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Published: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:58:51 -0800

Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:58:51 -0800

 



Microsoft buys Simplygon to simplify rendering VR and AR models

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:55:06 -0800

Microsoft is betting that less is more in 3D design, with the acquisition of the Swedish developer of a 3D data optimization system, Simplygon.

Simplygon takes 3D models in a number of formats, and reduces the volume of data used to describe them by taking out some of the detail -- somewhat like reducing the size of a JPEG image file by increasing the level of compression while leaving the resolution unchanged.

That means the models can be rendered more rapidly or using less powerful hardware, something that will help Microsoft with the "3D for everyone" vision it outlined last October at the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update.

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Researchers create wild ReRAM memory chips that store data and act like a processor

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:54:00 -0800

Computer scientists in Singapore and Germany have collaborated to create a resistive RAM chip that not only stores data but can act as a computer processor.

The breakthrough uses state-of-the-art memory chips known as Redox-based, resistive switching random access memory (ReRAM) and could lead to much faster and thinner mobile devices. Today’s computers must transfer data from the memory storage to the processor unit for computation, which along with slowing performance also requires more power.

“This is like having a long conversation with someone through a tiny translator, which is a time-consuming and effort-intensive process,” said Anupam Chattopadhyay, an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. “We are now able to increase the capacity of the translator, so it can process data more efficiently.”

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BrandPost: Local Leagues are a Great Fit for Casual Competitors

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:53:00 -0800

Getting in shape is the perennial New Year’s resolution. But instead of slogging through workouts with the masses at the local health club, many people are opting to join an adult recreational sports league. Team sports offer grown-ups all the same benefits as kids: regular exercise, social support, and improved self-esteem.

You can start by checking out the following organizations for a league near you. And with a portable 2-in-1 notebook like the Lenovo Yoga 900 in your gear bag, you’ll be able to keep track of team schedules, log workouts, and shop for equipment easily from anywhere.

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Gabe Newell's Reddit Q&A: The most interesting answers on Half-Life 3, Steam support, and more

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:30:00 -0800

Valve founder Gabe Newell took to Reddit yesterday for another hour-long AMA/Ask Me Anything session. Among the topics broached: Is Valve still working on singleplayer games? What are its plans for the future? And the perennial “What is up with Steam support? Why is it so bad?”

The timing is pretty fortuitous. Last week Game Informer published an interview with an alleged Valve insider, one who subsequently claimed Half-Life 3 would never happen. And as per usual, Half-Life 3 was the topic of many dodged questions, though Newell did say “I personally believe all unidentified anonymous sources on the internet” when asked about the article. Good ol’ sarcasm.

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A beginner's guide to IFTTT on Android

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:11:00 -0800

If you truly want to work smarter instead of harder, mastering the ins and outs of IFTTT is the way to do it.


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How to mirror Android SMS alerts on an iOS device

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:00:00 -0800

So here I am, an Android phone in one hand and an iPad in the other. My trusty Nexus 5X is by my side most of the day, but occasionally I set it aside for a midday charge, leaving me with nothing but my iPad to work with.

The only problem with that setup is when my 5X is elsewhere, my iPad has no way of warning me about incoming calls and texts on my Android device. If only there were a way for iOS to receive Android notifications....

Well, there is, actually, but it takes a bit of work. With the help of a clever app that lets you create your own “applets,” your iOS device can alert you about texts, calls, and a few other events on your absent Android handset. Here’s the trick.

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Toshiba considers spinning off its memory business

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:53:00 -0800

Toshiba said it is considering splitting off its memory business into a separate company but added that nothing had been finalized at this point.

The Japanese company said Wednesday that it positions its memory unit as a focus business.

The announcement by Toshiba follows news reports that the company was planning to split its semiconductor  business. The company is considering selling a “partial stake” in its semiconductor business to Western Digital in the U.S., to raise funds for an impairment loss in its U.S. nuclear plant unit, reported Nikkei Asian Review.

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Choosing between Google Photos or Google Drive for image backups

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:00:00 -0800

Google Photos and Drive complement each other in some ways and offer stark differences in others.


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3 tools to help you keep your new year's resolutions

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:30:00 -0800

We’re several weeks into the new year, right around the time when folks start struggling with their resolutions—if they haven’t already abandoned them altogether. That’s because resolutions require more than good intentions and will power. You need to systematically create new habits.

The good news is there’s an abundance of online tools to help you out. Below are three favorites, each using a slightly different method of motivation. Whether your goal is to read more, lose weight, save money, or something else, these apps can help you pave a path to success and see you all the way to the finish line.

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How—and why—you should use a VPN any time you hop on the internet

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

One of the most important skills any computer user should have is the ability to use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect their privacy. A VPN is typically a paid service that keeps your web browsing secure and private over public Wi-Fi hotspots. VPNs can also get past regional restrictions for video- and music-streaming sites and help you evade government censorship restrictions—though that last one is especially tricky.

The best way to think of a VPN is as a secure tunnel between your PC and destinations you visit on the internet. Your PC connects to a VPN server, which can be located in the United States or a foreign country like the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, or Thailand. Your web traffic then passes back and forth through that server. The end result: As far as most websites are concerned, you’re browsing from that server’s geographical location, not your computer’s location.

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The Windows 10 Creators Update's best new features: Dynamic Lock, Game Mode, privacy tweaks, and more

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

A taste of what's to come
(image)

Image by Microsoft

Windows 10 doesn’t behave like the Windows of yesteryear. Instead of a monolithic operating system replaced by a successor in a year or two, it’s more of a living, breathing entity—one that’s constantly changing with the release of massive new “named” updates. The most high-profile example was 2016’s Anniversary Update, which added features like the Bash Shell, a dark theme, Windows Ink, Xbox Play Anywhere, and a whole, whole lot more.

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WikiLeaks’ Assange confident of winning 'any fair trial' in the US

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:25:00 -0800

WikiLeaks said that its founder Julian Assange is confident of winning 'any fair trial' in the U.S. and indicated that the founder of the whistleblowing website would stand by all the promises he had made in return for clemency to Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. soldier who disclosed classified data relating to the Iraq War to the site.

On Tuesday, Manning’s prison sentence was commuted by U.S. President Barack Obama raising questions whether Assange would keep his part of a deal he proposed online, and agree to extradition to the U.S.

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Can a DDoS attack on Whitehouse.gov be a valid protest?

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:32:00 -0800

When Donald Trump is inaugurated as the U.S. President on Friday, Juan Soberanis intends to protest the event—digitally.

His San Francisco-based protest platform is calling on Americans to oppose Trump’s presidency by visiting the Whitehouse.gov site and overloading it with too much traffic. In effect, he’s proposing a distributed denial-of-service attack, an illegal act under federal law. But Soberanis doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s the equivalent of someone marching on Washington, D.C,” he said on Monday. “Civil disobedience has been part of the American democratic process.”

Soberanis’s call to action is raising eyebrows and highlights the isssue of whether DDoS attacks should be made a legitimate form of protest. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, sending a command to a protected computer with the intent to cause damage can be judged a criminal offense. But that hasn’t stopped hacktivists and cyber criminals from using DDoS attacks to force websites offline.  

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Obama commutes sentence for Manning, a WikiLeaks source

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:30:00 -0800

President Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. soldier who disclosed classified data to WikiLeaks relating to the Iraq War.

Manning was originally serving a 35-year sentence, but on Tuesday Obama reduced it. She’ll now be freed on May 17.

Manning was convicted of leaking U.S. military and diplomatic information to WikiLeaks back in 2010 that included videos of airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with classified documents sent to the U.S. State Department. She was arrested and began serving jail time the same year.

The data supplied by Manning helped put WikiLeaks on the map as source for secret government information but drew swift condemnation from U.S. officials.   

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FTC charges Qualcomm with anticompetitive chip tactics

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:02:00 -0800

Qualcomm strong-armed some phone makers into accepting unfavorable technology licensing terms while giving Apple a break in exchange for exclusivity, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged.

The company used its dominance in baseband processors, which manage cellular communication in mobile devices, to force vendors to pay elevated royalties for Qualcomm technologies, the FTC charged in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court.

At the same time, Qualcomm gave Apple favorable terms so it could supply the baseband chips for all iPhones from 2011 to 2016, according to the FTC. Among other things, in 2007 it got Apple to agree not to use WiMax, the original 4G system used on Sprint’s network, in any iPhones, the complaint said. WiMax was promoted by Intel, Qualcomm’s archrival.

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HPE buying SimpliVity for $650 million to boost hyperconvergence

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:34:58 -0800

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has agreed to buy SimpliVity for US$650 million as expands its hyperconverged offerings, and analysts believe it's a great deal.

SimpliVity makes management software that helps administrators gain control over data-center resources. The tools help enterprises make efficient use of server, storage and networking resources.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

For months, HPE was rumored to be pursuing SimpliVity, which also offers convergence tools for servers from Dell, Lenovo and Huawei. Hyperconvergence companies are a hot commodity. Nutanix, a top player in the market, went public in September last year.

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Terrorists are winning the digital arms race, experts say

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:45:00 -0800

Terrorist groups are embracing a huge number of digital tools to recruit members and plan attacks, putting them a step ahead of governments trying to combat them, a group of counterterrorism experts said.

Twitter removed about 250,000 accounts connected with ISIS in one year, but the terrorist group uses 90 other social media platforms, Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol said Tuesday. Terrorist groups have begun to live stream their attacks, and they are using the internet to launch “innovative crowdfunding” campaigns, he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

“The technology is advanced,” Wainwright added. “They know what to do, and they know how to use it.”

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Microsoft labels Windows 7 'outdated' as it pushes Windows users to Windows 10

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:56:00 -0800

Microsoft on Monday reminded customers running Windows 7 that they have just three years of support remaining, told them that the aged OS was “long outdated” and urged them to upgrade to Windows 10.

Windows 7 will exit what Microsoft calls Extended Support on Jan. 14, 2020; at that point, the company will stop all security updates.

Microsoft used the three-years-and-counting milestone to simultaneously denigrate Windows 7 and promote its successor. “Windows 7 is based on long-outdated security architectures,” said Markus Nitschke, the head of Microsoft Germany, in a post to a German-language company blog, adding that the OS “does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments.”

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New report says Google watches made by LG, to be released Feb. 9

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:08:00 -0800

Hot on the heels of revealing that Google is planning to launch Android Wear 2.0 on Feb. 9, a VentureBeat report by Evan Blass has now completely removed the veil from Google’s first wearables. According to the ever-reliable tipster, the watches will be made by LG and are set to make their debut in a matter of weeks alongside the release of the new OS.

Much as Apple sells two sizes of its watch, Google and LG are reportedly set to release Sport and Style variations of their new wearable, with the latter aimed at smaller wrists. According to the report, the larger model will clock in at 1.38 inches and sport a 480x480 screen, as compared to the Style’s 1.2-inch, 360x360 display. Additionally, Blass reports that the Sport will also have 768MB of RAM, (versus 512MB on the Style), as well as a much larger 430mAh battery, compared to 240mAh on the smaller model.

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AI should enhance, not replace, humans, say CEOs of IBM and Microsoft

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:53:00 -0800

Artificial intelligence should enhance human workers, not replace them, at least according to the CEOs of IBM and Microsoft.

Ginni Rometty and Satya Nadella made clear their view of the role of AI in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, just a few hours after Rometty circulated IBM's three guiding principles for the development of cognitive technologies to company staff.

Less dramatic and snappily expressed than Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics, IBM's three principles are nevertheless intended to limit the harm the introduction of AI technologies causes.

The first thing to understand is the purpose of these technologies. For IBM, Rometty said, "it will not be man or machine: Our purpose is to augment and be in service of what humans do."

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AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:51:00 -0800

AirTV was one of the most intriguing cord-cutter products to debut at CES earlier this month. It's an Android-based set-top box that combines Sling TV streams and over-the-air channels into a single interface. AirTV started shipping immediately after its unveiling, while the company—a subsidiary of Dish Network, like Sling—demonstrated full antenna integration at CES.

There’s just one problem: Early adopters aren’t getting what AirTV has been showing off to the press, at least not yet. The current product doesn’t pull over-the-air channels into the Sling TV guide, and an AirTV representative says full integration will require an update that's coming sometime in “early 2017.”

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Leaked Windows 10 build shows Microsoft filling a major content hole: Ebooks

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:50:00 -0800

For years, Microsoft has sold movies, TV shows, and music, in addition to apps—but not ebooks. A leaked Windows 10 build, however, shows Microsoft plans to shore up that gap in an upcoming release.

The leaked build obtained by MSPowerUser reveals a dedicated section of the Windows Store where Microsoft plans to sell ebooks alongside its other content. According to the site, there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated Books app yet, just integration with Microsoft’s Edge browser, which will serve as the viewer application for the new ebooks. 

Microsoft declined to confirm the new Books section, but a representative seemed to imply that new information could be coming soon. “The Windows Insider Program was created to enable Microsoft to test different features and functionality which will influence future versions of Windows,” the representative said in an emailed statement. “We regularly test new features and changes to existing features to see what resonates well with our fans. Stay tuned for more information soon.” 

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PCWorld's January Digital Edition: How AMD's Ryzen chip could change everything

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:01:00 -0800

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Edition. Available as single copies or as a yearlong subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Edition for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.

In the January issue

We share everything we know about AMD’s Ryzen, and how it will change the face of PC computing. Plus, tips on what to do about Yahoo’s billion-account breach.

Other highights:

  • Consumer Watch: How to replace 5 major Yahoo services and delete your Yahoo account
  • LGV20: The Android phone for hard-core enthusiasts
  • HP Spectre x360: Faster, smaller, and better than before
  • Feature: Surface Booki7 vs. MacBook Pro
  • The iPhone switcher's guide: Move from iOS to Android
  • Here's How: Everything you need to know about Windows 10 recovery drives

Video highlights

Watch: Gordon Mah Ung, Brad Chacos and Hayden Dingman discuss AMD's Ryzen chip. See our Acer's Swift 7 review and 8 drones that delighted us in 2016.

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Microsoft's first tethered Windows 10 VR headsets to ship in March

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:33:00 -0800

Microsoft will ship its first PC-attached mixed reality headsets for Windows 10 PCs to developers starting in March at the Game Developers Conference.

The first Windows 10 VR headsets from Microsoft will be units for developers to write and test applications based on the Windows Holographic platform.

The headsets will work with Windows 10 Creators Update, said Vlad Kolesnikov, senior program manager at Microsoft, during a webcast on Friday.

GDC is being held from Feb. 27 to March 3 in San Francisco.

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Sensitive access tokens and keys found in hundreds of Android apps

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:10:45 -0800

Many developers still embed sensitive access tokens and API keys into their mobile applications, putting data and other assets stored on various third-party services at risk.

A new study performed by cybersecurity firm Fallible on 16,000 Android applications revealed that about 2,500 had some type of secret credential hard-coded into them. The apps were scanned with an online tool released by the company in November.

Hard-coding access keys for third-party services into apps can be justified when the access they provide is limited in scope. However, in some cases, developers include keys that unlock access to sensitive data or systems that can be abused.

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Evernote overhauls its iOS app with focus on speed and simplicity

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 09:00:00 -0800

The popular note-taking app slims down and speeds up to make you more productive.


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43% off TP-Link Smart LED Wi-Fi Light Bulb, Dimmable and Alexa Compatible - Deal Alert

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 08:29:00 -0800

TP-Link has discounted its 50W smart bulb 43% to just $19.99. Use the Kasa app to turn on/off or dim from anywhere in the world. Set up a schedule, set the mood, and even control with your voice via an Alexa-enabled device such as Echo or Dot. Reviewers rate 4 out of 5 stars (see reviews) on Amazon, where you can get yourself one (or more) for just $20, a good deal considering it typically lists north of $20 and sometimes $30 with various online retailers. See the discounted TP-Link smart LED bulb on Amazon.

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Android Wear 2.0's long-awaited release could happen February 9

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 08:26:00 -0800

For a while, it was beginning to look like Android Wear 2.0's delays would turn it into Android Wear 3.0, but after a leak last week revealed that Google was planning to release it in early February, a new rumor pins a date on the long-awaited update.

According to serial Android leaker Evan Blass, Google is targeting Feb. 9 as the release date for Android Wear 2.0, bringing a bunch of features that were first announced at Google I/O in May, including Android Pay support, third-party complications (the fancy term for customizable faces), and integration with Google Assistant. Nearly 20 watches are currently on the list of devices ready to take advantage of the update, including popular models from Huawei, Motorola, and LG:

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Apple's graphics provider wants to bring VR to affordable Android phones

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 08:08:00 -0800

The company that provides GPUs to Apple’s iPhones now wants to shake up the Android landscape by bringing high-quality VR experiences to low-end phones.

GPUs from Imagination Technologies are used in both iPhones and Android handsets. The company’s latest PowerVR Series8XE Plus GPU will be installed in Android handsets priced between $200 and $400.

The use of virtual reality in Android devices is growing fast. But most VR-capable phones, like the ones supporting Google’s DayDream platform, are expensive because of powerful GPUs and high-resolution screens. Cheap VR headsets like Google Cardboard can be used with inexpensive phones, but the experience is uneven.

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Twitter's Vine dies today, so download your videos pronto

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:49:00 -0800

It’s the end of the Vine. On Tuesday, January 17, Twitter’s video-sharing platform is morphing from the popular social network spin-off to an integrated part of Twitter.

As part of the changeover, the Vine app will become Vine Camera. With the new app you’ll be able to record and edit six-second videos, and then save them to your phone’s camera roll or upload them to Twitter.

The impact on you at home: January 17 is the last day you’ll be able to download your Vines via the mobile app or the vine.co website. After Tuesday, Vine.co will become an archival site where you’ll be able to view Vines, but the downloading feature will be turned off. If you’re seeing this notice after the download function is shut off you might try a third-party solution to grab your Vines—though we can’t guarantee they’ll work.

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