Brian Fagioli

Linux Mint 17.1 'Rebecca' RC now available with either Cinnamon or Mate

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The Linux kernel is constantly evolving and adapting; there is a reason it has seen great success on servers and mobile devices. On the desktop, however, Linux-based operating systems hold a paltry amount of usage share; it is almost non-existent in the grand scheme of things. With that said, many modern Linux distributions are very usable, easy to install, and have great support communities.

While I am a Fedora user, there is only one Linux distro that I suggest to people -- Linux Mint. Why? Well, it is a very easy-to-use operating system, and for people coming from Windows, it can look rather familiar. The people behind Mint are very accommodating too; they actually listen to users! Since it is based on Ubuntu, there are tons of packages available, for which you can use the popular APT package manager when needed. Today, a release candidate (RC) of Linux Mint 17.1 'Rebecca' becomes available -- download it now.

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Happy 13th Birthday, Xbox -- Microsoft's video game brand is a teenager!

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When Microsoft entered the console business, it was quite the perplexing move. An American company competing with Sega, Nintendo, and Sony? Crazy! Fast-forward to 2014 -- Sega has exited the console business, Nintendo's Wii U is a massive flop, but Microsoft is still going strong. While Sony's PlayStation 4 is the current leader regarding shipped consoles, the Xbox One is a close second. Based on recent sales and consumer interest, Microsoft's console can conceivably catch up.

Either way, the Xbox brand overall has been a runaway success that has exceeded the expectations of consumers and analysts alike. Hell, I bet Microsoft is surprised at how competitive its consoles have been. Today, Xbox celebrates a 13th birthday -- the video game brand is a teenager.

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Amazon's Kindle e-readers learn some new tricks -- download the update now!

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I get it -- you own a tablet and don't think you need a dedicated e-ink based e-reader. While I respect your opinion, I must tell you that it is wrong. Sure, reading a book on a back-lit LCD display is passable, but hardly a good experience. Not only can this be fatiguing to your eyes, but most tablets are unusable as a reader in direct sunlight. If you read a lot, you want to go e-ink.

So yes, there are benefits in owning an e-ink based e-reader, and quite frankly, it is affordable. Amazon's entry-level reader is a paltry $79 -- a great value. Today, the value of the retailer's newest readers increase, as an update introduces many cool new features.

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Google's developer-focused Project Tango tablet listed in Play Store -- not yet in stock

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Life has been rather hectic in Google-ville lately; the company has been a busy beaver. You see, the search-giant recently released three Nexus devices -- Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player -- plus the all-new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. Quite frankly, Android fans are probably overwhelmed by all the excitement.

Well Android fans, you had better grab a Red Bull and perk up; there is yet another Android device to get excited about -- Project Tango. Yes, the mythical 3D-tracking developer tablet is now listed in Google's Play Store in both black and white. Before you get too excited, please know that it is not yet in stock, and you probably don't want to buy it anyway.

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Walmart to price-match Amazon and other online retailers -- still a hellish nightmare

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Many people shop online to save money and avoid tax; who doesn't want to save a buck? However, online shopping is more than just savings; it is a great way to avoid leaving the house too. Don't get me wrong, I like going out to a nice restaurant or the beach, but a trip to the mall or store like Walmart is enough to drive me insane. Human beings can be very annoying and for whatever reason, Walmart appears to attract some of the most annoying. If you take a trip to that retailer, you can expect people that smell, crying children, and for reasons unknown, butt-cracks. Don't ask me why, but Walmart shoppers don't seem to wear belts, so their buttocks often peak out to say hello.

Today, it is revealed that all Walmart stores will begin price-matching Amazon and other online retailers. On the surface, you might think Amazon is in trouble, but I say otherwise -- even if the prices are on parity. I personally would avoid Walmart even if it was beating Amazon's prices, just to maintain my sanity. Getting a package delivered is just easier. Do you agree?

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All Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8.x are guaranteed upgrade to Windows 10

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Windows Phone is a very polarizing operating system; some hate it, while others love it. I fall into the latter, but I struggle using it, as I place a high value on app availability. It is for this reason that I use Android; there are many quality apps for Google's mobile operating system.

Unfortunately, fragmentation has plagued Android; many users are stuck on outdated versions of the operating system, as manufacturers and carriers abandon phones. The only way to avoid such a problem, is to buy a Nexus device, such as the fabulous Nexus 6. While Android beats Windows Phone on the app front, as of today, Microsoft's mobile operating system beats Google's regarding updates. You see, every Lumia device running Windows Phone 8.x will be getting an upgrade to version 10!

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adidas announces cases for Apple and Samsung devices

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When it comes to buying sneakers, there are only a few brands I will consider -- Nike, New Balance and adidas. While Nike is my favorite for being most comfortable, adidas is near and dear to my heart, mostly for Hip-Hop reasons. Yes, growing up in the 90s, I am a huge fan of rap music and Hip-Hop culture. Ever since Run DMC rapped about the iconic sneakers, they have been a permanent fixture in both Hip-Hop and pop-culture overall.

Today, adidas is going beyond your feet and to your devices. The sneaker company is releasing cases for popular phones and tablets from Apple and Samsung. Of course, the iconic three-stripe design is represented.

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Microsoft ships 10 million Xbox One consoles -- should Sony be scared? Absolutely

scaredbusinessman

Today marks a monumental moment for Microsoft -- 10 million Xbox consoles have been shipped to stores. I don't care who you are, you must admit that is an impressive feat. Of course, Sony reached that milestone months earlier, but this should not detract from Microsoft's achievement.

Quite frankly, the video game console race is a jog, not a sprint. In other words, the PlayStation 4's early lead is not guaranteed forever; the Xbox One is still in the game (pun intended). Not only is the Xbox One now $50 less expensive than the PS4, but it has some exclusive titles that will have gamers overlooking its competitor, such as Halo and Sunset Overdrive. Yep, Sony should definitely be worried.

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Nexus 6: vanilla Android never tasted so good [Review]

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One of Android's most attractive aspects is also its greatest weakness. You see, unlike the iPhone and iOS, Google's Linux-based operating system is available to any manufacturer that is interested. This means you can see many Android devices in different shapes, sizes and styles. Hell, hardware aside, even the operating system can be customized. The problem is, with so much different hardware and tweaked software, many phones do not get regular updates -- this is also due to extensive carrier testing. To the average consumer, this is not a huge headache, as app compatibility is generally fine across versions. Where this becomes an issue is when vulnerabilities are discovered -- delays in updates or a total lack of updates can put a user at risk.

Enter the Nexus line of Android devices. Every year, Google hand-selects a manufacturer to build a smartphone running "vanilla" Android, meaning it is pure and not tweaked or customized. These phones (and tablets) are designed to get fast updates directly from Google. This ensures that not only does the user have the latest features, but the safest and newest version of the operating system too. The latest such phone is the Motorola-built Nexus 6 -- named as such for having a 6-inch screen (technically 5.96 inch). Is it the best Nexus yet?

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Microsoft makes .NET open source -- brings it to Linux and OS X

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They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but boy oh boy, don't tell that to Satya Nadella. To many, Microsoft represents a dinosaur in technology, but as the fictional Jurassic Park showed us, dinosaurs can be brought back to life and thrive in modern times. In other words, even though Microsoft never died, its image was in decline, but it has been resurrected by doing and saying all the right things.

Today, Microsoft continues its upwards trajectory by announcing that .NET is going open source. While this isn't Microsoft's first open source rodeo, this is certainly the biggest. Hell, it is even bringing .NET to both Linux and OS X! Competitors beware; Microsoft is a Tyrannosaurus Rex and is showing its teeth.

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GNOME Foundation to take on Groupon over use of 'Gnome' name -- begs users to finance the fight

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While I'm no expert in copyright or trademark law, I am sure of one thing -- the GNOME desktop environment for Linux is awesome. It is a very intuitive interface, with great programs and a helpful community. The name "Gnome" is hardly unique though; its a common word that other companies use. As an example, Travelocity, an online travel site, uses a Gnome as a mascot.

It is a bit curious then, that the Gnome Foundation is upset with deal website Groupon for using the Gnome name. Groupon is not using it as a desktop environment; no, it is using it for a point-of-sale tablet and operating system; will people really confuse such a device with a Linux desktop environment?

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The Microsoft Lumia 535 is officially official! Nokia fades to black

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Windows Phone is a fantastic mobile operating system, hindered only by a lack of apps. To be more specific, Google's lack of support makes Microsoft's mobile operating system a non-starter for many. Hell, my colleague Joe Wilcox recently declared his disdain for the platform, even though he loves the hardware. It's unfortunate, really.

Today, Microsoft officially announces the Lumia 535 -- notably missing the Nokia branding. The first handset featuring "Microsoft Lumia" branding is a low-end affair that will do nothing to sway Windows Phone detractors, or woo users of the popular iPhone. Instead, it represents affordability and style, targeting cost-conscious consumers in emerging markets.

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Google is fighting Ebola with money -- will you donate to the cause?

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Many people accuse me of being both paranoid and a hypochondriac. Well, they are probably right; I tend to get caught up in the media hype and ignore common sense. Am I likely to catch Ebola on Long Island? No, but that did not stop me from buying masks and gloves from Amazon. Hell, after the Fukushima disaster I bought iodine pills too. Do I feel stupid afterwords? A bit, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

While Ebola in the USA is not probable, it is a disaster in Africa. Remember, love and humanity are borderless, and even though these Africans are not our countrymen, they deserve our support and compassion. Today, Google announces an initiative to raise money and fight the horrific virus. Will you give to the cause?

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Happy 10th Birthday Firefox -- Please keep fighting for a free and open web

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The web browser is a very under-appreciated program. While the web is not the Internet in its entirety, for many people, the web is all they know. In other words, people live in the web browser, and enjoy it immensely, but don't think about the software that is acting as a portal to their favorite websites.

Mozilla's Firefox is certainly not the first web browser, but it is responsible for many design cues and technologies found in other browsers. Not to mention, Mozilla is on the forefront of fighting for an open web and Firefox shares that ideology -- by using the open-source browser, you are choosing to support a free web. Today, Firefox celebrates its 10th Birthday and to celebrate, I ask you to think of it fondly. Well technically, Firefox's Birthday was yesterday, but who cares, let's party!

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Microsoft 'leaks' its Black Friday deals -- $99 HP tablet available now!

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In America, Black Friday is a retail-focused holiday following Thanksgiving. In other words, the day after we spend time with family giving thanks, we rush to the stores to spend money. Yes, it is bizarre and a bit conflicting, but actually, it is a good thing. Not only is a positive for the economy, but it also brings families together; waiting in line together, fighting fellow shoppers together and spending money together -- at least family is together. It is actually rather nice to see a tired, post-shopping family eating omelettes together at 3am at a 24-hour diner.

Another tradition of Black Friday is buying the newspaper and reading the circulars. Normally, the deals are supposed to be revealed the day before; people would make it a point to buy the newspaper on Thanksgiving. The Internet, however, has birthed "leaked" Black Friday deals, where websites publish the deals weeks in advance. While some people may imagine store employees secretly smuggling the information, others hypothesize that it is the stores themselves leaking the deals. Today, Microsoft takes the approach of openly leaking its Black Friday deals weeks in advance, by emailing them to its customers; however, there is a catch.

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