Brian Fagioli

Jaybird unveils affordable 'Tarah' Bluetooth Wireless Sport Headphones

Thanks to Apple's courageous (kidding!) act of removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone, more and more consumers are opting for Bluetooth headphones these days. True, unlike wired variants, they do need to be charged, but their convenience can make up for this deficiency. Exercisers and other active folks can workout more comfortably, without fear of getting wires stuck on equipment -- dangerous for the wearer and any device to which the headphones are attached.

The problem? Many Bluetooth headphones are trash. Amazon is littered with cheap no-name offerings that are of low-quality which should be avoided. Instead, consumers would be wise to invest in quality Bluetooth headphones from a reputable manufacturer. Today, one such quality company -- Jaybird -- announces its latest product. Called "Tarah," these Bluetooth Wireless Sport Headphones are surprisingly affordable at less than $100.

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Fedora 29 Beta Linux distro now available for download with improved Raspberry Pi support

If you are going to use Linux on the desktop, you might as well use Fedora. Why? Well, it is a pure open source experience. I mean, why switch from Windows to a distro that isn't entirely focused on FOSS? You should go all in! Not to mention, it uses very modern packages while retaining stability. Oh, and it uses the best overall desktop environment, GNOME, by default. It's no wonder the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, uses it.

The next version of the operating system is Fedora 29, and today, it achieves Beta status. It features updated packages, improved support for Raspberry Pi, and more.

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Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller gets Apple HomeKit support

As a suburbanite homeowner, nothing brings me more joy than having a nice yard. Yeah, it can be hard work to mow the lawn, rake leaves, and pull weeds, but it is totally worth it. Earlier this year, I even installed the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller to more intelligently water my grass, and I came away very impressed. Not only does it keep my lawn looking good, but it saves me money too. How? It knows to skip watering based on the weather -- no more running sprinklers in the rain!

Believe it or not, starting today, the Rachio 3 is getting even better. No, the company is not upgrading the hardware. Actually, it is improving thanks to all-new Apple HomeKit support! Yes, owners of iPhone, iPad, HomePod, or other Apple devices can now control Rachio 3 using either the HomeKit app or Siri.

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Roku unveils affordable Premiere and Premiere+ 4K streaming media boxes

If you don't yet have a 4K TV, what the heck are you waiting for? Granted, a couple years back, these televisions were expensive and there was little 4K content, but in 2018, these are no longer true things. A 4K TV can be had without breaking the bank, while streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube offer videos using this ultra high definition format.

Today, Roku unveils two new 4K streaming media boxes that are surprisingly affordable. The "Premiere" and "Premiere+," as they are called, are priced low while also being quite capable. True, they forgo 802.11ac, but N wireless is more than fine.

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HyperX launches internal FURY RGB SSD and external SAVAGE EXO SSD

The solid state drive revolution is in full effect for home consumers. Whether you have a laptop or desktop, you should no longer have a mechanical hard drive -- especially for running your operating system. SSDs are more affordable than ever, plus, insanely fast too.

With so many SATA solid state drives on the market with similar specifications, how does a company make its offering stand out? RGB lights, of course! Yes, today, Hyperx launches the FURY RGB SSD with customizable lighting. In addition to this beautiful internal drive, the company is also launching an external model -- the SAVAGE EXO SSD.

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Belkin unveils BOOST↑UP Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone + Apple Watch

While the iPhone XS and XS Max look to be great smartphones, they are hardly revolutionary. In fact, as is customary with Apple's "S" models, they are simply evolutionary. This isn't a bad thing. Hell, for owners of prior iPhone devices, it is sort of a good thing -- there should be less of a desire to spend money on an upgrade. For instance, earlier this year, I chose the 8 Plus over the X, and none of the newest models (including the budget-friendly XR) have me chomping at the bit to spend my hard earned money on an upgrade.

One feature that got me to upgrade from the 6S Plus to the 8 Plus is wireless charging. I didn't have it before, and after buying the new iPhone, I did. Sadly, Apple still hasn't released its own such charging pad, so as more and more folks get iPhone devices with the capability, they must rely on third-party offerings. One such company that consistently releases quality accessories is Belkin, and to coincide with the release of the XS, XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4, it announces the BOOST↑UP Wireless Charging Dock for iPhone + Apple Watch. Yes, as the name implies, it can wirelessly charge both an iPhone and Apple Watch.

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Ubuntu-based elementary OS 5.0 'Juno' Beta 2 Linux distro now available

Why don’t more desktop computer users use Linux? Well, software compatibility aside, there is fear of change and the unknown. For a user to switch from Windows, it must be a fairly simple affair. For years, just installing a Linux-based operating system was a daunting task. These days, it can be faster and easier than installing Windows 10 -- depending on distro, of course.

For beginners, once installed, their chosen Linux distro should be easy to use with an intuitive desktop environment. I'm a big fan of GNOME, but understandably, not all folks like it -- especially Linux novices. One particular Linux-based desktop operating system has been focusing on accessibility to all -- elementary OS. This distro is polished and aims to be easy to use for both experts and beginners alike. Today, version 5.0 of the OS -- called "Juno" -- reaches Beta 2. Impressively, there have been over 200 fixes implemented since Beta 1.

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SteelSeries launches CS:GO Howl Edition Rival 310 gaming mouse and QcK+ mousepad

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive -- better known as CS:GO -- is one of the most popular multiplayer first-person shooters of all time. What makes the game so great is its meager system requirements -- it can run on many computers. In other words, it isn't very taxing, meaning you don't need super-expensive hardware to enjoy it. Are the graphics dated? Slightly, but lets be honest -- fun is the truly important thing.

Today, popular gaming accessory-maker SteelSeries launches a special CS:GO mouse and mousepad, both of which feature a design based on the M4A4 Howl gun skin. The "Howl Edition" Rival 310 gaming mouse and QcK+ mousepad are sure to be wildly popular with CS:GO gamers.

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Canonical reveals Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS 'Trusty Tahr' Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) plans

Stacked Ubuntu logo

When it comes to upgrading an operating system, home users have plenty of flexibility. Whether running Windows, Mac, or a Linux-based OS, moving to the latest and greatest should be a fairly uneventful affair. For businesses, however, bleeding edge is hardly ideal. After all, companies use their computers to make money -- there is no room for downtime due to upgrade issues. In other words, if it isn't broken, don't fix it. This is why many in the corporate world still run Windows 7.

Of course, staying on an older operating system can be problematic as well. As long as the OS is supported, you are golden. To run an operating system that no longer gets security updates is pure madness, though. Luckily, if you need to run an unsupported operating system, some maintainers, such as Canonical and Microsoft, will still support you -- if you pay up. For example, next year, Ubuntu 14.04 will reach end of life, so today, Canonical announces its Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) plans.

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Sony copies Nintendo with PlayStation Classic mini gaming console

Sony's original PlayStation is an iconic console, right up there with Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Genesis. The CD-based gaming system was wildly popular, thanks to a fantastic game library and impressive graphics (for the time). Tragically, I never owned one, as I instead opted for the Sega Saturn. Thankfully, I was able to play Sony's console when visiting friends and family, but I digress.

Following the success of Nintendo's mini NES and SNES consoles, Sony is looking to capitalize on the trend with the all-new PlayStation Classic. Just as with Nintendo's offerings, Sony has shrunken the PlayStation to a diminutive state and embedded several games -- you are limited to the included titles.

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Logitech unveils K600 TV Keyboard

Nowadays, it seems like everyone owns either a smart TV or a media box. They are a great way to consume streaming media, including Netflix, Hulu, and more.

The problem? Searching for content using a remote can be very tedious. Quite frankly, it can be maddening to search for movies, TV shows, and music using an on-screen keyboard. Sure, voice search is a passable alternative, but it’s far from perfect. In an effort to improve both navigation and search on smart TVs and media boxes, Logitech unveils an elegant new product. Called K600 TV Keyboard, it features a full keyboard, trackpad, and d-pad.

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Microsoft and Canonical release Ubuntu Linux virtual machine image for Hyper-V Quick Create

Linux may be the future of computing, but Windows is the present -- on the desktop, at least. For now, both business and home users are wise to stick with Microsoft's operating system. With that said, tech savvy users might be better served by, say, Linux Mint or Ubuntu. While Windows 10 is riddled with privacy and user interface issues, it is still the least stressful way to use your computer -- you are less likely to have hardware or software compatibility issues.

If you are interested in Linux but need to use Windows 10, there are many ways to also run operating systems based on the open source kernel, such as dual-booting or running a virtual machine. Not to mention, with Windows Subsystem for Linux, you can even download and install distros directly from the Microsoft Store! Today, the Windows-maker and Canonical announce a new way to run Ubuntu on Windows 10 -- a special "Hyper-V Quick Create" VM image

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Samsung launches N700NC, Y500, and Y100 AKG wireless Bluetooth headphones

If you are using the free earbuds that came with your smartphone to listen to music, you aren't living your life right. I mean, if you are happy with those chintzy pack-ins, more power to you. With that said, you would be much better served by a set of premium headphones.

Today, Samsung launches a trio of new AKG Bluetooth headphones. Why three? Well, each one has a different style -- N700NC is over-ear and features adaptive noise-cancelling, Y500 are on-ear, and Y100 are in-ear. And because they fall under the premium "AKG" brand (a Samsung subsidiary), they are a bit pricey, although not insanely so.

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TP-Link unveils HS300 Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip

Smart outlets are awesome. In my home, I have a couple lamps plugged into them, allowing me to control lighting using my smartphone or Alexa. I can even turn the lights off and on remotely.

Today, TP-Link brings smart outlets to a whole new level with its HS300 Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip. Not only does it allow you to control up to six outlets, but it will monitor energy use too. And yes, it features surge protection too -- it is ETL certified. Unfortunately, the number of joules is not disclosed, but we will update this article once we know.

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ADATA announces extremely rugged HD830 external HDD

When it comes to external storage, solid state drives are ideal. Since they have no moving parts, they won't be damaged by being jostled about in a bag. Not to mention, they are significantly faster than mechanical hard disk drives too. The problem? Solid state drives can be rather pricey compared to hard drives when cost per gigabyte is considered. And so, some people still leverage HDDs when on the go.

Looking to mitigate the potential dangers of using an external hard drive when out and about, ADATA today announces an extremely rugged model. Called "HD830," the aluminum body has an internal anti-shock coating and an external silicone casing. Yeah, this turns a typically slim 2.5-inch hard drive into a chunky monstrosity, but if protecting your data is important, the added thickness and heft could be worth it. Even the USB port is protected by a cover, although it is not USB-C sadly. Instead, it utilizes the awkwardly shaped micro USB 3.0. The drive exceeds IP68, and ADATA claims it can be submerged in 6.5 feet of water for up to two hours.

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