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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

EA's Origin is giving Dead Space away for free

Wed, 2018-02-14 14:50

EA’s “On the House” program has given away some great free games over the past few years, but almost felt like it took a hiatus during 2017. It didn’t, but after starting strong with Mass Effect 2 last January the rest of the year featured giveaways of more niche games (Syberia II), downright awful games (Dead in Bermuda), a few repeats (Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault and Plants vs. Zombies for the hundredth time) and one lone standout, Steamworld Dig.

On the House is starting semi-strong for 2018 though, with 2008’s sci-fi horror classic Dead Space up for grabs. Okay, technically this one’s a repeat too—Dead Space was actually the first On the House game, back in 2014. That’s quite a while ago though, so if you missed it back then (and missed it in 2008) then this is the best way to pad out your library.

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BrandPost: How PC refresh is improving employee productivity in Japan

Wed, 2018-02-14 14:48

Long hours at work and the demographics of an aging population mean small businesses in Japan face extra pressures over and above the common pain points of cutting costs, increasing revenue and retaining high quality staff, even though the country is enjoying its longest period of economic growth since the 1990s.

That growth looks set to continue with exports, consumer spending and business confidence all rising - making this a good time to make sure your business is in the best position to handle challenges, and take advantage of new opportunities.

But the on-going Work-Style Reform means you must plan for changes in working hours as well as how and where employees do their jobs. Investing in new PCs for your workforce is a smart way to improve productivity and mobility, and doing so without breaking the bank.

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BrandPost: What’s powering your workforce transformation?

Wed, 2018-02-14 14:33

The way we work is being transformed by people, process and technology. Business is no longer about sitting in the office, tied to the desktop PC and the phone, but about working where you need to, when you need to, and using the right device for the job.

Cloud and mobile technologies are empowering a new, more flexible approach, where we have the tools and information to be effective whenever, wherever. Put that together with data-driven business intelligence, and we’re seeing waves of innovation opening up new products and services, which in turn are opportunities for businesses of all sizes to grow and prosper.

Yet the same technology and innovation can pose challenges. Disruptive products and services are great news for the start-ups, but a challenge for established companies struggling to compete on customer-experience and price. Businesses in nearly every market face tough competition from rivals powered by these new forms of IT, with mobile technology, data analytics and the cloud at the forefront, and machine learning and artificial intelligence on the approaching horizon.

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Intel's latest graphics drivers can automatically optimize your games to play their best

Wed, 2018-02-14 10:41

Using a processor’s built-in graphics to play games has always required tedious tinkering. Integrated graphics aren’t anywhere near as powerful as standalone graphics cards, so you need to tweak your resolution and visual settings to coax many games into even running. But Intel’s latest drivers make it easier than ever for gamers on integrated graphics to start playing by adding in an automatic game optimization tool similar to what’s available in Nvidia and AMD’s software.

The Intel Graphics Driver for Windows version 15.65 adds in the new capabilities to the company’s Graphics Control Panel software, Tom’s Hardware points out, along with support for Age of Empires: Definitive Edition and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age.

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Samsung 860 EVO review: Further proof that TLC-NAND SSD can be fast and affordable

Wed, 2018-02-14 10:00

The Samsung 860 EVO has convinced us: It is now safe to equate TLC (Triple-Level-Cell) SSDs with top-notch SATA performance. TLC-NAND SSDs used to be more about affordability, but the 860 EVO is the third TLC-NAND drive we've tested that doesn't bog down on long sustained transfers. (The other drives are the identical-except-for-the-label WD Blue 3D and Sandisk Ultra 3D.)

We even quadrupled our normal 20GB copies, and the 860 EVO easily maintained the pace. In fact, despite being quite a bit cheaper, the 860 EVO's performance compares more than favorably with that of its 860 Pro cousin. You can check out all our SSD reviews in the full roundup. 

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Top FBI, CIA, and NSA officials all agree: Stay away from Huawei phones

Wed, 2018-02-14 09:49

In the age of fake news, collusion, coercion, and bots, the heads of all three U.S. intelligence agencies all agree on one thing: don’t buy Huawei phones.

CBS News is reporting that FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats each gave testimony on Capitol Hill this week to address the cybersecurity threats facing the nation and all admitted that they would never willingly use a Huawei handset.

The impact on you at home: The intelligence community has been warning about the risk of Huawei for years, but the timing of the message here is clear: buy the Mate 10 Pro at your own risk. Ever since a 2012 investigative report—in which Huawei was wholly uncooperative—lawmakers have been warning about the potential dangers of using Huawei phones, but with the company on the verge of a U.S. breakout, the rhetoric has been ramped up considerably. Even without any hard evidence, the intelligence community seemingly has ample reason to suspect Huawei of cyber espionage, and it is stopping at nothing to ensure the Mate 10 Pro isn't a big seller in the U.S.

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Kingdom Come: Deliverance's awkward save system has already been fixed by modders

Wed, 2018-02-14 08:52

Kingdom Come: Deliverance released yesterday ($60 on Steam), and by now people have no doubt begun living out their peasant-in-the-Holy-Roman-Empire fantasies en masse. If you read my review impressions though, you’re no doubt aware the game has some optimization issues, bugs, and so on. The usual suspects when it comes to a vast Elder Scrolls-style RPG perhaps, but exacerbated in this case by Kingdom Come’s odd save system—one that forces players to rely on autosave unless their poor peasant character can afford a costly “Saviour Schnapps” item from local innkeepers.

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The 6 best Android lite apps for saving data, space and time on your device

Wed, 2018-02-14 06:30

Android lite apps are the antidote to full-sized apps whose ample features may be hard to use, or hard on your phone's performance. Google, Facebook, and others have finally started taking lite apps seriously, offering versions that let you declutter your app experience without losing any of the core functionality you've come to expect. Here are the lite apps you need to download.

Some of these apps are available on the Play Store in all countries, but many are limited to "developing" markets. You can always sideload the apps from a trusted source like APK Mirror that verifies app signatures.

Messenger Lite Ryan Whitwam/IDG

The manager of Facebook's Messenger platform recently admitted that the app has become a cluttered mess. The team plans to streamline it in the coming year, but you don't have to wait. You can get Messenger Lite from the Play Store right now. It's under 10MB and so much faster than the regular Messenger app. Messenger Lite includes all the core features of Messenger like VoIP calls, text messages, and even some extras like stickers. It doesn't include all the unnecessary add-ons from the full app like photo effects and chatbots.

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Libratone Too Bluetooth speaker review: High-fidelity sound on the go

Wed, 2018-02-14 06:00
This portable speaker delivers uncommonly good near-field sound for its size.

Intel's first Core i3 with Turbo Boost elevates Intel's budget chip into premium territory

Tue, 2018-02-13 15:20

Normally, the addition of a mobile Intel Core i3 chip wouldn’t be cause for excitement. But the new Core i3-8130U adds something special: Turbo Boost, a capability that Intel hasn’t added to its mobile Core i3 chips before now.

Intel launched the Intel Core i3-8130U, a dual-core, four-thread, 15W mobile chip for mainstream laptops and two-in-ones, a member of the mobile Kaby Lake (14nm) family.

On the surface, the specs of the new Core i3-8130U are unimpressive: a 2.2,GHz base frequency, UHD 620 graphics, and 2,133 MHz (LPDDR3) or 2,400 MHz (DDR4) memory support. But the new boost frequency also kicks up the chip’s potential top speed to 3.4GHz, which makes the 8130U the fastest mobile Core i3 Intel offers.

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EveryDollar review: Baby steps to budgeting

Tue, 2018-02-13 09:28

When you get on the budgeting bandwagon, you face a host of perplexing decisions. Do I pay off my credit cards first or start building an emergency fund? What’s more important: saving for my kids’ college education or my retirement? The ensuing confusion causes many to abandon budgeting altogether.

The Every Dollar app is part of personal finance guru Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” method for providing budgeting newbies a road map. Think of it as the facilitator for the journey. Like YNAB, it’s based on the envelope method and the principle of giving a job to every single buck.

Once you create an account on the website, you’re ready to build your first budget. Every Dollar starts you off with eight main budgeting categories: Giving, Savings, Housing, Transportation, Food, Lifestyle, Insurance & Tax, and Debt. You can add more to tailor your budget to your needs. You can also create savings categories—called “Funds” in Every Dollar parlance—which carry a month-to-month balance as you save toward your goal.

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Save Hundreds On The The Complete 2018 CompTIA Certification Training Bundle ($59)

Tue, 2018-02-13 09:25

The IT sector is booming, but while demand is high for skilled IT professionals, you'll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you're lacking the appropriate certifications. Whether you're interested in cloud computing, network administration, or security, having a certification to your name greatly improves your hiring potential. The Complete 2018 CompTIA Certification Training Bundle can help you get there by preparing you to ace several certification exams, and it's on sale for over 90% off.

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Kingdom Come: Deliverance review in progress: This realistic Skyrim rival is a true role-playing game

Tue, 2018-02-13 09:01

It was a triumphant moment when I finally bought a sword in Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Here I was, Henry the blacksmith’s son, one of the few survivors of the attack that burned my home village of Skalitz to the ground, a man with little money and even fewer prospects, assistant to a C-tier lord in the Holy Roman Empire—and I could finally afford my first sword. Not even a proper longsword, mind you, but something called a “hunting sword.” Still, I strapped it to my side with all the pride befitting a peasant who ever-so-slightly increased his social status in class-centric Medieval Europe.

I bring it up because it’s indicative how different Kingdom Come: Deliverance feels from other RPGs. There, you’re usually the chosen one, destined to save the world. Here, I’m over 20 hours in and I’m basically a glorified intern-in-armor. I spent a whole day carrying some spoiled noble’s equipment out to the woods so we could hunt rabbits. Since then, my biggest responsibility is solving the murder of some no-name peasants and their horses in a backwater village with only four or five homes.

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The best budgeting apps for tracking and planning your financial life

Tue, 2018-02-13 08:12

Budgeting apps can take the drudgery and dread out of managing your household’s money, a chore only one in three Americans even bothers to do. Quicken was long the gold standard for personal finance software, but an array of compelling —and often free—alternatives have risen to challenge it, whether you want a no-hassle way to keep tabs on your in- and outflows, a tool to help maximize your means, or a guide to build wealth through investments.

We’ve tried all the major applications to see how well they can help you build and follow through on a monthly budget. Read on for our top picks, and you can find links to all of our reviews at the bottom of the page. 

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How to find your motherboard's Spectre CPU fix

Tue, 2018-02-13 06:37

Operating system patches alone can protect against the nasty Meltdown flaw affecting Intel processors, but fixing Spectre—Meltdown’s nasty sibling, which affects all CPUs—requires firmware updates for your hardware. Those firmware fixes are finally starting to appear after Intel’s first round of Spectre patches were yanked for causing system instability and potential data loss. Stable patches for 6th-gen Intel Skylake CPUs are now available, and both Intel and AMD are working on CPU microcode updates for other chips.

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UA Sport Flex wireless headphone review: Made for active music lovers

Tue, 2018-02-13 06:00
With an LED safety light, adjustable neckband, and enough sonic energy to pump up any workout, these JBL-designed, Under Armour-branded Bluetooth headphones are a smart exercise companion.

YNAB review: This budgeting app also instills better money habits

Mon, 2018-02-12 22:09

As you can tell by its name, You Need a Budget (YNAB) makes no bones about the fact you need to manage your money rather than the other way around. The popular program, which started life more than a decade ago as manual-input desktop software, is now a subscription based web app that can sync with your financial accounts. Despite some cosmetic changes over the years, YNAB is still adheres to its four founding principles:

1) Give every dollar a job—Each dollar that comes into your life should be allocated to a specific purpose: to pay your rent or mortgage, to fund your retirement, even to buy that latte that helps get you through your morning commute. By telling your money where to go and what to do, you discipline your spending.

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Quicken Deluxe review: The dominant budgeting software still has plenty to offer

Mon, 2018-02-12 22:08

For years, Quicken was the leading personal finance program by far. And though its supremacy has been challenged by a growing list of competitors, it remains one of the most full-featured. It currently comes in four versions for Windows that allow you to do everything from build a household budget to manage and maximize investments, depending on which one you get. For basic budgeting, we tried Quicken Deluxe, which is currently being offered for $29.99 a year—50 percent off the retail price.

Quicken is desktop software, so whichever version you purchase, you’ll have to download and install it. Once you log in, Deluxe opens to the Home tab—essentially a real-time dashboard—where it walks you through a three-step set up.

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Personal Capital review: It's more about managing money than teaching financial skills

Mon, 2018-02-12 22:07

The brainchild of former PayPal and Intuit CEO Bill Harris, Personal Capital will help you budget and track monthly expenses, savings, and debt, but its real focus is investments. Still, there’s plenty here for household budgeters who just want to better manage their spending and sock away some money for college, retirement, or that dream vacation.

Personal Capital is really two tools: a free personal finance manager and a paid investment management service. The personal finance manager, which we reviewed, allows you to keep tabs on your income, spending, assets, and investments from a single portal.

Once you log in and link all your financial accounts, Personal Capital aggregates all the data on your dashboard. In a clean layout of graphs and charts, it gives you an at-a-glance overview of your net worth, investable cash, cash flow, top spending categories, portfolio allocation and balances, and a stock market snapshot. Clicking any one of these categories takes you to a more detailed analysis.

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Mvelopes review: A solid system for basic budgeting

Mon, 2018-02-12 22:06

Mvelopes mines the same tried-and-true envelopes budgeting system as You Need a Budget and Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar, explicitly telegraphing the fact in its malapropic name. The app doesn’t look as polished as some of its competitors’ offerings, but its system is sound and easy to grasp even if you’ve never created a budget before.

Mvelopes walks you through a four-step setup process of syncing your bank accounts, defining your income, creating a budget, and funding your envelopes.

Adding your various banks is easy. Mvelopes displays clickable tiles for fast access to the most popular financial institutions. On the off-chance your bank isn’t among them you can search the database for it. If your bank isn’t supported, Mvelopes provides a New Institution Request form and promises to respond within two to four days.

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