Brian Fagioli

Microsoft makes Surface Pro 3 even better with new update

Surface generated almost $1 billion revenue for Microsoft last quarter

Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is already a legendary computer, offering wonderful performance in a versatile package. Even though the hybrid computer is overdue for a refresh, it still competes with, and outperforms, many newer machines. Even Apple's comparably priced new MacBook is far less powerful.

Today, Microsoft releases an update that improves the Surface Pro 3. Not only does it fix existing issues, but it adds new functionality. If you own the computer, you should be excited.

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GNOME 3.16 is here -- the best Linux desktop environment gets better


Linux-based operating systems are a staple in my computing life. With that said, as much as I love the kernel and associated distributions, my true love is the GNOME 3 desktop environment. While version 3 has historically been a rather polarizing desktop, its subsequent point releases have greatly improved its reputation.

Today, the desktop environment reaches version 3.16. With its new features, it is undoubtedly the best version yet.

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I paid for Starbucks with Microsoft Band and so can you -- here's how


Microsoft's Band wearable has been a life-changer for me, as it has inspired me to lose weight and eat healthier. Since I bought in on a whim, I didn't educate myself on all of its capabilities before making the plunge. This proved to be an interesting experience; it was fun and refreshing to learn about the product as I went along.

One of the most interesting and unexpected features of the Microsoft Band is the ability to pay for things at Starbucks. As a tech geek, I am often looking for free Wi-Fi and a comfortable place to use my laptop, and Starbucks is the perfect place for this. On my most recent visit, I decided to use the Band to pay for my beverage. Here's how I did it and how it went.

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Sorry Beats, HP moves on to better things -- Bang & Olufsen audio on its machines


When a man or woman breaks up with you, it is normal to be sad. Also normal? Hoping that your next partner is better than your last. Nothing is more satisfying than to run into an ex with your new and better bae.

When Apple bought Beats, this meant an ending to its relationship with HP. I'm sure this was a devastating thing for Hewlett-Packard, as the Beats brand was a selling point for its machines. Today, however, HP introduces its new girlfriend, Bang & Olufsen, which arguably offers better audio quality than Beats. Certainly, the new partner is more respected in the audiophile community.

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Win an Ubuntu Phone with the Origami Unicorn Challenge


When I was a young boy in school, I was fascinated with paper airplanes. While some will say this is a constructive activity, showing future promise in engineering, mine was more devious -- disruption of class. Yes, I was a punk kid who threw them at the teacher's back. This won me many trips to the principal's office.

What if paper folding, origami, could win me something better? Well, it can. Today, Canonical announces a contest focusing on paper folding. By creating an Origami Unicorn, you just may win a free Ubuntu Phone!

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Twitch possibly hacked -- all users forced to change passwords


With so many security breaches nowadays, it can feel a bit fatiguing. You come up with what you think is a really good password, only to have a website hack compromise your credentials. This is why it is very important that you do not use the same password -- or similar variations of it -- on multiple sites. If a hacker gets the password to one site, they may try it on others; scary stuff.

Today, Twitch, the video streaming service for video gamers, announces that it may have been hacked. Yes, may have, as in the company isn't positive. It is frustrating that the company doesn't know for sure, but since there is a possibility, it is requiring that all users change their password.

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Samsung will pre-install Microsoft apps on even more Android devices


Microsoft is now a services and devices company, meaning it is delivering its services and apps to all platforms -- not only its own. Heck, I bought the Microsoft Band over the weekend, and not only does it work with Windows Phone, but iOS and Android. In other words, the company is delivering on its services and devices mantra.

Having cross-platform apps is great, but you have to convince consumers to install them. With that said, it is much more preferable to have apps pre-installed on devices, which can make the consumer more likely to use them. Microsoft convinced Samsung to install some of its apps on the upcoming Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge; a major score for the company. Today, it announces that the partnership is expanding to even more of Samsung's Android devices.

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I'm a fat guy and I bought the Microsoft Band wearable -- Can it save my life?


Yesterday, my colleague Manish wrote about Microsoft's "desperation" with its Band fitness wearable. While I disagree with his sentiment about the promotion -- I do not think it is a desperate move -- I was intrigued by the free Starbucks gift cards. Since I was heading to the mall anyway, I decided to go to the Microsoft store under the guise of actually wanting the Band, even though I didn't, so I could get free gift cards. Hell, I even told my wife to try one on so we could get two cards!

Something crazy happened while I was there -- I bought one. Microsoft's promotion was a success. They got me into the store, and I ended up getting hooked. The salesperson, Christy, was very high on it, and when she showed me all of the features, I just had to have one. Truth be told, I am very much out of shape, and I really want to lose weight and be healthy -- I'm scared of dying. After many unsuccessful attempts to drop pounds, I am hoping the Microsoft Band will help me to be successful. In other words, I am depending on the wearable to help save my life.

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Netgear R7500 Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router AC2350 [Review]


For many of us, connecting to the Internet is life. While technically not as important as drinking water or breathing oxygen, being connected can feel that way sometimes. It is for this reason that I am often perplexed that people choose to skimp on their router. Look, I like a good deal just as much as the next guy, but why wouldn't you go for the best you can get when it comes to something you do every day, such as connect the Internet? Is it really worth saving $20 if your connection is constantly dropping?

For the past year or so, I have been enjoying Apple's Airport Extreme router, and for the most part, it has been a success. Unfortunately, it has some negatives. Lately, the 5GHz band has become flaky, causing me to disconnect and reconnect; a pain in the butt to the say the least. The biggest deal-breaker? It requires an Apple device or Windows computer to manage. Unlike most routers that can be accessed though a web browser, Apple requires a special program. As a Linux user, this meant not having the ability to change router settings without booting into Windows or grabbing my iPad. To solve this dilemma, I swapped it for the 802.11AC Netgear AC2350 Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router. Did it outperform Apple's Airport Extreme?

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Google invites you to the 2015 YouTube Music Awards, hosted by Tyler Oakley


With the launch of MTV in the 1980s, music and video became forever linked. In recent years, the name MTV, or Music TV, became quite the misnomer, as the channel ditched the music videos that made it popular, embracing original programming instead. The music video did not die, however, it just moved to the web instead. Yes, music videos on YouTube are wildly popular, seeing billions of views.

Today, Google invites you to the 2015 YouTube Music Awards. No, you aren't invited to the actual event, but you can watch it live online. Will you tune in?

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Acer C910 commercial Chromebook gets 5th Gen Intel Core i5 -- is now world's fastest

Acer C910 Chromebook_left facing

When it comes to computing, I am rather platform agnostic. Quite frankly, I can jump between multiple operating systems to achieve my goals. While Windows is my go-to for heavy lifting, I often use Chromebooks too for lighter work, such as writing and web surfing.

Earlier this year, Acer announced the Chromebook C910 -- a commercial grade laptop running Google's Chrome OS. The 15.6 inch screen met the needs for many, since Chromebooks often have smaller displays. Today, Acer announces that the C910 is getting a refresh, with an optional 5th generation Intel Core i5 processor. With this CPU, the manufacturer claims that it is the world's fastest commercial Chromebook.

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Surface Pro 3 and PayPal Here bundle available now from Microsoft Store


If you do not have a Surface Pro 3, you have my sympathies. Microsoft's Swiss Army Knife-like computer can be a desktop, laptop or tablet, making it an extraordinary value. Not only is it a great choice for home users, but business users too. In other words, the svelte tablet hybrid is good for both fun and work.

Back in January, we reported that Surface Pro 3 would eventually be learning a new skill -- being a point of sale with the help of PayPal Here. Well, the future is now, as you can buy the Surface Pro 3 and PayPal Here dongle in a special combo package from the Microsoft Store. Will your business jump on the Surface train?

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Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 2 'Betsy' RC is here -- both MATE and Cinnamon


When it comes to picking a Linux distribution, it can be very difficult. Quite often, beginners will choose Ubuntu, which is a smart choice. Why? It is easy to use and well supported. Besides Ubuntu, however, Linux Mint is another great choice. Since it is based on Ubuntu, it is compatible with the same packages and commands.

There is another version of Linux Mint, though -- LMDE. This stands for Linux Mint Debian Edition. As the name describes, rather than being based on Ubuntu, it is based on Debian. While the operating system used to be a rolling release variant, it has since evolved to something else. Today, a release candidate for the second edition of the operating system becomes available. Should you use LMDE 2 instead of the traditional Linux Mint?

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Microsoft reveals a worldwide Windows 10 summer release


They say that when buying property, location is everything. This is very true, because a beautiful home in a terrible location is hardly a smart investment. In other words, the true value is the community and neighborhood, not the number of bedrooms.

The same can sort of be said regarding product releases too; instead of location, however, timing is everything. This is especially true in the technology world, as there are key months that make more sense for new computers or operating systems to be released. Ideally, you want to release prior to two key moments -- back to school and holiday shopping. With that said, Microsoft casually announces today that Windows 10 will be released this summer.

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Twitter empowers victims to report abuse to the police -- put bullies behind bars


The Internet can be a marvelous place. Not only is it chock full of information, but it tears down boundaries, enabling people to communicate with each other from all parts of the world. Unfortunately, the sometimes anonymous nature of the web can bring out the worst in people. On social media, many people are bullied, harassed and even worse -- threatened with violence, including rape or murder. Heck, some people have even committed suicide as a result of the abuse. Often times, the attacker's actions goes so far as to break the law.

Today, Twitter is taking a stand against online bullies that commit crimes through threats and intimidation. Instead of just reporting the abuse to Twitter, users now have a tool to help report the crimes to law enforcement. By simply clicking a button, users can start the process of putting some online bullies behind bars.

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