Google is one of the biggest champions of open source, releasing very useful projects such as Cartographer and Noto. Heck, the company is so proud of its open source efforts, that it graded itself with a public report card.
Today, the search giant releases yet another open source tool. Called "Nomulus", it is designed to be a top-level domain (TLD) registry platform. This is not a young or incomplete project, however, as Google began developing it way back in 2011. Now that Nomulus is in the wild and free to use, it will be interesting to see how it is leveraged.
When Apple released its cylindrical Mac Pro, I was in awe. Not only was it beautiful, but it wasn't form over function. Actually, a cylinder is a wise design choice, as it can aid in cooling when done correctly. Surprisingly, Windows PC manufacturers took a while to start really embracing the design.
Recently, for instance, HP announced the Wave -- a tube-like PC with integrated 360 degree Bang and Olufsen speaker. Now, Samsung is following HP with the ArtPC Pulse. It too features a 360 degree speaker in its design, but by the arguably superior Harman/Kardon. Where Samsung's offering greatly differs, however, is gaming. It has a respectable AMD RX460 GPU. As you can imagine, the drop-dead gorgeous ArtPC Pulse will not come cheap.
Linux distributions and silly names go together like peanut butter and jelly. For whatever reason, the maintainers of these operating systems seem to enjoy having fun with what they call them -- some argue it is childish. Even Google -- a billion dollar company -- uses sugary dessert names for the Linux-based Android operating system.
One of the most well-known Linux distributions to use funny names is Ubuntu. It famously uses the convention of an adjective and a lesser-known animal, each starting with the same letter. The letter is chosen sequentially by alphabet. For example, Ubuntu 16.10 uses the letter "Y" -- "Yakkety Yak". The next version of the operating system will use the letter "Z". While many folks hoped for "Zebra", that would be too obvious. Instead, Canonical has chosen "Zesty Zapus". Don't know what a zapus is? Neither did I. It is apparently a type of jumping mouse. The selection was not made at random, however, as the company has an explanation for the decision.
Chromebooks are not for everyone, but for many home users, it is absolute perfection. If you live in the web browser -- as many people do nowadays -- laptops running Google's Linux-based Chrome OS are a godsend because they are maintenance free. No need for confusing OS upgrades or anti-virus software. It just works, and it works well. Since they can now run Android apps too, they could become a serious threat to Microsoft and Windows 10.
One of the most attractive aspects of Chromebooks is price -- they are often quite affordable. Today, Acer refreshes its 15.6 inch Chromebook 15 with a mind-boggling 12 hours of battery life. Best of all? It starts at $199. Yes, this model will get Android app support in a future update too.
Windows 10 is a very rewarding operating system. While Windows 8.x was very polarizing, the newest version of Microsoft's OS is much more appealing. Not to mention, through updates, it is getting better all the time. The user interface is easy to use and learn, while also being wonderful for productivity.
If you are still using an older laptop running Windows XP or Vista (or something else), and have a need for a new computer, I have good news. We here at BetaNews are giving away a beautiful 11.6 inch convertible PC running Windows 10. It has been upgraded with an SSD, and can be both a notebook and a tablet. Entering to win is very easy, and you can learn more below.
The future of computing is open source. While there is still room for closed source software, more and more companies are going the open route. Major players such as Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook are all contributing to the open source community. Google in particular is a huge proponent of open source. Heck, two of the company's operating systems -- Chrome OS and Android -- are Linux distributions.
Today, the search giant announces the 'Open Source Report Card'. This is essentially a report that explains the details of its open source projects. Google is undoubtedly a major open source contributor, but the question is, what grade should the company get?
Manufacturers seem obsessed with making laptops, tablets, and smartphones both thinner and lighter. You know what? That is a good thing. As long as the design isn't entirely form over function, who can argue with a more sleek device? As someone who is constantly carrying a laptop in a backpack, having a lightweight machine is wonderful for my back and shoulders.
Speaking of svelte laptops, the Acer Swift 7 is the world's thinnest. Yes, the 13.3 inch Windows 10 notebook is apparently a record-breaker at an insane 0.39 inches height. You might think the 2.48 pound PC would have an Intel Core M processor, but actually, it has a Kaby Lake Core i5.
Windows 10 is a great desktop operating system. It also works wonderfully on tablets. That is what makes Microsoft's OS so attractive -- versatility. It still doesn't scale very well on smartphones, but I digress.
Whether you are a home user, college student, or professional, a 2-in-1 Windows 10 device can be a really rewarding experience. Not only does it save you money by not needing to buy both a laptop and a tablet, but it is one less thing to carry too. Today, Samsung releases the Galaxy TabPro S Gold Edition 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet/laptop hybrid. The gold-colored PC features an impressive AMOLED screen and other great specifications. Unlike the Surface devices, the keyboard case is included -- nice! Best of all? It costs less than $1,000.
Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, there have been some accusations that he isn't always truthful when he makes statements. During the most recent debate, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, urged viewers to fact-check some of his claims. Whether or not Trump is any less truthful than other politicians is up for discussion.
Understandably, it can be hard for the average voter to know what is true, and what isn't. In other words, if a politician makes a bogus claim -- or 'bends' the truth -- how can a voter fact-check? Today, Google News is making it is easier to do so with a new "Fact Check" label for articles that offer fact-checking.
The blue 'WRT' routers from Linksys are iconic. These open source-friendly devices have been very popular with in-the-know consumers that enjoy flashing alternative firmware, such as OpenWrt or DD-WRT. This can sometimes provide added features and functionality.
Today, Linksys unveils its latest such offering, the AC3200 WRT Gigabit MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router (WRT3200ACM). The 802.11AC device features Tri-Stream 160 technology, 512MB DDR3, and a 1.8 GHz Dual Core processor. Despite all of these amazing specifications, it is surprisingly affordable.
Ubuntu is a wonderful operating system. Depending on your needs, it can be a better choice than Microsoft's Windows 10. More and more people live in the web browser, and Ubuntu can run both Chrome and Firefox. Need a word processor? The ability to edit spreadsheets? The wonderful LibreOffice is included -- no need to spend money on a subscription-based office package. There are countless free packages available too. You can even buy laptops pre-loaded with the OS from companies like Dell and System76.
Today, Ubuntu 16.10 'Yakkety Yak' sees release. It has many significant updates (you can read the release notes here), such as Linux kernel 4.8 and LibreOffice 5.2. The best part about this version of the operating system, however, is that it isn't exciting. Once again, home users will likely be bored by this Ubuntu upgrade, but that is a good thing -- Canonical does not do change for the sake of change.
While virtual reality can transport a user into a different "world", augmented reality enhances the actual world. In other words, AR arguably has more potential than VR. Quite frankly, actual reality is pretty great already -- do we really need to be transported to a different virtual reality? Our time on the Earth is short -- who has time for make-believe? AR could one day improve our everyday lives.
One of the more intriguing augmented reality solutions comes from Microsoft. Its HoloLens device has sparked the imaginations of many, getting developers -- including NASA -- excited. Unfortunately, the device has not been available to all regions -- it was limited to the USA and Canada. Today this changes, as Microsoft announces that it will be delivering HoloLens to more countries, such as Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and UK.
WiGig is really impressive technology -- wireless docking can feel like magic. Imagine connecting your laptop to a USB keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, monitor, and more without wires. Yeah, a WiGig dock can do that. You might expect the connection to be iffy -- lag from peripherals or stuttering video. Actually, in my experience, it works flawlessly -- you can't tell that it is wireless.
Today, Toshiba announces the unimaginatively named 'WiGig Dock'. It features some essential connections -- 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm audio, DisplayPort, and HDMI. It also has a USB-C port for connecting machines that do not support WiGig. In other words, it can be either a wired or wireless docking station.
USB hard drives can be an important part of your backup plans. Whether for home or business, they allow you to easily backup your files and then take them with you. You can even lock the drive in a safe for extra security. While you can also use the cloud for backing up data, redundancy with a USB HDD is very smart -- just in case.
Western Digital's USB hard disk drives are wildly popular, and today, the company announces a refresh of two such models for Windows and Mac -- the 'My Passport' and 'My Book'. The concept is the same -- a mechanical hard drive in a USB 3.0 enclosure -- but they are now more stylish. The My Passport comes in six fun colors -- the Type-A cable even matches!
Dell recently updated its XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop with Kaby Lake processors. While that company's laptop is beautiful, it is also very expensive. For developers and home users looking for a solid laptop running Ubuntu Linux, System76's 'Lemur' has historically been a great value. Not only is the affordable machine both powerful and well supported, but it is built like a tank too.
Today, System76 updates the aforementioned Lemur with Kaby Lake processors. While Dell's XPS 13 starts at $949, the Lemur begins at a much more reasonable $649.