Brian Fagioli

Hey Apple, you can learn a thing or two from Microsoft's Windows 10 event

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There once was a time when the entire world would anticipate an Apple launch event. While there is still some interest nowadays, much of it dissipated when Steve Jobs died. In other words, most of the magic was Jobs -- he was a genius innovator, but more importantly, an epic salesman.

Tim Cook is a nice fellow, but he just is not Jobs. Today, some of that launch event magic returned, but it was not by Apple and not in California. Nope, this was Microsoft's day to shine -- a sea change if you will -- as the winds of innovation came to the state of Washington. Unlike Apple, this is no one man show; Microsoft's presentation was a team effort, where products were more important than the presenter. I hope Tim Cook and the fruit-logo company were taking notes today.

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Acer announces C740 and C910 Chromebooks for education

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Chromebooks are wonderful computers, albeit a bit limited. Sure, some people can get by using them as a full-time machine, but if you need specialized software, a true desktop operating system may be required. With that said, many users live in the browser nowadays, so it makes total sense for them.

Where Chromebooks really shine, however, is in education. You see, Chrome OS is a very secure platform that keeps students safe from malware. Best of all, they are easy to maintain by IT. Today, Acer announces two new Chromebooks designed for education -- the 15.6 inch C910 and 11.6 inch C740.

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Microsoft's Cortana learns to Tweet on Windows Phone with new Twitter app update

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Twitter is my favorite social media site because it is easy to use. There aren't tons of privacy "gotchas" like on some other sites. I can log in, share my thoughts in 140 characters and be done. Best of all, the time line is basically chronological. On Facebook, I have no idea what the heck is going on -- the order of posts sometimes seem to be random.

So if I like Twitter for its simplicity, I should also want to Tweet without much effort too, right? Right. In a new update for Windows Phone, users can now send Tweets using Cortana. Will you use her to relay your social media communiques?

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Logitech keyboard and mouse Wireless Combo MK345 has crazy-long battery life

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We are now well into 2015, and you know what that means, right? New beginnings! I have been doing a lot of cleaning in my home office, trying to streamline my desk and throw away useless junk. Whenever this happens, I get a hankering for a new keyboard and mouse, as it makes my computer feel new.

Luckily, one of the best manufacturers of such products, Logitech, is back once again with some new input devices. The Wireless Combo MK345 package contains both a mouse and keyboard, sans wires. The best part? The battery life is insanely long. While I normally prefer wired devices, this may convert me.

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HP targets business mobility with new enterprise, education and healthcare devices

HP Elite x2 1011 G1 Split

It is important to remember that the world marches to the beat of many drums. In other words, what works for you, may not work for everyone. While a tech-writer can get by with a Chromebook or iPad, what about doctors? teachers? office professionals? For some professions, there are very specialized needs.

Luckily, HP understands this, and today it announces new solutions for commercial use; enterprise, education, healthcare and more. Recognizing that there are many different needs, some of the devices run Android, some Windows and of course, they come in different shapes and sizes. BetaNews was at the announcement, getting a hands-on look at the products. Which is right for your company?

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Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with Microsoft's Bing Maps

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Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Today, we celebrate the birthday of one of the most important figures in USA history. Heck, his impact on civil rights transcended America and had an impact globally. While today is not technically his birthday -- that is on January 15 -- the federal holiday is always on the third Monday of every January. To have a federal holiday is a great honor, putting him in the same league as other American heroes like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Sadly, racism and prejudice are still alive today, although far less so. Dr. King's inspiration helped plant a seed that causes generations of Americans to become less hateful as time marches on. Even seemingly simple things like sports and music have helped bridge the gap between cultures and skin color. Today, in celebration of Dr. King, Bing Maps will take you on a virtual tour of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. Won't you join the ride?

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Silicon Power Slim S85 and Velox V85 SSDs are 'gaming-grade', up to 960GB

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If you are into PC gaming, then you probably have a really sweet computer. I'm sure it has a powerful graphics card and a ton of RAM, but what about storage? If your operating system is running from a traditional spinning hard drive, your computer is lame. All the cool kids have solid state drives and if you do not, then you are truly missing out.

Don't worry though, there are plenty of SSDs on the market, and prices have been dropping lately. Today, Silicon Power announces two new such drives, with a big emphasis on gaming. If you are looking to achieve faster load times for games, or just an overall performance boost, you should definitely take notice.

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CNN and MSNBC embrace Microsoft's Bing Pulse for Obama State of the Union

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My feelings about President Obama are irrelevant, but one thing is very relevant; the issues. Regardless of whom is president, you should pay attention to what he or she says, so you can be knowledgeable about your country.

If you are someone that actually cares about issues, you are in luck. You see, both CNN and MSNBC are embracing Bing Pulse during Obama's State of the Union. What does this mean? Rather than just consume the speech, you can interact with it by digitally agreeing or disagreeing with the Commander in Chief.

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Windows Phone fans, get excited -- Microsoft pushing Lumia Denim to more devices

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I have a confession; I love Windows Phone. I must whisper this, as Microsoft's mobile operating system has fallen out of favor with the tech community. Well, it was never popular to begin with, but lately, even fanboys have been jumping ship. It's hard to blame them, as there are many limitations to the platform; most notably apps. With that said, I still enjoy it.

If you are like me, and haven't yet given up on Windows Phone entirely, you are in for a treat. Today, Microsoft announces that Lumia Denim is officially rolling out for more devices this month. What does this mean? If you have a Lumia handset, better performance and new features are on the way.

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A live video chat with Microsoft's Major Nelson and Xbox team -- watch it here tonight!

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Regardless of which console you prefer, Xbox One or PlayStation 4, one thing is for sure -- you love video games. Sure, the consoles can do much more than gaming, but it would be silly to spend so much money to just watch video services; you can buy a Roku or Fire TV instead. So again, if you own a game console, you do love video games.

With that said, I am sure you love reading and talking about them too. Tonight, Larry Hryb, aka 'Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson', is conducting a live Google+ Hangouts session with fans. Not only can you listen to and watch him speak about video games, but interact with him and the Xbox team too. Even if you are a PlayStation fan, you should be excited for the opportunity to chat with the Director of Programming for Xbox Live. So what are you waiting for? Watch it here with us, live!

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CompuLab MintBox Mini is a cute and diminutive Linux Mint computer

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When it comes to Linux desktops, there are a few routes to go. The most common is to buy a Windows desktop and either replace Microsoft's operating system or partition the drive with your favorite Linux distro. If you are a bit more technical, you can build your own machine, but this can sometimes be costly (depending on your needs).

The coolest option, however, is to buy a pre-built Linux computer. Why? Well, it is a great way to show your support for the open source movement and can also financially support the makers of the pre-loaded operating system. Today, the Linux Mint team announces the MintBox Mini; a tiny computer running that distro. The cute PC is even mint-colored to create a unique experience.

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GE announces Café Series refrigerator with built-in Keurig K-Cup coffee brewer

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Whether you are an at-home computer nerd, video gamer, or office professional, there is probably something that fuels your days -- caffeine. While technically a drug, many people around the world depend on it for extra pep. Energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster are all the rage nowadays, but coffee is a much more sophisticated beverage.

Many coffee-snobs turn up their noses at Keurig coffee brewers, but I swear by them. Why? Well, the single-serve pods make for an easy clean-up, and quite frankly, produce a great cup of coffee. Plus, you can also use Keurig machines to make things like hot chocolate and tea. Today, GE announces a refrigerator with an integrated single-serve Keurig brewer. This is the convergence that computer nerds dream about!

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New Nintendo 3DS XL coming to USA with exciting new features -- new Zelda too!

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I can't tell you how much I hate modern home console gaming. Every time I find a spare minute to play my Xbox 360, I am faced with system and game updates -- this is the same on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 too. Hell, I spend more time installing updates than actually playing. Don't even get me started on waiting for the damn games to load.

In my day, we had cartridge-based game consoles, and we liked it. Sure, they didn't hold much data and are much more costly to produce than optical disks, but we could pick up and play without nonsense. Luckily, the Nintendo 3DS retains cartridge-based games (and downloads too), leading to a more positive experience. The latest variation of the console, unimaginatively named "New Nintendo 3DS XL", has all-new exciting features, and is finally coming to the USA. Will you buy it?

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Microsoft and PayPal transform Surface and Lumia into point-of-sale terminals

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Last year, I was visiting Jacksonville, FL -- an up-and-coming city -- and needed lunch. Rather than being littered with fast food restaurants, food trucks were all the rage there. Now, these are not "roach coaches", as we call them in New York, but high-end gourmet offerings that just happen to be served from a truck. When it came time to pay, I panicked; I did not have cash! Luckily, the owner told me they take credit cards. I swiped my card on an iPad, signed on-screen with my finger, and had the receipt sent to me by SMS text message. Very cool.

While an iPad may meet the needs of a food truck, many businesses will have greater needs. You see, a computer like the Surface Pro 3 has a true desktop operating system -- the venerable Windows -- and can run the best-in-class full version of Microsoft Office. A business-owner would be smart to trust their company to a Windows machine. Well today, Microsoft and PayPal announce a partnership to bring PayPal Here to both the Surface and Lumia devices using software and a credit card reader. Yes, even Microsoft's laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 3, will be a super-cool point-of-sale terminal!

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Microsoft announces Ford GT as 'cover car' for Xbox One exclusive Forza Motorsport 6

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I'm a Ford man through and through -- I only buy cars from that manufacturer. Why? I like the quality of its vehicles and the history behind the brand. Most importantly, however, I love American-made cars. Don't get me wrong, I buy other products made in foreign countries, but automobiles are woven into the fabric of United States culture. It makes me feel good to know that my car is manufactured here, by a company headquartered here. Heck, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I will buy a nice F-150; not some fancy-pants Mercedes or Audi.

Speaking of fancy cars though, today, Ford debuted a beauty at the North American International Auto Show -- the Ford GT. It's about the sexiest car I've ever seen, and the blue Ford oval on the front makes me very proud. With that said, the car is making a jump to the virtual world, as Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios announce that the GT is coming to Forza Motorsport 6 -- an Xbox One exclusive. In fact, the car will be featured prominently on the game box cover art.

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