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Published: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:06:14 -0700

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:06:14 -0700

 



Wasteland 3 heads to a crowdfunding campaign, and the snowy wastes of Colorado

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0700

The crowdfunding era seems just about over, at least so far as video games are concerned. But every once in a while…

Well, InXile announced today it’s seeking funds for a Wasteland 3, courtesy of Fig—the games-centric crowdfunding site InXile’s Brian Fargo sits on the board of. The goal is $2.75 million and the campaign starts October 5. No word yet on when it ends, though I imagine somewhere in the traditional 30-days range.

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Save 30% on Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile Headphones By Going Recertified - Deal Alert

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:56:00 -0700

In leading recording studios around the world, music that will soon be heard everywhere is first heard through Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers. With these P5 mobile hi-fi headphones, the sound you hear is completely natural – as close to the sound of the original recording as they can possibly take you. There are no gimmicky effects like exaggerated bass or artificially enhanced treble, which become tiring with extended listening. A closed-back design with rigid metal faceplates and sealed earpads ensures that all the detail and dynamic range of your music is kept intact, while preserving just enough ambient sound to give you a sense of place. Perfect for listening to music on the go, P5's high-quality sound and luxury materials are supported by smart design and user-friendly features. The P5s average 4 out of 5 stars from over 280 people on Amazon (read reviews). Their typical list price is $241.53, but if you buy them recertified you save 30% and get them for just $167.99. B&W recertified products have been tested and updated to ensure they meet Bowers & Wilkins high quality standards, and all recertified products come with a two-year warranty. See the recertified P5s now on Amazon.

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Google Pixel image leaked, revealing new home screen and rounded icons

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:02:00 -0700

Updated 9/28/16: Added a render of the Pixel XL.

Here’s your best look so far at the Google Pixel.

At Venturebeat, Evan Blass of @evleaks fame procured what is says is an official render of Google’s next smartphone, which is widely expected to be unveiled at an Oct. 4 event in San Francisco. 

The Pixel will be the smaller of a pair of phones, with the larger dubbed the Pixel XL. Google is leaving behind the Nexus line and marketing the phones as designed and built entirely by the company, according to this report and numerous other leaks.

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Amazon's faster new Fire TV Stick comes with an Alexa-enabled voice remote

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:01:00 -0700


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PSA: Windows 10's Anniversary Update reactivates ads you've already disabled

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 07:21:00 -0700

Last night, I finally upgraded my main PC to Windows 10’s major Anniversary Update. I’d been putting it off because of the devastating webcam bug introduced in the Anniversary Update—a deal-breaker for me—but now that a registry hack remedy’s surfaced ahead of an official fix, the allure of Forza Horizon 3 proved too great. So I finally forced the update. Sure, having to practically reinstall your entire OS is a headache, and it rendered my file-packed PC unusable for hours, but the process went smoothly enough.

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ATF Blackbird VX-2SSD USB 3.1 review: Internal SATA speed at the end of a wire

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 07:00:00 -0700

There are times when adding additional drives to your laptop or PC just isn’t an option. That doesn’t mean you have to make due with less storage, or even compromised performance from an external solution, as Atech Flash’s Blackbird VX-2SSD proves. This dual-bay, 2.5-inch, external USB 3.1 enclosure lets SATA drives perform as quickly at the end of a cable as they would inside your computer. Kind of liberating, if you think about it. Of course, that’s assuming your laptop or PC has 2nd-generation, 10Mbps USB 3.1 on board. If your PC doesn’t have it, you can add it easily enough with a $35 PCIe card. If your laptop lacks it, you’ll have to live with 5Mbps USB 3.x. 

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BlackBerry stops making hardware, but BlackBerry phones live on

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 06:23:00 -0700

BlackBerry is getting out of the hardware business, but this isn’t the end of BlackBerry phones—or at least not yet.

As part of its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, the company announced that it would soon end all hardware development. Instead, BlackBerry phone production and design will be outsourced to third parties.

“We are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a written statement.

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The Orange Pi dev board will let you create Wi-Fi-powered gadgets for just $10

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 06:01:00 -0700

If you want to fashion a smart gadget, robot, or drone with wireless capabilities on the cheap, a $9.99 development board from Orange Pi will help you reach that goal.

The Orange Pi i96 shouldn’t be confused with the $35 Raspberry Pi 3, which is much more powerful and can be a full-fledged Linux PC. The smaller Orange Pi has limited horsepower and is targeted at smart gadgets, drones, and internet of things devices.

If you want to create a gadget to show off at a Maker Faire event, the Orange Pi i96 is the kind of board you’ll rely on. The board was first announced at the Linaro Connect conference, happening this week in Las Vegas.

For its price and target market, the Orange Pi has features not found on competitive boards. It includes Wi-Fi, 4GB of flash storage, and 2GB of RAM. It also has a micro-SD slot, a micro-USB connection, and includes the Linux-based Ubuntu OS.

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10 utterly wonderful technologies you shouldn't buy yet

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 05:38:00 -0700

Worth the wait
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Technology marches ever onward, becoming smaller, more powerful, and more revolutionary by the day. It’s all too easy to succumb to the madness as we’re deluged with daily tech news and tantalizing promises. Octa-deca-mega core processors! Cutting-edge displays you have to see to believe! Tech that makes everything from your coffee pot to your doorbell smart!

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How to create a secure and hidden folder on your Android phone

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:00:00 -0700

Your phone isn’t always your own. There’s going to be that time when you hand it to a child so they can watch Peppa Pig for the 787th time, or your spouse wants to show friends vacation trips.

Once it’s unlocked, anything on there is fair game for someone who lets their curiosity get the best of them. But you can make sure that photos, videos, or other files that you’d rather stay private are kept under a digital lock and key. There are several apps that do this, placing a secure folder on your home screen that only you can get to. It’s the easiest way to ensure that certain things you want to be private remain so.

After trying out several options, I landed on three good choices that might help you avoid some embarrassing moments or just give you peace of mind when the family is handing your phone around the table at the next family gathering.

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Mozilla is stopping all commercial development on Firefox OS

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 04:00:00 -0700


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Plat.One acquisition marks start of $2B IoT investment plan for SAP

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 03:10:32 -0700

SAP has bought IoT software developer Plat.One, marking the start of a plan to invest US$2 billion in the internet of things over the next five years.

Some of those billions will be spent on the creation of IoT development labs around the world, SAP said Wednesday. It already has plans for such labs in Berlin, Johannesburg, Munich, Palo Alto, Shanghai and São Leopoldo in Brazil. 

The company is also rolling out a series of "jump-start" and "accelerator" IoT software packages for particular industries, to help them monitor and control equipment.

Another compoent of SAP's IoT plan is to acquire new businesses, the latest of which is Plat.One. This company makes a platform that helps smart devices talk to one another and with a central database, translating between the different protocols they use to communicate. Plat.One says it manages 200,000 devices for 25 enterprise customers, including three telecommunications companies: BT, T-Systems and Telecom Italia.

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Best Bluetooth speakers

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0700

There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven’t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.

But the industry’s progress doesn’t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There’s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don’t worry, we're here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget. To that end, we've picked the best Bluetooth speakers in four broad price ranges: budget, mid-range, high-end, and--yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers--price is no object.

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How AMD's powerful Zen chip flouts the SoC stereotype

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0700

The hype is building around AMD’s upcoming Zen chip (due at the end of 2016), but if you’re calling it a CPU, you’re off-track.

That’s because the first iteration of the company’s new microarchitecture, code-named Summit Ridge, is actually an SoC, or System on Chip.

Confused? That’s understandable, says Kevin Krewell, principal analyst with Tirias Research.

“The definition of System on (a) Chip is not clear,” Krewell says. “First, the definition of ‘system’ is contextual—if it’s a smartphone it needs to have a CPU, GPU, modem, DRAM controller, and other support logic. In the case of a server system, the system would not include a GPU or modem.”

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Oracle denied new trial in copyright dispute with Google over Java

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:46:29 -0700

A federal court in California has denied Oracle another trial in its long-standing copyright infringement dispute with Google over the use of Java code in the Android operating system.

A jury had cleared Google of copyright infringement in May this year, upholding the company’s stand that its use of 37 Java APIs (application programming interfaces) in its Android mobile operating system was fair use, thus denying Oracle up to US$9 billion in damages that it was seeking.

A number of developers and scientists  backed Google saying that APIs, which are the specifications that let programs communicate with each other, were not copyrightable and any bid to change that would stifle innovation. The administration of President Barack Obama had in its opinion sided with Oracle and said that the APIs are copyrightable like other computer code.

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Best home security camera: Our favorite tools for keeping an eye on the home front

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 16:24:00 -0700

Last updated September 27, 2016 to add our Nest Labs' Nest Cam Outdoor review.

Rent or own, we all want to know our homes are secure while we’re gone. That used to mean signing on with a professional—and pricey—security service like ADT. But the boom in wireless security cameras is putting home surveillance into our own hands>

These close cousins of webcams require minimal installation and offer flexible setups and a range of security features. Indeed, the offers vary widely by camera, and navigating them all gets more daunting as this category grows ever more crowded. To help you find the best security camera for your needs, we’ve outlined the key features to consider and tested six of the newest, most high-profile models.

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Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth speaker review: Built to be the life of the party

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:31:00 -0700

Ultimate Ears slammed down the gauntlet with its Megaboom portable Bluetooth speaker. This loud-and-proud, thoroughly weatherized speaker produces enough sound to fill the average backyard, and it comes with a richly featured app that will make it the life of any party.

A pair of 2.0-inch full-range drivers and dual 2.0 x 4.0-inch passive radiators in a cylindrical enclosure create a near 360-degree sound field. The 1.93-pound speaker comes with a plastic carrying case that makes it easy to take just about anywhere, and its built-in rechargeable battery is rated to last up to 20 hours.

Large plus and minus buttons on the the Megaboom’s face let you raise or lower in the volume manually. Its cap ends are rubberized, with the top end carrying the unit’s power and Bluetooth-pairing buttons.

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Discounts on New Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) Bundles - Deal Alert

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:22:00 -0700


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10% off SAP Crystal Reports 2016, Through Friday Only - Deal Alert

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:05:00 -0700

SAP Crystal Reports software is the de facto in reporting, and it's currently discounted 10%, through Friday, if you use the code CRYSTAL10 at checkout. With SAP Crystal Reports you can create powerful, richly formatted, dynamic reports from virtually any data source – delivered in dozens of formats, in up to 24 languages. A robust production reporting tool, SAP Crystal Reports turns almost any data source into interactive, actionable information that can be accessed offline or online, from applications, portals and mobile devices.

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Mediatek's developer board features a 10-core chip and Android 6.0

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:57:00 -0700

Like PCs, developer boards like Raspberry Pi are getting more horsepower to run faster applications and 4K graphics.

Take the Mediatek X20 Development Board, which started shipping for US$199 this week. It is crammed with the latest mobile chips that give the developer board PC-like computing power.

It has a 10-core Mediatek X20 chip, which is being used in new mobile devices from companies like Meizu and LeEco. The board comes with Android 6.0, and it's not yet known if it will be upgraded to Android 7.0.

There still isn't much need for 10 CPU cores in smartphones or tablets, but the developer board could put the chip to good use. Quad core chips are considered powerful enough for handsets.

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63% off Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Power Bank - Deal Alert

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:40:00 -0700

This device from Anker is small enough to fit in your glove box, but packs enough power to jump start your 3L gas or 2.5L diesel engine a whopping 15 times on a single charge. Advanced safety features ensure total protection against reverse polarity, surges and short circuits. So there's no risk in hooking it up wrong or backwards like with traditional jump starters. It also has two built-in USB charging ports for your mobile devices, and comes with an 18-month warranty. It averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from 1,000 people on Amazon (read reviews), and its list price has been reduced to just $59. See the discounted Anker car jump starter on Amazon.

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Bringing IoT data into public clouds is getting easier

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:37:36 -0700

The formidable processing power and analytical tools available in public clouds could make industrial IoT more effective and less expensive. But bringing IoT data into the cloud takes more than a network connection.

On Tuesday, two companies moved to help enterprises adapt their IoT data for popular cloud services. OSIsoft introduced its PI Integrator for Microsoft Azure, and Particle announced a custom integration with Google Cloud Platform.

While some large enterprises with sensitive IoT data do all their analytics in-house, public clouds offer greater scale and better security than many organizations can achieve on their own, MachNation analyst Dima Tokar said. And more advanced analytics, including better error correction, in some cases can give enterprises the same insights with fewer sensors, he said. Trading hardware for software -- especially the cloud-based kind -- typically means savings.

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Six senators demand more details about the Yahoo data breach

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:38:00 -0700

Six U.S. senators have called Yahoo's massive data breach "unacceptable," and they're demanding that the company provide more details about the incident.

In a letter addressed to Yahoo's CEO, the lawmakers said they were particularly "disturbed" that the breach occurred in 2014, but that Yahoo only publicized it last week.

"That means millions of Americans' data may have been compromised for two years," the letter said. "This is unacceptable."

The hacking incident, which Yahoo said it only learned recently, affects at least 500 million user accounts, making it perhaps the largest known data breach in history. Account information, including email addresses, telephone numbers, and hashed passwords, may have been stolen.

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Chrome for Android is getting some extra tools to battle poor connections

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:19:00 -0700

The struggle for a solid internet connection is real. Google certainly doesn’t want you to lose any content when you’re offline, so it’s beefing up Chrome’s ability to help you surf faster on a slow connection and save content for later.

According to the Google Chrome Blog, the data compression mode can now save up to 67 percent when viewing MP4 format videos. The promised savings to regular browsing is up to 60 percent, though I usually see around 20 percent or so in my own usage. It’ll be worth checking up on this number to see how well Google’s promises match up.

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Chromebooks get stable Android apps as Andromeda rumors swirl

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:51:00 -0700

Andromeda may be the future, but Android and Chrome OS are already merging. Google just made Android apps available on the stable version of Chrome OS for the first time, and organizations can now centrally manage Android apps on their Chromebooks.

Stable Chromebooks get Android apps

Yes, certain Chromebooks got Android apps and the Google Play Store a little while back. But that was only in the unstable developer versions of Chrome OS. As of Chrome OS version 53.0.2785.129, the Google Play Store and Android apps are now available on the stable version of Chrome OS.

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OneDrive's file placeholders will return to Windows 10 as On-Demand Sync

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:43:00 -0700

It’s official: OneDrive placeholders are coming back to Windows, but with a new name. Microsoft made the announcement on Monday during Ignite, the company’s conference for IT professionals. The new feature will be called On-Demand Sync when it comes to Windows 10.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept behind OneDrive placeholders (or On-Demand Sync), it’s a feature that allows you to see all your OneDrive-stored files in the Windows File Explorer. Even if a file isn’t stashed on your device's local hard drive it will still be visible when you open the OneDrive folder in File Explorer. If you open a file that isn't saved locally, OneDrive immediately downloads it from the cloud—at least in Windows 8.1.

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63% off Etekcity 3 Pack Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern with 9 AA Batteries - Deal Alert

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:29:00 -0700

Whether used for camping, trick or treating, or power outages, this lantern will provide up to 12 hours of bright omnidirectional LED lighting to see your surroundings. When the battery power of the lantern runs low, the brightness will dim to an energy saving mode to provide longer lasting illumination (up to 4 hours of low power usage). It's lighter, brighter and more portable than most flashlights while still featuring the rugged durability to withstand the outdoors. The military grade exterior is water resistant for more practical use in a high range of environments. Ideal for children, the lantern needs no setup or prepping with fires and oil. The design provides full omnidirectional lighting for clear vision no matter where you may turn. The fold-out collapsible handles make for easier portability and hanging.  This lantern averages 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon (read reviews) and the 3 pack's list price of $45.99 has been reduced 63% to $16.99. (See it on Amazon)

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Swift CEO reveals three more failed attacks on banking network

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:23:02 -0700

Banks stopped three new attempts to abuse the Swift financial transfer network this summer, its CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt said Monday, as he announced Swift's plan to impose tighter security controls on its customers.

Swift provides the network that banks use to exchange funds internationally, and hit the headlines in February when attackers almost got away with a billion-dollar heist at Bangladesh Bank. In the end, they only succeeded in stealing US$81 million after hacking bank systems connected to the Swift network.

That prompted Swift to ratchet up security around its systems, which weren't themselves breached, updating the software it provides banks and adding new audit and verification tools.

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Microsoft Azure networking is speeding up, thanks to custom hardware

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:18:23 -0700

Networking among virtual machines in Microsoft Azure is going to get a whole lot faster thanks to some new hardware that Microsoft has rolled out across its fleet of data centers.

The company announced Monday that it has deployed hundreds of thousands of FPGAs (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays) across servers in 15 countries and five different continents. The chips have been put to use in a variety of first-party Microsoft services, and they're now starting to accelerate networking on the company's Azure cloud platform.

In addition to improving networking speeds, the FPGAs (which sit on custom, Microsoft-designed boards connected to Azure servers) can also be used to improve the speed of machine-learning tasks and other key cloud functionality. Microsoft hasn't said exactly what the contents of the boards include, other than revealing that they hold an FPGA, static RAM chips and hardened digital signal processors. 

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FAQ: What's so special about 802.11ad Wi-Fi?

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 08:04:00 -0700

Here are the broad strokes about 802.11ad, the wireless technology that’s just starting to hit the market.

802.11ac, 802.11ac wave 2, 802.11omg! Could we maybe get some different names for this stuff?

No! Next question! May the power of the IEEE smite you down for heresy!

Fine, fine. So 802.11ad – what’s the deal here?

Well, now that you’re being civil, I’ll tell you – 802.11ad is, yes, a new wireless standard that uses the 60GHz spectrum instead of the 5GHz and 2.4GHz used by most Wi-Fi connections today. It boasts a theoretical max speed of 7Gbps, vs 3.2Gbps for 802.11ac Wave 2.

So you’re saying it has more gigahertz? Why should I care about that?

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