Author: brianradio2016

December 11, 2018 brianradio2016

Google is still having trouble protecting the personal information on its Plus service, prodding the company to accelerate its plans to shut down a little-used social network created to compete against Facebook. A privacy flaw that inadvertently exposed the names, email addresses, ages and other personal information of 52.5…

December 10, 2018 brianradio2016

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Let’s face it: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are “holidays” that retailers invented in order to get you spending money at their stores during the holidays. But why stop at just two days? Well, there’s actually a little-known third, called Green Monday, and you can thank eBay for it.

In 2007, eBay invented Green Monday. It’s usually the second Monday of December and is pitched as the “best dales day” of the month. We’re not sure if that’s still the case, since many Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are now weeks-long sales that extend in December.

But, honestly, who cares? It’s another excuse for retailers to discount their goods, and we can’t complain about that. So, here’s a round-up of the best deals we could find.

Best Green Monday 2018 deals


Fore more deals, see Amazon’s deals hub.


For more deals, see Apple’s site.

Best Buy

For more deals, see Best Buy’s Green Monday hub.

B&H Photo

For more deals, see B&H’s Green Monday hub.


For more deals, see Dell’s Green Monday hub.


For more deals, see eBay’s Green Monday hub.


For more deals, see HP’s Green Monday hub.


For more deals, see Jet’s Deals and Promos hub.


Fore more deals, see Lenovo’s Green Monday hub.


For more deals, see Target’s Green Monday hub.


For more deals, see Walmart’s Christmas Deals hub.

For more great deals on devices, gadgetry, and technology for your enterprise, business, or home office, see ZDNet’s Business Bargain Hunter blog. Affiliate disclosure: ZDNet earns commission from the products and services featured on this page.

Previous and related coverage:

Phones and more: The best of everything mobile in 2018

Whatever you’re looking for in a smartphone — best camera, longest battery life, overall value — Matthew Miller has picked his favorite device in every category. Plus: The best tablet, smartwatch, sportswatch, and activity tracker.

Black Friday security warning: Seven top tips to keep you safe from cyber criminals

Planning on shopping online for Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Make sure you aren’t falling prey to scammers and crooks with these security tips.

December 10, 2018 brianradio2016

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In early November, just after the iPhone XR launched, I opined about three things I loved about Apple’s latest iPhone, and one thing I hated.

Also: Best Green Monday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter’s top picks

That thing was Haptic Touch, Apple’s 3D Touch replacement on the iPhone XR. Instead of pressing on the display, as 3D Touch devices require, Haptic Touch is triggered through a long press on the screen.

At that time, Haptic Touch was only available in the iOS Control Center, on the lock screen shortcuts, and the keyboard to use as a trackpad when editing text.

Also: One month with the Apple iPhone XR

Pressing on a link, peeking at a conversation in Messages, or, most notably, peeking at a notification in Notification Center wasn’t possible. Being able to quickly view and triage alerts on the lock screen was something I sorely missed when using the iPhone XR.

Then, last week, Apple released iOS 12.1.1, and included in the change log was “Notification preview using haptic touch on iPhone XR.” That’s in addition to fixing that super annoying FaceTime feature that moved the camera swap button starting in iOS 12.

haptic-touch-alerts-iphone-xr.jpg (Image: Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

After installing the update on my review unit, I let a few notifications pile up and then, with a long press, was able to view the notification and its appropriate actions on the lock screen without having to swipe left on the alert and select view.

The haptic feedback felt when triggering the feature is just like that on the iPhone XS Max, if not a touch more pronounced. There’s a tap when the XR recognizes a long press as the message appears to pop out of the notification list. Then, there’s another haptic tap when you lift your finger. Overall, it’s incredibly well done.

Must read

A month later, after bouncing between my personal XS Max and the XR, I still think the iPhone XR is the iPhone for the majority of users. My colleague, Matthew Miller, feels the same way.

With Apple continuing to make small, but impactful changes to the iPhone XR’s software, combined with stellar battery life and an impressive camera, the iPhone XR continues to be the most appealing phone Apple announced this year.

Previous and related coverage:

‘iPhone XR from $449*’: Apple ramps up iPhone sales push

Apple’s marketers start playing with the fine print and prices after new $100 extra trade-in promotion.

Apple iPhone XR review: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

Apple switched up release strategies a bit in 2018 with the two high end $1,000+ models released initially, followed by one priced $250 to $350 less. The iPhone XR arrives in six color options and honestly it may be the best option for the masses.

iPhone XS and iPhone XR cheat sheets

Since Apple didn’t give you a manual listing the gesture changes you have to get used to when you switch to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR, use these cheat sheets to familiarise yourself with what you need to know.

December 10, 2018 brianradio2016

We’re always told never to click on a link we receive in an email in case doing so takes us to some dodgy phishing site where our account details are violated. But what if our email app warned us before we clicked malicious links?

Can this app protect against phishing attempts?

MetaCert isn’t fully available yet, but it does seem to be a promising solution that provides email users in enterprise and consumer markets an additional line of defense against clicking on malicious links received in email messages.

The solution emerged from the developer’s earlier work building an API to help app developers add a layer of security to WebView.

It relies on two principal databases that are regularly updated:

  • An extensive collection of known phishing email addresses
  • A collection of known addresses for the services phishers often like to spoof, places like PayPal, online retailers, banks, and so on

In the future, the company will be implementing blockchain technology across its systems — that’s an essential step that should enable users to verify whether websites and emails that are being alerted as threats actually are threats, rather than items accidentally added to the phishing warning lists.

How MetaCert works

When you receive an email, MetaCert will check the message against its databases.

December 10, 2018 brianradio2016

Camera benchmarking firm DxOMark has rated Apple’s iPhone XR single-lens camera as the best on the market.

The iPhone XR, which starts at $750 but can cost $450 with a trade-in, lacks a few features of the more expensive iPhone XS. Like the iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2, the iPhone XR has just one rear lens.

The Pixel 2 set the standard for DxOMark’s single-camera reviews, which it notes was the best in that class until the iPhone XR was tested.

DxOMark gives the iPhone XR a score of 101 based on its performance in photo and video tests, putting it just ahead of Google’s 2017 Pixel 2 for still photos. The key advantages of the iPhone XR are better results for noise and artifacts.

It notes that the iPhone XR offers comparable quality photos to the iPhone XS Max, and even a better flash than the more expensive Apple device.

Though without the advantage of the dual lens found on the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR falls short on zoom and bokeh effects compared with the more expensive iPhones.

The bokeh or blurred background effect works well when a human subject is the picture, but it doesn’t work when something other than a face is the subject of the photo.

The phone is rated as ‘very good’ for indoor and outdoor shots, but it loses fine details in low-light conditions. It also has ‘excellent’ autofocus with fast response times and no focus stability issues.

The firm says the iPhone XR has good exposure and dynamic range in bright light and indoor conditions, good details in all lightning conditions, and vivid colors in most situations, with fast and accurate autofocus.

On the downside, it produces low detail in long-range zoom shots, and displays some noise in low-light and indoor settings. Also, the blur gradient in portrait photos is not realistic.

As MacRumors’ notes, not everyone agrees with DxOMark’s scoring system, but the company nonetheless provides consumers with a take on one of the key features they should consider when weighing up Apple’s cheaper 2018 iPhone.


In tests, the iPhone XR offers comparable quality photos to the iPhone XS Max.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

Previous and related coverage

‘iPhone XR from $449*’: Apple ramps up iPhone sales push

Apple’s marketers start playing with the fine print and prices after new $100 extra trade-in promotion.

Slow iPhone sales? iPhone XR is our best-selling model, says Apple

Maybe $1,000 is too much? Apple says its cheaper iPhone XR has been the best-selling iPhone since its launch.

Apple to iPhone owners: Up to $100 more for your old phone if you buy XS, XR

No discounts on the iPhone XS, but Apple will give you more for an old iPhone.

Apple restarting iPhone X production, cutting XS price over slow sales?

Apple is said to be ready to offer subsidies to operators to discount the iPhone XR in Japan.

Apple iPhone XR review: Lower cost comes with camera, reception compromises

Apple switched up release strategies a bit in 2018 with the two high end $1,000+ models released initially, followed by one priced $250 to $350 less. The iPhone XR arrives in six color options and honestly it may be the best option for the masses.

Trump: iPhone buyers could ‘very easily’ stand paying 10% more with China tariff

Ahead of this week’s G20 meeting, Trump talks up tariffs on Chinese-made iPhones and MacBooks.

One month with the Apple iPhone XR: Long battery life, solid camera, and fun colors

After a month of use with the least expensive new iPhone, it is clear to me that it’s likely the best new iPhone for most people, including me. It has grown on me over the month and I’ve been buying accessories to support its use over the long term.

Demand for new iPhones weaker than Apple expected, claims report TechRepublic

It seems that Apple is having a hard time forecasting what the demand for new iPhones will be, and is being forced to slash production orders as a result.

Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR CNET

With all of Apple’s latest iPhones you can’t plug your standard wired headphones into the phone without using a Lightning adapter, which Apple includes along with a set of Lightning EarPods.

December 10, 2018 brianradio2016

I’ve seen a couple of verified reports that Microsoft is now pushing the newly revised Win10 September-October-November-December 2018 Update, version 1809, on “seekers.” Be aware that Microsoft, once again, interprets a click on “Check for updates,” as giving carte blanche to install whatever is in the kettle.

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and caldron bubble
Could we first test a stubble?

If you’d rather not offer your machine for the ol’ eye of newt and toe of frog treatment, there are some quick and easy steps you should take right now to make sure your machine will withstand Patch Tuesday’s onslaught.

Blocking Automatic Update on Win7 and 8.1

People tend to forget that Windows 7 originally shipped with an Automatic Update feature that was turned off by default. It was up to the user to manually turn on automatic updating. We’ve come a long way.

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have “Important Updates” set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.

Blocking Automatic Update on Win10 Pro

If you’re using Win10 Pro (or Education) version 1709, 1803 or 1809, I recommend an update blocking technique that Microsoft recommends for “Broad Release” in its obscure Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates — which is intended for admins, but applies to you, too. (Thx, @zero2dash.)

December 10, 2018 brianradio2016

New York-based ShelterZoom plans to launch a real estate application that will lets buyers and sellers transact deals over a blockchain-based network, which could make purchasing a house as easy as pressing a button on a smartphone or tablet.

Set to go live in the first quarter of 2019, the application allows sellers, buyers and real estate reps to see all offers and acceptances in real time online. Real estate agents, along with clients, can also access property titles, mortgages, legal and home inspection documents through the Ethereum-based encrypted blockchain ledger.

“Our current platform is already helping agents, buyers, sellers and renters make the big leap to technology’s present, and we’re excited to initiate another industry sea change in early 2019,” Chao Cheng-Shorland, ShelterZoom’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

The start-up has been piloting its application with real estate firms over the past year; it’s now being tested by more than 90 brokerages around the world.

Blockchain, which is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger, can run on hundreds, thousands or even millions of servers, each of which has the same data entries as the other. Because everyone on a blockchain has access to the records, a consensus of users can validate whether a transaction is authentic or not. Additionally, the user’s personal information behind the record is encrypted.

ShelterZoom Offer NowShelterZoom

ShelterZoom’s “Offer Now” widget allows potential buyers to put an offer in on a property with a mobile device.

Mike DelRose, 32, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Revolution in Watertown, Mass., describes himself as a tech enthusiast who became familiar with blockchain after his cousin recommended he buy bitcoin, the cryptocurrency application that runs on blockchain distributed ledger technology.

December 9, 2018 brianradio2016

If you’ve ever wanted to get into a person’s head, finding out what books he or she reads is a good place to start. Time reports on the tomes that have been taking up real estate in Bill Gates’ mind of late, “perfectly timed for the holiday season.” In fact,…