Brian Fagioli

Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' Xfce Edition Beta operating system available for download


Another day, and yet another version of Linux Mint with a different desktop environment. The operating system uses Mate and Cinnamon environments by default, but also offers KDE and Xfce editions as well.

While some people -- such as yours truly -- think the project should redirect its focus by supporting fewer desktop environments, that apparently won't be happening any time soon. Case in point, today, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' Xfce Edition reaches Beta status. Will you download it?

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SanDisk Extreme PRO USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive is insanely fast, but it isn't Type-C


Just yesterday, Kingston announced the world's biggest capacity flash drive -- the DataTraveler Ultimate GT 2TB. While that storage device can hold a lot of files, the company did not share the drive's speed -- which could (maybe) indicate it isn't particularly fast.

If you don't need two terabytes of storage, and would rather have a flash drive that is very fast, SanDisk has a new USB drive that may excite you. The Extreme PRO USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drive is insanely fast, although the 3.1 in its name refers to generation 1 -- not "true" USB 3.1 which is generation 2. In other words, the 256GB drive is really USB 3.0. Also, rather than leverage the more modern Type-C connector, the drive uses the older (and not reversible) Type-A.

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Samsung Chromebook Pro and Plus laptops run Android apps and come with digital pen


Chrome OS is a very polarizing Linux distribution. While some people very wrongly call the operating system nothing other than a glorified web browser, in reality, it is actually very secure and capable. Many home users do all of their computing in a web browser nowadays, making Google's desktop OS an excellent choice.

Laptops running the Linux-based OS are called "Chromebooks". For many consumers, these computers are attractive for no other reason than cost -- they incorrectly think the platform is all about being inexpensive and low quality. Unfortunately, many manufacturers perpetuate that stereotype. As Google's wildly expensive Chromebook Pixel showed, however, Chrome OS devices can be elegant. Today, Samsung is taking aim at elegance with the all-new Chromebook Pro and Plus.

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Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset has DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound


Gaming headsets are quite the hot products nowadays -- HyperX unveiled a beautiful new variant just yesterday. While that headset looks nice, for some consumers it has one big flaw -- it is wired. Of course, choosing between a wired and wireless headset is more of as personal preference.

If you desire a cord-free headset, I have good news. Today, Logitech announces a beautiful new rechargeable wireless model. The G533, as it is called, looks fairly conservative, and I like that. Look, not all gaming products have to look childish -- adults play PC games too. Best of all, it is surprisingly affordable.

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HyperX unveils Cloud Revolver S gaming headset with Dolby Headphone 7.1 USB dongle


Do you game on your PC, bro? Of course you do. With so many great video games available for PC nowadays, it is hard not to get caught up in it. For many titles, wearing a headset can enhance the experience, allowing you to communicate with teammates or opponents.

HyperX is known for producing excellent headsets, and today, it unveils a new variant -- sort of. You see, the company is packaging its existing Cloud Revolver headset with a Dolby Headphone-capable USB sound card dongle / DAC and giving it an "S" moniker.

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Acer unveils rugged Chromebook 11 N7 (C731) laptop for education


Chromebooks are wonderful computers -- if they meet your needs. Look, if you do hardcore video editing, or have a need for programs that only run on Windows or macOS, then yeah, Chrome OS will stink -- for you. However, if you live in the web browser and are always online anyway, why not a Chromebook?

Laptops running Chrome OS are particularly wonderful for education, as they are inexpensive, easy to manage, and very secure. Today, Acer announces an affordable model -- aimed at schools -- that it calls Chromebook 11 N7 (C731). Best of all, it is very durable, making it less likely to break in the hands of careless children.

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Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT 2TB is world's largest capacity USB flash drive


As more and more people embrace cloud storage, USB flash drives are becoming less essential. This is unfortunate, as it can be empowering to store your own data locally -- not needing an internet connection to access things like family photos and movies.

Today, Kingston announces a product that may get people excited about flash drives again. The company has created a 2TB pocket flash drive (also available in 1TB), called DataTraveler Ultimate GT (Generation Terabyte). This is now the world's largest capacity USB flash drive.

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Linksys unveils Velop Tri-Band AC2200 802.11ac modular mesh Wi-Fi router system


When buying a wireless router for your home, there are several things to consider. First off, you must determine your budget. Then, it is wise to target a reputable brand, such as Linksys, Netgear, Belkin, or TP-Link. Lastly, you should figure out how much range you need, based on the size of your home.

If your home is particularly large, mesh router systems, such as Google WiFi, can be a godsend. Rather than leveraging a single router, multiple access points work together to blanket your home in glorious Wi-Fi. Today, Linksys unveils its mesh offering, and it looks amazing. Dubbed "Velop", it is not only chock-full of solid specs and features, but it is very pretty too. Heck, you can even set it up easily using Bluetooth and a mobile app!

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Netrunner Desktop 17.01 'Baryon' Debian 9 Stretch-based KDE Linux distro now available


If you are a fan of KDE, I hope you are aware of Netrunner Desktop. If not, please know that it is one of the most polished Linux distributions available. If you haven't tried it, you definitely should -- it is a wonderful "out of the box" experience. It is a great choice for those looking to switch from Windows too.

Today, the operating system reaches version 17.01. Code-named "Baryon," it is based on the upcoming Debian 9 "Stretch." Users can choose to either run the OS as a stable release or opt for a more bleeding-edge rolling release.

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Dell 'accidentally' leaks upcoming XPS 13 9365 2-in-1 convertible Windows 10 laptop [UPDATE]


If you need a Windows 10 laptop, you really can't go wrong with the Dell XPS 13 -- it has great specs and exceptional battery life. Heck, the company even sells a version pre-loaded with Ubuntu, making it a popular choice for Linux users too.

While you could configure the laptop with a touchscreen, there was no option for a convertible 2-in-1 version, sadly. This was particularly disappointing, since Windows 10 works wonderfully on both a laptop and a tablet. This is soon to change, apparently, as Dell has leaked a new version of the laptop -- seemingly by accident -- on its website.

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My favorite tech items of 2016 [Brian]


Today is New Year's Eve, and while all the cool kids are out partying, I am sitting here reflecting on my favorite tech products of the year. Yeah, I'm a nerd.

Believe it or not, 2016 saw me getting deeper into Apple's ecosystem (I still love Linux and Windows 10, though). I continue to love the iPhone 6s Plus, iPad mini 4, and Apple TV I bought in 2015, but this year, I added AirPods and a MacBook Pro. One of those Apple products was quickly returned, while the other is my overall favorite. Can you guess which is which?

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NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 802.11ad Smart WiFi router (R9000) [Review]


The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 802.11ad Smart WiFi router (R9000) costs $500. Let's get that out of the way. Some people think this is way too much to spend on a wireless router. Depending on your budget and needs, yeah, this could be too much for you. If you have a big home and spend a lot of time on the internet, however, money may be no object for a fast and reliable connection.

This particular router is NETGEAR's top-of-the-line home offering, meaning it is chock-full of features and technology. In fact, it even has 802.11ad -- something that is not worth getting excited about -- yet. This is not found on many routers nowadays, and for good reason -- it is very short-range and there are virtually no devices that can leverage it.

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OpenELEC 7.0 Linux distribution now available for PC, Raspberry Pi, and WeTek Core


Most operating systems, like Windows 10 or macOS, are designed to do multiple things. After all, many people want their computers to serve many tasks, such as productivity, media, and gaming. Some operating systems, however, are targeted at a single use to minimize the overhead and maximize the power of the hardware. Not to mention, it can create a more immersive experience.

One such focused OS is OpenELEC. This Linux distribution is designed to serve as a media center -- nothing more, nothing less. Today, the popular distro reaches stable version 7.0. There are images for both x86 and Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, meaning there is a very good chance you own compatible hardware.

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Nielsen: Top 10 smartphone apps of 2016 -- Facebook and Google dominate

iPhone smartphone mobile apps

When it comes to mobile operating systems, apps still reign supreme. To highlight which ones were most popular in 2016, Nielsen conducted a study of Android and iPhone smartphone users.

Not surprisingly, two major players in the mobile space -- Facebook and Google -- lead the pack.

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Periscope gets 360-degree video support


Periscope was not the first service to offer the ability to live-stream video on mobile, but its popularity and success was bred from simplicity. Since Twitter owns Periscope, the streaming service can easily access the social network's data, making sharing the streams very easy. Third-party services that depended on Twitter for its livelihood -- such as Meerkat -- were quickly shut-out and died.

While Twitter could rest on its laurels, the company is continually looking to make Periscope even better. Today, the live-streaming service gains a very cool new feature -- 360-degree videos. Unfortunately, there is a small catch.

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