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Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

This week in games: Mod fixes Nier: Automata PC woes, Up's house floats into Battlefield 1

5 hours 31 min ago

So we’re about a month out from Christmas now and...wait, what? It’s only March? But we’ve already seen Nier, Mass Effect, Resident Evil, Stories Untold, Kona, with Thimbleweed Park and Yooka-Laylee right around the corner. Oh, and some Zelda game for our console cousins. Crazy.

Not as crazy as some of this news, though: Assassin’s Creed abandons the silver screen for the smaller screen, the Up house floats over war-torn France, and Fallout 4 VR is “the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen in your life.” Their words, not mine.

This is gaming news for March 20 to 24.

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Google shuttering Talk, removing SMS support from Hangouts in new messaging shakeup

5 hours 48 min ago

Messaging has never been Google’s strong suit. Aside from the various messaging apps from Android phone makers, it also has its own problems, with numerous overlapping apps that all have similar functions: Allo, Android Messages, Hangouts, Duo, Google Voice, and Google Talk. Now, Google is taking some much-needed steps to consolidate its efforts.

On June 26, Google will finally be closing Google Talk for good. The instant messaging service affectionately known as Gchat is one of Google’s oldest messaging apps, having been in existence since 2005. Way back in 2013, Google began encouraging Talk users to switch to Hangouts, and on June 26 the transition will be complete and its doors will be closed for good. On that day, any straggling Talk users will be automatically transitioned to Hangouts for good, where they can continue chatting with their friends. (And for anyone who was hanging on just for the interface, Google notes that the Dense Roster setting in Hangouts will provide a similar experience.)

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Dell's 28-inch 4K monitor is just $300 right now

6 hours 16 min ago

The world may be excited about Dell’s stunning new 32-inch 8K monitor going on sale, but at the consumer level, everyone’s still barely living in a 4K world. Amazon’s trying to help change that a little today, however—it’s currently selling a Dell 28-inch 4K Ultra high-definition monitor for $300.

The Dell S2817QR features 3840x2160 resolution, a gamer-friendly refresh rate of 60Hz, and a 2ms response time. It’s also capable of taking in content from two different sources and displaying them simultaneously using picture-in-picture or picture-by-picture mode. 

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Apple: Macs and iPhones are safe from newly revealed CIA exploits

6 hours 55 min ago

The Mac and iPhone exploits described in new documents attributed to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency were patched years ago, according to Apple.

WikiLeaks released a new set of files Thursday that supposedly came from the CIA. They contain details about the agency’s alleged malware and attack capabilities against iPhones and Mac computers.

The documents, dated 2012 and earlier, describe several “implants” that the CIA can install in the low-level extensible firmware interface (EFI) of Mac laptop and desktop computers. These EFI rootkits allow the agency's macOS spying malware to persist even after the OS is reinstalled.

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Microsoft delays tools for third-party Cortana integrations

7 hours 26 min ago

Microsoft has delayed the release of its tools for connecting other services to the Cortana virtual assistant, a decision that could cause it to lose ground in a crowded industry.

The tech titan announced the Cortana Skills Kit in December of last year, saying at the time that it would be released to the public in February. As Microsoft watcher Brad Sams noted on Twitter, Microsoft missed that deadline, and the Skills Kit remains locked in a private beta with a select group of partners. Microsoft didn’t offer an explanation for the delay, saying in a statement that the kit will be coming soon.

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To punish Symantec, Google may distrust a third of the web's SSL certificates

7 hours 30 min ago

Google is considering a harsh punishment for repeated incidents in which Symantec or its certificate resellers improperly issued SSL certificates. A proposed plan is to force the company to replace all of its customers’ certificates and to stop recognizing the extended validation (EV) status of those that have it.

According to a Netcraft survey from 2015, Symantec is responsible for about one in every three SSL certificates used on the web, making it the largest commercial certificate issuer in the world. As a result of acquisitions over the years the company now controls the root certificates of several formerly standalone certificate authorities including VeriSign, GeoTrust, Thawte and RapidSSL.

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Google Play faces cat and mouse game with sneaky Android malware

7 hours 37 min ago

What’s the best way to avoid Android malware? Downloading all your apps from the Google Play store -- where software is vetted – is perhaps the best advice.  

But that doesn’t mean Google Play is perfect.

Security researchers do find new Android malware lurking on Google’s official app store. That’s because hackers are coming up with sneaky ways to infiltrate the platform, despite the vetting processes that protect it.

"Eventually, every wall can be breached," said Daniel Padon, a researcher at mobile security provider Check Point.

To be sure, most Android users will probably never encounter malware on the Google Play store. Last year, the amount of malicious software that reached the platform amounted to only 0.16 percent of all apps, according to a new report from Google.

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How to set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and iCloud account

9 hours 13 min ago

If you aren’t using two-factor authentication to protect your Apple ID and iCloud account, you really should do it today. Hackers who claim to have millions of stolen iCloud credentials are demanding Apple pay a ransom or they’ll release them—and ZDNet obtained a sample set of credentials and determined they’re real.

But guess what? Using two-factor authentication should protect you completely. It’s easy to set up, so take a minute and do it now.

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Three privacy tools that block your Internet provider from tracking you

9 hours 50 min ago

It’s on. Recently, the United States Senate saw fit to allow Internet Service Providers to sell your web browsing history and other data to third parties. The action has yet to pass the House, but if it does, it means anyone concerned about privacy will have to protect themselves against over zealous data collection from their ISP.

Some privacy-conscious folks are already doing that—but many aren’t. If you want to keep your ISP from looking over your shoulder for data to sell to advertisers, here are three relatively simple actions you can take to get started.

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62% off Anker PowerLine+ Micro USB 6ft Premium Cable - Deal Alert

10 hours 24 min ago

With this cable, Anker boasts reinforced stress points with a 10000+ bend lifespan, double-braided nylon exterior and toughened aramid fiber core, laser-welded connectors and a worry-free 18-month warranty. The micro-USB cord is a generous 6 feet in length. Its list price on Amazon is currently discounted to just $10.99. See this deal now on Amazon.

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Dell's wild 8K monitor goes on sale with a just-as-stunning price tag

11 hours 21 min ago

That fancy 4K display you just bought is already obsolete. After teasing it at CES, Dell put its monstrous 32-inch, 8K monitor up for sale late Thursday for the whopping sum of $5,000.

At CES, Dell said the UP3218K monitor would start shipping on March 23, but in reality the display's just available for preorders. The company is currently quoting April 17 as the ship date.

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Amazon undercuts the Moto G5 Plus preorders with unlocked, ad-supported model for $185

12 hours 12 min ago

The Moto G5 Plus is already one of the best budget phones of the year, with premium styling, all-day battery life and nearly stock Nougat, all at an eye-popping $230. But if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll be able to get it even cheaper.

As part of the ad-supported Prime Exclusive program, Amazon will be offering the 5.2-inch G5 Plus in two variants: 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage for $185, or 4 GB of RAM with 64 GB of internal for $240, representing discounts of $45 and $60, respectively. Both models feature a 2MP f/1.7 camera with dual autofocus pixels, a 3,000 mAh battery with fast charging, and a fingerprint sensor.

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How to easily switch between open windows of the same program

13 hours 53 min ago

Switching between multiple open windows of the same program is a problem we try to solve in several ways. Sometimes you have applications that use tabs to view multiple files in one window. For those that don’t, users often turn to Windows’ Snap function or multiple monitors.

Today’s tip uses a different solution by importing a longtime keyboard shortcut from the Mac, Alt + ` (backtick). (The Mac version uses Cmd instead of Alt.) This simple keyboard shortcut, which you can easily hit with the same hand, automatically switches between multiple windows in the same program. 

You can accomplish something similar with Windows’ tried-and-true Alt + Tab, but that shortcut switches between every open window on your desktop.

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Five to Try: Super Mario Run finally arrives, and Samsung unpacks its Galaxy S8 event app

14 hours 53 min ago
Nintendo's on-the-go adventure headlines a fresh batch of Android releases.

New movies available for streaming include Fences, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, Pete's Dragon, and more

15 hours 53 min ago

Spring is arriving, so it seems fitting that several of this week’s streaming selections take the action outdoors, whether it’s telling the story of a couple sisters turned wannabee train robbers, or following a college baseball team in the last few days of summer, or exploring a black family living in the Louisiana Bayou. 

Some movies ask you to ponder heavy subjects, like assisted suicide or children’s fear of abandonment. And some on this list are just plain goofy.

If you were heading into the weekend without any firm plans, consider the matter closed.

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (Netflix) Fred Hayes (Courtesy Netflix) ★★★☆☆

Netflix continues its Sundance spree, snapping up this unusual, amusing little crime film/family story and giving it an exclusive release. In Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017), older sister Deidra (Ashleigh Murray) is the top student in her miserable little high school, and while making money selling essays and test answers to fellow students, she prepares to head off to college with a well-earned scholarship. Unfortunately her mother (Danielle Nicolet) suddenly snaps inside a consumer electronics store, smashes a TV, and goes to prison. Deidra finds herself supporting her younger sister Laney (Rachel Crow) and their action-figure-loving younger brother (Lance Gray).

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How to transform your smartphone into a real-world Star Trek tricorder

15 hours 53 min ago

When the first flip-top phones appeared in the ‘90s, prompting amazed gasps of, “Hey, this is just like the communicator in Star Trek!” it felt like we were on the cusp of an amazing sci-fi future. These days, however, James T. Kirk’s handy interstellar mobile device looks a bit clunky—and it’s shamefully low on functionality. With no text or web capability, the communicator’s only uses are voice calls and the occasional deployment as a medium-yield timed explosive.

To compete with today’s phones we’ll have to turn to another bit of Star Trek equipment: the tricorder. Fans will know the tricorder as the palm-sized (at least by The Next Generation) device filled with enough sensors and computers to scan the surrounding area, allowing its wielder to deliver whatever exposition the Star Trek writers needed the audience to know.

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Uber finally agrees to reveal diversity data

19 hours 20 min ago

Uber Technologies has agreed to provide next month its diversity data, which it had earlier declined to make public.

Representatives of the ride hailing company will disclose the information at the PUSHTech2020 summit on April 19 in Silicon Valley.

The move comes at a time when the company has run into a number of controversies, including sexism charges leveled by a former employee, the exit of some key executives and a lawsuit from self-driving car rival Waymo.

The announcement follows a meeting Thursday between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, which has been demanding higher representation for minorities in tech companies, according to a statement issued by the coalition.

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Twitter considers enhanced version of TweetDeck for professionals

Thu, 2017-03-23 23:28

Twitter has started surveying users to check their interest in a new enhanced version of its TweetDeck product, raising the possibility that the company is considering a paid version of its service.

The move by Twitter comes in the wake of its almost flat revenue growth and a lackluster increase in the number of its users in the fourth quarter in comparison to the company's social networking peers like Facebook.

A subscription-based version of its service would be in line with the strategies of some other Internet services like Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, which offer additional features to paid users.

Twitter said in an emailed statement that it is conducting a survey "to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version" of TweetDeck, the application for power users of Twitter that lets people monitor multiple timelines in one interface, manage multiple accounts and schedule tweets for posting later.

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Augmented reality gets a second life in manufacturing

Thu, 2017-03-23 18:24

The ungraceful death of the consumer version of Google Glass in 2015 may have had some grieving the early death of augmented reality. But the technology is being resurrected by companies on the manufacturing floor. 

Take for example Lockheed Martin. Technicians at the aerospace manufacturer use Microsoft's Hololens headset to design and examine models of spacecraft such as the Mars lander ahead of it's 2018 mission.  

Lockheed Martin

Technicians at Lockheed Martin's Collaborative Human Immersive Lab in Colorado examine a model of the Mars lander using Micorsoft's Hololens augmented reality headsets. 

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Augmented reality gets a second life in manufacturing

Thu, 2017-03-23 18:24

The ungraceful death of the consumer version of Google Glass in 2015 may have had some grieving the early death of augmented reality. But the technology is being resurrected by companies on the manufacturing floor. 

Take for example Lockheed Martin. Technicians at the aerospace manufacturer use Microsoft's Hololens headset to design and examine models of spacecraft such as the Mars lander ahead of it's 2018 mission.  

Lockheed Martin

Technicians at Lockheed Martin's Collaborative Human Immersive Lab in Colorado examine a model of the Mars lander using Micorsoft's Hololens augmented reality headsets. 

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