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PCWorld



This is the most recent feed available as of 03/28/2017 at 03:31 PM

PowerColor's Radeon RX 470 graphics card is down to $120

As we noted when we looked at the AMD Radeon RX 470 last August, the card lives in an awkward spot. As a stepped-down version of the RX 480 meant to rock the house at 1080p gaming, the RX 470 is a solid performer, but the list price is just too close to the RX 480's to justify buying it.

When on sale, though, the card makes much more sense. Today only, Newegg is selling the PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 470 with 4GB of GDDR5 memory for $150, with the option of an additional $30 mail-in rebate for a final price of $120. The rebate comes in the form of a prepaid Visa or American Express card.

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Excel for Windows finally gets real-time collaboration

Microsoft has brought live, collaborative editing to its Excel app for Windows through a beta update it launched on Tuesday. The new feature lets testers collaborate with one another on the same file from inside the app.

Live collaboration has been a major focus of Office 2016, which Microsoft released roughly a year and a half ago. The suite first offered real-time co-authoring for the desktop version of Word, then expanded those capabilities to PowerPoint. It’s a major change for Microsoft’s client applications, which previously kept editing to a fairly solitary experience.

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BlueJeans teams with Dolby for teleconference audio clarity

BlueJeans customers will be getting improved call quality, thanks to a partnership the company unveiled Tuesday. Dolby is working with the videoconferencing company to improve call clarity for people using its service.

As part of the deal, BlueJeans will integrate Dolby Voice technology for all the video and audio calls made using its service. It will provide a number of benefits to users, like reducing background noise on calls and normalizing sound levels from different speakers.

While BlueJeans offers video meetings, company CEO Krish Ramakrishnan said that good voice connections matter more than high-definition video.

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HTC is reportedly releasing a new U phone that makes better use of its bezels

Even before the U Ultra was available for purchase, HTC was already teasing a better phone, with a Snapdragon 835 processor. Now it looks like it might be coming on the heels of the Galaxy S8, and it could be one of the most interesting handsets of the year.

According to a VentureBeat report, tipster extraordinaire Evan Blass dishes on next phone in the U line will bring the wild “Ocean” concept to reality. Following up on the video Blass leaked last year, the 5.5-inch, quad HD handset will reportedly feature a button-less design that relies on gestures to navigate and control things on screen.

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Legendary RPG Planescape: Torment is getting an Enhanced Edition, 17 years later

Planescape: Torment is still one of the all-time great RPGs. I should know—I just replayed it in January in preparation for the then-impending launch of spiritual successor Torment: Tides of Numenera.

If only I’d waited two more months though, eh? Today a countdown timer at planescape.com (cheekily titled “Plan Escape”) was supposed to tick down to zero and pull back the curtain on Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition, coming to PC, Mac, and Linux later this year. Then uh...well, the trailer leaked early. Best laid plans.

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LastPass is scrambling to fix another serious vulnerability

For the second time in two weeks developers of the popular LastPass password manager are working to fix a serious vulnerability that could allow malicious websites to steal user passwords or infect computers with malware.

Like the LastPass flaws patched last week, the new issue was discovered and reported to LastPass by Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google's Project Zero team. The researcher revealed the vulnerability's existence in a message on Twitter, but didn't publish any technical details about it that could allow attackers to exploit it.

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V-Moda gives you a choice: Use its new Crossfade 2 headphones with or without wires
You get Hi-Res Audio certification with a cable, or aptX Bluetooth decoding without one.

44% off Smartphone Screen Magnifier with Foldable Stand - Deal Alert


New Google Home partnerships expand the smart speaker’s footprint in the smart home

Vivint Sky and Wink Hub owners who want to use voice commands to control their lighting, thermostats, and other subsystems will soon no longer be limited to deploying Amazon Echos—both companies announced today that their systems will soon be compatible with Google Assistant, too.

Both companies already work with Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, but neither wants to be limited to a single platform. “Obviously there’s more than one option for homeowners who want to have voice services in the house,” said Vivint Smart Home Chief Technology Office Jeremy Warren. “We want to make sure we’re providing a great user experience for our customers regardless of which platform they adopt.” Google announced 11 other new partnerships as well, ranging from Logitech Harmony, to August smart locks, to the Anova sous-vide cooker.

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Comcast's live TV streaming service may only be for Xfinity Internet customers

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Comcast will release an online streaming service for live TV later this year.

No, I’m not talking about Stream, Comcast’s trial run at an “over-the-top” streaming package that debuted in 2015. This time around the service is called Xfinity Instant TV and will be rolling out to Comcast’s markets nationwide this fall, according to Reuters.

Comcast has yet to officially announce the new service, but it would reportedly be a redesigned version of Stream. Xfinity Instant TV would also replace Stream in the limited markets where the trial service is available.

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Facebook goes full Snapchat with disappearing Stories

Snapchat famously rejected a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook back in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from taking the features that make Snapchat great. The latest is Stories, a visual diary separate from your main news feed that disppears after 24 hours. Facebook is adding the Snapchat clone to its iOS and Android apps today.

facebook stories ios Facebook

This is what Facebook looks like now.

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Everything we think we know about the Galaxy S8

Update 3/6/17: This article has been updated with information about how to watch tomorrow's event.

Now that the dust has settled from Mobile World Congress, we can turn our attention to the next big thing: Samsung’s Galaxy S8 event. Samsung opted to skip its usual Barcelona unveiling, but it won’t be too much longer until we can get our hands on the most anticipated Android phone in years. With just hours to go now until the main event, Samsung has launched a countdown app in the Play Store and provided info on how we can watch the unveiling.

After the Note7 debacle, Samsung is surely using the extra time to run a litany of battery tests on its new handset, because a lot is riding on this launch. Samsung has weathered the phablet storm fairly well, but it needs the S8 to be a major hit. And from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like it will be.

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If Google Assistant isn't your thing, you can now talk to Cortana on the Android lock screen

The AI battle on our Android phones is getting serious. After Google added Assistant to millions of handsets running Marshmallow and Nougat, Amazon followed by adding Alexa to the Mate 9. And now Microsoft is looking to enhance its new position on the lock screen.

Microsoft added Cortana to the Android lock screen earlier this month, but it was little more than a feed of information with news, calendar appointments, and weather. With the latest update, Cortana on the lock screen has been enhanced to allow lock-screen interactions, giving Google Assistant a serious run for its money.

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Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files

The PlayStation 4 Pro is finally getting some serious 4K video playback capability. Since launch, the beefed up console has only worked with 4K  video from streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube. But Sony recently started rolling out a Media Player update for the PS4 Pro to add 4K local file playback.

With the new update, PS4 Pro owners can watch 4K content streamed from a home media server or files connected directly to the PS4 Pro via USB. Sony notes that any USB storage you connect to your console cannot use the extended storage format for the PS4—that’s only for games and apps.

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9% off Nyko Rechargeable Power Station for Xbox One Controllers - Deal Alert

The Power Station from Nyko attaches to the side of the Xbox One console and charges 2 included rechargeable batteries for use in Xbox One Wireless Controllers, for up to 25 hours of play time. It's powered by USB so there are no visible cords, and is designed to look like a natural extension of your console. The Power Station averages 4 out of 5 stars from over 190 people on Amazon (read latest reviews here), where its typical list price has been reduced 9% to just $15.97. See this deal on Amazon.

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GeForce GTX 1060 added to Nvidia's For Honor, Ghost Recon: Wildlands free game bundle

Now that Ubisoft’s heavy hitters have had a few months to lure high-end gamers to GeForce Experience, Nvidia’s targeting the mainstream masses.

On Tuesday, Nvidia announced that the GeForce GTX 1060 ($250 and up on Newegg for 6GB model) is being added to the “Prepare for Battle” bundle, joining the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. When you buy one of the graphics cards from a participating retailer or PC vendor, you’ll be able to take your pick of For Honor or Ghost Recon: Wildlands for free. The former’s a satisfying melee brawler with samurais, Vikings, and knights, while the latter tasks you with disrupting drug dealers in a massive open-world recreation of Bolivia. Both are better played with pals.

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Netgear expands its Orbi Wi-Fi system into a product family, adding two less-expensive models

Netgear’s Orbi RBK50 is one of the best Wi-Fi systems we’ve tested, and now the company is expanding the brand into a broader family of products with today’s introduction of the Orbi RBK30 and the Orbi RBK40. Like the original Orbi, both of the new models are tri-band routers that dedicate one 5GHz Wi-Fi channel for data backhaul from satellite access points.

Both of the new systems will use the same router, but will have different satellites. The router is an AC2200 model supporting two spatial streams up and down on each frequency band to support one 2.4GHz network with to 400Mbps of bandwidth, a 5GHz network with up to 866Mbps of bandwidth, and a third 5GHz network dedicated to data backhaul with up to 867Mbps of bandwidth. The original Orbi RBK50 is also a tri-band router, but it operates a 4x4 radio for backhaul, delivering up to 1733 Mbps. Like that router, the new model will come equipped with a four-port ethernet switch, but it won’t have a USB port.

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Razer’s updated Blade Pro is the first ever THX-certified laptop

Late last year Razer resurrected its Blade Pro laptop line, finally stuffing it with hardware worthy of the “Pro” appellation. Our three-word review: We loved it. It’s a great machine, if you can afford it.

And now it’s a bit better, thanks to the standard year-over-year refresh. Razer released details on a new Blade Pro today—it’s keeping Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080, but moving over from an Intel i7-6700HQ at 2.6GHz to an overclockable i7-7820HK processor at 2.9GHz. The Blade Pro’s 32GB of RAM also gets a timing bump up to 2,667MHz (from 2,133MHz).

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Lawsuit alleges Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade destroyed data and damaged PCs

Three people from Illinois last week sued Microsoft, claiming that the free Windows 10 upgrade they had installed on their PCs caused "data loss and damage to their computers."

Lawyers for the trio asked a Chicago federal court Thursday to grant the case class-action status, which would allow other Americans to join the litigation.

"Many consumers have had their hard drives fail because of the Windows 10 installation," alleged the complaint. "Many consumers have had their existing software and data rendered inoperable by the Windows 10 installation."

All three of the plaintiffs asserted that after accepting the free Windows 10 upgrade -- a one-year deal that ran from 2015 to 2016 -- some data on their Windows PCs had been destroyed. One said that she had had to purchase a new personal computer after the one upgraded to Windows 10 was crippled.

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How to keep a private stash of bookmarks in Chrome

Incognito Mode in Chrome can keep your browsing history secret unless you have a nosy Internet Service Provider, and you’re not using a VPN. But one thing incognito doesn’t keep secret are any bookmarks you’ve got. If you’ve ever wanted to keep a private collection of bookmarks the Chrome extension Hush is one solution.

The extension only works in incognito mode and encrypts your store of private bookmarks that can only be accessed with the password.

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MIT researchers set out to create self-assembling chips

One of the hottest topics in robotics is self-assembly, and any technique that requires no human intervention is of special interest.

The technology is also highly desirable for chips. Computing devices are shrinking thanks to smaller chips, which are reaching their physical limits.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago have come up with a unique technique for self-assembling that could be used to cram more features onto small chip geometries.

The technology is one way to continue Moore's Law, which for more than 50 years has helped shrink and make computing devices cheaper. 

The research revolves around the self-assembly of wires on chips. The wires would  handle the biggest challenge in chip making. Instead of etching fine features onto silicon using existing methods, materials called block copolymers would expand and self assemble into predefined designs and structures.

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Ezviz Mini 360 Plus review: This little security camera covers a lot of ground


Great Google apps you didn't know you needed
All Android phones come with a bunch of pre-loaded Google apps, but these you'll have to download from Google Play.

6 ways to maximize the Android phone dialer

Whether you’re trying to avoid telemarketers or you want to share a crazy voicemail you just received, the “stock” phone dialer on your Android phone has some pretty clever tricks up its sleeves.

Not only can the Android phone dialer warn you of spam callers and share a voicemail message via Gmail, Google Drive, or Dropbox, it can also suggest phone numbers based on your location, help you organize or delete shortcuts to “favorite” callers, let you customize your own “quick” text responses for declined callers, and more. 

Note: I tested these tips on a Nexus 5X running on Android 7.1.2, using Project Fi as my carrier. The calling features on your phone may vary depending on the make, model, and carrier of your device.

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Microsoft OneNote for beginners: Everything you need to know

OneNote is the best Microsoft program you’re probably not using. For me, it's become the online home for much of my work: article drafts, interview transcripts, even random thoughts about how to re-organize the home office.

I love that I can take it with me basically anywhere. OneNote is baked right into the company’s own Surface devices, and there are apps for iOS, Android, MacOS, and support for Apple Watch and Android Wear. It’s not easy to build an app that serves so many different purposes and works well across platforms, but OneNote mostly pulls it off.

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You won't find a steering wheel or a driver on this autonomous shuttle

Visitors at Cebit in Hanover last week had a chance to do what some people in Switzerland have been doing for almost a year now: take a ride on an autonomous shuttle.  

The vehicle moves around using a number of video cameras and sensors. Two such shuttles have been operating in Sion since the summer of 2016, despite the program being shorty halted in September due to a small accident.

Although the shuttles do not require a driver, a safety attendant is on board at all times to make sure they run smoothly and to stop the vehicles in an emergency. 

The shuttles are build by french company, Navya, and the fleet management software is developed by Swiss start-up Bestmile. Testing in Switzerland is expected to continue until October. The hope being that data gathered from the experience will help to better integrate autonomous vehicles into urban settings. 

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Amazon Prime Members Get Up To $75 off Kindle E-Reader Bundles Through 4/3 - Deal Alert


Save Over 90% On This Comprehensive Ethical Hacking Training Bundle - Deal Alert

We can't go more than a day or two without hacks spread across news headlines, with anything from leaked company data to hacked cars. All the more reason to get a job in the booming field of ethical hacking. Whether you’re looking to make a career out of ethical hacking or just stay up to date with IT security, the Ethical Hacking A to Z Bundle is for you.

45 hours of content will take you from hacking basics to the ins and outs of testing environments. Once you complete the eight courses in the bundle, you’ll have gained the skills to stop hackers from finding holes in networks and creeping through various types of devices.

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Apple wins China patent battle over iPhone 6 design

Apple has fended off a claim that the iPhone 6’s design infringed a patent from a little-known local company in China.

Shenzhen Baili had claimed that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus bore striking similarities to the products from its parent company, Digione. But on Friday, Beijing’s intellectual property court disagreed and ruled in favor of Apple.

The product designs of the two companies contain differences, the court said. For instance, Apple’s iPhone 6 contains a symmetrical exterior curve on the device, while the design patent from Baili uses an asymmetrical curve.

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Micron's Intel Optane competitor will ship later this year

Intel’s spanking new high-capacity Optane SSD is cool, but drives from other storage vendors based on the 3D Xpoint technology could be coming later this year.

Micron will start shipping its 3D Xpoint memory technology—branded QuantX —  later this year, which will go into SSDs offered by storage makers. The company made that announcement during an earnings call on Friday.

Intel and Micron co-developed 3D Xpoint. Intel says Optane is significantly faster and could replace conventional SSDs and DRAM in the coming years.

But unlike Intel, Micron is not interested in making its own Optane-like storage. The company is licensing its 3D Xpoint technology to other storage makers. Micron’s QuantX will also be available the form of DDR-style memory, the company has said.

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