When you are building a PC, you should never purchase low-quality RAM from a little-known vendor. Bad memory can lead to huge headaches, such as program crashes and blue screens of death on Windows. Troubleshooting corrupt sticks can be quite the tedious affair -- it is not worth the cost savings.
There are many quality memory-makers nowadays, such as G.SKILL and Kingston. Regarding the latter, the company offers an enthusiast gaming brand, called HyperX. Today, the company announces a refresh of its popular value-focused FURY RAM. These sticks come in frequencies up to 2666MHz, with your choice of three heat spreader colors -- red, white, and black. Best of all, they are tested to work with AMD Ryzen CPUs and the AM4 platform plus Intel 200 processors and X99 chipsets.
The Sony PS4 Pro is a more powerful version version of the traditional PlayStation 4 game console. Besides having more horsepower, it can output 4K video. Sony's console only does UHD through streaming apps, such as Netflix. Unfortunately, it cannot play 4K Blu-ray discs -- something Microsoft's Xbox One S can do. This is a hardware limitation, as Sony's offering does not have a compatible optical drive.
Today, Sony is enabling a new way to enjoy 4K video on the PS4 Pro. Thanks to a software update, the Media Player app can now play 4K mp4 files. While this is appreciated, the ability to play these files is probably more beneficial for movie pirates than honest consumers. After all, 4K studio films are not typically sold in mp4 file format. Of course, I suppose some folks are recording home movies in UHD -- the PS4 Pro would be a great device for that.
In 2017, USB flash drives are hardly exciting products. In fact, thanks to cloud storage, these little storage drives are largely obsolete. With that said, there are still uses, such as installing an operating system, for example. In other words, if you want to install Windows 10 or Ubuntu, USB flash drives are far superior to optical disks. There are other times a flash drive can come in handy too.
If you are going to buy a flash drive, you might as well target a quality product. Today, ADATA announces an absolutely gorgeous metallic storage device. Called "UV310," it is available in three capacities -- 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.
While many people run an operating system from a solid state drive nowadays, external storage drives are largely still mechanical. It is not a mystery as to why this is -- the cost per gigabyte is much less. Unfortunately, USB hard disk drives have the same weaknesses as internal variants -- they are slow and prone to mechanical failure. If you can afford it (and don't mind the smaller capacity), a portable SSD is a much better experience.
ADATA has a new USB 3.1 (gen 1) SSD that is downright gorgeous. The 3D NAND XPG SD700X external drive is extremely rugged and features capacities up to 1TB. Most importantly, it is much faster (440/430MB/s read/write) than a mechanical HDD. Such a drive is not only beneficial for Windows, Mac, and Linux, but for faster game loading on consoles too, such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
When someone is interested in trying a Linux-based desktop operating system for the first time, they often choose Ubuntu. This is a smart choice, as it is easy to use, well supported, and quite beautiful. Even if you don't like the Unity desktop environment, there are several other DEs, or flavors, from which to choose -- GNOME, KDE, and Xfce to name a few.
Today, the Final Beta of Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' becomes available for download. While it is never a good idea to run pre-release software on production machines, Canonical is claiming that it should be largely bug free at this point. In other words, if you understand the risks, it should be fairly safe. Home users aside, this is a good opportunity for administrators to conduct testing prior to the official release next month.
If you are a PC gamer, there is a good chance that you enjoy building your own computers. After all, building them yourself guarantees that you select every single component that goes inside. Not only can you pick the parts from a performance perspective, but aesthetically too -- for some folks, looks matter.
While a self-built gaming rig can be rewarding, it can be an expensive headache too. If something goes wrong, you have to reach out to each component manufacturer for support and warranty purposes. Alternatively, when you buy a pre-built machine, you have a single company to contact. Today, PC component maker CORSAIR announces an all-new gaming computer series -- its first ever. Simply called "ONE," it is designed to be both svelte and powerful. The hardcore mini PC is rather pricey, however, as it starts at $1,800 -- there are several "PRO" variants which will increase the cost dramatically. Unfortunately for AMD fans, this is an Intel/NVIDIA-only affair.
My absolute favorite desktop environment for Linux is GNOME. Quite frankly, if the DE went away tomorrow, I might have to rethink my use of Linux entirely. Yeah, I am that passionate about it. Environment aside, the GNOME also includes a collection of applications, creating a coherent user experience.
Today, GNOME reaches version 3.24, code-named "Portland." While it looks great, it is hardly a monumental change. Moving from 3.22, we see some new features and applications, but on the UI front, there are improved icons too. In fact, they have doubled from 256×256px to 512×512px! Not only can these icons scale larger, but they are more vibrant and intricate too. Overall, there are many new aspects of GNOME to excite fans.
When it comes to Google, many people are concerned about privacy, and rightfully so. Look, the company makes money through advertising and data collection. In other words, if you rely on the search giant's services, such as Gmail and Maps, the company probably knows a lot about you -- including the locations that you visit.
While exposing your location is normally something people try to avoid from a security perspective, today, Google is making it easier to do so. No, the search giant isn't doing it without your permission -- it is actually a very cool new feature. The company is enabling Google Maps users to share their real-time location with others. The reason that this is cool (and not scary) is that the user can choose with whom they share the location, and for how long it is shared. Your phone will even keep you notified that you are sharing your location -- just in case your plans change and you forget to shut it off. In other words, it is totally optional.
Relying on a Linux distribution as your full time operating system can be great -- until it isn't. While there are many quality packages and applications that are compatible with the open source kernel, every once in awhile you will run into something that simply isn't available. When this happens, it can be very frustrating.
For a while, Netflix was not available for traditional Linux-based operating systems, meaning users were unable to enjoy the popular streaming service without booting into Windows. This was due to the company's reliance on Microsoft Silverlight. Since then, Netflix adopted HTML5, and it made Google Chrome and Chromium for Linux capable of playing the videos. Unfortunately, Firefox -- the open source browser choice for many Linux users -- was not compatible. Today this changes, however, as Mozilla's offering is now compatible with Netflix!
Logitech launches MK850 Performance Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
If you are like me, running just one operating system isn't enough -- maybe you dual boot or have multiple computers. I, for example, have a Windows 10 desktop, MacBook Pro laptop, and a Linux box. The problem with this setup, you see, is that my desk gets very crowded and messy. Believe it or not, I have just one monitor for all of my computers (I switch between HDMI and DisplayPort), but multiple keyboards, touch pads and mice -- it can be distracting.
Today, Logitech launches a brilliant product that should solve my dilemma. The MK850 Performance Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo works with Windows, Mac, Android, Chrome OS and iOS. It should work with desktop Linux distributions too, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. With the click of a button, both the keyboard and mouse can switch between up to three computers or operating systems. This includes mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones (the mouse will not work with iOS, however). Best of all, both of the input devices are ergonomic and look elegant.
The Xbox One S is a fabulous value. If you don't already own one, now is the time to make a purchase -- the Microsoft Store is offering a killer deal. Not only do you get the console, but two free games as well.
Today, Microsoft announces a new special edition of the Xbox One Wireless Controller. As part of its new "Tech Series," the Recon Tech design looks amazing, and should provide a comfortable gaming experience. It is even compatible with the upcoming "Copilot" feature, which lets two controllers control the same thing at once.
Android famously uses a weird naming convention for its operating system releases. Google moves alphabetically, matching the letter to a dessert food item, such as candy, cookies, and such. The next version will be the letter "O," but we do not yet know which food item name the search giant will choose. Could it go with Oreo Cookie? There is precedent of Google going with a branded food -- Kit Kat.
Today, Google releases Android O Developer Preview. Of course, the pre-release images are not available for third-party mobile devices -- it is a Nexus and Pixel-only affair. There are many new features in Android O, which you can read about here. It's a lot to absorb, but the biggest change seems to be limiting apps in the background, with a focus on improving battery life overall. This is much welcomed, as running out of juice is a major pain point for many mobile users.
Earlier today, Apple introduced an all-new low-cost tablet, simply called "iPad." This 9.7 inch variant of the iPad starts at $329, making it incredibly affordable. As more and more schools turn to Chromebooks due to their low cost, this new iPad could be the perfect way for Apple to get the education segment excited about iOS again.
Today, Logitech introduces a new product that could make the new iPad perfect for classrooms. Called "Rugged Combo," it is a combination case and keyboard that turns Apple's newest tablet into a makeshift laptop. Best of all, the extremely durable nature of the case should protect it from drops and abuse by students.
The Xbox One S is probably the best media device on the market from a value perspective. Not only does it play top-quality video games and offer streaming video apps, but it comes with an integrated 4K Blu-ray player too. Quite franky, many standalone UHD disc players cost more than Microsoft's game console, making it a no-brainer.
Today, Microsoft sweetens the deal even further, by bundling two free games when you buy from the company directly. These two games are in addition to the ones that may already be included. In other words, starting at $299, you can get the Xbox One S and at least three games!
Today is the first official day of spring. With that said, Google wants us to look towards the following season -- summer. You see, starting today, application entries are being accepted for Google Summer of Code 2017.
If you've never heard of this program, please know that the search giant pairs students with organizations to get real-world experience working on an open source project during summer break. Google even pays them some money -- it is not an unpaid affair. Pay, experience, and knowledge aside, participating will look excellent on a résumé.