Brian Fagioli

New Zealand chooses Google Chromebooks over Microsoft Windows 10 for education

While many people use Windows 10 every day, I sometimes wonder how many actually enjoy doing so. Look, Microsoft's operating system is very popular, but that could be largely out of habit. The interface is very inconsistent, and with aggressive telemetry, it can feel like you are being spied on too. Computers running Microsoft's OS are prone to malware, and even worse, users could find their important files deleted! Hell, even the Surface hardware feels uninspired these days. Once people start looking at alternatives, such as the excellent Linux-based Chromebooks, they may wonder why they need Windows 10 at all.

For education in particular, many schools find Chromebooks safer and easier to manage. Not to mention, they can be quite cost effective too. So it should come as no surprise that a major country has chosen Chromebooks over Windows 10 devices for education. What is the country of which I speak? New Zealand. You see, all public schools there now have access to Chrome Education licenses.

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System76 releases Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS 18.10 Linux distribution

System76 is making huge moves lately. The company used to just sell re-branded computers running Ubuntu, and while there was nothing wrong with that, it has much more lofty goals. You see, it released its own Ubuntu-based operating system called "Pop!_OS," and now, it is preparing to release its own self-designed and built open source computers. In other words, much like Apple, System76 is maintaining both the software and hardware aspects of the customer experience.

While its new hardware is not yet available, the latest version of its operating system is. Following the release of Ubuntu 18.10, Pop!_OS 18.10 is now available for download. While it is based on Ubuntu, it is not merely Canonical's operating system with System76 branding and artwork. Actually, there are some significant customizations that make Pop!_OS its own.

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GPD Pocket devices get special Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Linux image

Just yesterday, Ubuntu 18.10 was released. "Cosmic Cuttlefish," as the operating system is called, is available in several flavors featuring various desktop environments other than the stock GNOME -- Xfce (Xbuntu), KDE (Kubuntu), and more.

One such variant, Ubuntu MATE 18.10, is popular thanks to its low system requirements -- it works very well on meager hardware. To highlight just how adaptable the operating system is, a special image has been released for both the GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2. If you aren’t familiar with these mini-laptops, please know they are essentially what used to be called a "Palmtop."

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Snaps for Linux are a massive success

One of the big knocks against Linux-based operating systems is lack of software. The truth is, there are countless excellent programs for both productivity and fun. One fair criticism, however, is fragmentation between distributions. For end users, it can be difficult installing an app that isn't designed for their distro. And yeah, that has been a pain point for years.

Thankfully, Canonical -- maker of Ubuntu -- aimed to alleviate that problem with Snaps. These containerized packages can be installed on pretty much any Linux distribution, making things easier for both users and developers. But has the organization's standard been a success? Apparently, very much so. As a way to celebrate yesterday's release of Cosmic Cuttlefish, Canonical shares the following infographic.

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StarTech launches a trio of USB-C hubs -- Surface Laptop 2 owners need not bother

I am old enough to remember the days before USB, and let me tell you -- when it came out, everything changed. It became so much easier to add hardware to a PC -- no need to open the case. USB largely made the term "plug and play" a reality. The problem? The damn thing wasn't reversible! As we all know, you had a 50/50 shot of plugging the Type-A connector in correctly, yet for some reason, it felt like you were almost always wrong the first time. Maddening!

USB-C solved that dilemma, as the connector is reversible. Long gone is the frustration of having to turn the connector around. Adoption of USB-C has been frustratingly slow, with companies like Microsoft still refusing to add it to the Surface Laptop 2. Sigh. With that said, there are many nice USB-C products on the market, and today, StarTech launches a trio. All three products are USB-C hubs, but they are quite different from each other.

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Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is finally available for download!

There has never been a better time to be a Linux enthusiast. There are so many great distributions from which to choose, including elementary OS 5 Juno, Linux Mint 19, and Bodhi 5.0.0. What do those aforementioned operating systems have in common? They are based on Ubuntu. To take things a step further, Canonical's operating system is based on Debian, but I digress.

But yeah, Ubuntu is wildly popular -- with both end users and other Linux distro maintainers. When a new version of the operating system is released, the world goes wild. Well, it's time to get excited, yall! Today -- after a short Beta period -- Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is finally available for download!

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Lexar unveils JumpDrive Fingerprint F35 for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Recently, we reported the Sentry K300 keypad flash drive from DataLocker Inc. What made that flash drive newsworthy? Well, besides its 256-bit AES hardware encryption, it has an industry first -- an OLED screen.

While entering a passcode into keypad on a flash drive is cool, Lexar has a new drive that makes it look like old hat. The JumpDrive Fingerprint F35, as it is called, uses biometrics for decryption. Much like the fingerprint reader found on a smartphone, you can use your finger to unlock the flash drive. How cool is that?

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AOC launches affordable V2 Series 1080p monitors with AMD FreeSync and 75Hz refresh

If you can afford it, 4K monitors are great. If you are on a budget, however, 1080p is still totally passable. They work perfectly with all operating sytems -- Windows, macOS, and Linux-based -- without any scaling issues. In other words, it is generally a headache-free experience.

Today, AOC launches a new affordable "V2 Series" line of 1080p monitors, and they look incredible. How affordable are they? Pricing starts at a mere $99.99! There are three sizes from which to choose -- 22-inch, 24-inch, and 27-inch. The bezels are insanely slim -- great for those that want to use two side-by-side. Despite being inexpensive, these monitors are not no-frills. Believe it or not, they have AMD FreeSync technology and a respectable 75Hz refresh.

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elementary OS 5 'Juno' Linux distribution is ready to replace Windows 10

Using a computer should be fun and inspiring. Windows used to be enjoyable for many consumers, but Microsoft's latest operating system just isn't. Not only is Windows 10 very buggy -- deleting user files is as bad as it gets, folks -- but the spyware nature with the excessive telemetry can make the user feel like a visitor on their own computer. Hey, you spent good money on your PC -- you should feel at home on it, right?

Enter Linux. God bless the open source kernel. Thanks to Linux-based operating systems and excellent free open source software, it is possible to return to the better days of computing. One operating system in particular has put a ton of focus on the user experience -- elementary OS. This is an oversimplification, but the interface feels like a blend between GNOME and macOS. It looks good, is intuitive, and is an absolute pleasure to use. October may be the month of Halloween, but it feels more like Christmas, because the latest version of the operating system -- Juno -- is ready to be unwrapped like a gift.

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CORSAIR launches blazing fast Force Series MP510 M.2 PCIe NMVe SSD

We are currently in the golden age of storage -- NVMe solid state drives are insanely fast and getting increasingly more affordable. Whether you are a gamer or performance enthusiast, you are probably in tech heaven.

Today, Corsair launches its latest storage drive, and yes, it is an NVMe PCIe SSD. The "Force Series MP510," as it is called, offers blazing fast performance -- 3,480MB/sec read and 3,000MB/sec write.

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DataLocker Inc Sentry K300 keypad flash drive has an OLED screen and 256-bit AES hardware encryption

These days, it can be quite scary storing important data in the cloud. We were sold a bill of goods that the cloud was safe and secure, but with so many data breaches, it’s only a matter of time before your data is exposed. Sad but true.

If you want to store important files locally, a drive with hardware encryption is ideal. Keypad variants are quite convenient, as they can easily work on all operating systems, such as macOS, Windows, and Linux distros. Today, DataLocker Inc. announces a beautiful such drive with a unique feature -- an OLED screen.

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dead at 65

Paul Allen is dead. Sadly, the Microsoft co-founder succumbed to cancer today -- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to be exact. His death is a bit of a surprise, as earlier in the month, he shared on Twitter that his prognosis was good. Unfortunately, as we learned from the death of Steve Jobs, money can't guarantee life -- an important thing to reflect on when feeling down about being broke. Good health is priceless.

While less famous than Bill Gates, Allen (the bearded one above) was still a tremendous force in the world of technology. The icon earned billions of dollars thanks to his time at Microsoft, something he used to become a big name in the world of sports -- surprising for a tech guy. He purchased both an NBA team (Portland Trail Blazers) and an NFL franchise (Seattle Seahawks). While I am sure he loved both teams, the latter was probably closer to his heart. You see, Allen was a significant presence in Seattle, WA -- the place he was born and died. He was probably beyond proud when he brought a Super Bowl championship to the city he loved so much.

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HyperX ships more than 60 million RAM sticks

HyperX -- Kingston's gaming brand -- is most well known for high quality RAM. With that said, it has expanded over the years to include gaming peripherals, such as mice, keyboards, headsets, and more. Still, despite a more diverse product offering, memory remains the crown jewel of its business.

To highlight just how important RAM is to HyperX, today, the company makes a shocking announcement. You see, the company has achieved an impressive milestone -- more than 60 million memory modules shipped since 2002!

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UBports Foundation releases Linux-based Ubuntu Touch OTA-5

Ubuntu Touch never lit the world on fire as many Linux fans had hoped, but to be honest, most mainstream consumers didn’t even know it existed. So when Canonical canceled it, not many people cared. Luckily, since the project was open source, it was easy for another organization — in this case, UBports — to grab the torch and run with it.

Back in August, UBports surprised many with the Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 release, which breathed new life into tablets and smartphones that ran the Linux distro. Now, OTA-5 is here to take it up yet another notch. The new version gets a new web browser called Morph which is based on QtWebEngine. Best of all, OTA-5 gets improved adaptive scaling for a better experience regardless of screen size. From a superficial standpoint, there are new wallpapers based on community submitted artwork.

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Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 (LTE) coming soon -- a great Microsoft Surface alternative

Windows 10 has been a dumpster fire lately, but thankfully, Microsoft's OS stranglehold on the consumer PC business is dramatically diminishing. These days, many consumers would be better served by purchasing a MacBook or Chromebook rather than a laptop running the less-secure Windows. True, Apple's computers are expensive, but luckily, laptops running Chrome OS can be quite affordable. Chromebooks are shockingly capable too -- especially since Android app support was added.

Just as Samsung manufactures excellent smartphones running Google's Android operating system, it also makes quality laptops running the search giant's Linux-based Chrome OS. The Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is one of the nicer Chromebooks, and today, the company unveils a new variant. The hardware stays the same, except for one addition -- LTE compatibility. In other words, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 (LTE), as it is called, is fully functional without Wi-Fi -- just add a mobile data plan!

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