USB-C is a great connection type for docking stations. Using a singe cable, a compatible laptop or tablet can be turned into, what is essentially, a desktop/workstation. Best of all, this cable can often charge the device too.
Luckily for consumers, there is no shortage of these docks on the market. For example, StarTech.com and SMK-Link both released beautiful solutions recently. Today, IOGEAR releases its product, the 'USB-C Docking Station with Power Delivery' (model number GUD3C01). Rather than use plastic, the body is forged of beautiful stainless steel.
Walgreens is my drugstore of choice for many reasons. Most importantly, I can refill my prescriptions using my smartphone's camera, thanks to the company's wonderful app -- a huge time saver. Then, when at the store, I can pay with either Apple Pay or Android Pay, which is very futuristic and convenient. Also important to me is the rewards program -- my family saves a lot of money with it. CVS is a nightmare comparatively, but I digress.
Today, Walgreens announces that is the first company to integrate a loyalty program with Android Pay. This is very convenient, as it means there is one less card for the customer to carry and pull out at the register (or enter their phone number). Using their Android phone, they can tap once to both pay and earn points. Nice!
If you are running a business (regardless of size), a certain tool can help you to achieve success -- Microsoft Office. True, there are free solutions, such as LibreOffice, but they simply don't compare. When you use Office with Microsoft's other solutions, such as SharePoint, everything just works together in a brilliant way. Office 365 in particular is such a great value for both home and business.
Today, Microsoft announces it is acquiring a company called 'Genee'. This is an acquisition which will make Office 365 even better. How? With a major focus on intelligence, it can help employees to work smarter, not harder.
As someone that grew up playing video games in the 1980s, I am rather intrigued by the current trend in watching other people play. It is not so different from when I was a kid actually -- upwards of ten children from the neighborhood would all gather around one NES waiting for their turn to play. If you think about it, we probably spent more time watching others playing than doing so ourselves.
One of the most popular video game streaming platforms is Twitch. There are countless folks broadcasting themselves playing games, and even more spectating. The service has introduced a new feature that some folks might not like. By default, it will expose your activity on friend lists. Don't like that? Luckily, there is a fix.
Evernote is a very popular organization and note-taking solution. Not only is it easy to use, but it is cross-platform. In other words, users can sync their content between multiple devices running different operating systems. Unfortunately, earlier this year, Evernote did something shocking. It limited its free "Basic" option to two devices. This was not popular.
This abrupt change was a deal-breaker for users that leveraged more than just a pair of devices. While some folks were willing to pay for a tier that met their needs, other people decided to switch to other solutions, such as Microsoft's free (and wonderful) OneNote. In fact, Microsoft created an import tool to help Windows users make the switch. Today, that tool comes to Apple's macOS (OS X 10.11 or higher).
Microsoft has been a big proponent of open source and Linux lately. Heck, Ubuntu binaries are in Windows 10! Satya Nadella's leadership seems to be a big catalyst here. While we do not yet have top-tier software like Microsoft Office running natively on Ubuntu or RHEL (yet), the company has been putting resources behind open source projects and Linux-compatible software such as Skype.
Today, the Windows-maker cements its status as a Linux and open source champion by putting its command-line PowerShell tool and language on GitHub. This shows a strong commitment from Microsoft towards the Linux community. Is this a bad sign for Windows?
As an iPhone user, there is one thing that I am jealous of when it comes to Android -- wireless charging. While plugging in a cable is hardly a chore, a wireless charging pad is not only more convenient, but really cool too -- it feels futuristic. It is not enough to make me leave iOS, but I digress.
If you have a Qi-enabled smartphone, and want to buy a wireless charger, Satechi has a new product that may interest you. The unimaginatively named 'Wireless Charging Pad' looks great and is reasonably priced. Best of all, if your phone is compatible with fast-charging technology, Satechi's offering can charge your device faster than standard wireless chargers.
Barnes and Noble's color-screen NOOK tablets are really just repurposed Samsung Android devices. You know what? That is totally fine. Heck, B and N doesn't even try to hide it. While the company could go the route of Amazon and produce its own hardware and operating system, many consumers don't really want that. Without the Google Play Store, an Android tablet is largely a big disappointment.
Today, Barnes and Noble announces the latest such NOOK Android tablet, which is based on the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A. While not a top of the line tablet by any means, it is affordable, and overall, a damn good value. Existing NOOK tablet owners can even get a substantial discount when upgrading.
During the colder months, some folks look forward to the summer so they can have fun in the sun. Yeah, at first hanging out in the pool or at the beach can be totally fun. When hardcore heatwaves hit, however, and the temperature becomes too much to take, the summer novelty quickly wears off.
In many places this week, it has been sweltering -- my air conditioning has been cranked up in both my house and car. Today, Logitech announces a new way to cool down -- sort of. Well, not really. You see, the existing G933 Artemis Spectrum 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset is getting a fresh coat of white paint. The company is calling this edition 'Snow' which, from a psychological aspect, sounds pretty good to this sweaty gamer. Phew!
The upcoming USA presidential election is rather wild. I won't go into specifics, but both of the major party candidates (Republican and Democrat) are going through some serious drama. It can make picking between Hillary (D) and Trump (R) quite difficult. If you don't like either of those choices, you can also choose the Libertarian or Green Party candidates, of course. Heck, you can even write someone else in if you want -- you are free to do what you will with your vote.
Have you never voted? Understandably, it can be a very intimidating experience the first time. If you haven't already registered to vote, you must first do that ASAP. Then, once registered, you have to find your polling location. Don't know where that even is? Luckily, thanks to Google, now everyone can be informed on how and where to vote!
The original Raspberry Pi sparked the creativity of many developers and students, but it was woefully underpowered. Through several iterations, however, it slowly became more powerful. While the most recent version -- the Raspberry Pi 3 -- has a much more capable processor, some developers will still want even more horsepower.
Today, Intel announces a maker board that puts the Raspberry Pi 3 to shame. The Joule system-on-module mini-computer features RealSense camera support and runs Ubuntu Linux Core. Best of all, its specs are very impressive for what it is.
As a casual gamer, I don't necessarily need hardcore gaming accessories designed for professional eSports competitors. With that said, I place a high value on quality products. If there is a well-built mouse or keyboard that can improve my gaming performance, I am all for it.
The problem, unfortunately, is that many products designed for 'gamers' can look downright ridiculous. Look, just because a mouse, for instance, is designed for playing games, doesn't mean it has to look like an alien spacecraft. Today, Logitech G (as in Gaming) unveils its newest gaming mouse, called simply 'Pro'. Guess what? The wired mouse's design is both simple and elegant, while not being boring (you can customize the RGB lighting). Finally!
USB-C is a total game-changer for the computer market. The most obvious benefit is that it is reversible -- you can't plug it in "wrong" like prior connector versions. The true magic, however, is that a single cable can be used for a quality docking experience -- including power. In other words, a compatible laptop or tablet can be transformed into a powerful desktop/workstation with ease.
Today, StarTech.com announces a 60 watt charging USB-C dock, with a very unimaginative name. Dubbed the 'USB-C Dual Monitor Docking Station with Power Delivery', it appears to be very useful for both home and business users. Unlike some similar offerings from other companies, it features DisplayPort in addition to HDMI.
Video chat should be simple, but it is not. The biggest issue is fragmentation. On iOS, for instance, Facetime is a wonderfully easy solution, but there is no Android client. While there are plenty of cross-platform third-party options to solve this, they aren't always elegant. Skype is a good example of an app that should bridge the gap, but ends up being buggy and clunky.
Google is aiming to solve this dilemma with its 'Duo' video chat app. With it, the search giant is putting a heavy focus on ease of use. The offering is available for both Android and iOS -- the only two mobile platforms that matter (sorry, Windows 10 Mobile). Announced three months ago, it finally sees release today. There is no news about the Allo chat sister-app, sadly.
While I am technically not a millennial, I border on the cut-off. Actually, I think I am considered Generation Y, but I digress. Still, I can understand some of these young folks' likes and behaviors. While I cannot grasp the popularity of Snapchat, for instance, I totally love emoji.
Speaking of emoji, Twitter recently introduced "Stickers" which are really just emoji overlays for photos. In other words, you can jazz up your pictures on the social network with virtual stickers. Yes, it is arguably millennial nonsense, but it is actually quite fun. Today, Twitter announces 'Promoted Stickers' -- a way to monetize the feature. The first partner is Pepsi -- a sugar-water seller which once billed itself as "The Choice of a New Generation".