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Published: Sat, 27 May 2017 01:38:14 -0700

Last Build Date: Sat, 27 May 2017 01:38:14 -0700

 



Far Cry 5's first trailer reveals religious cults and explosions in picturesque Montana

Fri, 26 May 2017 11:31:00 -0700

Dim the lights, blast the dubstep, and throw on some Aisha Tyler interviews in the background—Ubisoft just kicked off its E3 press conference three weeks before the event with the first-ever trailer for Far Cry 5.

Like every year, this early look has left me wondering “Why not just wait until the show itself?”, but I guess spoiling all the surprises in May is the new normal. In any case, here’s the trailer in question:

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As revealed in teasers earlier this week, the game takes place in Hope County, Montana—yes, within the United States, which is a surprisingly rare move. And in shades of Outlast 2, the region’s been overrun by the religious cult Eden’s Gate, which will be your primary enemy in the game. “Religious cult” is the general wording Ubisoft uses, though all the imagery and the church architecture shown is not-so-ambiguously Christian in influence.

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Amazon is offering two free months of Music Unlimited to new subscribers

Fri, 26 May 2017 10:13:00 -0700

All the various music streaming services desperately try to differentiate themselves with personalization features and the occasional exclusive. If you ask me, however, they're all pretty much the same with similar catalogs. For those who disagree, right now is a great time to see how the other half lives. Amazon is currently offering two free months of Amazon Music Unlimited for new users.

To get this deal, you have to sign-up using Amazon's promotional web page. Once you arrive on the page, click Enter Your Code. In the pop-up window that appears, enter the code MOREMUSIC, then click Apply.

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This week in games: Red Dead Redemption 2 is delayed, Destiny 2 PC servers explained

Fri, 26 May 2017 09:00:00 -0700

Hands up if you're surprised Red Dead Redemption 2 was delayed into 2018. Nobody? Nobody at all?

That news, plus free copies of Rising Storm, a mercifully not-delayed-yet Divinity: Original Sin II release date, a technical dissection of Destiny 2's multiplayer back-end, Neill Blomkamp's experiments with Steam as a film platform, and more. This is gaming news for May 22 to 26.

Weekend freebies

Rising Storm is a few years old now, and the Vietnam-bound sequel releases next week, but if you’re looking for some free entertainment, Humble’s giving away copies of the original for the next 24 hours or so (from the time this is posted). It’s one of the best shooters of the last few years, and I bet the servers will be pretty busy for the next few days thanks to this giveaway. Not a bad deal.

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How to save Windows Spotlight images to your PC in a few clicks

Fri, 26 May 2017 08:03:00 -0700

A favorite pastime among Windows 10 users is to figure out ways to save Windows Spotlight images to their PC. Usually this is done through a little bit of trickery that involves finding where the images are stored on your hard drive.

Since early 2016, however, the Windows Store (rather unbelievably) has an app for that. In fact, there are many apps for that, but the one we’re going to talk about today is called SpotBright. What’s great about this app is that it downloads all available Spotlight images for you in a few clicks. In my test, I downloaded more than 600 images costing me less than 500MB of storage space.

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Any website can crash your Windows 7 or 8 PC with these four characters

Fri, 26 May 2017 07:05:00 -0700

Just because Windows 7 is close to eight years old doesn’t mean you still can’t find ridiculous bugs that can crash your PC.

Russian-language site Habrhabr.ru recently published one such bug that apparently causes problems if you simply visit a website, as first noticed by Ars Technica. The problem also affects Windows 8 and Vista PCs, but Windows 10 PCs are unaffected.

Here’s how the bug works. All a naughty website has to do is use the character string ‘$MFT’ in the directory name where a website keeps its images. Windows expects to see the four characters $MFT only in a special metadate file on your PC. When it sees those characters as a directory name, however, it causes enough problems that an affected PC will begin to slow down and eventually hang. At that point your only recourse is to reboot the machine. In some cases, the problem may even trigger the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD).

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23% off iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner - Deal Alert

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:53:00 -0700

If you want a thorough, everyday clean, maybe you should consider using robots. The Roomba 650 Vacuuming Robot provides a thorough clean at the push of a button. The patented, 3-Stage Cleaning System easily picks up dust, pet hair and large debris like cereal and works on all floor types, adjusting itself and re-charging itself as needed to make sure the job is done correctly every time you need it -- preset Roomba to clean when it’s convenient for you. Roomba is just 3.6 inch tall, and is specifically designed to fit under most furniture, beds and kickboards. The 650 model is a #1 best seller on Amazon, where its typical list price of $374 is reduced right now to $286.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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AMD's new AM4 motherboard software cures Ryzen's memory headaches

Fri, 26 May 2017 06:03:00 -0700

Memory’s been a thorn in the side of AMD’s Ryzen processors ever since they launched. Memory speed and latency can play a major part in Ryzen’s performance, but early AM4 motherboards haven’t been able to offer robust memory overclocking capabilities. Ryzen PCs topped out at DDR4-3200 speeds, and the supported range of frequencies below that occurred in 266MT/s chunks, meaning some kits couldn’t hit their rated maximum speeds and instead fell back to a slower frequency.

A new AMD update puts an end to the madness.

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These 20 deep, absorbing PC games will eat days of your life

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:40:00 -0700

Built to last
(image)

Image by EA

Far too many games these days are built to be played in small bursts: brief encounters, designed for a world with too few hours in the day and too many digital distractions. And that’s fine! Blasting through a few rounds of Call of Duty multiplayer, or playing a few run-throughs in Spelunky, is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes.

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Get real, Microsoft: If the Surface Pro is a laptop, bundle it with a Type Cover

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:08:00 -0700

If Microsoft sold cars like it’s trying to sell its Surface Pro (2017), it would charge extra for wheels—and would be laughed out of the market. But Microsoft’s using this tactic to sell its new Windows tablet as a “laptop,” and we’re still trying to figure out why.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is clearly a Windows tablet, just like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4. Nevertheless, devices chief Panos Panay calls it a “laptop” no fewer than three times in his blog post, including the very first sentence. No “laptop” or notebook PC forgoes a keyboard, however, as the Surface Pro does. Long-time Surface fans may know that Microsoft charges $129 to $159 more for that accessory, but does the average buyer get it? That’s where the confusion starts.

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Sony A1E 4K TV review: This could be the best OLED TV money can buy

Fri, 26 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

What do you get when you put an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display in the hands of the Sony with their decades of experience enhancing TV images? A better OLED TV. Having only seen another company’s OLED TVs in the consumer space, we’d gotten the idea that the technology was simply challenged when it came to rendering fine details. Not so with the A1E, whose facility with picture minutiae, while not LCD-like, is a substantial improvement.

We recently had the pleasure of setting an A1E next to a brand new LCD-with-quantum-dots Samsung Q9F (we’ll post our review next week) and having at it for an amazing week of viewing and testing. Sadly, the experience left us somewhat torn between which we liked most.

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Watch us play Vanquish on PC

Thu, 25 May 2017 17:01:00 -0700

Vanquish, the cult classic from Platinum Games, has finally arrived on PC, thanks in part to a vocal fan base. The original released in 2010 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and presented fast-paced third-person shooting and stylized graphics from Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the Resident Evil series.

Vanquish is known for taking cover-based shooting, a la Gears Of War, and putting a uniquely Japanese spin on it by introducing mechanics like rocket sliding and slo-mo. The game is over-the top in ways that only Platinum can pull off, but it still rewards skillful gameplay.

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Get 63% off This 76-in-1 Precision Tool Set For Smartphones, Laptops and Electronics - Deal Alert

Thu, 25 May 2017 14:05:00 -0700


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Newegg is selling a pure sine wave UPS for just $125 right now

Thu, 25 May 2017 11:42:00 -0700

If you’re serious about protecting your PC—and any unsaved work or game you might have open on it—you need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS is a surge protector and emergency battery in one, meant to keep devices safe and humming along when the power goes out. Right now, Newegg has a particularly good model on sale: The retailer has dropped the CyberPower GX1325U to just $125. That's $65 cheaper than the going price at other retailers.

This UPS is an 1325 VA / 810 watt unit with pure sine wave output. That last bit isn’t a pop quiz from high school—a pure sine wave is supposed to offer a more reliable transition from your local electrical grid to battery power, especially for sensitive PC power supplies. It’s also the most expensive type of output to produce, which is part of the reason it’s nice to catch this UPS on sale.

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Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch

Thu, 25 May 2017 11:10:00 -0700


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Nvidia's new generation of powerful GeForce GTX Battlebox PCs finally embraces AMD

Thu, 25 May 2017 10:15:00 -0700

Nvidia’s taking another stab at its “GeForce GTX Battlebox” PC concept, and for the first time, AMD’s finally inside—though obviously not Radeon.

Boutique system builders craft Battlebox PCs to minimum specifications laid out by Nvidia. The idea’s similar to any other certification-style program: If you buy a GeForce GTX Battlebox, you’re guaranteed a baseline level of performance. It’s what the legion of failed Steam Machines should’ve offered, and Nvidia’s program launched around the same time as Valve's failed endeavor.

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9 supremely useful PC productivity programs

Thu, 25 May 2017 08:29:00 -0700

For all the popularity of mobile apps and cloud services, the venerable PC continues to be a mainstay of computing today. Indeed, the versatile desktop interface means that the bulk of a day’s work continues to be done on PCs for most users.

We’ve found some pretty cool productivity apps that will substantially improve your Windows desktop experience.

1. TidyTabs

If you ever got frustrated tabbing through multiple application windows, then you need to install TidyTabs from Nurgo Software. The lightweight utility lets you organize the desktop by stacking multiple windows together in a tabbed arrangement, even for unrelated applications. This opens the door to grouping applications based on projects worked on, decluttering the desktop and generally keeping things tidy.

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Acer's Nitro 5 is an affordable laptop that lets casual gamers get reckless

Thu, 25 May 2017 07:05:00 -0700

Acer’s Nitro 5 laptop is designed for the casual gamer who feels lucky. This person may not game often, and may never have tinkered with a PC’s cooling system (as many seasoned gamers have) to get maximum power without singeing precious CPUs or GPUs. But the Nitro 5 will let these casual gamers adjust the fan speed themselves, giving them an unprecedented amount of control over delicate thermals.

Acer offered some tantalizing details on the Nitro 5, which is due to ship in July. With prices starting at $800, the laptop targets the growing number of casual gamers. These users won’t shell out for the huge, expensive Predator 21 X, but they still want good gaming performance in a PC they can tote around. Acer says the Nitro 5 is carefully balanced to give them exactly what they need: “all of the really important, necessary features without going too far overboard,” said Acer.

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Amazon's 2-For-1 Dash Button Deal Actually Nets You Two Free Dash Buttons - Deal Alert

Thu, 25 May 2017 06:45:00 -0700

Right now if you buy a Dash Button, Amazon will give you one for free in honor of National Pet Week, this week. But they're still giving you the $4.99 credit after the first time you use it. So that's two Dash buttons for free, really (typically Dash buttons cost $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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10 Google Assistant features that save you time

Thu, 25 May 2017 04:00:00 -0700

It's time to get over it and just start talking to your phone, because certain tasks are much faster with Google's digital aide.


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7 Excel tips for huge spreadsheets: Split Screen, Freeze Panes, Format Painter and more

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:30:00 -0700

The bigger and uglier your Excel spreadsheet gets, the more you need to use certain features or tricks to keep a handle on the data. The seven features covered here will help you navigate, organize, and readjust your spreadsheet with as little hassle as possible. 

1. Split Screen

One of the most helpful features for large spreadsheets is the Split Screen command. The Split Screen allows you to view two, three, or four windows of your spreadsheet. Use this feature to work on one section of your spreadsheet while you view another section; or use it to compare (side by side) two sections of the spreadsheet. Once you try it, you'll find lots of reasons to use it.

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How Thunderbolt 3 won the port wars

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Intel's dream of making one cable to rule them all took a huge step forward this week. On Wednesday, Intel announced it will integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future CPUs. More importantly, the company said it would open up the long-secret protocol to the world, royalty-free.

The company's explanation for the change is practically utopian. "Intel's vision for Thunderbolt was not just to make a faster computer port, but a simpler and more versatile port available to everyone," wrote Chris Walker, Intel's vice president for Client Computing, in a blog post.

Walker predicted a groundswell of Thunderbolt products. "We envision a future where high-performance single-cable docks, stunning photos and 4K video, lifelike VR, and faster-than-ever storage are commonplace. A world where one USB-C connector does it all—today, and for many years to come."

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Android TV to get a major overhaul at just the right time

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Google was ahead of the curve when it launched Android TV in 2014. Instead of just presenting users with a list of streaming-app icons, Android TV's big idea involved a row of recommendations from across different apps. The hope was that users wouldn't have to leave the home screen to find something to watch.

But being first isn't the same as being best, and over the past few years, other platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku have all done a better job with cross-app recommendations. Meanwhile, Android TV's approach didn't get much buy-in from app makers, and the platform as a whole seemed to stagnate.

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Samsung Galaxy Gear 360: Great for the Galaxy S8, not so much for the iPhone

Thu, 25 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

When the Galaxy S8 was unveiled in late March, it wasn’t the only premium product in Samsung’s catalog that received a massive overhaul. The Gear 360 camera also got an impressive redesign, turning it from a somewhat clumsy sphere into a neatly pocketable stick.

But the 360’s case isn’t the only thing that changed. The device’s cameras have actually been downgraded—from dual 15MP fisheye lenses to dual 8.4MP fisheye lenses. Still, despite the lesser lenses, the Gear 360 is now able to record in 4K or broadcast live in 2K. Additionally, an updated Gear 360 app makes the new hardware compatible with a wider range of phones, including the iPhone. Beyond all of that, the new Gear 360 uses USB-C instead of microUSB, and there’s still a slot for an SD card.

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74% off Omaker M4 Portable Bluetooth Shower and Outdoor Speaker with 12 Hour Playtime - Deal Alert

Wed, 24 May 2017 14:05:00 -0700

The M4 speaker from Omaker is IP54 rated, so its rugged splash, shock and dustproof design makes it ideal for shower and outdoor use. The latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology helps it pair quickly with your device (tap-to-pair with NFC capable devices) and maintain a long 33-foot connection range. Crystal clear sound quality and robust bass is realized through a 3W audio driver and passive subwoofer. The M4 is capable of producing 12 hours of music at 80% volume, up to three times longer than similar-sized portable speakers. It  fully recharges in just 3 hours using an included Micro USB cable. The unit averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 5,000 people on Amazon (read reviews), many of which report sound quality that rivals more expensive speakers. Amazon indicates that its list price has been reduced significantly to just $22.99. See the discounted Omaker M4 speaker now on Amazon.

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Tannenberg expands Verdun's World War I horrors to the Eastern front

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:36:00 -0700

I still love Verdun. While Battlefield 1 is surprisingly excellent, its take on World War I is still all explosions and Hollywood glitz, glamorous even in its ugliest moments. Verdun always felt like a more realistic representation--grim, not shy about showing the horrors of the Great War.

And so I’m excited by today’s news that developers Blackmill Games and M2H are working on a sequel/standalone expansion, Tannenberg. I was worried the big-budget competition from Battlefield 1 might’ve scared the devs out of the World War I space, but apparently not. Here’s the first teaser:

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Meridian Audio Explorer2 USB DAC review: An inexpensive path to high-resolution audio

Wed, 24 May 2017 11:40:00 -0700

Meridian’s Explorer2 portable digital-to-audio converter can play virtually any type of high-resolution audio file, but its most compelling feature is its ability to decode MQA files.

For me, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) was the best thing to come out of CES 2015. Developed by Meridian Audio, a company with a long track record developing high-resolution audio technology, MQA makes it possible for consumers to hear music that’s not only better than CD quality, but the same quality that the artist heard when they recorded it in the studio. And the artist can attest to that because MQA files include a digital fingerprint that indicates the artist, recording engineer, or producer has verified that what you’re hearing was sourced from the studio master.

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BrandPost: IT Orchestration Takes The Field

Wed, 24 May 2017 10:32:00 -0700

In 2015, a professional football team asked us to help upgrade their stadium with a wireless network built to handle over 70,000 fans and increased usage during upcoming college and professional championship games. It was a tall order, and IT Orchestration by CDW™ delivered.

Connectivity Wins Out

Greater Capacity: The new network allows fans to drive more than 6.2 terabytes of data through over 30,000 individual devices. 

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BrandPost: Identity Management + Mobility Management = Mobile Productivity

Wed, 24 May 2017 10:08:00 -0700

Enabling mobile productivity is a common goal of organizations across a wide variety of industries.

According to the research firm Forrester, 56 percent of companies list increasing operational efficiency among their top three goals for mobility initiatives.

And yet, many organizations simply aren’t giving users the tools they need to be productive outside of the office. Forrester finds that fewer than 10 percent of organizations provide access to Windows tools, enterprise data or remote support services on users’ personal mobile devices, and fewer than one quarter support the same tools on enterprise devices.

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Logitech's excellent C920 webcam is just $50 today

Wed, 24 May 2017 10:04:00 -0700

A favorite camera among business people and Twitch streamers alike is on sale today at Amazon for a really great price.  The online retailer has the Logitech C920 webcam on sale for $50. That's the lowest price we've seen over the webcam's lifespan and currently about $12 cheaper than other retailers.

The sale is scheduled to last until just before midnight Thursday morning or when supplies run out.

Despite being around for years, the Logitech C920 is still a popular choice--even with the release of Logitech's C922 and 4K-friendly Brio 4K Pro. That staying power owes to the device's quality. It has 1080p video capture, and you can run at 1080p during Skype for Windows calls and through broadcast apps like OBS. (That's despite Logitech only stating official 1080p support within Skype for Windows.) 

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