Ever since Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it’s been making noises about bringing the console and PC closer together—including adding mouse and keyboard support to supplement the Xbox One controller. Now Microsoft's Xbox chief has confirmed that it's happening in the near future.
Mike Ybarra, the corporate vice president of Xbox, tweeted Tuesday that support for mouse and keyboard is very close to being deployed on the Xbox console, bringing (at least conceptually) control parity between it and the PC. Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb, who handles Xbox communications for the company, added that it would be tested on the game Warframe.
It's really happening: CrashPlan is closing its personal backup service completely—yes, parent company Code42 is shutting down the servers—on October 23, 2018. If you’re still clinging to your CrashPlan account, now’s the time to figure out your next move.
You needn't leave CrashPlan at all if you migrate your account from CrashPlan for Home to CrashPlan for Small Business. Code42 is offering a 75-percent discount to migrating users for the first 12. After that, the Small Business Plan costs $10 per device per month.
Everybody expected it when Nvidia announced the GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti at Gamescom. But Nvidia still pulled off a surprise, revealing the GeForce RTX 2070 at the same time—albeit without any concrete launch details whatsoever. Now, mere days before the slightly delayed RTX 2080 Ti hits the streets, Nvidia has announced release date information for the GeForce RTX 2070.
The GeForce RTX 2070 will launch on October 17, Nvidia’s GeForce account tweeted today. The Founders Edition model will cost $599 on GeForce.com, with prices from third-party partners like EVGA, Asus, and Gigabyte starting at $499—at least in theory. In reality, we’ve seen custom cards treat the Nvidia Founders Edition cost as the true price baseline when new GPUs launch.
If you’ve been using Microsoft Outlook’s mobile apps to straddle both your company and personal email accounts, be aware: at Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft announced changes that will help lock down Outlook Mobile as an enterprise-first solution.
Though nominally designed as a corporate email client, Outlook’s simple interface and relatively lax attitude to the accounts it’s connected to has made Outlook a good choice as a personal email app. Microsoft’s improving it, adding features normally associated with desktop Outlook, like shared calendars and (finally!) business-card scanning. But there may be a cost: Admins are gaining the right to lock out personal accounts, and have greater controls over who may receive sensitive information via email.
“I see a festival that never ends, where you can be whatever you want to be. It’s not your dream holiday anymore. It’s your dream life.” Those lofty words are your introduction to Forza Horizon 4, and then you’re barreling down the road at 180 miles per hour, soundtrack thumping in your ears.
It’s an appropriate intro for a series that’s become as much about a lifestyle as anything else. If Forza Motorsport represents love for car racing—tuning the vehicle, nailing a tight sequence of turns, pushing your driving to its limits—Forza Horizon’s about a love of cars period. In an era where the automobile feels increasingly endangered (or even for many irrelevant) it’s Forza Horizon 4 that clings to the fantasy of driving a sports car down a sun-dappled road.
Laptop deals are harder to come by than the seemingly endless flow of SSD, graphics card, and display deals. But we’ve got a doozy of a notebook sale today. Staples is selling the 14-inch Lenovo Ideapad 530s for $550Remove non-product link, complete with a powerful 8th-gen Core i5 processor and a 1080p display.
The hulking Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 shows how Nvidia’s graphics card partners can still stand out from the crowd in an era when Nvidia’s making it harder than ever to shine.
Last generation, all customized GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards plateaued at virtually the same level of performance. Custom cards were notably better than Nvidia’s own GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition, though, because Founders Edition cards were restrained by reference clock speeds and a subpar single-fan, blower-style cooler.
This generation, it’s looking like power limits will impose a new ceiling on GeForce RTX 2080 performance—but now, Nvidia’s vastly improved RTX Founders Edition cards pack a dual-fan cooler, a gorgeous design, and an 80MHz out-of-the-box overclock. Nvidia’s competing against its own partners something fierce.
14TB, the amount of data that can be held by Seagate’s latest flagship $600 IronWolf Pro, is a whole lot of digital stuff. Way more than most users need, unless of course, said user is capturing raw 4K or 8K video. In that case, the more the merrier.
Seagate’s BarraCuda Pro and non-pro IronWolf are the only other drives in the consumer space that can fit that much (WD has a 14TB enterprise drive), but guess what? The IronWolf Pro is a bit faster. A bit more expensive, of course, but top banana is top banana no matter how you slice it.
Design and features
The IronWolf 14TB is a helium-filled (drag and vortex reduction) 3.5-inch hard drive rotating at 7,200rpm with 256MB of onboard cache. It runs off the SATA (6Gbps) interface, and employs PMR (Parallel Magnetic Recording) to create its superior areal density (more stuff in the same amount of space.)
It happened again. Another major web service lost control of its database, and now you’re scrambling to stay ahead of the bad guys. As much as we hate them, data breaches are here to stay. The good news is they don’t have to elicit full-blown panic no matter how sensitive the pilfered data might be. There are usually some very simple steps you can take to minimize your exposure to the potential threat.
Update 9/24/2018: Credit freezes are now free in the US (as is temporarily lifting them); we've updated Step 4 of our guide to reflect the new law.
Step 1: Determine the damage
The first thing to figure out is what the hackers took. If they got your username and password, for example, there’s little point in alerting your credit card company.
Microsoft’s not the only company using AI to improve the quality of its services. Google, in marking the 20th anniversary of Google search, announced its own plans to tap artificial intelligence, including enticing you to interact more with its rebranded, deeper Discover activity feed and other services.
Ben Gomes, the vice president in charge of Search and the Google Assistant, outlined several changes the company is making to enhance Google’s search algorithm. Interestingly, the majority of the changes seem slated to appear within Google’s mobile app. Most also seem to involve getting you to interact more with Google’s services, so the search algorithm can learn more about you—and make smarter guesses about what you’ll engage with more, for instance. Gomes wrote that a full 15 percent of everyday queries are completely unknown to the Google search algorithm.
When it comes to spreadsheet software, few programs match the functionality—and popularity—of Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. On the surface, they’re simple spreadsheet programs, but they can be incredibly powerful tools when used correctly. Many professions require at least a rudimentary understanding of how Excel and Sheets work, so learning them can be advantageous during your job hunt.
Microsoft Office is the king of office productivity suites, but it doesn’t inspire warm, fuzzy feelings in all users. Parsing the ever-expanding list of features—many of which you’ll never use—can feel like stepping into a cockpit without a pilot’s license. The ribbon interface, introduced a decade ago, has many fans, but others pine for the static menus of the early aughts. And then there’s Office’s hefty price tag.
Fortunately, alternatives abound, ranging from web apps to freemium and open source desktop installations, many of which are compatible with Microsoft Office docs. We compared six of the most popular free office suites to see how well they replicate the most commonly used features of Microsoft Office.
In years past, the release of a new Microsoft Office suite would be a momentous event. But with Microsoft shifting toward a subscription service model, even Microsoft seems lukewarm about Monday’s general release of Office 2019.
Right now, Office 2019 is being made available to commercial users, with consumer versions arriving in the “coming weeks,” Microsoft said Monday. Microsoft’s positioning is made clear in an accompanying FAQ: Office 2019 is described as a “one-time purchase,” versus the ongoing subscription model that is Office 365. There’s one big system requirement, though: Windows 10.
Google’s Chrome 69 hides a disturbing twist: if you log into Gmail or another Google service, Chrome seems to automatically log you into the browser as well. Theoretically, that means that you will automatically begin sharing data with Google, like it or not.
The confusion comes from a new way in which Google shows your “logged in” status. Previously, if you were signed in to Chrome, an icon would appear in the upper right-hand corner, indicating that you were signed in and sharing data. The same icon now appears if you’re logged into a Google service like Google.com or Gmail, but not necessarily to Chrome.
What does all this mean? Most people associate signing in to your Google account with signing into the Chrome browser, but that’s not always the case.
Roku is expanding its streaming video player lineup with a 4K player that is half the price of its current 4K offering. The Roku Premiere will launch ahead of the year-end shopping season when 4K TVs are likely to be big sellers.
Smarter searches don’t necessarily need to live in a search engine. This week, Microsoft will debut two tools that will live in Office: Microsoft Search and Ideas, designed to assist workers trying to dig out the document that they need, now.
Microsoft hosts its Microsoft Ignite conference this week, and the company promises literally dozens of announcements—most pertaining to its Azure cloud and related services. But Microsoft also plans a few key developments at the user level, including final rollouts of features the company has announced previously, such as the ability to blur backgrounds within Microsoft Teams video chats and transcribe meetings.
Microsoft is refining its plans for its next-gen Surface Hub 2 collaborative display, separating the product into two distinct “experiences” that will require users to install an upgraded hardware module to enable. But here’s something that may rile some businesses: certain basic features like rotating the display will be reserved for the new, upgraded Surface Hub 2X model due in 2020.
The two new models—the basic Surface Hub 2S, and the upgraded Surface Hub 2X — will share the same common hardware, according to Microsoft. To upgrade to the 2X experience, administrators won’t buy a separate device. Instead, they’ll be asked to buy a dedicated swappable “processor cartridge” that also contains the operating system for the second 2X experience. But there’s a catch: The 2X experience will support dynamic screen rotation, multi-user authentication, and other features that will not be permitted within the 2S.
FreeOffice is the no-cost version of SoftMaker Office, a full-featured Office alternative to Microsoft Office. It included its own takes on Microsoft’s trio of productivity apps: TextMaker (Word), PlanMaker (Excel), and Presentations (PowerPoint). FreeOffice includes many of the features of the paid product, but omits some key ones you can only get by upgrading to SoftMaker’s Office program, which starts at $39.95 per year. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. An Android tablet version is available for $20.
It all started with a slide-out keyboard. Long before camera notches, wireless charging, and confectionery-themed code names, Android was a humble operating system that ran on a single phone: the Google-HTC T-Mobile G1, later known as the HTC Dream. And we got our first look at 10 years ago today.
Released on September 23, 2008, the world’s first Android phone had one mission: to challenge the iPhone. And in that goal, it succeeded. It was chunky (17mm), had a low-resolution display (320x480), and didn’t have a virtual keyboard, thus forcing users to bang away on the tiny pop-out keyboard. It also utilized a quirky trackball and physical buttons for navigation. Still, T-Mobile sold more than a million G1s in its first six months of availability.
There are numerous ways to judge a Destiny 2 expansion, but I’ve found it’s easiest to count the days I kept playing. After Curse of Osiris, I stuck around for about two weeks. After Warmind, it was about two days. But Forsaken? It’s been the better part of a month now, and I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon.
I doubted it was possible, but Bungie’s turned Destiny 2into the hobbyist game people wanted. Does that mean you owe it another shot? Absolutely not. But if you’ve been looking for a reason to revisit the Tower, Forsaken’s a compelling one.
Dash cams are already essential in many countries because of scam artists who try to create accidents so they can sue you. They’ve also proven useful for catching cars flying into buildings, or the occasional meteor, as happened in Thailand and in Russia a few years ago.
But while auto con artists aren’t as common here, recording your excursions is a reasonable precaution to take—especially if you’re driving professionally.
Garmin’s Dash Cam 45 shares all the advanced features found in its Dash Cam 55 and Dash Cam 65W siblings, such as driver alerts, Wi-Fi offloading via an app, integrated GPS, and red light camera tracking. It also sports the same compact design and a clever magnetic mount.
But its night captures aren’t as good as they are on the other two models, and in our tests, the video stabilization doesn’t deal well with large bumps or stiff suspensions.
THQ Nordic bought up the rights to Alone in the Dark this week, so the betting's on. Which once-great-but-now-disgraced-or-discarded series will be next? Eternal Darkness? Fez? Alan Wake? Metal Gear Solid? Jade Empire? So many possibilities.
That news, plus Capcom's Tokyo Games Show presence, Return of the Obra Dinn gets a release date, Frostpunk's first expansion, Telltale closes and cancels Wolf Among Us 2, and LawBreakers goes to an early grave.
This is gaming news for September 17 to 21.
As per usual, kicking off the round-up with the games you could be playing this weekend—for free, of course. First up is Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which I wasn't too fond of last year but which is definitely big enough to keep you occupied for three days. Head here and log into your Uplay account to get temporary access.