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Apple Watch may spot heart problem, but more research is needed

Mar 18, 2019 - 8:57 AM - by Reverend
A huge study suggests the Apple Watch can detect a worrisome irregular heartbeat at least sometimes – but experts say more work is needed to tell if using wearable technology to screen for heart problems really helps.

More than 419,000 Apple Watch users signed up for the unusual study, making it the largest ever to explore screening seemingly healthy people for atrial fibrillation, a condition that if untreated eventually can trigger strokes.

Stanford University researchers reported Saturday that the watch didn’t panic flocks of people, warning just half a percent of participants – about 2,100 – that they might have a problem.

But even among those flagged, “it’s not perfect,” cautioned Dr. Richard Kovacs of the American College of Cardiology, who wasn’t involved with the study.

People who received an alert were supposed to consult a study doctor via telemedicine and then wear an EKG patch measuring cardiac activity for the next week to determine the watch’s accuracy. Some skipped the virtual check-up to consult their own doctors; overall, about 57 percent sought medical attention.

Among those who got EKG monitoring through the study, a third had atrial fibrillation, according to preliminary results being presented at an American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans.

A-fib tends to come and go, and a week of monitoring might have missed some cases, said Stanford lead researcher Dr. Mintu Turakhia. But if the watch detected another irregular heartbeat while someone was wearing the EKG patch, 84 percent of the time it really was a-fib, he said.

“This study we believe provides very encouraging evidence that a device, the Apple Watch, can be used to detect a-fib and to point out to people when additional monitoring or testing may be needed,” said Dr. Lloyd Minor, Stanford’s dean of medicine.

Other cardiac experts said the study, which was... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 92 Views

Windows 10 Update Installs Can Be Delayed for 35 Days

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:07 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft is attempting to make the update process for Windows 10 much less painful this week, with the latest feature in the pipeline being the ability to temporarily stop updates from installing on your PC for up to 35 days.

A couple of days ago Microsoft took a big step towards a less painful Windows Update process by introducing a new feature which automatically detects and uninstalls broke updates. Now, Windows 10 Home users look set to get another welcome feature.

As Ars Technica reports, the current build of Home (version 1809) only allows an update installation to be delayed for seven days. However, Reddit user Leopeva64 noticed preview build 1903 extends the delay for up to 35 days.

By extending the delay time, it means users have the option to not take the risk of allowing their PC to be updated immediately. This can be important if, for example, you are working to a deadline or traveling and really can't afford to deal with a potentially broken laptop.

For now, Microsoft isn't officially confirming the extension in delay time, but the preview watermark has been removed from build 1903, which is a sign it's going to be publicly released very soon. With that being the case, the new 35 day installation delay looks likely to stay in place.

PC Magazine
  0 Replies | 217 Views

HP recalls 78,500 more laptop batteries because of fire concerns

Mar 15, 2019 - 9:04 PM - by Reverend
HP has recalled 78,500 batteries used in its laptops and mobile workstations, due to overheating issues which can cause fire and burn hazards.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall on Tuesday, but noted that the recall expansion was previously announced independently on January 17 by HP, and delayed due to the government furlough. It's considered an expansion of the previous HP battery recall of January, 2018, which affected 50,000 batteries. HP has received eight new reports of battery packs in the U.S. overheating, melting, or charring, including one report of minor injury and two reports of property damage totaling $1,100, the CPSC said.

Specifically, the batteries were either sold inside of or as accessories to: HP ProBooks (64x G2 and G3 series, 65x G2 and G3 series, 4xx G4 series), HPx360 (310 G2), HP Pavilion x360 11-inch Notebook PC, HP 11 Notebook PC, HP ZBook (17 G3, and Studio G3) mobile workstations. The batteries were also sold as accessories or replacement batteries for the HP ZBook Studio G4 mobile workstation, HP ProBook 4xx G5 series, HP ENVY 15, HP Mobile Thin Clients (mt21, mt22, and mt31), or for any of the products listed above.

The batteries were shipped between December, 2015 and April, 2018 as part of the HP laptops listed above, as well as sold separately between December, 2015 and December, 2018.

Consumers can visit HP's battery recall site to find out whether their laptop is affected. The batteries are not customer-replaceable, which means that you'll need to ship back your laptop to HP to have it repaired.

If you do have an affected battery, don't remove it yourself, HP has warned. Instead, HP has developed a BIOS update that will put the battery into a "battery safety mode." This mode will discharge the battery and prevent it from being recharged until the... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 170 Views

Microsoft tests 50-person Skype calls

Mar 15, 2019 - 8:59 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft rolled out a new version of Skype to its Insider Preview program this week that expands the maximum number of people on a call from 25 to 50, as well as making audible notifications optional, for all platforms.

According to the update note, "When you start a call in these large groups, it will send a notification instead of ringing all the members, to not interrupt those who can't join. With this update you will also see that the audio and video buttons are now enabled in these larger groups."

If you think 50 people sounds like horribly large number of video-call participants, you probably don't work for a big corporation. Competitor Zoom, which has rapidly gained on Microsoft for videoconferencing software and services, can already conference 100 people -- 500 with an extra-cost add-on.

  0 Replies | 125 Views

Snapchat may launch a gaming platform as early as next month

Mar 15, 2019 - 8:54 PM - by Reverend
Snap may be launching a new gaming platform for Snapchat as early as next month at the company’s Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles on April 4th, according to a report from Cheddar.

Snapchat has dabbled in games before — the company launched “Snappables,” a set of AR lens games last year — but the new platform (said to be codenamed “Project Cognac”) would be a larger foray into the gaming world, and it would allow outside developers to create games that would live inside the Snapchat app.

Snap also reportedly bought out Australian game studio Prettygreat back in January, according to a report from CNET, which could further hint at a new gaming push. Additionally, The Information reported in summer 2018 that Snap was working on a gaming platform for the fall of that year, which would gel with Cheddar’s report (assuming the program The Information reported on was pushed back a few months).

Tencent — the Chinese tech conglomerate that owns Riot Games and League of Legends as well as popular messaging app WeChat — also bought a 12 percent stake in Snap last year. Tencent said at the time that it was so it could “explore cooperation opportunities with the company on mobile games publishing and newsfeed,” which would also seem to indicate a push toward gaming for Snap.

As to why Snap would want games in Snapchat, the answer is pretty simple: more money and more user engagement. Much like Facebook Messenger before it, which has featured games directly in the app for years, adding games to Snapchat could offer a new source of revenue for Snap from developers looking to place games in the app, from advertisers looking to place ads in games, and maybe even from iPhone and Android-style in-game purchases as well. Plus, there’s the simple matter of monopolizing people’s attention: users who play games in the Snapchat app aren’t... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 161 Views

Microsoft to start selling Windows 7 add-on support April 1

Mar 09, 2019 - 7:04 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft plans to start selling its Windows 7 add-on support beginning April 1.

Labeled "Extended Security Updates" (ESU), the post-retirement support will give enterprise customers more time to purge their environments of Windows 7. From Windows 7's Jan. 14, 2020 end of support, ESU will provide security fixes for uncovered or reported vulnerabilities in the OS.

Patches will be issued only for bugs rated "Critical" or "Important" by Microsoft, the top two rankings in a four-step scoring system.

ESU will be dealt out in one-year increments for up to three years and support will be sold on a per-device basis, rather than the per-user approach Microsoft has pushed for Windows 10 licensing. Costs for ESU will start out low - $25 or $50 per year per device - but will double each year, ending at $100 or $200 per device for the third and final year. (The less expensive prices will be for subscribers to Windows 10 Enterprise or Microsoft 365 Enterprise.)

Windows 7 ESU also lets covered PCs run Office 365 ProPlus, the locally-installed applications - Outlook, Word, Excel and the like - bundled with Office 365. Microsoft had previously said that support for Windows 7 running Office 365 ProPlus would dry up when the former reached retirement in January. Another benefit to ESU is that Microsoft will keep patching Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on eligible Windows 7 machines.

In a March 1 post to a company blog, Bernardo Caldas, general manager of Windows commercial marketing, advised customers interested in ESU to contact their Microsoft account team or reselling partner for purchasing details.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 356 Views

A recent Windows 10 update is hurting game performance and messing with mice

Mar 09, 2019 - 6:59 PM - by Reverend
If you've recently noticed that games are not performing as well as they once were, and neither is your mouse, it might not be just in your head. Microsoft confirmed there is an issue with a Windows update that is causing some wonky behavior.

Following the roll out of the February cumulative update for Windows 10 Version 1809 (KB4482887), some users complained of newfound performance issues, both in games and the way their mice were behaving.

"This patch is causing massive lag spikes in older games, like CoD4 and CoD MW2. Right after installing this update, I launch any of the two aforementioned games, moving the mouse around (yes, mouse movement) causes the game to freeze in 1-second intervals every time. If you don't move the mouse, game appears fine," a user wrote on Reddit.

Others chimed in with similar observations, in response to Microsoft's thread about the update.

"I’ve got this same issue with an RTX 2080 and Ryzen 2700X. Destiny 2 has some insane lag spikes when you move the mouse. Also uninstalled this update and all is normal again," another user wrote.

Microsoft has now acknowledged the issues in a related support document, saying "users may notice graphics and mouse degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games, such as Destiny 2." Based on the complaints, though, Destiny 2 is not the only game where this is happening.

Ironically, the update in question includes further mitigations for Spectre that are supposed to speed up Windows 10 performance, not slow it down. Unfortunately, it is having the opposite effect for some gamers.

Microsoft is working on a fix for its fix. In the meantime, the company suggests uninstalling the update "to regain performance" as a short-term resolution.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 328 Views

Microsoft to offer Band refunds, announces end of apps and services

Mar 02, 2019 - 11:35 AM - by Reverend
Microsoft has announced today that it plans to kill off its Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health Dashboard apps and services on May 31st. The software giant already discontinued its wrist-worn Band fitness tracker more than two years ago, but the company has kept the Band apps running to support existing users. That will now change on May 31st, with the backend services ending and the apps being removed from the Microsoft Store, Google Play, and Apple’s App Store.

Existing Band users will be able to export their data before the end of May, and services powered by the cloud will cease to function in June. Band users should still be able to record daily steps, heart rate, and workouts, alongside activity data, sleep tracking, and alarm functionality. If a Band user resets a device then it will be “impossible to set up the device again” according to Microsoft.

Some Microsoft Band users will be eligible for a refund from the software giant, though. Microsoft is letting active users who have synced data from a Band to the Health Dashboard between December 1st 2018 and March 1st 2019 apply for a refund on their hardware. Surprisingly, Microsoft is offering $79.99 for Band 1 owners, and $175 for Band 2 devices. If your Microsoft Band is also covered under warranty, the same refund values will be available.

The Verge
  0 Replies | 729 Views

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