Black Friday is one week away -- I hope you have some disposable income handy. If you need to buy Christmas gifts for friends and family, or you just want to treat yourself, shopping on Black Friday is a great way to save money. The discounts found on the day after Thanksgiving are often quite substantial.
Of course, over time, Black Friday has gone from being a single day to be being, well... whatever a store wants it to be. Hell, some retailers have such sales live right now. Sony is following suit with its PlayStation Store, as tomorrow, an enormous list of PS4 games and DLC will get massive discounts -- a Black Friday sale a week early!
For many consumers, Windows 10 is total overkill. If most (or all) of your tasks are web-based, a Chromebook is probably a much better option. After all, the Linux-based Chrome OS is fast and stable, while also being extremely secure. Why bother with all the malware and lag of Windows if you don’t have to?
Today, a company called Sector 5 launches a new Chromebook model. Called "E3," it has an attractive design, decent specs, plenty of ports, and an affordable asking price. Best of all, it supports both Android apps and traditional Linux desktop programs too.
As more and more people wake up to the fact that Windows 10 is a giant turd lately, computer users are exploring alternatives, such as Linux-based operating systems. First impressions can be everything, so when searching for a distribution, it is important that beginners aren't scared off by bewildering installers or ugly and confusing interfaces.
Linux "n00bs" often opt for Ubuntu, and while that is a good choice, there are far more pretty and intuitive options these days. One such operating system that I recommend often is deepin. Why? It is drop-dead gorgeous and easy to use. It is guaranteed to delight the user, and its intuitive interface will certainly impress. Today, the newest version of the excellent Linux distro, deepin 15.8, becomes available for download.
About two years ago, Kingston launched the IronKey D300 USB Flash Drive. This drive was extremely impressive, as it featured FIPS 140-2 Level 3 256-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption.
Today, Kingston takes the drive to another level. The D300S, as it is called, is essentially the same exact drive, but now, it has a serial number and barcode on the body. This will make it easier for a company to manage the drives, saving both money and time. It is also getting a new software keyboard for safer decryption, hopefully protecting from hidden keyloggers.
Look, I am sorry to speak so bluntly, but Windows 10 is a smelly turd. At one point I felt like it had a lot of potential, but over the years, I have seen its quality take a massive nosedive. Microsoft has committed brand suicide many times over its long lifetime, but this time, it feels different. Regardless of what Satya Nadella thinks about services and the cloud, Windows is still the company's crown jewel -- for the operating system to have fallen so far is a tragedy.
Why is Windows 10 garbage? Well, it still has a schizophrenic user interface with silly tiles and two settings menus (merge with Control Panel already!). Not to mention, it is a privacy nightmare with its abusive telemetry. Even if you can deal with those aforementioned shortcomings, it has since gotten much worse with the October 2018 Update -- it began deleting user files and losing the ability to associate file types with certain apps. Its much-maligned activation scheme has been failing too. Yes, in 2018, what should be a mature operating system can't even do the basics. Sigh.
Thanksgiving is Thursday next week, and yeah, it is a nice holiday. If you are a computer nerd or technology enthusiast, however, the following day -- known as Black Friday -- is far superior to "Turkey Day." On Friday, there will be many great discounts on tech products, including computers, components, accessories, and more.
Newegg has long been a favorite store of in-the-know system builders, and as usual, the website will once again have Black Friday deals this year. Well, calling it Black Friday is a bit of a misnomer, as this year, the special sales begin on Monday the 19th. Yes, Newegg is getting a huge jump. Best of all, the company's discounts have already hit the web, allowing you to come up with a game plan in advance.
Next year, you are gong to hear a lot about 5G. No, seriously, you will be bombarded by both news and marketing surrounding the upcoming wireless internet standard. Quite frankly, I expect to be physically nauseated by all the 5G talk. With that said, 5G is worthy of all the hype. It will make current LTE internet seem downright slow. Make no mistake, 5G is not just a mobile data thing, either -- many homes will get internet with 5G, removing the stranglehold current cable-dependent ISPs have on the market.
Of course, before we can enjoy 5G, we need hardware, such as towers and modems. Rumors suggest Apple will use Intel modems for the iPhone in 2020, and today, we get some strong evidence of this. You see, Intel is promising to release its upcoming XMM 8160 5G modem earlier than expected -- in the second half of 2019. Consumer devices that contain the modem won't be available until 2020, however.
Thanksgiving is coming, which makes me rather happy. I love catching up with family while chowing down on turkey, stuffing, and the like. After the big meal, I like to go through the paper advertisements for stores such as Target, Best Buy, and Kohl's to find the best deals. Then, that night at midnight, I leave the house to score some things I want for Black Friday! In the digital age, this sort of outdated -- I can just as easily shop online, but I cherish the experience. It's fun.
Microsoft has been making quite a mess of things with buggy Windows 10 updates and failing to put USB-C on its latest Surface Laptop 2 computer, but understandably, some of y'all still want/need a Windows PC. If you need a new computer, Xbox, or other tech-related product, Microsoft has finally revealed Black Friday 2018 sales. These are not just deals from Microsoft's own store, but on Windows 10 PCs found at other retailers too.
When you buy a thin and light laptop, you pretty much have to wave goodbye to hardcore gaming. Sure, gaming notebooks can be more svelte these days, but they still aren't as portable as say, a MacBook Pro or Windows 10 Ultrabook.
Thanks to Thunderbolt 3, however, you can easily add an eGPU to a thin and light laptop. What is an eGPU? It is essentially a desktop graphics card inside an enclosure. Some companies sell all-in-one units, with the GPU pre-installed, but if you already have a desktop graphics card, you can also just buy the enclosure for a "bring your own card" experience.
As Microsoft continues to sully the reputation of Windows 10 with buggy releases and other failures, Linux continues to be a great alternative. Slowly but steadily, consumers are starting to realize Windows isn't necessary anymore. Hell, if Microsoft no longer cares about quality, and is satisfied to release deficient operating system updates, why does it deserve our money and attention?
Linux is great because operating systems based on it can adapt to various hardware configurations -- from meager low-powered computers to hardcore gaming PCs. Android phones are Linux-based, so it should not be surprising that Samsung is keen on transforming some of its Galaxy phones and tablets into makeshift Ubuntu desktops with the use of hardware docks and its DeX software. Called "Linux on Dex," it was announced last year (as "Linux on Galaxy"), but you can now finally sign up to beta test it.
The newest iPad Pro tablets are amazing, albeit overkill for many consumers. Not only are they beautifully designed, but powerful as hell. Believe it or not, they can outperform many Mac computers. In other words, iPad is getting closer to becoming a legit laptop alternative.
Unfortunately, the 2018 iPad Pro still does not have mouse support, meaning navigating iOS while in "laptop mode" with the keyboard attachment can be tedious. While it finally has a USB-C port, there is still no USB Type-A port (and there never will be). Also missing is the 3.5mm audio jack. Luckily, as is typical with Apple products these days, adapters and dongles are here to save the day. Today, Satechi announces the Aluminum Type-C Mobile Pro Hub Adapter which makes the 2018 iPad Pro much more capable.
If you absolutely need a new router today, there are plenty of great options on the market. If your current device is good enough and functioning, however, I would advise to hold off on an upgrade. Why? There is a big change coming to wireless internet -- 802.11ax, also knows as "Wi-Fi 6." Not only will these new routers potentially offer more speed and bandwidth, but some will eventually offer WPA3 too -- the latest and greatest security standard.
Today, NETGEAR announces two upcoming Wi-Fi 6 routers -- the Nighthawk AX8 and AX12. Not only is each model chock full of great specs, but they have quite the wild design too. They almost look like they have shark fins protruding from both the right and left side. Are they overkill for most homes? Absolutely. Still, if you like new and shiny things, and you are willing to spend top dollar to be an early adopter, you will want to take a look.
Many companies are producing mechanical keyboards nowadays, but not all of them are great. Companies like HyperX and Logitech make quality such products, but there is another company that is very well respected by in-the-know consumers -- Das Keyboard. Its products are legendary because of their high quality and reliability.
Today, Das Keyboard launches a new mechanical keyboard that looks downright drool-worthy. The 4Q, as it is called, features Cherry MX switches (brown), RGB lighting, and a handy two-port USB hub. Best of all, it leverages open source applets for a truly unique experience.
Today is a very important day in the United States -- Election Day! Yes, across this great nation, citizens will be casting votes for all sorts of things, such as senators, governors, and various initiatives. Make no mistake, however, just like in 2016, the 2018 elections are all about Donald Trump. We will see whether the country approves or disapproves of the president's performance based on tonight's results. In other words, if the fabled "blue wave" comes to fruition -- meaning Democrats win a lot of seats -- it could prove disastrous for Trump's legacy and possible re-election hopes.
In my area of Long Island, the polls opened at 6am, and I was the second person to vote -- only one gentleman was there before me. In other words, I was passionate and eager to make my voice heard, so I got there very early. There are expectations that I am not alone in my excitement -- many are predicting a huge turnout this year. Later tonight, it will be fun to tune into TV to watch the results announced live, but if you will be away from home do not panic -- there will be plenty of live coverage on YouTube.
Fedora is the best desktop Linux distribution for many reasons. Not only is it fast and reliable, but it is constantly kept up to date with fairly bleeding edge packages. Not to mention, it uses the greatest desktop environment, GNOME, by default. Most importantly, it respects and follows open source ideology. It is a pure Linux and FOSS experience that is an absolute joy to use. It's no wonder Linus Torvalds -- the father of Linux -- chooses it.
With all of that said, Fedora didn't get great overnight. It took years of evolution to become the exceptional operating system it is now. In fact, today, we celebrate the Linux distribution's 15th birthday! Yes, it was way back in 2003 when Fedora Core 1 was released to the world, forever changing the course of history for the better.