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Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer review: Sophisticated yet simple

PC World - Wed, 2020-05-06 06:00
This Bluetooth (and Wi-Fi, with a bridge)-based watering system is great for drip and other hose-based irrigation systems.

Tips and best practices for optimizing your smart home

Mac World - Wed, 2020-05-06 06:00
Looking to build out a smart home? These 12 key pieces of advice will turn you into a master.

Orbit B-hyve Smart Hose Watering Timer review: Sophisticated yet simple

Mac World - Wed, 2020-05-06 06:00
This Bluetooth (and Wi-Fi, with a bridge)-based watering system is great for drip and other hose-based irrigation systems.

Don’t blame COVID for binge-watching, says Brock prof

Brock News - Tue, 2020-05-05 12:42

MEDIA RELEASE: 5 May 2020 – R0079

If you spent any of the last eight weeks binge-watching The Great British — or Canadian — Baking Show, you’re in good company. So has Brock University film and television scholar Liz Clarke.

The Professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film says people who binge-watch during social isolation can be assured that the industry is ready for them, because “binge-watching has a longer history than just the more recent rise of Netflix and other streaming sites.”

“We’re in an era of niche programming that is bolstered by the way social media works and by the algorithms that video-on-demand (VOD) sites use to show you new shows to watch,” Clarke says. “We have even more control over how and when we can watch shows, which has ultimately brought us to a time when binging content seems to be the norm.”

This development has shifted the focus of content creators, who are well aware of the trends in media consumption, from a long-range goal of syndication to one of creating shows that can be watched weekly or binged and then rewatched, picked apart by devotees and talked about for years to come.

Clarke points to NBC’s The Good Place — a sitcom that originally aired weekly but has seen a steady growth in popularity on Netflix — as an example of a show that “you can watch over and over and discover new jokes each time.”

“Part of the re-watchability is seeing all the threads coming together at the end of the season in a really satisfying way and thinking, ‘Wow, I want to understand how they did that,’” says Clarke. “We go back so that we can see how the narrative unfolded in such a pleasurable way.”

Though it may seem like we are in the golden age of binge-watching, problems loom on the horizon, both due to production restrictions related to COVID-19 and changing delivery structures.

Clarke also notes that the rise of competing VOD services, each with their own exclusive content and cost, will soon mean people are paying as much as they were when they subscribed to cable to get all the shows they want.

Clarke questions the sustainability of the Netflix model of dropping an entire season at one time.

“We talk about the season for a few days and then move onto the next thing,” she says. “If long-running shows are slowly replaced by shows that have a couple limited seasons, it could be a great period for new content — but it would be terrible for the long-term job security of writers, casts and crews.”

For the time being, though, there is no shortage of viewing material.

As to what people will choose to binge-watch over the coming months, Clarke says it’s a matter of knowing your personal taste and seeking out recommendations of others who share that taste.

“When Brock switched to online learning for the last two weeks of Winter Term due to the provincial shutdown, I was in the middle of teaching about streaming and binge-watching,” she says. “I asked my students to recommend shows to watch while in isolation and now I have a list that could last me until 2022.”

Liz Clarke, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, is available for phone and video interviews on the issue.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews.

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

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Apple’s event calendar: Apple to hold virtual online WWDC beginning June 22

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-05 12:37

Updated 05/05/20: Apple has announced that it will hold a virtual online WWDC beginning on June 22.

Apple doesn’t often participate in big industry-wide events like CES or E3. The most valuable company in the world holds its own events, thank you very much. Several times a year, Apple invites the press and industry professionals out to a theater to hear all about its latest products and services. Apple calls these “Special Events,” and streams them online to its millions of fans.

To read this article in full, please click here

Google will switch on mandatory two-factor authentication for Nest accounts this month

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-05 10:54
If you haven’t already locked down your Nest account with two-step authentication, Google will do it for you starting in May.

Google Drive gains an important security feature on iPhone, forgets Android exists

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-05 10:15

If you’re an Apple user who uses the Google Drive app to share files, a cool security feature just landed on your iOS device. If you’re an Android user who uses the Google Drive app to share files, however, you’re out of luck.

The new feature is called Privacy Screen, and it adds an extra layer of protection for the Google Drive app. Instead of instantly logging you in like before, you can opt to need to verify your identity via Face ID or Touch ID, depending on the device you’re using. When activated, Google Drive won’t open without proper authentication, so if someone borrows your phone they won’t be able to access what’s inside your drive without your permission.

To read this article in full, please click here

Google Drive gains an important security feature on iPhone, forgets Android exists

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-05 10:15
You can lock down the Google Drive app on iOS with Face ID or Touch ID but not on Android.

Shop carefully: Some Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards are much faster than others

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-05 09:47

AMD’s $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT launched this week, and it goes toe-to-toe with Nvidia’s powerful $350 GeForce RTX 2060, nearly matching even AMD’s own $350 Radeon RX 5700 in several games. Sometimes. Other times, it’s merely an okay alternative to the $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which itself was effectively rendered obsolete by the launch of the $230 GeForce GTX 1660 Super last fall. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. It all depends on which custom model you buy, and whether that card has the correct software preinstalled.

To read this article in full, please click here

Rumors point to a new Sonos Playbar with Dolby Atmos, plus refreshed Play:5 and Sub

PC World - Tue, 2020-05-05 09:18
Is a new HDMI-equipped Playbar finally about to happen?

Why you might have a different count of images in Photos in different places

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

With iCloud Photos enabled, your pictures and videos sync across all connected devices via iCloud, including retaining a set that’s accessible at icloud.com. However, readers frequently write in that they see a different count of media in the Photos app on an iPhone or iPad and Photos in macOS. The reason can stem from a couple of causes, but I have some bad news at the bottom of this article.

Photos for macOS has an option to either copy media into its library or reference a photo or movie from where it sits on a drive. iCloud Photos, however, will only sync media copied into the library and under control of Photos; referenced images are ignored. The setting to choose copy versus reference is in Photos > Preferences > General as “Copy items to the Photos library.” If unchecked, anything you import via a menu item or drag into Photos to import will effectively only maintain a thumbnail of.

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Fast, cheap and out of control: Wanting a 5G iPhone

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

The fall iPhones are still months away from being announced so it’s time to start arguing about them.

Writing for Tiger Beat in the Valley, Jeremy Horwitz says “Here’s why an affordable 5G iPhone is the only right move for Apple.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King.)

Personally, The Macalope would like to suggest that giving him a miniature donkey is the the only right move for Apple.

Think about it. It just makes sense.

To read this article in full, please click here

5 laptops you should consider instead of the new MacBook Pro 13

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

When released, Apple’s updated MacBook Pro 13 will get the most powerful 10th-gen Intel Ice Lake CPU available. But otherwise Apple's late to the game—again. We can think of a bunch of Windows laptops that already outstrip it in features, and we'll tell you about them as we work through the MacBook Pro 13's major improvements. 

First item for examination is the CPU. Intel originally launched its most advanced 10nm 10th-gen “Ice Lake” series of CPUs way back in August. PC laptops based on Ice Lake appeared by October, and it’s gradually made its way into dozens of laptops since then.

To read this article in full, please click here

Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

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

Mesh networking for small networks appeared in 2015 with the claim that it would solve Wi-Fi problems by improving coverage, speeding networks, and eliminating hassle. It also promised to remove the need to place base stations meticulously around a home or small office to avoid dead and slow spots.

Five years after its initial widespread emergence, those promises appear to have been fulfilled. Mesh networks have become the best way to set up a new network that spans more than a single, standalone Wi-Fi gateway can manage—or to overhaul an existing inadequate or outdated one.

Cost remains an object: Because you need at least two “nodes,” or network devices, to make a mesh, and three is more typical, you can spend two to five times as much compared to old-school Wi-Fi base stations that can’t connect wirelessly or are inefficient in such connections.

To read this article in full, please click here

Wireless mesh networks: Everything you need to know

Mac World - Tue, 2020-05-05 06:00
There are genuine benefits behind the hype for mesh Wi-Fi technology.

Microsoft officially delays Surface Neo, dual-screen Windows PCs

PC World - Mon, 2020-05-04 13:27

Microsoft has officially confirmed that it’s delaying its dual-screen Windows experiences, including the Surface Neo, until “the right moment” arrives. That announcement was part of a Monday blog post in which Panos Panay, the new chief product officer of Windows and Devices, laid out his vision of what he sees for Microsoft’s Windows 10 and related hardware programs.

In some sense, the blog post announcing the changes reads like a recap of what we already know: The Windows 10 May 2020 Update will begin shipping to the general public this month; Microsoft is turning its Build conference into a free, online-only event; and Microsoft is postponing its own dual-screen devices.

To read this article in full, please click here

Best antivirus for Mac: Get the best protection from viruses and malware

Mac World - Mon, 2020-05-04 13:15

Macs may be a far less tempting target for malware and viruses, but they’re not immune from attack. Even if you don’t care about adware or being used as a means to infect users on other platforms, it’s still possible to fall victim to ransomware, password theft, or stolen iPhone backups.

To read this article in full, please click here

Best MacBook: Which Mac laptop should you buy?

Mac World - Mon, 2020-05-04 12:30

You’re planning on buying a new Mac laptop. So you head over to your local Apple store, or you peruse the pages of Apple’s website, and you find yourself with money to spend but no idea on which MacBook to buy.

Don’t worry! That’s why we’re here. In this guide, we’ll go over Apple’s current MacBook lineup, point out their differences and similarities, and provide you with the information you need to pick the right MacBook for you.

Editor's note: Updated 5/4/20 with the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The affordable choice: MacBook Air

Longtime Mac users may remember when the MacBook Air made its debut years ago as Apple’s entry into the ultra-portable laptop market. But times have changed, and starting in 2015, the MacBook was repositioned as Apple’s affordable laptop.

To read this article in full, please click here

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro: 5 killer upgrades Apple delivered (and 5 it didn’t)

Mac World - Mon, 2020-05-04 11:09

After long weeks of leaks and rumors, Apple has unveiled the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, bringing it up to date with the flagship 16-inch model that was released last year. As expected it brings a slew of important upgrades to Apple’s smallest professional notebook, but it still leaves room for improvement.

Here’s what we got in the latest upgrade, and what we still want in the future:

To read this article in full, please click here

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro: 5 killer upgrades Apple delivered (and 5 it didn’t)

PC World - Mon, 2020-05-04 11:09
Apple has unveiled the long-awaited update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with a new keyboard, more storage and more speed.

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