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Preview: PC World


Published: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 06:39:43 -0800

Last Build Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 06:39:43 -0800


Amazon Takes $80 off Fire Tablet and Tap When Bought Together, Today Only - Deal Alert

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 06:37:00 -0800

Today only, if you bundle together Amazon's Fire Tablet and Tap, you'll save $80 on the two. The bundle includes the Fire Tablet with 7" Display, Wi-Fi, and 16 GB of storage, and Amazon Tap, the Alexa-Enabled Portable Bluetooth Speaker. With the Fire tablet from Amazon you can enjoy millions of movies, TV shows, songs, Kindle e-books, apps and games. It features a rich 7" IPS display and 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. Available in four colors. Amazon's portable Tap device uses the Alexa Voice Service when connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot to play music, read the news, provide weather reports, automate your home, and even order a pizza. Provides up to 9 hours of playback and comes with a charging cradle. Bought separately right now you'd pay $199.98, but buy them together today and pay just $119.98 for both. See the discounted bundle on Amazon.

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Excel Date & Time functions tutorial: EDATE, YEARFRAC, EOMONTH, NETWORKDAYS.INTL

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 04:45:00 -0800

The Excel Date & Time functions I’m covering here—EDATE, YEARFRAC, EOMONTH, and NETWORKDAYS.INTL—are four of the many used for counting days. For each function listed below, I’ll define it first, then show the function’s arguments, which are the values that functions use to perform calculations. Then I’ll show a sample of the function’s syntax—how the formula is arranged, which includes the function’s name, parentheses, comma separators, and its arguments.

Note that Arguments are always surrounded by parentheses, and individual arguments are separated by commas.


EDATE is a practical function for returning a date some number of months in the future or past, using a positive value for future dates, a negative value for past dates. For instance, you can use this function to calculate a retirement date or expiration date, to calculate someone’s age from a birthdate, or to add a given number of years to a specified date.

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Apple's 'excited' about self-driving car potential

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 04:39:00 -0800

Apple has said in comments to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it is “excited” about the potential use of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.

The company’s director of product integrity Steve Kenner wrote that Apple is “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”

Kenner did not say if the company would design or make self-driving vehicles or perhaps only license some of its machine learning software to car makers, reflecting Apple’s continued reticence on its plans for the automated vehicles market. The company could not be immediately reached for more information on its plans.

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How to collaborate on a document in Dropbox Paper

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 04:27:00 -0800

People have used Dropbox Paper to create more than a million documents since it launched in private beta a year ago. But if you haven’t yet tried it yet, you’re missing out on an impressive collaboration tool, particularly if you’re already using Dropbox to store your files. You can share and co-author documents, enter comments, and pull in images directly from Dropbox. Here’s how to start using it.

Create a new Paper document

Open Dropbox in your browser and select Paper from the left sidebar menu on the main Dropbox page. By default, this takes you the Docs page. (As you create more projects in Paper you’ll be able to navigate between your Docs, Folders, and Favorites using the menu on the left.) Click the Create new doc button on the right. When your new document opens, you’ll be prompted to give it a name and a contextual description.

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8 apps to help you take the stress out of holiday travel

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 04:00:00 -0800

Here are some apps and services that can reduce some of the misery that accompanies keeping track of all those details.

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Support open-source projects this giving season

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:30:00 -0800

The holiday season is a time to panic and have eggnog-fueled meltdowns relax with family, give gifts, and eat far too many carbs. It’s also traditionally been a time when charities see big bumps in donations. Giving even has its own day, “Giving Tuesday” to follow the weekend bounded by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are plenty of charities to give to, but if you use free and open-source software, why not give back to the projects that create those tools that you use without charge?

The phrase  “freedom isn’t free” is usually applied to the military, but it also applies to free software. After all, somebody is paying for the server that a project lives on. If a project offers a bug bounty, that money comes from somewhere. As community projects, open-source software relies on the community’s contributions (labor) and donations (money).

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How to reinstall Windows 10 without any bloatware

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0800

Patrick Scott bought some laptops for his kids, but they were so slow the kids stopped using them. This is a common issue with bloatware-laden consumer laptops, sadly. He performed a “factory reset,” with the hopes of reinstalling the OS without all the crap that was preinstalled. To his horror he discovered the factory reset reinstalled all the bloatware, leaving him back where he started. 

Luckily for Patrick, there’s a way to get a clean installation of Windows 10, without all the apps that came with your PC. Here’s how it works. 

1. From Windows 10’s Start menu, go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery. You can also get there from the traditional Control Panel by clicking Recovery. At the bottom of that window, click the long hyperlink that reads, “If you’re having problems with your PC, go to Settings...

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The Full Nerd episode 12: The best PC hardware, laptops, and games of 2016

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 08:02:00 -0800

This week on The Full NerdGordon Mah UngBrad Chacos, Hayden Dingman, and Adam Patrick Murray debate the best PC hardware and games of the year. 10-core Intel chips or AMD’s new generation of APUs? The Radeon RX 480 or Nvidia’s beastly GTX 10-series graphics cards? Battlefield 1 or Forza Horizon 3? The gang chimes in on all that and more.

Spoiler: Some of the picks are so close that we needed to turn to the Facebook Live audience, as a tie-breaker—which helps to highlight that these picks are just the favorites of the Full Nerd cast, not official PCWorld awards. Subscribe to PCWorld's Facebook page and you'll be notified when we go on-air, giving you the chance to make your mark on the show when we film it live every other week.

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How Windows 10's data collection trades your privacy for Microsoft's security

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0800

Windows 10’s aggressive data-collection capabilities may concern users about corporate spying, but enterprises have control that consumer-edition Windows users do not: Administrators can decide how much information gets sent back to Microsoft.

But enterprises need to think twice before turning off Windows telemetry to increase corporate privacy. That’s because doing so can decrease the effectiveness of Windows 10’s security features.

Microsoft isn’t merely vacuuming up large amounts of data because it can. The company has repeatedly reiterated its stance that Windows 10 does not collect the user’s personal data, but rather anonymized file data that is then used to improve overall user experience and Windows functionality.

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Microsoft's 'Holoportation' will virtually beam you into another room

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:27:00 -0800

Microsoft is bringing a whole new level to remote social interaction with “Holoportation.”

The prototype technology allows users to see, hear, and interact with others remotely as if both are present in the same physical space. 3D cameras capture and record a users movements and construct a temporally consistent 3D model. That data is then compressed and sent out to be reconstructed anywhere in the world. 

Because interactions are recorded, they can be replayed and manipulated (such as by shrinking), giving users the sense of reliving that moment in time. 

Researchers have now made the system mobile by installing it in a car. 

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Intel's silence on Optane SSDs raises questions about launch and focus

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:23:00 -0800

There’s a lot of excitement about Intel’s superfast Optane SSDs, but products won’t be on shelves this year as the chipmaker had earlier promised.

Intel is currently making Optane in a factory in China, and production will “ramp” up next year, said Stacy Smith, executive vice president of manufacturing, operations, and sales at Intel.

Smith declined to comment on when Optane products will hit the market, maintaining a consistent pattern of silence among Intel executives on the topic. He spoke at the Credit Suisse 20th Annual Technology, Media, and Telecom conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this week.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said sample Optane products will ship to more testers next year, and that “it’s really a 2018 ramp for that product,” according to a transcript of an October earnings call, posted on Seeking Alpha.

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Watch Dogs 2 review: A fresh, interesting rebirth that ditches the stale Ubisoft formula

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 05:19:00 -0800

Bear with me for a bit. I’m going to get around to Watch Dogs 2, but it’s going to be by way of a semi-lengthy tangent into Assassin’s Creed—particularly, what Assassin’s Creed II meant to that now-juggernaut of a series.

It’s easy to forget, with almost a decade of sequels under our belt, that there was a time when Assassin’s Creed could’ve conceivably died off. Early on, too. After garnering quite a bit of hype, the original Assassin’s Creed released in 2007 to middling reviews. “Disappointing,” said many, or “Repetitive.” It had some great ideas, but was a boring mess of a game.

That might have been the end, but no. Assassin’s Creed II released in 2009, ushering in the “Ubisoft Formula” that propelled the publisher to new heights and then became the butt of industry jokes: 1) Climb towers 2) Unlock a million icons on the map 3) Grind out some missions 4) Repeat. Sure, it’s trite now, but at the time it marked a huge shift in the open-world genre.

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Russia claims it foiled a cyber attack from a foreign spy service

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:25:47 -0800

The Russian government claims to have foiled a "large-scale" cyber attack from foreign intelligence services meant to destabilize the country’s financial system.

The government’s Federal Security Service made the statement on Friday without blaming a specific country, but said the attack was meant to be carried out on Dec. 5 against a number of major Russian banks.

The hack would have also included the use of social media and SMS text messages to circulate posts claiming a crisis in Russia’s financial system. Several dozen cities in the country had been targeted, the Federal Security Service claimed, stating it had already neutralized the threat.

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Report: Microsoft's Home Hub will chase Amazon's Alexa and Echo as a software service

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:51:00 -0800

Microsoft’s rumored Home Hub was once thought to be a device rivaling Amazon Echo or Google Home. A new report suggests it will instead be a Windows 10 software service aimed at families, complete with a new Cortana assistant that will run on upcoming Windows 10 PCs.

Just like in real families, Home Hub will put an emphasis on sharing, according to the source of the report, Windows Central. The site said it would have a communal, interactive calendar, presumably touch-based like Windows 10’s current Calendar app.  

Microsoft may also be planning to create a family-friendly version of its Cortana digital assistant that will be the primary, voice-driven interface. According to the site, the new Cortana—code-named “FamTana”—will surround her classic blue circle with an orange one, to signal users that they’re on a shared service.

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47% off CyberPower CSP600WSU Surge Protector 6-AC Outlet Swivel with 2 USB (2.1A) Charging Ports - Deal Alert

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:56:00 -0800

The CyberPower Professional Series CSP600WSU Surge Protector is ideal for Home/ Office protection with 1200 joules, 6 swivel outlets, 2 USB charge ports (2.1 Amp shared), and a convenient wall tap design. The surge protector is ideal for protecting personal computers, phones/ fax/ modems, printers, stereos, and other electronics. Its two USB are perfect for keeping tablets, smart phones, and other rechargeable electronics ready to use.  With Amazon's current discount of 47% you can buy it now for $9.86 (See it on Amazon). 

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

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:06:00 -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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This week in games: Free Titanfall 2 weekend, Star Wars Battlefront meets Rogue One

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:00:00 -0800

First things first: If you’re coming in here for the usual onslaught of trailers, you’re not going to find much this week. Most anything worth anything aired last night during the 2016 Game Awards, and we’ve rounded all those up over here for you. That leaves the barest of leftovers for our wrap-up this week.

In non-trailer news, Titanfall 2 is free this weekend, Rocket League is getting a new Halo-esque map, Pathologic emerges from the Kickstarter cave, and Grand Theft Auto IV got patched. Yes, that's GTA IV, not GTA V.

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Random iPhone 6s shutdowns due to faulty battery component, Apple says

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:31:00 -0800

A problem with iPhone 6s products randomly shutting down comes from a battery flaw found in a small number of models, according to Apple.

After a Chinese consumer watchdog group reported the issue, Apple is offering a fix free of charge to any eligible iPhone 6s user through its customer support sites.

On Friday, Apple explained on its Chinese site that the problem was found in iPhone 6s devices containing a faulty battery component. This component was “exposed to controlled ambient air longer than it should have” before it was assembled into the battery packs, Apple said.

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Researchers find a way bypass the iOS activation lock

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:23:00 -0800

Two researchers claim to have found a way to bypass the activation lock feature in iOS that’s supposed to prevent anyone from using an iPhone or iPad marked as lost by its owner.

The first report came Sunday from an Indian security researcher named Hemanth Joseph, who started investigating possible bypasses after being confronted with a locked iPad he acquired from eBay.

The activation lock gets enabled automatically when users turn on the Find My iPhone feature via iCloud. It links the device to their Apple IDs and prevents anyone else from accessing the device without entering the associated password.

One of the few things allowed from the activation lock screen is connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network, including manually configuring one. Hemanth had the idea of trying to crash the service that enforces the lock screen by entering very long strings of characters in the WPA2-Enterprise username and password fields.

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Windows 10's share climbs above 25% after stalling for two months

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:41:00 -0800

After a two-month stretch of no growth, Windows 10 in November gained user share, powering more than a quarter of all Windows PCs for the first time, data published today showed.

According to U.S. metrics vendor Net Applications, Windows 10 gained 1.1 percentage points of user share last month, ending with 23.7% of all personal computers. Windows 10 ran 26.1% of all Windows machines: The difference between the user share of all PCs and only those running Windows stemmed from the fact that Windows powered 91% of all personal computers, not 100%.

User share is an estimate of the proportion of all personal computer users who run a device powered by a specific operating system. The analytics company measures OS user share by counting devices whose browsers reach websites of Net Applications’ clients.

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40% off Corsair Waterproof Shockproof 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - Deal Alert

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:25:00 -0800

Military-style data transportation. That's how Corsair describes their Flash Survivor Stealth series of USB flash drives. Its anodized, aircraft-grade aluminum housing is waterproof to 200 meters, vibration-resistant, and shock-resistant while small enough to fit on your keychain. USB 3.0 offers read speeds up to four times faster than traditional USB 2.0 drives, so it's fast enough to play most videos directly from it, without having to transfer to a hard drive first. The drive is backwards compatible to 2.0 as well. Just plug it in, and it works with Windows, Mac OS and Linux without any additional software or drivers. This product also comes with a limited 5 year warranty. It averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 210 people on Amazon (read reviews), many of which report it's still alive after years of hard use. The 256GB model's list price of $157 has been reduced 40% to $94.62

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Severe AirDroid vulnerability threatens tens of millions of Android users

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:46:00 -0800

Popular remote management utility AirDroid has attracted tens of millions of users with the lure of sharing the messages and files on their phones with their PCs, but you might want to think twice about firing it up today. Mobile security firm Zimperium has published a report detailing several major vulnerabilities that threaten to hijack your device.

The security issue—which still exists in the latest 4.0.1 release, according to Zimperium—is related to “insecure communication channels” that “send the same data used to authenticate the device to their statistics server.” That means someone on the same network could use a simple man-in-the-middle attack to intercept the user’s email address and password associated with AirDroid. Furthermore, the hacker could then download malicious updates to the app that in turn give them full control over the device.

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How to find out if your iPhone 6s is eligible for free battery replacement

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:10:00 -0800

When my iPhone 6s started shutting down earlier this month even though it still had 20 percent or 30 percent battery life showing, I suspected maybe it was just getting too cold. After all, I’ve seen my iPhones be temperature sensitive in the past.

But it turns out that the problem really stemmed from a bug in version 10.1 or 10.1.1 of Apple iOS, and now Apple is offering free battery replacement by those affected. The weird thing that those of us affected by this have experienced is that after charging the phone back in, it almost immediately turns back on, back at its 20 percent or 30 percent battery level.

This iPhone 6s battery issue differs from an earlier, overblown iPhone 6s battery problem story. It also is separate from an issue earlier this month in which Apple began offering to repair, for $149,  iPhone 6 Plus smartphones with display flickering or multitouch issues (i.e., “touch disease”).

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Amazon adds HBO and Cinemax to its cord-cutting selection

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:56:00 -0800

Amazon just added two big names to its Channels offerings, an a la carte premium subscription streaming hub: HBO and Cinemax. HBO will cost subscribers $15 per month, similar to the pricing on other services, while Cinemax is priced at $10 per month. An Amazon Prime subscription is required for access to Amazon Channels.

The new additions do not include live streaming, unlike competing services such as HBO on Sling TV. HBO on Amazon Prime provides access to HBO’s on-demand catalog. This includes favorite shows like Westworld, Insecure, and Game of Thrones, as well as top movies like The Martian, The Revenant, and Batman vs. Superman (hey, I didn’t say they were all good movies).

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‘Distributed guessing’ attack lets hackers verify Visa card details

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:45:00 -0800

Add credit card fraud to the list of things that distributed processing can speed up.

An e-commerce site will typically block a credit card number after 10 or 20 failed attempts to enter the corresponding expiry date and CVV (card verification value), making life difficult for fraudsters who don't have a full set of credentials.

But there are plenty of e-commerce sites out there, and it's possible to obtain missing account details by submitting slightly different payment requests to hundreds of them in parallel.

It takes less than six seconds to perform the "distributed guessing attack," according to the researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K. who figured out how to do it.

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When will your phone get Android Nougat?

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:26:00 -0800

Our continually updated list has all the latest details, announcements, and rumors to give you the best possible picture of when you'll get Android 7.0.

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CBS All Access will start streaming live NFL games this weekend

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 07:06:00 -0800

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28% off Bushbox Titanium Outdoor Pocket Stove - Deal Alert

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 06:51:00 -0800

This Bushbox is an ultra light Titanium multi-fuel pocket stove for the great outdoors. It can be used with wood, organic material, a standard alcohol burner or esbit tabs, and folds down so small and lightweight that you could fit it in your pocket (or a Christmas stocking!). It comes with two trivets for any pot size, and comes with an ash pan for soil/ground protection. It averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, where its list price of $69 has been reduced to $49.90. See the discounted titanium Bushbox on Amazon.

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Every new game revealed at The Game Awards 2016: Guardians of the Galaxy to Walking Dead

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 06:16:00 -0800

We’re still a few weeks out from announcing our own Game(s) of the Year list, but 2016’s first Faux Video Game Oscars event happened last night: The Game Awards, the show that Geoff Keighley spun out of Spike’s old Video Game Awards.

And as with every year, the awards themselves took second stage to the non-stop hype train of trailers for next year’s games, from brand new game announcements to fresh gameplay trailers for high-profile titles we already knew were inbound. What an honor! So inside, you’ll find all of the World Exclusive Reveals™ from last night’s 2016 Game Awards. That means Mass Effect: AndromedaGuardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series, and more.

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How to turn off autoplay on Netflix kids' profiles

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 05:00:00 -0800

Netflix makes it so easy to keep an entire family’s viewing habits separate thanks to multi-user profiles on a single account. But one thing that’s not so easy—or at least not obvious—is how to stop TV show episodes from auto-playing on a child’s profile.

Binge watching is lots of fun, but not if you’re trying to curb your kids’ viewing time. With auto-play turned on you’re always checking for when the credits start on your kids’ favorite show. An easier strategy is just to turn off auto-play, but it’s not obvious how to do that on a kids’ profile.

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