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Published: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:33:45 -0700

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:33:45 -0700

 



Huawei, Google supercharge Android with new Raspberry Pi-like board

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:00:02 -0700

Prepare to run Android at blazing fast speeds on a new Raspberry Pi-like computer developed by Huawei.

Huawei's HiKey 960 computer board is priced at US$239 but has some of the latest CPU and GPU technologies. Google, ARM, Huawei, Archermind, and LeMaker all played roles in developing the board.

The HiKey 960 is meant to be a go-to PC for Android or a tool to develop software and drivers for the OS. The board development was backed by Linaro, an organization that develops software packages for the Android OS and  ARM architecture.

Linaro CEO George Grey recently said it was sad that Android developers had to write code on x86 chips. He encouraged the organization's members to build a superfast computer so developers could build ARM software on ARM architecture. Intel has scaled back Android support on x86 PCs and isn't making smartphone chips.

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This is the closest thing Intel has built to a discrete GPU

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:58:00 -0700

Intel doesn't make its own discrete GPU but has built something that specializes in processing 4K graphics. But that product isn't powerful enough to run Crysis, if you were wondering.

The chipmaker showed off its Intel Visual Compute Accelerator 2 at the NAB show in Las Vegas this week. It has the build of a GPU but is designed for server applications and not for PCs.

The VCA 2 is aimed at cloud streaming 4K video, graphics, and virtual reality content. Servers with the graphics accelerator installed could be used to stream video or broadcast content.

The VCA 2 uses the 4K-capable Iris Pro Graphics P580 graphics chip and three Intel Xeon E3-1500 v5 processors. The P580 is also used in Intel's mini-PC called Skull Canyon, which is designed for gaming.

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Discounted CleanMyMac 3 with Gemini 2 Space Saving Bundle - Deal Alert

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:06:00 -0700

CleanMyMac 3 with Gemini 2 in tow is like a professional cleaning team for your Mac. The all-new CleanMyMac 3 will clean, optimize, and maintain your Mac. It scans every inch of your system, removes gigabytes of junk in just two clicks, and monitors the health of your Mac. Gemini 2 finds duplicate files and wipes them away. It's smart, laser accurate, and recovers tons of space on your Mac. Right now, when purchased together, the bundle will be discounted 10%. See this deal now on MacPaw (see under "Space Saving Bundle"). Alternatively, if you're looking to purchase just one, you can access CleanMyMac 3 here, and Gemini 2 right here.

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See Sedric drive: Volkswagen shows off first autonomous concept car

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:58:00 -0700

Earlier this year at CES, Toyota and Honda revealed their vision of an autonomous, connected, companion car, and now Volkswagen is entering the mix with Sedric. 

Sedric is Volkswagen's first crack at a fully autonomous car, and as such, it doesn't have pedals or a steering wheel. Instead, the concept car is summoned by pressing a button and "driven" by a voice-controlled AI agent. Passengers pile into its spacious interior through two sliding glass doors and can enjoy a movie on the car's OLED windscreen.

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Word newsletter tutorial: Using page layout features for professional results

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:26:00 -0700

Word can make a professional-looking newsletter using the Page Layout features and other tricks. Here’s an example so you can try the tools: 

Initial setup

1. Open a new document.

2. Go to Page Layout > Page Setup, click the Size button and choose Legal 8.5” x 14” from the drop-down list.

3. From the same location, click the Orientation button and select Landscape from the drop-down list.

4. Next, click the View tab and choose the One Page button so you can see the entire page.

5. From the same location, click the Columns button, and choose Two columns from the drop-down list. Since we’re planning to fold this page in half, this option actually gives us four pages.

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Microsoft cuts off 40 percent of Windows phones with Creators Update shift

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:04:00 -0700

Our review of the Creators Update for Windows 10 Mobile may have shown it to be a half-hearted update at best, but a substantial portion of Microsoft's base of installed phones won't even have a chance to experience it.

A report by AdDuplex, an ad network running on top of Windows devices, found that four of the top ten Windows phones won't be allowed to upgrade to Microsoft's latest feature update. That works out to about 40 percent of all Windows phones already in the hands of users.

(image) AdDuplex

Only 6 out of the top 10 best-selling phones are eligible for the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update, AdDuplex found.

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Google will try to combat fake news using search and user feedback

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:34:00 -0700

Google might not be as responsible for the spread of fake news as social media, but the search giant is still doing something about it: burying known sources of fake news, and letting users weigh in, too.

Google frequently tweaks the algorithms that return relevant search results, sometimes privately, and other times publicly. In this case, Google announced Tuesday that about 0.25 percent of all daily search results have been returning “offensive or clearly misleading content,” and those results will be pushed lower in search results in favor of more authoritative results. 

Google is also implementing Feedback links for users to report on the accuracy of autocomplete search queries and Featured Snippet text.

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Google tweaks Android Messages to make it easier to start a one-on-one conversation

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:36:00 -0700

Every time we see an update to Android Messages we get a little excited, hoping it will finally be the one that brings cross-device syncing to our phones, tablets, and computers. Sadly, the latest version doesn't add that feature, but it does bring a couple tweaks that should make it easier to use.

Most notably, the screen used to start a new conversation has been changed to eliminate some of the confusion. Previously, when you selected a contact to send a message to, it simply added the name to the “To” line, as if it assumed you were adding more people. Then, you had to tap the tiny arrow to start typing. Now, picking a name will bring you straight to the conversation screen.

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Wilson's Heart review: Not a perfect virtual reality game, but certainly the best so far

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 10:00:00 -0700

Wilson's Heart is the first can't-miss virtual reality game. That's my gut reaction.

Now, the reality of the situation is a bit more complicated. I've gotten plenty of use out of both my Oculus Rift and HTC Vive over the past year, experimenting with dozens if not hundreds of games and experiences. Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption impressed early on, Call of the Starseed took spectacle to a new level, and Arizona Sunshine was both lengthy enough and polished enough to feel like a "full game." To say nothing of Google Earth VR, Tilt Brush, Oculus Medium, and other non-gaming applications.

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Best Buy has knocked $50 off the Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:53:00 -0700

Late last week, our colleagues at TechConnect highlighted an Amazon deal for $50 off the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. That deal quickly disappeared, but good news: It's resurfaced at Best Buy. The big box retailer is selling the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for $199 this week instead of the usual $249.

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro does just what its name suggests. It's a smart home doorbell with a camera that allows you to see who's at the door. You can observe Ring's video from anywhere, as you view the feed through your smartphone.

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Google's 'Copyless Paste' feature aims to take the pain out of copying text on Android

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 09:13:00 -0700

We might have already gotten a sneak preview of the developer’s preview of Android O ahead of the I/O conference in May, but Google is surely holding back some of its better features for the big stage. And it seems as though Google has inadvertently given us our first look at one of them.

The latest version of Chrome Canary, Google’s experimental and “unstable” build of its mobile browser, includes a new option for Copyless Paste, a feature previously rumored for Android O. According to the description, it will “provide suggestions for text input based on your recent context” to cut down on the amount of time you need to spend playing with text handles.

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FCC chairman to announce plans to repeal net neutrality

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:07:33 -0700

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to announce plans to repeal the agency's 2015 net neutrality rules on Wednesday.

Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, will likely announce a plan to reverse course on the 2-year-old regulations and end the agency's classification of broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service. In a Wednesday speech, Pai will reportedly announce that he is scheduling a vote for the FCC's May 18 meeting to begin the process of repealing the rules.

Pai has called the net neutrality rules a mistake that "injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market." President Donald Trump, who appointed Pai as the FCC's chairman, has also criticized the regulations.

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Get 42% off The Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaning Robot - Deal Alert

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:49:00 -0700

If you're running out of ideas for Father's Day gifts, then consider this: The Grillbot. Grillbot is the first automated grill cleaning robot. Focus on your prep-work while it scrubs away in 10, 20 or 30-minute cleaning cycles. Grillbot has a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, removable dishwasher-safe brushes, and works with virtually all grill types. Grillbot averages 4 out of 5 stars from over 145 people on Amazon, and its list price of $129.95 is reduced right now 42% to $75.28 in red (other colors are available and discounted as well) -- see the deal now on Amazon. If you need to dive a bit deeper before making the decision, read TechHive's review of the Grillbot here.

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Webroot deletes Windows files and causes serious problems for users

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:19:00 -0700

Users of Webroot's endpoint security product, consumers and businesses alike, had a nasty surprise Monday when the program started flagging Windows files as malicious.

The reports quickly popped up on Twitter and continued on the Webroot community forum -- 14 pages and counting. The company came up with a manual fix to address the issue, but many users still had problems recovering their affected systems.

The problem is what's known in the antivirus industry as a "false positive" -- a case where a clean file is flagged as malicious and is blocked or deleted. False positive incidents can range in impact from merely annoying -- for example, when a program cannot run anymore -- to crippling, where the OS itself is affected and no longer boots.

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Xiaomi might release a Mi phone in the U.S., but not until 2019

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:09:00 -0700

When Xiaomi unveiled the Mi6 last week, notably absent was any mention of a U.S. release. While the China-based company launched its first stateside product late last year, the Android TV-based Mi Box, it has yet to debut a handset for the U.S. market. But Xiaomi isn’t giving up on the dream.

Xiaomi’s senior vice president of strategic cooperation Wang Xiang said in an interview with CNet that the company is taking its time with its global expansion, despite recent hints that it was attempting to break into the U.S. sooner than later. He told the publication that Xiaomi is hoping to launch its first handset “in two years, if not sooner,” so it would seem that U.S. buyers will have to wait until the Mi8 to get their hands on one.

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16% off MOCACuff Bluetooth Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor, iOS/Android Compatible - Deal Alert

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:58:00 -0700

Place MOCACuff on your wrist and let it do all the work, measuring heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Results are displayed on-screen with corresponding American Heart Association's blood pressure standards. A simple button press syncs results to your iOS/Android device. Receive expertly curated health recommendations via MOCACARE's app to improve or maintain your health, and visualize health trends and see how your health is improving over time. The device is FDA-cleared, CE certified and comes in a carrying case for convenience and portability. The typical list price of $77.74 has been reduced on Amazon 16% to $64.99, for now. See this deal now on Amazon.

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Sling TV expands its Cloud DVR 'First Look' to Apple TV

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:26:00 -0700

Sling TV is adding more devices to its 'First Look' for the new Cloud DVR feature. Sling TV subscribers with an Apple TV can now try the beta service for $5 per month, which gets you 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage.

Cloud DVR first showed up as an invite-only beta last December on Roku devices and select Smart TVs. At the time our general impression was that it was a nice feature, but still a work in progress.

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Set your power button to turn off all your PC's displays in the Creators Update

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Have you ever wanted the power button on your PC to do more than just turn off the PC? The Control Panel’s Power Options lets you change what the power button does, and there’s one power-button option in Windows 10 that I particularly like: that which lets you shut off all the displays in a multi-monitor setup without the PC going to sleep or logging out.

This process should work on all machines running the Anniversary Update and up. 

If you’re on a laptop, get started by clicking the upward facing arrow in the system tray, and then right-click the battery icon. In the context menu that appears, select Power Options. On a desktop, open the Control Panel, make sure the category view (upper-right corner) is set to Large icons, and select Power Options.

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Google Maps vs. Waze: Which should be your go-to map app?

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Each app offers unique features to help you conquer survive the commute home. Which should you use, and when?


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Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update review: The future is increasingly uncertain

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:35:00 -0700

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update rides the coattails of the desktop OS, heavily leaning on improvements in Cortana and Edge to nudge Microsoft’s nearly comatose mobile platform further ahead.

As the free upgrade rolls out Tuesday, our review of the Creators Update can't help but conclude that it's even less of an improvement than the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update. We can tell you that Windows’ new ability to buy and read ebooks within Edge represents its most potent addition. You can turn off a screen while using Continuum, a tweak that better approximates the PC experience. Cortana’s slightly smarter, as she is on the desktop. You can also pause updates, view the Glance screen while charging and enjoy a limited but refreshingly simple 3D content creation app, 3D Builder. 

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Petnet SmartFeeder review: Robot pet feeder meets smartphone app with mostly good results

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0700

When I first heard about the Petnet SmartFeeder, I bristled. How could something so basic as feeding a pet be in search of a smart solution? I deposit a half-cup of dry kibble in my dog’s bowl twice daily—done and done. Is no human endeavor sacred?  

Okay, maybe a tad dramatic. I can see that there are times when an automatic pet feeder makes sense: an unpredictable work schedule, say, or an impromptu invite, either of which could step on the toes of your pet’s meal time.

The SmartFeeder (which retails for $149) can dispense a precise measure of your dog or cat’s food at preset times of your choosing, and then let you monitor and revise the feedings via a companion app. Fido or Fluffy stays sated when your schedule is in flux.

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Finsix Dart-C charger review: Tiny, powerful, and worth the expense

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0700

If you accidentally left your USB-C laptop charger during a layover at Batman Airport (yes, it’s real), consider yourself lucky, because you now have an excuse to upgrade to a much sexier, much lighter power brick, like the Finsix Dart-C (available for preorder for $99.99).

I can’t confirm Finsix’s claim that this is “The World’s Smallest Laptop Charger,” but damn, is it small (approximately 2.5 x 1 x 1 inches) and it punches well above its weight.

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Amazon Will Comp You A Dash Button When You Buy 2, and Then $4.99 Once You Use It - Deal Alert

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0700

This deal on Amazon will net you 2 Dash Buttons for the price of 0, making this a no-brainer if you've been thinking about trying Dash out. Right now if you buy two Dash Buttons, Amazon will give you one of them for free, and then a $4.99 credit the first time you actually use it (list price on a Dash Button is $4.99). Amazon Dash is a simple Wi-Fi connected gadget that lets you order your favorite things with just the push of a button. Keep it by your washing machine, your pet food, or in the bathroom closet. When you notice you're running low, just press the button and Amazon ships it right out. Each button gets tied to a specific product from Amazon's library of over 300 brands, in categories such as (click each category to see samples) household suppliesbeverage & groceryhealth & personal carebeauty productspetskids & baby, and more. Access this deal on Amazon

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42% off Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands - (XBOX ONE, PS4) - Deal Alert

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 02:45:00 -0700

Today you'll see the price drop an extra 42% on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Experience total freedom of choice in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, the ultimate military shooter set in a massive open world setting.  The Santa Blanca drug cartel has transformed the beautiful South American country of Bolivia into a perilous narco-state, leading to lawlessness, fear, and rampant violence. With their corrosive influence growing, the cartel plagues the citizens of Bolivia but all hope is not lost. The Ghosts, an elite US Special Forces team, are tasked to combat the cartel and save the country from collapse.  See the discounted Ghost Recon Wildlands on Amazon.

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Oracle plans ‘startup organization’ focused on cloud computing, AI and VR

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:02:26 -0700

Oracle is hiring people for a "new startup organization" inside its North America operation that will focus on key technology trends, including cloud computing, internet of things, artificial Intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality.

The Solution Engineering organization the company is setting up will consist of Solution Engineering Centers in Reston, Virginia and Denver, Colorado.

The database and enterprise software company has previously indicated its interest in investing in some of these technology areas like machine learning and analytics.

It announced in September last year that it was investing in intelligent cloud applications, called Adaptive Intelligent Applications, “that automatically offer individualized recommended actions and streamline the tasks of business users such as human resource or finance professionals.”

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Hipchat resets user passwords after possible breach

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 18:08:20 -0700

HipChat has reset all its users' passwords after what it called a security incident that may have exposed their names, email addresses and hashed password information.

In some cases, attackers may have accessed messages and content in chat rooms, HipChat said in a Monday blog post. But this happened in no more than 0.05 percent of the cases, each of which involved a domain URL, such as company.hipchat.com.

HipChat didn't say how many users may have been affected by the incident. The passwords that may have been exposed would also be difficult to crack, the company said. The data is hashed, or obscured, with the bcrypt algorithm, which transforms the passwords into a set of random-looking characters. For added security, HipChat "salted" each password with a random value before hashing it.

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ONUG gets closer to making SD-WANs talk to each other

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:46:04 -0700

A group of networking engineers and vendors is making progress toward an API that would help enterprises merge SD-WANs from different vendors.

The Open SD-WAN Exchange (OSE) initiative was launched last year by the Open Networking User Group (ONUG) to solve a shortcoming of software-defined wide-area networks: They often can't talk to each other. On Tuesday at the ONUG Spring 2017 conference in San Francisco, OSE will make public the work it's done so far.

SD-WANs control links to branch offices and remote sites with software, which ultimately should eliminate proprietary hardware and dedicated routing schemes. They also allow companies to use regular broadband connections instead of more expensive MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) services.

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Cars will get superior digital vision with ARM's camera chip

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:00:00 -0700

Cars are turning into computers with a unique set of requirements.

One of the more important components is a camera, which is a secondary feature in PCs. Cameras are aiding mirrors in allowing cars to self park, and they will serve as the eyes for autonomous cars, helping capture and analyze images.

The number of cameras on cars will only grow as drivers seek a better view of the vehicle's interiors and exteriors. For car makers, the next big goal is to bring context and understanding to those images. Combined with data from radar, lidar, GPS, and other sensors, cameras can help cars and drivers make better decisions.

ARM has come up with a specialized camera chip for cars, with the goal of bringing context to images and improving driver and passenger safety. The Mali-C71 image signal processor will analyze every pixel from cameras onboard a car, and much like a human eye, read the image, and help make driving decisions.

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How to delete and disable location history in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:30:00 -0700

Your devices scoop up all kinds of information about you to provide helpful services and deliver supposedly targeted advertising. Since the debut of Windows 10 this trend has also landed in full force on the PC. But what if you don't want to participate in this cloud-based madness? A good start is to restrict your location information in Windows 10.

Here's how to turn off location services in Windows 10 and delete your location history.

Location services

(image) Ian Paul/IDG

Some Windows Store apps in Windows 10 require your location to work correctly, while others would like it in order to tailor your experience. Before you turn off location services keep in mind that any location-specific services or apps will no longer be available to you.

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Google Fit update finally brings strength training feature to all Android Wear 2.0 watches

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:22:00 -0700

Whether you have a new Android Wear 2.0 watch or a first-gen model that just received an update, they’re about to get a lot more buffed. We already know the new Google Fit app brings a bunch of new trackers and motivators for workout buffs, but in the latest update, Google is finally turning on the best new feature.

Back when we reviewed the LG Sport and Style watches, we noted a strange difference between them regarding one of Google Fit’s better features. On the Sport, we were able to activate Strength Training, which used the watch’s sensors to automatically track what we were doing (situps, weight lifting, etc.) and count our reps. But on the Style that option wasn’t present, and we couldn’t figure out why.

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