Just like that, five days are gone. I fell into quite a few “One More Turn” traps over the weekend, looked up more than once to realize it was past 3 A.M., and I come before you now having made my way through three Civilization VI campaigns.
I’ve got thoughts, both good and bad. But I’ll say this up front: Civilization VI ($60 on Steam or Amazon) is better than Civilization V was at launch.
All roads lead to nukes
A hell of a lot better, really. Oh, the honeymoon’s already worn off and people have started complaining that “Civilization VI isn’t as good as Civilization V with all its expansion packs.” The cycle continues, and I’m sure Firaxis will release at least two expansions (and then an all-encompassing Gold Edition) over the next couple years to fix some of Civ VI’s weaker points.
Apple is gearing up to launch new Macs on Thursday, which is reportedly why it rescheduled its Q4 earnings report for Tuesday—so Macs will dominate the headlines instead of the company’s snoozeworthy (for Apple) Q4 report.
The company sold 45.5 million iPhones in the fourth quarter—also its final quarter of fiscal 2016—though that includes just two weeks of iPhone 7 sales and only the earliest signs of Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 catastrophe impact.
The iPhone sales were better than expected: Analysts had forecast 44.8 million phones shipped in Q4, which Apple handily exceeded. Apple made a $9 billion profit off of $46.9 billion in revenue in Q4, down year-over-year from an $11.1 billion profit off $51.5 billion in Q4 of 2015. And while profits and revenue are down pretty much across the board, Apple is again choosing to focus on its services, a bright spot in the company’s portfolio. Services revenue, which includes iCloud, Apple Music, iTunes, and the App Store, grew 24 percent to $6.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
At home, a dorm, or in the office, the Snowball iCE USB microphone delivers crystal clear high quality audio for vocals, podcasts, narrations, Skype calls, and everything else in between. Simply mount Snowball iCE on the included adjustable stand, plug the USB cable into your Mac or PC and that’s it. You’re ready to sit back and start recording crystal-clear audio for any project. The Snowball iCE mic currently averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 1,700 people (read reviews). Its typical list price of $59.99 has been reduced 18% to $49.
Rolling out the internet of things means using devices as our eyes and ears and even asking them to make decisions for us. The chips at the heart of those devices play critical roles, and on Tuesday some of them got better at their jobs.
While ARM introduced two minuscule processor architectures with security features borrowed from larger chips, Intel unveiled its Atom E3900 chips with improved computer vision and industrial-grade timing.
The E3900s are designed for a wide range of applications, including manufacturing and surveillance, and they’ll soon be joined by a version specifically for vehicles, called the A3900.
Amazon is trying to simplify the process of moving legacy applications to the cloud with a new service that it quietly launched this week. The aptly named Server Migration Service is designed to help IT teams set up the incremental replication of virtual machines from their on-premises infrastructure to Amazon's cloud.
More companies are adopting the public cloud to take advantage of performance benefits and cost savings. But getting legacy apps into the cloud can be a pain, especially for those applications that require high uptime but take time to migrate. Server Migration Service helps simplify that process and may lead to additional cloud adoption.
IoT is making devices smaller, smarter, and – we hope – safer. It’s not easy to make all those things happen at once, but chips that can help are starting to emerge.
On Tuesday at ARM TechCon in Silicon Valley, ARM will introduce processors that are just a fraction of a millimeter across and incorporate the company’s TrustZone technology. TrustZone is hardware-based security built into SoC (system on chip) processors to establish a root of trust.
It’s designed to prevent devices from being hacked and taken over by intruders, a danger that’s been in the news since the discovery of the Mirai botnet, which recently took over thousands of IP cameras to mount denial-of-service attacks.
One of the most significant features of Windows 10’s Anniversary Update was the addition of pen computing, known as Windows Ink, which we criticized as falling short of the average consumer’s needs. We don’t know whether any new inking features will be announced at Microsoft’s Windows event on Wednesday (or the event that follows on November 2). Recently, however, we took a deeper dive into the capabilities, when we tried the new Math and Replay features within Windows 10’s OneNote UWP app.
This time it’s the DTEK60, the pricier sibling to the DTEK50 announced in July. This model offers better specs and comes in at $499, compared to the more modest $299 DTEK50.
For the money you get a Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, a 3000mAh battery that promises to go 24 hours, 32GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot. The screen comes in at 5.5 inches with a 2560x1440 resolution at 435 PPI.
Google Messenger’s leap to version 2.0 brings a number of changes that tidy up the interface and prepare for a world of better messaging.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the icon has been revamped, with a white message bubble inside of a dark blue circle. You’ll get the circular icon regardless of whether or not you have a Pixel.
Also, several subtle improvements bring more consistency to different parts of the interface. The conversations are grouped more tightly together, which improves on the previous iteration that felt like there was too much wasted space.
What’s big, red, and supposed to be the next big thing in workplace collaboration? Google’s new Jamboard, a massive touch display and accompanying cloud service that’s supposed to help business users brainstorm together.
Jamboard works like a digital whiteboard, letting users sketch out ideas, attach digital sticky notes, plus bring in content from the web into a single, constantly updating workspace. People can use Jamboard to collaborate both on the 55-inch mega-display of the same name, or using accompanying tablet and smartphone apps for iOS and Android.
The Jamboard is available in private beta for business customers of Google’s G Suite productivity service offering starting Tuesday. The company expects to make it generally available early next year.
The software used to program and deploy code to various Schneider Electric industrial controllers has a weakness that could allow hackers to remotely take over engineering workstations.
The software, known as Unity Pro, runs on PCs used by engineers and includes a simulator for testing code before deploying it to programmable logic controllers (PLCs). These are the specialized hardware devices that monitor and control mechanical processes -- spinning motors, opening and closing valves, etc. -- inside factories, power stations, gas refineries, public utilities and other industrial installations.
Researchers from industrial cybersecurity firm Indegy found that unauthenticated attackers could execute malicious code on Windows computers where the Unity Pro PLC simulator is installed. That code would run with debug privileges leading to a complete system compromise.
The Joomla developers are warning website administrators to apply an update for the popular content management system that fixes two critical vulnerabilities.
The flaws are serious enough that the Joomla project released a prenotification about the planned update on Friday, urging everyone to be prepared to install it as soon as possible. This suggests that attacks targeting these vulnerabilities are expected to follow shortly.
Joomla 3.6.4, released Tuesday, fixes a high-priority flaw in the account creation component that could be exploited to create accounts on a Joomla-based website even if user registration has been disabled on it.
The smoke still hasn’t cleared from Samsung’s Note7 debacle, and along come new reports that Galaxy S7 Edge phones are also catching fire.
There are two recent incidents to go on. PhoneArena says someone from a “big U.S. wireless carrier” contacted the site about a Galaxy S7 Edge that exploded while charging overnight using Samsung’s official charger.
Another S7 Edge user in Canada posted pictures of his phone, which he said “burst into flames” while driving. He said he tossed the phone out the window of his car and then covered it with snow to extinguish it.
The latest version of the Opera browser just rolled out, promising faster start-up times especially for users who open numerous tabs at once.
The new update, Opera 41, also boosts battery life when using video calling over WebRTC and when watching videos in pop-out mode.
More tabs, efficient tabs
The major change for Opera 41 is a new “smarter startup sequence.” When you launch the browser it will automatically load the tab you were using most recently. Then Opera 41 loads pinned tabs (if you have any), and then the rest of your tabs in decreasing priority.
Opera says that during its tests, start-up time in Opera 41 improved by 86 percent on average for a browser with 42 or more tabs open, compared to Opera 40. If you’re a more modest browser user with about 10 tabs open at once, the new start-up routine can still improve your “boot” time by about 50 percent.
Google has acquired a 3-year-old eye-tracking company for virtual and augmented reality headsets, signaling the tech giant's interest in the immersive technologies.
Eyefluence, founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneurs Jim Marggraff and David Stiehr, develops eye-interaction technologies to control VR and AR headsets. "Eyes can instantaneously transform intent into action, enabling communication as fast as you can see," the company says.
The deal with Google was announced Tuesday. "With our forces combined, we will continue to advance eye-interaction technology to expand human potential and empathy on an even larger scale," Eyefluence said in a blog post.
OpenStack users running their workloads on IBM's SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure took it calmly when the company's object storage development lead, Brian Cline, announced that SoftLayer is going away.
Cline opened his presentation with the news at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona on Tuesday.
But it's not as bad as it sounds. The same services will still be available from the same servers, managed through the same SoftLayer control portal: Only the brand is going away.
IBM is going to replace the SoftLayer name with Bluemix, its broader cloud platform, making SoftLayer services just another page in the Bluemix catalog of infrastructure, platform and application services.
SQL Server Analysis Services, one of the key features of Microsoft's relational database enterprise offering, is going to the cloud. The company announced Tuesday that it's launching the public beta of Azure Analysis Services, which gives users cloud-based access to semantic data modeling tools.
The news is part of a host of announcements the company is making at the Professional Association for SQL Server Summit in Seattle this week. On top of the new cloud service, Microsoft also released new tools for migrating to the latest version of SQL Server and an expanded free trial for Azure SQL Data Warehouse. On the hardware side, the company revealed new reference architecture for using SQL Server 2016 with active data sets of up to 145TB.