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Published: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:24:57 -0800

Last Build Date: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:24:57 -0800

 



$49 Windows tablets, $1,000 PC discounts, and 50% off Xbox games highlight Microsoft deals

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:09:00 -0800

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have come and gone. But that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from publishing some fairly amazing deals over the next 12 days, half of which you’ll need to visit a brick-and-mortar Microsoft store to score.

Since the deals kick off on December 5, you have until Monday to plan your purchases. And you will need to plan them, too: The 12 Days of Deals unlock each day and are only good “while supplies last.” Naturally, you’ll have to line up at a physical Microsoft Store if you want to score a “doorbuster.” 

Some of the deals are well worth the trouble. Microsoft will offer up to $1,000 off on select PCs on two separate days, for example, and there are a number of half-off deals on Xbox One games, too. Another intriguing deal is a $49 Windows tablet on Friday, December 9. Microsoft’s best deals, however, are shrouded in mystery: The company isn’t revealing which tablet will be $49, or what PCs it will be discounting by $1,000. 

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Best Android phones: What should you buy?

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:00:00 -0800

Updated 12/08/16: We've updated our recommendation for Best Bang for the Buck to the OnePlus 3T.

Choosing a new Android phone isn’t easy. The Android universe is teeming with options, from super-expensive flagship phones, to affordable models that make a few calculated compromises, to models expressly designed for, say, great photography. 

Chances are that whichever phone you buy, you’ll keep it for at least two years. So choosing the best Android phone for you isn’t a decision you should take lightly. 

But we can make things easier. Everyone has different priorities and needs, so we’ve made some picks for the best Android phone in several categories. 

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BrandPost: Amazing Things Happen When Passion Meets Technology

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:35:00 -0800

Technology and passion make powerful allies. The partnership of these forces allows pioneers to break boundaries, competitors to shatter records, and visionaries to change the world.

To put things into perspective, here’s a new view of some of the incredible accomplishments we’ve made by dreaming big and defying our limits.

Where will you take us next?

(image)

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Google Drive update makes managing backups a little easier

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:32:00 -0800

It wasn’t a feature Google advertised all that well, but your Drive has been dutifully keeping backups of the data on your devices since Marshmallow introduced Auto Backup for Apps. Now it is making it easier to find them.

A new update to the Google Drive app adds a handy Backups section to the sidebar. Open it and you can see which of your devices have backups and which apps are being stored within them. From there you’ll be able to delete any unwanted or outdated backups, and keep an eye on how much data is being kept. The update also delivers easier previews of Excel and other spreadsheet files.

If you’re not seeing anything in the folder, you’ll need to turn on backups. Head over to your phone's Settings, tap Backup and reset, then Backup, and toggle the Back up to Google Drive switch (your interface might be a bit different depending on your phone model). The update is currently rolling out to devices, so go check the Play Store for the latest version. And as usual, if you’re not seeing the update on your device, you can sideload the Google-signed APK using APKMirror.

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Facebook's Year in Review for 2016 isn't just fun and games

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:10:00 -0800

In November, John Oliver “called it early,” declaring 2016 a truly terrible year. On Thursday, Facebook pretty much backed up that claim, releasing its Year in Review that reveals the most-discussed topics around the world on the social network.

Facebook put together its year in review by ranking the most frequently mentioned topics in Facebook posts between January 1 and November 27. That data was then analyzed (and anonymized) to get a sense of the year’s most discussed issues in 2016.

It probably comes as no surprise that with just a few exceptions, the list includes one controversial and sad topic after another. Topping off the chart is the U.S. Presidential Election. Regardless of which candidate you were pulling for, almost everyone was glad to see this year’s overly long, overly divisive campaign drift into the history books.

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78% off Senso Bluetooth Sweatproof Sport Headphones - Deal Alert

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:02:00 -0800


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Cyberspies stole secrets from industrial giant ThyssenKrupp

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:45:58 -0800

Germany-based industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp was hit by a cyberespionage attack earlier this year that resulted in data being stolen from its industrial solutions and steel producing units.

An investigation revealed that the attack was carried out by a professional group of hackers from Southeast Asia and targeted technological know-how and research, according to the group,

While hackers managed to steal some information, its exact nature is not clear, with the exception of certain project data from an engineering company, ThyssenKrupp said in an emailed statement Thursday. As a result, at this time there's no reliable estimation of the damage to the company's intellectual property.

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New slate of games showcase the power of Daydream VR

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:04:00 -0800

When we reviewed Google’s Daydream View headset last month, we were enamored with the simple, affordable solution to virtual reality, but somewhat disappointed in the lack of content. Just a handful of games were available at launch, and while there were certainly some fun titles, it was missing a real killer app to showcase its full capabilities.

Barely a month after its release, Google is following through on its promise to build a full Daydream ecosystem. Along with two new colors of the fabric-wrapped headset (Crimson and Snow), a new crop of virtual-reality apps have launched in the Play Store, and whether you’re a master builder, speed demon, or couch potato, you’re sure to find something to get your attention:

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Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor roundup: Here's everything we know so far

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:07:00 -0800

Editor’s note: This article is frequently updated to reflect the latest information available. We most recently added information about bezel-less wraparound displays.

It’s that time of year again. Rumors are flying about the latest Samsung flagship smartphone. Presumably to be called the Galaxy S8, it’ll attempt to revive Samsung’s burned edges from the Galaxy Note7 debacle.

Here’s everything we have heard so far about what Samsung is putting together. The details are pretty much in the rumor category at this point, but we’ll continually update this article with the latest information. In the most recent report, Bloomberg weighs in with some enticing news about the new “all-screen design,” while also corroborating other rumors we had heard. Read on for the details:

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20% off Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker - Deal Alert

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 07:00:00 -0800

This kitchen gadget from Hamilton Beach is all about making a fresh breakfast sandwich that you can grab and go. Just choose your bread and layer on the fixings: egg, cheese, precooked meat, or other ingredients of your choice. In five minutes or less, your perfectly assembled breakfast sandwich is ready to eat. All removable parts simply go in the dishwasher for an easy cleanup. The sandwich maker averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 3,000 people on Amazon (read reviews). It's typical list price of $30 has been reduced to $24, saving you 20%. See it on Amazon.

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OpenVPN will be audited for security flaws

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:09:14 -0800

The next major version of OpenVPN, one of the most widely used virtual private networking technologies, will be audited by a well-known cryptography expert.

The audit will be fully funded by Private Internet Access (PIA), a popular VPN service provider that uses OpenVPN for its business. The company has contracted cryptography engineering expert Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, to carry out the evaluation with the goal of identifying any vulnerabilities in the code.

Green has experience in auditing encryption software, being one of the founders of the Open Crypto Audit Project, which organized a detailed analysis of TrueCrypt, a popular open-source full-disk encryption application. TrueCrypt has been abandoned by its original developers in 2014, but its code has since been forked and improved as part of other projects.

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AMD strengthens gaming and VR on Linux with graphics improvements

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:05:02 -0800

Windows is the indisputable platform of choice for gaming and VR, but Linux is catching up fast as graphics companies ramp up driver and hardware support for the OS.

AMD is showing more love for Linux than ever before. The company on Thursday announced some hardware and driver updates that will strengthen gaming and VR on the OS.

The biggest news is AMD's support for FreeSync on Linux PCs. FreeSync can improve the rendition of games and high-definition video by allowing GPUs to communicate directly with displays, reducing image stutter and lag time. Images are drawn up on the screen while they are being rendered in GPUs.

This is the first time AMD is bringing FreeSync support to Linux. It was earlier available only on Windows PCs.

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Moore's Law lives on with speedy 7-nm mobile chips coming in 2018

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:00:03 -0800

How do mobile devices keep get faster, thinner, and more power efficient? It's thanks to the quick advances in chip manufacturing, which help churn out smaller chips packed with new features.

The next round of premium smartphones early next year could feature chips like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, made using the latest, 10-nanometer process.

Continuing with the famous Moore's Law observation, it's likely that two years after that, smartphones will get even faster and smaller chips will be made using a 7-nanometer process.

On Monday, ARM, with its chip designs in most smartphones, said it is working with prominent chip manufacturer TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) to make 7-nm chips. ARM shared intellectual property for its 7-nm designs, allowing chips to be designed for manufacturing in TSMC's factories.

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AMD's Radeon Software Crimson ReLive debuts with features galore

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:00:00 -0800


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48% off Travel Cord Organizer - Electronics Accessories Case & Cable Organizer - Deal Alert

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:24:00 -0800

Designed to protect and safeguard your electronic gadgets and save time on the go by easily storing and finding everything you need. This travel organizer offers a secure storage space for cord management, laptop and computer accessories putting everything you need in one place. This organizer also gives you special space inside for credit cards, passports, also for boarding passes, smartphone, tickets and has many pockets where you can put coins, keys, USB, SIM card, earphones, and other small accessories. Give yourself or someone else the gift of stress-free travel.  The travel cord organizer's typical list price of $30.99 has been reduced 48% to $15.99. See the discounted Travel Cord Organizer now on Amazon.

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U.S. and U.K. spy agencies have been intercepting in-flight phone calls for years

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:17:29 -0800

U.S. and U.K. spy agencies have been monitoring in-flight mobile phone users for years, according to new revelations from the trove of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

As early as 2012 the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was intercepting voice and data communications from commercial aircraft using the OnAir service to carry 2G mobile services over the Inmarsat satellite communications network. At the time, GCHQ did not have access to a rival in-flight mobile service provider, Aeromobile, French newspaper Le Monde reported Wednesday.

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OnePlus 3T review: One of the best Android phones gets a little better

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:00:00 -0800

OnePlus has never been one to play by the rules. Back when it made its entrance into the crowded smartphone market with the One, it set itself apart by selling a premium handset at a mid-tier price and offering invitation-only purchases instead of the standard preorders. The 3T very much fits with this rebellious nature. Essentially a refreshed version of the 6-month-old OnePlus 3, the new phone undermines another smartphone constant: the yearly update. 

iPhone users are familiar with the concept of the mid-cycle model—a handset that keeps the same enclosure but beefs up features and internal components. But there’s always been a special hook with Apple’s S phones, a reason for current owners to rush out and buy the new model. The 3T could be seen as OnePlus’ attempt to mimic the success Apple has had with the formula (and in fact, the company says it picked T for the new phone’s surname simply because it’s a letter higher than S).

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Samsung still struggling with the recovery of Note7 phones from users

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:33:33 -0800

Samsung’s recall of Galaxy Note7 smartphones because of exploding batteries is far from complete with some users, for example, in Canada still not turning in their devices for a refund or exchange.

The South Korean company has now decided to cut these phones from the network, adopting similar measures to those taken last month in New Zealand and earlier this month in Australia.

The company said Wednesday that from Dec. 12 functional limitations on Note7 phones, including curbs on the battery charge, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disablement will be introduced in Canada.

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Microsoft-Qualcomm deal finally puts Windows 10 and Win32 apps on ARM devices

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:24:00 -0800

Windows RT tried, and failed, to deliver a full-fledged Windows environment on top of anemic ARM microprocessors. Now, Microsoft is trying again, with two major improvements: compatibility with the mainstream Win32 apps that PC users have enjoyed for years, and a new generation of powerful ARM chips to run them.

At its Windows Hardware Engineering (WinHEC) conference in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft said Thursday morning that it's partnered with Qualcomm to enable new, low-cost PCs. These are intended to replace Windows tablets built around Intel’s Atom, a chip the company's essentially discontinued.

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Microsoft wants to enable cellular PCs, but will carriers bite?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:09:00 -0800

Spending time traveling can be a frustrating exercise in trying to find Wi-Fi. So much modern work often requires an internet connection, and while it’s possible to tether smartphones to PCs to help bridge the connectivity gap, that’s a clunky solution.

Microsoft is aiming to help with that by supporting the installation of non-removable programmable SIM cards and data radios in PCs and Windows tablets. In the company's vision, users will then be able to purchase cellular data for those cards through the Windows Store. The announcement was made Thursday at the company’s WinHEC conference for device manufacturers in Shenzhen, China.

By enabling the new form of internet access, Microsoft could give users an easy way to get online right from their computer, and encourage manufacturers to build cellular-capable devices. Users would also get settings to help them better manage the use of data plans, so it’s easier for them to control how much data apps can suck up.

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New Windows 10 Insider Build allows you to shut down your PC with your voice

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:05:00 -0800

In its latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build, Microsoft has given you the power to shut down or restart your PC by your voice alone—a convenience that also may allow pranksters of all stripes to wreak havoc.

Microsoft rolled out Preview Build 14986 of Windows 10 to insiders in the Fast ring on Wednesday, on the first day of its Windows Hardware Engineering conference (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China. It’s a rather substantial build, offering the ability to restart, lock, or shut down your PC via Cortana. It allows you more freedom to control your music via Cortana, provides better PC game support via the Windows Game Bar, includes a Windows Defender dashboard, features improved Windows Ink capabilities, and much more. The new build also ships with specific improvements for customers in Asia, including a better typing experience for Chinese keyboards. 

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Intel, Microsoft renew 'Wintel' partnership with Project Evo and VR specs for PCs

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:05:00 -0800

On Wednesday night, Microsoft and Intel reforged their traditional “Wintel” partnership with a collaboration called “Project Evo” in which the two companies said that they will work together to improve how PCs think, see and hear. Their initiatives include everything from improved security and authentication to gaming innovations and “mixed reality” experiences.

Microsoft made the announcement at its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China, an event where Microsoft works with hardware partners to define the future of the PC and related devices.

Much of this collaboration involves Intel, which helps provide the hardware reference designs that inform computers and other products made by manufacturers like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. This year’s WinHEC is being held six months after Microsoft declared its intentions to bring Windows 10 to virtual reality devices, and to help the five aforementioned hardware companies develop inexpensive head-mounted VR displays. To this end, Intel used WinHEC 2016 to unveil the PC specifications for those VR devices, and also announced its Project Evo partnership with Microsoft.

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9 free 'round-the-clock streaming apps for low-effort TV watching

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:33:00 -0800

Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime excel at delivering on-demand video, but sometimes you don’t want to pick from an endless list of movies and TV shows. You might not even care that much about what’s on, provided it’s palatable enough to play in the background while you’re doing other things.

For this type of lean-back, passive viewing, you’ll want a video app that has some kind of ‘round-the-clock streaming element, so you can start watching with minimal effort. These types of apps have become more commonplace over the last couple years, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a few that match your interests. Here’s a list of our favorites:

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Bluetooth 5 is out: Now will home IoT take off?

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:33:00 -0800

Bluetooth is aiming straight for the internet of things as the fifth version of the wireless protocol arrives with twice as much speed for low-power applications.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which gains the most from the new Bluetooth 5 specification, can now go as fast as 2Mbps (bits per second) and typically can cover a whole house or a floor of a building, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) said Wednesday. Those features could help to make it the go-to network for smart homes and some enterprise sites.

The home IoT field is pretty open right now because most people haven’t started buying things like connected thermostats and door locks, ABI Research analyst Avi Greengart said. Bluetooth starts out with an advantage over its competition because it’s built into most smartphones and tablets, he said. Alternatives like ZigBee and Z-Wave often aren’t.

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A Turkish hacker is giving out prizes for DDoS attacks

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:25:06 -0800

A hacker in Turkey has been trying to encourage distributed denial-of-attacks by making it into a game, featuring points and prizes for attempting to shut down political websites.

The DDoS platform, translated as Surface Defense in English, has been prompting other hackers in Turkey to sign up and score points, according to security firm Forcepoint which uncovered it.

Users that participate will be given a tool known as Balyoz, the Turkish word for Sledgehammer, that can be used to launch DDoS attacks against a select number of websites.

For every ten minutes they attack a website, the users will be awarded a point, which can then be used to obtain rewards. These prizes include a more powerful DDoS attacking tool, access to bots designed to generate revenue from click fraud,  and a prank program that can infect a computer and scare the victim with sounds and images.

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Qualcomm's new chip may be too late as ARM server market fades

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:50:00 -0800

After more than half a decade in the making, ARM server chips should have struck gold by now, but they haven't. ARM servers were projected to be approaching a double-digit server market share, but they still are virtually non-existent.

Keeping market realities in mind, Qualcomm earlier this year said it would take a wait-and-watch approach before making a splash with its ARM server chips. While ARM servers adoption has been poor, Qualcomm decided to go ahead and launch the chips.

In the making for two years, Qualcomm's Centriq 2400 server chips have 48 cores and are now being sent as samples to companies. Volume shipments of the chips will start in the second half next year.

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Democrats unveil bill to probe Russia's role in alleged election hacks

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:50:00 -0800

U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a government probe into whether Russia may have interfered with the presidential election by hacking high-profile political targets.  

On Wednesday, two Democratic representatives unveiled legislation that proposes to form a 12-member bipartisan commission to investigate the electronic means Russia may have used to influence the U.S. election.

"Regardless of whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, Russia’s attacks on our election are an attempt to degrade our democracy," said Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, one of the sponsors of the bill.

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T-Mobile's Digits looks to expand your phone number to all of your devices

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:11:00 -0800

T-Mobile is no stranger to shaking up the mobile world, having previously unveiled unlimited video streaming, streamlined data plans and hassle-free device upgrades, and now it has a new Un-carrier trick up its sleeve: a single number for all your devices and multiple numbers on a single device.

Called Digits, the unique program lets you share your T-Mobile number with any Internet-connected device, including smartwatches, computers, and tablets. As the company explains in its press release, “Just log in and, bam, your call history, messages, and even voicemail are all there. And it’s always your same number, so when you call or text from another device, it shows up as you.”

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Halo 5: Forge's multiplayer is now more accessible on PC with a new custom game browser

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:14:00 -0800

When Halo 5: Forge launched on PC over the summer I think many people went through the same set of events as I did: 1) Download it, excited. Free Halo multiplayer! 2) Notice it’s impossible to set up a match unless your Xbox friends are also online. 3) Delete it.

It was a shame. Here was Halo multiplayer on the PC, at long last, but practically unplayable without any sort of matchmaking or server browser. And to be fair, Microsoft did tell us that Forge was more about creating custom maps than playing them. It just did so while dangling the idea of playing them in front of us.

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Get your Needlers ready, though. As part of a massive Halo 5 console patch releasing this week, Halo 5: Forge finally gets that much-needed custom game browser. From the patch notes:

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Amazon replaces cashiers with AI and computer learning

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:56:00 -0800

Amazon wants customers to be able to leave their wallets at home and still go shopping, as long as they have their smartphones on hand.

The online retail giant is opening up a brick-and-mortar store in Seattle called Amazon Go, and the store uses a mix of sensors and computer learning to track what items customers pick up and to automatically add them to their Amazon accounts.

Amazon identifies each customer using a QR code, which individuals scan before entering the store. The store offers groceries, ready-made food, and Amazon meal kits. Currently, Amazon Go is only accessible to the company’s employees, but Amazon says it will open its doors to the public in early 2017. 

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