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16
Apr

After Math: It’s so hard to say goodbye


It’s been a tough week for farewells. We’ve seen the NES Classic get canceled, Microsoft pull the plug on Vista, and the impending end of free registration for California’s electric vehicles. Numbers, because how else would we know how much time we have left?

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16
Apr

The best beard trimmer


By Séamus Bellamy

This post was done in partnership with Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best homewares. When readers choose to buy The Sweethome’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending 51 hours on research, surveying more than 550 Wirecutter readers, spending a week testing tools with a pair of professional barbers, and personally sacrificing a beard in the name of science, we concluded that the Wahl Lithium Ion all-in-one is the beard trimmer for most people.

How we picked and tested

In four years of reporting and updating this guide, we’ve considered about 80 pieces of hardware and tested 40 of them. Though none of these trimmers are perfect, they are the best we’ve found. Our picks in particular are standouts, having risen to the top after a week of scrutiny and testing against 10 devices by the employees at Victory Barber & Brand in Victoria, British Columbia. In 2016, we found a total of nine new trimmers that met our criteria. Of those, we thought only three were worth calling in for hands-on testing.

We spent close to two months using these trimmers multiple times per week to see how well they trimmed with the beard guides on and off, and how they did quick touch-ups in easy-to-screw-up areas like along the lip and jawline. We also looked at each trimmer’s construction, the quality of the blades, whether the trimmer was designed with user ergonomics in mind, how long the device could go between charges, and how much of a pain each was to clean and maintain. To learn more about our testing process, see our full guide.

Our pick

The cordless Wahl Lithium Ion all-in-one trimmer cut more hair in a single pass (and cut that hair shorter) than all the other rechargeable trimmers we tested. Photo: Michael Hession

After hours of testing with professional barbers and more than three years of personal use at home, we still think that of all the battery-powered trimmers we’ve used, the Wahl Lithium Ion all-in-one trimmer provides the cleanest lines, for the price, consistently offering an even trim with or without a beard guard—a feat that many of the more expensive trimmers we tested had difficulty with. With its powerful motor, sharp and near-professional-level blades, long-lasting battery life, and excellent selection of sturdy beard guides, the Wahl Lithium Ion all-in-one is the best beard trimmer for most people.

Working without a cord is convenient, and this tool’s battery offers the best balance of charge times and run times in our test group: With a roughly two-hour run time from a one-hour charge or the option to use it for five minutes after plugging it in for one minute, it’s almost always ready to go. Though not as powerful as the Wahl Peanut, our pick for an “also great” beard trimmer, it proved more than capable of cutting through coarse facial hair, no matter whether we trimmed around an upper lip or took a beard off. Among the battery-powered trimmers we tested, the Wahl Lithium Ion had the most power of any trimmer (with one exception—the Walker & Company Bevel trimmer—a competitor that’s had ongoing supply problems, costs three times more, and lacks beard guides).

A more powerful, corded pick

The Wahl Peanut’s powerful motor and sharp blades make it a great choice for men with thick, coarse beards. Photo: Michael Hession

If you have a thick, coarse beard and find that battery-powered trimmers take several passes to clear the thicket on your face—all the while pulling your hair instead of cutting it—you’ll want the Wahl Peanut. Of the four finalists we asked barbers to test two years ago, the Peanut did the best job of removing the largest amount of beard hair in one pass, leaving an immeasurably small amount of stubble in its wake. It also managed to remove the stubble that all three of our battery-powered finalists left behind during our tester’s de-bearding at Victory Barber & Brand. The Peanut clearly cut closer than any other tool we tested. Two years later, it’s still our favorite corded trimmer, due to its low cost, power, portability, and ease of maintenance.

Our barber experts, who have used the Peanut professionally, say it’s tough enough to survive a few years at a time in a high-volume shop. Home users can get many years of service out of it, making it a great investment. The Peanut was our winner in the 2013 version of this guide thanks to its strong AC-powered rotary motor, which is capable of producing a serious amount of torque that helps the tool cut through dense facial hair like butter. The only reason it didn’t get our top recommendation this time is that our survey indicated most folks prefer a cordless device. But given how well it performed in our experts’ tests, it’s still a compelling alternative to our main pick.

A pick for fine length control

If you want incremental control over your facial-hair length, the Panasonic’s guides give you 39 different settings. Photo: Michael Hession

We learned from our reader survey that some people want a lot of control over the length of their facial hair—but they also want to avoid dealing with a ton of interchangeable beard guides to get that control. Unfortunately, most adjustable beard guides are made of plastic flexible enough to bend in use, leaving you with varying beard lengths. That’s not cool.

But one of the trimmers we tested proved to have an adjustable beard guide that wasn’t as terrible as those of all the others: the Panasonic ER-GB60-K. It comes with two trimmer guards that you can adjust to cut at lengths between 0.5 and 20 millimeters for a total of 39 different length settings. Its cutting power is mediocre when compared with that of the high-quality blades and motors of the Wahl Lithium Ion and Peanut trimmers, but no other tool we’ve found can match its blend of fine stubble-length adjustment and ease of use.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Sweethome: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

16
Apr

Protect your PC from the cyber-flu with these awesome free antivirus options


Viruses and malware are bad news; they can slow down your PC by ramping up CPU usage, modifying important files, and messing with the way your system behaves. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re making an effort to avoid such infections — or worse, looking for a way to exterminate them. Luckily, there are a host of free, high-quality programs built specifically to keep your PC safe from all manner of viruses and malware. Better yet, these free options are often just as good, and in some cases better, than premiums apps that offer similar functionality and features.

More: Your Mac needs an antivirus, and we’ve found five free options

To help you find the best option, we’ve assembled this list of the best free antivirus software available for Windows 10, whether you prefer innate utilities Like Windows Defender, or quality third-party alternatives in the Avira vain.

Avast! Free Antivirus 2017

avast! Free Antivirus 2016

In terms of basic protection, Avast has been shown to be one of the best antivirus programs out there, scoring a 5.5 out of 6 in in AV Test’s protection test. The latest free antivirus suite from Avast! is an impressive package. Aside from the usual virus and malware protection — including anti-rootkit and anti-spyware capabilities — the software comes with a slew of customizable options you can toggle at installation, including protection for your Android devices through Avast mobile Security & Antivirus. The 2017 version of Avast goes the extra mile when it comes to making sure you feel safe using the program; at installation, there is a very clear breakdown of exactly how Avast! uses your private information.

Related: Do you new an anti-virus for Android? Signs point to yes

Avast gets out in front of potential malware attacks by initiating scans before an unknown file opens, and will prevent it from doing so should it cause any red flags. The software is good at protecting your PC while online, blocking malicious URLs and stopping auto-downloads from occurring. The 2017 version watches the behavior of specific apps to see they are doing anything suspicious, as well. 

Of course as a free program, you’ll be missing out on some features exclusive to the paid package, including auto-scans and auto-updates. Those wanting such upgrades will need to opt for a subscription plan, which ranges from $10 to $180 per month. Still, sticking with the free version will keep you well-protected.

16
Apr

Airbnb is stepping up its security game with multi-factor authentication


Why it matters to you

You have to be pretty trusting to be an Airbnb host, but to earn your trust, Airbnb is implementing new security measures.

You’re sharing your home with strangers by way of Airbnb, so naturally, you want to feel secure. And as cyberattacks and hacks become ever more common, the short-term rental platform is stepping up its game to ensure that your home is protected — at least from a digital perspective.

As such, Airbnb has introduced “new defenses to further prevent bad actors from taking over an Airbnb account.” These include multi-factor authentication, which will require additional verification for users logging in from a new device, and improved account alerts, so that you can get text messages whenever account changes have taken place.

“Trust is the fundamental currency of the sharing economy — it’s at the very heart of our Airbnb community,” wrote Airbnb’s Chief Strategy Office and co-founder Nate Blecharczyk in a blog post. “As our global community continues to grow, we remain vigilant of the ways bad actors are looking to take advantage of this trust.”

As of late, the security community has been paying more attention to account takeovers, or ATOs. This kind of hack happens when a malicious actor accesses user accounts by stealing passwords, either by way of password dumps, phishing, or malware. While Airbnb has previously defended against ATOs via a machine learning model meant to predict that likelihood of an account login being performed by its legitimate owner, the company is now implementing additional preventative measures to ensure that you’re staying safe.

“Our model is effective at stopping most account takeovers, but unfortunately there have been some incidents where hosts and guests have suffered,” Blecharczyk admitted. “This is not acceptable to us, therefore we’re working around the clock to do everything we can to improve our detection and prevention methods. While the machine learning approach is common for online platforms, the nature of Airbnb’s product and the critical importance of trust within and among our community requires an even higher bar for security.”

With the addition of multi-factor authentication, users will now have to confirm account ownership by inputting a one-time unique confirmation code from their linked phone number or email in order to access Airbnb on a new device. Airbnb will also be more proactive in alerting you to any account changes “so that you can take action to recover your account in the event you were not the one who made those changes.”

For additional security measures, you can check out Airbnb’s recommended practices around strong passwords, safe payments, and more here.

16
Apr

Airbnb is stepping up its security game with multi-factor authentication


Why it matters to you

You have to be pretty trusting to be an Airbnb host, but to earn your trust, Airbnb is implementing new security measures.

You’re sharing your home with strangers by way of Airbnb, so naturally, you want to feel secure. And as cyberattacks and hacks become ever more common, the short-term rental platform is stepping up its game to ensure that your home is protected — at least from a digital perspective.

As such, Airbnb has introduced “new defenses to further prevent bad actors from taking over an Airbnb account.” These include multi-factor authentication, which will require additional verification for users logging in from a new device, and improved account alerts, so that you can get text messages whenever account changes have taken place.

“Trust is the fundamental currency of the sharing economy — it’s at the very heart of our Airbnb community,” wrote Airbnb’s Chief Strategy Office and co-founder Nate Blecharczyk in a blog post. “As our global community continues to grow, we remain vigilant of the ways bad actors are looking to take advantage of this trust.”

As of late, the security community has been paying more attention to account takeovers, or ATOs. This kind of hack happens when a malicious actor accesses user accounts by stealing passwords, either by way of password dumps, phishing, or malware. While Airbnb has previously defended against ATOs via a machine learning model meant to predict that likelihood of an account login being performed by its legitimate owner, the company is now implementing additional preventative measures to ensure that you’re staying safe.

“Our model is effective at stopping most account takeovers, but unfortunately there have been some incidents where hosts and guests have suffered,” Blecharczyk admitted. “This is not acceptable to us, therefore we’re working around the clock to do everything we can to improve our detection and prevention methods. While the machine learning approach is common for online platforms, the nature of Airbnb’s product and the critical importance of trust within and among our community requires an even higher bar for security.”

With the addition of multi-factor authentication, users will now have to confirm account ownership by inputting a one-time unique confirmation code from their linked phone number or email in order to access Airbnb on a new device. Airbnb will also be more proactive in alerting you to any account changes “so that you can take action to recover your account in the event you were not the one who made those changes.”

For additional security measures, you can check out Airbnb’s recommended practices around strong passwords, safe payments, and more here.

16
Apr

Get this 200-hour network security training bundle at 98% off!


Network security is an issue that plagues plenty of internet users, especially corporations with important data they must safeguard. To ensure their security is up to snuff, they call in a professional who understands the risks involved and who can test their systems. These professionals are in high demand, but the training needed to pass the certification exams is usually quite expensive.

Get 200 hours of network security content for $49! Learn more

Anyone interested in becoming a network security ninja needs a course that won’t break the bank — it’s tough switching careers, but it’s usually a move that pays off.

Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has an incredible offer on a network security mastery bundle. Normally priced at $2719, you can grab it right now for $49. That’s 98% off the regular price.

stack-security-bundle-01.jpg?itok=Aw_Xkh

For this amount of money you might expect a small number of courses — not so. There are 200 hours of content within eight complete courses, which include:

  • Certified Ethical Hacking
  • CompTIA SY0-401: Security+
  • Cisco 210-260: CCNA Security
  • Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
  • Data Security Compliance
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Pro (CISSP)

By the time you’ve completed all these courses, you’ll be ready to tackle the key certification exams required to become a network security professional.

Ace your network security certification exams with this amazing bundle Learn more

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to get the training needed for a new, in-demand career, the time is now. Don’t wait too long; this deal won’t last forever.

16
Apr

Ben Heck’s Nintendo Classic Edition teardown


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It’s time for another hardware teardown! This time it’s the Nintendo Classic Edition — specifically, a unit belonging to David of the “Technophiles” podcast. Using Keysight’s DSOX1102G oscilloscope, Ben is able to find out how the NES controller talks to the base of the NES Classic. He then compares the inner workings of the NES Classic controller to the Wii Pro gamepad — and he discovers something rather shocking in the process. Once the cable has been cut, Ben solders everything back together for David to test out some games. What other hardware should Ben teardown? Let us know over on the element14 Community.

16
Apr

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Chain-free bikes and a spherical Segway


awesome-tech-you-cant-buy-yet-280x75.png

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. So do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Chainless — chain-free, direct-drive bicycle

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Ever wished your bike didn’t have chains? No, that’s ridiculous, you say? Well whether you wanted it or not, the chain-free bicycle is finally here. So how exactly does the chainless technology work? As its creator explains, the Chainless bike replaces the traditional mechanism with a series of tungsten gears, which won’t rust or ever need to be oiled.

But just because there are no chains doesn’t mean this bike can’t compete with the best of them — the wheels are constructed from a high density magnesium alloy, and come in three sizes: 20-inch, 24-inch, and 26-inch. And thanks to both front and rear disc brakes, the Chainless is allegedly able to stop on a dime.

Then there’s that RTS stuff, which is activated via a Shimano lever. In the company’s words, “RTS activates the back wheel to turn freely allowing rider access to unparalleled maneuverability. Tight corners are no longer a problem.”

Finally, with the Lock-N-Go mechanism, you can fold your bike in half for storage in just 15 seconds, so you can take it anywhere you need to go.

Read more here

16
Apr

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Chain-free bikes and a spherical Segway


awesome-tech-you-cant-buy-yet-280x75.png

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. So do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Chainless — chain-free, direct-drive bicycle

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Ever wished your bike didn’t have chains? No, that’s ridiculous, you say? Well whether you wanted it or not, the chain-free bicycle is finally here. So how exactly does the chainless technology work? As its creator explains, the Chainless bike replaces the traditional mechanism with a series of tungsten gears, which won’t rust or ever need to be oiled.

But just because there are no chains doesn’t mean this bike can’t compete with the best of them — the wheels are constructed from a high density magnesium alloy, and come in three sizes: 20-inch, 24-inch, and 26-inch. And thanks to both front and rear disc brakes, the Chainless is allegedly able to stop on a dime.

Then there’s that RTS stuff, which is activated via a Shimano lever. In the company’s words, “RTS activates the back wheel to turn freely allowing rider access to unparalleled maneuverability. Tight corners are no longer a problem.”

Finally, with the Lock-N-Go mechanism, you can fold your bike in half for storage in just 15 seconds, so you can take it anywhere you need to go.

Read more here

16
Apr

Potentially ‘undefeatable’ ad blocker looks at content, not code


Facebook may have just lost its war on ad blockers. That is, if a new method developed by Princeton and Stanford researchers is implemented into a widely available blocker. Computer scientist Arvind Narayanan and his colleagues detailed unveiled a tool that detects ads the same way humans would, by looking at things like container sizes, icon graphics and words like “Sponsored.” It’s called Perceptual Ad Blocker, and is already available as a Chrome extension for you to test out yourself. But in an attempt to avoid getting into the ethics around ad-blocking, the system only covers detected ads with words like “This is an ad,” instead of removing them altogether.

Existing blockers scour a webpage’s source code for signs that they are ads, but those can easily be disguised by anti ad-blocking sites. Narayanan’s team designed Perceptual to ignore hidden HTML markup (or tags) and look instead at the actual content (i.e., words and pictures on the page).

Narayanan and Princeton undergraduate Grant Storey already released a Facebook-specific version of its ad-highlighting extension in November, after the social network announced it would make its ads look like regular posts to thwart blockers. That extension already supports several thousand users, said Narayanan. Today’s release extends that ability to the rest of the Internet, targeting AdChoice displays.

“We don’t claim to have created an undefeatable ad blocker, but we identify an evolving combination of technical and legal factors that will determine the “end game” of the arms race,” Narayanan wrote in a blog post. Out of the 50 known anti-ad-blocking sites his team tested, the perceptual ad blocker was able to highlight ads on all of them without being detected.

Because there are laws around ads being labeled clearly so as not to mislead consumers, there will always be some form of identifier around sponsored content that the perceptual ad blocker is supposed to be able to suss out. This means it has a very good chance of continued success, that is, unless companies find a way to serve you ads without you knowing at all.

Via: Motherboard

Source: Future of Ad Blocking (paper)

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