Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16294

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16294 to Fast ring members of the Windows Insider Program.

Preview Build 16294 continues the recent trend of squashing bugs instead of introducing new features. That’s because Microsoft is preparing to release the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in October, so it’s more focused on guaranteeing a stable release than on giving Windows Insider Program members something new to play with. The release of those feature-rich builds will likely resume after the Fall Creators Update’s debut.

The most important aspect of Preview Build 16294 is its fix for a problem affecting Surface Pro 3 devices. Microsoft explained:

This build has the fix for the bug that was causing some Surface Pro 3 devices to end up in a [sic] “unbootable” state where the Windows OS will not load and it appears to be stuck on a “spinning dots” screen. After installing this build, Surface Pro 3 devices should no longer get into this state. If you have a Surface Pro 3 in a bad state – follow the instructions on this forum post to get back up and running.

The company also solved problems with Dutch builds putting Explorer in a crash loop when an “app-requested downloads notification popped up from OneDrive,” with window content becoming transparent or “stale” when you unlock your desktop, and with error 0x800B010C showing up for Insider members looking to install recent builds. Niche problems, sure, but issues Microsoft doesn’t want in the Fall Creators Update nonetheless.

That update will be released on October 17. In addition to a new design language and improvements to Windows Mixed Reality, the update will include various privacy enhancements. It will also be accompanied by a new Windows 10 Pro for Workstations operating system designed to take advantage of the powerful hardware companies need to perform intensive tasks. You’ll get to experience all those changes yourself soon enough.

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SEC: 2016 Data Breach May Have Facilitated Illicit Trading

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that a 2016 data breach of its EDGAR filing system may have “provided the basis for illicit gain through trading.” The commission said that the intrusion didn’t compromise any personal information, but it did offer access to companies’ private documents, and the hackers could have used that ill-gotten information to give themselves an edge over other investors.

EDGAR is an SEC tool that makes it easy to find public documents. (Or at least easier than it would be if you had to navigate a bunch of different databases yourself.) It’s used primarily by investors and journalists who are looking to stay on top of developments within specific companies. The key is timing—EDGAR filings are supposed to be published at a company’s discretion, and this breach offered early access to sensitive documents.

The SEC discovered the breach in 2016 and said it patched the exploited vulnerability soon after it was discovered. But the damage was done, and in a statement, the commission said it found evidence in August that the intrusion may have given someone enough data to play the markets. This raises serious questions about EDGAR’s security, but the commission said companies shouldn’t panic about this incident. Quoth the SEC:

Specifically, a software vulnerability in the test filing component of the Commission’s EDGAR system, which was patched promptly after discovery, was exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information. It is believed the intrusion did not result in unauthorized access to personally identifiable information, jeopardize the operations of the Commission, or result in systemic risk. An internal investigation was commenced immediately at the direction of the Chairman. 

These problems were discovered as part of the SEC’s push to investigate its security practices to find where they could be improved. Chairman Jon Clayton released a separate statement about those efforts, and in it, he said that the “scope and severity of risks that cyber threats present have increased dramatically” and that “constant vigilance is required to protect against intrusions.” That’s true for pretty much everyone.

Just look at some (relatively) recent headlines. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management suffered the biggest data breach in history. Half a billion Yahoo accounts were compromised. Hacks of online game stores, dating services, and document management companies affected millions (or hundreds of millions) of people. And the cherry on top? Equifax’s recent hack, which led to the disclosure of 143 million people’s private data.

The government, financial companies, and pretty much anyone else with an online presence is under attack. That isn’t going to change, nor is the increasing severity of these data breaches, which can be used for everything from insider trading to identity theft. Sometimes these effects will be felt right away. Other times, like with the SEC’s disclosure, they’ll take a while to discover. Either way, it’s clear things are just getting started.

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Going Bump In The Night With 'The Evil Within 2' (Hands On)

The Evil Within 2 was first announced at E3 this past summer, and Bethesda plans to release the survival horror sequel on October 13 of next month–that is, Friday the 13th. In preparation for its release, we were invited to preview a single mission from The Evil Within 2.

The demo takes place during Chapter 5, about two hours into the game. Players take control of Sebastian Castellanos, a detective at the Krimson City Police Department, and the protagonist of the previous game. You’re searching for your daughter, Lily, whom you previously believed to be dead. As it turns out, she’s been abducted and trapped inside Union, a hellish world run amok by gruesome creatures.

Before diving into enemy territory, Sebastian starts off in a Safe Haven, where he can upgrade his abilities and weapons, or craft ammo and medical supplies. To upgrade your abilities, you must collect Green Gel. You can view the ability tree by sitting on a wheelchair, which transports you to an operating room where you’re assisted by nurse Tatiana. The skill tree includes upgrades to Health, Combat, Athleticism, Stealth, and Recovery. Starting skills don’t cost much Green Gel, but subsequent skills will require more.

To upgrade your weapons and craft ammo, head to the crafting table. The crafting section allows you to create bullets for your handgun, shotgun, sniper rifle, and crossbow. Gun ammo requires only gunpowder to craft, but crossbow bolts require gunpowder as well as trap parts, which are less common. You can also craft syringes and medical kits to restore your health, but the medical herbs you need are also relatively uncommon. You can carry only a limited amount of ammo and medical supplies, so resource management is paramount.

Upgrading your weapons costs weapon parts, and like your abilities, subsequent upgrades demand higher costs. Upgrades include Firepower, Reload Time, Ammo Capacity, and Fire Rate.

Before venturing out into the darkness, you can swing by the shooting range for target practice. The range offers two modes: Gallery Mode and Chain Attack Mode. In Gallery Mode, successful hits increase your score, and headshots provide bonus points. In Chain Attack Mode, you must shoot targets to gain points, and shooting adjacent targets of the same color will net bonus points. Shooting “X” targets will lower your score, but getting rid of targets adjacent to the “X”s will eliminate them. You begin the mode with 30 seconds, but shooting hourglass targets will increase your time.

When you finally start the mission, you’re sent to Union City Hall, where you’ll immediately encounter a boss. A gruesome cut scene shows dismembered corpses being melded into a giant abomination with multiple heads and a chainsaw for a right arm. This was a tough enemy–which was a little surprising given that we were playing on the lowest difficulty. A single hit would result in an instant kill in higher difficulties.

There are a number of ways to approach this boss battle, including running and gunning, but frankly, gunshots won’t do much. Luckily, there are numerous traps littered around the map, so be sure to take advantage of them. We don’t want to spoil too much, so we left those bits out of the video for you to discover.

Once the abomination is defeated, you can head inside Union City Hall. Upon entering, you’ll encounter Harrison, a dying member of your team. He urges you to plant his Communicator on the Stable Field Emitter on the second floor, which will stabilize the nightmarish environment. As you make your way upstairs, you’re met with psychological trickery which puts Sebastian (and players) on edge.

At the end of the level, you’ll find the Stable Field Emitter. Once you plant the Communicator, the Stable Field Emitter begins a stabilization sequence that lasts 90 seconds; however, a new boss will emerge. The Obscura is a large, deformed monstrosity with a camera for a head, and normal attacks won’t work against it. Luckily, the area will be stabilized in 90 seconds, so all you have to do is survive until then, right? Unfortunately, the Obscura is capable of stopping time (how convenient), so you’ll have to figure out a way to resume time and let the Stabilizer do its magic. Again, we don’t want to spoil too much, but we’ll give you a hint: Maybe its camera has something to do with its powers?

The Evil Within 2 is set for release on October 13, 2017, just in time for Halloween.

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[Deals] 91% off the LG Cam Plus Silver For LG G5

Transform your LG G5 into a real camera with the LG Cam Plus. This multi-function camera grip slides into your LG G5’s module slot and provides a dedicated shutter button, a record button, a zoom dial, camera on/off button, and a hand grip that allows you to take one-handed photos. The LG Cam Plus also includes a built-in 1140mAh battery, to provide additional battery life while you’re taking photos and videos.

Level up your mobile photography now with the LG Cam Plus Silver and get it now for only £5.99, 91% off the list price.

Resellers offer a wide range of deals, but it is our dedicated team who always sort and select them for you. Our partners best deals will always be brought to you. Here is today’s best deal!

Check this page to Find more offers.

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Best PCs 2017: the top computers for every task

You need the best PC. We know you need the best computer because you’re here right now on a page full of contenders for that title. Rather than throwing money at the new iPhone X, you would rather put that money to a PC that can game, make videos or simply power a big screen for media.

Yet, while we and most people would recommend a DIY project, we recognize that assembling the best PC takes time and a bit of skill. And, time is a scarce resource in 2017. It’s for that reason we’ve found the best computers you can buy off the shelf (or, more than likely, online).

At the same time, the best PC can vary in both function and form. While some of us prefer conventional desktop towers, detached from their accompanying inputs and screens, others enjoy a concise, all-in-one computing experience. Alternatively, PCs come in all shapes and sizes from half-sized towers to micro-sized boxes and even systems that fit inside a stick.

Whatever the use case or form factor you seek, you’ll find the best computer for you below:

Dell Inspiron 3000

Best PC: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

Don’t be fooled, this mainstream machine is a gaming PC at heart

CPU: : Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: : AMD Radeon RX 580 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD; 2TB HDD

Compact, minimalist design
Full online customer support
Starting memory isn’t ideal for VR
Lower graphical performance compared to rivals

For lack of a better description, the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition is a master of disguise. Appearing as subtle as the PC your parents hid under the desk, don’t be deceived by this boring exterior. Inside, you’ll find your choice of one of the latest high-end graphics card solutions from AMD and Nvidia in addition to a powerful Kaby Lake processor paired with plenty of hard drive and/or SSD storage. While the Special Edition of this PC is only available in the US, our readers in Australia and the United Kingdom will still be able to pick up the regular Dell XPS Tower and configure a system to the top spec.

Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

Best all-in-one PC: Microsoft Surface Studio

The art kid’s dream computer in a metallic nutshell

CPU: : Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: : Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M – 980M | RAM: : 8GB – 32GB | Storage: : 64GB SSD; 1TB HDD – 128GB SSD; 2TB HDD

The best digital drawing board
Impeccable build quality
All rearward ports
Pricey proposition for most

The Microsoft Surface Studio is one of the most glamorous PCs you can buy. It shakes up the all-in-one formula of putting all the components behind the screen, and instead moves everything to the base. The resulting device has one of the thinnest 28-inch PixelSense Displays that puts even most 4K screens to shame. What’s more, the fully-articulating stand makes it a versatile tool for work and play with Surface Pen support. All in all, the Surface Studio is an exceptional work of, and for, art.

Read the full review: Surface Studio

See more like this: The best all-in-one PCs

Best mini PC: Zotac Magnus EN1060

A VR-ready micro-machine

CPU: : Intel Core i5-6400T | Graphics: : Nvidia GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: N/A | Storage: N/A

Whisper quiet
Powerful and small
Requires some assembly
Limited upgradability

The Zotac Magnus EN1060 is practically as small as the Apple Mac Mini, but it’s an exponentially more powerful gaming PC, potent enough to drive virtual reality experiences. Thanks to its small size and understated features, users can place this mini PC under an entertainment center and it won’t draw attention to itself. Keep in mind, though, this system doesn’t come with storage or RAM pre-installed, not to mention it lacks an operating system, so interested users will need buy these components and software separately.

Read the full review: Zotac Magnus EN1060

Best gaming PC: Alienware Aurora R5

Alienware’s iconic gaming PC returns as a mini powerhouse

CPU: Intel Core i5-7400 – i7-6700K | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 460 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 256GB PCIe SSD, 2TB HDD

Easy to upgrade
Distinct case design
Partially obstructed cooling

The nigh-mini ITX Alienware Aurora R5 bears resemblance to, say, the Alienware Area 51, but with a case that feels strikingly more native to our home planet. Of course, it simultaneously boasts top-of-the-line specs; an overclockable K-series Intel Core i7 CPU, a GeForce GTX 1080 and a massively capable 850W power supply – just a few of the Aurora R5’s redeeming qualities. Plus, even with the small chassis, there’s plenty of room for an unparalleled SLI configuration.

Read the full review: Alienware Aurora R5

See more like this: The best gaming PCs

Best living room PC: MSI Trident 3

A slimline console-sized mini PC for your living room

CPU: Intel Core i5-7400 – i7-7700 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 32GB DDR4 (2,400MHz) | Storage: 2TB HDD; 120GB SSD – 2TB HDD; 1TB SSD

Compact size
Silent and cool running
External 330W power brick

Positioned as a “console killer,” the MSI Trident 3 looks a lot like an Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, but it’s a far more powerful PC that feels just right in your living room. Complete with all the ports you could ever dream of, the MSI Trident 3’s advantages are clear. Still, in trying to be as thin and light as possible, the MSI Trident 3 comes equipped with a 330W external power supply brick, resembling some of the least attractive console designs.

Read the full review: MSI Trident 3

Apple iMac

Best Mac: Apple iMac with 5K Retina display (2015)

A stylish all-in-one with a stunning screen

CPU: Intel Dual-Core i5 – Quad-Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 3TB SSD

Bright IPS screen
Few wires or cables
Tough to upgrade

The iMac keeps it classy and, better yet, simple. Easy-to-use hardware combined with the famed accessibility of macOS makes for a nigh-perfect computing experience. A built-in screen, speakers and 802.11ac wireless networking are complemented by the fantastic Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. Of course, trumpeting that gorgeous 5K screen, the iMac is sleek and, best of all, only requires a single cable to get up and running.

Read the full review: Apple iMac with 5K Retina display

See more like this: The best Macs

HP Pavilion Mini

Best budget PC: HP Pavilion Wave

It’s a prettier, if less-beefy, Mac Pro

CPU: Intel Core i3 – Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 – AMD Radeon R9 M470 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD

Unique, stylish cylindrical form factor
Clever and effective audio solution
No optical audio port
Unflattering specs

Though at first you might confuse it for a fabric-woven Mac Pro refresh, the HP Pavilion Wave is anything but. This compact Windows machine packs in 6th-generation Intel Core processors and optional discrete AMD graphics with a uniquely integrated Bang & Olufsen speaker. Wrapped in a handsome fabric exterior, this is the perfect PC to have on the desk, as it radiates crisp sound while you browse the web or watch movies.

Read the first look: HP Pavilion Wave

HP 260 G1

Best stick PC: Intel Compute Stick

The tiny computer that can

CPU: Intel Atom – Intel Core m5 | Graphics: : Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 1GB – 4GB | Storage: 8GB-64GB eMMC

Wide CPU choices
Extremely portable design
Limited fan cooling
Limited RAM and storage

No, this isn’t a USB thumb drive you’re looking at. The Intel Core Compute Stick might look like something you would store a PowerPoint presentation on shortly before losing it, but it’s actually a palm-sized personal computer that plugs into any screen with an HDMI port. Configurations start at a lowly 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor running Linux, and at the highest end is a notebook-class Intel Core m5 processor.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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Aplicata Quad M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe x8 Adapter Review

The desktop processor market is suddenly competitive again, so your next PC will likely have more processing cores and you’ll ask them to do more. High-speed storage makes many next-generation tasks possible, but applications are in their infancy compared to what’s coming in the future. I would love to say it’s the classic chicken and the egg scenario, but the new hardware usually comes first and then advanced software follows. PCs are like the Field Of Dreams; if you build it, they will come.

Six and eight core processors will soon be standard for the desktop, and by 2018, your notebook will have more computational power than a decades-old supercomputer. Processing data is one thing, but getting that data to the processor is another.

The Open Compute Project is a fast-moving group of hyperscale data center innovators, like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, that no longer accept traditional server designs. These businesses have outgrown the “take what’s there” model and now demand custom solutions for their unique challenges. The companies possess the buying power to steer the direction of the industry, and if manufacturers don’t meet their demands, they will simply build the hardware in-house and cut out the old guard entirely.

A few years ago, these companies asked for a storage adapter that could hold multiple M.2 NVMe SSDs to maximize storage capacity and performance while reducing footprint and cooling. The hyperscale companies got their wish, and now the same technology is available to you.

Aplicata Technologies, Inc., a new storage-focused start-up, is the first company to bring an unlocked four-slot NVMe SSD add-in card to market. This class of storage products first appeared in the channel as proprietary accessories for HP and Dell workstations. Their introduction brought quite a buzz, but you couldn’t use either in your DIY workstation. Now companies are bringing the technology to the rest of us without the shackles of proprietary hardware locks.

We’ve had the card in our lab for several months now to test several configurations and platforms, and to find a real-world application that can benefit from its massive performance potential.

NVMe SSDs are famous, or notorious, for delivering ample performance that can be difficult to use fully. New NVMe drives can already deliver up to 3,500 MB’s of sequential read and 3,200 MB/s of sequential write performance, but you’ll need to hit the drives from multiple angles to achieve those numbers. A single application isn’t enough; it requires multitasking on a level that most of us never even dream of. It’s easier to tap NVMe’s 3,000+ MB/s of sequential throughput than it is to unleash Aplicata’s insane 440,000 random read IOPS, though.

The other side of the market, where powerful applications like fluid dynamics modeling are common, can actually benefit from the increased performance. More modest applications can also benefit from using several high-performance storage devices, but you have to jump through some hoops. For instance, editing a video from multiple clips takes less time when the content flows from more than one drive.

There is another reason to use a product like the Aplicata Quad M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe x8 Adapter that we can all relate to — mass storage. All it takes is a new high-limit credit card with a low interest rate, and your entire Steam library will load at the speed of flash.

Specifications

Aplicata Technologies Inc. sells two products that each house four M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs. We’re testing the older Quad M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe x8 Adapter. Aplicata released the x16 card a few days ago for systems that support bifurcation, but the Quad x8 has broader compatibility. We tested the x8 card in several systems ranging from Z87 to X299 but met with mixed results. Half the older Z87 and Z97 systems worked, but compatibility was more consistent with newer systems. Most of our Z170 systems worked with the Quad x8, but all our Z270, X99, and X299 platforms worked.

The PLX PCIe bridge chip on the Quad x8 provides the wide platform support. The PLX chip isn’t a cheap component now that Avago owns the technology; the Quad x8 actually costs twice as much as the newer passive Quad x16 adapter. We have other products in for testing that use passive PCIe, but they have issues with many older systems.

These devices are more than just a way to cram four M.2 SSDs into a single PCI Express slot. Unknown to most, many custom NVMe drivers expose you to data loss by using an aggressive caching system in Windows. Both Aplicata models have capacitors that provide power protection during a host power failure event, which reduces your exposure to data loss.

The adapters also feature large passive heat sinks that help cool the SSDs. If temperatures surpass a pre-defined threshold, the SSDs will throttle performance to cool the components. The performance reduction varies between devices, and so does the amount of workload needed to force the condition. In a normal closed PC with moderate cooling, some NVMe SSDs will begin to throttle performance within ten seconds of a sequential write workload, but most will take longer to overheat and throttle.

Pricing And Warranty

The Aplicata Quad M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe x8 adapter currently sells for $449.00 at Amazon. The adapter comes with a one year warranty.

A Closer Look

HBA cards generally don’t have many components. The Aplicata Quad x8 uses a basic PLX bridge chip to merge four PCIe x4 lanes devices onto a x8 connection, but that is the extent of the data path. The capacitors give the card some degree of host power failure protection and also condition the power going to the storage devices.

The heatsinks keep the NVMe controllers cool. We found a thermal pad on both sides of the adapter. The four SSDs are sandwiched in the middle, which adds another layer of cooling for the components.

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

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Fake website fools Equifax staff

Credit rating firm Equifax has mistakenly directed some customers to an imposter website via its Twitter page, security researchers say.

The firm recently disclosed a data breach affecting more than 143 million people, and set up a new website to share information with customers.

But it mistakenly tweeted the wrong web address several times, leading some customers to a fake website.

One security researcher told the BBC it was a “massive faux-pas”.

Following its data breach, Equifax set up a new website – equifaxsecurity2017.com – to let people find out more information.

The website also let people register for a credit monitoring service, by entering personal details into a form.

Many security researchers said Equifax should have hosted this information on its main website – equifax.com – rather than setting up a new one.

They pointed out that the new web address looked like one a scammer might set up to try to fool victims.

Security researcher Nick Sweeting tweeted: “Yeah… no thanks… it would take me literally 20 mins to build a clone of this site.”

He then did exactly that, creating an almost identical version of the website at securityequifax2017.com.

His fake version of the website also let people fill in their personal information – but then told them they had been “bamboozled”.

Staff operating the Equifax twitter feed shared the fake website with customers several times.

The BBC has contacted Equifax about the mistake but the company has yet to respond.

“Clearly, the social media team has not been thoroughly briefed,” said Ken Munro from the security firm Pen Test Partners.

“That’s a massive faux-pas, they should not be pointing people to a website that is not the real one.

“They are lucky the person behind it was a well-intentioned security researcher, it could easily have been somebody harvesting credentials.”

Criminals often use a widely-publicised data breach to try and fool victims into handing over more of their personal data.

“People have to be careful after a data breach. Hackers often email victims trying to spoof the affected organisations,” said Mr Munro.

“You might get phone calls from people pretending to be from the support team. We see this all the time – be on your guard.”

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