Today is a big day for America -- Donald Trump will speak to the country with his annual State of the Union Address. Believe it or not, February 5 was not the original scheduled date for the event. Actually, it was orinally supposed to happen on January 31, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi forced Trump to reschedule it because of the government shutdown. In other words, she handed him a stunning defeat, which in turn, helped reopen the stalled US government. This was likely very embarrassing for The President, as he has long bragged about his negotiation skills -- Pelosi made him look very weak in that regard. It is unclear if his reputation can ever be recovered.
Controversy aside, and regardless of whether you like Trump or not, you should absolutely tune in this evening. After all, it is always wise to be knowledgeable about what's going on in the world. If you do decide to watch, you shouldn't have any trouble doing so -- it will be on all the major networks, plus all the cable news channels. You will be able to watch with cable, satellite, or antenna. But what if you won't have access to those things? Maybe you will be away from home. Don't panic. Once again, the internet is here to save the day. Thanks to YouTube, you can watch President Donald Trump's State of the Union Address 2019 live online for free.
Nowadays, it isn't uncommon for a company to have several locations that need to communicate regularly. Not to mention, more and more folks are working from home. Ultimately, remote meetings are absolutely essential. And yet, it still isn't the great experience it should be. Believe it or not, in 2019, having a remote meeting in a conference room is still a clunky and awkward affair.
Today, Logitech unveils a new device that it hopes will make remote meetings in conference rooms a much more pleasant and easy experience. Called "Tap," it looks like a wedge-shaped tablet, but actually, it is not a standalone device. Tap connects to either a Windows 10 or Chrome OS computer and essentially manages USB-connected accessories, such as a webcam. It can even be mounted to a wall if you'd like -- it can sit on a table too, of course. Best of all, it is compatible with many platforms, such as offerings by Google, Microsoft, and Zoom.
Don't want to watch Super Bowl LIII today? Install the Kodi 18 Leia-focused LibreELEC 9.0 Linux distro instead!
Well, folks, it is finally here. After a rather lengthy beta period, LibreELEC 9.0 is available for download. Wait, are you not familiar with this specialized Linux-based operating system? Please know it is a lightweight OS that only exists to run Kodi -- the very popular open source media center. It provides an easy to use environment for consuming media, such as movies and music. This new version of LibreELEC is based on the recently released Kodi 18 Leia and can run on a lot of different hardware, including the very popular Raspberry Pi devices. Yes, with LibreELEC, you can turn a Pi (or many similar devices) into a powerful media box!
If you are dreading watching Super Bowl LIII later today, why not install and play around with LibreELEC 9.0 instead? Look, not everyone enjoys spectating sports -- don't let society make you feel bad about preferring to tinker with Linux than watch football. This new version of LibreELEC even has game emulation support, making it far more interesting than merely watching video and listening to music.
Privacy-focused Linux distro Tails 3.12 now available for download with many critical security bug fixes
We are living in a very confusing world these days. Computers and the internet were supposed to be our saviors -- a portal to all the knowledge of the world. While that is still largely true, computers have also eroded our privacy through a slow campaign of conditioning humans to accept more and more encroachment by companies into their lives. Facebook and Google, for instance, have recently stirred up much controversy by spying on users with nefarious apps -- more than usual. Both of those billion dollar companies dangled money in front of its users, enticing these people to hand over full access to their lives. Worst of all, teen children were targeted too.
With all of that said, I can totally understand people being suspicious and cautious of technology. Hell, even Windows 10 is spying on users with its hardcore telemetry. Thankfully, there are ways to access the internet while minimizing attacks on your privacy. One great option is Tails -- a Linux-based operating system that can be run from a flash drive or DVD. It is an invaluable tool to safeguard yourself -- especially for those in countries where there isn't free speech.
If you don't have an account with a streaming music service these days, you simply aren't living your life right. Look, I don't care which service you choose -- Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, or something else -- it is foolish to buy and download songs. If you are still buying CDs, you are probably beyond hope, but I digress. Streaming music is simply the best value in entertainment. For a small monthly fee, you get access to more music than you can possibly listen to in a single lifetime.
YouTube Music is yet another streaming music service, although it is not as popular as, say, Spotify. Google seems intent on growing this eventual Play Music successor, and today, the company announces a huge new feature -- Sonos support. Yes, if you have both a paid YouTube Music account and a Sonos speaker, you can finally use them with each other.
Exercising sucks. I mean, it is great for physical fitness, but let's be honest -- it can be a real chore. If it wasn't, there'd be far fewer overweight people in the world. Sure, laziness is part of it, but also, people are working more and more hours each week nowadays, making it hard to find the energy needed to get in shape. Of course, a great way to forget about the tediousness of exercise is a helpful distraction -- music. Yes, whether walking, running, or using a piece of equipment, listening to you favorite tunes can make working out much more enjoyable.
With the invent of Bluetooth earbuds, it is easier and safer than ever to enjoy music and podcasts while exercising. Safer? Yes, wired earbuds and headphones can get tangled on equipment leading to injury -- wireless is superior in that regard. Today, Jaybird -- a company well known for offering fitness-focused headphones -- announces its latest product. The premium RUN XT True Wireless Sport Headphones are designed to be both comfortable and durable. Oh, and they are quite attractive too.
When people come to me for advice on buying a computer that comes with a Linux-based operating system pre-installed, my first suggestion is always System76. While other companies, such as Dell, also make great laptops running Ubuntu, for instance, System76 stands above the rest by also offering its own operating system -- Pop!_OS (which is based on Ubuntu). In other words, System76 has better control over the overall customer experience. Not to mention, its contributions to both the Linux and open source communities are invaluable.
Today, the company unveils its latest laptop, and it looks like a winner. The 15.6-inch "Darter Pro," as it is called, is thin, but not overly so -- it still has USB-A ports (thankfully). The computer is quite modern, however, as it also has a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port.
Mobile gaming is all the rage these days, with gamers playing titles like Fortnite and Minecraft on their smartphones. Want to know a secret, though? Touchscreen gaming largely sucks. Pardon my crass language, but it is true. Using a virtual thumb-stick and on-screen buttons simply isn't fun. The truth is, to really enjoy a game on mobile -- other than casual time-wasters actually designed for touch -- a controller is an absolute must (when compatible).
If you are both a PC and Android gamer, and you want a great controller for both platforms, SteelSeries has a new product that could be perfect for you. Called "Stratus Duo," it can connect to a PC wirelessly using a USB dongle, or to Android with Bluetooth. Then, by flipping a switch, you can go back and forth between each. In other words, there is no need to re-pair each time you switch, as is typical with a Bluetooth-only controller. And yes, if you prefer, you can connect it to a PC using a cable (micro USB and not USB-C, sadly).
Fans of music have many ways to listen to their favorite songs these days. Thanks to services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora, long gone is the need to depend on physical media. With that said, many audiophiles still prefer vinyl and CD to streaming or playing files. Of course, lossless digital media files -- such as FLAC -- are also a great way to enjoy tunes without compromise.
Regardless of how you choose to play your music, it is always wise to invest in quality speakers and headphones. Speakers in particular are very important to get right, as not only is quality important, but volume too. Someone in a tiny studio apartment will have different needs than someone with a big house that throws parties. Today, Fluance launches a pair of powered 6.5-inch bookshelf speakers that should meet the needs of many. Called "Ai60," they are extremely versatile -- there are a few different hardwired options for connecting to, say, computers and stereo receivers, but also, Bluetooth for convenience.
Microsoft cripples Windows Media Player on Windows 7 -- a seemingly dirty tactic to increase Windows 10 upgrades
Windows 7 is still a great operating system -- one that millions of people use every day. Understandably, Microsoft cannot support the OS forever, so it will stop doing so in less than a year. While I would urge many Windows 7 users to switch to a Linux-based operating system, Microsoft would rather these folks upgrade to Windows 10 instead. The problem? Many Windows 7 users purposely avoided the newest version of Windows due to overall bugginess and a perception of spying due to aggressive telemetry. Embarrassingly, Windows 10 -- initially released in 2015 as a free upgrade -- only recently overtook Windows 7 in marketshare. Yikes!
The right thing to do at this point, is to allow Windows 7 to function as it has until support runs out, right? I mean, why add stress to the lives of existing Windows 7 users? Sadly, Microsoft has a different idea. You see, the company has decided to purposely cripple both Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center on Windows 7, and Windows Media Center on 8.x. Microsoft will stop supplying metadata for media through these much-used programs. As you can guess, Windows Media Player on Windows 10 will continue to offer this capability. Hmm, I wonder why that is...
Super Bowl LIII is less than two weeks away at this point. The championship NFL game will occur on Sunday, February 3. Once again, Tom Brady and the Patriots will be there, this time playing the Rams. What will football fans do for the next nine days? For many, they will turn to a video game, getting their pigskin fix from Madden NFL 19. While not the same as watching a real game, it is a great way to kill time while waiting for football to return.
To celebrate the upcoming Super Bowl and the aforementioned video game, Microsoft is running a very cool giveaway. As you can imagine, a limited edition Xbox One is part of the prize, this time with "G.O.A.T." written on it in the classic Xbox font. Is Microsoft a fan of the horned animal? No, that actually means "Greatest of All Time." In addition to the console, the winner will get a copy of Madden NFL 19, a signed jersey, and some other swag. There is one more part of the prize pack, however, that is quite surprising -- a diamond ring!
So, you want to be the next online star, eh? Maybe your goal is to become a YouTube vlogger or a Twitch streamer. If that’s your dream, I wish you success.
Of course, talent alone won’t lead to fame and fortune. You will need hardware too, such as a webcam -- obviously. After all, people are more likely to watch content with a good picture. With that said, audio is also important -- you should invest in a quality microphone. Today, AVerMedia launches a new such product -- called "Live Steamer MIC 133" -- that is not only for desktop use, but mobile too.
If you are a Linux desktop user, it is time to get very excited. Why? Because Dell has finally refreshed its XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop -- a very well-respected machine. Don't let the "Developer" in the name scare you -- it not only a great computer for devs, but home users, business users, and students too. This "Developer Edition" moniker simply indicates it is pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux.
This newest version of the notebook, dubbed "9380," continues with Dell's focus on beauty and thinness, but it now has improved specs. Webcam users in particular will be delighted to know that the newest XPS 13 now has the camera on the top of the display rather than the bottom! Yes, there will be no more showing off the inside of your nostrils while video-conferencing.
AOC launches pair of curved AGON 3 Series gaming displays -- one with G-SYNC, the other with FreeSync
Nowadays, when you say "AOC," many people will probably think of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- the groundbreaking congresswoman from the great state of New York. With that said, others -- like me -- know AOC as the monitor-maker known for quality products at affordable prices. I swear by its displays -- if you are on a budget, you should definitely give its offerings a look.
AOC doesn't just focus on budget-friendly monitors these days. Actually, with its AGON gaming brand, it is targeting gamers and enthusiasts too. Today, AOC unveils a pair of new monitors as part of its AGON 3 Series. Both displays are 27-inch and feature 2560 x 1440 resolution, but there are some significant differences. Appearances aside, the AG273QCX (seen above) uses AMD's FreeSync and offers a 144Hz refresh rate, while the AG273QCG (seen below) features NVIDIA G-SYNC and has 165Hz.
It used to be, people would scoff at the idea of switching to a Linux-based operating system due to a lack of software. While that is still true for some folks -- especially business users -- it is less of a concern these days. Why? Well, so many things are done through the web browser nowadays, lessening dependence on Windows software. For many consumers, just having the Google Chrome browser on, say, Ubuntu, is more than enough to accomplish their wants and needs. Not to mention, there are many quality Linux apps like GIMP and DaVinci Resolve.
But OK, lets say you really want to use a Linux-based operating system, but there's some Windows-only software that you absolutely cannot live without. Thankfully, you may still be able to ditch Windows and upgrade to something like Fedora or Linux Mint. How? Thanks to the excellent Wine. This compatibility layer (don't you dare call it an emulator), can sometimes enable you to run Windows software on Linux. Today, version 4.0 is released.