Fall is my favorite season, as I get to wear a hoodie, drink pumpkin-flavored coffee and celebrate Halloween. Yes, even though that holiday is designed for kids, more and more adults are getting in on the fun. Hell, who doesn't want to dress up in a costume and eat candy? I would do that every day if I could!
Unfortunately, it can be hard to find a good haunted house nowadays, as society has become very sensitive and opposed to scary things. I mean, OK yes, having a man dress as a zombie and scaring a 5 year old child with a chainsaw is not the greatest of ideas, but hey -- that is what Halloween is about. Being traumatized is part of the allure. Today, Google releases a list of the scariest places in Europe. Not in Europe? No worries, Google Maps can take you there.
While some people find animated GIFs to be tacky and silly, I find them fun. Sure, many people use the images to flood social media with memes, but they also serve as a great way to show a short animation using a small file size. I often use them in things like PowerPoint presentations, as they jazz it up a bit and keep things exciting.
Searching for the perfect animated GIF can be problematic, as most images are not named as such, and unless the search engine gives an option, they may be mixed in with non-animated images too. Today, Bing gets even better, with the all-new option to filter image searches by animated GIF.
When I was a younger man, it was all the rage to replace the stock stereo and speakers in your car with better, third-party options. This enabled you to have more features and increased volume. If you did not have something like an Alpine or JVC deck, you and you car were lame. However, as time marched on, car manufacturers slowly began to improve the stock offerings, and, today, many people are content with the factory audio.
Two tech companies are looking to shake-up the car audio industry -- Apple and Google. Yes, the smartphone wars are advancing from your homes and pockets to your automobiles. Google has Android Auto, while Apple has CarPlay. Even though Android has handily become the dominant force in smartphones, according to a new study, the war for your car is still either company's to win.
Lenovo makes some great computers; its laptop build-quality is legendary. While its tablet offerings have been average, the newest line of tablets is sure to change that. You see, the Yoga Tablet 2 line, has quite the impressive specs, which consumers should notice.
Earlier this month, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro was the star of the show, when Lenovo unveiled the new line. The "Pro" tablet stood out, as it has a 13-inch screen, coupled with an impressive audio package, including a subwoofer. Unfortunately, the 13-inch tablet only came with Android, leaving Windows fans in despair. Fear not though, Lenovo has decided to right that wrong, and announces the 13-inch Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows.
If you are a fan of Android, there is something you may live and breathe for -- Nexus. True, fans may choose other devices for various reasons, but Nexus devices are the best way to get timely updates and a pure Android experience. As many of us have learned the hard way, non-Nexus devices may get stranded without updates and get left behind. Regardless of who is to blame, whether it is the manufacturers or the carriers, it can be an unpleasant experience to say the least.
The Nexus 6 is the newest Google handset, this time built by Motorola. Pre-ordering went live today, but something rather tragic happened -- it sold out. Yes, in merely a minute or so, the world raced to pre-order the smartphone and it is now out of stock from the Google Play Store. If you did not get to order one, you have my sympathies; it understandably sucks. However, all is not lost, you can still score one on launch day.
Linux is pretty darn awesome when used on super-powerful machines. However, where the kernel really shines is when operating systems leverage it for less powerful computers. In other words, Linux can breathe new life into old computers thanks to lightweight distributions.
One of the most infamous lightweight distros is Puppy Linux. Aw, puppies are cute, right? Sure they are, but so too is the operating system that bears the name. You see, it loads from a CD/DVD or flash drives, but it runs from system RAM, making it quite fast (and secure). Today, Puppy Linux achieves 6.0 release, and you can download it now.
Some people are fans of movies or books; me? I love computer peripherals. Yeah, its crazy, but PCI cards, keyboards and mice really get my motor running. With that said, I particularly appreciate quality and value. In other words, I like solid build quality and reasonable prices.
It is for these reasons that I am a Logitech fan. Yes, there are other companies that make awesome keyboards and mice too, such as Microsoft, but Logitech tends to have a more diverse product offering. Today, the company announces the all-new Keys-To-Go Bluetooth keyboard, which takes a rather unique design approach to mobile typing. True, a small keyboard is not innovative, but the svelte nature of the design is something to behold.
You haven't exercised in a while. It's OK, we know. We can see you getting winded when playing Wii. Who can blame you? I mean, nowadays, there is such incredible technology, that it is hard to be impressed by real life. It is easier to sit on the couch with your precious Nexus 7 watching Law and Order than going for a walk. Hell, maybe you are a Brony and you watch My Little Pony; whatever, it is your life. No judgement. Well, a little judgement -- you are fat and need to get in shape. Your parents are worried about you.
Don't worry, Google is going to motivate you. No, the company is not going to dangle an Inbox invite on a string in front of you and have you chase it around the yard, although that would probably work. Today, the company releases an app called "Fit" that is aimed at getting you off the couch and moving. Sure, it is ironic that technology is being used to motivate sedentary Android fans, since technology has contributed to their lazy ways. But hey, whatever works, right?
With every passing day, Microsoft's enterprise competition gets a bit stronger. Between OS X, Chrome OS and Linux distributions, Windows is under constant attack; however, the true threat to Microsoft is competing office suites and cloud solutions. While the business world will not largely be transitioning from Windows anytime soon, software like Google Docs and Drive are legitimate options.
Today, Google announces a new agreement with a company called PwC, which will bring Google's solutions, like Gmail, Hangouts, and Docs, to the company. Believe it or not, PwC has over 45,000 employees in both the USA and Australia which is a huge win for Google. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a huge number of users, but slowly and steadily, Google is accumulating these relationships and they add up. Should Microsoft be worried?
Everybody deserves the opportunity to compete and feel good about themselves. The Special Olympics is a great example of this; people with intellectual disabilities compete against each other in sports to build confidence, and most importantly, have fun. The non-profit organization is essential for many people the world over.
Today, Microsoft announces that it is partnering with the organization to modernize its technology with a big focus on the cloud. The Special Olympics will be getting all kinds of cool stuff, like Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.
When it comes to sports, I am a born loser. New York is chock full of successful sports teams like the Yankees and Giants, but I am not a fan of them. You see, I love the Mets, Jets, Islanders and Knicks; these teams have historically been horrible and I have had much disappointment in my life.
Today, the team I love the most, the New York Knicks, selects ZTE to be its official smartphone sponsor. Unfortunately, even the basketball team's sponsors aren't winners, as ZTE is the mere fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the USA.
The problem with email and text messaging is that context can be lost in transmission. In other words, even if your intentions are good, the recipient may misinterpret the overall tone. This can cause the communication to break down quickly and lead to hurt feelings. Believe it or not, in business, it can even lead to review by Human Resources, as employee relations are harmed.
Emojis are often criticized as being stupid and silly -- something teens use for talking about nonsense. I disagree, as they can help establish the proper tone of your message. A smiley face or picture of a jack-o-lantern can liven up your text message or tweet so it cannot be misconstrued as being angry. Today, Bing learns how to speak the language.
There is currently no shortage in the market when it comes to streaming devices. Quite frankly, there are so many available, that it can be very hard to choose; Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku -- it is dizzying.
Today, Amazon further complicates the decision with the all-new Fire TV Stick. Yes, the company already offers the Fire TV box, so the Fire TV Stick, in some ways, competes with its existing offering. However, the big selling point of the Fire TV Stick is the price -- $39. But wait, you may be eligible to get it cheaper!
Of course, I ask this semi-facetiously, as I do not expect the Nexus 6 to bend at all. Heck, I keep all my smartphones in my front pocket, and have yet to experience any bending or damage. Sure, smartphones are getting larger, often testing the limits of pocket size; however, manufacturers should know a consumer's expectation about front pocket usage, and should take that into account in design.
Lately, I have been storing the large phone de jour, the Galaxy Note 4, in the front pocket of both my jeans and khakis. Guess what? It remains flawless -- no bending. So why am I asking this question? The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus of course! The "Bendgate" scandal has been criticized by many, for various reasons. I have seen people say "of course aluminum bends", and my favorite, "you should not put it in your front pocket". Really? That is just silly, as again, Apple knows that consumers keep smartphones in their front pockets, and the company has never warned against the practice.
It seems like everyone has a tablet or phablet nowadays. These devices are wonderful as they let you do many things, like listening to music, surfing the web and reading. Yes, you can read a book on an iPad, Nexus 7 or Galaxy Note, but you shouldn't -- your eyes do not want you to. You see, it's debatable, but generally accepted, that back-lit LCD displays can strain eyes and lend to eye fatigue. Also, they tend to have poor readability in bright sunlight.
Amazon solved these dilemmas in 2007 with the original Kindle -- an e-ink based e-reader, that worked well in sunlight and was easy on eyes. Since then, there have been many upgrades to the original design, leading up to the all-new Kindle Voyage. I have been reading many a book on the device and want to share my impressions with you.