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Astell&Kern AK XB10 Bluetooth DAC and amp review: Wireless, hi-res audio for any headphones

Mac World - Tue, 2017-09-05 07:30
You don't need new headphones to benefit from Qualcomm's aptX HD codec.

Astell&Kern AK XB10 Bluetooth DAC and amp review: Wireless, hi-res audio for any headphones

PC World - Tue, 2017-09-05 07:30
You don't need new headphones to benefit from Qualcomm's aptX HD codec.

People in Glass houses: Throwing stones at the Apple Watch

Mac World - Tue, 2017-09-05 07:00

It is handy that in the world of technology there are many prior examples that one can look to when evaluating the state of a particular set of products. It should be noted, however, that even this most mundane of powers can be twisted into something so bizarre is it almost unrecognizable as an attempt at our Earthly logic.

Writing for Computerworld, Mike Elgan explains “Why smartwatches failed.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Glen T and Chuck Savadelis.)

Oh. Did “smartwatches” fail? Well, all the smartwatches that weren’t made by Apple, maybe. But the Apple Watch?

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The 10 iPhone and iPad games you need to play from August 2017

Mac World - Tue, 2017-09-05 06:30
August's iOS games

Image by TinyTouchTales

With loads of new games flooding the App Store each and every week, it’s hard to keep track of fresh releases—and especially tricky to try and find the good ones in the mix. Luckily, we keep close tabs on the latest and greatest iPhone and iPad games, week in and week out, and we’re happy to point out the biggest and brightest debuts from the last month. 

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Why continuous backups on your Mac are a good idea

Mac World - Tue, 2017-09-05 06:00

A Macworld reader has concerns that continuous or frequently made automatic backups would impede performance on their computer. They want to only initiate backups manually. I’d argue this is a bad idea.

Continuous backups that archive a file whenever changes are made or frequent backups, such as software that checks at a fast interval, like 15 or 60 minutes, ensure that you lose the least amount of work possible, and have a position to revert to in case of deletion or corruption. I use Dropbox plus Backblaze: Dropbox makes new versions of files, recording just the difference between the previous version, every time you save or the file is modified. Backblaze defaults to continuous, though you can set it to daily or on demand.

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MacBook Pro Thunderbolt 3 adapter guide: How to connect an iPhone, display, hard drive, and more

Mac World - Mon, 2017-09-04 10:48

Editor's note: We've updated the HDMI and MagSafe sections of this article.

The new MacBook Pro comes with two or four external ports, depending on the model you pick. But those ports are only of one type: Thunderbolt 3, which is compatible with USB-C.

But you probably have devices that use USB-A, Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2, DisplayPort, HDMI, or something else. How do you connect these devices? With an adapter.

If you’re planning to buy a new MacBook Pro, make sure you set aside a considerable amount of cash for the adapters you need. Apple doesn’t include any in the box, except for a power adapter.

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Echogear Outlet Shelf review: A brilliant, if not always practical, shelving idea

PC World - Mon, 2017-09-04 07:00
You’re plugging stuff in that outlet, so why not make use of the space around it?

Nonda USB-C HDMI review: Foldable adapter offers a well-made travel option

PC World - Mon, 2017-09-04 07:00
If you need to carry a USB-C adapter for HDMI output, Nonda’s foldable one is the best.

Echogear Outlet Shelf review: A brilliant, if not always practical, shelving idea

Mac World - Mon, 2017-09-04 07:00
You’re plugging stuff in that outlet, so why not make use of the space around it?

Nonda USB-C HDMI review: Foldable adapter offers a well-made travel option

Mac World - Mon, 2017-09-04 07:00

It’s a little thing, but not having a USB-C to HDMI connector on a laptop becomes a big deal when you need to plug into a monitor or projector. Fortunately, a little thing can help: the Nonda USB-C to HDMI Adapter ($23 on Amazon) is compact and foldable, robust, and functional.

Nando

Like many other HDMI adapters for USB-C ports, the Nonda translates DisplayPort video data at up to 4K (4096 by 2160 pixels) and up to 60 frames per second (fps). Where it’s unique is that it has a durable braided cable that wraps around the HDMI adapter portion, fitting snugly into a channel that also holds the USB-C jack’s head. This keeps the cable and adapter well protected while it bangs around in a bag.

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Best mouse pads for gaming or business

PC World - Mon, 2017-09-04 06:30

A great mouse mat is a must for gamers, reducing wear on wrists during hours of intensive play. Many modern ones use chemical coatings or specially engineered surfaces to improve sensor accuracy or reduce drag—a boon if you’re doing repetitive motion that requires high accuracy.

(Don't mistake mouse mats for the smaller mouse pads, once an absolute necessity in the era of mechanical mice. Because optical and laser mice can work on so many different kinds of surfaces, the humble mouse pad has largely disappeared.) 

Plenty of mouse mat manufacturers exist, but few provide clarity or consistency in describing their products. For example, most don’t report how much friction you’ll encounter when using their mats with the most popular mice. To help you find the best mouse mat for your needs, we’ve tested several from a few different companies that represent a range of surface types (metal, plastic, or cloth) and usage cases (business or gaming).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Best mouse pads for gaming or business

PC World - Mon, 2017-09-04 06:30

A great mouse mat is a must for gamers, reducing wear on wrists during hours of intensive play. Many modern ones use chemical coatings or specially engineered surfaces to improve sensor accuracy or reduce drag—a boon if you’re doing repetitive motion that requires high accuracy.

(Don't mistake mouse mats for the smaller mouse pads, once an absolute necessity in the era of mechanical mice. Because optical and laser mice can work on so many different kinds of surfaces, the humble mouse pad has largely disappeared.) 

Plenty of mouse mat manufacturers exist, but few provide clarity or consistency in describing their products. For example, most don’t report how much friction you’ll encounter when using their mats with the most popular mice. To help you find the best mouse mat for your needs, we’ve tested several from a few different companies that represent a range of surface types (metal, plastic, or cloth) and usage cases (business or gaming).

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Yamaha YAS-107 soundbar review: This speaker delivers plenty of bang for the buck

PC World - Mon, 2017-09-04 06:00
Highly intelligible dialog and great overall performance make Yamaha's sound bar a top performer in its price class.

Yamaha YAS-107 soundbar review: This speaker delivers plenty of bang for the buck

Mac World - Mon, 2017-09-04 06:00
Highly intelligible dialog and great overall performance make Yamaha's sound bar a top performer in its price class.

Agents of Mayhem review: Not-so-super heroes

PC World - Sat, 2017-09-02 07:00

Saint’s Row’s Achilles heel was always combat. It hid this fact by peppering each game with a handful of absurd weapons, from a recliner that fired missiles to the Dubstep gun to the iconic purple dildo bat—still the weapon I most associate with the series.

But even armaments that creative couldn’t hide the fact that combat was often a by-the-book affair. Enemies were brainless, and each encounter involved simply trying to get through it as fast as possible without dying. It’s telling that most of the memorable moments in Saint’s Row had nothing to do with combat, be it the Tron-esque “Deckers Die” mission, singing Biz Markie in a car with your friends, or an Aerosmith-backed rocket ride into space.

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A tale of two phones: The best of iPhones, the worst of iPhones

Mac World - Sat, 2017-09-02 07:00

The further you read into a piece, it becomes clear how the iPhone 8 exists in an bizarre quantum mechanical state a bit like Schrödinger’s cat. Up top it’s horribly overpriced and no one wants it. But once you read and understand everything, it turns out it looks like it’s going to be very successful.

Writing for Fortune, Don Reisinger explains to us in no uncertain terms “Why Apple’s Next iPhone Could Be an Expensive Problem.”

The page title for this piece is “Apple iPhone 8: Rumors of $1,000 Price Tag Rattles [sic] Buyers”.

Nobody wants a thousand dollar phone! Besides, Apple will not be able to make enough to keep up with demand.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Agents of Mayhem review: Not-so-super heroes

PC World - Sat, 2017-09-02 07:00

Saint’s Row’s Achilles heel was always combat. It hid this fact by peppering each game with a handful of absurd weapons, from a recliner that fired missiles to the Dubstep gun to the iconic purple dildo bat—still the weapon I most associate with the series.

But even armaments that creative couldn’t hide the fact that combat was often a by-the-book affair. Enemies were brainless, and each encounter involved simply trying to get through it as fast as possible without dying. It’s telling that most of the memorable moments in Saint’s Row had nothing to do with combat, be it the Tron-esque “Deckers Die” mission, singing Biz Markie in a car with your friends, or an Aerosmith-backed rocket ride into space.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Best gaming keyboards of 2017: Our picks for the top budget, mid-tier, and RGB boards

PC World - Fri, 2017-09-01 16:31

Choosing a gaming keyboard is a matter of personal taste. One person could be into Cherry Browns and white backlighting. Another might favor Razer Greens and a rippling RGB glow. Gigantic wrist pads, compact shapes, numeric keypads, macro keys, volume controls—a plethora of keyboards exists because everyone wants a different mix of features.

To help you sort through the many options, we’ve sifted through the latest and greatest planks to come up with our top recommendations. All of these are mechanical keyboards, and for good reason—they’re simply more comfortable to use over the long haul. But we’re open-minded, so if we encounter an alternative that works well, you may see it appear on this list. We’ll keep updating it periodically as we test new keyboards.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Best gaming keyboards of 2017: Our picks for the top budget, mid-tier, and RGB boards

PC World - Fri, 2017-09-01 16:31

Choosing a gaming keyboard is a matter of personal taste. One person could be into Cherry Browns and white backlighting. Another might favor Razer Greens and a rippling RGB glow. Gigantic wrist pads, compact shapes, numeric keypads, macro keys, volume controls—a plethora of keyboards exists because everyone wants a different mix of features.

To help you sort through the many options, we’ve sifted through the latest and greatest planks to come up with our top recommendations. All of these are mechanical keyboards, and for good reason—they’re simply more comfortable to use over the long haul. But we’re open-minded, so if we encounter an alternative that works well, you may see it appear on this list. We’ll keep updating it periodically as we test new keyboards.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Amazon Alexa branches out, appearing in the Lenovo Tab 4 with Home Assistant

PC World - Fri, 2017-09-01 16:30

Amazon Alexa is breaking free of the Echo. First she made friends with Cortana, and now she's popping up in the Lenovo Tab 4, thanks to the Home Assistant accessory introduced Thursday at IFA in Berlin.

When the Home Assistant ships in October (for $70), you'll be able to dock the Tab 4 or Tab 4 Plus to it and run all Alexa functions off the tablet. The Home Assistant handles the audio portion, picking up your voice commands and responding for Alexa.

The dock adjusts to fit the 8-inch and 10-inch tablet sizes in the Tab 4 line. It also charges the tablet and can be used to play music or other audio output from your tablet. Lenovo mentions how it can turn the tablet into a clock or weather station, but it could also lend better audio to movies streaming on the tablet. 

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