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Updated: 41 min 27 sec ago

Nvidia's play-anywhere GeForce Now service is finally here, and it demolishes Google Stadia

Tue, 2020-02-04 11:30

Three long years after its CES 2017 reveal, and two years after its beta debuted on PCs, Nvidia’s GeForce Now game-streaming service is finally launching on PCs Tuesday. The wait was worth it. GeForce Now obliterates Google Stadia’s value proposition in every way, from game selection to pricing. It’s available in both free and paid forms, with a “Founders” premium tier costing just $5 per month.

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GeForce Now is probably as good as Mac gaming is going to get

Tue, 2020-02-04 11:30
Mac gaming has only gotten worse as of late. Good thing Nvidia has delivered a game streaming model that actually looks attractive.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous sends players to hell, without Kingmaker's demonic learning curve

Tue, 2020-02-04 11:00

Owlcat Games doesn’t do small. Its first game, 2018’s Pathfinder: Kingmaker, is one of the most ambitious CRPGs I’ve ever played. No mere mercenary, the player eventually rules over an entire kingdom, making decisions that define the fate of hundreds if not thousands of people. A nontraditional monarch, to be sure—one who regularly puts courtly duties on hold to go adventuring—but Kingmaker had an element of the grandiose that’s usually lacking in RPGs.

It was also...well, broken. And where it wasn’t broken, it was impenetrable. There were a lot of strange decisions made with Pathfinder: Kingmaker, decisions that detracted from the remarkable story being told, and only some of which were fixed with the eventual Enhanced Edition.

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Google may have accidentally sent your private videos to some random person

Tue, 2020-02-04 09:54

Most people don’t give a second thought to using Google Photos to store and share their personal images and videos—until something goes wrong. Like this: Google is warning some users that their videos might have accidentally ended up in someone else’s hands.

Before you freak out, let us explain. According to a tweet from Jon Oberheide, who was a victim of the breach, it took place between November 21, 2019, and November 25, 2019, and involved Google Takeout, which lets you export a copy of content in your Google Account to back it up or use it with a third-party service. It’s not clear exactly what went wrong, but Google says “some videos in Google Photos were incorrectly exported to unrelated users’ archives.” Photos were not affected, Google says.

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Galaxy Z Flip preview: Samsung’s second foldable phone is a reboot, not a sequel

Tue, 2020-02-04 06:30

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip—outed once again by the ever-accurate Ice Universe—is rumored to be the follow-up to the Galaxy Fold, cutting ties with the handset that brought more frustration than sales and switching up its vision for the folding phone. Here’s everything we know about it:

Design

Unlike last year’s Galaxy Fold, which opened like a tiny book, the Galaxy Z Flip, well, flips. According to rumors and renders obtained by WinFuture and Evan Blass, it’s going to function a lot like the new Motorola razr, opening upward to reveal a very tall screen. In fact, the design appears to be hiding in plain sight, filling in the A’s in Samsung’s own Unpacked teaser.

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Sony 360 Reality Audio review: This headphone-virtualization system expands music beyond your head

Tue, 2020-02-04 06:00
Sony's new immersive audio format sounds fantastic with headphones.

Vizio SB2021n-G6 review: This budget 20-inch soundbar is the perfect match for a second TV

Tue, 2020-02-04 06:00
While it lacks HDMI inputs and Wi-Fi connectivity, this DTS Virtual:X-equipped soundbar boasts impressive and immersive sound for just $150.

Best cheap laptops: We rate the best-sellers on Amazon and Best Buy

Mon, 2020-02-03 16:25

When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.

Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs—and doesn’t saddle you with features (or lack thereof) that you’ll regret in a year. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.

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Leaked Samsung announcement pegs February release date for the Galaxy Home Mini

Mon, 2020-02-03 14:54
Still no word on the larger Samsung Galaxy Home, however.

Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious software

Mon, 2020-02-03 13:09
We name the top free and paid Mac antivirus products to root out malicious software and prevent infections.

The final nail may have been driven into BlackBerry’s coffin

Mon, 2020-02-03 12:48

Yes, you can still walk into a store and buy a BlackBerry in 2020, but those days may soon be over given a recent announcement from BlackBerry phone maker TCL.

TCL says that as of August 31, 2020, it “will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices … (and) has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices.” That’s pretty much a death blow to the company’s slim hopes of mounting a revival.

If you own a BlackBerry KeyOne or Key2, TCL says it will continue to provide support for phones through August 2022, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for an Android 10 update anytime soon.

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How to get special characters using Alt key codes or the Word Symbols library

Mon, 2020-02-03 06:30

Microsoft Word, like all text-based programs, uses a numeric character code called ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) for each alphabetic, numeric, and special character on your keyboard. This code is the reason we can use open text files in almost any software program, and the reason why some programs' passwords are case-sensitive (e.g., the uppercase ‘A’ is ASCII number 65 and the lowercase ‘ a’ is ASCII code 97). You can insert any or all of these codes/characters (individually) with one easy combination keystroke: the Alt key+ the decimal code on the numeric keypad (note that the numbers across the top of your keyboard do not work)—or you can use the Symbols Library.

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How to protect your Ring account with the new Control Center privacy dashboard

Mon, 2020-02-03 06:00
Ring has updated its app with new and improved privacy tools. Here’s how to make the most of them.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 review: A beefy business laptop best left on the charger

Mon, 2020-02-03 06:00

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2 is a slick business laptop with the power of a lightweight gaming rig. Behind its buttoned-down facade, you’ll find Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics and up to a 4K display, all in a laptop weighing well under 4 pounds.

Why buy a laptop like this? Maybe you’re into VR app development, or you’d like to take advantage of certain applications that make use of GPU acceleration, from Adobe’s After Effects and Premiere Pro to 3D modeling and big data software. Or perhaps you just want to spend some time with the Yakuza series or The Outer Worlds on your ThinkPad once the workday is done.

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If your Philips Hue lights aren’t responding, maybe it’s time to move your Hue Bridge

Mon, 2020-02-03 06:00
Did all the Hue lights in your house just become unresponsive? Wireless interference could be to blame, and moving your Hue Bridge might be the answer.

The Full Nerd ep. 123: ATX12VO, Radeon BIOS fallout, RTX vs. high refresh rates

Sat, 2020-02-01 09:31

In this episode of the Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad ChacosAlaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray talk about Intel’s new ATX12VO PSU spec and fallout from AMD’s Radeon 5600 XT launch. Finally, Adam tells us what won his heart, or rather eyes.

Don’t take my ATX12V away! Gordon tells us what he’s learned so far about Intel’s ATX12VO spec that majorly rejiggers the PC power supply for the first time in 20 years. Brad tells you which Radeon 5600 XT you want to buy and details just how much of a self-inflicted wound AMD’s newest card has taken.

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Kentucky Route Zero review: The game that defined (and was defined by) a decade

Sat, 2020-02-01 08:00

It’s said that Velvet Underground’s first album sold dismally, but that everyone who bought a copy later started a band. Kentucky Route Zero didn’t sell quite so poorly, but it’s destined to take up a similar position in the game industry’s psyche I think. It defined a decade, and was in turn defined by that decade.

I hadn’t touched it until this week. The first chapter released in 2013, before I got paid to write about games. I naively thought, “I’ll play it when it’s done.” Now I’m seven years older and coming up on my seventh anniversary at PCWorld. Everything has changed. Kentucky Route Zero has finally finished.

And oh, what a journey.

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Coronavirus is slowing LCD production, and TV and monitor prices are expected to climb as a result

Fri, 2020-01-31 15:14

At least five LCD display factories at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak are suffering production slowdowns, which is turn is expected to have an effect on the supply and pricing of displays used in PCs and LCD TVs.

Five LCD fabs reside in Wuhan, China, which has basically been shut down to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Informa Tech’s IHS Markit service said Friday that they expect that the capacity utilization for all LCD fabs in China could fall by at least 10 percent and by as much as 20 percent during February.

As a result, LCD panel prices are expected to rise. IHS said that preliminary estimates say that per-panel prices could rise $1 to $2, but could go as high as $3 to $5. That might not sound like much, but manufacturers typically tack on extra profit margins at each stage of production, potentially raising sale prices somewhat higher. 

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Microsoft shovels more dirt on UWP apps, leaving Win32 apps as the future once again

Fri, 2020-01-31 13:49

Microsoft has begun chopping at the roots of the UWP apps that populate the Microsoft Store, as it quietly announced plans to stop monetizing them using its own ad platform. That’s opened the door for traditional Win32 apps to play a larger role within the Windows ecosystem. Developers, however, may simply move on to other platforms instead.

In a small post, Microsoft said that it would shut down its Microsoft Ad Monetization platform for UWP apps by June 1, asking developers to find other means of funding their apps. “While this transition may be painful for developers who rely on the Ad Monetization platform today, we want to provide adequate time to make the transition to another ad platform,” the post reads.

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New PocketGo review: Handheld emulation continues to grow

Fri, 2020-01-31 06:30

The New PocketGo (or PocketGo 2) from BittBoy isn’t a replacement for the original PocketGo, it’s an older sibling who’s twice as big and more powerful in many ways. With it, BittBoy continues to iterate on the portable retro gaming emulator, evolving the hardware and allowing for smoother emulation past the 16-bit era.

While the price ($66 from Retromimi) is double that of the original PocketGo, it’s still a terrific value. The New PocketGo is now my go-to recommendation for handheld gaming emulation.

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 looks and plays great on the New PocketGo.

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