Brian Fagioli

StarTech.com launches physical laptop locks for college dorms, businesses, and more

If you have a son or daughter heading to college this September, I bet you bought them a nice new laptop for their dorm room, right? Of course you did. I mean, a computer is an essential learning tool these days. While laptops aren't as expensive as they used to be, they are still an investment. The problem? Dorm rooms are often burglarized. If your child leaves their computer sitting on a desk, there is a good chance it could disappear. The same goes for businesses -- think about how easy it is for someone to grab a laptop and walk out the door -- scary stuff.

Thankfully, with some laptops and other devices, you can physically lock them up. If your device has a Kensington lock slot, it is very easy to secure it to a desk, wall, or other object. Today, StarTech.com launches a new line of these locks. There are three from which to choose -- a keyed cable lock, a combination lock, and a coiled combination lock. In addition, there are two heavy-duty anchors which can be secured to, say, a desk, so you can run the lock cable through it.

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Dell XPS 13 (7390) Developer Edition laptop comes with Ubuntu Linux, Wi-Fi 6, and 10th Gen Intel Core CPU

There are so many great Linux distributions these days, such as Netrunner, Deepin, and Zorin OS to name just a few. With that said, Ubuntu remains a great option for many. Since Canonical switched from Unity to GNOME, Ubuntu has been better than ever.

If you want a computer pre-loaded with Ubuntu, I highly recommend you check out System76's new Adder WS -- it looks to be a beast. If you want a laptop that it thinner and lighter, however, Dell's XPS 13 Developer Edition notebooks are definitely worth your attention. They have historically been very well-received by consumers, and no, they aren't just for developers. Today, Dell unveils the latest XPS 13 Developer Edition, and it is chock full of modern hardware.

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Garmin smartwatches get Amazon Music

I recently canceled Amazon Prime, as I found the subscription to be deficient -- especially at $129 per year. What was wrong with Prime? Many things, such as the video library being atrocious and the included Amazon Music service having a very small library (two million songs). Amazon makes you pony up even more money to have a larger music library (50 million songs). Not to mention, the Amazon Music interface is nothing to write home about -- overall, die hard music fans should look elsewhere, such as Apple Music or Spotify.

But OK, let's say you are a casual music listener that takes advantage of either Amazon Music or the pricier Amazon Music Unlimited. If that is you, I have good news -- your music service is now available on some Garmin smartwatches!

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Debian Buster-based Netrunner 19.08 'Indigo' KDE-focused Linux distro is the perfect Windows replacement

GNOME is undeniably the best desktop environment, but understandably, not everyone likes it. Hey, that's OK. Some folks like Pepsi despite Coke being, like, 1,000 times better. Such is life. Thankfully, with Linux, there are plenty of environments from which to choose, such as Xfce, Cinnamon, and KDE to name a few.

If you are a fan of KDE, or interested in sampling it for the first time, Netrunner is a Linux-based operating system you have to try. Quite frankly, this distro offers the greatest implementation of KDE Plasma. But that's not all -- it is one of the best Linux distros overall. It is chock full of useful software and is extremely polished, making it a great choice for those switching from Windows, but also, it is a solid choice for Linux experts. Today, Netrunner 19.08 "Indigo" becomes available for download.

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Philips launches affordable 242B9T 24-inch 1080p touch screen monitor

Having a touch screen can be great on a laptop -- especially on convertible models that transform into a tablet. On a desktop, however, not so much. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of applications where a touch screen monitor makes sense -- particularly in business and education. But home consumers won't necessarily see value in one.

Today, Philips launches a new 24-inch 1080p touch screen monitor that is surprisingly affordable. Called "242B9T," it has plenty of ports, including VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The touch aspect requires a USB connection, which doubles as connectivity for the integrated 2-port USB hub. It is built to be rugged, with IP54 water and dust resistance, plus there are built-in speakers too. Best of all, the stand is adjustable, making it quite versatile.

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Nest owners can finally migrate to a Google account

Smart home devices have proven to be a godsend for homeowners. Not only can things like smart thermostats, cameras, and lights make your life easier, but when paired with a voice assistant, they can help people with physical handicaps to act more independently.

One of the best makers of smart home devices is Nest. The Google-owned company (now known as "Google Nest") became popular thanks to its iconic round smart thermostat, but it has since branched out to cameras, smoke alarms, security systems, and more. Today, Google announces that Nest owners can finally migrate their Nest account to a Google one -- something the search giant previously promised.

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HyperX unveils Cloud Alpha S gaming headset

Gamescom launches today in Germany, so as you can expect, there will be a lot of gaming-related news over the next several days. There won't only be talk of games, but hardware, devices, and accessories too.

Case in point, today HyperX unveils its latest gaming accessory -- the Cloud Alpha S gaming headset. It is not an entirely new product -- it can be viewed as the existing Cloud Alpha on steroids. And no, the "S" doesn't stand for steroids... at least I don't think so. Actually, it seems the S stands for "Surround" as it offers virtual 7.1 surround sound.

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I canceled Amazon Prime and you should too

Sometimes a deal looks great on paper, but in reality, it isn't. For instance, I have a Costco membership. If you aren't familiar, it is a "club" style store when you pay an annual fee in exchange for good deals on bulk items. For the most part, a Costco membership is well worth it -- I recommend it -- but you have to be careful. Case in point, I have bought perishable items in bulk, but then had some of them expire before I've had the chance to use them fully. I mean, a giant tub of discounted Country Crock looks like a good value, but if you throw half of it away, then it really isn't.

This brings me to Amazon Prime. It is a subscription I've had for years, because I thought it was a great deal. For some people it is. You get access to lots of streaming music, TV shows, and movies. Not to mention, you get "free" 2-day shipping on many items (next day or same day in some cities). Hell, you even get discounts at Whole Foods! If you use all of those things, then hey, it might be worth it for you. Unfortunately, I found the $129 simply too high and canceled it this week.

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SK hynix launches 'Gold S31' SATA SSD


SK hynix is a huge name in the technology market, providing memory to many big companies, such as Apple. With that said, the average home consumer probably won't know the name. That is to be expected, as the company hasn't really tried to advertise its brand to consumers.

Today, this changes, as SK hynix launches a solid state drive for the consumer market in the USA. Called "Gold S31," it is a 2.5-inch SATA variant -- perfect for those wanting to upgrade an older mechanical hard drive. Best of all, it is very affordable. The company plans to release a PCIe model in the future.

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Logitech launches G815 LIGHTSYNC and G915 LIGHTSPEED low-profile mechanical gaming keyboards

While mechanical keyboards are undeniably great for gaming, they aren't necessarily the best for typing. Sure, some folks are fine to type on a traditional mechanical keyboard, but others -- like me -- prefer chiclet style keyboards, such as Apple's excellent wired and wireless variants. Why? Well, key travel and height are big issues -- I type fairly fast, and my fingers can keep up better with less effort. For some people, big clunky keys lead to typos, and even worse, joint pain.

Low-profile mechanical keyboards are a great way to merge both keyboard styles, giving you the benefits of mechanical switches but with shorter keys/switches. Today, Logitech unveils two such low-profile keyboards -- the wired G815 LIGHTSYNC and wireless G915 LIGHTSPEED. Both models feature LIGHTSYNC RGB lighting, actually -- yes, even the wireless G915. While it will cause battery life to take a hit on that model, Logitech promises 12 days of usage between charges with RGB lighting enabled -- more than acceptable. They are both super-thin and feature aluminum bodies.

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Americans would rather get food poisoning on vacation than not have internet access

I'm a big fan of raw clams and oysters on the half shell. For the most part, I have had a good experience eating them. True, eating raw mollusks is sort of like playing a game of Russian Roulette, but I have historically been very lucky. One time, however, I got violently sick -- the day before I was to take a plane from New York to Florida. Believe it or not, I still took the trip, but having intestinal distress when flying is absolutely horrid. Flight aside, I spent a good portion of my time in Florida in the fetal position, sweating and swearing off raw clams (I have since eaten them again).

Since I know how horrific food poisoning can be, I am quite perplexed by a new study commissioned by Roku. Apparently, Americans would rather get food poisoning while on vacation than not have internet access. Think about that for a second -- people would rather get violently ill while vacationing than not have access to Instagram and email. Really, America?

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MSI hits 5902MHz with HyperX Predator RAM to set DDR4 overclock world record

Do memory speeds matter? A little bit, yes, but the truth is, benefits seen from incremental increases are negligible at best. Enthusiasts may spend a lot of money buying fast RAM, and hey, there is nothing wrong that -- as long as they understand it is more bragging rights than anything. Gamers, for instance, would be better served by putting more money into their GPU or CPU when building their rig.

With all of that said, it is still fun to see how fast memory can be -- especially when overclocked. RAM made by HyperX -- the gaming division of Kingston -- has apparently set a new world record. MSI used HyperX Predator DDR4 memory to achieve an insane 5902MHz!

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Satechi launches 72W Type-C PD Car Charger and Apple MFi Certified USB-C to Lightning Cable

If you are a road warrior that spends a lot of time in the car, you know how essential a quality charger can be. Low cost car chargers from little-known manufacturers may work, but not necessarily well. For instance, I have had many cheap chargers die after less than a week of use -- sometimes within a day. Even more often, despite the listed specifications, it can't charge fast enough to maintain battery life during heavy use. In other words, even though my phone is charging, the battery percentage still goes down -- albeit slower than not charging at all.

Ultimately, I learned the hard way, when it comes to chargers, you should always aim for one made by a quality manufacturer. One such company is Satechi, and today, it launches an impressive 72W Type-C PD Car Charger. Don't worry, it also has a USB-A port. In fact, those 72 watts are shared between the two. In addition, the company unveils a new Apple MFi Certified USB-C to Lightning Cable for iPhone and iPad users.

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Linux Journal shuts down, because cheapskate Linux users don't spend money

Linux users are cheap as hell. Sorry, but it is largely the truth. I am not just talking about traditional Linux desktop users either, but Android users too. This is why iOS is so profitable despite its paltry market share compared to Android. iPhone users will actually buy apps, while Android users would rather look at ads than part with a measly dollar. Sadly, many people only choose Linux because it is free -- not because they prefer it.

And look, that's fine. There's nothing really wrong with being averse to spending money. Quite frankly, not wasting money is a noble trait. However, like it or not, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and that includes open source software. Eventually, when developers can't pay their bills, that free software you love will disappear.

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Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Note10+ are powerful, beautiful, and very expensive

Earlier today, Samsung had its big "Unpacked" event in New York, and BetaNews was there to take it all in. As was expected, the Galaxy Note10 was unveiled. Yours truly was in the third row, listening to well-placed Samsung employees loudly "ooh" and "ah" at every little thing shown off on stage. While their feigned enthusiasm was comically overdone, there actually was some exciting stuff revealed, including the removal of the old-school headphone jack -- finally!

This year, there are two new Android 9.0 phones -- Note10 and Note10+. This is the first time a Note smartphone has been offered in more than one screen size. The plus in the name indicates it is the better device, including having a bigger screen. It has a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display with 3040×1440 resolution, while the non-plus has a 6.3-inch screen with a 2280x1080 resolution. Both are HDR10+ certified.

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