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    Windows 10 bug crashes laptop when lid opens and closes unnecessarily

    A hardware problem is being investigated by Microsoft

    Owners of Windows 10 laptops are being warned of a new issue that causes Desktop Windows Manager (DWM) to crash unexpectedly when the laptop is repeatedly opened and closed. 

    The issue, which Microsoft attributes to a bug rather than a hardware problem, reportedly affects laptops running any version of Windows 10 and configured to operate at 4K resolution. 

    "This problem occurs because of an issue in the Microsoft DirectX Video Memory Management (Dxgmms2.sys) component," the company said. The documentation also indicates that this is tied to a bug in the Microsoft DirectX Video Memory Management software, so it likely is not a hardware problem.

    "Through desktop composition, DWM enables visual effects on the desktop as well as various features such as glass window frames, 3-D window transition animations, Windows Flip and Windows Flip3D, and high-resolution support," Microsoft explained.

    Problematic scenarios 

    The DWM issues only crop up under certain conditions, including: 

    • Scenario 1: When a user plugs a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) monitor into a laptop computer that is running Windows 10 and the monitor is configured to operate at 4K resolution. In the Control Panel, the Advanced settings screen of the Power Options item is set to Lid close action “Do nothing.” The issue could occur if 4K video is playing back and a user is repeatedly closing and opening the computer lid.

    • Scenario 2: A user connects two 4K monitors to a Thunderbolt 3 docking station, configures a triple 4K display configuration in either "clone" or "extend" mode, and then repeatedly undocks and redocks the laptop.

    Microsoft said it’s working on a fix for both of these issues. In the meantime, consumers are urged to avoid unnecessarily closing or undocking their system if they come across a problem. 

    Owners of Windows 10 laptops are being warned of a new issue that causes Desktop Windows Manager (DWM) to crash unexpectedly when the laptop is repeatedly...
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    Summer home fixes for the fall season

    From landscaping to rainspout checks, here is our list of home repair you can do to prep for fall

    The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: HomeAdvisor

    With the longer days and the better weather, summer is a great time to get a head start on all your home fixes. Prepping your home with repairs done in the summer sunshine may save you serious cash and time during fall. Check out our list of things you can do now that will help your home run smoother in the autumn.

    Check your rainspouts and gutters

    Because most of the country deals with less rain and storms now than later in the season, you should definitely check your rain gutters' efficiency. Get topside with your usual cleaning equipment and make sure the pathways are clean. Then, with a controlled flow of water, safely check to see if you have any leaks or pooling — both can be detrimental to your property.

    If you feel safer on the ground but still want to approach a home improvement project, check out our partners at HomeAdvisor. They can match you with prescreened, local service professionals.

    Learn More

    Check for pest entrances and exits

    During the fall season, pests like mice and rats are desperately looking for spaces to nest during the inclement weather. You should be diligent while the sun is out and check for small entrances into your residence that can be used by these animals. Look around the outside of your property for even the most minor holes, then properly fill or cover them with mesh. If you suspect an infestation, make sure to check out or pest control guide for a company that can help.

    Test all safety devices

    Events happen at the most inconvenient times, so make sure to check things are in working order, like fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. As the weather gets colder, windows stay shut more often, which leaves a greater necessity for these devices. While you’re doing that, resupply your fire safety equipment, make sure your first-aid kit is restocked and confirm any other emergency kit — such as an earthquake kit — is ready for use.

    Get your heating system serviced

    With the colder weather comes our dependency on a home heating system. Whether you have an HVAC or simply stay toasty with your chimney, it’s time to make sure those heating systems are suitable for use. Have your chimney, boiler and furnace cleaned. You should also have all gas lines checked, and make sure your ducts and filters are clear. If you’re looking to upgrade your current HVAC system, check out our helpful guide on heating and cooling system companies.

    Get your yard ready

    We may have enjoyed the fruits of our yardwork over spring and summer, but the weather will be changing, and we need to get ready. As soon as your leaves start turning color, make sure to hedge your plants back for the healthy leaves. You may also want to scan the yard for any dangerous tree limbs that could fall in heavy wind, rain or snow. If plants have completely taken over during the growing months, make sure to check out our guide on landscaping equipment to help tame that yard.

    Your property is a valuable asset, so take the time to protect that investment from the upcoming winter months. Another way you can protect your home is through the right homeowners insurance coverage. Check out our guide on home insurance companies for a breakdown of what they can do for you and how they work.

    We’ve got great home fixes you should do to prepare for fall....
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    Top 5 Hulu shows to binge at the end of summer

    Beat the heat with these great Hulu shows

    As we enter the hot months that will round out our summer, staying indoors and cooling down is a must. But what can we do to pass the time? One answer, of course, is marathoning your favorite series! If you’ve found yourself scanning channels and menus for far too long, here is our list of great streaming shows featured on Hulu you should check out.

    1. Little Fires Everywhere

    "Little Fires Everywhere" is a Hulu original drama packed with all-stars giving electric performances. Based on the award-winning book series of the same name, "Little Fires Everywhere" features Reese Witherspoon (Elena Richardson), Kerry Washington (Mia Warren) and a great supporting cast. If you are looking for an excellently crafted show with emotional drama and surprises you won't see coming, "Little Fires Everywhere" is something you should check out.

    • Rated: TV-MA
    • Available: Hulu

    Get Started

    2. The Handmaid’s Tale

    "The Handmaid's Tale" is a dark, dystopian series set in a near-future where women struggle to survive under a militarized patriarchal government. This Emmy-award winning series beautifully adapts Margaret Atwood's novel, and performances by Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne/Offred/Ofjoseph) and Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford) drive a plot filled with danger, emotion and intrigue.

    • Rated: TV-MA
    • Available: Hulu

    Get Started

    3. Love, Victor

    "Love, Victor" is a fantastic coming-of-age series that premiered this year. The series follows the trials and tribulations of Victor (Michael Cimino), a new kid in a new town, and how he navigates popularity, romance and home life with the help of Simon (Nick Robinson). It's a spin-off of the popular film "Love, Simon," and this series doesn't lose a step from the original content. If you are looking for a modern take on young love, "Love, Victor" is a great place to start.

    • Rated: TV-14
    • Available: Hulu

    Get Started

    4. Letterkenny

    "Letterkenny" is a hilarious half-hour comedy from Canada that recently made its way to the US. Set around the small town of Letterkenny, this show follows its ridiculously funny and risqué citizens as they live their daily lives. Although relatively new to the U.S., this series has been running for over eight seasons, so there's plenty to watch. You'll find the circumstances side-splitting, yet you'll start to fall in love with each goofy resident!

    • Rated: TV-MA
    • Available: Hulu

    Get Started

    5. What We Do in the Shadows

    "What We Do in the Shadows" is a comedic/horror series about a reality tv program following real-life vampires. Based on Jemaine Clement’s and Taika Waititi's fantastic film of the same name, this hilarious series will leave you guessing what these entertaining vampires will do next.

    • Rated: TV-MA
    • Available: Hulu

    Get Started

    If you want to marathon a huge list of amazing entertainment — from your favorite classic TV shows to top films — Hulu has you covered. Try a free one-month trial today!

    Get Started

    Our 5 favorite Hulu shows to binge at the end of the summer....
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      FDA clears new test for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

      A test can now be used on people with no symptoms of the coronavirus

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted LabCorp emergency use authorization to test people with no apparent symptoms of COVID-19. 

      Previously, individuals had to have symptoms of the virus or meet other criteria, such as having been in contact with someone who recently tested positive, in order to get a coronavirus test. 

      In a statement on Friday, the FDA said it cleared LabCorp’s COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to be used in two new ways after LabCorp provided scientific data “showing the test’s ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 in a general, asymptomatic population.” 

      The test can now be used on asymptomatic individuals and for pooled sample testing. It requires a prescription. 

      Increasing testing

      FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said expanding the test’s use to include pooled testing will help conserve testing supplies and allow more tests to be evaluated faster. 

      "By authorizing another test for use with pooled samples, we also further help increase the possibility that patients may be able to receive results sooner, while also conserving vital testing supplies, which are under increased demand during the pandemic," Hahn said in a statement.

      The FDA said the test could possibly lead to the development of screening programs to facilitate the reopening of workplaces and schools. 

      “Continuing to facilitate increased access to accurate and reliable tests for all Americans is critically important, and the FDA continues to work around the clock with test developers to support this goal,” Hahn said. 

      Asymptomatic cases pose risk

      As researchers continue to study the novel coronavirus in search of treatments, studies have uncovered certain similarities between COVID-19 cases that produce symptoms and those that don’t. 

      Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University published a study on Monday that found a similar amount of the virus in the bodies of people with symptoms of COVID-19 and those without. 

      “In a large cohort of individuals screened for SARS-CoV-2 by qRT-PCR, we found strikingly similar distributions of viral load in patients with or without symptoms at the time of testing during the local peak of the epidemic; as the epidemic waned, individuals without symptoms at the time of testing had lower viral loads,” the researchers said. 

      “Because the distributions of viral loads in infected individuals irrespective of symptomatology are very similar, existing testing modalities that have been validated for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in symptomatic patients should perform similarly in individuals without symptoms at the time of testing,” the study authors concluded. 

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted LabCorp emergency use authorization to test people with no apparent symptoms of COVID-19. Previ...
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      TikTok makes it algorithms available and says other tech companies should too

      The company’s move is bold, but it could make itself look good

      TikTok -- the Chinese video-sharing social networking service used by more than a billion people -- says it wants to be transparent. 

      Given the recent run of bad luck the company has had with the U.S. government, Amazon, Wells Fargo, and others, there may be a number of doubters who think the idea sounds fishy, but the company seems to think that the only way to reverse its bad luck is by proving that it’s on the up and up.

      When TikTok uses the word “transparent,” what it’s saying is that it is taking steps to give outsiders complete access to the algorithms its app uses to categorize and share users’ videos. To add some muscle to its offer, the company says it will let experts “observe our moderation policies in real-time.”

      Opening up the algorithm

      TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer laid out his vision in a blog post on Wednesday, cheerleading the notion that “fair competition and transparency benefits us all.” Coming clean about TikTok’s issues, Mayer admitted that the app’s Chinese origin is an elephant it can’t seem to get out of the company’s boardroom, 

      “With our success comes responsibility and accountability. The entire industry has received scrutiny, and rightly so. Yet, we have received even more scrutiny due to the company's Chinese origins,” Mayer said. He then threw down a challenge to the company’s competitors.

      “We will not wait for regulation to come, but instead TikTok has taken the first step by launching a Transparency and Accountability Center for moderation and data practices,” he said. “Experts can observe our moderation policies in real-time, as well as examine the actual code that drives our algorithms. This puts us a step ahead of the industry, and we encourage others to follow suit.”

      Angling for a more favorable position

      Timing is everything, and that’s not lost of Mayer. The big wigs at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google were in D.C. to face the House of Representatives' Judiciary’s antitrust panel on Wednesday. Even though TikTok officials were spared being grilled in person, it’s pretty likely that the platform’s name will come up before the gavel closes the session.

      In the past, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has held up TikTok as an example of why American tech firms need to be free to counter the rise of China. In his prepared remarks, published Tuesday, Zuckerberg brought up the subject of competition between Facebook and its foreign rivals again by claiming that the playing field in China, in particular, is not level.

      While Zuckerberg was waiting for his turn in front of legislators on Wednesday, Mayer took the opportunity to take a shot across Zuckerberg’s bow in hopes of making TikTok look like a good guy. 

      “Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly,” Mayer wrote. “But let's focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the U.S.”

      TikTok -- the Chinese video-sharing social networking service used by more than a billion people -- says it wants to be transparent. Given the recent r...
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      How consumers stay cool during the summer could affect their risk of catching COVID-19

      Researchers say many consumers need to reconsider how they handle rising temperatures

      Although experts have found that warmer weather could slightly slow the spread of COVID-19, a new study suggests that the risk of infection may increase with rising temperatures because of the way that consumers choose to stay cool. 

      According to researchers from the University of Sydney, taking advantage of public places with air conditioning is much riskier in the midst of the pandemic. However, the researchers discovered that an electric fan is a viable option to stay cool and healthy this summer. 

      “Authorities have acknowledged that the usual strategies recommended to protect individuals from heat-related illness such as seeking refuge in air-conditioned places, including dedicated cooling centers or shopping malls, risks further transmission of the virus,” said researcher Ollie Jay. “We also know that many of those who are most at risk of COVID-19 are those also at risk of heat-related illness, such as the elderly and those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions.” 

      Staying cool this summer 

      To understand how the increasing summer heat could affect the spread of COVID-19, the researchers analyzed 105 major cities across the U.S. and determined how current cooling systems fare in the highest temperatures. Heat-related illnesses and the coronavirus are certainly causes for concern, so the researchers wanted to figure out how consumers could beat the heat and reduce their risk of developing COVID-19. 

      Though air conditioning isn’t available to all consumers, the researchers wanted to assess how electric fans, combined with frequently applying cool water to the skin, holds up in the summer heat. The researchers looked back on two decades worth of data to see how effective this cooling method was on a wide variety of hot summer days. 

      They learned that the majority of consumers in major cities across the country could experience sufficient cooling using this method of an electric fan and cool water applications. In the last 20 years, just an electric fan would have sufficed in over 75 percent of the cities that were analyzed for this study. 

      They did discover that this method wasn’t foolproof in cities that regularly see the highest temperatures. However, in contrast to traditional public health advice, the researchers found that the majority of consumers would be able to stay at home -- and stay cool -- with an electric fan. 

      Staying cool and healthy during the pandemic

      Rising temperatures affect everyone differently, and there are health risks associated with periods of extreme heat. That’s why it’s important for consumers to listen to their bodies and do what’s best for them. However, during a time when experts are urging consumers to stay home and avoid public places, these findings highlight a way to stay both cool and healthy this summer.

      “There is an urgent need for low-cost, accessible cooling strategies to protect the most vulnerable from heat-related illness and the spread of SARS-COV-2,” said Jay. “Our study challenges the outdated public health advice suggesting that fans are not beneficial in extreme heat.” 

      Although experts have found that warmer weather could slightly slow the spread of COVID-19, a new study suggests that the risk of infection may increase wi...
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      Consumer confidence dropped sharply in July

      The fading optimism coincides with a spike in COVID-19 cases

      As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases surged in June, consumers’ confidence in the economy tumbled in July.

      The Conference Board’s monthly Consumer Confidence Index fell to 92.6 from 98.3 in June. Creeping doubts about the economic future apparently led to the sharp decline.

      When asked how things are at the moment, consumers actually had an improved outlook. The Present Situation Index, based on how consumers feel about current business and labor conditions, rose from 86.7 to 94.2.

      But the Expectations Index – based on consumers' outlook for the short-term future -- plunged from106.1 in June to 91.5 this month. Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, says optimism was growing in June following a sharp rebound in the economy. Then, reality apparently set in.

      “Large declines (in confidence) were experienced in Michigan, Florida, Texas, and California, no doubt a result of the resurgence of COVID-19,” Franco said. “Looking ahead, consumers have grown less optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market and remain subdued about their financial prospects. Such uncertainty about the short-term future does not bode well for the recovery, nor for consumer spending."

      Things seem to be okay at the moment

      Economists may take some solace in consumer attitudes about how things are now. The concerns consumers expressed to survey-takers are about what could happen in the future, not how things were going this month.

      In fact, the percentage of consumers saying business conditions are "good" was relatively unchanged at 17.3 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" fell from 42.5 percent to 39.1 percent. 

      Despite persistently high unemployment, consumers' assessment of the job market was increasingly favorable. The percentage of consumers saying jobs are "plentiful" increased from 20.5 percent to 21.3 percent, while those claiming jobs are "hard to get" decreased from 23.3 percent to 20.0 percent.

      Trouble ahead

      It’s clear from the survey that many consumers see trouble ahead. When the survey was completed at mid-month, it was uncertain whether Congress would extend extra unemployment benefits for millions that are scheduled to expire at the end of the month.

      It’s now fairly certain that some type of extension is in the works, though Republicans and Democrats are still at odds over how much the extra payments should be. Meanwhile, both parties and the White House appear to favor another direct payment to every American adult to stimulate the economy.

      At mid-month, however, consumers were not at all optimistic about the short-term future. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined from 42.4 percent to 31.6 percent.

      As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases surged in June, consumers’ confidence in the economy tumbled in July.The Conference Board’s monthly Consumer Confidence...
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      Coronavirus update: More delays in test results, Bill Gates sees a falling death rate

      The pandemic caused more people to skip cancer screenings

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

      Total U.S. confirmed cases: 4,307,542 (4,238,500)

      Total U.S. deaths: 148,295 (146,968)

      Total global cases: 16,534,345 (16,296,665)

      Total global deaths: 655,084 (649,662)

      Testing delay not improving

      Quest Diagnostics has once again warned of delays in getting results from coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. The company said delays are particularly severe for molecular coronavirus diagnostic tests, or PCR tests, which determine whether someone has the virus.

      “Demand for our molecular diagnostic testing remains high as the virus has spread across much of the United States, particularly the South, Southwest, and West,” the company said in a statement. “Persistent high demand has strained our testing capacity and extended delays for test results.”

      As a result, Quest says its average turnaround time for reporting test results is now over two days for priority one patients and seven days for all other patients.

      Gates sees a falling death rate

      Amid all the gloomy news about the pandemic, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has a reassuring prediction.

      In an interview with CNBC, Gates said he believes the death rate from the virus will recede by the end of this year. He says improved treatments will keep more people from dying. He said remdesivir has shown good results in treating the most severe cases of the virus.

      Gates also pointed to two other antiviral drugs that scientists are currently testing. Their advantage, Gates says, is they can be taken in pill form instead of being injected with an IV in a hospital setting.

      Pandemic inhibits cancer screenings

      There’s growing evidence that concerns about the coronavirus caused many people to put off important medical appointments. A study by TriNetX shows cancer screenings declined 89 percent after the virus resulted in shelter-in-place orders.

      "These startling results do not bode well for the future," said Jack London, PhD, professor emeritus of Cancer Biology, Thomas Jefferson University. "Oncologists will likely be seeing later stage patients initially which will significantly impact patient treatment and prognosis."

      In some cases, patients had little choice. In the early days of the pandemic, most hospitals and medical facilities were closed to anyone other than COVID-19 patients.

      CES 2021 will be all-virtual

      The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) each year is Las Vegas’ biggest event, last year drawing 179,000 people from around the world. But in today’s coronavirus world, how is that going to work?

      The answer is, it’s going to be all-digital. All those futuristic, “gee-whiz” technology products will have to be observed from a distance and on a video screen. 

      "Amid the pandemic and growing global health concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it's just not possible to safely convene tens of thousands of people in Las Vegas in early January 2021 to meet and do business in person,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO at CTA, which puts on the annual exhibition. “Technology helps us all work, learn, and connect during the pandemic — and that innovation will also help us reimagine CES 2021 and bring together the tech community in a meaningful way.”

      Big expansion for Lysol

      You may not have heard of Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, but it makes a very familiar consumer product -- one in heavy demand these days. The maker of disinfectant cleaner Lysol is now launching a new business selling cleaners and consulting services to hotels and airlines.

      The company -- which also makes Dettol soap, Finish dishwasher tablets, and Harpic toilet cleaner -- said it had actually benefited from consumers’ sudden germ phobia, recording a surge in second-quarter sales. 

      In the months ahead, the company said it will try to position itself as consumers’ and businesses’ go-to hygiene expert, taking advantage of Lysol’s high brand recognition.

      Around the nation

      • Missouri: Previously, COVID-19 protests had to do with shutdowns and wearing masks. But on Monday, protesters in Missouri called for the state to impose virtual learning in areas of the state where the virus is spreading fastest.

      • Oregon: Multnomah County recorded a record 119 new coronavirus cases on Monday, about half of those that occurred throughout the state. “This disease is widespread in Multnomah County,” Dr. Jennifer Vines, the county health officer, said during a news conference. 

      • New York: New York continues to place states on its “watch list,” requiring travelers from those states to self-quarantine after arriving in the state. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted that he was “appalled” that Long Island residents crowded into a concert venue over the weekend.

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)Total U.S. confirmed cases: 4,307,542 (4,238,50...
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      FTC says Volkwagen paid U.S. ‘Dieselgate’ victims $9.5 billion

      The automaker was found guilty of basing vehicle ads on false emissions claims

      In a published report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Volkswagen paid U.S. victims of its emissions cheating scandal, better known as “Dieselgate,” a total of $9.5 billion. 

      Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it used “defeat devices” to score better on emissions tests. The following year, the company gave U.S. consumers who unwittingly purchased one of these vehicles the option of either returning it to Volkwagen for financial compensation or having it repaired to comply with emissions regulations. 

      The FTC said in a final court summary that more than 86 percent of consumers opted to return their car through a buyback or early lease termination. The agency said Volkwagen “successfully managed the settlement administration process effectively,” despite the large volume of claims. 

      “Most important, the FTC orders and related private class settlements provided redress sufficient to compensate consumers fully,” the FTC said in the report.

      Closing the Dieselgate scandal

      Volkwagen pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice, and falsifying statements as part of a multi-billion dollar settlement negotiated with the Justice Department. The scandal also led to the resignation of Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn and was a key factor in the company’s decision to shift to electric vehicles. 

      The FTC’s final report on the matter puts an end to what the FTC described as “one of the most successful consumer redress programs in history.”

      In a published report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Volkswagen paid U.S. victims of its emissions cheating scandal, better known as “Dieselgate,...
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