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News (PC World Magazine Latest News)

  • NSA ends surveillance tactic that pulled in citizens' emails, texts

    The U.S. National Security Agency will no longer sift through emails, texts and other internet communications that mention targets of surveillance.

    The change, which the NSA announced on Friday, stops a controversial tactic that critics said violated U.S. citizens' privacy rights.

    The practice involved flagging communications where a foreign surveillance target was mentioned, even if that target wasn't involved in the conversation. Friday’s announcement means the NSA will stop collecting this data.

    “Instead, this surveillance will now be limited to only those communications that are directly ‘to’ or ‘from’ a foreign intelligence target,” the NSA said in a statement.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

  • Samsung Galaxy S8: Everything you need to know, all in one place

    The release of the latest Galaxy S phone is always a major event, and with good reason. Samsung’s premium flagship practically defines our expectations for high-end, high-price Android phones for the year to come. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ deliver a smorgasbord of features, top-tier hardware, a great camera, and bleeding-edge design. This, together with Samsung’s marketing muscle, make them the most popular premium Android phones. 

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  • Google's Chrome will soon start warning you more about HTTP pages

    A Google effort to push websites to implement encryption is expanding. Starting in October, the company will roll out new warnings to flag HTTP connections as insecure in its Chrome browser.

    For users, it means Chrome will display the words “not secure” in the browser’s address bar whenever they type any data into web pages that connect over HTTP.

    However, for users who like to browse through Chrome’s privacy-enhancing Incognito mode, the warnings will appear by default on all HTTP pages visited, not only when the user enters information onto the page.

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  • Stealthy Mac malware spies on encrypted browser traffic

    A new malware program that targets macOS users is capable of spying on encrypted browser traffic to steal sensitive information.

    The new program, dubbed OSX/Dok by researchers from Check Point Software Technologies, was distributed via email phishing campaigns to users in Europe.

    One of the rogue emails was crafted to look as if it was sent by a Swiss government agency warning recipients about apparent errors in their tax returns. The malware was attached to the email as a file called Dokument.zip.

    What makes OSX/Dok interesting is that it was digitally signed with a valid Apple developer certificate. These certificates are issued by Apple to members of its developer program and are needed to publish applications in the official Mac App Store.

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  • Microsoft reinstates My People for Windows 10, connecting you to your BFFs

    Microsoft’s feature for connecting you to close friends, known as My People, may have been cut from the Creators Update, but it has resurfaced as part of the latest Windows Insider build (16184) for Windows 10 PCs.

    With the Creators Update finished, Microsoft is now working on the next major update of Windows 10, known as Redstone 3. While the initial builds of Redstone 3 focused on framework, Microsoft appears to have moved on to adding features: namely, the My People “experience,” and a richer Focused Inbox for those who use Gmail with Windows 10 Mail. The latter will also add package and travel-reservation tracking, Microsoft said.

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  • This overclocked EVGA GTX 1050 Ti costs less than reference models

    Today’s deal is one for the budget PC builders: Right now, Amazon’s selling an EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC Gaming graphics card for $116. That’s $34 off MSRP for this factory overclocked model, and one of the best prices we’ve seen. It’s also the most hassle-free price available—Newegg is also offering a discount on the same card, but for $140 after a $10 mail-in rebate.

    There is, however, a catch. In order to take advantage of this price, you have to be an Amazon Prime member. You can circumvent this issue by signing up for a free trial, though. Doing so will also net you free two-day shipping on the purchase (as well as most others during the trial period).

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  • This week in games: Forza Horizon 3 gets Hot Wheels, Terry Crews gets a wild Old Spice PC

    Take a deep breath. It’s been one of the most crowded spring release schedules I’ve ever seen, and we’re not quite done—Prey releases next week. But we’re almost done, and then you’ll have a solid four months to catch your breath before we head into fall. I’m looking forward to finally getting around to NieR Automata, Sexy Brutale, and finally finishing off Snake Pass.

    But for now, news. This week Terry Crews received a custom-built PC full of Old Spice, Planet Coaster shows off its hidden cheat codes, Night Trap is getting an HD remake (for some reason), and Forza Horizon 3 has the best DLC in the world: Hot Wheels-themed racing. Hell yes.

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  • Legal war with Apple hits Qualcomm's revenue projections

    The legal fight between Apple and Qualcomm on licensing modem technology is turning uglier every day.

    Apple has filed lawsuits against Qualcomm in countries like the U.S., U.K., China, and Japan, accusing the chipmaker of using its dominant market position to overcharge licensing fees.

    The iPhone maker itself doesn't pay licensing fees directly to Qualcomm. The fees are paid by partners like Foxconn, which makes the iPhone and iPad for Apple.

    Qualcomm is now accusing Apple of interfering with the licensing payments owed by those partners. Its revenue forecasts for the third quarter are affected, Qualcomm said.

    The chipmaker on Friday revised its revenue projections for the third fiscal quarter. It is projecting revenue to be between $5.3 billion and $6.1 billion. That range runs between a decrease of 12 percent and an increase of 1 percent, compared to the same quarter last year. The forecast removes royalty revenues from Apple's contract manufacturers.

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  • 54% off Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard - Deal Alert

    Here's a Bluetooth keyboard for your computer that you can also use with your tablet and smartphone -- switch between all three effortlessly by just turning the dial. And unlike other Bluetooth keyboards, Logitech has integrated a cradle so your device stays propped up at just the right angle as you type. Works with Windows or Mac, Android or iOS, and features a key layout you'll be familiar with on any of those platforms. Logitech's multi-device keyboard currently averages 4 out of 5 stars from over 1,450 people (read reviews) on Amazon, where its typical list price of $49.99 has been recently dropped 54% to just $22.99.  See this deal now on Amazon.

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  • Network management vulnerability exposes home cable modems to hacking

    Hundreds of thousands of internet gateway devices around the world, primarily residential cable modems, are vulnerable to hacking because of a serious weakness in their Simple Network Management Protocol implementation.

    SNMP is used for automated network device identification, monitoring and remote configuration. It is supported and enabled by default in many devices, including servers, printers, networking hubs, switches and routers.

    Independent researchers Ezequiel Fernandez and Bertin Bervis recently found a way to bypass SNMP authentication on 78 models of cable modems that ISPs from around the world have provided to their customers.

    Their internet scans revealed hundreds of thousands of devices whose configurations could be changed remotely through the SNMP weakness that they found and dubbed StringBleed.

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  • Radeon owners rebel when AMD drivers stealth drop Quake Champions links on desktops

    AMD graphics card owners rebelled against Radeon graphics drivers that forced ads for unrelated software onto users on Thursday, after the new Radeon 17.4.4 drivers automatically plopped a tracking code-infused shortcut to the Quake Champions website onto desktops during installation—with no warning or no way to opt out.

    The Internet exploded in outrage. Posts decrying the ads hit the top of every major PC gaming and hardware forum on Reddit, countless Twitter users screamed their displeasure directly to the company, and enthusiast forum-goers grabbed proverbial pitchforks. Here’s a small sampling, with some particularly vulgar language blacked out.

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  • Sorry Pixel owners, Google probably won't update your phones past Android P

    When the Pixel came out last year, it was a clear departure from the Nexus program. With a Google logo stamped on the back, the phones weren’t just crafted around the purest vision for Android, they gave us hope that we would finally have a phone that received years of updates.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Google has updated the Check & update your Android version page of the Nexus support section to include the Pixel and Pixel XL, and the obsolete dates are the same as the Nexus devices that came before. For version updates, Google says, “Pixel phones get Android version updates for at least 2 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store. After 2 years, we can’t guarantee additional updates.” Security updates are a little longer, lasting for “at least 3 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store, or at least 18 months from when the Google Store last sold the device, whichever is longer.”

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  • 25% off NHL 17 For PS4 and Xbox One - Deal Alert

    All-new game modes, new and deeper experiences in fan-favorite modes, and the best on-ice gameplay ever make NHL 17 the most exciting EA SPORTS NHL game to date.
  • 57% off Brother P-Touch PTM95 Label Maker - Deal Alert

    This handy P-touch labeler is lightweight, portable and easy to use. It features a Qwerty Keyboard and easy-view display. It comes with a variety of type styles, frames and symbols to easily personalize your labels. Great for home and home office use. Right now the PTM95 is significantly discounted 57%, for what will likely be a limited time. So instead of $23 you'll be paying just $10. See the deal now on Amazon.

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  • French police crack down on traffic information apps over terrorism concerns

    Drivers in France might be able to blame terrorists for their next speeding ticket, as police there crack down on mobile apps warning of their presence.

    It’s already illegal for smartphones and other GPS devices in France to warn of nearby fixed radars used to issue automatic penalties for speeding, so road information apps from Waze, Coyote and TomTom lose some of their functionality on crossing the French frontier.

    Soon French police will be able to order such services not to display warnings of mobile radars and other traffic checks, declaring information blackout zones as much as 20 kilometers across for up to 24 hours.

    Apps like Waze gather warnings from a community of users and put them on a handy map—but the government decree, which could enter effect in late July, also extends the information blackout to all electronic driver-assistance or navigation systems—whether smartphone apps, websites or social networks that inform users of the location of the police.

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  • If software eats everything, are network engineers on the menu?

    If you're a network engineer, don't rush out and learn a programming language. To compete in the new world of software-defined networking, it might be more important to start thinking like a programmer.

    That was one of the ideas that emerged this week from an Open Networking User Group debate that generated healthy feedback from users in the audience.

    The days of managing individual switches and routers and configuring them with proprietary CLIs (command-line interfaces) are numbered, four panelists at the ONUG spring conference in San Francisco said on Tuesday. Though SDN hasn't worked its way into every enterprise, new approaches to enterprise IT and the availability of public clouds just a few clicks away are driving companies toward more agile and automated networks, they said.

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  • Intel expects CPU prices to fall now that AMD's Ryzen is here

    Intel is forecasting a “slight decline” in its premium chip prices for the remainder of the year, and AMD’s Ryzen chips could have played a part in that.

    Prices of Intel’s chips in both desktops and laptops went up in the first quarter. That helped drive up the quarterly revenue for Client Computing Group—which deals in PC chips—to $8 billion, which was up 6 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

    But Intel’s PC chips now face serious competition from AMD’s new Ryzen chip, which was released last month. Ryzen chips offer competitive performance, and are priced significantly lower.

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  • How to snooze your Wi-Fi in the Windows 10 Creators Update

    When the siren songs of Facebook, Twitter, and [insert your favorite site here] are calling, it can be hard to focus on the task at hand. A popular way to enforce focus is to just turn off your Wi-Fi connection until that term paper, quarterly report, or data entry is done.

    If that’s your go-to strategy, the Windows 10 Creators Update has a helpful new tool that will remember to restore your internet connection for you. That’s right, your Wi-Fi now has a snooze button.

    To get started, click on the Wi-Fi icon in your taskbar, and when the panel listing all the available Wi-Fi connections appears, click the Wi-Fi tile in the lower-left corner.

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  • Five to Try: Star Wars: Puzzle Droids activates, and Google Classroom opens up to everyone

    Need some new Android apps? We've got a few for you.
  • Surface sales sag and Windows Phones fade, as Microsoft's hardware business takes a hit

    Four little words from Microsoft CFO Amy Hood describe the tragic state of Microsoft's mobile experiment: "negligible revenue from phones."

    Phone sales for the current quarter were bad, falling $730 million from the same period a year ago, Microsoft executives said Thursday during the company's second-quarter earnings call. But they can't fall much further: Hood was referring to a forecast of the current quarter ending in June, when sales of all Microsoft-branded phones will apparently trickle off into oblivion.

    Microsoft also said it suffered lower-than-expected sales of Surface Pro products, with an overall drop of 26 percent in Surface revenue. Third-party hardware partners appear to be doing better, however: Microsoft said that sales of its Windows 10 Pro operating systems grew by 10 percent, as more PC vendors were able to sell premium PCs that used Microsoft's more advanced operating system.

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  • Logitech G213 Prodigy review: An ambitious keyboard that's oversized and overpriced

    Rubber-dome keyboards are back.

    Sure, they’ve been around here and there. People who don’t care or don’t know about mechanical keyboards keep the market for them alive and well.

    But for enthusiasts, they’ve been good as dead. Virtually everyone has switched over to mechanical switches, be it the Cherry, Cherry knock-off, or exotic variety.

    Thanks to Logitech and Razer, however, the lowly rubber-dome keyboard has regained some prominence. Last year, both companies released keyboards that attempt to incorporate the feel of mechanical switches. These quasi-hybrids come with slick names—Logitech calls its creation a “mech-dome.”

    Unfortunately, as I learned when testing the Logitech G213 Prodigy, it turns out you don’t get quite what the company promises. And you pay quite a bit for the experience, to boot.

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  • Razer Ornata review: An expensive rubber-dome keyboard that comes with a mechanical click

    Rubber-dome keyboards were dead. Or at least, they seemed to be.

    Sure, you’d still encounter them out in the wild, used by people who either didn’t care or didn’t know about mechanical keyboards. For enthusiasts, though, it's been all mechanical for years now. Whether ear-splitting buckling springs or Cherry switches or any of a half-dozen Cherry knock-offs (Razer, Kailh, Omron), people have been upgrading from the lowly rubber dome en masse.

    But rather than go quietly into the night, the rubber dome has reinvented itself. Well, Razer and Logitech have reinvented it. Both released rubber-dome keyboards last year that try to incorporate the feel of mechanical switches—a hybrid that Razer annointed with the catchy term “mecha-membrane,” which we’ll use from here on out.

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  • How to use MAME emulator to cure computer game nostalgia

    Every once in a while, we get a question about those old games that were once the bleeding edge of entertainment in arcades and bars. Invariably from someone who played them and misses them—not from the current generation of cell-phone gaming addicts.

    But even if you’re the latter, you might want to see how your parents amused themselves in the days when Pong, Asteroids, and Galaxian were the height of gaming technology. You can easily do so right on your PC. Adventurous programmers have long sharpened their skills by writing emulators for a vast array of computers, game machines, and gaming consoles. For the last decade or so, however, the big project has been MAME.

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  • How to master your music metadata (Part 1)

    Tired of seeing “unknown track” by “unnamed artist” on your favorite music player? We’ll show you how to automatically identify, tag, and properly rename all your mystery tracks and albums to whip your music library into shape.
  • Asus Strix RX 580 Gaming Top OC review: Proof that size matters

    AMD’s release of the new-ish Radeon RX 500 series gives us a chance to tackle a topic that isn’t covered often here at PCWorld: The effectiveness and design of custom designs by different graphics cards makers.

    While AMD and Nvidia create the graphics processors used in every Radeon and GeForce video card, respectively, the companies that actually sell graphics cards—like Asus, Sapphire, EVGA, XFX, Visiontek—et cetera—put their own spin on things by customizing the hardware with bespoke cooling solutions, factory overclocks, and the quality of internal components. Those “personal touches” can potentially create vast differences in thermals and gaming performance between two custom graphics cards built around the same GPU.

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  • Google Cloud growth is outpacing the company's ad business

    Google is still an advertising company, but the tech titan’s cloud business is growing faster than its advertising revenue. That’s one of the key take-aways from the company’s first quarter earnings report released Thursday.

    Google Cloud Platform is one of the fastest-growing lines of revenue across Alphabet, the parent company that includes Google and other businesses like self-driving car maker Waymo, company CFO Ruth Porat said on a conference call with analysts. That growth is driven in part by a change in the way companies are working with Google Cloud.

    “Over the last several months, we have noticed a change in the types of conversations that Diane [Greene] and her team are having with customers,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said. “Increasingly, we are being asked to partner for mission-critical projects and full migrations, moving data from on-prem data centers to the cloud. We are seeing a meaningful shift, and this momentum is resulting in a fast-growing business.”

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  • Hands on with the unusual Acer Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop

    To prove it's going big in PCs, Acer held a product launch event at world's largest IMAX screen in New York City. It made a big statement with the Predator Triton 700, a super-thin laptop with some unusual features.

    At first glance, the Triton 700 looks like any other thin gaming laptop. The surprises start when you open it up. The keyboard and touchpad trade locations. The keyboard is placed at the bottom, while the extended touchpad is above it.

    The oversized touchpad is also transparent, giving a glimpse into cooling components of the laptop, like its unique AeroBlade cooling fan. That design was inspired by transparent gaming desktops, and it is something gamers will love, said Eric Ackerson, senior product and marketing manager at Acer.

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  • 14% off iRobot Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner - Deal Alert

    Roomba 960 seamlessly navigates room to room to clean an entire level of your home, recharging itself after working for up to 75 minutes, and then resuming until the job is done. Featuring the revolutionary AeroForce Cleaning System, Roomba 960 delivers up to 5x the air power and requires less maintenance. Just press clean or schedule Roomba on the go with the iRobot Home App, from which you can also monitor its cleaning status. Roomba works on all floor types, and at just 3.6 inches tall, is specifically designed to fit under most furniture, beds and kickboards. The 960 features the iAdapt camera, which helps Roomba continually build and update its map of rooms within a home. The very full featured Roomba 960 averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and is currently discounted $100 off its typical list price, making it available right now for $599. See this deal now on Amazon.

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  • The best fitness trackers at every price point

    Fitness trackers are some of the best devices you can buy yourself or a loved one—if you think either of you will find activity-tracking useful. There’s no reason to buy a gadget that will just sit in a drawer. But if you’re on the hunt for the best fitness band, there are three things to consider: price, style, and the type of activity you want to track.

    You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a high-quality fitness tracker, but you might not want to spend more than $100 on one, either. And there’s no point buying a band that doesn’t suit your personal style, because you’ll never wear it. Don’t run or swim? A waterproof running watch is the last thing you need.

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  • Acer's new Holo 360 is a 360-degree camera in a smartphone

    The effort to grow in the virtual reality market has Acer chasing weird, but rather interesting, devices.

    The company introduced the Holo 360 camera, which is first and foremost a 360-degree camera. It can capture 3D content, much like other 360-degree cameras, and could be used to capture, view, and create content for VR headsets.

    But, seemingly as an afterthought, the device also has WiFi and LTE connectivity. The device itself looks like a bulky smartphone and can be used to make phone calls. It has a small screen, much like those on candy-bar phones.

    It's clearly not designed to be a full-fledged smartphone. No information about the chipset was provided. Different countries have different types of networks, and not all modems support all networks, especially in countries like China.

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