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4
Mar

What is a sound card?


A sound card allows computers to have sound. Pretty simple, right? But let’s dig deeper. Here’s a closer look at the tech that defines a sound card, and what to know if you want to buy one.

A brief history of sound cards

Today’s sound cards are hardware rectangles that plug into motherboards via PCI (or are completely integrated, a.k.a. onboard), then connect to speakers and mics, managing the sound capabilities of the computer.

The first computers did not have sound cards—they weren’t considered necessary for the basic tasks that computers were designed to perform. Instead, early devices had basic internal speakers that could produce square wave audio — those “beeps” and “boops” that everyone associates with clunky, first-wave computers.

As computers grew more complex and started entering the consumer market in the 1980s, manufacturers quickly realized that they needed better ways of creating sound, especially for advanced applications and general entertainment purposes. IBM and other manufacturers turned toward manufacturers like Adlib and Creative Labs, which just happened to be working on new sound card technology to move beyond the blips and instead replicate music, voices, and more.

By the late 1980s, computers started hitting the market with built-in sound cards. At the beginning, these sound cards focused on very specific applications. They were created for music composition, or speech synthesis, or (increasingly) specific computer games. Over time, sound cards gained more versatility, and were soon working across many different kinds of software.

Basic functions

Audio files on a computer are, like everything else, stored as code. That digital information can easily store a lot of sound waveforms, but it can’t create sound—those “analog” waves that need to spread through the air and impact our ears. The sound card translates audio from digital code to the sound waves as needed.

To do this, the card uses a DAC, or digital to analog converter. The converter’s job is to translate the audio file code into electrical impulses, which travel via the sound card’s connections to speakers. The speaker’s drivers turn the electrical impulse into physical sound waves, and the rest is up to our ears. All speakers, internal or external, must be connected to the sound card to work properly.

However, sound cards also have another very important function. They have to do the same thing in reverse. If your computer has a mic (and nearly all do these days), then it too is routed through the sound card. Here, cards use an ADC, or analog to digital converter, that translates sound waves created by your voice into code that becomes an audio file.

Sound cards can also have additional functions, such as serving as a MIDI interface for those who want to create a little electronica. Today’s sound cards are usually streamlined and highly integrated to cut down on costs (with software drivers managing extra features), but some versions still have such built-in capabilities.

Voices and channels

Sound cards have both voices and channels, and this can be a little confusing. Let’s carefully define both these features.

Voices: Voices refer to how many independent sounds from different sources a sound card can manage at the same time. When your computer is playing an login melody but also dings when a new email comes in, that’s using two voices. Manufacturers have always been able to give sound cards plenty of voices to use from both hardware and software sources, primarily because one of the first purposes of sound cards was to help create electronic music. So early sound cards typically had either 9 or 18 voices. The numbers quickly grew until the average sound card often had 64 voices, 32 available from software and 32 available from hardware. Modern sound cards pay less attention to hardware sources and focus on software that can produce as many voices as needed, so it’s less common to rate a sound card by voices these days.

Channels: Sometimes people will use the term “channels” to mean the same thing as “voices.” Technically, channels should be used in the traditional sense, which is how many audio outputs the sound card can handle. Now we are on more familiar ground. Stereo sound has two channels, 2.1 stereo allows for a subwoofer, 5.1 channels include surround sound, and 7.1 channels provide the best surround sound. Importantly, you’ll need your sound card to support at least as many channels as the audio system you pair it with.

Upgrading sound cards

A sound card can typically be replaced with a different card, which is nice for repairs and especially handy if you want to upgrade your sound card to a better version. Sound hardware integrated into a motherboard can’t be replaced, but it can be disabled, letting you switch to a better PCI sound card.

Advanced sound cards can improve audio, help add more clarity to digital sound, or use processing power of their own to help lighten the CPU load. There are also outboard sound cards that can be connected via a USB port for more active sound management. You can purchase both internal sound cards and peripheral versions, as long as you are sure they are compatible with your computer.

While sound cards can be expensive, basic models are sufficient for most people. Popular options include the Asus Xonar and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi series. It’s even possible to enhance the sound capabilities of a laptop with a USB sound card like the Creative Go! sand Creative Play! series.

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4
Mar

Science of the Lambs: We can now grow human cells in sheep


N-Sky/Getty Images

Strange creatures have emerged from Pablo Ross’s University of California, Davis lab. They’re neither strictly sheep nor fully human. Instead, they’re a bit of both.

In a biotech breakthrough — the second of its kind in just over a year — Ross announced at the American Association for the Advancement of Science last week that he and his colleagues have successfully grown nonhuman animal embryos that contain human cells. Previously, the host species were pigs. Now, they’re sheep.

They have the potential to revolutionize organ transplantation and help save thousands of lives.

These human-animal hybrids, or interspecies chimeras, are not just the product of bizarre experimentation done for the sake of science. They have the potential to revolutionize organ transplantation and help save thousands of lives each year in America and around the globe.

Though this breakthrough brings us one step closer to growing transplant organs inside host animals, it also comes with some ethical baggage. Bioethicists and animal advocates alike question whether human-animal hybrid studies are worth the potential cost of animal welfare or the risk of creating nonhuman animals with humanlike qualities.

Why chimeras?

There’s an organ shortage in America that sees approximately twenty people die while waiting for a transplant every day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Minus the roughly 16,000 suitable donors and 33,600 transplants in 2015, nearly patients 120,000 remained on the waiting list. In the simplest terms, there isn’t enough organ supply to satisfy demand.

A pig embryo injected with human stem cells that grew to be four weeks old.(Salk Institute)

“Organ transplantation has been extremely successful and saves a lot of lives,” Ross, a UC Davis animal scientist, told Digital Trends. “The problem is there are those that get the organs and those that don’t, because there are not enough organs for transplant.”

But, if scientists were able to grow human organs inside host animals, they could potentially generate enough organs to eliminate the shortage all together, saving thousands of lives annually in the U.S. alone.

Prior chimera studies, including one in which scientists grew a rat pancreas inside a mouse, give evidence for this approach. But human organs are much bigger than rats’, so Ross and his colleagues have had to focus on larger livestock.

“If we want to grow a human organ we’ll have to go to an animal larger than a mouse or a rat,” he said. “Pigs and sheep have some important characteristics that would make them a good host species for growing the human organ.”

“If we want to grow a human organ we’ll have to go to an animal larger than a mouse or a rat.”

For one thing, pig and sheep organs are similar in size and shape to an adult human’s. And, since they grow relatively quickly, certain organs can be essentially grown to order. Recent advances in genetic engineering make scientists optimistic that they can even genetically tailor organs to be more compatible with their human recipients.

“This is a first step in a long series of stages to eventually get to an actual complete human organ that will develop in a live born sheep,” Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist from Case Western Reserve University who was not involved in the study, told Digital Trends. “It would then hopefully make it all the way to adulthood and make it large enough for transplantation.”

How it’s done

Human-animal hybrids may have a long mythical history, but scientifically they’re pretty new. Just last year, Ross and his colleagues made a splash when they published a report in the journal Cell that showed they’d successfully developed a pig embryo with human cells. The host embryos didn’t have many human cells — just about one in 100,000 — but the survival of even just a few made for groundbreaking research. DNA analysis suggested that the recent sheep embryos reached a ratio of about one human cell in 10,000 cells, according to Ross, which is progress but still not efficient enough to successfully grow transplantable organs.

Here’s how the recent research worked.

To begin, scientists injected human stem cells into an early-stage sheep embryo. At about a week old, they then implanted that chimeric embryo into a female sheep and let it develop for 28 days. After those four weeks, the researchers euthanized the sheep and ran DNA analyses on the chimeric embryos to see how well the human stem cells developed.

Thanks to advances in genetic engineering, scientists can use gene editing tools like CRISPR to create host animals that develop without a specific organ. This way, the injected human stem cells fill the void of the missing organ, and develop into the desired organ as the embryo matures.

“We don’t know which type of human stem cells could have this property of making a chimera.”

“What we’ll need at that location at that specific time are human cells that have to be precisely there to respond to that need for pancreas formation,” Ross said. “And those human cells won’t have competition from the pig or sheep cells. You need the cells at precisely that moment which means you’ll need the cells kind of randomly across the whole body because we cannot yet direct the cells to only be there and nowhere else.”

One of the big questions now is which human stem cells are the most successfully adaptive.

“We don’t know which type of human stem cells could have this property of making a chimera, specifically an interspecies chimera,” Ross said.

Facing controversy

Human-animal chimera studies are controversial but they’re gaining favor. In 2016, the National Institute of Health (NIH) announced plans to lift its moratorium on such research.

Still, animal welfare advocates worry that these studies infringe on the well-being of the test subjects. Bioethicists also worry that these experiments could lead to the development of unusually human-like creatures.

Statistic Brain Research Institute (2017)

An important consideration, as Hyun stated, is “whether or not you are creating large animals that are more or less biologically human in important respects or may have a status that is a little higher morally than a normal sheep.

“There’s the concern that these types of experiments create morally ambiguous beings,” he added. “We know what sheep are and we know what people are, but what about sheep that have large contributions of human cells or an entire human organ? That’s a new thing, where does it fall on the spectrum?”

Hyun said his personal concerns center around animal welfare, that the subjects are living comfortably and being treated humanely.

“The concerns about the personhood of an animal, [as long as] we’re staying away from the brain, is not yet an issue to worry about,” he said.

“I don’t have the statistic for the number of animals slaughtered for bacon everyday but it’s significantly more.”

Ross recognized the importance of these concerns and stressed that all of their research is performed under biomedical research oversight and regulation. However, when it comes to the concern about creating animals that are more or less biologically human, Ross pointed to previous research that suggested host species still grow their species-specific organ, irrespective of the introduced stem cells.

“But at the same time, because we’re scientists, we’re not just going to go with what we believe or expect to happen,” he said “We want to measure that. We want to produce scientific information to inform whether this is something acceptable or not.”

As for animal welfare concerns, Ross stressed that the animals in these cases would be treated humanely and would provide a tremendous benefit to society that, for many, may outweigh the downside.

“If this [research] becomes successful, there is a concern about using animals for human benefit,” he said. “But you have to consider that we use large animals for food, work, clothing, and emotional comfort. I don’t have the statistic for the number of animals slaughtered for bacon everyday but it’s significantly more [than those that would be used for organ transplant]. Several orders of magnitude more. That’s a choice the public will have to make.”

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4
Mar

Making a Spectacle: Snap may release two new versions of its smart glasses


Despite a glut of unsold Spectacles last year, Snap Inc. is bringing back not one, but two new versions of its smart specs. A report from Cheddar reveals that this year, Snap will be releasing a follow up to the Spectacles that were initially released in late 2016. A more high-end pair of glasses sporting two cameras will ship next year. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Spectacles 2.0 should be out by fall.

Cheddar reports that its sources did not want their identities revealed.

The first wave of new specs are being incrementally updated, with new colors, water resistance, and improvements to performance.

It wasn’t long ago that Snap reported a $40 million dollar loss as a result of its Spectacles’ poor market performance, so you wonder why the company would have a second (and third) go at it. Is it possible that news of Apple, Amazon, Streye, and others releasing their own smart eyewear can at least partially be credited for Snap’s resurgence in the wearable market?

The third-gen Spectacles will get a complete overhaul, GPS, and two new cameras to view videos with 3D depth. An aluminium frame, leather case, and more circular lens frames are also reportedly in the works. This pair will cost you $300 — compare this to the $130 price tag for the current Spectacles.

Snap’s hardware arm, Snap Lab, did not fare so well since the original Spectacles debut. A deal to buy Chinese drone maker Zero Zero fell flat the following year, adding more injury. Layoffs and trouble with the company brass followed.

Snap also sought to license its cameras to be placed in glasses from other companies, such as Luxottica and Warby Parker. Cheddar reported that it did not hear back from either of these companies.

Augmented reality has been a hot topic for some time now, and it is being implemented in various forms by Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google, and numerous other companies. Snapchat itself has its own AR Lenses. Newer Spectacles may support these lenses in addition to Snapchat’s Bitmoji avatars.

Snap has the experience of going through a major setback with its first Spectacles release, and we can only watch and wait to see if it takes those lessons to heart the next time (and the next time) around.

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4
Mar

Can an algorithm be racist? Spotting systemic oppression in the age of Google


Can a bridge be racist?

It sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly the argument sociologist Langdon Winner makes in “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” — a classic essay in which he examines several bridges built over roadways in Long Island, New York.

Many of these bridges were extremely low, with just nine feet of clearance from the curb. Most people would be unlikely to attach any special meaning to their design, yet Winner suggested that they were actually an embodiment of the social and racist prejudices of designer Robert Moses, a man who was responsible for building many of the roads, parks, bridges, and other public works in New York between the 1920s and 1970s.

With the low bridges, Winner wrote that Moses’ intention was to allow only whites of “upper” and “comfortable middle” classes access to the public park, since these were largely the only demographics able to afford cars at the time. Because poorer individuals (which included many people of color) relied on taller public buses, they were denied access to the park, as these buses were unable to handle the low overpasses and were therefore forced to find alternative routes.

As New York town planner Lee Koppleman later recalled, “The old son of a gun … made sure that buses would never be able to use his goddamned parkways.”

Jump forward the best part of 40 years and Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, part of the faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Communication, has written a book that updates Langdon Winner’s critique for the digital age.

Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression makes the argument that many of the algorithms driving today’s digital revolution (she focuses particularly on those created by Google) are helping to marginalize minorities through the way that they structure and encode the world around us. They are, quite literally, a part of systemic racism.

Discriminatory patterns

Before she earned her PhD, Noble was in the advertising industry where, she told Digital Trends, one of the big discussions was about “how to game Google for our clients, because we knew that if we could get content about our clients on the first page, that’s what mattered.”

A few years later, she glimpsed this world of search engine optimization and prioritization from another angle when a friend mentioned the search results presented when a person looks for the term “black girls.”

Dr. Safiya U. Noble, Author of Algorithms of Oppression

“The first page was almost exclusively pornography or highly sexualized content,” she said. “I thought maybe it was a fluke, but over the next year I did the same for other identities, such as Asian girls and Latinas.”

The same thing held true: frequent pornographic results, even when the search terms didn’t include suffixes like “sex” or “porn.” “That’s when I started taking seriously that this wasn’t just happening in a random way, and thought that it was time for a more systemized study.”

“…I started taking seriously that this wasn’t just happening in a random way.”

Noble isn’t the first person to spot worrying discrimination embedded into tools that many of us still believe are objective. Several years ago, the African-American Harvard University PhD Latanya Sweeney noticed that her search results were accompanied by ads asking, “Have you ever been arrested?” These ads did not appear for her white colleagues.

Sweeney began a study ultimately demonstrating that the machine-learning tools behind Google’s search were inadvertently racist, linking names more commonly given to black people to ads relating to arrest records.

It’s not just racial discrimination, either. Google Play’s automated recommender system has been found to suggest that those who download Grindr, a location-based social-networking tool for gay men, also download a sex offender location-tracking app.

In both cases, the issue wasn’t necessarily that there was a racist programmer responsible for the algorithm, but rather that the algorithms were picking up on frequent discriminatory cultural associations between black people and criminal behavior and homosexuality and predatory behavior.

Who has the responsibility?

Noble makes the point in her book that companies like Google are now so influential that they can help shape public attitudes, as well as reflect them.

“We are increasingly being acculturated to the notion that digital technologies, particularly search engines, can give us better information than other human beings can,” she said.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

David McNew/Getty Images

“The idea is that they are vetting the most important information, and provide us with [objective answers] better than other knowledge spheres. People will often take complex questions to the web and do a Google search rather than going to the library or taking a class on the subject. The idea is that an answer can be found in 0.3 seconds to questions that have been debated for thousands of years.”

To Noble, the answer is that tech giants need to be held accountable for the results that they provide — and the harm they might cause.

“If your platform allows this kind of content to flourish, then you’re also responsible.” 

“Tech companies have really invested in lobbying in the U.S. that they are simply intermediaries,” she continued. “They [claim that they] are tech companies and not media companies; they’ve designed a platform but they are not responsible for the content that flows through it. In the U.S. they do that because it means they are held to be harmless for trafficking in [things like] anti-semitism, Nazi propaganda, white supremacist literature, child pornography, and all the most hideous dimensions of the things which are out there on the web.”

She has little patience for the suggestion that tech companies like Google are simply reflecting what users search for. This is an argument Google itself made several years ago when it was taken to court in Germany for allegedly defamatory autocomplete results, linking the name Bettina Wulff, wife of the former German president Christian Wulff, with a rumor about prostitution and escorts.

“We believe that Google should not be held liable for terms that appear in autocomplete as these are predicted by computer algorithms based on searches from previous users, not by Google itself,” Google said at the time.

“If your platform has been designed in such a way as to allow this kind of content to flourish, then you’re also responsible for the way that you’ve designed your platform,” Noble said. “You cannot absolve your company from that.”

Asking the right questions

She also argues that tech companies are not as far removed from other, more traditional companies as they might like.

“When we’re talking about corporations and their impact on society,” she said. “I don’t think there are many industries that we can trace specific actions to one individual. What typically happens is that a CEO or a board of directors are held accountable if there is harm that hits communities. The tech industry doesn’t have to be different; it’s not really that different from fossil fuels or other industries that might cause harm through a particular product that’s been developed.”

Finally, she calls for better training of those developing the algorithms that dictate which information is shown to us.

“If you are going to design technology for society, you should have a deep education on societal issues.”

“One of the things that is particularly frightening to me is that many of the people who are designing these technologies, and embedding their own values and world views and best judgment into them, have very limited education around the liberal arts, humanities, or the social sciences,” Noble said. “They typically come into engineering curriculums where they are hyper-focused on theoretical or applied math … A lot of them are operating on twelfth-grade level humanities instruction … If you are going to design technology for society, you should have a deep education on societal issues.”

The arguments she makes in Algorithms of Oppression are incisive and provocative. While Google and other tech companies have taken steps to solve some of the most egregiously high profile issues (my top search for “black girls” leads to Black Girls Code, a San Francisco tech training initiative for underrepresented youth), problems such as this will happen with greater frequency as platforms such as Google, Facebook, and others play an increasing role in our lives, with ever more information to parse.

There are no easy solutions. How much do search results influence public opinion? Are tech companies qualified to make value judgements about what is and isn’t acceptable? Should search engines display answers that are purely based on what gets clicks, even when these results are offensive or even harmful? Will making companies responsible for their content mean that they err on the side of censorship, even when the material doesn’t warrant it? These are conundrums that companies like Google will face as they grow ever larger.

Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble doesn’t have all the answers. But she’s asking the right questions.

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4
Mar

Beware of Thanatos, the latest cyber-extortion scam


Another ransomware program is infecting computers, and it’s demanding Bitcoin Cash to let users unlock their files. A report at Bleeping Computer highlights the new ransomware, dubbed Thanatos, that was unearthed by security experts at MalwareHunter Team.

What makes this particular infection noteworthy is that it creates an encrypted file, but the key is not saved anywhere. Whether by accident or design, there’s no way to easily unlock a computer once it’s been compromised. Even if you do pay the ransom, it’s unlikely the developers of the malware will ever be able to decrypt your data.

It is possible to use a brute force method to discover the encryption key, however. Users infected with Thanatos are strongly advised not to pay the ransom and instead contact a cyber security firm for assistance.

After a computer is infected, all the encrypted filename extensions are changed to .THANATOS. A ransom note in the form of a README.txt file pops up whenever the user tries to log on, demanding $200 in cryptocurrency to decrypt the files.

Thanatos is noteworthy in that it’s the first ransomware scam to accept Bitcoin Cash for payment, along with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin Cash is a spin-off of regular Bitcoin caused by a “hard fork” in the currency, similar in practice to a stock split.

Cryptocurrency is quickly becoming the payment method of choice for online extortionists; CCN reports that 34 ransomware schemes netted $25 million over a two-year period. Most criminals were using the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e to redeem their extorted funds. BTC-e has been used to launder money in the past, and several countries have called for legal oversight of the shadowy exchange.

Bleeping Computer has an in-depth guide that outlines some steps you can take to protect your data, such as anti-ransomware security software that includes behavioral detection algorithms. We’ve also compiled an overview of some of the best free anti-virus software to help keep your computer up and running.

You’ve heard it a hundred times, but it bears repeating: Always back up your data, always update your OS to the latest version, and don’t use the same passwords for multiple applications.

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4
Mar

Beware of Thanatos, the latest cyber-extortion scam


Another ransomware program is infecting computers, and it’s demanding Bitcoin Cash to let users unlock their files. A report at Bleeping Computer highlights the new ransomware, dubbed Thanatos, that was unearthed by security experts at MalwareHunter Team.

What makes this particular infection noteworthy is that it creates an encrypted file, but the key is not saved anywhere. Whether by accident or design, there’s no way to easily unlock a computer once it’s been compromised. Even if you do pay the ransom, it’s unlikely the developers of the malware will ever be able to decrypt your data.

It is possible to use a brute force method to discover the encryption key, however. Users infected with Thanatos are strongly advised not to pay the ransom and instead contact a cyber security firm for assistance.

After a computer is infected, all the encrypted filename extensions are changed to .THANATOS. A ransom note in the form of a README.txt file pops up whenever the user tries to log on, demanding $200 in cryptocurrency to decrypt the files.

Thanatos is noteworthy in that it’s the first ransomware scam to accept Bitcoin Cash for payment, along with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin Cash is a spin-off of regular Bitcoin caused by a “hard fork” in the currency, similar in practice to a stock split.

Cryptocurrency is quickly becoming the payment method of choice for online extortionists; CCN reports that 34 ransomware schemes netted $25 million over a two-year period. Most criminals were using the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e to redeem their extorted funds. BTC-e has been used to launder money in the past, and several countries have called for legal oversight of the shadowy exchange.

Bleeping Computer has an in-depth guide that outlines some steps you can take to protect your data, such as anti-ransomware security software that includes behavioral detection algorithms. We’ve also compiled an overview of some of the best free anti-virus software to help keep your computer up and running.

You’ve heard it a hundred times, but it bears repeating: Always back up your data, always update your OS to the latest version, and don’t use the same passwords for multiple applications.

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4
Mar

New Windows Insider preview build causes issues with Mixed Reality


Microsoft recently released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17112 to members of the company’s Insider Fast ring program, but it warned Mixed Reality users to avoid this one. Tom’s Hardware reported that Microsoft warned that its latest preview build contains bugs that can cause the mixed reality programs to crash or suffer from low frame rates, which could make some users uncomfortable.

Microsoft said that its Mixed Reality programs would run at at around 8-10 frames-per-second if they ran at all, and would sometimes completely crash. Of course, bugs such as these are to be expected when taking part in the Fast ring of Microsoft’s Insider Program. Members of these programs are basically beta testing for Microsoft, but while members of the Slow ring only receive access to builds that are nearly ready to go public, Fast ring members receive access to much earlier versions. This allows them to not only get a sneak peak at the latest Windows features, but also the latest bugs.

Speaking of bugs, build 17112 doesn’t only cause problems for Windows Mixed Reality users. It also contains some pretty severe issues for the standard desktop experience, such as making the Microsoft Store application vanish. Microsoft has a potential fix posted on its website, along with a warning regarding the fact that build 17112 could affect the Microsoft Store.

Worse than the loss of Microsoft’s shop, however, is the potential loss of your operating system. Microsoft said that it has received reports that build 17112 can cause a “small number of devices” to fail to load the OS upon launch, forcing users into a boot loop sequence. This could require users to use a bootable ISO or USB to repair their operating system. One option available to affected users would be to disable fast boot, which could resolve the boot loop sequence. Otherwise, those who encounter this issue will need to repair their OS.

Overall, build 17112 contains some major issues that may make users think twice before using it. Aside from the aforementioned issues, it contains a few bug fixes, but nothing major. It’s also lacking any new features that Fast ring members wouldn’t already have access to.

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4
Mar

How to find your IP address


Knowing your computer’s IP address is like knowing its digital location. It can help you connect to it in certain applications, or find out what it’s connecting too. Whether your interests in your computer’s IP address are academic or pure intrigue though, doesn’t matter. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to find your IP address in just a few quick steps.

In order for us to find your IP address though, we need to know which one you want to find. There are actually two IP addresses for your system: your public address and your local address. The former is the one that the world sees when you connect to websites and other computers across the world. The latter is the one that devices like your printer or router use to locate you on your network. Both are easy to find, but the techniques for doing so are a little different.

If you want to find your router’s IP address, here’s how to do so.

Public IP address

There are a number of tools you can use to find your public IP address but the easiest are online resources. This technique works on both MacOS and Windows PCs.

Step 1: Open your browser of choice and visit Google.com.

Step 2: Search for “what’s my IP?”

Step 3: Google will list your public IP address as the top search result.

Alternatively, visit WhatsMyIP.com and it too will tell you your public IP address.

Local IP Address

Windows 10

Finding your local IP address is a little more convoluted than your public one, but it’s still quick and easy. Here’s how to find your IP address on Windows machines.

Step 1: Open the Windows Command Prompt by searching for “CMD” in the Windows 10 search box and clicking on the corresponding result. Alternatively press Windows key + “R,” to bring up the “Run” box. Type in “CMD,” and press “Enter.”

Step 2: With the Command Center window selected, type in “ipconfig” and press enter.

Step 3: You’ll see a lot of information appear on the screen. It’s all related to your local network, but the entry you’re looking for is next to “IPv4 address.” That number, which likely looks like 192.168.0.2 or similar, is your local IP address.

Here are some more tips on how to use Windows’ Command Prompt.

Windows 7 and 8.1

Finding your local IP address on older versions of Windows uses the exact same method. You still need to access the Command Prompt and input ipconfig. The only difference may be how you access the Command Prompt, though the “Run” method should work on all of them.

MacOS

AppleSupport

Finding your IP address on Apple’s MacOS is, if anything, a little easier than Windows PCs, so if you’re reading this on an Apple system, follow the quick steps below.

Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner and select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Click on the silver globe “Network” icon to open your network settings menu.

Step 3: Look to the left-hand list of networks and click on your local connection, be it a wired “Ethernet” connection or a wireless “Wi-Fi” network.

Step 4: In the network details on the right-hand side. Your IP address is listed in the “Status” section.

Step 5: If you want further information, click the “Advanced” button in the bottom right-hand corner and you’ll be presented with further details about your network, as well as your “IPv4 Address”.

Now that you know how to find your IP address on MacOS, here’s a guide on how to forget a network.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • How to uninstall McAfee
  • How to change your username on a Mac
  • Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One
  • How to partition your hard drive in Windows


4
Mar

After Math: Internet flame war


As the president sets the stage for a showdown with the video game industry over school safety (since it’s the games that are the real problem, not the guns, nope nope nope), small scale skirmishes and outright battles have been springing up all over the internet this week. GitHub somehow survived the biggest DDoS attack in history, Equifax revealed that another 2.4 million people were affected by its latest security breach and The Woz himself lost seventy grand in a bitcoin scam. Numbers, because how else will you know if you’re mature enough to play this game?

DDOS Attack concept

10 minutes: Despite being utterly hammered with 1.3 Tbps traffic spikes during what is thought to be the most severe DDoS attack in internet history, GitHub managed to remain largely online. The site was knocked offline for less than a quarter of an hour.

EU Flags at the European Commission Building

1 hour: The European Commission had previously issued guidelines to social media networks regarding how quickly they’re expected to remove hate speech from their respective sites. Currently, the Big Four — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft — are able to review roughly 81 percent of hate speech reports within one day. That’s not nearly fast enough for the EC, which is now demanding these sites address reports within 60 minutes. Take that, terrorist propaganda.

Equifax

2.4 million: That’s how many more people were affected by the Equifax security breach than had been known since the last time the company upped its figures. At this point, it’d just be faster to list the six or so names of the Americans who haven’t been impacted.

Several: The number of right-wing extremist group servers which have been recently banned by gaming chat service Discord. I mean, if President Grandpa is going to insist on designating a scapegoat for the gun violence debate, video game playing Nazis seems a pretty good place to start. But no, you can be sure it’ll be Wolfenstein that’s blamed for ruining America’s youth — again.

5 days: That’s less than a week but an eternity in internet time which is why one has to wonder what took Nintendo so long to realize that letting players review Switch games on its site was such a terrible idea. Jeebus, we can barely trust our fellow netizens with a simple comment section (see below).

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of a US technology giant Apple which used its Irish subsidiaries to lower its tax bill, speaking at the Millennium forum in Londonderry has said big corporations should be treated the same as the "little guy".

$70,000: The Woz is a genius at electronics and one of the digital revolution’s pioneers. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be hornswoggled out of 70 G’s worth of Bitcoin like the rest of us. And this is why you don’t pay for your shady cryptocurrency with a credit card.

4
Mar

The best photo inkjet printer


By Amadou Diallo

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

If you’re a photo enthusiast ready to make the leap to creating your own gallery-quality prints at home, the most flexible option is an inkjet printer. After spending a total of 76 hours of research and side-by-side testing during various iterations of this guide, we think the best inkjet printer for making long-lasting, high-quality photographic prints up to 13 inches wide is the $800 Epson SureColor P600.

Who should buy this?

If you already own a 13-inch-capable photo inkjet printer, you should probably sit tight. Photo printer technology is so mature that you won’t see much (if any) difference in print quality between a printer made today and one released even five years ago.

If you don’t already own a photo inkjet printer, the first thing you should know is that getting one is not about saving money. Our pick is $800, a full set of replacement inks runs more than $280, and you also have to factor in paper costs (and, of course, your time). If you’re a casual hobbyist who occasionally wants to create physical mementos of life’s special moments and milestones, there are many in-store and online print services available, many at very low prices.

But home printing is a great option for photographers who print at least a few times a month, want the flexibility of printing at any time that’s convenient, enjoy selecting from an incredibly wide range of papers on which to print, and revel in the ability to make finely tuned adjustments to an image after evaluating an initial print.

How we picked and tested

Buying a 13-inch-wide inkjet printer means unpacking a large and heavy box. Photo: Amadou Diallo

To find the best inkjet photo printer, I spent hours poring over spec sheets and reading reviews from authoritative sources. Starting with a list of dozens of photo printers, I quickly narrowed the candidates to inkjet models capable of printing up to 13 inches wide. These printers are wide enough to give you the option of a larger print, have at least six ink colors (in individual cartridges) and let you print on both matte and glossy photo papers.

We printed on both glossy and matte papers up to 13 inches wide using paper stock and ICC profiles provided by the printer vendor. We used each printer’s default resolutions and viewed prints using professional color-corrected viewing booths. We also set up each printer on a home Wi-Fi network and compared speed over cable connections and wireless. Finally, we compared our photo inkjet prints with those from two online print services using identical image files. Please see our full guide to photo inkjet printers to learn more details about our testing methods.

Our pick

A 13-inch pigment-ink photo printer like the Epson SureColor P600 lets you make gallery-quality color and black-and-white prints on a wide variety of paper surfaces. Photo: Amadou Diallo

The Epson P600 consistently delivers outstanding, long-lasting color and black-and-white photos with great image detail and accurate colors. These are truly gallery-quality prints that can provide many years of viewing pleasure. The printer accepts a wide range of inkjet-compatible media up to 13 inches wide, from photo lab-quality glossy paper and fine-art-oriented sheets that mimic classic darkroom prints to CDs/DVDs and even sheets of metal up to 1.3 mm thick.

Its newly formulated pigment-based UltraChrome HD inkset offers noticeably richer blacks than previous Epson models when printing on fine-art matte papers and comes in nine individual large-capacity cartridges. The nine-color ink set is able to print dots as small as two picoliters (two trillionths of a liter), and in addition to the standard CMY (cyan, magenta and yellow) inks, the printer uses Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Photo Black (for glossy media), Matte Black (for matte papers), Light Black, and Light Light Black.

The P600 uses large 25.9 mL cartridges. With a current street price of $32 per cartridge, this works out to an ink cost of $1.28 per mL—not quite as cheap as our alternate pick, the Canon Pro-10.

You can connect the P600 to your computer via USB or wired Ethernet. The printer also has built-in Wi-Fi (helpful if you need to share the printer among multiple computers in separate rooms), and comes with a mobile app for direct printing from iOS and Android devices. These wireless options are much slower than wired printing, however, nearly doubling your print times.

Budget pick (for personal use)

If the P600 costs more than you’re willing to spend (it was $800 at time of writing), we recommend the dye-ink Canon Pixma Pro-100 (currently $380). This is a great choice if you’ll be making prints only for personal use, as opposed to selling editions of your work. It makes vibrant, professional-looking prints faster than any other 13-inch photo inkjet we found. At less than half the cost of our top pick, users who may occasionally skip a month between making prints can more easily justify the up-front expense. Because it uses dye inks, however, its prints won’t stand up over time as well as those from a pigment inkjet, and the Pro-100 can’t handle the superthick sheets that our top pick can.

Also great (when the price drops)

The Canon Pixma Pro-10 is a great alternative to our top pick if you’ll be printing primarily on glossy papers. It’s solidly built, has a lower ink cost than our top pick and delivers great print quality, falling just slightly short of our top pick in highlight and shadow details when printing in black-and-white mode (because it has fewer black ink dilutions). With a $700 street price, the Pro-10 doesn’t offer any significant benefits over the P600—but we’ve seen occasional price drops of more than $250, and at that much of a discount, it’s a compelling alternative.

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

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

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