Brian Fagioli

5 things Microsoft's Android-powered CyanogenMod Lumia needs for success

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While I don't usually speculate on rumors, sometimes they are just too interesting to ignore. Imagine my surprise to hear a rumor from the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft has allegedly invested $70 million in Android ROM-maker, Cyanogen. Think about that for a moment -- the company behind Windows, investing in the Linux-based CyanogenMod operating system -- insanity!

Sure, it does sound crazy, but it's totally plausible that the new Microsoft, focusing on software and services, could jump-start its mobile offering by embracing Android and dumping the seemingly-stalled Windows Phone (or supporting both). Regardless of whether or not you believe the rumor, its fun to imagine what could be. With that said, here are 5 things a potential Android-powered CyanogenMod Lumia would need in order to be a success.

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Follow Super Bowl 49: Patriots vs Seahawks on Twitter with #SB49

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Hey bro, it's almost Super Bowl Sunday! You know what that means, right? Testosterone and fatty foods. For one day a year, weak computer nerds like me pretend to be men by watching NFL football and eating junk food. Truth be told, I enjoy watching American football, but for the most part, I am happier watching Big Bang Theory or The Bachelor with a nice cup of herbal tea!

Don't worry, if you are a computer nerd that isn't interested in watching sports, you can at least use technology to enhance the Super Bowl experience. How? With Twitter, of course! Yes, between watching the commercials, you can pull out your iPad or Nexus 9 and follow the action with the hashtag #SB49. This will enable you to at least look like you know what you are talking about when the other guys are discussing the game.

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Intel's 5th generation Core vPro processors now available for enterprise and enthusiasts

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Whether you are a home or business user, there is probably an Intel processor in your PC or workstation. Let's be honest, it has become a one-horse race; Intel is really the only player in the processor game nowadays. True, AMD is still producing chips, but the best value is Intel's "Core" line -- great performance paired with impressive battery life and temperatures. Sadly, AMD has nothing to compete with Intel's 14nm 5th generation Intel Core processors.

Today, Intel furthers its lead against competitors by announcing the immediate availability of the vPro-enabled 5th generation Intel Core processors. These chips are aimed at business users and workstations, but enthusiast home users will be interested in these chips too. The new features should allow workers to be more productive, while working smarter instead of just harder.

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Pandora achieves 50 billion 'thumbs' -- users vote on what they like and hate

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Listening to streaming music services can be a very rewarding experience. Unlike listening to vinyl or a CD, which can be a very private experience, streaming can feel more communal. In other words, it can provide the user with the feeling of a shared experience.

Pandora is very successful in this regard, as it allows users to vote with a thumbs up or down to make their voice heard. Ultimately, this allows the service to customize the listening experience, but more importantly, it supplies the company with valuable insights. You see, Pandora is tracking all of the user data on thumbs up and down, and using it for analysis. The company has now received over 50 billion thumbs (both up and down) -- impressive. To celebrate, it is sharing an infographic that tells the story of what music people respond to.

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Warning! Linux is being haunted by a G-G-G-GHOST vulnerability -- are you at risk?

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Recently, I declared that the Linux Desktop was dead, something that I stand by. However, Linux still dominates in the mobile device and server categories. And yes, a relatively minuscule number of people -- including myself -- will still continue to use Linux on the desktop. Why? People trust Linux-based operating systems to be safe and secure.

Because of Linux's popularity for servers and smart phones, it is imperative that it remains safe, and free from malware and vulnerabilities. Sadly, we learn today that Linux is being haunted by a g-g-g-ghost -- a ghost vulnerability, that is. Qualys explains that it is calling the vulnerability a "GHOST" because "it can be triggered by the GetHOST functions". In other words, Linux isn't as safe as we thought.

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Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation gains 4K, Thunderbolt 2 and Ubuntu Linux options

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Dell makes damn good consumer computers, but the company really shines in the enterprise. Along with HP and Lenovo, the firm makes very solidly built and dependable workstations. Of all my years working in the corporate world, Dell has often been the brand of computers offered by the companies for which I have worked. Having dropped and abused many business-issued Dell laptops during travel, I have yet to have any issues beyond scuffs and dents -- impressive.

One of Dell's sexiest business machines is the Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation. Today, the company announces that the "thinnest and Lightest 15-Inch True Mobile Workstation" is getting some great new options that will make many professionals happy. You can now get a 4K display, Thunderbolt 2 and Ubuntu Linux to go with the Haswell Core i7 and NVIDIA Quadro K1100M.

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Logitech ConferenceCam Connect for business is no Surface Hub, but it's still cool

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Business tech does not have to be grey and boring. Sure, companies often put costs above sexy, and that is understandable, but employees like using fun tech. Trust me, morale is critical for success, and disgruntled or disenfranchised employees do not make for optimal productivity.

Microsoft's upcoming Surface Hub looks to be an amazing all-in-one conferencing solution, but likely to be expensive; it will require a serious commitment from an organization. What if you need something impressive, but on a smaller scale? Logitech has a solution ready to integrate with your existing displays and computers; the ConferenceCam Connect for business.

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Windows 10 is the final nail in the coffin for the Linux desktop

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For years now, we Linux fans -- yes, myself included -- have been dreaming of the fabled "Year of the Linux Desktop". What does that mean? To have Linux-based operating systems snag a bigger piece of the desktop pie, if not a majority. While a majority share of the desktop is admittedly absurd, a respectable share was always something I considered a possibility.

For some, this desire stems from a hatred of Microsoft and Windows; that is not my stance, however. No, I love both Linux-based operating systems and Windows; I just want Linux distros to get a bit more respect. A lot of work goes into Ubuntu, Fedora and others and it is sad that they are not used by more people. While the consumer hatred of Windows 8 seemed like an opportunity for Linux to grow, sadly, it did not happen. Even sadder? Windows 10 closes the door entirely. The year of the Linux desktop will never happen. Rest in peace.

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Xbox app now available in Windows 10 build 9926 -- Gamers, download now!

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The technology world is still recovering from the epic Windows 10 event. Yes, Microsoft not only hit a home run, but a grand slam with its announcement. The excitement usually reserved for the likes of Google and Apple nowadays, was thrust upon Microsoft; deservingly so. New operating system, Office, HoloLens, Surface Hub -- holy cow, it was one great thing after another.

With that said, gamers were far more excited about the announced Xbox app for Windows. Yes, you can do the things that you'd expect, such as manage your profile and view activity feeds, but there are even more exciting features too.

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Intel Education Content Access Point is an Ubuntu Linux-powered digital content tool

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Sometimes a product comes along, that makes so much sense, that you wonder how no one thought of it before. For example, the Snuggie. I mean come on, a blanket with sleeves? Genius! Let us not forget about the George Foreman Grill; that thing makes some damn tasty turkey burgers.

From a technology perspective, however, Intel has a new product for education that is so damn awesome, I'm not sure why it never existed before. The company's Education Content Access Point will provide content to devices even when there is little to no Internet access or electricity. Sounds awesome right? Yep. Best of all? It is powered by Linux!

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Microsoft goes 'Total Recall' as HoloLens-powered OnSight takes NASA scientists to Mars

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I was just a young man when the movie Total Recall was released. My dad and I saw it in the theater and it blew my mind. If you aren't familiar, it is an action/mystery/science fiction film that ultimately takes place on Mars. One of the most famous scenes is where a female alien has three breasts, but I digress. The Schwarzenegger film sparked a curiosity in me about one day actually visiting Mars.

Unfortunately, traveling to Mars is pretty much a death sentence; even if you did survive the long trip there, getting home would be almost an impossibility. In other words, with current technology, you could probably never get back to Earth. In 2015, however, visiting Mars might be easier than we think; virtually, at least. Microsoft is empowering NASA to experience Mars with the all-new HoloLens-powered technology called OnSight. Will the Curiosity rover be getting some company?

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Microsoft's Windows 10 has tight Skype integration -- are Google Hangouts and Apple iMessage in danger?

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I have been having difficulty staying in touch with friends and family lately. The problem? Everybody is using different services! Apple fans are on iMessage and Facetime. Google users are on Hangouts. Other people embrace Facebook Messager or SMS. Quite frankly, it is maddening. Lately, I have been considering embracing Skype, as it works on Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. In other words, I don't have to worry about the platform the other person is on. I can have my friends and family use Skype to get in contact with me.

Luckily, Windows 10 will have Skype installed by default, meaning every user of that operating system can easily access it. I will not have to instruct people how to download and install it -- this is huge. Not only is it installed, but tightly integrated into the OS. Plus, with Lync being transformed into Skype for Business, Microsoft's communication solution may be poised to dominate.

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Twitter keeps you abreast of missed tweets with 'While you were away'

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Twitter is super-awesome and fun; all the cool kids use it. If you aren't on the social network, you just aren't trendy. It is a great way to stay on top of Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and other very important people. But seriously folks, it's also a great means of tracking news, interests, and updates from your friends.

The service is only engaging when you follow interesting people, and that is a problem. Why? There are a lot of quality people to follow on the network -- which can make your feed noisy -- making it easy to miss important Tweets while away. Today, Twitter aims to alleviate some of that pain, with a new feature called 'While you were away'. As much as the company would like us to be on the service 24/7, some of us have jobs and have to, you know...sleep. Now, you can be kept abreast of top Tweets that you may have missed throughout the day. Don't worry, the list only contains people you follow.

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Hey Apple, you can learn a thing or two from Microsoft's Windows 10 event

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There once was a time when the entire world would anticipate an Apple launch event. While there is still some interest nowadays, much of it dissipated when Steve Jobs died. In other words, most of the magic was Jobs -- he was a genius innovator, but more importantly, an epic salesman.

Tim Cook is a nice fellow, but he just is not Jobs. Today, some of that launch event magic returned, but it was not by Apple and not in California. Nope, this was Microsoft's day to shine -- a sea change if you will -- as the winds of innovation came to the state of Washington. Unlike Apple, this is no one man show; Microsoft's presentation was a team effort, where products were more important than the presenter. I hope Tim Cook and the fruit-logo company were taking notes today.

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Acer announces C740 and C910 Chromebooks for education

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Chromebooks are wonderful computers, albeit a bit limited. Sure, some people can get by using them as a full-time machine, but if you need specialized software, a true desktop operating system may be required. With that said, many users live in the browser nowadays, so it makes total sense for them.

Where Chromebooks really shine, however, is in education. You see, Chrome OS is a very secure platform that keeps students safe from malware. Best of all, they are easy to maintain by IT. Today, Acer announces two new Chromebooks designed for education -- the 15.6 inch C910 and 11.6 inch C740.

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