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Tesla's power pack charges your phone like a Supercharger 18 Nov 2017, 6:25 pm
Tesla announced yesterday two incredible products that are due in two or three years. However, you might not have the money, nor the interest, to buy either Tesla Semi or Roadster, but there is another new product that might catch your attention.
Tesla released a new battery pack, but it's not the type of battery back you charge your car from or light up your home with. It's a USB and Apple's Lightning enabled power pack for your smartphone or tablet.
The battery pack is called the Powerbank after their home battery solution Powerwall and it looks like one of those iconic Superchargers you charge you Tesla with. In fact, the Powerbank uses a single 18650 cell from a Model S or X as the battery, and it provides 3,350 milliamp hours of capacity. That means that it can top up a modern smartphone just about one time, depending on the model of course.
Unfortunately there are a few bad news if you'd like to get one. First of all, it's pretty expensive at $45. You can get a far bigger battery pack for fraction of the price on Amazon.
But you might not care about that, after all it's a Tesla product so you are expected to pay premium. Therein lies the second piece of bad news. It's already sold out. You'll just have to hope a second batch becomes available so you can gift yourself perhaps the most expensive, and most beautiful, external smartphone battery pack.
Apple's newest product misses the entire holiday season, hits the stores in early 2018 18 Nov 2017, 5:20 pm
Apple has decided to push back one of the products originally revealed nearly 6 months ago in WWDC. The smart speaker, dubbed HomePod, has been delayed further and won't be seen in stores this holiday season.
Apple has not given a direct reason to delays, but it seems fairly obvious that the company would've liked to release it to the public before Christmas. Apple just said it needed more time to finish the product, and thus we do not know if the problems were in hardware or software.
One can, thought, speculate. It seems more likely that Apple wasn't happy with the Siri implementation, after all the hardware in an Echo-like smart speaker should be a breeze. However, software problems could be figured out later, at least if they are not major ones, so who knows.
No matter where the problem lies, it's a huge setback for a product that was meant to be a major player at the top of every gift list. I guess you'll now have to choose between one of the Echos and Google Home.
Apple did, however, promise that HomePod will be released in early 2018 in the U.S., UK and Australia.
Tesla unveils two new vehicles, electric semi and super-fast new Roadster 17 Nov 2017, 3:53 pm
Tesla has today announced two new vehicle prototypes that will bring the total number of Tesla cars, and now trucks, to six. As expected Tesla unveiled their "beastly" semi-truck the first time but not many expected a refresh to its first car, the Roadster.
With the semi-truck Tesla moves to a completely different market. Previously the company has been competing against specific small to mid-sized cars, and before the Model 3 even the production volumes have been rather low. Now the company has a new type of challenge.
According to all the specs and Elon Musk's price calculations everything seems promising, but you have to take into account that the company has never made a product even close to what they are attempting here. However, if everything goes according to the plan the first Tesla semis should hit the roads in 2019.
Now to the specs. According to Elon Musk, the Tesla semi destroys current semi-trucks in speed and acceleration both with cargo and without. Even with full load it gets to 60 mph in just 20 seconds.
Even better, Tesla semi is said to have up to 500 mile range (300 or 500 on the website), and cap top up the batteries with a supercharger in 30 minutes. The range is also calculated at full load and at highway speeds.
Tesla did not exactly reveal how much a Tesla semi would cost but he did have some graphs suggesting that cost per mile would be roughly 20 percent cheaper than a traditional semi from day one. Website claims $200 000 fuel savings, which we assume is over lifetime of the vehicle.
Musk did touch on some other interesting points though. That includes brakes "basically lasting forever", independent wheel drive which protects against jackknifing, million miles no breakdown guarantee, autopilot on all Tesla semis, thermonuclear explosion proof windshield glass, and of course Tesla app for controls and remote diagnostics.
The second car, Tesla's one more things if you will, was a refresh to their first car. The small sports car, Roadster, is getting updated in 2020, and it's fast. So fast in fact, that according to Musk, it will be the fastest production car ever. He promised a crazy 1.9 second 0 to 60 time, and said it will do a quarter mile in 8.9 seconds.
Roadster's top speed is above 250 mph, has a 200 kWh battery pack (for comparison the largest on Model S has half of that) providing 620 mile range, as well as three motors with all wheel drive and 10 000 nm torque. Unfortunately no price details as of this moment.
Apple speeding iPhone 8 and X charging with an update 16 Nov 2017, 6:28 pm
Apple has revealed that its upcoming patch will improve the quality of life of many 2017 iPhone owners. According to iOS 11.2 beta the iPhone 8 and iPhone X both will receive a boost to charging.
The company will increase the maximum wattage intake from wireless charging to 7.5 watts. This means that you'll be able to charge your wireless charging enabled iPhones potentially 50 percent faster with a supported charging pad.
Currently Apple only supports wireless charging up to 5 watts, which is very low considering that many pads can output up to 10, or even 15 watts. Apple's own charging pad, AirPower, is yet to be released, it should arrive early next year, but this update will improve charging with all charging pads that can charge at 7.5 watts.
One would think that Apple's AirPower is optimized for 7.5 watts (Apple hasn't disclosed details) which would perfectly explain the upgrade. Maybe Apple is even thinking of launching the product early to avoid people investing in 3rd party pads.
Currently iOS 11.2 is still in beta, but it is believed to be ready for stable release soon, perhaps in the coming weeks, or most likely at least before holiday season.
OnePlus announces their new flagship: OnePlus 5T 16 Nov 2017, 5:48 pm
The Chinese manufacturer OnePlus has gained tremendous momentum after its initial smartphone release a few years back. The OnePlus One became a quick success with the help of the company's quirky, and obviously effective, viral marketing.
Since the first one OnePlus has unveiled a total of five other mid-range prices, but top-tier specced, smartphones. Today the company has announced their newest flagship.
The OnePlus 5T is, like the OnePlus 3T, a smaller upgrade to its predecessor. OnePlus 5T sports many of the same features as the OnePlus 5, the company's well received smartphone launched in June.
However, as rumors and leaks suggested, OnePlus has decided to release their first smartphone with a 18:9 ratio display that covers nearly the entire front panel. That means that fingerprint reader, and thus the entire home button, has been moved from the front bottom to the back.
The resolution of the screen has been upped from Full HD (1920 x 1080) to 2160 x 1080 as the size has changed from 5.5 inches to roughly six inches.
Cameras are looks on the surface to be as they were on the OnePlus 5 so you have a iPhone-like dual camera setup but there are some key differences. OnePlus tells us that the focal length has shortened and while that means optical zooming isn't possible like in the predecessor there's more light coming to the sensors which improves the photo quality, especially in low-light conditions.
The company promises a zoom function which will use algorithm-based zooming – it's still just a software zoom.
Just like with OnePlus 5, you also get the Snapdragon 835 processor, 6 or 8 gigabytes of RAM, 64 or 128 gigabytes of storage, and a 3300 milliamp hour battery with incredibly fast Dash charging.
OnePlus 5T starts at $499 for the 64/6GB version and tops at $559 for the 128/8GB version. You'll be able to buy yours starting on November 21 at oneplus.net.
Android fragmentation problems hit a new high, billion devices two years outdated 15 Nov 2017, 5:32 pm
For its entire history Android has had one massive problem: software fragmentation. That means that people are getting a different experience of Android depending on the country, carrier, manufacturer, or even if all of the above are same, device.
Unlike Apple, Google hasn't seemingly even been trying to solve the problem – although promising some solutions – and has just let the platform loose. This has allowed it to become by far the most adopted mobile operating system in the world, but it also means that there are now more problems of fragmentation than ever.
This is as open secret as there is about Android, and most of the Android users are pained by the fact that software updates, even when they are security related, take forever to come.
To attest to the fact a programmer by the name of Dan Luu has revealed that things might not be getting better but worse over time.
According to Luu, Google's operating system is just becoming less up-to-date, and there are only a few explanations for this: Android's slowing growth, device turnover slowing down, or devices aren't getting updates as often.
To expand on the problem, Luu compared the fragmentation data with Google's estimate of active Android devices. As nearly half of devices are running two year old software, which one can easily call outdated, and there are a total of two billion active Android devices, the math is pretty simple.
Not only is there at least a billion outdated Android devices still in use but according to Luu the likelihood of them getting updated is nearing zero – which is ironically close to what Android Oreo 8.0 marketshare is currently.
To get a more in-depth look at the problem, Dan Luu has excellent analysis and graphs about Android fragmentation over the years on his website.
The most downvoted comment in Reddit history made EA reconsider pricing 14 Nov 2017, 8:02 pm
Electronic Arts, or EA, is one of the largest game developers in the world, and even though it sells more game than any other company, it has it's fair share of haters. EA like many other major developers are sometimes cutting corners, or even straight-up trying to milk the customers.
According to the gaming community, at least on Reddit, one of these instances was found earlier yesterday. On /StarWarsBattlefront subreddit a thread was created to discuss the horrific pricing of EA's Star Wars game franchise Battlefront.
Recently EA had announced new Darth Vader character to Battlefront II which could be attained by an in-game micro payment. Well, it just so happened that the price was far from micro at $80.
This lead to EA's customer support commenting on the thread, as EACommunityTeam, with explanations on why such a price would be appropriate. This included such things as to "provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment."
It appeared that the comment, claiming appreciation for candid feedback, wasn't received too well. In fact, it has been downvoted more than any other comment in Reddit history. Currently it stands at -683k points, approximately 660 000 more downvotes than the second least favorite comment in history.
Apparently the downvote tornado had some effect, and EA decided to drop the prices of top hero unlocks by 75%. This includes your favorite father and son combo, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
Firefox Quantum delivers significant speed improvements 14 Nov 2017, 5:32 pm
Mozilla has released Firefox Quantum across platforms with a new slick UI and an overhauled core engine, providing for a speedier and lighter experience.
It's twice as fast as Firefox from six months ago, or at least Mozilla claims, and when we tested it out we noticed significant improvements under the new Photon UI, including when switching between large numbers of open tabs. Browsing was also noticeable smoother. Quantum is also less of a memory hog.
The improved experience comes from a multitude of improvements under the hood, such as the new CSS engine, Stylo, that takes better advantage of today's hardware with multiple cores that are optimized for low power consumption.
Firefox has also changed the default search provider to Google in the United States and Canada. The decision was put down to a "focus on user experience and performance," but of course Firefox still comes with more than 60 search providers pre-installed, covering 90+ languages.
You can download Mozilla Firefox v57.0 (64-bit here) from AfterDawn or the Mozilla homepage.
Here is a video covering the Firefox Quantum update:
Black Friday is coming but Chinese Singles' Day spending is way bigger 13 Nov 2017, 6:49 pm
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire Thanksgiving weekend is a celebration of shopping, especially online shopping. Americans spend over $10 billion over the later November weekend shopping for holidays, but it's far from the largest online shop-a-palooza in the world.
While China might not yet be considered the world's largest economy, it it certainly growing fast. And online shopping is becoming hugely popular, like it is in the US – thank Amazon.
While there is no Black Friday or Cyber Monday in China, there is something similar. It's called Guanggun Jie, or Singles' Day, and it's celebrated on November 11, date which is chosen to reflect singles. People celebrating being single happens to be the largest online shopping event in China, and in the world, and this year it has amassed a record amount of money spent.
The leading online marketplace, the Amazon of China if you will, Alibaba has told that via its online network they sold over $25 billion worth of products. That's an increase of around 40 percent from last year. The closest competitor, JD.com, managed to get another $16 billion.
The massive growth is said to be a result of increase competition between retailers that has lead to ridiculously tasty deals, CNBC reports.
The spending on Singles' Day dwarfs Thanksgiving weekend's online sales here in the U.S. in a tremendous fashion. Last year online shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday accounted for around $12.8 billion.
Only one thing we can do: Show 'em how it's done in couple weeks!
Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $105 billion offer 13 Nov 2017, 6:21 pm
A week ago it was announced that that semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom has made an offer on one of the largest competitors in the same space. Known for its mobile chipsets, Qualcomm was offered $105 million for the company's acquisition.
This would have created the world's third largest chip manufacturer, after Intel and Samsung, and would have been by far the largest deal in the industry ever. However, even though Broadcom offered 30 percent over what was the current stock price for the company, Qualcomm's leadership was not having any of it, said sources.
It seems that Qualcomm was fairly swiftly able to convince shareholders that the deal was not the right one for the San Diego, California, based company. Qualcomm has officially rejected the offer now a week after deal proposed was first reported.
According to Qualcomm's executive chairman and chairman of the board Paul Jacobs, the decision, made today by the board, was unanimous in rejecting what they called a "proposal significantly undervalues Qualcomm relative to the Company's leadership position in mobile technology and our future growth prospects."
Qualcomm's flagship products are Snapdragon SoCs (system-on-a-chip) featuring ARM processors that are found from most of the Android devices on the market. Broadcom on the other hands manufacturers WiFi and other connectivity chips.
Apple acquires QuantumFilm company InVisage 11 Nov 2017, 3:08 pm
You might have heard of quantum dot, and if so it probably is thanks to Samsung. Samsung has been investing tons on their QLED television lineup that uses the quantum dot technology, and they think it's better for customers – and obviously manufacturers – than OLED.
However, Samsung is not the only company that is interested in the possibilities that the quantum dot technology provides. Now ever Apple seems to be fairly invested as it has acquired a company called InVisage Technologies, known for their QuantumFilm technology.
Found in 2006, InVisage has been researching and developing quantum dot technologies in camera sensors for over ten years. It's been funded by private equity firms, including one owned by former smartphone powerhouse Nokia.
The QuantumFilm technology created by InVisage has two benefits compared to current smartphone camera sensors. Firstly, it allows the shutter to close instantly on the entire lens which means that you won't get artifacts or distortions even with fast moving targets – everyone has seen video of plane rotors.
The second benefit is that it offers hugely increase color dynamics. High-end smartphones already have HDR modes that combine many pictures to provide better dynamic range but QuantumFilm could possibly increase the dynamics even further without the need to increased processing.
To get an idea of what QuantumFilm could provide future iPhones watch the video below. While the quality of the footage is not amazing, after all it's still in development, you can see the benefits. Also even a less sharp imagine with also less distortions, if that is the case, could be used in some applications, including self-driving cars.
The new iPhone X, designed in California, freezes in cold weather – Apple promises a fix 10 Nov 2017, 6:25 pm
Unveiled first time officially last in September and finally released to the public exactly a week ago, the iPhone X has been the focal point of attention for media and consumers alike. As soon as the phone started selling some of the question marks surrounding the phone and its technology have been exposed.
Maybe the most questioned feature was the Face ID that replaced Touch ID as the sole biometric authentication method on iPhone X. It appears that most worries were alleviated, perhaps the range and tilt being the one problem people seem to have with it.
Obviously every single phone launch comes with its own problems and criticism. In some cases they are rather mild, like OnePlus 5 not having 4K video stabilization that was added shortly after, and in others they cause fires and cancel flights like in the case of Note7.
The new iPhone seemed to have mostly dodged the harshest criticism but a new problem has been found that does not bode well to people living certain areas. It appears that the iPhone X is really prone to not working in cold temperatures.
According to some users freezing, or even close to freezing, temperatures have caused the touch screen to interpret touches incorrectly or just flat out fail to work. One thread has been started on MacRumors forums by a Finnish user who experienced problems at -1°C (~30°F). The thread spanning now 6 pages has similar reports from other users.
There's also a Reddit thread posted yesterday on the same issue.
Apple has confirmed to The Loop that there indeed have been some problems with the display not responding in cold weather and they promise a fix in the next update.
Lars Ulrich: Metallica vs. Napster "maybe not the smartest PR move of all time" 10 Nov 2017, 2:41 pm
We at AfterDawn followed the early days of digital music very closely, and that meant obviously reporting on the historical Metallica vs. Napster case not only inside the courthouse but perhaps especially outside.
At the turn of the millennium Napster, a music sharing service that allowed users to share music in MP3 format with others over peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, was booming. Napster was really the first service to really bring digital music into homes in large scale, but it was certainly not an industry innovation, in fact it was a reaction to industry not innovating.
This also meant that it didn't bring any money to the table, especially not to the tables of any record companies. It wasn't even designed to make money and/or share it with the artists, copyright holders, or record companies.
While this wasn't the first time piracy or even music piracy had been an issue to the industry, it was certainly the first time it got massive media coverage. This was due to the fact that Metallica, the world's leading heavy metal band, took Napster to court in a massively publicized fashion.
Of course Napster essentially lost the case as it had to settle, and soon after what used to be a hugely popular service largely disappeared. Although, even today Napster exists as a streaming service, ironically a sub-category of the music industry that, one could argue, it created and which eventually saved the music industry as a whole.
The was between piracy and the music industry materialized in this Metallica vs. Napster case, and leading voice in the fight against piracy was Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. He bashed Napster and its users relentlessly, and defended his case in media and in front of the Senate.
However, fighting the fight also meant that some fans were targeted by the band's comments and actions. And there certainly was such thing as bad publicity, and in some circles Metallica's image was ruined.
Now, nearly 20 years after the court case, Ulrich has revealed some insight to what might have been a bit of a mistake in an interview, reported by Blabbermouth.net. According to the Metallica drummer everything started when a song destined for Mission Impossible II soundtrack leaked via Napster. Everything sparked from there and Metallica decided to go to war against Napster.
Asking Ulrich what they would have done differently with hindsight he recognizes that they should have done more research in Napster and music sharing. He says that it wasn't about money or the future of the music business, but simply a back-alley brawl. It became a fight for honor, pride, and he acknowledges that it was "maybe not the smartest PR move of all time."
Since the early 2000s Metallica has embraced online music and finally in late 2012 joined Spotify and their latest album "Hardwired... To Self-Destruct" was marketed heavily online. That included early access videos and music on YouTube and Spotify.
If you'd like to travel back in time, you can read the Napster and Metallica stories from 16-17 years ago here.
Facebook: Send us all your nudes, so we can block their distribution 9 Nov 2017, 7:42 am
Facebook has released a feature in Australia that sounds more like a teenage boys' prank than a real feature. Company asks people who are worried that their intimate pictures and videos might get to wrong hands to send them all to Facebook.
The logic behind this bit unorthodox request is that Facebook would then scan all the photos, create digital fingerprints out of them and when somebody is distributing pictures with same digital fingerprint, Facebook would prevent them doing so. This could apply to all Facebook-owned properties, such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook and Instagram.
Company has seemingly good intentions: so-called revenge porn has become a major problem in online world. A situation where after an ugly breakup, the other half of the disbanded relationship distributes the couple's intimate videos and pictures is all too common nowadays. Facebook has taken steps to prevent this in the past, too: company has used facial recognition to block such behaviour and has also shut down accounts found guilty of distributing unauthorized pictures.
But to send all the intimate photos and videos to Facebook? Company claims that they'll delete the material after digital fingerprint has been created. But we only have Facebook's word for it. And obviously, if there are copies left somewhere in their servers, it opens up endless possibilities for hackers to get their hands to material that can be used for extortion.
Company states that hashing can be done without sending the actual material to their servers, but you'll still have to grant them access to process the files in order to create the digital fingerprints/hashes.
It happens: Niantic to release Pokemon Go-like Harry Potter game 8 Nov 2017, 10:59 pm
Niantic, company behind the mega-successful Pokemon Go augmented reality mobile game, just announced that they will release a Harry Potter mobile game.
The game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be an augmented reality mobile game, just like Pokemon Go and Niantic's previous game, Ingress, are. Basically thus means that the game will be set in real world and players must walk around the cities and towns to play the game.
Player will be one of the wizards, fighting the beats all over the world - and just like in Pokemon Go, players must join their forces in order to defeat the toughest enemies.
Expect to see lots and lots of people walking around the neighbourhood with a battery pack hooked to their phones, throwing spells at virtual beasts. Wihtout hesitation, the game has pretty good chance to be The Most Popular Game of 2018.
Niantic hasn't told yet when the release date will be, but stated tat they'll keep everyone informed.