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How to simulate the Mac's Desktop folder to get around iCloud continuous sync

Mac World - Mon, 2018-02-26 07:00

With macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple introduced a way to offload some of your Mac’s storage dynamically using iCloud. The Documents & Desktop option had the most impact, in that it could not just sync your home folder’s Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud and make them available through iOS,, and other Macs, but also delete the least-used and oldest documents from your Mac if local storage was under pressure. The copy kept in iCloud would be available on demand, so accessing an infrequent document retrieves it.

Macworld reader Chris is running up against this feature, because they use their Desktop for their active working documents. “Files I’m working on go there until finished, and then are moved to their various folders,” he writes. However, he often works with large Photoshop files. This leads to excessive syncing.

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Apple Music wish list: 17 ways to improve the app and service

Mac World - Mon, 2018-02-26 06:00

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal claimed that Apple Music was on pace to surpass Spotify in subscribers. That sounds amazing! But it’s not quite so simple. The calculation was made by looking at Apple Music’s current number of paying subscribers (about 36 million), comparing it to Spotify’s paid subscribers (about 70 million), and noting that with Apple Music’s current 5 percent growth rate it will overtake Spotify, which has a 2 percent growth rate, this summer.

There are a couple of important catches. First, it ignores Spotify’s free tier, which stands at over 140 million. Apple Music doesn't have a free tier. Second, it assumes that the growth rate of these two services doesn’t change. As Apple Music gets bigger, its growth rate is likely to taper off, but who knows when that will happen.

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Sony swings for the fences with the 18:9 Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact

PC World - Mon, 2018-02-26 02:45

Sony has once again brought a brand new Xperia flagship phone to Mobile World Congress, but there’s a lot that’s different about this year’s model: It has a new design, an 18:9 screen, and a fingerprint sensor that will work in the United States.

Michael Simon/IDG

Yes, that's actually a fingerprint sensor.

The Xperia XZ2 is technically a follow-up to the XZ1 that launched late last summer, but it’s also a successor to the Xperia XZ Premium phone Sony launched at MWC 2017. But where those phones had stale 16:9 screens and outdated designs, the XZ2 fully embraces the modern trends, with a 5.7-inch Full HD (1920x1080) 18:9 screen, slim-bezel all-glass design, and a rear fingerprint sensor. With a glass back, a flagship Xperia phone finally supports Qi wireless charging.

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Huawei's Matebook X Pro is a svelte Surface Book with a hidden webcam for the paranoid

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 15:13

Huawei’s Matebook X Pro is what happens when designers boil down Microsoft’s Surface Book line to its essentials, sprinkling a bit of paranoia on top for extra flavor.

Huawei’s flagship notebook improves upon the Huawei Matebook X that the company launched last year. Now with a 3,000x2,000-pixel display that takes after the Surface Book line, the 13.9-inch notebook will be sold in three configurations, with prices beginning at 1,499 Euros ($1,845 USD). Huawei will ship it to North America this spring, the company said. 

Three features distinguish the Matebook X Pro. First, the company is offering a discrete -graphics options within a 0.57-inch (14.6 mm) form factor—not ultrabook thin, but not as chunky as the 0.9-inch thick Surface Book 2, either. Huawei also achieved a 91-percent screen-to-body ratio, which helps pare down the bezel to create something that looks close to an edge-to-edge display. But that design feature also comes at a cost: Huawei removed the webcam and placed it underneath a function key on the keyboard.

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Samsung's Galaxy S9 debuts with big changes to DeX

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 12:10

With the Samsung DeX Pad, the company has improved its innovative dock that allows you to use your premium Samsung Galaxy phone as a desktop computer. While the makeover coincides with the launch of the Galaxy S9 and S9+, the DeX Pad is backwards-compatible with Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8—but with a major caveat exlained below.

The DeX refresh, combined with new software, strengthens Samsung’s argument that  travelers can leave their laptop or tablet at home, and work entirely off their smartphone by connecting it to a monitor via the dock’s HDMI port.

This new DeX version positions the phone flat on your desktop, as opposed to standing at an upright angle as in the original dock. With the phone flat, the screen can be used as a trackpad, negating the need for a mouse. It appeared to work well during Samsung’s demo, and it’s a clever solution that probably had a few Samsung engineers wondering, “Why didn’t we think of this approach the first time around?”

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Galaxy S9+ hands on: Testing AR emojis and Samsung's dual-aperture camera

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 12:05

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead using emojis. Now, I probably text or Slack more than 10 a day. Enter the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, which create the world’s most technologically advanced emojis. They’re personalized emojis in my own image. They doppelgang the whiskers on my face. Samsung’s emojis are way, way better than Apple’s Animoji—but is that saying much? 

Along with a Dual Aperture camera and a clever new Super Slow-motion video mode, Samsung is pinning its S9/S9+ innovation story on so-called AR Emoji. Yes, these three features move the smartphone ball forward. And the new S series introduces a few other upgrades too. But in sum total, the Galaxy S9 experience feels quietly iterative.

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Galaxy S9 early camera test: Let's scrutinize Samsung's Dual Aperture photos

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 12:01

Samsung just announced its first dual-aperture smartphone camera—and our very early testing shows that the Galaxy S9’s wider f/1.5 aperture does help in low-light conditions, but the f/2.4 setting is no slouch either in capturing detail in the very same lighting.

Head on over to your high-resolution desktop display, and click (and expand!) the video above for the full story. The Histogram at the top right of the screen clearly indicates the aperture mode of each photo we review.

Below we share our testing approach, as well as some top-line first impressions.

How we tested

All of the photos in the video were taken during a 90-minute Galaxy S9/S9+ demo last week. For our Last Cam Standing series, we always compare the latest smartphone cameras to our current camera winner (in this case, the Huaweii Mate 10 Pro), but Samsung didn’t allow us to take comparison shots with other phones. We even had to put stickers over the cameras of our personal smartphones (to prevent press leaks, and not necessarily to deny comparative testing).

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The Galaxy S9 looks like an S8 on the outside, but is all new on the inside

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 12:00

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ may have the same size, shape, and screen as the Galaxy S8 and S8+ they replace, but don't be fooled. Inside, Samsung has completely retooled its flagship phones where it counts: in the processor, the camera, and even its emoji.

In a first for the smartphone industry, Samsung is introducing a dual-aperture camera tuned for low-light situations, and chasing Apple's Animoji, the company has introduced augmented-reality-tooled emoji of its own.

You can read our first hands-on impressions of the Galaxy S9 here. We also conducted some early Galaxy S9 camera tests.

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Nokia goes retro again with the 8110, but who's really going to buy it?

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 11:55

At last year’s Mobile World Congress, HMD Global whipped the geek crowd into a frenzy with a fun reboot of the Nokia 3310, complete with bright colors, hard keys, and candy bar nostalgia. They’ve done it again at MWC 2018 with the 8110, but this time around the game might be a little played out.

Popularized by Keeanu Reeves’ character in The Matrix, the 8810 was a weird phone for 1999 and it’s even weirder in 2018. On the outside, the 8110 looks very much like that 20-year-old phone, with a slider mechanism that pulls down to reveal a full set of keys. It's just as long, cumbersome and clunky as it was back then, and the specs haven't been upgraded all that much either:

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LG's V30S ThinQ has last-generation speed and next-generation smarts

PC World - Sun, 2018-02-25 08:04

LG is starting to think different about phone releases. If you were hoping for a new LG flagship phone at Mobile World Congress, you got your wish. Well, sort of. Instead of the G7, LG has launched the V30S ThinQ, which freshens the V30 with smarts, not specs.

The V30S has the same display, chip, battery, and camera as the V30, but bumps the RAM to 6GB and the storage to 128GB. It also comes in two new colors, Platinum Gray and Moroccan Blue. But those minor changes do not a new model make. To justify the name, LG has given the V30 some new smarts thanks to an infusion of AI.

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Assassin's Creed: Origins's Discovery Tour mode shows how great educational games could be

PC World - Sat, 2018-02-24 08:00

Do you know what a “Hippodamian Grid Plan” is? I didn’t until I played Assassin’s Creed: Origins’s new Discovery Tour mode.

Turns out Hippodamus of Miletus is known as “the father of European urban planning,” a Greek born in 498 B.C.E. who argued that cities should be built rationally (a.k.a. on grids) instead of devolving into haphazard labyrinths. Most important: His ideas were adopted by Deinokrates, principle planner for the city of Alexandria.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Walk like an Egyptian

I’ve been waiting for Assassin’s Creed: Origins’s “Discovery Tour” mode ever since Ubisoft showed it off to us last year. The gist: Ubisoft took the world from Origins, the sprawling recreation of Ptolemaic Egypt that played host to Bayek’s adventures last year, and stripped most of the “game” elements out of it. There are no missions here, no throats to slit, no Phylakes to fend off.

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Troubling analysis: The iPhone’s overstated problems

Mac World - Sat, 2018-02-24 08:00

One of the primary rules of Apple punditry is that if Apple has a problem, then that problem must be existential.

Writing for Computerworld, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says “Apple is not as good as its bottom line.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @designheretic.)

How can I say Apple is in trouble when it’s selling 10 iPhones per second?

And not burst into flames? Uh, say it while lounging in a bathtub full of industrial strength firefighting foam? That might do it.

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This week in games: Final Fantasy XV adds Half-Life's star, Blizzard hosts a Warcraft III tourney

PC World - Fri, 2018-02-23 15:00

The Papers Please movie finished up its paperwork and nabbed a release date, Overwatch had puppies play Capture the Flag, Warcraft III is hosting a tournament, you’ll soon (probably) be able to buy Geralt’s bathtub figurine, and Final Fantasy XV is doing a Half-Life crossover.

Yes, it’s certainly been a weird week in video game news. Let's recap February 19 to 23.

Humble Classics

As far as bang-for-your-buck goes, the new Humble Classics Return Bundle (that’s a mouthful) might be the best the company’s ever featured. It’s full of those isometric CRPGs that suck up dozens and dozens of hours of your time, plus a few strategy and adventure games to boot.

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Best Buy is selling new MacBooks for $250 off today (Feb. 23)

Mac World - Fri, 2018-02-23 13:54

Let’s admit it: It’s often tough to get a deal on a brand-new Apple product. Typically you have to wait at least a year for prices on the good stuff to start dropping, and even then the “deals” are relative.

But at the moment Best Buy is living up to its name. For today only, you can take $250 off Apple’s new 12-inch MacBooks in either the 256GB or 512GB models and in a variety of colors. You’ll even get free shipping. That means the prices start at just $1,049.99, and at the moment, this looks like the best deal for MacBooks by a long shot.

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Walmart has the Intel Core i7-8700K for just over $300 today

PC World - Fri, 2018-02-23 13:28

Today's a good day to get a deal on a powerful Intel processor: Walmart has the Intel Core i7-8700K for $313. That's $26 cheaper than the retailer's competition, and one of the lowest non-coupon prices we've seen yet.

The Core i7-8700K is part of Intel's newest line of CPUs that rolled out in late 2017. These eight-generation "Coffee Lake" chips were a notable upgrade over previous generations, due to an increase in core count: While Kaby Lake (and earlier) Core processors offered two or four cores, Coffee Lake parts offer four or six cores. Thanks AMD.

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Massive EA Origin game sale slashes prices on Battlefield, Star Wars, Mass Effect, and more

PC World - Fri, 2018-02-23 09:58

Now's a great time to snag EA games on the cheap. The gaming giant is running a massive "Publisher sale" on its Origin storefront and Amazon through March 6, with more than 50 games and DLC packs discounted heavily. Let's look at some of the highlights.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is $10. Our resident games critic didn't think it was a particularly great game, but still called it "eminently playable," and you'll get a lot of hours out of your tenner. If you missed the legendary original series, you can dip your toe in the Mass Effect waters with the Mass Effect Trilogy pack for $7.49.

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Apple AirPower wireless charging pad: Rumors of a March ship date

Mac World - Fri, 2018-02-23 09:38

Apple’s new AirPower is a wireless charging pad to help clean up the mess of charging cables for your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Apple unveiled AirPower at its iPhone X Event, but the company didn’t provide much detail. We hope to fill the void here. We’ll update this article as we get more details, so stay tuned.

Editor's note: Updated on February 23, 2018, with a report that AirPower may be available for purchase by the end of March.

What is AirPower?

AirPower is a wireless charging pad. There are several wireless charging pads on the market, but before the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, you had to use a special case with your iPhone in order to use a wireless charging pad.

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Google takes Assistant worldwide with new languages and custom phone integrations

PC World - Fri, 2018-02-23 09:12

Google Assistant had its coming out party at Mobile World Congress 2017 with the announcement that it was expanding beyond Google’s own Pixel phones, and now it’s ready to take on the world. Literally. Google has announced it will be expanding Assistant to nearly two dozen more languages this year as it expands its influence to some “95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide.”

Google Assistant already speaks English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese (Brazil), but its linguist capabilities will be greatly expanded over the next 10 months as Google plans to add support for more than 30 languages. First up will be Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai, all of which should arrive by summer.

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TrackNet Tabs review: Security and location tracking in one very capable system

PC World - Fri, 2018-02-23 09:00
A slick mobile app powers both a solid security offering and an impressive locator system.

TrackNet Tabs review: Security and location tracking in one very capable system

Mac World - Fri, 2018-02-23 09:00
A slick mobile app powers both a solid security offering and an impressive locator system.


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