AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (2 / 2019)

AfterDawn: News

WinRAR 5.70 Final released with improvements and bug fixes

Written by James Delahunty @ 28 Feb 2019 12:29

WinRAR 5.70 Final released with improvements and bug fixes RARLAB has released a new version of the popular WinRAR archiver with a whole list of improvements and bug fixes.

WinRAR is the most popular tool for opening and extracting archives for a wide range of formats, including RAR, ZIP, TAR, 7ZIP and more. Today, RARLAB released WinRAR V5.70 Final with an extensive list of changes, improvements and bug fixes.

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AfterDawn: News

Google released Duo videochat for the web

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Feb 2019 9:19

Google released Duo videochat for the web Google's one of the more recent tries at communication apps has been released to a new platform. Duo, the video chat platform, is already available for Android, iOS, as well as Chromebooks, now you can use it on the web too.

Originally launched in 2016, Google Duo offers easy high-definition video chats with end-to-end encryption. It works well with even low bandwidth requirements and is based on phone numbers so no other registration needed.

Now Google Duo is also available on the web with browsers like Google's own Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, and Apple's Safari. Currently it doesn't officially support Microsoft Edge, according to The Verge.

To get started, just open your browser and head to duo.google.com. You can either log in with your Duo account or choose to create one by entering your phone number.




AfterDawn: News

Want a week's battery life on a smartphone? Energizer has a phone for you!

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Feb 2019 8:01

Want a week's battery life on a smartphone? Energizer has a phone for you! Battery tech has been one of the limiting forces of smartphones for ages. Performance could be better and definitely battery life could increase massively, if someone came up with a new battery innovation.

Meanwhile, we're doomed to one, if lucky two, day battery life on our smartphones with 3000 or maybe 4000 milliamp hour batteries. Well, Energizer doesn't believe so, as they've done with the myth that a smartphone needs to be sleek third-inch thick device.

The battery company has showed off a phone that has six times the capacity of a normal smartphone. Power Max P18K Pop, quite the name, has a 18,000 millliamp hour battery.

Once you see the device, you realize that they haven't come up with any new solutions really, they've just put inside a six times bigger battery.

It's not quite six times thicker, but at 18 mm (around 0.7 inches) it's certainly one of thicker phones we've seen since the 90s.

Surely there are people, perhaps people that can't charge their phones for days and need them for work, who need the most impressive battery life, but it's hard to understand why you wouldn't just have an external powerbank with you.

Anyways, Energizer promises a weeks battery life but remember that you can't refill this battery while you are showering, you need a good eight hours to recharge it entirely.


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AfterDawn: News

AirMessage brings iMessage to Android – with a caveat

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Feb 2019 2:10

AirMessage brings iMessage to Android – with a caveat Android and iOS both have their pros and cons, there's really no objectively better solution for every person. However, there's one single reason above all others that makes it really hard for some people to switch between platforms.

That is of course iMessage, the bane (and boon) of every iPhone user, especially the ones that would like to try out Android. It's so nice inside the cozy iMessage ecosystem with blue bubbles and you'd never want to go out and experience the poisonous green bubbles.

Since there is no iMessage for Android, and rest assured there never will be one, third party developers have been trying to figure out a way to circumvent this for years.

Now there's finally been a public launch of an app, AirMessage, that promises to do just that. But there's a huge caveat that you could fit a Mac computer through.

Yes, you need a Mac. One that is powered up and ready to deliver you messages.

Essentially the Mac just works as a AirMessage server that delivers the iMessages to your Android device's AirMessage app.

If you really, really want iMessage on Android, this seems like a way to get there, albeit being fairly inconvenient. If you are still with us, there's probably no reason not to give it a try, especially since the developer promises that security is a top priority.

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AfterDawn: News

Memory cards are getting lightning fast, new technology brings up to 10x speeds

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Feb 2019 12:30

Memory cards are getting lightning fast, new technology brings up to 10x speeds Mobile World Congress used to be the biggest stage for mobile phones for years, but nowadays many of the largest manufacturers have their own events which has made MWC more of an industry trade show than a consumer one.

Nevertheless, that has probably given room to adjacent companies that are developing important technology for our mobile devices. It's been a big year for memory cards, microSD in particular.

Yesterday we told you about the new one terabyte microSDXC cards coming from both SanDisk and Micron. Turns out, the capacity isn't the only thing the manufacturers are working on.

Perhaps even more impressively, SD Association has introduced a new memory card format, called the microSD Express, which allows super fast data transfer speeds. According to the announcement the speeds max at a crazy 985 megabytes per second, although that is for read speed, as you might imagine.

That is 10 times the write speeds of yesterday's 1 TB SanDisk card, although it is certainly not the fastest around, and same 10 times faster than UHS-I class card's read speeds.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple is soon releasing Apple Music for Google Home?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Feb 2019 9:34

Apple is soon releasing Apple Music for Google Home? You know, and hate, Apple for their closed ecosystems, which grow and thrive because of their exclusive features and apps. One of the Apple services that has most reasons to expand beyond their own platforms, Apple Music, is still not available everywhere.

One of the reasons, for Apple especially not necessarily the consumers, is that they haven't managed to close the subscriber gap between Apple Music and Spotify. Sure, here in the U.S., the land of the iPhones, they managed to do well, but there's a whole world of people with Android phones and Google Homes.

Speaking of Google Homes, apparently Apple is expanding their streaming music service exactly there. An image released by MacRumors, sent in by a reader, shows Apple Music as one of the other music services supported for Google's smart speakers.

It's not entirely a surprise since late last year Apple already released Apple Music officially for the Amazon's Echo speakers. Clearly Google Home, just like Amazon Echo, has been more successful than Apple's HomePod, so there's pressure to expand to people with smart speakers.

There's no official word about this yet, obviously, so we'll just have to wait and see when Apple drops the news.

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AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm: First 5G Snapdragon chipset due in 2020

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Feb 2019 9:04

Qualcomm: First 5G Snapdragon chipset due in 2020 Qualcomm, the leading manufacturer of mobile chipsets, has talked about next-generation mobile connectivity at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The company has revealed that the first 5G enabled system-on-chip will ship in 2020. The company's upcoming chipset did not get a name yet, but it's likely the successor of the new Snapdragon 855.

The first iterations of Qualcomm's 5G have had a separate 5G chip which greatly affect the battery life and is not as compact. Upcoming SOC design will thus improve efficiency and battery life.

The company seems to want you to wait until next year, probably since it hasn't perfected the design and might have a disadvantage compared to some other manufacturers.

Companies like Samsung have already unveiled their first 5G handset, although we'll still have to wait a few months for the Galaxy S10 5G to hit the stores.




AfterDawn: News

Firefox to be released for HoloLens 2

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Feb 2019 4:43

Firefox to be released for HoloLens 2 Microsoft just released their second-generation augmented reality (or mixed reality, depending on who you ask) device. The HoloLens 2 will become available later this year, but what is going to be good for?

Well, it's not a consumer product so it's mostly for professionals like engineers and doctors, right?

True, but companies are still developing all kinds of use cases for it, and one of those companies is Mozilla.

Mozilla is bringing its web browser to HoloLens 2. Just like the original headset, the new one will therefore be able to browse the web.

This time around, though, Mozilla is going to be able to take use of twice the field of view as well as improved resolution. HoloLens can view content up to 2K resolution, which should be plenty for web browsing.

Mozilla calls the browser Firefox Reality, and it has already been released to VR devices like HTC Vive, Oculus Go as well as Google Daydream. There's also going to be a version of Firefox Reality for the original HoloLens.




AfterDawn: News

MicroSD cards breaking the one terabyte barrier, in stores before summer

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Feb 2019 11:59

MicroSD cards breaking the one terabyte barrier, in stores before summer While it's debatable that Moore's law is relevant any longer when it comes to transistor density, CPU performance, or memory capacity, digital storage capacity is sure getting easier to come by.

There might be no better way to visualize the improvements over the last couple of decades than the memory card. Not only is capacity getting better and better, the size of the memory card has decreased over time dramatically.

Now SanDisk and Micron have revealed new microSD-sized memory cards able to store one terabyte of data. The cards the size of your pinkie fingernail can now store as much data as 200 original iPods combined.

According to Micron, their 1 TB card supports data read speeds up to 160 MB/s and write speeds up to 95 MB/s. SanDisk's alternative on the other hand can write at the same pace but only manages to retain 90 MB/s write speed for one second.

Although pioneering like this are important for us all, you are likely not going to upgrade your Android phone with a 1 TB microSD just yet. SanDisk's 1 TB card is going to cost $449.99 when it hits the stores later this spring, and presumably Micron's isn't going to be much cheaper, if at all.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft revealed HoloLens 2 with improved FOV and resolution

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Feb 2019 11:21

Microsoft revealed HoloLens 2 with improved FOV and resolution Microsoft has unveiled their second-generation augmented reality goggles at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. HoloLens 2 was made official yesterday in Barcelona.

As you might imagine, there are some significant improvements over the first-generation device. Microsoft says both the fidelity as well as the usability aspects have been honed.

Resolution has been bumped up, and HoloLens 2 can now view up to 2K content, but perhaps even more importantly the field of view was doubled.

Previously one of the main complaints with HoloLens has been that you sometimes have to seek for the field of view for AR content, because it is so limited.

Now you'll be able to get more information on your screen but also with better resolution, while also not having to turn your head as much.

Microsoft says that the resolution now allows viewing of font sized down to eight.

They also said that they've made the new version much more comfortable to wear, although it's not entirely clear how. From the looks of it the cushions have been improved but also, as the video hands-on by The Verge explains, it is lighter and smaller the the predecessor.

There are also new gesture controls that help with the navigation on the virtual UI.

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia 9 Pureview with 5 back cameras unveiled at MWC

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Feb 2019 6:20

Nokia 9 Pureview with 5 back cameras unveiled at MWC HMD Global showed off a new Nokia smartphone that can snap photos with up to 240-megapixel resolution using five separate lenses.

A new contender in the current smartphone camera battle has come forth. The Nokia 9 Pureview was shown off at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona over the weekend. The key selling feature of this smartphone is what it can do with its five cameras on the rear of the device.

Three are monochromatic (they only record light in shades of grey) and two are conventional color lenses. All five can capture 12-megapixel images, but they work together to produce single multilayer images up to 240 megapixels in detail. An infrared sensor compliments the five cameras and allows the device to perceive and accurately capture depth like never before on a phone.

Depending on the light settings, the cameras capture detail up to four times in quick succession, and then the device's software picks one of the color shots as the primary image. The other stills are then used to add even more detail to the image, producing stunningly detailed shots that can even retain details otherwise lost (such as objects in shadows etc.)

The dynamic range this permits (12.4 stops) is higher than any other smartphone on the market, touts HMD Global, which licenses the Nokia brand. Using depth mode, Nokia 9 PureView can identify over 1,200 layers to build a detailed depth map, allowing you to re-focus your shots later in Google Photos.

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AfterDawn: News

WinRAR fixed security bug that was present for 19 years

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Feb 2019 1:06

WinRAR fixed security bug that was present for 19 years The latest version of WinRAR addressed a serious security flaw that left users' PCs vulnerable to attack for almost two decades.

WinRAR is one of the best tools available for creating, opening and modifying file / compression archives, such as RAR files, ZIP files, 7zip, ISO and so many more. It has been very popular for pretty much all of its existence, but it had a nasty flaw present for a long time that went unnoticed.

Check Point Research revealed that there was a problem with how WinRAR handles ACE archives, and crucially, even ACE archives that had a different file extension (e.g. .rar). In a nutshell, a crafted ACE archive when extracted with WinRAR could place an executable file in the startup folder in Windows, meaning that the OS would run that executable file on the next boot.

This is a serious problem for obvious reasons. Technically, WinRAR had been using a third-party tool to extract ACE archives, and that's where the vulnerability lay and goes some ways to explaining why it was not noticed by WinRAR developers until pointed out.

To address the issue, WinRAR v5.70 beta 1 does not support opening or handling ACE archives at all. It is worth emphasizing that there is no evidence this flaw was used in any known attacks.

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AfterDawn: News

Unpacked 2019: Hands-on with new Galaxy S10 and accessories

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Feb 2019 8:11

Unpacked 2019: Hands-on with new Galaxy S10 and accessories Samsung held its yearly Unpacked event this time around in San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. A new city and a new venue for Unpacked brought out some new approaches to press events of this sort.

Samsung started with a bang by unveiling Galaxy Fold, or Galaxy F as we knew it previously. However, it was never to be seen after the keynote when we got to try out the new Galaxy devices. Neither were Galaxy Fit, an affordable (one can presume even without price details) fitness tracker, or perhaps the most anticipated Galaxy device, the 5G version of Galaxy S10.

What we did get to handle weren't all that bad either. So let's go through our first feelings after the initial hands-on.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung unveils Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Buds wearables

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Feb 2019 4:02

Samsung unveils Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Buds wearables At Samsung's press event in San Francisco today, the South Korean firm has unveiled three new wearables alongside its Galaxy S10 handsets and Galaxy Fold.

Samsung's wearables line-up has expanded with the newly designed and health-conscious Galaxy Watch Active, the new Galaxy Fit, and the new cord-free Galaxy Buds.

First up is the Galaxy Watch Active.

The new Galaxy Watch Active sports a new thin, light and versatile design and it focuses on your health and wellbeing. Exercise, sleep, stress and health tracking features are the selling point of Samsung's largest Galaxy-branded smartwatch. The device can monitor your blood pressure through a My Bp app that has been designed with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).



Galaxy Watch Active keeps up with you by auto-detecting when you run, bike, row, use the elliptical trainer, or start a dynamic workout. You can work with 39 activities, set daily goals and keep track of your progress all the way through.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung unveils Galaxy S10 5G on tenth anniversary

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Feb 2019 3:12

Samsung unveils Galaxy S10 5G on tenth anniversary Samsung has marked the tenth anniversary of the original Samsung Galaxy S smartphone with the release of a powerful and speedy Galaxy S10 5G.

It was announced along with three other models: Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10+ (plus) and Samsung Galaxy S10e. You can read about those models here.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G beefs up things again over the S10+. As the name suggests, it supports 5G connectivity for lightning transfer speeds compared to current 4G technology. It also has a larger screen again, trading in the 6.4-inch screen on the S10+ for a 6.7-inch AMOLED, 3040x1440 (19:9) Infinity-O AMOLED display.

It packs 8GB of RAM. For internal storage, this model can be purchased with up to 256GB internal storage. It packs the same 4,500 mAh battery (with support for Super Fast Charging at 25W as the S10+ and weighs the same 175g.

There are three camera lenses on the back; a standard camera (12 MP, OIS, f/1.5 or f/2.4), ultra-wide 123-degree angle camera (16 MP, f/2.2), and a telephoto camera (12 MP, OIS, f/2.4). On the front is a 10 MP, f/1.9, Dual Pixel AF.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e unveiled in San Franciso

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Feb 2019 2:58

Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e unveiled in San Franciso Samsung has shown off its shiny new Galaxy S10 handsets on the tenth anniversary of the original Galaxy S smartphone.

There are three options to choose from: Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10+ (plus) and Samsung Galaxy S10e. To start with what is common to all of them, we would first note that they are all driven by a Snapdragon 855 processor (in the United States), or Exynos 9820 (outside the U.S.). They all support WiFi 6, Near Field Communication and Bluetooth LE.

The new models also support reverse wireless charging (Wireless PowerShare7), which allows owners to charge other devices using their Samsung Galaxy S10. An ultrasonic fingerprint scanner lurks beneath the curved edge screens of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ but is moved to the side for the S10e.

While the Samsung Galaxy S10e has two cameras, the S10 and S10+ features a standard camera (12 MP, OIS, f/1.5 or f/2.4), ultra-wide 123-degree angle camera (16 MP, f/2.2), and a telephoto camera (12 MP, OIS, f/2.4) on the back. With the S10, you can easily switch between the lens based on what you need at the time. The S10 is the first smartphone that can record video in HDR10+.

The S10 camera has a new Instagram mode that allows you to quickly send photos to your Stories and share immediately.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy Fold is a powerful smartphone that unfolds into a tablet

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Feb 2019 2:24

Samsung Galaxy Fold is a powerful smartphone that unfolds into a tablet Samsung has unveiled its new Samsung Galaxy Fold, a powerful smartphone that unfolds into a tablet.

Rumors and leaks had confirmed that Samsung show off its foldable smartphone at the Galaxy UNPACKED 2019 conference in San Francisco, and the South Korean firm didn't disappoint. The Galaxy Fold resembles a normal smartphone in your hand but unfolds into a powerful tablet. It unfolds smoothly and naturally, like a book.

Folded, you can work on a 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED (21:9) display, but unfolded it sports a large 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3) display. It supports three-app multitasking and app continuity ensures that your experience on the smaller screen switches seamlessly to the larger display

The device features an impressive six cameras; three on the back (16 MP Ultra Wide Camera F2.2, 12 MP Wide-angle Camera, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.5/F2.4, and 12MP Telephoto Camera, PDAF, OIS, F2.4), two front dual cameras (10 MP Selfie Camera, F2.2 and 8MP RGB Depth Camera, F1.9), and cover camera (10 MP Selfie Camera, F2.2).

Under the hood is a powerful 7nm Snapdragon 855 processor (in the United States), or Exynos 9820 (outside the U.S.) and 12GB of RAM. Internal storage runs to 512GB. Two batteries combine to provide one 4,380 mAh equivalent source.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple to release new 16 inch MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and Display

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Feb 2019 9:14

Apple to release new 16 inch MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and Display Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is known for his iPhone analysis, which we told you about yesterday. However, the man has some insight on other devices as well, some of which we haven't seen in years.

According to the KGI Securities analyst, Apple is finally going to release and update to highly-anticipated Mac Pro, The Verge reports. The modular trash can Mac Pro (pictured), originally from 12 years ago and revamped in 2013, is going get new hardware and updated design.

To compliment the PC-like hardware of Mac Pro, Apple is supposedly introducing a new monitor as well. It's not certain if Apple will revive the Cinema Display brand, but it's said to be 31.6 inch display with 6K resolution.

Ming-Chi also expects new MacBook Pro models, which were last updated over two years ago. Perhaps a little surprisingly Apple is going to bring back larger MacBook Pros with 16 or 16.5 inch display.

It's been a while since Apple has supported such a large notebook. You might remember the 17-inch MacBook Pro that was sold between 2006 and 2012.

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AfterDawn: News

Death of Blu-ray is imminent – Samsung no longer introducing new players

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2019 11:42

Death of Blu-ray is imminent – Samsung no longer introducing new players You still remember the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD? Well, you probably remember, or realize, that Sony-backed Blu-ray won that battle.

Thus, ever after early 2008, Blu-ray was the de facto disc format for high-definition video. However, discs never really managed to fight off the beast that is Netflix.

For years we've seen the decline of physical media, and Blu-ray was certainly not an exception. Even though movie studios started supporting 4K Blu-rays in late 2015 and tech companies introduced Ultra HD players in the first half of 2016, it seemed inevitable that Blu-ray would die off soon.

One of the killing blows to Blu-ray was when Sony, the company behind the brand, decided to not support Ultra HD Blu-ray in their newest PS4 Pro gaming console.

Now the demise seems to be closer than ever with Samsung stopping the production of 4K Blu-ray players. In fact, Samsung isn't going to bring any new Blu-ray players to the U.S. market, CNET reports.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple analyst reveals his take on this year's new iPhone features

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2019 11:27

Apple analyst reveals his take on this year's new iPhone features There's one man above others when it comes to analysis about future iPhones. Every year it seems to be KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from Taiwan to whom we turn to about upcoming iPhone models.

This year is no different, as he has given his take on what the 2019 iPhone will feature. On the basis of previous guesses, we should take these fairly seriously.

Since last years iPad Pro was revealed to be the first USB-C iOS device, one of the main feature changes for this year's iPhone has been rumored to be the charging connector.

According to our main man Ming-Chi Kuo, though, it is not going to happen. Apple will hold on to at least 2020 before introducing an iPhone with USB-C charging.

There also won't be changes to models in terms of display sizes or technologies, and Apple is looking to stick with three different models. This means there's going to be a cheaper LCD option and two sizes in more expensive OLED screened iPhones.

One thing Apple intends to upgrade is the Face ID camera. In addition to better facial recognition there's also going to be new bigger batteries, frosted glass backs, indoor navigation with a new radio sensor as well as bilateral charging, which allows you to charge other devices (like the AirPods) with the iPhone.

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AfterDawn: News

How to transfer all the important data from an old Android to a new one

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Feb 2019 1:06

How to transfer all the important data from an old Android to a new one The world is filled with Android devices. While Apple might be king of high-end smartphones, Google's operating system has conquered the world in numbers.

This also means that it is cheaper to replace Android phone with a new one, especially if you don't use the most expensive Google or Samsung phones.

In the cheaper phones, however, also the limited amount of storage capacity often becomes a reason for upgrade. That's why it's important to know how to easily transfer your data from an Android phone to a new one.

So let's get into it.

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AfterDawn: News

JP Morgan releasing their own cryptocurrency

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Feb 2019 12:06

JP Morgan releasing their own cryptocurrency Cryptocurrencies were the hottest trend in 2017 as Bitcoin was climbing at an unforeseen pace. While last year was horrible for Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, the blockchain technology is still seen by many as the future of currency, and perhaps even the internet as a whole.

Even traditional financial sector is recognizing the possibilities blockchain and its distributed ledger. One of the largest banks in the U.S., JP Morgan Chase, has now revealed that it has a cryptocurrency of its own.

This is the first time a major U.S. bank has introduced a digital blockchain currency.

JP Morgan's coin, incidentally called the JPM Coin, isn't going to be shared publicly like the Bitcoin, however. While their crypto is still in the early stages of testing, we already know that it's only meant for transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business, CNBC reports.

The actual testing will commence in a few months and a small portion of the wholesale payments will be done with the new blockchain currency. The currency is used as a digital token to pay customers. The token can be created instantly, which is its core strength against traditional currency.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft has started testing next year's massive Windows update

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Feb 2019 11:43

Microsoft has started testing next year's massive Windows update Microsoft tends to release a couple important updates a year to Windows 10. However, software giant has already started testing a significant update due next year.

The next major update is the codename 1H19 which, as you might guess, should land sometime the first half of the year, possibly in April. There's probably going to be another update later in the year, but Microsoft is already looking at 2020 in the Windows Insider program.

The beta testers within the Windows Insider program can join a Skip Ahead group, which updates their operating systems straight to 2020. Apparently the 1H20 update is going to require more comprehensive testing than the usual biannual updates.

There's no word on why this is the case, and what the big new features are. Rumors have it that Microsoft is changing the system from the very foundation, which would explain the heavy handed testing.

Testing for the second update of 2019, or 2H19, hasn't yet started, so we don't even know how that is going to change the game. 1H19 update, however, should include things like separating Cortana and search, and a new lighter colored theme.




AfterDawn: News

Review: Sony WH-1000XM3, Worth the Hype?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Feb 2019 11:07

Review: Sony WH-1000XM3, Worth the Hype? Over the past few months, Sony's newest set of wireless active noise canceling headphones have gotten a lot of press and good reviews. The WH-1000X series has reached its third version, Mark 3. This WH-1000XM3 has been crowned the new ANC king by some reviewers and influencers alike.

Sony promises a fairly diverse set of features with the WH-1000XM3, which should prove them one of the more versatile headphones around. There should be top notch noise cancellation, support for passive use, quality design, a multifunctional smartphone app, and amazing sound.

So, of course, we had to try out these things ourselves, and see if the hype is really real.

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AfterDawn: News

Apex Legends boasts 25 million players in a week

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Feb 2019 8:36

Apex Legends boasts 25 million players in a week Respawn Entertainment's new battle royale game has hit more than 25 million downloads in just a week after its announcement and release.

Apex Legends was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on February 4. It hit 2.5 million players within 24 hours of release and broke through 10 million within three days. Now, a week after its release, it has clocked up more than 25 million unique players, and more than 2 million peak concurrent players.

It is set in the same universe as Titanfall and set 30 years after the events of Titanfall 2. It is free-to-play and supported through microtransactions if players wish to unlock legends, purchase specific cosmetics or buy Apex Packs, which are the title's loot boxes.


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AfterDawn: News

GTA Online cheat maker ordered to pay $150k in damages

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Feb 2019 8:36

GTA Online cheat maker ordered to pay $150k in damages A U.S. court has ordered a man to pay a substantial sum of damages and attorneys fees for distributing a cheating tool for GTA Online.

The Florida man had developed and sold 'Elusive' which could bestow infinite money on the cheater and interfere with the gameplay of other users. Take-Two Interactive, which is the GTA publisher, filed a case against the man last year which accused him of copyright infringement.

The Elusive tool reportedly sold for between $10 and $30 online. Take-Two sought financial information from the cheat maker to determine how much was gained financially and was willing to work out a settlement. However, when the individual failed to respond, Take-Two filed for a default judgment and asked a New York federal court for the maximum damages for copyright infringement, which is $150,000. It also asked for $69,686 in attorney's fees.

"Take-Two has been irreparably harmed by Mr. Perez's infringing conduct and will continue to be harmed unless enjoined," US District Court Judge Kevin Castel writes in his order.

"Mr. Perez's Elusive program creates new features and elements in Grand Theft Auto which can be used to harm legitimate players, causing Take-Two to lose control over its carefully balanced plan for how its video game is designed to be played."

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AfterDawn: News

Airbnb hit by $14 million lawsuit in France

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Feb 2019 8:21

Airbnb hit by $14 million lawsuit in France Airbnb is facing a lawsuit in Paris that could cost the company around $14 million due to advertisements.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo revealed the details of the lawsuit to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper. At issue is the publishing of "illegal" rental adverts for property in the French capital. Last year, a law came into effect that would make firms punishable by fines up to €12,500 for illegal rental postings.

Regulations in France state that homeowners can rent out their property on short-term rental platforms for no more than 120 days in a year. To enforce the limit, advertisements are required to include a registration number so that properties can't be rented out for longer periods.

"The goal is to send a shot across the bows to get it over with unauthorized rentals that spoil some Parisian neighborhoods," Mayor Hidalgo said, reports Reuters.

Airbnb's stance is that the French rules are inefficient, disproportionate and in contravention of European rules. Nevertheless, it has implemented measures to help Parisian users comply with the law.




AfterDawn: News

Flickr had to delay their new free tier limitation

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Feb 2019 1:19

Flickr had to delay their new free tier limitation One of the more popular image hosting services over the years, Flickr, has decided to move towards more restrictive policy.

Perhaps they realized there's no fighting against Google and its unlimited storage on Google Photos. Flickr's new free tier only allows 1000 photos, and they are going to enforce it retroactively.

This means that people with more than 1000 photos on their free accounts will lose portion of their photos if they don't take action. The last date to backup your Flickr library was February 5, but now they've had to push it back.

After an uproar by users, Flickr has informed that a new deadline has been set. Since some people argued that they weren't able to save their photos before Tuesday, Flickr moved the date to March 12.

The new policy was implemented after Verizon sold Flickr to SmugMug. Previously Flickr offered one terabyte of storage for free.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reveals: Build 2019 to clash with Google I/O

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Feb 2019 1:04

Microsoft reveals: Build 2019 to clash with Google I/O Microsoft has announced their next Build conference. This years Build will be held in Seattle between May 6 and 8, ZDNET reports.

Coincidentally it happens to clash with another developer conference, namely Google I/O. Google I/O is held in Mountain View, CA from May 7 to 9.

While it's possible to pay attention to both keynotes, they are a day apart after all, it's going to be hard for developers, or even press, to attend both conferences.

Both will surely attract their own crowd to their respective hometowns, but would seem like Google has the advantage having set the date before Microsoft.

Build 2019 will surely bring information about upcoming Windows 10 versions as well lots of developer specific updates. There's no word on whether Microsoft is readying any hardware launches for May.

In fact not much is known about the agenda altogether.

Build is not traditionally the place Microsoft launches consumer products, but things like a new HoloLens could be unveiled.

We'll be keeping a close eye on both Build 2019 as well as Google I/O, of course.




AfterDawn: News

Apple's new privacy settings at odds with web VR

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Feb 2019 2:51

Apple's new privacy settings at odds with web VR Apple is about to release a new version of its mobile operating system iOS. It's going to add some hotly anticipated features, including a new version of Safari, but there might be some problems with the improvements to the browser.

The Verge reports that Safari's new Motion and Orientation Access setting is going to be off by default. This should improve privacy and security, but also might be consequential to online VR and AR apps.

The setting, previously on by default, allows websites to get information from device's accelerometer and other sensors to determine position and motion.

Many of the VR and AR web apps use this information to function. Many of the developers of such software have expressed their concern, Digiday reports.

At this point it's unclear whether the user has to enable the setting by hand from the settings for it to function at all, but it is likelier that the website can ask the user to enable it in a popup just like location information.

After the backlash from developers, and adverse effects to likes of Sony's First Man website and the Samsung Within ad campaign, perhaps Apple is making it easy to enable.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Spotify releases new subscriber figures, confirms two podcast acquisitions

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Feb 2019 11:36

Spotify releases new subscriber figures, confirms two podcast acquisitions Spotify has released their fourth quarter results today, and furthermore announced two acquisitions in the podcast space.

The world's largest streaming music service has been looking for new ways to acquire listeners and paying customers at that, and podcasts are perhaps the most important avenue.

In October Spotify introduced new tools for podcasters, and just last week we reported on rumors that Spotify was going to acquire podcast producer Gimlet Media.

Now the company has confirmed the acquisition as well as the upcoming acquisition of another podcast company, Anchor.

While Gimlet will produce podcasts, like Reply All and StartUp, for Spotify (and others), Anchor will provide tools for podcasters. Anchor's expertise is in podcast creation, publishing, and monetization services.

Spotify did not reveal the details of either of the deals, but they did say the acquisitions should be finalized before the end of the quarter.

The company also revealed new financial and subscriber figures as a part of the quarterly results. Spotify managed to grow the Premium subscriber base another 11% to 97 million. Total monthly listeners including ad-supported users totaled 207 million.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Facebook adds unsend feature to Messenger

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Feb 2019 10:16

Facebook adds unsend feature to Messenger Year and a half ago WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging platform, added a feature called Unsend to its apps. Now Facebook has taken the feature and copied it to the world's second largest messaging platform, Messenger.

Unsend of course means that the app will remove the message that you've sent. However, there are limitations of course.

Unsending a message works only for 10 minutes after you've composed and sent the message. If you delete the message before the 10 minutes expire, it will be removed from both you and the recipient.

Just like on WhatsApp, the recipient won't see the message but there will be a placeholder saying a message was deleted.

Facebook has revealed previously that it is trying to integrate much of WhatsApp's and Messenger's background functions. They deny that the services are meant to be entirely integrated, though.

To Unsend a message you long press the message and select "Remove for Everyone". The feature has been made available to both Android and iOS users.




AfterDawn: News

Facebook's next Oculus VR headset is Rift S?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Feb 2019 10:04

Facebook's next Oculus VR headset is Rift S? The pioneer of modern VR hardware, Oculus, is readying a launch of a new headset, rumors suggest. According to UploadVR it will be likely called the Rift S.

The company lead by id Software co-founder John Carmack and Facebook's VR boss Hugo Barra is fairly close to releasing the next-generation Rift-headset, if rumors hold true.

There's some new information in addition to the fairly unimaginative name. According to the source, Rift S will integrate new environment sensing cameras. This would mean that there's no longer necessity for an external camera, and in that respect Rift S could function like Oculus Go and Oculus Quest.

It likely won't be a standalone device, however, like the aforementioned duo. Rift S, like its predecessor, is meant for PC gaming where the PC rig does all the hard work.

It won't be wireless either which will limit the movement possibilities as you are tethered to the computer. On the counterbalance you'll have much more impressive graphics, likely in both resolutions and all-important refresh rate.

There's still no official word from Oculus about new products, but they have promised an exciting year to The Verge.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple rewarding the teen that found critical FaceTime bug

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Feb 2019 5:51

Apple rewarding the teen that found critical FaceTime bug One of the worst bugs in living memory was found just last week in Apple's video chat platform, FaceTime.

The bug allowed a severe privacy breach with a simple trick available to anyone, and allowed people to eavesdrop on your iOS device or even Mac computer without them knowing.

Fortunately Apple acted quickly and removed the feature temporarily and has promised a fix in the coming days with a software update.

Now Apple has also decided to reward the person that found the bug in the first place. It happens to be a 14 year old teen Grant Thompson, who might be getting a check soon.

Thompson's mother tried to inform Apple about the bug in different ways but it was only after media started reporting on the serious problem that Apple took notice.

Afterwards Apple boss flew personally to thank Thompsons and ask for advice how to make the reporting process better. He also revealed that they would probably be receiving a reward for their efforts.

Reporting a software bug to Apple has previously resulted in rewards between $25,000 and $200,000. It's not yet known how much Grant Thompson is going to receive, but if severity of the issue has anything to do with it, then give the boy $200k.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

HoloLens inventor leaves Apple, where does that leave Apple AR glasses?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Feb 2019 4:54

HoloLens inventor leaves Apple, where does that leave Apple AR glasses? Most tech companies are looking for ways to extend the customers' reality in one way or another. Whether it is virtual, augmented, or mixed reality, companies like Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and Apple are developing their own apps and devices.

In 2016, Apple made a key recruitment in the world of augmented reality as they acquired Avi Bar-Zeev from Microsoft. The Microsoft HoloLens co-inventor, and co-founder of tech behind Google Earth, and a former Amazon exec, joined Apple where AR had taken more of a focus.

Now less than three years later Bar-Zeev has decided to part ways with Apple, Variety reports.

Ever since Apple's ARKit was launched in 2017, and even before that, we've been waiting for a AR device to pair iPhone with. Rumors were that many of the company acquisitions, as well as recruitement of Avi Bar-Zeev, would ultimately result in a AR hardware launch.

So far Apple has only introduced more advanced AR apps and tools for the iPhone and iPad, and the exit of Bar-Zeev doesn't exactly confirm the existence of separate AR hardware, quite the opposite.

However, it could be that Apple is already close to releasing the AR glasses and Bar-Zeev is seeking new challenges. But if I were a betting man, I wouldn't necessarily put my money on that.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp updated with Face ID, here's how to enable it

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Feb 2019 12:07

WhatsApp updated with Face ID, here's how to enable it The world's leading messaging app, WhatsApp, has released an update to its iPhone version. The Facebook-owned messaging platform supports now Face ID, as well as Touch ID.

What this means is that you can protect your messages, and the entire app for that matter, with a facial recognition or fingerprint. You can require the app to ask for either Face ID or Touch ID before opening.

This is the first time WhatsApp has implemented a biometric protection to its app. WhatsApp has been known, even before Facebook's acquisition, as a privacy conscious platform, especially for having end-to-end encryption early on.

However, some have expressed concerns because Facebook wants to combine the infrastructure of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Fortunately, there's no evidence of worsening privacy for now, and because of the update WhatsApp now protects your messages even better.

Here how to enable the new biometric protection:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Alphabet revenue up nearly a quarter thanks to Google ads

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Feb 2019 11:48

Alphabet revenue up nearly a quarter thanks to Google ads Google's parent company Alphabet has been growing fast recently, even when many other technology conglomerates are having trouble keeping the pace up.

Perhaps one reason is that Google doesn't rely too much on China, from where many of companies' problems arise.

Alphabet's recent reports reveal that the revenue increased late last year a massive 22 percent year-over-year to $39.3 billion. Most, in fact over $32 billion, came from online advertisement, which has been Google's moneymaker for nearly two decades.

The rest came largely from selling cloud services and hardware.

Google is still pretty much the sole contributor to Alphabet's increasing revenue. New projects, like Waymo, Fiber, and Verilyn, that they call "Other Bets" were $1.3 billion in the negative.

While Google is making more and more money with ads, they also have to pay more for traffic. Traffic acquisition costs rose 15% to $7.4 billion.

This was the 11th time in a row Alphabet posts a more than 20 percent revenue increase in a quarter. Last time Alphabet didn't manage 20% revenue increase was Q1 2016, when it was just under 18%.

Even though figures seem good, stock dipped slightly in the after hours trading. This didn't do a dent on the upward trend in 2019, though.




AfterDawn: News

Electric car stops in the middle of street, updates its software, locks passengers in

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 03 Feb 2019 4:25

Electric car stops in the middle of street, updates its software, locks passengers in When car electronics started getting more and more complex back in early 2000s, people used to joke about car requiring a Windows update while driving. Now, this has become pretty much a reality in China.

Car manufactured by Nio, a Chinese car manufacturer dubbed as "China's Tesla", has confirmed that one of their cars had come to a halt in middle of a busy street in downtown Beijing. Car had stopped in Changan Avenue, which is one of the most prestigious streets in Beijing, and started a software update cycle.

The software update lasted for more than an hour and during the process, the car refused to start - and had locked its passengers inside the car. According to Nio, several police officers had tries to open the car windows in order to free the passengers, but they had failed. After the software update was finished, car had resumed its normal operation.

Nio says that the driver "accidentally made a series of operations that activated the system update" during a traffic jam on Changan Avenue. After the incident the company said: "We apologised for affecting the traffic and we will optimise the upgrade confirmation logic."

Several Chinese news sources confirm the story, including South China Morning Post.




AfterDawn: News

Consumer DNA test provider wants to help the FBI

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Feb 2019 12:06

Consumer DNA test provider wants to help the FBI A provider of consumer DNA tests, Family Tree DNA, has agreed to help the FBI by providing law enforcement with genetic information that could help solve violent crimes.

Family Tree DNA is the first of the large at-home genetic testing kit makers that have started working with the FBI, BuzzFeed News reports. Previously FBI has used public DNA databases in their work, but now some information from a private DNA database will be made available to the federal investigators.

However, not all of Family Tree DNA records are automatically shared with the FBI, or that FBI has access to the database at all. In fact, they don't even have a contract with the Bureau.

Instead, Family Tree DNA has agreed to work with FBI and test their samples in their labs and save them in their databases.

This does still raise concerns of privacy and the reach of law enforcement when consumer DNA tests are wildly popular, and other companies could join in at any time.

Family Tree DNA, a Houston based comapny, considers itself a pioneer in the consumer genetic testing space. They were the first to offer at-home DNA tests to consumers.




AfterDawn: News

Spotify to acquire podcast startup Gimlet for $200 million

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Feb 2019 11:53

Spotify to acquire podcast startup Gimlet for $200 million Spotify might be a behemoth in the music streaming world, and even Apple Music is having trouble catching up to them, but there are problems that come with being big.

One of them is that there isn't a ton of room to grow, and they are expanding to different revenue streams. Acquiring new subscribers is getting harder and harder, although Spotify's growth figures have been pretty impressive.

Podcasts have become infinitely more successful in the recent years, and that is also where Spotify looks for growth. Now they're ready to invest a cool $200 million to back that up.

Spotify has decided to acquire podcasting startup Gimlet, Recode reports. Gimlet is known for podcast shows like Reply All and even some TV show, and has been a Spotify partner prior to this deal.

The acquisition hasn't been finished yet, but according to the insider information it is only a matter of time before companies join forces.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Is this the folding Galaxy F smartphone in the video?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Feb 2019 11:37

Is this the folding Galaxy F smartphone in the video? Samsung is preparing for their most important event of the year, and leakers are all eyes on them. The Unpacked 2019 in San Fransisco later this month will feature of course the new Galaxy S10, but there might be much more on display.

Rumored are the FCC leaked Bluetooth headphones, dubbed Galaxy Buds, but now a leak from Samsung Vietnam is teasing us with even more impressive tech.

A video has leaked that is supposedly a promo video intended for the event. In the video we see a couple things that are not Samsung's actual products, at least for now.

There's an all-screen tablet which looks like nothing we've seen from Samsung so far, and right at the end we see a folding phone.

Samsung already gave us a glimpse to their folding Galaxy F prototype, but this is a much more comprehensive look at it, if indeed it is the Galaxy F their intend to launch.

Then again, it could be just a placeholder device they often use in generic promo videos. We'll just have to wait and see. Fortunately we are invited to the Unpacked 2019 and will be able to report back if we find a folding phone.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nintendo developing a cheaper version of the Switch

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Feb 2019 2:57

Nintendo developing a cheaper version of the Switch Entry to console gaming has always been pretty inexpensive, but soon it might be less expensive than ever, thanks to affordable versions planned by multiple companies.

Microsoft is said to be developing a new budget version of Xbox One, one with no optical drive. And now we've heard rumors about a less expensive version of Nintendo Switch too.

Nintendo seems to oscillate between massive hits and commercial failures. GameCube wasn't popular, Wii was a definitely hit, Wii U was a total bust, and now Switch has been taking the world by storm.

According to recent rumors from Japan, Nintendo is planning on releasing a cheaper version of Switch. Switch has already sold over 32 million units, and with a more affordable option to choose from maybe it can top 100 million in its lifetime like Wii.

The cheaper version is supposedly aimed towards mobile gaming enthusiasts and gaming on the go. It might actually be that there is no dock at all to connect the device to your TV, or you at least have to buy it separately.

If it doesn't support a dock, one possibility is that you can connect it to your TV via a USB-C port.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Another massive data leak: Over 2 billion accounts and passwords

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Feb 2019 2:34

Another massive data leak: Over 2 billion accounts and passwords Earlier this year, we reported about a massive collection of data breaches which totaled 773 million account details. Now there's a leak which is three times as big.

The previous one was called "Collection #1", and now HPI university (Hasso-Plattner-Institut) has released a tool to check if you have been breached in Collections #2 to #5.

These four new databases consist of 2.2 billion unique login and password entries. The collections were shared in BitTorrent networks and sized over 800 gigabytes.

Much of the data comes from large known data breaches, such as Yahoo's breach and Dropbox leaks, although it is impossible to say what leak is responsible for what portion as there is just simply too much data.

The Collection #1 breach checkup tool can still be found at the Have I been Pwned? website. HPI email checkup for Collections #2 - #5 can be found here.

Read more...



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