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Published: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 05:15:25 -0700

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 05:15:25 -0700


4 scanning apps for easily digitizing your documents

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0700

Every productivity strategy needs a solution for digitizing paper documents. Fortunately, that doesn’t necessarily require you to plunk down hundreds of dollars on a desktop scanner. Thanks to our smartphone cameras, we’re all walking around with handheld scanners in our pockets. All you need to unlock them is the right app.

The best scanning apps provide everything you need to manage your digital-document workflow: editing tools to clean up the scanned images, optical character recognition (OCR) so you can edit and search document text, and the ability to upload scans to your favorite note-taking app or cloud storage for anywhere access.

Here are four apps that do that and more.

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Declutter your phone for a cleaner, faster Android experience

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 04:00:00 -0700

You can spend less time swiping and searching for apps if you follow our guide for a more Zen-like setup.

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Apple Watch Series 2 review: A faster, brighter fitness machine

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:45:00 -0700

The Apple Watch is a polarizing product. Sometimes it feels like a novelty, a gadget lifted straight from Dick Tracy or Inspector Gadget. Other times it seems essential, a heart rate-monitoring device that could save your life. To make the watch a need-to-have instead of just nice-to-have, Apple is doubling down on its health potential.

I wore the original Apple Watch Sport almost every day (not counting the weeks following The Incident), and I’ve long argued that the device’s true purpose lies in its health and fitness features. Apple is closer to realizing that potential with Apple Watch Series 2, which is equipped with GPS, 50-meter water resistance, a dual-core processor, and brighter display. Apple Watch is no longer a smartwatch that’s pretty good at activity tracking. It’s now a fitness band that does all that other stuff—notifications, messaging, emails, podcast playback, reminders—really well.

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The best online backup service for securely encrypting your data

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:30:00 -0700

Many people resist backing up their data to an online backup service like MozyHome, Carbonite, or Backblaze because they worry their data will be poked through by company employees, hijacked by criminals, or provided to law enforcement or government agents without due process. 

The sanctity of your data boils down to whether the encryption key used to scramble your data can be recovered by anyone other than yourself. Below I outline the various methods and levels of encryption that can be employed by these services, and then evaluate six of the best options for home users. Several give subscribers full control of their encryption. If you’re already using a service, it’s possible you can even upgrade to take advantage of greater ownership options.

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Nest Cam Outdoor review: Nest goes outside with a fully weatherized security camera

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0700

Nest Cam is one of our favorite home security cameras, so we were understandably excited to try out the new Nest Cam Outdoor. With a weatherized design and an updated app, it promises to bring the same solid security features and ease of use to the exterior of your home.

What you get

“Outdoor camera” usually conjures images of the CCTV-type bullet cams so prevalent in strip malls and other places of business. Their conspicuous designs scream “surveillance” and probably aren’t the kind of thing you want marring the aesthetics of your home. And if the looks don’t deter you, then the prospect of having to drill through the walls of your home to route several cables to your router and an electrical outlet probably will.

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8 great Android features that iOS needs to steal

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0700

Not that long ago, I used to feel sorry for Android users and their clunky, sluggish devices—the thought of giving up my iPhone never crossed my mind. Recently, though, I’ve been the one green-eyed with envy, as snazzy new Android features make my once-precious iOS handset feel old and tired by comparison.

Below I’ve highlighted eight of the most notable Android features that iOS needs to steal (there are plenty more, mind you), from automatic power-saving mode and installing apps from the web to smarter keypad shortcuts and the ability to clear storage-hogging app caches with a single tap.

1. Gesture typing for the stock keypad

Sure, iOS has allowed third-party keyboards with swipe-to-type capabilities for a few years now, but I’m continually frustrated how non-Apple keypads tend to grow sluggish, fail to appear, or even crash altogether on my iPhone.

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Trump hotel chain fined over data breaches

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:42:29 -0700

Trump Hotel Collection has arrived at a settlement with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman over hacks that are said to have led to the exposure of over 70,000 credit card numbers and other personal data.

The hotel chain, one of the businesses of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has agreed to pay US$50,000 in penalties and promised to take measures to beef up its data security practices, according to the attorney general’s office.

The chain is one of many hotels and retailers that have been hit recently by malware that skimmed payment card information.

The key charges apparently against Trump Hotel Collection (THC) are that it didn’t have adequate protection and even after the attacks became known, did not quickly inform the people affected, in breach of New York law.

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Akitio Thunder3 PCIe SSD review: Blazingly fast external storage for rich kids

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 10:00:00 -0700

If you’d walked by our test bed while we were testing Akitio’s Thunder3 PCIe SSD, external drive, you’d probably have stopped and done a double-take. 2GBps transfers from an external drive? No way.  

How could this possibly be, you ask? The Thunderbolt 3 interface is basically PCIe over a wire, and features a massive 5GBps transfer rate. The Thunder3 PCIe SSD is a classy-looking, Thunderbolt 3 enclosure that contains a single PCIe slot. Put a 1.2GB Intel 750 NVMe SSD in said slot, and for all intents and purposes, it’s the same as putting it in an internal PCIe slot. 2GBps? Thunderbolt 3 isn’t even breaking a sweat.

Alas, this marvelous demonstration of advanced technology isn’t cheap. Actually, at $1,299, which includes the $800-plus drive (or even $1,270 on Amazon), it’s not even within shouting distance of affordable. But dang, if its speed isn’t enticing.  

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Xbox One S controller review: New features and custom colors make for a great successor

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 07:00:00 -0700

My $80 powder-blue-and-orange Xbox Design Lab controller arrived recently, and I’ve fallen in love with its look. Maybe you’re not so easily swayed. Maybe you hate it. That’s fine. More than fine, actually—that’s kind of the whole point.

Last year Microsoft released the $150 high-end Elite controller for a segment of the market traditionally supported by third parties and aftermarket parts dealers. That undertaking was by all accounts a rousing success, way beyond Microsoft’s predictions.

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Companies say IoT matters but don't agree how to secure it

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:34:38 -0700

A majority of enterprises say the internet of things is strategic to their business, but most still take a piecemeal approach to IoT security.

Those results from a global IDC survey conducted in July and August reveal both the promise and the growing pains of IoT, a set of technologies that may help many industries but can’t simply be plugged in. The 27-country survey had more than 4,500 respondents, all from organizations with 100 or more employees.

For 56 percent of enterprises, IoT is part of their strategic plans for the next two or three years, IDC analyst Carrie MacGillivray said on a webcast about the results. But the state of adoption varies widely among industries. Manufacturing companies are investing the most in the technology, with retail and financial services – especially insurance – also on the cutting edge.

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A robot fish is helping the Navy improve underwater movement

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:39:01 -0700

Oscar Curet is an assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University. For the past couple of years, he's studied the movement of the Knifefish, an animal native to the Amazon River, that uses a long ribbon fin to propel itself through the water and navigate its complex environment. 

"As a engineer, we try to solve problems, and nature has solved some of the problems that we are facing, and one of them is mobility," Curet said.

Curet, along with other researchers from Florida Atlantic University (FAU), has created a robot fish to identify the differences between engineering systems and what occurs in nature. The prototype is composed of 3D-printed materials, 16 motors, and a number of sensors. The team also recently received a grant from the U.S. Navy to equip their prototype with a Volumetric Particle Image Velocity System, or PIV. The system, which uses four cameras synchronized with a laser light to capture currents in three dimensions, will help researchers measure how fluid dynamics interact with the flexible propulsors the team has developed to make underwater vehicles more maneuverable. 

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PCWorld Show Episode 29: Samsung Note7 recall, Google to ditch Nexus for Pixel

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:29:00 -0700

Samsung’s recall of the Note7 just keeps getting worse and Jon, Jason, and Gordon are here to help you make sense of it. On tap:

  • Jason gives us the latest on just how bad the Note7 recall is and what may have gone wrong.
  • Is Google about to announce new Pixel phones and drop its beloved Nexus line? Does anyone even care?
  • Researchers demo a hack for Tesla cars that lets them remotely apply the brakes and pop the trunk.
  • And in this week’s Right or Wrong: Did the Samsung Note7 just become the new Ford Pinto?

Watch the show as it unfolded live on YouTube.

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This week in games: Blizzard ditches, Gears of War 4 adds PC split-screen

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:15:00 -0700

I have another hundred miles of Australia to explore today, and that Forza Horizon 3 icon is just staring at me from my taskbar. Let’s knock this article out in a hurry.

On the docket this week? Blizzard ditches, Gears of War 4 adds split-screen co-op on the PC, Kotaku UK looks into problems with Star Citizen’s development, and Sniper Elite 4 shows off a bunch of slow-mo murders.

This is gaming news for September 19 through the 23.

Highway to Hell

Speaking of Forza’s great Australian Outback (and Australian beaches and Australian cliffs and et cetera), here’s a launch trailer:

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Best Deals of the Week, September 19th - September 23rd - Deal Alert

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 14:05:00 -0700

Best Deals of the Week, September 19th - September 23rd - Deal Alert

Check out this roundup of the best deals on gadgets, gear and other cool stuff we have found this week, the week of September 19th. All items are highly rated, and dramatically discounted!

1 Free Amazon Echo Dot When You Buy 5

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play & control music (either on its own, or through a connected speaker/receiver), control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, and more. If you’re looking to buy them as gifts, or for different homes or rooms, Amazon will throw in a free one ($50 value) when you buy 5, or two free ones when you buy 10 (a $100 value). To take advantage of this limited time offer, select 6 or 12 in the quantity dropdown and add to your Shopping Cart. Enter promo code DOT6PACK or DOT12PACK at checkout where you will see the discount applied. The new Amazon Echo Dot comes in black, and now also white.  See the new Amazon Echo Dot now on Amazon.

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Here's what you should know, and do, about the Yahoo breach

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:03:00 -0700

Yahoo’s announcement that state-sponsored hackers have stolen the details of at least 500 million accounts shocks both through scale—it’s the largest data breach ever—and the potential security implications for users.

That’s because Yahoo, unlike MySpace, LinkedIn and other online services that suffered large breaches in recent years, is an email provider; and email accounts are central to users’ online lives. Not only are email addresses used for private communications, but they serve as recovery points and log-in credentials for accounts on many other websites.

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Well, I never! iOS 10's voicemail transcription has a potty mouth

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:52:00 -0700

Anyone who has looked at automatically-generated subtitles on YouTube can tell you that asking a computer to describe what a human says can lead to hilarious results. Now, Apple has brought that issue to iOS 10 with support for transcribing voicemails.

It’s a cool feature that makes it easy to know what your Aunt Matilda said about the gastrointestinal problems her dog is having, without actually having to listen to a three-minute-long, blow-by-blow description. But be careful about trusting it—or reading the transcriptions around sensitive eyes.

I learned that the hard way Thursday when someone left me a message about a reorder special on a wine club shipment. Except my iPhone didn’t hear it that way, proudly telling me about “wearing your c**k s**t.”

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Google tweets that it's 'whipping up something sweet' in honor of Android's birthday

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:29:00 -0700

The official Android Twitter account caught our attention this morning with a rather mysterious tweet. It features the Android mascot with a hand whisk and a bowl of eggs surrounded by KitKat bars, marshmallows, and nougats.

You probably get the reference to the Android versions, but beyond that it isn’t clear exactly what’s going on here, other than Google having some fun at our expense.

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How to search the full text of web pages in your Chrome browsing history with Falcon

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:24:00 -0700

Finding a website in your browsing history is easy if you know the title of the webpage or site. But if all you remember is the general topic, things get a little harder to find. There’s a new Chrome extension called Falcon that attempts to solve this problem.

Falcon describes itself as a “full text browsing history search.” What that means is Falcon indexes the text in the body of nearly every webpage you visit. Then when you need to find something, all you have to do is search for a keyword from any part of the webpage you’re looking for. If you only remember that the page mentions Alabama that’ll be enough.

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Google's Daydream VR platform graduates out of beta

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:03:00 -0700

Google’s ambitious foray into VR just passed an important milestone. Daydream VR is now out of beta, which means that developers can start getting their apps ready for the platform’s official launch.

The only eligible test device so far has been the Nexus 6P, and even that came with the caveat that it would run quite hot and “thermally throttle CPU and GPU performance after a short period of use, depending on workload,” according to Google’s developer documentation.

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Privacy groups urge US FTC to investigate WhatsApp promises

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:25:33 -0700

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should stop mobile messaging service WhatsApp from sharing user data with parent company Facebook in violation of earlier privacy promises, several privacy groups said.

The FTC should step in to stop WhatsApp from violating "commitments the company previously made to subscribers," the 17 groups said in a letter sent to the agency Thursday. WhatsApp has long billed itself as a secure and private messaging service. 

WhatsApp's recently released plan to share user data with Facebook as a way to target advertising could amount to an "unfair and deceptive" trade practice, said the groups, including the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, and Demand Progress.

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Following Pandora, iHeartRadio reveals new premium radio and on-demand music streaming

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:17:00 -0700

Stop me if you’ve already heard this one: A major Internet radio service is improving its core service and adding an on-demand, Spotify-style product. No, we’re not talking about Pandora—this time it's iHeartRadio's turn.

The company behind the services, iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), announced iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access on Friday. The two new subscription plans will roll out in January.

The story behind the story: With so many music services competing for our attention, iHeartMedia hopes it can lure more people to its offerings by focusing on radio. The company says even the new Spotify-like service, iHeartRadio All Access, will focus on improving your radio experience. The company is short on specifics, but from the sounds of it the music you listen to using All Access will inform the selections you hear on iHeartRadio's Internet radio. 

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50% off Inateck USB 3.0 Dual-Bay Hard Drive Cloning Station - Deal Alert

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:13:00 -0700

This gadget from Inateck will duplicate any 2.5 inch or 3.5 inch SATA HDD/SSD drive quickly and automatically without the need for a computer, by just pushing a button. Once cloning has started, an LED indicator shows you 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% completion status. Or don't kick off the cloning process, and the unit allows you to move files freely between drives as you would an external HDD/SSD. Built-in safeguards protect against overheating, overvoltage, current leaks, short circuits, peak voltage, and other disturbances to ensure safe data access and transfers. The unit currently averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 530 customers (read reviews). With a typical list price of $69.99, this 50% off deal puts it at just $34.99. See the discounted Inateck HDD/SSD cloning station now on Amazon.

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Apple's Siri-powered Amazon Echo rival reportedly hits the prototype phase

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 07:05:00 -0700

Apple is reportedly still hard at work on a Siri-powered device to rival the Amazon Echo. The project is out of the research and development and phase and into prototyping, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has an excellent track record with Apple rumors.

Gurman doesn’t say what the smart home device will be, but presumably it will be some kind of speaker. The aim is for the Siri device to control smart home appliances—presumably via HomeKit—similar to the Echo. The Siri device would likely also be able to carry out the same tasks that the personal digital assistant already does on the iPhone and iPad. 

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23% off HDMI Cloner Box for Gaming or HD Video Stream Capture, No PC needed - Deal Alert

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:13:00 -0700

Here's a device any gamer or video enthusiast may want to have on hand. Connect a game console, DVD, or any video source to this gadget via its HDMI input, and with the push of a button it captures and saves the video stream to any attached USB flash drive, with no PC required. Advanced hardware H.264 encoding captures your live gameplay or video playback in 1080p Full HD, while keeping the file size low and capturing speeds high. Averaging 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 170 customers (read reviews), the gadget's $129.99 list price has been reduced 23% to $99.99. With the unit you'll get a free 16gb USB stick to get you started (enough for several hours of video). See the discounted cloner box now on Amazon.

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Impending cumulative updates for Windows 7 and 8 unnerve patch experts

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:00:00 -0700

Microsoft’s decision to force Windows 10’s patch and maintenance model on customers running the older-but-more-popular Windows 7 has patch experts nervous.

“Bottom line, everyone is holding their breath, hoping for the best, expecting the worst,” said Susan Bradley in an email. Bradley is well known in Windows circles for her expertise on Microsoft’s patching processes: She writes on the topic for the Windows Secrets newsletter and moderates the mailing list, where business IT administrators discuss update tradecraft.

Bradley’s anxiety stems from Microsoft’s announcement last month that beginning in October it will offer only cumulative security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, ending the decades-old practice of letting customers choose which patches they apply.

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IBM shows how fast its brain-like chip can learn

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:53:00 -0700

Developing a computer that can be as decisive and intelligent as humans is on IBM's mind, and it's making progress toward achieving that goal.

IBM's computer chip called TrueNorth is designed to emulate the functions of a human brain. The company is now running tests and benchmarking TrueNorth to demonstrate how fast and power efficient the chips can be compared to today's computers.

The results of the head-to-head contest are impressive. IBM says TrueNorth can engage in deep learning and make decisions based on associations and probabilities, much like human brains. It can do so while consuming a fraction of the power used by chips in other computers for the same purpose.

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Most Galaxy Note7 users stick with Samsung after recall

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:52:00 -0700

Samsung Electronics may have some comfort after its debacle with faulty batteries in the Galaxy Note7 smartphone.

The South Korean company reported Thursday that about 500,000 devices, or half of the recalled Galaxy Note7 phones sold in the U.S., have been exchanged through its program.

Interestingly, “90 percent of Galaxy Note7 owners have been opting to receive the new Galaxy Note7,” since the phones became available on Wednesday, Samsung said. That figure suggests that most of the users of the Note7 have chosen to stay with the smartphone model, with new batteries, rather than go in for a refund or exchange the phone with another Samsung model.

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Vint Cerf's do-over: How a father of the Internet would've made it differently

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:44:00 -0700

Vint Cerf is considered a father of the internet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things he would do differently if given a fresh chance to create it all over again.

“If I could have justified it, putting in a 128-bit address space would have been nice so we wouldn’t have to go through this painful, 20-year process of going from IPv4 to IPv6,” Cerf told an audience of journalists Thursday during a press conference at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany.

IPv4, the first publicly used version of the Internet Protocol, included an addressing system that used 32-bit numerical identifiers. It soon became apparent that it would lead to an exhaustion of addresses, however, spurring the creation of IPv6 as a replacement. Roughly a year ago, North America officially ran out of new addresses based on IPv4.  

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5 tech trends that have Turing Award winners worried

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:42:00 -0700

Technology has considerable potential to make the world better, but those benefits are far from guaranteed. Plenty of downsides can pop up along the way, and some of them have Turing Award winners especially worried.

1. The internet echo chamber

"Technology by itself is not evil, but people can use it for bad things," Barbara Liskov, an Institute Professor at MIT, told an audience of journalists Thursday at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany. "I do worry a lot about what's going on."

The ability to selectively filter out news and opinions that don't agree with one's own viewpoint is one of Liskov's top concerns.

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If Linux won't install on your laptop, blame Intel not Microsoft

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 05:00:00 -0700

Why won’t Linux install on modern Lenovo laptops? The discovery of this problem set off a recent firestorm. But contrary to initial speculation, it’s not that Microsoft is forcing Lenovo to block the installation of Linux on its laptops. It’s that Intel isn’t making modern hardware compatible with Linux.

Intel needs to provide better Linux support

The reason Linux won’t install on Lenovo’s laptops is a technical one. As Lenovo explained: “To improve system performance, Lenovo is leading an industry trend of adopting RAID on the SSDs in certain product configurations... Unsupported models will rely on Linux operating system vendors releasing new kernel and drivers to support features such as RAID on SSD.”

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