Brian Fagioli

Microsoft Back to School Deal: Buy Huawei MateBook Windows 10 PC, get free keyboard!


If you are looking to buy a new computer for college or high school, there are many great options. In my shopping guide, I listed some choices, with one being the Huawei MateBook. Like the Surface Pro, it is technically a tablet, but when the keyboard attachment is connected, it is functionally a laptop too.

Unfortunately, having to buy the Portfolio Keyboard adds $129 to the overall price. Thankfully, this is no longer an issue. You see, for a limited time, Microsoft will give you that keyboard for free when you buy the Huawei Matebook. Best of all, this promotion includes the base model, meaning you can get the full Windows 10 experience for a steal!

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Samsung unveils curved Quantum Dot gaming monitors with AMD FreeSync


When buying a gaming monitor, there have historically been many things to consider, such as brand, budget, size, and resolution. Nowadays, however, there are even more features to investigate, like whether or not to buy a curved screen and deciding if you need AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-SYNC.

Today, Samsung announces some new gaming monitors that check many of the marks -- curved screen, AMD FreeSync, plus respectable resolutions and refresh rate. Stepping things up further, it also has Quantum Dot technology, which should produce remarkable colors.

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Verizon switches on LTE Advanced in 461 cities -- is your phone compatible?


Verizon Wireless is what I consider to be the best cellphone carrier in the USA. Yes, it is expensive comparatively, but you get what you pay for. Both coverage and speed is top notch across the country, meaning you should have a solid experience in many places where you travel.

Today, the carrier announces that its LTE is getting much faster. In 461 cities across the USA, it switches on the speedier "LTE Advanced" (LTE-A). Best of all, many existing devices are compatible. Wondering if your phone, tablet, or hotspot can take advantage? Read on for the list.

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'Subway Reads' gives NYC straphangers free e-book shorts and excerpts


Have you ever been on an NYC subway? If not, let me tell you -- it is often horrible. Air conditioning can be broken, leading to high temperatures. Even worse, some people bring their food below ground, resulting in a stinky train car -- yuck! Don't even get me started on the performers -- people will sing or do acrobatics and then demand money. Heck, just last week a woman released live crickets on the subway!

Luckily, the NYC subway experience is getting better thanks to one thing -- Wi-Fi. Today, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York announces a new promotion, called "Subway Reads", which leverages that connectivity. This initiative will help straphangers get some relief from the other nonsense by enabling them to bury themselves in a free Penguin Random House e-book short or excerpt.

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Microsoft combats hate speech based on gender, disability, religion, age, and more


The internet and web together are two of mankind's greatest inventions. Not only do they put an infinite amount of information at people's fingertips, but they connect the globe too. We may take it for granted, but being able to video chat with someone on the other side of the planet, for example, is downright amazing.

While the internet has the ability to bring out the best in humanity, it also shines a light on some of its worst, sadly. In other words, there is a lot of hate on the web, and it can be downright ugly -- just look at YouTube comments! Heck, some presidential campaigns are even based on hate, but I digress. Today, Microsoft announces that it is increasing its efforts to combat hate speech that is hosted on its own services.

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Ubuntu Linux 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 1 now available for download (don't talk back)


Linux celebrated a 25th birthday yesterday -- a spectacular open source milestone. For some folks, rather than eat cake, they reflected on how the kernel impacted their lives. For many, Ubuntu would be a big part of the picture -- the desktop OS is wildly popular in the Linux community.

Today, the first beta of Ubuntu Linux 16.10 sees release. Once again, a silly animal name is assigned, this time being the letter "Y" for the horned mammal, "Yakkety Yak". This is obviously a play on the classic song "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters. Please be sure not to "talk back" while testing this beta operating system!

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Microsoft's Xbox Onesie is real, and you can win one here

Xbox unveils its latest design… and it’s not what you might

When images of the Xbox onesie from Australia hit the web, people went wild. Yeah, it is a silly product, but many fans of Microsoft's gaming consoles expressed desire on social media and web forums. Heck, you can have your gamertag embroidered on it -- how cool is that?

Believe it or not, the article of clothing isn't a hoax, but a real product. While Microsoft isn't selling them to the public, the company will be giving some away. Want to win one? You've come to the right place. Keep on reading for details.

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Linux celebrates its 25th birthday today! But can it survive another 25 years?


Today, Linux celebrates its 25th birthday. This is certainly cause for celebration in the open source community. Surprisingly, however, after all this time, many people don't understand that Linux is simply a kernel, and not an operating system. Yes, it is used as a component of operating systems, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Android, Tizen, and more, but a kernel alone does not an OS make.

Linux's longevity is a testament to the open source community as a whole, and not just one man, such as Linus Torvalds. True, he invented the kernel back in 1991 and maintains it to this day, but if he didn't have help along the way, it would have died long ago. Speaking of death, how much time does Linux have left to live? Some folks wonder if the kernel could meet its demise at the same time Torvalds does (or shortly thereafter). In other words, does the man have too much control with no real contingency plan?

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The essential 2016 back-to-school technology shopping guide


Holy cow. The end of August is approaching, signaling the end of summer vacation for many students around the USA. This is the time when those learners, and -- depending on student age -- their parents, begin shopping for back-to-school items.

If you aren't sure what to buy, I am going to help you out. Keep in mind though, BetaNews is a technology site -- I won't be advising on pens, pencils and binders. What I will help with, however, is smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more.

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Amazon 'Kindle Reading Fund' makes books more available to those without access


The ability to read is something many of us take for granted. At a young age, you probably had tons of books in your homes and schools, enabling you to learn to both read and write. Believe it or not, not everyone has access to books. Isn't that sad?

Luckily, Amazon is looking to change this. Today, the famed retailer launches a new literacy initiative called 'Kindle Reading Fund". The company is aiming to get books into the hands of those who don't normally have access. How? It will be distributing free Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-books to those that need them.

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Samsung Z2 is the world's first 4G Tizen smartphone


Android and iOS are the only two mobile operating systems that matter. That's a problem for consumers. Why? Well, while duopolies at least give them some choice, being limited to just two options isn't ideal. Sure, there are other options like Ubuntu for phones and Windows 10 Mobile, but neither are lighting the world on fire.

Consumers aside, phone manufacturers don't have access to Apple's iOS, leaving Android as the only viable option. In other words, for OEMs, there is almost no choice. Samsung is apparently not satisfied with being limited to Google's mobile operating system. The company has been experimenting with devices running a different Linux-based open source mobile OS -- Tizen. Today, it launches the first ever 4G smartphone running that OS. The catch? Besides a small 4 inch screen and 5 megapixel camera, it is only available in India.

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Sony focuses on PC with PlayStation Now and DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adaptor


Sony's PlayStation line of home consoles have been wildly popular over the years. The fourth version, the PS4, is obviously the best from a hardware perspective, but overall the quality of games per console is matter of opinion. Obviously the PS4 will offer the best graphics, but from a gameplay and enjoyment perspective, hardware is not the final word.

Today, the console maker takes a strange turn by focusing on the PC. You see, it is bringing its existing 'PlayStation Now' cloud gaming service to Microsoft Windows. This will give PC gamers the opportunity to play some PlayStation titles on their gaming rigs. In addition, Sony is delivering a USB dongle for Windows and Mac which will enable the DualShock 4 to be used on computers running those operating systems.

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Microsoft launches 'Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Custom Console Sweepstakes'


The Xbox One is the best console of the current generation -- according to me, that is. Of course, some folks -- such as my colleague Wayne Williams -- think that PlayStation 4 is best. This is hardly an argument that will end anytime soon. Look, the PS4 is cool, but Microsoft's console runs Windows 10, making it have, arguably, more potential -- am I right? Oh well, to each his/her own.

Microsoft recently released the more powerful and svelte 4K capable Xbox One S and I totally want one -- I am sure you, dear readers, want one too. Luckily, if funds are tight, you can maybe win one from the Windows-maker. Microsoft is giving away 32 customized NFL consoles -- each featuring the logo of one team --  which will be extremely rare. Why? Because they will not be sold -- the limited consoles are exclusive to this sweepstakes!

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Hacked: Epic Games forums


Reusing a password on multiple sites is a recipe for disaster. Why? Well, the password is now only as safe as the weakest site. For example, if you use the same user credentials for a shopping site that you do for a banking site, and the shopping site is hacked, your banking password is now exposed. Bad guys will try stolen credentials on various sites looking for where they might work.

Today, Epic Games, maker of  popular games like Unreal and Infinity Blade, announces that its forums have been hacked. Now, if you don't reuse passwords, that isn't a huge deal, right? Sort of. True, your discussions about games might not be particularly sensitive, but you may still feel pain.

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Microsoft apps will be pre-loaded on Lenovo and Motorola Android devices

MS Android

There was a time when Microsoft was seen as the enemy of the Linux and Apple communities. Understandably, at the time, the company only wanted Windows to succeed. Nowadays, however, the operating system is sort of inconsequential. Microsoft seems happy to have its software succeed on 'competitor' platforms such as iOS, Android, macOS, Ubuntu and more.

Today, Microsoft announces that it has partnered with Lenovo on a new mobile initiative. The Windows-maker's productivity apps will be pre-loaded on Lenovo and Motorola-branded devices running Google's Linux-based Android operating system.

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