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HP patches hundreds of laptops to remove hidden keylogger

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 09:44

If you bought an HP laptop any time in the last five years, it could be tracking your every key stroke. Over the weekend HP revealed that nearly 500 of its notebooks dating as far back as 2012 shipped with a secret keylogger installed. Alongside the announcement, HP released driver updates to eradicate the software on affected laptops.

Security researcher Michael Myng discovered the keylogger when probing the Synaptics touchpad software on an HP laptop. HP’s security bulletin says the “potential security vulnerability” affects all laptops with “certain versions of Synaptics touchpad drivers”—not necessarily just HP models. The keylogger is disabled by default, however. “A party would need administrative privileges in order to take advantage of the vulnerability,” the bulletin states. “Neither Synaptics nor HP has access to customer data as a result of this issue.” HP told Myng that the keylogger was a debugging tool.

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Fusion Drive or hybrid drive: Which one should you use?

Mac World - Mon, 2017-12-11 08:00

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are expensive, especially if want a capacity above 1TB. That's why hard drives still rule the roost, even though they don't offer the speed of an SSD. Apple's software-based Fusion Drive provides a compromise: it uses a small amount of high-performance SSD alongside a higher-capacity HDD. macOS caches frequently used drive-based data in the SSD, boosting performance.

When deciding on a drive for an iMac I purchased earlier this year, I felt that the performance I’d get from the $700 jump from a 1TB Fusion Drive to a 1TB SSD simply wasn’t worth it. Apple pairs a 32GB SSD with its 1TB hard drive, and 128GB with its 2TB and 3TB options.

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Eaton Halo RL56 review: Upgrade your existing canisters to smart and efficient LED lighting

Mac World - Mon, 2017-12-11 07:45
If you have recessed lighting, this is a superior solution to replacing the bulbs.

Eaton Halo RL56 review: Upgrade your existing canisters to smart and efficient LED lighting

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 07:45
If you have recessed lighting, this is a superior solution to replacing the bulbs.

Cambridge Audio CXUHD 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player review: A classy chassis with Dolby Vision

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 07:45
This handsome device is a top-notch disc player that's great for digital audio systems, but it doesn't off any type of analog output.

Eaton Halo RL56 review: Upgrade your existing canisters to smart and efficient LED lighting

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 07:45

If you haven’t remodeled in recent years, you might be surprised to find that new canister-style lights no longer include the traditional recessed receptacle that accepts a screw-in bulb. Rather, the light fixture itself is static, including a ring of LEDs inside a sealed module. When the LEDs eventually die (after 10 years or so), you just replace the whole thing rather than removing and screwing in a new light bulb.

What’s wrong with the old way? These new designs are considerably smaller than old canisters, are easier to install, and generally look better. (It also keeps homeowners or renters from subbing in their own power-hungry bulbs.)

But what if you already have older-style canisters in your ceiling? Eaton’s Halo Connect line offers a smart way to retrofit them, not by merely replacing an old incandescent BR style bulb with an LED, but by sliding in an entirely new downlight fixture that instantly modernizes the old unit.

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Cambridge Audio CXUHD 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player review: A classy chassis with Dolby Vision

Mac World - Mon, 2017-12-11 07:45
This handsome device is a top-notch disc player that's great for digital audio systems, but it doesn't off any type of analog output.

Eaton Halo RL56 review: Upgrade your existing canisters to smart and efficient LED lighting

Mac World - Mon, 2017-12-11 07:45

If you haven’t remodeled in recent years, you might be surprised to find that new canister-style lights no longer include the traditional recessed receptacle that accepts a screw-in bulb. Rather, the light fixture itself is static, including a ring of LEDs inside a sealed module. When the LEDs eventually die (after 10 years or so), you just replace the whole thing rather than removing and screwing in a new light bulb.

What’s wrong with the old way? These new designs are considerably smaller than old canisters, are easier to install, and generally look better. (It also keeps homeowners or renters from subbing in their own power-hungry bulbs.)

But what if you already have older-style canisters in your ceiling? Eaton’s Halo Connect line offers a smart way to retrofit them, not by merely replacing an old incandescent BR style bulb with an LED, but by sliding in an entirely new downlight fixture that instantly modernizes the old unit.

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The best free video editing software: Great tools for YouTube stardom and more

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 06:30

The best free video editing software can be surprisingly good. The choices vary widely and include include scaled-down, trial versions of professional suites, open-source alternatives with a plethora of features, and simple applications aimed at home video creators. Our top picks will be functional for many users, across many use cases.

If you’re willing to spend a little money, check out our reviews of paid consumer video editing software. Typically, those are easier to use than the free ones here thanks to great support and tutorial libraries and more refined interfaces, but they don’t necessarily have more features.

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MSI Trident V3 Arctic review: Looks like a console, runs like a high-end desktop

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 06:00

Smaller form-factor PCs typically go one of two ways: First, you can prioritize the small part of the equation. This leaves you with something beautifully tiny, but at the cost of future upgrades—space-saving comes with the caveat of proprietary and non-replaceable parts. (See: Alienware Alpha.) Or you can prioritize future upgrades, which typically means a larger and less aesthetically pleasing machine.

The MSI Trident V3 is the rare machine that can do both—at least to some extent.

MSI Trident V3 vs. consoles

It really is tiny. Scale can be tough to judge in photographs, but at 13.6 by 9.2 by 2.8 inches, the Trident is so small it’s hard to believe there’s a full-size PC inside. It’s smaller than my launch-version Xbox One for instance, and quite nearly smaller than the new Xbox One X. (It's smaller depth, but the Trident is about an inch longer and maybe half an inch taller.) The Trident sits comfortably in “console-sized” territory, in any case.

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GeForce Now beta impressions: Streaming PC games to your Mac isn't perfect, but it's definitely impressive

Mac World - Mon, 2017-12-11 06:00

Macs see a fair number of new games—enough for us to comfortably pick 10 strong options for our monthly roundup, at least—but the selection still lags well behind Windows PCs. Release parity has gradually climbed over the past few years, but while we get a lot more indie games day-and-date with or soon after their PC counterparts, most big-budget, AAA games arrive late on Mac, if at all.

Hopefully that situation continues to improve over time, but Nvidia has another solution in mind: PC games streamed over the internet to your Mac with minimal delay. It’s a service called GeForce Now, and it’s currently available in a free, open beta for Mac. Essentially, Nvidia has powerful, GTX 1080 GPU-equipped servers running high-end Windows games remotely, and you can stream them directly to your Mac over a strong connection.

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VSDC review: This free video editor holds back too much

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 05:45

VSDC has a lot of features you won’t find in other free video editors, like picture-in-picture, video stabilization, and the ability to upload multiple YouTube videos at once. If you can deal with its quirks, it’s one of the most powerful options available. But its interface isn’t very user-friendly, it has some major limitations, and the free version essentially throttles the speed at which you can process your videos.

The interface is powerful, but it’s not for the uninitiated. A great deal of information is displayed at any given time--enough to overwhelm newbies. That said, VSDC does come with a drag-and-drop, step-by-step wizard mode that will get very basic videos made even if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. It’s just too bad that the software’s most powerful features are so user-unfriendly.

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Hitfilm Express 2017 review: Powerful features lie behind a quirky interface

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 05:00

Hitfilm Express takes aim at indie filmmakers with great tutorials and powerful features. Its unconventional interface could turn off true amateurs who just want to make a home movie, and it has an unappealing download procedure, but it’s still a great choice if you want to start making fun videos that mirror the sorts of effects and techniques you see in professional films and web series.

The user interface is stylish and pleasant to use, but it does diverge from the standard consumer video editing software workflow in a couple of areas. If you’re not already accustomed to other software, this won’t bother you a bit, but it could be an adjustment for some.

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Lightworks for Windows review: The free version falls short in export options

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 04:27

Lightworks has an unusual history for free video editing software—it was born out of high-end, professional film editing software that was used to edit such Hollywood classics as Pulp Fiction. Today, it’s just as good with digital media, and it’s offered in both a paid and free version. The free version is strikingly powerful in terms of features, but its export options are very limited.

Lightworks guides you through the process of setting up your first project with simple tooltips, but they’re a far cry for the powerful tutorials and wizards available in some other software. While it supports all the import formats that the paid version does, it can be tricky getting everything to import easily for the uninitiated—you have to define project settings like resolution, framerate, and so on before you import your files. If you set anything different from your video, you’ll have to dive into settings and tweak them until you get it right.

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Shotcut review: This open-source video editor is impressive

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 04:06

Shotcut is an open-source, free video editing program that has been around for more than a decade. It’s not the most intuitive or professionally presented, but beneath its rough presentation lies a remarkably powerful program.

When you first start Shotcut, you might be surprised at what you don't see—very little of its interface is exposed in the beginning. But click on the buttons in the top bar, and you’ll find numerous views and UI elements that prove to be much more robust than you’d guess at first glance. They’re resizable and undockable, making this one of the most heavily customizable free video editing programs out there.

Most tasks are simple and effective if you know where to find them. Trimming videos is very easy. Exporting is also efficient; this program isn’t beautiful, but there is little fault in its functionality. We do wish there were more and better transitions and effects, though.

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Play with—and program—Star Wars droids with Sphero's new R2-D2 and BB-9E

PC World - Mon, 2017-12-11 03:01

If you thought Sphero’s original BB-8 app-enabled robot was a blast back in 2015, just wait ‘til you see their take on Star Wars’ most beloved droid: R2-D2.

The Sphero R2-D2 ($179.95 MSRP; same price on Amazon and the Apple store) is here in advance of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which continues the sci-fi saga’s main storyline, and it’s just as immediately impressive as BB-8. It’ll cruise around your home with ease using the iPhone/iPad companion app, the head rotates and reacts just like the real droid in the movie, and it even has movie-perfect sound effects and little animation routines.

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Microsoft is selling the excellent Dell XPS 13 and Dell Inspiron 15 for hundreds off

PC World - Sat, 2017-12-09 16:40

Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals continues with a number of discounts across various Dell laptops and desktops. Two caught our eye: the highly-reviewed Dell XPS 13 9360 ultrabook on sale for $999, and the best budget gaming laptop, the Dell Inspiron 15, on sale for $599.

(Officially, the deal was only good through 11:59 PM ET on Dec. 9. We checked on Monday, and the sale prices for the XPS 13 appeared still to be valid. Get it while it's hot!)

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Microsoft is selling the excellent Dell XPS 13 and Dell Inspiron 15 for hundreds off, today

PC World - Sat, 2017-12-09 16:40

Microsoft’s 12 Days of Deals continues on today with a number of discounts across various Dell laptops and desktops. Two caught our eye: the highly-reviewed Dell XPS 13 9360 ultrabook on sale for $999, and the best budget gaming laptop, the Dell Inspiron 15, on sale for $599.

Dell XPS 9360: why it’s a good deal

Here’s why we like the $999 Dell XPS 13 9360 deal. For one thing, Dell’s XPS 13 ultrabooks consistently perform at or near the top of our tests: we rated the 2017 Dell XPS 13 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the 2016 Dell XPS 13 equally highly. The latest update has a Intel 8th-generation Core chip inside, helping boost performance and battery life.

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Reverse indicator: The future of the Mac

Mac World - Sat, 2017-12-09 07:00

Good news, Mac fans! Apple is committed to the Mac for the foreseeable future and you can look forward to a strong product pipeline. How does the Macalope know this? Because John C. Dvorak just wrote that Apple was going to do the opposite.

“Apple Is Ready to Ditch the Mac.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @_HairForceOne, @ElPocho and Stephen.)

Does anyone remember the last time Dvorak was right about Apple? Was it during the Eisenhower administration?

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Sony WF-1000x true wireless headphones review: Amazing sound, lackluster noise-cancelling tech

Mac World - Fri, 2017-12-08 17:30

If the notion of a $198 set of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation sounds a little too good to be true, it’s because it is. While Sony’s WF-1000x Noise Cancelling True Wireless Headphones sound great, their ANC functionality and battery life leave a lot to be desired.

Hardware 

Available in black or gold, the WF-1000x are a little larger than some of the other true wireless earbuds that we’ve looked at, like the Jaybird Runs or the B&O Beoplay E8s. Sony hasn’t referenced their exact dimensions online, but I can tell you that they’re smaller than the Bose SoundSport Free—a fact that will be welcomed by a lot of people. Most of each earbud’s 0.24-ounce weight sits outside of your ears while you’re wearing them. To ensure that they stay in place, Sony designed them to nestle far into the ear canal and provided them with rubber stabilization fins for good measure. The WF-1000x ship with four different sizes of ear caps, so most people shouldn’t have a problem making a secure fit, provided the shape of the earbuds allows you to get them into your ears.

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