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11
May

Twitch will stream every episode of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’


May 15th is a beautiful day for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fans. Starting at 3PM on the 15th, Twitch will begin streaming all 886 episodes of the beloved kids’ show. The broadcast will last for 17 days on the Mister Rogers channel, ending sometime on June 2nd. Since the show ran from 1968 to 2001 on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), expect to see lots of episodes you’ve never seen before, including those that were only ever aired once. Twitch will kick off the event with something other than its first episode, though: it will start by broadcasting Fred Rogers’ famous Senate testimony to celebrate its 48th anniversary earlier this month.

Fred Rogers appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications in 1969 to support funding for the PBS, which airs shows by educational institutions and non-profit groups, in the midst of President’s Nixon’s proposed budget cuts. He won the Senate over by talking about how programs like Neighborhood can help with children’s education, and how it can make them realize that they’re unique and fine just the way they are.

If you think you’ll enjoy marathoning some Mister Rogers like you did Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, check out its official streaming channel. Take note that Twitch and PBS will show a donation panel with the stream to support new programming that follow Fred Rogers’ legacy. The platform will also stream mini-marathons in the weeks after the main one ends.

Lesli Rotenberg, PBS’ Senior Vice President and General Manager, said:

“Fred Rogers believed in the boundless potential of all children, and his landmark educational philosophy continues to guide our work today at PBS KIDS. We are excited to bring Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to the Twitch community in this special event, honoring Fred’s legacy, and encouraging fans to support the important work that local PBS stations do to help all children learn and succeed.”

Source: Twitch

11
May

Windows 10 Timeline remembers everything you did on your PC


One of the more intriguing features Microsoft will include in this fall’s Windows 10 Creators Update is Timeline. As the name suggests, it’s a way for you to move backwards in time and see things you were working on in the past and resume what you were doing. Microsoft described it as a visual timeline of everything you were doing on your computer, and you can jump back into files, applications and websites where you left off.

Introducing Timeline. Easily jump back in time to continue where you left off. #Windows10 #MSBuild pic.twitter.com/e3gxhXnp6W

— Windows (@Windows) May 11, 2017

Timeline lives in the Windows app switcher. When you click it, you’ll see your active apps, but below that you’ll see what you were running earlier in the day. Clicking down on one of those things that you were using earlier will pop it open just as you were using it before. This works across multiple devices, as well — when you open up another Windows device where you’re signed in, you can resume the tasks you were using before. This will even work across other devices like an iPhone using the Cortana app. If you’re somewhere where you have Cortana, it’ll prompt you to continue working on whatever you were doing before. If you don’t have the specific app installed on your phone, it’ll help point you to the right app as well.

At first glance, it sounds a little bit like the Time Machine backup feature that Apple has included in macOS for years now. But Time Machine is more of a file backup system that lets you go back and see earlier versions of files that you might want to restore. Microsoft’s Timeline covers applications and websites as well as just files, and it doesn’t require an external hard drive, as it’s not really a true backup system in the way Time Machine is. Indeed, Timeline appears more like Microsoft’s answer to Continuity, a feature Apple build into macOS and iOS that lets you pick up and resume work across whatever Apple device you’re using.

Timeline is just one feature in the forthcoming Creators Update, which features a host of tools for using Microsoft’s software and services across devices. The “Microsoft Graph” set of APIs will let you pick up and continue work across multiple devices and will iOS and Android as well as Windows. It’ll also let you have a “universal clipboard” across your devices.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft Build 2017.

11
May

Microsoft unveils Windows Mixed Reality Controllers


What good is a modern VR headset without decent motion controllers? Well, not much. So it’s no surprise that Microsoft has announced its first Windows Mixed Reality Controllers, which will support the MR/VR headsets from the likes of Acer and other PC makers. Like HoloLens and the Windows powered headsets, the controllers will rely on inside-out tracking technology, so you won’t need to set up any special sensors to use them.

We only got a brief glimpse of the controllers at the Build developer conference, but they’re certainly intriguing. It also looks like they won’t break the bank. Acer will offer them bundled together with its Windows VR headset for $399 during the holidays. Microsoft says it’ll be up to each manufacturer to price the headset, but a $100 premium on top of Acer’s $299 headset isn’t a bad start.

And speaking of Windows MR/VR headsets, Microsoft announced that developers can pre-order Acer’s and HP’s models starting today, with delivery later this summer. Acer’s will still go for $300 while HP’s is priced at $329.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft Build 2017.

11
May

Apple is bringing iTunes to the Windows Store


Now here’s something you probably weren’t expecting: Apple is bringing iTunes to the Windows Store. You’ll no longer have to download a conventional desktop app just to play Apple Music or sync your iPhone. It’s not certain how the Store version will differ from the regular Windows app (if at all), but it’s more the presence itself that matters — you won’t have to forego Apple’s ecosystem if you’re using Windows 10 S. If nothing else, this puts iTunes in front of users who otherwise wouldn’t see it. There’s no mention of a release date, so it may be a while before you can check this out first-hand.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft’s Build 2017.

11
May

Supernatural indie hit ‘Oxenfree’ is, well, free with Twitch Prime


Last year’s supernatural indie hit Oxenfree was arguably one of 2016’s best games– and today, Twitch is giving it away for free. Amazon Prime users and Twitch Prime subscribers can claim their copy of the indie hit here, launching it through Twitch’s desktop app.

For the uninitiated, Oxenfree tells the story of a group of teenagers, putting you in the shoes of a girl named Alex. It’s a slow burning game that tasks players with carefully choosing their responses as they encounter different characters, getting to know each of them. Unfortunately for everyone involved, supernatural forces throw your relationships into chaos, sending you and your companions hurtling through time into various unsettling situations.

If you’re interested you better hurry though, as Oxenfree is only available on the service until May 15th.

11
May

Acer and HP’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets go on pre-order today


Microsoft’s plan to bring augmented and virtual reality experiences to everyone is about to get a major boost. At its Build 2017 conference, the company announced that Acer and HP’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets will go on pre-order today in the US and Canada. The devices, which are geared toward developers, are expected to ship this summer from the Microsoft Store starting at $299 for the Acer headset. HP’s own, meanwhile, is set to cost $329.

Acer will also have a $399 bundle that includes Microsoft’s new, Oculus Touch-esque motion controllers, although that won’t be available until the holiday season. Microsoft says it’s already working with developers to come up with new experiences using its Windows Mixed Reality software kit, which will help them create universal apps for its entire AR/VR ecosystem. Of course, that includes Hololens, the company’s flagship $3,000 Mixed Reality headset.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft’s Build 2017.

11
May

Cult action game ‘Vanquish’ powerslides its way onto PCs


A month after SEGA brought Bayonetta to Steam, the publisher has now seen fit to throw PC owners another Platinum Games-shaped bone. Coming to the platform on May 25th, $20 will net gamers a souped-up version of third person slide-em-up — Vanquish. The long-awaited port will support unlocked framerates and resolutions, allowing sadistic PC players to make this game look slightly shinier, and feel even faster. As well as support for 4K (and higher) resolutions, Vanquish on PC also offers keyboard and mouse control, along with all the inbuilt Steam functionality you’d expect.

In a bid to make Platinum Games fans even happier, SEGA is offering anyone who bought last month’s Bayonetta port 25% off Vanquish. To those who didn’t, a pre-order of the Steam release will still net you The Digital Deluxe Edition – featuring a soundtrack sampler, digital artbook, exclusive wallpapers and Steam avatar images.

Developed by Resident Evil mastermind, Shinji Mikami, Platinum’s Vanquish took the slow and cumbersome third person shooter and injected it with an unrivaled sense of style and speed. Imagine a Gears of War game set to the blistering pace of Wipeout, then inject a healthy dose of action movie tropes and you’re about halfway there. It was this combination of masterfully crafted action and wonderfully nonsensical story that made me fall in love with it in 2010. Now, seven years later, PC gamers can finally see what all the fuss was about.

Source: Platinum Games Blog

11
May

LG Named as Supplier of iPhone 8’s 3D Facial Recognition System for Front-Facing Camera


LG Innotek will supply Apple with 3D facial recognition modules for the iPhone 8, according to The Korea Economic Daily (via The Investor).

iPhone 8 concept with two cameras and two sensors by Benjamin Geskin
The report vaguely says LG’s “new facility investment” worth roughly $238.5 million will be dedicated to Apple’s orders, and adds that LG will “build a new plant” for production of the facial recognition modules, which are expected to be part of the iPhone 8’s front-facing FaceTime camera system.

It’s not entirely clear if the front-facing camera will also have dual lenses, or retain a single lens in line with previous iPhone models.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities previously said the iPhone 8 will have a “revolutionary” front-facing camera system with 3D sensing capabilities, fueled by algorithms from PrimeSense, an Israeli company that Apple acquired in 2013. PrimeSense was known for developing Microsoft’s first Kinect sensor for Xbox.

Kuo said the iPhone 8’s front camera system will include two infrared modules that are able to determine the location and depth of objects placed in front of it, with potential applications including facial recognition, iris scanning, and some combination of augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tag: LG
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11
May

Review: BenQ’s PD2710QC is the First Display With a Built-In USB-C Dock


Introduced in January, the PD2710QC from BenQ is the first USB-C display that comes equipped with an integrated USB Type-C dock, which offers an array of ports for MacBook and MacBook Pro owners.

The 27-inch display is aimed at designers and engineers, offering a 2560 x 1440 resolution with support for 100 percent sRGB color accuracy and specific modes for use with CAD and animation software.

Design

The display itself, a 27-inch IPS panel mounted on a plastic base, is attractive with a thin black bezel that doesn’t distract from the screen. The tapered back of the display is a neutral, unassuming shade of gray that can match any decor, and while it’s thin at the sides, it tapers into a thicker back.

An arm attaches the display to the USB-C dock, which is made from the same gray plastic. All of the parts are plastic so it doesn’t necessarily feel high-quality, but the display is lightweight and it also doesn’t come off as cheap.


The USB-C dock, as far as bases go, is going to take up a lot of desk space. It’s a good inch and a half bigger than my 12-inch MacBook, and probably similar in size to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but far thicker. It tapers from about a half an inch in the front to an inch and a half in the back.

The dock can be used as a place to put a MacBook while it’s in clamshell mode or in use, but it is one of the largest display bases that I’ve seen. If you have a small desk, be aware of how much space this dock/base is going to take up. Personally, I think the large base is unattractive and clunky, detracting from the sleeker design of the display itself.


Various ports are located at the back of the display, at the back of the dock, and at the side of the dock, and there are adjustment buttons on the righthand side of the display. As for the arm, it’s fully adjustable, and it works well.

The arm can be used to adjust the display’s height up to 18cm, raising and lowering it, and it can be pivoted to adjust the angle of the display. Changing height and angle is simple and friction free because the arm works so smoothly. There’s a hole in the arm that’s meant to route some of the cords to the back of the monitor for a cleaner look.

The display can be angled up and down thanks to a head that pivots, and it can also be rotated for use in landscape or portrait mode, if desired. I don’t often use displays in a vertical mode, but it’s a nice option to have, and this display in particular makes it quick and easy to adjust the angle and orientation.


With the adjustable height, the dock is meant to be used as a base with a MacBook or MacBook Pro placed directly under the display while open, so the display screen is on top of the MacBook screen. This works with the MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro, but older 15-inch MacBooks are too large.

This setup didn’t work for me — the display was too high above the MacBook Pro’s screen for me to work comfortably, but the height might be less of an issue for someone who is taller. I used my MacBook Pro at the side of the display instead.


There are two integrated speakers in the PD2710QC, located at the bottom on the left and right sides of the display. Sound quality is not great — the MacBook Pro has better sound, so I disabled the integrated speakers while testing the display. For ambient system sounds, the speakers aren’t jarring, but these aren’t speakers you’d want to use for gaming or listening to music.

Setup

The PD2710QC ships in three pieces and takes just a couple of minutes to set up. The top of the arm pops right into the back of the display and then the bottom of the arm slides right into the dock.

Back of display
From there, the dock needs to be connected to the included power brick and plugged in, the display itself needs to be connected to the included power cord, and a DVI to HDMI cable connects the display to the dock, all of which is outlined in an easy-to-follow setup card BenQ includes in the package. After that, the also-included USB-C cable can be used to plug a MacBook or MacBook Pro into the dock.


If you’re keeping track, that’s four thick, heavy black cables that are needed to set up this display, and yes, that made my desk a mess of cables. Because this dock only offers 61W of charging power, with the 15-inch MacBook Pro, I also needed my own Apple Power Adapter. When used with the 13-inch MacBook Pro or the MacBook, the extra power adapter won’t be necessary.


The PD2710QC came with a CD that has a user manual, display drivers, and software on it, but I don’t have any device in my house that can read a CD anymore, let alone my MacBook Pro, so I wasn’t able to use it.

Display Quality

The BenQ PD2710QC features a 27-inch display with a 16:9 QHD 2560 x 1440 resolution, which offers four times more pixels than a standard 720p high definition resolution, plus a 60Hz refresh rate and a 5ms response time.

Side-by-side the Retina MacBook Pro, there’s a difference in sharpness between the two displays, which I think people accustomed to a Retina display will be able to notice.

Everything is slightly less crisp, but the disparity is more obvious when the two are next to each other and less so when I’m using the display alone without looking at the MacBook Pro screen. It’s identical to using one of Apple’s earlier iMacs in terms of quality and sharpness, so it’s not terrible by any means.


When gaming or watching TV, I don’t notice the quality disparity, and it’s easy enough to get used to the somewhat fuzzier text, but this display probably wouldn’t be my first choice to pair with the Retina MacBook Pro when there are multiple 4K and 5K display options on the market.

The PD2710QC uses an 8-bit IPS panel that gives it a wide viewing angle and support for 16.7 million colors. It promises 100 percent sRGB color accuracy, a feature aimed at photographers, graphic designers, video editors, and others who need to see colors as they appear in real life.

I’m no designer and don’t often have to think seriously about color representation, but as an amateur photographer, I was impressed with the color range and accuracy. Colors were bright, vibrant, and never washed out, even when looking at the display from an angle, and I was also impressed with the contrast. It’s not a wide gamut display like the LG UltraFine 5K, but the colors were true enough to life.

All of BenQ’s Designer series displays, which includes the PD2710QC, are Technicolor Color Certified, and BenQ says they are individually factory calibrated and validated against industry color standards.

When it comes to brightness, the display boasts 350 nits, so it’s not on the level of the new 2016 MacBook Pro lineup (500 nits). The display has an anti-glare matte finish that works well in bright rooms, cutting down on reflections.


The default 2560 x 1440 resolution paired well with my MacBook Pro, putting text, windows, and other display elements at an ideal viewing size, but there are other scaling options available at 2048 x 1152, 1600 x 900, and 720p. On-screen elements are much larger and less crisp at these resolutions, so most users will want to stick with the default resolution.

Dock and Ports

The USB-C dock included with the display is the PD2710QC’s defining feature and what sets it apart from other displays. It turns the PD2710QC into an all-in-one desktop solution that replaces all of the ports that are missing from the MacBook and MacBook Pro, which only feature USB-C ports.

On the display itself, there are four ports: HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, and DisplayPort Out with MST support. Using this port, two PD2710QC displays (or similar monitors) can be daisy-changed together with multi-stream transport to support a multi-screen setup. Up to four monitors total can be daisy chained, with supported resolutions listed in the chart below. There’s also a headphone jack and a space for the plug.


The dock features the following ports, all of which are easy to access: USB-C, four USB-A ports, a 100Mb Ethernet port, a DisplayPort output for connecting the dock to the display, a power input, a power switch, a Kensington lock slot, and a headphone jack.

Most of the ports are at the back, but two of the USB-A ports and the headphone jack are located on the right side of the dock.

There’s no Thunderbolt 3 support so you won’t see Thunderbolt 3 transfer speeds when using the PD2710QC with the Retina MacBook Pro, and as I mentioned earlier, it only offers 61W of power delivery.


That’s fine for the 12-inch MacBook or the 13-inch 2016 MacBook Pro, but it’s not enough to adequately charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro when you’re using a lot of power. There’s also only one USB-C port, so any other USB-C accessories you use will need to be plugged directly into the MacBook Pro. If you’re not using system intensive apps on the 15-inch MacBook Pro, 61W is going to be enough power to keep it topped off. With games or other tasks that typically drain a lot of battery, the MacBook Pro power adapter will need to be plugged in.

Because this dock is aimed at photographers and creative professionals, it would have been nice to see an SD and micro SD card slot, but this feature was not included.

When it came to ports, everything worked as intended and as expected during my testing, with the exception of the two rear USB-A ports, which sometimes stopped working and required the power to the dock to be turned on and off again. Aside from that, all ports were functional.

All of the USB-A ports support USB 3.1 Gen 1 transfer speeds up to 5 Gb/s and can be used to charge devices like the iPad and the iPhone, but charging only takes place when the dock is connected to the MacBook Pro and not in sleep mode. I couldn’t test the upper end of the USB transfer speeds because I don’t have an external drive that can reach those speeds, but it did max out what my drive was capable of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Connecting the MacBook Pro to the USB-C port on the dock automatically wakes up the display and remembers previous window position, which is handy. It also goes into sleep mode and dims the display as soon as the computer is disconnected.

Extra Features

There are several special display modes that are aimed at designers and engineers who need to use specialized software, along with adjustment tools to calibrate the display.

These features are accessed through buttons located on the back of the display, and for adjustment options with multiple inputs, the buttons are frustrating and somewhat unintuitive. There are six buttons in a row along the back of the display.


The first button brings up adjustment options like Picture Mode, Input, Brightness, and Menu, with the other buttons being used to scroll through various options, except for the last button, which turns off the display. It can be difficult to tell exactly which button is being pressed, leading to some accidental presses while trying to sort through settings.


Brightness, as the name suggests, adjusts the brightness of the display, while Input allows for switching between DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, and HDMI, and Menu includes more advanced options for adjusting contrast, sharpness, gamma, and color temperature, along with settings for things like turning off the sound and setting an auto off timer.

In Picture Mode, several different alternate display options can be accessed:

CAD/CAM Mode
CAD/CAM Mode bumps up the contrast of the display to make it easier to see the lines and shapes of technical illustrations. The contrast difference is quite dramatic when using this mode.

Animation Mode
Animation Mode is meant to make the darker areas of an image brighter without affecting the brightness of the overall image and overexposing already-bright areas. There are 10 levels of display brightness built into Animation Mode so it can be fine tuned.

In practice, Animation Mode seems to be much bluer than other modes, and it does indeed lighten up darker areas of an image.

Darkroom Mode
Darkroom Mode adjusts the brightness and contrast of an image to make it easier to detail work on photos that have dark areas. BenQ says it’s meant to give clarity and sharpness to details when working in darker post-processing environments, but I wasn’t a fan of the mode. It drops the contrast and brightness of the display.

Low Blue Light and Flicker
There’s a built in feature to cut down on blue light to make the display easier on the eyes, and the display also includes stable feedback technology to prevent flickering.

Low Blue light mode is enabled the same way the other display modes are turned on, through the Picture Mode menu. Low Blue light makes the display slightly yellower, much like Night Shift mode on the MacBook Pro. It’s useful at night, when blue light exposure should be minimized to avoid interfering with sleep.

Other display options include standard (the display’s default) sRGB, Rec. 709, and M-Book, meant to minimize visual differences between the display and a connected MacBook.

Display Pilot

There’s BenQ Display Pilot software that’s meant to split the display into multiple partitions, but this is a Windows only feature that doesn’t work on Macs, so I wasn’t able to use it. The software comes with the CD that ships with the display.

Bottom Line

This display has a lot going for it, with the handy dock and the affordable price point compared to higher-end displays, but it can’t compare to the multitude of 4K and 5K displays on the market, nor the display of the Retina MacBook Pro.

It’s also not able offer enough power to charge a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but that’s true of many current USB-C displays on the market outside of the LG UltraFine 5K Display that was developed in partnership with Apple. It can charge a MacBook and a 13-inch MacBook Pro, though.


The colors are good, and the dock is useful, providing access to many ports that are missing from Apple’s latest notebooks. USB-C docks can be expensive, so the display is an okay value at its price point. It doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3, which may be a factor for some people, but standalone Thunderbolt 3 docks are priced at $200 to $300 and that feature would drive up the price of the display.

The BenQ PD2710QC is not the display to get if you’re looking for 4K or 5K display quality, or something on the professional level, but for amateur photographers, engineers, and other creatives who need something convenient to pair with a new MacBook or MacBook Pro, the PD2710QC is worth considering.

Pros:

  • USB-C connectivity and dock
  • 100% sRGB
  • Technicolor Color Certified
  • Charges MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro

Cons:

  • 61W power delivery isn’t enough for 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • Base takes up a lot of desk space
  • No Thunderbolt 3
  • Display adjustment buttons are frustrating
  • Integrated speakers are bad

How to Buy

The BenQ PD2710QC can be purchased from the BenQ website for $599.99.

Note: BenQ provided a sample PD2710QC display to MacRumors for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received and the display was returned when testing was complete.

Tags: review, BenQ
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11
May

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Fall Update Will Link With iOS for Easy App Switching Across Devices


At its Build 2017 conference this morning Microsoft announced that its upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will include integration with iOS, allowing developers using Microsoft Graft to link desktop apps to mobile apps on both iPhone and Android devices (via The Verge). Users will be able to start apps on a Windows computer and, with the help of Microsoft’s AI Cortana, pick up their iPhone to resume the experience exactly where they left off.

The update will also include a multi-platform cloud clipboard that will let users copy content and paste it across Windows, iOS, and Android. The new multi-device transition features coming to Windows 10 function similarly to Continuity on iOS and macOS devices.

Cortana lets users pick up where they left off on other devices

This new pick up feature is particularly useful on mobile devices, where Microsoft hopes app developers will start to link their desktop apps to resume experiences on devices like an iPhone or Android handset. Microsoft is also creating a cloud clipboard that will roam across Windows, iOS, and Android to let people copy content from a PC and paste it on a phone.

Other Windows 10 updates coming this fall include Timeline, which works in conjunction with the cross-platform pick-up feature and shows users a list of previously used apps across their devices. Additionally, OneDrive Files On-Demand will introduce an easier way to control when documents are downloaded to a device from the cloud, and a cosmetic update to Fluent Design will subtly change how the OS looks.

Timeline on Windows 10
The company continued integration with Apple’s ecosystem by announcing the Xamarin Live Player preview, a live coding environment that will let developers test and debug iOS apps on Windows computers, which marks the first time iPhone and iPad apps can be developed without needing a Mac (via Thurott). Live Player will launch as an extension of the just-launched Visual Studio IDE, and will come with an app for iOS [Direct Link] and Android.

With Xamarin Live Player, developers will be able to do everything from their Windows-based PC: Just connect your Android device, iPhone, or iPad to the PC via USB and you can target those devices directly during development.

“Simply pair your device with Visual Studio by scanning a QR code, and hit debug like you normally would,” Nat explains. “The application is deployed in seconds to the Live Player app, enabling you to quickly develop and test your changes without having to recompile and redeploy your application. And you can set breakpoints and debug your application, on device, and over the air.”

Microsoft Build 2017 started on May 10 and ends tomorrow, May 12, and includes technical sessions and keynote speakers centered on developers and the tools they use to create applications and services. More information about upcoming Build 2017 events can be found right here.

Tag: Microsoft
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