For a tech nerd, there is nothing more fun than getting a new smartphone. When you get that little box home and carefully open it, it is like reliving Christmas as a child. For some, the contents of the box is just a smartphone, but to others like me and you, it is pure magic.
Sadly, smartphones can be a bit fragile -- dropping it on the concrete or other surface can crack the screen or make the device inoperable. This would be like a child witnessing Santa Claus' sleigh crashing into a tree and turning into a fireball on Christmas Eve -- a nightmare. Of course, you can get a case to protect it, but many of them are bulky and ugly. If you have a beautiful iPhone 5s or Galaxy S5, the last thing you want to do is make it unattractive. No worries, Logitech is once again here to save the day with the beautiful protection+ case for both of those phones.
For years, Steve Jobs fought the good fight against IBM and IBM compatibles. Heck, Apple was the anti-IBM. Sure, the fruit-logo company was out to make money, but not at any cost -- products and perception mattered. To many Apple enthusiasts, IBM was looked at as a dinosaur. Ultimately, IBM failed as a personal computer company, but thrives today offering services. The once mighty ThinkPad line is now property of the Chinese, by way of Lenovo. Apple stands strong in America.
Boy oh boy, Jobs must be spinning in his grave. Today, Apple and IBM join forces to strengthen iOS for the enterprise. Make no mistake, this is not Apple throwing IBM a bone. No, IBM is the stronger enterprise brand lending legitimacy to the iPhone and iPad for business. Big Blue is hired muscle for Apple.
The Surface Pro 3 is quite possibly my favorite computer of all time. This is quite the amazing declaration, as I have used many. Besides its usability and high-end power, it is an awe-inspiring example of engineering. The fact that Microsoft has crammed all of that high-end tech into such a svelte chassis is nothing short of amazing.
As great as the hardware is, all is not roses. Unfortunately, there has been a plague of Wi-Fi bugs to impact users. Bugs can be commonplace on new hardware, so this is not a massive scandal by any means. However, it is disappointing to the Microsoft-faithful who invested big money to get their hands on the unique hybrid computer. Problems with an internet connection is one of the most maddening, hair-pulling issues that there is. Luckily, the disappointment will be short lived -- the company will be fixing it tomorrow -- for some users at least.
The human brain is an enigma. No one knows how it works in its entirety. Sure, scientists have some understanding, but there are still mysteries to discover. While one should never say "never", I am dubious that the brain will ever be fully understood. Still, the possibility of impossibility should never deter the human desire for knowledge. In other words, scientists should forever try to deconstruct and understand the mind, even if it proves to be fruitless.
Ultimately, one of the major motivations of understanding the brain is to recreate and ultimately surpass its power. It has been the dream of many scientists to create artificial intelligence that exceeds a human's. Today, Microsoft announces Project Adam -- an attempt at duplicating the power of the human mind with computers. Could the name "Adam" be shedding light on a parallel with the character from the biblical Adam and Eve story?
The usefulness of a small Windows tablet is debatable. While I understand people's hesitance to embrace Microsoft's desktop operating system on such a small screen, their trepidation is misplaced. Sure, a 7 or 8-inch Windows tablet would be a poor choice for someone's only Windows machine, but it works beautifully as a companion device.
I have a Surface Pro 3, but recently bought a Dell Venue Pro 8. Why? Because sometimes a lighter and inexpensive tablet is preferable. For example, you wouldn't want to use Surface Pro 3 on the toilet or by a pool. Heck, reading a book can be nicer on a smaller tab too. Today, Fujitsu reveals a new 8-inch Windows tablet for business -- the ARROWS Tab Q335/K.
My colleague Joe Wilcox is currently entrenched in an all-Microsoft lifestyle and I am enjoying reading about it. I too have been using Microsoft's products lately, including the wonderful Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. The combination of that tablet and smartphone create quite the awesome experience.
One of my favorite things about Microsoft's desktop and mobile operating systems is Bing Apps. It keeps me in touch with things like news, weather and sports to name a few. While that is nothing unique, it is the overall fluid design that makes it a treat to use. Today, Microsoft announces that it is updating Bing Apps for Windows Phone, but there is a catch -- it is an 8.1 affair only.
Chrome OS is an awesome, albeit limited, Linux-based operating system. It is a pleasure to use for most things, including writing, but it is hard to use exclusively. Just recently, I needed a Windows machine to achieve root access on an Android tablet -- a Chromebook proved useless for this task (Surface Pro 3 saved the day).
My biggest complaint however, is not about the software, but the hardware. For some reason, manufacturers largely produce junk Chromebooks with ugly screens and 2GB of RAM. Believe it or not, there is a market for mid-range computers running Google's OS. Not everyone is just looking to Chromebooks as a way to save a buck. Today, Acer releases the world's first Core i3 Chromebook, featuring 4GB of RAM as an option. This may be the Chromebook we've been waiting for!
Crystal methamphetamine usage is rampant in the United States. Truth be told, I never knew much about the drug before seeing the TV show "Breaking Bad". Lately though, it has been very prominent in the news. Apparently, the drug destroys lives and families and ultimately leads the abuser to ruin and chaos.
However, drug abusers aside, all people can be negatively impacted by the drug's creation. You see, this drug is artificial and must be created or "cooked", in a laboratory. Often, these makeshift labs are located in homes and produce dangerous chemicals which can cause negative health issues. Even after the lab is moved from a home, the chemicals may be in carpets, walls and ventilation systems. In other words, you may buy or rent a home that was previously used as a meth lab and have no idea. Today, the Indiana Office of Technology announces that it is using the internet to alert residents if a home has been used to cook meth.
The most popular computers nowadays, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, are full of compromises. Sure, they are sexy and fun to use, but hardly ideal for true work and creation. Hell, the "smart" in smartphone is starting to feel like a misnomer. A true desktop operating system coupled with a laptop, desktop or hybrid form factor will offer the most functionality and success.
Consumers have overlooked these mobile shortcomings as they have been mostly consuming content at home. However, the tides may be changing -- it feels like the consumer love-affair with mobile devices is starting to wane. Smart-watches may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. People are tired of retrofitting their desired computing to small screens. How about using an actual PC, rather than try to get PC functionality from a mobile device? Crazy concept, I know. Today, IDC announces that PC shipments are showing strong growth in the USA for Q2 2014, year-on-year.
As a teenager, I wasted much of my life and loved every minute of it. Rather than do anything productive, I would vegetate in front of the TV watching movies like Smokey and the Bandit on WPIX. The concept of actually learning something outside of school was foreign -- who wants to learn during their free time? In my defense though, the 90's didn't offer much outside of TV and AOL chat rooms.
Nowadays however, teens are afforded some very cool opportunities, including Google's Code-In. If you aren't familiar, it is a program for teens aged 13-17 to both learn about and participate in open source technologies. Today, Google announces that it has improved KDE with the help of some of these teens.
Buying and trading goods used to be so easy. If I needed a rake and my neighbor needed a hoe, we could simply swap. If I wanted to sell something, I would take out a classified ad in a local newspaper, like the Penny Saver. Hell, I bought my first car that way -- loved that thing.
Nowadays, buying and selling is much more complicated -- especially electronics. You can buy something from eBay or Craigslist only to find out that it doesn't work or is stolen. Smartphones and tablets can be risky to sell, because you have to remember to wipe your data before giving it to the other party. If you forget, the buyer can get your personal information and private photos. Forget to delete that sexy selfie that you took? Some weirdo from eBay now has it and will spread it around the net. Today, Avast announces that as a test it purchased 20 used and supposedly wiped phones from the net. The personal data recovered is shocking.
Historically, Linux and gaming were like oil and water -- it did not mix. For the most part, this was just accepted as a fact of life. Quite frankly, this was OK as users were more interested in maintaining their box and chatting with other Linux users anyway. However, as time went by, jealousy of DOS, and then ultimately Windows, definitely grew as more and more amazing games were released for Microsoft's operating system. Even Linus Torvalds himself dual-booted Linux and DOS to play Prince of Persia.
Gaming is no longer an optional aspect of an operating system -- it is now a necessity. Luckily, Linux has been making huge strides in this regard, particularly thanks to Steam. Today, SparkyLinux 3.4 "Game Over" becomes available and it is very intriguing -- a Linux-based desktop operating system with a focus on gaming.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a world-class enterprise operating system. If your company is looking to embrace open-source technologies, it is arguably the best choice. However, if you do not need official support, there is no point in using RHEL and paying Red Hat for it. Instead, you can use CentOS, which is basically the same thing, without official Red Hat support or branding.
Today, the CentOS Project team announces version 7 of the free operating system. While the focus is on servers and the enterprise, there is no reason why it can't serve as a desktop OS too.
Foreign languages are a real pain in the butt. Over the years, I have tried to learn another, like Spanish, but always give up. Heck, I have a hard enough time with my native English. I've always held the belief that learning an extra language is generally a waste of time as it takes up valuable brain storage. Yes, the brain does have space limits and storing something other than English just seems like a bad choice.
I may be biased, but English is the best language -- it is the preferred of writers and poets. And so, it is understandable to be content with it. Google however, is never content -- the company seems intent on world domination with its services. Today, the search giant announces that Gmail has learned 13 new languages.
Taste in music is very personal. My favorite genre is Hip-Hop, but many people detest that music type. And really, that's OK -- not everyone has to like everything. However, it is nice for people to respect all music. Even though I listen to songs from Slum Village, Lil Wayne and Mobb Deep, I can respect others too. Hell, I went to the Beach Boys concert this past Saturday night and had a blast.
As polarizing as music can be, so too can music mediums and hardware. Some people still swear by vinyl, others by CD and people like me are OK with streaming music services and MP3. Sadly, when it comes to hardware, like speakers and headphones, it seems consumers are adverse to spending money on quality. It is crazy to see people listening to music with expensive smartphones and tablets with $10 junk ear buds. Today, I am looking at an expensive and polarizing set of on-ear cans -- Beats Solo2.