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Get a MacBook Air for just $699 at Best Buy

Mac World - Tue, 2018-03-20 13:38

We’re only a few days away from Apple’s big mystery event in Chicago focused on education, where there’s a slight chance it’ll introduce a lower-priced MacBook Air aimed at students. That’s a bit of a gamble, though, so if you’d like to get your hands on an inexpensive Apple laptop that’s available right now, you’ll be happy to know that Best Buy is offering the entry-level 128GB 13-inch MacBook Air for $300 off.

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TCL's 6-Series Dolby Vision Roku TVs will ship on May 1st

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 13:32
With improved image chops to support Dolby Vision HDR, TCL TVs are poised to go where none of them have gone before.

How to delete, disable, or limit your Facebook account

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 13:07

There was a time when deleting your Facebook account was a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, but this week’s news might have you thinking twice. In a series of reports, we learned that an employee at Facebook erroneously handed a trove of data to a company called Cambridge Analytics, which in turn used that information to target voters and spread influence ahead of the 2016 election. So we totally understand if you’re having second thoughts about your account.

The good news is, you have options. First you can limit what third-party apps and the Facebook community can see about your account. If that’s not enough, you can deactivate your account, which can be undone, or full-on delete it—and even then, you have a chance to change your mind. Here’s how it works.

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How to delete, disable, or limit your Facebook account

Mac World - Tue, 2018-03-20 13:07
If the news of Facebook's data handling has got you spooked, here's how you can limit third-party access to your account.

You can get this $100 Google Assistant-powered Insignia smart speaker for less than $40

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 10:25

Even if you don't have a home packed with smart devices, a smart speaker can still be a great way to play music and get information. So if you're looking for your first one or just want to add to an existing setup, Best Buy is offering its exclusive Insignia Voice smart Bluetooth speaker with built-in Google Assistant for just $36.99 right now.

The Bluetooth speaker looks like a standard alarm clock but it comes with Google Assistant built in for hands-free control. Once connected to your smartphone, the speaker can access a variety of popular online streaming services as well as your own Google Play music library to listen to a wide range of music in multiple rooms at once. And if you have other smart devices in your home, you'll be able to control them as well just by asking Google Assistant to turn off the lights or turn up the thermostat.

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Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller review: New tricks from the market leader

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 10:00
With onboard controls and cleaner connectors, this sprinkler system is better than ever.

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller review: New tricks from the market leader

Mac World - Tue, 2018-03-20 10:00
With onboard controls and cleaner connectors, this sprinkler system is better than ever.

Monoprice slashes $80 off the Xbox One X on Sea of Thieves launch day

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 09:56

Online retailer Monoprice is famous for its cheap cables, but today you can get a good price on a 1TB Xbox One X as well. Monoprice is selling Microsoft's console for $420 today. That's around $80 cheaper than you'll find on other sites right now, where the the Xbox One X—the most powerful console ever, and one that rivals or beats many modern gaming PCs—usually sells for $500.

It's an especially enticing price for gamers now that the AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card alone commonly sells for around the same amount, thanks to the ongoing graphics card shortage. The Xbox One X's graphics power roughly correlates to the Radeon RX 580, or the GeForce GTX 1060 on the Nvidia side.

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Is your VPN secure? How to check for leaks

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 08:10

A trustworthy virtual private network (VPN) is a good way to keep your internet usage secure and private whether at home or on public Wi-Fi. But just how private is your activity over a VPN? In other words, how do you know if the VPN is doing its job or if you’re unwittingly leaking information to prying eyes?

To find out, you first need to know what your computer looks like to the internet without a VPN running. Start by searching for what is my IP on Google. At the top of the search results, Google will report back your current public Internet Protocol (IP) address. That’s a good place to start, but there is more to your internet connection and its potential for leaks.

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Throwing a Fitbit: Smack talking Apple

Mac World - Tue, 2018-03-20 08:00

What to do when your business is sliding and people are asking hard questions? Smack talk Apple, of course.

Writing for Barron’s, Brett Arends tells us all about“Fitbit’s Plan to Conquer Apple (and the World).” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nathan and ed.)

Oh! Does it involve a watch that looks just like an Apple Watch? Why, yes it does. But that’s not all.

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How Apple can use Google’s simple strategy with Android P to make a better iOS 12

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 07:00
Google's Android P update is a typical release, focusing on system-level enhancements rather than innovative features. What if Apple adopted a similar strategy for iOS 12?

How Apple can use Google’s simple strategy with Android P to make a better iOS 12

Mac World - Tue, 2018-03-20 07:00

Now that we officially know the dates of WWDC 2018, we can start the countdown to iOS 12. Barring a massive change in its release schedule, Apple will unveil the next version of iOS during the kickoff keynote at 10 a.m. PST on June 4, with several rounds of developer and public betas to follow.

But this year’s release might be a little different. For the past month we’ve been reading rumors that Apple is scaling back some of iOS 12’s planned features to focus on the things that matter most, namely performance and stability. Apple had a rocky start with iOS 11, as several high-profile bugs caused iPhones to type random digits, reboot without warning, and just straight up crash. Consequently, iOS 12 needs to do as much work behind the scenes as it does in front of them.

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Evoluent VerticalMouse C Right Wireless review: This upright mouse aims to end your arm pain

PC World - Tue, 2018-03-20 06:24

The Evoluent VerticalMouse C Right Wireless ($109.95) was designed combat  repetitive strain injury (RSI) and other shoulder-arm-hand discomforts, at least for the 90 percent of us that are right-hand dominant. The company claims the palm-down position used to operate conventional mice twists your forearm and puts you at risk of injury over time. The VerticalMouse C Right Wireless puts your arm in the more “neutral”—and presumably safer—handshake grip position.

I have to admit I couldn’t find any data to support this idea, though, and easily found plenty to contradict it. By most expert-y accounts, the handshake grip is not a neutral position and the proper hand and wrist Position for using a mouse is, in fact, pretty much the one Evoluent claims is the problem.

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Fortnite vs. PUBG on iOS—The battle of the battles royale: Apple Arcade episode 3

Mac World - Mon, 2018-03-19 17:37

At this point two weeks ago, neither Fortnite: Battle Royale nor PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds were on the iPhone or iPad in the U.S., but now both wildly popular games are fighting for our attention and downloads. Join us on Tuesday for our Apple Arcade show at 11 a.m. Pacific when we’ll play both games live and decide which one we love the most.

As you may recall, we’ve already played a bit of the beta for Fortnite: Battle Royale on iPad and iPhone and shared our impressions of the experience (along with some footage). On Tuesday, we’ll play both Fortnite and PUBG back-to-back and see in real-time how their controls and performance compare.

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Microsoft: Windows 10's installation time will be short enough for your lunch break

PC World - Mon, 2018-03-19 15:07

Microsoft says its next big update to Windows 10 will install in as little as 30 minutes—as opposed to a year ago, when the Creators Update required well over an hour.

While the total installation time hasn’t markedly changed, Microsoft said the upcoming version (code-named Redstone 4 and informally known as the Spring Creators Update) will do more behind the scenes while you’re actively using the PC. That will reduce the overall downtime to roughly a half-hour, as opposed to a time of about 82 minutes for last year’s Creators Update, and 51 minutes for the Fall Creators Update.

Don’t expect the Windows 10 to require exactly 30 minutes to download and install. However, Microsoft is moving two specific tasks behind the scenes—preparing your user content (files and documents) for migration, and creating a temporary directory for the new OS. By assigning both processes low priority, they shouldn’t negatively affect your PC’s performance as you work. 

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Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing paves the way for lifelike gaming, the graphics holy grail

PC World - Mon, 2018-03-19 13:00

The PC industry is finally making a push toward a “holy grail” rendering technique that makes computer-generated imagery in movies appear so much more lifelike than the graphics in games. At GDC 2018 on Monday, Microsoft introduced a new “DirectX Raytracing” (DXR) feature for Windows 10’s DirectX 12 graphics API.

To coincide with the announcement, Nvidia announced “RTX technology” for enhanced DXR support in upcoming Volta graphics cards, as well as new ray tracing tools for its GameWorks library that can help developers deploy the technology faster. Likewise, AMD said it’s “collaborating with Microsoft to help define, refine and support the future of DirectX 12 and ray tracing.” And top gaming engines like Unity, Unreal, and Frostbite are already planning to integrate DirectX Raytracing.

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How machine learning can make prettier PC games that adapt to your play preferences

PC World - Mon, 2018-03-19 13:00

Microsoft wants your PC’s hardware to get smart—and your gaming foes to become even more devious. Earlier this month, the company revealed Windows ML, an API that taps into your computer’s CPU and GPU to bolster your software with machine learning capabilities. That wasn’t the end of it though. At GDC 2018 on Monday, Microsoft explained how Windows ML can benefit video games, and introduced new “DirectML” tools that provide GPU hardware acceleration for games that use WinML, built on the same no-hassle-for-gamers principles as the DirectX standard.

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Save $100 on select 10.5-inch iPad Pros with Wi-Fi at Best Buy

Mac World - Mon, 2018-03-19 12:51

Best Buy has been offering quite a few “best buys” on iPads lately, and the retailer is back on its kick again, this time by offering a $100 discount on select 10.5-inch iPad Pro models with Wi-Fi for a limited time.

The best deals center on the 256GB and 512GB models, and you’ll get free shipping on all of them.

With one exception, you’ll even be able to choose from all of the standard colors, which tends to be a rarity with these types of sales. That means you can pick up the latest 256GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro in space gray, rose gold, silver, or gold for just $700, down from $800.

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Azio Hue 2 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse review: Quiet and roomy, but a tad too sticky

PC World - Mon, 2018-03-19 12:00

While it boasts a roomy design, smooth, quiet keystrokes, and a reasonably inexpensive price, the Azio Hue 2 tripped me up with its finicky keys, particularly the all-important space bar. That's a shame, because the Hue 2 comes bundled with a surprisingly well-built mouse, while its blue and pink variants add a splash of colorful style.

Basic features

  • Windows only
  • 2.4GHz RF wireless connectivity
  • 2 AA batteries required for keyboard with a month of battery life, 2 AAA batteries for the mouse with 1.5 months of battery life (according to the manufacturer)

We reviewed the $35 (or as little as $20 on Amazon) "deep black" flavor of the Hue 2, which looks (at first glance, anyway) pretty much like your garden-variety wireless PC keyboard. Considerably more striking are the "bright blue" and "hot pink" colors, which boast white keys and a white accent on the mouse.

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AMD Ryzen CPUs get deeper price cuts ahead of Zen+'s April launch

PC World - Mon, 2018-03-19 10:58

It’s simultaneously a great and terrible time to go deal hunting for a new processor—especially for Ryzen fans. AMD’s second-generation Ryzen chips are expected to start rolling out in April. To get ready, prices of the current Ryzen and Threadripper chips are starting to drop after previously receiving a permanent price slashing in January.

Here’s a look at some of the best Ryzen prices you can find right now. Few chips are hitting Black Friday prices, but deal hunters should keep an eye on the prices at retailers like Amazon, Microcenter, and Newegg over the next few weeks. 

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