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Thunderbolt is optional in USB4, USB4 spec says

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 18:32

The USB Implementers Forum has published the USB4 specification, as promised, though with one disappointment: Thunderbolt support is optional, meaning that there may be confusion over which devices can support what protocol.

When the USB4 spec was announced, the revelation was that it would integrate the Thunderbolt 3 specification for display and data connectivity that Intel had developed. Intel said at the time that it would contribute the Thunderbolt specification to the USB Promoter Group, and a spokeswoman has confirmed that. Intel also said the new, higher-speed 40Gbps protocol would use a USB-C cable. That all appears to be true. 

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Intel adds 'retro scaling' to Ice Lake CPUs to make pixel-art games look more crisp on modern displays

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 16:35

Retro-gaming enthusiasts just received a big gift from Intel, but you’re going to need some new hardware to take advantage of it. Over the holiday weekend, the company’s graphics division released beta drivers that enable integer-scaling support in its newly released “Ice Lake” 10th-gen Core mobile processors.

Intel’s Ice Lake chips put the pedal to the metal when it comes to graphics performance, but integer scaling makes games with limited resolution options look better on modern displays. Upscaling retro games—or retro-styled games with fixed resolutions, like FTL—can result in soft, blurry images when they’re processed using traditional scaling methods. Intel’s driver adds the company’s new “retro-scaling” feature, which offers both true integer scaling as well as “nearest-neighbor interpolation” to crisp up your image on modern displays.

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New Brock institute to support economic growth in Niagara

Brock News - Tue, 2019-09-03 16:34

MEDIA RELEASE: 3 September 2019 – R00140

A $5-million investment by the federal government will allow Brock University to create a landmark facility aimed at making Niagara a research and innovation leader in bioagriculture, bioscience and chemical manufacturing sectors.

The FedDev funding through the Community Economic Development and Diversification stream was announced Tuesday, Sept. 3 by Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle.

The funding means Brock can now launch the Brock-Niagara Validating, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI) which will enable area businesses to access the University’s researchers, expertise and advanced technology. The new centre will be housed in a $6.1-million expansion of Brock’s Mackenzie Chown Complex, which is expected to open in 2021.

Brock University President Gervan Fearon said the visionary facility will make the Niagara community a Canadian leader in university-engaged collaborative research and innovation that enhances advances and the competitiveness of the manufacturing and agri-food sectors.

“We are grateful for the Government of Canada supporting this strategic initiative that helps to build the regional economic cluster of the Niagara region and supports the competitiveness of industry across Canada,” said Fearon. “The VPMI will support applied research and development, innovation and commercialization efforts to help businesses grow and thrive. It will play an important role in Brock University’s strategic priority to partner with business and communities in supporting the prosperity and vitality of the Niagara region and beyond.”

The VPMI will be comprised of three main components: research and innovation; testing and prototyping; and training. It will expand on existing partnerships created through Brock’s Advanced Biomanufacturing Centre (ABC), Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and the BrockLINC.

The VPMI will give businesses access to state-of-the-art analytical, prototyping and early-stage

manufacturing tools, as well as to expertise and training, to help expand and tackle new markets. It will provide the bioproduct, bioagriculture, bioscience and chemical manufacturing sectors with a single-site solution to improve or launch products and new processes.

“This will enhance industrial-academia partnerships by providing businesses with the capacity to fully design, study and characterize both biological and chemical systems while working with the related expertise at Brock University,” said Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research at Brock.

The VPMI will work with a wide range of companies in Niagara and across southern Ontario in sectors such as wine production, cannabis, food-based products, health care, medicines and nutritional supplements, and chemical companies that produce polymers and resins used in manufacturing.

Badawey said he was thrilled to see “Brock University taking measures to enhance research, innovation and the economy,” through the new VPMI.

“This new facility will grow the region’s economy by creating more jobs, strengthen the relationship with various organizations and continue to highlight the importance of industrial-academia partnerships,” he said. “Brock’s initiative presents an innovative way to ensure our region is provided with the opportunity to participate in the competitive market.”

Bittle agreed, saying the new facility would “ensure we keep pushing the boundaries to benefit the Niagara economy.”

“Our region continues to join forces and collaborate with our post-secondary institutions to keep jobs and opportunities local,” he said. “In particular, the project announced today for Brock University is a perfect example of how this institution brings together expertise in biology and chemistry to uniquely tackle challenges.”

Geekbench 5 is released with all-new tests, modes, and scores

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 16:27

Primate Labs has release a major new update of its popular Geekbench performance measurement tool. Geekbench 5 comes three years after the release of Geekbench 4 and features all new test methods, workloads, and a new measurement scale. As such, it should be a much more accurate representation of modern workloads on modern hardware, and the scores are not at all comparable with those from Geekbench 4.

We often use Geekbench here at Macworld to give an overall picture of the CPU and GPU compute performance of iPhones, iPads, and Macs. It’s one of the few cross-device and cross-operating-system comparable benchmarks available; while it doesn’t paint a perfect picture of the difference in performance between an Intel chip running Windows, an Android phone with a Qualcomm processor, and an iPad with Apple’s custom silicon, it is one of the best synthetic benchmarks available to at least attempt to make such a comparison.

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Report: Apple will soon add sleep tracking to Apple Watch

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 13:11

Earlier this year, a report from Bloomberg claimed that Apple is working on adding sleep tracking features to Apple Watch. It claimed that if the testing was successful, Apple would release the feature “by 2020.”

Now, new details have emerged about the feature, which sounds like it may be nearing release. 9to5Mac has a report with several new details.

Apple calls it “Time in bed tracking” though it appears to function like other sleep trackers, monitoring the quality of your sleep using your Apple Watch’s accelerometer, microphone, and heart rate sensor. Sleep data would be available in the Health app an in a new Sleep app on the Apple Watch.

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Astro's new Astro.ID program lets you build your own stylish A40 gaming headset

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 12:55

Customization may be the next big trend in peripherals. Sure, it’s a lot of work on the part of manufacturers, but taste is so subjective. One person wants restrained matte black, another wants pristine white, a third wants all their gear to burst with color. Why not cater to all of them, if possible?

That’s what Astro’s trying to do, anyway. This weekend at PAX I got to go hands-on (and behind-the-scenes) with Astro’s upcoming “Astro.ID” program. Like Microsoft’s Xbox Design Lab—or NikeID, for a non-gaming example—Astro.ID gives you control over the design of your A40 headset.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

The Astro A40 is already a notoriously easy headset to customize, but Astro’s finally formalized the process. There are six components to an A40: Frame, headband, stitching/earcups, side panels, microphone, and cable. And for this initial rollout each component comes in six colors (plus two different designs for the panels), for a grand total of a hell of a lot of combinations.

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AMD acknowledges 3rd-gen Ryzen boost bug, says fix is coming September 10

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 12:40

AMD said Tuesday that it is preparing a BIOS update to address reports that its 3rd-generation Ryzen processors aren’t able to hit advertised boost speeds under all conditions.

“While processor boost frequency is dependent on many variables including workload system design, and cooling solution, we have closely reviewed the feedback from our customers and have identified an issue in our firmware that reduces boost frequency in some situations,” AMD said, The statement, released in a tweet, says that the BIOS update will be released on September 10 via AMD’s motherboard partners.

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Bang & Olufsen’s first soundbar boasts Dolby Atmos and AirPlay 2 support

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 10:42
Slated to arrive this fall, Bang & Olufsen’s sleek soundbar comes with 11 powered drivers, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, and built-in Chromecast support.

Bang & Olufsen’s first soundbar boasts Dolby Atmos and AirPlay 2 support

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 10:42
Slated to arrive this fall, Bang & Olufsen’s sleek soundbar comes with 11 powered drivers, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, and built-in Chromecast support.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold nears its re-release, but a cheaper, more practical model might be on the way

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 10:34

After months of testing and tweaks, Samsung is finally almost ready to ship its next-generation Galaxy Fold handset. Maybe. Even though a pre-order button appeared on the Galaxy Fold site on this weekend, you can’t actually pre-order the new phone just yet. Instead, you can sign up for more information, which will presumably be the new on-sale date, which is rumored to be later this month.

If you’ve forgotten, the Galaxy Fold is Samsung’s first handset with a foldable screen. On the outside, it has a small 4.6-inch display, but it can be opened to reveal a massive 7.3-inch screen with three-app multitasking and PC-like drag-and-drop support. Inside it’s very much a Note 10+, with a Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.

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Thousands of students settle into their new homes on Move-In Day

Brock News - Tue, 2019-09-03 09:59

MEDIA RELEASE: 1 September 2019 – R00139

The vehicles they came in were as varied as their hometowns.

Coming from places like Thunder Bay, Winnipeg and Ottawa, thousands of students arrived at Brock University Sunday, Sept. 1 in everything from compact cars to extended cab cargo vans.

They waited their turn and then, like clockwork, a team of student volunteers unloaded the vehicles and moved the cargo into a room in one of Brock’s eight residences.

Refined over decades, Brock’s Move-In Day has become a well-oiled machine with hundreds of student volunteers helping thousands of their classmates get settled into their new surroundings.

Among those volunteers was fourth-year Concurrent Education student Sarah Vaz, who is serving as the head resident at Earp this year.

“I remember it was the rowing team that moved me into Lowenberger four years ago,” Vaz said as she labeled boxes with a room number for an arriving student. “I remember getting out of the car, registering and everything was at my door. It was so nice and welcoming, so that’s why I wanted to give back.”

Walking around the campus and answering questions Sunday was Greg Finn, Vice-President Academic, who said many parents just wanted to know all would be well for their sons and daughters.

“We try to reassure them that this is a very welcoming community and they see that from the volunteers who were helping out,” said Finn. “They’re all here to get them settled for the week with classes getting started. That comfortable start makes a big difference for students.”

Nancy and Scott Ashworth jokingly gave each other a high-five as they dropped their son Ben off at Lowenberger residence. He’s the second of two kids the Hamilton couple has now sent off to University.

“It’s a new chapter in my life. I’m excited to be on my own,” said Ben.

Nancy Ashworth said she was impressed with the Move-In Day process.

“They do a good job with the times to get everyone moved in and the volunteers were great,” she said.

Director of Residences Jamie Fleming, overseeing his 38th Move-In Day, said the operation went exactly according to plan.

“We’re very happy and delighted with the number of volunteers we got from the students’ union, clubs and groups, Brock Sports teams and all the full-time staff who have to be here and do so very willingly,” he said. “Many of them say this is the best day because this is when the academic year really gets started. It’s exciting and the energy of the students is great.”

Move-In Day was the opening event of a busy Welcome Week at Brock, which includes dozens of events and orientation sessions on campus. The first classes of Fall Term will be held Wednesday, Sept. 4.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

– 30 –

The best Windows backup software

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 09:04

We need backup software for our PCs because storage isn’t foolproof, and won’t last forever. If your data isn’t backed up, when the inevitable accident or failure occurs, it’s gone.

It would be nice if Microsoft itself provided Windows users with something like Apple’s Time Machine: an effective, set-it-and-forget-it, total system recovery and backup solution that requires little interaction or thought on the part of the user. 

Instead, the company delivers a mishmash of restore points, recovery discs, file backup, and even the un-retired System Backup (Windows 7), which was probably originally put out to pasture for its propensity to choke on dissimilar hardware. Online backup services are another option, but desktop clients tend to offer far more flexibility. 

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How to create a backup plan to restore passwords if your system fails

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 08:00

Password-management apps are a great way to ensure that you create unique, strong passwords for every service, app, or site at which you need one, and you don't have to memorize any of them.

However, what happens if you have a catastrophic failure, and can’t access your main computer? What if your backup drives are encrypted? (Yes, I recommend your backup drives are encrypted so that if stolen or accessed, they are protected.)

Or while you’re recovering your computer, you’re trying to access key financial, medical, or business resources, and you can't access the password in the manager? Or your machine was stolen and you need a password to log into a tracking service, like Find My Mac?

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Exploited exploits: The missing details of the iPhone hack

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 07:00

Another week, another opportunity to take a look at the lifecycle of an Apple catastrophe.

Last week, out of nothing more than sheer altruism, Google researchers dropped a bombshell report: certain websites have been indiscriminately hacking iPhones for two years by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system, hijacking passwords and even gaining the ability to read encrypted messages.

Not good. If you were concerned that no one would report on this, well, where have you been for 30 years?

Also, if you’ve been gone for 30 years, don’t… uh, don’t look at the news. Just… uh, just don’t.

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Blink XT2 review: second time's the charm for this indoor/outdoor camera

Mac World - Tue, 2019-09-03 06:30
Two-way talk and enhanced motion detection make this simple security camera a marked improvement over its predecessor.

Blink XT2 review: second time's the charm for this indoor/outdoor camera

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 06:30
Two-way talk and enhanced motion detection make this simple security camera a marked improvement over its predecessor.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: If you have $1,100 to spend, this is the phone to buy

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 06:00

The Galaxy Note 10+ will be too expensive for some people. It’ll be too big for others. Some will balk at its lack of a headphone jack and a few might really want a dual selfie cam. For those people, there’s the Galaxy S10+, which is an excellent alternative that checks off all of the above boxes without sacrificing too much of what the Note 10+ brings.

Daniel Masaoka/IDG

That’s a lot of screen.

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Backup4all Professional 8 review: Easy, reliable backup

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 00:26

Since last I reviewed Backup4All, some years ago, the change has been all for the better. The program sports a new, modern interface and has built on the already broad range of destinations, including optical disc, with support for online storage services. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Windows backup software. Go there for reviews on competing products and information about how we tested. 

Design and features

As you can see below, Backup4All is all-business in its approach to backup. It’s good-looking yet focused, and uses the Microsoft drop-down ribbon style, which nicely combines icons and text. The bare icons used by many programs, except when used sparingly, are a waste of cognition time.

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Acronis True Image 2020: Fast, reliable backup, now with dual local/cloud protection

PC World - Tue, 2019-09-03 00:19

It’s that time of year again: the time when Acronis releases the annual update of its venerable True Image backup program. It’s called True Image 2020 (we tested the Standard version, $49.99 from Acronis) and yes, I know it's not 2020 yet, as the moniker implies, but what’s a few months among old friends? True Image is a trusted warhorse.

This year’s improvements are of course welcome for subscription users, and go quite a ways toward making the program easier to use. However, if you own a recent perpetual license version they’re not a must-have.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Windows backup software. Go there for reviews on competing products and information about how we tested. 

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How to open items in the enclosing folder directly from a Spotlight search in macOS

Mac World - Mon, 2019-09-02 08:00

One might think after many years of Spotlight search being in macOS that there would be no new tricks. But a colleague on Twitter asked a reasonable question and many people chimed in with the same query: When viewing a list of results in a Spotlight search in the Finder, how do you jump to see the item in the context of its enclosing folder rather than just opening the file?

The answer is simple: hold down Command and press the Return key or press Command-R. You can also hold down Command and double-click the item in the results list.


Spotlight can preview a path and open a file’s enclosing folder with Command key combinations.

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