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Q Acoustics Concept 300 loudspeaker review: Grand sound in a compellingly intriguing package

PC World - Wed, 2019-04-10 06:00
The company’s engineers and designers tweaked every imaginable aspect—including the stands—to enhance the performance of these high-end speakers.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug review: Individual outlet control makes this the outdoor smart plug to beat

PC World - Wed, 2019-04-10 06:00
This outdoor outlet’s upscale feature set makes it well worth the price.

Q Acoustics Concept 300 loudspeaker review: Grand sound in a compellingly intriguing package

Mac World - Wed, 2019-04-10 06:00
The company’s engineers and designers tweaked every imaginable aspect—including the stands—to enhance the performance of these high-end speakers.

21.5-inch 3.0GHz 6-core Core i5 iMac (2019) review: New all-in-one stands out in multi-core performance

Mac World - Wed, 2019-04-10 06:00

Apple seems to have settled into a groove with a two-year update cycle for the iMac. The latest iteration of the company’s all-in-one desktop computer comes nearly two years after the previous release—and the 2017 iMac came two years after its predecessor. Updates to the processor, RAM, and graphics card are in the spotlight for Apple’s newest iMac; the rest of the machine remains unchanged.

This review evaluates the 21.5-inch iMac with a 3.0GHz Core i5 processor. The standard configuration of this iMac is priced at $1,499 but the model reviewed here has the graphics card upgraded to the Radeon Pro Vega 20, which adds $350 to the price.

To read this article in full, please click here

TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug review: Individual outlet control makes this the outdoor smart plug to beat

Mac World - Wed, 2019-04-10 06:00
This outdoor outlet’s upscale feature set makes it well worth the price.

Amazon All-new Kindle review: Front lighting and a better screen elevate this entry level e-reader

PC World - Wed, 2019-04-10 03:00

Amazon’s All-new Kindle brings its entry-level e-reader out of the dark ages. With the addition of glare-free, adjustable front lighting, it allows users a more comfortable reading experience day or night without having to spring for the higher-priced Kindle Paperwhite or the luxe Kindle Oasis.

The All-new Kindle replaces the 8th generation Kindle e-reader and retains many of its slimmed-down specs. It does, however, introduce a few upgrades including improved E-Ink technology and a capacitive touchscreen. With special offers—i.e., ads—enabled, it costs $89.99, a $10 increase over the prior generation. Without special offers it’s priced $109.99.

To read this article in full, please click here

Student-made app aims to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Brock News - Tue, 2019-04-09 15:45

MEDIA RELEASE: 9 April 2019 – R00064

Tackling any task can often be made easier by focusing on one step at a time.

Brock student researchers have used this logic to develop an app meant to improve quality of living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).

StepByStep Tasks was launched by Computer Science students Javon Luke and Tianyuan Zhang, under the guidance of Senior Lab Demonstrator and Co-ordinator Poling Bork. The app, through which Luke and Zhang have been working with staff and clients of Community Living Haldimand, is part of a study aimed at increasing the community participation and independence of people living with IDDs.

The project is a collaborative effort that began with Bork consulting with Associate Professor Kimberly Maich in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Bork then connected Luke and Zhang with PhD student Courtney Bishop and Associate Professor Tricia Vause, both in Brock’s Department of Child and Youth Studies, Assistant Professor Priscilla Burnham-Riosa, in the Department of Applied Disability Studies, and stakeholders from Community Living Haldimand.

An under-represented community, individuals with IDDs account for one to two per cent of the population. Many people with IDDs not only struggle with a wide range of limitations, including difficulties with perceptual reasoning and verbal comprehension, but are also at a higher risk for social exclusion than their non-disabled peers.

These individuals often rely on assistance from support workers to complete everyday tasks and errands. By introducing the app, the team hopes to make significant contributions to improving the quality of life for many.

Just as its name suggests, the StepByStep Tasks app instructs users on how to complete a task, one step at a time.

Instructions can be presented through a variety of audio and visual prompts, with options ranging from instructional videos (most prompting) all the way to simple text instructions (least prompting). The amount of prompting, however, is completely up to the user and their specific needs.

Customizability allows for users to modify the format in which they receive each instruction. For example, if someone was interested in learning how to do laundry, they could start off with a video accompanied by audio or text that explains how to complete each step from start to finish. As the user gains confidence in their abilities, they can begin fading out the amount of assistance they receive at each step. They can go from requiring a video or picture to completing that step independently.

The hope is that users can eventually learn to complete the entire task with little to no prompting.

Before introducing the app to users, the research team had to first teach Community Living support staff how it works. Through a behavioural skills training program, staff are taught how to properly use the app, set up tasks and fade their support using principles of applied behaviour analysis.

They then work with the individual to identify skills to focus on and compile a list of tasks. Once the tasks and steps have been uploaded, staff provide a demonstration and explanation of the app to the individual. Staff participants then use most-to-least prompting to fade their own supports.

“It’s working really well,” Bishop said when asked about the results the team has received. “When we first started, people were needing anywhere from 60 to 100 per cent support from their staff and we’re now seeing many of those drop down to zero.”

Over the course of the year, the research team will grow the app’s user base by introducing more participants into the study. Currently, 12 people are actively using the technology. That number will nearly triple to a total of 35 by the end of the project’s second phase in April 2020.

Unparalleled in its ability to fade levels of prompting, members of the developmental services field are growing increasingly interested in the app and how it can be implemented into their work.

With such an opportunity to grow, StepByStep Tasks is now available for free in the Apple App Store.

“None of this would be possible without the help we received from the Department of Computer Science and Poling Bork,” Luke said. “She came up with the idea for the app and played a vital role in this project by connecting Tianyuan and I with Courtney and Community Living Haldimand.”

Bork also met regularly with the students and representatives from Community Living to ensure the initiative was on track.

“It brings me great pride to see students from our Faculty making a difference in the community,” said Ejaz Ahmed, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science. “I applaud their efforts and would like to thank Poling Bork for guiding them through this endeavour.”

Later this month, Luke and Zhang will further promote their work as they attend Connect 2019, Canada’s largest educational technology conference. The pair will provide demonstrations and discuss the process they took to develop the app with fellow conference delegates.

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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Who needs Windows 10 Pro: 5 reasons to upgrade

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 14:53

Windows 10 Professional isn’t just for cubicle dwellers who have no choice in the matter. While users who own a “professional” PC like the Surface Book 2Remove non-product link will automatically be upgraded to this higher-end version of the OS, smaller businesses and PC enthusiasts may also weigh the benefits of the Pro version vs. Windows 10 Home. Recent Windows 10 feature updates, such as the April 2018 and May 2019 Windows 10 Updates, add more Pro-specific features. 

To read this article in full, please click here

Meet the new, tougher Cinebench R20 benchmark: We test it on Xeon and Threadripper

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 13:45

Maxon’s popular Cinebench CPU benchmarking program just got a long-overdue update to bring it up to parity with modern PCs. We’ve already tried it, on two of the most powerful CPUs you can buy today, and have results to share, along with some historical context and tips for using it with your own CPU. 

A little Cinebench history

The free Cinebench R20 app is intended to replace Cinebench R15, which first saw service in 2013. To give you an idea of how far we’ve come in hardware, the top-end desktop CPU in 2013 was a quad-core, 4th-gen Haswell Core i7, while an enthusiast-level chip was a six-core 3rd-gen Ivy Bridge-E Core i7.

To read this article in full, please click here

Brock in talks with University of West Indies to create Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies

Brock News - Tue, 2019-04-09 13:32

MEDIA RELEASE: 9 April 2019 – R00063

After years of partnering with one another on various initiatives, Brock University and the University of the West Indies (UWI) are now considering the creation of the Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies.

The schools came together on Brock’s main campus Friday, April 5 to renew two existing memorandums of understanding and to sign a new MOU that will see them begin talks related to the proposed institute.

“The signing ceremony at Brock University is a testament to the relationship we’ve built together over many years, and commitment to the future of Canadian-Caribbean studies,” said Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor from UWI. Beckles highlighted the new agreement and recognized Brock University President Gervan Fearon in his opening remarks at the UWI Gala in Toronto on Saturday, April 6.

Establishing the Institute for Canada-Caribbean studies would provide a focal point for multi-disciplinary research and teaching to deepen and improve the multi-faceted relationships between Canada and the Caribbean and examine issues affecting the Caribbean diaspora communities in Canada.

At Brock, James Mandigo, Vice-Provost, Enrolment Management and International, will serve as the institutional lead to help facilitate the development of the Institute. His counterpart at UWI, Richard Bernal, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, will lead a similar process at UWI.

“Establishing an Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies would be a true reflection of Brock’s global commitment to fostering a culture of intercultural understanding,” Fearon said. “We will also be welcoming scholars from across Canada to be active participants and members of the Institute to collaborate and lead projects related to Canada-Caribbean issues. Our vision is to harness the expertise of the academic community across Canada and the Caribbean to help address important topics that are relevant to those who live, study and work in these regions of the world.”

Established in 1948, UWI has campuses in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, and an open campus, which provides post-secondary opportunities to students in 16 other Caribbean nations. It is the largest higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI was recently ranked in the Top 5 per cent of universities in the world by the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings in 2019.

Canada has played a key role in the development of UWI, including funding support to build residences on the Jamaican and Trinidad and Tobago campuses, and a $20-million grant to support the creation of UWI’s open campus.

Brock’s rich history with UWI includes presenting an honorary degree to Sir Hilary Beckles, professor and pro-vice chancellor and principal of the University of the West Indies in 2014.

Brock is also the first university in Canada to be led by a Caribbean descendant. Fearon underscored the commitment of Brock to building strong ties with the Caribbean during his first international trip as President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University to the Caribbean in May 2018, visiting Antigua, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada.

During last week’s meeting with Brock officials, Beckles and other dignitaries from UWI were joined by Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Cayman Islands, Her Excellency Laurie Peters.

In addition to the MOU related to the development of the Institute for Canada-Caribbean Studies, the signing ceremony renewed two MOUs already in place between Brock and UWI.

Together, they promote international and intercultural understanding, academic linkages and enrich the cultural understanding of both universities.

More specifically, the agreements continue to provide mobility opportunities for faculty, staff and students between institutions.

Faculty from across Canada and the Caribbean will be able to collaborate on joint research activities and participate in seminars, meetings and professional development opportunities. General staff, such as administrative and technical support, along with students from both institutions will also be able to gain valuable international experience through an exchange or short-term program.

More information on Brock University’s international partner institutions can be found on the Brock International website.

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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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 730G processor was built for kick-ass mobile gaming

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 12:30

While Qualcomm has integrated several gaming-specific technologies into its Snapdragon mobile processors, on Tuesday the company announced something a little different: a version of its Snapdragon 730 optimized for gaming, dubbed the Snapdragon 730G.

Though mobile gaming may be an idle pastime with American consumers, it’s a way of life overseas. Over 586 million mobile gamers are in China alone—twice the population of the United States, according to Qualcomm’s Hiren Bhinde at Qualcomm’s technology summit last December. It isn’t clear which phones and mobile devices Qualcomm has in mind for the Snapdragon 730G, but recent gaming phones from Asus ROG and Razer indicate that Qualcomm was designing for what they hope will be a trend. 

To read this article in full, please click here

Best water leak detectors for smart homes

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 12:14
Fires can be devastating, but water damage is a far more common risk. These smart devices will alert you if your home springs a leak, so you can take action quickly.

Best water leak detectors for smart homes

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-09 12:14
Fires can be devastating, but water damage is a far more common risk. These smart devices will alert you if your home springs a leak, so you can take action quickly.

Tax Day's looming, and H&R Block's Tax Software Deluxe + State is on sale for just $23

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 11:20

Tax Day is just around the corner, but if you’ve waited until the last minute to get yours done, don’t worry—it’s not too late to grab some tax software to help eliminate some of the headache. And today, you can get the H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2018 for either PC or Mac on Amazon for $23 for a direct download, down from a list price of $45 and within striking distance of its lowest price ever. Better yet: we’ve tested this software and absolutely love it.

H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe is designed to guide you through the process of filling out your taxes, with a user-friendly question-and-answer process to walk you through each step. You can also import your W-2 by taking a picture of it, which it will then use to pull some of your information from. Because H&R Block has a bunch of physical locations, you can choose to upgrade to receive some in-person guidance, but the software thankfully isn’t too pushy about upgrading and in-app ads.

To read this article in full, please click here

Tax Day's looming, and H&R Block's Tax Software Deluxe + State is on sale for just $23

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-09 11:20

Tax Day is just around the corner, but if you’ve waited until the last minute to get yours done, don’t worry—it’s not too late to grab some tax software to help eliminate some of the headache. And today, you can get the H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2018 for either PC or Mac on Amazon for $23 for a direct download, down from a list price of $45 and within striking distance of its lowest price ever. Better yet: we’ve tested this software and absolutely love it.

H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe is designed to guide you through the process of filling out your taxes, with a user-friendly question-and-answer process to walk you through each step. You can also import your W-2 by taking a picture of it, which it will then use to pull some of your information from. Because H&R Block has a bunch of physical locations, you can choose to upgrade to receive some in-person guidance, but the software thankfully isn’t too pushy about upgrading and in-app ads.

To read this article in full, please click here

Slack now integrates with Office 365, pushing Office docs and email reminders into your chat

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 11:00

Microsoft Teams may be part of the Microsoft ecosystem of apps and services, but that doesn’t mean Office won’t enjoy a cozy relationship with anyone else. Slack said Tuesday that it, too, has integrated extensive Office 365 support, offering a number of conveniences for long-time Slack users.

The Office 365-Slack integration will be available within Slack’s App Directory, according to a company spokesperson, where various Office 365 app connectors will be found. Users on Slack’s free plan can have up to 10 apps installed, while all of its paid plans offer unlimited app usage.

Here’s a quick list of all of the new features that Slack will offer thanks to its integration with Office 365:

To read this article in full, please click here

Slack now integrates with Office 365, pushing Office docs and email reminders into your chat

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-09 11:00
If you'd prefer discussing a critical email within Slack's chat rooms and not within Outlook, then Slack's integration with Office 365 is for you.

Amazon's blowing out ViewSonic monitors and projectors at killer prices

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-09 10:02

Spending money on a decent computer monitor isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. You spend all day staring at your screen! If your suffering with a tiny, low-resolution display, today’s your day. Amazon’s blowing out ViewSonic monitors and projectorsRemove non-product link until midnight Pacific time tonight and every one’s selling for an all-time low or close to it.  

To read this article in full, please click here

Amazon's blowing out ViewSonic monitors and projectors at killer prices

PC World - Tue, 2019-04-09 10:02

Spending money on a decent computer monitor isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. You spend all day staring at your screen! If your suffering with a tiny, low-resolution display, today’s your day. Amazon’s blowing out ViewSonic monitors and projectorsRemove non-product link until midnight Pacific time tonight and every one’s selling for an all-time low or close to it.  

To read this article in full, please click here

A pox on one of your houses: Thinking Apple should fix everything

Mac World - Tue, 2019-04-09 09:00

Did you know that Apple is responsible for everything bad in technology? Even the stuff that’s actively made worse every day by its competitors? Well, it’s true.

Writing for The New York Times, Farhad Manjoo decries “The Incredible Shrinking Apple.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @jeeeemspriggs and Jason.)

Steve Jobs wanted to put a ding in the universe. Today, Apple wants to ding your pocketbook.

To be fair, Steve Jobs definitely wanted to ding your pocket book, too. The Macalope doesn’t know if you’ve heard, but Apple Products Cost Too Much™, and have for years and years.

To read this article in full, please click here

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