Happy Friday, dear BetaNews readers! The weekend is almost here, so hopefully you can take some time to do the things you want to do, rather than the tasks your boss or teacher makes you do. For some, that means spending time with family, watching movies, or resting up. For nerdier people, it is an excellent time to test a Linux distribution!
Today, Canonical releases the official beta version of the upcoming Ubuntu 21.10 Linux distro. Code-named "Impish Indri," the operating system features Linux kernel 5.13. Also notable, the Firefox browser that comes with Ubuntu 21.10 is a Snap rather than a typical deb -- this may prove controversial for some.
As more and more people work from home, they are quickly realizing that their dwellings are simply too small to accommodate a large desk and workstation. While some folks have turned to makeshift solutions like laptops atop kitchen tables, other workers want proper desktops and designated work areas.
While desktop towers may be too bulky, all-in-one computers could be the perfect option. Since the PC is integrated into the monitor, it has a far smaller footprint than a traditional desktop. Today, MSI launches an elegant such computer that professionals should adore. It is available in both black and white colors, so you can better match your home's decor. Called "PRO AP241 All-in-One," it ships with Windows 10, but is absolutely ready for an upgrade to the upcoming Windows 11.
Thunderbolt docks and docking stations are rather common, but believe it or not, Thunderbolt hubs are still quite rare. Quite frankly, other than the excellent offering from OWC that we previously reviewed, there really are no other such hubs on the market.
Well, folks, today this changes as Plugable launches its own such hub for both Windows and Mac. Called "TBT4-HUB3C," the company seems quite proud that it uses the Intel Goshen Ridge chipset, and rightfully so. You see, this chipset makes the hub compatible with both Thunderbolt 4 and USB4. This makes the hub very versatile. In addition to the TBT4-HUB3C, the company is releasing a new high-end Thunderbolt 4/USB4 cable in two lengths -- 1 meter (TBT4-40G1M) and 2 meters (TBT4-40G2M).
Earlier today, Microsoft held its big Surface Event, and there were many new devices announced. As my colleague Wayne Williams shared, the company unveiled the Surface Pro 8, Surface Duo 2, and the Surface Laptop Studio just to name a few.
All of the new Surface computers are exciting, but believe it or not, I was mostly intrigued by a simple wireless mouse. Specifically, the "Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse," as it is called, really inspired me. Why? Well, the Bluetooth mouse is partly made of literal garbage. And yes, folks, that is a good thing. You see, as the name implies, the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse is manufactured using plastic recovered from the ocean -- things like non-reusable water bottles.
There are many great desktop environments for Linux, such as Cinnamon, KDE Plasma, and MATE to name a few. With that said, only one can be the best, and that is obviously GNOME. I mean, look, there's a reason Canonical chose it as the default DE for Ubuntu -- it is just that good.
If you are a GNOME fan, I have some extremely exciting news. You see, as of today, GNOME 41 is officially here! There are many new changes, such as enhanced multitasking settings and the inclusion of a new remote desktop client called "Connections." Most importantly, however, the developers promise GNOME 41 includes noticeable performance improvements, particularly for those using Wayland.
If you want to be a world-famous YouTube creator or Twitch streamer, you have to have a great personality and a way to stand out in the crowd. For most people, it will never become more than a hobby -- getting rich from these platforms is rarified air.
With all of that said, and with personality and gimmick aside, you really need good hardware too. For instance, if I discover an interesting streamer on Twitch, I won't bother subscribing if it's difficult to hear them speak -- a good microphone is essential. And no, quality gear doesn't have to break the bank. For instance, today, Turtle Beach unveils the latest product from its Neat Microphones subsidiary. Called "Skyline," it is an affordable USB mic with an elegant design.
If you are a home Linux desktop user, there is a good chance you like living on the bleeding edge. When a new version of a Linux distribution is released, you may find yourself upgrading immediately. After all, if something breaks, you can just reinstall the OS or move back to the previous version. This is particularly easy if you store your data on a secondary drive and you can format your boot drive without worry.
For business users, however, constantly upgrading to the latest and greatest often isn't feasible. Instead, an organization may want to install a Linux distro and just have it work -- with several years of official support. For instance, Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) and 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) are pretty dated, as they were released in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Age aside, they are rock solid from a stability standpoint. Despite newer versions of Ubuntu being available, some organizations simply don't have the resources to upgrade. Plus, why fix what isn't broken?
The next new version of Ubuntu will be designated as 21.10. Why? Well, the versioning scheme of that Linux-based operating system uses a two digit year followed by a period and then a two digit month (yy.mm). With October being the 10th month, Ubuntu Linux 21.10 is merely weeks away.
Besides knowing the version number of the next Ubuntu release, we also know the code-name -- "Impish Indri." We shared that detail with you back in April of this year. And now, the official artwork of Ubuntu Linux 21.10 "Impish Indri" becomes available for download.
Tom Warren over at The Verge really hates Windows 11, proclaiming he won't be upgrading to Microsoft's upcoming operating system. Why? He has several reasons, such as his inability to easily locate the date and time when using multiple monitors. Oh well. It is his loss, as Windows 11 is really good. In fact, it is definitely the best version of Windows ever.
Despite Warren's apparent hatred of Windows 11, today, he shares some leaked information about the upcoming Surface Pro 8. Sadly, Microsoft's big announcement is due in just a few days, meaning The Verge and other leakers (such as the one it sources) have largely ruined the big reveal. Warren's actions are arguably a huge sign of disrespect towards Microsoft's Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay. Sigh. Thankfully, the leaked information signals a very exciting Surface tablet is on the way.
The United States doesn't have an official language, and that's totally cool. It highlights our diversity, which is one of our biggest strengths. While English is currently the predominant language, it may not always be that way. Who knows, one day Spanish may be the most popular language in the USA. After all, we already have many wonderful Americans that speak it.
For those that speak Spanish, there are several TV channels that offer programming in that language. One of the most popular such channels is Univision, and today, it is finally coming to YouTube TV! In addition, the TV service is gaining access to UniMás and Galavisión -- two Spanish-language channels owned by Univision. Best of all, this isn't just quality live programming, but access to video on demand too. YouTube TV subscribers even get access to content in the Univision app.
The Nintendo Switch was released in 2017, and since then, the video game console has been a runaway success. Its ability to serve as both a portable and home game machine has contributed to its popularity, but also, the COVID-19 pandemic likely increased sales too. You see, as people were stuck in quarantine, many of them turned to the Nintendo Switch and popular games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
As great as the Nintendo Switch is, the system is definitely not perfect. For instance, it is underpowered compared to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Not to mention, many consumers consider the controllers to be defective, as the thumb-sticks often develop "drift" and lose accuracy. One of the oddest deficiencies, however, is the lack of Bluetooth audio. This was a very curious thing, as the Switch supported the wireless standard, just not for sound.
When you are a hardcore gamer, having quality gear can really matter. Players need to carefully select high-end mice, keyboards, headsets, and more if they are going to compete -- especially on a professional level. Many elite gamers choose Logitech G for their hardware needs, and it is not hard to see why; Logitech's gaming brand has consistently released high-quality gear for several years.
Today, Logitech announces the G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Headset. As the name suggests, this wireless headset utilizes Logitech's excellent LIGHTSPEED technology -- the company's proprietary low-latency wireless solution that minimizes many of the issues gamers have with Bluetooth. If you do need Bluetooth connectivity, however, don't worry -- G435 offers that too. What's notable about G435 is Logitech's focus on sustainability -- the headset and its packaging are partially comprised of recycled materials. This is a big win for the environment.
Apple iPad is the world's best tablet, regardless of model. Whether you opt for the "regular" iPad or Pro models, they are all superior to anything running Android. And yet, the non-Pro iPad is starting to feel a bit stale. It still has a lightning port, huge bezels, and it is not compatible with the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil.
Today, Apple unveiled the 9th generation non-Pro iPad (10.2-inch Retina display) and the company did not address any of those things. It has big bezels and a clunky physical home button, a lightning port instead of USB-C, and it's still only compatible with the first-gen Pencil. Apple merely gave it more storage (64GB minimum), a better processor (A13 Bionic), and a slightly improved front camera (12MP Ultra-Wide). It is a boring evolutionary upgrade that will make owners of existing iPad tablets yawn.
Smart glasses have existed for a while now, with the most notable being the failed Google Glass. Most recently, Facebook launched its own offering through a partnership with Ray Ban. While Google's product was ugly, the Facebook glasses actually look quite cool -- to the average person, they appear to be regular glasses. Unfortunately, no matter how stylish, many consumers will shun the product due the associaton with Facebook. After all, that social network has a bad reputation regarding privacy.
Today, Xiaomi throws its hat into the ring with the unimaginatiely named "Smart Glasses." These glasses utilize cutting-edge MicroLED optical waveguide technology and weight just 51g. They run the Android operating system, are powered by a quad-core ARM processor, and offer both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectvity. Smart Glasses feature a 5MP camera for taking photos and recording videos, but also, translating text as you view it!
Solid state drives obviously make wonderful internal computer boot drives, but believe it or not, they are really great options for external storage too. Not only are SSDs smaller than mechanical hard disk drives, but they use less power and are much quicker as well.
If you are in the market for an external solid state drive, you must check out the TEAMGROUP T-CREATE CLASSIC. Not only is the drive fast and small, but it has a special trick -- it supports both Thunderbolt 3 and USB! In other words, it is an excellent option for those that value versatility and optimal compatibility.