PC News

Power surge at British Airways data center causes flight chaos

5 hours 47 minutes ago

A major British Airways crash has highlighted the importance for businesses of testing backup systems and disaster recovery procedures to ensure that they work as planned.

The airline experienced what CEO Alex Cruz described as "a major IT systems failure" that, he said, affected all check-in and operational systems.

The failure on Saturday, May 27, resulted in the delay or cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at London's Heathrow Airport on a holiday weekend. Things were still not back to normal two days later.

Cruz described the cause of the failure as "a power supply issue," without going into detail.

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Peter Sayer

Optane Memory will boost the Asus VivoBook Pro 15

7 hours 23 minutes ago

Budget laptops and plastic parts go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Asus’ new VivoBook lineup looks to add some premium finish to its new machines.

The first of two new VivoBooks unleashed Monday is the VivoBook S15. Featuring a 15.6-inch screen, GeForce 940MX graphics and dual-core Kaby Lake CPUs ranging from from Core i3 to Core i7, the VivoBook S15 gives you something the vast majority of budget laptops don’t: aluminum.

Asus

The budget VivoBook S15 gives you a 15.6-inch screen, GeForce 940MX graphics, Kaby Lake dual-core and an aluminum lid and top deck for $500.

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Gordon Mah Ung

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is the world's thinnest laptop

8 hours 54 minutes ago

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is the thinnest convertible laptop in the world--at least for now. Announced Monday at Computex in Taipei, the ZenBook Flip S is the latest to snatch the trophy as vendors wage an eternal battle to shave down their portable PCs. The 10.9-millimeter profile of the ZenBook Flip S currently takes the record. The laptop will be available later this year at prices starting at $1,099. Read more about it below, and also two other slender notebooks Asus announced at its Monday event at Computex in Taipei.

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Martyn Williams

Nerd alert! Inside Taipei's PC and gadget shopping paradise

10 hours 49 minutes ago
Welcome to Guanghua 3C Shopping Mall

Image by Martyn Williams/IDG

Guanghua 3C mall is worth a visit for any techie on a trip to Taipei. It’s located in the center of the city, and can be accessed on the MRT (from Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station — 捷運忠孝新生站) or by taxi. It’s a good idea to have the mall’s Chinese name (光華商場) written down in case you need help finding it. And if you’re feeling adventuresome, hit the mall’s Chinese-language website to do a product search before you visit.

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Martyn Williams

Huawei Watch 2 Classic Review: Good watch but a missed opportunity for Wear 2.0

2 days 8 hours ago

Barely three months into its official release, Android Wear 2.0 should still be enjoying its honeymoon period. But the truth is, it never really had one. Despite a high-profile launch and pent-up anticipation among Android enthusiasts, the roll-out has been less-than-stellar, with few manufacturers supporting it with new models, and most older watches unable to take advantage of the best features.

And the Huawei Watch 2 doesn’t do too much to change that narrative. The model I tested, the Classic, is the classier of the two models, with stainless steel accents, a buttery-smooth leather band, and a posh gray face. But even in an extremely small pool of Android Wear 2.0 watches—the LG Sport and Style are the only new 2.0 models—the latest Huawei Watch just doesn’t do enough to stand out.

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Michael Simon

Far Cry 5's first trailer reveals religious cults and explosions in picturesque Montana

3 days 2 hours ago

Dim the lights, blast the dubstep, and throw on some Aisha Tyler interviews in the background—Ubisoft just kicked off its E3 press conference three weeks before the event with the first-ever trailer for Far Cry 5.

Like every year, this early look has left me wondering “Why not just wait until the show itself?”, but I guess spoiling all the surprises in May is the new normal. In any case, here’s the trailer in question:

As revealed in teasers earlier this week, the game takes place in Hope County, Montana—yes, within the United States, which is a surprisingly rare move. And in shades of Outlast 2, the region’s been overrun by the religious cult Eden’s Gate, which will be your primary enemy in the game. “Religious cult” is the general wording Ubisoft uses, though all the imagery and the church architecture shown is not-so-ambiguously Christian in influence.

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Hayden Dingman

Amazon is offering two free months of Music Unlimited to new subscribers

3 days 3 hours ago

All the various music streaming services desperately try to differentiate themselves with personalization features and the occasional exclusive. If you ask me, however, they're all pretty much the same with similar catalogs. For those who disagree, right now is a great time to see how the other half lives. Amazon is currently offering two free months of Amazon Music Unlimited for new users.

To get this deal, you have to sign-up using Amazon's promotional web page. Once you arrive on the page, click Enter Your Code. In the pop-up window that appears, enter the code MOREMUSIC, then click Apply.

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Ian Paul

This week in games: Red Dead Redemption 2 is delayed, Destiny 2 PC servers explained

3 days 4 hours ago

Hands up if you're surprised Red Dead Redemption 2 was delayed into 2018. Nobody? Nobody at all?

That news, plus free copies of Rising Storm, a mercifully not-delayed-yet Divinity: Original Sin II release date, a technical dissection of Destiny 2's multiplayer back-end, Neill Blomkamp's experiments with Steam as a film platform, and more. This is gaming news for May 22 to 26.

Weekend freebies

Rising Storm is a few years old now, and the Vietnam-bound sequel releases next week, but if you’re looking for some free entertainment, Humble’s giving away copies of the original for the next 24 hours or so (from the time this is posted). It’s one of the best shooters of the last few years, and I bet the servers will be pretty busy for the next few days thanks to this giveaway. Not a bad deal.

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Hayden Dingman

How to save Windows Spotlight images to your PC in a few clicks

3 days 5 hours ago

A favorite pastime among Windows 10 users is to figure out ways to save Windows Spotlight images to their PC. Usually this is done through a little bit of trickery that involves finding where the images are stored on your hard drive.

Since early 2016, however, the Windows Store (rather unbelievably) has an app for that. In fact, there are many apps for that, but the one we’re going to talk about today is called SpotBright. What’s great about this app is that it downloads all available Spotlight images for you in a few clicks. In my test, I downloaded more than 600 images costing me less than 500MB of storage space.

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Ian Paul

Any website can crash your Windows 7 or 8 PC with these four characters

3 days 6 hours ago

Just because Windows 7 is close to eight years old doesn’t mean you still can’t find ridiculous bugs that can crash your PC.

Russian-language site Habrhabr.ru recently published one such bug that apparently causes problems if you simply visit a website, as first noticed by Ars Technica. The problem also affects Windows 8 and Vista PCs, but Windows 10 PCs are unaffected.

Here’s how the bug works. All a naughty website has to do is use the character string ‘$MFT’ in the directory name where a website keeps its images. Windows expects to see the four characters $MFT only in a special metadate file on your PC. When it sees those characters as a directory name, however, it causes enough problems that an affected PC will begin to slow down and eventually hang. At that point your only recourse is to reboot the machine. In some cases, the problem may even trigger the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD).

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Ian Paul

23% off iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner - Deal Alert

3 days 6 hours ago

If you want a thorough, everyday clean, maybe you should consider using robots. The Roomba 650 Vacuuming Robot provides a thorough clean at the push of a button. The patented, 3-Stage Cleaning System easily picks up dust, pet hair and large debris like cereal and works on all floor types, adjusting itself and re-charging itself as needed to make sure the job is done correctly every time you need it -- preset Roomba to clean when it’s convenient for you. Roomba is just 3.6 inch tall, and is specifically designed to fit under most furniture, beds and kickboards. The 650 model is a #1 best seller on Amazon, where its typical list price of $374 is reduced right now to $286.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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DealPost Team

AMD's new AM4 motherboard software cures Ryzen's memory headaches

3 days 7 hours ago

Memory’s been a thorn in the side of AMD’s Ryzen processors ever since they launched. Memory speed and latency can play a major part in Ryzen’s performance, but early AM4 motherboards haven’t been able to offer robust memory overclocking capabilities. Ryzen PCs topped out at DDR4-3200 speeds, and the supported range of frequencies below that occurred in 266MT/s chunks, meaning some kits couldn’t hit their rated maximum speeds and instead fell back to a slower frequency.

A new AMD update puts an end to the madness.

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Brad Chacos

These 20 deep, absorbing PC games will eat days of your life

3 days 9 hours ago
Built to last

Image by EA

Far too many games these days are built to be played in small bursts: brief encounters, designed for a world with too few hours in the day and too many digital distractions. And that’s fine! Blasting through a few rounds of Call of Duty multiplayer, or playing a few run-throughs in Spelunky, is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes.

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Brad Chacos

Get real, Microsoft: If the Surface Pro is a laptop, bundle it with a Type Cover

3 days 10 hours ago

If Microsoft sold cars like it’s trying to sell its Surface Pro (2017), it would charge extra for wheels—and would be laughed out of the market. But Microsoft’s using this tactic to sell its new Windows tablet as a “laptop,” and we’re still trying to figure out why.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is clearly a Windows tablet, just like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4. Nevertheless, devices chief Panos Panay calls it a “laptop” no fewer than three times in his blog post, including the very first sentence. No “laptop” or notebook PC forgoes a keyboard, however, as the Surface Pro does. Long-time Surface fans may know that Microsoft charges $129 to $159 more for that accessory, but does the average buyer get it? That’s where the confusion starts.

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Mark Hachman

Sony A1E 4K TV review: This could be the best OLED TV money can buy

3 days 10 hours ago

What do you get when you put an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display in the hands of the Sony with their decades of experience enhancing TV images? A better OLED TV. Having only seen another company’s OLED TVs in the consumer space, we’d gotten the idea that the technology was simply challenged when it came to rendering fine details. Not so with the A1E, whose facility with picture minutiae, while not LCD-like, is a substantial improvement.

We recently had the pleasure of setting an A1E next to a brand new LCD-with-quantum-dots Samsung Q9F (we’ll post our review next week) and having at it for an amazing week of viewing and testing. Sadly, the experience left us somewhat torn between which we liked most.

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Jon L. Jacobi

Watch us play Vanquish on PC

3 days 20 hours ago

Vanquish, the cult classic from Platinum Games, has finally arrived on PC, thanks in part to a vocal fan base. The original released in 2010 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and presented fast-paced third-person shooting and stylized graphics from Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the Resident Evil series.

Vanquish is known for taking cover-based shooting, a la Gears Of War, and putting a uniquely Japanese spin on it by introducing mechanics like rocket sliding and slo-mo. The game is over-the top in ways that only Platinum can pull off, but it still rewards skillful gameplay.

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Adam Patrick Murray

Get 63% off This 76-in-1 Precision Tool Set For Smartphones, Laptops and Electronics - Deal Alert

3 days 23 hours ago

This 76-piece repair kit contains everything you need to work on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, stereo, or anything else that requires precision instruments. Everything from screwdrivers, to a suction cup to a plastic spudger, whatever that might be. This kit is highly rated and a #1 best seller on Amazon, where its typical list price of $69.99 has been reduced 63% to $25.99. See this deal now on Amazon.

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DealPost Team

Newegg is selling a pure sine wave UPS for just $125 right now

4 days 2 hours ago

If you’re serious about protecting your PC—and any unsaved work or game you might have open on it—you need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS is a surge protector and emergency battery in one, meant to keep devices safe and humming along when the power goes out. Right now, Newegg has a particularly good model on sale: The retailer has dropped the CyberPower GX1325U to just $125. That's $65 cheaper than the going price at other retailers.

This UPS is an 1325 VA / 810 watt unit with pure sine wave output. That last bit isn’t a pop quiz from high school—a pure sine wave is supposed to offer a more reliable transition from your local electrical grid to battery power, especially for sensitive PC power supplies. It’s also the most expensive type of output to produce, which is part of the reason it’s nice to catch this UPS on sale.

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Ian Paul

Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch

4 days 2 hours ago

Maybe it’s time to start paying attention to Microsoft’s livestreaming play. After acquiring fledgling service Beam last August, then integrating Beam into Windows 10 and the Xbox One, today Microsoft announced a whole raft of changes to make the service more appealing—starting with a new name, Mixer.

Well...not the best start. Sounds like a bad dating site.

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Hayden Dingman
Checked
1 hour 30 minutes ago
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