One of the coolest things about open source software is the ability to fork it. What is forking? Very simply put, it is taking code and altering it so it can be taken in a different direction. This is usually done when people are dissatisfied with the current path of a project. A good example of this is LibreOffice, which is a fork of OpenOffice. As that example shows, sometimes the fork can become better and more popular than the original.
Systemd is a very polarizing topic in the Linux community, so it should come as no surprise that it would lead to a fork. You see, some Debian users disliked systemd so much that they decided to create a version of the OS without it. Devuan is that operating system, and today, the fork finally sees stable release.
I have been enjoying the Opera desktop web browser lately. In fact, the experience has been so good, that I have been using it on Windows 10, Linux, and macOS. The browser has many great features, plenty of extensions, and it is darn fast too.
As an iPhone and iPad user, I thought maybe it was time to use Opera on mobile. After all, why not use the same app across all my devices? Unfortunately, after searching for Opera in the Apple App Store, I noticed something odd -- none of the company's iOS browsers (Opera Mini and Opera Coast) have been updated in 2017. Since we are almost halfway through the year, I decided to ask Opera what was up. Shockingly, the company told me that it no longer has a team working on iOS.
Belkin's Wemo smart home devices are absolutely brilliant. Not only does the company offer power outlet and light switch adapters, but it recently introduced a dimmer switch too. The Wemo products are also compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home, making them easy to control by voice.
Unfortunately, Wemo devices are not compatible with Apple HomeKit or Siri. There is good news, however -- Belkin is adding support. Starting this fall, consumers can buy a new product called "Wemo Bridge," which will enable HomeKit support for existing Wemo devices. It simply plugs into an Ethernet port on your router, thereby enabling support for Apple's smart home platform.
I really enjoy my Apple Watch, but understandably, not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Heck, my colleague Joe Wilcox felt enslaved by his! For fans of the smartwatch, however, it isn't just a device, but a fashion statement too. It can be fun to swap bands to match an outfit, for instance. I own a casual nylon band for everyday use, and a more professional-looking leather variant for special occasions.
Today, popular case-manufacturer X-Doria releases a new band series for Apple Watch. Called "Action Band," it comes in three colors and can be had in both 38mm and 42mm sizes.
Live-streaming of video is continually gaining in popularity, but it isn't just for gaming. While platforms like the Amazon-owned Twitch were designed for video games, they have evolved to the streaming of almost anything. Popular YouTuber Barnacules has a daily Twitch show where he drinks coffee with fans, for instance. With that said, gaming is definitely still the bread and butter.
In an effort to compete with Twitch, Microsoft bought the Beam platform in August 2016. Today, the Windows-maker announces that it is giving the platform a rebrand -- it is now called "Mixer." It is not merely a name-change, however, as Microsoft is also adding some new features. Not to mention, Mixer will get a dedicated page on the Xbox One Dashboard.
Steaming music is all the rage nowadays, and there is certainly no shortage of services. Quite frankly, you really can't go wrong when selecting one, as many of them are great. With that said, for an optimal experience, Apple Music is probably best for iOS and macOS users, while Google Play Music and Spotify are great for Android and Linux desktop users.
If you spend a lot of time on Windows 10, the Groove Music Pass service is an excellent choice, as is the associated Groove app. While Microsoft's service may not be the most popular, it provides great selection and quality. There are even apps for iOS and Android. Now, for a limited time, the Windows-maker will pay you $25 for using its service!
On May 23, Microsoft did something very curious -- it announced a new product in Shanghai. No, there is nothing wrong with having a press event in China, but the time difference meant Americans would have to wake up very early to watch it, right?
No. Actually, even more odd, Microsoft chose not to live stream the event. While there was a Chinese-dubbed stream found on the web, English-speakers were left to read live-blogging instead. This is unfortunate, as Panos Panay is quite the masterful presenter -- his unveiling of products can be downright magical. Thankfully, today, the Windows-maker makes the new Surface Pro announcement video available on YouTube -- no Chinese dub.
The MacBook Pro only has USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 for connecting devices. For many, this is not a problem. After all, with wireless accessories, it is quite possible that a user might never need to connect anything by wire -- other than the charger, of course.
With that said, some users absolutely need to connect legacy devices, such as USB Type-A hard drives, mice, keyboards, and more. Heck, they may even need to connect to a monitor or Ethernet. Luckily, Thunderbolt 3 makes this a breeze, as single-cable docking solutions can bring all of the needed ports and more. Best of all, they can charge the computer too. Today, Elgato announces that its Thunderbolt 3 Dock will be available for purchase on June 6. While it looks amazing, it is certainly not an inexpensive affair.
On the day that Samsung announced the Galaxy S8, there was another device that made an appearance too -- the newest version of the Gear 360. This isn't the company's first 360 camera, but it is its most elegant. The camera is small, modern, and even uses USB-C.
Today, Samsung unveils what you really want to know, however -- how much it will cost, plus when (starting tomorrow) and where you can get it. Not only do we finally have all of those details, but there is even a special promotion for new Samsung Galaxy S8 buyers too.
There is a common misconception that companies can't make money from open source solutions, such as Linux. While a company like Canonical -- maker of Ubuntu -- is in a state of confusion, Red Hat continues to see success in the enterprise. The company is quite profitable with is popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system, serving as a great example for the open source community.
Today, Red Hat announces that RHEL 7.4 has achieved Beta status. The pre-release version of the distribution is available immediately, and administrators can begin testing now. The company promises many security additions including Network Bound Disk Encryption and OpenSSL HTTP/2.0 enhancements.
Google announced the Jamboard way back in October of last year. Then, in March, the search giant revealed that the Microsoft Surface Hub competitor would go on sale in May of 2017. Unfortunately, May came and there was no Jamboard -- until today.
Yes, Google's Jamboard -- which requires a G Suite plan -- goes on sale starting today (in the USA, at least). If you have been clamoring for the opportunity to purchase it for your business' meeting room, you can finally part with your $5,000. Google will also charge $600 a year for management and support, but if you buy before September 30, the company will give you 50-percent off your first year.
Last year, Huawei released its first-ever Windows 10 device -- the MateBook. The tablet/laptop hybrid was a bit underpowered, but had incredible build quality and a gorgeous screen. It also had solid speakers and a fast fingerprint reader. Overall, I picked it as my favorite Windows 10 device of 2016. Today, Huawei unveils its successor -- the MateBook E. It isn't a radical redesign, which is a good thing.
The company is not stopping there, however, as it also announces two new MateBook computers which are traditional laptops -- the "X" and "D". The former is a very svelte and elegant 13-inch Ultrabook, while the latter is a larger 15.6-inch laptop.
Today, LG announces a new phone called the "X venture." It borrows aspects from both of the aforementioned smartphones, but at an insanely low price. Exclusive to AT&T in the USA, the Android 7.0 Nougat phone has a massive 4,100mAh battery and features upgradeable storage via micro SD. Best of all, it is extremely rugged.
I was recently in Seattle for Microsoft's Build 2017 developer conference. It was a monumental trip for me, as I had never been to the west coast before. Being a New Yorker, the furthest west I'd ever been was Colorado. Getting there was an interesting experience in itself, as I had a layover in Minnesota -- yet another place I had never been.
On the final day of Build 2017, some journalists -- including yours truly -- were invited to a tour of the Microsoft campus. This was an invitation I couldn't pass up. As a self-proclaimed computer nerd, visiting such a historic place -- a nerdy pilgrimage, if you will -- was on my bucket list, so I jumped at the opportunity.
If you want to keep the government and other people out of your business when surfing the web, Tails is an excellent choice. The Linux-based operating system exists solely for privacy purposes. It is designed to run from read-only media such as a DVD, so that there are limited possibilities of leaving a trail. Of course, even though it isn't ideal, you can run it from a USB flash drive too, as optical drives have largely fallen out of favor with consumers.
Today, Tails achieves an important milestone. Version 3.0 reaches RC status -- meaning the first release candidate (RC1). In other words, it may soon be ready for a stable release -- if testing confirms as much. If you want to test it and provide feedback, you can download the ISO now.