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The new MacBook Pro is nice, but it’s missing a few things I still want

Thu, 2019-11-14 07:00
The 16-inch MacBook Pro has finally arrived and it fixes many of the flaws that plagued its 15-inch predecessor. But it’s missing features that I want in a laptop.

GIMP basics: Best tips and tricks for beginners

Thu, 2019-11-14 06:30

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), like so many other open source programs, started out as a student project at the University of California, Berkeley. It was developed by Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis in 1995, and the first version (0.54) was released in 1996.

As of the current version (2.10) GIMP has matured into a truly incredible photo-editing program. It’s not as complex as Photoshop, but it’s not as basic as PC Paint either. It rivals all the top dogs on the market today. Best of all, it’s free!

If you’re coming at GIMP by way of Photoshop, however, you may be frustrated by the some of the differences. Here are a few user tips to get you started, whether you're a rookie or a pro.

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PCWorld's November Digital Magazine: Microsoft's big Surface event

Wed, 2019-11-13 18:09

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Magazine. Available as single copies or as a monthly subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Magazine for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.

In the November issue

This month we’ve got the details on Microsoft’s big Surface event, including the new Surface Earbuds and Surface Duo. If you run antivirus software with Windows 10, find out why you can stop right now and save a few dollars in the process.

Other highlights include:

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Disney+ review: An affordable, must-have streaming service for families and Disney nerds

Wed, 2019-11-13 17:30
Despite a few launch gremlins, Disney’s online streaming service looks to be a major contender.

Best gaming laptops: Know what to look for and which models rate highest

Wed, 2019-11-13 17:12

Picking a gaming laptop is a lot more fun today than it was five years ago, when a “real” gaming laptop meant 12 pounds of back-breaking hardware to haul around. Check out our top picks immediately below, and keep reading to catch up on the latest news and reviews. 

Gaming laptop cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:·

  • Best 15-inch gaming laptop: Razer Blade 15 [amazon.com]
  • Best budget 15-inch gaming laptop: Acer Predator Helios 300 [amazon.com]
  • Best 17-inch gaming laptop: MSI GS75 Stealth [MSI.com]
  • Best budget 17-inch gaming laptop: HP Omen 17 [amazon.com]
  • Best portable gaming laptop: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD  [amazon.com]
  • Best price-is-no-object gaming laptop: Origin EON17-X [originpc.com]

With major advances in laptop CPUs and graphics technologies, you can now get great gaming performance in sizes from slender to huge, and prices from budget to sky-high.

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Brave 1.0 review: This excellent, privacy-focused browser can make you money, too

Wed, 2019-11-13 11:00

Brave Software’s new Brave browser, which emerges out of a long beta into a full-fledged Brave 1.0 release today, works in two ways: As a privacy-minded browser that does everything it can to minimize your footprint on the Web, and as a convoluted means of paying people who provide you the content that you read daily.

It’s been literally years since Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and the co-founder of Mozilla, first spoke to PCWorld about trying to balance privacy and ensuring that those that created content were paid for their efforts. The compromise was what Brave Software now calls the Basic Attention Token, or BAT, which leverages the Ethereum blockchain as a unit of virtual currency.

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Logitech’s MK470 Slim Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo: A solid budget bundle

Wed, 2019-11-13 11:00

If you’re short on desk space and funds, Logitech’s MK470 Slim Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo can solve both problems. These lightweight and compact accessories can squeeze into the tightest of workspaces, and their extreme quietness will be appreciated by your open-office mates. Adding to that appeal is a modest $50 price tag.

Design

The MK470 keyboard measures 14.7 x 0.83 x 5.6 inches and weighs just over a pound. It is indeed slim, but durable nonetheless. Unlike with some comparably thin keyboards, I was unable to twist or bend the MK470’s hard plastic case.

Logitech

The MK470 Slim Combo saves a lot of desk space.

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Upcoming Versa update offers a glimpse of a post-Google Fitbit OS

Wed, 2019-11-13 09:44
Fitbit has announced a new update to its mobile OS, and it brings a slew of features that will make your watch smarter.

16-inch MacBook Pro hands-on: Faster, prettier, and all-around better (especially the keyboard)

Wed, 2019-11-13 08:30
First impressions of Apple's new pro-grade laptop, which replaces the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which should you buy?

Wed, 2019-11-13 06:30

  You know you want one of Dell’s XPS laptops, but which one? The thin-and-light XPS 13? Its convertible cousin, the XPS 13 2-in-1? Or the brawnier workhorse XPS 15? 

We’ll help you pick. Note that Dell typically continues to sell the older models alongside the newer ones. Dell uses the term “new” to differentiate between the latest and greatest and older stock. For this comparison, we’re comparing the latest versions of the laptops with the top-end CPUs: the XPS 13 7390, its convertible cousin the XPS 13 7390 2-in-1, and the XPS 15 7590. We’re also including the XPS 15 2-in-1 7595, which is older but still on sale, with no replacement on the horizon. 

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Nvidia Shield TV (2019) review: This great media streamer is still just a little nerdy

Wed, 2019-11-13 06:00
The Nvidia Shield TV is still the best Android TV box, and it's not just for techies anymore.

HDMI vs. DisplayPort: Which display interface reigns supreme?

Wed, 2019-11-13 06:00

The HDMI audio/video interface standard is everywhere: TVs, set-top boxes, media streamers, Blu-ray players, A/V receivers, gaming consoles, camcorders, digital cameras, and even a few smartphones. You’ll also find an HDMI output port in most consumer desktop and laptop computers, as well as an input port on many all-in-one PCs, to enable a gaming console or a set-top box may use its internal display.

Given HDMI’s ubiquity, you might have forgotten about the other digital audio/video standard: DisplayPort. Though you’ll find it alongside HDMI on most late-model, high-end video cards, as well as in Macs and laptops marketed to business users, it rarely appears in Windows PCs aimed at consumers. It’s also rare as hen’s teeth in consumer electronics devices.

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Twitch Studio, Twitch's easy-peasy streaming software for beginners, hits open beta

Tue, 2019-11-12 16:03

Anybody can become a Twitch star, but getting set up can be complicated, especially on the PC. While console gamers can start streaming quickly, configuring a Twitch stream on your PC involves using third-party software, ensuring all your hardware is detected, wading through audio and video mixing, and more. It’s not that hard, but it sure does involve some busywork. But Twitch’s own Twitch Studio software, which launched in open beta today after a closed beta period, aims to simplify the process and get you streaming to the masses quickly.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 November 2019 Update goes live, but you have to seek it out

Tue, 2019-11-12 14:49

Microsoft began rolling out the Windows 10 November 2019 Update to “seekers” on Tuesday, capping off a lengthy testing period on what is expected to be a fairly minor update.

Microsoft typically rolls updates in two ways: to people who actively look for feature updates through the Windows Update tab, and through a more general rollout where updates are pushed to the world at large. This is the first phase, where the Windows 10 November 2019 Update will only download for users who visit Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and select Check for Updates.

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The Full Nerd special episode: AMD's Rob Hallock on 3rd-gen Threadripper, Ryzen 9 3950X, and more

Tue, 2019-11-12 14:37

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad Chacos,  and Adam Patrick Murray are joined by AMD’s Robert Hallock for a deeper look at the newly announced 3rd-gen Threadripper CPUs and the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X!

These beastly processors aim to stomp all over Intel’s Core i9-9900KS and Core X chips when they launch later this month, and Hallock explains exactly how (though you should always wait for reviews). AMD’s chip whisperer gets nitty-gritty on power efficiency, the new Eco mode coming to 3rd-gen Ryzen processors, why there isn’t a 16-core Threadripper this time around, optimal memory speed and timing for the new chips, cooling for PCIe 4.0-equipped motherboards, how Ryzen’s inclusion in the next-gen Xbox “Project Scarlett” and PlayStation 5 could accelerate multi-core gaming even faster, and more.

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Minecraft Earth goes live in preview for the entire United States

Tue, 2019-11-12 14:12

Microsoft has pushed Minecraft Earth live to iOS and Android users in the United States in early access, meaning that pretty much anyone can download the preview and start exploring Microsoft’s virtual world.

Microsoft’s Minecraft Earth account tweeted the news on Tuesday morning, and I was able to download the game on an Android phone and begin playing. Microsoft has placed download links for iOS and Android on its Minecraft Earth page

Mark Hachman / IDG

While you can place Minecraft Earth builds on ordinary objects (such as my back deck) be sure you’re in a well-lighted environment.

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NordVPN review: A great choice for Netflix fans, but who's running the show?

Tue, 2019-11-12 13:53
NordVPN in brief:
  • P2P allowed: Yes. Dedicated servers.
  • Business location: Panama
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Number of country locations: 58
  • Cost: $69 (billed annually)
  • VPN Protocol: OpenVPN
  • Data encryption: AES-256-CBC
  • Data authentication: TLS 1.2 with 2048-bit DH
  • Handshake encryption: SHA2 - 512

Panama-based NordVPN is a popular choice among VPN users and is also the recipient of much praise from experts. After spending some time with the service, it’s not hard to see why. First off, NordVPN lets you watch U.S. Netflix from anywhere in the world—a rare feat these days. NordVPN also manages to create an interface that’s simple yet feature-rich enough to satisfy power users willing to dig a little deeper.

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Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious software

Tue, 2019-11-12 13:32
We name the top free and paid Mac antivirus products to root out malicious software and prevent infections.

Need for Speed: Heat review: The best Need for Speed this generation, but the formula's well-worn

Tue, 2019-11-12 11:28

There’s a new Need for Speed game out as of last Friday. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. I’ve seen a lot of games sent out to die, but Need for Speed: Heat has been basically shoved out an airlock into the vacuum of space. EA only showed it to people once, to my knowledge—at Gamescom, in Europe. It wasn’t at E3. It wasn’t at PAX. There was no two-weeks-prior event to build hype. We got review code on release day.

And I don’t really know why, either.

Need for Speed: Heat certainly doesn’t do anything especially new or innovative, but it’s a totally passable open-world racing game. Most years, that wouldn’t be enough—but there’s no Forza this year, neither a Forza 8 nor a Forza Horizon 5. Need for Speed: Heat takes the podium by default.

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Disney+ and Netflix couldn't be more different

Tue, 2019-11-12 09:06
Disney+ versus Netflix: Why the two streaming services couldn't be more different

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