Brian Fagioli

Firefox for iOS Beta coming to iPhone and iPad very soon -- source code available now!

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I have a love/hate relationship with iOS. My iPad Air is a satisfying tablet; I enjoy using it while hanging out on the toilet, but I feel guilty using it. Why? I have some specific computing beliefs that Apple's operating system is at odds with. Namely, I do not like that users cannot change the default web browser. Even worse, I find it horrible that alternative browser engines cannot be used. While I am sure Apple has its reasons, it is an undeniably bad practice which harms users by limiting choice.

Firefox is not found on iOS for this reason. Mozilla initially refused to cave to Apple and release a neutered version without its own Gecko engine. Last year, however, Mozilla announced that it was bringing a version of the browser to the mobile operating system by saying, "we need to be where our users are so we're going to get Firefox on iOS". While I am still dismayed that browser will not use the Gecko engine on iOS, I've come to accept it as a necessity for Firefox to survive. Today, Mozilla announces that the project is still on track and a beta is on the way soon.

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Razer Firefly is the coolest mouse pad ever

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Depending on your age, you may or may not remember when mice had rubber balls to track movement. It was horrible, as they would often get clogged and required cleaning. They also benefited from a mouse pad, as the ball would work better on it than on a desk surface.

Nowadays, we have optical and laser mice, which track much better on most desk surfaces. In other words, for the most part, no mouse pad is needed. Gamers, however, still invest in mouse pads (aka mouse mats) as a way to get an edge in competitions. Today, Razer announces the Firefly, which, in my opinion, is the coolest mouse pad ever. Both gamers and non-gamers will want to check this thing out.

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Google brings open source gaming to Cardboard

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Virtual reality is definitely a popular thing nowadays. Unfortunately, the hardware can be rather expensive. Not to worry though, it doesn't have to be pricey. Last year, Google released its Cardboard project, bringing virtual reality to anyone with a compatible Android phone and some cardboard (plus rubber bands and lenses, etc.).

Today, the company announces it is bringing its open source Android game, Pie Noon, to Cardboard. Are you ready to play a game with your smartphone strapped to your face?

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Google apologizes for Maps racism

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When it hit the national news that searching for certain racist and offensive words in Google Maps brought up the White House, I was immediately appalled. As someone who grew up listening to Hip-Hop music, I've heard similar language before, so I was not offended by the words themselves. I was, however, disappointed in the apparent disrespect towards our President and the ignorance of the perpetrator.

With that said, I was not angry at the search giant, as I knew it was not the company's doing, but simply a byproduct of a user's anonymous free speech. Heck, Barack Obama and Google are quite close -- blaming the company makes no sense. Of course, modern society and the public relations machine requires an apology for this, so today, Google has done so. Do you think the search giant needed to?

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Microsoft making Outlook.com prettier and more useful

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I am a hardcore Gmail user, as many people are, but I am not necessarily happy about it. Why? Google's Gmail.com user interface is horrid. Sure, it is functional, but it is outdated and hardly pleasing for the eyes. It is baffling as to why Google does not update such a popular service.

Conversely, Outlook.com is a treat to use, as not only is it more functional, but prettier too. Heck, you can even use your Gmail account with the site. Today, Microsoft announces a refresh of the Outlook.com website. Not only will it be more attractive than before, but it is also gaining many new features. Excited? Me too.

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Google launches artist-inspired 'Editions' Android phone cases -- Skrillex goes first

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One of the major reasons I choose Android over iOS is freedom. Not only am I free to set a default browser and default email client, but I am free to install different "launchers" to customize the experience. Manufacturers are even free to make phones of various sizes and shapes, which in turn means consumers can find the right device to meet their needs.

Following that trend of freedom and customization, Google today launches "Editions", which are artist-inspired cases for Android phones. Not only will they offer a fun and unique way to show-off your phone, but they will also grant access to exclusive artist content. The first artist is the king of dubstep, Skrillex.

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Microsoft announces limited edition white Xbox One with Halo: The Master Chief Collection

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The video game console wars are really heating up lately, with both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 selling well. Unfortunately, I still do not own either console, although I briefly had the PS4 before returning it. I am really impressed with the Microsoft ecosystem lately, so I have been considering buying Xbox One. When it comes to money, however, I am notoriously frugal.

Today the inside of my wallet may see some daylight. You see, Microsoft announces a beautiful new Xbox One model with an angelic white color. Best of all, it will come with the Halo Master Chief Collection Bundle at the same low $349.

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Apple resurrects the iPhone dock, adds Lightning connector -- still stupid

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When I bought my first iPod, a click-wheel model, I excitedly bought some accessories too; a silicone case and the official dock. Docking the iPod was such an elegant thing, I was excited to do it. I connected the dock to my Windows PC, put the case on my iPod and...FAIL.

Yes, with the case on, my iPod would not fit in the dock. I had to decide between elegant docking and protecting my investment. Fast forward to today, and Apple introduces a dock for the lightning-connector iPhones and iPods. While it may work with some thin cases, once again, users will have to decide between the dock and protection, which is surely foolish.

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Starbucks and Spotify join forces

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When it comes to coffee, I am pretty open-minded, brewing many different brands with my Keurig. Hell, the use of that single-cup brewer is sacrilege to many aficionados, but I enjoy it. Away from home, however, I drink Dunkin' Donuts, 7 Eleven and, of course, Starbucks. While the Seattle-based Starbucks is not my favorite coffee, I go there more often than the other two. Why? The ambiance. I enjoy being in the coffee shop, as it is trendy and they play interesting music. Oh, and free Wi-Fi!

Apparently, I am not alone in enjoying the music that is played in Starbucks, as the company is joining forces with my favorite streaming music service, Spotify. While this partnership seems odd on the surface, it actually makes a lot of sense.

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Microsoft Solitaire turns 25 -- what are your fondest memories of the game?

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Back in the 90's, I got my first computer. I was not alone in this regard; at the time, Windows-based computers exploded in popularity thanks to the Internet. These machines were hardly inexpensive, often costing several thousand dollars. This was at a time when a thousand dollars was much more valuable than today.

The funny thing is, beyond using AOL to talk to strangers, we home users did not know what the heck to do with these expensive machines. Before you bought it, you would envision all of the magical things you will do, but ultimately, it was often used for one thing -- solitaire. Yes, many consumers justified their purchases by playing Microsoft Solitaire for hours on end. Hell, even in the corporate world, employees would play the game instead of getting work done; it was gloriously unproductive. Today, the game turns 25.

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Google slashes prices to attract the enterprise to its Cloud Platform

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They say the key to a man's heart is his stomach, and for me, that is probably true -- feel free to put fat jokes in the comments. But what is the key to a company's heart? Money. Yes, cost savings is an easy way to make a company take notice in your solution.

Today, Google is aiming to attract the enterprise to its Cloud Platform using this practice. You see, the search giant is dramatically slashing prices, and quite frankly, businesses should take notice.

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Netrunner 16 'Ozymandias' is here -- the best KDE Linux distro gets better

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One of the wonderful things about Linux distributions is the various desktop environments available. Unlike Windows and OS X, if you do not like the user interface, you can simply change it. I am a big fan of GNOME 3, but I know that many people dislike it. That's OK -- different strokes for different folks as they say.

Another desktop environment I like, and recommend to many, is KDE Plasma. The latest version, Plasma 5, is wonderful, and former Windows users will feel comfortable with it. Today, the best KDE distribution, Netrunner, reaches version 16. Dubbed "Ozymandias", it embraces KDE Plama 5.

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Hulu picks up FOX's trash -- streaming service revives cancelled 'The Mindy Project'

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I have never seen The Mindy Project, but was always perplexed by its allure. Based on advertisements, the show looked horrible, and from what I read, its ratings were not great. After 3 seasons, I was elated when FOX cancelled the show; it makes room for something new.

Today, The Mindy Project returns from the dead thanks to  an unlikely source -- Hulu. While the service is known for streaming already-aired network shows (including Mindy) and some original programming, picking up the discarded trash of the FOX network for new episodes hardly seems like a good move.

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Firefox OS TVs are here

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The mobile landscape seems to be set for the near future. Android and iOS will continue to dominate, while Microsoft will hope to reach respectable market share with Windows 10 Mobile. While there are other hopeful operating systems in this segment, such as Ubuntu and Firefox OS, the odds are not in their favor. With that said, more options are better and I see potential in Mozilla's operating system.

Today, Mozilla announces the launch of new devices running Firefox OS, courtesy of Panasonic. Wait, is Panasonic releasing new smartphones? No. Actually, these are televisions running Firefox OS and they are available now. Whoa. A 4K TV that can run web apps? Sign me up!

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Toshiba releases TransMemory Retractable U362 and Mini U201 USB flash drives

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Cloud storage is all the rage nowadays, and for good reason -- it is convenient and oftentimes free (depending on capacity). With that said, there are still benefits to physical on-premises storage for redundancy and possible security reasons. For businesses in particular, it can be daunting to trust confidential information and trade secrets to the cloud. I rather like flash drives for operating system installs, such as Ubuntu and Windows.

Today, Toshiba announces two new models of USB flash drive; the USB 3.0 U362 and the USB 2.0 U201. Besides speed differences, the former is retractable, while the latter is very small and colorful. In other words, the company is offering consumers different options and price points.

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