Brian Fagioli

VTech Learning Lodge hacked! Your child's identity could be at risk


When a company gets hacked, and its data is breached, it is hardly news anymore. What I mean is, it is so prevalent nowadays, that we are becoming desensitized to it. I personally received a letter regarding the OPM hack today -- yes, I am apparently a victim. If I can't trust the government to secure my data, who the hell can I trust?

Today, yet another company experiences a breach -- VTech. What makes this hack particularly devious and upsetting, is that children are impacted. Sadly, the company's "Learning Lodge", an online digital store for kids, has been compromised by evil-doers. Your child will now get a strong dose of reality -- nothing is safe online, and now their identities are at risk.

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The tech item I'm most thankful for in 2015 [Brian]


Ahh, Thanksgiving. One of the few days of the year that we fat people get to shine. Many Americans are over-eaters on this gluttonous day. Actually, I am only half-joking about the gluttony; in reality, obesity is no laughing matter. Sadly, the true meaning of the holiday is getting lost more and more each year.

Holiday shopping, fueled largely by technology items, often takes precedence to the more important things in life. I'm most thankful for friends, family, my health and my home. Oh, and of course, the awesome BetaNews readers! With that said, I do love technology too. This year, there is a clear-cut favorite tech item, that has changed my life for the better. It is the...

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Windows Phone hacked! Unlock Lumia bootloader, get root access, flash custom ROMs


If you are the type of person that likes to tinker, Linux-based operating systems are for you. You would probably have many hours of fun playing with an Android device or Raspberry Pi. With that said, Linux is not the only game in town.

Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile are probably the last operating systems you would expect to be hacker-friendly. After all, despite its occasional embrace of open source, Microsoft is largely a closed company. Today, this perception could begin to change, you see, as a new tool rocks the mobile community. Called "Windows Phone Internals", it allows Lumia owners to unlock their bootloaders, gain root access and even flash custom ROMs. Whoa.

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Black Friday shopping and beyond -- Here are the hottest deals in tech right now!


Shopping on Black Friday can be a great way to save money with amazing deals. With that said, why wait? There are plenty of amazing online deals that are live now. Seriously, forget about waiting on long lines and fighting with other shoppers on Friday; you can get all of your Christmas shopping done now while wearing pajamas.

Of course, not all deals are created equal. Actually, some online deals are straight-up wack. Don't worry, your friends at BetaNews have got your back. For the next few days, I will be updating this article with the hottest tech deals I find online. There are no sponsored links; it is just our way to say "thank you" to our readers. If you find any good deals, please share them in the comments and I might add them to the list!

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AMD kills support for many popular graphics cards -- is yours on the death list?


Time moves forward, not backwards. Try as we may, we all get older, and eventually, die. Yeah, it is sad, but such is life. This same concept applies to technology. As time marches on, both hardware and software will become obsolete eventually; this leads the way for the latest and greatest. Companies cannot be expected to support products forever -- end of life is always a possibility.

Sadly, quite a number of AMD graphics cards have reached end of life today. In other words, the manufacturer will no longer support them. To make the situation particularly harsh, however, the company is abruptly stopping driver development without warning. If you own one of these cards, you will never get a new driver again after today.

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Netrunner 17 'Horizon' is here -- download the Kubuntu-based Linux distro now


About a week ago, the Netrunner team released an update to its rolling release operating system. Based on Arch/Manjaro, I advised Linux beginners to steer clear, and instead opt for the Kubuntu-based variant. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, the Ubuntu community is arguably friendlier and better for newbies -- there are a ton of instructions and .deb files available too. More importantly, however, the rolling release could be less stable overall.

Well, the newest version of the Kubuntu-based variant, code-named 'Horizon', is now available. Whether you are a Linux expert, or just someone getting started, the beautiful KDE-focused operating system is a smart choice that I highly recommend.

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To save money on Christmas shopping, forget Black Friday -- use Microsoft Edge, Bing, and Cortana


Holy cow, it is Thanksgiving week! Somehow the holidays just crept up on me this year. For retailers, this is of huge importance, as Black Friday is almost here. While I will probably do some shopping that day, I will avoid the craziness of Best Buy, Walmart and Target and focus on non-tech Christmas shopping at stores like Kohls.

So how will I save money on tech gifts then? Uhh, the Internet. Yes, I will look for deals online while preserving my sanity and avoiding long lines. According to Microsoft, leveraging Edge, Bing, and Cortana can help you save. Will you try?

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Dropbox partners with Adobe for easier PDF editing on iPhone and iPad

Dropbox PDF Adobe

My smartphone is my most-used computer. When it comes to getting work done, I chose an iPhone for its reliability, security, and most importantly, app availability. I do not have time for roadblocks, such as the app-gap found on Windows Phone.

To enhance my productivity on Windows, Linux and iOS, I leverage the wonderful Dropbox for my cloud-storage needs. The company is constantly improving its service and introducing new features. Today, the company announces a partnership with Adobe to enable easier PDF editing on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This is just the latest example of Dropbox focusing on its customers.

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Dear Satya Nadella, the pitiful Lumia 950 signals Microsoft should give up on mobile


Hey, Satya Nadella, you are doing a pretty good job at Microsoft. Windows 10 is a darn good desktop operating system, although you need to work on those confusing privacy settings, bro. Office 2016 is great too, as always, and your cross platform apps are wonderful. Hell, even Bing continues to get better.

We need to have a heart to heart about Windows 10 Mobile, otherwise known as the continuing of Windows Phone, though. Here's the thing -- nobody wants it. Other than some Microsoft fanboys and beat-writers like Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley, it's about as wanted as diarrhea. Yes, Satya, I am comparing your mobile operating system to loose stools. While that sounds a bit extreme, it sadly actually isn't. It's time to give up on mobile. Free your fanboys from their mental prisons.

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Toshiba Q300 480GB SATA SSD [Review]


If you are still running your operating system from a traditional hard drive, I want you to slap yourself in the face. Why? You are doing your computing wrong. Sure, a mechanical hard drive is great for storage, but your OS will absolutely fly with a solid state drive. While they used to be expensive, the prices have dropped so dramatically in recent years, there is no excuse not to upgrade. It has become a cliché, but an SSD is the best upgrade you can make.

Recently, I have been testing the Toshiba Q300 SSD. The particular model I have been using is 480GB. Keep in mind, capacity can impact performance, so your mileage may vary based on the size you pick. This is a SATA variant, so performance won't be mind-blowing, but with that said, SATA will remain the most-used connection type for the near future, and for folks upgrading older machines. Is the Q300 a smart choice?

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Get amazing music, games, movies, and apps for only ten cents each on Windows 10


Windows 10 is arguably a success. True, not everyone loves it, but many -- according to Microsoft -- have downloaded it. A huge benefit of having large adoption of the latest version of Microsoft's operating system, is that more people have access to the Windows Store. As a result, more and more quality apps, games, and other content should be made available in it.

To celebrate Windows 10, Microsoft is doing something incredible for its fans. Over the next ten days, the company will be selling music, games, movies, and apps for ten cents each. Yes, for a single dime, you can score some awesome stuff. Heck, you can't get much for such a little amount, nowadays.

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AMD announces powerful and wallet-friendly Radeon R9 380X graphics card


While Intel and Nvidia produce some amazing hardware, I always have a place in my heart for AMD. True, the company often lags behind Intel for raw power and efficiency, plus its Linux driver support can be iffy, but from a value perspective, its products are great. You get a lot of power, often for less money than competitors.

AMD's 300 series cards have been really popular with the gaming community, yet many people have not upgraded. In a tough economy, this is understandable. Today, however, AMD officially announces a card that is not only powerful, but affordable too. The R9 380X may be the perfect balance. Will you upgrade?

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Logitech announces new cases for Apple iPad mini 4 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2


While pundits talk up declining tablet sales, I bought a new iPad mini 4 this year and love it. True, larger smartphones are probably cannibalizing tablet sales, but I still find value in having a small iPad despite owning a large iPhone 6S Plus. I am sure I am not alone.

If you are still a tablet-lover like me, you are probably always on the look-out for a quality case. Today, one of the best companies for such accessories, Logitech, announces new offerings for the Apple iPad mini 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. If you own either of these wonderful tablets, you should definitely take notice.

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Following Charlie Sheen's HIV bombshell, Durex calls for safe sex emojis


Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, are still a huge issue. Unfortunately, many young people no longer fear HIV because they see people, like Magic Johnson, living normal lives with the disease. While I am happy that Johnson has continued to survive and prosper, not everyone is as lucky. Safe sex is still extremely important. Charlie Sheen is just the latest high-profile victim. Many more non-famous people are getting HIV, herpes and more.

In an effort to drive this issue home, Durex, the condom maker, is calling for safe sex emojis to be created. Before you call it unnecessary or silly, remember -- young people are communicating with emojis more and more nowadays. Maybe there is some value here. What do you think?

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Import old email archives into Gmail using these open source tools from Google

mail email

I'm a Gmail user. You are probably a Gmail user. Hell, I bet your dog uses Gmail. Here's the thing though -- unless you are really young, you probably didn't use Gmail as your first-ever email account, right? Right.

If you are like me, you probably pre-date web-based email, and got your messages from an email client. In fact, many people -- especially in businesses -- still do, using such software as Thunderbird, Outlook or Evolution. The unfortunate thing, you see, is that those old emails aren't available and searchable in your Gmail account. But what if they were? What if you could import your archaic email archives (if you were smart enough to save them), saved on zip disks in a closet, into Gmail? That would be neat, right? Well, with the power of open source, you actually can -- maybe.

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