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Published: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:28:16 -0700

Last Build Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 01:28:16 -0700


Apple acquires Workflow automation app, offers it free

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:59:28 -0700

Apple has acquired the Workflow automation app, which allows iOS users to trigger a sequence of tasks across apps with a single tap.

A spokesman for Apple confirmed on Wednesday the company's acquisition of DeskConnect, the developer of the app, and the Workflow app, but did not provide further details.

Workflow, developed for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, allows users to drag and drop combinations of actions to create workflows that interact with the apps and content on the device. It won an Apple design award in 2015 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Some of the examples of tasks for which Workflow can be used are making animated GIFs, adding a home screen icon to call a loved one and tweeting a song the user has been listening to, according to a description of the app.

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It wasn't the money: Wozniak on robots, design, and Apple's origins

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:32:10 -0700

More than 40 years after founding Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak has a lot to say about the early days of the world's richest company -- and about technology, learning, and being a born engineer.

On stage at the IEEE TechIgnite conference in Burlingame, California, on Wednesday, he gave a glimpse into how a tech legend thinks.

On open source

In the early Seventies, Wozniak read about phone phreaking, in which "phreakers" made free phone calls by using electronics to mimic the tones used for dialing each number. To learn how to do it, he went to the only place he knew that had books and magazines about computers: The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He went on a Sunday and walked right in. "The smartest people in the world don't lock doors," Wozniak said.

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How enthusiasts designed a powerful desktop PC with an ARM processor

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:42:00 -0700

When he was growing up, a dream of Linux pioneer Linus Torvalds was to acquire the Acorn Archimedes, a groundbreaking personal computer with the first ARM RISC chips.

But in 1987, Archimedes wasn’t available to Torvalds in Finland, so he settled for the Sinclair QL. In the meanwhile, the Archimedes failed and disappeared from the scene, killing any chance for ARM chips to dominate PCs.

Since then, multiple attempts to put ARM chips in PCs have failed. Outside of a few Chromebooks, most PCs have x86 chips from Intel or AMD.

The domination of x86 is a problem for Linaro, an industry organization that advocates ARM hardware and software. Many of its developers use x86 PCs to compile programs for ARM hardware. That’s much like trying to write Windows programs on a Mac.

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LastPass password manager fixes serious password leak vulnerabilities in Chrome, Firefox, Edge extensions

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:21:00 -0700

Developers of the popular LastPass password manager rushed to push out a fix to solve a serious vulnerability that could have allowed attackers to steal users' passwords or execute malicious code on their computers.

The vulnerability was discovered by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy and was reported to LastPass on Monday. It affected the browser extensions installed by the service's users for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.

According to a description in the Google Project Zero bug tracker, the vulnerability could have given attackers access to internal commands inside the LastPass extension. Those are the commands used by the extension to copy passwords or fill in web forms using information stored in the user's secure vault.

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BrandPost: 3 Hidden Money Sources That Can Boost Your Cash Flow (or Soften a Looming Crunch)

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:40:00 -0700

When new businesses fail, cash flow is the killer in the vast majority of cases. Cash flow problems don’t just appear out of the blue; they creep up on you slowly. Small businesses stay strongest and enjoy the most stability by keeping the cash coming in on a consistent, steady basis.

It’s tempting to think that as long as your business is profitable, everything’s okay, but resist the urge. The problem with profit is timing: It often turns up too late. The balance sheet for a swimsuit business might look rosy for June, July, and August, but there are many salaries and suppliers to pay before then.

We’ve noticed that all successful businesses have something in common — the ability to fine-tune the flow of funds in and out of their doors. And whether you’re a one-man band or a brick-and-mortar brand, you can benefit from learning what Sage Payment Solutions clients do to avoid cash-flow crunches and keep growing despite the killer odds.

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Obduction's new VR hand-tracking makes Myst's spiritual successor even more stunning

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:13:00 -0700

Time to replay Obduction, I guess. This morning Cyan announced that Vive and Oculus Touch support has been added into the game, allowing you to explore Hunrath, Kaptar, and the rest of its spacefaring Myst successor with full hand-tracking support. Pull levers, press buttons, move around, explore.

I just spent half an hour doing just that with the Vive, and it’s stunning. As I wrote about during Obduction's original Oculus release last year, Obduction in VR gives you a whole different sense of scale. That iconic little white house with its picket fence? It’s not so little once you have the headset on. Ditto for the towering cliffs of Kaptar, stretching down into a cloud-filled void. It’s enough to give you vertigo.

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Google cites progress in Android security, but patching issues linger

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:44:00 -0700

The chances of encountering malware on your Android phone is incredibly small, according to Google.

By the end of last year, less than 0.71 percent of Android devices had installed a “potentially harmful application,” such as spyware, a Trojan, or other malicious software.

That figure was even lower, at 0.05 percent, for Android phones that downloaded apps exclusively from the Google Play store.

The internet giant revealed the figures in a new report detailing its efforts to making the Android OS secure. Thanks to better app review systems, the company is detecting and cracking down on more malware.

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Windows 10 Creators Update could take months to roll out, data suggests

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:00:00 -0700

Users waiting for Windows 10's Creators Update, which is expected to release soon, may need to be patient. Data released Wednesday by AdDuplex suggests that Microsoft’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update took months to roll out to users after it was released last August, and the same pace could apply to the Creators Update. 

AdDuplex, which runs its own ad network and sniffs the platforms on which its ads deploy, said it took about 4 months for 80 percent of Microsoft’s user base to migrate to the Anniversary Update, once Microsoft started sending it to users on August 2. Just a third of Windows users had received the update after two months, the firm found.

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Google will now let you share your location with friends in Maps

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:34:00 -0700

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Vodafone prepares an LTE moon shot, quite literally

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:47:00 -0700

Thanks to Vodafone, the Taurus-Littrow Valley will get its first mobile phone base station next year.

It hasn't needed one up to now, as the last visitors drove through in 1972, the year before the mobile phone was invented.

Next year, though, it will get the very latest in 4G LTE coverage, when it receives a visit from two very special self-driving vehicles.

Taurus-Littrow is the landing site of Apollo 17, where humans last walked on the moon. Next year, an international group based in Berlin plans to send a mission carrying two lunar rovers to explore the site.

The group, Part Time Scientists, has been working on the project for longer than eight years and already has sponsorship and support from auto manufacturer Audi to develop the rovers.

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Myth busted: Vulkan's multi-GPU support isn't limited to Windows 10

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:39:00 -0700

The whole appeal behind the next-gen Vulkan graphics API is that it’s wide-open and cross-platform. Vulkan offers many of the same “close to the metal” capabilities as Windows 10’s DirectX 12, but unlike Microsoft’s graphics tech, Vulkan also works on Linux, older versions of Windows, and even Android devices.

So when reports surfaced last week that Vulkan’s multi-GPU support was limited to Windows 10 alone, it understandably raised a ruckus in PC-centric forums and subreddits across the web. That caused even more websites to cover the issue, which led to even more angst on forums, which led to… well, you get the idea.

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Via's 360-degree VR cameras ship for under $100

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:06:20 -0700

Via Technologies is now shipping new 360-degree cameras for under US$100, making it more affordable for users to capture and play virtual reality content in headsets.

The cameras -- called Vpai by Via -- are being touted as being "720-degree" as they capture everything within view horizontally and vertically. But effectively, the Via cameras capture images at an angle of 360 degrees.

Some 360-degree cameras like Kodak's PixPro SP360 or LG 360 Cam can achieve the angle but not the full scope of Vpai. Most 360 degree cameras are also priced well over $100.

The Via Chiptrip, ForFun, and Eken Pano cameras are available through Chinese online retail sites and ship worldwide. Details on the cameras are available on the Vpai website.

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Hackers threaten to wipe millions of Apple devices, demand ransom

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:05:00 -0700

A group of hackers is threatening to wipe data from millions of Apple devices in two weeks if the company doesn’t pay them $150,000.

The group, which calls itself Turkish Crime Family, claims to have login credentials for more than 627 million, and email addresses. These are email domains that Apple has allowed for users creating iCloud accounts over the years.

Even though the Turkish Crime Family hasn't been in the media spotlight before, its members claim that they've been involved in selling stolen online databases in private circles for the past few years.

The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.

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Micro Center has cut the price of the Ryzen 1700X to $370

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:04:00 -0700

AMD’s recently released Ryzen CPUs are all the rage at the moment, and if you live near a Micro Center store, you can pick one up right now at a discount. The retailer is selling the Ryzen 7 1700X for $370: That’s $30 off the current prices you’ll find elsewhere, since everyone else is still offering this part at MSRP.

There's more to the deal, too. This processor also qualifies for a combo discount, so if you add a compatible motherboard to your purchase, Micro Center will drop $50 off the mobo’s current price. Most locations even have X370 boards in stock right now, though Denver and Virginia only have open-box offerings. (Both Houston and Dallas are completely sold out—sorry, Texans. You can still snag B350 boards, however.)

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Facebook live videos take aim at Twitch with streaming software, hardware support

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:00 -0700

YouTube’s already muscling in on Twitch’s territory, and now Facebook’s going after hardcore game streamers, too. Alongside news that live videos can now be shot on standard PCs, not just mobile devices, Facebook also revealed today that personal accounts are now able to live stream videos funneled through streaming software or external streaming hardware.

Branded Facebook Pages have been able to use specialized streaming tools for a while now. The social network’s been pushing professional videos hard, and streaming tools help live streams achieve higher levels of polish. This newfound profile-level support is all about enticing gamers.

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The top-secret X-37B space plane is about to break another record

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:36:00 -0700

The U.S. Air Force's top-secret autonomous space plane, the X-37B, is days away from breaking its own longevity record. The aircraft, which looks like a mini Space Shuttle, will on March 25 begin its record-setting 675th day in orbit, but we still don't know much about what it's doing up there.

The X-37B looks a little like the Space Shuttle, but it's much smaller. It began life as a NASA project but was transferred to the Air Force in 2004 as part of the U.S. military's little-known space program. That's when it moved into the shadows.

The program is owned by the U.S. Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office, which is charged with expediting development and deployment of select Defense Dept. combat support and weapon systems. The office helps take strategic technology and accelerate its development, and the X-37B appears to be playing a part in that.

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63% off Anker Quick Charge 3.0 39W Dual USB Car Charger - Deal Alert

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:01:00 -0700

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GOG's DRM-free Galaxy client adds features to exit beta as a legitimate Steam rival

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 08:48:00 -0700

Beta no more! Gaming desktop client GOG Galaxy is ready for prime time, and it's adding all kinds of gamer features such as cloud saves, an in-game overlay, screenshots, and more to celebrate the milestone. Version 1.2 of GOG Galaxy is currently available to early access testers and will roll out to all users in April as it exits beta.

GOG Galaxy’s most notable new addition is its cloud save feature. This allows users to save game progress to the cloud for use across multiple PCs. Even better, it works with new games as well as older games that never had cloud save capabilities to begin with, including Planescape: Torment and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. You can find a list of initial games that support cloud saves here. GOG Galaxy also offers the ability to download your cloud save data to keep a local copy of your game saves if you prefer.

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US lawmakers question police use of facial recognition tech

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 08:33:01 -0700

Reacting to concerns about the mass collection of photographs in police databases, U.S. lawmakers plan to introduce legislation to limit the use of facial recognition technology by the FBI and other law enforcement organizations.

The FBI and police departments across the country can search a group of databases containing more than 400 million photographs, many of them from the drivers' licenses of people who have never committed a crime. The photos of more than half of U.S adults are contained in a series of FBI and state databases, according to one study released in October.

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Netflix debuts on Firefox for Linux, but not everyone's happy about it

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:59:00 -0700

Firefox on Linux is now playing Netflix, but not everyone is happy about it.

The streaming video service recently announced that anyone running the latest version of Firefox on Linux can now stream Netflix videos. Previously, only Chrome on Linux worked with Netflix—and unofficially at that.

For several years, Netflix has been moving away from plugins like Microsoft’s Silverlight to HTML5 video on Windows and Mac. The idea was that HTML5 freed Netflix streaming from reliance on browser plugins and made it easier for users to get Netflix on their computers without taking any extra steps.

But Netflix and other companies looking to use HTML5 brought more to the open web standard than just user convenience. These companies also pushed to standardize digital rights management (DRM),  known as Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), as a part of HTML5. Mozilla announced in August 2016 that Firefox 49 would support EME.

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64% off MOTA JETJAT Ultra Mini Drone with One Touch Take-Off & Landing - Deal Alert

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:46:00 -0700

Experience first class flight with auto landing, takeoff, and hover with the push of a button, features never before seen in mini drones. ULTRA is smartphone ready – allowing a connection with your phone through Wi-Fi or remote control for crystal-clear video and photos. Use your phone as a display with the remote or complete flight control. The list price on the MOTA JETJAT mini drone has been reduced to just $47.38. See this deal now on Amazon.

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LinkedIn's Trending Storylines aims to broaden users' news horizons

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:44:00 -0700

In an effort to become to be its users’ professional news feed, LinkedIn has launched a new feature aimed at providing a broad set of perspectives on relevant business news.

A new Trending Storylines feature will show users a set of curated feeds based on key news of the day. For example, a recent storyline rounded up all of the Apple product announcements from Tuesday morning. The storylines open with a quick summary of the news, followed by a “must-read” story that LinkedIn has picked out as a good summary.

After that, the Storyline continues with other posts from its users, focused on providing other angles on the news along with additional context. Users can like, comment on or share those posts if they want to.

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Amazon’s Alexa lands on the Mate 9 at last, but with more hoops and fewer skills

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:43:00 -0700

Hot on the heels of its addition to the Amazon app on the iPhone, Alexa is looking to make its presence known on Android, too. Huawei has announced that the virtual assistant is on its way to the Mate 9, making it the first Android phone to receive Amazon's AI aide.

With Alexa on the Mate 9, you’ll be able to do many of the things the Echo and Dot can do, including control your home automation devices while you’re away. Huawei is touting its smart home capabilities as the flagship feature of Alexa on the Mate 9, but it can also handle many of the other skills Alexa has on Amazon’s devices, including the ability to play games, shop at, get news updates, track your workouts, and play podcasts.

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Trello connects to HipChat, BitBucket, Jira and Confluence

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:00:02 -0700

Trello is getting hooked into the entire Atlassian ecosystem with a series of integrations unveiled Wednesday. The new “power-ups” for the project management software connect it with BitBucket, Jira, HipChat and Confluence, to help customers get their work done more efficiently.

Using Trello is supposed to help people keep their projects organized. The service lets people lay out virtual cards in columns on a workspace known as a board. Doing so can help with things like tracking the status of software bugs or tracking contracts through different stages of completion.

Each of the connections announced Wednesday is supposed to help with the process of using Trello. Confluence users can now tie cards to new pages in Atlassian’s content management system, Jira users can connect issues from the bug tracker with cards and BitBucket users can better organize their code.

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Every custom GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card revealed so far: MSI, EVGA, Zotac, Asus, and more

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:57:00 -0700

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Why you might want to skip Ubuntu 17.04

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:00:00 -0700

Linux users have one thing that often sets them apart from their Windows and Mac-using colleagues: They often spend a lot more time fixing things or finding out how to fix things. While this is great for hobbyists and enthusiasts, it’s not great for productivity. For people who need to get stuff done on their laptops and desktops, stability will often take precedence over new features.

Every two years, Canonical offers up a long-term support (LTS) version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution. This year (2017) is an odd year, meaning that while there will be a new version of Ubuntu coming in April, not everyone will want to upgrade. And that’s A-OK.

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Tomorrow's browser games may get a performance boost from DirectX and Vulkan

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:16:00 -0700

One of the big problems in gaming is incompatibility. A game written for Windows and DirectX won’t work on Macs or Android devices. Vulkan games work on Android, but not on Apple devices, which has its own Metal API.

That’s one problem that standards-setting organization Khronos is looking to solve with the newly formed 3D Portability Exploratory Group. The group’s goal is to develop an interface so 3D games and content on the web perform better by hooking up seamlessly with Vulkan, DirectX, and Metal low-level APIs.

The 3D API exploratory group has just been formed and still exploring the idea, and any solution is still a long time away. But the benefits would be massive: Web gaming would work better across multiple platforms and devices, and game development would be more efficient.

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Dress up your texts with these 4 Android SMS-replacement apps

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 04:00:00 -0700

Get a better messaging app that suits your texting style and personal preferences.

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3 tools that easily unsubscribe you from emails

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 03:30:00 -0700

We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to cluttering our inboxes with unwanted email, thanks to our zeal for email subscriptions. And in this time of heightened civil activity, many of us have added political emails to our already unwieldy collection of daily deals, newsletters, and alerts. The bulk of these messages languish in our inboxes unread and obscuring the really important one that require our action.

Fortunately, there are a few tools to help you prune these offenders without having to scroll message by message through your inbox. Give one of these a try.

This free service uses a simple web interface to surface all your subscriptions and let you unsubscribe from each with a single click.

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5 ways to speed up Chrome: Tips for power users and newbies

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Chrome is already the most popular and powerful browser for your PC, but you may be missing out on more ways to improve your experience. Delve into Chrome’s massive extensions library or tinker with under-the-hood features, and see how you can enjoy smarter, faster browsing.

Chrome has a considerable network of extensions, some of which can be found in the Chrome Web Store, while others are available from particular providers. For the most part, extensions, err, extend what your browser can do, connecting to your favorite services so you can do most of your work in Chrome and get it done faster.

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