Gaming News

A Brisk Value in RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboards: Cooler Master CK552

August 27, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

A Tiny Fraction of the Cooler Master CK552 Keyboard’s Pre-Loaded Lighting ModesGIF: Corey Foster

The CK552 keyboard is Cooler Master’s answer to PC gamers who dare to ask for an abundance of flair, customization, and quality without compromises or a high price tag.

Available exclusively through Best Buy in the US, the Cooler Master CM552 presents potential users with a $70 keyboard value that’s difficult to believe. Long life mechanical switches, per key lighting, and a styled aluminum chassis are just the start of its bullet points. I was skeptical to give it a go, but I allowed a full week for my muscle memory get a feel for it during both work and gaming. Fast forward more than a month later and it still graces my desk.


Unboxing the CK552 was without fanfare. We get only a USB keyboard and a cheat-sheet of customization and macro controls. The only visible Cooler Master branding on the CK552 is a single function key etched with CM’s rounded hexagon mark. The minimalist black brushed aluminum design evokes its primary purpose as a tool for gaming.

Cooler Master CK552Image: Cooler Master

The aluminum deck and Gateron Red key switches make typing on the Cooler Master CM552 rock solid. Even with the riser feet extended, typing on this keyboard is as concrete as if the keys were mounted directly to my desk surface. I (and those around me) especially appreciate that Gateron Reds don’t sound like gunfire while I’m typing, yet still produce a very satisfying “clack.”

On-the-fly controlImage: Cooler Master

Per-key lighting is where the refined design of the CK552 bends to whatever flair you might prefer instead. Cooler Master’s Portal customization software gives you complete and precise control over all the lighting and Macros of the keyboard. However, I admire that the CK552 keyboard’s lighting, macros, and even profile presets can be commanded using only the CM function key combined with other keystrokes. I respect the available software, but I’m glad I wasn’t forced to install it in order to fully enjoy this peripheral.


Despite using a full desktop keyboard for most of my work and PC gaming, I’m not typically a mechanical keyboard advocate. A keyboard is quite personal to me. Several have consumed space on my desk over the past few years, but I just couldn’t get to a “like” point with any of them. The Cooler Master CK552 is the first mech keyboard to last longer than a few weeks on my desk, and I expect it to be here through the foreseeable future.

Tech News

Lyft's personal subscription locks in the cost of your favorite trip

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Lyft

Lyft has been trying out an All-Access subscription that lets you ride on a frequent basis for one flat fee, but it’s overkill for many people. What if you mainly tend to take one route every time? There’s now an option for you — Lyft has unveiled a Personal Plan that locks in your fare for a favorite route as long as it would normally cost $25 or less. If you sometimes need a ride to work or the gym, you won’t have to worry about Prime Time spikes (aka surge pricing) making it inordinately expensive.

The feature is available across the US starting today, and there’s no long-term commitment. You can invoke the Personal Plan only for busy months, in other words. The monthly rate varies — we saw an example of $8 per month, that’s not necessarily what you’ll pay.

This is only really a bargain if you’re a creature of habit who makes several trips to the same place each and every month, but can’t use a carpooling option like Lyft Line. It’s still more affordable than the $200 or more that some Lyft customers were seeing in the All-Access test, though. And it certainly makes sense for the company — this could give it a steadier source of income from passengers who might otherwise skip rides or look to alternative transportation options.

Tech News

Making a living scamming the scammers

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


“Well, my grandchildren were over and it’s something about a pornography virus,” says the soft voice of an elderly woman over the phone. “I unplugged my computer right away,” she continues, and after she explains her worries in a little more detail, a female voice on the other end of the line replies, “That’s all right. Don’t worry, let me assist you with this. And may I know, is that a desktop or a laptop?” The PC has apparently been hacked, as confirmed by allowing the support team remote access, but resolving this comes at a cost. Nearly two hours and 20 minutes — and several transfers between call center staff — later, Kitboga drops the vulnerable-old-lady act.

“Can I be honest with you a second. I’m not actually a grandma,” Kitboga says as he turns off his speech manipulator and begins talking in his normal, male voice. “I’m probably your age,” he admits to the woman currently on the call, “and I’ve known the whole time that this was a scam. And the lengths that you went through to try to take advantage of her are … it breaks my heart.” By “her,” of course, he’s talking about the elderly woman the call center workers think they’ve been passing around. “I’m angry, but I’m trying really hard to just be honest and nice with you,” he says. A few words into the next sentence, the scammer hangs up. And to think, 40 minutes earlier they were singing Sia’s song “Cheap Thrills” to each other over the phone.

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Scams come in many forms. Sometimes it’s a cold caller claiming to be a government employee. You owe the IRS money for unpaid taxes, they say, and will face criminal charges if you don’t pay immediately. Another, relatively new confidence trick preys on the allure of cheaper airfare. (For the record, a legitimate American Airlines agent won’t accept Google Play or Steam credit as payment.) Tech support scams are one of the easiest to stumble across. A pop-up will scare you into believing your computer has been hacked or infected, and provide a number for a Microsoft technical support center. There is no virus, of course, and the person on the other end of the line has no Microsoft affiliation. They will fix the entirely fabricated problem with your computer, though, for a fee.

It’s impossible to know exactly how much money tech support scams bring in. Microsoft estimated in 2015 that in America alone, 3.3 million people would be defrauded that year, to the tune of $1.5 billion. This April, the company said it had received 153,000 reports worldwide regarding support scams in 2017, up 24 percent from the previous year. Victims of these scams weren’t taken for insignificant amounts, either, often paying between $200 and $400 to peace-of-mind peddlers. You may think the call centers, the vast majority of which operate from India, prey primarily on elderly

Tech News

Phishing scam targets iPhone users with a fake call to ‘Apple Care’

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Shutterstock / ymgerman

As more and more people use their mobile devices for everyday computing tasks, it makes sense that there would be more attacks. The latest phishing attempt, discovered over at Ars Technica, involves a false webpage that initiates a call on your iPhone. According to the site, when they made the call, they were connected to a fake representative who said he was “Lance Roger from Apple Care.” The person quickly hung up as the reporter tried to stall and get more detail on the scam.

Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica reports that he received an email that was formatted to look like an official iCloud security warning from Apple. The message had a link to a webpage in southern India, which then forwarded him to yet another webpage made to look like the official Apple support site. This secondary page then used JavaScript to start a dialog box on his phone to start a phone call. According to Gallagher, it will also initiate a FaceTime session on an iOS device. Gallagher has sent the details along to both Apple and Google’s security response teams. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

Tech News

We won't see a 'universal' vape oil cartridge anytime soon

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Pre-loaded cartridges of cannabis concentrate are currently among the most popular means of consumption, and for good reason. They’re discreet to use and easy to handle, a far cry from the dark days of 2016 when we had to dribble hash oil or load wax into narrow-mouthed vape pens by hand. But, frustratingly, an ever increasing number of oil cartridge manufacturers employ one-off design standards so that their products won’t work with those of their competitors, thereby locking customers into proprietary ecosystems.

We’ve already seen this with nicotine vaporizers — which has a seen a massive rise in “pod systems” in the last few years, each outfitted with a unique canister and battery built to be incompatible with those of their competition. Is it too late for the burgeoning cannabis industry to set a universal standard for their product designs?

This unfortunately is not a unique occurence. Companies have long sought to retain customers by ensuring that what they buy only works with what the company sells. Just look at Apple’s “walled garden” filled with patented charging and data ports that won’t work with other brands’ devices. Luckily, the personal computer industry is mature and ubiquitous enough to have already sorted that issue through the implementation of standardization practices. That is, whether you’re using a Chromebook or a MacBook, you can rest assured that your USB plug is going to work with both.

What’s more, as of August 2016, the Federal Drug Administration has classified e-cigarettes (technically, “electronic nicotine delivery systems” or ENDS) as drug delivery devices, subjecting them to the rules of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDCA regulates aspects like the ingredients that can be used and various product features, as well as health risks associated with their use and how they’re marketed. Cannabis vaporizers suffer from few such regulatory impediments since cannabis itself is still a Schedule 1 drug and illegal at the federal level.

That’s not to say cannabis vapes are completely lacking in standardized components. Many vape models, especially smaller pen-style vapes like the Bloom Farms Highlighter use 510 thread for connecting the atomizer (the bit with the oil in it) to the battery housing — the same connection used in non-proprietary e-cigarettes. However, just because two parts fit together, doesn’t guarantee that they’ll work properly. Bloom Farm’s atomizers “will fit with any 510 thread, but we recommend using ours so the voltage is correct for the cartridge,” a Bloom Farms rep told Engadget. “This will save you from burning your oil.”

Often, those parts won’t even fit together to begin with. Take the Pax Era or the Grenco G Pen Gio, for example. These popular cannabis vapes do away with 510 threading altogether in favor of a simple drop-in cartridge. But you’re out of luck if you’ve got a Gio and your local dispensary only has Era pods in stock.

Unsurprisingly, some people in the industry think the move towards more

Tech News

Some Dropbox users are getting an extra 1TB for free

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Thomas White / Reuters

Dropbox Professional and Business Standard users have more storage to play with starting today, as the company is bumping up the capacity on each plan by 1TB. Professional users now have double the space with 2TB, and Business Standard teams will share 3TB between their members.

It’s a useful increase for those who use Dropbox on a more-than-casual basis, especially if they have large video files to share. New users will have the increased storage capacity when they sign up, while existing users will get the upgrade over the next few weeks. The Professional plan costs $20/month (or $199/year), with more features than the $10/month Plus plan, while Business Standard runs $12.50/user/month with a minimum of three people per team.

However, Plus users are not getting an increase on their 1TB limit at the minute, despite more aggressive pricing from Google, which announced the One program in May. Google is offering 2TB for $10/month, including family sharing with private storage for up to six members.

Tech News

Google brings Chrome to Daydream VR headsets

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


It’s been a long time in coming, but Chrome browsing in VR is finally here. Google has released a version of Chrome that supports both Daydream View and stand-alone Daydream headsets like the Lenovo Mirage Solo. It can visit any website and includes Chrome staples like incognito mode, syncing and voice search, just in a wearable-friendly format. Google is also promising Daydream-specific features like a “cinema mode” when you watch online video.

You should see the VR-ready version when you update Chrome on Android. This make the most sense if you have a dedicated headset (where there isn’t a guarantee of phone access), but it promises a much more consistent VR experience. You could resume reading a story from your desktop, or check on a web guide for an app without having to remove your headgear.

Tech News

Ecobee smart thermostats now save you money during peak hours

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


Ecobee now has an answer to Nest’s peak-usage energy savings. It’s launching a Peak Relief pilot program that automatically cuts down on heating and cooling when electricity rates are at their highest. It uses your comfort preferences, home energy efficiency and the weather forecast to ramp up the heat or AC right before peak times so that you can reap the benefits of your smart thermostat without paying quite so dearly for the privilege. Ecobee reckons that you’ll save an additional 10 percent on your bills on top of the 23 percent you’re normally supposed to save.

Peak Relief works with Ecobee 3, Ecobee 3 Lite and Ecobee 4 thermostats, but that’s not the only requirement — where you live also matters. The pilot is currently limited to certain users in Arizona, California and the Canadian province of Ontario, and then only for people who both have electric heating/cooling and hour-by-hour utility billing. If everything aligns, though, you won’t have to panic when you need air conditioning on a hot night after work.

Tech News

T-Mobile is buying $3.5 billion worth of 5G gear from Nokia

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Yves Herman / Reuters

T-Mobile is gearing up for 5G in a big way: the carrier just announced a $3.5 billion deal with Nokia for 5G equipment. At this point, it’s the biggest arrangement that we’ve seen around next-generation wireless equipment. T-Mobile says it’ll be using Nokia’s gear to build out its 5G network along 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. That covers both broad availability, as well as spectrum needed for dense urban areas.

The deal is a major one for Nokia, as it’s also competing with Ericsson and Huawei in the networking equipment arena. And while most carriers have been hyping up 5G over the years, this moves shows that T-Mobile is ready to do more than just talk about it. As we’ve covered, 5G networks will be much faster than existing 4G LTE, but they’ll also offer lower latency, which makes it more useful for games and applications that demand speedier response times.T-Mobile previously announced that it will start building its 5G network in 30 US cities this year.

“We are all in on 5G,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement. “Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we’re making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network.”

Tech News

Fossil will sell BMW-branded smartwatches next year

July 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Michael Dalder / Reuters

BMW is moving into the smartwatch game, but it’s not actually making the devices itself. Instead, Fossil has struck a five-year deal to create BMW-branded watches and smartwatches, as part of its seemingly never-ending quest to offer a smartwatch for everyone’s taste.

You can expect to see the first batch of BMW smartwatches next year, and you’ll be able to pick up the wearables from BMW retail locations as well as at Fossil’s usual points of sale. Carmakers getting into the smartwatch business is hardly novel, as the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Audi have all dipped their toes into the branded watch waters.