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Weekly Tech Update #374 - Headphones are Obsolete

We have just posted up Episode #374 of Weekly Tech Update. In this episode we are discussing the death of the headphone jack, Apple readies the Apple Watch 2, and Pokemon Go keeps losing users but keeps making money. Check out those and lots more tech stories at the links below.


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Note 7 replacements arriving shortly

It's pretty crazy to think about Samsung having to replace 1 million devices in the USA thanks to their very public battery recall. The logistics of replacing these devices is pretty insane but it's also pretty insane to think that they can come up with 500,000 replacement devices in pretty much no time flat, which Samsung has announced are arriving in stores this week to exchange for faulty devices. Currently 25% of the devices that have been recalled are already replaced but if you still have one make sure to make arrangements to get it exchanged as there appears to be ample stock now. CNET has the full story.

Samsung will have enough Galaxy Note 7 phones in stores Wednesday to replace half of the devices recalled for a battery problem. Stores will have replacements for the rest of the affected phones by the end of the month.

The South Korean company on Tuesday said 500,000 replacement devices have arrived in the US and have been shipped to carrier and retail stores. About 1 million Note 7 units had been recalled in the country.

"New devices will be in stores no later than tomorrow and we will continue to take the necessary actions to ensure users are powering down and immediately exchanging recalled devices," Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement.

Yahoo got hacked?

I thought the Yahoo news would be virtually nonexistent after their sale to Verizon for $4.8 billion  a little while ago (deal is still pending, but has been announced and confirmed). Apparently in 2012 Yahoo got hacked, like 200 million users hacked, and now Yahoo is going to come out and confirm it according to a new report over the Business Insider.  Probably a good reminder to change your passwords everyone once and a while...

Yahoo is getting ready to confirm a huge, historic hack affecting 200 million users, Recode reports.

Back in August, Motherboard's Joseph Cox reported that 200 million apparent Yahoo user credentials were being sold on the dark web. At the time, the company's response was only that it was "aware of [the] claim."

But now Kara Swisher, one of the tech industry's most respected journalists, is reporting for Recode that Yahoo sources tell her the company is preparing to publicly confirm the hack. (Her sources did not confirm its exact size, only that it was "widespread and serious.")

Why VR matters

Virtual Reality gear has been creating a big buzz for a while as pretty much everyone company tries to get their foot in the door. Personally, I haven't seen much in the VR world that makes me want to jump in but apparently there are good reasons to jump onboard. Medium has come up with some reasons why VR actually matters.

For the most part VR has only really invaded the world of games, where users are familiar with being disassociated with the point of view in a more omniscient way.

However, as the technology becomes more prevalent and accepted, which is happening as we speak with consumer headsets hitting a price point that most people can afford, there is a real opportunity for those willing to dive head first before the world recognizes that they couldn’t imagine a life with only this reality.

NVIDIA Gives Buyers Gears of War 4

If you've been thinking about picking up Gears of War 4 and want a new graphics card to be able to push this game to the max on your new 4K display, NVIDIA wants you to buy one of their cards. In thanks for buying either a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080, they will be happy to set you up with the full game download of Gears of War 4. Even better yet is the fact that this is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so if you buy this, you'll also play be able to play Gears of War 4 on your Xbox One. Dang. That makes the GTX 1070 a tempting proposition.

When playing Gears of War 4, you’ll be able to modify the look of the game with nearly three-dozen graphics settings, covering Anti-Aliasing, Ambient Occlusion, Level of Detail, Effects, Lighting, Shadows, Textures, and much, much more. Or if you’re unsure of what they do and how they’ll affect your game and performance, let GeForce Experience automatically configure them with a single click, giving you the ideal balance between performance and image quality.

Source: GeForce

Western Digital 1TB SDXC Card

The big photography show - Photokina is in full swing in Germany right now and Western Digital has taken this opportunity to show off their brand-new 1TB SDXC card. That's right, 1,000GB. This is branded with the SanDisk brand of course, but still it's pretty amazing how much data they can fit on a little card. According to the press release, there are no performance numbers yet, but with the chip density as high as it is, the performance should be fairly snappy.

“Showcasing the most advanced imaging technologies is truly exciting for us,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president, product management, Content Solutions Business Unit, Western Digital. “Sixteen years ago we introduced the first SanDisk 64MB SD™ card and today we are enabling capacities of 1TB. Over the years our goal has remained the same; continue to innovate and set the pace for the imaging industry.

Source: SanDisk

Microsoft Pulls the 'Get Windows 10' App

One of the biggest complaints of users that don't want to get a free OS upgrade to Windows 10 is that Microsoft continuously nags you to get it. They pop up somewhat obtrusively and in my opinion, this pretty much constitutes malware. Thankfully, after much complaining, ranting, ticked off users and more than a little bad press, Microsoft is rolling out an update that will disable the 'Get Windows 10' app. There were ways to remove it manually, but none were easy and you shouldn't have to hack your OS to remove a popup - from the OS manufacturer.

Microsoft officials initially didn't say that it might take some time for the free update to be available to those with Genuine Windows 7 and 8.1 product keys. But after it came to light that the free update was still available, though not advertised as available, it seemed there might be some sort of grace period during which Microsoft quietly would allow users to upgrade for free to Windows 10.

Source: ZDNet

Pebble Thinks It's Time to Get Excited

If you've been wanting to get a smart-watch, but haven't been able to drop the cash on one, there is some good news as Pebble has just slashed the prices on some of their earlier generation watches and they are now very affordable. If you like the bulkly first-generation, it's only $70. Even the color eInk Pebble Time is now just under $100. There is not other smart-watch that will get you 7 days of battery life. I love my Pebble Steel and it is my go-to watch when I'm out and about.

"It’s that time of year: fall cleaning. And you know what we’re cleaning? Out inventory. That means for a limited time you can grab you or your favourite person(s) one of these Pebble favourites for up to 40% off. Hurry though… we have limited quantities of these watches available.”

Source: Neowin

Battlefield 1 System Requirements Official

If you are planning on picking up Battlefield 1, you'll want to pay attention to the system requirements and quite possibly go on and get an upgrade for your gaming machine. Minimum specs include 8GB of RAM, 50GB of free HDD space and a Radeon 7850 or NVIDIA GTX 660. That will run - but it won't be pretty. On the "recommended side of things is 16GB of RAM, 4th Gen Core i7 processor nad a Radeon RX 480 or GeForce GTX 1060. It looks amazing though as you can see in the video below.


Source: Battlefield.com

Project Scorpio Will Run Games Native 4K

Microsoft is working on their Project Scorpio that will run games native in 4K whereas most games for the new PS4 Pro will be upscaled from 1080p. While upscaling looks better than standard HD stretched to a 4K screen, native looks much, MUCH better. It's interesting to see how Microsoft has evened up the console race with their Xbox One S and with Project Scorpio - they could keep doing well for a long time yet.

Loftis doesn't say which games those are, although that isn't surprising when Scorpio is roughly a year away. All the same, the 4K commitment could be crucial to giving the new Xbox hardware a strong start. Even if many third-party games resort to upscaling instead of real 4K, you'll have some incentive to buy the new system.

Source: Engadget

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