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Preview: PC World Latest Technology News


Published: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:22:29 -0700

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:22:29 -0700


Twitter said to plan 300 more job cuts this week

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 20:00:14 -0700

Twitter may trim its staff again by about 300 people or 8 percent of its workforce, as the company tries to cut costs in trying times.

The widespread job cuts could come before the company releases its third-quarter earnings on Thursday, according to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter. It cautioned that the precise number of jobs affected could change.

A Twitter spokeswoman said in an email that the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.

Twitter announced in October last year that it was laying off 336 employees.

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Lyft customers face potential hack from recycled phone numbers

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:34:11 -0700

Giving up an old cell phone number for a new one may seem harmless. But for Lyft customers, it can potentially expose their accounts to complete strangers.

That's what happened to Lara Miller, a media relations specialist living in California. Earlier this month, she discovered two credit card charges made in Las Vegas, over 400 miles away.

"I thought it was legit fraud on my debit card," Miller said.  

But in reality, another woman had accidentally taken over her old Lyft account. It happened because the phone company had recycled the cell phone number Miller had canceled back in April -- opening the door to the hack.

The problem involves Lyft's login process. The ride-hailing app does away with the hassle of usernames and passwords, and instead signs up customers with their smartphone's cell number.

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For cordless VR and more, WiGig may be worth the wait

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:00:02 -0700

The stars are finally aligned for WiGig, an ultra-fast, short-range wireless network that took a long time to become a reality.

On Monday, the Wi-Fi Alliance launched a certification process for WiGig products, which will go as fast as 8Gbps (bits per second) and could include virtual-reality headsets and high-speed office Wi-Fi zones.

The technology was announced in 2009 and is based on a standard, IEEE 802.11ad, that’s now available in some shipping products. But the official WiGig logo will assure buyers that networks and devices from different vendors can work together out of the box. That’s a crucial issue for almost anyone investing in network gear.

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Not robocop, but robojudge? AI learns to rule in human rights cases

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:18:00 -0700

An artificial intelligence system designed to predict the outcomes of cases at the European Court of Human Rights would side with the human judges 79 percent of the time.

Researchers at University College London and the University of Sheffield in the U.K., and the University of Pennsylvania in the U.S., described the system in a paper published Monday by the Peer Journal of Computer Science.

"We formulated a binary classification task where the input of our classifiers is the textual content extracted from a case and the target output is the actual judgment as to whether there has been a violation of an article of the convention of human rights," wrote the paper's authors, Nikolaos Aletras, Dimitrios Tsarapatsanis, Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro and Vasileios Lampos.

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These are the new Emoji in the Android Nougat 7.1 update

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:46:00 -0700

The world of emojis on Android 7.1 is even more diverse, as Google is fully embracing the options available in the Unicode 9 update.

There are a number of different male and female professions, which may add a little spark next time you want to tell someone what it is you do for a living. Examples include artist, astronaut, judge, firefighter, scientist, student, and technologist.

(image) Emojipedia

New professions emoji are available in male and female genders with a variety of skin tones.

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Physical RAM attack can root Android and possibly other devices

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:15:00 -0700

Researchers have devised a new way to compromise Android devices without exploiting any software vulnerabilities and instead taking advantage of a physical design weakness in RAM chips. The attack technique could also affect other ARM and x86-based devices and computers.

The attack stems from the push over the past decade to pack more DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) capacity onto increasingly smaller chips, which can lead to memory cells on adjacent rows leaking electric charges to one another under certain conditions.

For example, repeated and rapid accessing of physical memory locations -- an action now dubbed "hammering" -- can cause the bit values from adjacent locations to flip from 0 to 1 or the other way around.

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66% off KMASHI 15000mAh External Battery Power Bank - Deal Alert

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0700

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Chinese firm recalls camera products linked to massive DDOS attack

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:45:52 -0700

A Chinese electronics component maker is recalling 4.3 million internet-connected camera products from the U.S. market amid claims they may have played a role in Friday's massive internet disruption.

On Monday, Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology said it was recalling earlier models of four kinds of cameras due to a security vulnerability that can make them easy to hack.

"The main security problem is that users aren't changing the device's default passwords," Xiongmai said in a Chinese-language statement posted online.

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How to watch the MLB playoffs and World Series without cable

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:15:00 -0700

Update: The Chicago Cubs will face the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. Game One starts tomorrow in Cleveland (because the American League won the All Star series this year. The Cubs haven't taken home the championship since 1908 and the last time the Indians won a World Series was in 1948. This is going to be an epic Series folks, and you can stream all the action without a cable-TV subscription.

Plug an antenna into your TV tuner and you can watch the games on Fox. Live outside the range of TV broadcast towers? Look to one of the streaming-TV services that carry FS1: Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. Neither of these forces you to sign a long-term contract, so you can cancel after the Series is over if you decide they don't deliver adequate value. 

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New Samsung loyalty program hints that the Note line may not be dead after all

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:06:00 -0700

Samsung isn’t giving up on customer loyalty without a fight. 

Samsung is aiming to win back those burned by the Note7 debacle with a new upgrade program that indicates the Note line isn’t dead after all. Targeted specifically at buyers in Korea, the company will give an S7 or S7 Edge to those who bought a Note along with an upgrade promise to a new Galaxy S8 or Note8 phone.

That’s the first solid piece of evidence we’d heard that Samsung isn’t shuttering the Note line altogether. The company had previously hinted that the Note was dead given the spectacular demise. You can’t get worse product association than having your phone banned from U.S. flights or burning down a Jeep and garage.

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Google's Pixel XL is much easier to repair than the Nexus 6P

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:18:00 -0700

When Google released the Huawei-built Nexus 6P in 2015 it won rave reviews from critics, but the teardown experts at iFixit suggested DIY types should stay away. The phone achieved a measly 2 out of 10 repairability score. But this year's Android flagship is much friendlier towards anyone that wants to perform repairs on their own.

The Google Pixel XL, the company’s first in-house smartphone design, earned a repairability score of 6 out of 10 from iFixit.  For one thing, all screws in the devices are Torx T5, iFixit found, which means you’ll only need a single screwdriver to get to work.

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Nvidia rushes hotfix after bad GeForce driver broke Windows 10's Start menu, apps

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 07:24:00 -0700

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20% off Micca Speck G2 1080p Full-HD Ultra Portable Digital Media Player - Deal Alert

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 06:48:00 -0700

The Micca Speck G2 provides convenient playback of all popular photo, music, and video formats up to 1080p Full-HD resolution on any TV or HDTV. It has a 1080p HD output for sending sharp and clear video and audio in pure digital format to HDTVs, as well as composite AV output for use with analog TVs. The Speck G2 reads media from USB Drives, USB Hard Drives, SD/SDHC Flash Memory Cards, MBR FAT32 and NTFS file systems, up to 2TB. File formats supported are:

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AMD drops Radeon RX 460, RX 470 prices ahead of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1050 launch

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 05:33:00 -0700

This article was originally published Sunday, 10/23/16, and updated on 10/24/16. 

Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards aren’t even out yet and they’ve already prompted AMD to slash the prices on two-thirds of its Radeon RX 400-series lineup.

As of today, the Radeon RX 460’s “suggested e-tail price” will start at $100 and the Radeon RX 470 will start at $170 “with new holiday programs.” An AMD representative couldn’t clarify what “new holiday programs” meant, exactly, but those adjusted costs represent a $10 discount from the launch-day SEPs for both cards.

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$85 billion AT&T, Time Warner deal under scrutiny from politicians, consumer groups

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 05:15:00 -0700

The plan by AT&T to acquire Time Warner for US$85.4 billion has come under the microscope of U.S. politicians and public interest groups that are concerned about the antitrust implications of the mega-deal.

On Saturday, Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said the deal would let it combine premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen, including mobile displays.

But many politicians including Democratic party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump are concerned about the implications of the deal.

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Why the Internet broke and you couldn't do anything about it

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 04:52:00 -0700

“Sing, O Muse, sing of the anger of Akamais.” Okay, I’m no Homer and this is no Odyssey, but we mortals are the victims of a fight we didn’t start and which may last longer than the Trojan War. As I write this, on October 21, the Internet is unevenly available to people, with many major sites being difficult or impossible to reach. Those sites aren’t under attack: some of the Internet’s plumbing is.

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against Dyn took down a hunk of the Internet in America on Friday, starting on the East Coast and then hitting the West, because that company provides one piece of networking glue for many major Internet companies. Dyn is a DNS (domain naming system) host, handling the lookup that happens every time any computer or mobile device anywhere in the world needs to convert a human-readable domain name (like into an Internet numeric address, find the appropriate mail server, or retrieve other domain-related details.

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French surveillance law is unconstitutional after all, highest court says

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 04:31:24 -0700

The French Constitutional Council has taken another look at a new security law it waved through in July 2015, and found it wanting.

A key clause of last year's Surveillance Law essentially allowed security agencies to monitor and control wireless communications without the usual oversight applied to wiretapping operations.

This is unconstitutional as the lack of oversight is likely to result in a disproportionate invasion of privacy, the council ruled Friday. It was responding to a complaint filed by La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), an association campaigning for online rights, the ISP French Data Network (FDN) and the Federation of Non-Profit ISPs.

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10 must-have Android apps for Halloween

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 04:00:00 -0700

Turn your phone into a Spooktacular Halloween companion

Image by Derek Walter

You’ve probably decorated your house with cobwebs, spiders, skeletons, and carved some pumpkins.

But what about your phone? Yes, that ever-present companion of yours needs some attention as well when it comes to getting ready for All Hallow’s Eve. Your smartphone can keep track of where the kids are, zombify yourself, and keep the party going with some dark and delightful tunes.

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How to recover lost data using TestDisk

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 03:30:00 -0700

There’s one big event that can trigger an overwhelming sense of dread when you’re installing an OS on a friend or family member’s PC: data loss. It’s bad enough when it happens to your own data, but when it’s someone else’s machine, the feeling can be unbearable.

I know because that’s the situation I found myself in during a recent family reunion in upstate New York. I was attempting to install Ubuntu 16.04 alongside a Windows 7 installation on my mother's laptop. And not thinking (I shamefully admit), I failed to make a backup of her data before I resized her Windows partition. It wasn’t until I tried to boot back into Windows 7 that realized what I had done.

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MSI GT73VR Titan review: This gaming PC excels with a GTX 1080 and G-Sync panel

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0700

With the arrival of Nvidia’s new Pascal-based mobile GPUs, we’re seeing an onslaught of high-end laptops that, for the first time, are able to give desktops a run for their money. We’re also witnessing the arrival of all-new features in gaming laptops, thanks to the prodigious power afforded by the high-end GTX 1080 chip. With more than twice the power of Nvidia’s previous flagship mobile GPU, the GTX 980M, the GTX 1080 paves the way for higher-res panels, higher refresh rates, and of course insane levels of performance.  

Case in point is MSI’s new GT73 VR Titan. It pairs the new GTX 1080 mobile GPU with a 17.3-inch G-Sync panel that runs at 1920x1080 resolution at 120Hz, making it the first laptop we’ve laid our paws on that sports a high refresh-rate screen. As such, it should deliver crazy-smooth, high frame-rate gaming at an unprecedented level. (MSI also sells the notebook with an IPS 4K display at 60Hz, if you prefer a higher resolution over high frame rates, but it costs $300 more than this config.)

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Oppo Sonica Wi-Fi Speaker: Oppo's first wireless speaker hits a high note

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0700

Oppo is making the same kind of splash in the wireless speaker market that it’s already done with disc players and headphones. In fact, you could call it a cannonball: The Sonica is one of the best-sounding wireless speakers in its price range.

It’s much more than a Bluetooth speaker.You can also connect to it via Wi-Fi and it supports Apple’s AirPlay music-streaming technology, too. The speaker’s rounded and tapered enclosure gives this unit a classic look, making it feel even smaller than it actually is. Those of us with a few grey hairs might flash back to the alarm clocks of yesteryear—all that’s missing is the clock face. 

A single mute button and a and volume-control toggle are the only buttons on the unit, and you’ll use a combination of button presses to set the speaker up. It assumes you’ll want to connect via Wi-Fi, but holding both the mute button and the volume + button down quickly puts it into Bluetooth pairing mode. I did this to quickly pair it to a Pioneer XDP-100R high-res digital audio player.

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WikiLeaks says it doesn’t collaborate with states

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 23:51:20 -0700

WikiLeaks claims to have many thousands of sources but does not collaborate with states in the publication of documents, its editorial board said late Sunday.

The statement by the board of the whistleblowing site assumes significance after the  administration of U.S. President Barack Obama charged that it and other sites had released allegedly hacked emails under the direction of Russia.

WikiLeaks has leaked mails from the Democratic National Committee that showed that the Democratic Party’s national strategy and fund-raising committee had favored Hillary Clinton over her rival Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party nomination. The website has also published mails from the account of John Podesta, chairman of Clinton's campaign for the presidential election, which could prove to be embarrassing to the candidate.

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Chinese firm admits its hacked DVRs, cameras were behind Friday's massive DDOS attack

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 12:14:00 -0700

A Chinese electronics component manufacturer says its products inadvertently played a role in a massive cyberattack that disrupted major internet sites in the U.S. on Friday.

Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology, a vendor behind DVRs and internet-connected cameras, said on Sunday that security vulnerabilities involving weak default passwords in its products were partly to blame.

According to security researchers, malware known as Mirai has been taking advantage of these vulnerabilities by infecting the devices and using them to launch huge distributed denial-of service attacks, including Friday’s outage.

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AT&T will acquire Time Warner for $85.4B in content play

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 20:30:00 -0700

AT&T said it will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4 billion, reflecting a continuing trend for the consolidation of communications and media companies.

The deal aims to combine content from Time Warner, which has a film studio and a vast library of entertainment, with AT&T’s distribution network of mobile services, broadband and TV in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America, AT&T said late Saturday.

Under the part cash, part stock deal, Time Warner shareholders will receive $107.50 per share under the terms of the merger, consisting of $53.75 per share in cash and $53.75 per share in AT&T stock.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2017, and is subject to approval by Time Warner shareholders and review by the U.S. Department of Justice, AT&T said. Review from the Federal Communications Commission may also be required to the extent that FCC licenses may have to be transferred to AT&T under the deal.

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U.S. indicts Russian for hacking LinkedIn, Dropbox, Formspring

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:11:53 -0700

The U.S. has charged a suspected Russian hacker with breaking into computers at LinkedIn, Dropbox and a question-and-answer site formerly known as Formspring.

On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted 29-year-old Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin following his arrest by Czech police in Prague on Oct. 5.

LinkedIn has said that Nikulin was involved in the 2012 breach of the company that stole details from over 167 million accounts. However, a U.S. court filing unsealed on Friday only gave limited details on Nikulin's alleged crimes.

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An IoT botnet is partly behind Friday's massive DDOS attack

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:21:00 -0700

Malware that can build botnets out of IoT devices is at least partly responsible for a massive distributed denial-of-service attack that disrupted U.S. internet traffic on Friday, according to network security companies.

Since Friday morning, the assault has been disrupting access to popular websites by flooding a DNS service provider called Dyn with an overwhelming amount of internet traffic.

Some of that traffic has been observed coming from botnets created with the Mirai malware that is estimated to have infected over 500,000 devices, according to Level 3 Communications, a provider of internet backbone services.

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Windows: When no growth is an improvement

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:42:00 -0700

Microsoft yesterday said that revenue in the September quarter for the More Personal Computing group was down 2%, the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines and the fifth contraction in the last six quarters.

Windows revenue, which accounts for the bulk of More Personal Computing’s (MPC) total, was flat. But that was an improvement over the prior quarter, when sales of the operating system were down 4%.

“Our total [Windows] OEM business was flat this quarter, more in line with the PC market and better than we expected,” said Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, during a call with Wall Street analysts Thursday. Most of Microsoft’s income from Windows comes from license sales to device makers, called OEMs for “original equipment manufacturers.”

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Major DDoS attack on Dyn DNS knocks Spotify, Twitter, Github, PayPal, and more offline

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:34:00 -0700

Update 5: At 6:18 P.M. Eastern Dyn said the DDoS attacks have been resolved. Fingers crossed another wave doesn't occur, as happened earlier today. You can find Dyn's incident report here.

Update 4: Dyn is being hit by a third wave of DDoS attacks Friday afternoon. The attacks are “well planned and executed, coming from tens of millions of IP addresses at the same time,” the company told CNBC.

Update 3: A heat map purportedly showing backbone internet provider Level 3’s East Coast outages was removed from this piece at 2:50 p.m. Eastern, as a Level 3 spokesperson says its network “was operating normally this morning, and [the company] did not see an East Coast outage.” See the informative Periscope from its CSO embedded below.

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This week in games: Diablo 4 whispers, Civilization VI launch

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:30:00 -0700

I thought I’d be posting news about Red Dead Revolution 2 here this week, but since Rockstar didn’t bother announcing a PC version, instead we'll roll with Diablo 4 rumors, Stellaris getting a big story expansion, Watch Dogs 2 needing two extra weeks to hit PC, and King’s Quest finally drawing to a close.

Definitely no Nintendo Switch or Red Dead news here. This is your PC gaming news for October 17 through 21.

Watch (everyone else play) Watch Dogs

In a now-familiar move for anyone who follows Ubisoft’s November releases, Watch Dogs 2 has been delayed on PC—but only for two weeks! Now it’ll launch November 29 instead of day-and-date with consoles on November 15. Good news for people who don’t want a repeat of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, bad news for people who hoped to play it over Thanksgiving.

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Chrome for Android keeps the music going with background media playback

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:10:00 -0700

The music and videos don’t have to stop in the latest build of Chrome for Android. Version 54, which launched Wednesday, supports background media playback, which means you can leave Chrome and keep listening to whatever is playing in the background.

With the update, you can hit the home button and move onto another task while the audio keeps going. Swipe down and hit pause or sweep away the tab to end the playback.


Chrome 54 keep the music going in the background.

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