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Steam's long-awaited Library overhaul launches Sept. 17: Salvation for your massive game collection

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 13:00

Steam’s library overhaul has taken longer than I think anyone would’ve guessed, which is about par for the course with Valve. It’s almost done though. On September 17, less than two weeks from now, you’ll be able to enter the open beta for the new library interface.

And I think you’re going to want to, because it’s fantastic. This past week Valve gave us a live demo, a deep dive into the myriad changes to expect. The short version though? If you’ve accrued a vast Steam library in the last decade-plus, this update is going to be your salvation.

Coming home

The heart of the update is the Library Home Page. Clicking on the Library tab now brings you to a landing page with a familiar tiled layout, and sections at the top for “What’s New,” “Recent Games,” and “Recent Friend Activity.”

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A 2019 iPhone wish list

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 12:30

We’re less than a week away from Apple’s latest fall media event, and that means it’s the last opportunity for us all to straddle the worlds of cold, hard reality and the fantastic scenarios where everything we dream about Apple releasing could still happen.

I generally prefer to dwell in reality, but I accept that sometimes my hopes get the best of me and a little bit of wish-casting sneaks into my cold, hard analysis. Admitting that is probably the first step on a long road to recovery. In the meantime, however, here’s a mostly reality-based look at what I’m hoping to see from Apple next week.

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Acer unveils a hulking $14,000 gaming cockpit, a 300Hz Predator laptop, and more at IFA

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 11:27

Acer rolled into the annual IFA tradeshow in Berlin with plenty in store for PC gaming enthusiasts, showing off a hulking $14,000 multi-monitor gaming cockpit, a laptop with a blazingly fast 300Hz display, an affordable new gaming notebook, and more.

Believe it or not, the $14,000 Predator Thronos Air is actually $6,000 cheaper than the original Predator Thronos gaming chair revealed last year. The monitor arm that holds up to three displays isn’t motorized anymore, but the Thronos picked up massage capabilities, so that’s a net win in my book. It’s still a gigantic steel beast of a cockpit, complete with Acer-blue LED lights, a foot rest, and a camera mount above the middle monitor for any budding Twitch stars. Look for it in the fourth quarter, but be warned: That sky-high sticker price doesn’t include an actual gaming rig or any displays.

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Fresh rumors raise the possibility of the iPhone SE making a return

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 10:30

As we all anxiously wait for Tuesday’s unveiling of the iPhone 11, the rumors are already pouring in about next year’s phones. Today’s isn’t about the iPhone 12, however. It’s about the little phone that won’t go away: the iPhone SE.

Apple may have retired the iPhone SE with the launch of the iPhone XS last year, but a Nikkei Asian Review report claims it will be coming back. According to the publication’s sources, Apple is planning to launch a lower-cost iPhone in spring 2020 to help bolster sales in the face of strong competition from Huawei and Samsung.

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Roku adds a soundbar and subwoofer to its audio lineup

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 09:00
Roku has announced the October availability of a soundbar that doubles as a streaming device, as well as a subwoofer that pairs with it and the company's existing wireless speakers.

Roku adds a soundbar and subwoofer to its audio lineup

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 09:00
Roku has announced the October availability of a soundbar that doubles as a streaming device, as well as a subwoofer that pairs with it and the company's existing wireless speakers.

Roxio Toast 18 Pro review: Lacks a compelling reason to upgrade from version 17

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 08:00

Although we live in a world dominated by streaming media, many consumers still prefer the old-school charm of optical discs for archiving cherished memories. Whether it’s a wedding video, family vacation, or other life event, it can be handy to create a Blu-ray Disc or DVD you can stash on a shelf or hand off to friends and loved ones.

Burnt toast

When it comes to burning optical discs, Roxio has catered to Mac users longer than most anyone else. It’s a tradition that continues—for better or worse—with the release of Toast 18. Available in standard ($100) or Pro ($150) editions, the core Toast Titanium app has remained largely unchanged in recent years, aside from much-needed 64-bit compatibility and dark mode support.

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Asus debuts 300Hz displays for gaming laptops

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 08:00

If you thought you were cooler than school with your gaming laptop's 144Hz or 240Hz screen refresh rate, Asus just dropped Zephryrus and ROG Strix laptops with 300Hz refresh rates.

Nope, you didn't read that wrong: The new Asus Zephyrus and ROG Strix laptops will feature 300Hz refresh-rate panels.

Although Asus is unlikely to be the only laptop maker with a 300Hz panel at IFA Berlin, it's the first to announce (though pricing and availability remain unknown). Higher-refresh panels typically help make gaming and even scrolling of 2D content appear far smoother. A similar fast pan of a game, for example, would appear blurrier at 60Hz than on a 144Hz panel.

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Asus and Nvidia's ProArt StudioBook One wields Quadro RTX 6000 graphics power

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 08:00

Asus and Nvidia’s new ProArt StudioBook One might be the answer to contrent creators’ infinite need for graphics speed. Announced Wednesday afternoon at IFA in Berlin. and claiming the modest title of “world’s most powerful laptop,” the Asus and Nvidia collaboration will be the first to boast Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 6000 GPU. 

Nvidia offered few hard details but did say the ProArt StudioBook One will include a Core i9 CPU, 64GB of DDR4, a 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5, a 90-watt-hour battery, and three Thunderbolt 3 ports. Pricing wasn’t available either, but if a Quadro RTX desktop GPU itself is $3,600 today, this laptop won’t be cheap.

Desktop-like performance

The mobile version of the desktop Quadro RTX 6000  will feature “desktop-like” performance, according to Nvidia. Mobile GPUs had crept close to desktop performance in previous years, but both the GTX 10-series and the RTX 20-series generation saw desktop jump far ahead again. For example, laptop GPUs have topped out at the GeForce RTX 2080, with no mobile version of the wickedly fast GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The same happened with the GeForce GTX 1080, which offered no GeForce GTX 1080 Ti equivalent.

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What to do if you’re worried about the legitimacy of a downloaded software installer

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 07:00

You should almost always download installers for apps, drivers, or other software directly from the site operated by the software’s developer. However, sometimes developers rely on third-party sites to host their files. Or you might encounter a situation like mine: I was unable to reach a company’s site recently, as it was temporarily down, and I found a driver I needed on a third-party update site.

This might leave you a little concerned as to whether the installer was legitimate or at least provided by the developer. Some download sites have been known to package real software updates with adware that, when installed, serves up unwanted advertising or rewrites links on pages to redirect who receives credit for ads you see or click on.

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Hands-on: Stadia's cloud gaming feels impressive, but Google's showing off the wrong games

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:45

We finally got a chance to play some games over Google Stadia, and it’s clear that cloud-based gaming has come a long way since the days of OnLive—though the games that Google is using to showcase its upcoming service leave a lot to be desired.

Let me be clear: We won’t pass judgment on Google Stadia until we’re able to test it on real-world networks, preferably a number of them in a bunch of different locations. Having written about how PlayStation Now works great in the San Francisco area, I’m nevertheless very conscious of the fact that it’s terrible in large swathes of the United States and the world, and while I expect Stadia will be better than PlayStation Now, it’s still impossible to know how much better until we’ve spent a lot of time with it.

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Android 10: Getting started with the best new features

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:15

When you first start using Android 10, it won’t look all that different from version 9. In fact, the biggest change you’re going to encounter is that it doesn’t have a tasty dessert moniker attached to it. But even without any radical new features, Android “Don’t Call It Q” charts a whole new path for the OS, with new ways to navigate, customize, and secure your phone. So if you can’t find anything new, you’re just looking in the wrong places. Here are all the best new features in Android 10 and how to start using them.

Dark theme

Possibly the most highly anticipated new feature in Android 10 is a simple one: dark mode. Called Dark theme, it flips many of the elements in stock Google apps from blinding white to black or dark gray. However, it’s a little scattered, with some apps turning automatically, while others have their own internal switches. Here’s how it breaks down:

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Bond Bridge by Olibra review: Bringing smart-home tech to dumb ceiling fans

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Make your dumb ceiling fan or fireplace smart today with this Wi-Fi bridge, and it might enable you to do the same for your air conditioner and other appliances later.

It's football season! These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun to watch

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Bringing you everything from stats to game-time snacks, these apps are as indispensable as your TV remote.

NFL without cable: A cord-cutter’s guide for the 2019 pro football season

Mac World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Whether you've cut the cord or are sticking with cable, our guide will show you all the ways you can watch America's favorite sport on TV, including Monday Night Football and NFL RedZone.

Bond Bridge by Olibra review: Bringing smart-home tech to dumb ceiling fans

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Make your dumb ceiling fan or fireplace smart today with this Wi-Fi bridge, and it might enable you to do the same for your air conditioner and other appliances later.

It's football season! These second-screen apps make NFL games even more fun to watch

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Bringing you everything from stats to game-time snacks, these apps are as indispensable as your TV remote.

NFL without cable: A cord-cutter’s guide for the 2019 pro football season

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 06:00
Whether you've cut the cord or are sticking with cable, our guide will show you all the ways you can watch America's favorite sport on TV, including Monday Night Football and NFL RedZone.

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 crams GTX 1650 graphics into a thin-and-light gaming laptop

PC World - Wed, 2019-09-04 00:00

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 could be “the world’s first gaming ultrabook,” as the company claims. It features Intel’s brand-new 10th-gen, 10nm Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 inside, and—wait for it—a GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. 

On paper, we’d agree. Most thin-and-light laptops by definition remove any consideration of discrete graphics, because hot GPUs and tight spaces don’t mix well. There’s Huawei’s Matebook X Pro with its GeForce MX150, but that discrete GPU isn’t even formally considered a gaming part by Nvidia. The Razer Blade Stealth 13’s GeForce GTX 1650 is far more capable, but we don’t know just how fast Razer can run it in a laptop this small.

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The best wireless chargers for iPhone

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 18:35

Beginning with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple added wireless charging to the iPhone. That continues with the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.

Wireless charging isn’t always a great substitute for plugging in, but it’s a very convenient way to keep your phone topped off through most of the day. A wireless charger on your desk means no more plugging and unplugging throughout the day and a full charge when you head home from work. A wireless charger next to your bed makes it easy to grab and go in the morning, or just pick up your phone to “check one thing” without fussing with the lightning cable.

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