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Published: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:23:27 -0800

Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:23:27 -0800

 



58% off Alinshi Foldable Soft Silicone USB Waterproof Keyboard - Deal Alert

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:05:00 -0800


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Verizon plans 5G trial service in 11 cities this year

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:37:07 -0800

Lab tests of pre-standard 5G wireless with multi-gigabit speeds are evolving into trial services that users can actually enjoy in the real world – though not necessarily while walking around with a smartphone.

Verizon said Wednesday it will launch pre-commercial 5G service in 11 markets around the U.S. by the middle of this year, joining rival AT&T in aggressively deploying the future technology.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, carriers are expected to announce more upcoming 5G trials.

The Verizon trial, planned for select users in cities including Atlanta, Denver, Miami, and Seattle, will use fixed wireless equipment for home broadband instead of mobile networks for roving devices. But it’s an early use of millimeter-wave frequencies that carriers say they will need for future high-speed mobile broadband.

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Halo Wars 2 review: Spinning its Warthog wheels in a stagnant RTS genre

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:00:00 -0800

I briefly wrote about Halo Wars 2 last week—mostly performance and issues I had with the PC controls at launch. Rather than rehashing those quibbles, head over here for PCWorld’s look at the technical side of Halo Wars 2.

This will be our official review of the actual game, focused primarily on the campaign and the “should-be-good-except” Blitz Mode, both of which I put more time over the past week. The short version? Halo Wars 2 isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not the real-time strategy genre’s long-sought salvation.

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What to expect from the Trump administration on cybersecurity

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 11:07:40 -0800

Look for U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to push for increased cybersecurity spending in government, but also for increased digital surveillance and encryption workarounds.

That's the view of some cybersecurity policy experts, who said they expect Trump to focus on improving U.S. agencies' cybersecurity while shying away from new cybersecurity regulations for businesses. 

Trump is likely to look for ways for the National Security Agency and other agencies to assist the government and companies defend against cyberattacks, said Jeffrey Eisenach, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a tech advisor during Trump's presidential transition.

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New macOS ransomware spotted in the wild

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:58:00 -0800

A new file-encrypting ransomware program for macOS is being distributed through BitTorrent websites, and users who fall victim to it won’t be able to recover their files, even if they pay.

Crypto ransomware programs for macOS are rare. This is the second such threat found in the wild so far, and it’s a poorly designed one. The program was named OSX/Filecoder.E by the malware researchers from antivirus vendor ESET who found it.

OSX/Filecoder.E masquerades as a cracking tool for commercial software like Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Microsoft Office for Mac and is being distributed as a BitTorrent download. It is written in Apple’s Swift programming language by what appears to be an inexperienced developer, judging from the many mistakes made in its implementation.

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Staples is selling a 24-inch HP all-in-one for $500

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:46:00 -0800


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Test your PC's Ghost Recon: Wildlands performance in this weekend's open beta

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:25:00 -0800

It’s that time again! And by “that time” I of course mean time for one of Ubisoft’s infamous “open betas” a.k.a. time-limited demo periods right before a game’s launch—this time for the upcoming Ghost Recon: Wildlands. We’re about two weeks out from parachuting through drug-torn Bolivia officially, but you can get your hands on the game this weekend.

You’ll have four days to explore a subsection of Ghost Recon’s map, the provinces of Itacua and Montuyoc. The former is the opening area from the full game, so it should serve as a pretty good demo, while the latter “is located in the highlands and has impressive vistas where you can watch the red lakes from above.” Montuyoc should be ideal for testing those draw-distances, which potential buyers should jump on after some reports of performance inconsistencies plagued Ghost Recon’s closed beta on the PC.

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AMD's Ryzen launches March 2, outperforming Intel's Core i7 at a fraction of the price

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:08:00 -0800

Ryzen is here. AMD said Wednesday that it plans a “hard launch” of its first three Ryzen processors on March 2. The highly anticipated chips promise to outperform high-end parts from Intel and undercut their prices by as much as 54 percent. 

AMD executives confidently unveiled the first three desktop chips to attack Intel’s Core i7, supported by several top-tier motherboard vendors and boutique system builders. In many cases, executives said, AMD will offer more for less, as early Ryzen benchmarks prove. The top-tier Ryzen 7 1800X will cost less than half of what Intel’s thousand-dollar Core i7-6900K chip does—and outperform it, too. You can preorder Ryzen chips and systems from 180 retailers and system integrators today.

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Google Camera update adds shutter sound toggle, zoom bar, exposure tweaks

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:42:00 -0800

If you have a Nexus or Pixel phone, you probably use the Google Camera app that comes with it. It's a decent enough picture-taking experience; the resulting photos can be remarkable, but the interface and features are, shall we say, sparse.

If you were hoping for a "Pro" mode with precise controls over shutter speed and ISO, you're probably still going to be waiting for awhile. But the new 4.3 version of the app does add a few minor quality-of-life improvements.

Zoom slider - When you pinch-to-zoom, you get a zoom slider at the bottom of the camera view. You can drag along the bar to make fine adjustments to zoom, and see a visual representation of just how far zoomed-in you are.

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Radeon Vega logo, graphics card design revealed at AMD's Ryzen event

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:14:00 -0800

AMD held a tech day for the press on Tuesday, and while the focus was squarely on the new AMD Ryzen pricing, release date info, and performance, some new tidbits about the hotly anticipated Vega graphics cards were quietly revealed, too.

First up: The Radeon Vega logo, which appeared in an overview slide shown to the press, as you can see in the image below. We’ve zoomed in on the logo for this article’s headline image for your viewing pleasure.

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Instagram's new galleries will let you share multiple photos per post

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:10:00 -0800

Instagram has become something of an art form. To avoid cluttering your friends’ feeds, you have to pick the best photo from a day or an event, the one that perfectly encapsulates the experience. Then you artfully edit the image by choosing the perfect filter and tweaking it in advanced options. A sardonic or heartfelt caption rounds out the post, which you then share and wait for the likes to come rolling in. But today, Instagram is changing the game.

You don’t have to share just one photo per post anymore. In an update rolling out for iOS and Android users Wednesday, Instagram is lifting its limitations with multiple images and videos per post—up to 10, to be exact. This is a feature that Instagram actually launched two years ago, but was previously only available to brands.

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Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti graphics card launch teased by GeForce website countdown

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 08:24:00 -0800


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Valve launches SteamVR support for Linux, opens the door for more SteamVR hardware

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 07:43:00 -0800

Nearly a year ago, Valve released SteamVR alongside HTC’s Vive, but without Linux and Mac OS X support as originally planned. Now, Valve is making up for at least one of those missed targets. The company just released a development build of SteamVR for Linux, and it's making Steam’s room-scale tracking system more accessible to hardware makers as well.

The SteamVR for Linux release is currently targeted at developers who can use the software to create VR experiences for Linux, including the Linux-based SteamOS. To get started developers, need the latest Steam Beta Client and a Vulkan-friendly beta driver from Nvidia or AMD—though using an AMD driver takes a little more doing than with Nvidia.

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Samsung's Monitorless concept swaps your PC display for augmented sunglasses

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:13:00 -0800


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Today Only, Amazon Will Discount $8.62 off All Orders $50 Or More - Deal Alert

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:55:00 -0800

Buy at least $50 worth of stuff on Amazon today, Feb 22, and you'll see a magical $8.62 discount applied at checkout when you enter the code BIGTHANKS. Yes -- it's free money. Amazon is offering this one-day discount to celebrate a 86.27 score they were given on a recent corporate reputation survey. If you've been putting off some purchases, today might be a good day to pull the trigger. Head over to Amazon and get your discount right now.

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Microsoft pushes out critical Flash Player patches with one week delay

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:52:00 -0800

After deciding to postpone its February patches for a month, Microsoft released one critical security update for Windows on Tuesday that contains Flash Player patches released by Adobe Systems last week.

The new security bulletin, identified as MS17-005, is rated critical for Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, and moderate for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. On these Windows versions, Flash Player is bundled by default with Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge, so Microsoft delivers patches for it through Windows Update.

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AMD Ryzen benchmark preview: Ryzen 7 outperforms Intel's best

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0800

AMD’s Ryzen is out to prove that some things aren't too good to be true. At least that’s what the latest round of benchmarks released from the company appear to prove. At this point, the numbers indicate the underdog company’s new chip will be every bit as impressive as the hype says it is.

At a briefing on Tuesday ahead of its Wednesday launch, AMD again showed how its Ryzen chip matches or outperforms Intel’s best and brightest, this time in the popular Maxon CineBench benchmark.

CineBench measures a CPU’s ability to render a 3D scene, loves multi-threading, and is generally well-respected as a valid way to measure pure CPU performance. In AMD's demonstrations, an eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 1700X matched Intel’s eight-core Core i7-6900K. The kicker is just how much that Ryzen 7 1700X costs: $399 vs. Intel’s $1,089 Core i7-6900K. Mic drop.

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UPS launches an autonomous drone from a delivery truck

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:42:00 -0800

On Monday, a UPS drone buzzed over fields in Lithia, Florida, to deliver a test package to a rural home.

It was launched from the roof of a modified UPS truck and automatically returned to the vehicle after making its drop-off. The idea is that the driver can continue along his or her route while the drone makes a delivery that would otherwise be out of the way.

“Imagine a triangular delivery route where the stops are miles apart by road. Sending a drone from a package car to make just one of those deliveries can reduce costly miles driven,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering, in a press release on Tuesday. “This is a big step toward bolstering efficiency in our network and reducing our emissions at the same time.”

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LG Watch Sport review: Not the watch Android Wear needs right now

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:00:00 -0800

Android Wear has a problem. Sales are slow. Motorola is backing out. Samsung has its own watch platform.

What Google’s watch ecosystem needs is a reboot. New software, new hardware, fresh marketing, the works. Unfortunately, the two LG watches chosen to be the launch partners for the new Android Wear 2.0 platform fall well short of the fresh, forward-looking, “gotta have it” hardware that’s really needed. The LG Style is missing some of Wear 2.0’s best features, and the LG Sport, which showcases everything Wear 2.0 has to offer, is laden with faults.

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It's not too late for Apple TV

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0800


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LinkedIn will help people in India train for semi-skilled jobs

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:52:17 -0800

Microsoft has launched Project Sangam, a cloud service integrated with LinkedIn that will help train and generate employment for middle and low-skilled workers.

The professional network that was acquired by Microsoft in December has been generally associated with educated urban professionals but the company is now planning to extend its reach to semi-skilled people in India.

Having connected white-collared professionals around the world with the right job opportunities and training through LinkedIn Learning, the platform is now developing a new set of products that extends this service to low- and semi-skilled workers, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at an event on digital transformation in Mumbai on Wednesday.

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Microsoft seeks Indian customers with exclusive Skype Lite app

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:30:01 -0800

There’s a growing population of Skype users in India, and Microsoft wants to capitalize on that with the launch of Skype Lite, a new app that’s designed to be more useful in that market.

The app allows users to send and receive Skype messages, plus make video and audio calls to both users of the Lite version and the full version of Microsoft’s app. Skype Lite is supposed to be optimized for delivering a good experience over rough network conditions, which is key for India where high-speed cellular data is harder to come by.

Building a special app for India makes sense, as the country hosts a large and still growing smartphone market. Skype faces a crowded competitive landscape in the messaging market, which also includes Kik, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Telegram and a host of other competitors.

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Best Bluetooth speakers

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:19:00 -0800

Last updated February 21, 2017 to include our review of the Vizio SmartCast Crave 360.

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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Redfin CTO says machine learning needs human help

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:02:46 -0800

Machine learning can automate the handling of huge troves of data to help companies make and save money. However, they’re not without pitfalls, as the real estate tech company Redfin learned.

As Redfin began building its own machine-learning capabilities, it ran into a problem: Employees weren't using them. Bridget Frey, the firm’s CTO, said in an interview that there was a key reason for that: At first, Redfin didn't leave room in these systems for the real estate agents who were supposed to use them to make modifications.

For example, a Listings Matchmaker feature generated a list of personalized recommendations for homebuyers, based on their interests. In its initial iteration, agents weren’t able to add recommendations they thought would be useful.

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75% off Brother P-Touch PT-D210 Label Maker - Deal Alert

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:05:00 -0800

The PT-D210 makes it easy to create great-looking labels for your home and office. With convenient one-touch keys, you can quickly access fonts, symbols, frames and templates. Plus, you can preview your work on the display. The highly rated unit is a #1 best-seller on Amazon, where it has been discounted 75%, for what will likely be a limited time. So instead of $40 you'll be paying just $10. See the deal now on Amazon.

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Steam Link Is 60% Off - Mirror Your Gaming Setup to TV at 1080p - Deal Alert

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:12:00 -0800

The Steam Link allows existing Steam gamers to expand the range of their current gaming set up via their home network. Just connect your Steam PC or Steam Machine to your home network, plug into a TV, and stream your games to the Link at 1080p. Video and audio data is sent from your computer to the Steam Link, while your controller input is sent back in real time. Virtually every game that your computer runs can be played on your TV. Steam Controller, Xbox One USB wired, Xbox 360 USB wired, Xbox 360 wireless, PS4, PS3 wired and Wii-U Pro controllers are compatible, as are many third-party Xbox controllers. Steam Link's typical price is $50, but right now you can get it on Amazon for just $20. See the significantly discounted Steam Link on Amazon.

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Best Buy has cut the MacBook Air's price tag to $800

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:21:00 -0800


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Everything we think we know about the LG G6

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:58:00 -0800

Update, 2/21/17: This post has been updated with a press release from LG about the the new camera’s capabilities.

With Mobile World Congress just around the corner, everyone is going to be on the lookout for the hottest new Android phone. This year that won’t be Samsung’s Galaxy S8, as the company has already announced that it won’t be bringing its flagship handset to Barcelona this year, so the attention will be squarely on LG and its G6.

Last year’s G5 made a splash for its quirky modular concept, but after disappointing sales (and an equally flat V20), LG will be looking to capitalize on Samsung’s absence with a major release that gives people a reason to buy one of its handsets again. And based on what we’re hearing, the new G6 might do just that.

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Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:52:33 -0800

The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks.

On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.

XXE vulnerabilities can be exploited by tricking applications to parse specially crafted XML files that would force the XML parser to disclose sensitive information such as files, directory listings, or even information about processes running on the server.

Klink showed that the same type of vulnerabilities can be used to trick the Java runtime to initiate FTP connections to remote servers by feeding it FTP URLs in the form of ftp://user:password@host:port/file.ext.

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Intel supercharges Atom chips with 16 cores and pro-level features

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:38:00 -0800

Intel’s Atom was mostly known as a low-end chip for mobile devices that underperformed. That may not be the case anymore.

The latest Atom C3000 chips announced on Tuesday have up to 16 cores and are more sophisticated than ever. The chips are made for storage arrays, networking equipment, and internet of things devices.

The new chips have features found mostly in server chips, including networking, virtualization, and error correction features.

Networking and storage devices don’t require a lot of horsepower, so the low-power Atom chips fit right in. Only a handful of Intel server chips have more than 16 cores, but the number of Atom cores means the chip can handle more streams of data.

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