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Google redesigns Chrome privacy settings, adds Enhanced Safe Browsing

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 15:16

Google said Tuesday that the company is redesigning some of its Google Chrome browser UI with an eye toward preserving user privacy, both in terms of the layout and what’s under the hood. The changes will be coming to the desktop version of the Chrome browser over the coming weeks.

Changes include communicating better about what data is synced with Google, and how the Chrome browser manages cookies, both in real-world browsing as well as in Incognito mode. Two other changes are being pushed out as part of the day-to-day browsing experience, including what Google calls Enhanced Safe Browsing as well as DNS over HTTPS.

Enhanced Safe Browsing may have the most profound effect on your daily experience, though the feature will essentially live in the background most of the time. Enhanced Safe Browsing checks whether webpages and downloads are safe—whether you’re browsing the web or in another Google service, such as Gmail. Google said that over the coming year this feature will be beefed up, with tailored warnings for phishing sites and file downloads, and cross-product alerts across Android and the desktop version of Chrome.

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Adobe flips on GPU-accelerated encoding for Premiere Pro, and wow it's fast

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 14:49

Content creators, start your engines. Today, Adobe officially rolled out hardware encoding support for Nvidia and AMD GPUs in Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Adobe Media Encoder, letting you lean on the power of your graphics card to speed up H.264 and HEVC video exporting. 

And when we say speed up, we mean speed up, as you can see in Adobe and Nvidia’s comparison graphs below. Nvidia says the newfound support for the NVENC hardware encoder in GeForce and Quadro GPUs can allow video editors to export videos up to five times faster than CPU rendering alone.

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Report: Apple to beef up Apple TV+ catalog with licensed content

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 13:11

A new report from Bloomberg claims that Apple is changing up its strategy for the  Apple TV+ streaming service. Until now, Apple has pitched the service as only for original content you can’t find anywhere else. Now, according to the report, the company will bolster its original series and movies with a bit of licensed content.

We recently did a six-month check-in with the service, which launched on November 1, 2019. After watching nearly everything Apple TV+ offers, we concluded that the overall quality is fine, and the price is competitive ($4.99 a month and a year free with most new Apple device purchases), but the volume of content makes it hard to justify.

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Apple’s AR glasses come into focus with rumored specs, price, and launch date

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 12:20

It’s no secret that Apple is working on a project that leverages the power of ARKit and LiDAR into a sleek wearable for your face, and we might have some actual information about them now courtesy of the newest leaker on the block.

In his latest Front Page Tech video, Jon Prosser spills some details about Apple’s AR project that we hadn’t heard before.

They look like regular glasses: One of the biggest hangups about Google Glass was the weird design that looked a little Androidy. AR glasses that look like regular glasses would be an immediate game-changer. Prosser says the original prototypes are made of plastic, but metal frames aren’t out of the question. However, if you’re hoping to get a pair of Apple sunglasses, Prosser says tinting messes with the display.

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AMD pivots: B450, X470 motherboards will support Ryzen 4000 after all

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 11:58

Surprise! A mere week after announcing that its B450 and X470 motherboards won’t support future generations of Ryzen processors, AMD has had a change of heart regarding socket AM4 compatibility. Huzzah! Next-gen Ryzen processors will now support both 400-series and 500-series AM4 motherboards, though there are many caveats involved.

“Over the past week, we closely reviewed your feedback on that news: we watched every video, read every comment and saw every Tweet,” AMD said in a release, via Anandtech. “We hear that many of you hoped a longer upgrade path. We hear your hope that AMD B450 and X470 chipsets would carry you into the ‘Zen 3’ era…As the team weighed your feedback against the technical challenges we face, we decided to change course.”

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A tale of two Apple Stores (the first two)

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 11:00

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the spring of 2001—a year that had not yet turned sour beyond belief—in which Apple chose to open its very first two retail stores. These two would be the first of some 25 stores opening later in the year.

In that age of uncertainty, many thought Apple’s dip into retail waters was an act of supreme foolishness. But as Apple is wont, they did it anyway. The choice turned out to be a wise one indeed.

In Virginia, some 500 people lined up in the pre-dawn hours of the morning of May 19 for a chance to be the earliest inside the first Apple retail store open to the public. The queue of Apple die-hards grew throughout the day until it reached over 1000. Security guards were on hand to make sure the throng did not violate fire codes regarding maximum occupancy.

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Microsoft adds Edge features: Sidebar search, Pinterest tie-ins and more

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 11:00

Microsoft is unrolling some new features for its new Edge browser, including a contextual flyout that opens a sidebar when performing a search, the company said Tuesday.

As Microsoft launches its Build developer conference as a 48-hour virtual event, the company is disclosing improvements to its consumer products, too. Microsoft’s new Edge (which we’ve reviewed), which the company hopes will begin replacing the “legacy” Edge across user PCs in the coming weeks, is a key area.

Other enhancements coming to Edge will include a deeper integration with work environments and a partnership with Pinterest. Most will be available soon, Microsoft said.

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Microsoft advances the future of Office: Project Cortex and Fluid Framework

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 11:00

Microsoft is providing glimpses of the future of Office at its Build 2020 virtual conference, showcasing two interesting but little-known collaboration efforts: Project Cortex and Fluid Framework.

Project Cortex, which was announced last year, will go live this summer, Microsoft announced Tuesday. Fluid Framework, which appears to be the future of Microsoft’s online collaboration, is unexpectedly going to be released as an open-source project, Microsoft said. Microsoft also plans other announcements for Build, including making Microsoft Teams easier for developers to work with.

Microsoft said in advance of its now-virtual Build show that the conference would lean heavily toward developers, with many announcements surrounding Azure and its cloud efforts. But Microsoft 365, Teams, and its other business efforts are naturally still a significant part of the company.

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Why Cortana won't be at Microsoft Build

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 11:00

You’re not going to hear anything about Cortana this week at Microsoft’s Build conference.  

Confused? You’re not alone. Microsoft Cortana has moved from becoming the flagship feature at the Windows 10 launch to something of a has-been. And yet the intelligence that powers her is something that’s become a priority for Microsoft, creating the impression that there’s Cortana, and then there’s AI, and the two are separate and distinct. 

There’s a similar gap between the reason that Cortana is absent from Build, and separate underlying issues with Cortana itself. Put simply, it’s a bit of a mess.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The Cortana app on Windows 10 lacks some functionality from the older, integrated version.

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Windows 10 moves closer to 'true' Linux with graphical support for WSL2

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 11:00

Microsoft is adding GPU and graphical user interface (GUI) support to the Windows Subsystem for Linux, pushing the intriguing Windows feature ever closer to becoming a full-fledged Linux instantiation. The company announced the changes during its digital Microsoft Build 2020 event for developers.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux is an optional feature within Windows, one that you never have to install if you don’t want to. Microsoft originally included the feature as a way for developers to work within a version of Linux without leaving the Windows environment.

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Best Buy is selling HomePod for $100 off today

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 09:49

When HomePod launched for $349, it was an expensive smart speaker. When the price dropped to $299 last year, it was slightly more palatable. At today’s discount, it’s a downright steal. Best Buy is selling Apple’s HomePod smart speaker for $200Remove non-product link in white or space gray and the lowest price we’ve seen since March.

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Nifty File Lists review: Easily turn files and folders into metadata spreadsheets

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 08:00

When it comes to batch renaming or altering file and folder attributes, few utilities do it better than A Better Finder Rename and A Better Finder Attributes. (Due to Apple restrictions on using “Finder” in the name, Mac App Store users know them as Better Rename and File Multi Tool instead.) Developer Frank Reiff’s latest file-related software has nothing to do with manipulating data, but rather generating lists from it.

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Market making: Too many iOS exploits

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 07:00

More reports of iOS security flaws are circulating so let us now turn to the staid analysis of the Forbes contributor network and unicycle refurbishing plant.

Zak Doffman says “New Apple Security Blow: If You Have An iPhone, Look Away Now.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nick, Don and @designheretic.)

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Logitech Powered Pad review: Wireless charging in an elegant wrapper

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 06:30

Logitech's new Powered line of wireless chargers includes a 3-in-1 charger that will charge your phone, wireless earbuds, and an Apple Watch at the same time. There’s also a Stand and a Pad. All three devices have the same core Logitech-like design—minimal but with a subtly elegant flare.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of wireless charging pads. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods for both Android phones and iPhones.

Logitech’s design approach here imbues the Pad with a satisfying combination of competence and class—not overly done, just all of the expected parts and pieces in the expected places. There’s an indicator light on the front, and a power connector on the back that, unfortunately, uses a barrel connector instead of a USB-C port. Meaning you won’t be able to use the included wall adapter to quickly charge your phone—a convenience many competing wireless chargers have adopted.

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TiVo Stream 4K review: A reboot for streaming (and for TiVo)

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 06:00
TiVo is justifiably famous for building DVRs, but what does it know about media streamers?

Best media streaming devices

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-19 06:00
Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire Stick vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV, and more. Which streaming device is best for cord cutters? Our buying guide will help you pick the right accessories for your TV.

TiVo Stream 4K review: A reboot for streaming (and for TiVo)

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 06:00
TiVo is justifiably famous for building DVRs, but what does it know about media streamers?

Microsoft Surface Book 3 review: The 'ultimate laptop' needs new ideas

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 06:00

The Surface Book 3 continues Microsoft’s five-year mission to create the “ultimate laptop," still uniquely melding a tablet and keyboard base that can be used to create, work, and game.

But the goal is harder to achieve in 2020 than ever before. At $1,599 up to $3,400, the Surface Book 3 is pricey. Worse, it offers little improvement over a new and very strong generation of dedicated laptops, from gaming machines with Nvidia’s latest RTX hardware to consumer devices optimized for extreme battery life and connectivity. Even Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 7 provides a superior tablet experience to the Surface Book 3’s. 

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Best media streaming devices

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-19 06:00
Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire Stick vs. Chromecast vs. Apple TV, and more. Which streaming device is best for cord cutters? Our buying guide will help you pick the right accessories for your TV.

The Full Nerd ep. 139: Nvidia's next-gen Ampere GPU, AM4 controversy, RIP upgradable laptops

PC World - Mon, 2020-05-18 11:51

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray talk about Nvidia’s newly revealed Ampere graphics architecture before wallowing in disappointment.

Brad kicks things off by explaining what PC gamers need to know about Nvidia’s next-gen Ampere GPU architecture, revealed in data center form during a digital GTC 2020 keynote. Spoiler: This thing could be a beast. After that we wade into sadder waters. We have thoughts about AMD cutting off backwards compatibility for its AM4 motherboards going forward, tossing out the spirit of past promises. Likewise, the release of the second Alienware Area 51m, but without swappable GPU and CPU modules, means the dream of upgradable laptops is dead. RIP.

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