Back in the day, when you bought, say, a digital camera, there were different storage card types used by various manufacturers. For example, Sony had its own memory stick, while Olympus used xD cards. For consumers, this was a nightmare, as it meant changing the brand of your camera or other device could mean your memory cards would no longer work.
Thankfully, as time marched on the computer industry largely rallied around the SD (Secure Digital) card and micro SD card, which have essentially become the standards we all know and love. Believe it or not, the first-ever SD card was sold 20 years ago! Can you guess how much data it held? A laughable (by today's standards, at least) 8MB. Nowadays, you can score a 1TB SD card (1,000,000MB) without breaking the bank. This 1TB Lexar model, for instance can be had for less than $300.
If you own a Thunderbolt 3 computer, and you have a need for external storage, I highly recommend you buy a TB3 solid state drive. The speed provided by a Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD is simply amazing -- it puts a USB hard disk drive or external SATA SSD to shame.
Aren't sure which model to buy? You should check out our review of the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 NVMe SSD here. The drive is fast, well-built, and very attractive. The problem? It is a bit expensive -- although worth every penny (if you can afford it). For instance, the 1TB variant costs $299, while the 2TB model is $499. If you don't need that much capacity, and would rather save some money, I have some good news. Starting today, Plugable is launching a 512GB version of its popular drive that costs less than the two aforementioned models.
Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems in the world. Why? Well, it is easy to use, preloaded with useful software, and has one of the best online communities.
Not everyone likes the default GNOME desktop environment, however, so some folks opt for different flavors of Ubuntu, such as Xububtu (which uses Xfce) or Kubuntu (which uses KDE Plasma). Speaking of the latter, today, you can buy an official Kubuntu laptop. Called "Focus". It is an absolutely powerhouse with top specs.
When you want to transmit video from across a room -- or from one room to another -- you have to run cables, right? Actually, no. Thanks to wireless steaming devices, you can watch a video without much effort at all. Unfortunately, many of them don’t go very far, limiting their usefulness in some situations.
Nyrius has a new streaming device that can transmit HDMI more than 150 feet! Actually, the "Aries Pro +," as it is called, can theoretically transmit video 165 feet -- depending on the environment, of course. Best of all, it promises no lag, so it can be used with video game consoles.
When you need a webcam, you can never go wrong with Logitech. Its cameras have long been considered some of the best models to get. Best of all, Logitech has many webcams at different price points, allowing anyone to get a model that fits into their budget. For instance, the Logitech C720 is one I often recommend for those low on cash, as it can be had for under $20 and it offers solid 720p performance. You can then opt for a 1080p model, such as the Logitech C920S, for a bit more cash, or go all-out and splurge on the top-of-the-line Logitech 4K BRIO.
Understandably, many people want that beautiful BRIO model, but can't afford the relatively high asking price. Thankfully, we here at BetaNews are giving one away. Actually, the prize is the Logitech Pro Personal Video Collaboration Kit, which includes the BRIO 4K webcam and the high-end Zone Wireless headset. This kit a $399 value, but one winner will score it for free!
You can't get much for a dollar these days. Sure, you can score a fast food item off of a bargain menu or a pregnancy test from Dollar Tree (yes, really), but nothing of real value. Or can you?
Actually, Microsoft is offering a really good deal on Xbox Game Pass for PC. In a blog post about three new games coming to the service, the company drops the bombshell that for just one friggin' dollar, you can get three months of access to the service. Yes, for a quarter of a year, you can play more than 100 legit PC games. Seriously. One dollar. Of course, there is a small catch -- it is only for brand new subscribers.
Windows 7 is officially dead now. Believe it or not, Microsoft has actually done a great job of alerting users of the now-unsupported operating system that it is time to upgrade. Whether or not users take the advice and move to Windows 10 is another story. The company is even displaying full-screen warnings that Windows 7 is unsupported -- a move I applaud. Is it annoying? Yes, but necessary. Staying on Windows 7 is foolish.
But now, Microsoft has effectively destroyed all of the positive work it had done with communicating the death of Windows 7. You see, today, the company releases the all-new Chromium-based Edge. This browser is available for Windows 10 and macOS as you'd expect, but shockingly, it is available for yet another operating system -- Windows 7. Wait, what?!
Just yesterday, we shared with you that Kensington had an all-new wireless trackball. New models of that device type are rather rare, so some trackball fans were obviously excited. What makes that new trackball particularly enticing, however, is its ergonomics -- its vertical design should be good for the health of your wrist.
If you prefer mice to trackballs, please know Logitech makes the excellent MX Vertical which can also be beneficial for wrist health. That company also manufactures its own M570 ergonomic trackball, but I digress. Today, Logitech announces yet another ergonomically sound device -- this time a keyboard. Called "ERGO K860," it is a wireless keyboard that allows the user to type with their hands in a more natural position. It also comes with a wrist wrest, making it appear to be a very comfortable and healthy product.
With Windows 7 dead and buried, it is time to begin looking forward. Microsoft would love for computer users to upgrade to Windows 10, and for many people, that is a very good idea. For others, though, a Linux-based operating system makes much more sense. An OS like Linux Mint or Linux Lite are great choices for switchers, as they feature desktop environments that will make the Windows convert feel comfortable.
Not all Windows users are scared of change, however. There is no reason why some of them can't jump into a Linux-based operating system that uses a radically different desktop environment, such as GNOME.
Back in the day, there were two types of people -- mouse users and trackball users. There were obviously far more of the former, but the latter were very passionate about trackballs. In fact, there are some consumers that buy and hoard them out of fear that their favorite model will one day be unobtainable.
If you aren't familiar, a trackball is a productivity-focused pointing device that allows the user to move the on-screen cursor by manipulating a ball with their thumb. This type of device can be a godsend for those with wrist issues, as you don't need to move your arm like with a mouse. It is definitely not a good choice for gamers, however.
The Surface Go may not be the most powerful computer Microsoft makes, but it is definitely the least expensive. Despite its meager specifications, it can absolutely serve as a great tablet/laptop for home use, education, and business -- depending on needs, of course.
But can the Surface Go also be a desktop? Thanks to Kensington's all-new SD6000 Docking Station, the answer is an astounding yes! You see, not only is it a proper docking station, but it also props the computer up like a monitor. You can then connect up to two monitors, a mouse, a keyboard, external storage, hardwired internet, and more! In other words, the Surface Go really can be a proper desktop. In addition, Kensington is releasing new locks for Surface Go and Surface Pro that will keep it safe from thieves. They are quite cool, as they securely grip the Surface kickstand.
Solid state drives are extremely popular with consumers these days, and it isn't hard to see why. Not only are they much faster than traditional mechanical hard disk drives, but they have dropped in price dramatically over the last several years.
Consumers aren't the only ones loving solid state drives nowadays. Even the enterprise is getting aboard the SSD train. After all, data centers can benefit greatly from the faster performance provided by an SSD. The major downside to a solid state drive, however, is capacity -- they typically hold much less data than hard disk drives. Today, Kingston unveils a new M.2 NVMe PCIe 2280 SSD that is primarily designed to be a boot drive for servers. Called "DC1000B," it can be used in conjunction with larger capacity storage drives.
Windows 7 is dead. Well, technically it will meet its demise tomorrow. On January 14th, the wildly popular operating system reaches "End of Life" status. This means Microsoft will stop supporting it. The company obviously hopes all remaining Windows 7 users will upgrade to Windows 10, but not everyone plans to do that. While Windows 10 is actually a very good operating system, many folks are put off by the overwhelming number of updates and aggressive telemetry. Understandably, some people feel that Microsoft's data collection is tantamount to spying.
Ultimately, using Windows 7 after tomorrow is foolish. Look, you should never use an unsupported operating system -- it is simply bad practice. If you refuse to upgrade to Windows 10, your best bet is to opt for a Linux-based operating system. There are many of those from which to choose, such as Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora to name a few. There is one such Linux distribution, however, that is designed to run on older hardware and is focused on providing a welcoming experience to Windows 7 switchers. Called "Linux Lite," it has a user interface that will feel familiar to Windows 7 users. Today, Linux Lite 4.8 is released.
Windows 7 is a great operating system -- there is a reason so many computer users have clung to it. Well, we can also thank the terrible Windows 8 for scaring people from upgrading, I suppose. Windows 8.1 was better, and Windows 10 is actually pretty good, but neither are loved like Windows 7 is.
Sadly, Microsoft is killing Windows 7 for most users -- it reaches end of life status in just two days, on January 14th. After that date, Windows 7 will be unsupported (except for businesses that choose to pay for extended support) -- you'd have to be a fool to continue using that operating system. You should upgrade to Windows 10 ASAP or switch to a Linux-based OS.
It is remarkable that as time marches on, laptops are actually losing ports. You'd think computers would get more useful over time, but actually, it is the opposite. Instead, notebook manufacturers are largely embracing USB-C, meaning customers have to buy dongles to regain the ports they need. This can be both a blessing and curse. As a positive, it looks better aesthetically and lessens the chance you will have outdated ports on your machine. On the negative side of this, not only do dongles and adapters cost money, but they are easily lost too. Sigh.
But hey -- at least we have companies such as Plugable producing affordable, high-quality dongles so our needs can be met. If you need to connect your laptop to multiple monitors, that company has a new adapter that should interest you. The USB-C DisplayPort 1.4 MST to Dual HDMI 2.0 Adapter can push two 4K monitors at 60Hz. This is important, as many similar adapters top out at 30Hz, leading to a very poor visual experience. Best of all, it is very inexpensive at under $40.