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Microsoft Edge can improve your PC’s battery life by 70 percent

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I think you’ll agree with me when I say the tech in our devices today is off-the-charts good, though battery life continues to be a pain point for most consumers. There are ways to get more out of your gear, of course, and Microsoft reckons you can increase your computer’s or tablet’s usage time by up to 70 percent using its default web browser for Windows 10. (To be clear, we’re referring to Microsoft Edge, not Internet Explorer.)

In a recent blog post, Jason Weber, director of the web platform team for Microsoft Edge, shared why Edge might be the most battery-efficient browser out there, based on Microsoft’s internal testing.

We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices.

To come to that conclusion, Weber and his team compared Edge with three leading internet browsers — Chrome, Firefox, and Opera — across three different metrics. The first experiment was a test of power consumption in a controlled environment; the second examined crowd-sourced telemetry data from millions of Windows 10 devices; and the third measured how long the battery would last when used for streaming HD video.

In the last test, Google’s Chrome browser lasted just four hours and 19 minutes, compared to seven hours and 22 minutes on the Surface Book running Edge. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s browser bested the competition in the other metrics.

Microsoft’s findings, while encouraging, are skewed towards making Edge look good (and making Chrome look a lot like malware). However, Edge still lacks some key features like browser add-ons which you’d find in Chrome and Firefox.

Microsoft is looking to add some new functionality to Windows 10, including browser add-ons for Edge, when the Anniversary Update is released next month. Until then, I’ll continue to use Chrome as my daily driver.

Computers

Microsoft’s new patches may be harming your PC

The Meltdown and Spectre patches are duds!

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The Meltdown drama continues. Days after researchers confirmed the existence of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, big firms like Microsoft and Apple started issuing patches against the bug. Microsoft’s fixes, however, might be doing more harm than good.

Microsoft’s series of patches have been causing issues among those who installed it already. Users are reporting that the patches have caused their PCs to run slower than usual.

Surprisingly, Microsoft themselves have confirmed the reports. A wide range of devices are indeed slowing down because of the patches. The firm has also listed down the affected PCs, as described below.

First, PCs that run Windows 10 on newer processors like Skylake and Kaby Lake show “single-digit” but hardly noticeable slowdowns. Meanwhile, PCs that run Windows 10 on fourth generation or earlier chips will suffer from noticeable slowdown. Finally, those that run Windows 8 or 7 on older chips will be most hit by the performance issues.

The chaos doesn’t even stop there. Some users have even reported that their PCs have stopped booting entirely. In an open thread on Microsoft’s support forums, a user suffering from a bricked PC has been joined by a torrent of users who are suffering from the same issue.

As with the performance issues, Microsoft has issued a statement regarding the unbootable state. This time, they have pinpointed that AMD processors are to blame for the issue, citing a lack of documentation on AMD’s part.

Microsoft has since halted distribution of the erring security patch to AMD processors. Their support team is working to resolve the issue among those already affected by the issue. Meanwhile, Microsoft and AMD developers are working to put out a more stable fix for the Spectre flaw.

Despite the lack of workable fixes for the issue, Microsoft is assuring its users that harmful exploits have not been discovered out in the wild. Not yet, that is.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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Computers

All Apple devices are at risk of Meltdown, Apple says

Patch your devices now!

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“Macs never get viruses.” It’s an adage that Apple fans often use to defend their beloved devices against PC users. With the Meltdown and Spectre reveals, that may soon change.

As we reported earlier, researchers recently uncovered hardware flaws that left affected devices open to hidden attacks that leaked sensitive info. Meltdown and Spectre affect nearly every device working today.

Tech firms, including Apple, are rushing to release their own patches to ease consumer fears. Apple users have been waiting with bated breath for a statement, especially since the company usually lives in its own world outside of the PC.

Now, Apple has finally released a statement for the issue. And it’s a resounding yes: Apple devices are affected.

Not surprisingly, every single Apple device, from the small iPhone to the towering iMac, are vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre attacks. The firm remains one of the biggest chip makers in the tech world.

Despite the flaw, Apple says that there is nothing to fear; they haven’t discovered any exploits that take advantage of the two flaws.

Even then, the firm has already released patches for Meltdown in its latest OS updates — iOS11.2 and macOS 10.13.2. The updates have been available for download even before the reveals for Meltdown and Spectre.

Meanwhile, Apple shares in the difficulty of patching the Spectre flaw. The flaw itself is hard to exploit, but equally as hard to patch. Other companies are still developing their patches to the bug. Likewise, Apple is also only promising an update through Safari in the coming days to ease the risk.

Further, Apple says that the Apple Watch is safe from Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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CES 2018

Lenovo outs ultra-thin 4K ThinkVision monitors

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Aside from new business laptops, Lenovo also introduced a couple of desktop monitors which are designed to bring new visual technology to offices.

(more…)

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