Brian Fagioli

You can now get your Dunkin' coffee fix with Google Assistant

Here's the deal, folks. I'm a New Yorker, so I am, by default, a coffee expert. While Starbucks isn't terrible, it isn't great either. True coffee connoisseurs know there are only two places to get some proper brew -- 7 Eleven and Dunkin' Donuts. The former is the best for those that like to add milk/sugar themselves, while the latter is ideal for those that trust the workers to add those extras. I go to both, but generally prefer Dunkin' since they have a drive through.

If you are a caffeine fan like me, and you get your daily coffee fix from Dunkin', I have some amazing news. Starting today, you can order your coffee through Google Assistant. Unfortunately, there is a big catch.

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PATRIOT launches VIPER GAMING VPR100 M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x4 RGB SSD

Do M.2 PCIe solid state drives need heatsinks? Need? No, but believe it or not, sticking a piece of aluminum on the drive won't only potentially extend its life, but it can make it faster too. Yes, really. You see, when these SSDs get hot, read and write performance can take a hit. And so, cooling can matter. Keep in mind though, a heatsink can prevent an SSD from being used in a laptop if there isn't enough room for it.

Today, Patriot (under its VIPER GAMING brand) is launching a new solid state drive that not only has a big aluminum heatsink, but it is very beautiful too. Called "VPR100," this M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x4 RGB SSD features customizable lighting and impressive read and write speeds. Does RGB lighting on an SSD really matter, though? Possibly. In some computers, the PCIe SSD can be hidden from view, making it a non-factor.

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Kanguru Defender Bio-Elite30 is a fingerprint hardware encrypted USB flash drive for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Hardware encrypted USB flash drives are fairly common, but usually, they leverage keypads for unlocking. Biometrics -- such as a fingerprint reader -- are far more convenient, however. Today, Kanguru launches a new hardware encrypted flash drive that uses your finger to decrypt it.

Called "Defender Bio-Elite30," the company claims the drive will work on any operating system, meaning those on Windows, Mac, or Linux can take advantage of the biometric unlocking. The drive will even work with devices such as Smart televisions. The Defender Bio-Elite30 is bus-powered too, so you won't have to be concerned about an internal battery failing. Believe it or not, despite the cool technology, it is rather affordable.

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TEAMGROUP launches T-FORCE XTREEM ARGB gaming RAM with mirror design

Are all sticks of RAM the same? No. Any seasoned system builder will tell you that opting for cheap budget memory can lead to frustrating experiences of troubleshooting errors and blue screens of death in Windows. Saving a few bucks is never worth it. Take my advice and stick to reputable companies for both RAM and power supply units -- you will be thankful you did.

With all of that said, there are many reputable companies manufacturing sticks of RAM these days, making it hard to know what to select. You probably know all the typical names, such as G.SKILL, Crucial, and HyperX, but there are other lesser-known brands you can depend on too. Case in point, TEAMGROUP -- many system builders trust its memory. Today, that company announces its latest DDR4 RAM and it is absolutely gorgeous. Called "T-FORCE XTREEM ARGB," it features customizable lighting, a mirror design, and an achievable overclock of up to 4800MHz.

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You can now give the gift of YouTube with Amazon

Millions of people are regular YouTube users, and it's not hard to see why. The Google-owned site provides countless hours of quality video entertainment for free -- just watch the occasional short ad. I literally spend hours daily on YouTube watching quality content on my desktop computer, iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. Hell, even my television comes from Google's video service, as I subscribe to the wonderful YouTube TV.

If you aren't sure what to get someone for the holidays this year, why not give them the gift of YouTube? After all, it is something that they are pretty much guaranteed to love. This year, Google is making it easier than ever to give YouTube as a present -- you can now order a Gift Code through Amazon.

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PIXEL is a limited-edition Pepto-pink Logitech G PRO wireless gaming mouse

When you have an upset stomach, there is a magical elixir that can provide relief -- Pepto-Bismol. Yes, that strangely delicious pink liquid can work wonders. Today, Logitech announces a new mouse that seems to get some inspiration from Pepto-Bismol.

Called "PIXEL", it technically isn't a new mouse. Instead, it is merely the existing Logitech G PRO wireless gaming mouse with a pretty pink paint job. That's not a bad thing -- the G Pro is already a great mouse. You can read more about it (including specs) here. The new color is just fun icing on the cake. Best of all, profits from this PIXEL mouse will be donated to charity!

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elementary OS 5.1 'Hera' Linux distro is here

elementary OS has long been viewed by many as the future of Linux on the PC thanks to its beautiful desktop environment and overall polished experience. Development of the Ubuntu-based operating system has been frustratingly slow, however. This shouldn't be surprising, really, as the team of developers is rather small, and its resources are likely much less than those of larger distributions such as the IBM-backed Fedora or Canonical's Ubuntu. And that is what makes elementary OS so remarkable -- its developers can make magic on a smaller budget.

Today, the latest version of the operating system is released. Code-named "Hera," elementary OS 5.1 is now available for download. Support for Flatpak is now baked in — this is significant, as the developers explain it is “the first non-deb packaging format we've supported out of the box.” The Linux kernel now sits at a very modern 5.0. One of the most important aspects of elementary OS, the AppCenter, is now an insane 10 times faster than its predecessor. Wow.

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Linux Mint 19.3 'Tricia' BETA is mere days away!

Back in October, we told you the Linux Mint developers were hoping to have version 19.3 released by Christmas 2019. Well, I have some good news regarding that -- Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" it is still on schedule for a release by December 25! Yes, Linux Mint fans, you will likely be treated to something much better than any gift wrapped under your tree-- a new version of the OS you love.

With all of that said, I have some more great news about Linux Mint 19.3 "Tricia" -- the BETA will be released this upcoming Tuesday, December 3! This past Friday was "Black Friday," tomorrow is "Cyber Monday," and I think we can now dub the day after that "Mint Tuesday."

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TRENDnet TUC-ET2G USB-C to 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet adapter for Windows, Mac, and Linux [Review]

I wish all new laptops came with Ethernet ports, but sadly, it just isn't meant to be. You see, as computer makers try to make notebooks thinner, they omit important ports such as Ethernet. For many folks, this isn't a big deal, as they only use Wi-Fi anyway. Other consumers, such as yours truly, like having the ability to connect to a network using a cable.

Thankfully, an Ethernet port is just a dongle away! Thanks to USB, you have long been able to add hardwired networking to a computer without it. With new computers having USB-C ports running at 3.1 gen 2 speeds, it is time to think beyond Gigabit (1Gbps) -- 2.5 and 5Gbps.

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Valve finally kills Steam Controller -- sells remaining stock for $5 each

Remember when Valve had ambitious plans about revolutionizing the PC gaming landscape with the Linux-based SteamOS and its own "revolutionary" Steam Controller? Yeah, well, those dreams are dead. The company's Steam Machines (computers running SteamOS) were an utter failure and died an early death. The Steam Controller (a product I once had high hopes for) was a chore to use and is considered by many to be a terrible product. Of course, some people do love the controller.

Finally, after several years, that game pad is being canceled. In fact, to show how much a failure it is, Valve is selling all remaining stock for $5 each. Yes, for less than the price of a decent McDonald's meal, you can score one of these controllers. Unfortunately, there is a big catch.

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HyperX launches Alloy Origins Core tenkeyless RGB mechanical gaming keyboard

If you are a serious PC gamer, a mechanical keyboard is definitely a product worth your attention. While it won't magically make you better at games, it should outperform whatever cheap membrane keyboard you are using now. Even for non-gaming activities, such as typing, some people prefer a mechanical model.

There are tons of mechanical keyboards on the market these days, making it hard for consumers to pick the right one. My advice? Stick with a reputable brand, and if you aren't sure which key color to go for (maybe it is a gift for someone else) opt for red -- it is smooth and not noisy. Red switches are a good choice for someone that doesn't want to annoy other people in a home or office.

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Facebook Viewpoints will pay you money to complete surveys, but you shouldn't do it

I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong with handing over your data to big corporations -- as long as you do so willingly. Look, there are several "free" services online these days, such as Facebook, Gmail, and YouTube that many people use daily. These services aren't really free, however, as your data is largely the price of admission.

For those without actual disposable income, this data is a valuable commodity that they can use to trade for services -- it opens doors to some. With that said, it can be argued that this is essentially taking advantage of low income people. Similarly, this is one of the reasons it is illegal to sell your organs in the USA -- you'd have poor people transferring kidneys to the wealthy just to pay the rent.

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Satechi launches Compact Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple macOS

Apple laptops are very good computers -- they even make solid makeshift desktops when you connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. While Apple's wireless Bluetooth keyboard is very good, it is also quite expensive. Apple charges a staggering $129 for the white model with number pad. Hilariously, it charges a $20 premium if you want the space gray color! Oh, Apple...

Today, Satechi launches a beautiful Apple-like wireless keyboard for macOS that features the coveted space gray color. It even charges with USB-C rather than Lightning. Best of all, Satechi's keyboard costs nearly half that of the Apple equivalent! Since the Mac mini doesn't come with a keyboard or mouse, this new product should be a good choice for Apple's diminutive desktop too.

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Ubuntu Linux strangely promotes Brony culture on Twitter

I am not one to judge people. However, the whole "Brony" thing does bewilder me. If you aren't familiar, "Bronies," as they are called, are adult males that enjoy watching the TV show My Little Pony -- a cartoon designed for children. They even play with pony action figures and attend conventions where they dress up like ponies. Sadly, some of these Brony people even sexualize the cartoon ponies. It's a really disturbing community.

And so, today, I was a bit dismayed by a Tweet from the official Ubuntu Linux Twitter account. You see, on that social network, the operating system seems to be promoting Brony culture by suggesting users install a cartoon pony-related package called "ponysay."

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Microsoft's Black Friday Sale starts NOW with HUGE discounts on Xbox, Surface, and other Windows 10 devices

holiday shopping

Ah, Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving where people run to the store to score great deals on various items. Technology enthusiasts in particular love this day, as you can save a lot of money on computers, tablets, smartphones, and more. Over the years, however, Black Friday has begun starting earlier and lasting longer -- it no longer lasts just a single day. Hell, you don't even need to leave the house anymore -- many retailers put the same deals online.

Case in point, starting today, Microsoft is launching some of its Black Friday deals -- an entire week in advance! This includes both online and physical Microsoft Store locations. Not all of sales start today, however -- the company is staggering the dates a bit. And yes, this sale includes many of the the products you love, such as Xbox, Surface, and other Windows 10 devices.

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