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Updated: 16 hours 42 min ago

iClever Smart Plug Wi-Fi Mini Outlet review: Smart plug pricing nears rock bottom

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 06:00
With a price tag of just $14, the road to commodity status for this product category is nearly complete.

Best water leak detectors for smart homes

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:50
Fires can be devastating, but water damage is a far more common risk. These smart devices will alert you if your home springs a leak, so you can take action quickly.

Flo by Moen smart water valve review: The high price of prevention

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 13:33
The Flo Water Damage Prevention System monitors and reports on your home’s water usage. It can also shut off the water supply to prevent catastrophic damage in the event of a leak.

Best smart bulbs for your connected home

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 12:07
Today’s smart bulbs are brighter and easier to control than ever, but choosing the right one for your environment remains a challenge.

Best smart smoke detector to keep your home safe

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 10:19
Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors don’t just sound the alarm, they also alert your smart phone and more.

Bose SoundSport Wireless Bluetooth Headphones review: These durable earbuds are an athlete's friend

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 07:00

Most athletic earphones work fine for everyday tasks, but everyday earphones usually aren’t suited to athletics. Working out or playing sports takes a heavy toll on them. Moisture from rain, mud, or sweat can fry their delicate electronics. Even cleaning them can be risky after sweaty workouts if they’re not water-resistant. For that matter, everyday earbuds usually aren’t designed to handle the vibration and jostling inflicted on them by joggers.

Bose’s SoundSport Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are designed to tackle those athletic challenges and they handle themselves well. They’re resistant to the elements, they stay secure in your ears, and I even like their sound. Unfortunately, a handful of minor flaws hinder their potential.

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Philips Hue Lily outdoor spotlight review: The perfect highlight for your outdoor landscaping

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 06:00
This addition to the outdoor Hue line will really draw attention to your garden (so make sure your plants look their best).

First Alert Onelink Smart Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm review: This alarm doesn’t work entirely as advertised

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 06:00
We liked First Alert's first smart smoke/CO detector, but this iteration removes that model's best features and doesn't act much like a smart device at all.

Apple’s bug bounties need to get with the program

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 06:00

Digital and information security is something that everybody’s had to become all too familiar with over the past decade. As we carry around devices that themselves store everything from our friends’ contact details to our bank account information, it’s become ever more crucial that those devices be well secured against all possible intruders.

In general, Apple’s track record on security has been pretty solid. The App Store’s walled garden, while often the target of derision from competitors, has done an effective job of curtailing malware on the platform and the company issues frequent security updates to its products.

But even Apple isn’t without its security shortcomings, and a few recent incidents suggest ways that the company may need to go beyond just patching vulnerabilities in its software and change the procedures around how it deals with the people who uncover these exploits.

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Best true wireless earbuds: Free yourself from the tyranny of cords

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:53

Earbud makers have been busy doing away with wires—a good thing whether or not your phone still has a headset jack. You no longer have to deal with cords if you don't want to. True wireless earbuds connect to one another and your audio source via Bluetooth.

No wires mean no inline microphones or controls, but truly wireless earbuds sound just as good as traditional Bluetooth counterparts (for better or worse). They also boast all of the features we've come to expect from earbuds designed to work with your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Since Apple’s AirPods became a runaway hit, an endless stream of companies have rolled out their own true wireless earbuds and earphones. As you might expect, not all of them are worth your time or money—so we've got your back with buying suggestions to meet a wide variety of needs.

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Sony Xperia Ear Duo true wireless earphones review

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:50

The current generation of truly wireless earphones are not without their issues. Battery life is often lackluster. Connectivity between the earphones, their audio source and even between each earbud, can still be less than dependable. Then there’s the cost: As with most new technologies, a decent pair of truly wireless earphones doesn’t come cheap. One would think that the priority of headphone makers would be to find ways to bring these issues to ground.

But not Sony.

Instead of throwing their considerable resources into creating more dependable, less expensive and, therefore, more accessible high-quality truly wireless earphones, they decided that innovative industrial design and a premium price tag was the way to go. The $280 Xperia Ear Duo are the result of their efforts. While the Ear Duo’s unusual looks could make these earphones a hit with fashion conscious individuals, their lackluster sound quality, connectivity issues and high price won’t be popular with anyone.

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Apple issues macOS 10.14.3 Supplemental Update

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:00

Apple on Thursday updated macOS Mojave with the release of the macOS 10.14.3 Supplemental Update. The update was released in conjunction with the iOS 12.1.4 update.

The Supplemental Update fixes the Group FaceTime bug that has been making headlines lately. While most people associate the bug with the iPhone, Group FaceTime support is available on macOS Mojave. The update also fixes a security problem involving Live Photos in FaceTime. The security notes for the Supplemental Update are available online.

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Skype's cool, useful background-blurring feature goes live for the PC and Mac

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 13:31
Skype's new background-blurring feature draws attention away from the clutter and puts it back on you. It's easy and it's free.

Apple releases iOS 12.1.4, fixing Group FaceTime privacy bug

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 13:12

Updated: Added Apple's statement about the release.

The dreadful Group FaceTime bug that allowed a caller to hear their recipient before they pick up has been addressed.

When the exploit was first publicized on the evening of January 28, Apple rushed to address it, promising a fix “later this week” and disabling the ability to make Group FaceTime calls on the server side. On Friday, February 1, it issued a statement apologizing for the bug and bumping the software update to the following week.

Apple has now released iOS 12.1.4, which promises to fix the Group FaceTime bug. It's a serious bug that can affect your privacy, and we recommend all users update soon.

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Apple is removing the Do Not Track toggle from Safari, but for a good reason

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 10:23

Safari might have been one of the first browsers to add an “Ask websites not to track me” button to its Privacy settings, but now it’s going to be one of the first to dump it. According to the release notes for Safari 12.1—which is part of the upcoming iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.1.4—Apple will be removing the toggle from Safari in an effort to keep your data safer at the source.

As explained by privacy-minded browser DuckDuckGo, the Do Not Track standard that has been adopted by every major browser doesn’t actually do anything. As evidenced by the wording in Safari’s toggle, you’re basically asking websites to leave you alone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will—and most don't. It’s so toothless in fact, that Apple is removing it in order to “prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable.” In plain English: the “do not track” standard might actually make you easier to track.

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Why iTunes says your iOS 12 device isn’t recognized

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 08:00

You're not required to use an iPhone with iTunes in macOS and Windows, but plenty of people still plug in to a computer via USB and rely on Apple’s music-management software to handle syncing, updates, and backups.

But what to do if you plug in and you see a message that says, “iTunes could not connect to this iPhone. You do not have permission.”

You’d think very reasonably that this would have something to do with whether your iPhone was unlocked in just the right way. Apple added a feature in iOS 11.4 to deter USB-based hacking of iPhones. The USB Restricted Mode feature prevents access to an iPhone’s data if it’s enabled and it’s been more than an hour since the last time the phone was unlocked.

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Why live PBS streaming is taking so long (and how to deal with it)

Thu, 02/07/2019 - 06:00
Live PBS without cable: Why it's so hard to get, and what you can do about it

How to download your Flickr photo library and transfer it to Google Photos or iCloud Photo library

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 17:45

Editor's note: USA Today reports that SmugMug extended the deadline to March 12 for users to download their images from Flickr before they are deleted.

For much of its time under Yahoo, Flickr suffered benign neglect, even though a small team of developers kept it alive and advanced in often tiny increments. After 13 years, Yahoo finally made a solid decision about Flickr, its photo-hosting website: It sold it. 

SmugMug, the professional photography oriented company, bought Flickr in April 2018. On November 1, 2018, SmugMug announced changes to its free and paid (or “Pro”) tier. SmugMug said that the 1TB of storage that Yahoo gave free-tier users is not sustainable and that plan is over. Now, SmugMug will let free-tier users retain 1,000 images and videos of any size (even at the maximum 200MB per image).

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These are the 230 new emojis coming to your iPhone and Mac in 2019

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 16:30

How are new emojis made?

Emojis are defined by a group called the Unicode Consortium, comprised of representatives from a number of hardware and software companies. They agree on updates to the Unicode Standard, which is a common means of encoding and representing text in digital formats. It's the foundation of transmitting and displaying text on nearly all modern digital platforms.

Emojis are a part of the Unicode standard, and the group gets together each year to decide which new icons will be added to the official list. On February 5, Unicode announced that the Emoji 12.0 list has been finalized and is ready for implementation.

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Best smart speakers: Which deliver the best combination of digital assistant and audio performance?

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 14:47
With models based on Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and others to come, we’ll help you find just the right model for you.

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