Thursday is finally here -- Happy Thanksgiving y'all! Later today, I, like many other Americans, will be eating a beautiful turkey dinner with friends and family. As is a tradition on Long Island, I drove to 711 this morning at 7 am to get a copy of our local paper, Newsday, to get all of the Black Friday circulars. While I am not planning to do any shopping today or tomorrow, I still enjoy looking through the advertisements.
While I am a huge proponent of capitalism and spending for the economy, it makes me sad to see so much commercialism on a family-focused holiday. Truth be told, one of my family members is in the hospital this week, and I have been visiting every day, but it is very sad to see the lonely sick people who have nobody visiting. While today is a day to be thankful for what you have, I hope you also take the time to reflect on what others don't have. Many of you, our readers, are very tech-oriented and probably own some Bitcoin. If you are feeling generous today, and want to help others, the American Red Cross is now accepting the virtual-currency for donations.
Laptops and tablets can be quite the germ-factories. Not only do people touch the screens and keyboards with things like gross Cheez-Doodle-covered fingers, but many bring computers into the bathroom too, though most won't admit it. Germs are a real concern for me, and I like to be in a clean environment.
Unfortunately, it can be a mystery to know the best way to clean a tablet or laptop. Do you bring it in the shower with you? Spray it with Febreze? Put it on the hood of your car and drive through a car wash? Actually, those are all horrible ideas -- please don't do any of them! Today, Microsoft is enlightening Surface Pro 3 users with the best way to clean and sanitize the tablet/laptop hybrid for use in a hospital or clinical environment. Sure, it may be overkill for the average home user, but when it comes to germs, I would rather be safe than sorry.
Despite what many people say, size does matter; well... at least when it comes to screen-size and productivity. Sure, a large screen limits portability, but it also makes it easier to do work and multi-task.
Tablets became wildly popular, in part, because they had larger screens than smartphones. With that said, the Phablet craze has created smartphones with such large screens, that it can limit the allure of tablets like the iPad. Some analysts and pundits predicted that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would cannibalize iPad sales and use. Well, a new study by the company behind the popular Pocket app, shows that the latter may be true.
In the USA, the holidays are almost here for many people. This Thursday, Thanksgiving, officially kicks off the festivities of both spending time with family and shopping. We eat turkey and spend time with our loved-ones until late Thursday night, but then the following day -- known as Black Friday -- kicks off a month-long shopping extravaganza. Up until December 25th, Christmas Day, retailers will be trying to bait shoppers with rock-bottom prices and interest-free payment plans.
Unfortunately, not all advertised sales are as good as they seem. In other words, what looks like a great deal, may be average at best. HTC is getting into the Black Friday game, and it is offering a truly great deal; 50 percent off the all-new RE Camera. It is normally $199, but you can score it for a super-low $99!
For many families, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are to be taken very seriously. You see, they actually make battle plans, so they can best maximize the savings. It is not uncommon for people to draw maps of the store interiors and assign products to each family member so they can target them once inside.
Unfortunately, many people still do their planning with old-fashioned paper and pen; the insanity! It is hard to blame them though, as specific technological solutions have not been popularized. Sure, you can use Excel to create a spreadsheet of desired products with associated prices, but there needs to be a better way. Today, Microsoft announces that OneNote is now a superb tool for the planning of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.
For many of us, online shopping is now second nature. We've been at it for years. Hell, I try to buy most of my stuff from retailers like Amazon.
With that said, many people are still afraid of online shopping, and it is not a phobia that is totally devoid of logic. When buying on the web, your credit card number could be compromised; especially if the retailer is not trustworthy, or simply not focused on security. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here, so the results of a new study are quite timely -- 77 percent of people in the world do not feel safe shopping online.
When it comes to computer hardware, it can be very difficult for a manufacturer to differentiate its product from its competitor's offerings. Some companies go the superficial route -- adding fancy lights and colors as a distraction to the overall normalcy. Others will invent proprietary naming conventions for its features, making it seem unique when it really isn't. Both of these approaches are rather lame, but believe it or not, consumers fall for it.
Me? I prefer to see actual unique features and exceptional performance. Sure, truly innovative and impressive hardware can come with a high price, but so does a Lamborghini -- you can like something without buying it right? Yup, you can; often times you don't really need the features, but they are cool nonetheless. Today, ASRock announces one of the most unique and impressive motherboards that I have seen in some time. How so, you ask? The X99 WS-E/10G board features Dual Intel 10G BASE-T LAN ports! Very cool, but do consumers really need it?
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Not only is it a great day to reflect on what I am thankful for, but it allows me to overeat in a socially acceptable way. When I am gorging on food the other 364 days, I'll get dirty looks; not so on Thanksgiving! Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes -- mmm mmm mmm, I can taste it already.
If you haven't made plans for the holiday yet, do not worry; both Bing and Google are aiming to help you out. The competing search engines, however, are taking polar approaches as to how to eat. Bing will help you find recipes, while Google will help you with eating-out.
Intel is the current king of processors -- let's just get that out of the way. From a performance standpoint, you can't go wrong with the company's chips. Not to mention, Intel is a huge Linux supporter, so its hardware (chipset, Wi-Fi, etc.) works well "out of the box" with many distros. So why would someone go with AMD? A very good question -- Intel's competitor also makes great chips, often with a focus on value. This year, AMD launched the brilliant AM1 platform, featuring the FS1b socket. Sure, it won't win in performance, but it excels in low-cost ownership. You see, not only is the upfront cost low, but it will save you much on your electricity bills, as it is very low-wattage.
Now, AMD is looking to the future, as it announces a new mobile APU family called "Carrizo". Starting next year, Intel may have some serious competition on its hands, as Carrizo APUs begin showing up in consumer devices.
Video games are currently a wildly popular entertainment medium for all ages, but earlier perceptions were that they are only for children. You see, in the early days of video games, they were viewed as somewhat of a toy; appropriate for young people. Guess what happened? Those children and teens grew up, but they did not grow out of playing the games. More importantly, some of them grew up to become game developers.
Sadly, not all of us could become developers -- the world needed boring and mindless jobs to be filled too. With that said, earlier this year, Logitech launched 'Together We Game' -- a crowdsourced video game project, where anyone on the internet can contribute and vote on ideas for the development of a tower defense video game. In other words, for those of us that never got to make our own game, Logitech is empowering us to get involved with one. BetaNews recently had the opportunity to ask Frank Lantz, director of the project, some questions.
Santa Claus is a great man; he delivers gifts to all of us as a reward for being good. While people have tried to trick me into thinking he isn't real, I refuse to fall for it. Of course he is real! Who else is putting presents under my tree? My mom? I think I would have caught her by now.
As great as Santa Claus is, apparently, Google is looking to get into the gifting game too. You see, the search-giant is giving away 1TB of Google Drive storage for two years. Hell, for many, that is better than a crappy wooden train from Santa Claus! To score the free storage, you only need to buy a new Chromebook.
Every Sunday, many Americans load up on Doritos, nachos and beer to watch something very important -- NFL football. I say "important" somewhat facetiously, as there are so many more important things in the world to focus on. With that said, watching sports can be a great distraction from life's hardships and depressing news stories. You know what? A distraction can be a good thing and there is nothing wrong with that.
Some people watch NFL football a bit differently than others. Sure, there are people like myself who are simply fans of teams like the Jets or Dolphins, and watch for enjoyment; others however, do it for financial gain and endorphins by betting on games. Today, Microsoft announces that Bing will be predicting the NFL playoffs; this may be a great tool for gamblers.
While 1080p is a very common monitor resolution nowadays, 4K is poised to become the next big thing. With that said, Dell and Apple have launched products with 5K resolution, so who knows what will happen. While 4K and 5K are both darn beautiful, they are designed with movies in mind. While many people use their computers to watch films, others, such as myself, use their computers for work (imagine that).
AOC is one of my favorite display manufacturers, and today, the company announces a new monitor designed for the working crowd; not the gaming and movie-watching folks. You see, it is a very wide 34 inch monitor with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. What does this mean? It is like having two 20 inch monitors side by side!
Google is one of the best search engines, providing relative results with a clean design. There is a problem though -- Google also offers a web browser. Why is that a problem? Well, it is a strange thing for a competing web browser to use the Google search engine. It's like Ford using Chevy parts in its cars -- blasphemy!
A great example of this is Mozilla Firefox. The Chrome web browser is slowly eroding Firefox usage share, so it has felt odd that Mozilla was sticking with Google's search engine for so long. Well, today everything changes, as Mozilla selects Yahoo as the new default search engine in Firefox for both desktop and mobile. Will users applaud or decry the announcement?
Celebrate good times, come on! Microsoft recently celebrated the 13th birthday of the original Xbox, but now it is time to celebrate yet another birthday. You see, the newest console from the company, the Xbox One, will be turning a year old this Saturday.
Normally, people give gifts to the person celebrating a birthday, but today Microsoft is going in a different direction. If you are an Xbox One owner, it is time to get very excited -- Microsoft will be giving all of you gifts! However, the fun does not stop there; the company will also randomly be giving away games to owners too.