Brian Fagioli

Are you lactating or depressed? A doctor is only a video chat away

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Health care can be very expensive. Sadly, some people must choose between going to the doctor and food, or between getting medicine and heating their homes. It is a tragedy really, that in a country like the USA, health care is not universally available to all. Even if you can afford health insurance, getting off from work to go the doctor can be an issue, not to mention, increasingly large co-pays.

Luckily, the Internet makes more of the world available to people, including health care. Yes, you can interact with medical professionals over video chat. Today, a company called Doctor On Demand announces that it is now offering video chat to lactating mothers and those in need of psychological help.

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Google lists the top YouTube videos of 2014 -- did your favorites make the cut?

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Even though we are in a golden age of television, with shows like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, more and more people are turning to YouTube for their video watching. It is hard to blame them, as the online videos are usually concise, entertaining and more importantly, the stars are oftentimes more accessible. In other words, while getting a tweet from a Hollywood celebrity like Jim Carrey is rare, getting one from iJustine or Chris Pirillo is not so far-fetched. Not everyone gets tweets from Jay Z like I do.

Today, YouTube is sharing its "YouTubeRewind 2014" -- a mashup video that celebrates the best of 2014 (seen above). In addition, the search giant is listing the overall top videos, plus filtered categories for music and advertisements. Did your favorite videos make the cut?

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Amazon Instant Video goes 4K Ultra HD for Prime members but there is a catch

4k

4K video is a runaway train at this point -- it is no longer a fad. It is looking like it will definitely become the next widely-adopted standard. While many people say 1080p is "good enough", that type of mindset stops progress. In the technology world, nothing is ever good enough; we must always push for more.

Unfortunately, 4K content is a bit rare at the moment, but growing every day. Today, Amazon announces that Prime members can watch 4K content for free. While this is very exciting news, there is a catch.

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Fedora 21 is here -- Linux fans get an early Christmas gift

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There are so many Linux distributions nowadays -- arguably too many -- that it often feels like resources are being spread thin. After all, many Linux contributors don't get paid for their work -- they do it for love. With that said, it is a bit silly that this free labor is not being maximized to its potential. It is reminiscent of Android ROMs, where much of the work is duplicated, and everyone wants to offer their own for Internet fame. The Linux community has become like a vomit-bucket, where developers puke up distros that come and go; a trip to Distrowatch can make you dizzy.

Luckily, not all Linux distributions are fly-by-night operating systems; quite the contrary actually. There are still dependable distros like Ubuntu and Fedora, with the latter being my personal favorite (Linus Torvalds' favorite too). Today, Fedora 21 reaches final release. Yes, the wait has been long, but good things come to those that do so.

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Dubai is the first city in an Arab country to get Google Maps Street View

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I consider myself to be a bit of a world traveler, having been to Canada, Europe, Mexico and more. Sadly, I have not yet visited the Middle East. While I can't currently afford a trip there, I also don't go due to my own trepidation. Whether misguided or not, the US Government does issue travel warnings, so it is understandable to be hesitant to travel there.

With that said, some of the area has a good reputation; Dubai for example, besides being beautiful, is supposedly safer than other cities. Still, the US Government does warn about travelling there too. Luckily, if you are fearful of going there, or just can't afford it, Google is bringing the city to you. Yes, Dubai is the first city in an Arab country to get Google Maps Street View.

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Samsung announces 850 EVO SSD with 3-bit 3D V-NAND

SSD

When it comes to computer building and upgrades, one of the most important components is a solid state drive. Sadly, many computer manufacturers still utilize spinning hard disk drives in their machines -- a shame, really. Yes, a HDD may be a more cost-effective way to achieve greater storage, but from a performance standpoint, an SSD is far better.

There are many great manufacturers of solid state drives, but Samsung is one of the best. Not only are its offerings reliable, but fast too. Today, the company announces the 850 EVO SSD, featuring a 3-bit 3D V-NAND.

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DirecTV shoots satellite into space to bolster 4K Ultra HD offering

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This holiday shopping season, 4K televisions are all the rage. With that said, buying a 4K TV is arguably silly, as there is not much content, and prices will only go down. Sure, if you need a TV, it might make sense from a future-proofing perspective, but replacing a perfectly good 1080p set is probably wasteful. Currently, the best case for 4K technology is computer monitors, where the ultra-high resolution can be put to immediate use.

Of course, 4K content will be growing more and more in 2015, and DirecTV is aiming to be on the forefront of the Ultra HD game. You see, the television provider has fired a satellite into space to bolster its future 4K capability. In other words, we may soon get to see "Crazy Hairy Rob Lowe" in 4K.

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Microsoft releases Bing-powered Torque 2.0 for Android Wear -- now works on phones too

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I'm a big proponent of smartwatches, but it wasn't always this way. At first, I thought the concept was stupid; after all, it duplicates existing smartphone functionality. When I finally tried one, the Samsung Gear Live running Android Wear, I became hooked. Sure, it is not a need-based product, but instead, convenience-based.

Unfortunately, while Android Wear is useful, it is also a bit limited in its functionality. Luckily, third-party developers can add apps, and believe it or not, an unlikely developer, Microsoft, had delivered one of the best -- Torque. Today, the company releases version 2.0 of that app, and not only does it further improve the Android Wear platform, but it can now be used with Android smartphones too.

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Katy Perry now available in 3D on your smartphone!

katyperry

When I first heard the song "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008, I assumed that the singer would be a one-hit-wonder. Little did I know that the artist, Katy Perry, would become a worldwide phenomenon. While I may not be her target audience, I love all of her hits. You can often find me singing "Roar", "Firework" and my favorite, "Hot N Cold".

While Ms. Perry is big on the radio, her YouTube views are astronomical too; in the billions. Heck, the number of people following her on Twitter is insane at a mind-boggling 60.9 million. In other words, she is a mega superstar who shows no sign of slowing down. Today, Intel announces that Katy Perry is launching her first 3D avatar for Pocket Avatars! For fellow super fans like me -- also called 'KatyCats' -- this is huge.

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Intel-GE Care Innovations uses Microsoft's Kinect to prevent injuries to the elderly

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As health care continues to improve, people are living longer and longer nowadays. While this is a great thing, it can be problematic, as a need for elder care increases. No one wants to see the elderly get hurt, but not everyone has family to take care of them.

Luckily, the needs of the elderly are not being ignored, as not only is caring for them noble, but a potential money-maker too. Today, Microsoft shares that a new solution has been created by Intel-GE Care Innovations; a joint venture between the two massive companies. What makes it particularly cool is that it utilizes the Kinect sensor, which is commonly used with the Xbox One.

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Bluetooth 4.2 is here -- chock full of new features

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Bluetooth has proven to be quite the impressive standard; it has seen wide adoption, and is found in most modern cellular phones (both smart and dumb). Hell, it is even found in many automobiles nowadays.

While an incremental update to the Bluetooth standard probably won't make the evening news, it is a very important moment in the tech world. Today the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announces exactly that -- version 4.2 is now officially adopted. Even though the version number change is slight (from 4.1), the new version is big on new features.

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Attention developers -- Google increases Calendar API quota to 1 million daily requests

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When you are a developer, the world is not all roses. Sure, it is very rewarding to bring your ideas to life, but sometimes your imagination is limited by the software with which you are forced to use. You see, many services offer an API, which enables your software to connect with it. Ultimately, if it is user-based data, you can push and pull information to and from a users account.

Google's calendar is such a service that offers an API, but sadly, applications were limited to 100,000 requests per day. While this might be sufficient for some developers, it apparently was not good enough for all -- the search giant is increasing this to 1 million daily requests.

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Microsoft wants you to be heard -- delivers Bing Pulse 2.0 beta

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With so many people in the world, it is easy to feel like you don't matter. In the USA in particular, the country is deeply divided, causing nearly half the country to feel misrepresented on the issues. Even worse, citizens may feel alone in their ideals and beliefs, as they don't necessarily know how others feel.

Today, Microsoft is not only aiming to help people be heard, but also offering transparency into the thoughts of others. Bing Pulse 2.0 is a new way for participants of live events, or TV-watchers at home, to vote in real-time on various topics. In other words, it is a great tool to engage an audience.

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Yahoo lists the top searches of 2014 -- the number one spot will make you sick

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While the majority of people use and trust Google as their search engine, it is not the only option. Many people use alternatives such as Bing and Yahoo too. The latter in particular should see increased use, as it is the new default search engine on Firefox.

Today, Yahoo is sharing the top searches of 2014. While many of the results are to be expected, some may surprise you. For instance, Xbox One was searched for more than PlayStation 4 -- does this signal an increased consumer interest in Microsoft's console over Sony's? Possibly. Please read on for more results.

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Mozilla to eat a poisoned Apple -- bringing Firefox to iPhone and iPad

apple

Apple makes some really great products. Quite frankly, you really can't go wrong with anything it makes. Sure, I prefer Windows and Linux distributions on the desktop, but OS X is a fine operating system too. The true bread and butter for the fruit-logo company, however, is not its desktop operating system, but mobile -- iOS. I own an iPad and enjoy it for what it is, but I find iOS to be a spectacularly terrible operating system, as it is too restrictive and dumb-downed. For some, the designed simplicity is a benefit, but for advanced users like myself, lack of a user-accessible file system is a non-starter.

The truly terrible crime, however, is that Apple does not allow browser engines other than its own. Google chose to offer a neutered version of Chrome for iOS, but Mozilla famously did not bring Firefox. I was rather proud of Mozilla for sticking to its beliefs and refusing to give in to Apple's policies. Yes, it sucks not having Firefox on iOS, but I supported the decision. Today, however, Mozilla concedes as it is bowing down to Apple in an effort to target more users. In other words, Mozilla is biting into a shiny red apple, but I fear that it is poisoned!

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