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Published: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:39:07 -0700

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:39:07 -0700

 



Amazon's Echo has dropped to an all-time low of $130

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:14:00 -0700

Today, Amazon and Best Buy are offering the cheapest price yet on the Amazon Echo at $50 off. The popular smart speaker is available right now for $130 instead of the usual sticker price of $180.

The price of the Echo has been fluctuating a bit in recent months with sales going as low as $140 to $150. In May, Amazon and Best Buy did a discounted "two pack" where you could get two Echo units for $280. Today's deal beats that sale by $20 if you were to buy two, and it's the best price we've seen since the Echo's launch.

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Radeon Vega Frontier Edition: Benchmarks and behind-the-scenes AMD interview

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:44:00 -0700

AMD’s first graphics card based on the Vega graphics architecture launches this week, and we’ve gotten our grubby hands on it.

The $1,200 Radeon Vega Frontier Edition goes toe-to-toe against Nvidia’s Titan Xp in prosumer applications, with the gamer-focused Radeon RX Vega series slated to launch at the end of July. In time for the Vega Frontier Edition’s June 27 launch AMD brought a vanload of hardware by PCWorld’s offices to see how it handles. Check out our Radeon Vega Frontier Edition hands-on preview for the full details, but we thought you might want a glimpse behind the curtain, too. The video above shows our extended interview and testing session with AMD’s Nick Pandher and Omar Faiz.

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10 great Steam Summer Sale game bundles that save you even more money

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:07:00 -0700


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Photoshop fonts: Creating swashes, swirls and flourishes

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 07:51:00 -0700

In our first story on Photoshop fonts, we covered font and paragraph attributes, plus how to alter the shapes of a word, phrase, or sentence, which (obviously) affects the shapes of the fonts. The instructions targeted Creative Suite users, which means the path to altering a string of text is Edit > Transform > Warp. If you’re using Photoshop version 6.x or 7.x (pre-Creative Suite), the Warp feature is under Layer > Type > Warp Text.

This follow-on article explains how to add swashes, swirls, and flourishes that turn words into a visual feast. Nothing makes typefaces pop more than a few well-placed calligraphic swirls. Even though some fonts already fall into the script or calligraphy categories, they can be difficult to read and are often too decorative for a full word or phrase.

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How to use Evernote in Linux

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:36:00 -0700

Evernote does not offer an official desktop client for Linux, but there are a few workarounds. For a better-than-browser experience, try one of these methods. 

Evernote Web and Chrome app

The browser-based version of Evernote is the only officially supported way of using the application on Linux. It works, but if you’re a tab hoarder like me, editing your notes in a tab in a sea of tabs can be a bit tricky. On top of that, there is the additional baggage of running a full-fledged web browser.

(image) Alex Campbell

The Evernote Chrome application works just like the web application without the UI cruft of running it in a web browser window.

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Amazon Dash Wand review: A home shopping device made for a not-too-distant future

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Amazon will sell you groceries, one way or another. Case in point: The day before it announced plans to buy Whole Foods for a cool $13.7 billion, it released Amazon Dash Wand, a small Alexa-powered gadget that will likely be just as integral to the company’s produce push.

Amazon’s new scanning stick is Jeff Bezos’s latest attempt to link the virtual world with the physical one. But even though it’s not Amazon’s first shot at a home shopping assistant, it’s definitely the first fully formed one. Combining the ease of a Dash button with the versatility of the relatively unknown Dash scanner and the smarts of an Echo, Dash Wand could be the thing that finally streamlines the way we buy groceries, and eliminates checkout lines, empty refrigerators, and even trips to the store. But that’s going to take a while.

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Hands-on: AMD's Radeon Vega Frontier Edition vs Nvidia Titan Xp

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

AMD’s Radeon Vega Frontier Edition may be a graphics card made for workstations, but gamers are just as eager to see what this GPU can tell us about the consumer version. AMD has already made a splash with its Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs, and now Vega can help complete a high-performance puzzle. To show how the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition could benefit workstations, AMD officials gave us a hands-on preview of one of the first production cards.

(image) IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

AMD’s Radeon Vega Frontier Edition features a glowing yellow ‘R’ and blue-LED indicators that match the GPU utilization.

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The 10 best Android apps for Chromebooks

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:12:00 -0700

Running Android apps on Chromebooks is still a dream—a dream in extended beta, that is. After promising the feature earlier this year, Google has pushed out the release date.

While a select number of Chromebooks can access Google Play right out of the box, more adventurous Chromebook users will need to run the developer beta of Chrome OS to experience Android apps. After spending time with a number of Android apps that have become Chrome-friendly, I actually prefer some Android versions on Chrome over the web-based versions, as mobile apps can be refreshingly simple and uncluttered.

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This week in games: Homeworld's lost expansion returns, 15 minutes of Beyond Good & Evil 2

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0700

E3 is over. Time to settle in for the slow summer months, crank the air conditioning, peruse the Steam Summer Sale, and dream of all the games we’ll be playing in a few months. Mostly Wolfenstein II, I think.

And if you need proof the summer’s slow? Look no further than our news wrap-up this week. We've got a few additional trailers for games we saw last week (XCOM 2, Total Warhammer II, Beyond Good & Evil), plus a look at the Vive's finger-tracking controllers and—oh yeah, Homeworld: Cataclysm is finally back on-sale thanks to GOG.com.

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The Steam Link is currently on sale for $15

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:56:00 -0700

Valve’s Steam isn’t the only place to get a Steam Link on the cheap right now—Amazon also has the Steam Link on sale for $15. This is the lowest price we’ve seen for the game streaming device. Typically, the Link sells for $50 with sale prices usually going no lower than $20.

The Steam Link is a set-top box that lets you stream games on your home network from your gaming PC to a television set. To play games with the Link, you’ll need a controller such as Steam’s own device or an Xbox controller.

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Steam Summer Sale hidden gems: 15 fantastic games under $10

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:00:00 -0700

Great games done cheap
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Image by IDG

One of the most thrilling parts of the Steam Summer Sale—aside from, you know, all the cheap games—is the opportunity to check out lesser-known gems you may have missed. There’s no better time to try something new than when prices are low.

True to that spirit, this hand-picked list skips the annual discounts on the Skyrims and Civilizations of the world to instead highlight damned good games that weren’t blockbusters. Even better, they’re all under $10 during the Steam Summer Sale—a fraction of the cost of a single new AAA game.

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iPad Pro vs. iPad mini 4 vs. iPad: Which one should you buy?

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:39:00 -0700

Update 6-22-2017: This article has been updated to include information about the new 2017 iPad, as well as the upgrades to the iPad Pro line.

So you’re in the market for a new iPad. Excellent choice—I couldn’t live without mine. It’s my companion when I’m catching up on news and email in the morning over tea, reading a comic book in the evening to unwind, or watching a movie while traveling on a plane.

But these days, picking an iPad can be tricky. Apple currently sells four different models of iPad, with prices ranging from $329 to $1229. There are size, storage, color, and connectivity options to consider. All in all, there are 60 different variations of iPad from which to choose. So which iPad is right for you? Read on.

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Echo Show Ships on Wednesday, Buy 2 and Get a $100 Discount Right Now - Deal Alert

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:18:00 -0700

The newly-announced Echo Show is available for pre-order in black or white and the shipping date is finally right around the corner: Wednesday, June 28. If you're interested, there are two things you need to know. Right now if you buy two of them and enter the code SHOW2PACK at checkout, you'll activate a $100 discount. So you'll get two new Echo Shows for the price of two standard Echos. Go in on this deal with a friend, or buy a few for yourself (they work very well in multiple rooms). The other thing you should know is that by selecting Prime 2-day shipping, Amazon will actually have the Echo Show on your doorstep the very day it's released. Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Amazon has announced an integration with some of the big names in wireless security cams, so you can simply say "Alexa, show me the front door camera". Echo Show should make a good kitchen assistant as well -- just ask for a recipe. You can watch news briefings, YouTube videos, ask for a weather forecast, video chat with family and friends (if they have Echos as well), see music lyrics, photos, to-do and shopping lists, and more.  All hands-free—just ask. New skills and features are added all the time.  See this deal now on Amazon.

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It's time to upgrade to TLS 1.3 already, says CDN engineer

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:03:00 -0700

Businesses dragging their heels over rolling out TLS 1.2 on their website might have an excuse to delay a little longer: Version 1.3 of the TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption protocol will be finalized later this year, and early deployments of it are already under way.

TLS, the successor to SSL, is used to negotiate secure connections to web or mail servers, encrypting data on the move.

Six years in the making, TLS 1.2 added new, stronger encryption options -- but retained all the older, weaker encryption schemes that had gone before in the name of backward compatibility. Unfortunately, this meant that someone able to perform a man-in-the-middle attack could often downgrade connections to a weaker encryption system without the user being aware.

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Tivoli Audio Model One Digital review: Big sound from a small footprint

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Many won’t miss the extra features this tabletop radio is missing.


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Steam Summer Sale gems: 15 great games under $5

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:14:00 -0700

A cornucopia of riches
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Steam Summer Sales are a great time to pick up top-notch PC games for rock-bottom prices. Case in point: There are nearly 20,000 games on discount during Valve’s 2017 sale, and nearly half of those are under $5.

But a lot of those games are junk. So we spent hours sifting through the Summer Sale’s stock to find 15 great games that cost less than a fiver. These may not cost much, but each kicks a lot of ass—and you can buy ALL of them for less than a single new AAA game.

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Steam's Summer Sale kicks off with a $15 Steam Link, game discounts galore, and digital stickers

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:31:00 -0700

School’s out, and you know what that means: Time to draw the blinds and catch up on the games you’ve missed this year. Or, if you’re a working adult...well, business as usual I guess. But hey! The Steam Summer Sale is back for yet another year of discounts, running from today until July 5 at 10 a.m. Pacific.

Steam Summer Sales aren’t nearly as special as they used to be, given the number of sales year-round and the excision of the old Daily Deals, Flash Sales, and everything else that used to make rampant consumerism feel like an “event.” Still, it’s a good chance to fill up your library, try some games you might otherwise not bother with, and generally celebrate video games as a creative medium.

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Virgin Mobile has a $120 discount on an instantly unlockable 32GB and 128GB iPhone SE

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:14:00 -0700

Virgin Mobile is becoming America’s first iPhone-only carrier, and to celebrate its collaboration with Apple, it’s launched heavy deals on a year’s worth of cell service and the purchase price of a new iPhone SE.

For existing customers and new customers who port-in a number, Virgin Mobile will give them a year’s worth of unlimited talk, text, and data service for $1 when they purchase a new iPhone and sign up for Auto Pay. To help sweeten that deal even further, the virtual network carrier is offering $120 off an unlockable 32GB and 128GB iPhone SE.

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Best DVR for cord cutters

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:36:00 -0700

Here’s the hard truth for cord-cutters right now: The ideal over-the-air DVR doesn’t exist. And if you're on the fence about even needing one, you should read the June 22 installment of this column.

While some products are better than others, all of them—from Tablo and TiVo to Channel Master DVR+ and HDHomeRun with Plex—have at least one critical weakness. If you want to record broadcast TV channels from an antenna, you must decide which of those weaknesses you’ll tolerate.

The good news is that the lowly antenna is experiencing a rebirth, and we’re likely to see more over-the-air DVR products later in 2017 and beyond. But if you want to start recording broadcast channels now, here’s a rundown of where the current products stand:

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Surviving Mars captures the excitement and dread of launching a colony mission

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:22:00 -0700

Last month when Paradox and Haemimont announced Surviving Mars, I didn’t know what to compare it to. Here was a semi-realistic, science-based “colony builder” from the same studio that makes the satirical and somewhat grim Tropico series. It was a departure, for sure.

But after getting a bit of hands-on time with Surviving Mars at E3, it’s feeling a lot more familiar. I don’t just mean “It’s a city builder,” because yeah, it’s definitely one of those. It reminds me a lot of one particular city builder, though: The Anno series. And that’s not a bad thing.

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The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update's best new features

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:29:00 -0700


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Amazon Prime Gets You 50% off Razer Wildcat Controller for Xbox One, Windows 10 PC - Deal Alert

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:20:00 -0700

The Razer Wildcat controller is compatible with both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. An elite level controller developed for tournament play with feedback from the best eSports athletes, it features four additional fully-programmable buttons for a personalized layout, a well thought out ergonomic shape and weight, reduced trigger travel distance for rapid fire, and much more. If you're an Amazon Prime member, the typical list price has been reduced generously to just $74.99. If you're not a Prime member but still want this deal, Amazon's 30 day Prime free trial (signup page here) is quick to activate and gets you all of the same benefits with no financial commitment required (unless you decide to keep it). See this deal now on Amazon.

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How to transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse with an external graphics card

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:20:00 -0700

My desire to power up a laptop with an external graphics card began in 2015, when I set out on a quest to get back into PC gaming—a beloved pastime I’d neglected since childhood.

But the only PC I had at the time was a 2011 Lenovo ThinkPad X220 laptop with Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. That just won’t cut it for proper PC gaming. Sure, the laptop would work well enough for older titles like Diablo III, especially on the laptop’s tiny 1366x728-resolution display—but forget about more graphics-intensive modern games on an external 1080p monitor. That’s why I decided to examine external graphics card (eGPU) setups.

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Dell XPS 15 (2017) review: Kaby Lake and a 4K display make a difference

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:38:00 -0700

Dell’s XPS 15 is proof that iterations—no matter how small—still matter. Externally, even owners of the previous XPS 15 would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between new and old.

The ports are the same, the keyboard and the trackpad are the same and, well, just about external thing with the XPS 15 looks identical. Yet the internal changes make this year’s XPS 15 a markedly better laptop than last year’s.

(image) IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

The keyboard on the XPS 15 appears unchanged, which isn’t a good thing because it’s still slightly too small.

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How to use Gmail's Google Tasks as your daily to-do list

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 03:32:00 -0700


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Over-the-air DVR: Do you really need it?

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 03:00:00 -0700

Who needs an over-the-air DVR? Here's our guide to deciding.


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Lenovo's new workstation is indeed 'Tiny' but packs a punch

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:45:00 -0700

Windows users who work in tight spaces and need a small form factor workstation with multiple display ports and solid processing power have a new contender to check out: the new ThinkStation P320 Tiny.

The workstation lives up to its name: At 1.4 x 7.1 by 7.2 inches, it's the smallest workstation on the market that is ISV (independent software vendor) certified, according to Rob Herman, the general manager of Lenovo's workstation business unit.

The ISV certification is important. "We don't consider a machine to be a workstation unless it has ISV certification," according to Lloyd Cohen, an analyst with IDC.

The U.S. government uses the same definition for workstations and for non-government users, software certifications mean that you can run CAD and CAM programs, for example, without worrying about crashing, Cohen noted. That's important if you're working on a complex design.

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Certify your IT skills with this Cisco CCNA training, now 90% off - Deal Alert

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:42:00 -0700

Certifications are essential for moving up the career ladder in the IT world, and, as far as networking certifications are concerned, Cisco's are in high demand. With the Cisco CCNA Training Suite, you can train along the certification track for working with Cisco systems for 90 percent off.

This collection includes three courses that will prepare you to ace Cisco's CCENT certification, IPv4 protocol, and Cisco 200-125 certification, giving you a serious boost while climbing the career ladder. Jump in, and you'll master the essentials behind networking, using routers and switches, and their various configurations and connections, and much more.

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Amazon has a tiny 64GB SanDisk Ultra thumb drive on sale for $19

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:28:00 -0700

Today's the day for a good price on a 64GB low-profile thumb drive: Amazon is selling the SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive for $19. That's about half the price of other online retailers. Just make sure you keep an eye on this thing, as it is tiny. It measures 0.75-by-0.63-by-0.34 inches and snuggles right up to the side of your USB port.

The thumb drive offers 150MB/s read speed, which isn't blazing fast but adequate enough. However, we don't expect it to bear out SanDisk's claim of transferring a full-length movie (about 1.2GB in size) in under 30 second over USB 3.0. Since this drive is so small, its limited ability to dissipate heat will slow its transfer rates. If you don't work with large files, though, it should perform fine.

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