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Intel's next generation SSDs coming soon, first performance results 22 Apr 2017, 1:14 pm
Intel and Micron have been promoting their new 3D Xpoint memory technology for a long time. Finally the technology is close to landing in computers and portable devices.
The technology will first be adopted by Intel's own server and business setups with the new Optane memories. Also the world's largest PC manufacturer Lenovo has announced previously that it will give some of its laptops a new hybrid drive which will include a small Optane drive.
3D Xpoint is said to be nearly as fast as a DRAM type memory, but the memory density is four times larger. Even if it might be as fast as some RAM memories it is not meant to replace them but instead give a huge speed boost to SSD and hybrid drives that are currently using NAND technology.
As you might imagine all this advancement in SSDs is not going to be cheap. For example, a 375 GB Optane SSD DC P4800X costs over $1500 without sales tax, so you'll have to wait a little while before mass markets are going to be adopting it.
However, for people that are interested in the performance of the new type of memory, and might even have use for it in servers or other business settings, AnandTech has an in-depth article, albeit crippled by Intel's policies a bit, about the aforementioned P4800X Optane SSD.
The Pirate Bay founder releases a new anonymous domain service 21 Apr 2017, 10:13 pm
The Pirate Bay was founded in 2003 by three Swedes. Later on the trio became famous – or infamous – for their arrests, prison sentences, new business opportunities, and even from denouncing The Pirate Bay. Now arguably the most famous of the three, Peter Sunde, the face of TPB if you like, has released a new service.
The service is meant for people who are worried about their privacy, but what could it be since VPN and the likes have been around for ages. Sunde's new Njalla service is a domain registeration service which allows the customers to acquire domains fully anonymously.
The name of the service comes from the Sami people who used a njalla, or a hut on top of tree stumps or poles, to secure food away from animals.
Essentially Njalla works as an intermediary for businesses and private people to buy domain names. Njalla will officially be the one that buys the domain and therefore all the public information will point to Sunde's company but all the control is given to the customer.
Sunde says that there are services already that aim to give more privacy to customers but they mainly work as a redirect service without full anonymity. He acknowledges that customers must trust Njalla wholeheartedly but with that trust comes privacy that others can't provide. Even though Njalla owns the domains they will sign a contract that will hand over all the usage rights to the customer.
According to TorrentFreak, Sunde is not worried about harrasment or legal action by the rightsholders even though problematic services might be found under their domain names. He says that they are after the content rather than the domains themselves.
We'll have to wait and see how that will work, but Sunde has seemigly avoided some problems by establishing the company in a Caribbean island Nevis. More about the service can be found at their website at njal.la.
Spotify lets indie labels to restrict free music 21 Apr 2017, 3:50 pm
Streaming company Spotify has managed to grow the number of paying customers immense in the past couple of years. Even after Apple unveiled their new streaming music service Apple Music, Spotify has been outgrowing the Cupertino tech giant's music platform.
Still, Spotify is seeking ways to become more profitable for the artists and rightsholders but especially for itself. Starting this year the company has been essentially giving away the power to limit music in its free, ad supported tier to music labels. And now it seems, every label is going to have that option.
Earlier Spotify make deals with Universal Music, which allowed the label to restrict access to new albums for 2 weeks for Spotify free members. Now the Swedish company has made the same deal with its fourth largest partner – after the big three.
Merlin is sometimes considered to be the fourth big label. It controls thousands of indie labels and this essentially means that every major label is soon going to be able to restrict new releases to Spotify Premium only for the first two weeks. It is only a matter of time when Sony and Warner sign the same, or similar, deal with Spotify.
Fortunately this isn't the only way Spotify is trying to incentivize upgrade to Premium. Recently Spotify expanded its student discounts to dozens of new countries.
Microsoft is changing pace with Windows 10 updates 21 Apr 2017, 3:23 pm
Microsoft's recent Creator's Update was in the works for a long time and finally the major update hit Windows 10 earlier this month. Now you might be wondering when can you expect the next significant update for the OS. 2018? 2019?
Fortunately, Microsoft has informed customers and partners about their future update schedule. It might actually surprise, that the company is speeding up the update cycle and the next major update is coming already next fall.
According to the software giant, Windows 10 will be updated every six months – in March and September of each year. A steady six month cycle is something Linux world is accustomed to for example, and is certainly a good thing. It might, however, mean that the updates are less thought out or comprehensive.
Microsoft is hoping to ease the work of their partner's sys admins and aims to increase the adoption rate of new OS versions. In related news, Microsoft has announced that Office 365 ProPlus will also change its update cycle to biannual.
Netflix is ready to bring its own movies to theaters 20 Apr 2017, 2:09 pm
Streaming media has changed how people behave in the age of the internet. People have largely given up music piracy because of services like Spotify and same is happening, albeit a little slower, in the movie and TV business thanks to Netflix.
Netflix has been growing very strongly for years, lately especially outside the US, and this means that there is less need for physical copies and moving yourself to another location acquire experiences, be it Blockbuster, Redbox, or movie theaters.
Obviously the Hollywood movie you'll watch on Netflix comes there after it has done rounds in the theaters and possibly in some physical form or other, but if you are willing to wait, then you get a lot of return for your monthly $10 investment.
Even further, Netflix is investing immense amounts of money in original production that is only seen on its service, and this is increasingly the reason people choose it over cable TV or a ticket in the cinema. However, new report suggests that Netflix might be interested in bringing its own content to movie theaters near you.
Netflix has told the investors during the release quarterly results that it is considering releasing some of its movies in theaters. Fortunately the company says that it is still dedicated to bring the content first on its own platform which begs the question: who would pay more to see a Netflix movie in a theater?
Well, maybe you can make a case for people that only want to see one or two movies a year and those happen to be Netflix Originals. Or that you don't have nice enough equipment to enjoy the movies and want to see it on the big screen.
Even after all this, though, you have to find theaters that are willing pay to take Netflix's movies in their rotation. We'll just have to wait and see if that will be the case.
Users modified Galaxy S8's Bixby button, Samsung ruins the hack 20 Apr 2017, 12:22 pm
Samsung recently released their newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8. The new phone is better in almost every respect than its predecessors but there are still some issues to nitpick about.
In such a beautifully crafted device that has industry-leading specs it's not easy to find faults, but there certainly are some. As always has been the case, Samsung is not necessarily a good software company, despite it excels in industrial design and can stand against pretty much any company toe to toe specifications-wise.
The newest phone definitely showcases the company's technological prowess as well as industrial design especially with exclusive edge displays. However, the UI is again pretty ugly, and comes with apps that are not really needed. One of these apps that are pretty much carbon copies of Google's offerings, already found on the Android device as well obviously, is the new assistant software Bixby.
Even though Bixby is pretty much exactly what the Google Assistant offers, it's not the software implementation that makes it frustrating for us customers – we can always choose not to use the app. It is the fact that Samsung has added a completely new button on the side of the device that opens up Bixby.
Well, you might as, why would an additional functionality be so bad? First of all, adding more buttons is not necessarily a good thing. Secondly the button takes to a service that is currently crippled and seems to not be as good as Google Assistant.
Even this might be acceptable, even a good thing, if you could program the button to do something else. Samsung does not include this option in their UI but some people have hacked the option to Android phones. Unfortunately Samsung has just made the worst decision for its new flagship.
According to XDA forums, Samsung has completely disabled all the user customizations of this button and it can now definitely be used only for Bixby. One might see the positives in this and hope that Bixby will come around and actually be good, but this is hardly any consolation to people who do not use their phone in any Bixby supported language.
There is some hope still, though, some people with review units have said that the remapping hasn't been disabled. Also rumors have it that the remapping option might be available depending on the region or carrier. Obviously for non-English speaking world this would be the most important.
We'll just have to wait and see how Samsung deals with this.
Leak reveals new features for WhatsApp users 19 Apr 2017, 5:48 pm
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app of our time. Only another Facebook owned messaging platform comes close, the Facebook Messenger, with both over a billion users worldwide.
WhatsApp is known to be updated very frequently which means that new beta releases can be spotted all the time. Not every time there are huge changes though, which brings us to the newest update.
A twitter account @WABetaInfo, which, as the name might suggest, tracks WhatsApp's beta versions and their changes, has revealed that both iOS and Android apps will soon include live location sharing.
Even at this moment you can share your location but it's a static location set only once. The new live location will update as you move about and you'll contacts will see the updated information.
In addition to the live location @WABetaInfo reveals that there will be an option to delete or cancel a message within five minutes of sending it. I'm sure many have had, or at least can imagine, a situation where this feature is needed. However, this only works if the message has yet to be received, which makes sense.
At this point it is unclear when WhatsApp will release the features in its stable official app.
Some of Apple's most popular apps are now free for all! 19 Apr 2017, 4:51 pm
Apple has surprised its customers today with a nice offer. The Cupertino giant has decided to offer some of its most popular apps for free to all users.
These apps include iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand. As you might know these apps have been already a free download for people with iOS or macOS devices that are fairly recent purchases. However, now the apps are free for all customers, even with older products.
Apple has newer made a bulk, or really even a meaningful amount of money from these apps so it is not a surprise that it has decided to bring them for free to all of its customers. It is a nice gesture for sure even though there was not much of a downside for the company.
Apps like GarageBand and iMovie definitely bring more value to older Macs for example, as you can give your older computer to your youngster to learn video or music production without additional cost.
The apps are available for free starting now on the App Store.
Snapchat introduces new filters called World Lenses 19 Apr 2017, 3:49 pm
Snapchat has today announced that its instant messaging app will be receiving new digital candy to decorate your pictures and videos. Unlike the Lenses released two years ago the new World Lenses are not meant for selfies.
World Lenses are used for taking pictures and videos with your main camera and incorporate things like rainbows, cartoonish clouds, or decorated texts. New filters also allow users to plant virtual flowers on the lawn.
Snapchat definitely is on the forefront adding augmented reality to our messaging and the new filters just add on the lead. Others have, however, taken note and especially Facebook is looking to close the gap. In its last F8 conference Facebook unveiled new developer tools that allow similar filters to be used in their Stories application.
Meanwhile, to see what kind of filters the new World Lenses are check the video below.
The first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out! 14 Apr 2017, 4:59 pm
Disney has released the first official teaser trailer for the next movie in the Star Wars saga. Episode VIII is titled The Last Jedi and will be released for our viewing pleasures in December this year.
The two-minute teaser reveals the balance between soul searching of the Jedi training and pure action of the TIE fighters chasing the Millennium Falcon. Obviously characters such as Rey, Luke Skywalker, Finn, and others – including the crowd favorite BB-8 – from Force Awakens play a big role in December's inevitable blockbuster.
In addition to the gloomy soundtrack and atmosphere, Luke seems to predict a rather grim ending to our beloved Jedis, as does the title frankly. Maybe, just maybe, there's more to it than the demise of Jedis, though.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres on December 15th, 2017.
Spotify exec among Stockholm terror victims 10 Apr 2017, 1:07 pm
At least four people were killed and another 15 injured in what has been classified as a terrorist attack last Friday in Stockholm, Sweden. Among the victims in the nation's capital were two Swedes, one Belgian and one Brit, Chris Bevington.
The streaming company Spotify has now come forward and confirmed that the British man killed by the truck attack was their employee. 41-year-old Chris Bevington was the director of global partnerships and business development for Spotify and was based in Stockholm. Bevington had worked for the company for five years and an integral part of their business.
Spotify's founder and CEO Daniel Ek released a statement (below) on the company's Facebook page talking about the loss and how the company is doing everything to aid the mourning family and friends.
The terrorist attack happened on Friday and the Swedish authorities' prime suspect is a 39-year-old from Uzbekistan, Rakhmat Akilov, who fled the scene. Akilov's asylum was rejected last June and was waiting deportation but managed to avoid it by giving a false address.
Spotify lets artists limit albums to Premium users for two weeks 7 Apr 2017, 1:00 am
As part of its new deal with Universal Music Group (UMG), Spotify is allowing artists to limit the availability of new albums on its platform to paying subscribers only for two weeks.
Spotify recently announced that it had reached 50 million paying subscribers, but the music streaming service has yet to report a profit since its 2008 debut. It relies heavily on licensing music from the big players in the industry to keep its lead over rivals like Apple or Tidal.
As part of its renewal negotiations with Universal, Spotify has agreed that Universal artists can choose to limit their new albums releases to paying subscribers only for a two week window.
"We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we've worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy," Spotify Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said, reports Reuters.
"Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy."
Western Digital offers its first portable SSD 7 Apr 2017, 12:51 am
Western Digital has unveiled its first portable solid-state-drive (SSD) just months after finally releasing its first Desktop / internal SSD.
My Passport SSD comes with either 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of solid state storage, priced at $100, $200 and $400 respectively. It is compatible with USB Type-C and USB Type-A (via adapter) ports, reaching speeds up to 515MB/s.
For the security and privacy conscious, My Password SSD features password protection thanks to 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption with WD Security software. It's also built to be tough, with WD claiming it could survive a fall from up to 6.5 feet (1.98 meters).
See more: Western Digital
Apple sued for 'bricking' iPhones, iPads 7 Apr 2017, 12:35 am
Apple bricked iPhones and iPads that were repaired / serviced by third-party technicians, an Australian regulatory body alleges.
Apple is being sued downunder for allegedly bricking hundreds of iPhones and iPads with software updates. That's the claim being made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in a lawsuit against the Cupertino giant.
Specifically, the regulator claims that Apple bricked hundreds of iPhones and iPads and then refused to fix them. According to the regulator, Apple refused to fix the devices because they had been previously been serviced by non-Apple technicians.
Apple customers who had downloaded software updates during September 2014 and February 2016 were later prompted with a message that the device "could not be restored and has stopped functioning."
Upon reaching out to Apple, customers were told that Apple was not required to provide a remedy.
"Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer's warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
ACCC is seeking fines, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, and costs in its lawsuit, filed on Wednesday.
Microsoft's Project Scorpio specs revealed 7 Apr 2017, 12:12 am
Microsoft has revealed the final specs of its upcoming Project Scorpio console, promising true 4K gaming at 60 frames per second.
Digital Foundry spent time at Microsoft's Redmond campus and got to see Project Scorpio in action as it stands, along with confirmed final specs. Under the hood, the console contains a CPU with eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz, still using AMD's Jaguar architecture, rather than the latest Ryzen CPU architecture.
A custom GPU with 40 customised compute units at 1172MHz will be the real powerhouse of Project Scorpio, enabling native 4K gaming at 60fps. Project Scorpio will also boast 12GB GDDR5, compared to 8GB GDDR5 in the PS4 Pro. 4K UDH Blu-ray is also supported.
Microsoft promised at E3 in 2016 that Project Scorpio will be the most powerful gaming console ever, eclipsing the PS4 Pro and it's own Xbox One S.
There is no design for Scorpio to show off yet or any details on release date or pricing. For more information on Scorpio as it stands, read this article at Eurogamer.
Pic Source: Major Nelson