February 1, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

Two hours into humanity’s latest venture in Surviving Mars, I knew we were all going to die. Like Roanoke centuries before, brave and intrepid volunteers had set off for a foreign frontier, only to find it less hospitable than expected. Of course, the coast of Virginia must’ve seemed like a paradise compared to the barren red expanse of Mars which lay around my doomed colonists, but the spirit was the same.The problem, as so often in history, was human error. My human error, to be exact. I hadn’t realized our fledgling colony needed to be near a metal deposit to…

January 31, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

While Microsoft continues to be buoyed by enterprise and cloud services like Azure, chief executive Satya Nadella tried to reassure analysts that Microsoft still has a consumer strategy: Xbox, PC gaming, and devices powered by digital assistants like Cortana. But he wasn’t especially convincing.With the demise of consumer products like the Zune music player, Groove Music Pass, and Windows phones, some customers have wondered whether Microsoft indeed has a consumer strategy in mind. “When I come home at night, I’m talking to Alexa… not Cortana,” one analyst said during a Microsoft investor call on Thursday.“Our real strategy going forward is…

January 31, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

HotSpot Shield in brief:P2P allowed: YesBusiness location: United StatesNumber of servers: 2,000+Number of country locations: 25Cost: $71.88 per yearBefore people got serious about VPN encryption post-Snowden, a top choice for encrypting your Wi-Fi connection was AnchorFree’s HotSpot Shield. It was free, easy to set up, and only required that you look at some ads injected into your browsing.That service is still around, but today we’re looking at HotSpot Shield Elite. AnchorFree’s paid service that removes the ads and offers faster speeds.To read this article in full, please click herePowered by WPeMatico

January 31, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

Even a generous 24-inch monitor can feel cramped when you’ve got multiple windows open on your desktop (and who doesn’t?). It’s much worse if you’re confined to a laptop screen. Fortunately, it’s simple enough to add a second monitor to your PC setup and spread out.Any modern desktop or laptop PC has the graphics capability to run dual displays. Allthat’s required is a second monitor. You can get a very nice second screen for around $100, such as a  HP’s 21.5-inch, 1920×1080 Pavilon IPS monitor for $99 on Amazon or Acer’s 21.5-inch, 1920×1080 G226HQL for $90 on Amazon. Both feature fairly thin…

January 31, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

If you got a Google Home Mini to go with your Android phone this Christmas, one of the first things you probably asked it to do was send a text. But instead of asking what you wanted to say, your Google Home said this: Sorry, I can’t send texts yet.But starting today, if you ask the same question to your Amazon Echo, it will happily oblige. Here’s how to send SMS text messages with Amazon Echo.Echo devices have long been able to send messages to each other, but now Amazon has expanded that to the Android community as a whole,…

January 31, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

I like to think the sign of a good remaster is whether it looks the way you remember a game looking in your memories, whether it maintains the spirit of the original. By that definition, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition is one of the best remasters I’ve ever played. Here’s a game that’s over 20 years old, and when I loaded up this week’s closed beta I thought to myself “Yeah, this looks pretty much like I remember.”Turns out the original Age of Empires actually looked way worse in 1997 than I remembered—a fact Google Images was all-too-happy to remind me…

January 31, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

Finding a good free backup solution is easier than you’d think. A host of companies would love to give you free online backup or free backup software—and perhaps surprisingly, nearly all of them are quite competent.Of course these companies aren’t really in it for the satisfaction of knowing your data is safe. Their free versions usually only provide enough storage for essential data, or are lacking some advance features that pros would employ. They hope you’ll love the program or service so much, or find it so useful that you’ll eventually fork over some cash for additional storage or those…

January 30, 2018 CuttingEdgeTech

I’m always happy when a program makes backup quick and easy. MiniTool ShadowMaker makes me very happy. Being available in a free version that has all the features the average user needs makes me even happier. I’d say ecstatic, but hey, this is backup, not true love or world peace we’re talking about.Setup and interface MiniTool ShadowMaker is a 70MB download, and installs with just one process running in the background—its scheduler. As it’s a Windows-only program, and creates bootable media in the Windows PE (Pre-install Environment) format, I’m not sure why the company didn’t leverage the existing Microsoft scheduling—it’s…