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ATF Blackbird VX-2SSD USB 3.1 review: Internal SATA speed at the end of a wire

There are times when adding additional drives to your laptop or PC just isn?t an option. That doesn?t mean you have to make due with less storage, or even compromised performance from an external solution, as Atech Flash?s Blackbird VX-2SSD proves. This dual-bay, 2.5-inch, external USB 3.1 enclosure lets SATA drives perform as quickly at the end of a cable as they would inside your computer. Kind of liberating, if you think about it. Of course, that?s assuming your laptop or PC has 2nd-generation, 10Mbps USB 3.1 on board. If your PC doesn?t have it, you can add it easily enough with a $35 PCIe card. If your laptop lacks it, you?ll have to live with 5Mbps USB 3.x. 

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BlackBerry stops making hardware, but BlackBerry phones live on

BlackBerry is getting out of the hardware business, but this isn?t the end of BlackBerry phones?or at least not yet.

As part of its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday, the company announced that it would soon end all hardware development. Instead, BlackBerry phone production and design will be outsourced to third parties.

?We are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,? BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a written statement.

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The Orange Pi dev board will let you create Wi-Fi-powered gadgets for just $10

If you want to fashion a smart gadget, robot, or drone with wireless capabilities on the cheap, a $9.99 development board from Orange Pi will help you reach that goal.

The Orange Pi i96 shouldn?t be confused with the $35 Raspberry Pi 3, which is much more powerful and can be a full-fledged Linux PC. The smaller Orange Pi has limited horsepower and is targeted at smart gadgets, drones, and internet of things devices.

If you want to create a gadget to show off at a Maker Faire event, the Orange Pi i96 is the kind of board you?ll rely on. The board was first announced at the Linaro Connect conference, happening this week in Las Vegas.

For its price and target market, the Orange Pi has features not found on competitive boards. It includes Wi-Fi, 4GB of flash storage, and 2GB of RAM. It also has a micro-SD slot, a micro-USB connection, and includes the Linux-based Ubuntu OS.

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10 utterly wonderful technologies you shouldn't buy yet
Worth the wait

Technology marches ever onward, becoming smaller, more powerful, and more revolutionary by the day. It?s all too easy to succumb to the madness as we?re deluged with daily tech news and tantalizing promises. Octa-deca-mega core processors! Cutting-edge displays you have to see to believe! Tech that makes everything from your coffee pot to your doorbell smart!

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How to create a secure and hidden folder on your Android phone

Your phone isn?t always your own. There?s going to be that time when you hand it to a child so they can watch Peppa Pig for the 787th time, or your spouse wants to show friends vacation trips.

Once it?s unlocked, anything on there is fair game for someone who lets their curiosity get the best of them. But you can make sure that photos, videos, or other files that you?d rather stay private are kept under a digital lock and key. There are several apps that do this, placing a secure folder on your home screen that only you can get to. It?s the easiest way to ensure that certain things you want to be private remain so.

After trying out several options, I landed on three good choices that might help you avoid some embarrassing moments or just give you peace of mind when the family is handing your phone around the table at the next family gathering.

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Mozilla is stopping all commercial development on Firefox OS

Mozilla ended development of Firefox OS phones in 2015, but there was still hope for the operating system. Mozilla wanted Firefox OS to power smart TVs, tablets, routers, all-in-one PCs, and all kinds of other devices. But that?s no longer in the cards. Mozilla just announced it?s now ending all commercial development of Firefox OS.

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Plat.One acquisition marks start of $2B IoT investment plan for SAP

SAP has bought IoT software developer Plat.One, marking the start of a plan to invest US$2 billion in the internet of things over the next five years.

Some of those billions will be spent on the creation of IoT development labs around the world, SAP said Wednesday. It already has plans for such labs in Berlin, Johannesburg, Munich, Palo Alto, Shanghai and São Leopoldo in Brazil. 

The company is also rolling out a series of "jump-start" and "accelerator" IoT software packages for particular industries, to help them monitor and control equipment.

Another compoent of SAP's IoT plan is to acquire new businesses, the latest of which is Plat.One. This company makes a platform that helps smart devices talk to one another and with a central database, translating between the different protocols they use to communicate. Plat.One says it manages 200,000 devices for 25 enterprise customers, including three telecommunications companies: BT, T-Systems and Telecom Italia.

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Best Bluetooth speakers

There was a time when Bluetooth speakers were like jelly beans: They were cheap, they all looked the same, and they were invariably of dubious quality. Times have changed. Every major audio manufacturer has at least one model on the market today, and most have several. If you haven?t listened to a Bluetooth speaker lately, you?re in for a very pleasant surprise.

But the industry?s progress doesn?t mean that every Bluetooth speaker justifies its price tag, no matter how inexpensive it might be. There?s still plenty of dreck floating around. Don?t worry, we're here to help you steer clear of the junk and point you to the best speakers at the price range that fits your budget. To that end, we've picked the best Bluetooth speakers in four broad price ranges: budget, mid-range, high-end, and--yes, there are ultra-high-end Bluetooth speakers--price is no object.

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How AMD's powerful Zen chip flouts the SoC stereotype

The hype is building around AMD?s upcoming Zen chip (due at the end of 2016), but if you?re calling it a CPU, you?re off-track.

That?s because the first iteration of the company?s new microarchitecture, code-named Summit Ridge, is actually an SoC, or System on Chip.

Confused? That?s understandable, says Kevin Krewell, principal analyst with Tirias Research.

?The definition of System on (a) Chip is not clear,? Krewell says. ?First, the definition of ?system? is contextual?if it?s a smartphone it needs to have a CPU, GPU, modem, DRAM controller, and other support logic. In the case of a server system, the system would not include a GPU or modem.?

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Oracle denied new trial in copyright dispute with Google over Java

A federal court in California has denied Oracle another trial in its long-standing copyright infringement dispute with Google over the use of Java code in the Android operating system.

A jury had cleared Google of copyright infringement in May this year, upholding the company?s stand that its use of 37 Java APIs (application programming interfaces) in its Android mobile operating system was fair use, thus denying Oracle up to US$9 billion in damages that it was seeking.

A number of developers and scientists  backed Google saying that APIs, which are the specifications that let programs communicate with each other, were not copyrightable and any bid to change that would stifle innovation. The administration of President Barack Obama had in its opinion sided with Oracle and said that the APIs are copyrightable like other computer code.

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Best home security camera: Our favorite tools for keeping an eye on the home ...
Last updated September 27, 2016 to add our Nest Labs' Nest Cam Outdoor review.

Rent or own, we all want to know our homes are secure while we?re gone. That used to mean signing on with a professional?and pricey?security service like ADT. But the boom in wireless security cameras is putting home surveillance into our own hands>

These close cousins of webcams require minimal installation and offer flexible setups and a range of security features. Indeed, the offers vary widely by camera, and navigating them all gets more daunting as this category grows ever more crowded. To help you find the best security camera for your needs, we?ve outlined the key features to consider and tested six of the newest, most high-profile models.

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Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth speaker review: Built to be the life of the ...

Ultimate Ears slammed down the gauntlet with its Megaboom portable Bluetooth speaker. This loud-and-proud, thoroughly weatherized speaker produces enough sound to fill the average backyard, and it comes with a richly featured app that will make it the life of any party.

A pair of 2.0-inch full-range drivers and dual 2.0 x 4.0-inch passive radiators in a cylindrical enclosure create a near 360-degree sound field. The 1.93-pound speaker comes with a plastic carrying case that makes it easy to take just about anywhere, and its built-in rechargeable battery is rated to last up to 20 hours.

Large plus and minus buttons on the the Megaboom?s face let you raise or lower in the volume manually. Its cap ends are rubberized, with the top end carrying the unit?s power and Bluetooth-pairing buttons.

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Discounts on New Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) Bundles - Deal Alert

Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play & control music (either on its own, or through a connected speaker/receiver), control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, and more. Right now Amazon is discounting 3 bundles featuring an all new Echo Dot:

17% off Echo Dot + Philips Hue Starter Kit

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10% off SAP Crystal Reports 2016, Through Friday Only - Deal Alert

SAP Crystal Reports software is the de facto in reporting, and it's currently discounted 10%, through Friday, if you use the code CRYSTAL10 at checkout. With SAP Crystal Reports you can create powerful, richly formatted, dynamic reports from virtually any data source ? delivered in dozens of formats, in up to 24 languages. A robust production reporting tool, SAP Crystal Reports turns almost any data source into interactive, actionable information that can be accessed offline or online, from applications, portals and mobile devices.

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Mediatek's developer board features a 10-core chip and Android 6.0

Like PCs, developer boards like Raspberry Pi are getting more horsepower to run faster applications and 4K graphics.

Take the Mediatek X20 Development Board, which started shipping for US$199 this week. It is crammed with the latest mobile chips that give the developer board PC-like computing power.

It has a 10-core Mediatek X20 chip, which is being used in new mobile devices from companies like Meizu and LeEco. The board comes with Android 6.0, and it's not yet known if it will be upgraded to Android 7.0.

There still isn't much need for 10 CPU cores in smartphones or tablets, but the developer board could put the chip to good use. Quad core chips are considered powerful enough for handsets.

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