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Published: Tue, 23 May 2017 03:48:58 -0700

Last Build Date: Tue, 23 May 2017 03:48:58 -0700

 



WallyHome Starter Kit review: An ultra-budget smart sensor system

Tue, 23 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Some backstory: WallyHome was originally a product developed by a Seattle startup called SNUPI (an acronym for Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure). The company was focused exclusively on water leak detection, and while the product got rave reviews, it didn’t take off, and the company ended up selling its technology to, of all places, Sears.

Three years later, Wally is back on the market, redesigned, upgraded, and priced to move at $99.99 for a starter kit that includes the hub and one sensor, and $34.99 for each additional sensor.

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Today at Apple could make Apple’s growth troubles a thing of the past

Tue, 23 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

The Apple Store has always been more than a place to buy stuff. From the moment the first location opened its doors at Tyson’s Corner in Virginia, its main purpose was to create an environment where people could gather to talk, test, and learn about all things Apple.

There were no pushy salespeople urging you to take advantage of the latest limited-time offer or time limits imposed on trying the products on display. Apple encouraged people to linger at the counters and spend a little more time at the stores, and that philosophy influenced the evolution of the store design, as software aisles gave way to casual seating and checkout lines were replaced with roving scanners.

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SAP has designs on new government business

Mon, 22 May 2017 14:55:51 -0700

Steve Ballmer's latest hobby, USAfacts.org, cast a spotlight on the effectiveness of local, state and federal governments when it launched in April. Its easy-to-read dashboards allow ordinary citizens to compare government's performance of its core missions with spending at all levels.

In a roundabout way, that's made the former Microsoft CEO something of an evangelist for companies like SAP, which has released a new cloud service to help public sector organizations manage their spending.

USAfacts and OpenGov, a young company offering financial reporting, budgeting and publishing tools for the public sector, are stirring interest in ERP tools for government, and that's creating opportunities for SAP to get involved in the sales cycle, according to Darren Koch, SAP's chief product officer for small and medium-size businesses. 

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25% off Pac-Man Connect and Play With 12 Classic Games - Deal Alert

Mon, 22 May 2017 14:05:00 -0700

Bandai's Pac-Man Connect and Play brings back your favorite classic video games right to your television. Connect the included cords directly into your television A/V jacks, and head back in time. Featuring 12 Classic games like: Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Bosconian, Galaxian, Mappy, Super Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, New Rally X, Pac & Pal and Xevious. Not to mention, Pac-Man 256, which offers fans the chance to play the coveted level once made unavailable due to a bug in the program of the supposedly never-ending game. The list price of $19.99 has been reduced 25% down to $14.96 on Amazon, where it's currently listed as a #1 Best Seller. Get your Father's Day shopping done right now. See this deal on Amazon.

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The LG X Venture is a rugged, durable smartphone with a killer battery

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:26:00 -0700

The LG G6 might have IP68 water resistance and rounded corners that reduce the risk of cracking, but it’s not exactly rugged. Its all-glass enclosure begs for careful handling and at $650 for an unlocked model, you probably don’t want to bring it on your next hiking trip.

In that case, the LG X Venture might be the phone for you. Exclusive to AT&T, the 5.2-inch handset might not be able to keep up with the G6 in the speed department (it only features a Snapdragon 435 processor), but what it lacks in performance, it makes up for in durability. According to the tech specs, the device has passed 14 separate MIL-STD 810G tests, a U.S. military standard that address things like intense pressure, extreme exposure, heavy vibration, and harsh weather conditions.

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Titan Souls is free for Twitch Prime and Amazon Prime subscribers

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:59:00 -0700

If you haven’t heard by now: Twitch is giving away free games to anyone with a Twitch Prime account—by which I really mean “Anyone who has Amazon Prime and then linked it to Twitch for the novelty.” Hard to tell whether the program will stick around or be one more gimmick in Amazon’s war against Steam, but the upshot is free games so I’m not complaining.

The latest freebie is 2015’s Titan Souls. It’s like an old Zelda game if Zelda consisted of nothing but 15 or so boss fights. It’s like Dark Souls if Dark Souls were top-down, and if you were forced to fight with only a bow and arrow. It’s like Shadow of the Colossus if Shadow of the Colossus were on the Super Nintendo.

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Anker's extremely popular ergonomic mouse is 70% off today

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:08:00 -0700


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60% off AUKEY USB-C to HDMI Adapter, 4k 1080p Support - Deal Alert

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:46:00 -0700


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Save 24% on Amazon's Echo Dot By Buying Certified Refurbished Right Now - Deal Alert

Mon, 22 May 2017 09:05:00 -0700

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device with a small built-in speaker—it can also connect to your speakers or headphones over Bluetooth or through a 3.5 mm audio cable to deliver stereo sound to the speakers you choose. Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. Echo Dot can hear you from across the room, even while music is playing. When you want to use Echo Dot, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Dot responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you're closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception). Buying a certified refurbished Dot typically saves you 10%, but right now Amazon is offering a 16% discount on that discount, so you'll be paying just $37.99 -- a total 24% discount over its "brand new" counterpart. Amazon's certified refurbished program ensures you'll receive a product that looks and functions good as new, complete with a warranty, so there's not much to worry about here. See this deal on Amazon.

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Dish teams up with Amazon Echo's Alexa to let you channel surf hands-free

Mon, 22 May 2017 08:13:00 -0700


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Google explains why Android apps still aren't on Chromebooks

Mon, 22 May 2017 07:37:00 -0700

Every time I open my Chromebook and see that an update is available, I get a twinge of excitement. Is this the moment that my Acer Chromebook will finally get Android apps? So far, the answer has always been no, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.

Samsung’s new Chromebook Pro starts shipping on Sunday, but Android apps will remain in beta at least through the summer, as reported last week by The Verge.

Google didn’t have much to say about the state of Android on Chrome OS during last week’s annual Google I/O conference. But the company did run a dedicated I/O session aimed at teaching developers how to target their apps for Chromebooks and larger screen devices, as first spotted by Thurrott.com.

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47% off Pecham Vertical Stand for PS4 with Cooling Fan and Dual Controller Charging - Deal Alert

Mon, 22 May 2017 06:35:00 -0700

Keep your PS4 or PS4 Slim compact, organized and functioning properly with this vertical stand from Pecham. It features an integrated cooling fan, dual controller changing and a USB hub for powering & charging your phone or other devices as needed. Pecham's stand currently averages 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 185 people on Amazon (82% rate the full 5 stars: read reviews here), where its list price of $29.99 has been reduced 47% to just $15.99. See this deal now on Amazon

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Windows 10 S FAQ: Everything you need to know about Microsoft's streamlined operating system

Mon, 22 May 2017 06:09:00 -0700

Editor’s note: This article is updated frequently as new information about Windows 10 S is revealed. The most recent addition: Details about the Windows Store apps (including Linux) that won’t run on Windows 10 S PCs.

Microsoft’s taking aim at Chromebooks and MacBooks alike with Windows 10 S, a new version of Windows 10 designed foremost for educational use. But schools alone aren’t Microsoft’s target audience, and while the new operating system shares the same underlying bones as the standard version of Windows 10, there are some stark differences too.

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HP's Envy 13 offers Surface Laptop features without the markup—or Windows 10 S

Mon, 22 May 2017 05:45:00 -0700

HP's latest Envy 13 debuts in a post-Surface-Laptop world, where PC makers seem ready to challenge the MacBook Air's dominance in the thin-and-light category. Due to ship in June or July, the Envy 13 may lack the exotic touch of the Surface Laptop's Alcantara-clad body. Based on the specs, however, it could offer greater value. The Envy also comes with full Windows Home rather than the Surface Laptop's Windows 10 S.

We're comparing the main specs of the Envy 13's middle SKU, priced at $1,000, to the Surface Laptop's base configuration at $999. The Envy will have two other SKUs for $890 and $1,180, with more customizability available via hp.com. 

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HP's Spectre x2 may be the Surface Pro killer we've been waiting for

Mon, 22 May 2017 05:45:00 -0700

HP's second-generation Spectre x2 is here to distract us from the rumored Microsoft Surface Pro 5 that may never appear, no matter how hard we wish. Announced Monday, the new Spectre x2 beats the aging Surface Pro 4 with much better features for the price, plus it corrects many of the sins of its own original version. The new Spectre x2 is expected to go on sale in June.

Why this matters: The 2-in-1 laptop category is starving for innovation, especially while Microsoft can't or won't upgrade its flagship hardware. HP, with this Spectre x2 and its corporate cousin, the Elite x2, seems to be leading the charge. The better news for consumers: HP tends to stuff a lot into these higher-end PCs.  

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How to get past Windows Defender SmartScreen in Windows 10

Mon, 22 May 2017 05:00:00 -0700

We've all been there. You read about a great little traditional desktop application or utility that you think will be a great help. Once it's downloaded, boom!, Windows 10 blocks it thanks to Windows Defender SmartScreen, a feature that prevents unrecognized apps from running. It's a helpful security feature that can sometimes be annoying. Here's how to get past it.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Before we go any further, keep in mind that the SmartScreen is there for your protection. It is designed to restrict any programs that are known to be malicious or aren't commonly downloaded. For that reason, anything experimental or outside the norm is not trusted by Windows.

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Fight ransomware by running Windows in Linux as a virtual machine

Mon, 22 May 2017 03:30:00 -0700


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JBL E55BT wireless headphone review: These modestly priced cans deliver strong features and good sound

Mon, 22 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

JBL’s E-Series headphones are designed to bring the company’s signature sound in a range of headphone models with a focus on style. At the top of the E-series lineup sits the E55BT wireless headphones. If you're looking to grab some signature JBL sound for less than $150, these headphones might just be your ticket.

Like all E-Series models, the E55BT comes in five bold monochromatic options: black, blue, red, teal, and white (my review pair happened to be red).  Included accessories are Spartan. There's a 3.5mm audio cable and a microUSB charging cable, but no carrying case or even a 1/4-inch adapter.

The JBL E55BT is a circumaural, or over-the-ear, design. The headband is wrapped in a soft, two-tone cotton mesh, with the underside of the headband a darker color than the top. Sizing is adjustable in typical click-stop increments. I had no problems getting a good, snug fit.

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8 killer Google I/O reveals you probably missed

Mon, 22 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

8 things you might have missed at I/O
(image)

Image by Michael Simon

There might not have been any fancy new hardware reveals at Google I/O 2017, but there was still plenty to talk about. From Google Lens to hands-free Home phone calls to Photos’ new sharing prowess, Google set the stage for an exciting year of connected, integrated, and just plain smart products. But amid all the big announcements, there were a couple of small ones you might have missed. Submitted for your approval...

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper: Everything we know so far about this monster CPU

Mon, 22 May 2017 03:00:00 -0700

AMD's Ryzen Threadripper could very well be the most powerful consumer CPU ever introduced. With 16 cores and 32 threads, it gives the high-performance Intel products currently dominating the same space something to worry about.  

The CPU is so new, hard information is scant, but we've gathered the most solid stuff here. Check back as we update this story with firmer details

The specs we know

Core count: 16

Thread count: 32

Release date: Summer of 2017

Yup, that's it. If you've read anything else on Threadripper or "Ryzen 9," it's nothing but rumor and speculation at this point. You may say the leaks look good, but we'll point out that they didn't even seem to get the name right, so you gotta wonder.

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What to do if Windows 10 Control Panel disappears from the WinX power user menu

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:03:00 -0700

Prior to the Creators Update rollout last month, I did a refresh of my Windows installation to shake out a few nagging problems. After the refresh, I noticed that Microsoft did me the very unhelpful favor of removing the Control Panel in the WinX power user menu that appears when you right-click Start or tap the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut. The Control Panel was replaced, of course, with the Settings app.

I understand that Microsoft is slowly moving the Control Panel's functionality over to Settings. Even so, the Control Panel is still very necessary, and I'd much rather have it in the WinX menu than Settings right now.

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This week in games: The Witcher heads to Netflix, Far Cry 5 confirmed

Fri, 19 May 2017 12:47:00 -0700

Can you feel that? It's the rumble of the E3 train approaching, as this week we saw glimpses of Destiny 2 and South Park: The Fractured But Whole just a month out from the show, as well as confirmation of Far Cry 5, a new Assassin's Creed, and The Crew 2. I swear, it starts earlier every year.

That, plus ZeniMax sues Samsung, The Witcher heads to Netflix, a Pathfinder RPG, and more. This is gaming news for May 15 to 19.

Destined

Activision and Bungie showed off the PC version of Destiny 2 for the first time this week, and overall people seem happy with the experience—though a few grumbles about using peer-to-peer connections have surfaced in the aftermath, as even the PC version will lack dedicated servers.

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Linux is just too powerful for Windows 10 S, so Microsoft blocked it

Fri, 19 May 2017 12:06:00 -0700

If Windows 10 S will only allow apps that can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store, it can run the new downloadable Linux apps, right? Wrong! 

Here's why: Microsoft is actively blocking "command-line" apps that run outside the safe environment of Windows 10 S, Microsoft senior program manager Rich Turner wrote in a blog post on Thursday. 

 Microsoft said it created Windows 10 S as a way for students and even mainstream users to add a bit more security to their Windows 10 experience. Windows 10 S only runs apps that have been vetted by Microsoft and appear in the Store. Though Microsoft didn't explicitly say so at the time, those apps don't run at a low level on a user's PC, like debuggers or those applications that explicitly write to hardware or modify the system registry.

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How Google Assistant, Home, and Lens will completely change the way you search

Fri, 19 May 2017 11:36:00 -0700

If Google I/O 2017 had a tagline, it might be something like “Rise of the Machine Learning.” The biggest thread throughout the keynote was an aggressive push to fully move from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world, changing the way we use Google and our devices to look at everything around us.

It used to be about algorithms, but now it’s about artificial intelligence. Google doesn’t simply want to be the tool we use in our browsers to find something, it wants to be within reach whenever we have a question, whether or not we’re even looking at a screen. We already see it with Google Assistant on Google Home, but now Google is starting to pull search out of our phones and apps in order to make it accessible everywhere.

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Wanawiki is the WannaCry fix that might save affected PCs—if you work fast

Fri, 19 May 2017 11:09:00 -0700

If you own a Windows XP or Windows 7 PC that's been hit by the WannaCry ransomware, there's good news: French researchers have created a software utility called wanawiki that can potentially unlock an infected PC.

Matt Suiche, the founder of CloudVolumes and Comae, published a blog post that describes how Benjamin Delpy's wanawiki tool works: It sniffs out the prime numbers used by the ransomware to reconstruct the key used to encrypt your PC. Once the wanawiki tool is run, the software can basically generate the key, and the tool will then unlock the encypted files.

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Goodbye cable; hello gigabit broadband

Fri, 19 May 2017 10:29:00 -0700

I’m finally getting to practice what I’ve been preaching: I cut the cord on pay TV this month and signed up for ultra-fast, fiber-based broadband. Having much faster access to the internet isn’t a benefit I need to explain, of course, and who doesn’t want to tell their cable provider to buzz off. But the two big changes to my digital life have taught me a few lessons that weren’t nearly so obvious.

I’ve learned that I can take advantage of faster speeds to work more securely, and getting rid of always-on cable has freed up a lot of time. Ditching pay TV, though, isn’t saving me all that much money, and I’ve learned that not every device in your home is capable of handling speeds approaching what has become the holy grail of broadband: downloads of 1Gbps.

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These 12 Android apps won the 2017 Google Play Awards

Fri, 19 May 2017 10:12:00 -0700

The results are in for the second annual Google Play Awards, the company’s new tradition to honor excellence in the world of Android apps. In late April, we took a look at the 60 nominees across the Play Award’s 12 categories.

Now, here are the winners.

Best Accessibility Experience

Name: IFTTT

Price: Free

Description: This is the go-to service to automate all kinds of online services and smart home devices in ways that wouldn’t be possible without it. Now it’s being honored for “enabling device interaction to serve people with disabilities or special needs.”

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Microsoft redesigns OneNote UI to make it more universally accessible

Fri, 19 May 2017 09:47:00 -0700

OneNote is changing to benefit users with vision and mobility impairments, Microsoft announced Thursday. The redesign will place navigation on the left-hand rail, where screen readers and Microsoft’s own Narrator will find it more accessible.

The redesign will apply to what Microsoft calls the Windows 10 (or UWP) version of OneNote, as well as the versions for iOS and Android, the Mac, and the Web. The traditional Win32 version of the software will apparently remain unaffected.

(image) Microsoft

In Microsoft’s vision, content will be immediately updated on other devices.

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BrandPost: Text Your Way To Business Growth

Fri, 19 May 2017 09:18:00 -0700

Text messaging isn’t just a fast and simple means of communication—it helps grow businesses. In a recent IDG/Heymarket survey, almost half of businesses that use messaging said they have realized significant benefits.

There are several reasons texting works so well. One is that customers pay more attention to messages--98% of them are read, usually within the first three seconds.

An important but less obvious benefit of messaging is that it facilitates teamwork, taking customer service to a new level.

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Destiny 2: The 5 key things PC gamers need to know

Fri, 19 May 2017 07:39:00 -0700

It seems like only yesterday, or just over seven weeks ago, that we found out Destiny 2 would be coming to PC, shedding the original's console-only shackles. On Thursday, Bungie revealed more details about the upcoming multi-player first-person shooter. A lot of it's good, some of it's not so good, and some of it's downright surprising.

Here's what PC gamers need to know about Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 will be a Battle.net exclusive

Say what? Yep. The PC edition will be available from Activision Blizzard-owned Battle.net, not Steam.

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