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Updated: 19 min 50 sec ago

Amazon's today-only TP-Link blowout includes killer deals on routers, smart home gear, and more

Wed, 2019-04-03 09:56

Whether you need a new router or want to make your home a touch smarter, today’s a good day to head over to Amazon. The online retailer is throwing a huge one-day sale on TP-Link productsRemove non-product link, including routers, no-hub smart home devices, Wi-Fi extenders, mesh Wi-Fi systems, and other networking gear like switches and powerline ethernet adapters. The sale ends just before midnight Wednesday evening Pacific time.

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Best Fitbit: We help you choose the right one for your lifestyle

Wed, 2019-04-03 08:15
What is the best Fitbit? Our guide will help you find the one that best matches your activity level and habits, without spending more than you need.

Fitbit Versa Lite review: Lower cost with little sacrifice

Wed, 2019-04-03 08:00
The Versa Lite is a low-cost version of Fitbit’s most affordable smartwatch, but there’s nothing cut-rate about it.

How Excel creates barcodes

Wed, 2019-04-03 06:30

Can Excel create barcodes? Yes, and it’s as easy as downloading the correct fonts. You don’t have to purchase any of those barcode software programs that you can find online unless you need a more unusual kind of code, such as an ISBN or a postal code. Free fonts are available for most of the common barcodes, and fee-based fonts are available for the others (at reasonable prices).

There are also many sites that generate barcodes for you, which cost nothing (although some do ask for donations). My favorites include: Online Barcode Generator, which offers (believe it or not) 102 different barcode types, Free Barcode Generator (with 99 different types), and Barcode (with 67 different types). Bet you didn’t know there were so many different barcodes.

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Panasonic DP-UB9000 Ultra HD Blu-ray player review: Here’s one manufacturer that’s not bailing on Blu-ray

Wed, 2019-04-03 06:00
Streaming offers instant gratification, but only a high-end Blu-ray player like this can reveal just incredible your 4K TV can look.

Lenovo ThinkPad L390 Yoga review: A chunky convertible business laptop that almost has it all

Wed, 2019-04-03 06:00

Lenovo’s ThinkPad L390 Yoga is in many ways the quintessential work laptop. It’s chunkier than many other thin-and-light laptops in its price range, but it also packs a lot of enterprise-friendly features, such as temperature and shock resistance and a variety of connection ports.

At the same time, the L390 Yoga has some nice touches to help it stand out from the enterprise pack, most notably a keyboard that feels great to type on and one of the best clicking mechanisms you’ll find on any trackpad today. If you’re not planning to do much work outside—and can therefore tolerate the L390 Yoga’s limited screen brightness—this might be your next workhorse.

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Remo+ RemoBell S video doorbell review: This one’s priced to sell, but the app needs a lot of work

Wed, 2019-04-03 06:00
You can buy this modern doorbell cam for the same price as the comparatively ancient original Ring, but should you?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale mode Blackout is free to play throughout April

Tue, 2019-04-02 15:54

Poor Blackout. For a brief period last year I thought Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode was going to take off. Blackout looked like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds but played like Call of Duty—a perfect combination, I thought, for those who wanted a more grounded battle royale experience without all of PUBG’s jank.

And then Apex Legends happened. Respawn’s battle royale folded in many of the same improvements as Blackout—more mobility, snappier shootings, better inventory management. Oh, and it was free. Turns out, it’s a lot easier to build and retain an audience when your game’s not behind a paywall, and while Apex Legends undoubtedly stole players from Fortnite and PUBG, it was Blackout’s distant third-place position that really seemed to be cannibalized overnight.

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Best smart thermostat: Reviews and buying advice

Tue, 2019-04-02 14:57
There are so many smart thermostats to choose from today. We'll help you pick the right one.

Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice

Tue, 2019-04-02 14:38

Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way. Just look at the critiques of notable computer security experts and online pundits to understand the challenge.

(Want to know more about VPNs and what they can and can’t do? Skip down to our “What is a VPN?” section below.)

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Microsoft has closed its e-bookstore, and everything you purchased will vanish in July

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:51

Microsoft has shuttered its ebook bookstore, yet another move by the company away from selling traditional consumer goods and services, with the exception of its Xbox console.

Microsoft made its decision without fanfare on Tuesday, simply posting a notice in the corner of the Microsoft Store app and removing the “Books” tab. Microsoft’s notice now leads to a support page and FAQ where Microsoft posted the answers to the questions consumers want to know: namely, what will happen to my books? 

The answer, simply put, is that they’ll disappear entirely sometime around July 2019, and you’ll be given a full refund. If you ordered or rented an ebook before today, your order will be cancelled and refunded. Free ebooks downloaded via the Microsoft Store app will also disappear, and they won’t be available after July, either. 

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Verizon’s dubious new Just Kids plan is a terrible deal for you and your kids

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:21

Anyone with a child under the age of 13 knows how tricky it can be to limit screen time. Whether we’re on a 3-hour car ride or in a long checkout line, the only sure-fire way to keep my kid quiet and calm is to pass him my iPhone or Galaxy phone to watch a few YouTube vids or play a round of Fruit Ninja.

But while many parents would balk at getting their kids their own phone before they’re old enough to cross the street on their own, Verizon thinks that’s just the solution to your problems. Rather than tie up your own phone in times of needs, Verizon wants you to consider calling a “ technology truce” by letting your tween text, call, and tweet at their leisure with their own phone plan.

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Control and manage your dumb appliances with a 3-pack of TP-Link smart plugs for just $34

Tue, 2019-04-02 11:49

Adding some smarts to even dumb devices can be as easy as connecting them to a smart plug. And today, you can grab a trio of those brain enhancers for a pretty sweet deal. A three-pack of TP-Link’s HS100 smart plugs is $34 on NeweggRemove non-product link, down from a list price of $50.97.

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Upgrade your PC with a powerful 8-core AMD Ryzen CPU and an overclock-ready motherboard for $290

Tue, 2019-04-02 09:50

Newegg’s offering a juicy discount on PC parts that can serve of the heart of a computer built for productivity or playtime. The online retailer is selling the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 2700 processor with MSI’s B450-A Pro motherboard for $290Remove non-product link. That’s about $50 off what you’d pay without this deal right now, and less than the cost of the CPU alone when it launched last year.

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House of Marley Exodus headphone review: Sustainably sourced, sweet-sounding headphones

Tue, 2019-04-02 09:00
The Exodus proves that you don't need to sacrifice sweet sound for mindfully sourced and sustainably built headphones

15 instant improvements to your Samsung Galaxy S10 or Note9

Tue, 2019-04-02 06:50

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Note9 are sort of like the Las Vegas of smartphones. Compared to the simple and understated approach of, say, an iPhone or Google Pixel 3, Samsung bombards you with settings to tweak and features to try. Much like a walk down the strip at night, this approach can feel overwhelming.

You can tone down the gaudiest features and tune others to suit your needs better. Here are 15 instant improvements you can make to a new Samsung phone:

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Sinopé TH1120RF programmable line-voltage thermostat review: A smarter way to control baseboard heaters

Tue, 2019-04-02 06:00
It doesn’t offer the panache of a Nest or the sensor-savvy of an Ecobee, but those smart thermostats don’t work with high-voltage heaters anyway.

Webroot WiFi Security review: A white label VPN with a dash of homegrown security

Tue, 2019-04-02 06:00
Webroot WiFi Security in brief:
  • P2P allowed: No
  • Business location: United States
  • Number of servers: 500+
  • Number of country locations: 32
  • Monthly cost: $40 billed annually for 3 devices, or $60 for 5
  • VPN protocol: IKEv2 (default)
  • Data encryption: AES-256
  • Data authentication: SHA-256
  • Handshake encryption: 2048-bit

We rarely review VPNs that use a white label service, because what’s the point? If it’s just the same as a service we’ve already reviewed with another name slapped on it, there’s little reason to revisit it. We’re making an exception today by taking a look at Webroot’s WiFi Security, which is based on an enterprise product called Perimeter 81 from Tel Aviv-based SaferVPN.

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Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords

Mon, 2019-04-01 17:30
Truly wireless earbuds let you ditch all cables in our post-headphone jack world, but like with anything else, their quality varies. Our top picks offer great audio without sacrificing battery life or comfort.

Best headphones: Our top picks for personal listening

Mon, 2019-04-01 14:54
Whether you're looking for an over-the-ear, on-ear, or in-ear model, we'll help you find the perfect pair.