Borderlands 3 is exactly what it purports to be, which is “More Borderlands.” Should that annoy me? Or anyone? Probably not. There’s something to be said for giving the fans what they want, and hey, when I was in high school I was very into Tom Petty and very excited when he played “Free Falling” at the concert I attended even though there was no way in hell he’d skip it.
Point being I get it. You make a game called Borderlands 3, and it’s going to be Borderlands. Shut up and play the hits.
So much of this console generation has been exactly that though. Spinning our collective wheels. Playing it safe. There are a million reasons for it, and this isn’t the best place to delve into those reasons, but suffice it to say the biggest names in games ten years ago are still—barring the odd Fortnite—the biggest names in games now.
The next great peripherals war is being waged over your ears. After every company on the planet put out a gaming mouse and then a mechanical keyboard, they turned their attention to headsets. So many headsets.
We know you don’t want to scroll through every single headset review when all you want is a simple answer: “What’s the best gaming headset I can buy with my hard-earned dollars?” This page holds the answers you seek, no matter what your budget is.
We’ll keep updating our recommendations as we look at new products and find stronger contenders.
Updated 9/13/19 to include our review of the Astro A40 TR plus MixAmp, which offers great sound and a multitude of features, but at a steep price for today’s gaming headset market. See the bottom of this article for all of our headset reviews.
When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.
Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.
Join The Full Nerd gang as they talk about the latest PC hardware topics. Today's show covers the recent 3rd-gen Ryzen boost bug patch, the state of Windows 10 in 2019, and more. As always we will be answering your live questions so speak up in the chat.
Microsoft will have to patch the patch. A recent patch designed to eliminate unwanted CPU spikes associated with Windows Search has apparently broken Windows Search.
At least it has on my machine. Other threads on Reddit report that the entire Start menu has vanished. More tellingly, Microsoft has acknowledged the bug, and has said that it is working on a patch for the patch.
Originally, a “small number of users” saw a spike in CPU consumption after installing the latest update to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, or KB4512941, Microsoft reported last week. Those spikes were apparently tied to users who had decided to block Windows Search’s ability to search the web. This week, Microsoft issued patch KB4515384 to solve the problem. Unfortunately, in fixing the CPU spiking problem, the patch presented new problems for Windows Search and, in some cases, the Start menu.
I finished Control two weeks ago and now all I can think about is more Control. Good news on that front, as Remedy announced two expansions this week—including one themed around Alan Wake? It certainly looks that way.
That news, plus a few Tokyo Game Show announcements, Civilization in Excel, Civilization-as-battle-royale, KFC’s new video game obsession, a System Shock III trailer, and more.
This is gaming news for September 9 to 13.
For the first time ever, Epic’s free game of the week is one I haven’t played. Conarium, released in 2017, is “a chilling Lovecraftian game” and the screenshots look neat, though it holds a middling score on Steam. Still, it’s free right? Nothing to lose by picking it up.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen premium Astro gear. Once known exclusively for its high-end headsets, Astro spent the past few years carving a niche at the budget-friendly end of the market. First there was the A10, delivering surprisingly great sound for only $60 (and earning our pick for best budget headset). Then Astro followed up with the A20, for entry-level wireless.
But with those newcomers now firmly established it’s high time Astro returned to its signature headset, the A40.
Gamers, start your engines. The $440 XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc II Ultra is the first custom Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card we’ve laid hands on, and it screams.
The Thicc II Ultra evokes XFX’s beloved Double Dissipation design, with an ultra-clean, black-and-chrome scheme reminiscent of American muscle cars, and revved-up clock speeds to match. Like any hot rod, though, you’ll need to tinker with it a bit for the best performance, and you can hear it purring when you put the pedal to the gaming metal.
It’s worth it. The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc II Ultra is extremely impressive and extremely fast, pushing AMD’s new flagship GPU well past the similarly priced GeForce RTX 2060 Super’s performance. With its optimizations, the Thicc II Ultra inches awfully close to the $500 RTX 2070 Super’s frame rates. You’ll be able to find it at retailers this week, but XFX sent us an early review sample to test. Let’s get to it.
Anyone who uses a smartphone knows the importance of carrying a backup power bank. But given the large number of options on Amazon, you might feel overwhelmed, understandably. Besides the various charging specs, ports, and even cables you have to consider, there are a ton of competing brands. It’s common to see products from Anker, Mophie, and MyCharge, but how do you know which ones deliver on their promises? Is it worth saving a few bucks if a battery pack’s performance is lacking?
As for the latter, be advised: Amazon voluntarily recalled six different models of its AmazonBasics-branded external power banks after they were found to potentially overheat.
One of the Radeon RX 5700 series’ most interesting software tricks is expanding to more graphics cards. The new AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.9.2 drivers releasing today adds support for Radeon Image Sharpening to the Radeon RX 470, 480, 570, 580, and 590—AMD’s lineup of killer value mainstream graphics cards.
As we said in our Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT review: “Radeon Image Sharpening uses algorithms to intelligently sharpen only the areas that need it, reducing the blurriness that can pop up when you activate various anti-aliasing methods or run games at a lower resolution than your display’s maximum. Better yet, it does so with next to no performance impact.”
Firefox will be the second browser vendor to include a free VPN inside a browser... well, of a sort, anyway.
This week, Mozilla announced the evolution of its “Test Pilot” program, where the company will test beta features with a small group of customers. In this case, you must sign up for a Firefox account and opt in to the program.
The first beta is the Firefox Private Network, which the company is not advertising as a virtual private network, or VPN. Mozilla promises you’ll be able to toggle the Private Network on, which will provide some of the traditional features of a VPN: end-to-end encryption and hidden IP addresses, among others. However, the “VPN” affects only your Firefox browser, so any other apps you have open during that time won’t benefit from encryption. For now, it’s available only to desktop PCs.
“My name is Herodotus, and I am a traveler from Halikarnassos.”
That’s underselling it a bit, I think. More than mere traveler, Herodotus is generally considered the first historian in the modern sense. And here he is standing on a remote beach, ready to regale me on the battles of Pylos and Sphakteria, key conflicts in the 30-year Peloponnesian War.
It’s an experience only Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey’s Discovery Tour can offer modern-day fans of history, and yet more proof how special this spin-off series can be—and how much more potential there is to explore.
Admittedly, RockPals isn’t a company I had heard of prior to receiving a sample of its 300W portable power station and the $199 100W solar panelRemove non-product link accessory, but I have a feeling we’ll all be hearing the name a lot more.
Pick up a magazine, scroll through the tech blogs, or simply chat with your peers at an industry conference. You’ll quickly notice that almost everything coming out of the technology world seems to have some element of artificial intelligence or machine learning to it. The way artificial intelligence is discussed, it’s starting to sound almost like propaganda. Here is the one true technology that can solve all of your needs! AI is here to save us all!
While it’s true that we can do amazing things with AI-based techniques, we generally aren’t embodying the full meaning of the term “intelligence.” Intelligence implies a system with which humans can have a creative conversation—a system that has ideas and that can develop new ones. At issue is the terminology. “Artificial intelligence” today commonly describes the implementation of some aspects of human abilities, such as object or speech recognition, but certainly not the entire potential for human intelligence.
No matter which side you’re on, there’s no denying that the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Galaxy Note 10+ are amazing. With giant screens, cutting-edge cameras, and gorgeous designs, they just might be the best phones ever made, and they’ve got sky-high price tags to match. So before you plunk down four figures for the pleasure of owning one, you should know which one is right for you. We’ve broken it down feature by feature below.
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Design
It’s been only two years since Apple unveiled the iPhone X to much fanfare, dumping the home button and ushering in a whole new design language for the iPhone. It’s not bad that Apple has decided to stick with it for another year, and the 11 Pro offers some fresh ideas like its square camera array and single-glass construction. But after a slew of notched copycats, the language is already starting to feel a little stale.
It’s often worth keeping an eye on job ads, as they can be pointers to new or popular development tools that you might not have come across before. One recent Microsoft ad was from a team working on a new language for building reliable distributed applications.
Building reliable software at scale has become increasingly important with the growth of public clouds such as Azure. They’re forcing us to rethink many of our assumptions around how we build and operate software, moving us from a world of large, monolithic applications on a single server to one where code is composed of collections of microservices that run when and where they’re needed, and we don’t need to know how many of those services are running. Observability is more important than manageability.
Exceptions are runtime errors that might occur in your application. If exceptions are not handled properly, the program in execution is terminated. This article presents a discussion of how global error handling can be implemented in ASP.Net Core MVC, along with relevant code examples and screen images to illustrate the concepts.
To work with the code examples in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here.
Create an ASP.Net Core MVC project in Visual Studio
First off, let’s create an ASP.Net Core project in Visual Studio 2019. Assuming Visual Studio 2019 is installed in your system, follow the steps outlined below to create a new ASP.Net Core project in Visual Studio.
For decades, when I got to work in the morning, I would start Microsoft Visual Studio (or one of its predecessors, such as Visual C++ or Visual InterDev), then brew tea and possibly attend a morning meeting while it went through its laborious startup. I would keep the IDE open all day as I went through develop/test/debug cycles to avoid another startup delay. When I worked on a C++ project with ~2 million lines of code, I also jump-started each day’s work by automatically running a batch script that did a code checkout and full rebuild of the product in the wee hours.
These days, I don’t feel the need to open my code projects first thing every morning, or to keep them open all day. Visual Studio Code usually starts up quickly enough that I can be productive in a few minutes, even for large projects. I said usually, not always: Visual Studio Code itself needs a monthly update, and the many extensions I have installed often need their own updates. Still, even updating a dozen extensions in Visual Studio Code takes much less time than Visual Studio takes to rebuild the symbol tables of a large C++ project.
Data warehouses, also called enterprise data warehouses (EDW), are highly parallel SQL or NoSQL databases designed for analysis. They let you import data from multiple sources and generate complicated reports quickly from petabytes of data.
The difference between a data warehouse and a data mart is that, typically, a data mart is limited to a single topic and a single department. The difference between a data warehouse and a data lake is that a data lake stores data in its natural format, often blobs or files, while a data warehouse stores data as a database.
Angular provides dependency injection, which is particularly useful for assembling data services for applications, along with use of an HTML template to compose components. In Angular, developers still compose components with an HTML component that connects to TypeScript code for imperative parts of the program.
Visual Studio Code is a terrific software development environment, not only because it has excellent code editing features and language support. Thanks to its rich culture of extensions, it also allows you to perform many supporting tasks besides. You’ll find Visual Studio Code extensions for everything from speedy navigation of the editor to working with data to effortlessly inserting placeholder text and images.
Here are seven extensions that you might not encounter when putting together a development environment for your language of choice or work scenario, but could be extremely useful additions to your toolkit — and even part of your daily workflow.
Offering developers efficiency and flexibility, React—aka React.js—debuted to the public in May 2013. Since then the open source library has been starred more than 135,000 times on GitHub and forked more than 25,000 times.
Not surprisingly, an ecosystem of companion tools has sprung up around React, including an IDE and a number of frameworks. Here are 6 key tools available for developers looking to leverage React when building their web applications.
There are a lot of great R packages that let you import data from an API with a single function. However, sometimes an API doesn’t have an already-written function. The good news is that it’s easy to code your own.
I’ll demonstrate this with the AccuWeather API, but the process and code will work for most other APIs that use a key for authentication.
Sign up for API access
If you want to follow along, go to developer.accuweather.com and sign up for a free account. Under Packages and Pricing, select the Limited Trial, which allows 50 API calls per day — enough if you just want to check your local forecast a couple of times a day, but obviously not for any sort of public-facing application.
Developers like good code editors, and it’s not surprising that Visual Studio Code (aka VS Code) has become so popular so quickly. Go to any developer event and you’ll see Visual Studio Code up on the big screen, being used for live coding demos. With versions for MacOS, Linux, and Windows, it’s not surprising it’s had such a good response. You can pick it up on any developer PC and get started, knowing that you’re using the same tool with the same shortcuts and, most importantly, many of the same extensions.
ASP.Net Core MVC is the .Net Core counterpart of the ASP.Net MVC framework. You can take advantage of ASP.Net Core MVC to build cross-platform, scalable, high-performance web applications and APIs using the Model-View-Controller design pattern.
We always want to handle errors elegantly in our web applications. When it comes to empty responses to requests, or returning null values from the action methods, the ASP.NET Core MVC framework returns HTTP Status Code 204, i.e., the “No Content” response. In this article we’ll examine how we can change this default behavior when the action methods return null values.
To work with the code examples illustrates in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here.
Clouds have to be big, right? If the best feature of the cloud is that you can just click and start up a machine in seconds, it follows that there must be vast warehouses loaded with computers out there somewhere. Huge warehouses filled with tall racks of machines arranged in endless rows, like a modern digital version of the ending of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
The word “big” is relative, though. The biggest clouds—AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform—may attract much of the market share, but they’re far from the only companies in the game. Some smaller companies are developing niches and finding a way to compete even though their racks of machines are miniscule, at least compared to the big three.
One challenge agile leaders and teams face is how to define and follow data and architectural patterns and standards in agile development. There’s a belief that it’s hard to drive data and technical standards because agile teams work in sprints that are usually two to four weeks long, and product owners generally overbook the backlog with prioritized features. Standards take time to develop; following them requires teams to have sufficient time to plan technical implementations.
Agile teams that execute in one sprint and plan only the next one will have a hard time using standards to formulate their development plans. If documented standards aren’t easy to follow or reference, then teams are less efficient, and it’s harder to train new developers on best architecture and data practices. It’s like a team wandering in the forest without a map or a GPS; they might be able to get to the next trailhead but they won’t know if they’re heading down an optimal path to get back to town.
Traditional relational databases have been highly effective at handling large sets of structured data. That’s because structured data conforms nicely to a fixed schema model of neat columns and rows that can be manipulated using SQL commands to establish relationships and obtain results. Then big data came along.
Big data required a new way to store, manage, and query the massive sets of messy, unstructured data that are often involved. Traditional data processing tools have failed to meet the performance and reliability requirements of big data for machine learning and advanced analytics applications. Organizations needed a way to build reliable pipelines that could handle these vast, complex workloads.
Serverless applications strip software down to the barest of essentials: one short snippet of code, invoked and scaled on demand. Serverless is just the ticket for smaller apps, like a simple API or a single webpage, that don’t need the management overhead of an entire server or virtual machine. A serverless system simplifies life for the developer, and delivers elasticity on a scale that fits the job.
AWS Lambda is among the best-known of the serverless systems out there, but like many things Amazon (and many things cloud) it can cut your fingers if you try to grasp it with bare hands. Here is a collection of tools, frameworks, and projects designed to make it easier to set up, deploy, and manage AWS Lambda functions.
Microsoft’s switch to a new Chromium-based version of Edge is well underway. The company has been offering Edge Insiders access to weekly Developer and daily Canary builds of the new browser for several months, and recently unveiled a more stable beta channel build, updated every six weeks, aimed primarily at end-users. It’s a well-though-out approach that signals a stable release sometime at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020.
Changing out your application’s browser controls
The change is significant in many ways: most importantly a separation of browser and operating system. That link between the two had allowed the original EdgeHTML-powered version of Edge to slip behind its competitors, as it could only get significant updates twice a year, with Windows’ updates. Edge was perhaps not at the cutting edge of web technologies, but it was a stable platform for application developers, especially anyone using Universal Windows Platform’s (UWP) embedded HTML WebView controls in their apps.
API versioning in a Web API lets you preserve multiple versions of the same API while at the same time keep the same URI as much as possible. With ASP.Net Core, API versioning has been made much easier.
One objective of Web API is to serve multiple clients, whether based on homogenous or heterogenous platforms. Because you might have several clients using an API, upgrading an API while at the same time maintaining support for the previous versions is a challenge. You might have a few users who would like to use the old API. That's exactly where API versioning fits in.
When building RESTful services, it is imperative that you have a versioning strategy in place so that you can maintain multiple versions of the API. You should ensure that genuine calls to your API doesn't get rejected due to the versioning policy that you have defined. You should take a look at the versioning semantics outlined in the Microsoft REST API guidelines.
Not every regression or classification problem needs to be solved with deep learning. For that matter, not every regression or classification problem needs to be solved with machine learning. After all, many data sets can be modeled analytically or with simple statistical procedures.
On the other hand, there are cases where deep learning or deep transfer learning can help you train a model that is more accurate than you could create any other way. For these cases, PyTorch and TensorFlow can be quite effective, especially if there is already a trained model similar to what you need in the framework’s model library.
Quick! Name a log analysis service. If the first word that popped out of your mouth was “Splunk,” you’re far from alone.
But Splunk’s success has spurred many others to up their log-analysis game, whether open source or commercial. Here is a slew of contenders that have a lot to offer sysadmins and devops folks alike, from services to open source stacks.
Elasticsearch (ELK stack)
The acronym “LAMP” is used to refer to the web stack that comprises Linux, the Apache HTTP web server, the MySQL database, and PHP (or Perl, or Python). Likewise, “ELK” is used to describe a log analysis stack built from Elasticsearch for search functionality, Logstash for data collection, and Kibana for data visualization. All are open source.
Microsoft's Skype service for calling landlines and mobile phones officially has been designated as a telecom service in the Netherlands and is required to meet the same obligations as other telco services.