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Published: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:21:16 -0700

Last Build Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:21:16 -0700


AMD Radeon phases out the CrossFire brand as multi-GPU gets more complicated

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:09:00 -0700

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Best Buy is selling the Ring Solar Panel for $20

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:35:00 -0700

If you have a Ring Stick Up Cam but balked at the extra $50 for the solar charging panel, we've got a weekend project for you. Right now Best Buy has the Ring Solar Panel on sale for $20.

The solar panel is an alternative way to power the Ring Stick Up Cam. Without the panel, you have to bring it in every few months to charge it via USB. When we reviewed the Stick Up Cam earlier in September, we liked it as a way to expand the security perimeter of anyone who's already using the Ring Video Doorbell. (Though we did find that as a standalone security camera, there were better options.)

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This week in games: Grab Outlast for free, Battleborn ends active development

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 09:00:00 -0700

I’ve spent fully 50 percent of my week playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 and it’s one of the best CRPGs I’ve ever played. Probably. So let’s wrap this up, because I want to get back to it.

This week, both Call of Duty and Wolfenstein get rowdy on Nazis, plus Humble gives away spooky cameraman simulator Outlast, Shadow of War goes Peter-Jackson-live-action (but sans Peter Jackson), Vampyr slips into 2018, and Battleborn breathes its last.

This is gaming news for September 18 to 22.

More. Free. Games.

Humble’s End of Summer Sale is officially over—but not really. And that means another free game for your library, as the sale enters its “encore” phase. This time it’s Outlastone of the best PC horror games ever—plus the fantastic Whistleblower DLC. You can snag a copy until 10 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, so jump on it if you’re a horror fan.

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Radeon RX Vega graphics cards get 2-way multi-GPU support in Radeon Software 17.9.2

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:44:00 -0700

AMD fixed a glaring flaw in Radeon RX Vega’s potential prowess late Thursday. Radeon Software 17.9.2 adds the ability to use multiple RX Vega graphics cards in your system, after AMD’s high-end hardware launched with the ability notably lacking. Huzzah!

It’s not quite as full-featured as long-time Radeon buyers may to used to, though. Taking a page out of Nvidia’s GTX 10-series playbook, Radeon RX Vega’s multi-GPU capabilities are limited to two graphics cards alone, rather than the 4-way CrossFire support that premium Radeon cards traditionally offered. And curiously, CrossFire isn’t mentioned by name in AMD’s announcement post; it’s referred to solely as “multi-GPU (mGPU).” We’ve asked AMD about those oddities and will update this post if we hear back.

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Ikea Tradfri Gateway Kit and Motion Sensor Kit reviews: Does the megastore deliver on smart lighting?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Ikea's Tradfri Gateway Kit and Motion Sensor Kit blend the Swedish retailer's confounding instruction style with average smart-lighting abilities.

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Creative Sound BlasterX Siege M04 review: This debut mouse impresses

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:30:00 -0700

You know that old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? The same can be said of product branding. Maybe, if you think there’s even an infinitesimally small chance you might branch out of your core product focus in the future, don’t pick a name like “Sound Blaster” that really only applies to...well, audio components.

Which is to say: Creative makes a mouse now, and for some reason decided to call it the Sound BlasterX Siege M04. Yes, a Sound Blaster mouse.

The other surprise? Aside from the name, it’s pretty damn good.

Design: X marks the spot

In fact, considering that the Siege M04 (available for $80 on Amazon)  is the first Sound Blaster mouse, it’s shockingly bold. By comparison, the Pulsefire is HyperX’s first mouse and it’s more or less a clone of the evergreen Razer DeathAdder. 

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HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift vs. Windows Mixed Reality: What's the difference?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:57:00 -0700

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Dash cam reviews: What you need to catch the maniacs and meteors of daily driving

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:06:00 -0700

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Intel may tie future Core CPUs to the VR trend with dedicated features

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:19:00 -0700

Intel is exploring ways to accelerate virtual reality by building dedicated logic into its integrated Core microprocessors that would improve VR on even basic notebooks. Comments from Kim Pallister, the director of the Virtual Reality Center of Excellence at Intel, in a short interview on the eve of the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) in San Francisco, imply that these features are in the design stage. It’s not clear when those improvements will roll out to the computing community at large, however.

Virtual reality remains a hot topic among chip companies like Intel, which see the demands of VR—high video resolutions at high frame rates, with sensor inputs across six degrees of freedom requiring even more computational horsepower—as a driver for new, more powerful chip architectures. But there are limitations: With clock speeds effectively capped at a bit faster than 4 GHz, Intel doesn’t necessarily have the horsepower in its Core chips available to power VR. And even if it did, the trend toward declining PC prices says that consumers wouldn’t necessarily want to pay for it. 

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The Xbox One is getting the Xbox 1’s Duke controller (and Windows 10 too)

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:18:00 -0700

It’s one of the last oddities of gaming: The “Duke” controller. I first saw one in an FYE store, probably in December of 2001. There was one of those demo stations that used to be in every electronics store, this one an original Xbox—brand-new at the time—running Munch’s Oddyssee. I stepped right up, eager to play, and tried to wrap my very-normal-sized-person-hands around this enormous saucer-sized controller.

That was the Duke, the original gamepad for the original Xbox. And now it’s back. Seamus Blackley, who helped pitch and design the original Xbox, has apparently partnered with Hyperkin to bring the Duke to the Xbox One and Windows 10.

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iOS 11 review: Apple’s most ambitious and impressive upgrade in years

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:12:00 -0700

iOS 11 is a must-have for any iPad user—it'll increase your productivity. It's great for iPhone users, too.

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CCleaner hacked with malware: What you need to know

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 07:57:00 -0700

It seems that CCleaner, one of PCWorld’s recommendations for the best free software for new PCs, might not have been keeping your PC so clean after all. In an in-depth probe of the popular optimization and scrubbing software, Cisco Talos has discovered a malicious bit of code injected by hackers that could have affected more than 2 million users who downloaded the most recent update.

Editor’s note: This article was first published on September 18, 2017, but was updated on Sept. 21 with details about the malware targeting specific technology companies for industrial espionage.

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The Evil Within 2 hands-on preview: An artistic approach to horror, and vice versa

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 07:00:00 -0700

I never finished The Evil Within. I’d say it’s on my Pile of Shame, but to be honest I’m not very ashamed—I hated it. I hated its clunky player movement. I hated the boss battles, which were often about as buggy as they were annoying. I hated how long it took your character to open a damn door. Most of all I hated the save system, which spaced out checkpoints an infuriating amount sometimes. After banging my head against it for five hours, I quit and never looked back.

Until last week. Last week I reinstalled The Evil Within.

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53% off Cable Organizer Electronics Accessories Travel Bag - Deal Alert

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:57:00 -0700

Do you have a ball of tangled up wires and adapters somewhere in the bottom of your bag? This Universal Electronics Accessories Travel Organizer provides a flexible organization solution for your electronics and computer accessories. It helps make you better organized with all the small items and gadgets.  Made of durable and weather-resistant nylon with well padded semi-flexible covers.  It's compact size of  8.8“ x W 6.1"allows it to easily stored in you laptop bag or backpack.  This travel organizers typical list price of $18.99 has been reduced 53% to just $9. See this deal on Amazon.

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62% off RAVPower 14000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter - Deal Alert

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:53:00 -0700

A compact power bank, a car jump starter, and a LED flashlight, all fit into a minimal and portable design. Whether it is your car or your USB devices, never run out of power again. Store it in the glovebox or simply drop it in your bag. Have a concentrated 14000mAh source of power always with you -- enough for up to 20 vehicle jumpstarts or many device recharges before the unit itself needs to be recharged. RAVPower's jump starter typically lists for $160 but is currently discounted 62% on Amazon to just $64. See the discounted car jumper now on Amazon

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Nvidia's new $179 Shield TV bundle battles Apple TV 4K

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:00:00 -0700

Nvidia's $179 Shield TV bundle sheds the game controller to match the price of the new Apple TV 4K.

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Google buys 2,000 HTC employees for $1.1 billion to get instant smartphone chops

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 05:12:00 -0700

Nearly four years after selling Motorola off to Lenovo, Google is buying into yet another longtime Android partner, HTC. But instead of purchasing the company outright, Google is buying its brains.

Google already knows these brains well. “A team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization,” Google hardware SVP (and former Motorola president) Rick Osterloh said Thursday. Reports from the New York Times and other sources have pegged the number of employees at approximately 2,000 (or up to $550,000 per employee, if you're doing the math). “These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team.”

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Ecobee4 smart thermostat review: Retains the great functions of the Ecobee3, and adds Alexa

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Our favorite smart thermostat gets a little smarter thanks to Alexa, but it's otherwise identical to the previous generation.

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The Amazon Fire TV just got a lot more annoying

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Amazon's latest Fire TV software update makes banner ads way more intrusive.

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Windows 10 digital ink: All the improvements with the Fall Creators Update

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Inking and navigating with a digital pen or stylus within Windows 10 will become easier within the Fall Creators Update, for those of you who use a tablet as, you know, a tablet.

The improvements include two major elements: navigation, including using the pen or stylus to select and scroll text; and better interpretation of inked words as text, via a more accurate and responsive handwriting panel. Combined, it’s a love letter of sorts to Surface and other tablet users who use the pen to input data. It's amazing how well Windows can interpret your chicken-scratch into text that can be edited in Word and elsewhere.

General Windows 10 users won’t be able to take advantage of the new features until the launch of the Fall Creators Update on Oct. 17. However, members of Microsoft’s Windows Insiders beta program have been able to experience the new inking experience since Build 16215 in June. While Microsoft may make further refinements before the OS launches, the experiences we describe here should be pretty close to what you'll get at launch. 

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Nest jumps into home security with Nest Secure

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:44:00 -0700

Nest is hoping to revolutionize home security with Nest Secure, a smart security system that offers several advantages over conventional systems.

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Google kicks off Android One in the U.S. with the Project Fi-equipped Moto X4

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:38:00 -0700

Google is finally bringing its Android One program to the U.S., but not in the way you think. Instead of a super-low-priced phone with bare-minimum specs, the first U.S. Android One phone is actually the Moto X4. And it’s a Project Fi exclusive.

The Android One Moto X4 is essentially the same phone as the one you get direct from Motorola, with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 630 processor, 3,000mAh battery, dual rear cameras (12MP and 8MP), and fast charging. What’s different is all on the inside.

For one, it will run on Google’s Project Fi network, which until now was limited to Pixel phones. It will also run what Google describes as a “pure Android experience with a clean software design and a carefully curated set of preinstalled apps to give you just what you need.” That means you’ll be leaving Alexa behind, as well as Moto’s suite of proprietary apps. But you will get timely updates.

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Comcast quietly acquires Stringify and will use the IFTTT rival to power its Xfinity Home smart-home platform

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:37:00 -0700

Stringify-the automation tool that's more powerful, but less well known than IFTTT-will be incorporated into Comcast's smart-home system.

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Microsoft Surface Pro (2017): Everything you need to know

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:05:00 -0700

Updated Sept. 20: A U.K. shopping site has leaked prices and configurations of the Surface Pro (2017) with LTE. See "Price and release date" below for more details.

With the the Surface Pro (2017), Microsoft has rebooted its flagship Surface product, one of the leading 2-in-1s in the category. It’s also shedding the numerical designations of prior products. If you’ve owned a Surface Pro 4, however, you already have a good idea of what Microsoft has in store for you with the new Surface Pro. 

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Shopping site leaks Microsoft Surface Pro LTE price, features, and December ship date

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:53:00 -0700

Microsoft’s Surface Pro LTE upgrade has appeared in the wild, complete with pricing—and it’s a lot more reasonable than you might expect.

Misco, a U.K. retailer, lists two versions of the Surface Pro LTE for preorder, both based on the Intel Core i5. The first, with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, is priced at about $1,283.11. The second, with 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage, is priced at $1,589.08. Both prices do not include the U.K. VAT, which make them more comparable to what a U.S. retailer could charge.

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Spoiler alert: Google's Pixel event will still be more exciting than Apple's iPhone X reveal

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:46:00 -0700

So much for the element of surprise. With two weeks to go until Google’s big end-of-year event on October 4, we already know everything that’s going to be announced. After months of rumors and speculation, especially about the Pixel 2 flagship phone, Droid-Life dropped a bomb yesterday and published images and prices for everything Google is about to release.

You might remember that the same thing happened right before the iPhone X event last week, reducing the presentation to a checklist rather than a show. Granted, Apple relies more on the wow factor than Google does, but yesterday’s massive leak must have rankled CEO Sundar Pichai just a little. We already had a pretty good idea about what was coming, but now there’s little reason to get excited. 

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ExpressVPN review: A good service with no public leadership

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 05:00:00 -0700

ExpressVPN in brief:

P2P allowed: Yes

Number of servers: 1,500+

Business location: British Virgin Islands

Number of country locations: 94*

Cost: $99.95 per year

Running a business is a public act. That’s why I don’t understand why some VPN providers go to such great lengths to keep the identities of their leaders private. Today’s review looks at one such company, ExpressVPN.

Business anonymity is an issue we’ll get into in more depth in the trust section. For now, let’s dive into the app.

ExpressVPN uses a very simple single-panel interface. It doesn’t have a map you can click on or anything like that. All you have is a simple on/off button that takes up the majority of the panel. Under that is a suggested VPN server to connect to and then two buttons: Smart Location and Choose Location. Click the former and ExpressVPN will choose a server for you based on your location.

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Xbox One X: Everything you need to know about this powerful gaming console

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 04:49:00 -0700

Xbox One X.

That’s the official name Microsoft has given to Project Scorpio, the upcoming 4K-ready cousin to the Xbox One. It will, in Microsoft’s words, be “the most powerful console ever.”

That was Microsoft’s main message during the console’s reveal at E3 2017, repeatedly emphasizing the Xbox One X’s advantages over the competing PlayStation 4 Pro (without ever mentioning its rival console by name, of course). And it sure is a powerful console. Read on for details on Xbox One X pricing, availability, specs, noteworthy features, and compatible games.

Editor’s note: This article is constantly updated as new info comes out. It was last updated September 20, 2017 with information about standard edition Xbox One X preorders and “enhanced” games.

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