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Published: Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:53:48 -0700

Last Build Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:53:48 -0700

 



Microsoft's fascinating GigJam service will close in September

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:13:00 -0700

This story was updated on August 22, 2017, to note that the service will close in September.

Microsoft will close and end the preview of its new GigJam productivity service, which was aimed at helping teams of people collaborate in real time over the Internet, the company said Tuesday

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided to retire the GigJam Preview on September 22, 2017,” Microsoft said. As of that day, any remaining “gigs” will automatically expire.

GigJam combines data from a variety of services including Microsoft’s own Office 365, Trello, Dropbox, and Salesforce. Users can then bring that information into a shared workspace, or “gig,” allowing them to quickly work together.

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Intel's 8th-gen Core CPUs could boost laptop performance by 40 percent

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 12:32:00 -0700

08/22/2017: Updated to add details of the rumored black Surface Book based on the 8th-generation Core chips, as well as Intel’s desktop processors.

For the first time, Intel’s upcoming 8th-generation Core CPUs will feature quad-core processors aimed at ultrabooks, offering performance as much as 40 percent faster than in the previous generation, the company said.

Intel hasn’t disclosed the prices of its four new 15-watt 8th-gen Core U-series chips, though the company revealed Monday how fast they’ll run: The slowest Core i5-8250U will run at 1.6GHz, with a boost clock of 3.4GHz; the fastest Core i7-8650U will run at 1.9GHz, boosting up to 4.2GHz.

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Cord cutter deal alert: Get a free three-month trial of Plex Pass

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 11:45:00 -0700

If you're still sore about the recent privacy policy backlash for Plex, the home media server software, the company has a message for you: ByteMyBits. No, the company's not bitter about the situation. That's a promo code for a free three-month trial of Plex Pass (the service's paid subscription) for new subscribers.

This deal was actually announced a few days before Plex's privacy policy changes as a promotion with YouTube tech channel Byte My Bits. To take advantage of this deal, you'll need a free Plex account, and you'll have to supply a credit card so that Plex can charge you $5 a month after the trial period ends. However, you can cancel any time before the end of your trial to avoid recurring payments.

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Every AMD Radeon RX graphics card you can buy for PC gaming

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 08:04:00 -0700

Radeon roundup
(image)

Image by Brad Chacos/IDG

Not all graphics cards are created equal. Both AMD and Nvidia offer a wide range of graphics cards designed for tasks as varied as adding basic video support to a home theater PC to playing gorgeous video games at crushingly high frame rates and resolutions.

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Amazon Temporarily Discounts Echo from $179 to $100 - Deal Alert

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:42:00 -0700

By now I'm sure you're familiar with Amazon's Echo device. Amazon Echo comes in both white and black, and is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more. One works well, or string them around your house for Alexa in every room. Multiple Echo devices work together seamlessly. It may be one of those devices that actually does what it promises to do. Echo is discounted fairly regularly, but usually not by this much. If you've been thinking about picking one up, now may be a good time. Its list price has been reduced from $179 to $99.99 for a limited time. See the deal on Amazon.

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Samsung Bixby Voice: How to set up and use the Galaxy S8 assistant

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:34:00 -0700

Update 8/22/17: Bixby Voice is now available worldwide.

It’s been a long time coming, but Bixby has finally found its voice. Samsung has begun pushing out the final piece of its AI package, Bixby Voice, to all Galaxy S8 phones in more than 200 countries and territories. Before long, millions of people will be saying, “Hi Bixby” to summon the new assistant—though Bixby still only supports English and Korean despite the worldwide rollout.

While we might not need another AI assistant on our phones, Bixby is actually a pretty good companion to Google Assistant. It’s a little slow on the trigger at times, but I was impressed with how well it was able to understand me. And Bixby isn’t a clone of Google Assistant or Sir eitheri. Samsung’s AI is more servant than smartie pants, carrying out phone tasks that would normally require numerous steps. Here's everything you need to know to get started:

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Just $9.99 Right Now For a 3-Pack of 6-foot Lightning/Micro USB Combo Cables - Deal Alert

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:28:00 -0700


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Samsung Connect Home: This router/smart-home hub combo isn’t a star in either role

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 04:00:00 -0700

A smart-home system has components distributed all over the house, controlled by a hub that’s connected to the internet via a router. That arrangement enables you to control the system from anywhere you have broadband access. So Samsung’s decision to meld a smart home hub with a mesh Wi-Fi router is a no brainer. But melding is always tricky. You might get something delicious, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Or you might end up with a disappointment, like the 1962 Amphicar, a car/boat that didn’t excel as either. The Connect Home isn’t a bad product, but it’s much closer to the floating car than the sweet confection.

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5 awesome YouTube app features you probably aren't using

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 03:30:00 -0700

It can be easy to take the YouTube app for granted. It’s been there for years, opening videos when you click on a link, and receding into the background when you’re done. However, the YouTube app can do more than serve video links, and you’re probably not coming anywhere close to taking full advantage of the app’s capabilities. Let’s see what we can do about that.

Double-tap to skip ahead

It can be difficult to get to just the right spot in a video with the inherent inaccuracy of a touchscreen, but YouTube has a little-known feature that can help you get there. All you have to do is double-tap on the video to automatically skip forward 10 seconds. If you find that’s not working well for you, head to the settings and change the skip time.

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The timing is perfect for a new Chromebook Pixel

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

One thing is certain about Google’s fall event: A Pixel will steal the show. It just might not be the one that fits in your pocket.

A rumor published by Android Police says Google is working on a follow-up to its discontinued 2nd-generation Chromebook Pixel, which hasn’t been available for purchase since mid-2016. A new model would be a pleasant surprise for fans of the Google laptop, which was hailed at the time as the best Chromebook ever made. The third model could be the charm that brings premium Chrome devices mainstream.

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Age of Empires IV is officially in the works, from Company of Heroes and Homeworld developer Relic

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:16:00 -0700

During E3’s annual PC Gaming Show this year Microsoft announced Age of Empires: Definitive Edition and that was pretty cool. But an Age of Empires IV? I didn’t dare to dream.

It’s happening, though. Shock of all shocks, Microsoft announced the news Monday during Gamescom and even dropped a short teaser:

“But wait,” you say, “I thought Microsoft all-but-shut-down Age of Empires developer Ensemble.” And you’d be right. Taking over development duties for Age of Empires IV is none other than Company of Heroes and Homeworld developer Relic. Relic’s track record has been spotty as of late (Dawn of War III was a bit of a mess earlier this year) but it’s a talented studio. Seems like a solid choice.

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Android 8 Oreo is here: What's new, what's changed, and what's awesome

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:52:00 -0700

Get your phones ready because Android Oreo is finally here. (That’s right, it’s called Oreo, not Orangina.) After months of betas, an eclipse-themed countdown, and the usual rampant naming speculation, Google has lifted the veil of secrecy from Android O’s full name, and we can start looking ahead to what confectionery Android P will adopt. (My money’s on Petit Four.)

But its name isn’t the only thing that’s sweet about Android 8. While it might not be as jam-packed with features as other Android releases, Android Oreo has plenty of features that make it a must-download, from picture-in-picture to notification changes that will help you keep annoying alerts at bay. So bring your sweet tooth because there’s a lot to chew on.

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A 500GB Samsung 850 Evo is $150 today

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:59:00 -0700

Amazon has a deal today on one of our longtime favorite solid-state drives: The 500GB Samsung 850 Evo is available for $150. While that’s definitely not the lowest price we’ve seen—during the 2016 holiday season, you could get one for about $135—it’s the best price we’ve seen in awhile. SSD prices are still inflated right now.

Samsung’s 850 Evo has been around for close to three years, but we’re still big fans of this SSD. In our 2014 review, we gave it a high rating when 3D NAND technology at the consumer level was still a new idea. It also has great performance and longevity, as well as being backed by a solid five-year warranty. The 850’s pricing was also competitive when it came out, and it’s slowly becoming better as Samsung introduces newer storage (like its 960 Evo M.2 drives).

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HyperX Pulsefire FPS mouse review: Popular design meets popular sensor

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:41:00 -0700


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Intel 8th-gen packaging confirms 6-core desktop processors, new motherboard requirement

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:41:00 -0700

Monday morning, in the shadow of the Great American Eclipse, Intel revealed its 8th-gen Core processors. Well, some of them anyway. The initial announcement is limited to low-power laptop CPUs driven by a refreshed version of Intel’s 7th-gen “Kaby Lake” architecture, and the company declined to offer more specifics about 8th-gen desktop processors. But Intel’s updated imagery on its Core i5 and Core i7 pages shined a light on the juiciest 8th-gen rumors anyway.

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26% off Qwerkywriter BlueTooth Mechanical Keyboard with Integrated Tablet Stand - Deal Alert

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:49:00 -0700

Qwerkywriter connects wirelessly to any phone or tablet with BlueTooth. It features vintage inspired round typewriter keycaps and industrial strength mechanical switches that provide a unique clicky tactile feel, similar to the old vintage clacky typewriters. A mechanical keyboard promotes a more accurate typing experience and the clicky feedback is very satisfying. The Qwerkywriter is made of metal from top to bottom, the type of quality you don't get from a modern keyboard. The Qwerkywriter's list price has been reduced 26% to $259. See this deal on Amazon.

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HTC Vive price cut by $200 to battle Oculus Rift's recent deductions

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:37:00 -0700


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$150 Price Drop on Pico Pro Craft Beer Brewing Appliance - Deal Alert

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:34:00 -0700

Pico Pro is an automated craft brewery that brews fresh craft beer using recipes from award-winning breweries. Brew any style of beer you desire – from IPAs to session ales to stouts to porters – starting with just the press of a button. Your beer will be fermented, carbonated, and ready to enjoy in a little over a week. Built-in steam cleaning and dishwasher-safe components make for a simpler cleanup. The list price has been reduced by $150, so if you've been interested in a super compact and automated homebrew setup, you may want to consider the current pricepoint. See this deal on Amazon.

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Jurassic World Evolution theme park sim revealed by Planet Coaster's developer

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 05:00:00 -0700

After wowing us with Planet Coaster last year—a theme-park builder so good it made our favorite PC games of 2016—Frontier announced during Gamescom that it’s scored an amusement park license of a different breed. Namely, dinosaurs. Cue the Jurassic Park theme.

No, really. It’s Jurassic Park. Or Jurassic World, technically. Titled Jurassic World Evolution, Frontier’s creating a build-your-own-dinosaur-theme-park game that looks quite a bit like Planet Coaster crossed with prehistoric Zoo Tycoon. A similar game was released in 2003 called Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, though unfortunately it appears impossible to find (legally) nowadays.

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Geeni Surge review: This smart surge protector falls short on automation and documentation

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 03:00:00 -0700

While it has four individually switchable outlets, the Surge works best only as a manual on/off switch.


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Xbox One X: Everything you need to know about this powerful gaming console

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:40:00 -0700

Updated August 20, 2017: We’ve added information on pre-orders (as well as other updates from Gamescom) for the Xbox One X.

Xbox One X.

That’s the official name Microsoft has given to Project Scorpio, the upcoming 4K-ready cousin to the Xbox One. It will, in Microsoft’s words, be “the most powerful console ever.”

(image) Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

That was Microsoft’s main message during the console’s reveal at E3 2017, repeatedly emphasizing the Xbox One X’s advantages over the competing PlayStation 4 Pro (without ever mentioning its rival console by name, of course). And it sure is a powerful console. Read on for details on pricing, availability, specs, noteworthy features, and compatible games.

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Galaxy Note8: Everything we know about Samsung’s next flagship phablet

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 11:50:00 -0700

Update 8/20/17: It's confirmed: Samsung outed the Note8 a few days early with an accidental post on its website. The pic is identical to the one leaked earlier by Evan Blass. Also, Blass says preorders for the new phablet will likely start on Thursday, August 24 with a shipping date of September 15.

The late-summer launch of the Galaxy Note phablet is always a big event for Samsung, but there’s even more attention on this year’s release. In case you’ve forgotten, the Galaxy Note7 was an epic fail for Samsung, resulting in a massive recall after devices began exploding around the world. Since then, however, Samsung has been on a roll, launching the highly acclaimed Galaxy S8 and posting record profits along the way.

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This week in games: Destiny "accidentally" pops up on Steam, Civilization goes tabletop, and Animal Farm gets a game adaptation

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:00:00 -0700

Licensed games all-but-disappeared for a few years there, swept into the trash alongside a bevy of B-tier studios. But I guess they’re back—and way weirder this time around, too. Adaptations of both Planet of the Apes and Animal Farm were announced this week, and the Pillars of the Earth point-and-click hit Steam. I can only imagine Ken Kesey’s logging classic Sometimes a Great Notion is next. Maybe Call of Duty: Catch-22?

That, plus Destiny briefly sort-of pops up on Steam, Total Warhammer II adds the ratlike Skaven, and Civilization gets adapted into board game form.

This is gaming news for August 14 to 18.

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Jackery Titan S 20100 review: An affordable battery that packs a punch

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:48:00 -0700


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Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD review: Everything you want in a battery pack

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:48:00 -0700


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Samsung Fast Charge Portable Battery Pack 5100 review: Slim, portable, and full of energy

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:47:00 -0700

Note: The following is part of our roundup of USB-C battery packs. Go there for details on how we tested this device.

Samsung may have earned the honor of being at the end of random battery jokes, and suggesting a battery pack from Samsung may seem unlikely. But just put the Note 7 debacle in a box—keep it there, just in case something else bad happens.

Now, look at the Fast Charge Portable Battery Pack 5100. This $59 pack has a 5100 mAh (19.38Wh) capacity, is slightly thicker than a Galaxy S8, and is easy on the eyes.
A carrying loop sticks out of the top, with a power button and a USB-C port for charging the pack found on one side. On the other side you’ll find a USB-A port, used to charge your phone.

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RAVPower 20100 review: USB-C and QC 3.0 together

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:47:00 -0700


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Aukey 30000 PowerBank with Power Delivery review: A respectable upgrade

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 15:47:00 -0700

Note: The following is part of our roundup of USB-C battery packs. Go there for details on how we tested this device.

The Aukey 30000 Power Bank was last year’s top pick, despite a couple of flaws. Its price point, combined with Quick Charge (QC) 3.0 and a handy flashlight (as gimmicky as it may sound) were enough to propel it to the top.

The current model (available for $80 on Amazon) adds Power Delivery (PD) charging, extending its compatibility to more devices, such as a MacBooks.

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Amazon is selling an EVGA 450W PSU for $10

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:50:00 -0700

Whether you've got a PC building project on deck or need to replace an existing PSU, you can get an incredible deal on a power supply right now. Amazon is selling the EVGA 450 BT for $10 after mail-in rebate. That means you'll pay $30 upfront, and then get $20 back in the form of a prepaid debit card.

The rebate offer lasts until Monday.

This 450W PSU comes with a three-year warranty, and it's 80+ Bronze certified, which means it operates at 85 efficiency or greater under usual workloads. It has a single 12 volt rail, and if you need or want to know what that means, this YouTube video offers a great explanation.

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63% off Anker SoundCore 2 Bluetooth Speaker with 24-Hour Playtime - Deal Alert

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 07:16:00 -0700

SoundCore 2 From Anker produces outstanding audio from an astonishingly compact speaker. Upgraded 2x 6W drivers blast out rich, clear sound. IPX5 water-resistant rating and dustproof engineering mean you can bring your beats anywhere - from the garden, to the beach. Upgraded materials provide smooth touch, and better grip. Listen for up to 66ft with latest Bluetooth 4.2 technology, while an in-built microphone makes hands-free calling a breeze. If you find yourself without BlueTooth, an aux port allows you to plug in and play. And a 24-hour / 500-song playtime means you can listen all day. The SoundCore 2 from Anker's typical list price has been reduced 63% to just $33.59. See this deal on Amazon.

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