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Published: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:38:33 -0800

Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:38:33 -0800

 



Report: Samsung probe blames Galaxy Note7 fires on faulty batteries

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:29:00 -0800


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Nvidia's new Shield TV launches with HDR support, and connected home smarts on deck

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:12:00 -0800

Nvidia’s second-generation Shield TV had us turning our heads at CES thanks to its slimmed down profile, HDR support, and smart home features. Now, a little more than a week later, the new Shield TV is available for sale for $200. The higher priced $300 Shield Pro is expected to start shipping at the end of January.

The impact on you at home: The internals of the new Shield TV are pretty much the same as its predecessor that rolled out in 2015. For that reason, Nvidia plans to roll out a software update to the original Shield that will bring many of the same features the new version has. Despite what you may have read online this update has not yet rolled out but Nvidia’s Manuel Guzman says we can expect the update to arrive in the next “week or so.”

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69% off Phaiser BHS-730 Bluetooth Sweatproof Sport Earbuds, Magnetic - Deal Alert

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 07:12:00 -0800

Phaiser's BHS-730 Bluetooth Sport earbuds are both highly rated and dramatically discounted on Amazon. Averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 7,800 people (read reviews), the list price of $160 has been reduced a significant 69% to just $50.  The BHS-730 uses the highest quality hardware, as well as Bluetooth 4.1 and A2DP stereo transfer protocols to produce bigger bass, lighter-than-air treble, and perfect phone call clarity every time. Bullet-shaped Comply T-400 M memory foam tips provide total isolation from external noise. It's designed to withstand the toughest environments, and the earbuds are made from Aviation Grade Aluminum-Magnesium-Alloy which doesn't add weight. And a LiquipelTM Nano-Coating means it can be dropped into water and will live to see another day. The BHS-730's are magnetized, so they stick to each other and stay securely around your neck when you need to take them out of your ears. Along with the earbuds you get a generous 7 sets of ear tips, a 60-day "no questions asked" return policy, and a lifetime sweatproof warranty as well. See the discounted Phaiser BHS-730 now on Amazon

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50% off J5 Tactical V1-Pro Ultra Bright 3 Mode Flashlight - Deal Alert

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 06:21:00 -0800

Heavy duty, compact and tough as nails. Perhaps the last flashlight you'll ever need. That's how J5 Tactical describes their V1-Pro. A super bright 300 lumens LED produces an intense beam of light up to 600 feet with high, low and strobe modes. It can take a beating, is weather resistant, and works for hours on a single AA battery. With nearly 6,000 reviews on Amazon, it averages 4.5 out of 5 stars (read reviews). Its typical list price of $29.95 has been reduced by 50% to $14.95. See the discounted J5 Tactical V1-Pro flashlight now on Amazon.

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This Wi-Fi alternative wants you to create your own LTE-like wireless networks

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 06:04:00 -0800

A group that sees enterprises and even consumers setting up their own LTE-like networks now has a formula to work from.

On Tuesday, the MulteFire Alliance announced MulteFire Release 1.0, which defines an LTE-like network that can run entirely on unlicensed spectrum like the frequencies Wi-Fi uses. In some cases, it may be an alternative to Wi-Fi with more capacity, better security and easier handoffs from carrier networks, Alliance President Mazen Chmaytelli says.

Users could include businesses that need highly predictable networks for time-sensitive industrial applications, stadium owners looking for a simpler way to speed up wireless for fans, and eventually consumers networking their homes. But none of these will happen overnight.

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Stay focused with the Noisli for Chrome background-noise generator

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 05:00:00 -0800

When you need to focus on an important task, sometimes your favorite Spotify playlist just doesn’t help. If music tends to be more of a distraction during the grind, you might find customized background noises more effective at keeping you on task.

That’s where Noisli for Chrome comes in. This extension, which is also available as an app on Android and iOS, offers a variety of generic sounds such as fire, wind, thunder, rolling waves, and so on. It also lets you combine them into your own personalized background noise mashup or use preset combinations.

(image) Ian Paul

Noisli for Chrome.

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Five Google Assistant integrations we want to see

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 04:00:00 -0800

Google's eager aide offers some useful tools, but in order to overtake Alexa it needs to talk to more apps and services.


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Baidu names former Microsoft Office head Qi Lu as its COO

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:58:50 -0800

Chinese search giant Baidu has named former Microsoft business group head Qi Lu as its COO and group president.

Until last September Lu was head of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group, where he managed products including Microsoft Office and Office 365, Bing search engine and Cortana personal assistant.

At Baidu, Lu will be in charge of products, technology, sales, marketing and operations.

A key strategic focus for the company over the next ten years will be artificial intelligence, Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said on Monday.

Li is counting on Lu's leadership experience and knowledge of AI to help the company attract the necessary expertise to become a global leader in the field, he said.

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4 ways to keep from sleeping through your Android alarm

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:30:00 -0800

I like to think of myself as a reasonably punctual, conscientious  guy who shows up when he says he’s going to show up. So imagine my embarrassment when I dozed right through my Android alarm on a recent morning, missing an early meeting and earning a reproachful glare from my hungry 4-year-old.

What happened? I did, after all, have my Android Clock app set to wake me at 6:30 a.m., and it’s not like I didn’t hear the buzzer; it simply never went off.

As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons why an Android alarm might fail to buzz. Maybe your Do Not Disturb rules are to blame, or perhaps you’re being a tad too aggressive with Total silence mode. And even if your Android alarm does buzz, you might have the volume set too low, or maybe it’s just too easy to hit the snooze button.

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SVS SB16-Ultra subwoofer revew: This astonishing sub will rock your house—and your neighbor's, too

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

A friend who owns a local hi-fi store once brought me into the store’s listening room to hear some of their best audio equipment: A pair of Wilson Sasha loudspeakers ($26,900 for the pair) driven by a Ayre KX-R Twenty preamp ($27,500) and a pair of Ayre MX-R Twenty reference mono block amplifiers ($29,500 for the pair), anchored by a JL Gotham subwoofer ($15,000). While the system’s overall audio performance was stunning, I’ll never forget the sensation I got from the JL Gotham sub: It produced the tightest, deepest, cleanest, and most authoritative bass I’d ever heard.

Ever since that day, I’ve searched for a subwoofer that could offer a similar experience at a far more accessible price. My search is finally over: SVS’ new SB16-Ultra subwoofer delivers what I’ve been looking for at a price of $2000.

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Why Linux users should worry about malware and what they can do about it

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

Preventing the spread of malware and/or dealing with the consequences of infection are a fact of life when using computers. If you’ve migrated to Linux or Mac seeking refuge from the never-ending stream of threats that seems to target Windows, you can breath a lungful of fresh air—just don’t let your guard down.

Though UNIX-like systems such as Mac OS X and Linux can claim fewer threats due to their smaller user bases, threats do still exist. Viruses can be the least of your problem too. Ransomware, like the recent version of KillDisk, attacks your data and asks you to pay, well, a king’s ransom to save your files. (In the case of KillDisk, even paying the ransom can’t save you if you’re running Linux.)

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Indian privacy case against WhatsApp gains momentum

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:53:20 -0800

A privacy lawsuit against WhatsApp in India over its new data sharing policy has got momentum with the country’s top court seeking responses from Facebook, WhatsApp and the federal government.

The privacy policy of WhatsApp at launch in 2010 did not allow sharing of user data with any other party, and after Facebook announced its acquisition of the messaging app in 2014, it was “publicly announced and acknowledged” by WhatsApp that the privacy policy would not change, according to the petition filed by Indian users of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp sparked off a furore last year when it said it would be sharing some account information of users with Facebook and its companies, including the mobile phone numbers they verified when they registered with WhatsApp. The sharing of information will enable users to see better friend suggestions and more relevant ads on Facebook, it added.

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Intel thinks IoT will have a firm place in the stores of the future

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 16:47:00 -0800

Intel wants to level the playing field between online retailers and brick and mortar shops by introducing IoT technologies into physical stores. Currently, online retailers have access to information on what sorts of merchandise consumers look at, what they purchase, and what they don't. And Intel argues physical stores should have the same information. 

In a Monday editorial on the company's site, Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich wrote:

"At Intel, we believe that increasingly retailers will be separated by those who have data and use it to grow and optimize the shopping experience, and those who don’t and make their decisions based on 'experience' and subjective observations."

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China tightens control over app stores

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:05:00 -0800

China is requiring that all app stores operating in the country register with its Cyberspace Administration in an effort to battle malware but also to tighten control over uncensored content.

The rules took effect Monday, in a country where domestic third-party app stores -- not from Apple or Google -- are serving billions of downloads to Android smartphones. Chinese internet companies such as Baidu, Tencent and a host of smaller, shadier local app stores have been feeding the demand, at a time when Google has largely pulled out of the market.

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A new Microsoft foldable device patent offers more grist for the Surface phone rumor mill

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:27:00 -0800

In 2009, Microsoft enflamed the minds of consumers with Courier, a foldable phone/tablet concept that was eventually cancelled. Years later, a sort-of new patent implies Microsoft hasn’t (or hadn’t) totally given up on the idea. 

According to the new patent, which was approved on Tuesday, Microsoft envisions a mobile device with a continuous viewing area that extends across the foldable region—similar in spirit to the dual-screen Courier concept. 

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Critical flaw lets hackers take control of Samsung SmartCam cameras

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:52:00 -0800

The popular Samsung SmartCam security cameras contain a critical remote code execution vulnerability that could allow hackers to gain root access and take full control of them.

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers from the hacking collective the Exploiteers (formerly GTVHacker), who have found vulnerabilities in the Samsung SmartCam devices in the past.

The flaw allows for command injection through a web script, even though the vendor has disabled the local web-based management interface in these devices.

The Samsung SmartCam is a series of cloud-enabled network security cameras that were originally developed by Samsung Techwin. Samsung sold this division to South Korean business conglomerate Hanwha Group in 2015 and the company was renamed Hanwha Techwin.

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Raspberry Pi's new computer for industrial applications goes on sale

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:04:00 -0800

The new Raspberry Pi single-board computer is smaller and cheaper than the last, but its makers aren’t expecting the same rush of buyers that previous models have seen.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 will be more of a “slow burn,” than last year’s Raspberry Pi 3, its creator Eben Upton predicted.

That’s because it’s designed not for school and home use but for industrial applications. To make use of it, buyers will first need to design a product with a slot on the circuit board to accommodate it and that, he said, will take time.

The Compute Module 3 has the same four-core, 64-bit Broadcom BCM2837 processor and 1GB of RAM as the credit-card-sized Raspberry Pi 3, but is less than half the size and missing the ethernet, USB, SD Card and display sockets of its larger cousin. It also has no Wi-Fi.

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Shopping goes high tech and hassle-free with new Intel technology

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:03:00 -0800

Shopping can be fun but also harrowing, especially in electronics or shoe stores. You can’t find help or can’t figure out if a specific product is in stock.

In the future, the shopping experience should be much better thanks to technology. The store will recognize you, dig into your shopping habits, and guide you in the right direction. If your favorite product is in the store, retailers will make sure you know through messaging.

That Minority Report-type technology is still many years away but will be possible with the magic of sensors, cameras, and data analytics. But some retailers have an early start: Some furniture stores are already using virtual reality so buyers can preview how furniture will look in a room.

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Facebook launches fake news reporting tool in Germany

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:50:00 -0800

Facebook plans to deploy a tool to deal with fake news in Germany in the coming weeks, after announcing tests of the tool last month.

The move comes after reports that some German politicians wanted to impose fines of thousands of euros for each fake news story disseminated. 

The process of identifying fake news will typically begin with a report from a Facebook user. The company is making it easier to report fake news, it said Sunday: Users need only click on the upper right corner of a post to file a report.

Such reports, and other warning signs identified by Facebook, will result in the suspect news report being forwarded to a team of fact-checkers working outside the company. The company has been seeking fact-checking partners since last November. The fact-checkers it works with now have all signed up to the code of principles disseminated by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based training center for journalists, Facebook said Sunday.

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Best home security camera: Our favorite tools for keeping an eye on the home front

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 06:46:00 -0800


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64% off Vansky Bias Lighting for HDTV USB LED Multi Color Strip Accent Lighting - Deal Alert

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 05:22:00 -0800

This bias lighting strip, currently discounted by 64% on Amazon from $49.99 down to just $17.99, reduces eye-strain caused by differences in picture brightness from scene to scene in movies, shows and games, by adding a subtle backlight to your monitor or TV.  The LED lights can be changed with up to 20 color selections customizing and setting the mood of your workspace. The strip is easy to install and can be cut to size and plugs directly in the USB port of the TV or monitor.  Just Plug-and-play!

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51% off Foval 150PSI Car Digital Tire Pressure Air Gauge - Deal Alert

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:41:00 -0800

This tire pressure guage from Fovsal features a lighted nozzle and display screen for ultimate visibility in low light, and doubles as a vehicle emergency tool with LED flashlight, car window breaker, seat belt cutter, and red safety light.  It averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, where its typical list price of $20 has been reduced 51% to just $9.87. See it now on Amazon.

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EZVIZ Husky review: This weatherproof camera gives you an eye on the outside of your home

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0800

Ezviz recently released the second iteration of its indoor home security camera, the Ezviz Mini Plus. At the same time it issued its first outdoor model, the Ezviz Husky ($129).

The Husky is a bullet-style camera, though a slightly more attractive one than you might expect. Most of these types of cameras take their design cues from the CCTV cameras found outside commercial buildings, a look that can give your home the feeling of a high-security compound. The Husky’s smooth surfaces and more compact design make it seem less severe and undoubtedly easier to blend in to the exterior of your house.

The camera has an IP66 rating—it’s dust- and waterproof—and can withstand temperatures from -22 degrees F to 140 degrees F. It sits on a triple-axis mount, which can be securely affixed to the side of your house with a few supplied screws.

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5G spectrum squatting case ends in $100M FCC fine

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 18:10:49 -0800

The FCC has fined a company US$100 million for not using licenses to spectrum that is now considered promising for future 5G networks.

Straight Path Spectrum agreed on Wednesday to pay the civil penalty, surrender most of its licenses, and sell the rest, among other conditions in a consent decree with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Straight Path Spectrum holds licenses in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, both of which are identified for use in the next generation of cellular networks, the FCC said. It received the licenses in 2013 and 2014 on the condition that it use them to provide services.

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Dash cam review: The Cobra CDR895D Drive HD offers affordable dual-channel video

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:57:00 -0800

Cobra’s packaging barely hints that this dual-channel system is actually the CDR895D Drive HD model. But look for the box with the two cameras (front 1080p/160 degrees, rear 720p/130 degrees) behind the plastic window, and you’ll know you’ve got the right product. This probably is the right product for many users, thanks to its relatively low price and near 360-degree coverage.

The lightweight front camera mounts using a smallish suction cup, while the rear camera uses a semi-permanent adhesive mount. The whole deal is connected via a rather elegant y-cable with inline couplers. Figuring out where to run the wires will be the hardest part of the installation (hint: under the carpet).

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Dash cam review: The Thinkware F770 works with your smartphone

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:57:00 -0800

Thinkware’s dual-channel F770 is unique for relying on a Wi-Fi connection and an Android or iOS app that’s used for viewing video and advanced settings. There are also Wi-Fi and GPS/power status lights, but feedback (warnings, notifications, etc.) is largely via a friendly voice. For local control when your phone isn’t handy or practical, there are power, record, Wi-Fi, and mic buttons on the unit. Using F770 takes some getting used to, but the combination of methodologies as a whole works extraordinarily well.

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Both color and clarity are top notch in the F770’s daytime video.

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Dash cam review: The Garmin Dash Cam 35 is a little bigger and better for the price

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:57:00 -0800


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Dash cam review: Garmin's DriveAssist 50LMT is first-class almost all the way

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

Garmin's DriveAssist 50LMT is really a navigation unit with camera thrown in. We’re judging it here it purely on the basis of its dash cam abilities, where it has one surprising limitation. Still, as a total package, it has broader appeal.

As far as ease of use is concerned, the DriveAssist 50LMT is the standout product in the roundup. The large 5-inch, 480x272-pixel touchscreen makes both browsing the interface and configuring the camera a snap. As we’re here for the 1080p/30 fps/90-degree field-of-view camera, we won’t review the navigation features, but they are lifetime, top-notch, and include voice command.

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Daytime video from the DriveAssist 50 is top-notch, and it handles subtle light transitions very well.

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Dash cam review: The Viofo A119 is a surprisingly good bargain

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

At $100, including the optional $10 GPS mount, the Viofo A119, with its 1440p/60 fps/160-degree camera, is the unqualified bargain of the roundup. It’s also thoughtfully designed, with a camera lens that adjusts both vertically and horizontally. This allows you to mount it (semi-permanent tape is used) anywhere on the windshield and still cover the entire front panorama.

While it’s inexpensive, the A119 sports a boatload of features: time lapse recording for parking surveillance, as well as lane-departure and forward-collision warnings.

The A119 is also easy to use—at least, once you get used to pressing the record (up), mic (down), and hazard buttons (enter) to navigate. Get past that and you find logically laid out menus, and spot-on translations (it’s multi-language), at least the English.

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Dash cam reviews: What you need to catch the maniacs and meteors of daily driving

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 16:55:00 -0800

Dash cams are already essential in many countries because of scam artists who try to create accidents so they can sue you. They’ve also proven useful for catching the occasional meteor, as happened in Thailand and in Russia a few years ago.

But while auto cons aren’t as common here, recording your excursions is a reasonable precaution to take—especially if you’re driving professionally.

Few people are as well situated geographically as I am to test dash cams. Within two blocks there are major four- and six-lane thoroughfares, numerous bike lanes, joggers, dog walkers, oblivious ear-budded pedestrians, and a major bus nexus serving both public and private coaches. The opportunities for near-accident are endless.

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