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This gizmo knows your Amex card number before you've received it

A device built by legendary hacker Samy Kamkar calls into question the security of payment cards as the U.S. continues to grapples with card fraud.

Kamkar's device, nicknamed MagSpoof, is about the size of a U.S. quarter, and it's safe to say it would be a fraudster's dream.

MagSpoof can predict what a new American Express card number will be based on a canceled card's number. The new expiration date can also be predicted based on when the replacement card was requested.

It can also trick point-of-sale readers into accepting payment from cards that are supposed to have amicrochip with advanced cryptographic capabilities designed to deter fraud, a system known as chip-and-PIN, but do not.

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Kindle vs Fire: How to choose the right Amazon e-reader

Reading is one of life?s finer pleasures, especially while tippling your favorite beverage. E-readers make this pastime supremely convenient. If you?ve decided to choose from Amazon?s lineup, we?ll help you pick the right one for your needs (or for that special someone on your holiday shopping list).

There will be times when you?ll miss the tactile feedback that only a product crafted from ink and dead trees can provide, but the benefits of e-readers are almost too numerous to count: You can read one in the dark. You can change the font and its size. There?s no need to go to the store to buy something new to read (or to wait for it to be delivered). You can get definitions of words you?re not familiar with. The list goes on and on.

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Microsoft's November Windows 10 screwed up some users' privacy settings

People who updated to the latest Windows 10 update may want to double-check their settings. Microsoft revealed Tuesday that it took the previous update (which was released on November 12) down from the Internet the day before because of a problem that reset some users' privacy settings when installed.

The bug reset settings on affected devices to make it easier for advertisers to track users across applications, and allow devices to share users' information with wireless gizmoslike bluetooth beacons that don't explicitly pair with a PC, tablet or phone.

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It's cloud soon gone, HP aligns with Microsoft Azure

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has partnered with Microsoft to offer its Azure cloud services to customers, filling a gap when HPE closes its own public cloud early next year.

Microsoft will be a "preferred" public cloud partner to HPE, and HPE will become a "preferred provider" of Microsoft Azure services, CEO Meg Whitman said on HP's quarterly earnings call Tuesday. She didn't provide details but said they'll be forthcoming at HPE's Discover conference in London next month.

It's no surprise to see HPE cut its first cloud deal with Microsoft rather than Amazon or Google. The companies work closely in servers and PCs, and they're both trying to sell customers a mix of on-premises and cloud products.

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9 killer gifts for PC gamers

If you thought a box of Hot Pockets, a two-liter bottle of Shasta, and a Rush mix tape are the only things a gamer needs in life, you?re wrong.

Gamers need gifts, too?but unfortunately, they?re not an easy lot to shop for. Fear not, for our gift guide should give you some great tips on can?t-lose gifts for the gamer in your life. From a new video card to the gear they?ll need to get their YouTube career off the ground, we?ve rounded up the best gifts any gamer would want.

Half-Life 2 Gordon Freeman HEV Suit Hoodie

The greatest game series of all time is arguably Valve?s Half-Life, and now your gamer can pay homage to this classic while staying warm with his or her own $70 Half-Life 2 Gordon Freeman HEV Suit hoodie. Stolen right from the laundry department of the Black Mesa labs, it mimics the Hazardous Environment suit worn by Gordon Freeman, the hero of the franchise.

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Hilton says malware targeted its credit card system

Hilton Worldwide says it has identified and removed malware that targeted card payment systems at some of its hotels over a 17 week period from late 2014 to mid 2015.

The malware collectedcardholder names, payment card numbers, security codes and expiration dates, the company said in a statement. The hotel chain is advising its customers to check their payment card statements for any unauthorized activity.

"As a precautionary measure, customers may wish to review and monitor their payment card statements if they used a payment card at a Hilton Worldwide hotel over a seventeen-week period, from Nov. 18 to Dec. 5, 2014 or April 21 to July 27, 2015," the company said.

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After a lapse, Intel looks to catch up with Moore's Law again

For Intel, the temporary inability to keep pace with Moore's Law -- the foundation of its business -- was a bit of an embarrassment, but the company is trying hard to catch up.

Moore's Law is an observation that has led to faster, cheaper and smaller computers, and a concept that Intel has followed for decades. It states that the density of transistors doubles every two years, while cost per transistor declines.

Until recently, the company released chips every two years like clockwork. But making smaller chips is becoming challenging and more expensive, said Bill Holt, executive vice president and general manager for Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, during the company's annual investor day last week.

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HP bows out with a 9 percent drop in sales

It was an inglorious ending but not a surprising one. The former Hewlett-Packard Co. logged a 9 percent drop in sales for its last quarter before breaking in two, perhaps a sign that it really is better off in two pieces.

The old HP split into two companies on Nov 1, when Hewlett-Packard Enterprise was spun out as a separate business. HPE, as it likes to be called, nowsells HP's data center products and services, while HP Inc. sells its printers and PCs.

The old HP had been struggling for years as the PC industry withered, the market for high-end servers dried up and customers shifted spending to cloud services, an area where HP barely competes directly.

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12 travel-friendly tech gifts you'll want to take with you

Technology that?s easy at home can become a burden on the road?whether it?s too big, too heavy, or helpless when you?re away from a speedy Internet connection. The travel-friendly tech in this gift guide can save your favorite frequent flier some stress on their next trip. Whether it?s a clip-on camera accessory or a great organizer, it?s all worth taking with you.

Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens olloclip

The Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens attaches easily and securely to your iPhone.

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Here's what all those strange emoji on your phone really mean
Here's what all those strange emoji on your phone really mean

Image by Martyn Williams

Sixteen years after they first appeared on cellphone screens, the Oxford English Dictionary just named an emoji as its word of the year. The tears of joy symbol ?won out for its common usage -- accounting for around one fifth of all emoji characters used in the U.K. and U.S. But few people know that emojis were created by NTT DoCoMo in 1999 for its I-mode service, and many still exist that refer to Japanese food, culture, society and holidays.

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5 high-tech toys to delight kids of all ages

Having kids around makes the holidays more magical, and to be honest, the toys they have nowadays makes our basic Lincoln Logs and Lego blocks look a little old fashioned. True, Lincoln Logs and Legos will always be awesome, but these toys are decidedly more high-tech. Like the classic toys of our own youth, they?re still designed to stimulate the imagination, help kids master new concepts, and provide hours and hours of entertainment. Now they just require charging a little more often.

We play-tested every toy on this page to make sure it was fun to use and age appropriate for both the children in your house?and, yes, the big kid who is you.

BB?8 by Sphero

Show me a kid who isn?t excited about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I?ll show you a kid who probably just needs to see the trailer a few dozen more times. My own son loves the BB?8, or as he?s nicknamed it, ?the soccer ball dwoid.? And when he saw me unbox this toy version, I instantly became his hero again?in your face, Han Solo.

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And then there were two: Another dangerous Dell root certificate discovered

The plot thickens: After Dell confirmed that one of its support tools installed a dangerous self-signed root certificate and private key on computers, users discovered a similar certificate deployed by a different Dell tool.

The second certificate is called DSDTestProvider and is installed by an application called Dell System Detect (DSD). Users are prompted to download and install this tool when they visit the Dell support website and click the ?Detect Product? button.

The first certificate, which was reported over the weekend, is called eDellRoot and is installed by the Dell Foundation Services (DFS), an application that implements several support functions.

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Google's Internet-spreading Project Loon balloons now fly for three months st...

Google is succeeding in keeping high-altitude balloons aloft in the stratosphere for more than three months at a time -- a key goal in its ambitious Project Loon program to deliver Internet from the sky.

Project Loon envisages bringing Internet to underserved regions of the world by beaming 4G LTE cellular data signals from balloons drifting at around 60,000 feet.

For Project Loon to work at scale, Google will need to launch thousands of balloons to maintain continuous coverage. And for logistical and economic reasons, those balloons will need to stay in the sky for as long as possible.

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Business wearables are a juicy target market for HP

In an already crowded market, HP Inc. isn?t interested in introducing a smartwatch under its own brand. The company, however, sees an untapped opportunity for wearables in businesses.

A small project run by the CTO office at HP is focused on developing wearable technology, with a heavy emphasis on the enterprise market. On occasion, the company will provide engineering expertise for consumer wearables like high-end smartwatches from Movado and Michael Bastian.

?We?re learning as we go along,? said Ron Coughlin, president for personal systems at HP, in an interview. There are plenty of consumer wearables, but businesses are still reviewing how best to use them, and therein lies the opportunity, Coughlin said. He did not detail specific devices, but said ?watch this space,? leaving the door open for the introduction of wearables that could be used by companies of different sizes.

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5 awesome gifts for smart-home enthusiasts

Smart home technology has yet to rise to the level of sophistication depicted in the Jetsons, but it?s getting closer every day. And the hardware needed to reach that goal is becoming more affordable every day, too. We?ve selected a broad range of solutions for this gift guide that will make life at home easier, more secure, and?most importantly?more fun.

Logitech Harmony Elite

You name it and Logitech?s Harmony Elite universal remote can control it, everything from your home theater to your thermostat.

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