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This week in games: Lego Star Wars returns, Ubisoft gives away Assassin's Creed: Unity after Notre Dame fire

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 17:29

I’ve said for years that Assassin’s Creed is more impressive for its art nowadays than the games themselves, but still, who would’ve guessed that one day Assassin’s Creed would be used to restore a priceless piece of architectural history?

That news, plus a new Lego Star Wars, an Old Republic expansion and potential film adaptation, details for Netflix’s Witcher series, a remake of cult classic shooter XIII, and more.

This is gaming news for April 15 to 19.

Digital artifacts

This week’s first freebie is a big one, relatively speaking. You probably heard that Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris caught on fire this week. In the wake of that fire you maybe remembered that one Ubisoft designer spent two years of her life creating the Notre Dame model for Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Turns out that Notre Dame model might now be used in reverse, helping guide restoration efforts on the actual church. As some sort of weird (but nice) gesture, Ubisoft is now giving away copies of Unity through April 25.

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Best Buy is selling a 10TB WD external drive for an insane $160 today

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 15:10

External hard drives have been steadily dropping for months, but this deal is one of the best we've ever seen: Best Buy is selling a 10TB WD Easystore hard drive for just $160Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $300 and just $0.016 cents a gig.

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Best Buy is selling a 10TB WD external drive for an insane $160 today

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 15:10

External hard drives have been steadily dropping for months, but this deal is one of the best we've ever seen: Best Buy is selling a 10TB WD Easystore hard drive for just $160Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $300 and just $0.016 cents a gig.

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The latest Windows patch is breaking even more PCs with antivirus installed

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:34

The last major Windows update broke some systems with particular antivirus software installed, and it’s seemingly getting worse.

Earlier this week we reported that Microsoft halted updates to Windows PCs running Sophos and Avast’s security solutions, following user complaints that their machines were locking up or failing to boot. Since then, the list of known issues for the rogue update was itself updated to acknowledge compatibility issues with Avira and ArcaBit antivirus installed, with Microsoft temporarily blocking updates to those affected systems, too. Today, Ars Technica noticed that Microsoft is investigating compatibility issues for systems with McAfee antivirus installed, though it hasn’t started blocking the April 9 update from those PCs just yet.

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It’s about time! Siri in macOS 10.15 might finally be able to properly set alarms and timers

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 11:34

After unveiling some of the major new features expected in iOS 13 earlier this week, Guilherme Rambo of 9to5Mac is back with a report on macOS 10.15—and it looks like it might be a substantial upgrade. While we learned earlier this week that Apple was reportedly developing a way to allow Mac users to use their iPads as a secondary display, Friday’s rumor dump lays out several more ways Apple is planning to merge the iOS and macOS platforms.

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Acer CEO Jason Chen explains why his PCs are going niche

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 11:00

Acer CEO Jason Chen thinks his company can get bigger if it thinks small. As the fourth- or fifth-largest PC vendor worldwide by shipments (per IDC and Gartner numbers, respectively), Acer already sells plenty of what it calls “value” PCs—commodity systems that offer good specs for the price. It’s thriving in the gaming and education markets, too, where performance and sturdiness matter.

Compared to PC juggernauts Dell, HP, and Lenovo, however, Acer still has a long way to go. So the company’s next move is to pursue what Chen calls “microtrends,” courting users whose numbers might be too small—or their needs a little too niche—to draw much attention from bigger players. Acer sees an opportunity to shine by providing a more curated PC experience—a completely different strategy from its approach to mainstream PCs.

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Dude, this 24-inch Dell monitor is down to $110 today—and you get a $50 gift card with it

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 10:03

It would be great if we all could afford 4K G-Sync monitors, but sadly that's not the case. So if you're looking for a fantastic deal on a much more basic display, Dell is selling a 24-inch 1080p monitor for $110Remove non-product link, a near-50-percent savings from its $200 MSRP. And to sweeten the deal, Dell will throw in a $50 gift card, effectively bringing the price down to $60.

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How to transform your laptop into a gaming powerhouse with an external graphics card

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 08:54

My desire to power up a laptop with an external graphics card began in 2015, when I set out on a quest to get back into PC gaming—a beloved pastime I’d neglected since childhood.

But the only PC I had at the time was a 2011 Lenovo ThinkPad X220 laptop with Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. That just wouldn’t cut it for proper PC gaming. Sure, the laptop on its own works well enough for older titles like Diablo III, especially on the laptop’s tiny 1366x728-resolution display, but forget about more graphics-intensive modern games on an external 1080p monitor. That’s why I decided to examine external graphics card (eGPU) setups.

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When iTunes says to “restore your iPhone,” do you have to?

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 08:00

You have a perfectly functioning iPhone and you plug it via USB to a Mac. When you switch to iTunes, you see the message:

iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone “phone name”. Go to the Summary tab in iPhone preferences and click Restore to restore this iPhone to factory settings.

Depending on how recent your last iTunes or iCloud backup of your device is, this might be a little panic inducing. Do you really need to restore your phone?

It’s unlikely. I and others have routinely experienced a bug in which this message appears even when our iPhones (and iPads) are perfectly fine. The solution is extremely simple: quit iTunes and relaunch it. If that transient bug is what you’re experiencing, iTunes now properly recognizes your iOS device.

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WatchOS 6 wishlist: 6 features to take Apple Watch to the next level

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 07:00

The Apple Watch is the most popular watch in the world, and the most popular fitness tracker, and the most popular wearable. It’s bigger now than the iPod ever was, and growing steadily.

As great as the Apple Watch already is, there are obvious avenues for improvement. Some of the things we all want, like multi-day battery life, will surely require new hardware. But many of our desires could be fulfilled in a new version of watchOS. As Apple gears up to talk about the new features of watchOS at this year’s WWDC in June, here are some of the features I hope watchOS 6 brings to the table.

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Cooler Master SK630 review: Low-profile gaming keyboards are officially a trend

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 06:30

Here’s the rule with peripherals: Once is a gimmick, twice is a trend, and thrice is a category. And our latest category? Low-profile mechanical keyboards, which bring elements of the laptop typing experience to desktops. These hybrid keyboards started to show up late last year, first with the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo, then with Corsair’s K70 RGB Mk.2 Low Profile.

Now we have a third contender, Cooler Master’s new SK630. With a tenkeyless design and detachable cable it’s certainly the most mobile of the bunch, though a few odd choices may prove polarizing.

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Primephonic app review: The unrivaled classical music streaming service comes to Android and iOS

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 06:00
Primephonic's mobile app for iOS and Android delivers the best parts of its classical music service to smart devices—with one glaring omission.

Mysa Smart Thermostat review: Rendering electric heat stylish and smart

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 06:00
A beautifull smart thermostat for baseboard, radiant, and fan-forced convector heaters.

Three ways Apple’s own Marzipan apps can benefit macOS

Mac World - Fri, 2019-04-19 06:00

As the Nobel Prize laureate once sang, “The times, they are a-changin’.”

2019 is a big year for Apple, and at the forefront of the questions circling around the company is the future of macOS. Last year’s demonstration of “Marzipan” technology—letting iOS apps run on the Mac with little alteration—shook the foundations of what many people considered a Mac app.

Long time Mac users are, understandably, nervous about what this could imply for the future of their chosen platform. Will apps get “dumbed down” and features lost? Will developers eschew Mac-specific programs for the ease of deploying one app everywhere? As Mac users, we’re used to feeling dour and grim about what’s to come, especially those of us who lived through the dark times of the mid-1990s.

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Primephonic app review: The unrivaled classical music streaming service comes to Android and iOS

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 06:00
Primephonic's mobile app for iOS and Android delivers the best parts of its classical music service to smart devices—with one glaring omission.

Mysa Smart Thermostat review: Rendering electric heat stylish and smart

PC World - Fri, 2019-04-19 06:00
A beautifull smart thermostat for baseboard, radiant, and fan-forced convector heaters.

Update: Facebook passwords for hundreds of millions of users were exposed to Facebook employees

Mac World - Thu, 2019-04-18 15:30
Facebook confirms that user passwords from Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram were being stored in a readable format on Facebook servers. Hundreds of millions of accounts will be notified accordingly.

Update: Facebook passwords for hundreds of millions of users were exposed to Facebook employees

PC World - Thu, 2019-04-18 15:30

Facebook confirmed Thursday that hundreds of millions of user passwords were being stored in a “readable format” within its servers, accessible to internal Facebook employees -- including millions more Instagram users than previously thought. Affected users will be notified, Facebook said, so they can change those passwords.

Interestingly, Facebook downplayed and confirmed the problem in the same post, filed in late March, after researcher Brian Krebs issued his own report.  Facebook’s Pedro Canahuati, vice president of engineering for security and privacy, initially referred to “some” user passwords that were accessible to Facebook employees. A paragraph later, he revealed that “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, millions of Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users” would be notified.

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Buy a spacious 512GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro for one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen

Mac World - Thu, 2019-04-18 12:43

Want a previous generation iPad Pro with lots of storage room? Then you really need to head over to Amazon, where the retailer is knocking $300 off the 512GB 10.5-inch model with Wi-Fi, which is enough to bring the price down to $699.99. We hope you like gold, though, as the deepest discounts affects only the gold model.

If you’re more a fan of space gray and silver, you can still get these models on sale, although you’ll be paying $50 more. Still, that’s only $749.99.

It’s a good buy if you want an iPad Pro but prefer the form factor of the older models over the thinner bezels and support for Face ID in last year’s units. (You’ll also still get a headphone jack with this model.) It supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, it has a still-impressive A10X Fusion chip, and it features Apple’s ProMotion 120Hz display refresh technology that allows for faster scrolling.

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Add 200GB of space to your phone or Nintendo Switch for just $25 at Amazon today

Mac World - Thu, 2019-04-18 10:54

No matter whether it’s on your phone, tablet, PC, or Nintendo Switch, running out of space always sucks, especially if it means deleting games and files. But today you can solve that problem once and for all. Amazon is selling a 200GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card for an all-time-low of just $25, a 34 percent savings on its $38 list price.
This card packs a lot of space in a small package. With read speeds up to 100MB/s and speed ratings of UHS Speed Class U1 and Speed Class 10, this card can handle full HD video, while an A1 rating provides faster app performance. And once the card contains all your important files, it will keep them safe, with shock-, temperature-, water-, and X-ray- proofing. It will work with any Android phone that has a microSD slot as well as the Nintendo Switch and other devices, including cameras and some PCs.
We haven't tried this microSDXC ourselves, but it's a big hit on Amazon, with 4.5 stars out of 5 across more than 15,000 user reviews.
[Today’s deal: 200GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card for $25 on AmazonRemove non-product link]

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