Brian Fagioli

T-Mobile is making it rain free tablets on Black Friday -- here's how to score one early


Do you like free stuff? Of course you do -- everyone likes something for nothing. Hell, I go to Costco with no plans to buy anything; I just walk around eating all the free samples. Is it low class? Yeah, totally, but it's essentially a free buffet with a cornucopia of flavors -- Swedish meatballs, salad, granola bars and more.

Today, T-Mobile announces that it too is going the free route, offering a tablet at no cost! It is an Android tablet -- the Alcatel ONETOUCH Pop 7. Never heard of it? Me neither, but it actually looks pretty nice. It runs Android 4.2.2, has a dual-core processor and best of all, supports 4G data. Even though it is a "Black Friday" deal, the carrier will be offering it a week early. Will you be successful in scoring one?

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Stick your tablet on the railroad tracks with the Griffin and Rail Yard Studios tablet stands


As a child, I was obsessed with the railroad tracks. We lived very close to them, so it was a great place to hang around with friends and pass the time. One of our favorite things was to put pennies on the tracks so they would get flattened. Sure, it was a silly thing, but to a kid, it is the coolest thing ever.

Now that I am an adult, hanging out on the tracks would be weird, as that is mostly reserved for grown-ups that are up to no good. Luckily, thanks to Griffin, I can now relive my youth with the all-new Rail Yard Studios tablet stands. You see, these are made from actual decommissioned railroad steel!

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Google to harness the power of nature using windmills for new data center


There are many great ways to generate energy, such as using oil and coal. However, as society trends towards going "green", we see renewable energy being embraced too, such as solar, ocean waves and wind. Wind in particular is interesting, as it has been used for over a thousand years. Many people associate windmills with the Dutch, but many societies, including the USA, use modern versions today.

Google is one of the most forward-thinking companies, on the forefront of technology, and surprisingly, it too will be harnessing the power of wind for a new Dutch data center. In other words, even though the wind blows, Google's use of windmills does not.

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Fractal Design Core 3300 Mid Tower ATX case -- Quality and value [Review]


In a world of tablets, the art of building a PC is becoming lost. However, while system-building is less popular than years past, many people still do it -- including myself. Sure, you can probably save money by buying an off-the-shelf Dell or HP, but there is something special about selecting each and every component of your PC -- things like processor, motherboard, and case.

The case is the unsung hero of any build -- it houses your precious components, but does not directly contribute to the overall performance. It is for this reason that many people look to save money and go cheap on a case. This is a mistake, as a case is something you look at often; it should be attractive. Also, while the components inside may change, a good case can be with you over several builds, making it a wise investment. Fractal Design is a company that commands much respect in the system-builder community. The manufacturer's "Core" line of cases provide great quality, while also being affordable. Today, I am looking at the Core 3300 -- a Mid Tower ATX case.

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Ultimate Ears goes Dubstep -- releases Skrillex Edition UE BOOM Bluetooth speaker


While I am a fan of all genres of music, I am mostly a Hip-Hop lover. With that said, I have been really enjoying Dubstep and other electronic music lately. Do I go to clubs and dance? Hell no! I consume this music at my computer desk. If you are ever feeling fatigued or having trouble focusing, a Red Bull and some Dubstep will change that quickly -- the beats and tempos act like a metronome for your life.

The man most associated with Dubstep music is Skrillex. If you are a bit older, please know that he looks a bit like Corey Feldman. His music is erratic, crazy and beautiful all at once. Sadly, Dubstep cannot be properly enjoyed on a smartphone speaker; you need more power! No worries, as today, Ultimate Ears and Skrillex are partnering on the Skrillex Edition UE BOOM Bluetooth speaker.

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Microsoft and HTC offer free Xbox Dot View cover to HTC One (M8) for Windows owners


HTC knows how to make great devices; both the One (M8) and Nexus 9 are looked at favorably by the Android community. However, the HTC One (M8) for Windows is built as equally well as its Android brother, since it is essentially the same hardware. The difference is, the "for Windows" variant runs Windows Phone operating system. Which you prefer is ultimately a personal preference, but I think both are rather great.

Today, however, the HTC One (M8) for Windows get a super-cool exclusive from Microsoft and HTC -- an Xbox Dot View cover. Yes, the super useful and attractive cover is now available with a green paint-job and the Xbox logo. To make things even better it is free! However, like most free things, there is a catch.

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Want to push 4K video from your mobile device? MHL makes it so, with USB Type-C connector


When USB was first introduced to consumers, it changed everything. The connection standard made adding peripherals and accessories extremely easy. Before it, adding things over parallel or serial ports was tedious and confusing for consumers.

USB has evolved and become faster over the years, however it is slowly learning new tricks too. USB is now capable of pushing high-quality video, but now it goes further. You see, mobile devices will be able to push 4K video over the upcoming USB 3.1 Type-C connection, thanks to MHL's new "Alternate Mode".

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


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!


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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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