Brian Fagioli

Plugable refreshes its popular UD-ULTC4K USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station

According to Plugable, its UD-ULTC4K USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station has been wildly popular. While the company has not shared sales numbers, it has apparently sold many of these docks since it launched back in 2017. This doesn't surprise me, as Plugable products are consistently great.

Since it has been five years since the UD-ULTC4K launched, Plugable though it was time to refresh it, so it has done exactly that -- while confusingly keeping the exact same product name. The biggest change is the inclusion of six video outputs -- three HDMI and three DisplayPort -- of which three can be used simultaneously. You also get 100W Power Delivery, meaning this dock can quickly charge up any laptop with USB-C PD. My favorite addition, however, is the SD card reader.

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Micro Center embraces woke capitalism by banning single-use plastic bags

If you are a computer builder, there is a good chance you have heard of Micro Center -- one of the last major brick-and-mortar computer retailers. You can walk into the store and walk out with things like motherboards, solid state drives, graphics cards, and more. It's a really cool place to shop.

Unfortunately, starting July 1, you can no longer walk out with your purchased items in a single-use plastic bag -- at some Micro Center locations at least. Yes, the company has decided to embrace what some refer to as "woke capitalism" by forcing consumers to either bring their own reusable bag or walk out with their bought goods loose in their arms.

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HP Dev One Pop!_OS Linux laptop [Review]

When I first learned that System76 and HP were partnering on a laptop running Pop!_OS, I was absolutely shocked. After all, System76 is a computer manufacturer, so HP is sort of one of its competitors. Not to mention, Pop!_OS isn't exactly a well-known operating system outside the Linux community -- it doesn't carry the same name recognition as Ubuntu, for instance.

Regardless of why this collaboration happened, the HP Dev One laptop is officially here, available to anyone in the United States that has $1,099. We have been testing the new developer-focused notebook and we have definitive opinions to share, including whether or not you should buy it. So, without further ado...

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Manjaro Linux 21.3 'Ruah' is here with GNOME, Xfce, and KDE Plasma

Manjaro is one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems these days, and it's not hard to see why. The distribution is based on the rock-solid Arch, but unlike that distro, Manjaro is very easy to install and use thanks to the excellent Calamares installer. In other words, it has all the benefits of Arch, but without the hassles and headaches. This makes it a great choice for both Linux experts and beginners alike.

And now, during LGBT Pride Month, Manjaro 21.3 "Ruah" becomes available for download with Linux kernel 5.15 and Calamares 3.2. There are a trio of desktop environment options -- Xfce (4.16), GNOME (42), and KDE Plasma (5.24). While all three DEs are great, the Xfce Edition is the primary focus with this particular operating system.

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PATRIOT launches VIPER VPR400 RGB M.2 PCIe Gen 4x4 SSD for gamers

M.2 PCIe Gen 4x4 solid state drives are nothing new -- there are plenty of them on the market. However, a Gen 4x4 SSD with RGB lighting is apparently non-existent -- until now, that is.

Today, Patriot launches the all-new VPR400 M.2 PCIe Gen 4x4 SSD under its popular VIPER sub-brand which is designed for gamers. The company claims it is the world's first M.2 PCIe Gen 4x4 SSD with RGB lighting. While there are a bunch of M.2 PCIe Gen 3x4 drives with RGB, as far as I can tell, this might really be the first 4x4 variant with that feature.

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TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim (EP25) offers energy monitoring

TP-Link has become one of my favorite manufacturers of networking hardware. When someone asks for my advice on choosing a router, I often steer them towards TP-Link. Why? Because the company's products are both dependable and affordable. For instance, you can score a quality Wi-Fi 6 router for around $70.

I am also a fan of TP-Link's Kasa line of smart home products -- light bulbs, cameras, and more. The company's power outlet adapters are particularly useful, and today, the newest such model becomes available. Called "Smart Wi-Fi Plug Slim (EP25)," the UL-certified outlet adapter can do more than just turn lamps and other appliances on/off. You see, EP25 also offers energy monitoring -- how cool is that? Apple fans should appreciate the HomeKit support too.

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Monoprice 5-in-1 USB-C to 4K HDMI Display Adapter and USB Hub is very affordable

Not all products need to be exciting. Sometimes, a device can just serve to accomplish a task without wowing anybody. Take the all new Monoprice 5-in-1 USB-C to 4K HDMI Display Adapter and USB Hub, for instance. There are countless products like it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out. Why? Because while it is not exciting, it is very affordable.

As the name implies, Monoprice's new offering pulls double-duty as a USB hub and display adapter. It will turn one USB-C port on your computer into three USB-A ports and one HDMI port. The video output supports resolutions up to [email protected] (depending on your computer's USB-C port). And yes, it has a USB-C port for pass-through power delivery -- it can handle up to 100W.

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Surfshark VPN Antivirus receives VB100 certification from Virus Bulletin

Surfshark is one of the best VPNs on the market for several reasons -- not just its affordable pricing and reliability. The service is cross-platform and available on all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and Android. In fact, there is even a Linux version of Surfshark (with a GUI) for Debian-based distributions and derivatives, such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Pop!_OS.

Recently, Surfshark added an antivirus service at no added cost, making it even more of an incredible value. However, people were understandably hesitant to depend on a brand-new antivirus service to protect their computers and devices. Well, folks, it seems any concerns were unwarranted. You see, today, Surfshark announces it has received the coveted VB100 certification from Virus Bulletin.

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Apple takes a steaming dump on non-M1 iPad Pro owners with iPadOS 16

Earlier today at WWDC 2022, Apple officially unveiled iPadOS 16, which is due out later this year. It has a lot of cool new features, including Stage Manager Multitasking and full external display support. It will undoubtedly be the best version of the operating system yet.

The thing is, those aforementioned two new features are not coming to all iPad models. In fact, they are limited to the newest M1-powered tablets, such as the 2021 iPad Pro (5th gen) and the iPad Air 5. This means if you dropped $1,000 or more on a previous generation iPad Pro without the M1 chip, you are already losing out on new Pro features. In other words, Apple is taking a huge steaming dump on these iPad Pro owners.

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Apple MacBook Air (2022) gets M2 processor upgrade and refreshed design

The MacBook Air is one of Apple's most-loved laptops, and today, it gets a refresh. It is thinner, lighter, and thankfully, features a return of the Magsafe charging connector. The fanless laptop also gets an improved 1080p webcam and a beautiful 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display (with an ugly notch).

The big upgrade, however, is the processor. You see, MacBook Air (2022) gets the second generation of Apple Silicon -- the unimaginatively named "M2." And yes, according to Apple, the M2 is a huge improvement over M1.

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Satechi USB-C Slim Dock for 24-inch iMac is an elegant storage and port expansion solution for Apple's all-in-one desktop

Apple's iMac is a wonderful all-in-one macOS desktop that offers a combination of power and elegance. The computer takes up very little real estate on a desk, making it a good choice for those living in a residence that doesn't offer a lot of space. It allows you to have a proper desktop computer with a large display without needing a giant tower.

Today, Satechi launches a new product that makes the 2021 24-inch iMac even better. Called "USB-C Slim Dock," it fits over the iMac's stand and provides USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and two memory card reader slots. While port expansion alone makes this a neat product, it also has an internal M.2 SSD slot that is compatible with both NVMe and SATA drives. To create more desk space when needed, Apple's wireless keyboard can be stored on top of the USB-C Slim Dock when not in use.

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HP Dev One laptop running System76's Ubuntu Linux-based Pop!_OS now available

Last month, the open source community was abuzz with excitement following a shocking announcement from System76 that HP was planning to release a laptop running the Pop!_OS operating system. This was significant for several reasons, but most importantly, it was a huge win for Linux users as yet another hardware option was becoming available. Best of all, HP employees have been trained by System76 to offer high-quality customer support. If you aren't aware, System76 support is legendary.

At the time of the announcement, details about the hardware were a bit scarce, but I am happy to report we now have full system specifications for the 14-inch HP Dev One laptop. Most interestingly, there is only one configuration to be had. The developer-focused computer is powered by an octa-core AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U APU which features integrated Radeon graphics. The notebook comes with 16GB RAM and 1TB of NVMe storage, both of which can be user-upgraded later if you choose.

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Plugable UD-3900C4 USB-C docking station can push four displays

USB-C docking stations are pretty common these days. In fact, websites like Amazon are littered with countless makes and models. Of course, not all of them are good, nor are they all the same. Features can vary from dock to dock, such as the number of USB ports or video outputs.

Speaking of video output, most USB-C docks have either one or two such ports. Today, however, Plugable launches a docking station with four HDMI ports, and yes, they can all be used simultaneously for a quad-monitor configuration. But despite having so many video outputs, it doesn't skimp on other useful ports, including an SD card reader!

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Logitech shows off newest Design Collection of wireless mice

Every year, often in June, Logitech launches its latest Design Collection of wireless mice. These are small portable mice that are intended for laptops, but they can be used with any computer that has a USB-A port. Yes, these use a USB dongle rather than Bluetooth. They also don't have any thumb buttons and they do not have rechargeable batteries.

If you think these mice sound pretty basic, you'd be correct. So what makes them exciting? Ah, good question. This mouse collection is notable for featuring funky designs. Basically, Logitech's Design Collection is intended to be fun and whimsical with unique patterns and wacky colors. This year, the Design Collection seems largely focused on plants and flowers (you can see them above).

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Say goodbye to Microsoft Windows 11 and wave hello to Ubuntu-based Linux Lite 6.0

Is Windows 11 a good desktop operating system. Absolutely. Is it the best desktop operating system? Well, that is harder to answer. Ultimately, if you are 100 percent dependent on Windows software, then yes, Windows 11 is the best operating system... for you. If you can get by without using software designed for Microsoft's OS, however, a Linux-based operating system might be the better option -- especially if you have an older computer.

You see, Windows 11 is very polarizing. The operating system features radical changes to the user interface (such as a centered task bar) which some users do like, but many others do not. Not to mention, the system requirements will leave many still-capable computers unable to upgrade without using unofficial hacks. Even worse, computers deemed incompatible could eventually stop getting updates! Linux doesn't have these problems.

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