Bluetooth speakers are awesome. They are convenient, often inexpensive, and sometimes portable. If I want to listen to music in my backyard, at the beach, or in my home, an inexpensive unit can do the trick.
Unfortunately, these little speakers are often lacking in sound quality. Yeah, they are usually better than integrated smartphone and tablet speakers, but hardly up to snuff for audiophiles or hardcore music enthusiasts. Enter the Fluance Fi70. This elegant three-way music system looks to be the Bluetooth speaker of which many of us have been dreaming.
When it comes to government agencies at all levels, and things like the voting process, I am a hardcore believer in open source being necessary. To truly know that votes are being counted correctly by machines, only open source would allow independent auditing. It will also help to prevent unknown backdoors in secure government computer systems.
Closed source technologies from companies like Microsoft could, in theory, contain backdoors or vulnerabilities that hackers and evildoers could exploit. Even worse, Microsoft or its employees could purposely alter voting software to influence outcomes. Am I saying the company is doing this? Not at all. But with closed source software, there is no way to know for sure. Now, Bernie Sanders' campaign is questioning Microsoft's technologies being used in Iowa Caucuses. You know what? They have a point.
While many still associate the name "VAIO" with Sony, the two are no longer linked. In 2014, Sony exited the personal computer segment by selling its PC business. This was unfortunate, as many people loved Sony's laptops. Sure, they were largely expensive, but they were also arguably the closest thing to Apple that Windows users could buy from an elegance and design standpoint.
Today, the company simply known as VAIO announces two new lines of laptops. The unimaginatively named "Z" and "S" computers appear to capture the magic of Sony's designs, while offering really impressive specs too. The flip variant of the Z in particular features an amazing hinge that allows the screen to fold flat without spinning it around.
The current perceptions of Microsoft by some home users can be quite negative. This is likely due to privacy concerns with Windows 10, which is a legitimate issue. With that said, the company is still the darling of the enterprise. After all, Windows 7 and Office are integral tools for many successful businesses.
Windows and Office aside, another wildly popular business tool from Microsoft is Azure. This cloud platform is great, but some companies wisely prefer an on-premises solution. Enter Azure Stack. Today, Microsoft announces that the first Technical Preview of its hybrid cloud/datacenter product is coming this week. Bigger news, arguably, is that Canonical's operating system, Ubuntu Linux, will play a key role. Once again, Microsoft is leveraging open source -- noticing a trend here, folks?
Listening to music is probably my favorite hobby. No matter what I am doing -- working, relaxing, showering -- I like to have some tunes playing in the background. My most common source of music is Spotify on my iPhone or iPad.
While the integrated speakers on Apple's devices are decent, I crave more volume and improved quality. To achieve this, I use a Bluetooth speaker. One of the best line of such speakers comes from Ultimate Ears. Its UE ROLL, UE BOOM 2 and UE MEGABOOM are all exceptional. Today, the company announces a limited edition 'Rabbit Eye Movement' version of the UE BOOM 2, designed by Austrian graffiti artist Nychos.
If you give an inch, people can take a mile. This old adage can be good advice when it comes to privacy. Some people may decry a privacy advocate's efforts with the cliche "if you have nothing to hide" argument, but that is poor logic. Look, even if you are following the law, your privacy should be looked at as sacred. Fight for it, y'all.
Today, Uber announces that it is tracking its drivers' smartphone data. At first glance, you might be up in arms. With that said, the company is claiming it is for the benefit of its customers. So, is it right, or wrong?
Regardless of your politics, watching the debates of both the Republicans and Democrats can be informative and entertaining. Of course, even if you do not like the man or his beliefs, Donald Trump in particular is entertaining. His unfiltered mouth has created quite the stir on social media. Sometimes it feels like people only watch the GOP debates so that they may comment about him.
The next such Republican presidential primary debate will be a FOX News-only affair. If you are a cord-cutter or don't get that channel, I have some good news -- FOX will be live-streaming it Thursday, January 28th, at no charge. Yup, you can watch Trump, Cruz and the rest for free.
For many of us, a web browser is our window to the world. It is how we get news, send emails and access social media to stay in touch with friends and family. Modern browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari, are very mature and stable, lending to a positive overall web-surfing experience.
Unfortunately, today, a malicious website has been going viral. If you visit this website by either typing in the URL or clicking a link, the browser will crash by consuming huge amounts of RAM.
For many consumers, a Chromebook is looked at as an inexpensive secondary computer. The truth is, yeah, they make excellent complementary devices. With that said, when it comes to consumers without a lot of money, laptops running Google's Chrome OS can be a perfectly fine primary computer too -- depending on needs, of course.
Chromebooks are more than low prices, however; they are also very low-maintenance too. Updates are automatic, and malware is largely non-existent. It is for that reason that the machines are perfect for scenarios where resources are scarce. Today, Google announces that it is donating $5.3 million to put Chromebooks in the hands of refugees.
Microsoft is a curious company sometimes. Quite often, it offers wonderful products, but then fails to truly focus on the details. A great example is Skype. On paper, it sounds great -- a cross-platform communication solution. Sadly, the Windows clients are quite ugly, and overall, it can feel half-baked. The company really needs to dedicate some resources to improving the user experience, but I digress.
The largest oversight with Skype, however, is that it can expose your IP address. Sure, there may be situations where you might want to share this, but for many users, it is simply a security and privacy faux pas. Today, Microsoft finally rights this terrible wrong, and will be hiding the IP by default. Better late than never, eh?
The original iPad is one of the most disruptive products in the history of personal computing. Its popularity caused the entire industry to shift -- it made Microsoft go bonkers with Windows 8 (retrofitting a touch UI to a mouse and keyboard OS), while countless manufacturers tried to copy it with Android. Yes, many have tried to duplicate the magic, but ultimately, nothing has ever truly matched it.
The iPad Pro, however, has not seen the same consumer interest, and for good reason -- its not intended for personal use (although it can be). Actually, the "Pro" moniker seems to be quite intentional; it is more appropriate for things such as business and education. Speaking of the latter, today, Lynn University announces that it is giving an iPad Pro to all undergraduate students and some members of faculty. Unfortunately for Microsoft, its Surface line was not chosen.
On my nightstand next to my bed, I have an iPad, Kindle Voyage and iPhone which I am often charging. While I like to keep a tidy and organized home, this ends up being a spaghetti-like mix of wires. With that said, I am sure there are people with many more devices than I, including families with multiple tablets. I shudder at the thought of all of the USB outlet adapters and cables everywhere.
Yes, it is a "first world problem", but a problem nonetheless. Today, Griffin begins shipping its elegant solution that could remedy this woe for many. You see, the PowerDock Pro Premium Charging Station will not only charge your devices, but more importantly, make it a tidy and attractive affair too.
I like advertisements. Whether on the web, radio or television, I generally appreciate them for notifying me of new products and services. Think about it -- how else would you learn about a new breakfast cereal, video game or toothpaste, to name a few? Face it, our economy depends on ads.
Of course, not all advertisements are created equally. Some are misleading, offensive, and in the case of the web, can even deliver malware. Luckily, Google -- a company that profits from ads -- has our collective backs. Today, the search giant declares war on evil advertisements, and shares how it is fighting back.
Chromebooks are great for home use, but they truly shine for education. Its easy to see why -- they are easy to use, cost effective and (unlike the iPad) offer multi-user support. These are all essential things for school districts on a tight budget.
Today, HP announces the Chromebook 11 G4 Education Edition. Starting at a paltry $199, it looks to offer incredible value. Thanks to military-grade build quality, it should be very durable. This is very important, of course, as children are often rough on computers.
While it is easy to put someone down for engaging in poor security practices, remember -- not everyone grew up with computers. In other words, for some people, modern technology and security are foreign concepts. With that said, people of all ages -- old, young, and in-between -- are guilty of doing stupid things, such as using poor passwords.
Speaking of passwords, many sites mandate specific requirements, such as using a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, arguably minimizing the possibility of very weak passwords, such as "password". Sadly, people are still using poor passwords, and today, SplashData shares its list of the worst passwords of 2015. If any of your passwords are on the list, you should change them immediately, and probably go to bed without supper -- shame on you!