Author Archives: Joseph Miller

How to test your home internet connection speed

Testing your internet connection’s performance is a straightforward exercise. You don’t need any extra software—all you need is a computer with a web browser. But there are also a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the most accurate reading of your internet connection. Here’s what to do.

Get ready

For best results, you want to use a wired connection if at all possible; that way, you don’t have to worry about interference and performance fluctuations that can occur while you’re on Wi-Fi. If you have any other wired devices on your home network, plug your test computer directly into the modem so those don’t interfere in your testing.

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Hypothetical Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plot summary posted by ex-Valve writer Marc Laidlaw

Well, Half-Life 3 is finally here. Or is it Half-Life 2: Episode 3? Hard to say, but in any case, it arrived exactly as expected: A whispered surprise, traveling in the wee hours of the night by word of mouth alone. The only problem? There’s no game.

Instead, longtime Valve writer Marc Laidlaw (ex-Valve writer as of last year) seems to have posted the hypothetical plot to a never-going-to-be-made Episode 3 on his blog.

It’s thinly disguised as “Epistle 3,” and the character names and genders have been tweaked too. There’s Gertie Fremont and Elly Vaunt (now women), for instance, along with Alex Vaunt (now a man). This forms the basis of Laidlaw’s current deflection, which is that it’s “a genderswapped snapshot of a dream I had many years ago.” He also refers to it as “fanfic.” So take it with a heaping pound of salt. This may or may not have ever been the real Half-Life plan.

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Microsoft is offering La La Land, Ghost in the Shell, and other movie rentals for $0.99 today

Get the popcorn ready. Right now, the Windows Store (built into Windows 10) and Microsoft’s online store are offering a number of movie rentals for $ 0.99. The offerings span everything from relatively new titles to some real stinkers.

Top of the list for the movie rental sale includes the 2017 version of Ghost in the Shell—yes, that one. There’s also the 2016 sensation La La Land, the entertaining Kingsman: The Secret Service, the kid-friendly Trolls, and The Lego Batman Movie.

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A 500GB Samsung 850 Evo is $150 today

Amazon has a deal today on one of our longtime favorite solid-state drives: The 500GB Samsung 850 Evo is available for $ 150. While that’s definitely not the lowest price we’ve seen—during the 2016 holiday season, you could get one for about $ 135—it’s the best price we’ve seen in awhile. SSD prices are still inflated right now.

Samsung’s 850 Evo has been around for close to three years, but we’re still big fans of this SSD. In our 2014 review, we gave it a high rating when 3D NAND technology at the consumer level was still a new idea. It also has great performance and longevity, as well as being backed by a solid five-year warranty. The 850’s pricing was also competitive when it came out, and it’s slowly becoming better as Samsung introduces newer storage (like its 960 Evo M.2 drives).

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Hands on with Microsoft’s Story Remix, the new tool to make your photos pop

Microsoft’s Story Remix for Windows 10 is what happens when someone who suffered through too many dull slideshows of vacation photos thinks about what they could do better—a lot better. Try virtual dragons!

Update: An earlier version of this story noted that one of the best features of Story Remix—adding 3D objects to an existing video or image—had been delayed. But Chris Pratley, the corporate vice president in charge of Windows 10’s Photos, Videos, and Story Remix, confirmed that that feature will ship at the same time as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update as an updated app.

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