There are award shows for everything nowadays, celebrating actors, athletes and more. However, computer nerds do not get the credit they deserve; we should get an award show too, right? Hell, they should give out trophies for fixing family members' computers. I have spent hours at my Uncle Roy's smelly house removing malware, only to leave with not so much as a thank you.
Don't worry though, Google cares about your nerdy endeavors -- if it helps the Chrome browser, that is. You see, the search giant is increasing the maximum bounty for finding bugs in the browser to $15,000. While money is awesome, the recognition may be equally cool, as your name may be added to the Google Hall of Fame!
I'll admit, when Windows 8 was first announced, I hated it. Even though I am open-minded about UI changes, the Start Screen rubbed me the wrong way. At the time, I was strictly a keyboard and mouse user, who enjoyed doing things on a large monitor. After months of trying to convince myself that I would eventually like the changes, I gave up and went to Linux full time. I was already a casual user of operating systems based on the open-source kernel, but now I was jumping in head first.
Initially, life was great and I hopped from distribution to distribution trying Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora and many more. What was cool about these Linux-based desktop operating systems, was that I could choose the environment of my liking. In other words, if I didn't like the UI, I could easily switch. This was in stark contrast to Windows, which has a take it or leave it approach. Ultimately, I decided on Fedora and the GNOME 3 environment. This surprised me, because as a lifelong Windows user, I expected to gravitate towards KDE. Over time though, something strange happened -- I went back to Windows 8.
Acer makes some great machines, but the company is often associated with budget laptops. This is not a bad thing though, as the company's notebooks are inexpensive, but not cheap. In other words, Acer computers give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Today however, Acer is going the hardcore-gaming route and is delivering some beasts to North America, with the Aspire V Nitro Black Edition laptops. Make no mistake, these laptops are not budget-oriented, but power-oriented.
Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen, nowadays. Quite frankly, it is hard to get excited about them. While they can be used with a desktop at a workstation, the true allure is portability with a smartphone or tablet. You see, there is typically a trade-off of quality for convenience, and the average audiophile would likely turn up their nose at using them.
While I have heard some great Bluetooth speakers like the UE BOOM and JBL Flip, they ultimately were not enough to replace my desktop speakers, the Logitech Z-2300. Those desktop speakers are quite phenomenal and hard to beat. I recently tested the Cambridge Audio Minx M5 and found them to be wonderful, but they do not offer a wireless connection. Today, I am looking at the Grace Digial aptX Bluetooth Speakers, which work as both wired and wireless.
When I bought my first Chromebook, the 2012 Samsung model, I did it mostly for one reason -- price. I drove down to my local Best Buy and was blown away by how inexpensive it was; at $249 it looked like a MacBook Air and promised good battery life. Even though I knew the limitations of Chrome OS beforehand, I still handed over my money thinking I could find a place for it in my home. For the most part it was OK; I mean, it changed the way I thought about computing, but it soon became apparent that it could not replace my Windows machine. I didn't return it; I kept for basic typing on the go, but I later sold it as it collected dust. You see, my iPad Air when coupled with a keyboard-case was a better portable machine.
Now, in 2014, Chromebooks are making huge strides in homes, schools and the enterprise, but Windows still reigns supreme. While I do recommend Chromebooks for people low on cash that only have basic computing needs, today this changes. You see, HP announces the $199.99 Stream 11 laptop, and with a price that low, why would you bother with Chrome OS?
Microsoft Stores are surprisingly cool places; much better than Apple's iconic stores. Sure, the fruit-logo company's store is more famous, plus full of hipsters and other rather trendy folks, but the Microsoft Store tends to be more useful and better designed. From my observations, the Apple Store in the mall is a place teens and husbands go to play with stuff as their moms or wives shop in lady-stores, while actual shoppers go to Microsoft.
Surprisingly, a full-fledged Microsoft Store has been absent from Manhattan. While there are many big cities in the world, none are trendier or more significant than New York. Finally, the company is delivering a store to New Yorkers on Fifth Avenue; however, it isn't just any store, but the flagship store.
As someone who was in high school during the 90s, alternative rock was a very important part of my life. Bands such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins made big impacts, but Radiohead was the true soundtrack to many of our lives. Whether you were depressed, or just wanted to emote, their music was sure to help, as it conjured emotions from the soul.
The frontman of Radiohead, Thom Yorke, released his debut solo album, The Eraser, in 2006, and it was just as magical as his prior group efforts. Since then, fans have been eagerly awaiting a new album from the artist. Today, BitTorrent announces that his new album is being released digitally as an exclusive paid torrent "Bundle".
Seeing nude celebrities is an exciting thing; I get it. When I was a younger man, I might have partaken in the consumption of the Fappening photos. However, with maturity comes empathy and I cannot enjoy seeing photos that a woman doesn't want seen. In other words, I respect a woman's right to privacy and would feel awful to contribute to her feelings of embarrassment and betrayal.
The Fappening is a tragedy and like all tragedies, learning from them can mitigate the negative aspect. If we can walk away from the photo leak as a more evolved people, we can prevent the hackers from "winning". With that said, here are three things that can be learned from the Fappening.
Apple makes amazing products and software, but every company is bound to make a mistake. Unfortunately, iOS 8.0.1 was quite the doozy. You see, the update crippled the brand new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus by taking away the ability to make phone calls and use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple was responsible however, and pulled the update very quickly. Before the update was removed, many people had already applied it and found themselves in dire straits.
Losing the ability to make phone calls is not only annoying but extremely dangerous too. Forget about the teens that just want to talk about gossip and the mall, and consider medical professionals that depend on communication or a stranded mother on the side of the road. Today, Apple rights a wrong and releases iOS 8.0.2 which undoes the damage of the previous release and introduces other bug fixes too. Kudos to the company for fixing the bug so quickly.
Building desktops is a hobby I still enjoy, even if the younger crowd tends to gravitate towards tablets. Don't get me wrong, I love both the Surface Pro 3 and iPad Air, but there is something satisfying about building something on your own. I particularly like selecting each and every component, like a solid state drive, so that it is uniquely my own.
Lately, the prices of solid state drives have been dropping, but don't be fooled; SATA III is saturated, meaning most drives on the market will soon be obsolete. The future you see, is drives that connect directly to PCIe in a card format. Yes, your future SSD may look like a USB card or sound card. Today, Samsung announces a piece of tech that is sure to excite many nerds -- a 3.2TB PCIe SSD. Whoa.
Flying is terrifying for me, which is arguably illogical. Plane crashes are fairly rare, but turbulence still causes me to wet my pants (no, not literally). What tends to calm me is knowing that a professional pilot is in charge of the plane, and is using the best technology.
Unfortunately my choice for the best tablet, the Surface Pro 3, was not previously permitted for use as an electronic flight bag for pilots during the entire flight (an EFB is a device used for performing flight management tasks). This changes today however, as both the FAA and EASA give Microsoft a big thumbs-up, and authorizes it for uninterrupted in-flight use.
Whenever something in tech is new, I generally get pretty excited about it. In other words, I tend to be an early adopter. Unfortunately, upgrading to the latest and greatest is not necessarily worth the cost; sometimes throwing money at things isn't the best option. I remember upgrading my optical burners at every single small increase in speed. Ultimately, I probably wasted thousands of dollars to save myself seconds in CD and DVD burning. So why did I do it? Other than stupidity, we nerds like to brag about our computers. Hell, even on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), where no one can even validate your claims, it is fun to boast about new PC components.
Wi-Fi can be a rather tricky subject when it comes to upgrades; sometimes it is worth upgrading to a new standard and sometimes not. You see, it really depends on what you are doing. If you are simply using Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, a faster router and card won't make a difference if it is exceeding the speed that your ISP supplies. It does make sense however, if you are sharing files with a home network or streaming from a desktop to a media box. Currently, the best home wireless gear you can get is 802.11ac, and that standard starting to grow in adoption. According to ABI Research, by the end of 2014, the amount of worldwide access points is predicted to reach over 176 million, and 18 percent will be 802.11ac.
While financial pundits will declare that the economy is getting better, many of us are not experiencing this. Money is tight, and people cannot afford to waste their hard-earned funds. So how do some people get the products that they want, but cannot afford? An Amazon Wish List, of course!
Yes, consumers have the ability to compile a list of their desired items in hopes that friends, family or even strangers will buy it for them. It works surprisingly well, and makes it easy for people to buy you a Christmas or birthday gift. Hell, even the famous Eric 'The Actor' Lynch, who recently died (Rest in Peace), utilized Amazon's Wish List to get gifts from fans. Today, the retailer announces that you can easily add products that you see on Twitter by using a hashtag.
Growing up, one of my favorite films was Back to the Future. Marty McFly was probably the coolest guy ever; he could skateboard, play guitar and oh yeah... travel through time! Sure, him making-out with his mom in the car was a little weird, but the protagonist was undoubtedly awesome.
While there are many memorable moments from the movie, one thing tends to resonate with movie-goers the most -- the Flux Capacitor. This cheesy-looking box was the technology behind time-travel, but most importantly, it looked super-cool (nerds and geeks love flashing lights). Today, ThinkGeek announces a USB smartphone and tablet charger for the car, which is modeled after the popular Flux Capacitor.
Choosing a Linux distribution is much like choosing a car; there are many types. When people find a car company they like, there is a good chance that they will remain loyal. Believe it or not, I have only ever owned a Ford and I plan to keep it that way. My loyalty is not blind however, as I still demand a consistent quality product.
Much like my loyalty to Ford, I am also a Fedora loyalist as I love the foundation and yum package manager. Hell, I am also a huge fan of the GNOME environment, and Fedora is a great way to experience it in a pure state. Sadly, the Linux distro has been falling behind with version updates and we are approaching a year since the last one. Today however, Fedora 21 Alpha sees release, bringing us closer to a final product.