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PC games 2019: the best games that came out this year

It’s been a relatively quiet year for PC gaming, but that in no way means it’s been a bad year. In the absence of the usual big-budget RPG sprawls and major franchise regurgitations, more experimental games have stepped into the spotlight.So here’s to the weird and the alternative ones that have brightened up 2019. In an industry that can often feel relentlessly industrial and commercial, it’s refreshing to have a year in which the weird and inventive games have been allowed to flourish.We’ve also listed the best PC games ever if you fancy playing older titles as well.

1. Disco Elysium
Old-school style RPG Disco Elysium creeps up out of nowhere to take our top spot. It’s an RPG in the purest sense of the word, with each of your actions feeling consequential, and a robust levelling system that lets you immerse yourself in the role of good cop, bad cop, or some kind of maverick in between.You play a troubled detective working in a fictional city district overrun by vice. While investigating a dark conspiracy stemming from a murder, you’ll face tough choices that will affect your character’s mental state and future dialogue options – it’s even possible to drive him utterly mad! There’s minimal combat, but a great sense of gravitas to every player decision, making for one of the most weighty and oppressive RPGs ever made.

2. Resident Evil 2 REmake
Is this the greatest videogame remake ever made? Quite possibly. With Resident Evil2 REmake, Capcom wisely stayed true to the beats of the original story, which sees dual protagonists with divergent stories Leon and Claire try to escape the zombie-infested Raccoon City.Beyond that, this remake reimagines everything else perfectly. Resources are scarce, basic zombies become a constant bullet-absorbent threat that can burst through doors between areas, and Mr X is a systemic menace, unstoppably stomping after you for half the game. There’s even something of that Souls-like level design as you steadily open up shortcuts to offer some respite from the horror.

3. Outer Wilds
Gamers have a fair amount of space exploration games to choose from today, but something that many of them lack is personality – a sense that the places you discover have their own cultures, architecture and people, places that are homes rather than just resource repositories to exploit.Outer Wilds addresses that, treating us to a warm, welcoming adventure filled with cosmic mystery and puzzles. It’s a game for those who want to take their time, to explore every corner and learn about the diversity of planets they visit. You’ll die and be reborn many times, but it’s presented so elegantly that you’ll be smiling all the way instead of biting your controller in frustration (see: Sekiro).

4. Total War: Three Kingdoms
The Total War series has always been one of the finest exclusives on PC, but since its stabs at the Warhammer canon it’s reached new heights in terms of integrating great storytelling into its campaigns. With Three Kingdoms, diplomacy, quests and campaigns all feel rich and engaging, while the more immediate matter of the battles themselves continues to be unrivalled.Ancient China is a  resplendent setting for the Total War formula, and fans of the Three Kingdoms saga will be delighted to lead great generals like Lu Bu, Cao Cao and Guan Yu into battle to the chimes of a beautiful musical score. From the sight of elegant Chinese forts burning in a night siege to the epic turn-based campaign, this is a spectacle worthy of its epic source material.

5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
When Sekiro was announced, the assumption was that it would be ‘Dark Souls in feudal Japan’. Instead, it took the brave step of leaving behind much of the intricate Souls formula in favour of a flashier, more stylised and more linear Samurai adventure that owes more to the Ninja Gaiden series.One crucial thing that Sekiro retains from Dark Souls is the head-pounding difficulty and subsequent satisfaction of mastering those precise parries, or of finally overcoming a gruelling boss who ground you to dust about 20 times. Once again, From Software reassert themselves as masters of unforgiving gameplay that rewards the most headstrong of players.

6. Control
From the nightmare sequences in Max Payne to the time-twisting Quantum Break, Finnish developer Remedy has always had a penchant for the paranormal. These brilliant ideas weren’t always matched by compelling mechanics, but with Control the developer seems to have finally found the right balance.A big part of Control’s appeal is its open design. The game’s setting, a Brutalist security complex called the Oldest House, is a fascinating environment, where you try to make sense of the shifting surroundings and reanimated bodies possessed by some kind of dark forces of physics. The flowing gravity-free combat is excellent too.
Buy Control from the Epic Games Store

7. Untitled Goose Game
Some games are just made to make you smile, and few in recent years have been as effective at doing that as Untitled Goose Game. The irreverent sort-of stealth game casts you as the titular waterfowl causing chaos in a quaint English village.You steal vegetables, create diversions while committing mischief, and terrorise locals with your honking as you trot around the pastelly and pleasing environs of the village. It doesn’t last long, but it’s a couple of the cheeriest hours you’ll spend with a game all year.

8. Metro Exodus
The Metro series has always flown just under the mainstream radar, while offering some of the best linear FPS storytelling since Half-life 2. Exodus moves away from its predecessors’ murky subway settings into the overworld of post-apocalyptic Russia. This means a greater range of environs, and vast open levels that offer freedom of approach. Despite the trademark bleak ambience, it maintains a well-paced sense of adventure as you take a train across the Russian wasteland. It’s atmospheric and gritty, effortlessly flowing between survival-horror and impressive insights into civilisation on the surface.

9. The Outer Worlds
Obsidian are masters of storytelling, so when their latest RPG The Outer Worlds was announced there was a sense that it would be the spiritual successor to the beloved Fallout: New Vegas. And in some ways it is, as you bounce between space colonies, explore strange locales, and engage with a vibrant world that has distinctly Fallouty future-50s stylings.Choose which factions to side with, make decisions that will affect the colony’s fate, and run around diverse worlds scavenging resources to improve your character. It’s not as content-packed or meaty as the biggest RPGs of recent years, but its colourfully consumerist world is a joy to explore for dozens of hours.

10. Mordhau
Medieval first-person fighting games can often feel shambolic; a whirlwind of iffy animations, even iffier ragdolls and unthinkably high bunnyhops that would be impossible in a 100lb suit of armour.Mordhau polishes off many of those rough edges, sharpening the combat to make it feel brutal and crunchy and immediate. Limbs fly, weapons have impact, and its physics-based play means you can do things like block a throwing knife with a shield you grabbed off the ground, then stick it between your enemy’s ribs. Never has the expression ‘rough and ready’ felt more apt.
Check out the best multiplayer PC games

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Games of the decade: TechRadar’s favorite games from the last ten years

It’s been quite a decade in gaming. We’ve seen consoles come and go, game subscription services rise, remasters reign and technology go beyond beyond our wildest dreams. Streamers have become household names, esports has become a booming industry and we can finally play console-quality games on our phones that put the likes of Snake to shame. The last ten years have been a rollercoaster.But when we look back on the 2010s as a decade, what games will truly stand the test of time? Which games will we look back on fondly in 20 years and hope that it’ll be remastered for whatever next-next-next generation console is sitting in our futuristic homes?Here at TechRadar, after some heated debates and mild eye-scratching, we put together a list of the best games of the decade. These aren’t necessarily the games we think have had the most cultural or technological impact, nor are they ranked, they’re simply the team’s favorite games from the last ten years. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to make a ‘definitive’ list of the best games of the past decade, not everyone will agree  – as we all have different tastes and opinions – plus there’s only a finite amount of games we can include.So sit back and enjoy a journey down memory lane with TechRadar’s Games of the Decade list.
The Last of Us (2013)

Sony has knocked it out of the park this decade when it comes to exclusives, releasing mammoths like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man. But we believe Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is truly the most memorable of them all, marrying relatable characters with a beautiful cinematic action experience – all wrapped up in a post-apocalyptic bow. The Last of Us has everything you could want in a AAA game: tight mechanics, visually stunning environments, characters with emotional depth and fantastic scripting. But it’s truly Joel and Ellie’s relationship that steals the show, as we watch the grizzled, reluctant mentor and his spunky accomplice develop a bond for the ages. We can’t wait to see what The Last of Us: Part 2 has to offer as their story continues.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Zelda was due for a reinvention after Skyward Sword on the Wii, and this was as radical a change as the series has ever had. The traditional overworld/dungeon structure was switched for a completely freeform open world game, mixed with survival elements involving food and temperature for the first time. But the Nintendo difference is how tactile Breath of the Wild’s open world feels. You can climb every surface in its world, a stark contrast to games like Assassin’s Creed where platforming feels extremely prescribed. This feels like a true adventure, in a beautiful world where you can complete the main objectives in the order you choose. It’s the most important Nintendo game of the last decade. 
Pokémon Go (2016)

It’s not often that a game can boast players having walked the length of the solar system (collectively). Actually, it’s not often a game can boast having made players walk at all, but Pokémon Go changed all that when it was released in 2016. Still hugely popular, Niantic’s mobile title shows just how much the Pokémon brand crosses generations, with players of all ages heading outdoors to catch the pocket monsters. Unlike many games, Pokémon Go encourages players to walk, work together and generally just be lovely to one another. There’s still Pokémon Go community days that see thousands of attendees. Pokemon Go is wholesome and – even better – it’s free (for the most part). No other game has quite got the formula right.
Mass Effect 2 (2010)

When deciding our best games of the decade, the TechRadar team knew that one Mass Effect game was going to make it onto the final list – what we didn’t expect was for us all to agree on which one. It’s obviously Mass Effect 2. While Mass Effect was brilliant in its own right, carrying on Commander Shepherd’s story in a more interactive, narrative-rich and mechanically tighter sequel is the pinnacle of this series. Not only can you directly carry on from the first game – retaining your Commander’s look and personality – previous decisions impact how the story plays out, making it feel like the character is truly your own. Mass Effect 2 takes the best parts of its predecessor and makes them better than ever, adding more depth to both the story and characters. It’s the best the series has ever been.
GTA V/GTA Online (2013)

As a series, Grand Theft Auto has always been a staple of gaming. When GTA V released in 2013, it was a success, but what no one banked on was the longevity of the game – and that’s primarily down to GTA Online.While GTA V is a great game in its own right, GTA Online is what makes it one of the best games of the decade for us with its continually evolving world where you can essentially do as you please. It’s a feat of online multiplayer and one which Red Dead Online hasn’t quite caught up with yet. GTA Online changed the boundaries of what a shared online multiplayer experience could be and we’re still enjoying it to this day.
Journey (2012)

Thatgamecompany’s Journey is truly breathtaking. This indie gem may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying that it is wonderfully unique. Journey is a piece of art, combining a moving soundtrack with an emotional nuisance that doesn’t even need words.The concept is so simple but speaks volumes.Journey proves that a game doesn’t need a huge budget to be awe-inspiring, it epitomizes the emotional depth that indie games can tap into and does so much while (verbally) saying so little. Journey is an unforgettable experience.
Stardew Valley (2016)

Farming simulators have been done a thousand times but there’s nothing quite like Eric ‘ConcernedApe’ Barone’s Stardew Valley. The pixelated RPG encompasses a classic farming simulator, dungeon-crawler and adventure game, all in one charming package. However, what we love most about Stardew Valley is just how relaxing it is and how much subtle depth the game has. Each of Pelican Town’s residents has been beautifully handcrafted to have their own personalities, likes, dislikes and flaws. Stardew Valley doesn’t feel like an escape, per-say, but more like returning to an old friend you haven’t seen in years.
Fortnite (2017)

Love it or hate it, Fortnite is a phenomenon. Not only did the game bring battle royale to the masses, it blurred the lines between pop culture and gaming. Fortnite streamers have become celebrities in their own right – just look at Ninja -, celebratory dances have made their way into the real-world, while you’ll find it hard to go into any toy store without seeing a mass of Fortnite merchandise. For a game that’s still technically in early release, that’s one heck of a feat.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

Where do we even begin with Skyrim? Bethesda’s epic fantasy pushed the boundaries of open-world RPGs, allowing players to immerse themselves in a colorful world of peculiar characters and sheer adventure. Sure, in hindsight Skyrim has some issues with bugs and glitches, but that’s part of the charm. Plus, the main quest is superbly written and there’s plenty of noteworthy quotes, scenes and side quests that will keep it fresh in our minds for another decade – at least until The Elder Scrolls 6 releases. 
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

The Witcher 3 is how an action RPG should be done. A riveting storyline, unique characters, picturesque environments, rich folklore, more side quests than you can shake a stick at and a grizzled – but charming – protagonist. The Witcher 3 is an immersive fantasy, full of exploration, humor and with plenty to see and so. Several years later, we still can’t get enough of Geralt of Rivia. 
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True wireless earbuds, vinyl, and Alexa: the 10 biggest audio trends of the last decade

A credit to the pace of our world’s technological innovation, today’s audio landscape is almost unrecognizable to the previous decade. We now ask our smart speakers and headphones to play music for us, our wireless headphones are good enough to consign wired pairs to a museum, and modern turntables mean that we’re increasingly listening to a format that was on its deathbed in the late ‘80s. Accessing millions of high-quality songs at the touch of a button is no longer a pipe dream, either.Here, we take a look at the biggest audio trends of the last decade – the upsurge of streaming, voice control and vinyl amidst the decline of music piracy, CDs and the headphone jack – for the 2010s will be remembered for much more than Gangnam Style, meme culture and the perceived color of that dress…
The last ten years in audio
Bluetooth has hugely advanced headphones quality
1. Wireless headphones
Those AirPods in your ears or Sony headphones around your neck – you can thank Bluetooth for them. While the technology first gave rise to wireless headphones around fifteen years ago, it’s only in the last decade that it has advanced enough for cordless cans to offer a true alternative to wired pairs. Today, many even sound comparable thanks to the combination of improved hardware and Bluetooth technology. While Bluetooth transmission was originally limited to 328kb/s (slightly less than MP3 quality), Qualcomm’s now widely adopted aptX Bluetooth audio codec arrived at the turn of the decade to enable ‘CD-like’ quality. Furthermore, aptX HD, which launched in 2016, now sees many pairs capable of hi-res 24-bit wireless transmission too.
These are the best wireless headphones you can buy
Look mom, no wires! The Apple AirPods paved the way for mainstream true wireless earbuds.
2. True wireless earbuds
Advanced Bluetooth chips such as Apple’s H1 (as found in the AirPods) and Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo have also emerged to make way for the endemically popular AirPods-style true wireless earbuds which deliver (mostly) stable connections and increasing power efficiency through their completely wire-free, untethered form. They may have been the subject of unfavorable memes and electric toothbrush head comparisons, but since their release in 2016 (and subsequent 2019 update) the AirPods have been the talk of the headphone town. As rivals look to snatch some of that market share with noise cancelation and sleek designs, the popularity of true wireless earbuds will undoubtedly continue well into the 2020s.
Apple AirPod-alternatives: the best true wireless earbuds for every budget
Voice assistants like the Amazon Echo Dot’s Alexa (pictured) have increasingly freed up our hands.
3. Voice assistants
These days you’d be forgiven for shouting “Alexa, play Ed Sheeran“ at your unresponsive wardrobe. After all, many ‘smart’ things in our homes and daily lives can now abide by such voice requests, whether that’s a wireless speaker (in which virtual assistants originated), an in-car system, a plug, light, or even a microwave. With the uptick in smart home adoption and the inarguable popularity of certain smart devices such as the Amazon Echo Dot and Apple HomePod, it would be almost impossible to ignore Amazon’s seemingly everywhere Alexa voice assistant, as well as rivals Google Assistant and Apple Siri, even if you wanted to. In only five or so years, these leading virtual assistants have paved a hands-free way for how we control our devices, find information and, ultimately, live our lives – and they will only continue to do so.
Google Assistant: how to make your Google Home speaker work for you
Multi-room audio from the likes of Sonos gave us music everywhere.

4. Multi-room audio
Music in the bedroom, music in the kitchen, music in the garden, music in the hallway; music anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi signal. Multi-room marvel Sonos introduced and normalized the concept of simultaneous music playback in multiple rooms of a household.Seven years after it rounded out its catalogue with the wireless speaker line-up we know today, the now exhaustive multi-room market is still Sonos-centric despite venerable rivals from the likes of Bose, Audio Pro and Bluesound. The ability to pair and group multiple speakers together is now a fixture of many wireless speaker brand’s line-ups, and has become a paramount feature within many prevalent open-source platforms such as Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2.
The top wireless speakers of 2020
Streaming became a battlefield for better sound.
5. Music streaming
The digital audio era birthed two ways to consume music – streaming and downloads – and while one is miserably losing out, the other is thriving. Predominantly thanks to Spotify’s arrival in 2008, the 2010s have very much belonged to music streaming. In 2018, streaming accounted for nearly half of the global recording industry’s revenue, its growth more than making up for the nosedive decline in CD and digital downloads revenue. It’s changed the way we consume music – we borrow rather than own it, we listen to songs as opposed to whole albums, it’s about cloud storage and bandwidth over hard-drives and…well, nothing. In a partial attempt to overthrow the largest streaming service on the planet, rivals such as Amazon Music, Tidal and Deezer are offering not only much, much higher-quality, 24-bit sound quality, but also new listening experiences altogether, such as 3D audio.
Hi-Res Audio: everything you need to know
3D audio is offering more than stereo.
6. 3D audio
“Here’s something I probably shouldn’t be saying: I never listen to my soundtrack albums because I can’t stand it. It’s just stereo,” said Hans Zimmer, in an interview with Coming Soon. ‘Just stereo’ was an adopted attitude when multi-channel music enjoyed its heyday in the early noughties (thanks to SACD), and while we’ve since returned to stereo partiality there’s still a desire for more immersive audio experiences; experiences processing wizardry hopes to deliver. And these have found homes on streaming services. On Deezer, Amazon Music HD and Tidal, for example, there are songs in Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format, which uses proprietary object-based audio technology to deliver a full 360-degree audio experience. Dolby Atmos Music has also emerged to promise more engrossing music streaming through services, too. While 3D may be dead and buried in the AV world, it’s very much alive and kicking in music.
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The rise of Spotify and other streaming services has led to more personalized music listening.
7. Personalized listening
Just as we don’t have to use our hands to play music these days, we don’t need to choose it anymore either. You could spend days, weeks, even months listening to a streaming service without needing to use its search bar – and not because you’re indecisive, but because recommendation algorithms now serve up what you want to listen to for you. Spotify et al will make us playlists – several playlists, in fact – based on our listening habits, and the more we listen the more intelligent (and, theoretically, accurate) the AI tool gets.
The headphone jack’s death spurred wireless listening.
8. No more headphone jack
When Apple axed the 3.5mm headphone jack on its 2017 iPhone 7, and the rest of the phone world began following suit, we were given two options: walk around sheepishly with a dongle sticking out of our phones in order to use our favorite trusty pair of wired earbuds, or simply use wireless headphones. Unsurprisingly, the latter emerged as the most popular choice, hammering another nail into the coffin of wired options. The 3.5mm jack isn’t dead just yet – it lives on in the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10, midrange Google Pixels and even the iPhone SE – but its future doesn’t look bright.
Vinyl re-emerged and is here to stay.
9. The vinyl renaissance
Once left for dead as CD dawned, vinyl has resurged with a celebratory snap, crackle and pop. Staging the perfect revenge, it is even on track to outsell CDs for the first time in over 30 years. The comeback of the physical format was perhaps unlikely in this digital world, but its unwavering traction over the past half-decade just goes to show that while the convenience and accessibility of streaming is king, ownership and tactility also remains important. The vinyl revival has also in turn re-popularized and advanced turntables, not to mention expanded the connectivity checklist of audio systems to include a phono input. Would we have had Bluetooth turntables, or decks that can not only play, but also digitize vinyl records, selling on the high street without this renaissance? Not likely.
The best turntables of 2020
Bone conduction: from Beethoven to millennials.
10. Bone conduction headphones
True wireless earbuds may be under the spotlight in the headphone world, but another concept is battling to be heard: bone conduction headphones. What may sound like the futuristic brainchild of Isaac Asimov is actually centuries old. Instead of sitting in or on your ears, these, ahem, bonephones rest on your cheekbones, communicating the music they’re playing through the vibration of your face bones straight to your inner ear. Beethoven used the technology to hear his piano playing by attaching a rod to his piano and holding the other end in his teeth, and while it’s been used for hearing aids and military communication for years, only in the past few has it been hailed ideal for sports headphones like the AfterShokz Trekz Air, allowing wearers to stay aware of their surroundings during a workout.
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Apple could ditch the notch on the 2020 iPhone, according to new leaks

The notch that arrived with the iPhone X in 2017 may not make it to all of the 2020 iPhone range, according to reports based on recently published patents as well as information from inside the supply chain.LetsGoDigital suggests that the patents and leaked data that it’s gathered point to the top-end 2020 iPhone having a notch-free front display, with Touch ID moved under the screen and Face ID ditched.That leaves the question of where the selfie camera will be on the iPhone 12 – it’ll have to either be placed under the display like the fingerprint sensor, or packed inside the small bezel at the sides of the screen.
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Images from a patent filed by Apple in Japan on December 23 show an iPhone without a notch, and in fact this is a rumor that’s been doing the rounds for months. Apple is certainly looking into getting rid of the notch, it’s just not clear when it’ll happen.

Several sources have previously reported that Apple wants to put a selfie camera as well as a fingerprint sensor under the display of future iPhones, but we’re not sure that this tech is going to be ready in time for the 2020 iPhones.Phone makers are getting to the stage where this sort of technology is possible, but it’s still early days, and image quality (not to mention facial recognition capabilities) are likely to be affected as a result.Other manufacturers including Samsung are said to be planning in-screen cameras for future flagships, while some existing phones use pop-up selfie cameras to keep the front display as uncluttered as possible.Despite these recent leaks, we’d expect at least some of the iPhone 12 handsets to keep the familiar notch – though one model may come with a smaller notch or no notch at all as Apple experiments with in-screen Touch ID.
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What is Amazon DynamoDB?

A database is the heart of any application. It’s where a web application stores all of the user information such as credit cards, phone numbers, and home addresses. It’s what an internal business dashboard uses to track all of the reporting functions that show the health of your firm. It’s how a massive e-commerce website tracks all of the product information such as product name, price, features, and SKUs (stock-peeping units). Without a database, there would be no applications — on the web, on your phone or tablet, or on a computer.Fortunately, a cloud database can deliver all of the benefits you might expect such as auto-scaling, high reliability, and fast performance. And, a modern database can benefit from advances in technology that make the database much faster and more efficient.Amazon DynamoDB is a database that operates in the cloud, but it’s also one that operates more efficiently, faster, and with better security than a traditional on-premise database or even a cloud-based database that lacks the high-performance features.To understand what it is and how it can benefit your company, it’s important to explain some database terms. Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value database, which is a way of describing how the data is stored. Unlike a traditional relational database such as SQL that assigns a descriptor to each field, a key-value database stores data in a nonrelational way using keys. This type of database using something called an “associative array” to store the records.Because this is a more advanced form of a relational database using key values, it’s known as NoSQL which stands for Not Only SQL and means the database is meant for high performance and is enhanced by the fact that the database using key values.While this might all sound technical, it’s an important distinction because Amazon DynamoDB is built for speed and performance; it’s intended for those with massive data throughout needs. It’s also a highly efficient way to use a database in an application, especially if the database contains millions of records. To give you an idea of what this means, Amazon DynamoDB can handle 10 trillion requests per day and at peaks of 20 million requests per second.In practical terms, it means there are few business applications that would stress the database engine or cause issues in terms of reliability, uptime, scaling, or performance. That’s why large companies such as Lyft, Toyota, and Capital One use Amazon DynamoDB as their database engine of choice. When there are millions of concurrent users accessing a credit card database at the same time, or many millions of passengers accessing a ridesharing app, the DynamoDB database can not only keep pace but provide nearly instant results.
Benefits of Amazon DynamoDB
When your staff are free to focus on the actual application and not running the database and the supporting IT infrastructure management, it leads to better applications, services, business dashboards — and better overall company support and service to end-users.That’s one of the main advantages to using DynamoDB — it is particularly efficient and fast, which helps companies that need that level of throughout and performance to meet the demands of customers. There’s no concern about “can the database keep up” because the platform can scale up or down as needed to meet dynamically changing user requests.Amazon has called this “virtually unlimited throughout” and it means there are no bottlenecks — in fact, the service is designed to provide a single-digit millisecond response time.As with most Amazon cloud computing services, DynamoDB is designed to operate without direct involvement from your own staff. That means you don’t have to configure or setup the database itself, manage the related infrastructure such as the servers, networks, or online storage, and you don’t have to maintain the database. Your team doesn’t have to think about whether the data is secure, safe from hackers and data breaches — that responsibility falls on the cloud provider. There are no requirements related to provisioning or patch the data.The huge benefit here is that your company is free to focus on the application itself, not how the database is managed and maintained. It means you don’t have to become experts in infrastructure management, server provisioning, storage allocations, or any of the related technologies that are typically needed to make sure the data is available to apps.An important benefit for Amazon DynamoDB specifically is that it is ready for enterprise-grade applications — the kind that involves millions of users. In the example mentioned previously related to credit card data, as a company scales up and acquires millions of customers, there are no sudden requirements related to archiving and storing the data even as the database grows to petabyte-scale and no need to radically improve endpoint security.
Use the best business intelligence tools to analyze big data.

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Microsoft takes down 50 North Korean hacking sites

Microsoft has successfully launched a court action to take control of fifty domains used for spear phishing attacks.These attacks apparently came from a hacking group affiliated with North Korea, and collected user account details in order to both steal data as well as upload malware in an attempt to infect IT systems.
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Spear phishing
The phishing emails were targeted at employees of governments, international agencies, as well as university staff, mostly based in the US, Japan, and North Korea. The spoof emails claimed that the user’s account was compromised, advising them to login to change their account details.Of course, the links went to domain names that attempted to look official in order to record the user account details. Once inputted, hackers could use this login information to access the user’s official account. From there, they would not just access and copy user information, but also install malware in an attempt to infiltrate any IT systems the user had access to.Additionally, the hackers were able to set up a command to copy any new emails to the user without the user realizing, even when the account password had been changed.According to Microsoft, the court action allowed Microsoft to take control of the fifty domain names used in the attack.While presented as a victory against cyberattacks, domain names are cheap and it would be easy for the hacking group to simply copy their phishing attacks onto a new set of domains.Additionally, users are reminded that in the event of ever receiving an email claiming your account details have been compromise, DON’T click on the links in the email, but instead visit the main website directly in order to avoid what is one of the most common yet easiest to avoid web attacks.
Via ZDnet.
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Why the HTC One M8 is the best phone of the decade – and beat these four other phones

The last decade has changed the face of mobile phones. Major milestones have seen the introduction of brand new, game changing technologies as well as the death of big brands and operating systems.Back in 2010, we were getting excited about the HTC Desire and iPhone 4. Now, we’re talking about foldable devices, the introduction of 5G and some of the most high-tech pieces of kit you could imagine in your pocket.While the noughties may have seen the introduction of the smartphone, manufacturers have taken devices to new heights in the last 10 years. That’s why sitting down and deciding on the best phone of the decade has been difficult task.We’ve been reviewing smartphones for the entire decade and beyond, so we put our collective heads together to come up with a top five list of the most impressive, influential and trendsetting devices of the last 10 years.Below you can see how we decided on the list – Editor in Chief of TechRadar (and ex-Phones Editor) Gareth Beavis and Phones Editor James Peckham take on this task and try to come up with a fair list of the best devices.There’s one clear winner though, which if you read on below you’ll find out all about:
5. OnePlus 3

The Chinese manufacturer rocked the mobile market with its OnePlus One ‘flagship killer’ in 2014, but with limited availability and a tepid follow-up in the form of the OnePlus 2, it wasn’t until 2016 and the OnePlus 3 when the firm really made its mark on the industry.The OnePlus 3 was the company’s first all-metal handset, instantly making it look and feel like a true top-tier device. It boasted a flagship chipset, plenty of RAM and a large 5.5-inch display. The real kicker, however, was the price. The OnePlus 3 cost around half the price of the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, HTC 10 and Sony Xperia X – and showed the world that you didn’t need to pay through the nose to bag yourself a smartphone which had plenty of grunt and a premium design.Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that’s certainly the case with the OnePlus 3. It set the standard for “affordable flagships” and since its introduction with seen the likes of Honor, Xiaomi, Oppo, Alcatel, Realme and more follow a similar formula – with varying degrees of success.In recent years, even the established names have looked to take a leaf out of the OnePlus playbook, with handsets like the iPhone XR and Samsung Galaxy S10e making an appearance.The OnePlus 3 allowed us to dream. It allowed us to believe. It allowed us to own a premium handset without plunging us into crippling debt. And for that, we salute you.Written by John McCann, Phones Editor at TechRadar 2016-2019
4. iPhone 4

The iPhone was something of a joke among the ‘true’ tech fans of the world until this model came along – the plastic backs of the 3G and 3Gs, with the limited screen quality and poorer cameras did it no favors.However, one feted trip to the bar and one lost iPhone later, the world glimpsed the new iPhone 4 for the first time. Whether this was intentional or not, we’ll never know, but the hype it generated was off the charts.Why? Well, the Retina display was higher-res than anything Apple had made until that point – and of higher quality and richness too.The camera was boosted, taking faster and sharper pictures that really shone on the new screen tech. But that’s not the reason it’s on this list – it’s the design. The industrial, metal rim and glass back were a real statement that Apple was serious about the smartphone game, and the improved power and upgraded design were shining symbols of that.Was it the best phone on the market? Hell no, there were tonnes of more capable devices. But Apple’s burgeoning App Store, slick design and easy interface on the iPhone 4 was the moment the iPhone became more mainstream in critics’ eyes – and that led to the domination you see today.Written by Gareth Beavis, Phones Editor at TechRadar 2009-2016
3. Moto G

The Moto G is by far the least impressive handset on this list, but it changed what phones were capable of. It didn’t have an impact on the top-end like the HTC One M8 or the iPhone 5S in 2013, but instead it changed the bottom of the market.Motorola made a conscious effort to supply impressive devices at the cheaper end of the market. It changed what we could expect from the low-end handsets that were quite often terrible and difficult to recommend to anyone looking to save money.The Moto G came along in 2013, and it just worked. Sure, it didn’t have an impressive rear camera or phenomenal power inside, but it did enough so it just actually worked well.Finally, there was a phone on the market that cost less that we could wholeheartedly recommend to anyone that wanted a more affordable device.From there, the company took the Moto G series to new heights introducing new camera technology as well as new variants that have their own specific impressive features.Take the Moto G7 Power with its phenomenal two day battery life. Without the Moto G, that phone wouldn’t have been possible. The Moto G won’t go down as the best phone of the 2010’s, but it helped change the face of one of the most interesting areas of the whole phone industry.Written by James Peckham, Phones Editor at TechRadar 2019-now
2.  Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

It’s easy to forget how exciting the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was. We’d seen the bent screen technology debut the year before in the Galaxy Note Edge, but this was the second iteration and it was vastly improved for the flagship S7 phone.The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was a five star handset on TechRadar. In fact, it was the last five star handset review in the phone space on the site, and we haven’t seen anything worthy of that accolade on since it debuted in 2016.It wasn’t just the bendy screen technology that resonated with us though. The screen was bigger because of that curved tech, and it was just a genuinely well built phone with a beautiful glass design.There was a bigger battery that allowed for the phone to last for a solid day, plus the camera was one of the best that we’d seen on a phone at the time and by far the greatest Samsung had introduced.At the time, we said, “we could always want more from our handsets… but if you’re looking for a well-designed, powerful phone that actually packs some useful day-to-day features, the Galaxy S7 Edge is the one to go for.”Written by James Peckham, Phones Editor at TechRadar 2019-now
1. HTC One M8

There are some moments in a tech journalists career when you know you’re seeing something that absolutely represents the very best of the best – holding the HTC One M8 for the first time was one of them.HTC, in the early part of this decade, was the big challenger to Apple’s iPhone dominance, with the Desire being the first true rival from the Android stable. And while Samsung’s resources and budget meant it started to pick up momentum, HTC’s rebooted ‘One’ line of phones was still the critics’ choice for so many reasons.The ‘original’ One (let’s forget about the confusing One X, S and V that preceded it) was launched in 2013, and it showed that HTC was a brand still to be reckoned with – the metal chassis, the brilliant low-light camera and front-firing BoomSound speakers were revolutionary, and the software made the very most of Android.Fast forward a year, and the ‘tricky second album syndrome’ was all reviewers could talk about. Would HTC be able to build on an almost perfect phone? What headroom was there left?The One M8 (ridiculous name aside) was proof that perfection could be improved upon. The upgraded screen, speakers and addition of a second lens were big jumps forward (how many phones today have a single lens?) but it was the refined, polished and just more impressive feel of the phone in the hand that made it one of our top phones of all time.Sure, it might not have dramatically exceeded the specs of the previous model, but that was a revolutionary device – the One M8 showed that it’s possible to bring amazing refinement and improvements in key areas, and that’s why it’s still a phone we’d love to see rebooted and brought into the 2020s.Written by Gareth Beavis, Phones Editor at TechRadar 2009-2016
The phones we’re looking forward to in 2020

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Get £50 of PlayStation Network credit for just £43 in the January Sales

You can buy all sorts of stuff on the PlayStation Network (PSN), including games, DLC add-ons, movies and TV shows – and with this fantastic January deal from, you can save on those purchases as is selling £49.99 of credit for the PSN for just £42.99, which means you save £7 to spend on something else. If you’ve got some digital goods to buy, then it makes sense to get them at the cheapest possible price.For this to work you need a UK-registered PSN account. You can use the credit to buy content for the PS4, the PS3, and the PS Vita, so you don’t need one of the latest consoles to take advantage of this deal.We’ve also got plenty of other PlayStation deals to tell you about, plus discounts on a year’s subscription to PlayStation Plus.
Check out the best January Sales deals we’ve found so far
Today’s best PlayStation Network deals
You can find all the best January sales right here on TechRadar – we’re collecting all the best savings to bring you amazing deals throughout the holiday period. You can also check out some excellent PlayStation Plus deals we’ve found online.

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Best free and public DNS servers of 2020

DNS (Domain Name System) is a system which translates the domain names you enter in a browser to the IP addresses required to access those sites.Your ISP will assign you DNS servers whenever you connect to the internet, but these may not always be the best choice. Slow DNS servers can cause a lag before websites start to load, and if your server sometimes goes down, you may not be able to access any sites at all.Switching to a free public DNS server can make a real difference, with more responsive browsing and lengthy 100% uptime records meaning there’s much less chance of technical problems.Some services can also block access to phishing or infected sites, and a few offer content filtering to keep your kids away from the worst of the web.You need to choose your service with care – not all providers will necessarily be better than your ISP – but to help point you in the right direction, this article will highlight six of the best free DNS servers around.
We’ve rounded up the best website hosting services
Founded in 2005 and now owned by Cisco, OpenDNS is one of the biggest names in public DNS.The free service offers plenty of benefits: high speeds, 100% uptime, phishing sites blocked by default, optional parental controls-type web filtering to block websites by content type, along with free email support if anything goes wrong.Commercial plans enable viewing a history of your internet activity for up to the last year, and can optionally lock down your system by allowing access to specific websites only. These aren’t going to be must-have features for the average user, but if you’re interested, they can be yours for around $20 (£14.30) a year.If you’re an old hand at swapping DNS, you can get started immediately by reconfiguring your device to use the OpenDNS nameservers.If you’re a newbie, that’s okay too, as OpenDNS has setup instructions for PCs, Macs, mobile devices, routers and much, much more.
Check out OpenDNS here
Best known for its top-rated content delivery network, Cloudflare has extended its range to include a new public DNS service, the catchily-named product doesn’t have any of the extras you’ll often see elsewhere. There’s no anti-phishing, no ad-blocking, no content filtering or other attempts to monitor or control what you can access, and what you can’t.Instead, Cloudflare has focused much more on the fundamentals. These start with performance, and independent testing from sites like DNSPerf shows Cloudflare is the fastest public DNS service around.Privacy is another major highlight. Cloudflare doesn’t just promise that it won’t use your browsing data to serve ads; it commits that it will never write the querying IP address (yours) to disk. Any logs that do exist will be deleted within 24 hours. And these claims aren’t just reassuring words on a website. Cloudflare has retained KPMG to audit its practices annually and produce a public report to confirm the company is delivering on its promises.The website has some setup guidance, with simple tutorials covering Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux and routers. These are very generic – you get one set of instructions for all versions of Windows, for instance – but there are some pluses (IPv6 as well as IPv4 details) and you should be able to figure it out. Additionally, mobile users can use WARP which secures all of the phone’s internet traffic.If you have any problems, Cloudflare offers a community forum where you can ask questions or see what others are doing, a nice extra touch which we’d like to see followed by other providers.
Check out Cloudflare here
Google Public DNS
Google has its fingers in most web-related pies, and DNS is no exception: it’s free Public DNS is a simple and effective replacement for your own ISP’s nameservers.Privacy can’t quite match the ‘we don’t keep anything’ promises of Cloudflare, but it’s not bad. The service logs the full IP address information of the querying device for around 24 to 48 hours for troubleshooting and diagnostic purposes. ‘Permanent’ logs drop any personally identifiable information and reduce location details to the city level, and all but a small random sample of these are deleted after two weeks.There’s a further benefit for experienced users in Google’s detailed description of the service. If you’d like to be able to assess the significance of Google’s privacy policy, for instance, you can read up on absolutely everything the service logs contain to find out for yourself.Google’s support site offers only very basic guidance targeted at experienced users, warning that “only users who are proficient with configuring operating system settings [should] make these changes.” If you’re unsure what you’re doing, check the tutorials from a provider such as OpenDNS, remembering to replace its nameservers with Google’s: and
Check out Google Public DNS here
Norton ConnectSafe
UPDATE: Norton ConnectSafe retired and the service isn’t available anymore.
Norton ConnectSafe is a free DNS service which can automatically block access to fraudulent, phishing and malware-infested websites, as well as optionally filtering sites by content.This is a familiar idea – OpenDNS and Comodo, amongst others, do much the same thing – but ConnectSafe has one important advantage. It takes its data from Norton Safe Web, a comprehensive database on more than 50 million websites in 23 languages. The service delivers probably the best web filtering performance around, and the ability to get it for free, without having to install any software, is a major safety plus.Setting up the service requires choosing from three levels of protection.The Security policy blocks malicious and fraudulent websites only, and uses the nameservers and Security and Pornography policy adds support for filtering sexually explicit material, and uses the nameservers and very strict Security and Pornography and Other scheme extends the filtering to block ‘sites that feature mature content, abortion, alcohol, crime, cults, drugs, gambling, hate, sexual orientation, suicide, tobacco or violence’ by using the nameservers and’s likely to lock you out of a lot of content, but it might appeal as a way to protect young children, and you don’t have to use this policy everywhere. You could lock down your kids’ tablet with this policy, for instance, but stick with the plain Security policy for your own laptop.There are only very basic setup instructions on the ConnectSafe site, but if you run into trouble, the tutorials on competitors such as OpenDNS may point you in the right direction. Just be sure to use Norton’s nameserver IP addresses when you change your device settings.
Check out Norton ConnectSafe here
Comodo Secure DNS
Comodo Group is the power behind a host of excellent security products, so it’s no surprise that the company also offers its own public DNS service.Just as you’d expect, Comodo Secure DNS has a strong focus on safety. It doesn’t just block phishing sites, but also warns if you try to visit sites with malware, spyware, even parked domains which might overload you with advertising (pop-ups, pop-unders and more). Furthermore, you can try out the Comodo Dome Shield service, which adds additional features to Comodo Secure DNS.Comodo claims its service is smarter than average, too, detecting attempts to visit parked or ‘not in use’ domains and automatically forwarding you to where you really want to go.Performance is key, of course, and the company suggests its worldwide network of servers and smart routing technology give it an advantage. DNSPerf’s Comodo stats are less impressive, unfortunately. As we write, DNSPerf reports its average query time as around 72ms.That said, Comodo may still be interesting if you’re looking for an extra layer of web filtering, and the support website has some short but useful instructions on setting the service up on Windows PCs, Macs, routers and Chromebooks.
Check out Comodo Secure DNS here
Quad9 is a young DNS outfit which has been providing a fast and free DNS service since August 2016.The company sells itself on its ability to block malicious domains by collecting intelligence from ‘a variety of public and private sources.’ It’s not clear what these sources are, but the website says Quad9 used 18+ ‘threat intelligence providers’ as of December 2018.That’s a little too vague for us, and we’re not convinced that using a large number of threat intelligence providers will necessarily help – the quality of the intelligence is generally more important than the quantity.There’s no arguing about Quad9’s performance, though. DNSPerf currently rates it seven out of ten for average worldwide query times, lagging behind Cloudflare and OpenDNS, but effortlessly outpacing contenders like Comodo.Drilling down into the detail reveals some variations in speed – Quad9 is on the sixth place for North American queries – but overall the service still delivers better performance than most.Setup guidance is a little limited, with tutorials for the latest versions of Windows and macOS only. They’re well presented, though, and it’s not difficult to figure out what you need to do.
Check out Quad9 here
Verisign was founded in 1995 and through the years offered various services, including several security services, like managed DNS.Verisign DNS service is free to use and the company highlights the three features they deem the most important and those are stability, security, and privacy. The service definitely delivers on that account, especially for the security and stability. As for the privacy, while you can never be 100% sure when it comes to the company claims, there weren’t any issues and the company assures you that your public DNS data will not be sold to third parties.Performance, however, wasn’t that great when compared to some other providers. Still, it’s decent and depending on your needs, you might not be bothered by this. At the moment, ranks the service at tenth place, worldwide.On their website, you can find tutorials on how to set up their public DNS. Tutorials are available for Windows 7 and 10, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices. There is also a tutorial on how to configure DNS server settings on your router.All in all, Verisign offers a good alternative to some other DNS providers, plus it’s free so it’s worth checking out.
Check out Verisign DNS here
Got further questions about DNS? Here are some common queries along with our answers.
What is DNS?
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a phonebook for the internet, a framework which translates domain names, like or, into the IP addresses necessary for devices to load those internet resources.The mechanics of DNS can be quite complicated, as information isn’t held in a single database, but rather distributed in a worldwide directory including a vast number of DNS servers.Fortunately, the average internet user doesn’t normally have to get involved in any of the low-level technical details. Your ISP automatically provides you with access to a DNS server whenever you go online, and whenever you enter a URL into your browser, this will find the relevant IP address for you. 
Your ISP DNS isn’t performing? Verisign is one of many big-name companies offering a free alternative
Why might DNS matter to me?
DNS servers can vary hugely in speed, particularly in areas which don’t always have the best internet coverage (Africa, South America, Oceania.) To take an example of a single day when we tested, reported Cloudflare achieved an average 4.43ms query time for Oceania, while Yandex was left trailing at 350.24ms. That’s potentially more than a third of a second in extra waiting time before your browser is able to access any new website.This is an extreme example, to be fair. European or US lookups may see less than 30ms variation between most DNS services, and as your device or router will probably cache the address for reuse later, even this delay will only occur very occasionally. Still, a sluggish DNS server can noticeably slow down your browsing in some situations, and trying an alternative – especially as the best options are all free – is generally a good idea.There’s a second possible benefit in terms of uptime. If your ISP DNS server fails, you might not be able to access some or all of your favorite sites. Big-name providers such as OpenDNS claim they’ve had 100% uptime going back years.

How can I find the fastest DNS service?
DNS speed depends on many factors, including your location, the distance to your nearest server, and that server having enough power and bandwidth to handle all the queries it receives.DNS Jumper is a portable freeware tool which tests multiple public DNS services to find out which delivers the best performance for you.The program has a lot of options, but isn’t difficult to use. Launch it, click Fastest DNS > Start DNS Test, and within a few seconds you’ll be looking at a list of DNS services sorted by speed.DNS Jumper can be useful, in particular because it’s checking how servers perform from your location, but it doesn’t run enough tests over a long enough period to give you a definitive answer.

DNSPerf tests multiple DNS services every minute from 200+ locations around the world and makes the results freely available on its own website. This gives a very good general idea of performance, and also enables seeing how services compare on different continents, as well as assessing their uptime.
How can I switch DNS servers?
The steps involved in changing your DNS service vary according to your hardware and possibly your operating system version.Generally, you must start by finding the primary and secondary nameservers for the DNS service you’d like to use. These IP addresses are normally displayed very clearly on the service website, so, for example, Cloudflare DNS uses and simplest approach for home users is to update their router to use the new addresses. Most other devices will then pick up the new DNS settings automatically, with no further work required.To make this happen you must log in to your router (the default password may be printed on its base) and look for the current DNS primary and secondary nameservers. Make a note of the current values in case of problems, then replace them with the nameservers you’d like to use.If you run into problems, check out your DNS service website for any setup guidance. Keep in mind that you can also use the tutorials of other DNS providers, as long as you remember to replace their nameserver IPs with your preferred options. OpenDNS, for instance, has specific guidance for many different router types on its support site.If router tweaks aren’t right for your situation, you may have to change the DNS configuration of each individual device. Cloudflare has short and simple guidance here, while the OpenDNS website goes into more depth.

How can I find my current DNS servers?
If you’re troubleshooting your internet connection, or maybe thinking of switching DNS servers, it might be useful to check which DNS servers you’re using at the moment.The simplest way to do this is to visit and tap the Standard Test button. Within a few seconds the website will usually display your DNS server IP addresses, host names, and sometimes (if appropriate) the name of your ISP.After that, life gets more complicated as there are several potential options. Your device could be set up to use specific DNS servers; it might ask your router to give it the best DNS servers every time it boots; or it might not know anything about DNS servers, and leave your router to handle everything.On Windows, you could get started by entering IPCONFIG /ALL in a command line window. Look for your network adapter and you should see its DNS servers specified in the list.If there’s a single DNS IP address which points at your router – 192.168.x.x – that suggests the router is handling all DNS queries. Enter that IP address into your browser, log in to the router if necessary and your DNS servers should be listed amongst the settings.

How can I test a DNS service?
If your browser is telling you a website’s ‘server IP address could not be found’, even though you’re sure it’s up and available, then this could be due to a problem with your DNS. But you might not want to go to the trouble of changing your DNS service to find out.Windows users can use the command line tool nslookup.exe to look at the results of any DNS server without touching their system settings.Run cmd.exe to open a command line window, then type:nslookup website.comThen press Enter (replace with the address of whatever website you’re trying to reach).Nslookup uses your default DNS server to look for the IP address of If it tells you it ‘can’t find’, this means your DNS server doesn’t have a record for that domain.Next, tell the tool to use another DNS service by entering a command like:nslookup address uses Google DNS – replace that with any DNS service you like, such as for Cloudflare.If nslookup returns errors using multiple servers, this doesn’t look like a DNS issue. If one server returns an IP address and another doesn’t, you might want to try setting up your system to use the working DNS and see if it makes any difference.
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These Bose wireless headphones have a huge £70 off in Amazon’s early January sale

The January sales have started early at Amazon, with some huge savings on top quality audio gear, including the superb Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II.  (Not in the UK? Scroll down for the best headphone deals where you are.)These premium wireless headphones fit around your ears to block out external sound, so you can focus on what you’re listening to. There’s no active noise cancelling here, but that’s part of what makes these more affordable.
The ear cups are made with a micro suede Alcantara for a soft feel and comfortable fit. Meanwhile, the headband itself combines nylon and stainless steel for a sturdy design that can handle life on the go.The headphones connect wirelessly to your devices using Bluetooth and offer up to a 30-foot range. The battery inside offers up to 15 hours of playback. And, with fast-charging, plugging the SoundLink headphones in for just 15 minutes can give you an extra two hours of playback time.If you’re not in the UK, here are the best deals on these great-sounding headphones where you are:
The best headphones of 2020

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