Retrieving media from a computer or home server and reproducing it in your home theater has become a growing need among people. Plex offers what is, perhaps, the simplest solution for accomplishing this task. It does so by simply working across almost every known platform, including mobile devices and set-top boxes.
One place where the end-user app has been surprisingly missing is Microsoft's gaming consoles. You'd think Plex would have arrived there long ago -- certainly before places like Roku and Fire TV. Well, that problem is now solved, or at least half of it is.
For the past couple of months I have been working from my porch -- I enjoy the outdoors when weather permits. In doing so, I have adopted a Chromebook, which gets me by quite well, but leaves me in a quandary -- do we still need Windows? The answer to that question is quite a bit more complicated than it seems.
Most people will jump up and yell "yes" -- or Microsoft hopes they will. But it really comes down to usage, and for many people out there the operating system is no longer the be all-end all of computing.
Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, as they are convenient and, depending on brand model, can offer very good sound quality. With that in mind, brands set out to separate themselves in a very competitive marketplace by offering certain stand-out feature that get them noticed. That's the case with the Braven BRV-1.
The company touts several interesting features on this model. Some do exist on rival models, but it's enough to set the little speaker apart from others.
Amazon just recently announced the launch of new Kindle Fire tablets and Kindle readers. The new tablets will come with version 4 of Fire OS, known as "Sangria" already installed, but it seems last years models will also be shown some love.
Those who turned on their devices today found a surprise -- a letter from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos overlaying the home screen. The announcement is fairly short, but lets customers know that their device will be updated in the coming weeks and also provides a "Learn more" link for the curious.
Wireless mice are a dime-a-dozen these days, with new ones from all sorts of manufacturers coming along all the time. But when Logitech releases one then notice must be taken, as it and Microsoft are two of the premiere mouse makers on the market.
Today the company announces its latest offering, the M320 wireless mouse, which it touts as both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. The new peripheral has a lot to be excited about, even if it's just a mouse, or at least that's what the company promises.
The smartwatch industry continues to grow with the latest offerings from both Google Android Wear and Apple. But Pebble, a former darling of Kickstarter, got off to a fast start and has been continuing to improve things since its launch.
Now the watch maker is adding yet more features to its offering, giving users access to health and fitness monitoring. Thanks to RunKeeper, there was already a bit of this present, but the latest update brings much more along with it.
Google is trying to grow its budding operating system platform, continually updating and enhancing features. Customers can now work in certain environments offline, for instance. But what lacked was some of the core features of rivals Windows and OS X. However, that slowly changes as well.
Photo editing, for instance, was one feature that, while not absent, certainly wasn't top of the line. Until now you had to rely on an app such as Pixlr, which many Chromebook customers use. But Google today announces that Photoshop is arriving, though not (at least yet) offline.
Roku, the tiny set-top box, has been on a roll with new content lately. This time the company heads north for its latest score of new content, bringing Cineplex to its devices. The service will lend much new content to viewers in Canada.
If you aren't familiar, Cineplex is like many other streaming services. It allows customers to stream movies whenever they wish, much like Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Home theater nuts tend to like Plex -- it's cross-platform compatible, working on Windows HTPC, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and various other platforms. The server software is free, though you'll pay for the client apps; there is also Plex Pass, which requires a higher fee if you care to upgrade.
The pass gives users access to exclusive premium features, such as camera upload, cloud sync, free apps and more. You can currently grab this for $3.99 per month or $29.99 for the annual version.
If you've backed something on Kickstarter then you know that you're risking the money you spent, as some come to fruition while others never do. The site has had its share of major successes such as the Pebble watch and the tiny Android-based Ouya gaming console. But there have also been ones that simply get the money and never ship.
Now the service is trying to clean things up with a new terms of service agreement that it hopes will lend more confidence to potential backers. That should be a good thing for customers, and Kickstarter spells things out pretty clearly.
Chat has become popular on many platforms, from computers to mobile. But BitTorrent has a client that seems to be changing how this all works, by removing the cloud storage from the equation, making this a bit more secure.
Today its chat client, known as Bleep, becomes available to all users. It's still in alpha form for the time being, but these things are moving forward.
There's one more smartphone platform on the market, although it's far behind the big, established names. Mozilla has released Firefox OS, which is aimed at emerging markets. Now the organization is taking it to one more, adding an Asian nation to its resume.
Telenor Group is bringing the platform to Bangladesh after hitting India just a few weeks ago. "At a press conference in Dhaka, Grameenphone, the local operator for the Telenor Group, announced that sales of the GoFox F15 (produced by Symphony) will start this week", says Mozilla.
Amazon continues to grow the ecosystem for its set-top box, the Fire TV. While its portfolio of offerings hasn't yet reached Roku level, the platform is much newer and still getting its legs under it. Today it expands a bit more with the addition of Spotify.
The music steaming service launched today on the Amazon box, though it does require users to have a Premium subscription, which will set you back a few dollars per month.
There's no denying Minecraft is a wildly popular game that many people, both old and young, enjoy. It's also multi-platform, making it extremely profitable and available to many customers. Perhaps that's why Microsoft has announced it has purchased the franchise.
It's hard to say the motive behind this move -- the game does run on Xbox and Windows, of course -- but how does the software giant hope to recoup the money? After all, $2.5 billion is an awful lot to recover from.
We've grown accustomed to "transparency" reports in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations. We all now realize we are being watched and listened to, and that tech companies like Google and Microsoft, complicit or not, have given up user data, though the latter is currently fighting a court order to do so.
"Over the past year, revelations about government surveillance have shown that we need more transparency into when and how government agencies get access to people’s information online", states Bart Volkmer of Dropbox.