Brian Fagioli

Google invites children to 'Take Your Classroom to Work Day'

Career

When you are a child quite often your parents' careers are foreign to you. Sure, you may see them get ready for work in the morning and you may even know their title ("Fireman", "Lawyer", "Janitor"), but what they do throughout the course of a work-day is a mystery.

In reality, it is very important for children to know what a work-day entails. After all, children grow-up, and they need to be prepared for the real world. Unfortunately, while some businesses offer things like "Bring Your Child To Work Day", not all do. And so, many children are unable to get the exposure that they need. Well, Google is aiming to change this, using its Hangouts service, for what it calls "Take Your Classroom to Work Day".

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Mmmm, Microsoft shows that the Surface 2 can be yummy

IceCreamLady

When you think of tablets, the iPad and Android variants seem very hip and sexy. While I love the Surface 2, it conjures images of nerds editing spreadsheets. As an owner of a Surface 2 (and spreadsheet-loving nerd) I know there is much more to Microsoft's tablet -- it is great for games and media too.

However, it seems Microsoft is intent on changing the public's perception of its awesome Surface 2. In a new video, the company features a hip, young, bakery owner named Loren Brill. Microsoft's tablet helps her bake yummy treats. Does she change the way you think about Surface?

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Great Scott! Google Street View enables time travel -- flux capacitor not needed

Delorean

Time travel has been a fantasy for many. Popular movies such as the Back to the Future trilogy and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure have piqued people's imaginations. After all, who wouldn't want to travel back in time to see the dinosaurs or travel forward to see the iPhone 27? That would be awesome!

Sadly, this is a dream that cannot be realized, as it is an impossibility. Man will never be able to travel through time -- it is just science fiction. However, Google has enabled a new Street View feature that simulates time travel.

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Apple's Beta Seed Program brings beta versions of OS X to public -- is that a bad idea?

Seeds

The concept of beta software has changed dramatically over the years. It used to be that a "beta" designation meant software was buggy and not ready for production machines. However, companies like Google have desensitized users by keeping software in perpetual beta mode. I mean hell, Google Maps navigation still comes with a notification about being beta, yet many people depend on it for not getting lost.

Apple is a company that does not offer beta software to the public very often. Although, voice-assistant Siri was in beta status when it was first released. In this case, the beta moniker was really used as a way to deflect negativity. I mean, come on, how can one of the biggest selling-points of your new smartphone be beta? Well, Apple is back at it today, as it makes OS X beta software available for testing to all users -- not just developers and employees.

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Logitech brings three new and distinct iPad cases to market

Copy-of-rotate_facetime-1024x691

There are two products that I use a lot. My iPad Air and the Logitech Fabricskin Keyboard Folio. Logitech's offering essentially turns my Apple tablet into a laptop when needed. With the recent release of Microsoft Office for iPad, I am in productivity heaven when on the go.

The problem with keyboard cases, is that they can be bulky. The Fabricskin is very svelte compared to other models, but still sometimes I would like a more sleek cover when relaxing in bed. Today, Logitech announces some new models of iPad cases, sans keyboard, and I am excited.

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Adobe Air comes to x86 Android

droid

Adobe Air is loved by some developers, but many users hate it. While the runtime works well for many developers and allows easy porting of apps, many people dislike having to install it just to make a handful of apps run. Plus, many simply don't like Adobe as a company. I can understand the company's detractors. After all, much of the company's software is arguably bloated and constantly exploited, causing numerous security updates. Steve Jobs chided Adobe Flash for poor performance, and actually banned it from the popular iOS operating system. Oh, and the information of 2.9 million customers was stolen.

With all of that said, Adobe makes some great products, such as Photoshop and Premier. Quite frankly, Air is pretty good too, despite what naysayers say. Today, Adobe announces that Air is coming to x86 Android, joining the already supported ARM architecture.

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Google Trends helps you be relevant and the life of the party with 'Hot Searches'

Disco

Have you ever been at a party and felt out of touch? I have. Quite often, the conversation turns to some Internet meme or current event and I just have no idea what people are talking about. It's my own fault, I tend do focus mostly on technology news as world news is rather depressing. Not to mention, it is hard to find time to stay on top of it. Believe it or not, I even ignore weather reports as I prefer to be surprised.

Google apparently feels my pain as it aims to make me relevant and sociable again with an updated Google Trends. Yes, the search-giant has created a way to get hot trends delivered right to your inbox.

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Peanuts, Cracker Jack and Chromecast -- MLB.TV comes to Google's dongle

HomeRun

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Take me to Best Buy to buy a $35 Chromecast. When Google's dongle was announced, I don't think anyone truly knew how popular it would be.

At first, it seemed like a cool little accessory for watching YouTube or Netflix videos on your TV. Really, that's all that it was. That is, until Google opened up the SDK. Now, the floodgates are open and the sky is the limit. Today, Chromecast scores its biggest win yet, with live casting from MLB.TV.

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is here -- Linux fans, download it now!

YayUbuntu

Ubuntu is arguably the best Linux-based operating system for home users. Sure, some people may prefer Fedora, Arch, or SUSE, but none of them can match the ease of use of Ubuntu. The wonderful thing is, not only is it a great OS for beginners and home users, but power users too. It can meet the needs of many, and meet those needs well.

The holy grail of Ubuntu releases is the LTS, or Long Term Support. You see, not only is it a modern release, but it will be supported for a mind-boggling 5 years. This makes it ideal for people that favor stability and dependability over bleeding-edge. Today, Canonical releases version 14.04 of Ubuntu, named Trusty Tahr and it is LTS.

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Corning announces all-new USB 3.Optical cables

USBOptical

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for USB. As someone who lived before the invention of the Universal Serial Bus, I realize how much of a game-changer it was. Over the years, I've amassed quite the collection of USB cables, hubs, flash drives, PCI cards -- you name it.

If you think all USB cables are the same, you are mistaken. They come in different lengths, colors and connection types, to name a few. But still, it's hard to get people excited about cables. However, Corning has managed to do just that, with the all-new USB 3.Optical cables. Whoa.

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Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard is ready for some HTPC action

FeatMSK

Over the years, many hardware companies have had varying levels of quality. However, there are two companies that you can almost always depend on for solid input devices -- Logitech and Microsoft. Both of these companies make phenomenal mice and keyboards. Sure, there are missteps every once in a while, but for the most part, their hardware can be trusted to work well and last long.

Last week, Logitech announced the brilliant Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard K830 -- a combination keyboard and trackpad. It is an elegant solution (BetaNews will be reviewing it soon), but is a bit pricey at $99. Today, Microsoft announces similar hardware, called the All-in-One Media Keyboard. The price? A very low $39. Is this the perfect low-cost solution for HTPC and Raspberry Pi?

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Google scanning and analyzing the numbers on your house -- strengthens reCAPTCHA

numberhouse

The greatest dream for many people is home and land ownership. House prices, at least in the USA, are extraordinarily expensive, putting this dream out of reach for many. For those that do achieve the dream, there are many hurdles that must be faced afterwards -- utility bills, property taxes and maintenance to name a few.

Well, homeowners have one more thing to worry about -- the visibility and legibility of their house numbers. You see, Google is now using a sophisticated algorithm to scan Street View data and detect those numbers. The end result is better accuracy in Google Maps, and a stronger reCAPTCHA.

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Linux powers CERN -- organization deploys Red Hat technologies

hadron

My knowledge of atomic science and particle physics could fit in a thimble. However, as a result of various news reports over the years, I am aware of the Large Hadron Collider and the work being done at CERN with it -- exciting stuff.

The experiments conducted at CERN, including the ones involving the Large Hadron Collider, are very complicated and require specific measurements and execution. And so, the software that the organization chooses for its computers must be very dependable. Which is why CERN has selected Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other Red Hat solutions for its computers. This is a huge win for Red Hat and the Linux community overall.

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Gmail learns a new trick -- easily insert auto-backup photos on the web

MagicEmail

Cloud storage is great for mostly all file types, but there is one type where it truly shines -- photos. Smartphones have become ubiquitous in daily life, making them the perfect camera. After all, precious memories can occur at anytime, not only when you have your DSLR or point-and-shoot. And so, auto-backup of photos to the cloud is an ideal situation for safety and sharing.

Overall, auto-backup is a great solution, because people like the idea of having their entire library of photos with them wherever they go. However, it can sometimes be tedious to utilize those photos. For example, inserting an image from the cloud into an email can be more complicated than adding a locally stored file. Google recognizes this dilemma and improves Gmail on the web with a new "Insert Photo" button.

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Microsoft Office comes to Google's Chrome OS -- now who's Scroogled?

ScroogOffice

What was once the crown jewel of software, Microsoft Office, has arguably been devalued by free offerings. It used to be that when you bought a computer, you pretty much had to buy Office too. Sure, some people got by with the low-rent Works package, but that was not the same. Let's be honest though, most home users only ever used Word, so for these users, many features and programs were for naught.

Unfortunately, the gravy train of overselling home customers has dried up for Microsoft. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft Office is still the best choice for many large businesses. However, many home users can get by without it, thanks to Google Docs and the like. It is up to Microsoft to keep it relevant and desirable. The company is actually doing a good job in this regard, by releasing it for iPad and making it affordable with a 365 subscription. Today, the company does the unthinkable and publishes Office Online to the Chrome Web Store.

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