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Updated: 44 min 5 sec ago

Android P rumor suggests Google's Pixel 3 could have an iPhone X-style notch

Mon, 2018-02-12 14:05

Now that Google makes its own phones, Android updates often contain clues about what to expect in the next model. We may have just gotten a huge one about what to expect in the Pixel 3: a camera notch.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that one of the areas of focus in Android P will be visual changes and enhancements to the OS design, including support for a camera notch at the top of the screen. Apple's iPhone X made such a notch famous, propelling Apple to record profits in the holiday quarter, though the first major smartphone to sport a camera notch is Andy Rubin's Essential Phone.

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AMD Ryzen motherboards explained: The crucial differences in every AM4 chipset

Mon, 2018-02-12 09:56

For AMD’s disruptive Ryzen processors, selecting the correct motherboard is both easier and more crucial than ever.

First, the good news: AMD’s doing away with the frightful hodgepodge of motherboard platforms to unite around the AM4 socket with Ryzen CPUs, Radeon-bolstered APUs, and all other chips released in the foreseeable future. Huzzah! But there are a wide variety of chipsets available for AM4 motherboards, and each unlocks different capabilities in your PC, from USB support to overclocking to how many graphics cards you can install.

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Watch us build a tiny Ryzen APU gaming PC

Mon, 2018-02-12 09:30

AMD’s Ryzen APU with Radeon Vega graphics could be just what budget-minded gamers need to get through the great GPU crisis of 2018. We've never seen this level of graphical performance on an integrated chip, so we decided to build one of our own. Can it run Crysis? Tune in to PCWorld's YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook on Tuesday, February 13th, at 10:00 a.m. PST, to build along with us.

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Ryzen APU Review: Ryzen plus Vega saves budget gamers during a GPU drought

Mon, 2018-02-12 09:00

Let's just lay our cards down at once: AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs are everything budget gamers have been praying for: surprisingly decent gaming performance at a shockingly low price.

In years past, such a statement would be met by skepticism and dismissive "whatever" animated GIFs. But AMD actually over-delivered on its Ryzen CPUs last year, so talks of combining those same Zen cores with the latest and greatest Radeon Vega graphics cores has cash-strapped gamers in a tizzy of excitement.

Gordon Mah Ung

For real: The $99 quad-core Ryzen 3 2200G offers graphics performance competitive with $99 graphics cards.

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The best smart home devices that work with Alexa

Mon, 2018-02-12 06:00
Amazon’s Echo smart speakers are most powerful when paired with third-party smart home hardware. These products earned our highest raitings.

Cities: Skylines's robust modding scene and DLC keeps making the best city builder even better

Sat, 2018-02-10 08:00

I’ve never really thought about parking lots, and that’s a problem. I mean, who does? I’m sure it’s someone’s job to design parking lots—to optimize the space to fit as many cars as possible, to pick out those tiny saplings that one day will shade the lucky few who get to park underneath, to decide whether the spaces will run parallel or diagonal. It’s not my job though, and now I’m at a loss. I’ve spent the last half-hour in Cities: Skylines trying to plan out a parking lot for a combination PetSmart-Trader Joes-Office Max-Wells Fargo, and it’s not going great.

I’m fascinated though. By suburbs.

That’s the latest evolution in my love affair with Cities: Skylines. Suburbs are so boring, so sterile, but that in itself is a challenge. Trying to recreate those generic strips of American big-box retail, the dumpsters and shopping carts and the inevitable fast food restaurant out front, requires an entirely different set of skills from the flashy bright-lights-big-city layouts I’m used to attempting.

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Microsoft's Surface Pro turns 5 amid rising competition and faltering sales

Fri, 2018-02-09 17:34

Microsoft's iconic Surface Pro tablet turned five on Friday. The original product led the way for other productivity Windows tablets and detachable computers, but on its fifth anniversary, Microsoft may be losing momentum.

On Twitter, the Microsoft Surface team celebrated its “revolution,” which began when it discarded the limited Windows RT and brought full Windows 8 to the tablet market. “Five years ago today, a revolution was born when Surface turned Pro,” the Surface account tweeted. “And it was just the start.”

Surface sales falter

That strong start has slowed, though. According to research firm IDC, unit sales of portable Surface devices are down nearly 19 percent from a year ago. (Full disclosure: PCWorld and IDC are owned by the same parent company, China Oceanwide.) IDC's report, which analyzes the state of the convertible and slate market, shows an industry dominated by the high volumes of Android and iOS tablets sold by Apple, Samsung, and other vendors.

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This week in games: Relic sunsets Dawn of War III, Kerbal Space Program gets an expansion

Fri, 2018-02-09 15:00

Far Cry 5’s latest trailer gives its dog companion captions so you’ll understand his story. The sad part? I don’t think that’s in the real game. Imagine traveling through rural Montana with your talking canine, A Boy and His Dog style. Amazing, right?

That trailer, plus Relic abandoning Dawn of War III, a slew of release dates and sequel announcements, a new Soren Johnson project, and more below. This is gaming news for February 5 to 9.

Operators vs Aliens

This week on Rainbow Six Siege: People screaming “Contact!” and “Jesus Christ!” while monsters run around in the fog, and then some calm diplomacy between the USA and Russia. If last week’s trailer for the upcoming Outbreak event didn’t pique your interest, this one probably won’t either. But me? I am 100 percent ready for Rainbow Six Siege Plus Aliens Or Zombies Or Whatever.

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How to play DVDs in Windows 10 for free

Fri, 2018-02-09 09:34

You can play a DVD in Windows 10 for free, with a little help that’s probably not from Microsoft. I’ll tell you how Microsoft’s solution sort-of works for some people. Then I’ll tell you about the much better alternative called VLC that anyone can use, and is still being updated regularly. Best of all, it’s free!

Updated February 9, 2018, to mention improvements included in VLC 3.0.

RIP Windows Media Center

When Windows 10 came along, it left behind Windows Media Center, a utility for home theater PCs that let you play DVDs on your computer. Windows 8 didn’t come with it either, but users running Windows 8 Pro could still install Windows Media Center.

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VLC 3.0 adds Chromecast support and more as the best free media player gets even better

Fri, 2018-02-09 09:01

The best free media player is getting even better. After three years of development, VLC 3.0 ‘Ventari’ is rolling out to all platforms, and it’s packed full of goodies such as Chromecast support. The new version is available from Videolan.org’s dedicated page for VLC 3.0 and is rolling out to your device’s respective app store.

The latest version of VLC contains a lot of great additions, as well as a tweaked UI. Chromecast discovery tops the list. It’s only available on Windows desktop and Android right now, but Videolan says the feature’s coming to VLC’s iOS and the Windows Store apps in the future.

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How to create custom Input & Error Messages In Excel

Fri, 2018-02-09 08:00

In Excel, custom input or error messages explain the rules for each field to prevent data-entry errors. Imagine, for instance, that it's your job to create, maintain, and assign user IDs and passwords for your company employees. You create a spreadsheet to perform this task. Then you get transferred. So now you have to delegate this task to someone else. The best way to ensure the job is done right is to create input and error messages. 

For the User IDs, first create an Error Alert that says, "No duplicates allowed." Then create an Input Message that, when displayed, explains what kind of data can be entered. And last, a backup Error Message for column E that says: "Only 7 digits allowed."

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Yeti: How a Google game console could take on Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam

Fri, 2018-02-09 06:37

It's called "Yeti," and it's the code name attached to an intriguing rumor about Google’s gaming ambitions that emerged this week. The rumor suggests the company is developing its own cloud-based gaming service and home console. As The Information reported, the so-called service would stream games into users’ homes from remote servers, allowing users to play on a Chromecast or a new console made by Google.

A game console from Google could be a big deal, akin to how Microsoft transformed the gaming business after launching the Xbox in 2001. Still, this week’s reporting offered scant details how Google’s gaming service might work, what its hardware might look like, and when we’ll see the fruits of these efforts.

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Romantic movies to stream this Valentine’s Day

Fri, 2018-02-09 06:00
Here are 20 great movies to watch with the one you love.

HP Omen 15 (2017) review: A good laptop that made some bad decisions

Fri, 2018-02-09 06:00

I’m torn over the HP Omen 15.

Like the larger HP Omen 17 we reviewed (and heartily recommended) in late 2017, the Omen 15 isn’t the flashiest notebook around, nor the fastest. It doesn’t stand out from the wider crowd of gaming laptops with spectacular features. But nevertheless, it's a solid, attractive all-around gaming notebook that’s light enough to actually carry with you. That’s a rare combination in gaming notebook

Yet a few puzzling design decisions in the specific configuration we’re reviewing tarnish its luster somewhat. One aspect might be a complete show-stopper depending on how you use your gaming laptop. The HP Omen 15 serves as a strong reminder that yes, the configuration you choose when buying a PC can matter deeply.

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SnapPower SwitchLight review: Better than any nightlight

Fri, 2018-02-09 06:00
Don’t stumble around in the dark looking for the light switch.

How to watch the Olympics in 4K HDR

Thu, 2018-02-08 17:40
If you have the right hardware and pay TV subscription, you can catch some of the action from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in 4K and HDR (high dynamic range).

Dell is selling a 24-inch 1440p G-Sync monitor for less than $400 today

Thu, 2018-02-08 12:39

The graphics card pricing crisis looms over gamers like a nightmare. Zombie machines are using as many GPUs as possible for cryptocurrency mining. But you know what part of a gaming setup isn't in crisis? Monitors.

Dell has a sale today on a 24-inch 1440p G-Sync monitor for $380. This deal also includes a $50 Dell promotional e-card (essentially, a Dell.com store credit) that expires 90 days after issuance. Dell's sticker price for the S2417DG is $570, and the best price on Amazon right now is $423 from a third-party seller. So you're saving either $50 or $200, depending on how you look at it. If you think you can make use of the promotional credit, you'll save even more.

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iOS source code leak could be the worst Apple's ever had to deal with

Thu, 2018-02-08 09:46
The source code the the heavily-guarded iOS iBoot system has leaked on GitHub, bringing with it a major headache for Apple.

How tighter ties between Google and Nest can bring new value to the Google Tax

Thu, 2018-02-08 09:41

Google announced yesterday that Nest will no longer be a standalone division of parent company Alphabet. Instead, the team that makes luxury smart home gadgets will live under the Google umbrella in an effort to tighten the integration between the gadgets in our homes and the Google Assistant that lives in our phones.

On the surface, it seems like a beautiful marriage of hardware and AI. As Google so succinctly puts it, the goal is to “create a home that’s safer, friendlier to the environment, smarter and even helps you save money.” But in reality there’s much more at stake. Google has designs on rivaling Apple in the high-end hardware space, but right now many of the Made by Google products are expensive but not necessarily premium.

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Killing passwords in Windows 10 S is one of 7 big changes in Windows 10 Build 17093

Thu, 2018-02-08 06:30

Microsoft sees a future without passwords in Windows 10 Insider Build 17093, at least for Windows 10 S users.

Microsoft has quietly worked to downplay passwords via PIN codes, fingerprint sensors, and even facial recognition. But actually killing them entirely within Windows 10 S is one of the key changes coming with what may be called the Spring Creators Update, code-named 'Redstone 4,' expected to launch in late March or early April.

The build, which launched Wednesday, also includes new multi-GPU graphics settings, improved eye tracking, quicker connections using Bluetooth, and clutter-free printing, among others. Let’s take a look.

Why this matters: We thought Microsoft was done with Redstone 4 features when the last build hit a couple of weeks ago. This feature-filled follow-on build gives Microsoft a chance to shoehorn in a few more stories. 

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