When the iPod was first released, many thought it spelled the end of radio. After all, with an iPod, the listener can select the song of their choice from a library of thousands. Who would want someone else picking the music that they listen to? Quite a bit actually. You see, sometimes you just want to relax and listen to music without thinking -- radio can do that. Not to mention, it can introduce you to music that you were not aware of.
However, radio has expanded beyond AM and FM. While satellite radio is a natural progression, internet radio is the true future. Services like Pandora, iTunes Radio and Google Play Music can offer a wonderful experience wherever an internet connection is available. Today however, Samsung announces a new music service, called "Milk", which is exclusive to Galaxy device owners.
While self-learning and real-world experience are both great types of education, there is still something to be said for a quality, structured classroom lesson. College is a great place for structured learning, but the costs can be overwhelming. Even though education and self improvement are great investments, no one wants to be buried in student loan debt.
If you are interested in learning, the subject of Linux is a great choice. After all, more and more businesses are utilizing Linux-based operating systems, while Android and Chrome OS are increasing in popularity. Luckily, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to bring free Linux courses to the masses.
Google's Chromebooks are becoming synonymous with education. Schools are embracing them for the low cost and ease of use. It's hard to argue with that, but I am dubious that it is the best choice for students.
A Windows PC is still the best option for readying a student for the world of business. Outlook, Excel, Access -- these are the programs that a future successful person will learn. Today, Dell announces a new laptop that is focused on education and gives Chromebook a run for its money -- the Latitude 13 Education Series.
Reports about Windows are often doom and gloom lately. However, let's be honest, when an OS update is released for Microsoft's operating system, the world takes notice. Well, the world certainly took notice of Windows 8 -- in a generally bad light. While some argue that people are simply scared of change, I disagree. It is a schizophrenic experience, as it causes the user to work between two user interfaces.
It is because of the disdain for Windows 8, that everyone was clamoring for the 8.1 version. The technology world prayed that the point-one increase would solve most of the complaints. While it did make using the OS slightly more palpable, it was not the change that users wanted. And so, the world once again is resting its prayers on Windows 8.1 Update 1 -- the next iteration of the operating system. Well, get excited because it can be yours right now!
When people speak of romantic getaways or honeymoons, the conversation often turns to Hawaii. After all, it is literally a paradise, featuring beautiful beaches and awe-inspiring sunsets. However, there is one major downside -- the cost. Not only is airfare and accommodation very expensive, basic goods such as milk and bread have high prices too.
While you can close your eyes and imagine you are there, Google has a much better and high-tech idea. The search giant announces that it is bringing Street View to Hawaii. In other words, you can experience the 50th US state from your computer.
When it comes to networking, brands matter. Sure, you can sometimes score a great deal on a router or switch from a generic brand, but is the cost saving really worth the risk of poor quality? Whether in the home or enterprise, quality networking hardware is key to a great experience.
In my home, we use an Apple Airport Extreme, but I know many people who swear by Cisco -- especially in business. Sadly though, Cisco announces that some of its routers are plagued by a vulnerability which could open the door to attackers.
While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are all the rage nowadays, not everyone can afford them. After all, the economy is still weak and those consoles cost between $400 and $500. However, even financially-challenged people enjoy video games. And so, the invention of Android-based micro-consoles has been a godsend.
The OUYA has been the most popular such console thus far, thanks to a successful crowdsourcing campaign and low price. However, even though the console runs Android, it does not natively have access to the Play Store. Instead, OUYA has a mix of original and shared content in its own store. Today, Mad Catz announces an agreement with OUYA to gain access to all of that game content for its own micro-console, called M.O.J.O.
Many computer users like being on the bleeding edge. It can be fun to run beta software or update to the latest version of Windows. While this may be OK for a home user, enterprise users cannot be as adventurous. After all, the computers used in an enterprise setting are designed for business -- getting work done. It is just not feasible to roll out every non-critical update to user workstations.
One piece of software that gets updated a lot is Adobe Flash. It feels like it is constantly updated for security issues. Luckily for enterprise users, Adobe offers an extended support version. This allows businesses to utilize a stable and supported version of Flash that has proven to be compatible with its usage. Today, Adobe announces it is updating the extended support release to version 13.
My knowledge of Australia is rather limited. I know of Crocodile Dundee, Outback Steakhouse and Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life. I'll admit, I need to learn more about the world. Luckily, the internet allows me to learn from the comfort of my computer chair.
Google is one of the great resources from which to learn, especially Google Maps. From my web browser, I can navigate to anywhere in the world. Even better, Street View allows me to experience the locations as if I was really there. Today, Google announces that it is bringing Street View down under, to Sydney, Australia. Well, the search-giant is going even further down under than that, into the sea!
The old saying about real estate is that the three most important things are location, location and location. In other words, if you buy a beautiful home next to a garbage dump or angry neighbors, you will be miserable. When it comes time to sell, you will be hindered by the horrible surroundings.
Well, it seems that Auction.com was in the right location at the right time today, as Google Capital invests $50 million dollars in the real estate website. If you aren't familiar, that is a Google-backed growth equity fund.
When Canonical decided to shun the Wayland display server for its own, called Mir, the Linux community was up in arms. Many people felt that Canonical was not being a team player. While I understand that point of view, the company is well within its right to go in a different direction with Ubuntu. After all, open-source and free software is about choice -- not falling in line.
Unfortunately, getting things up and running on Mir will take time. Today however, a major milestone has been achieved -- the Chromium browser has been ported to Mir.
Linux users do not like change. Well, actually, they do not like change for the sake of change. If something works, they typically hang on to it until something truly better comes along. A good example of this is GNOME 2. People love it and it works well. However, the GNOME Project moved to version 3 and radically changed how it works. GNOME purists were angry as version 2 worked just fine -- for them. And so, many hung onto the outdated version, shunning version 3.
Luckily, Linux and open-source software enables forking. Forking is basically taking source code, but taking it in a different direction than the original creator. And so, The Mate Desktop was created as a fork from the ashes of GNOME 2. Today, Mate 1.8 releases to the world.
I'll confess, I'm not a Yahoo user. Well, I do use one of its services -- Fantasy Sports. Yes, I am one of those guys that enjoys pretending I am a coach in the NFL, while sitting on my couch in my underwear, eating snacks.
However, I access Yahoo Fantasy sports with my Google credentials. The reason being, I am not a believer in Yahoo's security. After all, the recycling of email addresses is appalling. Today however, Yahoo informs me that it will no longer be allowing Google or Facebook accounts to be used to access Fantasy Sports. Instead, a Yahoo login is being forced on users.
My first-ever Chromebook was a Samsung. The 11.6-inch laptop was inexpensive and revolutionary. Heck, it looked like a plasticy Macbook Air -- very sexy. However, all that glitters is not gold. While my relationship with the laptop started strong, the dual-core ARM processor and paltry 2GB of ram proved underpowered. Pages would load slowly, and the lag could be extremely frustrating.
While many people think of Chrome OS as being just a web browser, remember, it is actually a Linux distribution running a web browser. The more RAM the better, with 4GB being the bare minimum for an enjoyable experience. Today, Samsung announces two new ARM-based Chromebooks to serve as a follow-up to the original. Not only is the RAM increased, but the CPU is supercharged too.
Crowdfunding is a relatively new phenomenon. If you aren't familiar, it is essentially begging on the internet. However, the beggars are not unmotivated slackers -- quite the contrary. No, these people are begging for money to fund their dreams -- electronics, books, movies, etc. When someone chooses to pledge money, they often get perks, like early access to the product being funded.
There are many companies that facilitate crowdfunding, but the most popular is still Kickstarter. While pledges on the site can be very small, like $5, they can also reach into the thousands of dollars. Today, Kickstarter reaches a milestone -- one billion dollars in pledges. In other words, crowdfunding is legit and here to stay.