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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

Microsoft’s HoloLens may have largely faded from public view, but that doesn’t mean that Microsoft’s halted development on it. On Sunday, Microsoft researchers disclosed that HoloLens development is moving ahead, with a new chip that emphasizes machine learning.

Specifically, Microsoft said the next generation of its Holographic Processing Unit, or HPU, will support Deep Neural Network processing, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, or AI. The AI in question isn’t necessarily Cortana, but simply the way that the HoloLens recognizes the real world.

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

Sometimes it feels like there’s only room for four choices when it comes to web browsers on Windows: Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer. You’ll find some people running Opera, too, but for the most part it’s all about the big four.

Despite the seemingly small world of web browsers, there’s an entire alternative universe out there. All of them are fighting for your attention with unique features and specializations around new interface concepts, privacy, music, social media, and more.

If you’re looking to shake up your web-surfing experience, consider these 10 great browsers not named Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

The writing’s on the wall: Microsoft has targeted the venerable Microsoft Paint app for extinction within Windows 10. In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update due next month, Microsoft has classified Paint as “deprecated,” meaning that the app’s not in active development and might be removed in future releases. 

Deprecation doesn't necessarily mean certain death. Microsoft deprecated the Edge browser’s Reading List with the Creators Update, yet that feature remains within the Insider version 16193 of the Fall Creators Update. But if Paint's deprecated it won't improve, which means the simple march of time could render it obsolete. On the other hand, the same support document formally removes the 3D Builder app and Outlook Express, which means they're just plain gone.

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

Updated July 24: It's a small update but AMD just showed of the nifty box that Threadripper will come in (you can see the box at the bottom) and no, it's not big enough to include a liquid cooler. This isn't as as big as the news from July 14 that Threadripper will support 1TB of RAM nor even remotely close to the real news from July 13 when AMD announced jaw-droppingly good prices for its 16-core and 12-core Threadripper CPUs. Threadripper’s clock speeds and August release window were also revealed. 

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News
07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

Updated July 24, 2017 to name the Oppo Digital UPD-205 Ultra-HD Audiophile Blu-ray player our top pick for audiophiles and home-theater enthusiasts.

So you plopped down a pile of cash to buy a 4K TV, maybe even one that delivers high dynamic range. Awesome. Once you’ve wowed your friends and family with those lush demo files the manufacturer provided, you’re going to want to splash some 4K movies across that screen. A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player is just the ticket. 

Most players also stream 4K HDR video from a handful of video-streaming services—including Netflix, Amazon Video, and Vudu—if you have the bandwidth, that is. If your ISP can’t deliver super-fast download speeds, you won’t be able to stream 4K.

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

This review doesn’t touch the gaming side of the Xbox One S. If that’s what interests you, this review discusses some of that. We used use the same 2TB model for this evaluation, but the less-expensive 500GB model will do just as well if you plan to use the machine as an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, media renderer, and 4K video streamer.

Xbox 369 One S Microsoft

Updates that enable the Xbox One S to send Ultra HD Blu-ray’s high-definition audio bitstreams (Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio, and Dolby Atmos) over HDMI to higher-end A/V receivers render it an incredible bargain, especially if you also enjoy playing video games. You'll have to jump through a few hoops--including installing Microsoft's Blu-ray player app--and you'll need to figure out how to use the Xbox One controller to play Blu-ray discs (this support article on Microsoft's help site tells you how), but those are one-time obstacles. 

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07/24/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is looking to make its Blockchain-as-a-Service offering easier to use in real-world scenarios by enterprises with a new framework.
07/24/2017   PC World Latest News
Busted servers and strained cell connections ruined the game's Chicago birthday bash.
07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

This premium wall-charger from Anker features 5 ports that pump out 63W of power — enough for the whole family to simultaneously charge multiple devices at the highest speed possible. Right now it’s discounted 70% to just $27 on Amazon, where it averages 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 500 customers. Right now when you buy this item you’ll also activate a 10% discount on other select Anker products including their power bank and bluetooth speaker. See this deal on Amazon.

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07/24/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's next-generation Holographic Processing Unit, currently in development, will add a coprocessor for implementing deep-neural networks.
07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

Keep your PS4 or PS4 Slim compact, organized and functioning properly with this vertical stand from Pecham. It features an integrated cooling fan, dual controller changing and a USB hub for powering & charging your phone or other devices as needed. Pecham's stand currently averages 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 185 people on Amazon (82% rate the full 5 stars: read reviews here), where its list price of $29.99 has been reduced 43% to just $16.99. See this deal now on Amazon

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

Anyone who’s followed HyperX for the past few years and saw last year’s Cloud Revolver knew what was coming next: the HyperX Cloud Revolver S. It’s a familiar pattern for the company nowadays—first the stereo version of a headset and then, about a year later, the USB-enabled version with surround sound.

And that’s exactly what we’ve got here. The Cloud Revolver S takes last year’s design, adds in a USB sound card and 7.1 surround support, a chat mixer, and tacks on a premium price ($150 on Amazon). So is it worth it?

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07/24/2017   PC World Latest News

The  Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zephyrus GX501 had us at "GTX 1080 graphics in a five-pound laptop that's almost as thin as a MacBook Pro 15." Pound for pound, this is the most powerful portable gaming laptop on earth today. But to get this much performance in a laptop this portable, some big compromises have been made.

Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 IDG/Gordon Mah Ung

How thin? That's an Alienware 15 R4 on the left with the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 in the middle and a Dell XPS 15 on the right.

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07/24/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Scaling a relational database isn’t easy. Scaling a relational database out to multiple replicas and regions over a network while maintaining strong consistency, without sacrificing performance, is really hard.

ed choice plum InfoWorld

How hard? The CAP Theorem says that you can only have two of the following three properties: consistency, 100 percent availability, and tolerance to network partitions.

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(Insider Story)
07/24/2017   PC World Latest News
With 32-bit DACs and other upscale components, you won't hear better analog audio from an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. It's also the first player we've tested to support Dolby Vision 4K UHD discs.
07/22/2017   PC World Latest News

Updated 07/22/17 with additional data from our review of the Surface Laptop. Check out the Battery and Performance sections for the new comparisons. 

Microsoft's Surface Laptop is aimed at supplanting the MacBook Air as a college-student favorite. The svelte, stylish clamshell also fills a middle ground between its cousins, the Surface Pro 4 tablet and Surface Book powerhouse 2-in-1, providing a third option that could appeal to many regular consumers. 

We got a good first impression of the Surface Laptop after going hands-on in advance of its June launch. Now that we've reviewed it, we can help you decide whether it's a better choice than the Surface Pro 4, with its promise of a tablet that can be a full-fledged computer. Let’s dig in!

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07/21/2017   PC World Latest News

Christmas in July? More like Halloween in July, as we are inundated with horror trailers this week—Evil Within II, Observer, and Call of Duty: WWII's spooky new zombies.

That, plus John Romero reveals who served as inspiration for the iconic Doom cover art, American Truck Simulator closes down Pacific Coast Highway, and StarCraft II adds skins, sprays, and other Overwatch-style fodder.

This is gaming news for July 17 to 21.

More Wang

Looking for something to play this weekend? If you never purchased the 2014 Shadow Warrior reboot, you can grab it from the Humble store from now until 10 a.m. Pacific on July 22—less than 24 hours from now. I know, it's not the longest-running promotion, but that 2014 Shadow Warrior is an incredible corridor shooter with some awe-inspiring boss battles and great (albeit crass) humor.

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07/21/2017   PC World Latest News

If you've been thinking about going the cord-cutter route, consider this a sign. Best Buy is selling the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Connect for $70 right now. This external TV tuner features two tuners, allowing you to watch over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV on two sets or to record one show while watching the other.

The Connect's specifications say it supports up to 1080p, but broadcast TV is usually 1080i. That's still 1920-by-1080 resolution, however. The one extra thing you will need in addition to the tuner is a digital antenna.

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07/21/2017   PC World Latest News

Thank goodness I didn’t have Doom installed. Earlier this week we reported on Bethesda’s sort-of magnanimous gesture to give away all of Doom’s DLC for free—the catch of course being that Doom only had DLC for its lackluster multiplayer mode. Still, it’s free right? So what’s the problem?

It’s a 34GB update, give or take.

Earlier this year I wrote about the bloated size of game downloads and the amount of space they take up on your hard drive. The situation hasn’t improved, with the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7 apparently set to swallow 100GB of drive space, or slightly under in a best case scenario.

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07/21/2017   PC World Latest News

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2017 but was updated extensively in late July to reflect months of additional Ryzen releases, tweaks, and AM4 platform updates.

The most disruptive computer processors in a decade are finally here, and AMD’s Ryzen CPUs are multithreading monsters.

The initial salvo of high-end Ryzen 7 chips—the $500 Ryzen 7 1800X, $400 Ryzen 7 1700X, and $330 Ryzen 7 1700—absolutely chew through productivity and content creation tasks, bringing the power of 8-core, 16-thread chips to more affordable price points. Meanwhile, Ryzen 5 chips like the 6-core, $230 Ryzen 5 1600X and 4-core, $190 Ryzen 5 1500X beat out Intel’s Core i5 series as the best mainstream CPUs for power users.

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07/21/2017   PC World Latest News
Battle buddies
bridge crew hero

Image by Ubisoft

It’s good to have friends. That goes doubly so when you’re facing down a zombie horde or coordinating an attack on a Klingon warship.

Here we’ve rounded up 12 games that are better in every way to play with friends. Yeah, you could play some of them alone. Sure, you could (if you’re masochistic) play some of them with random Internet strangers who love to use profanity. But if you pair up with a partner or three you’ll have a much more rewarding experience.

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07/21/2017   PC World Latest News
Here are this week's most intriguing new and updated Android apps.
07/20/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is closing in on its $20 billion commercial cloud annual run rate goal, hitting the $18.9 billion milestone for its latest fiscal quarter.
07/20/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Everyone wants faster database queries, and both SQL developers and DBAs can turn to many time-tested methods to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, no single method is foolproof or ironclad. But even if there is no right answer to tuning every query, there are plenty of proven do’s and don’ts to help light the way. While some are RDBMS-specific, most of these tips apply to any relational database.

Whether you’re coding on SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, or some other relational platform, your goal is the same: You want the database to support as many concurrent users as practical while processing queries as quickly as it can. That means you need to minimize locking, I/O, and network traffic, while optimizing space and resource management. 

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(Insider Story)
07/19/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Johnson Controls is using Windows 10 IoT Core, Cortana voice activation, and back-end Azure insight services to power a new thermostat.
07/19/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is adding version history support for all OneDrive files, but has no new ETA for its promised OneDrive differential sync capability.
07/19/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is providing its partners with new guidance about how to sell to business customers Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 S.
07/18/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Baidu will be making use of some of Microsoft's Azure services, as part of MIcrosoft's Connected Vehicle tookit, in delivering its self-driving car platform.
07/18/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is ramping up its focus on machine reading as part of the company's growing artificial-intelligence push. Here are a few of the fronts where the company is concentrating.
07/17/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is adding more options for users who want to virtualize Windows 10 desktops. Here's what's new and how much it will cost.
07/17/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making available its first public near-final Release Candidate for its SQL Server 2017 database, which will run on both Linux and Windows Server.
07/17/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has integrated LinkedIn directly with Windows 10 in the new LinkedIn Windows 10 desktop app, rolling out this month.
07/17/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Containers have been all the rage in the open source world for a number of years, but noticeably absent from Windows until now. In Windows Server 2016, Microsoft released its own container capabilities. Furthermore, Microsoft has given its customers the flexibility of operating containers at the Windows Server level or at the Hyper-V level.

Before I go on, let me take just a moment to explain the basic concept of a container. Containers are a form of virtualization, but they are quite different from virtual machines. Virtual machines use hardware virtualization to allow multiple OS instances to run side by side, isolated from one another by the virtual machine structure.

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(Insider Story)
07/14/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has made available a fix for a hibernation bug that has affected a number of users of its latest Surface Pro device.
07/14/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has made generally available the first of its promised LinkedIn integrations. Here's what else is on the near-term list, as well as on the Dynamics CRM/ERP roadmap.
07/13/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making available its first Insider preview of the coming September 2017 feature update to Windows Server 2016 with test build 16237.
07/13/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's latest Fast Ring Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build for PCs includes a number of feature updates, especially around Mixed Reality support.
07/12/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is providing a progress report on its AI efforts across the company and delivering some AI-influenced apps and APIs.
07/11/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft officials said they remain committed to the company's large-screen Surface Hub conferencing systems in spite of the closure of an Oregon manufacturing plant for the devices.
07/11/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is adding more applications to its Office 365 Business Premium subscription service for small and mid-size businesses.
07/10/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is taking another crack at getting enterprise and business customers to use more of its cloud services with new Microsoft 365 bundles.
07/10/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's first three server partners are starting to take orders for Microsoft's hybrid-computing Azure Stack appliances.
07/10/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Alpine Linux is a minimal Linux distribution, originally built with Gentoo, but now independent and self-hosting. In some respects Alpine is conceptually similar to NanoBSD, in that technical users can start with Alpine to build a Linux system with just what is need to accomplish the mission, and nothing more.

Typically seen embedded in devices or appliances, Alpine got a big boost when it was selected to replace Ubuntu as the base image for Docker. Security, reliability, and solid development practices were the main reasons.

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(Insider Story)
07/06/2017   InfoWorld Insider

While there are dozens of get-started guides for Git, and GitHub offers a number of guides of its own, it’s still not easy to find a collection of useful tips for developers who want to work smarter with Git and GitHub. Let’s fix that.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Git or GitHub, the next few paragraphs will give you enough background to understand the tips. We’ll list about a dozen useful resources at the end of this article.

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(Insider Story)
07/03/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Everyone wants software development to be easier and faster, even many developers. Unfortunately, the complexity of powerful programming languages isn’t always compatible with speed. Hence the popularity of “low-code” development tools, which allow you to assemble applications by dragging and dropping icons for interface elements and logical operators onto a canvas. The code gets generated behind the scenes.

OutSystems is a low-code platform that lets you visually develop your entire application, integrate with existing systems, and add your own custom code when you need it. OutSystems primarily targets web and mobile hybrid apps, and its development tools run on Windows. It also offers a beta-stage web-based development platform, which I did not test extensively, and exposes RESTful APIs for use as an MBaaS (mobile back end as a service).

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(Insider Story)
06/26/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Application development is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. For a business, that means prioritizing some app development projects over others, and waiting for the development team to turn ideas into code. Often, the application the business needed yesterday doesn’t arrive for months. Sometimes it never arrives at all.

Low-code and no-code development tools promise more immediate gratification by allowing non-programmers to create their own apps, or by enabling developers to create those apps much faster. Case in point: Appian’s Quick Apps designer, a tool that allows business users to create simple applications on the Appian Platform.

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(Insider Story)