Tech News

Presidents' Day sales 2019: here are the final deals

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 11:26

Presidents' Day is officially here, and that means deals and sales from your favorite retailers on TVs, mattresses, appliances, and more. Today is probably the last day of discounts, so if you see a deal you like, we wouldn't wait around too long as there's a good chance it'll be back to full price tomorrow.

To help guide you through all the deals and offers, we've put together a list of the best sales that are currently going on. We've also hand-picked the top standout deals that include categories such as electronics, appliances, and home items.

We'll also tell you everything else you need to know about the Presidents' Day sale event such as the date, the retailers that are participating, and what deals you can expect and from what categories.

The best Presidents' Day sales: Our best Presidents' Day sale picks: When is Presidents' Day?

Presidents' Day always falls on the third Monday in February. It was originally held on George Washington's birthday (February 22) but was moved in 1971 to accommodate the long holiday weekend. This year Presidents' Day is on Monday the 18.

When do Presidents' Day sales start?

Presidents' Day sales have already started for several retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy, promoting deals on TVs and home and kitchen appliances. Most retailers will extend their sales till Monday, so you have the whole holiday weekend to shop for the best deals.

The best things to buy at Presidents' Day sales

The biggest categories that are discounted during Presidents' Day weekend are electronics, appliances, home items, and clothing. Last year Amazon offered 20% off home items, and retailers like Best Buy, Walmart and Home Depot are offering discounts on large and small appliances. Mattresses are also a popular sale category with retailers like Overstock, Temper-Pedic, and Nectar offering big sales throughout the weekend. There will also be clothing sales with some retailers like J Crew discounting its whole site.

Categories: Tech News

Cyberpunk 2077 release date, trailer and news

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:55

Cyberpunk 2077 is a neon cyberpunk game that has The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red moving from a gritty, high fantasy world of an equally gritty, science fiction word metropolis. It's based off the pen-and-paper RPG of the same name, but plays a heckuva lot like The Matrix game we've always wanted.

We caught our first peek at the game behind closed doors at E3 2018 – you can check out what we saw in the 48-minute walkthrough video below. 

What you'll see in that time is a game that looks vastly different than The Witcher series, with towering neon skyscrapers, bionic enhancements and a focus on vertical movement rather than wide open plains. It's also all in first-person. 

The internet is crawling with news and rumors about this PC, Xbox One and PS4-bound game, so we’ve collected everything that's been said about Cyberpunk 2077 here for your convenience and we'll be constantly updating this page as more details emerge.

Cut to the Chase
  • What is Cyberpunk 2077? A brand new IP from CD Projekt Red
  • What's the Cyberpunk 2077 release date? No official release date but late 2019 seems possible
  • What systems will Cyberpunk 2077 be released on? PS4, Xbox One and PC (and we’d expect the 4K console iterations too)
Cyberpunk 2077 trailers

After a veritable truckload of hype, CD Projekt Red has released 48 minutes of gameplay footage, based on the demo journalists saw at E3 2018. In it, you'll see what gunplay looks like, character creation and backstory assignment, plus how you'll upgrade yourself via cybernetic enhancements. You'll meet some of the characters in Cyberpunk's seedy crime circuit and explore the city on foot and in vehicles. (Quick warning: the trailer contains nudity, violence and swearing.)

Check it out below:

We were treated to a brand new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer during E3 2018 which you can watch below:

After an extremely short title reveal trailer, in 2013 we were treated to a more than two minute long teaser trailer although it didn't reveal much about what will be in the actual game. 

It did, however, capture Cyberpunk's futuristic setting incredibly well and let us know that when it comes we can expect something dark, dangerous and visually stunning. At the end it also looks like we get a look at the Braindance technology discussed further down.

Cyberpunk 2077 release date

In the game’s official teaser trailer it’s stated that the game will be coming “when it’s ready.” But for now it appears that CD Projekt Red is hoping that will be sometime in early 2019. 

In an investor call in early 2016 it was suggested that Cyberpunk 2077 would be released before June 2019. It was also said in this call that CD Projekt Red is planning to release two new triple A RPGs before 2021. 

It was later clarified in forums that Cyberpunk 2077 would be the first of these games to arrive and work on the second would not start before Cyberpunk 2077 was finished. 

Considering The Witcher 3 took around three and a half years to develop, a 2019 release doesn’t seem unmanageable for the studio. 

As well as a deadline they’ve no doubt set for themselves, the studio also has a deadline from the Polish government. 

In December 20017 they were given a grant of more than $5 million from the government to research new game techniques related to multiplayer, animation and city creation. The sizable sum came with a project deadline attached and if it does relate to Cyberpunk 2077 then it’ll mean the game really does have to be released in 2019. The government said so, which ironically isn’t particularly Cyberpunk. 

In a recent financial presentation, CD Projekt Red has revealed that at the moment Cyberpunk 2077 is under "intensive development" and that there are more than 300 developers actively working on it. For context, there are currently 100 developers working across Gwent and the Witcher 3's 4K patch at the moment. 

There was no more information on the game's progress during the presentation but the company's President and joint CEO Adam Kiciński said there would be "a moment in time" when he and the developers will be able to show off what they've achieved.

Cybperunk 2077 news and features

E3 2018 confirmed features

We got to spend some time watching a demo of Cyberpunk 2077 during E3 and we learned some interesting things about the game. 

It's a first person RPG set in a huge open world known as Night City - the city will be split into six districts, each offering a different environment to explore. During the demo we only saw a small part of one of them. 

Players can create their own character called V and embark on their journey to crawl up from the criminal underbelly. This is a dark game and though The Witcher series is mature, this takes it to a new level. 

As you'd expect, the game lets you augment your body using various bits of tech - illegal or otherwise - and you can use drugs to enhance your combat. Speaking of combat, weapons are wide ranging and seriously creative with smart guns and bullets as well as terrifying Mantis Blades for melee.

There are no loading screens in Cyberpunk 2077 and the story and side quests are branching and numerous, and your choices genuinely impact the outcome. You can read more about how impressed were were by what we saw.

E3 2018 secret message

CD Projekt RED used the Xbox Showcase to show its latest trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. But it's more than just a trailer. Spotted by Polygon, there's a moment in the trailer with hidden text with more information on the game which is revealed when you enhance the image.

In the message CD Projekt first apologises for "staying silent longer than we planned" but following the release of The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine the developer wanted to wait until it had "something meaningful and substantial" to show.

It goes on to say that the vision for Cyberpunk is "an alternative version of the future where America is in pieces, megacorporations control all aspects of civilized life, and gangs rule the rest." This game will, CD Projekt says, be a "true single player, story-driven RPG" where you'll be able to create your own character.

At the moment the developer isn't ready to confirm any kind of release date and asks for more patience. It also says it has "no bloody clue" about how big the game is but does say it's "seriously big."

Players should "expect nothing less" than what they got with The Witcher 3 when it comes to DLC and expansions. Oh, and there won't be a single microstransaction.

GDC news

CD Projekt Red likes to keep its cards close to its chest but over the past week we've learned some interesting things about Cyberpunk 2077. The developer has announced that it's opening a new Wroclaw studio to expand production on the game and company President Adam Kuciński has recently dropped a few more details at the recent financial conference. 

The most significant thing is that he confirmed this is a single-player narrative driven game and there are no multiplayer plans in motion right now. that doesn't mean they won't happen – the developer confirmed them years ago and a battle royale mode was humored at this very event – but they're not the focus for now. 

Another important reveal was that the game will be full-price with no additional microstransactions or hidden costs.

Most excitingly, though? It was confirmed that the game will appear in some capacity at this year's E3

It could be on the next generation of consoles

CD Projekt Red has hinted that Cyberpunk 2077 could be developed for both current and next gen titles. GamingBolt has reported that during a presentation at the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar 2018 event, the studio's CFO Piotr Nielubowicz and CEO Adam Kiciński mentioned Cyberpunk 2077 hinted that it may be being developed for future hardware. The slide in question stated the team was developing the title for “current and next-generation technology”. 

We're not entirely sure what this could mean given that we don't actually know when the next generation will begin and both consoles are currently in a 4K half-gen state. However, it'd be reasonable to guess that it could mean that, like Grand Theft Auto 5, Cyberpunk 2077 could be developed for current generations and then appear on PlayStation 5 and the next Xbox. It also leaves us wondering about when exactly Cyberpunk 2077 is expected to launch – it could be another year or two yet if this is anything to go by.

It will be on Steam

Good news Steam fans: Cyberpunk 2077 will definitely be coming to the platform. At the Pareto Securities Gaming Seminar (via PCGamesN) the studio’s CEO Adam Kiciński gave a presentation in which he confirmed that the game would not be exclusive to GOG. This isn't hugely surprising given other games from CD Projekt have also appeared on both Steam and GOG but we shouldn't take anything for a given, and it's good to have this confirmed.  

Plans for E3

It's been a while since Cyberpunk 2077 has appeared at a big gaming show. However, recent rumors suggest the game could make an appearance at E3 2018

After there were stirrings of life on the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account we have to admit we wondered if that was all we were going to get for the year. But hopes are being raised thanks to recent reports from leading Polish games site GRYOnline

According to GRYOnline, two separate sources have said that Cyberpunk 2077 will have a public trailer at E3 2018 and that there'll also be a playable demo behind closed doors for press. 

There is precedent for CD Projekt Red taking this approach; in 2013 the developer showed off a trailer for The Witcher 3 while showing press a demo behind closed doors. The game was then released two years later. 

Whether or not these rumors are true has not been confirmed by CD Projekt Red, but GRYOnline is a credible site. At this point we'll just have to wait and see, but the recent stirrings of life on the game's Twitter account are at least another good sign from the developer itself. 

At the very least, CD Projekt's Red's presence at E3 2018 has been confirmed by the appearance of its logo in the show's official participant banner. Whether or not it's bringing Cyberpunk 2077 news to the show, however, remains unconfirmed. 

Signs of life on Twitter

For a while now it's been all quiet on the Cyberpunk 2077 front. Well, it was until January 10 when the game's official Twitter account made a noise for the first time in more than four years.

What did this momentous tweet say? Well, see for yourself below.

Yes, that's the first tweet since December 2013. So we have no more information, but we do know there are signs of life in that Twitter accounts which suggests this could be the year we find out a little more about this highly anticipated game. Because surely the 2077 in the title isn't actually a release date. 

It’s going to be bigger than The Witcher 3

It would have been a pretty safe guess to say that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a big game, but in an interview with MCV in 2015 visual effects artist Jose Teixeira said it’s going to be “far, far bigger” than anything the studio has ever done. 

In fact, he said that The Witcher 3 was being treated as a learning experience and that they could do better. To do better, the studio has doubled in size with studio head Adam Badowski saying that after The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 needs to be “even better, even bigger, even more revolutionary” than what had originally been planned. 

You’ll be travelling on more advanced tech than boats and horses

So, we know the game map is going to be intimidatingly big. How will we get around it, then? Well fortunately, moving out of the high fantasy realm gives CD Projekt Red a little more freedom when it comes to creating vehicles.

Don’t expect horses and basic boats here – a job listing for a Senior Vehicle Artist for the studio said they’d be expected to work on “incredibly complex vehicles, planes, bikes, robots and mechanics.“

It’ll have a big single player story

We don’t imagine we’ll shock many people when we say this but Cyberpunk 2077 will take place in the year 2077. 

Specifically CD Projekt Red has confirmed it’ll be set in a place called Night City. Night City’s streets will be huge, filthy, and invested with drug problems. As you’d expect from the Cyberpunk genre, there’ll be a huge wealth gap, where the rich and corporations preside over poverty-stricken citizens, many of whom are driven into gangs. 

Desperate for escape, many of the poor residents of Night City turn to an addictive escape known as Braindance which for just a few hours allows them to feel physically and mentally like they’re someone (anyone) else. 

According to CD Projekt Red they’re “digital recordings of a person’s experience. The viewer can stream a braindance directly into his neural system via special brain augmentations, called a BD player. Braindances allow the viewer to experience all brain processes registered, including emotions, muscle movements and all stimuli perceived by the recording person.”

Braindance experiences that place you in the lives of the rich and glamorous are naturally sold by corporations. However, much darker and illegal Braindances that can turn those using them into bloodthirsty killers are also distributed on the black market.

In this incredibly dark world you’ll play a young man that’s been raised in the lowest section of society but wants to make something of himself and rise out of the gutter. Like most Cyberpunk protagonists we imagine he’ll be something of an anti-hero and find himself embroiled in the criminal underworld, manipulated and forced into difficult situations. How Braindances will be used by or on the protagonist is unclear. 

The game will be an RPG like The Witcher 3 and videogame character progression will fit in well to Cyberpunk’s world of physical and mental augmentations. 

It’s based on the Cyberpunk board games, the creator of which, Mike Pondsmith, has been working closely with the development team to ensure it stays true to the source material and doesn’t lose the Cyberpunk at its core.

This contrasts with the studio's relationship with the author of the Witcher novels, Andrzej Sapkowski, who has always been ambivalent about the games

But there will be multiplayer elements

It was confirmed years ago that the game would have multiplayer elements but what exactly they’ll be is unclear. It was said, though, that the game would mainly focus on single player. 

The company president said in March 2018 that these elements are not on the table right now, so it's possible that they'll be introduced after the game's release in a sort of online world like GTA Online. 

There will be online

As well as multiplayer, CD Projekt's CEO has confirmed that there will also be online elements to the game. In an interview with Polish tech site Strefa Inwestorow Kiciński stated that “Online is necessary, or very recommended if you wish to achieve a long-term success. At some point, we have mentioned that there will be a certain online element related to Cyberpunk.”

In the same interview the CEO said that the team wanted to experiment in fields that weren't explored in The Witcher and that "we’re interested in Cyberpunk being commercially even more significant.“

Whether or not the online elements will feed into the multiplayer is unclear.

But there won't be microstransactions

Following the above interview for Strefa Inwestorow in which CD Projekt's CEO confirmed there would be online elements in the game fans began to fear that there would be an abundance of microstransactions involved. 

The studio has since tweeted to quell these fears, stating that Cyberpunk 2077 will be "nothing less than" the Witcher 3, adding that players will "get what [they] pay for" with "no hidden catch."

It appears that while many studios are feeling the need to move to a service model to ensure their titles make money, CD Projekt is staying committed to the story-driven single player experience with Cyberpunk 2077, one which served them very well with The Witcher. 

Things we'd like to see

Combat inspired by the original tabletop RPG

We know that the designer of the tabletop RPG Cybperunk on which Cyberpunk 2077 is based is heavily involved in the creation of the game. We hope his involvement extends to the game's combat because the combat system he created in his own game was fairly revolutionary for the tabletop genre.

Rather than involving drawn out and long turns, it was fast, brutal, gritty and overall perfectly suited to the spirit of Cyberpunk.

A big part of Cyberpunk combat involves upgrading your body with new abilities and robotics which would be perfectly in line with a video game character development system like those created by CD Projekt Red. 

In Pondsmith's game bodily enhancement has to be carefully considered –
it's a balancing act where every benefit has a drawback. When a player makes robotic additions to themselves they reduce their humanity and empathy leading to an uncontrollable state of cyberpsychosis. This has the potential to be a really interesting system if it's adapted for the game and could be used in a similar manner to excessive consumption of combat-enhancing potions in The Witcher. 

Keep checking back here for all the latest Cyberpunk 2077 news 

(Image credits: CD Projekt Red)

Categories: Tech News

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II and Lumix TZ95 quietly unveiled

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:54

Panasonic has taken its current European convention in Frankfurt as the opportunity to announce two new compacts in its Lumix line, the FZ1000 II and the TZ95.

The models appear to be modest updates to existing cameras, rather than anything radially different from previous offerings. 

The FZ1000 II is a gentle refresh of the FZ1000, which was announced five years ago, a camera that itself was superseded by the FZ2000. Panasonic has, however, maintained the FZ1000 up until this point, with the two residing in different price brackets. 

The new model adds a slightly higher-resolution 3-inch LCD screen on the rear, with 1.25 million dots, up from the 921k-dot panel that we saw in the FZ1000. There's also a new Zoom Composite Assist feature, which is designed to keep a lock on a subject as you zoom the lens to prevent the camera from losing it.

The camera also now features the L.Monochrome D Photo Style, an option that has graced other recent Lumix models, as well as a new minimum aperture of f/11. Other features, such as the 25-400mm f/2.8-4 (35mm equivalent) zoom lens and 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer, appear to be unchanged from before. 

The TZ95, meanwhile, builds on the existing ZS70/TZ90, with a fresh Live View Finder (EVF). Whereas the ZS70/TZ90 was designed with a 0.20-inch finder with a 1.12 million-dot panel, the TZ95 boasts a 0.21-ich finder that has a significantly higher 2.33 million-dot resolution.

The SZ70/90's Wi-Fi feature has been maintained, although this is now joined by Bluetooth functionality. Otherwise, the new camera appears to offer the same core specs as the SZ70/TZ90, such as 20.3MP 1-inch sensor, 4K video recording and a 3-inch LCD that flips all the way round to face the front for selfies. 

The 4K Photo modes on both new models also now sport an Auto Marking feature, which is said to help the user better identify the image they want to keep from a burst of images.

The FZ1000 II will be available at the end of March, priced at £769.99 in the UK and $897.99 in the US, while the TZ95 will be available from the end of April 2019 in black and black/silver finishes, priced at £399.99 in the UK. It's unclear whether the TZ95 will be available in the US, or whether either model will be available Australia at this point.

Categories: Tech News

Panasonic reveals new Dolby Atmos soundbars

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:36

Panasonic has revealed what it calls its "most cinematic and musically refined soundbars ever", the SC-HTB900, SC-HTB700, and SC-HTB510, at its annual launch event in Frankfurt, Germany.

The HTB900 and HTB700 soundbars both support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which both use object-based audio to position different sounds in a 3D space – in other words, the inclusion of up-firing tweeters in both soundbars means they should deliver highly immersive, cinematic audio in the comfort of your own home.

Both the HTB900 and HTB700 use a wireless subwoofer for thumping, impactful bass, as well as powerful speaker drivers, which Panasonic says "deliver a dynamic yet acoustically refined soundstage from even the most sonically demanding of movie soundtracks."

The beefiest of the two, the HTB900 has 505W of power, with six mid-range speakers and a "Hi-Res Audio compatible tweeter" at each end of the casing.

Meanwhile, the HTB700 has three mid-range speakers which can achieve an output of 376W of audio power, but doesn't support Hi-Res Audio. Both soundbars support 4K and HDR passthrough. 

Image credit: Panasonic

Cast away

The HTB-900 also has Google Chromecast built in, which means you can stream music directly from your mobile device.

A press release from Panasonic explains that the data is "streamed directly to the soundbar from the router", which means you shouldn't experience any "degradation in audio quality" that you could experience when streaming via a Bluetooth connection. 

As well as support for Chromecast, the HTB-900 can be controlled using Google Assistant – as long as you have another Google voice-activated speaker like the Google Home Hub to pick up your commands, that is. 

The company also launched the HTB-510, which, like the flagship HTB-900, comes with Chromecast built-in and comes with support for Google Assistamt. With a 2:1 channel setup, the HTB-510 is the smallest of three soundbars in terms of output, with 240W of audio power.

Panasonic hasn't yet released any further information on pricing and availability, so we'll have to wait to find out whether the new soundbars will represent good value for money.

Categories: Tech News

Survival without the horror: a new gaming trend

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:22

Every major console has had its unit-shifting survival horror game, with franchises such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill cementing the genre as one of the most lucrative for developers to get into. But away from all the ghouls, haunted houses and zombies, a new twist on the tired tropes of survival horror has recently been gaining traction with gamers. Titles such as The Long Dark, Don’t Starve and Subnautica are pure survival games. Supernatural horror is out, fending off mother nature is in.

Strangely, basic survival themes may actually be more effective than horror sequences at generating dread because survival games play off the primal fears we all know. We’ve all been hungry, we've all been thirsty, we've all longed for the warmth and comfort of our own bed when we’ve been stuck outside in the cold. 

Survival games ramp up these experiences to the extreme, pitting the player against snow storms, starvation, deep water and other phenomena we have some experience with or at least an intrinsic fear of. Suddenly, relying on the crutch that is supernatural horror is no longer a necessity for developers.

Fear of the dark

Killing moon. (Image: The Long Dark. Image credit: Hinterland Studio)

Let’s consider The Long Dark, a survival simulation set against the snowy backdrop of the Canadian wilderness after “the quiet apocalypse”. While wolves and bears do pose a threat to your playable survivor, your main adversary will be the elements themselves. It quickly becomes apparent that uncooked meat, freezing temperatures and dehydration are a much bigger menace than the local wildlife. After all, you can’t scare off dying from dehydration with a loud noise or a bright flare like you can a wolf or bear.

The key to ensuring your survival in The Long Dark is careful observation of your vital stats. These constantly depleting bars must be regenerated by finding and cooking food, purifying water and ensuring you get enough sleep. For the inexperienced player, hunger and thirst may seem like the most pressing vitals to tend to, but cold and fatigue can be just as lethal. 

On top of that, if you avoid the harsh outdoors by hiding inside for too long, your restless character will develop cabin fever, an affliction which causes irritability, claustrophobia and, eventually, madness.

The Long Dark is an incredibly engaging survival experience, but other games are doing it just as well. 

Some people want to watch the world burn... (Image: Don't Starve. Image credit: Klei Entertainment)

Don’t Starve is another open world survival game, this time with 2D graphics and a much more whimsical style. Visually, Don’t Starve takes a more cartoonish approach to survival than The Long Dark, but the game still hinges on exploration tempered by real-life needs. You do get to explore a quirky, alien environment, but you must still monitor your vital bars for hunger, thirst and sanity. In survival games, exploration has an energy cost, and you need to make sure you pay it.

As in The Long Dark there are threats in Don’t Starve, but the game takes a more comical and relaxed approach to them. Hounds, Pigs and Tentacles move around the map in mobs and can easily overpower a lone survivor who’s low on health. 

Fail to keep a fire burning through the night and Charlie, a deity who hunts under the cover of darkness, will instantly kill you. The difference in approach the developers took when compared to The Long Dark is interesting because it shows the variation the survival genre can offer gamers. Essentially, the gameplay dynamic of keeping your body functional by no means limits the kinds of world you’ll be exploring.

Drowning lessons

A little fish in a big pond. (Image: Subnautica. Image credit: Unknown Worlds)

Diving into yet another type of environment, Subnautica takes the survival experience underwater. Set on an unknown alien planet, you play as the survivor of a devastating mothership crash that has left you stranded far from home in an escape pod floating in what seems like an endless ocean. The only way to stay alive? Take the plunge and see what you can scavenge amongst the vibrant corals and otherworldly fishes below.

During the opening hours of the game swimming is the only way to explore the world and, at times, what you need to progress will be lying in full view at the bottom of the seabed. Swimming down and collecting a key item only to realize that you don’t have enough oxygen to reach the surface is one of the most panic-inducing, terrifying moments of any game you’ll ever play. And it takes place in a tranquil, sandy-bottomed ocean reef.

However, true to real-life Earth oceans, various kinds of ecosystem exist on Planet 4546B. The deeper expanses of water are frightening places, with monsters dwelling where the sun’s rays can’t reach you. These beasts reside in their specific biomes and, unless you venture too close to their patrol routes, they’ll leave you in peace. 

However, essential material parts, plentiful food sources and the story often force you to encroach on their territory. In these seas you’re the small fish in a big pond and, although Subnautica isn’t a horror game, it relies on terror and tension to create unease during these sections, always amplified by the fact that you often desperately need what the monsters are guarding to keep yourself alive.

Unknown worlds

Survival is snow joke (Image: The Long Dark. Image credit: Hinterland Studio)  

Despite their vastly different environments, there is one thing that all these games have in common beyond vital stats that need replenishing. Fear of the unknown. Be it a vast, ancient woodland between you and where you need to go, strange noises in the night or looking down at your feet only to be met with dark water that apparently has no end, these games let you know that you are a fragile being and then confront you with an abyss. 

Naturally, we fear what we don’t know because the only thing we do know is that we are vulnerable beings.

Survival games don’t let you play as an action hero, they don’t allow you to tear into a horde of zombies with an arsenal of mega weapons. They limit and challenge you, all whilst engaging with what makes us human, the flaws and the triumphs. Survival without the horror is genre that is becoming more popular all the time, and we can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Categories: Tech News

Oscars live stream: how to watch the 2019 Academy Awards online from anywhere

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:12

Roll out the red carpet, dust off your tux or ball gown, and prepare those long-winded speeches - the 2019 Academy Awards is approaching fast. Whether you're a massive movie buff or just somebody that loves to see 'who' that stars are wearing, the Oscars is always a must-see climax of the movie awards season. And following our guide will let you work out the best way to get an Oscars live stream from wherever you are this weekend.

It now seems to be part of Oscar tradition that the lead-up is dogged by controversy. This year it was the turn of the Kevin Hart host fiasco and the u-turn pulled on having certain winners announced during ad breaks. But if we can forget about that for a moment and concentrate on the silver screen, it's looking like an intriguing 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

Front-runners for the best movie prize are Roma and The Favourite, showing once again that the Academy is beginning to increasingly honour more offbeat choices - the former being a black-and-white Mexican film, the latter a dark comedy about Queen Anne of England and her ladies in waiting. Meanwhile, Black Panther became the first ever superhero movie to be nominated for the top award.

For the individual prizes, we may see Lady Gaga take home two Oscars on Sunday, one for Best Actress and the other for Best Original Song (both for A Star Is Born) and Rami Malek is likely to take home the Best Actor gong for his portrayal of Queen-singer Freddie Mercury.

In total, 24 little gold men will be handed out at the Dolby Theater and you can watch it all as it happens. Follow our guide to watching a 2019 Oscars live stream from absolutely anywhere in the world.

How to watch a 2019 Oscars live stream from outside your country

Keep scrolling if you want to know your viewing options in the US, Canada, UK and Australia (pssssst, it's absolutely FREE Down Under!).

But it's worth noting that if you're away from your country this Oscar night and were hoping to watch your home coverage on your laptop or mobile, it will inevitable be geo-blocked. Annoying, but definitely not using a VPN, you can change your IP address to a location back in your own hometown or country that will then allow you to stream the event as if you were sat back at home.

How to watch the 2019 Oscars: live stream in the USA
  • DirecTV Now $50 per month - DirecTV Now also includes CBS, Fox, NBC, and ESPN.
  • PlayStation Vue From $45 per month and the ideal choice for PS4 owners thanks to its access to the likes of ESPN, NBC, Fox, Disney and other essential networks. Crank up the price and you can add the likes of Showtime and HBO, too. 
  • YouTubeTV $40 per month - YouTubeTV also gives you access to CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN.

The bonus of the above options is that they all have some kind of free trial. So if all you care about is getting an Oscars live stream and not much beyond, these are well worth a look.

How to stream the Oscars live in Canada

How to watch an Oscars live stream in the UK for FREE

How to live stream the Academy Awards for FREE in Australia

Categories: Tech News

Audi is poised to emerge as the Apple of the car world

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 07:12

Audi is increasingly looking like the car world's answer to Apple. That might seem like an absurd statement, but Audi's cars and approach to automotive tech and innovation both resembles the Apple of the past and present.

Let's put this into context. Ferrari with its gorgeously designed supercars is most like Huawei, offering fantastic hardware but with a driving experience that's can feel a bit overwhelming much like the user interface of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. 

McLaren makes car that appeal to engineering nerds, much like Google Pixel phones tickle the fancy of Android developers. And OnePlus, with its impressive OnePlus 6T that offers mostly flagship features at mid-range prices, is something akin to Jaguar or BMW.

But Audi is most similar to Cupertino. The Teutonic car marque builds cars that pretty much across the board offer a uniformly high-level of build quality that's synonymous with the band. Sounds familiar? Well if you want that level of consistent quality in the tech world, you only need to turn to Apple.

Quality has a price

But, much like Apple, you'll have to pay for it. If you want a top-spec MacBook Air, you'll have to be prepared to fork out $2,599/£2,579/AU$3,969. If you want a top spec Audi Q8 then you'll need to add about $20,000/£20,000/AU$20,000 to the base price. And the same is pretty much the same across the product range of both brands.

Even Apple's cheapest new phone, the iPhone XR is priced higher than most top-end Android phones, much like Audi's cheapest car, the A1, still comes with a distinctively premium price tag when compared to rival cars.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

While Apple seems to have left behind the 'it just works' semi-slogan, there's no doubt that the Cupertino company offers products that are easy to get to grips with. Android may have improved leaps and bounds, but iOS is arguably the slicker operating system. And macOS is just more accessible than Windows 10.

In the car world, Audi offers that accessibility. I've had the luxury of driving a suite of Audi's this year from the hefty Q8 flagship SUV to the compact A1, and all have felt easy to just get into and drive. That's mostly thanks to the excellent tech and driver aids the cars offer.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

But the best example of 'just works' came clear to me with the new Audi R8. While mostly a design facelift on the previous generation R8, the sports-meets-supercar comes with a howling 5.2-liter V10 engine that kicks out up to 613 horsepower, makes the 0-62mph sprint in 3.1 seconds, and tops out at 205mph. That's a lot of performance.

Audi let me take the new car out on the Ascari racetrack outside of Spain's Malaga, where where I could make use of a heavy right foot.

Now I'd never driven a car with more than 300bph, let alone double that. Nor have I driven such a car on a track, let alone one that's known to be rather challenging. Oh and it was raining.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

You'd think the new R8 would be beyond a challenge for someone not versed with being behind the wheel of supercars, but it was surprisingly easy to drive. Thanks to some very clever engineering at work, even when my limited talent ran out the car kept me on the track, sliding a little to remind me it has some bite, but preventing a spin that could see more than $100,000/£100,000/AU$120,000 worth of fine engineering and design get scrapped.

I'll admit that a slightly over zealous stab at the throttle and mistimed cornering saw me detour the Audi onto a small section of the circuit's grass, but that was my fault than the car's.

To that end I was reminded of how Apple has lots of little features working in the background to make life easier without being intrusive; think the AI features the iPhone Xs's A12 Bionic chip offers or how some slick engineering allows Face ID to work on the new iPad Pro regardless of how its orientated.

Bright ideas

The last similarity between the car maker and the premium tech brand lies with innovation. I accept that Apple's level of innovation might not be as prominent as it once was but Apple is still a company to watch when it comes to setting the standards for tech.

Take the use of an electrocardiogram sensors in the latest Apple Watch as an example, which shows how Apple can still surprise with the features it adds to its tech that can range from a nice to have to a life-saving addition. Or how Apple was the pioneer of virtual assistants ijn consumer tech with Siri; granted Siri is a dunce compared to the Google Assistant, but Apple got the ball rolling when it comes to barking commands at phones.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler

Audi has that ‘Apple approach’ to innovation both old and new. Take for example its Virtual Cockpit digital dashboard and touchscreen-oriented infotainment setup that it's pushing out across its range of cars. Such tech isn't revolutionary but it does make sitting in and driving Audis a better experience.

Yet where Audi has elements of the older Apple is with the way it's on the road to self-driving cars and impressive electric vehicles.

The Audi E-Tron all-electric SUV, set to make its on-the-road debut next year, is arguably the antithesis of this, showing how when Audi sets it mind to bring in notable use of cutting-edge technology and engineering, it actually gets it off the concept stage and into the market, not unlike Apple. 

So as 2019 matures, so too does an Audi that's poised to push the boundaries of technology and engineering with an attitude towards cars that Apple has, or at least had, to its premium tech.

Categories: Tech News

Protecting data with multi-party computation

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 07:00

The move from on-premise to the cloud was supposed to keep sensitive data safe by storing it off site. However, businesses are now discovering that the cloud isn’t as secure as they were led to believe. This is why many organizations have turned to encryption to help secure their data but this method is only able to secure data while it is in transit or while it’s at rest.

TechRadar Pro spoke with Unbound’s co-founder Professor Nigel Smart to learn how businesses can protect their data in the cloud and why multi-party computation could be the next big thing in cryptography.

Image Credit: Unsplash

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Pixabay

Categories: Tech News

Best disk cloning software of 2019: Protect yourself from data loss

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:38

Disk cloning is the process of creating an exact, uncompressed replica of your system’s hard drive onto another drive. A related term that sometimes folks use interchangeably, but is not, is the process of disk imaging, which is to backup the hard drive to a compressed file. As hard drives fail more often than we want to admit, all computer users need to prepare for the worst and need disk cloning software. 

As well as preparing for a catastrophic failure of a system drive, there are other uses for disk cloning software. A common one is to be able to switch out a system hard drive, such as when upgrading from a mechanical hard drive to an SSD, simply switching to a larger capacity drive, or swapping out a failing drive.

By cloning the drive, it preserves all the system’s data, and installed software, which obviates the need to individually reinstall programs, especially if the software keys are not easily available or lost. Finally, some folks like to periodically clone their hard drive, and keep it in a secure offsite location so if their main system drive bites the dust, they can get their system back to life with a minimal fuss. 

Now that we know the ‘what and why’ of cloning a hard drive, we’ll next look into the ‘how,’ as there are plenty of great choices to accomplish this. 

Image Credit: Acronis

Acronis Disk Director 12 is a software solution that not only offers disk cloning duties, but also a comprehensive suite of disk management software, including creating, formatting and labeling partitions, splitting, resizing and merging of volumes, and also volume recovery. Disks can also be formatted into virtually any format, including FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, Exts, Ext3, Reiser3, Linux, and SWAP. It supports all versions of Windows from Windows XP up to the latest Windows 10, but there is no support for Apple or Linux OS’.  

There is a demo available, but it is limited in that it only works with a disk volume size of under 100MB’s, which is hobbled enough to prevent any serious use. The full version is available for a one time fee of $49.99 for a single PC license, or the better deal is $79.99 to cover three PC’s.

There is also a workstation license which provides with free upgrades and support for a year for $79.99.

Image credit: Clonezilla

Clonezilla is a venerable freeware program, that makes those lists of the ‘Best Freeware Programs’ time and again. As it has been around for many years, providing reliable service for the lowest cost imaginable, that reputation is deserved, and TechRadar uses it for its guide on how to clone your hard drive.  

Showing its Debian Linux roots, Clonezilla can be run from a Clonezilla Live CD, or thankfully from a more modern approach of a USB stick, (as optical media has been withering on the vine for years now, and fewer computers even have an optical drive these days). In addition to disc cloning, Clonezilla offers additional functionality, including disc imaging, and disc partitioning duties.  

If you can get past the clunky interface that looks too close to the ‘Blue Screen of Death’ as seen in the screenshot above, there is quite a bit of functionality at no cost. 

Image credit: Easeus

EaseUs Todo Backup 11.0 is a disk cloning program, that offers a great array of services- even on the free tier. For disk cloning it enables a wide range of cloning activities, including system cloning, hard drive cloning, and partition cloning. It also has an array of backup modes, including full, scheduled and incremental backups.

There is also a Home tier that adds email notifications, offsite copies and file exclusion. This tier can also do Outlook backup and recovery. The Home tier is available for a single user license of $29.  

For business users, there is the top option of the Workstation tier. This adds to all the previous features above, command line backup, central management via the Backup Center, and a license that covers business usage. The Business tier is $39 for a single user license. 

Image credit: Macrium

Macrium Reflect 7 supports the essential task of direct disk cloning. The free tier features support for restoration of non-booting systems, scheduling backups with flexible templates, and creating live images of a running Windows OS. Notably, unlike most other free licenses, the Free edition is licensed for home and business use.  

The Home tier adds the option to encrypt backups, create incremental backups and has ransomware protection for a cost of $69.95. There is also a Workstation tier that has the additional features of logging events in Windows, and central management using Macrium Site Manager for the price of $75 per PC, with volume discounts available.   

Image Credit: Paragon

Paragon Drive Copy 15 Professional covers the full range of disk duties, including disk cloning of the entire drive, and advanced activities such as cloning by the partition, and can even resize the partition while copying it, or copy a hard drive to another with a dissimilar sector size.

It also features some cool, additional features, such as being able to create a virtual clone of your PC to a USB drive, that can then run portably from another PC, or creating recovery media to be able to boot a non bootable PC with the included Recovery Media Builder 3.0.  

The program can be downloaded for one PC at a cost of $39.95. 

Categories: Tech News

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus leaked price suggests it’ll be cheaper than we thought

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:30

A newly leaked price for the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, the larger variant of the upcoming Galaxy S10, suggests it could be a cheaper alternative to the iPhone XS Max, its primary plus-sized competition.

A leaked image, from established leaker Evan Blass, shows how much two different sizes of the device will cost in Chinese yuan. The 8GB RAM and 512GB internal memory model is marked as ¥9,000, which converts to around $1,300, £1,000 or AU$1,850, while a 12GB/1TB model is slightly more expensive at ¥10,000, or roughly $1,450, £1,150 or AU$2,000. 

As well as these two entries an 8GB/128GB memory model is listed, but no price is listed for this.

If these prices are accurate, it would mean the Galaxy S10 Plus would enter the market at a considerably lower price point than the iPhone XS Max, Apple’s recent plus-sized device. The iPhone XS Max cost $1,449 (£1,449, AU$2,369) for the 512GB model and wasn’t even available in a 1TB size, meaning if the leaked price is accurate the Galaxy S10 Plus will cost $149, £449 or AU$519 less for the 512GB device.

The specific device sizes listed in this leak back up a previous leak that showed device sizes and colors in euros, although that suggested the lower-memory variant would have 6GB RAM instead of 8GB. That leak did peg the devices as considerably more expensive than the recent one however, with the 1TB device marked as €1,499 or around $1,700, £1,300 or AU$2,370. 

Even if the Chinese prices are accurate the conversions could be quite a way off, and the device may launch at different prices in different regions. Given that the converted figures from the recent leak are curiously cheap it’s possible that the previous leak’s figures are more accurate, however with Samsung preparing to launch the Galaxy X foldable phone, which is rumored to cost up to £1,500 (approximately $1,930 / AU$2,660) to £2,000 (roughly $2,570 / AU$3,550), it’s also possible that Samsung would want to keep the S10 Plus as a relatively affordable device.

As well as these prices, various colors are listed for the devices. As the screenshot seems taken from a translated Chinese web page some of them may not have been accurately translated or may not be available in the West, but they give us a good idea of what to expect. 

Listed colors include ‘ceramic black’ and ‘ceramic white’, which we’d already come to expect, but also ‘glass green’ which we’d heard rumored for smaller-sized models of the S10 Plus, ‘yu yubai’ which is likely a Chinese-exclusive color judging by the name (or one which was translated poorly) and “carbon black” which seems indistinguishable from ‘ceramic black’ in the screenshot. 

Leaked renders showed off the ceramic white Galaxy S10 Plus, in all its ceramic glory.

While the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus may be cheaper than the iPhone XS Max, if these prices turn out to be true it’s still a high price for a device. But with the S10e, which leaks suggest will cost a lot less, rounding out the suite of S10 devices, the S10 Plus is reserved for those who need a huge device with incredibly powerful specs.

We’ll have the specs, prices and colors confirmed on February 20 at the Samsung Unpacked event in San Francisco, when Samsung will officially launch the three new Galaxy S10 devices – so make sure you check back then for everything you need to know about the trio of devices.

Categories: Tech News

Tech-filled hatchbacks are the best driving experiences not a lot of money can buy

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:29

Discuss the best European driving experiences with any petrol head and you're likely to hear them wax lyrical about tearing around mountainous hairpin corners in seriously expensive sports cars or hardcore hot hatchbacks with suspension so stiff it nearly shakes bones out of sockets.

But such cars are either out of the price range or impractical for many of us, meaning we have to make do with more run-of-the-mill cars for chewing through continental miles. And that's no bad thing in my humble opinion.

Charging around Alpine continental roads in a stripped out Porsche GT3 RS might seem like an attractive idea for car fans. But the reality of European driving often means adhering to strict speed limits and navigating small town roads clogged with creeping traffic.

Now you Ceed me

I recently took the new 2018 Kia Ceed for a lengthy drive up into the mountains of Slovakia and it left me with the idea that a comfortable modern hatchback, not a slick supercar, might be the best way to enjoy driving on the continent. Which is lucky as a slew of them have popped up in recent months, from the aforementioned Kia to Audi’s newly redesigned A1. 

Departing from a small airport on the outskirts of the provincial town of Žilina, I was handed the keys to the new Ceed. The model I had was the basic 1.6-liter diesel engine CRDi version, putting out 114bhp, with a six-speed manual gearbox and an entry-level infotainment kit.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler

It’s worth noting that I hadn’t driven a car for roughly two years, had never driven on the right-hand – wrong side – of the road, and can only really see clearly out of one eye (though I’m still road legal), so getting behind the wheel of a brand new car was quite daunting. 

But this was a neat hatchback rather than a raging sports car or road-dominating SUV, and within moments I was cruising down Žilina's outskirt roads without panicking at every roundabout. 

Thanks to a suite of driver aids such as proximity sensors, lane departure assistance and a decent infotainment set up that my Android phone merrily pariend with, my initial driving nerves melted away. 

 Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

As my confidence grew, I found the new Ceed to be surprisingly enjoyable to drive at a decent pace while the systems assured me that it was OK to sneak a peek at a some of Slovakia's mountains that fill the country's horizon. 

Yet with six forward gears on offer through manual stick shift, the 2018 Ceed still meant I had to be engaged with the driving rather than cede control to an automatic transmission that would have taken me out of the motoring experience altogether.  

As such it was a pretty swish hatchback to weave through narrow streets and zip along open highways with various eclectic music on my phone’s playlist blaring out of the rather decent, if not exceptional sound system.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

Ascending into the Slovakian mountains is where I thought the Ceed’s small engine would let me down, but letting the motor rev and being aggressive with the brakes meant there was a surprising amount of fun to be had with the car. A lack of so-called feel in the steering wheel won’t excite people used to true ‘driving cars’, but it still allowed me to enjoy tight corners providing I put some effort into moving around the steering wheel. 

When the limits of my skill started to fade, various sensors and tech chirped at me to be aware of slipping too much into the wrong lane or barreling into obstacles I may have been too slow to notice on my own. 

That was my first day with the Ceed. The second day proved to be even more enjoyable. 

Tech thrills

One the way back down the mountains, Kia gave me the First Edition Ceed. Equipped with a 1.4 TGDi petrol engine that delivers 138bhp, meaning there was more poke to the motor, but not too much to make me feel like I was slipping into a car beyond my abilities. 

More power meant the little Ceed was ready to tackle the winding mountain roads with aplomb. But the real selling point was the extra tech added into the car’s cabin along with more premium trim, albeit fake rather than real leather upholstery. 

The optional GPS was standard in the First Edition Ceed and filled the slightly larger tablet-like infotainment system display. 

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

It’s not as detail-filled as something from a high-end Audi, as one might expect given the Ceed isn’t anywhere near as pricey, but it provided more than enough information and alerts that feed through to the small display on the driver’s dash that alerted me to when I may have been overzealous with the accelerator on a restricted road. 

Stopping to gawp of one of the mountain road’s edges at the valley and landscape below, I couldn’t help think the Ceed looks particularly nice in the First Edition blue. It treads the line between angular slightly aggressive looking style with that of a practical five-door hatchback that you’d happily bung a couple of kids or a large dog into. 

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

It looks good enough to enjoy in isolation, but also understated enough so as not to get uninvited attention from people who might decide that a swish new car is a tempting target to test their hotwiring skills. 

The extra power of the First Edition Ceed made navigating the bends and chambers of the Slovakian mountain roads rather more fun than the diesel car. While I ended up turning a few of the driver aids off to focus on the driving, it was nice to know I still had plenty of tech on offer to ensure I didn’t send myself off one of the road’s vertiginous drops. 

Driving delights

Getting down to smoother highways, the bigger rims of the First Edition’s 17in alloy wheels meant only the ride comfort was slightly compromised at the expense of handling. 

But that felt like a decent trade off in this situation, and the infotainment system offers enough tech for me to fiddle with, thanks to the slew of steering wheel controls that start off as confusing but aren’t too hard to get to grips with.

Image credit: Roland Moore-Coyler 

By the time I reached Kia’s Slovakian HQ, I felt I’d experienced pretty much everything the new Ceed had to offer.

While I came away impressed if not blown away, I can definitely say that for any beginners to driving abroad who want to feel engaged with the motoring and have a suite if tech to play with at a price that’s more than reasonable, then a car like the 2018 Ceed is well worth a look. 

And that's the story for a lot of today's hatchbacks; there’s plenty of driving and tech bang for your buck to make buying a new car in 2019 a rather promising prospect. 

Categories: Tech News

UK 'doesn't need to ban' Huawei 5G kit

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:29

The UK will not need to ban Huawei's 5G kit, despite rumors that the company's hardware could pose a national security risk, reports have claimed.

According to the Financial Times, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) believes it can mitigate the risks posed by Huawei's 5G network equipment without needing to ban it entirely.

The report, which quotes two unnamed NCSC sources, notes that the body believes there are ways to ensure the UK's infrastructure is protected, months after a government study suggested Huawei's processes didn't offer enough oversight.

UK Huawei ban

The decision may have wide-reaching effects across Europe, the FT suggests, noting that the UK is the only European member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, in which the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada share intelligence data. 

This position means the UK gains access to information the rest of Europe does not, adding weight to the conclusions of its security agencies, meaning the country's decision could affect security policy across the rest of the continent.

Despite today's reports, the official findings of the NCSC investigation may not be made public for some time, with a DCMS spokesperson telling the FT that the review of 5G security is "ongoing".

If true, the report goes against continued warnings from the US concerning the threat posed by Huawei to Western nations. The Trump administration has issued multiple concerns over the Chinese giant, and possible surveillance being carried out on behalf of its home government - allegations Huawei continues to deny.

However the warnings have led multiple nations to investigate or even ban the use of Huawei technology in their 5G networks, including India and Australia, which banned the company's kit last year.

In the UK, Huawei had been a key partner for many of the top operators, including EE and BT, although the latter removed all Huawei equipment from EE's 4G core network last year.

The head of MI6 had also warned against using Huawei equipment, asking whether Britain s needs to think if it's comfortable "with Chinese ownership of these technologies".

Via: Financial Times

Categories: Tech News

Razer’s game store is on death row: closes at the end of February

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:25

Razer is closing down its game store effective at the end of February, meaning there will very soon be one less option for your digital PC game purchases.

The store, which only opened last April, will cease operation at 1am PT (9am UK time) on February 28, 2019, in a move that is described as “part of the company’s realignment plans”.

There’s a full FAQ on the website for those who want to know more about the closure, but Razer made it clear that any pre-orders will still be fulfilled, and purchased games will work perfectly fine after the store is shut down.

The company does note that if you’ve made purchases, but haven’t yet activated the likes of Steam or Uplay keys, you should retrieve them from the game store before February 28. Razer added: “Your game keys have been sent to your email upon purchase, so you'll still be able to retrieve them in the future.”

If you have outstanding discount codes from Razer, then you’ll want to use them up before the deadline as well.

Customer support will still be available via email after the end of February, for those who run into any trouble with games that they’ve bought for whatever reason. Presumably that won’t remain the case forever, although the company didn’t mention any timeframe for cessation of support.

Golden opportunities

For those who have accrued Razer Gold – the firm’s virtual currency – to buy titles on the Razer Game Store, the firm notes that you can still buy games online using your Gold, and you can check out your other options via the Razer Gold Game Catalog.

Razer also noted: “We will be investing in other ways to deliver great content and introduce game promotions through Razer Gold.”

Razer’s store was focused on reselling activation keys for Steam, or game publisher’s stores such as Origin or Uplay. However, it did – and still does for the next couple of weeks – offer a number of compelling bargains (and deals via the aforementioned discount codes which you could receive after making purchases).

For example, right now, you can pick up Far Cry 4 with a 60% reduction from its asking price on Steam; not too shabby.

So while some folks may not have even been aware that Razer had a game store, there are doubtless those out there who will miss these sort of deals – and being able to knock further money off using discount codes.

And overall, it’s one less option on the table when it comes to digital game purchases, as we mentioned at the outset – less choice never being a good thing.

Steam isn’t the only player in town by any means, though, and if you’re wondering what else there is aside from Valve’s mammoth gaming platform, then check out our best Steam alternatives for PC gamers.

  • These are the best PC games of 2019: the must-play titles you don’t want to miss

Via Eurogamer

Categories: Tech News

Save £120 on Virgin's biggest, best broadband and TV deal

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:23

Virgin Media is back doing what it does best, quick flash sales on its broadband and TV deals. These offers range from free bottles of wine or a bit of extra tech with your broadband, to the legitimately great sales where they slash prices on their most impressive plans. Luckily, this one falls in the latter camp. 

Right now, Virgin is offering up a £10 a month price cut on its premier VIP Bundle. That means some of the fastest speeds widely available in the UK, a host of Sky TV channels including Sky Cinema and Sky Sports and a whole host of other features. 

All of this comes at a price of £79 each month. Now, that might sound like quite a lot to pay each month, but this is Virgin's top-tier package and an overall saving of £120 over the year is a great place to be with your broadband deals

Still not convinced? We've listed all of the details of this offer down below, plus all of the features that come with the VIP bundle, that way you can see exactly what you're getting for your money. But remember - this deal ends on Sunday, February 24, so don't hang around...

What do I get with the VIP Bundle?

The VIP Bundle is Virgin's top package when it comes to broadband and TV and believe us when we say it's jam packed. You're getting over 260 channels including Sky Cinema HD, Sky Sports HD and BT Sports in 4K. Ideal if you're trying to watch those last Oscar nominated films or want to live stream Champions League football.

You get the ability to stop, rewind and forward live TV thanks to the two included Virgin TV V6 box. Not to mention the capacity to record up to six shows at once.

It's not just the TV that's impressive here though. The bundle also gets you VIVID 350 internet, Virgin's top-level of fibre broadband. That means average speeds of 362Mb (equivalent to 45.2MB a second downloads!). That is some blisteringly fast internet and one of the fastest speeds widely available in the UK.

Virgin's Broadband and TV deal in full: Is Virgin fibre broadband available in my area?

We are now at the point where around 60% of the UK households are able to receive superfast Virgin broadband. It's easy to find out if you're one of the those lucky people. Head to our dedicated Virgin broadband deals page (or the price comparison chart at the bottom of this page), enter your postcode where indicated at the top of the page and if deals show as available then you're laughing.

If no results are returned, then head to our best fibre broadband deals page instead and do exactly the same thing to see whether you can get superfast fibre broadband with another provider, such as BT Superfast.

Categories: Tech News

Apple Music subscribers can now give a month's free access to a friend

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:17

If you're an Apple Music subscriber, you may have received a notification in the last couple of days on your smartphone, prompting you to gift a friend one month's free access to the streaming platform. 

According to Engadget, tapping on the notification will give you a way to send your chosen friend an invitation that will give them a month's access to Apple Music "on top of the standard three-month trial period".

Right now it's not clear whether the promotion was sent out to all subscribers, or whether it was limited to certain regions. Either way, it seems that some Apple Music users didn't exactly appreciate the invitation to "give the gift of music".

An article by 9to5Mac noted that "Apple’s tactic of using push notifications to promote its burgeoning Services business has annoyed many subscribers."

The article also claims that "Apple is seemingly violating its own App Store guidelines by using push notifications for marketing." A quick glance at Apple's rules for developers does state that apps on the App Store cannot use push notifications for "advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes." 

This comes after Apple cracked down on apps that were found to be in violation of its rules due to their use of screen recording technology – although we imagine Apple will likely cast a blind eye when its own apps are in violation of its rules. 

Via Engadget

Categories: Tech News

New iPhone 11 release date, price, news and leaks

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:07

The iPhone 11 release date is likely in September, but Apple is already rumored to be testing out several iPhone 2019 concepts months in advance, as you'll see below.

There are plenty of iPhone 11 leaks to pore over on this page, and all of them point to a more significant upgrade than last year's rather incremental iPhone XS design.

It may not be a radical top-to-bottom change considering the iPhone X redesigned launched in late 2017, but the rear camera may get a big upgrade if you turn your attention to the back of every new iPhone 11 concept we've seen.

That's good news because Apple isn't selling as many iPhones as previously forecast, so its next flagship has to wow everyone or come down in price to stay competitive.

Update: The iPhone 11 might support two-way wireless charging, but it's looking unlikely that it will have a USB-C port.

Having analyzed previous Apple events, we predict that the iPhone 11 launch date will be on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

With three iPhones launched in 2018, we expect Apple to repeat the trifecta this year with the iPhone 11 possibly launching alongside the iPhone 11 Max and the iPhone 11R (names TBC).

So what new features will the iPhone 11 have, and will it still have a notch? Let's investigate what we expect from Apple's next flagship iPhone.

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? The iPhone 11 will be Apple's next flagship
  • When is it out? Launch is likely to be mid-September 2019
  • What will it cost? Likely no more than last year's iPhone XS

The new iPhone 11 could end up looking similar to the iPhone XS

New iPhone 11 leaks and latest news

We're seeing iPhone 11 renders (shown below) months ahead of Apple's expected launch event, and all of the attention so far has been to the back. 

The images show three cameras in a central block on the back, a back which looks to be made of glass, as we'd expect, while the front retains the notch from the iPhone XS. We've seen this design rumored a second time now, so it could be accurate.

However, it's not the only design doing the rounds, with another showing a triple-lens camera in the left corner. That would be more in line with where Apple currently places the camera.

These image also show a likely glass back and the same arrangement of buttons as the iPhone XS, and multiple leakers have claimed they're right.

The source of the images added that three new iPhone models are in the works – successors to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.

So which design is accurate? One source has said that both designs are being evaluated, so ultimately one might be ditched, or they both might be used, or maybe we'll see neither.

However, we have now heard from another source that the highest-end iPhone 2019 (which we'll call the iPhone 11 Max for now) will have three rear cameras, so at least some of these pictures could well be accurate.

The same source says that the other two handsets will have dual-lens cameras and that the iPhone XR successor will stick with an LCD screen.

In fact, we're hearing this from multiple publications now. The iPhone 11 Max may be the one version with a triple-lens camera, while the iPhone 11 and 11R may get them "eventually," reports Bloomberg.

Interestingly, a laser-powered 3D camera was destined for the iPhone 11, but said to have been delayed to the iPhone 12 (or whatever Apple calls its iPhone 2020 model). This iPhone roadmap suggests Apple is going all in on augmented reality (AR).

We've also heard that the iPhone XI will have a 5.8-inch display, just like the iPhone XS, but with smaller bezels, and that it won't support 5G, but that it will, surprisingly, have a 4,000mAh battery and a USB-C port. The same source says to expect space grey, gold, silver and blue colors.

However, another source says it won't have USB-C, adding that the front camera will be upped to 10MP (from 7MP on current models), and that the rear camera will have 14MP and 10MP lenses, as well as a third, currently unknown one.

We've now heard multiple times that it won't get USB-C, so don't count on a change from Lightning.

One new feature it might get though is two-way wireless charging, allowing you to use the iPhone 11 as a charging mat for other devices. 

The same source adds that we might see a frosted glass back, and ultra-wide band connectivity, which would allow for improved indoor positioning. That could help with navigating interiors or might benefit AR applications.

In other news, one report points to the inclusion of Sony's next-gen 3D sensors in the new iPhone, which could in turn offer quicker face unlock, better Portrait mode depth-sensing and some potentially cool 3D modelling features and (AR) implementations. We recently watched a sample of Sony's AR camera capabilities.

As well as a better front-facing camera though, the iPhone 11 could also pack the snapper and related sensors into a smaller notch, as a new tech created by one of Apple's camera component suppliers allows for some of the sensors to be placed under the screen.

There's no confirmation that Apple will use this tech, but we'd expect the company will be looking for ways to shrink the notch.

Meanwhile, another iPhone 11 leak suggests the new handsets could support input from the Apple Pencil that currently only works with iPads.

Apple usually introduces a new chipset with its new iPhone launches, and the A13 chip is being touted for the iPhone 11, with analysts claiming a manufacturer is already lined up to produce the A13 chip.

Inside the device we've heard talk that the iPhone 11 will include support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 connection standards – though 5G tech might have to wait until the 2020 iPhones.

New iPhone 11 release date
  • iPhone 11 launch date: September 10, 2019 (TechRadar predicts)
  • iPhone 11 pre-order date: September 13, 2019 (TechRadar predicts)
  • iPhone 11 release date: September 20, 2019 (TechRadar predicts)

The iPhone 11 launch date may be a little later than previous years, as Europe's biggest tech show, IFA 2019 in Berlin, is set to run from September 6-11 this year - which may see Apple defer its new iPhone launch to the following week.

It's unlikely though, as the new iPhone launch has crossed over with the show a number of times (including 2014, 2015 and 2016), which means we're still most likely to see an announcement week commencing September 9.

Apple historically hasn't held its phone event on a Monday, with Tuesday or Wednesday the most commonly used days. With the Wednesday being September 11, a day of mourning in the US, Apple will most likely pick an iPhone 11 launch date of Tuesday, September 10 2019.

If Apple does opt to delay the launch by a week, we could be looking at a potential iPhone 11 launch date of either September 17 or September 18.

Apple hasn't launched an iPhone this late since 2011, when it announced the iPhone 4S on October 4, and we fully expect the Cupertino, California based firm to stick with a September arrival for the new iPhone in 2019.

As for the iPhone 11 pre-order date, Apple tends to open them on the Friday following the launch, which would be September 13 by our calculations.

Finally, the new iPhone 11 release date - the day when you'll actually be able to get your hands on the handset for the first time - could be just a week after the pre-orders open, so September 20 if our analysis is correct.

These dates could quite easily shift though, and we wouldn't be surprised if Apple followed more recent tradition and launch the new iPhone 11 on September 10.

New iPhone 11 price
  • iPhone 11 price likely to start around $999 (£999, AU$1,579)
  • There could be a new price strategy

Even without the official iPhone 11 price, we know it'll cost a lot. After all, Apple priced the iPhone XS and iPhone X starting at $999 (£999, AU$1,579). We could see identical prices for the iPhone 11.

With news that Apple isn't selling as many iPhones as it previously forecast, there's a chance the iPhone 11 price will offer a more affordable look - although we reckon a price freeze, rather than a reduction, is a more likely move by Apple.

It could mean good news for the successor to the well-received iPhone XR, with the main complaint about the first handset being it was still a little steep price-wise. If Apple can reduce the price on the iPhone 11R, it may help soften a lofty iPhone 11 price tag.

New iPhone, iPhone 11 or iPhone XI?

What will Apple call the new iPhone 11? It's a puzzling conundrum and there are a variety of different options for Apple to potentially pick from.

It seems Apple has backed itself into somewhat of a naming corner with the recent XS, XS Max and XR monikers - so where does it go from here?

Will it stick to roman numerals, revert back to traditional digits, or ditch them all together? At this stage, with sparse new iPhone leaks around, nothing is off the table.

At this moment in time, we're seeing most of you searching for 'new iPhone', and that's a strong contender. Apple has already ditched numbered increments for Mac, Macbooks, TV and iPads, so new iPhone would be a logical next step.

However, the numbers are a great way to easily distinguish new devices from old, so both iPhone 11 and iPhone XI are very much in the running. Apple never did give us an iPhone 9 though - with the iPhone 8 the final digit before the 'X' revolution - so going back to '11' may look a little odd.

The iPhone XS and XS Max are great, but there's still room for improvement

New iPhone 11: what we want to see

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are great smartphones, but there's always room for improvement and human nature desires more every time - which means Apple needs to shake a few things up.

Here at TechRadar we like to think of the whole tech community as one great, big family who help each other out, so we've come up with a few upgrades we reckon would go down a treat on the new iPhone. 

1. No notch (or, at least, a smaller one)

Love it or hate it, the notch has taken the smartphone world by storm, with a sharp influx in the design aesthetic after the arrival of the iPhone X - however it seems many of the competition have already surpassed Apple's implementation.

The Apple notch is distinctive thanks to its size, but that's also its Achilles heel. It takes up a large amount of space along the top of the screen while we seen Android makers bring us dew-drop screens which are only as big a single front facing camera.

What's preventing the notch from simply being ditched is all the tech Apple has crammed into it, and to remove it completely could mean a loss of some features - such as Face ID.

Apple can probably relocate the microphone, proximity sensor and speaker, which in turn may see a reduction in size of the notch - which would be a step in the right direction.

But, no notch would be the killer look - with a clean, elegant design that will surely turn heads.

The notch is big... imagine if it wasn't there on the new iPhone

2. A new design

The current design of the XS and XS Max is fantastic - solid, premium and sleek, it's one of the most desirable looks on the market, so is it cheeky of us to ask for something new? We don't think so.

Apple's used the same design for the past two generations, and to avoid the new iPhone 11 being branded another incremental update, a fresh new look would help.

If Apple does ditch the notch as we've so very kindly asked for above, that would be the first step towards a new design, but we'd like to see it go further,

It's already removed the headphone jack and home button, so our focus is now on the alert slider, volume buttons and power key. 

We've seen HTC and Google implement squeezable sides on their phones, and if Apple can hone this technology to make it even more user friending it could be the end of any physical button or switch on the handset.

3. Better battery life

We say this ever year, but the fact remains that iPhones still aren't the strongest performers when it comes to battery life.

The iPhone XS provided an improvement in battery over the iPhone X, but as we noted in our review, it's still "a long way from the best on the market."

It's time Apple really got to grips with battery life, giving the new iPhone 11 a power pack that will see it comfortably through one day and into the next without a panic about finding a charger overnight.

Battery technology isn't going to give us the multiple days of battery life we saw from feature phones back in the early 2000s, but an iPhone that could stretch to two days from a single charge would really get people talking.

4. eSIM only

The latest round of iPhones (the XS and co.) offer dual SIM capabilities, but they can only hold one physical SIM. That's because the other one is an eSIM, which is built into the handset and can be assigned to a network upon activation.

Having to slide a SIM card into a new phone feels rather old fashioned in 2019, so we'd like to see the physical card ditched in favor of a dual eSIM setup in the new iPhone 11.

We'd also want an easy to use setting that allows us to easily jump onto a network of our choosing at a tariff of our choice and, more importantly, be able to easily switch to a different network when our current deal expires.

Plus, it would also mean the removal of the SIM tray, allowing for a sleeker design and potentially freeing up some precious additional space inside the handset for new features (or more battery!).

This is only partly on Apple however, as carriers around the world would have to fully support eSIM technology and at the moment only a handful do so.

However, with the introduction of 5G in 2019 and the presence of eSIM already inside one generation of iPhone, this ask isn't totally out of the question.

Categories: Tech News

Google vs. GDPR: the ripple effect of the biggest data protection fine to date

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 06:00

It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. On 21 January 2019, a business was found guilty of breaching the General Data Protect Regulation (GDPR) and now faces a financial penalty as a result. This is a similar story to what we’ve continually witnessed in the headlines since the implementation of GDPR in May 2018. So why is this case any different? This time, the business in question was Google.

The formula remains the same – company X breaches Y regulation and is therefore fined Z amount. But the fact of the matter is that, in this particular situation, it wasn’t just any company breaching GDPR. It was a tech giant, one whose name is synonymous with using data to provide us with information and optimise our experiences. And it’s not just a standard penalty – it’s £44 million. With such a huge organisation being fined an eye-watering sum of money, the question now isn’t simply what does this mean for Google – but what effect will this have globally?   

Breaching GDPR

Since its inception in April 2016, GDPR has been the hot topic on almost all business agendas. With just over two years to identify, collate, and effectively store consumer data, businesses worldwide strived to adhere to the policies outlined in this new regulation ahead of its implementation in May 2018.  

Under GDPR, businesses dealing with European consumers must ensure that they have adequate permissions to collect, manage and store sensitive information. Furthermore, consumers have the right to be forgotten – meaning that consumers can ask businesses to retrieve (and remove) all information held on them.  Should an organisation fail to comply, it risks being in breach of GDPR.  

As a result of GDPR, the world has woken up to the fact that every organisation who works with European customers or business partners must protect any sensitive information, or be held accountable if they don’t.  

Unlike previous regulations, GDPR has real teeth. Any direct financial losses resulting from lost or stolen sensitive data will be compounded by hefty fines of up to 4% of a business’ global annual turnover. And that’s precisely what we’re seeing with Google.  

Earlier this year, French regulator CNIL found fault with Google on two fronts in relation to GDPR: a lack of transparency for how user data is processed, and a lack of legal consent from users for targeted advertising. Alongside this, Google’s process for how consumers opt-out of targeted advertising was found to be “neither specific or unambiguous.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The ripple effect

Granted, the penalty for Google is not as severe as it could have been — a maximum fine of 4 per cent of global revenue would have been more than £3 billion. But the exact amount of the penalty is not the key element here – it’s the growing number of penalties being handed out by regulatory agencies.  

Since the first fine under GDPR was issued in Austria in October for €4,800, the financial costs have been rising. A German social-media company was fined €20,000 for mishandling of passwords and a Portuguese hospital was fined €400,000 for allowing non-medical staff access to patient medical records. Google is not merely the latest in this recent run of fines, but it is also by far the largest.

And as the fines escalate, so does the power of GDPR and data privacy regulation – and not only in Europe. Pressure is mounting in the United States for a national privacy law: various privacy advocacy groups, several major corporations, and at least three U.S. Senators have all proposed different frameworks as a foundation for new federal regulation on how user data is collected and used. Legislation demanding that enterprises ensure the privacy of their users and employees will soon be a requirement to enter the marketplace, and businesses will soon market themselves as good stewards of the data with which they have been entrusted.

To do this, organisations must ensure they have an overview of how sensitive data is being stored, managed and accessed. Identity governance allows organisations to answer the critical questions of who has access to what, who should have access and what they’re doing with that access, addressing the policies outlined by GDPR.  

Ultimately, the latest penalty for GDPR violations is not the first such fine, nor will it be the last. It is a portent of what is to come: privacy regulation is here to stay.

Mike Kiser, Security Strategist and Evangelist at SailPoint 

  • Also check out the best antivirus to keep your devices protected from the latest cyber threats
Categories: Tech News

Microsoft Store apps caught illegally mining cryptocurrencies

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:23

A shocking new report by security firm Symantec alleges that at least eight apps on the Microsoft Store have been mining for cryptocurrency in the background after being downloaded.

In a blog post describing the security threats, the apps, which include Fast-search Lite, Battery Optimizer, VPN Browsers+, Downloader for YouTube Videos, Clean Master+, FastTube, Findoo Browser 2019 and Findoo Mobile & Desktop Search all engaging in ‘cryptojacking’.

This means that unbeknownst to the users that download these apps, they secretly use the processors of the PC they are installed on to mine for cryptocurrency. According to Symantec, these aps come from three developers: DigiDream, 1clean and Findoo, and it is likely they were developed by the same person or group due to the malicious code Symantec found.

Not so safe Store

The Microsoft Store is an app store (like Apple’s App Store for iPhones and iPads, and the Google Play Store for Android devices) that comes installed with Windows 10. Microsoft envisioned the Microsoft Store as a safe and secure place to install apps from, so the fact that Symantec has found a number of apps that surreptitiously mine for cryptocurrency will be a big blow to Microsoft’s claims that its Store is secure.

In fact, Microsoft has released Windows 10 S as a version of Windows that can only install apps from the Microsoft Store, and the company claimed this meant that Windows 10 S was more secure than regular Windows 10. However, as Symantec discovered, the cyptojacking apps can be downloaded and installed in Windows 10 S as well.

Perhaps worst of all, some of these apps have been highlighted as the top free apps on the Microsoft Store, and it looks like a number of them have already been downloaded thousands of times since being published late last year.

Having compromised apps on the Microsoft Store is a serious matter, so we have contacted Microsoft for an explanation. We will update this story when we hear back. In the meantime, if you have any of these apps installed, make sure you uninstall them straight away and run an antivirus program as soon as possible.

Via NeoWin

Categories: Tech News

Vodafone UK switches on first 5G airport

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:05

Killing time waiting for a delayed flight could soon be more fun than ever after Vodafone revealed it has connected the UK's first 5G network in an airport.

The operator has today switched on its superfast network at Manchester Airport as part of a trial ahead of a wider launch next year, allowing travelers an early taste of 5G as the countdown to a global launch next year continues.

Visitors to the airport's Terminal One were invited to Vodafone's 5G "blast pod", where they were able to download and enjoy video content in super quick time, enjoying speeds up to four times faster than 4G.

5G airport

Vodafone sees the trial as another stepping stone to its efforts to be a 5G leader ahead of a wider 5G launch next year, and is also a part of Manchester Airport's own £1bn digital transformation program.

The company successfully tested 5G spectrum across a live network in April 2018, and has now installed 5G masts at Manchester Airport. With 5G handsets not yet publicly available however, the trial was enabled using one of Vodafone's 5G-enbaled ‘Gigacube’ portable router devices. 

Consumers connected to the trial network via the Gigacube, which was equipped with 5G with Active Antenna (or Massive MiMo) technology, creating multiple 5G ‘motorways’ from one antenna, which are then beamed to a 5G router to create a fixed wireless access connection for many users.

“We all love to catch up on our favourite TV shows, play games or finish off some work when travelling," said Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK. "5G, with its fast speeds and quick response times, will make that quick and easy, even in busy locations. We are proud to be the first provider to bring 5G to an airport and will be adding more major travel hotspots to our 5G network throughout the year.”

Categories: Tech News

Teaching children to code and program with Roblox

Latest Tech News - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 05:00

Combining education and gaming is nothing new and many of us grew up playing popular titles such as The Oregon Trail, Sim City and Reader Rabbit. However, with advances in both computing and graphical power, today's educational games offer children the ability to build their own virtual worlds. Mojang's Minecraft, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5bn, is one recent example of how a software company was able to capitalize on this trend. 

Roblox, which hit 9m monthly active users this year, has taken a different approach by making coding a large component of its platform. To better understand how Roblox works and the way it emphasizes creation, TechRadar Pro spoke with the company's Chief Business Officer Craig Donato.

Image Credit: Roblox

Roblox's founder Dave Baszucki (Image Credit: Roblox)

Roblox's is even used in schools to help children develop digital skills (Image Credit: Roblox)

Image Credit: Roblox

Categories: Tech News