Brian Fagioli

AMD unveils second generation Ryzen PRO and Athlon PRO mobile processors

AMD has shown that slow and steady can truly win the race. It lagged Intel for a while, but these days, AMD seems to be the true innovator and pusher of boundaries. Its Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors aren't just powerful, but affordable too. AMD chips are often a great value.

Today, AMD unveils its latest enterprise-focused mobile processors -- second generation Ryzen PRO and Athlon PRO. These 12mm chips have Vega graphics and are ready to power new business-class laptops from companies such as Lenovo and HP.

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Logitech Zone Wireless headset is designed for the modern open office

I've had the pleasure of working in several call centers in my lifetime. To be honest, I rather like customer service -- it is a great job to truly make a difference in someone's life. Look, sometimes when you call a company for help, the person on the other end of the line can be quite... unhelpful. And so, I enjoy "wowing" the customer with top-notch service.

There are many different types of call centers and work environments. Cubicles used to be all the rage, but nowadays, the "open office" concept is most fashionable. If you aren't familiar, it is all about taking down walls and opening up communication and collaboration. The problem? For those that work on a phone, this can lead to a noisier environment, causing the representative to struggle to hear.

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SuperTuxKart 0.10 RC1 is here -- download the free open source Mario Kart clone now!

Nintendo is the king of the "Kart Racing" genre. While there are many imitators -- some of which are very good -- Mario Kart remains the best. And no, it is not just about mascots, although it does help having Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong and such. Actually, the real magic is the gameplay -- solid controls and well-designed levels. The Mario Kart franchise is consistently excellent.

The problem? Mario Kart costs money and, emulators aside, only works on Nintendo consoles. If you want to get your kart racing on, but you don't want to open your wallet, you are in luck! SuperTuxKart is an excellent clone of Nintendo's game, featuring popular open source mascots. Best of all, the open source game is not only cross-platform, but totally free! The upcoming SuperTuxKart 0.10 will even introduce network multiplayer play, and now that version has reached Release Candidate status. And yes, you can download and play SuperTuxKart 0.10 RC1 now!

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Promise Technology Pegasus32 Series offers both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2

Cloud storage is great. Seriously, folks, storing important files online is a great way to protect them from disasters, such as theft, fire, or flooding to name a few. When people tell me they have their own "cloud" at home with an internet-connected NAS, I simply sigh. Yeah, that's cool, but you are still lacking offsite redundancy. Ideally, you should be using both an online cloud service, such as Dropbox, while also storing your files locally on an encrypted drive.

Of course, the cloud isn't a realistic option for all industries. Media creators, for instance, often need fast local storage with large capacities. Especially with 4K and 8K video editing, you are looking at enormous file sizes. Today, Promise Technology unveils an excellent storage solution for the media editors. Its new Pegasus32 Series offers connectivity for both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 (aka USB 3.1 Gen 2). In other words, it is compatible with both standards (each uses USB-C). Believe it or not, its DisplayPort can push an 8K display at 60Hz!

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Microsoft and Ubuntu-maker Canonical launch Visual Studio Code snap for Linux

One of the most frustrating things for Windows users that switch to Linux is learning to install software. With Microsoft's operating system, you search the web for the software you want, download it, and install it. With Linux-based operating systems, however, programs are typically installed through a centralized app center or through the terminal. The Linux approach is arguably safer, as Windows users can easily be tricked into downloading malware. Windows 10 tries to emulate the centralized software center with the Microsoft Store, but users have largely rejected it.

Thanks to Canonical's wildly popular snaps (and other containerized packages, such as Flatpak), Linux users can more easily install software -- it should be more familiar to former Windows users. Snaps will work on most distributions too, meaning there is less work involved for software developers -- there is no need to create distro-dependent versions. Today, Microsoft furthers its commitment to Linux by releasing a snap version of  Visual Studio Code. No, the source-code editor is not the Windows-maker's first snap -- it also released one for Skype, for instance.

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Lexar Professional SL100 Pro Portable SSD is 'world's fastest'

USB-C friggin' rules, y'all. Everybody loves the new connector type, as unlike the classic USB-A, Type-C is reversible. Quite frankly, the ports and connectors even look better too -- symmetry for the win! Even if your computer doesn't have a USB-C port, you can always interface with a Type-C device using a dongle or USB-C to USB-A cable. In other words, you can buy a USB-C device today and use it without worry as long as your computer has a USB port.

Remember, folks, USB-C does not indicate speed -- it is merely a connector type. With that said, USB-C (and USB-A) devices that use the USB 3.1 gen 2 interface are very fast. Today, Lexar announces a very speedy external solid state drive that the company claims is the world's fastest portable USB SSD with a Type-C port. Obviously, this claim does not include Thunderbolt 3 drives. Called "SL100," it offers up to 950 MB/s read, and 900 MB/s write. Regardless of whether it is or isn't the world's fastest, one thing is for sure -- those speeds are very impressive.

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Logitech announces SLIM FOLIO PRO for third generation Apple iPad Pro

Ever since the release of the first-ever iPad in 2010, people have been trying to convert Apple's tablet into a laptop with add-on keyboards. You know what? It actually isn't too bad. True, lack of mouse/trackpad support in iOS can turn this makeshift laptop configuration into a frustrating experience, but in some situations, it is totally passable. If you are a writer, for instance, an iPad with a keyboard can remove distractions and focus your attention. If you do hardcore multitasking, however, a traditional laptop with Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, or Ubuntu is probably a wiser choice.

If you are OK with the limitations of iOS, and you still think an iPad or iPad Pro would be your ideal portable computer, than you should definitely check out Logitech keyboard cases. The company's iPad keyboard offerings have been consistently excellent and should last a long time. Now, Logitech is back again with a new keyboard case. Called "SLIM FOLIO PRO," it is designed for use with the third generation iPad Pro. And yes, both the 11- and 12.9-inch variants are supported -- there is a model for each.

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Fedora 30 Beta is here -- try the next version of the best Linux distro now

Fedora is the best overall Linux distribution. It's really not up for debate -- even the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds uses it. The focus of the operating system is truly free and open source software, making it one of the most pure experiences. And while there are many flavors to choose with various desktop environments, the default is GNOME -- the overall best DE. While Fedora maybe isn't the best distro for beginners, it should be the eventual choice for those that "level up" to being an experienced Linux user later.

Today, after a bit of a delay, Fedora 30 is finally available for download. Details are a bit sparse regarding new features, but we will add them as we know more. What we do know, however, is the Workstation variant (which is what most users care about) uses GNOME 3.32 -- the latest and greatest version of that desktop environment.

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Linux Mint 19.2 'Tina' is on the way, but the developers seem defeated and depressed

I have been a bit critical of Linux Mint in the past, but the truth is, it is a great distribution that many people enjoy. While Mint is not my favorite desktop distro (that would be Fedora), I recognize its quality. Is it perfect? No, there is no such thing as a flawless Linux-based operating system.

Today should be happy times for the Linux Mint community, as we finally learn some new details about the upcoming version 19.2! It will be based on Ubuntu 18.04 and once again feature three desktop environments -- Xfce, Mate, and Cinnamon. We even found out the code name for Linux Mint 19.2 -- "Tina." And yet, it is hard to celebrate. Why? Because the developers seem to be depressed and defeated. They even appear to be a bit disenchanted with Free Software development overall.

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TP-Link launches affordable Deco M4 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

TP-Link has become one of my favorite manufacturers of networking gear. The company's products are fast, reliable, and affordable. I would not hesitate to recommend any of its hardware.

Today, the company launches its latest Mesh Wi-Fi System, and it is priced shockingly low. Called "Deco M4," it features three access points to blanket your home in wireless internet and can be easily configured with either an Android or iPhone app. And yes, it has optional Amazon Alexa support -- for those of you that love using voice assistants.

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Linux Lite 4.4 is ready to replace Microsoft Windows on your aging PC

One of the best things about operating systems based on the Linux kernel is they can sometimes be very lightweight. Why is this important? Well, when an OS uses very few resources, it can breathe new life into an aging PC. In other words, just because Windows 7 or Windows 10 run like molasses on your old computer, that doesn't mean you have to buy a new one. The right Linux distribution can make your older PC feel fast and new.

One of the most popular lightweight Linux-based operating systems is Linux Lite. Heck, the name of the distribution tells you that it is designed to use few resources! Version 4.4 is now available, and as per usual, it is based on the latest Ubuntu LTS -- 18.04. The Xfce desktop environment will feel familiar to those switching from Windows. Those new to Linux will also appreciate the easy access to many popular programs, such as Skype, Steam, and Spotify. Even the excellent Microsoft Office alternative, LibreOffice, is included.

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Sega Genesis Mini is coming soon, and you can pre-order the game console now

During both the 8-bit and 16-bit video game console eras, Nintendo was king. The NES was much better than the Sega Master System, while the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was far superior to the Genesis. In both eras, Nintendo had better controllers and a greater game library. Sure, Genesis had some good games too, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast, but SNES had Nintendo's classic mascots that many people desired, such as Mario, Kirby, and Link to name a few.

Now, following in Nintendo's footsteps (see SNES Classic and NES Classic), Sega is releasing a mini version of a classic console -- Genesis. Yes, if you were a Sega fan back in the 16-bit era, you will be able to buy a tiny version of that gaming system and relive those years. Hopefully Genesis Mini will turn out better than the much-maligned Sony PlayStation Classic, which offered terrible emulation.

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Microsoft giving away two very ugly 'Shazam!' Xbox One X game consoles

For the most part, I am not a fan of Super Hero movies or TV shows. Fighting crime with magical powers seems silly to me. As a child I loved comic books, but as an adult, I have no time for such nonsense. With that said, there are two exceptions -- Deadpool and the Christopher Nolan Batman films are enjoyable to me. This is probably because they are more adult-focused.

There is a new DC Comics movie coming out called Shazam!, and holy cow, it looks horrid (you can see the trailer below). Based on the TV commercials, it seems to be very childish and goofy -- I will skip this one. Maybe it will be good; who knows. Microsoft seems keen on Shazam!, however, as today it announces a new limited-edition Xbox One X console inspired by the film. How rare is it? There are only two, and both are being given away in a new raffle. So, yes, you have a chance to win one. The problem? It is very ugly. The colors are terrible, and the controller customization looks like it was an afterthought.

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Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo Beta now available with Linux kernel 5.0 and GNOME 3.32

Ubuntu is a great operating system. In fact, it has been so good for so long that many people take it for granted. Seriously, folks, think about how remarkable it is that such a high-quality Linux distribution is available for free. Despite it not costing anything, Ubuntu is arguably superior to the much-maligned Windows 10. Microsoft's operating system actually costs money now, and many users didn't even upgrade when it was offered for free.

Today, Canonical's operating system reaches a major milestone. You see, Ubuntu 19.04, which is named "Disco Dingo," has achieved Beta status. And yes, you can download it immediately -- a great way to get this weekend started! Fans of GNOME will be glad to know that version 3.32 is included in the standard Ubuntu Desktop release. Also cool? This is the first version of Ubuntu to use Linux kernel 5.

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The revolutionary LG G8 ThinQ Android smartphone is coming to America

Android fans should be in heaven right now -- there are several excellent smartphones on the market from companies like LG, Samsung, Huawei, and more. Let us not forget about Google's own Pixel phones too. Quite frankly, picking an Android device can be a bit overwhelming, but I suppose too much choice is a good problem to have!

Today, LG announces that its highly anticipated smartphone, the LG G8 ThinQ, is coming to America. Yes, if you are in the USA, you will be able to get it next month. Should you be excited? Uh, yes, because this phone has some revolutionary technology.

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