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Google's Chrome 76 arrives, blocking Flash in its entirety and stealthing incognito mode

Tue, 2019-07-30 17:43

If you update Google Chrome today, you’ll be able to witness a milestone in real time: the next step in the slow death of Flash.

Google Chrome 76 takes the process of eliminating Flash a step further: instead of simply blocking Flash objects, Flash simply isn’t allowed to load. You can still turn it on via the settings menu, though each site must explicitly be given permission to run Flash. By the end of 2020, Flash should be removed entirely by Chrome, according to the Chromium roadmap.

As VentureBeat notes, the arrival of Chrome 76 also brings with it two additional key features: a simpler installation of Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs; and a new way for Chrome to block a website’s ability to detect whether Chrome is in incognito mode. The latter feature may thwart websites wishing to detect whether a browser has visited the site before, a tactic used to prevent users from reading protected content without logging in or subscribing.

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Best power banks of 2019: The top USB portable chargers for your phone

Tue, 2019-07-30 17:16

Anyone who uses a smartphone knows the importance of carrying a backup power bank. But given the large number of options on Amazon, you might feel overwhelmed, understandably. Besides the various charging specs, ports, and even cables you have to consider, there are a ton of competing brands. It’s common to see products from Anker, Mophie, and MyCharge, but how do you know which ones deliver on their promises? Is it worth saving a few bucks if a battery pack’s performance is lacking?

As for the latter, be advised: Amazon voluntarily recalled six different models of its AmazonBasics-branded external power banks after they were found to potentially overheat.

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Microsoft signals the end for Skype for Business Online, asking Teams to take over

Tue, 2019-07-30 16:48

Microsoft is slowly nudging business customers away from Skype, and over to Teams, by shutting down Skype for Business Online.

Skype for Business Online won't go away immediately; in fact, it won't officially close until July 31, 2021. But if you're a new user who logs on after September 1, you won't be able to access Skype for Business Online. You'll be kicked to Teams instead.

Microsoft isn't making changes to the Skype version used by consumers, or to the Skype Business server edition. But if you've logged into the Skype for Business web app at work, Teams will load instead. 

"Over the last two years, we’ve worked closely with customers to refine Teams, and we now feel we’re at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers," James Skay, the senior marketing manager for Skype for Business, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration generally, it has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organizations."

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100 million Capital One credit card applications hacked: What you need to know (and do next)

Tue, 2019-07-30 10:49

You can reset the “Days Since Hack” counter back to zero.

On Monday night, Capital One revealed that more than 100 million customers had their personal information hacked, including credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history, and contact information, as well as 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 linked bank account numbers of secured credit card customers.

Here’s what happened and what you can do to protect yourself:

How did the hack occur?

Capital One has divulged that there was “unauthorized access by an outside individual” who was able to obtain “certain types of personal information” relating to credit card applicants. It blamed the hack on a “configuration vulnerability” in its infrastructure that was hacked by a “highly sophisticated” attack. Capital One says that the vulnerability wasn’t cloud-based and “the elements of infrastructure involved are common to both cloud and on-premises data center environments.”

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Anker Powerhouse 200 review: One of the better-looking power stations available

Tue, 2019-07-30 06:30

The $299 Anker Powerhouse 200 looks like a biggie-sized version of one of the company’s smaller portable battery packs. It’s well designed, with an exterior made of metal, and soft rubber around both ends. A comfortable handle straddles the top.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of portable power banks. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods.

On the business end you’ll find a 12V connection, a USB-C PD port, two legacy USB ports, and a standard 110VAC outlet. In addition to that there are three buttons and a screen that spans the width of the device.

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You just bought a new Amazon Echo device? Do these 6 things first

Tue, 2019-07-30 06:00
Get the scoop on how to train Alexa to recognize your voice, prevent unauthorized purchases from Amazon, tell it where you live and work, and more.

How Microsoft could make Windows 10 Pro the OS for PC enthusiasts

Tue, 2019-07-30 06:00

With the rumors of Windows 10 Home Ultra quashed, there’s still no version of Windows specifically designed for the PC enthusiast. The introduction of Windows Sandbox suggests there finally could be: Windows 10 Pro.

Windows 10 Pro has historically filled a gap between Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Home, but it’s offered features prized far more by IT admins than home users. Among the very few reasons why an individual PC user would want to buy Windows 10 Pro, chief among them is its flexibility in accommodating Windows 10 feature and security updates. But BitLocker? Remote Desktop Connection? Even enthusiasts rarely take advantage of these.

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Best robot mops: We review the most scrupulous scrubbers for your home's hard surface floors

Tue, 2019-07-30 06:00
Skip the bucket and the back-bending labor and let one of these specialized robots scour the stains from your hardwood, laminate, tile, vinyl, linoleum, and other solid surface flooring.

Google just revealed that you won’t have to touch the Pixel 4 to use or unlock it

Mon, 2019-07-29 13:47

It was only about a month ago when Google shocked us by revealing the design of the Pixel 4, but it’s not done spilling details about its new phone. In a blog post, Google has outed two of the new features coming to the Pixel 4, and it confirms the biggest rumors we’ve been hearing about the device.

While the last reveal gave us a look at the back of the phone, this one gives us a look at the front. Or more specifically, the top. Google has done away with the Pixel 3 XL’s ugly notch in favor of a less-unsightly strip above the screen containing its new motion-sensing radar called Soli. And it’s a much bigger array than last year’s dual camera. From left to right, the sensors and cameras comprising Soli are as follows:

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Tetris Effect review: So much more than Tetris

Mon, 2019-07-29 12:00

"Can a computer make you cry?" Only 40 years ago that was a revolutionary question, a bold statement of intent for the nascent video game industry. Imagine telling those pioneers, those early developers who so fervently believed in the power of this artform, that in 2019 a Tetris game could have that level of emotional impact.

Hell, I can hardly believe it myself.

Arranging the blocks

Tetris Effect is so much more than its namesake though. Sure, it's a Tetris game at heart. Blocks fall from the sky and you're left to arrange them in neat little rows, with completed rows vanishing into the ether. Same as it's been for 35 years now.

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Nvidia woos creators with 10 potent RTX Studio laptops, 30-bit color support for GeForce GPUs

Mon, 2019-07-29 11:22

Creators, start your engines. Nvidia’s kicking off Siggraph, an annual professional graphics conference, with a pair of announcements designed to make life easier for industry diehards and amateur video producers alike. The company revealed 10 new RTX Studio laptops from a variety of partners, and new Studio drivers that bring capabilities formerly locked to Quadro GPUs alone over to the more mainstream GeForce and Titan lineups.

Nvidia introduced RTX Studio laptops at Computex in May. These laptops run powerful Max-Q hardware to make intense video- and image-editing as painless and portable as possible, backed by drivers devoted to optimizing creative software rather than games.

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16-inch MacBook Pro: Everything the rumors tell us about Apple’s next notebook

Mon, 2019-07-29 07:00
Apple is reportedly on the verge of releasing a brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro, but it could bring a whole lot more than a new size.

How to use Paint 3D's Magic Select tool to edit out photobombers from your photos

Mon, 2019-07-29 06:30

Yes, you can “magically” remove people and objects out of photos using Adobe’s expensive Photoshop application. But did you know that a simple version of the same tool is hidden within Windows 10, for free? Let’s introduce you to Paint 3D’s Magic Select tool, and teach you how to use it.

I’m a fan of simple, free tools that don’t require any installation or setup, and Magic Select is one of my favorites. You would think Magic Select would be found with Windows 10’s Photos app, or even Paint, but no—Microsoft hoped that one day we’d all be editing 3D objects, not 2D photos, and reserved Magic Select for the Paint 3D app within Windows 10. Fortunately, it’s as easy to edit a 2D photo within Paint 3D as Paint, though you’ll have to ignore the vast majority of the user interface to do so. 

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Eufy RoboVac 15C Max review: This machine is a budget-friendly super sucker

Mon, 2019-07-29 06:00
The latest robot vacuum in Eufy's Max series includes app control, smart home integration, and a modest price tag.

HP Spectre x360 15t touch: Convertible, coppery, OLED goodness

Mon, 2019-07-29 06:00

Full disclosure: I’m predisposed to liking anything that’s copper-colored. Show me a laptop that’s trimmed in said shiny-but-velvety hue, such as HP’s Spectre x360 15t touch, and it’ll take a pretty major flaw for me to dislike it. Show me a laptop with copper highlighting and a 15-inch, touch-enabled 4K UHD OLED display, and it’s going to have to insult my mother before I’ll have anything bad to say about it.

I’m also a huge fan of thoughtful design, and this laptop comes darn close to being flawless in that department. Then there’s the display...

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them. 

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BioLite SolarHome 620 review: Here’s a box full of solar goodies that every homeowner should consider

Mon, 2019-07-29 06:00
Whether you need off-the-grid lighting or just an emergency power option, don’t overlook this simple kit.

Best robot vacuums: We name the most effective cleaners

Mon, 2019-07-29 06:00
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.

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

Fri, 2019-07-26 15:33

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. 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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Windows 10's latest preview takes steps toward a more conversational Cortana

Fri, 2019-07-26 14:56

Though Microsoft may plan to remove Cortana from the Xbox home screen, the latest Insider preview build for Windows 10 doubles down on the digital assistant, with improved conversational features. Windows 10 build 18945 also makes the new File Explorer search experience available to all Windows Insiders, and adds new accessibility improvements.

Microsoft showed off a more interactive Cortana this year at Build, and it appears that Microsoft hopes to migrate Cortana to that model over time. What Microsoft calls the “new Cortana experience” will be managed by a Windows Store app, as opposed to being directly integrated within the Windows OS.

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This week in games: Origin makes a PC with every modern console inside, Netflix's Witcher trailer

Fri, 2019-07-26 14:40

Another summer over, or at least the boring part of the summer where no games release. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is arguably the start of “fall” this year, and with August kicking off soon we’ll be right back in the thick of it.

But first, the tail end of the tedious July news drought. Destiny 2 starts prepping next week for its huge September expansion, Origin built a PC with three consoles inside it, Arma 3 added aliens, there’s a great behind-the-scenes look at John Wick Hex, and Netflix released the first trailer for The Witcher.

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