Category Archives: Computer Hardware

Google Fit update finally brings strength training feature to all Android Wear 2.0 watches

Whether you have a new Android Wear 2.0 watch or a first-gen model that just received an update, they’re about to get a lot more buffed. We already know the new Google Fit app brings a bunch of new trackers and motivators for workout buffs, but in the latest update, Google is finally turning on the best new feature.

Back when we reviewed the LG Sport and Style watches, we noted a strange difference between them regarding one of Google Fit’s better features. On the Sport, we were able to activate Strength Training, which used the watch’s sensors to automatically track what we were doing (situps, weight lifting, etc.) and count our reps. But on the Style that option wasn’t present, and we couldn’t figure out why.

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PCWorld News

Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch

On the shelves of a laboratory near San Francisco sit tanks and tanks of mysterious-looking liquids. Labels identify some as simulations of human heads, while others relate to muscles.

It sounds like the ghoulish headquarters of a mad scientist, but it isn’t. It’s the Silicon Valley offices of UL, a product testing organization previously known as Underwriters Laboratory, and these liquids play an important part in smartphone safety.

You might not know UL, but you can probably find its logo on a number of products around your home.

20170418 101250 1 Martyn Williams

Two UL logos are seen on a computer power supply. The company tests products to ensure they meet safety requirements.

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PCWorld News

Lenovo’s 14-inch Flex 4 is $280 right now

Now that spring has sprung, retailers are hyping their weekly sales with supposedly deeper discounts and big savings events. Some of those deals aren’t quite what they claim to be, but there are still some pretty good buys.

Today, Best Buy is selling Lenovo’s Flex 4 convertible laptop for $ 280 instead of the usual $ 399. This clamshell features a 14-inch touchscreen display with 1366-by-768 resolution, 4GB RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. The processor is a Skylake-era 2.10GHz, dual-core Intel Pentium 4405U with Intel HD Graphics 510. You also get one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, a media card reader, Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a webcam, and Bluetooth.

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PCWorld News

Google says its AI chips smoke CPUs, GPUs in performance tests

Four years ago, Google was faced with a conundrum: if all its users hit its voice recognition services for three minutes a day, the company would need to double the number of data centers just to handle all of the requests to the machine learning system powering those services.

Rather than buy a bunch of new real estate and servers just for that purpose, the company embarked on a journey to create dedicated hardware for running machine- learning applications like voice recognition.

The result was the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a chip that is designed to accelerate the inference stage of deep neural networks. Google published a paper on Wednesday laying out the performance gains the company saw over comparable CPUs and GPUs, both in terms of raw power and the performance per watt of power consumed.

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PCWorld News

Twitter changes its default profile photo from an egg to a human-shaped blob

Twitter has ditched the egg, abandoning the bird motif for a more generic option.

On Friday, Twitter introduced a new default profile picture, switching from the well-known egg to a simple human silhouette. Twitter hopes this change will encourage users to replace the default image with a real photo of themselves, dissuading people from remaining anonymous or being associated with trolls.

The egg has been Twitter’s default profile picture for seven years, but recently it has taken on a new meaning beyond the cute bird motif. Obviously, Twitter trolls, bots and others who use the site solely for abuse and harassment choose to remain anonymous, so the egg photo has become a signifier for this type of user. As playwright Ken Armstrong put it, “Never argue with an egg.”

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PCWorld News