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Apple will soon let Siri pick your default messaging and phone apps for you

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 11:04

While Apple has slowly been allowing Siri to integrate with third-party apps—most recently it allowed Spotify to tap into the voice assistant’s vast knowledge for playing music—the experience still pales in comparison to what you get when you use Apple’s own apps. That’s might change soon. Or it might not. It all depends on Siri.

In response to a Bloomberg News story about the iPhone maker’s preferential treatment for its own apps, Apple told the publication that an iOS update later this year will allow Siri to “default to the apps that people use frequently to communicate with their contacts.” If you generally use WhatsApp to contact your friends more than Messages, Siri will eventually switch to WhatsApp when asked to send a text. Apple said the new system will be applied on a per-contact basis and apply to phone calls as well.

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Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 finally adds USB-C

PC World - Wed, 2019-10-02 10:48

The new Surface Pro 7 is a little more than “another year, another iterative Surface Pro update.” In an event brimming with hot new reveals, the Surface Pro 7 added a much-needed upgrade to its familiar formula and little else—and that’s a good thing. Microsoft sold enterprise customers on the Surface Pro’s reliability and wide array of supporting hardware (such as the Surface Dock and various Type Cover keyboards), so the physical dimensions of this tablet-but-really-a-laptop can’t be rejiggered too vigorously.

Most notably, the Surface Pro 7 finally jumps on board the USB-C bandwagon, with the versatile modern connection joining the device’s USB-A and Surface Connect ports. It’s still a fairly limited port selection, but one that finally unlocks a world of accessories. Microsoft spent a big chunk of the presentation showing off a versatile workflow that tapped into the Surface Pen, a Type Cover, and various Microsoft programs that support the supplementary hardware—including Excel now. (Huzzah!) 

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Google's new Password Checkup tells you if your accounts can be compromised

PC World - Wed, 2019-10-02 09:41

Legions of people use awful, easily guessable passwords. Much worse, many people reuse passwords across multiple sites and services. That means that if one site leaks your info, hackers can potentially gain access to any of your other accounts that use the same login information.

Google wants to stop that from happening. On Wednesday, the search giant launched Password Checkup, a new service that scans all of the passwords you’ve saved in Chrome against lists of known leaks to see if your data’s been compromised.

The feature builds on top of the password manager Google built into Chrome late last year.

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Google's new Password Checkup tells you if your accounts can be compromised

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 09:41
Google's Password Checkup scans your saved Chrome passwords for weak, reused, and flat-out compromised credentials.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep review-in-progress: Fly me to the moon

PC World - Wed, 2019-10-02 08:24

Okay, so not everything went according to plan. October 1 was Bungie’s big moving day, finalizing last year’s Activision split by moving Destiny 2 from Battle.net to Steam. It was essentially a relaunch of the entire game on PC, plus release day for the new Shadowkeep expansion. And like any major online launch, everything went sideways.

On the plus side, Bungie was essentially victim of its own success. Last I heard, Destiny 2 hit 200,000 concurrent players on Steam before the servers burst into flame. Bungie took most of the afternoon for “Emergency Maintenance,” and by evening we were back up and running, presumably with plenty of duct-tape and prayers on the back end.

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Apple’s watch faces are slowly improving. Is it time for third-party faces?

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 08:00

Last year, when Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4, I was surprised that the company didn’t bother to update most of its watch faces, and expressed some hope that the company would place more emphasis on faces in the Series 5.

Thanks to the new always-on display, Apple has definitely made watch faces the center of attention in a way they weren’t before. There’s never been a more on-the-nose Apple marketing campaign than the “The Watch Tells Time” video that Apple unveiled during its special event on September 10. And yet, while I want to report that as of 2019 Apple has prioritized the faces of the Apple Watch, I can’t. Instead, it’s given us a few encouraging new faces—and left a mess everywhere else.

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Inside Apple’s A13 Bionic system-on-chip

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 07:00

Since the very first Apple-designed smartphone chip (the A4 back in 2010), the company has been a force to be reckoned with in mobile silicon design. It was with the A6 a couple years later, when Apple used its own CPU design instead of a licensed architecture, that its performance leadership really started to kick into high gear.

For the last several years, Apple’s CPU has really been untouchable. The A11 Bionic featured not only a custom Apple-designed CPU, but finally ditched the PowerVR-based graphics processor for its own custom GPU. In addition, it introduced the Neural Engine, a custom block of silicon separate from the CPU and GPU, focused on accelerating Machine Learning computations.

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Samsung Q80R 4K UHD TV review: The smart shopper's option in top-tier TVs

PC World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00
Samsung's Q80R is a bargain in the land of top-tier TVs. It has a great picture, but saves you money by omitting unnecessary (albeit nifty) top-of-the-line design flourishes.

Five Android features I miss after switching to the iPhone 11 (and five I want to steal)

PC World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00

It's that time of year again--when I get to test the latest iPhone against the best Android phones. There are three contenders this year: the Samsung Galaxy S10+, OnePlus 7T, and the upcoming Google Pixel 4--and it's already shaping up to be a knock-down, drag-out fight even closer than last year's (when the iPhone XR eked out a win).

Beyond the major categories like the camera, battery life, speed, and design that I’ll explore in depth, there are several smaller things I’ve noticed during the past week that set the iPhone apart, some of which I love and others that I miss from Android:

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Mixcder E9 noise-cancelling headphones review: Good noise cancelling and sound at a budget price

PC World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00
Mixcder’s new E9 wireless noise cancelling headphone are a great fit for those who want decent noise cancelling and sound and don’t mind sacrificing aesthetics and premium materials to get it.

Samsung Q80R 4K UHD TV review: The smart shopper's option in top-tier TVs

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00
Samsung's Q80R is a bargain in the land of top-tier TVs. It has a great picture, but saves you money by omitting unnecessary (albeit nifty) top-of-the-line design flourishes.

Five Android features I miss after switching to the iPhone 11 (and five I want to steal)

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00
I've been using the iPhone 11 for the past week and I there's a lot to like—and not like.

2019 10.2-inch iPad review: The premier entry-level Apple device

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00

When I first saw the new 7th-generation iPad, I wondered why Apple even bothered to release an updated model this year. Sure, the 10.2-inch display reveals a slight boost in size over last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, and the latest model finally has a Smart Connector, but for all that, this iPad has the same cameras and A10 processor as last year’s model, the form factor hasn’t changed significantly, and it’s even ever-so-slightly heavier. Both models still only come in 32GB and 128GB configurations, and both deliver around 10 hours of battery life. Let’s get this out of the way now: If you have last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, I see no reason to “upgrade” to this one.

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Mixcder E9 noise-cancelling headphones review: Good noise cancelling and sound at a budget price

Mac World - Wed, 2019-10-02 06:00
Mixcder’s new E9 wireless noise cancelling headphone are a great fit for those who want decent noise cancelling and sound and don’t mind sacrificing aesthetics and premium materials to get it.

Intel launches powerful Core-X series processors at drastically lower prices

PC World - Tue, 2019-10-01 18:49

Two years after Intel launched its ultra-high-end “Skylake-X” X-series gaming processors at stratospheric prices (brother, can you spare $1,999?), the company has announced the next-gen “Cascade-X” chips at more affordable prices—if by “affordable,” you mean the price of an Apple iPhone 11 Pro. 

Indeed, compared to its $1,999 predecessor, Intel’s new 18-core Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition chip is downright cheap at $979. If that's still too rich for you, there's hope: Intel has priced its 10-core Core i9-10900X chip at a mere $590.

Intel says its new Cascade Lake-X processors will go on sale in November, after originally promising the Cascade Lake-X chips in October. That's the same month AMD plans to launch its new Threadripper chips, incidentally. We still don’t know how much the new Threadripper chips will cost—or whether AMD will respond to Intel’s moves with its own price cuts—but it’s clear that competition is beginning to help lower prices at the high end of the PC market.

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Intel launches Core X-Series processors for creators and enthusiasts

PC World - Tue, 2019-10-01 18:49
Intel

Intel's X-series chips provide an intriguing mixture of performance and core options.

Two years after Intel launched its ultra-high-end “Skylake-X” X-series gaming processors at stratospheric prices, the company has announced the next-gen “Cascade-X” chips at more affordable prices—if by “affordable,” you mean the price of an Apple iPhone 11 Pro. 

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Ghost Recon Breakpoint review-in-progress: Jon Bernthal's carrying the whole game on his back

PC World - Tue, 2019-10-01 16:02

I didn’t enjoy Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Let that serve to calibrate your taste against mine as we dive into a discussion of follow-up Ghost Recon Breakpoint. I thought Wildlands was a technical marvel, and it certainly had a lot of stuff in it. But I found it bland and lifeless and twice as long as it needed to be.

And uh, Bolivia found it offensive. An entire country found the game offensive. So there’s that.

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Microsoft Surface wins would be a big deal for AMD, Qualcomm

PC World - Tue, 2019-10-01 15:21

If Microsoft sells Surface devices based on AMD, Qualcomm, and Intel Core processors, as expected, it could represent a new milestone for Microsoft: microprocessor diversity.

While it’s true that Microsoft has used Nvidia Tegra chips to power the Surface 2 and Surface RT, the lineup has otherwise been powered by Intel’s Core microprocessors. Now, Microsoft is expected to build Surfaces around AMD’s mobile Ryzen and a version of Qualcomm’s 8cx chip. If so, it will be an enormous stamp of credibility for both chips.

Although Microsoft hasn’t confirmed its product plans in advance of its announcement on October 2, AMD’s mobile Ryzen chip will likely appear inside one of two versions of the Surface Laptop, either the standard 13-inch version or a new, larger 15-inch option. Photos leaked by Evan Blass, a Twitter user who specializes in product leaks, shows a Surface on ARM product, similar to the Surface Pro 7, that probably includes a modified version of the Qualcomm chip. That tablet appears to have been redesigned, with a pen tray and a pair of USB-C ports.

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Brock to celebrate namesake’s 250th birthday Friday

Brock News - Tue, 2019-10-01 14:48

MEDIA RELEASE: 1 October 2019 – R00153

It’s an event a quarter millennium in the making.

On Friday, Oct. 4, members of the Brock community are invited to celebrate the 250th birthday of the University’s namesake, Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock, who was born on Oct. 6, 1769.

To properly mark the sestercentennial celebration, a birthday party is planned in front of Brock’s statue on the University’s main campus at noon on Friday, where partygoers will eat cupcakes, sing Happy Birthday and learn more about Sir Isaac.

Along with traditional touches the General would have recognized, such as presentations from Old Fort Erie historical site staff and retired History professor Wes Turner, as well as a proclamation from the St. Catharines town crier, there will also be more modern offerings at the student-led initiative, such as a visit from the cheerleading team and multicoloured chalk birthday messages written by students.

Student Life Assistant and fourth-year Political Science student Kailene Jackson said the birthday party helps students to learn more about Niagara and show their school spirit.

“It’s an important way to remember the life and legacy of our namesake and learn more about the history of the region as a whole,” she said. “We hope everyone comes out and joins in the fun.”

To commemorate the momentous occasion, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear red on Friday.

About Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock 

Isaac Brock was born on Oct. 6, 1769 on the Island of Guernsey, one of Britain’s Channel Islands. He earned a reputation for being studious, reading works on ancient history, science and military tactics. Estimated to be more than six feet tall, Brock was athletic and excelled in swimming and boxing. He entered the military at the age of 15.

Brock came to Canada when he was 33 years old. Within 10 years, he became commander-in-chief of the army, responsible for defending Upper Canada against the U.S.

When the War of 1812 broke out, Brock’s army was ready. Quick victories at Fort Mackinac and Detroit defeated American invasion efforts.

In the early morning of Oct. 13, 1812, American troops crossed the Niagara River and took the hill at Queenston Heights. In an effort to stop their progress, Brock led the charge on foot up the steep hill. However, his tall stature and distinctive British red coat and white trousers made him an obvious target. A musket ball struck Brock in the chest and he fell. His last pronouncement is reported to be “Surgite!” — Latin for “Push on!” — which was adopted as Brock University’s motto.

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

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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Watch The Full Nerd talk about custom RX 5700 XT reviews live!

PC World - Tue, 2019-10-01 14:11

Join The Full Nerd gang as they talk about the latest PC hardware topics. Today's show dives into Brad's XFX Thicc II Ultra and Sapphire Nitro+ reviews, Radeon Image Sharpening landing on RX Vega cards, Adam's journey so far into RTX vs high refresh rate gaming, and so much more. As always we will be answering your live questions so speak up in the chat.

If YouTube is not your thing you can also watch us on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter.

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