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Updated: 52 min 33 sec ago

How we hosted a Star Trek VR party using just one PC

Fri, 2017-09-08 06:00

If you wanted to host a multiplayer VR party today, you'd need a gaming PC for every player. One day though, it may normal to do that using just one gaming rig.

We got a taste of that future today using an Intel proof-of-concept PC that's capable of running four VR headsets simultaneously. This may sound like 22nd-century technology, but it's all available today. Here's how Intel did it.

Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

Using some trickery, Intel was able to make this single PC let four people play VR.

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Comcast is the fastest broadband ISP, and T-Mobile is the fastest wireless carrier, Ookla says

Thu, 2017-09-07 19:28

Comcast is the fastest broadband ISP in the United States, according to Ookla, the developer behind the popular website. Ookla also named T-Mobile as the fastest wireless carrier in the U.S.

Ookla found that Comcast Xfinity narrowly topped Verizon’s FiOS service as the fastest broadband ISP, while T-Mobile just edged out Verizon Wireless as the fastest wireless carrier. The data reflected 26 million unique broadband users, performing over 111 million tests across Ookla’s service. In the mobile space, about 3 million unique devices were used to generate 14 million tests, generating a comprehensive look at how each service performed both nationwide and over time.

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Google Drive is being replaced by Backup and Sync: What to expect

Thu, 2017-09-07 18:03

Google Drive for both the PC and Mac will begin to die on December 11, Google said this week. Depending on whether you’re a business user or a strict consumer, it will be reborn as one of two new apps: Backup and Sync, for consumers, or Drive File Stream, for businesses. Here's what to expect during the transition.

When Google Drive is going away, and how

Note that Google doesn’t appear to be making any changes to the Drive service itself, just the apps. Google currently offers 15GB of online storage with Drive, and those files are accessible with any device with a Drive app installed. Those devices include Android devices, iPhones, and iPads—whose Drive mobile apps are apparently being left untouched.

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Just how partisan is Facebook's fake news? We tested it

Thu, 2017-09-07 14:13

It was only a few minutes after my imaginary Trump supporter “Todd White” began exploring Facebook that he learned filmmaker Michael Moore was staging a coup d’etat against president-elect Donald Trump. Todd also learned that Trump won the popular vote. And that there were people paid to protest at Trump rallies.

None of that is true, of course. That’s the sort of fake news that was disseminated by Facebook—bogus content that many believe was written by partisan groups to influence the election. That belief was apparently confirmed Thursday, as The Washington Post reported that Facebook had sold ads to Russian "troll farms," presumably to influence the election. Previously, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) had warned that potentially thousands of "trolls" had published posts to spread disinformation about Hillary Clinton.

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Tyranny: Bastard's Wound review: A small and unnecessary expansion

Thu, 2017-09-07 09:00

I had high hopes for a Tyranny expansion. “Not enough depth” is the key criticism I leveled at Obsidian’s evil-hearted RPG last year, and it’s continued to bother me. Tyranny’s writing and world-building are, at times, some of Obsidian’s best work. But with the lack of any companion quests, the paltry number of locations, the way the game railroads you into an ending, and the completely unsatisfactory cliffhanger that constituted said ending, an expansion is sorely needed.

But not this expansion.

Another brick in the wall

First, a note: Bastard’s Wound might not be so bad if you haven’t yet played Tyranny and buy the two as a complete package. It's hard to be sure because that’s not my situation.

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Moto Z2 Force review: A modular phone with very few tricks

Thu, 2017-09-07 08:00

Motorola is back with another modular smartphone—the Moto Z2 Force—proving it’s not going to be deterred by death of Project Ara (Google’s experimental take on modular phones), or LG’s decision to walk away from modularity in its transition from the G5 to the G6

This leaves Motorola sitting alone on an island. So what’s going on? Are phones with snap-on accessories like 360-degree cameras, battery packs and game controllers just too weird? Motorola doesn’t think so, and remains our only hope if the modular dream is to survive, let alone thrive. Motorola is investing in an ecosystem of things, and if you want to play with these things, you’re going to need a compatible phone. And now the Z2 Force is the best modular host phone in the company’s line-up.

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Dell's Visor is a gorgeous VR headset, but Windows Mixed Reality still needs polish

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:30

For nearly three years now, virtual reality on the PC has been a two-company game. Oculus and HTC, the Rift and the Vive. Sure, we’ve had others come and go—Razer’s OSVR headset, for instance. But in general, it’s been a two-headset market.

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Best PDF editors of 2017: Reviewed and rated

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:05

Though it’s nearly 25 years old, the PDF may be more useful than ever in our increasingly multi-device, cross-platform world. Much of the time you can get by with a free PDF reader to review and comment on these files. But inevitably, particularly in a business setting, you’ll need edit a PDF file and that usually requires upgrading to a premium PDF editor.

Historically, Adobe Acrobat has been the best option, but it has also been the most expensive, often putting it out of reach of individuals and small businesses. That has given rise to a wealth of alternatives with varying features and costs. We looked at six PDF editors to see what they offer and how they stack up against each other.

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Build the ultimate Chromecast remote with an old Android phone

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00
Chromecast doesn’t come with a dedicated remote control, but you can easily make your own with these tips.

Qoppa PDF Studio Pro 12 review: Capable editor hampered by a quirky interface

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00

PDF Studio Pro 12 comes close to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Nuance Power PDF Advanced in the depth of features it offers. It lacks the modern polish of those two programs, though, and has a few peccadilloes that may not make it your first choice of PDF editor.

PDF Studio Pro looks a little dated compared to the other products in our guide. There’s no tabbed interface, just a single icon-heavy toolbar that isn’t very intuitive. Tabbing through the standard drop-down menus was a far easier way to navigate the program’s many functions.

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iSkysoft PDF Editor 6 Professional review: A low-cost, cross-platform editor

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00

When it comes to editing PDFs on a Mac, there aren’t many robust options outside of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. But one of the best cross-platform options—and least expensive—is iSkySoft’s PDF Editor 6.

PDF Editor 6 Professional has a straightforward split-pane interface, with a tool bar running along the top containing basic functions for navigating, editing, organizing, reviewing, converting, and protecting your PDFs. Clicking on any one of these reveals a submenu of related tools. The left pane, which allows you to navigate recent PDF files or pages within a single PDF can be hidden to expand the main pane.

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Nitro Pro 11 review: A worthy Acrobat alternative

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00

One of the best-known PDF editors not named Acrobat, Nitro Pro continues to give that popular tool a run for its money.

In Nitro Pro 11, you’ll find everything you need in a business-ready PDF editor: a full slate of content editing tools, review and markup features to maintain version control when collaborating, form fill and signing capability, and security options including permissions, password protection, and data redaction. Nitro Pro 11 doesn’t support as many files formats as Acrobat Pro DC, but it can handle the most important ones, creating PDFs directly from Microsoft Office via toolbar integration and exporting PDFs into Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It can also convert email messages, attachments, and folders to PDF with its Microsoft Outlook plugin.

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Nuance Power PDF Advanced review: Feature-rich PDF editor, appealing Acrobat alternative

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00

Nuance Power PDF has long been a popular alternative to Adobe Acrobat thanks to its comparable feature set and significantly lower cost. A recent cosmetic makeover only boosts its appeal.

Like Nitro Pro and Foxit PhantomPDF, Power PDF now uses the popular Microsoft Office-style ribbon interface, making it easy to find what you need without having to search through nested menus. Everything is laid out intuitively, but should you be unable to locate a feature, a “Find a Tool” search capability is always available in the upper-right corner and it works well.

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Foxit PhantomPDF Business 8 review: A flexible and affordable PDF editor

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00

While it may not have the high profile of Adobe Acrobat or Nitro Pro, Foxit’s Phantom PDF has proven itself a worth competitor. PhantomPDF Business 8 contains all the functionality professional users need with a bit of price savings to boot.

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Adobe Acrobat Pro DC review: Still the standard

Thu, 2017-09-07 06:00

Adobe created the PDF two decades ago and its PDF editor has remained the kingpin of the category, despite what many users felt was its exorbitant price. But a couple of years back, Acrobat adopted a cloud subscription model that now makes it more affordable for folks without an enterprise budget.

Acrobat Pro DC is composed of three components: Acrobat DC, which allows you to perform a variety of editing functions on your PDFs on desktop and mobile devices; Adobe Document Cloud, which lets you create and export PDF files, as well as store and send files and collect electronic signatures; and Acrobat Reader DC which enables you to read, print, and sign PDFs.

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It's football season! These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun to watch

Wed, 2017-09-06 20:46
Bringing you everything from stats to game-time snacks, these apps are as indispensable as your TV remote.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper: Everything we know so far about this monster CPU

Wed, 2017-09-06 19:18

Updated September 6, 2017 with retail pricing, benchmarks, and comparison to Intel's Core i9 Skylake X.

Like its Ryzen sibling, AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper CPU is a game-changing chip that offers consumers performance never attainable before. For example, slam down a thousand bucks in 2013, and the best you could get in a consumer CPU was a 6-core Core i7-4960X. With AMD’s Threadripper, a $1,000 investment gets you a 16-core CPU.

Today, Ryzen Threadripper basically stands as the pinnacle of consumer CPUs for high-end users. Here’s what you need to know.

IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

AMD’s busted out Threadripper at Computex.

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How to tell which iPad model you have

Wed, 2017-09-06 16:43

Updated September 6, 2017 to reflect the latest iPad models. 

You might think you know which iPad you have. The new one. The big one. The rose gold one. The mini. But when you need to know exactly which model you have, or better yet, which generation, it can get a little trickier.

You don't have to be an Apple Store Genius to figure it out, though you do have to know where to look... and what to look for. iPads aren't as easily distinguishable as iPhones are, so even if you know the size, we can help you tell whether it's an iPad, iPad Air, or iPad Pro.

How to find your iPad model number

In addition to the marketing names that we all know so well, all iPads have a model number. Two of them, actually. The first one is on the device itself. If you flip over your iPad, you'll see a bunch of tiny writing below the word "iPad." That's where you'll find the model number.

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Corsair's Gaming M65 Pro mouse is $40 today

Wed, 2017-09-06 16:25

If you've had your eye on a RGB gaming mouse, you're in luck: Amazon has dropped the price of the Corsair Gaming M65 Pro to $45. That's not quite the lowest we've ever seen ($35), but it comes pretty close—and this time, the sale allows you to nab the white version at a discount. The deal lasts until just before midnight Pacific Time on Wednesday.

The Gaming M65 Pro features backlit RGB LED lighting, a 12,000 DPI sensor, and an aluminum frame. It also comes with eight "strategically placed" buttons that include a "sniper button" on the side of the device, as well as a rubberized scroll wheel with a metallic core that's supposed to offer greater comfort and precision. There are also adjustable components to change the mouse's center of gravity to your liking. Overall, this model is popular and highly regarded by users on Amazon.

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Panasonic promises its Google smart speaker will deliver high-quality sound

Wed, 2017-09-06 14:51
This Google Home clone features larger drivers, which Panasonic says will provide better sound.