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Published: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:30:41 -0800

Last Build Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:30:41 -0800

 



Three tips for dealing with an unruly desktop

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:00:00 -0800

We’ve talked before about how to keep the desktop clean. But for desktop addicts it’s not so simple, is it? The desktop is a convenient place to quickly store files that you download or want to have readily available. At least at first. Over time, the files build up and before you know it the desktop is a mess again, the exact opposite of efficient.

Here are three tools for dealing with the chaos.

Hide the icons

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The desktop’s generic context menu.

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Best webcam: Upgrade your video calls with higher resolutions and better features

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:30:00 -0800

A good webcam is essential if you plan to spend a lot of time video chatting with family, friends, and co-workers. While these devices have come a long way from the cheap plastic and grainy images of yore, just a handful of standalone webcams exists these days. Models that deliver on their promises of impressive resolutions, durable designs, and the ability to record high-definition video are even rarer.

We’ve looked at seven prominent HD models, from economical to the higher end of consumer grade. To help you find the best one for you, we’ve also outlined the key features to keep in mind when evaluating webcams. Whether you want to upload videos to your blog or hold business video calls with remote colleagues, we’ll help you find the right one for your needs.

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Singlecue Gen 2 review: This gesture-recognition device nearly provoked us into making some rude gestures

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0800

I have an Amazon Echo and a Logitech Harmony Remote in my bedroom, but my goal is to eliminate as many remotes as possible so I can control the TV, cable box, Amazon Fire TV, and other gadgets in my house as quickly and efficiently as possible. I want to be able to do things like dim the lights, turn on the TV, and tune to my favorite program in a single step, without needing to reach for a switch or fumble with multiple remotes.

It’s against that backdrop—and a desire to simplify my life—that I anxiously broke out Singlecue gesture-control device from the box and plugged it in. I was hoping that Singlecue’s promise to enable me to control my home’s smart devices with a wave of my hand would further my mission to eliminate remotes altogether. It didn’t.

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Awesome tech gifts that cost less than $100

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0800

Wow the ones you love
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Image by Rob Schultz

If you’re having trouble finding cool gifts for every single person in your life, you’re doing it wrong. In the tech sector alone, there are some great gift-worthy products at every price point—suitable for a variety of personality types, interests, and even tech-savviness (or lack thereof).

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Georgia says it's traced an attempted voter hack to the Department of Homeland Security

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:56:00 -0800

Georgia's secretary of state says the state was hit with an attempted hack of its voter registration database from an IP address linked to the federal Department of Homeland Security.

The allegation by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is one of the more bizarre charges to come up in the recent spate of alarms about voting-system hacks. He said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he had been made aware of the failed attempt to breach the firewall protecting Georgia's voter registration database. The attack was traced to an Internet Protocol address associated with DHS, he said.

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Moore's Law lives on with speedy 7nm mobile chips coming in 2018

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:34:00 -0800

How do mobile devices keep get faster, thinner, and more power efficient? It’s thanks to the quick advances in chip manufacturing, which help churn out smaller chips packed with new features.

The next round of premium smartphones early next year could feature chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, made using the latest, 10-nanometer process.

Continuing with the famous Moore’s Law observation, it’s likely that two years after that, smartphones will get even faster and smaller chips will be made using a 7-nanometer process.

On Monday, ARM, with its chip designs in most smartphones, said it is working with prominent chip manufacturer TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) to make 7-nm chips. ARM shared intellectual property for its 7-nm designs, allowing chips to be designed for manufacturing in TSMC’s factories.

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AMD strengthens gaming and VR on Linux with graphics improvements

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:32:00 -0800

Windows is the indisputable platform of choice for gaming and VR, but Linux is catching up fast as graphics companies ramp up driver and hardware support for the OS.

AMD is showing more love for Linux than ever before. The company on Thursday announced some hardware and driver updates that will strengthen gaming and VR on the OS.

The biggest news is AMD’s support for FreeSync on Linux PCs. FreeSync can improve the rendition of games and high-definition video by allowing GPUs to communicate directly with displays, reducing image stutter and lag time. Images are drawn up on the screen while they are being rendered in GPUs.

This is the first time AMD is bringing FreeSync support to Linux. It was earlier available only on Windows PCs.

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Snowden documents: U.S. and UK spy agencies have been intercepting in-flight phone calls for years

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:22:00 -0800

U.S. and U.K. spy agencies have been monitoring in-flight mobile phone users for years, according to new revelations from the trove of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

As early as 2012 the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was intercepting voice and data communications from commercial aircraft using the OnAir service to carry 2G mobile services over the Inmarsat satellite communications network. At the time, GCHQ did not have access to a rival in-flight mobile service provider, Aeromobile, French newspaper Le Monde reported Wednesday.

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Russian cyberspies likely behind DNC breach move on to German election

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:18:00 -0800

A group of suspected Russian cyberspies blamed for interfering in the U.S. election is also attempting to influence the upcoming vote in Germany, according to the country's domestic intelligence agency.

The Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear or APT 28 has been targeting political parties in the country, Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) intelligence agency said in a statement Thursday posted online by Politico.

The hacking activities have led to a surge in spear-phishing email attacks directed at German politicians, the agency said.  

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US mulls rules for airlines that plan in-flight Wi-Fi voice calls

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:59:29 -0800

The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering making it mandatory for airlines to inform passengers before purchasing tickets if they will allow voice calls using mobile wireless devices on board their aircraft, thus hoping to placate customers who could object to having co-passengers talking away on their phones in an enclosed space.

An alternative measure would be to ban all voice calls on domestic and international flights to or from the U.S., the DOT said in a proposal for which it has asked for comments within 60 days of publication of the notice on the Federal Register.

The Federal Communications Commission already bans the use of mobile devices on certain radio frequencies on board aircraft, including for voice calls, but it has not prohibited calls using the Wi-Fi network or other means, according to the DOT.

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OpenVPN will be audited for security flaws

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:35:00 -0800

The next major version of OpenVPN, one of the most widely used virtual private networking technologies, will be audited by a well-known cryptography expert.

The audit will be fully funded by Private Internet Access (PIA), a popular VPN service provider that uses OpenVPN for its business. The company has contracted cryptography engineering expert Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, to carry out the evaluation with the goal of identifying any vulnerabilities in the code.

Green has experience in auditing encryption software, being one of the founders of the Open Crypto Audit Project, which organized a detailed analysis of TrueCrypt, a popular open-source full-disk encryption application. TrueCrypt has been abandoned by its original developers in 2014, but its code has since been forked and improved as part of other projects.

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Samsung still struggling with the recovery of Note7 phones from users

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:21:00 -0800

Samsung’s recall of Galaxy Note7 smartphones because of exploding batteries is far from complete with some users, for example, in Canada still not turning in their devices for a refund or exchange.

The South Korean company has now decided to cut these phones from the network, adopting similar measures to those taken last month in New Zealand and earlier this month in Australia.

The company said Wednesday that from Dec. 12 functional limitations on Note7 phones, including curbs on the battery charge, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disablement will be introduced in Canada.

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Cortana for iOS, Android now features quick access to common actions

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:23:42 -0800

Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant is getting a facelift on iOS and Android aimed at making it more useful for users, and also bringing a bit of brightness to what's currently a rather dour interface. 

The app's biggest change is the launch of a button that lets users quickly choose between a suite of common actions, like viewing their calendar at a glance, checking reminders, or getting a weather forecast. The app itself looks friendlier, with a purple gradient background replacing a stark black, white, and blue color scheme. 

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Microsoft's vision for LinkedIn is about tying its business data into Office and other services

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:25:00 -0800

Now that Microsoft’s massive $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn has officially closed, it’s time for the next step: figuring out how its massive store of business information can best be used by Microsoft and its customers. 

Building upon the company’s integration plan outlined earlier this year, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella laid out a set of plans for short-term integration with LinkedIn (in a blog post on LinkedIn, natch), with advantages for both consumers and business customers.

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48% off Travel Cord Organizer - Electronics Accessories Case & Cable Organizer - Deal Alert

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:51:00 -0800

Designed to protect and safeguard your electronic gadgets and save time on the go by easily storing and finding everything you need. This travel organizer offers a secure storage space for cord management, laptop and computer accessories putting everything you need in one place. This organizer also gives you special space inside for credit cards, passports, also for boarding passes, smartphone, tickets and has many pockets where you can put coins, keys, USB, SIM card, earphones, and other small accessories. Give yourself or someone else the gift of stress-free travel.  The travel cord organizer's typical list price of $30.99 has been reduced 48% to $15.99. See the discounted Travel Cord Organizer now on Amazon.

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$49 Windows tablets, $1,000 PC discounts, and 50% off Xbox games highlight Microsoft deals

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:09:00 -0800

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have come and gone. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from publishing some fairly amazing deals over the next 12 days, half of which you’ll need to visit a brick-and-mortar Microsoft store to score.

Since the deals kick off on December 5, you have until Monday to plan your purchases. And you will need to plan them, too: The 12 Days of Deals unlock each day and are only good “while supplies last.” Naturally, you’ll have to line up at a physical Microsoft Store if you want to score a “doorbuster.” 

Some of the deals are well worth the trouble. Microsoft will offer up to $1,000 off on select PCs on two separate days, for example, and there are a number of half-off deals on Xbox One games, too. Another intriguing deal is a $49 Windows tablet on Friday, December 9. Microsoft’s best deals, however, are shrouded in mystery: The company isn’t revealing which tablet will be $49, or what PCs it will be discounting by $1,000. 

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Best Android phones: What should you buy?

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:00:00 -0800

Updated 12/08/16: We've updated our recommendation for Best Bang for the Buck to the OnePlus 3T.

Choosing a new Android phone isn’t easy. The Android universe is teeming with options, from super-expensive flagship phones, to affordable models that make a few calculated compromises, to models expressly designed for, say, great photography. 

Chances are that whichever phone you buy, you’ll keep it for at least two years. So choosing the best Android phone for you isn’t a decision you should take lightly. 

But we can make things easier. Everyone has different priorities and needs, so we’ve made some picks for the best Android phone in several categories. 

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BrandPost: Amazing Things Happen When Passion Meets Technology

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:35:00 -0800

Technology and passion make powerful allies. The partnership of these forces allows pioneers to break boundaries, competitors to shatter records, and visionaries to change the world.

To put things into perspective, here’s a new view of some of the incredible accomplishments we’ve made by dreaming big and defying our limits.

Where will you take us next?

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Google Drive update makes managing backups a little easier

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:32:00 -0800

It wasn’t a feature Google advertised all that well, but your Drive has been dutifully keeping backups of the data on your devices since Marshmallow introduced Auto Backup for Apps. Now it is making it easier to find them.

A new update to the Google Drive app adds a handy Backups section to the sidebar. Open it and you can see which of your devices have backups and which apps are being stored within them. From there you’ll be able to delete any unwanted or outdated backups, and keep an eye on how much data is being kept. The update also delivers easier previews of Excel and other spreadsheet files.

If you’re not seeing anything in the folder, you’ll need to turn on backups. Head over to your phone's Settings, tap Backup and reset, then Backup, and toggle the Back up to Google Drive switch (your interface might be a bit different depending on your phone model). The update is currently rolling out to devices, so go check the Play Store for the latest version. And as usual, if you’re not seeing the update on your device, you can sideload the Google-signed APK using APKMirror.

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Facebook's Year in Review for 2016 isn't just fun and games

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:10:00 -0800

In November, John Oliver “called it early,” declaring 2016 a truly terrible year. On Thursday, Facebook pretty much backed up that claim, releasing its Year in Review that reveals the most-discussed topics around the world on the social network.

Facebook put together its year in review by ranking the most frequently mentioned topics in Facebook posts between January 1 and November 27. That data was then analyzed (and anonymized) to get a sense of the year’s most discussed issues in 2016.

It probably comes as no surprise that with just a few exceptions, the list includes one controversial and sad topic after another. Topping off the chart is the U.S. Presidential Election. Regardless of which candidate you were pulling for, almost everyone was glad to see this year’s overly long, overly divisive campaign drift into the history books.

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78% off Senso Bluetooth Sweatproof Sport Headphones - Deal Alert

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:02:00 -0800


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Cyberspies stole secrets from industrial giant ThyssenKrupp

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:45:58 -0800

Germany-based industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp was hit by a cyberespionage attack earlier this year that resulted in data being stolen from its industrial solutions and steel producing units.

An investigation revealed that the attack was carried out by a professional group of hackers from Southeast Asia and targeted technological know-how and research, according to the group,

While hackers managed to steal some information, its exact nature is not clear, with the exception of certain project data from an engineering company, ThyssenKrupp said in an emailed statement Thursday. As a result, at this time there's no reliable estimation of the damage to the company's intellectual property.

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New slate of games showcase the power of Daydream VR

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:04:00 -0800

When we reviewed Google’s Daydream View headset last month, we were enamored with the simple, affordable solution to virtual reality, but somewhat disappointed in the lack of content. Just a handful of games were available at launch, and while there were certainly some fun titles, it was missing a real killer app to showcase its full capabilities.

Barely a month after its release, Google is following through on its promise to build a full Daydream ecosystem. Along with two new colors of the fabric-wrapped headset (Crimson and Snow), a new crop of virtual-reality apps have launched in the Play Store, and whether you’re a master builder, speed demon, or couch potato, you’re sure to find something to get your attention:

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Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor roundup: Here's everything we know so far

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:07:00 -0800

Editor’s note: This article is frequently updated to reflect the latest information available. We most recently added information about bezel-less wraparound displays.

It’s that time of year again. Rumors are flying about the latest Samsung flagship smartphone. Presumably to be called the Galaxy S8, it’ll attempt to revive Samsung’s burned edges from the Galaxy Note7 debacle.

Here’s everything we have heard so far about what Samsung is putting together. The details are pretty much in the rumor category at this point, but we’ll continually update this article with the latest information. In the most recent report, Bloomberg weighs in with some enticing news about the new “all-screen design,” while also corroborating other rumors we had heard. Read on for the details:

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20% off Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker - Deal Alert

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:00:00 -0800

This kitchen gadget from Hamilton Beach is all about making a fresh breakfast sandwich that you can grab and go. Just choose your bread and layer on the fixings: egg, cheese, precooked meat, or other ingredients of your choice. In five minutes or less, your perfectly assembled breakfast sandwich is ready to eat. All removable parts simply go in the dishwasher for an easy cleanup. The sandwich maker averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 3,000 people on Amazon (read reviews). It's typical list price of $30 has been reduced to $24, saving you 20%. See it on Amazon.

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AMD's Radeon Software Crimson ReLive debuts with features galore

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0800


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OnePlus 3T review: One of the best Android phones gets a little better

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:00:00 -0800

OnePlus has never been one to play by the rules. Back when it made its entrance into the crowded smartphone market with the One, it set itself apart by selling a premium handset at a mid-tier price and offering invitation-only purchases instead of the standard preorders. The 3T very much fits with this rebellious nature. Essentially a refreshed version of the 6-month-old OnePlus 3, the new phone undermines another smartphone constant: the yearly update. 

iPhone users are familiar with the concept of the mid-cycle model—a handset that keeps the same enclosure but beefs up features and internal components. But there’s always been a special hook with Apple’s S phones, a reason for current owners to rush out and buy the new model. The 3T could be seen as OnePlus’ attempt to mimic the success Apple has had with the formula (and in fact, the company says it picked T for the new phone’s surname simply because it’s a letter higher than S).

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Microsoft-Qualcomm deal finally puts Windows 10 and Win32 apps on ARM devices

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:24:00 -0800

Windows RT tried, and failed, to deliver a full-fledged Windows environment on top of anemic ARM microprocessors. Now, Microsoft is trying again, with two major improvements: compatibility with the mainstream Win32 apps that PC users have enjoyed for years, and a new generation of powerful ARM chips to run them.

At its Windows Hardware Engineering (WinHEC) conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft said Thursday morning that it's partnered with Qualcomm to enable new, low-cost PCs. These are intended to replace Windows tablets built around Intel’s Atom, a chip the company's essentially discontinued.

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Microsoft wants to enable cellular PCs, but will carriers bite?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:09:00 -0800

Spending time traveling can be a frustrating exercise in trying to find Wi-Fi. So much modern work often requires an internet connection, and while it’s possible to tether smartphones to PCs to help bridge the connectivity gap, that’s a clunky solution.

Microsoft is aiming to help with that by supporting the installation of non-removable programmable SIM cards and data radios in PCs and Windows tablets. In the company's vision, users will then be able to purchase cellular data for those cards through the Windows Store. The announcement was made Thursday at the company’s WinHEC conference for device manufacturers in Shenzhen, China.

By enabling the new form of internet access, Microsoft could give users an easy way to get online right from their computer, and encourage manufacturers to build cellular-capable devices. Users would also get settings to help them better manage the use of data plans, so it’s easier for them to control how much data apps can suck up.

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