court in Berlin had ruled in favour of the mother as she sought to look for clues of whether or not her daughter had committed suicide. The 15 year old girl was killed by a subway train in Berlin in 2012.

According to the regional court, the girl's contract with Facebook passed to her parents when she died, and that since she had been a minor, she had no absolute right to privacy online as it was up to her parents to protect her rights.

That decision has been overturned by the Berlin appeals court this week, which has clarified that the right to private telecommunications outweighed the right to inheritance. The court also found that the parents' obligation to protect her rights expired with her death.

Facebook is refusing access to the girl's account, which has since been memorialised.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung has demonstrated the first strechable OLED display

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2017 3:24

Samsung has demonstrated the first strechable OLED display There are a few futuristic concepts in smart devices that are are persistent as the flexible display. Companies, especially the couple Korean ones, have been trying to create different kind of flexible and stretchable displays for quite some time.

One of the examples of this is of course the LG G Flex introduces first in 2013 and its successor Flex2. Samsung has been twisting displays in its own right with the curved displays since Note Edge, and now even with its most popular flagship Galaxy S8.

Now Samsung has unveiled a new kind of display that might revolutionize the smart devices yet again. This time it is a stretchable OLED display, first of its kind, the company says. The technology is on display at a international SID conference and you can also see it in action in a YouTube video below.

The display featured in the video is a 9.1 inch OLED panel – if you can call it a panel anymore – that would fit perfectly in a traditional tablet. Instead it stretches like a fabric. The stretch height is at maximum 12 millimeters, just under half an inch, so it can't compare to rubber-like materials, though.

Currently the technology is still very much a concept and needs more development. There still doesn't seem to be any real life applications for it but surely someone will come up with a use for that.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung to challenge TSMC with a new business and 4 nm chips

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2017 12:33

Samsung to challenge TSMC with a new business and 4 nm chips Samsung has been investing a lot on its semiconductor business in both Asia and even in the United States. Now the company is expanding even further and creating its own business around the chip manufacturing.

According to Bloomberg Samsung is separating the foundry business to show how serious it is in challenging the world's leading semiconductor manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, better known as TSMC.

The Korean giant hopes that the new business will be more attractive to its core customers. Currently the company is competing with many of its most important chip customers in other areas. For example Apple has been buying chips from Samsung but there's fierce competition in the smartphone and tablet space among others.

Samsung and its foundry business can't risk losing important customers that are hard to attract because of competing intrests in other fields. Customers like Apple and Qualcomm are invaluable to retain and the move will ensure a stronger positions in the market, the Korean manufacturer believes.

Samsung has also revealed its future plans in chip manufacturing. On the main advanced will be a new EUV lithography in 7 nanometer process but before that the company will expand to 8 nm process. There will also be an upgrade to 6, 5, and even 4 nanometer processes as we head towards 2020.

AfterDawn: News

Intel unveils new Core X series with a super powerful Core i9 Extreme

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 May 2017 11:11

Intel unveils new Core X series with a super powerful Core i9 Extreme If you are a computer hardware geek then this day is one that you might have been waiting for a while. Intel has unveiled today a new CPU brand called Core X.

When performance is what you live for the Core X series processors is where you look – unless you hate Intel and only use AMD products. The new CPUs will include Core i5, Core i7, and new Core i9 processors that are meant for the power hungriest.

As you might imagine, the three different series of processor offer a plethora of options. You start off with four core i5 processors and end up with 18 cores and impressive 36 threads in a new Core i9 Extreme. According to the manufacturer 7980XE is the first 18-core CPU sold to the masses. Well, at least if the masses have $1,999 to put towards a super performing CPU.

You can distinguish the regular models from the new X series straight from the model number. This means that for example the cheapest of the bunch at $242, the 4-core i5, is called Core i5-7640X. All the X series processors are designed for motherboard with X299 chipset.

When it comes to the architecture most of the Core X are an updated version of the 6th generation, namely Skylake, but there's two Kaby Lake (7th gen) based chips (i5-7640X and i7-7740X).


AfterDawn: News

Phone from Android's original creator revealed: The Essential Phone - specs and pics

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 30 May 2017 7:51

Phone from Android's original creator revealed: The Essential Phone - specs and pics Andy Rubin, the man who originally created the Android operating system, has been developing his own phone for some time now. The Verge finally got the final details and pictures of the product, called The Essential Phone.

The Essential Phone is everything you'd expect from a modern flagship Android phone: edge-to-edge display, minimalistic unibody design, massive storage, etc..

The exact specs that are known by now:

  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage
  • bundled 360-degree camera that will connect to the top of the phone
  • Qualcomm 835 processor
  • 13Mpix dual-camera at the back where the other camera has Huawei-like monochrome sensor
  • 8Mpix front camera capable to capture 4K video

Only real nag with the specs is the fact that phone wont have 3.5mm audio jack, following the footsteps of Apple's iPhone.

Phone will be available at U.S. first, with the price tag of $699. Radio internals are supposed to be compatible with all U.S. operators. When exactly the phone will be available for sale isn't known yet.

AfterDawn: News

Spotify was hacked! Check here if your Spotify account details were leaked

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 24 May 2017 6:53

Spotify was hacked! Check here if your Spotify account details were leaked We built a tool to check if your Spotify account has been leaked, along with its password details, to public. Today, a list of more than 6'000 Spotify accounts were posted to public, with unencrypted passwords and subscription country details.

Our tool contains only the account names of the leaked accounts, so you can simply search for your Spotify account name to see if you were among those that were hit by the leak.

If your account is in the list, you must change your password immediately. This includes not only Spotify, but all the other services too where you might have used the same password in the past.

Spread the word and use this tool:

Check if your Spotify account details were leaked

Also, makse sure you use the latest Spotify client.

AfterDawn: News

Bitcoin breaking records - man bought a pizza with bitcoins back in 2010, those bitcoins would be worth $20M today

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 May 2017 8:08

Bitcoin breaking records - man bought a pizza with bitcoins back in 2010, those bitcoins would be worth $20M today Bitcoin is breaking valuation records this Spring, as the cryptocurrency's valuation has risen from May 2016 valuation of appx $440 to record-breaking $2'135 as of today.

Business Insider tells a story about a Bitcoin enthusiast called Laszlo Hanyecz who bought two pizzas from Papa Johns back in May, 2010 for 10'000 bitcoins. Back then, the value of those coins was approximately $40. Today, the same amount of bitcoins would be worth more than $20 million.

That transaction is considered as the first "real world" purchase of good where bitcoins were used.

Bitcoin to USD valuation from May, 2016 to May, 2017

Bitcoinin to USD, 05/2016 - 05/2017

AfterDawn: News

Google brought Google Assistant to iPhone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 May 2017 1:41

Google brought Google Assistant to iPhone Google has been focusing a lot lately on artificial intelligence and its applications. Obviously one of the bigger steps forward in that area was the new Google Assistant that was unveiled last fall.

In the beginning the app was only available to a very small minority, namely the Pixel users, but the company has expanded to other Android phones as well as their new smart speaker Google Home. Now, however, Google has gone way further and even brought it to the biggest competitor's flagship, the iPhone.

Already Google Assistant has said to be in over 100 million devices but with the addition of iPhone and other phones Google aims capturing more of the enormous 2 billion smartphone market. Obviously Siri will still have the edge on iOS as it is the only assistant you can access straight from you home button but Google has created a widget which gets you to the Google Assistant pretty swiftly.

But this is still only the tip of the iceberg according to Google. At Google I/O the company announced Google Assistant SDK which allows developers and manufacturers to bring Assistant with its AI capabilities to any kind of application and hardware whether it be a speaker, a coffee maker or a completely new type of device.


AfterDawn: News

Next Apple Watch to have a new type of health sensor?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 May 2017 7:29

Next Apple Watch to have a new type of health sensor? Many Apple fans are probably already waiting for the upcoming iPhones that will be introduces in early September, if previous years are any indication. However, Apple has a lot more in store in terms of services and products.

Apple Watch hasn't been as relevant in recent history as it was when it first launched but the company is working on a major update. CEO Tim Cook has been seen wearing a new type of sensor added to a Apple Watch, CNBC reports.

Ever since unveiling the first Apple Watch with a heart rate sensor, the Cupertino giant has been more interested in health applications in both software and hardware. The upcoming new version could bring an even more important health related sensor.

The sensor is said to monitor glucose levels continuously without invasive measures. This "holy grail" of blood sugar tracking would be a huge help to people suffering from diabetes. Because the measurements are not necessary for the larger population it might be an external accessory.

Apple hasn't usually released new Apple Watches in its developer conference in June and it is unlikely this years WWDC is any different but with an update to watchOS we might get some indication if Apple is indeed going to add this function to their smartwatches.


AfterDawn: News

Sweden drops charges against WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 19 May 2017 5:47

Sweden drops charges against WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange Swedish prosecutors released a statement today saying that they will drop the preliminary investigation against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

"Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange," the office said in its statement.

Julian Assange has lived in Ecuador's embassy in London, since 2013. The lawsuit accusing him of rape in Sweden, has been pending for almost 7 years. Assange has denied the claims and stated that it is a manhunt against him and WikiLeaks.

Shortly after the release of the statement, Assange posted a photo of him smiling, to his Twitter account:

While the European Arrest Warrant issued for Mr Assange has been withdrawn by the Swedish prosecutor, Assange will still be arrested when he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy by British police on a separate warrant for failing to appear in court years ago.

AfterDawn: News

The Witcher coming to Netflix

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 May 2017 12:00

The Witcher coming to Netflix The fantasy book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski became a huge success in the world of video games in 2007 when the first Witcher game was released. Now after a decade of The Witcher games we've been expecting a movie adaption but there has been a turn of events.

The producers of Sean Daniel Company, Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, have signed a deal with Netflix. This means that the movie production has taken a back seat and a new TV show adaption for Netflix is in the works.

The streaming giant has managed to acquire another valuable game franchise under its Originals umbrella after announcing a Castlevania animation in February. According to Engadget, the show will run multiple seasons but not much more – including any of the casting – is known at this point.

What we do know, however, is that Sapkowski is a creative consultant for the Netflix show and according to his statements really happy about the deal and the upcoming TV series. This should bode well to fans of both book and game series.

The Witcher is a story about Geralt of Rivia who is one of the last Witchers, a superhuman monster slayer, in the fantasy world with dwarves and elves.


AfterDawn: News

HTC's new flagship smartphone senses pressure, tops camera benchmark

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 May 2017 1:31

HTC's new flagship smartphone senses pressure, tops camera benchmark HTC has unveiled today their newest flagship smartphone. The U11 is a top tier smartphone that comes with a proprietary pressure sensing technology that differentiates itself from the likes of Galaxy S8 and LG G6.

The Edge Sense technology, as the company calls it, is able to sense the pressure when the user squeezes the phone. This allows the device to perform tasks depending on the pressure level and duration. The sensors are located on the sides of the phone, which brings us to another difference to the aforementioned competitors.

Unlike LG or Samsung, HTC's flagship doesn't have a bezel-less display but instead a more traditional one we would have expected from every single smartphone last year. However, in 2017, it has become increasingly popular to remove the home button and stretch the display to all edges.

It is, though, not the fault of the new technology per se, as BGR as found out. According to HTC staff they just don't have the display prowess of manufacturers like LG and Samsung that can custom build their displays.

Even without the trendy display the U11 is a true flagship, make no mistake about that. The 5,5 inch QHD display is accompanied by the Snapdragon 835, 4 gigs of RAM, 64 gigabytes of microSD expandable storage, 12 MP UltraPixel camera and a 16 MP selfie shooter.


AfterDawn: News

"Last Warning!" - Evil scam targeting entrepreneurs and others in Facebook

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 16 May 2017 6:42

"Last Warning!" - Evil scam targeting entrepreneurs and others in Facebook During the past 24 hours, there has been a massive wave of phishing attempts targeting Facebook page owners, such as entrepreneurs and hobby groups.

Unlike most other previous scams, this one is quite believable. Pae owner gets a notification from a fake Facebook account called "Notification Page" claiming that unless user takes action her/his Facebook business page will be taken down within 24 hours. permanently.

The link in such "notification" leads to a phishing fake, looking like an official Facebook page, asking user's Facebook credentials. After user enters the credentials, the people behind the scam can then hijack the user's business page and extort money from the user for returning the ownership.

Below is a screenshot of such message:

Facebook scam

Notification message reads:


Your account has been reported by other users, security system received a report that your account has violated Facebook's policy. Please confirm your account by clicking the link below:


AfterDawn: News

Google acquires VR dev behind 'Job Simulator', 'Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality'

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 May 2017 9:25

Google acquires VR dev behind 'Job Simulator', 'Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality' Google has added VR studio Owlchemy Labs to its portfolio, promising to continue developing engaging, immersive games on multiple platforms.

Owlchemy Labs is the developer behind the popular Jobs Simulator VR title for HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Oculus + Touch that many considered a proof of the potential for revival of virtual reality. More recently, Owlchemy released Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, compatible with the Vive and Oculus.

Now at Google, Owlchemy promises to continue making the kind of content they are famous for.

"Owlchemy Labs makes things that are absurd, highly polished, and filled to the brim with terrible puns & jokes that we love making. We both believe that VR is the most accessible computing platform and that there's a ton of work to be done, especially with regards to natural and intuitive interactions," the acquisition announcement reads.

"Together with Google, with which we share an incredible overlap in vision, we're free to pursue raw creation and sprint toward interesting problems in these early days of VR."


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: 'The Sims' is coming to iOS, Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 May 2017 9:02

WATCH: 'The Sims' is coming to iOS, Android EA has announced that the popular Sims franchise is coming to the iOS and Android mobile platforms soon.

Almost two decades on since its successful debut on PC, the mega-popular social simulator is coming to mobile devices properly.

The Sims Mobile will be a port of the game for iOS and Android, whereas previous non-Desktop and non-Console releases were more limited, such as the The Sims Freeplay.

As before, you can customize and personalize your own Sims from their physical appearance to their personality traits and their goals for life.

When your Sims accomplish their career goals and retire, you'll be rewarded with Heirlooms that unlock hobbies and careers for future generations, allowing new Sims to tell deeper stories.

No details were given by EA on the cost or release date of The Sims Mobile, but here is a trailer:


AfterDawn: News

Tesla taking Solar Roof pre-orders

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 May 2017 8:59

Tesla taking Solar Roof pre-orders Tesla has begun accepting pre-orders for its Solar Roof products ahead of installations that will begin in the United States in the summer.

Solar Roof aims to keep the typical appearance of a roof from street level. It combines both solar and non-solar tiles, based on your electricity consumptions estimates. A home that also charges an electric car frequently will require more solar tiles, for example.

It will generate electricity from sunlight during the day and with an integrated Powerwall, can make the energy available at night time too.

According to Tesla, the typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof, which is lower than an estimate of $24.50 cited by Consumer Reports to be cost competitive.

The cost of a Solar Roof can be offset when taking the prolonged reduction of electricity bills into account.

However, since there are a wide variety of circumstances to take into account, Tesla has created a Solar Roof calculator that lets homeowners estimate the upfront price of Solar Roof, as well as the value of the energy it can generate for their home.

The calculator takes roof size, the average local price of electricity, and how much sunlight a neighborhood receives annually into account.


AfterDawn: News

Sprint will launch 5G network in 2019

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 May 2017 8:57

Sprint will launch 5G network in 2019 Following announcements from its major competitors, wireless carrier Sprint has announced it will launch its own 5G services in 2019.

On Wednesday, Qualcomm Technologies, SoftBank and Sprint announced a joint agreement to develop technologies for 5G, including the 3GPP New Radio (NR) standard in Band 41 (2.5GHz) for accelerated wide-scale 5G deployments.

"The companies plan to provide commercial services and devices in late 2019," the trio said in a press statement.

Unfortunately that's as far as the details go. Given that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have already spoken on their plans for their next generation mobile networks, Sprint wants its customers to know it's not asleep at the wheel.

Verizon is already trialling 5G technology in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while AT&T will rollout a 5G network starting in 2018. T-Mobile has a similar timeframe set.

AfterDawn: News

Music on YouTube prevents piracy, study claims

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 May 2017 8:52

Music on YouTube prevents piracy, study claims Research based on exclusive YouTube data and a survey of thousands of users in multiple countries shows that YouTube reduces music piracy.

The study itself was commissioned from RBB Economics by Google itself, as it tries to answer the question of whether YouTube is a net positive or negative for the music industry. The video sharing giant has repeatedly come under scrutiny from music companies alleging low returns to the industry from music on its service.

RBB Economics published its first paper as part of the study today, which tests the cannibalization effect of YouTube: whether or not the availability of music on YouTube cuts down use of other, potentially more lucrative, streaming services.

The researchers found that the absence of music on YouTube would instead push users to lower value music channels, including piracy websites.

"In the absence of YouTube, time spent listening to pirated content would increase by 29%, suggesting that people are going to YouTube instead of pirating music," the study finds.


AfterDawn: News

Offline viewing now easier in Chrome on Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 May 2017 12:33

Offline viewing now easier in Chrome on Android Google has made some improvements to the offline viewing of webpages in the Android version of its Chrome web browser.

Users of the browser already download more than 45 million webpages per week since the feature was added to the browser last year.

Now, Chrome developers are just adding some improvements to make it even easier to accomplish.

You can now long-press on any link to get the option to download it, and you can do the same for an article suggestion on the new tab page.

Once you attempt to visit a webpage and are greeted with the "You are Offline" page, there is now an option to download the page automatically as soon as it becomes reachable.

Last but not least, the New Tab page will also display previously downloaded pages tagged with a new offline badge.

Improvements like this can be helpful for users with intermittent data coverage, or when dealing with an unstable remote server.

AfterDawn: News

FCC website hit by attack following John Oliver plea

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 May 2017 12:28

FCC website hit by attack following John Oliver plea Host of HBO show had called on the public to flood the FCC with comments opposed to repealing net neutrality regulations.

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver made the plea in a segment on his weekly show on Sunday, mirroring a similar plea he had made a few years previously that led to the FCC's servers being overwhelmed with traffic.

This time, however, it doesn't appear to be concerned citizens that have caused an issue for the FCC's services. Instead, the regulator claims it was deliberately attacked on May 8.

"These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC," chief information officer Dr David Bray said.

"While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these distributed denial of service (DDoS) events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments."

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said earlier this year that Net Neutrality rules would be reviewed by the regulator, adding that the rules had impacted investment, innovation and job creation.

AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 running on half a billion devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 May 2017 12:24

Windows 10 running on half a billion devices Microsoft has hit a milestone with the announcement that its Windows 10 consumer OS is now running on 500 million active devices.

The previous milestone was reached in September last year, when Windows 10 crossed the 400 million installed threshold. While adding 100 million additional devices in the mean-time is good news for Microsoft, it does suggest the company won't hit 1 billion devices for its flagship OS as early as intended.

Predictably, Windows 10 share growth has slowed quite a bit since the Redmond-based giant stopped offering free upgrades from older operating systems. Microsoft had hoped to reach 1 billion devices by the end of 2018, but now is targeting that milestone for some time in 2019.

Still, Microsoft did note a strong picking among businesses for the Windows 10 OS.

via: Engadget

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft pushes update for serious Windows flaw

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 May 2017 12:20

Microsoft pushes update for serious Windows flaw Microsoft has quickly patched an unmasked security vulnerability in its software that potentially allowed attackers to hijack a PC.

The remarkable thing about this particular flaw is its association with Microsoft's anti-malware tool, Windows Defender. An attacker could target a victim with a malicious e-mail, an instant message or a crafted link.

According to reports, the victim wouldn't even have had to open an e-mail as the exploit would be triggered once the anti-malware tool scanned it.

The bug in question affected Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10, and was patched by an out-of-cycle update released by Microsoft in advance of the so-called "Patch Tuesday" round-up.

Researchers at Google's ProjectZero discovered the flaw at the weekend and expressed delight at Microsoft's speedy response.


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens utilized in spine surgery solution

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 May 2017 12:26

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens utilized in spine surgery solution Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality system has been integrated into a new spine surgery solution from Scopis.

The Holographic Navigation Platform has been developed to offer greater precision and speed to surgeons, and better outcomes to patients undergoing open and minimally-invasive spinal procedures. By integrating HoloLens, surgeons can benefit from mixed reality in a number of useful ways. For example, surgeons can plan the positioning and alignment of pedicle screws during multiple vertebrae fixation surgeries.

While wearing the HoloLens glasses, the surgeon can see the planned positioning of the pedicle screws projected into view, overlaid exactly onto the patient.

"This allows the surgeon to find the screws' planned positions faster and to align surgical instruments interactively with the holographic visualization," Scopis claims in press material.

Watch Scopis' video on the Holographic Navigation Platform below:


AfterDawn: News

Uber's Greyball prompts criminal probe in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 May 2017 12:16

Uber's Greyball prompts criminal probe in U.S. Uber's controversial use of 'Greyball' to evade regulators and law enforcement is now the subject of a criminal investigation, according to a report.

Greyball would tag certain users and show them a different version of the standard app. Tagged users would see false data about the location of nearby Uber vehicles. Using Greyball, Uber protected itself and its drivers from fraudulent activity and also to prevent drivers from potential physical harm.

However, the same system was reportedly used to thwart regulators. The system identified local officials and would make it impossible for them to hail a real Uber ride. This was allegedly done to protect drivers from fines or from having their cars impounded.

In December 2014, Uber allegedly used Greyball to evade 16 Portland Bureau of Transportation officials, denying them dozens of rides, according to the Reuters news agency.

It has now cited sources in reporting that the U.S. Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Uber's use of Greyball.

AfterDawn: News

Rasberry Pi turns into a smart gadget with the help of Google

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 May 2017 1:34

Rasberry Pi turns into a smart gadget with the help of Google Raspberry Pi is where many ingenious gadgets of the future take their first steps. An affordable and very versatile platform allows tons of creativity and possibilities in molding your own gadgets.

Now Google is making the RasPi a little smarter.

The new edition of the official Raspberry Pi magazine MagPi includes a new type of accessory for the Raspberry Pi which lets you integrate Google's Assistant to your creation. In essence it's a piece of technology from Google Home that can be inserted into a Raspberry Pi 3, Pi Zero or Pi 2.

Obviously in addition to the actual Voice HAT, which stands for Hardware Accessory on Top, board the addon includes a speaker and a microphone for both delivering the voice commands as well as hearing the responses. You also get all the necessary wires.

The companies have coined a term Artificial Intelligence Yourself, or AIY, that describes the aim to make AI more accessible to hobbyist and homebrew software creators.

Unfortunately at this point the Voice HAT is only available with the MagPi magazine, and is sold out, but Raspberry Pi has told Wired that it might release it separately. That would seem smart, at least after the HAT has done its job and attracted more subscribers.


AfterDawn: News

Nintendo is not giving up on handheld consoles, here's 2DS XL

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2017 3:06

Nintendo is not giving up on handheld consoles, here's 2DS XL One would have thought that the time of handheld consoles would have come to an end, after all many, if not most, of us have a very powerful computer in our pockets already. The two Japanese gaming powerhouses, Nintendo and Sony, have been in the forefront of handheld gaming but have they given up already?

Well, PlayStation Vita, the latest handheld gaming console by Sony was released more than five years ago. Sony has placed its bets on PlayStation 4, and seems to be doing really well. Perhaps it might even release a new PlayStation 5 sooner than you'd think as it is not investing in the development of handheld consoles.

Nintendo on the other hand has been relying on their success with handhelds. Within the past 5 years, after PS Vita was announced, the company has released several upgrades to the DS line. Even its new home gaming console Switch can be used in handheld mode.

This regardless that the company has seen huge traction in smartphone games with Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run. Now the company has announced another DS product.

Nintendo has released a product called 2DS XL which is an updated version of the 2DS console released in late 2013. Unlike the 3DS which is designed for stereoscopic 3D the 2DS XL plays only traditional 2D games.


AfterDawn: News

YouTube is revamping its UI, adds Dark Mode, and you can try it out now

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2017 12:31

YouTube is revamping its UI, adds Dark Mode, and you can try it out now YouTube turned 12 this year and to celebrate the last pre-teen year the video platform is updating its look. The new user interface has adopted a design philosophy from the parent company Google.

The new UI takes the Material Design from Google's Android operating system which makes the website look more simplistic but does not affect the functionality in any meaningful sense. The layout hasn't been changed which isn't a susprise, after all people are very familiar with how the platform works, but YouTube hopes the new UI gives a more spacey and less busy feel to the site.

In addition to the new UI there are some new features though. For example, now users can choose to use a Dark Mode theme instead of the normal lighter theme. The Dark Mode is obviously good if you use the website in a dark room.

YouTube has also introduced a slight technical change in the use of JavaScript. They now use Google's own Polymer JavaScript libraries which should prove to be more efficient and faster.

You can try out the new UI here even though it has not been finished and officially launched yet.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft offers free Windows 10 Pro upgrade to Surface Laptop buyers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 May 2017 11:32

Microsoft offers free Windows 10 Pro upgrade to Surface Laptop buyers Microsoft unveiled yesterday the new Windows 10 S operating system which in effect is a lite version of company's flagship product. Also revealed was the first traditional laptop to come out of Redmond.

It was quickly argued that the biggest problem of the laptop is the operating system that cripples such a well equipped and at least seemingly well built machine. Windows 10 S allows app installs only from the Windows Store and therefore millions of programs are not available for the system.

Fortunately The Verge has found out that Surface Laptop owners will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. Normally the fee is $49, which to be honest, doesn't sound too bad, considering the improvement that comes with app freedom.

This deal only lasts for the rest of the year, though, and if you are buying some other Windows 10 S product you are out of luck and have to shell out the money if you want to upgrade.

Microsoft also is giving away one year license of Office 365, which is coming to the Windows Store, with Surface Laptop.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils Surface Laptop: Lighter, thinner, and faster than MacBook Air

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 May 2017 12:25

Microsoft unveils Surface Laptop: Lighter, thinner, and faster than MacBook Air Microsoft has today announced a new Surface product, which is the company's first traditional laptop. The device, aptly named Surface Laptop, is indeed not a hybrid like the Surface Book, and is more reasonably priced.

According to Microsoft, the 13.5 inch 3:2 display on Surface Laptop is the ever thinnest in a laptop. This and the fact that everything inside the device has been packed super tight means that at .57" and 2.76 lbs it is both thinner and lighter than even the MacBook Air.

The display is said to produce 3.4 million pixels so its resolution (2256 x 1504) is around the traditional QHD but with 3:2 aspect ratio differentiates itself from both the widescreen 16:9 or 16:9 (MacBook Air) laptops as well as the old school 4:3 displays.

According to Microsoft's own Panos Panay the Surface Laptop is also more powerful than the competition. With Intel's Core i5 and i7 processors Panay claims it is up to 50 percent faster than MacBook Air. With all that power the promised 14.5 hour battery life (with video playback) seems like a good deal, especially considering the weight.

The keyboard is surrounded by alcantara fabric that we first saw on Surface Pro 4 keyboard, and Microsoft has managed to retain a respectable 1.5 mm press depth.


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: SpaceX rocket landing as you've never seen one before

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 9:09

WATCH: SpaceX rocket landing as you've never seen one before SpaceX video shows the landing of the rocket booster right from stage separation to the landing zone, both from the ground and from the rocket itself.

Videos showing SpaceX landing the booster stage of its Falcon 9 rockets are not new, but this webcast is clearly their best yet. It was broadcast today, covering the NROL-76 launch. Due the classified nature of the mission, SpaceX did not broadcast video of the second stage.

This presented the rocket firm with an opportunity however, to broadcast the landing of the first stage of the rocket from stage separation back to the surface of Earth. In a split-screen broadcast, SpaceX tracked the booster as it fell at high speed toward the Earth, oriented itself and slowed itself down to land safely. It also had an onboard camera as before.

The landing was a success and the video footage, as well as the detailed narration, gives the rest of us an idea of how tricky this manoeuvre is.

Watch the NROL-76 Launch Webcast below (the launch happens around 17:50 into the video).


AfterDawn: News

VIDEO: Elon Musk's vision for avoiding traffic with tunnels

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 5:05

VIDEO: Elon Musk's vision for avoiding traffic with tunnels Mr Musk's 'Boring Company' has shown a concept video for a subterranean network of tunnels that zips cars from place to place.

If you have spent time listening to Elon Musk opine, then you probably have heard him passionately complaining about traffic. The SpaceX & Tesla Motors CEO had tweeted last year that he was going to avoid traffic by getting a tunnel boring machine.

Apparently, it wasn't just a passing thought that Elon decided to tweet to the world, but a statement of intent. A SpaceX employee recently leaked a picture of a tunnel boring machine with a company logo for "The Boring Company" painted on. The photo was taken down but not before Business Insider grabbed and re-posted it.

Last week, 'The Boring Company' released a concept video. In the mock up, cars are seen parking on a street-level platform before being lowered into a tunnel and whisked off at high speed to a location and being elevated to the street.

Here is that video:


AfterDawn: News

PlayStation 5 could arrive in 2018?

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 4:32

PlayStation 5 could arrive in 2018? An analyst is predicting that Sony will speed up its console refresh cycle and release the PlayStation 5 in the second half of 2018.

The gap between the original PlayStation console and the PlayStation 2 console was six years (1994, 2000). Sony then released the PlayStation 3 console six years later, in 2006. Back in late 2013, Sony dropped the PlayStation 4 onto the market, this time the gap between the debut was seven years.

However, Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Damian Thong is predicting that the next major console release from Sony will be in the second half of 2018, just five years since the original PS4. Thong had accurately predicted the release of the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro.

There are many reasons why Thong could be proven right again. With the release of the PS4, Sony switched to x86 architecture with AMD chips, as did rivals Microsoft with the Xbox One. It is very unlikely that Sony would opt to switch to custom processors with a PS5, and so maintaining backward compatibility with the PS4 titles shouldn't be a problem.

Market forces also may speed up the refresh cycle for the iconic console. More than ever, games consoles are competing with mobile platforms, low cost devices and increasingly affordable and convenient high-quality PC gaming. In this changing market, a seven year gap between PlayStation releases is probably unlikely.

AfterDawn: News

Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 4:13

Turkey blocks access to Wikipedia The Turkish authorities have blocked access to Wikipedia, citing a 'smear campaign' against the country.

The block was announced by the BTK telecommunications watchdog, citing a law that allows it to block access to content on the Internet if it is deemed a threat to national security, or if it is obscene. has been blocked by the authorities on the grounds that it is engaged in a smear campaign against Turkey by linking the country to militant groups.

"Instead of coordinating against terrorism, it has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena," Anadolu, a state-controlled news organization, reported.

The ban will only be lifted if the online encyclopaedia complies with demands from the Turkish government, according to the Reuters news agency.

Censorship of this kind is likely to concern rights' campaigners who have blown the whistle on infringements on freedom of speech and other rights in Turkey in the past year.

AfterDawn: News

Facebook homepage listed in takedown notice over football piracy

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 4:01

Facebook homepage listed in takedown notice over football piracy In an unfortunate display of how piracy-related censorship activity can identify innocent targets, a recent takedown request listed as an infringing URL.

The takedown notice, spotted by TorrentFreak, was sent to Google by NetResult on behalf of the Premier League. Such notices request that Google remove results from its Search service that offer unlicensed video streams of football matches for free.

In the past, large scale efforts to block access to (or lower the visibility of) websites that engage in copyright infringement have been criticized for catching innocent targets in the web. This little snafu - in which NetResult identified as a link that should be removed from Google's search results - is a rather dramatic example of an innocent party being identified and targeted.

Fortunately for Facebook, Google decided not to comply with the takedown request and Facebook's homepage can still be found by the world's most popular search engine.

Read More: TorrentFreak

AfterDawn: News

Selling pre-loaded media boxes for piracy is illegal, EU court suggests

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 May 2017 3:46

Selling pre-loaded media boxes for piracy is illegal, EU court suggests The European Court of Justice (ECJ) finds that the sale of media set top boxes pre-loaded with piracy-enabling add-ons can be considered illegal.

The court handed down its decision last week in a case related to the sale of such media boxes in the Netherlands. Pre-loaded media boxes (sometimes incorrectly labelled as 'Kodi Boxes') come with apps and add-ons that provide access to streams of movies, TV shows, music and even live television. The sources for the content typically don't have the express permission of the copyright holder for distribution.

In this case, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN took action against a business selling such pre-loaded boxes. Eventually, the case found its way to the ECJ for interpretation, and the court came to the conclusion that the sale of such devices can be considered illegal under EU copyright directives.

"It is common ground that the sale of the 'filmerspeler' multimedia player was made in full knowledge of the fact that the add-ons containing hyperlinks pre-installed on that player gave access to works published illegally on the internet," the ECJ decision reads.


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