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No man's land: The lack of MacBook middle ground

Mac World - Fri, 2017-12-01 06:30

Recently, in taking stock of my primary computing hardware, I noticed an interesting trend: Over the course of the last year, I’ve swapped out almost all of the devices that I use every day. I replaced a 2011 iMac with a new 2017 5K model. My iPad Air 2 got superseded by a 10.5-inch iPad Pro. And, of course, my iPhone 7 was turned in for an iPhone X.

Some of this is the nature of the job. When you write about tech, people want to know about the latest and greatest devices, and there’s not much to say if you don’t have access to those devices. But some of it is about your own usage, too. That iMac was getting too long in the tooth for some of the things that I do every day (namely podcast editing); I wanted to get an Apple Pencil, which didn’t work with the Air 2… and so on.

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Samsung HW-MS750 Sound+ soundbar review: It’s great for music, but you’ll want the optional sub for movies

PC World - Fri, 2017-12-01 06:00
Music sounds fantastic on Samsung’s flagship soundbar, but it needs more oomph for soundtracks.

Origin EVO15-S review: A portable, powerful Max-Q laptop that does everything right

PC World - Fri, 2017-12-01 06:00

Say hello to one of the most intriguing high-end incarnations of Nvidia’s new Max-Q technology.

The Origin EVO15-S is powerful and portable, delivering GeForce GTX 1070 graphics in a sleek sub-five-pound frame. That’s amazing—but it’s also true of every Max-Q gaming laptop. Origin stands out from the crowd with a superb out-of-the-box customer experience and the ability to configure the EVO15-S hardware any way you see fit, unlike the overwhelming majority of the Max-Q masses.

More importantly, you can use this gaming laptop as a laptop. The first two GTX 1080 Max-Q laptops we’ve tested, the Asus ROG Zephyrus and the Acer Predator Triton 700, suffered from dismal battery life and atrociously positioned touchpads. The more conservative GTX 1070 Max-Q in the Origin EVO15-S still won’t survive the day away from a charger, but it lasts much longer than those others, and it has a straightforward touchpad, right under the keyboard where you’d expect it.

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Samsung HW-MS750 Sound+ soundbar review: It’s great for music, but you’ll want the optional sub for movies

Mac World - Fri, 2017-12-01 06:00
Music sounds fantastic on Samsung’s flagship soundbar, but it needs more oomph for soundtracks.

Which Mac should you buy?

Mac World - Fri, 2017-12-01 03:01

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re thinking about buying a new Mac and may be in need of a little guidance. Fortunately, we’re quite familiar with Apple’s Macs, and we’re happy to help you choose the right Mac for you.

Before we proceed, we should specifically address Apple’s desktop Macs. It’s been a while since the company has updated the Mac mini and Mac Pro. While our advice for each Mac model provides guidance as to which model you should buy, you might actually consider waiting to see if Apple releases a new Mac mini or Mac Pro, or consider buying an iMac.

This buying guide provides an overview of all the Mac models available, and what each model is best suited for. To get more details, you can read the full review by clicking the product name in the product boxes that have mouse ratings.

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BrandPost: Sophisticated Mac OS Malware Uses Trust and Developer Certificates

Mac World - Thu, 2017-11-30 13:32

If the ransomware incident involving the tampered Transmission app in late 2016 started something, it’s that threat actors are now getting interested in compromising Mac OS users.

Recent events involving the Proton remote access Trojan (RAT distributed through the popular Elmedia media player software) show cybercriminals are actively targeting highly popular applications – an app with more than 1 million downloads in this case – to maximize their chances of infection.

There’s no reason to assume Mac malware will fade away. If anything, we’ve learned that attackers are active in their use of popular applications to smuggle data-stealing malware. Supply chain attacks that involve compromising the app vendor’s website and replacing the legitimate app with a tampered one are now a fact, as compromising websites is usually just a matter of persistence. Finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in webpages to allow unauthorized access can be more effective than finding a zero-day vulnerability in Mac OS.

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With new EKG monitor and Heart Study app, Apple Watch could one day save your life

Mac World - Thu, 2017-11-30 13:10

We’ve all heard stories about how Apple Watch has helped people lose weight and get in shape, but two new initiatives could turn it into an essential, life-saving tool.

Back when Apple Watch Series 3 was announced in September, COO Jeff Williams talked about a new joint study with Stanford Medicine that will use Apple Watch to detect arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythms, and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib). Now Apple is ready to open it up to the public via the Apple Heart Study app.

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Google's new data-tracking app could save money on your mobile bill

PC World - Thu, 2017-11-30 08:33

Google’s newest Android app might be its most useful of all. It’s called Datally, and it has one function: to stop apps from gobbling up your precious gigabytes of data.

The simple, intuitive app is designed to help you get a handle on your mobile data usage and stop rogue apps from surreptitiously using it up. So, if you get a message from your carrier about using an abnormal amount of data, you can use Datally to pinpoint the app that’s doing the most damage and shut it down.

IDG

Data trackers have been built into Android for a while, but Datally makes it drop-dead easy to use them.

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Not this time: Apple really does screw up

Mac World - Thu, 2017-11-30 08:00

It is backwards day here at Macalope Worldwide Headquarters and our sponsor is none other than Apple, Inc.! (Disclaimer: not actually a sponsor.) Yes, the Macalope isn’t here to skewer pundits today but Apple itself. If you haven’t heard, Apple shipped High Sierra with a serious security flaw, one people are amusingly referring to as the “iamroot” vulnerability, in reference to the plant guy from the comic book movies with the guy from that show. The plant guy’s catch phrase, the Macalope believes, is “WHAAAAZZZZZUUUUUUP?!”

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14 essential tips and tricks to master the iPhone X

Mac World - Thu, 2017-11-30 07:00

You just got your shiny new iPhone X. It’s the phone of the future, today! You got it all set up and even picked up a few new iPhone X-optimized games.

Now it’s time to take your iPhone X mastery to the next level. These tips will help you work through some of the interface quirks and point out features about which you may not have known.

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How to use Word to create holiday cards and other projects

PC World - Thu, 2017-11-30 06:30

Microsoft Word may not be a full-fledged graphics program, but you can use its layout, font, text box and other features to make surprisingly good custom holiday cards—with a little clever manipulation and some creativity. You can use images or clip art from your own collection, download royalty-free images from the web, or use Shapes and Special Effects in Word to draw your own custom images. 

Note: If you’re planning to use envelopes (as opposed to a postcard-type design), note that the paper size may be determined by the size of the envelope. So, choose your envelopes first, then create your project.

Designing envelopes in Word

1. Because envelopes are generally wider than tall, open a blank Word document, and select Page Layout > Orientation > Landscape.

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The demise of net neutrality isn't the biggest threat to the cord-cutting movement

PC World - Thu, 2017-11-30 06:00
With or without net neutrality rules, the FCC handed an unfair streaming video advantage to big internet service providers like Comcast months ago.

OnePlus 5T review: A $500 mid-range phone with the heart of a $900 flagship

PC World - Thu, 2017-11-30 06:00

If the OnePlus 5T isn't a “flagship killer,” it's at least a "flagship bruiser." It’s remarkable how much phone OnePlus has managed to deliver for $500, just $20 more than the OnePlus 5. The camera might be a step below those of its premium peers, and the 1080p display isn’t as sharp as Samsung’s Quad HD ones, but the 5T is nothing less than a tremendous upgrade and value.

Where last year’s 3T was a mere spec refresh, the 5T upgrades the display, which hadn’t really changed much since the OnePlus One (other than switching from LCD to OLED). Never has a half-inch made such a huge difference. With a 6-inch, 18:9 screen instead of a 5.5-inch, 16:9 one, the OnePlus 5T looks and feels like a modern phone that should cost $800 or $900. Considering the 5T releases less than six months after the 5 (making it the third phone OnePlus has released in the past 12 months), it proves the company can make a big-screen AMOLED phone on the cheap, and do it quickly. 

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The demise of net neutrality isn't the biggest threat to the cord-cutting movement

Mac World - Thu, 2017-11-30 06:00
With or without net neutrality rules, the FCC handed an unfair streaming video advantage to big internet service providers like Comcast months ago.

The case against building an iOS laptop—and why it might happen anyway

Mac World - Thu, 2017-11-30 06:00

Last week I wrote about how Apple should make an iOS laptop, and unsurprisingly, a lot of people reacted strongly to that suggestion! The conversation made me consider where iOS needs to be improved, especially in the context of laptops, but also more broadly, whenever external input devices are connected. So let’s take another dip into the pool of speculation about where Apple is headed with iOS and the Mac and whether they’re on a collision course.

There are a lot of interesting arguments against Apple making an iOS laptop. (I’m going to call it “the iBook” as a placeholder, since I’ve been a fan of Apple re-using that name since the iPad was just a rumor.)

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The iPhone X vs. Black Friday, Apple patches the High Sierra ‘root’ bug, and your comments and questions: Macworld Podcast episode 584

Mac World - Wed, 2017-11-29 19:51

According to a recent report, Apple sold 6 million iPhone X units over Black Friday weekend—and it wasn’t even at a sale price! Plus, we talk about the latest High Sierra bug, what’s next for Face ID, and more. We also feature your comments and questions for Leah Yamshon, Michael Simon, Jason Cross, and Dan Masaoka in the Macworld Podcast, episode 584.

Here are relevant links to get more info on the stuff discussed on the show.

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BrandPost: Adware – The Most Prolific Form of Malware on macOS

Mac World - Wed, 2017-11-29 17:10

Years ago, Apple fans believed Macs were safe from malware. Now, everyone from regular users to power users to Apple itself knows that’s simply not true.

Cybercrime is on the rise, so the idea of malware increasingly targeting the mostly overlooked macOS make sense. In recent years, Apple has created a variety of security layers in a bid to strengthen the security of its desktop OS and protect its users.

With the new macOS High Sierra, encrypting your data with FileVault can keep ransomware at bay. Gatekeeper makes downloading new apps safer. And Safari, the web browser that ships with every Mac, now has intelligent mechanisms to thwart advertisers engaging in cross-site tracking.

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How to unlock your iPhone on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Virgin Mobile

Mac World - Wed, 2017-11-29 15:16

Update 11/29/17: Virgin Mobile has changed its iPhone unlocking policies.

The days of being tied to a single carrier with a locked phone for months on end are all but over. Where we once were forced into 24-month contracts with devices that were useless on any other network, nowadays your wireless carrier must unlock your phone if you request it.

Seriously, they do. It’s actually a law. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act makes it so any phone purchased after 2015 will work with any carrier, so your provider can’t keep your phone tied to their network because they feel like it. However, there are some terms and conditions that you’ll need to follow before you can pop another SIM into your phone, and of course they vary by carrier.

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HDMI 2.1 released: 10K resolution, dynamic HDR, and FreeSync-like game smoothing

PC World - Wed, 2017-11-29 10:34

The next generation of HDMI is here, and it holds some major benefits for PC gamers and media buffs alike. The HDMI 2.1 standard, released Tuesday by the HDMI Forum after being announced at CES, supports higher resolutions, new HDR features, and game-smoothing variable refresh rates, among other features.

HDMI 2.1 delivers massively more bandwidth than HDMI 2.0—a whopping 48Gb/s compared to the 18Gb/s achieved by today’s technology. That allows HDMI 2.1 to hit much higher resolutions and refresh rates.

HDMI Forum

The new spec supports 8K and even 10K resolutions, but those are better thought of as future-proofing or targeted towards commercial applications. Modern gamers will appreciate the introduction of 4K/120Hz display support, though. Today’s 4K monitors are limited to 60Hz and the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Titan XP graphics cards can already max those out in modern games. But 120Hz-plus displays are already coming in the first quarter of 2018 in the form of glorious G-Sync HDR monitors by Asus and Acer, and Nvidia’s next generation of graphics cards—hopefully due sooner than later—will presumably have the power to drive such demanding displays.

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Awesome tech gifts that cost $50 or less

PC World - Wed, 2017-11-29 08:53
Give like you give a damn

Image by Rob Schultz/IDG

When it comes to finding gifts that are cool, useful, and affordable, technology can check all those boxes. And contrary to what you might think, the audience for cool tech gifts is quite broad, with options for virtually everyone on your holiday shopping list.

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