Ahoy, mateys! For today’s Player Ready gaming livestream on PCWorld’s Twitch and YouTube channels at 12:00 p.m. Pacific, PCWorld’s Adam Patrick Murray and Macworld’s Leif Johnson will be sailing the seven seas in the piratey survival MMO Atlas.
Nor is this a humdrum noobie show where you end up watching someone punch trees and rocks for an hour. Leif and guest Joseph Bradford have been playing Atlas since its Early Access launch on December 21, and they already have a ship ready to go for a morning of treasure hunting, sailing, ship battles, and swashbuckling with zombies.
This week, the spring release season begins in earnest. “But Hayden, didn’t we just finish up the holiday release season?” Yeah, tell me about it. But the Resident Evil 2 remake next Friday kicks off about a month and a half of non-stop games, from Total War: Three Kingdoms to Far Cry: New Dawn to The Division 2 and Anthem and more. So many more—and you’ll find a few pertinent trailers below, as the marketing machines proceed apace as well.
Also up this week: EA cancels yet another Star Wars game, Valve recaps its 2018 stats, Forza kills the Floss, IO opens a second studio, Epic updates its refund policy, and Mortal Kombat 11 gets the full reveal treatment.
For some, two of the best products Microsoft ever produced are Windows Mobile and Windows 7—and support for both are ending in about a year’s time.
Earlier this week, Microsoft reminded customers that official support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020, even posting an official reminder page to encourage customers to hurry up and adopt Windows 10.
Now is also the time for Windows phones to finally accept their fate: Windows 10 Mobile, version 1709, will lose support on December 10, 2019. At that time, Windows 10 Mobile users will no longer be eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free, Microsoft says. In other words, no new patches. Backups, at least, will persist until March 10, 2020. It’s even worse if you own a Microsoft Lumia or Lumia XL: June 11, 2019 will be the last date those devices are supported.
The Amazon Echo lineup has long been a popular pick for making homes a little smarter, and the Echo Dot Kids Edition brings those same smarts to the littlest members of your household. Today, you can snag the Echo Dot Kids Edition for $40 on Amazon, down from a list price of $70 and the lowest we’ve seen it.
This compact smart speaker comes with Alexa built in for convenient voice control. Kids can do everything from controlling other connected devices to asking Alexa to answer questions and tell stories hands-free. With one year of included Amazon’s FreeTime service included with your purchase, kids will be able to tap into a whole library of family-friendly content.
NordVPN promises a private and fast path through the public internet, with no logs, unmetered access for 6 simultaneous devices and access to 5,232 servers worldwide. They are currently running a promotion, but you'll have to use this link to find it. Its typical price has been discounted for 3 years of service -- a good deal at just $2.99 per month. See the $2.99/month NordVPN deal here.
If you need to upgrade from the stiff mouse that came with your PC, Walmart has a killer deal on an entry-level version of Razer’s ultra-popular, ultra-comfortable DeathAdder gaming mouse. The Razer DeathAdder Expert is just $25Remove non-product link right now. For comparison, it carries an MSRP of $50 and is available via a third-party seller on Amazon right now for $40.
Microsoft has continued to waffle around how exactly it plans to position Cortana. But CEO Satya Nadella gave the clearest explanation so far: Cortana will be a skill, not a head-to-head competitor with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
Few things in technology are guaranteed to bring you actual joy, but Creative’s Super X-Fi just might qualify for that list.
In short, the Super X-Fi distills decades of audio work into a tiny, portable dongle no bigger than a USB thumb drive that transforms smartphone, laptop, or PC audio with “holographic audio,” according the company.
While that sounds like a lot of superfluous ad copy, we have to admit that after weeks of using the Super X-Fi, the company is on to something. We’d almost believe Creative’s claim that it has found the “holy grail” of audio, but we’re disinclined to recall the Quest Knights just yet.
You might not have heard of iOttie—which sells all sorts of accessories and products, ranging from car and bike mounts to wireless charging pads. I hadn’t until receiving a couple of its charging pads. But after putting the iOttie iON Wireless Stand through our tests, I’ve come away rather impressed.
Let’s take a closer look.
Note: This review is part of our roundup of wireless charging pads. Go there for details on competing products and our testing methods for both Android phones and iPhones.
The iON Wireless Stand, just like the rest of the company’s wireless charging products, is covered in cloth-like fabric. The material is reminiscent of that on a Google Home Mini. There are three colors to pick from—ruby, ash, ivory, which translates to red, gray, and white.
Whenever see a billboard while driving down the highway or see a stylish animation on your favorite website, you have experienced graphic design firsthand. Behind each of these beautiful designs is a graphic designer trying to catch your attention through art. If you’re interested in captivating viewers with your stunning visuals, you’ll need experience in a handful of programs, and this $39 Certification School is a great place to start.
Data breaches are becoming increasingly more common, but today’s is a doozy: 1,160,253,228 unique passwords and email addresses have been attributed to a breach that’s being called “Collection #1.”
The collective list of 773 million email addresses from several sources, published to the cloud storage service MEGA, was reported by Troy Hunt, the owner of the HaveIBeenPwned website, which indexes hacked information. The number of email addresses makes it the largest breach ever uploaded to Hunt's site, he said. But there’s also 21,222,975 unique passwords released within the breach, stored in plain text for the world to see.
Boosting your storage is always a good idea, and today, gobbling up a lot of gigabytes doesn’t have to be expensive. You can grab the 400GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card for just $83.98 on Amazon, down from a list price of $250 and a crazy low price for such a substantial amount of storage.
This card will bring a whole lot more space to your Android device, PC, or even your Nintendo Switch on the cheap. With transfer speeds up to 100MB/s, you’ll be able to move up to 1,200 photos in a minute, and the connected SanDisk Memory Zone app helps you view and move files even easier. This microSD card is designed to help speed up app launch speeds and performance, too.
If you haven’t upgraded to the glorious 4K HDR life yet, now’s the perfect time to see what you’re missing for cheap. Best Buy is selling a 43-inch 4K HDR Toshiba Smart TV with Amazon’s Fire TV built-in for $200Remove non-product link. That price beats Amazon’s all-time historical low by $50 and the current Amazon price by $100.
Quicken is still the king of personal finance software, but the last several years have brought a legion of challengers to its throne. Just glance at our personal finance software guide to see how stiff the competition has gotten. Perhaps that’s why Quicken 2019 has introduced a feature that devoted users have long desired: a browser-based companion app that lets them manage their finances from any internet-connected device. This streamlined tool gives Quicken a user-friendly vibe that will likely appeal to people weaned on web services like Mint and Nerd Wallet.
The thin-and-light Arteck HB030B Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard arms road warriors with a single input for their devices. Supporting the four major commercial operating systems (Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android), this keyboard provides a fairly comfortable typing experience and a little pizzazz with multicolored backlighting.
The compact Arteck keyboard measures 9.7 x 5.9 x 0.24 inches and weighs less than half a pound, making it an ideal travel companion. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and includes a USB charging cable. Arteck claims a single charge will give you up to six months of battery life, provided you only use it for a couple of hours a day with the backlight turned off. That further underscores that this is meant to be an out-of-the-office solution, not your daily driver.
When it comes to cloud services, many organizations are thinking in multiples—deploying several cloud offerings to meet a variety of business needs.
This multicloud strategy is true whether it’s for software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings, and it presents several challenges as well as opportunities for organizations as they embark on digital transformations.
If you take a look at the various paint blots in the watercolor above, you may notice that in many cases the saturation of color increases dramatically at the edges. This dramatic increase in saturation is going to be the goal of this week’s exercise. You’ll also notice that the shapes are very irregular, which is a complicating detail I’m going to leave off for now by just drawing perfect circles.
Android Studio 3.3, the latest version of Google’s IDE for building Android applications, is now available, aligning with an effort called Project Marble, to solidify fundamental IDE capabilities and polish user-facing features by reducing the number of crashes, hangs, memory leaks, and user-impacting bugs.
Is it possible to fully automate the data science lifecycle? Is it possible to automatically build a machine learning model from a set of data?
Indeed, in recent months, many tools have appeared that claim to automate all or parts of the data science process. How do they work? Could you build one yourself? If you adopt one of these tools, how much work would be necessary to adapt it to your own problem and your own set of data?
Usually, the price to pay for machine learning automation, or AutoML, is the loss of control to a black box kind of model. What you gain in automation, you lose in fine-tuning or interpretability. Although such a price might be acceptable for circumscribed data science problems on well-defined domains, it could become a limitation for more complex problems on a wider variety of domains. In these cases, a certain amount of interaction with the end user is desirable.
Kubernetes has become a standard way—many would say the standard way — to deploy containerized applications at scale. But if Kubernetes helps us to tame sprawling and complex container deployments, what’s available to help us tame Kubernetes? It too can be complex, messy, and difficult to manage.
As Kubernetes grows and evolves, it is likely that some of its excesses will be tamed from within. But some people aren’t waiting around for Kubernetes to get any easier to work with, and have rolled their own solutions to many common problems with Kubernetes in production.
Here we highlight 19 projects that simplify Kubernetes in various ways, from easing command-line interactions, to simplifying application deployment syntax, to integrating with AWS, to providing a window into multiple clusters.
If Microsoft is to succeed in making Azure its future, it needs to bring developers to its cloud platform. That would be easy if we were back in the early days of the PC, when it was still possible to build and lock in an ecosystem. But we live in a world were developers have choice, and where they choose the appropriate tools for the tasks at hand, mixing and matching proprietary and open source tools.
Azure’s original platform-as-a-service (PaaS) approach made that hard to deliver, with only a limited number of services supported. So developers went where there was flexibility, to Amazon Web Services and its virtual infrastructures. Microsoft’s resulting pivot to Azure supporting infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) simplified bringing your own tools and services, but like AWS, you were only using Azure as a managed data center, hosting your VMs and your data.
Why use an IDE instead of an editor? The main reason is that an IDE can debug and sometimes profile your code. IDEs also have support for ALM systems, integrating with the likes of Git, GitHub, Mercurial, Subversion, and Perforce for version control. But as more editors add hooks to these systems, ALM support is becoming less of a differentiator.
Time is running short for free updates for commercial users running Oracle’s Java Development Kit (JDK) 8, the most in-use version of Java and the foundation for many Java applications. The free JDK 8 updates will end by February 2019; a paid subscription for JDK 8 updates remains available. Oracle advises users to switch to Java 11 instead.
But other providers are stepping in to the plate to provide paid alternatives to Oracle’s own JDK 8 builds and support plans.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform provides interoperable cloud computing services that are comprised of both open source and standards-based technologies. You can use an Azure storage account to work with all kinds of data including files, blobs, queues, and tables.
Azure Table storage is a scalable, non-relational, key-value storage system that you can leverage to store large volumes of data in the cloud. This article presents a discussion of Azure Table storage and how we can work with it in .Net.
Create a console application project in Visual Studio 2017
First off, let’s create a console application project in Visual Studio. If Visual Studio 2017 is up and running in your system, follow the steps outlined below to create the project.
Last week I introduced the concept of generative art, P5.js, and some of the setup woes with P5.js. I left you with a scaffolding repository that gets all the project setup headache out of the way, but we didn't dig into making anything yet. This week, we'll begin the process of actually making some art.
We're going to start simple by introducing some basic API concepts and build in just the right amount of randomness while we create the “paper” for our watercolor effect. Getting the look and feel of the paper just right is important with any watercolor. It's also going to help get us get into the mindset of emulating the real world in a digital space. The goal of the rest of this post is to create the effect of real paper for the background of our watercolor. I’d like our paper to be an off-white, cream, or beige color, and it should have a little texture to it.
Before the days of agile, scrum, and devops, software development was often done over many-month release cycles. This was largely because complexity in functional requirements, integrations, application architecture, development tools, and infrastructure made it difficult to operate faster development cycles. Even when agile development became a mainstream development process and development tools improved, organizations focused on release cycles that were on the order of several weeks to a few months.
Today, development teams that have implemented continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines are taking steps to shorten their application release cycles. Continuous integration automates the build and kicks off test automations while continuous delivery automates code pushes and delivery processes to a targeted development or testing environment. The two processes—when managed with tools like Jenkins, TravisCI, CircleCI, Azure Pipelines, or AWS CodePipeline—automate the collaboration and plumbing that’s required for faster and more frequent application delivery.
You’ve probably missed it, but there’s a religious war being fought on Twitter. (No, really!) On one side is an array of data-infrastructure companies (MongoDB, Confluent, and Redis Labs) that claim that Amazon Web Services is strip-mining their open source code to sell cloud services like Amazon Aurora, RDS and MSK (Managed Services for Kafka. On the other side is AWS, whose CEO Andy Jassy insists that its products aren’t intended as “a shot across the bow of anyone. If you look at what we are doing, it's very much informed by customers.”
Which leads us to today’s news that AWS is launching Amazon DocumentDB, a MongoDB-compatible database that was “designed from the ground up to give customers the performance, scalability, and availability they need when operating mission-critical MongoDB workloads at scale.” Shawn Bice, vice president of nonrelational databases at AWS, stressed to me that while “customers like MongoDB’s flexible data model and other attributes, they struggle to get the performance and availability from it that they require.”
In today’s fast-paced analytics development environments, data scientists are often tasked with far more than building a machine learning model and deploying it into production. Now they’re charged with regularly monitoring, fine-tuning, updating, retraining, replacing, and jump-starting models—and in some cases, hundreds or even thousands of models collectively.
As a result, different levels of model management have emerged. In the following, I try to highlight each, from single model management all the way through building an entire model factory.
Angular provides dependency injection, 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.
One of the building blocks of cloud-native application development is the API. By providing APIs to services, cloud applications can provide common backends to many applications across many platforms. Instead of having many implementations of a billing engine or an inventory, you only need one, with APIs that let it be consumed by other code.
Locking down open APIs
But open APIs can be a risk, allowing anyone access to your services and opening them up to overload and misuse. That’s where API management tools come in, giving you a façade that wraps open code and provides one place to manage access and to control API usage. Instead of having to build a separate access control system for each API, you can use a single set of keys and access tokens. Developers use a one-stop shop developer porta to register for API usage, and you can set usage limits. Policy-based controls also simplify management, tying API access to existing directory services for role-based controls.
2019 is the year that enterprises are hitting the accelerator on their cloud migrations. Last year, the typical company wanted 100 or so workloads in the cloud at the end of 2018. This year, the goal is to move well over a 1,000 by the end of 2019.
If this sounds like an unreasonable amount of work within a short time frame, you’re right. However, it’s doable if you follow this checklist. If you focus on just these three areas, you’ll remove about 80 percent of your risk from your cloud migration projects.
The essential difference between editors and IDEs is that IDEs can debug and sometimes profile your code, and IDEs have support for application lifecycle management (ALM) systems. Many of the editors we discuss here support at least one version control system, often Git, so that criterion is less of a differentiator between IDEs and editors than it used to be.
Most applications today still work in the world of processing data from structured and semistructured sources. They connect to SQL databases to query information or present information from JSON or XML data sources. Many applications still avoid the complication of parsing and extracting knowledge from unstructured sources such as open text fields, rich text editors, database CLOB (character large object) data types, social media news streams, and full documents from tools like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Adobe Acrobat.