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How to find out if your Mac’s software is 32- or 64-bit

Mac World - Thu, 2019-05-09 06:00

One of the major announcements (among many) at Apple’s 2018 WWDC was that macOS 10.14 Mojave, the current version of the Mac operating system, is the last version that supports 32-bit software. With macOS 10.15, only 64-bit software will be supported.

The clock is ticking. We’ll probably see macOS 10.15 this fall, after it’s previewed at WWDC this June. If you decide to upgrade to the new macOS, you need to do a bit more than usual to prepare your Mac—you need to make sure your apps are 64-bit versions. If your app is a 32-bit version, it will not work.

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Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL vs Pixel 3 and 3 XL: Half as good or twice as nice?

PC World - Thu, 2019-05-09 06:00

For the first time ever, the choice between buying a Pixel is more than just the big one or the small one. At its I/O Developer's Conference Tuesday, Google took the wraps off the Pixel 3a, a brand new entry to the Pixel line that costs half as much as its older sibling. But how much are you really giving up when you opt for the cheaper model? Let's break it down:

Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 3: Design

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a external designs are similar in many ways, including size. The Pixel 3a is slightly larger all around:

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The Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL are already priced to move, but here's how to get them even cheaper

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 17:44

Google's Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were only just announced Tuesday at the company's I/O developer conference, but you can already get the affordable versions of the premium Pixel 3 phones at a discount. 

We scoured the web and found juicy deals at the Google Store, Best Buy, and B&H. You can also find decent sales through two of the three major carriers that have partnered with Google (Verizon and T-Mobile, but not Sprint), but they're not as consumer-friendly. We've still listed them in case they're your only option.

Given that Google already shaved down the price for a Pixel 3a to $399 by taking the Pixel 3 and swapping in plastic for glass, a mid-tier processor, and a smaller storage capacity, it's surprising you can get them for even less. But there's no need to question these promotions—it's best to just hop on one of them now.

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Intel commits to shipping 7nm chips by 2021, an aggressive change of pace

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 17:04

While Intel is struggling to push out Intel Core processors fabricated on 10nm processes into production, the company dropped a bombshell on Wednesday: Executives began talking about manufacturing 7nm chips in 2021.

During the company’s investor meeting on Wednesday, newly appointed chief executive Bob Swan said that the company has begun planning for the 7nm manufacturing generation as part of a strategy to regain manufacturing process leadership. At the end of the day, though, Swan said that “product leadership is going to trump all,” not process leadership.

That’s an unusual statement to make from an executive leading a chipmaker that has depended on manufacturing leadership for literally decades. In fact, Swan seemed prepared to set aside precedent for a more practical approach. Instead of an “Intel Inside” predicated on CPUs, Swan said that Intel’s market opportunity was now far larger, and predicated on an “XPU” strategy that could include CPUs, GPUs, programmable logic like FPGAs, and even 5G chips.

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Microsoft revives PowerToys with open-source tools for Windows 10 power users

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 15:51

Microsoft’s newfound infatuation with open-source projects is spawning an unexpected love child that might just bring a tear to the eyes of PC veterans. PowerToys, a collection of power-user tools for enthusiasts from the Windows 95 through XP era, will return this summer in preview form with a pair of Windows 10 utilities, with many more projects being put forward for consideration.

You’ll find the modern PowerToys suite hosted on GitHub, as The Verge spotted this morning. The pair of projects kicking off the endeavor look mighty helpful indeed.

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Naim’s ups its high-end music-streaming game with the Mu-so 2nd Generation

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 14:00
There’s nothing so-so about Naim Audio’s Mu-so 2nd Generation, now on display at the High End audio show in Munich.

Naim’s ups its high-end music-streaming game with the Mu-so 2nd Generation

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-08 14:00
There’s nothing so-so about Naim Audio’s Mu-so 2nd Generation, now on display at the High End audio show in Munich.

Save big on Anker's popular chargers and accessories in Woot's today-only blowout sale

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 11:40

Anker’s accessories have been popular affordable picks for a while now, but today only, you can grab some for even cheaper in Woot’s Anker blowout. From power strips to mini projectors and everything in between, the sale features some fun and functional tech gear at some pretty great prices. Before it ends at midnight central time, let’s take a look at some of the more enticing deals.

A fast Anker Qi wireless charging stand is $42 today, down from a list price of $56. This stand’s angled for easy screen viewing while your phone’s charging. A non-slip coating keeps your phone in place, while an internal cooling fan helps keep the power coming without overheating. The wireless charging itself should also work through most cases. This charging stand is a hit on Amazon, averaging 4.3 stars out of 5 across more than 700 user reviews.

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Save big on Anker's popular chargers and accessories in Woot's today-only blowout sale

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-08 11:40

Anker’s accessories have been popular affordable picks for a while now, but today only, you can grab some for even cheaper in Woot’s Anker blowout. From power strips to mini projectors and everything in between, the sale features some fun and functional tech gear at some pretty great prices. Before it ends at midnight central time, let’s take a look at some of the more enticing deals.

A fast Anker Qi wireless charging stand is $42 today, down from a list price of $56. This stand’s angled for easy screen viewing while your phone’s charging. A non-slip coating keeps your phone in place, while an internal cooling fan helps keep the power coming without overheating. The wireless charging itself should also work through most cases. This charging stand is a hit on Amazon, averaging 4.3 stars out of 5 across more than 700 user reviews.

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B&H is having one of the first big sales for the new Mac mini

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-08 11:22

The new Mac mini hasn’t seen many deals since it dropped last October, but today B&H Photo is bucking that trend by offering anywhere from $50 to $200 offRemove non-product link various configurations. Considering the prices of some of these things, these discounts kind of strike me as “mini” deals, but they’re nonetheless remarkable considering how rarely we see deals for the mini in the first place.

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Logitech G502 Lightspeed review: The iconic mouse meets Logitech's wireless Powerplay tech

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 11:00

For nearly two years, every meeting I had with Logitech ended the same way: “So uh, any news on a wireless G502?” and for nearly two years the answer to my question was no. It was only a matter of time though. After all, you don’t pivot your focus to wireless mice and leave your best-selling wired model behind.

Well, the day’s finally here and the answer was finally “Yes, we do have something to share.” Today, Logitech officially unveils the G502 Lightspeed. I’ve had one sitting on my desk for about a week now, and I’ll tell you this: It’s going to stay for a while.

Cutting the cord

The Logitech G502 Lightspeed looks exactly like its predecessors except, you know, it doesn’t have a cable. And that’s exactly how it should be, yeah? Never mind the fact that, as Logitech told me last week, nearly every single component’s needed to be redesigned to make the transition from wired to wireless. The end user doesn’t care about that. Pay no attention to the team of engineers behind the curtain. To you at home, it should seem like Logitech simply picked up an older G502 and snipped off the cable.

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Edit text and images in any PDF document for $25 with PDF Reader Pro

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-08 10:05

PDF is the ideal format for college papers, scanned pages, brochures, and more. However, PDFs are difficult to work with once saved because your Mac doesn’t come with any apps that let you edit them by default. If you work with PDFs often, you’ll inevitably find one that needs quick fixing, which is why you need to add PDF Reader Pro to your library for $24.99.

PDF Reader Pro is an app for MacOS that lets you easily edit text and images as well as annotate lines. On top of that, PDF Reader Pro includes tools that let you highlight, strikeout, and underline text for easy notetaking. Additionally, it offers additional features such as allowing you to bookmark where you left off or search for specific words or lines of text. Finally, it features night mode so that you can conserve battery life or work in dimly lit environments.

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PSA: The Pixel 3a isn’t getting the same unlimited Google Photos storage as the Pixel 3

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 09:50

During its unveiling of the Pixel 3a at its I/O Developer’s Conference Tuesday, Google highlighted several of the $399 phone’s best features: Night Sight, Call Screen, and of course, the price. But one of them had me scratching my head: Free unlimited storage in high quality with Google Photos. It was spotlighted on the main stage and also earns a spot on the Pixel 3a overview page. But make sure you read the fine print.

It might sound good, but note the promise is for storage of high quality, and not original quality. In fact, every person with a Google account who downloads the Photos phone app gets high-quality storage—even iPhones. The upshot is the 3a doesn't share the same Photos policy as the more expensive Pixel 3. Just check out this Google Photos support page if you don’t believe me. As Google states, high-quality backups are a benefit of singing up for a Google Account and downloading the Google Photos app:

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Save the bees: Policy brief examines ways to help Niagara’s bee population

Brock News - Wed, 2019-05-08 09:42

MEDIA RELEASE: 7 May 2019 – R00078

In the world of bee conservation, messy is beautiful. A slightly overgrown lawn, a garden with flowers native to the area, patches of soil, and scatterings of twigs and leaves are pure paradise for these tiny creatures.

“The recipe for bees is surprisingly straightforward — provide flowers and nesting habitat, avoid pesticide use and like magic, bees appear and thrive,” Brock University Professor of Biology Miriam Richards says in her policy brief “Promoting Pollinators: Niagara Bees and How to Help Them.”

The brief is the latest to come out of Brock’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO), and was presented in front of a packed house at the University on Tuesday, May 7.

Bee populations have been declining in Niagara, mainly because the places where they lived have been paved over or built upon.

“Every field that is converted to a new housing development results in the death of thousands of bees and myriad other small creatures,” Richards says in the brief.

The good news is that even small-scale efforts to create habitats and food sources for bees helps.

Richards recommends a number of measures people can take at the household and societal level, including:

  • Grow vegetables such as squash and pumpkin that produce flowers
  • Plan gardens so there’s always some flowers in bloom
  • Leave patches of open soil, twigs and leaves in the garden so bees can nest and survive through the winter
  • Integrate some low-growing flowers, such as clover, into lawns
  • Plant gardens around government buildings with flowers and plants that attract bees
  • Enable local governments to limit the size of mall and business parking lots to provide more ground for bees

Healthy, wild bee populations are crucial for the ecosystem. Bees are known as pollinators, which are animals that move from blossom to blossom collecting pollen and redistributing it.

That pollen, in turn, fertilizes an ovum in the blossom, enabling the plant to produce seeds and fruits.

Richards makes an important distinction between wild bees and honey bees, which were brought to North America during the time of colonialism to make honey for the colonists.

“Honey bees are a non-native species that competes with wild bees for access to pollen and nectar resources,” says Richards. “In fact, honey bees are implicated in declines of wild bees, because they compete with wild bees for pollen and nectar resources and may also spread diseases to which wild bees are susceptible.”

There are 800 species of bees in Canada and some 20,000 globally. Niagara has 150 species.

The largest bee population in Niagara is sweat bees, known for licking human perspiration. Other major species in Niagara include bumble bees, carpenter bees, mining bees and masked or yellow-faced bees.

Wild bee populations have been declining worldwide. In addition to habitat loss, the other major cause is poisoning from insecticides.

Richards’ Brock Bee Lab has been monitoring bee populations at the Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site in St. Catharines since 2003 to record the impact of such conservation efforts on bee populations. She and her team have produced a number of studies on the subject.

In a recent video, Richards addresses the question: Why do bees live in groups?

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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This PowerColor Radeon RX 570 with two free games for $120 is a ludicrously good deal

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 09:31

If you've been waiting to update your gaming rig, it's a killer time to snag Radeon graphics card, thanks to deep and frequent price drops as well as AMD’s offer of two free games to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. Case in point: Newegg is selling the PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX 570 for $120Remove non-product link with the checkout code EMCTATC52. If Newegg runs out, Amazon also has it for $10 more. Newegg’s sale price runs until Monday.

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Lenovo puts AMD Ryzen chips in ThinkPads, giving Intel's rival a boost

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 09:00

After a mostly lackluster showing in laptops, AMD’s APUs just bagged a really big win: ThinkPad. On Wednesday, Lenovo said it will introduce a new line of T and X-series laptops featuring the Ryzen Pro lineup.

Lenovo said the 14-inch T495  as well the 14-inch T495S will both feature up to AMD’s quad-core Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U chip. The Ryzen 7 Pro 3700U  is built on a 12nm process and features four cores with symmetrical multi-threading as well as 10 Radeon Vega graphics cores. The chip is rated to dissipate up to 15 watts of thermals and has a base clock of 2.3GHz and 4GHz boost frequencies.

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What to do if your Mac’s hard drive starts unmounting itself unexpectedly

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-08 08:00

When you mount a drive in the Finder, you expect it to stay there. If you’ve found that your previously reliable external hard disk drive or SSD starts ejecting itself, trouble is obviously afoot.

Apple

The message “Disk Not Ejected Properly” usually appears when you unplug a cable or disconnect power to a drive without making sure the disk has unmounted from the Finder after selecting it and choosing File > Eject [Name] or clicking the Eject icon next to its name in the sidebar.

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Why the Mac won’t end up locked down like iOS

Mac World - Wed, 2019-05-08 07:00

As macOS and iOS keep getting closer in terms of functionality (including low-level fundamentals and a shared software platform), I hear a lot of fear from Mac users who are concerned that the Mac is in danger of becoming a locked-down platform that will lose a lot of the capabilities that advanced users have come to expect from their devices.

The security philosophy Apple has nurtured over the past decade as it has built iOS is one that’s based on strictly limiting what third-party software can do, in turn limiting what users are able to do. But I’m optimistic that Apple isn’t planning on barring Mac power users from some of the best things about using a Mac, and there are many ways Apple can create a fundamentally more secure platform without destroying its appeal.

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Ecovacs Winbot X review: This robot window cleaner is novel, but not entirely practical

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 06:00
It's a capable cleaner, but its expensive and demands a lot of attention.

With the 3a, the Google Pixel is finally what it should be: a platform, not a phone

PC World - Wed, 2019-05-08 06:00

Ever since its 2016 debut, the Pixel phone has always deserved better: better design, better camera hardware, better carrier support, better price. Instead, what we got was an expensive phone that would have been long forgotten if not for the ‘G’ stamped on the back.

But despite its high price tag, the Google stamp of approval has come to be synonymous with a phone that delivers on the things that matter. It might not have the glamour of a Galaxy or the instant appeal of an iPhone, but the Pixels are still considered among the finest phones on the market, mainly for three reasons: Assistant, Android, and computational photography. 

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Even in plastic, the “frosted” Pixel 3a cuts a striking pose.

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