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The Full Nerd ep. 100: PC Hardware Hall of Fame, Full Nerd best memories and trivia

Fri, 2019-07-26 14:00

You have to navel gaze sometimes, and what better time would there be than the 100th episode of the Full Nerd? 

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad Chacos, Alaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray induct three pieces of hardware into the Full Nerd Hall of Fame after painfully weeding out some highly deserving pieces of gear, play some of their favorite Full Nerd moments, and then try to predict the far-out future before closing out with a trivia quiz.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood review impressions: A fearless and flawed experiment

Fri, 2019-07-26 10:27

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is so much weirder than I anticipated. Everything I’d seen up until release indicated this was a mirror to Wolfenstein: The Old Bloodmeaning bigger than DLC, smaller than a full-scale sequel, much weirder and with a storyline that borders on non-canonical. And, of course, it would play like Wolfenstein. Co-op Wolfenstein, sure. That would be the novelty here, and maybe some new weapons to go along with the 1980s theme.

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Sony Extra Bass WH-XB900N Bluetooth headphone review: Good sound, major thump, and noise cancellation

Fri, 2019-07-26 09:32
The Sony Extra Bass WH-XB900N low-latency Bluetooth headphones sound good and effectively cancel noise, and you can crank the bass up with the phone app. They also support Google Assistant and Alexa.

These 20 deep, absorbing PC games will eat days of your life

Fri, 2019-07-26 09:30
Built to last

Image by Kingdom Come Deliverance

Far too many games these days are built to be played in small bursts: brief encounters, designed for a world with too few hours in the day and too many digital distractions. And that’s fine! Blasting through a few rounds of Overwatch or Rocket League matches is a wonderful way to spend some time.

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Why July is a barren wasteland for new video games

Fri, 2019-07-26 06:00

Here we are, the tail end of July. It’s hot, it’s humid, and there is absolutely nothing to distract myself with. There are no video games in July. That’s how it goes and how it’s been since I was a kid. And even in 2019, when in the course of a single year we’ll see nearly 10,000 games materialize on Steam, and when every other slow month has turned into a nonstop torrent of releases, still there’s this black hole in the midst of summer.

But why?

That’s what I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to find out. “Why does everyone avoid July like the plague?”

Pool party

And I do mean everyone. I think we all anecdotally know July is light on releases, that things slow down in the summer months, but I didn’t truly see the tumbleweeds blowing until NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella threw out some figures for me:

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Klipsch Groove Bluetooth speaker review: Long battery life doesn't compensate for poor sound quality

Fri, 2019-07-26 06:00
Small though it is, this portable, battery-powered Bluetooth speaker packs in surprisingly big sound. Unfortunately, that sound was quite closed in and congested on virtually every track we listened to.

Intel will increase low-end CPU production now that its 10nm Ice Lake transition is complete

Thu, 2019-07-25 19:22

Prices of low-end PCs may fall once again, as Intel said Thursday that its shortage of “small-core” microprocessors is easing. Intel still faces an oversupply of flash memory, which should help keep down the prices of SSDs and other flash-based products.

Intel’s second-quarter results, reported Thursday, exceeded the company’s own expectations. Intel profits were down 17 percent to $4.2 billion, while revenue fell slightly by 3 percent to $16.5 billion. In part, that’s because of inventory and manufacturing bumps as the company transitioned to its 10nm products, including Ice Lake, which Intel has said previously is now shipping.

Intel now has two 10nm factories manufacturing silicon, chief executive Bob Swan said. Intel’s overall manufacturing slowed while those factories ramped up, which the company described in previous earnings calls. According to Swan, Intel lost a “little bit of share” during the second quarter, as the company prioritized its higher-margin, “big core” microprocessors. During that time, Swan said, Intel was unable to meet demand for its cheaper chips.

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Samsung is ready to release the Galaxy Fold (again), but selling it won't be easy

Thu, 2019-07-25 11:48

It’s back. After a three-month delay following a round of scratched, dented, and downright broken early review units, Samsung has announced that the Galaxy Fold is ready for release to the public. And this time, it assures us that it’s serious.

Update 11:45 am: T-Mobile has announced that it won't be carrying the Galaxy Fold in September.

Samsung announced the next-generation Galaxy Fold in February alongside the Galaxy S10. Equipped with a folding OLED screen that opened like a book, it made immediate headlines and generated enormous buzz ahead of its April 26 launch. However, early reviewers experienced numerous problems with the device, leading Samsung to cancel the initial launch while it investigated the issues.

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BenQ ScreenBar Lite review: A portable light for your laptop

Thu, 2019-07-25 11:27

The BenQ ScreenBar Lite is a portable desk lamp that clips to the screen of a laptop and is powered via USB. It’s the smaller version of the ScreenBar we reviewed last year and is designed for those who need a reliable lamp on the go. The light it spits out is strong, even, and customizable. It features easy-to-use controls, and is well built. But the price ($99 on Amazon) and cable type might put you off.

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The BenQ ScreenBar Lite comes with a plastic carrying case.

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10 surprisingly practical Raspberry Pi projects anybody can do

Thu, 2019-07-25 10:08
Practical Pi projects

The Raspberry Pi single-board computer and all its variants (including the dirt-cheap Raspberry Pi Zero and a turbo-charged Raspberry Pi 4) have captured the imaginations of DIY enthusiasts and budding hobbyists alike.

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IKEA Symfonisk speakers review: Sonos made sure they sound great, but that Scandi-chic lamp design is polarizing

Thu, 2019-07-25 09:00
Both the lamp and the bookshelf speaker can operate independently, as a stereo pair, or as surround speakers with a Sonos soundbar in your home theater.

Here's a better DVR for streaming cable channels

Thu, 2019-07-25 09:00
Channels DVR now combines over-the-air and cable recordings into one unified app.

Yeah, about that Ice Lake demolishing Ryzen 9 thing

Thu, 2019-07-25 06:14

If you read news stories this week of Intel’s upcoming 10th-gen Ice Lake mobile processor beating, obliterating, stomping, or otherwise surpassing AMD’s new Ryzen 9 3900X in performance, you might just want to pump the the hype brakes.

As always before a CPU launch, the inevitable “leaked” benchmarks make the rounds. The Internet found itself hyper-ventilating this week over the thought of a tiny mobile 15- or 28-watt Intel Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 mercilessly pummeling a big desktop 105-watt Ryzen 9 3900X.

The leaked score was apparently run on an HP Spectre x360 13 and then uploaded via Geekbench’s online database. The most widely quoted result gives the upcoming Core i7-1065G7 a score of 5,691 for single-threaded performance, with multi-threaded performance at 17,741.

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New Start screens revealed for Windows and Xbox

Wed, 2019-07-24 18:58

On Wednesday, Microsoft revealed new looks for the Windows 10 and Xbox start screens: one deliberately, and one inadvertently.

A “canary” daily build of Windows 10 leaked into the wild on Wednesday, revealing a new, spartan Windows 10 Start menu. It does away with the tiled look and feel of the traditional Start menu, and replaces it with a sea of icons that look more like the “Share” option that accompanies a file.

Images of the new Start menu were captured by various Twitter users. (Unfortunately, PCWorld’s Insider machine was offline at the time. Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar, the face of Microsoft’s Insider program, didn’t have an explanation. The company later confirmed, however, that an “internal preview build was unintentionally released to a broader audience than expected.” Microsoft also said that Insiders will need to use the rollback function to return to an earlier version of Windows 10 by going to Settings > Start > Update & Security > Recovery> Go back to the previous version of Windows 10.)

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What Facebook's new government-enforced privacy restrictions mean for you

Wed, 2019-07-24 15:34

Facebook’s record $5 billion fine that it will pay to the Federal Trade Commission will do little to stop Facebook from trying to slurp up as much of your data as it can, with two exceptions: facial recognition and telephone numbers. Instead, the Facebook-FTC agreement is primarily intended to stem the tide of your data flowing through Facebook and out to third-party developers. 

Facebook agreed to pay a $5 billion fine and submit to a 20-year oversight program Wednesday as part of an FTC order agreed to by both companies—punishment for Facebook’s unwillingness to adhere to another, separate 2012 FTC order that also governed user data privacy. As many have noted, the $5 billion fine is a slap on the wrist: Facebook recorded $15 billion in revenue for the March 2019 quarter alone.

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Corsair buys custom computer builder Origin PC to ride PC gaming's big revival

Wed, 2019-07-24 13:07

Peripheral and component maker Corsair is getting into custom computer builds, too. Corsair announced on Wednesday morning that it has purchased Florida-based PC maker Origin PC.

Origin PC is best known for its boutique designs, such as the company’s over the top ”Big O” that combines every console into one PC (yes there’s a gaming PC in there too.) Corsair said the purchase was part of a strategic play to offer more custom PCs to people making the switch from console gaming to PC gaming.

“With the gaming PC market continuing to expand as an increasing number of players make the jump from console to PC, we wanted to do more to reach customers in North America that prefer to buy, rather than build, their system,” Corsair CEO Andy Paul said in a statement.

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Adobe Acrobat Pro DC review: Still the standard

Wed, 2019-07-24 09:58

Update: This review was updated 7/23/19 to cover the tweaks and updates Adobe has made to Acrobat Pro DC. The verdict remains the same.

Adobe created the PDF two decades ago and its PDF editor has continued to rule the category, despite what many users felt was its exorbitant price. But a couple of years back, Acrobat adopted a cloud subscription model that now makes it more affordable for folks without an enterprise budget.

Acrobat Pro DC is composed of three components: Acrobat DC, which allows you to perform a variety of editing functions on your PDFs on desktop and mobile devices; Adobe Document Cloud, which lets you create and export PDF files, as well as store and send files and collect electronic signatures; and Acrobat Reader DC, which enables you to read, print, and sign PDFs.

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Awair Glow C review: Automating "dumb" appliances remains this air-quality monitor's best trick

Wed, 2019-07-24 09:00
This air-quality monitor will activate an existing appliance—a fan or an air condition, for example—can improve your home's indoor air quality whenever it's needed.

The best indoor air-quality monitors: Identify the pollutants that can compromise your health and comfort

Wed, 2019-07-24 09:00
Whether you suffer from allergies or asthma or just want to optimize your indoor environment, these devices will give you insight into the air you're breathing.

AMD Ryzen 3900X hits $740 on eBay as AMD struggles to deliver its flagship chip

Wed, 2019-07-24 06:33

AMD’s Ryzen 3900X may be the chip to buy for editing or even gaming, but all you can essentially purchase right now is an IOU. AMD’s flagship processor has pretty much been sold out since its launch two weeks ago, and that’s pushed prices into the stratosphere for sellers who have them.

And right now, that’s hardly anyone. AmazonRemove non-product link? Nope, including third-party sellers. NeweggRemove non-product link? Out of stock. Fry’s ElectronicsRemove non-product link? Sold out. Best BuyRemove non-product link doesn’t have them, either. Micro CenterRemove non-product link lists the Ryzen 9 3900X as available for pickup, but doesn’t list any availability. eBay? Oh, absolutely! But only if you want to pay up to $740, almost 50 percent more than the 3900X’s $499 retail price. 

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