As one of the lucky people in attendance at today's Microsoft event in NYC, I was of course excited for a new Surface device -- I expected the "Pro 4", but was pleasantly surprised by the "Book". What I was particularly interested in trying, however, is Continuum. This is Microsoft's branding for using a smartphone as a PC. In other words, you connect a Lumia to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and have a desktop experience.
The good news is, I did get to try Continuum. The bad news? It is not yet ready to replace your PC. Unfortunately, there is one specific thing that makes it less than ideal. Sadly, you cannot run two apps side-by-side. That stinks.
The Surface computer line has revolutionized portable computing -- it reinvented the PC. Want proof? Both Apple and Google have arguably copied Microsoft's now-iconic hybrid PC with the iPad Pro and Pixel-C, respectively. This mimicry, plus solid sales of the Surface Pro 3, solidifies Panos Panay's vision as both worthwhile and successful.
Today, Microsoft unveils the newest member of its hybrid family, the Surface Book. While competitors thought they were catching up, Microsoft has suddenly left them in the dust. Yes, the company has reinvented the PC once again, but this time, with a laptop -- you can finally use a Surface on your lap. It is twice as fast as the MacBook Pro!
Since HDMI cables are digital, it is arguably pointless to invest in "premium" variants from so-called high-end brands like Monster. With that said, there is value in buying something that is well-made. Not all cables are capable of handling UHD 4K content, however, so some HDMI cables are better than others (always buy high speed rather than standard speed as the price difference is negligible).
Apparently, both counterfeit and misleading cables are an issue, as the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program has been created. This will ensure that cables being marketed as HDMI 2.0 and 4K Ultra HD are truly capable of their promised performance.
Chromebooks are wonderful computers for light and medium computing. While Windows and OS X are superior for heavy lifting -- especially with legacy software -- Chrome OS is a dream for web surfing, email and writing. If either you or someone you know lives in the web browser, laptops running Google's Linux-based operating system could be perfect. By design, they are virtually malware free, and OS updates are a breeze.
Finding the perfect Chromebook is difficult, as everyone's needs may be different, but I only suggest models with at least 4GB of RAM regardless. I also demand a quality keyboard and display, and I think all consumers deserve this too. Toshiba's new Chromebook 2 (2015) meets all of my needs, while also being affordable. In other words, it will probably be a winner for you too. Here are my first impressions.
While I am a GNOME fan, I recognize how wonderful KDE is too. If you prefer a traditional desktop user interface, KDE is a smart choice. Not only is it it easy to use for beginners, but it offers a ton of customization options for advanced users too.
There are quite a few KDE-based Linux distros, such as Kubuntu, Linux Mint KDE, and Netrunner, but the lesser known KaOS offers a more pure experience. This distro has a goal of remaining lean, while being fairly bleeding edge regarding KDE packages -- it is a great showcase for the desktop environment. Today, version 2015.10 sees release, and you can download it now.
"Wintel", meaning Windows and Intel, is probably the most significant combo in the advancement of the personal computer. If it wasn't for the contributions of Microsoft and Intel, especially when combined, the entire computing landscape would be very different.
Today, Intel releases some information, including an infographic, about its contributions to Windows 10 -- Microsoft's latest, and some would say greatest, operating system. Yes, Intel helped to make Windows 10 better.
Routers are a dime a dozen nowadays, so it can be hard to get excited about them. Even budget routers can offer great speeds, although I recommend sticking with quality brands to ensure reliability.
One such quality brand is NETGEAR, and today, the company has announced a router that has me genuinely excited. The Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Smart WiFi Router (R8500) is chock full of hardcore hardware specs and industry firsts. While the price tag is high, it looks totally worth it. Seriously folks, this looks incredible.
Holy cow, Google, what the heck is going on here? Android should have been a Utopian-like Linux-based operating system that was secure and available to all. Unfortunately, the only things being made available to the masses are vulnerabilities. Quite frankly, the search giant is giving Linux a bad name.
When the Stagefright vulnerabilities were made public, it really underscored how broken the Android update problem is. Hell, people like me -- longtime Android users -- switched to iOS as a result. A lack of operating system updates from both manufacturers and cell providers means many users are forced to live with vulnerable devices -- not acceptable. Today, new vulnerabilities dubbed Stagefright 2.0 are revealed, and most Android devices -- since 1.0 of the operating system -- are now at risk.
Even though the 2015 NFL season is entering week 4, it feels like it is just beginning. Why? Many people, myself included, associate football with the fall season. The cool crisp air conjures pigskin memories.
As wonderful as watching NFL football is, many people are doing it wrong. If you are just casually spectating on an old television set, you are missing out. Here is some tech you should own to properly watch the games.
While some people have the luxury of a beautiful office, not everyone is so lucky. Many people, myself included, work wherever they can -- Starbucks, in a parked car, or a kitchen table to name a few. This is actually freeing, and can be conducive to creativity, but I digress. The downside, of course, is having to work with a single laptop display -- a multiple monitor setup can be a godsend for productivity.
Believe it or not, there are portable secondary monitors, which you can attach with USB to a laptop, tablet, or desktop if need be. Today, AOC announces a 16 inch USB 3.0 variant, featuring 1080p. It supports both Windows and OS X, but Linux distros may work too. Best of all? Not only is video transmitted by USB, but so is the power -- a single cable! Plus, the price is very affordable.
When I leave my house, I always wonder what's going on inside. No, I don't want to spy on my family (not the humans, at least), but I do want to spy on my dog! Sometimes I go out for a few hours, come home, and she is still laying in the same spot. Maybe she is running around and playing in between; I'd love to know. In all seriousness, it would be nice to check on her well-being while I am away.
Logitech, or should I say "Logi", has created a new product that meets my puppy-watching needs, but is so much more -- security, communication, etc. The Logi Circle Portable Home Connection Camera is an Internet-connected camera that can be used in a stationary spot (including mounted to the wall if you choose) or portable. It even stores recorded content in the cloud. Very cool.
Both Microsoft and Apple Stores are freakin' awesome. While the latter usually has more foot traffic, the former is no slouch. I rather enjoy playing with all of the cool stuff in the Microsoft Store, such as Surface, Band, Xbox One, and more.
Sadly, a flagship Microsoft Store has been absent in one of the world's busiest places -- New York City. The company has been working on changing this, however, and today it announces the official grand opening date for the flagship location. In addition to Manhattan, the first-ever "International" Microsoft Store in Australia receives an official opening date too.
Business users and home users can have very different, yet sometimes similar, needs. A family computer likely doesn't need the latest and greatest features or specs for its basic use. While the same can be said for some business workstations, new technology can often mean true benefits, such as enhanced security and improved battery life. While home users can use that too, it is arguably more important for business users that are traveling and dealing with sensitive information.
Today, AMD announces its newest line of PRO APUs -- both mobile and desktop -- to meet the needs of businesses. These commercial-grade A-Series APUs offer improved laptop battery life and performance, but also cool things such as HSA 1.0 spec compatibility and ARM TrustZone for security. In other words, these chips should be big winners in the enterprise.
While the world was oohing and ahhing (or yawning) at the latest Google Nexus devices, an arguably far more important announcement hit the Internet. The long-awaited, and much-anticipated, OS X 10.11 El Capitan got an official release date. Guess what? You do not have to wait long, as that date is tomorrow. Woo-hoo!
How much do you expect to pay for this upgrade? Well, if you said anything larger than zero, you would be very wrong. While Microsoft recently gave Windows 10 as a free upgrade to some users, Apple has been doing this for years. In other words if you own a compatible Mac (all since 2009 and some from 2007 and 2008), you can be enjoying the latest and greatest operating system tomorrow at no charge.
If you own a Raspberry Pi, you are probably a really cool guy or gal. Well, actually, I should say that you are cool in the geek community (it probably won't get you a date with a cheerleader). In other words, owning the diminutive maker-friendly computer is a geeky status symbol that indicates you are in-the-know.
While the Raspberry Pi is a fun piece of hardware, it is useless without an operating system. There are plenty of options to choose (including Windows 10 IoT), but arguably, for the best overall experience, you should stick with the Debian-based Raspbian Linux distro. Today, the latest version, code-named 'Jessie' is released to the wild. Does it signal that the Raspberry Pi is losing its way?