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Panasonic DP-UB9000 Ultra HD Blu-ray player review: Here’s one manufacturer that’s not bailing on Blu-ray

PC World - Wed, 2019-04-03 06:00
Streaming offers instant gratification, but only a high-end Blu-ray player like this can reveal just incredible your 4K TV can look.

Lenovo ThinkPad L390 Yoga review: A chunky convertible business laptop that almost has it all

PC World - Wed, 2019-04-03 06:00

Lenovo’s ThinkPad L390 Yoga is in many ways the quintessential work laptop. It’s chunkier than many other thin-and-light laptops in its price range, but it also packs a lot of enterprise-friendly features, such as temperature and shock resistance and a variety of connection ports.

At the same time, the L390 Yoga has some nice touches to help it stand out from the enterprise pack, most notably a keyboard that feels great to type on and one of the best clicking mechanisms you’ll find on any trackpad today. If you’re not planning to do much work outside—and can therefore tolerate the L390 Yoga’s limited screen brightness—this might be your next workhorse.

To read this article in full, please click here

Remo+ RemoBell S video doorbell review: This one’s priced to sell, but the app needs a lot of work

PC World - Wed, 2019-04-03 06:00
You can buy this modern doorbell cam for the same price as the comparatively ancient original Ring, but should you?

Brock proposal sees a new era for the arts in downtown St. Catharines

Brock News - Tue, 2019-04-02 17:56

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 April 2019 – R00059

Brock University is committed to advancing its pledge to help grow vitality and development in downtown St. Catharines. The University and community partners are therefore exploring a plan to preserve historic Rodman Hall, provide modern space for the Rodman Hall art collection, and help create a new arts and culture hub in downtown St. Catharines.

The plan is based on commitments that would give the local arts community expanded space and long-term stability in modern, climate-controlled facilities that are conducive to storing and showing works of art, this despite the University needing to find more than $15 million in budget savings after the province announced tuition cuts on Jan. 17.

The new plan being considered would:

  • Locate Rodman Hall’s permanent collection into class-A certified storage and display space at Brock’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) in downtown St. Catharines
  • Offer 2,000 sq. ft. of gallery space at the MIWSFPA
  • Transfer the Rodman Hall art collection to a community transition group, who would display the collection throughout Niagara
  • Create a new downtown “culture commons” with up to 7,000 sq. ft. for arts organizations and community partners
  • Negotiate with a heritage property company to operate Rodman Hall under the restrictions that protect the historical integrity of its architecture and grounds, and with the potential to include a dedicated art gallery space
  • Work with partners from the arts community to enhance cultural activities and outreach in downtown St. Catharines

The University has no plans to sell Rodman Hall or its art collection.

The centre piece of the plan would be the downtown arts and cultural commons. With a footprint of 5,000 to 7,000 square feet, it would offer arts groups a dynamic space for administrative offices, as well as meeting, studio, teaching, workshop, exhibition and display space. Brock would provide financial support throughout its contractual obligations to Rodman Hall until 2023.

University officials say they could also collaborate with and support other arts projects to make downtown St. Catharines a vibrant arts and culture hub in Niagara. Brock looks forward to working alongside arts organizations on these efforts.

As for Rodman Hall, the University is having exploratory discussions with a company that envisions a commercially viable redevelopment, while strictly preserving the character and history of the facility. Brock envisions a commercially sustainable Rodman Hall, while preserving the character and history of the estate, which is protected by a historical designation under the Ontario Heritage Act.

In 2003, the University agreed to take on Rodman Hall from a community group in an effort to save the struggling gallery from closing its doors. The property was transferred to Brock for $2.  While it is not selling the property, the University is looking for solutions to help it meet serious fiscal challenges while protecting the core of its academic mission.

Brock pays $750,000 a year in operating costs for Rodman Hall, and since 2014 has paid about $300,000 for studies to develop a divestment plan for Rodman Hall. It has also, since 2003, invested $500,000 into the facility’s capital needs. Studies show further capital investment of at least $1 milion a year will be needed in the future.

Last month, the University’s Board of Trustees approved the transfer of Rodman Hall’s art collection to a community transition group, with a mandate to explore ways to maintain the collection and display it across Niagara.

Brock President Gervan Fearon said supporting and helping sustain the local arts community is a key priority for the University.

“A vibrant arts culture is crucial to the health and vitality of the entire Niagara region,” said Fearon. “Brock made a major commitment to this when the Marilyn I. Walker school moved downtown, and now we are pleased to partner and explore this initiative that will give artists and arts organizations more space and better space.”

Located on a hilltop overlooking Twelve Mile Creek in central St. Catharines, Rodman Hall is a mansion and wooded estate that has functioned as an arts centre and museum since the 1960s.

When Brock took over the facility in 2003, it envisioned a University presence downtown as well as work and gallery space for its arts programs. Those needs were superseded in 2015 when Brock moved its MIWSFPA to downtown St. Catharines, into a $46-million venue of new construction and restored industrial space not far from Rodman Hall. Besides providing modern facilities for a wide range of the arts, the project has also helped energize the city centre by relocating hundreds of students downtown.

These developments were being completed as universities entered an era of operating under growing financial strains and competition for students. The Ontario government’s recent 10 per cent tuition cut leaves Brock with a $15.4-million budget shortfall, which officials are working to mitigate before the fiscal year starts on May 1.

An arts and culture hub would give Brock students more opportunities to engage with the city’s growing arts scene, and strengthen the downtown revitalization taking shape in St. Catharines.

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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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale mode Blackout is free to play throughout April

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 15:54

Poor Blackout. For a brief period last year I thought Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode was going to take off. Blackout looked like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds but played like Call of Duty—a perfect combination, I thought, for those who wanted a more grounded battle royale experience without all of PUBG’s jank.

And then Apex Legends happened. Respawn’s battle royale folded in many of the same improvements as Blackout—more mobility, snappier shootings, better inventory management. Oh, and it was free. Turns out, it’s a lot easier to build and retain an audience when your game’s not behind a paywall, and while Apex Legends undoubtedly stole players from Fortnite and PUBG, it was Blackout’s distant third-place position that really seemed to be cannibalized overnight.

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Best smart thermostat: Reviews and buying advice

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 14:57
There are so many smart thermostats to choose from today. We'll help you pick the right one.

Best smart thermostat: Reviews and buying advice

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 14:57
There are so many smart thermostats to choose from today. We'll help you pick the right one.

Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 14:38

Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way. Just look at the critiques of notable computer security experts and online pundits to understand the challenge.

(Want to know more about VPNs and what they can and can’t do? Skip down to our “What is a VPN?” section below.)

To read this article in full, please click here

Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 14:38
Surfing the web through a virtual private network (VPN) can keep your identity and data safe and secure online. We show you what to look for in a VPN and help you pick the best one for your needs.

Apple’s Clips iOS app gets new posters, titles and captions, and ClassKit support

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 13:00

Apple on Tuesday released an update to its Clips app for the iPhone and iPad. Clips is designed to let users create short videos, slideshows, and school projects that can be shared through Messages on iOS or on social media.

Version 2.0.6 is now available in the App Store. According to Apple’s release notes, these are the new features.

  • Use the new camcorder filter to give your videos a retro video camera look
  • Choose from 8 new posters including options with solid backgrounds, colorful vintage designs, a classic blue camcorder recording screen, and an animated globe to celebrate Earth Day
  • Create titles and captions with 3 new Live Titles styles featuring static text that appears all at once or animated text that highlights each word as it's spoken
  • Apply new 8-bit and 3D-styled stickers to add emphasis to your videos
  • Create songs in GarageBand and other music apps, then add them directly to new or existing Clips projects
  • Duplicate and rename projects
  • Share projects with friends via AirDrop or email, save them to Files, or upload them to cloud storage services with share extensions
  • ClassKit support lets students deliver video assignments to teachers using the Schoolwork app
Apple Clips 2.0.6 includes eight new posters.

If you already have Clips installed, you can install the update by launching the App Store app, and then tap on Updates at the bottom of the screen. Give the app a moment to check for new updates; you can swipe down on the Updates screen to check the server. Once Clips appear in the list, tap the Update button and the update process will begin.

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Microsoft has closed its e-bookstore, and everything you purchased will vanish in July

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 12:51

Microsoft has shuttered its ebook bookstore, yet another move by the company away from selling traditional consumer goods and services, with the exception of its Xbox console.

Microsoft made its decision without fanfare on Tuesday, simply posting a notice in the corner of the Microsoft Store app and removing the “Books” tab. Microsoft’s notice now leads to a support page and FAQ where Microsoft posted the answers to the questions consumers want to know: namely, what will happen to my books? 

The answer, simply put, is that they’ll disappear entirely sometime around July 2019, and you’ll be given a full refund. If you ordered or rented an ebook before today, your order will be cancelled and refunded. Free ebooks downloaded via the Microsoft Store app will also disappear, and they won’t be available after July, either. 

To read this article in full, please click here

Verizon’s dubious new Just Kids plan is a terrible deal for you and your kids

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 12:21
Verizon is selling a new Just Kids plan that limits data and contacts to "make it easier for families to call a technology truce." If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

Verizon’s dubious new Just Kids plan is a terrible deal for you and your kids

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 12:21

Anyone with a child under the age of 13 knows how tricky it can be to limit screen time. Whether we’re on a 3-hour car ride or in a long checkout line, the only sure-fire way to keep my kid quiet and calm is to pass him my iPhone or Galaxy phone to watch a few YouTube vids or play a round of Fruit Ninja.

But while many parents would balk at getting their kids their own phone before they’re old enough to cross the street on their own, Verizon thinks that’s just the solution to your problems. Rather than tie up your own phone in times of needs, Verizon wants you to consider calling a “ technology truce” by letting your tween text, call, and tweet at their leisure with their own phone plan.

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Control and manage your dumb appliances with a 3-pack of TP-Link smart plugs for just $34

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 11:49

Adding some smarts to even dumb devices can be as easy as connecting them to a smart plug. And today, you can grab a trio of those brain enhancers for a pretty sweet deal. A three-pack of TP-Link’s HS100 smart plugs is $34 on NeweggRemove non-product link, down from a list price of $50.97.

To read this article in full, please click here

Control and manage your dumb appliances with a 3-pack of TP-Link smart plugs for just $34

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 11:49

Adding some smarts to even dumb devices can be as easy as connecting them to a smart plug. And today, you can grab a trio of those brain enhancers for a pretty sweet deal. A three-pack of TP-Link’s HS100 smart plugs is $34 on NeweggRemove non-product link, down from a list price of $50.97.

To read this article in full, please click here

Upgrade your PC with a powerful 8-core AMD Ryzen CPU and an overclock-ready motherboard for $290

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 09:50

Newegg’s offering a juicy discount on PC parts that can serve of the heart of a computer built for productivity or playtime. The online retailer is selling the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 2700 processor with MSI’s B450-A Pro motherboard for $290Remove non-product link. That’s about $50 off what you’d pay without this deal right now, and less than the cost of the CPU alone when it launched last year.

To read this article in full, please click here

Brock expert says women’s pro hockey league failure sets the stage for stronger future

Brock News - Tue, 2019-04-02 09:04

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 April 2019 – R00058

A day after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) announced it would cease operations, a Brock University professor of Sport Management says she hopes the best is yet to come for professional women’s hockey in North America.

The CWHL launched in 2007 and had been operating with six teams spread across the country. In a media release Sunday, the league said it had to fold because the “business model that has been the foundation of the League is not sustainable financially.”

Associate Professor of Sport Management Julie Stevens, a recognized expert in the governance and organization of women’s hockey, says she believes the dynamics that have unfolded will change the landscape.

“The CWHL’s not-for-profit model was unique as it emphasized developing hockey and serving the broader good of the female game,” she says. “The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) model was based upon private ownership and a return on investment. The way revenue is used in each model differs, but there is one similarity — each model must have money to survive.”

Stevens says the closure of the CWHL is a catalyst for other key actors to enter the scene — which has happened many times in the past in men’s professional hockey leagues where leagues have come and gone over time.

“You have to hope there is some kind of strategy behind all these changes,” she says.

Stevens says leadership for the two leagues had been discussing working together since the fall, while the National Hockey League and NHL Players Association announced the formation of a Female Hockey Advisory Committee last month.

“I believe there is more to come on this issue,” she says. “The closure of the CWHL has created a vacuum and something must fill the space. There are simply too many elite female hockey athletes in need of a place to play. This is an opportunity for women’s hockey to move forward.”

Associate Professor of Sport Management Julie Stevens is available for interviews on the issue.

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

 – 30 –

House of Marley Exodus headphone review: Sustainably sourced, sweet-sounding headphones

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-02 09:00
The Exodus proves that you don't need to sacrifice sweet sound for mindfully sourced and sustainably built headphones

House of Marley Exodus headphone review: Sustainably sourced, sweet-sounding headphones

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 09:00
The Exodus proves that you don't need to sacrifice sweet sound for mindfully sourced and sustainably built headphones

Hype cycling: Apple’s AirPower failure

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-02 08:00

After making us wonder for a year and a half, Apple finally pulled the plug (power puns!) on the AirPower mat. Possibly to avoid a fire.

This situation is already so bad, a legitimate embarrassment for the company, why would anyone have to exaggerate to try to make it worse? Because it’s Apple, that’s why!

Writing for Mashable, Karissa Bell is not incorrect in saying “Apple’s AirPower fail is an unprecedented embarrassment.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @designheretic.)

To read this article in full, please click here

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