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Published: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:30:56 -0800

Last Build Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:30:56 -0800

 



Samsung blames batteries from two makers for Note7 explosions

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 20:07:50 -0800

Samsung Electronics on Monday blamed batteries supplied by two manufacturers for the overheating and even explosions of some Galaxy Note7 phones, as it tried to provide a long due explanation for the issues surrounding the smartphone.

The announcement by the company, a day ahead of it reporting its fourth quarter results, had experts from TUV Rheinland, Exponent and UL stating that internal manufacturing and design defects of the batteries, including missing insulating tape in some cases, and not the design of the phones were responsible for the battery issues.

The negative electrode windings in the battery of an unnamed “manufacturer A,” who first supplied the batteries for the Note7 phones, were found in some cases to be damaged and bent over because the cell pouch did not provide enough volume to accommodate the battery assembly, said Kevin White, Exponent’s principal scientist, at a press conference that was webcast.

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Prices plummet for AMD's beastly Radeon Pro Duo graphics card ahead of Vega's release

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 06:25:00 -0800

Editor's note: This article originally published on January 19, but was updated on January 22 after prices dropped even further on Amazon and Newegg replenished its stocks.

The long, confusing lifecycle of AMD’s beastly Radeon Pro Duo is quietly entering its final days as retailers clear the deck for the forthcoming Radeon Vega graphics cards.

The $1,500 MSRP Radeon Pro Duo sits reigns as AMD’s graphics champion with not one but two high-end Fiji graphics processors, exotic high-bandwidth memory, and integrated closed-loop water cooling that kept the board running at chilly temperatures. But the timing and messaging around the graphics card just felt wrong from day one.

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25% off YETI Hopper 20 Portable Cooler - Deal Alert

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 08:08:00 -0800

The YETI Hopper 20 ice-for-days portable cooler and is tough as nails so it can be hauled anywhere you want to take it.  It features a DryHide Shell and nearly indestructible straps will stand up to an abundance of abuse in the field.  It's HydroLok Zipper is completely leakproof, eliminating spills and locking in cold.  It can hold 18 cans, a limit of rainbow trout, or 20 pounds of ice.  The YETI Hopper 20 is currently selling at the discounted price of $225, a good deal considering its $299.95 list price. See this high-end portable cooler now on Amazon. 

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34% off SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick 200GB - Deal Alert

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 06:38:00 -0800

The SanDisk Connect wireless stick is a flash drive with a unique twist -- you can access it wirelessly. Whether it's in your pants pocket, in your bag, or on the picnic table at your campsite, the Connect wireless stick lets you stream media or move files wirelessly with up to three computers, phones or tablets simultaneously. Connections are made via built-in wifi (think "hotspot"), so no external wireless or internet services are needed. A USB connection is also available, if desired. Storage on this model is a generous 200GB. Reviewers on Amazon report at least 8-10 hours of battery life on one charge. This model is currently discounted 34%, from $119.99 down to $78.95. See it now on Amazon.

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Lavabit developer has a new encrypted, end-to-end email protocol

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:04:28 -0800

The developer behind Lavabit, an email service that noted leaker Edward Snowden used, is releasing source code for an open-source end-to-end encrypted email standard that promises surveillance-proof messaging.

The code for the Dark Internet Mail Environment (DIME) standard will become available on Github, along with an associated mail server program, said its developer Ladar Levison on Friday.

DIME will work across different service providers and perhaps crucially will be "flexible enough to allow users to continue using their email without a Ph.D. in cryptology," said Levison.

To coincide with its launch, Levison is also reviving Lavabit. The encrypted email service shut down in 2013 when federal agents investigating Snowden demanded access to email messages of his 410,000 customers, including their private encryption keys.

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Apple sues Qualcomm over patent licensing and $1B in payments

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:23:00 -0800

A nasty spat between Apple and Qualcomm broke into public view on Friday when the smartphone maker accused the chip supplier of charging “exorbitant” licensing fees for its cellular technology.

Apple is asking a Southern California court to order Qualcomm to pay it nearly $1 billion that it says Qualcomm is holding back. Apple says it is owed the money but Qualcomm is holding it back because Apple cooperated with a South Korean government investigation into Qualcomm’s licensing practices.

The lawsuit alleges that Qualcomm charges high licensing fees to the companies that make iPhones for Apple. Those companies pass the fees on to Apple but aren’t allowed to show Apple the specifics of the licensing deals, leaving Apple unsure what it is paying for.

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New details emerge about Intel's super-small Euclid computer for robots

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:04:00 -0800

Intel is getting proficient at developing small computers. First, came its Compute Sticks and then its credit-card-shaped Compute Cards.

But nothing's quite like the mysterious Euclid, which is a self-contained computer the size of a thumb designed to be the brains and eyes of a robot.

More details have emerged about the computer, which was announced in August and has yet to be released.

The Euclid is so small and light that's possible to hold like a pen. It has a built-in 3D RealSense camera, making it like a PC fused into a Microsoft Kinect.

The design makes it possible to install the Euclid where the eyes of a human-like robot would be typically placed. The 3D RealSense camera will act as the eyes of a robot, capturing images in real-time and helping with movement.

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Microsoft will soon end Office 2013 distribution through Office 365

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:51:00 -0800

Get ready, Office 365 administrators: Microsoft is ending support for the Office 2013 client apps that it previously distributed through its cloud-based productivity service. Instead, administrators and users will be pushed to use Office 2016, the latest version of the productivity suite that includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Starting on Feb. 28, users won’t be able to download the Office 2013 apps from the Office 365 self-service portal, and they won’t be downloadable through the Office 365 Admin Center. Microsoft also won’t release feature updates for those products, and won’t provide support through Customer Service Support or Premier Support.

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Researchers propose a way to use your heartbeat as a password

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:46:00 -0800

Researchers at Binghamton State University in New York think your heart could be the key to your personal data. By measuring the electrical activity of the heart, researchers say they can encrypt patients' health records.  

The fundamental idea is this: In the future, all patients will be outfitted with a wearable device, which will continuously collect physiological data and transmit it to the patients' doctors. Because electrocardiogram (ECG) signals are already collected for clinical diagnosis, the system would simply reuse the data during transmission, thus reducing the cost and computational power needed to create an encryption key from scratch.

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How does China respond to US chip threats? With a $30 billion factory

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:30:00 -0800

For China, actions speak louder than words, especially in the escalating chip battle with the U.S., which has been hurling out verbal threats in recent months.

The Chinese chip infrastructure is getting a serious boost from Tsinghua Unigroup, which is investing US$30 billion in a new foundry to make chips. The state-owned Tsinghua Holdings is a majority shareholder in Tsinghua Unigroup.

This news comes just two weeks after U.S. accused China of rigging the chip market and artificially reducing the prices of semiconductors. The tough talk came from the administration of former President Barack Obama but will continue under Donald Trump, who was sworn in as president Friday.

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Microsoft's upgraded Beam game-streaming service goes live, taking on Twitch and YouTube

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:57:00 -0800

Microsoft’s Twitch competitor, Beam, has now pushed its “Pro” upgrade live to all users, featuring streams with up to 1440p resolution at 60Hz and integration with Xbox Live.

Microsoft’s purchase of Beam last summer came as something of a surprise, given that the company seemed satisfied with its relationship with Amazon’s game-streaming service, Twitch.tv. Even with the upgrade to Beam.pro, it’s not clear how tightly Beam and Microsoft are tied, save for the new option to log in with your Xbox Live username instead of a dedicated Beam ID. (Eventually, however, the company will enforce Xbox Live logins, it said.)

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This week in games: Portal on the Apple IIe, Pillars of Eternity 2 teased, and more

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:30:00 -0800

Ah, a random Friday in January. Nothing you could possibly be paying attention to except for our weekly round-up of video game news, right? Right.

This week we’ve got Portal recreated for the Apple IIe, the possibility of a new Pillars of Eternity sequel, the Super Mario Odyssey trailer ported into the world of Grand Theft Auto IV, another Overwatch holiday event, and more! Here’s your gaming news for January 16 through 20.

The Torment continues

Another week, another Torment: Tides of Numenera trailer. This one lacks Colin McComb unfortunately, but does provide a look at Torment’s combat. It's turn-based, unlike the real-time-with-pause system used by Infinity Engine games.

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Spanish police nab suspected hacker behind Neverquest banking malware

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:03:10 -0800

Spanish police have arrested a Russian programmer suspected of developing the Neverquest banking Trojan, a malware targeting financial institutions across the world.

The 32-year-old Russian citizen known as Lisov SV was arrested at the Barcelona airport, Spain's law enforcement agency Guardia Civil said on Friday.

The FBI had been working with Spanish authorities to track down the suspect through an international arrest warrant, according to a statement from the agency. The FBI, however, declined to comment on the man's arrest.

Neverquest is designed to steal username and password information from banking customers. Once it infects a PC, the malware can do this by injecting fake online forms into legitimate banking websites to log any information typed in. It can also take screenshots and video from the PC's desktop and steal any passwords stored locally.

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WhatsApp vulnerability could expose messages to prying eyes, report claims

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:57:00 -0800

Update, 1/20/17: A post on the Technosociology blog signed by dozens of security experts calls for a Guardian retraction and apology. This article has been updated to reflect this.

When Facebook’s WhatsApp turned on end-end-end encryption in its messaging service last year, it was a big deal. As all eyes were glued on Apple’s fight with the FBI over unlocking the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, WhatsApp took a huge step toward protecting its users’ privacy by moving to encrypt all messages and calls being sent between its apps.

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Google shutting older versions of Drive, G Suite apps

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 09:39:00 -0800


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46% off ZeroLemon ToughJuice USB-C 30000mAh Power Bank, Dual Layer Rugged External Battery/Portable Charger for Apple MacBook, iPhone, Google Pixel XL, Samsung & More - Deal Alert

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 08:19:00 -0800

ZeroLemon describes their ToughJuice power bank as the world's toughest external battery pack, with 30000mAh capacity and a rugged anti-shock exterior. With enough juice to get you up and running again and again on a single charge, ToughJuice provides up to ten charges to a smartphone, two charges to a tablet or multiple charges to nearly any other device. It features four USB ports (1 QuickCharge 2.0 port, with legacy 5V/2A support and 3 Ports for 1A charging) but more importantly it features USB-C/Type-C Compatibility: the USB-C/Type-C port makes the battery pack compatible with the new MacBook, charging at 5V/2.5A and other USB-C powered devices. The device averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 200 people (read reviews), and its list price is currently discounted to $69.99. See the discounted ZeroLemon ToughJuice power bank now on Amazon.

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Google pushed developers to fix security flaws in 275,000 Android apps

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 07:59:00 -0800

Over the past two years, Google has pressured developers to patch security issues in more than 275,000 Android apps hosted on its official app store. In many cases this was done under the threat of blocking future updates to the insecure apps.

Since 2014, Google has been scanning apps published on Google Play for known vulnerabilities as part of its App Security Improvement (ASI) program. Whenever a known security issue is found in an application, the developer receives an alert via email and through the Google Play Developer Console.

When it started, the program only scanned apps for embedded Amazon Web Services (AWS) credentials, which was a common problem at the time. The exposure of AWS credentials can lead to serious compromises of the cloud servers used by apps to store user data and content.

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Report: Samsung puts blame on battery size, suppliers for Galaxy Note7 fires

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 07:52:00 -0800

Samsung is due to finally announce the results of its investigation into the exploding Galaxy Note7s, but a report by The Wall Street Journal has some information about what the company has discovered. According to the publication’s sources, Samsung has concluded that “irregularly sized” batteries are primarily to blame for the debacle, which resulted in a massive global recall.

The report says that the faulty batteries were made by affiliate Samsung SDI and Hong Kong-based Amperex Technology Ltd., the only two firms to supply Note7 batteries. Both manufacturers produced flawed batteries, the company reportedly found, with the first round of fires caused by Samsung SDI batteries. “The issue with the batteries from Samsung SDI was an irregularly sized battery that didn’t fit properly in the phone, according to the people, who said that the incongruence caused the overheating.”

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How to watch Donald Trump's presidential inauguration live online for free

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 07:35:00 -0800

Depending on your point of view today may be the greatest day in the last eight years, or the beginning of “the dark times.” Whatever your political persuasion, Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration is something many of us wouldn’t want to miss.

As you’d expect the inauguration will be carried on all the major networks including ABC, CBS, and NBC. CNN and Fox News will also be broadcasting it. Donald Trump will be sworn in at noon Eastern on the dot.

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Microsoft's latest Windows 10 ad annoys Chrome users with taskbar pop-ups

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:58:00 -0800

Microsoft’s aggressive advertising push inside Windows 10 is going beyond pop-ups for Microsoft Edge.

Myce recently spotted yet another pop-up ad on the taskbar in Windows 10. This time around Microsoft was advertising its extension for Chrome dubbed the Personal Shopping Assistant (Beta). The extension is a Microsoft Garage project that lets you compare prices across shopping sites.

Prior to the Chrome extension pop-up, Microsoft was advertising its rewards program for Microsoft Edge, which we spotted in early November. The earlier ad appeared to be targeted at people who didn’t use Edge that frequently.

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34% off TurboTax Deluxe 2016 Tax Software Federal & State - Deal Alert

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:39:00 -0800


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The Windows 10 Creators Update's best new features: Dynamic Lock, Game Mode, privacy tweaks, and more

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:16:00 -0800

A taste of what's to come
(image)

Image by Microsoft

Windows 10 doesn’t behave like the Windows of yesteryear. Instead of a monolithic operating system replaced by a successor in a year or two, it’s more of a living, breathing entity—one that’s constantly changing with the release of massive new “named” updates. The most high-profile example was 2016’s Anniversary Update, which added features like the Bash Shell, a dark theme, Windows Ink, Xbox Play Anywhere, and a whole, whole lot more.

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67% off ThermoPro TP03A Digital Food Cooking Thermometer Instant Read Meat Thermometer for Kitchen BBQ Grill Smoker

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 06:06:00 -0800

The ThermoPro TP03A is an effective solution to achieve the most accurate temperature in a matter of seconds. With a simplistic yet practical design, and at the push of the button, the foldaway probe will pop open for quick an easy temperature reading, and when you're done taking the temperature measurement you can fold the probe back into the holding to ensure the probe is kept safe and clean. Stop overcooking or under-cooking your meat and perfect meat temperatures like a professional, ensuring the perfect temp every time you're grilling or cooking. It typically lists for $29.99 and is being discounted 67%, down to $9.99. Learn more or purchase the discounted ThermoPro TP03A Thermometer at Amazon.

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Microsoft’s standing to sue over secret U.S. data requests in question

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 04:55:00 -0800

Microsoft’s lawsuit objecting to the indiscriminate use by U.S. law enforcement of orders that demand user data without the opportunity to inform the customer may run into questions about the software giant’s standing to raise the issue on behalf of its customers.

A government motion to dismiss Microsoft’s complaint comes up for oral arguments Monday and significantly the judge said on Thursday that the issue of whether Fourth Amendment rights are personal or can be “vicariously” asserted by third-parties on behalf of their customers would have to be addressed by both sides. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizure of property.

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4 simple note-taking apps for Windows 10

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 03:30:00 -0800

Microsoft may have dumped its Cache experimental note-taking app, but Windows users have alternatives to the sometimes overwhelmingly complex Evernote, Google Keep, or Microsoft's own OneNote. When you just want to jot down a few ideas and save them for later, you have simpler alternatives. These four Windows 10-compatible apps combine the convenience of digitized notes with the old-fashioned simplicity of scribbling on a notepad. Reach for one of these the next time you need to capture that thought.

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How to find, view, and delete everything the Amazon Echo and Google Home know about you

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

Take charge of your privacy so there are no surprises about how much information your digital assistant is holding onto.


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GeForce Now vs. GeForce Now: Nvidia's Shield and PC streaming services are wildly different

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

When is GeForce Now not GeForce Now? When it’s GeForce Now for PCs.

We should’ve seen this coming when the beastly Titan X was succeeded by, uh, the Titan X—a completely new graphics card with the same ol’ name. Nvidia’s following in the footsteps of Apple by sticking with a single designation for its flagship products. But with GeForce Now, it’s wading into Microsoft’s frustrating territory by giving two very different services the exact same name.

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Withings Steel HR review: A hybrid smartwatch with heart

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

The era of clunky, chunky fitness-tracking bands isn’t quite behind us, but a new crop of trackers prove you don’t have to pick between health and good looks. Withings marries the two in its $180 Steel HR band, which combines the look of a classic analog timepiece with a heart rate sensor for accurate fitness-tracking without sacrificing style.

The Steel HR is the next generation of the Activité Steel, which I reviewed more than a year ago and loved. The Steel HR doesn’t look much different at a glance, but don’t be fooled: This is an entirely new experience. Under its new parent company Nokia, Withings hasn’t departed from its classic design sensibility, which takes a cue from Swiss timepieces. But the new Steel HR puts a small digital screen right on its face and a heart rate sensor inside, which makes it a smarter watch and a better fitness tracker. It’s the best of both worlds.

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Excel Date and Time functions: WEEKNUM, ISOWEEKNUM, WORKDAY, WORKDAY.INTL

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 20:00:00 -0800

Excel’s Date & Time functions ease the workload for bookkeepers, project planners, HR departments, and other jobs where time is money. The four functions covered here—ISOWEEKNUM, WEEKNUM, WORKDAY, WORKDAY.INTL—are complicated, so we’ll walk you through detailed instructions and examples.

Note: Each function is defined first, followed by the function’s arguments (the values that functions use to perform calculations), followed by the function’s syntax—how a formula is arranged, which includes the function’s name and its arguments.

Remember: Arguments are always surrounded by parentheses, and individual arguments are separated by commas.

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