Solid state drives make wonderful internal boot drives for computers, but they are also great options for external storage too. Not only are they often smaller than mechanical hard disk drives, but they also use less power and are much quicker. With that said, sometimes hard disk drives can be a good option for external storage -- depending on your needs and budget, of course.
Today, OWC launches its latest portable storage drive. Called "Mercury Elite Pro mini," this elegant storage solution has a USB-C port and ships with both a USB-C cable and USB-A adapter. In other words, it can be used with any modern computer -- whether it has a USB Type-C port or not. In fact, the company says the drive is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux-based operating systems, including Android and Chrome OS.
This Thursday is one of my favorite holidays -- Thanksgiving! While I will absolutely fill my (large) belly with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and other traditional foods, I will be sure to celebrate the true nature of the day as well -- being thankful. This year, I am thankful for my health, my family, and of course... Linux!
Yup, folks, we should all be thankful that many wonderful Linux distributions exist, making it possible for people to enjoy truly free and open source software. One of the prettiest Linux-based operating systems is deepin. Today, version 20.3 of the Debian-based operating system becomes available for download, meaning you can install it on your Grandma's computer after eating her yummy cooking. What better way to thank your Thanksgiving host than replacing Windows with Linux for them? Forget dual-booting. She will be so pleasantly surprised when she turns on the computer!
Windows 11 is such a wonderful operating system. Even the typical Microsoft detractors need to admit that it is great. Sorry, haters, but there just isn't anything to bash in this operating system. Windows 11 is fast, beautiful, and very secure. Best of all, Microsoft is constantly making the operating system better with updates.
For instance, today, Microsoft offers KB5007262 (OS Build 22000.348) Preview as an optional update to non-Insiders (it was previously offered to Insiders). While there are many changes (you can view the changelog here), Microsoft is highlighting the inclusion of Fluent-style emoji as the star of the show. The company explains that with this update, all Segoe UI emoji will move to the beautiful Fluent 2D style while also introducing Emoji 13.1.
USB hubs are rather ho-hum products. There are so many on the market, it is impossible for one to stand out in the crowd, right? Well, I would have agreed with that statement until I saw the all-new Tripp Lite U460-ST4-4A-C, that is.
What exactly is this new product? Basically, it is a USB hub that turns one USB-C port on your computer into four USB-A ports. This allows you to simultaneously connect things like a keyboard, mouse, flash drive, and more. In addition, this hub has a USB-C port for pass-through charging. That means if your laptop supports charging over USB-C, this hub can interface and deliver power while only using a single USB-C port.
A digital camera without a storage card is like a car without gas -- pretty much useless. You need a memory card to store the photos and videos you take, and most cameras don't come with any onboard storage these days.
There are no shortage of SD cards (Amazon is littered with them), but you should always make sure you are purchasing one made by a reputable company. Don't recognize the brand? Don't buy it. You don't want to lose your valuable data when that cheap card dies prematurely.
Is the newest Mac mini (2020) a good computer? No. Actually, it is a great computer! Thanks to Apple's incredibly efficient ARM-based M1 processor, the low-priced Mac mini is shockingly powerful while being almost entirely quiet. I say "almost" because it technically has a fan that can make noise, but I have personally never heard mine spin up once -- even when pushing it fairly hard. I highly recommend the diminutive desktop.
Is the Mac mini perfect? Well, no. For instance, it is heavily lacking in the ports department. Besides HDMI, 3.5mm audio, and Ethernet, it only has two USB-A and two Thunderbolt 4 ports for expandability. Plug in a wired mouse and keyboard, and you now have zero available USB ports. Ugh. Not to mention, you cannot add additional internal storage drives.
Satechi 3-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charging Stand simultaneously charges iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods
Look at you. One of Apple's most faithful customers. Not only do you have a fancy iPhone, but an Apple Watch and AirPods too. Tim Cook is proud of you. Steve Jobs is smiling down on you from heaven.
Now it's time to charge your trio of Apple devices. Are you going to use three different chargers like some sort of a jerk? Or, will you instead use the Satechi 3-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charging Stand? This elegant charging station can simultaneously charge compatible models of iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. It looks like a quality product, but unfortunately, there is a big catch.
If you want to be a world-famous YouTube creator, Twitch streamer, or podcaster, you must have a great personality. With so many people creating content, you should have a way to stand out from the crowd too. For most creators, it will never become more than a hobby -- earning a living from these platforms is highly unlikely.
With all of that said, you should also buy good hardware. For instance, if I discover an interesting streamer on Twitch, I won't bother subscribing if it is difficult to hear them speak -- a good microphone is absolutely essential. Thankfully, quality gear doesn't have to break the bank. For instance, today, Turtle Beach unveils the latest mic from its Neat Microphones subsidiary. Called "Bumblebee II," it is an affordable USB-C mic that comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable in the box.
If your iPhone needs repair, you should probably bring it to the Apple Store to get it fixed, right? Well, maybe. I recently brought my iPhone 8 Plus to that store for a battery replacement, and the Apple "genius" accidentally broke my phone entirely! Yeah, they did the right thing and replaced it with a working iPhone 8 Plus, but still, it was a massive hassle to restore everything.
Of course, if I was able to replace the battery myself, I probably would have done that instead. I am no expert though, and I would probably not be happy with the results. Plus, Apple has historically frowned upon consumers doing repairs on their own.
You need a laptop, but don't know which to buy. Should you buy a Mac? Meh, those are good computers, but rather pricey -- the new notched screens are very ugly too. Chromebooks can be a great choice -- as long as your needs are fairly meager. Ultimately, many consumers are still wise to go with good ol' Windows. You know what? Windows 11 is shockingly good, so you should have no qualms about getting a computer with Microsoft's latest operating system.
Today, Dynabook (formerly Toshiba) launches not one, but two "Satellite Pro" laptops running Microsoft's excellent Windows 11 Pro. Called "C40-J" and "C50-J," the former has a 14-inch FHD screen, while the latter has a 15.6-inch FHD display. Both are designed with affordability in mind, but despite reasonable pricing, these thin and light laptops do not look like budget machines.
Solid state drives continue to get faster, with PCIe 4.0 variants leading the pack nowadays. Of course, most PCs don't have PCIe 4.0 support, so these ultra-fast drives are reserved for enthusiasts and those with brand new computers. If you have such a cutting-edge PC, you will probably want to get a PCIe 4.0 SSD to maximize your performance. True, it is largely for bragging rights and benchmarks, but you might as well go for the best if the difference in price isn't totally obscene.
Today, KIOXIA unveils its latest solid state drive. Called "BG5," it uses PCIe 4.0 x4 to achieve up to 3,500 MB/s read and 2,900 MB/s write. Yeah, this DRAM-less SSD is actually a bit slow compared to other PCIe 4.0 drives, but it does have a very cool feature -- it is being offered in the M.2 2230 form factor. This means it will fit inside Microsoft's all-new Surface Pro 8.
Tripp Lite is a company that I am very familiar with -- for high-quality power strips and surge protectors. When someone asks me what brand of surge protector they should buy to protect their picey desktop computer or other electronics, I usually recommend Tripp Lite. Are its power products a bit expensive? When compared to some other brands, I suppose so. With that said, that company's gear is typically well worth the premium.
Apparently, Tripp Lite also akes other types of computer accessories these days, including an all-new Thunderbolt 4 hub. Called "MTB4-HUB3-01," it will turn one Thunderbolt 3/4 port into three Thunderbolt ports and one USB-A port. This hub can even charge your laptop with up to 60W of power. While not the first such hub on the market, its slim body does look quite elegant.
Windows 11 is a great operating system, and if your computer is compatible, you should upgrade from Windows 10 immediately. It is an absolute joy to use, and I find it to be the prettiest version of Windows yet.
If you want to make it even prettier, today, Microsoft shares a beautiful new Windows 11 wallpaper from artist Kervin Brisseaux. The company says the background image "merges the updated design of Windows 11 with the magical, vibrant nature of the holidays." Oddly, Microsoft fails to disclose which holidays those actually are.
A USB to HDMI dongle is pretty common nowadays and certainly nothing to get excited about. Amazon is littered with those adapters. Heck, even dongles that turn a single USB port into two video outputs can be found quite easily these days. But a USB adapter that offers four HDMI outputs? That's something worth noticing as it should be quite the useful tool.
And that, folks, is exactly what both the USB32HD4 and USBC2HD4 are -- USB adapters from StarTech.com that feature an impressive four HDMI ports. They are essentially the same, except the former uses USB-A, while the latter has USB-C. Both of these dongles can simultaneously output 1080p60 to a quartet of monitors. StarTech.com promises support for both Windows 10 and the all-new Windows 11; however, the company notes that neither dongle is compatible with macOS or Linux-based operating systems.
Do you hear that horrible sound? That's the combined screams and howls of countless Linux gaming nerds learning the devastating news -- the release of the Steam Deck video game console has been pushed to next year. In other words, anyone hoping to get the console under the Christmas tree this year will be left disappointed.
If you aren't familiar, the Steam Deck is a portable PC/gaming console hybrid that runs the Arch Linux-based "SteamOS" operating system which uses KDE Plasma. Similar to a Nintendo Switch Lite in design (but much bigger, heavier, and more powerful) it lets you play PC games in the palm of your hand. You can check out the specifications here.