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Apple’s new NFC support will change the way you pay

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-15 06:00

Apple doesn’t participate in a lot of outside developer conferences; at least, not as a presenter. So it’s unsurprising that a small presentation from Apple at the Transact conference (which focuses on the electronic transactions industry) flew under the radar.

But what Apple announced there may change the way we pay for stuff. It could make Apple Pay and your iPhone a much more common way to pay for everything from vending machines to parking meters—essentially anything where you don’t visit a register with a point-of-sale system.

Apple Pay Everywhere

One of the rumored features of iOS 13 is a big expansion of NFC tools for developers, expanding the Core NFC framework’s ability to read NFC tags of various formats. Currently, an iPhone can only read an NFC tag (those little “tap your phone here to do something” areas) if it contains data in the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF). This will be expanded to allow devs to read ISO7816, FeliCa, or MiFare formats, too. Or so the rumor goes. That means developers can write apps that make your iPhone work with way more NFC tags in way more places. But that’s just the beginning.

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The best budget computer speakers: Surprisingly sound choices for $100 or less

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 22:18

Your laptop’s built-in speakers aren’t doing any favors for the gigs and gigs of music and movies on your hard drive. Even the best ones can leave your audio sounding thin and lifeless. External PC speakers—along with a good set of headphones—are a must for getting the best fidelity from your media files.

A trip online or to your favorite electronics store will reveal a head-spinning variety of options in this category, with some systems costing as much or more than you paid for your laptop. You don’t need to take out a personal loan to upgrade your audio, though. Quality speakers can be found even with a budget of around $100. And while there is a certain degree of “you get what you pay for” at this price level, you’ll be rewarded with satisfying sound if you’re willing to make a few compromises.

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Microsoft issues a rare Windows XP patch to combat a virulent WannaCry-like exploit in older OS versions

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 16:34

Windows XP may be dead, but Microsoft refuses to leave it to the worms.

Today, the company warned users to apply a critical patch for a remote code execution vulnerability that could open older versions of Windows to attack. Common-sense caution isn’t enough, because the exploit can trigger even with no action taken by the user. “In other words, the vulnerability is ‘wormable’, meaning that any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe in 2017,” Microsoft’s Simon Pope warns.

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Amazon is having one of the best sales for the Apple Watch Series 4 to date

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 15:05

We’re finally getting to the point where we regularly see good deals for the Apple Watch Series 4. Today, you’ll find some of the best ones to date over at Amazon, where the online retailer is knocking down the price for both the GPS-only and cellular models by as much as $70.

Here are some of the standouts.

GPS only
  • 40mm Space Gray with Black Sport Band: $349 (down from $399)
  • 44mm Gold with Pink Sand Sport Band: $379.00 (down from $429)
GPS + cellular
  • 40mm Space Gray with Black Sport Band: $449.99 (down from $499.00)
  • 40mm Gold with Pink Sand Sport Band: $449.99 (down from $499)
  • 44mm Space Gray with Black Sport Loop: $479.99 (down from $529)
  • 44mm Gold with Stone Sport Band: $679 (down from $749)

There was an even better discount yesterday, but it didn’t last long. Still, I’d take that as evidence that we’re going to keep seeing deals like this in the near future.

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AmazonBasics Computer Speakers, USB Powered review: These budget speakers are a sound savings

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 15:00

How low can you go in price and still get a quality set of computer speakers? That’s the question Amazon effectively poses with each set of its AmazonBasics speakers. We may have found the answer with these USB-powered 2.0 computers speakers, currently one of the company’s best sellers.

Of all the AmazonBasics speaker I’ve reviewed to date, these are the first built as I’d expect for a budget set. Each speaker driver is encased in boxy, plastic enclosure with a mesh covering. The individual units measure 2.8 x 3.5 x 5.3 inches and weigh less than 1.5 pounds.

One speaker, which we’ll call the control unit, has a power/volume knob and blue LED on its front. A 3.5mm headphone jack sits to the right of these. The speakers are hardwired together, and a second luxuriously long cable attached to the control unit splits into USB and 3.5mm audio inputs. Both cables are thicker than you often find on low-priced speakers, so there’s little worry that they’ll get pinched or torn.

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AmazonBasics USB-Powered Computer Speakers with Dynamic Sound review: Balanced sound for a budget price

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 15:00

PC speakers typically prove the maxim “you get what you pay for.” The trade-off for saving a few sawbucks is often shoddy construction, generic design, and subpar sound. AmazonBasics USB-Powered Computer Speakers with Dynamic Sound dispel that idea. Combining great audio, a sturdy build, and a contemporary look, this system is a steal.

Amazon

The speakers are hardwired together and feature a plug-and-play setup.

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Amazon’s Alexa Guard adds new security features to Amazon Echo smart speakers

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 14:05
Alexa Guard can operate on its own or in conjunction with full security systems from Ring and ADT.

Apple Pay is now a payment option for iTunes, App Store, and iCloud purchases in some countries

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 13:47

Thanks to a server-side update, iOS users in a number of countries can now use Apple Pay to pay for digital purchases from Apple, including iTunes, the App Store, iCloud storage, or an Apple Music subscription.

According to Apple's support page for Apple ID payments, the change is live in the United States, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and United Arab Emirates.

If you open your Settings app, tap on your Apple ID at the very top, then tap Payment & Shipping, you'll see a list of possible payment methods. Here in the United States, that has always included most major credit cards, PayPal, or a balance added to your Apple ID through gift cards and the like. Tap Add Payment Method to add a new one: you'll see a Found in Wallet section showing cards you can add, including Apple Pay Cash here in the U.S. 

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Brock partners with Niagara chambers for landmark skills survey

Brock News - Tue, 2019-05-14 13:36

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 May 2019 – R00081

Brock University is partnering with the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) and South Niagara Chambers of Commerce (SNCC) on a survey to better understand how the talent and skills capacity of the region lines up with the needs of employers.

The Chamber of Commerce Survey is now open on the Brock University website and includes questionnaires for both business owners and employees. The goal is to identify the types of programs and supports needed to serve employers, as well as employees looking to upgrade their skills and advance their careers in Niagara.

“Good business depends on good data. Without solid information, any organization is working in the dark,” says Mishka Balsom, President and CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. “In Niagara, we need to identify the professional development needs of our labour force so that educational programs can be aligned to support the required talent and skills pool.”

Dolores Fabiano, Executive Director of the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce, said business owners who make up the various chambers of commerce across the region are looking forward to what the survey might reveal.

“With labour shortage being one of the biggest issues facing our businesses in Niagara, we believe the data gathered through this unique partnership will provide us with valuable information that will guide us to action,” she said.

The survey takes five to 10 minutes to complete and is confidential. Only aggregate data will be used in reports on the survey’s findings.

“Brock University is pleased to partner with the GNCC and SNCC in launching this important study to better understand the skills and talent capacity and needs of Niagara,” Brock President Gervan Fearon said. “With the data collected from this survey, together we can help build a more prosperous future and support careers and businesses here in Niagara for generations to come.”

In addition to being available online at brocku.ca/community-engagement/chamber-survey business owners and employees will have the opportunity to complete the survey at various events across the region throughout the spring.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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Amazon is selling the Fire 7 Kids Edition Kindle tablet for an all-time low price of $60

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 13:04

Amazon's Fire Kids Edition tablets are a popular pick for parents with good reason: they're solid tablets with great warrantees at a great price. And today, Amazon has slashed the price of the Fire 7 Kids Edition to an all-time low of $60Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $100.

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Amazon is selling the Fire 7 Kids Edition Kindle tablet for an all-time low price of $60

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 13:04

Amazon's Fire Kids Edition tablets are a popular pick for parents with good reason: they're solid tablets with great warrantees at a great price. And today, Amazon has slashed the price of the Fire 7 Kids Edition to an all-time low of $60Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $100.

To read this article in full, please click here

The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro makes the $1,000 iPhones and Galaxies look overpriced

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 12:00

In case you couldn’t tell by the specs, OnePlus has given its new phone a surname to drive home just how much different it is. From the design and display to the camera, the OnePlus 7 Pro brings a whole lot more than the usual processor refresh to keep pace with the highest-end Android flagships.

To emphasize the point even further, OnePlus isn’t releasing a non-pro version of the 7. As such, OnePlus will continue to sell two variants of the 6T “for users looking for a premium flagship experience” at a $30 cut, bringing the 128GB model down to $549 and the 256GB version to $599. 

The OnePlus 7 Pro with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starts at $669. Yes, that’s $120 more than the entry-level OnePlus 6T (after today’s $30 price cut) and within shouting distance of the $740 iPhone XR and Galaxy S10e. But it’s difficult to find much fault with this much phone at less than $700.

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How to download shows on the Apple TV app for offline viewing on iPhone and iPad

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 11:45

The Channels feature in the redesigned Apple TV app is cool because it lets you sign up for services like HBO without using another app, and it also lets you download movies and TV episodes for offline viewing on your iPhone or iPad. This has long been a feature on dedicate apps for services such as Showtime and Stars, but it’s remarkable in this case because HBO has never allowed it for HBO Go or HBO Now.

The timing couldn’t be better. Apple dropped the new feature just in time for the series finale of Game of Thrones, which means you can use the Apple TV app to catch up on episodes while you’re on train commute rides with spotty connections or on long flights.

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Rage 2 PC impressions: Fun guns with keyboard controls you'll want to remap immediately

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 10:49

I’m not very far into Rage 2 yet, and thus don’t plan to spend much time dissecting it here. Perhaps we’ll get around to doing a proper review. Perhaps we won’t.

Perhaps that ambivalence is all the verdict you need. So far, what I’ve played has been underwhelming, to say the least. Rage 2 is a far blander experience than I expected, both based on our hands-on time last year and the game’s own over-the-top marketing. I was promised zany. I was promised the type of game where it’d make sense for the NBA Jam announcer to shoutcast your kills.

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Learn how to produce music in Logic Pro X with this $29 bundle

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 10:05

There are dozens of music production apps on the market, but few are as venerated as Logic Pro X. If you’re interested in a career in music production, Logic Pro X is one of the most valuable tools to master, but you won’t be able to create world-class tracks right away. Producers must learn the fundamentals of music theory and mastering before they can release anything, and this $29 Logic Pro X Bundle can teach you how.

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StackSkills Unlimited gives you a lifetime of professional training for one low price

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 10:05

Training for a career is never easy. There are schedules to stick to, deadlines to contend with, and for this privilege, you’ll be expected to pay thousands. But that’s not the case with StackSkills Unlimited. They offer access to hundreds of cutting edge tech courses that are beginner friendly, flexible, and cost far less than the alternative.

No matter your technical aspirations, you’ll find courses at StackSkills Unlimited that’ll prepare you for success. There are courses that’ll teach you how to code using a myriad of languages. You could also discover how to design and execute a winning marketing plan. Or you could even become a blockchain expert. With a growing library of over 500 courses, you’ll be certain to find at least a few that’ll pique your interest.

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Build an awesome all-AMD gaming PC for cheap with Newegg's killer deals

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 09:50

Newegg is making it easy to build an awesome all-AMD gaming PC, with a fancy monitor to boot. Right now, the retailer has a great deal on a Ryzen 5 2600 processor and X470 motherboard combo, as well as two 27-inch 1440p FreeSync HDR displays. And you can pick up a killer Radeon graphics card for cheap, too. 

Today, you can pick up a Ryzen 5 2600 processor and MSI’s Performance X470 Gaming Plus motherboardRemove non-product link bundled together for $250. The Ryzen 5 2600 usually sells for about $160 and the motherboard is around $130, which gives you a savings of just over $40. The Ryzen 5 2600 is a 6-core, 12-thread processor that can shred through heavy productivity tasks and gaming chores alike. Bonus: It comes with a CPU cooler in the box, and MSI’s motherboard supports overclocking the Ryzen chip if you feel like getting your hands dirty to achieve even more performance.

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Sonos is rolling out Google Assistant support to its Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 09:00
The development effort consumed more than a year, but Sonos is now the first smart speaker manufacturer to support both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the same system.

Bad Marx: AirPods are the bane of all existence

Mac World - Tue, 2019-05-14 09:00

There are a lot of problems in this world but The Macalope is sure that what you’re really wondering is when in these troubled times is someone finally going to write 3,000 words to how horrible AirPods are?

WELL. Never fear, because Vice’s Caroline Haskins has got you covered.

“AirPods Are a Tragedy.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Jason, Tibor and Nick.)

The horny one recognizes that this piece is meant as a sort of meta-commentary about the ills of society in general, of which AirPods are but one example. So, in that regard, it’s “about” AirPods. But it’s also completely about AirPods because it goes on and on about AirPods-brand earphones made by Apple, Inc. and how they’re ruining everything.

To read this article in full, please click here

Sonos is rolling out Google Assistant support to its Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers

PC World - Tue, 2019-05-14 09:00
The development effort consumed more than a year, but Sonos is now the first smart speaker manufacturer to support both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the same system.

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