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The Morning After: Thursday, January 4th 2018

There's a big problem inside your CPU.
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Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

First things first: check your system for updates. Once you've got that sorted, we have plenty of pre-CES info to share including a new XPS 13 from Dell and a quick flyby video of SpaceX's big rocket.


Update early and often.Meltdown and Spectre weakness affects most modern CPUs

Keep an eye out for updates on your PCs, phones and even servers. A particularly nasty vulnerability has been discovered that takes advantage of techniques modern processors use to complete tasks faster. If a piece of malware using this code ended up on your system (or, for example, on a server powering multiple websites), it could steal information from other programs currently running, like passwords or security keys.

The three vulnerabilities make up two exploits, Meltdown (affects Intel based CPUs), and Spectre (works on many chips, including ARM, AMD and Intel). Patches that address the issue are rolling out across the Windows, macOS and Android platforms. This code could even run on a webpage, so it's important to grab the latest Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer updates, too. The patches could reportedly reduce performance in some cases, but the information we've seen so far indicates there's little impact on regular desktop and mobile users.


Voice assistant included.Roku aims to take over home audio with its wireless speaker platform

No, Roku isn't building a wireless speaker. Instead, it's approaching home audio similar to how it tackled TVs: by offering its technology to other companies. Roku Connect is a new wireless audio platform that the company will license to third parties. Roku also put together a hardware reference design for a smart soundbar and speaker, which will guide partners as they develop their own hardware. The goal? To make it even easier for consumers to put together their own theater systems and spread speakers throughout their homes.

This will include the Roku Entertainment Assistant, which will let you control the company's entire platform with voice commands. You could, for example, say "Hey Roku, play rock music in the living room," and it'll start spitting out tunes from your soundbar.


Smaller, lighter and... cleaner?Dell XPS 13 hands-on: a makeover inside and out

Dell's XPS 13 has been one of our favorite laptops for years, and with good reason. Its compact design, brilliant display, comfortable keyboard and long battery life make it a well-rounded device. This time around, Dell wasn't content to simply offer an incremental processor bump, oh no. It has given the XPS 13 a makeover, with narrower bezels, a new cooling system and a white option with a stain-resistant coating. Let's open it up.


But it probably still will.eHarmony can't claim its matches are 'scientific' anymore

Dating service eHarmony has a weird definition of science when the law comes knocking. An ad in the London subway system triggered the UK's Advertising Standards Agency to call the "scientifically proven" matching system "misleading."

eHarmony claims that its algorithm is "based on scientific theories in the relationship literature of assortative mating," and provided a couple of studies as evidence that its claims hold water. However, one of the studies was apparently a survey taken by couples that proactively told the dating site about their impending nuptials. That's in addition to eHarmony allegedly incentivizing them to do so. That's not exactly a random sample.


Now with webcam covers.Lenovo's new ThinkPads pack 8th-gen Cores and slimmer designs

Lenovo just revamped most of its ThinkPad lineup, and it's good news if you want a speedy portable that won't weigh down your laptop bag. Its new ThinkPad X, T and L models have all made the switch to faster eighth-generation Intel Core processors while sporting slimmer, lighter bodies. The 12.5-inch X280, for example, is 15 percent thinner (0.69in) and 20 percent lighter (2.6lbs) than its predecessor. There's also a new 13-inch L-series (the L380) for people who want a no-frills pro laptop in an even more portable design.


Spoilers!'Blade Runner 2049' VFX reel breaks down that unexpected reveal

Despite the insane stakes, last year's Blade Runner 2049 lived up to (and in some ways surpassed) the paradigm-shifting original film. The sequel created its gritty futuristic look with the help of plenty of visual effects, but building settings isn't all the film pulled off with digital wizardry. A shocking moment comes with the kinda-return of a pivotal character from the original -- now we see how they managed it.


Critics be damned.Netflix confirms a 'Bright' sequel is on its way

Netflix's Bright might not be a critical success, but it is a commercial one. The company has confirmed that Bright 2 is in development through a brief teaser clip -- already. The movie had the best first-week viewing of any original movie on Netflix, racking up 11 million views in just its first three days. It was also the top movie on Netflix in every country where it was available.

But wait, there's more...


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