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This is the most recent feed available as of 10/28/2016 at 03:44 PM

Mozilla promises a next-gen Firefox engine that will deliver huge improvements

Mozilla’s Firefox chief promised massive leaps in the web browser’s performance via “Project Quantum,” an entirely new web engine that will power Firefox beginning in 2017.

Quantum, according to David Bryant, the head of platform engineering at Mozilla, will take full advantage of modern PC and mobile hardware, exploiting parallelism to run processes across multiple cores and the GPU. Quantum will be the code at the core of the browser, responsible for its overall performance.

“We are striving for performance gains from Quantum that will be so noticeable that your entire web experience will feel different,” Bryant wrote in a blog post. “Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth. Animations and interactive apps will respond instantly, and be able to handle more intensive content while holding consistent frame rates. And the content most important to you will automatically get the highest priority, focusing processing power where you need it the most.”

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FBI to probe new emails related to Clinton's private server

The FBI has uncovered new emails related to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, prompting federal authorities to investigate them.

The FBI discovered the emails as part of an "unrelated case," FBI Director James Comey said in a letter to a congressional committee that was later tweeted on Friday.

These emails "appear to be pertinent" to the FBI's original investigation into Clinton's private server use, which the agency wrapped up back in July, Comey said. Clinton, now the Democratic nominee for U.S. president, used the privacy server while she served as secretary of state.

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This week in games: Gwent's beta, Evolve's end, and Michael Phelps meets Call of Duty

It’s Halloweekend. Don’t do anything (too) stupid. Maybe just stay inside and play a horror game.

This week’s spookiest gaming news: Battlefield 1’s zeppelins are like a Hindenburg ballet, meteors ruin your day in Cities: SkylinesEvolve ends development...again, and somehow Michael Phelps ended up in a Call of Duty commercial. This is gaming news for October 24 through 28.

And Nero fiddled

It’s safe to say disasters were one of the most conspicuous absences from the original Cities: Skylines, so I’m excited for the upcoming Natural Disasters expansion if only so I can—after saving, of course—pepper my poor populace with meteors and then put out the fire with a tsunami. Here’s some footage:

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Go PC! 5 killer MacBook Pro alternatives for disappointed Apple fans
MehBook "Pro"
macbook pro 100690144 large

The immediate reaction to Apple’s long-overdue MacBook Pro overhaul seems mixed, to say the least. For every excited reaction to the laptop’s adaptive Touch Bar keys, we see people lamenting the lack of ports that professional users actually need, the lack of a 32GB memory option, the lack of an SD card slot, and the lack of, well, pretty much any “pro” features in the entry-level MacBook Pro model (which still costs $1,500 and up).

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New Windows code injection method could let malware bypass detection

Security researchers have discovered a new way that allows malware to inject malicious code into other processes without being detected by antivirus programs and other endpoint security systems.

The new method was devised by researchers from security firm Ensilo who dubbed it AtomBombing because it relies on the Windows atom tables mechanism. These special tables are provided by the operating system and can be used to share data between applications.

"What we found is that a threat actor can write malicious code into an atom table and force a legitimate program to retrieve the malicious code from the table," Ensilo researcher Tal Liberman said in a blog post. "We also found that the legitimate program, now containing the malicious code, can be manipulated to execute that code."

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Uber drivers in the UK are employees, court rules

Uber should treat its drivers in the U.K. as employees, paying them at least minimum wage from the moment they are available to work until they log off and providing them with paid time off, a London employment tribunal has ruled.

The drivers and Uber must now make proposals to the judge how they will comply with the ruling, made following a preliminary hearing.

What they agree will have consequences for Uber and businesses like it across the U.K. It could push costs up, increasing Uber's incentive to develop its own self-driving car.

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15% off Logitech Harmony Companion Remote for Smart Home and Entertainment Devices - Deal Alert

With the Logitech Harmony Companion remote, you can control home automation devices such as Philips hue lights, Nest Learning Thermostat, August door locks and more—plus advanced home entertainment devices like Apple TV, Roku, or Sonos and game consoles such as Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation3 or Wii. Touch an Activity button like “Watch TV” and all the right devices change to the right settings. Get your lighting, locks, thermostat and more to work together for one-touch experiences like 'welcome home' or 'good night', or set room lighting to automatically dim when you start a movie. The included Harmony Hub sends commands from the remote or Harmony App to your devices using IR, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless signals, so you can control devices or online entertainment services behind closed cabinet doors. Full support for Alexa included, and with the Harmony app anyone in the house can turn their iOS or Android device into a full-featured universal remote as well. A lot of features here for the currently discounted price of $128. See the highly rated and discounted Logitech Harmony Companion remote on Amazon.

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AMD tosses in free Doom copies to spice up AM3+ motherboards and systems

AMD is using one of the best games of 2016 to clear stock of AM3+ motherboards and systems. The company announced Friday that you can get a free copy of Doom when you buy select AM3+ motherboards or prebuilt systems with AM3+ motherboards inside.

The offer will be available until January 27 or when all those glorious free Doom codes run out; all free game vouchers must be redeemed by March 27. The deal will be available at a number of North American electronics retailers (both online and off) including Amazon, ASI, Cyberpower, Cybertron PC, Fry’s, Ingram, Ma Labs, Microcenter, Netlink Computer Inc., and Newegg.

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Microsoft's $300 Windows VR headsets: 6 things we know (and 1 big question)

Everybody expected mixed-reality technology to play a part in Microsoft’s big Windows 10 event on Wednesday—but nobody expected what we got. Rather than showing yet another HoloLens demonstration, Microsoft instead announced a small army of virtual reality headsets unlike anything available today, and they’re all powered by the forthcoming Windows 10 Creators Update.

The demo raised more questions than it supplied answers, but there was still plenty of info to glean if you were paying attention. Here’s everything we know about Microsoft’s Windows 10 VR headsets—and one massive question spurred by their mere existence.

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Titanfall 2 review: Prepare for more mech-dropping, wall-running action

Before we get started, let’s just all agree that releasing Titanfall 2 the week between Battlefield 1 (which is quite good) and Call of Duty: Dumb Subtitle (which will sell regardless) was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. Such an awful idea that I kept expecting EA to last-minute delay Titanfall 2 to...pretty much any other month.

No such luck. Titanfall 2 releases as scheduled, in between two juggernaut shooters (one of which is also published by EA), and it’s a bad omen for a sequel to a game that’s world-renowned for rapidly losing its multiplayer audience the first time around.

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PlayStation Vue launches on Android TV, with Windows and Mac support on deck

How to customize Windows 10 colors

Denise wanted to know why she couldn’t adjust the colors of her windows in Windows 10 like she could in Windows 7. The simple answer is, “because Microsoft has hidden it.”

Before I show you where to find this hidden setting, know that I’m talking about being able to adjust the look of the colors included with Windows 10, not how to change the colors themselves, nor am I referring to the cool new Dark Mode that was included with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. 

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'Celebgate' hacker sentenced 18 months for stealing nude photos

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on charges of hacking the Google and Apple email accounts of over 100 people including celebrities, and getting access to nude videos and photographs of some people.

The sentencing against Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster is the offshoot of a Department of Justice investigation into the online leaks of photographs of numerous female celebrities in September 2014, widely referred to as “Celebgate.”

But DOJ has not found any evidence linking Collins to the actual leaks or the sharing and uploading of the content.

Between November 2012 and early September 2014, Collins is said to have sent emails to victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google and asked them to provide their usernames and passwords. Having gained access to the email accounts, he got hold of personal information including nude photographs and videos, and in some cases used a software program to download the entire contents of the victims’ Apple iCloud backups, according to DOJ.

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Personal data of 550,000 Red Cross blood donors breached

The Australian Red Cross said its blood donor service has found that registration information of 550,000 donors had been compromised, which the agency blamed on human error by a third-party contractor.

The moot issue at this point, which may decide how the breach unfolds, is that nobody knows how many people have the data. The information from 2010 to 2016 was available on the website from Sept. 5 to Oct. 25. this year.

The database backup, consisting of 1.74GB with about 1.3 million records, contains information about blood donors, such as name, gender, physical address, email address, phone number, date of birth, blood type, country of birth, and previous donations, according to security researcher Troy Hunt.

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Min Vid Test Pilot experiment gives Firefox a YouTube picture-in-picture mode

Firefox has a Test Pilot experiment that hardcore YouTube fans will want to grab right away. The new experiment is called Min Vid, and it allows users to watch YouTube videos in a “picture-in-picture” mode. That way you can continue to browse and get work done while still watching your video.

But that doesn’t even describe the half of it. Mozilla’s experimental feature places a web-based persistent video player on your desktop that is “always on top” no matter which app or program you’re using.

You can deal with email in Outlook, or fill out data on a spreadsheet, and that YouTube video will keep on going in an unobtrusive mini-player.

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EU privacy watchdogs seek answers from WhatsApp and Yahoo about users' data

European Union privacy watchdogs have warned WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum to stop sharing users' data with parent company Facebook until they investigated whether the transfers comply with EU data protection law. They also want Yahoo's Marissa Mayer to come clean about recent leaks and spying allegations.

In an open letter to Koum published Friday, an umbrella group representing the EU's national data protection authorities expressed its serious concerns at the way WhatsApp users were informed of changes to the company's terms of service and privacy policy, and questioned whether the company had their valid consent to the changes.

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Five to Try: Facebook's Lifestage is for the kids, and Oh… Sir! lets you hurl savage insults
Social sharing, serious slams, and plenty more in this week's app selection.

Philips SceneSwitch review: It’s not a smart bulb, but it is clever

You can’t program Philips latest LED light bulb, but you can easily change the color it produces—and you won’t even need to whip out your smartphone. The SceneSwitch is a 60-watt-equivalent, white-only LED bulb that’s capable of producing three color temperatures at the flip of a switch: Turn the bulb on and you get 800 lumens of moderately soft 2700K light. Turn it off, then on again, and the bulb delivers 800 lumens but at a quite cold 5000K color temperature. Turn it off and on a third time and the bulb dims to 80 lumens of very warm 2200K light.

The SceneSwitch doesn’t work with a smartphone app, but as anyone who’s spent a long time fiddling with smart lighting knows, sometimes these apps are overkill. Once in a while you just want to flip a switch and have the lights come on.

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Here's how the MacBook Pro stacks up against the PC

If you had to put a word to Apple’s first big MacBook reveal in, well, years, it would have to be meh.

Sure, you think I’m just throwing shade at Apple because I’m the original hater, but frankly I expected more after four years of neglecting the MacBook Pro lineup. I really expected Apple to knock it out of the park and show the PC world the bottom of its sneakers as it raced ahead. But no. Apple has not raised the bar. Worse, in plenty of metrics, the PC remains ahead.

Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down.

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Malware from Friday's DDoS attack continues to harass in short bursts

It’s still unclear who pulled off Friday’s massive internet disruption, but the malware largely responsible for the cyber attack has since assaulted new targets—possibly including video gamers.

Since last Friday, botnets created by the Mirai malware have been launching distributed denial-of-service attacks at seemingly random targets, in short bursts, according to a security researcher who goes by the name MalwareTech.

He has tracked Mirai-powered botnets and helped produce a Twitter feed that monitors their DDoS attacks. On Wednesday alone, the feed posted close to 60 attacks, many of them lasting from 30 seconds to over a minute long.

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7 technologies killed in Apple's new MacBook Pro

Apple’s never been shy about shaving off features in its quest for slimmer, faster computing. The new MacBook Pro lineup is no exception.

Following in the footsteps of the radical 12-inch MacBook, the revamped MacBook Pro and its slick Touch Bar cull several old standbys from its design—and kill one of its siblings in the process. Here are seven technologies eradicated in the new MacBook Pro notebooks. For more details on whether we think the eliminations are worthwhile, check out Macworld’s MacBook Pro hands-on impressions.

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73% off TechMatte Air Vent Magnetic Universal Car Mount for Smartphones - Deal Alert

Best color LED smart bulbs
Last updated October 27, 2016 to add our review of the color TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb model LB130.

Smart color light bulbs—LED-based bulbs that can be controlled by a smartphone and “tuned” to emit any hue in the rainbow—are no longer a new idea. What is new is how far this technology has come since its advent just a few years ago.

Color LED bulbs aren’t quite a commodity yet, but they are getting close to maturity as far as the market goes. Today’s bulbs are more compact, much brighter, have better color representation, and, for the most part, feature control apps that do more than ever, and are easier to set up. Prices have also come down, with some no-name color-tunable bulbs now available for less than $10 each. (Buyer beware: You get what you pay for.)

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TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb LB130 review: An inexpensive color option

TP-Link has expanded its smart bulb offerings, which previously included only a series of dimmable and tunable white LED bulbs. The TP-Link LB130 is fully color-enabled, and like its white-only little brother, the LB120, it’s fully manageable via your Wi-Fi network. TP-Link is now one of only two vendors of significance producing Wi-Fi-connected, color-tunable bulbs today; yes, LIFX finally has some competition.

The LB130 feels heavy, but it’s compact enough to fit easily into any typical fixture. Setup is quite simple. As with the LB120, the LB130 is designed to work with TP-Link’s Kasa smart home management system, which remains a somewhat wonky yet mostly intuitive way to interact with your bulbs. To pair the bulb, you connect to the bulb’s temporary Wi-Fi network, and then use the app to switch it over to your own wireless LAN. The process took two tries in my testing; otherwise, setup was hiccup-free. Both color and white bulbs (and other TP-Link devices, such as smart plugs) can be managed through the Kasa system simultaneously.

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Hands-on: The MacBook Pro's innovative Touch Bar will grab you

It’s thinner, lighter, and smaller all around, but the new MacBook Pro makes a big impression. The trackpad on the 15-inch version is downright ridiculous—twice as large as the trackpad on the previous generation—but I didn’t look down and say, “Holy cow, that is a seriously huge trackpad,” until I’d been using it for a couple of minutes.

Because it’s really all about that gorgeous Touch Bar.

Apple doesn’t do touchscreen Macs, but the Touch Bar adds a strip of ultra-handy iOS-style contextual controls right where you need them, and the rest of the MacBook Pro got great updates too. After my limited hands-on time, I think it’s got the right mix of power, portability, and ports to satisfy users of previous MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Let’s dive right into my first impressions—we’ll follow up with a full review later.

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Microsoft's offering $650 for Apple MacBooks, to put toward a Surface device

Apple’s new MacBook Pro lineup may offer a nifty new Touch Bar, but the screens are just the same ol', same ol'. For Mac users who were hoping for a more compelling upgrade, Microsoft is making an interesting offer: Trade in your old MacBook and get $650 toward a new, true touch-enabled Surface device.

It's a canny move by Microsoft that highlights one of the biggest distinctions between its Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book touchscreen devices, and Apple’s newly announced MacBooks, which relegate touch functions to a thin strip of glass at the top of the keyboard, eliminating the function keys in the process.

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Apple's new TV app puts all the shows and movies you want to watch in one spot

For years, Apple has been trying to solve the biggest problem with television today: cable providers that sell expensive bundles of channels we’ll never watch. The fourth-generation Apple TV took a step toward making cord-cutting easier with an App Store and Siri remote, but at Thursday’s Mac event the Cupertino company introduced another solution: an app called simply TV.

The tvOS App Store now has 8,000 apps, only 1,600 of which are from video content providers, but Apple recognized that people need a more unified interface for finding TV shows and movies to watch. The current Apple TV interface is littered with apps, and while the Siri remote is useful in finding specific things to watch, it wasn’t the best solution. The TV app takes the Apple Music approach to organization, putting your most recently watched shows front and center so you can pick up where you left off in the middle of a binge-watching session or see when your favorite show adds a new episode.

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Razer's radical Switchblade UI was Apple's Touch Bar before Apple's Touch Bar

I have to admit: Even as a diehard Windows guy, that adaptive Touch Bar on Apple’s new MacBook Pro looks pretty damned cool. Apple essentially ditched the top row of function keys on the MacBook Pro’s keyboard and replaced it with a thin “Retina” OLED strip that contextually alters what digital buttons and images it shows depending on the open program and the task at hand. Nifty!

But as a diehard Windows guy, I also immediately understood that the Touch Bar isn’t the revolutionary new invention that Apple’s chiefs or the Twitterati masses pitched it as. Instead, the MacBook Pro Touch Bar continues Apple’s trend of taking an existing idea and refining it into something palatable for mass consumption. (Assuming people enjoy the Touch Bar, of course.) Razer’s laptops have offered something similar for years, and you could argue that the old, mostly ignored Windows Sideshow technology was another Touch Bar forebear.

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11 new Windows 10 features Microsoft just sneakily revealed
Microsoft was quiet about several planned features in the Creators Update
A Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10

Image by Blair Hanley Frank

Microsoft showed off a handful of marquee features for next year's Windows 10 update on Wednesday, but the company sneakily hid 11 more new releases in its sizzle reel preview of the Creators Update. 

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Apple's new MacBook Pro has a headphone jack

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