Townscaper impressions: Build picturesque fishing villages with no direction and no drama Fri, 03 Jul 2020 09:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
In the beginning, there was an ocean. Vast and unbroken, it stretched from one end of the horizon to the other, the blue of the sky barely distinguished from the blue of the sea.Then there was a pier, dredged up from the nothingness below the sea, a stone-and-sand bulwark battered by waves. The not-ocean grew, the pier becoming a harbor, then an island, and on that island grew houses—in white and red and purple and teal. Cottages and ranch homes, warehouses and monolithic apartment blocks, until ocean gave way to a town.This is how the story goes in my head, at least. I’ve spent much of the last two days playing (or toying with) Townscaper, and so far I’ve learned I never needed the “Sim” part of SimCity after all.To read this article in full, please click here How to check your graphics card's GPU temperature Fri, 03 Jul 2020 03:45:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
How hot is your PC’s graphics card temperature? During normal operations, your GPU temperature shouldn’t matter much—your graphics card should simply drive monitors and play games without overheating and shutting down. But if you have an older PC, or if you want to try your hand at graphics card overclocking, being able to monitor your GPU temperature is vital.The good news? Checking your PC’s graphics card temperature is dead simple, especially now that Windows finally includes a native way to keep tabs on temps. All sorts of free GPU monitoring tools are also available, and many of them can help you check your PC’s CPU temperature, too.To read this article in full, please click here Cambridge Audio CXN (v2) network audio streamer review: This is a sweet-sounding, high-tech musical powerhouse Fri, 03 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Support for every audio-streaming protocol and service you can think of, prodigious connectivity options, upgradeable firmware, and sweet sound make for a best-in-class audio component. Xbox Game Pass for PC: 5 reasons it's the best deal in PC gaming Fri, 03 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
When I say an Xbox Game Pass for PC subscriptionRemove non-product link is the best deal in gaming today, that’s no idle recommendation. I have a deep-seated hatred of today’s subscription culture. Yes, many streaming and subscription services are worth every penny, but in general, I hate that everything from Microsoft Office to Adobe’s Creative Cloud to freaking underwear tries to tie you up with monthly payments. So when I say Game Pass is worth it, I really mean it. Step aside, Humble Bundles.To read this article in full, please click here Leviton puts Alexa in a dimmer switch Thu, 02 Jul 2020 12:22:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Leviton is expanding its range of smart home switches and outlets with the Decora Voice Dimmer, a new Wi-Fi dimmer switch with Amazon Alexa built in. Google retires the affordable Pixel 3a as Pixel 4a rumors swirl Thu, 02 Jul 2020 08:24:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
It’s the end of the line for our favorite bang-for-buck Android phone. Google’s superb Pixel 3A and 3A XL are now discontinued, as rumors of an imminent Pixel 4a launch swirl.“Google Store has sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 3a,” a Google spokesperson told Android Police, after the site noticed the phone switched to “Unavailable” status on Wednesday. “For people who are still interested in buying Pixel 3a, the product is available from some partners while supplies last.”To read this article in full, please click here Microsoft Word reads to you: How to use the Speak and Read Aloud commands Thu, 02 Jul 2020 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Can Microsoft Word read to me? Yes, it can. There are three ways to accomplish this task: The Speak and Read Aloud features in Word, or the Narrator feature in Windows.The Speak feature was incorporated into Microsoft Office (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.) back in version 2003. It was called Text to Speech (TTS) then, and it functioned much the same as it does now. Fortunately, it’s a very simple procedure to set up and use, so you can get started immediately.Add the Speak button to the Quick Access Toolbar 1. Click the Customize arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar.2. From the dropdown menu, select More Commands.To read this article in full, please click here Best Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra cases: Top picks in every style Thu, 02 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
We're just gonna say it—you're crazy to take your Galaxy S20 out in public without something to protect it. With prices starting at $1,000 and going all the way up to $1,600, it's one of the most expensive phones ever made. It's also the biggest, with the S20 Ultra tipping the scales at a whopping (and eminently droppable) 6.9 inches. So check out these picks and stop playing chicken with your phone. To read this article in full, please click here Best antivirus: Keep your Windows PC safe from spyware, Trojans, malware, and more Wed, 01 Jul 2020 17:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Antivirus software is nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. Even if you’re well aware of potential threats and practice extreme caution, some threats just can’t be prevented without the extra help of an AV program—or a full antivirus suite. You could, for example, visit a website that unintentionally displays malicious ads. Or accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). Or get stung by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program gives hackers entry to your system.We’re not suggesting that PC security software is fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits, like ransomware, on your machine. Anyone who actively uses email, clicks on links, and downloads programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.To read this article in full, please click here Data caps on Comcast, T-Mobile return on July 1 Wed, 01 Jul 2020 17:24:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Major Internet service providers are scheduled to end their quarantine benefits soon, once again subjecting Americans to data caps and removing protections if they are unable to pay their bills. On July 1, data caps returned to some major ISPs.The FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge also expired on June 30. Companies initially agreed to the pledge and rushed to add benefits. ISPs like CenturyLink, T-Mobile, Verizon, and many others said they would not discontinue service or charge late fees for those unable to pay because of the coronavirus. They also agreed to open their Wi-Fi access points for free. So far, the FCC has not publicly said that it would extend the pledge.To read this article in full, please click here New Windows test build makes major changes to Start, Taskbar, and Alt+Tab Wed, 01 Jul 2020 16:23:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft released a major new Windows 10 Insider test build on Wednesday afternoon, offering dramatically different versions of the Start Menu and Taskbar, and even a revamped Alt+Tab experience with Microsoft Edge.Microsoft released the new updates as part of Windows 10 Insider Build 20161, part of the new Dev Channel. Essentially, the Dev Channel is the new Insider Fast Channel—code that Microsoft is not tying to any future Windows 10 feature release. These are experiments, and Microsoft is making these features available to just a subset of the Dev Channel, too.The experimental UI changes are fairly profound. The Start menu now includes the Fluent Design icons that Microsoft began rolling out earlier, and does away with some of the colored backgrounds that have made up the traditional Start menu. The Taskbar, too, has been redesigned in a purpose-built manner, optimized more for an individual user’s needs. Finally, the Alt+Tab experience now includes individual Edge tabs, and not just the app as a whole.To read this article in full, please click here OneDrive simplifies document sharing by making it even more complex Wed, 01 Jul 2020 12:38:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft said Wednesday that it’s making OneDrive file sharing more manageable, adding a convenient way to share folders and files with friends, while giving business users more control over a file as it moves through an organization.“Sharing” a file or folder seems simple, but it’s really not—not when you (or your company) needs to decide who has access, and what happens when things move locations. Negotiating all of those requirements is the foundation for the OneDrive changes Microsoft announced Wednesday.New OneDrive consumer controls Microsoft already allows you to right-click a file within OneDrive for the web and share it with specific contacts, with permissions that include edit controls, passwords, and the like. What Microsoft calls “family and group sharing” will arrive on OneDrive for the web later this month, with general availability coming in July. Essentially, Microsoft seems to think that configuring each folder or file is too time-consuming, so it’s allowing you to predefine a “family” group or circle of friends beforehand.To read this article in full, please click here Microsoft's Surface devices are now receiving the Windows 10 May 2020 Update Wed, 01 Jul 2020 12:13:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft says it has patched a bug that may have prevented some of its most recent Surface devices from receiving the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. And as of July 1, our Surface devices in our review stable are receiving the May 2020 Update as a result.In its list of issues associated with the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, Microsoft notes that it recently deployed patch KB4557957, which addresses the “Errors or unexpected restarts for some devices using Always On, Always Connected.” To read this article in full, please click here Windows 10's Xbox Game Bar adds a widget store and much-needed transparency controls Wed, 01 Jul 2020 10:34:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft began offering more customization for Windows 10's Xbox Game Bar on Wednesday, including a new “widget store” complete with a dedicated Destiny 2 widget that tracks your game progress. Microsoft also added some long-wanted transparency controls to help reduce the Game Bar screen clutter while you’re gaming.When it was first added, Microsoft’s Game Bar (which can be triggered with Win + G, even when a game isn’t running) gave gamers on-screen shortcuts to take screenshots, record video, and the like. Over time, Microsoft has continued to add functionality, including performance monitors and specific widgets for streaming controls and other functions.To read this article in full, please click here 'Significant and fundamental' Windows tweak sets the stage for GPU innovation Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:54:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Over the past week, both Nvidia and AMD released fresh graphics cards drivers that unlocked “hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling,” a new feature introduced in the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. Now, Microsoft has revealed what that setting does, and it turns out that the innocuous-sounding, opt-in feature actually represents a fundamental redesign in how the Windows Display Driver Model works. You probably won’t see any significant performance changes from activating it now, however.To read this article in full, please click here Who needs Windows 10 Pro: 5 reasons to upgrade Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Windows 10 Professional isn’t just for cubicle dwellers who have no choice in the matter. While users who own a “professional” PC like the Surface Book 2Remove non-product link will automatically be upgraded to this higher-end version of the OS, smaller businesses and PC enthusiasts may also weigh the benefits of the Pro version vs. Windows 10 Home. PCWorld also has a cheap update deal going on which eliminates many of the cost concerns.To read this article in full, please click here The best SSDs of 2020: Supersized 8TB SSDs are here, and they're amazing Wed, 01 Jul 2020 06:09:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Switching to a solid-state drive is the best upgrade you can make for your PC. These wondrous devices obliterate long boot times, speed up how fast your programs and games load, and generally makes your computer feel fast. But not all solid-state drives are created equal. The best SSDs offer solid performance at affordable prices—or, if price is no object, face-meltingly fast read and write speeds.Many SSDs come in a 2.5-inch form factor and communicate with PCs via the same SATA ports used by traditional hard drives. But out on the bleeding-edge of NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) drives, you’ll find tiny “gumstick” SSDs that fit in M.2 connections on modern motherboards, SSDs that sit on a PCIe adapter and slot into your motherboard like a graphics card or sound card, futuristic 3D Xpoint drives, and more. Picking the perfect SSD isn’t as simple as it used to be.To read this article in full, please click here Spotify unveils $13-a-month Premium Duo plan for two people Wed, 01 Jul 2020 06:08:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
The new Premium Duo plan sits between Spotify’s existing individual and six-person family plans. Avira Prime review: Value, value, value Wed, 01 Jul 2020 03:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
We’ve been reviewing Avira Antivirus Pro for a few years now and wondering why it was worth purchasing when the free version of Avira offered so much. At the time, Avira’s top-level offering, Prime, was just too expensive. Those days are over, however, and Avira Prime is now available at a competitive price.Note: This review is part of our best antivirus roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them. Prime is the company’s one-stop shop for antivirus, web protection, ad blocking, privacy protection, and system maintenance. It includes access to Phantom Pro, the company’s VPN, as well as system tune-up options, a secure file shredder, and more.To read this article in full, please click here Lockly Vision review: A smart lock and a video doorbell in one well-made device Wed, 01 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
This monolithic smart lock successfully brings two worlds together. Microsoft's Xbox Series S (code name Lockhart): What we know, what we expect Wed, 01 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Microsoft is expected to announce a second, cheaper console to complement its Xbox Series X. Could this "Lockhart" console be called the Xbox Series S? Here's what we know about it so far. The best smart lock for a keyless home Wed, 01 Jul 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Keys are yesterday’s tech, your smart home needs a smart door lock. Samsung SSD 870 QVO review: Stupendous 8TB capacity in a SATA SSD Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:30:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
The Samsung 870 QVO (‘Q’ as in in 4-bit QLC), is our first look at a drive that will eventually ship with a whopping 8TB of NAND on board. Announced Tuesday, this is the new top capacity available, superseding a still-new flock of 4TB models. Samsung sent us the 2TB version for testing. It’s a great everyday performer; however, when you run out of cache (which shouldn’t be often), write pace falls off drastically.Specs and pricing A standard 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps SSD, the 870 QVO is currently available for preorder in a few of its capacities: the 2TB  we tested ($250 from Newegg), and 4TB ($500 from NeweggRemove non-product link). The 1TB capacity is on sale now for $130 on AmazonRemove non-product link or $130 from NeweggRemove non-product link.  in $130/1TB, $250/2TB (tested), and $500/4TB flavors. The 8TB model will be available in August for $900. That’s considerably cheaper than the high-capacity 4TB OWC Aura P12 and 8TB Sabrent Rocket Q NVMe drives we recently covered, and a far greater savings delta than we normally see between NVMe and SATA. To read this article in full, please click here How to manage Windows 10 updates to prevent them from ruining your life Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
How can I stop Windows 10 updates? Whether it’s preventing Windows 10 from kicking off a critical update during a presentation, or deferring Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature update because of worries about data loss, it’s a question we’ve all asked. You shouldn’t block all Windows 10 updates. But you can manage them.Windows 10 feature updates and security updates provide a valuable service: they not only patch Windows, its apps and components, but provide new features and capabilities twice a year. Windows Update can also automatically provide updated drivers for hardware connected to your PC, such as a USB-attached printer. It’s not an academic issue. Microsoft wrestled with the fallout from the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which apparently deleted user data in an undisclosed number of cases and was put on hold, then resumed. Would you want to buy a car if it had even a 0.001 percent chance of exploding? Probably not—which is why it’s good to know how to manage Windows 10 updates, now and in the future.To read this article in full, please click here Amazon Prime Video rolls out watch parties with 100 friends (and several caveats) Tue, 30 Jun 2020 06:55:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Now you can jump into an Amazon Prime Video watch party with up to 100 friends, provided they're all Prime subscribers. Vizio’s first OLED TVs are coming this fall, and they’re priced to move Tue, 30 Jun 2020 05:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Vizio also revealed pricing and availability for its largest LCD TV to date, along with the rest of its new TVs for 2020. Chromebooks versus Windows laptops: Which should you buy? Tue, 30 Jun 2020 03:59:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Should I buy a Chromebook or a Windows laptop? Whether you’re seeking out the best computer for your child or just weighing which inexpensive computer would make a great gift, we can help you choose the right one. Who should buy a Windows PC? A notebook PC powered by Microsoft Windows offers several advantages. Windows offers the most flexibility to run just about any app, as well as your choice of any browser. You can tweak and configure your PC as you choose.That convenience demands more computing horsepower, and often a higher price compared to most Chromebooks. Prices can soar into the thousands of dollars, and if you need a powerful PC for gaming or video editing, Chromebooks really don’t offer that much competition. But you’ll find some great deals among our more affordably priced, top Windows picks.To read this article in full, please click here Sinop Zigbee dimmer switch review: Smart lighting from the Great White North Tue, 30 Jun 2020 03:00:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Sinop pivots from their proprietary smart home protocol in favor of the Zigbee standard. Windows File Recovery is Windows' new tool for finding lost files Mon, 29 Jun 2020 16:07:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Accidentally deleting a file can be a nightmare. A new Windows 10 recovery tool, Windows File Recovery, can help—though it’s geared towards those who don’t mind using a command-line interface. Windows File Recovery, a free Microsoft app now on the Windows Store, offers a way to restore files that have become accidentally deleted. It does require Windows 10 build 19041 or higher, however, and also doesn’t work on a file that’s been stored to the cloud. You’ll also need two separate drives, which can be as simple as a USB drive if you’re trying to recover a file from the boot disk.To read this article in full, please click here 11 quick ways to clear space on an overstuffed Android phone Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:11:00 -0700
Source: PCWorld
Updated June 29, 2020 to reflect the latest Android tools.Few things in life are as annoying as finding that your Android handset refuses to install any more app updates because it’s run out of storage. Unlike many of life’s little annoyances, though, this one’s easy to fix. You can't do anything about your system files, but you can quickly clear out precious gigs by sweeping up stale downloads, rooting out offline maps and documents, clearing caches, and wiping unneeded music and video files. And if these tips don’t do the trick, check out our picks for the best Android phones for every need and budget. To read this article in full, please click here