Brian Fagioli

Apple expeditiously patches embarrassing macOS High Sierra security bug, thereby regaining my trust

I am not a rich man. With that said, when I bought my first-ever Mac computer last year -- a 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar -- parting with that much cash was a very big deal for me. I spent more on this laptop than my first car! Why did I buy it? After being impressed by iOS and liking the way the two operating systems worked together, I decided to use Mac OS X (now macOS) in addition to my favorite Linux distributions. To be honest, I feel more safe on Apple's desktop operating system than on Windows 10. I also like how Tim Cook and company stand up for privacy. In other words, I trusted Apple.

And then yesterday happened. It was revealed that macOS High Sierra had one of the worst security bugs ever. By entering "root" as the username, followed by a blank password, anybody could access any Mac running macOS 10.13.1. As soon as I read about this embarrassing vulnerability, my heart sank. I gave Apple thousands of my hard earned dollars because I valued security and privacy, and I was rewarded with incompetence. Well, I am happy to say that my head is much cooler today, and Apple has regained my trust. Why? Because the company has already patched the bug.

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Throw that new 4K TV into the garbage -- 10K is here thanks to HDMI 2.1

This holiday season, many consumers are buying 4K televisions -- and rightly so. Look, UHD offers significant improvements over 1080p, while prices for these displays are at all-time lows. If you need a television, it would be foolish not to get a 4K variant at this time.

What if I told you that 4K was old news? It’s true. While UHD is hardly obsolete -- it will be around for a very long time -- the future is starting to emerge.  You see, today, the HDMI Forum releases the next standard -- HDMI 2.1. This will not only allow 10K video content, but 8K @ 60Hz and 4K @ 120Hz. This won’t just benefit movie playback either -- gamers will be big winners once hardware catches up.

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Linux Mint 18.3 'Sylvia' is here -- replace Windows 10 with the Ubuntu-based operating system now!

Linux Mint is a great operating system. For those that want an alternative to Windows 10, it is a wonderful choice for two specific reasons. For one, it has a superior user interface. Whether you opt for the Cinnamon desktop environment or instead choose Mate, you will have a more intuitive experience than the insanity that is Windows 10. Secondly and more importantly, however, you don't have to worry about a billion dollar company tracking all of your activity. While telemetry sometimes has its benefits, Microsoft seems to have forgotten that their operating system is a guest on your computer. Again, it is your computer -- not the Windows-maker's.

Today, after a short beta period, the latest version of Linux Mint becomes available for download. Version 18.3, which is named "Sylvia," should undoubtedly be the best version ever. It is an evolutionary release that builds on its solid Ubuntu 16.04 LTS foundation. In other words, Sylvia should be extremely stable and reliable. Best of all, it is supported until 2021 -- this is very impressive. You can confidently install this on your or a family member's computer without worry about dropped support. The release uses Linux kernel 4.10 and comes with native Flatpak support.

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Get a great deal on a Linux-powered System76 computer for Cyber Monday

Today is Cyber Monday, y’all! It’s basically Black Friday, but instead of shopping at brick and mortar retailers, you shop online instead. Oh yeah, it’s a Monday rather than a Friday too. For some people, today is the ultimate shopping day as you can score some amazing deals without leaving your house -- no savage fistfights at Walmart or Target.

Before you head over to Amazon or Newegg to score some new technology devices, can I make a suggestion? Consider a Linux-powered desktop or laptop from System76. These are computers that come with an Ubuntu-based operating system pre-installed. Today only, for Cyber Monday, the company is giving some rare discounts on most of its computers.

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G.SKILL announces CL17 Trident Z RGB 32GB DDR4-4266MHz memory kit

When consumers buy RAM for their computers, they often look at the rated speed. That is a smart thing to do, although it is only part of the picture. Actually, CAS latency timings are just as important, if not sometimes more so. You see, it is sometimes possible to get better performance out of slower RAM with a lower CAS rating. In other words, throwing money at MHz and ignoring CAS is a big mistake. Here is a great video to learn more about RAM timings.

Today, G.SKILL announces a 32GB CL17 Trident Z RGB DDR4-4266MHz memory kit, which the company claims is the only RAM at that speed with a CAS latency of 17. In addition, there are CL17 Trident Z RGB kits at 4000MHz and 4133MHz too. To prove stability, G.SKILL has successfully tested the kits using an impressive machine -- an Intel Core i7-8700K CPU and ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO motherboard running Windows 10. The memory easily ran at both claimed speeds and latency without errors using Intel XMP 2.0.

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Microsoft Black Friday 2017 sale -- score amazing deals on Surface, Xbox, and Windows 10 devices!

If there is someone in your life that loves technology, and you want to get them a really great Christmas gift, look no further than the Microsoft Store. Seriously folks, if you want to delight someone special, just get them an Xbox One or Surface. If Microsoft's Surface-branded computers are too expensive, there are plenty of other Windows 10 devices from which to choose too.

Understandably, buying such extravagant gifts might be a hardship financially, so if you have been waiting for the best time to make that purchase, please know that now is when you should finally pull the trigger. You see, Microsoft's Black Friday 2017 has gone live a day early! Yes, you can score a great deal on Surface, Xbox, and Windows 10 devices right now. Here's the details, y'all.

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Google finally fighting faux family-friendly YouTube videos

YouTube is an amazing place to consume media. There is great family-friendly content from people like iJustine and Rosanna Pansino, for instance. Unfortunately, there is another side of Google's video site, where people such as Pewdiepie and Leafy post racist and sexist content. For parents, it can be quite difficult to know which videos are appropriate for children. Sometimes adult content can even show up in the YouTube Kids app.

To make matters worse, some content creators have been disguising adult-themed videos as being family-friendly -- a wolf in sheep's clothing, if you will. For instance, what may appear to be a video about Spider-Man and Elsa from Disney's Frozen, can quickly morph into a video about feces and hypodermic needles. I kid you not -- there are some truly bizarre videos designed to exploit children on YouTube nowadays. It is being referred to by some as "Elsagate," and this excellent video does a great job of explaining the growing phenomenon. Sadly, these weird videos generate a lot of revenue too, leading to copycats. Thankfully, Google has apparently had enough, as it now vows to crack down on adult content that masquerades as being family friendly.

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Uber pulls yet another boner by failing to disclose hack

The concept of taking a cab is hardly new. Any person in a major city can hold out their arm and hail a ride. In smaller communities, you simply call a cab company and schedule a car. You can pay cash for the trip and even be anonymous -- the driver doesn't have to know who you are. No private information to get stolen. Easy peasy.

But OK, many consumers got "app fever" over the last decade, and as a result Uber was born. If you aren't familiar, it is a ride-sharing service where you summon a car using your smartphone. Instead of professional drivers, however, you are transported by amateurs. Even worse, you can only pay digitally -- no privacy. The company has a horrible overall track record too -- negative workplace culture, sexual harassment, and a lack of respect for user privacy. Today, you can add another scandal to the list, as Uber pulls yet another boner. You see, last year -- in 2016 -- the company experienced a data breach and failed to disclose it -- until today, that is. Sigh. Maybe we should all go back to taking yellow cabs...

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Logitech launches 'Red Edition' of Spotlight Presentation Remote

If you work in an office, you have undoubtedly sat through a boring PowerPoint presentation. Yeah, it is easy to criticize the people doing the presenting for being deficient, but quite often, it isn’t their fault. After all, giving a successful presentation is a skill that must be learned. True, some folks are naturally social, but overall, you need to work on it. It is wrong to just thrust an employee into the fire without training.

Practice aside, hardware can help you better present too. A good remote/wireless presenter can improve your presentations dramatically. Not only will it give you the ability to move about the room, but a good model will add functionality too. For instance, the Logitech Spotlight remote can help you to focus on specific aspects of slides by highlighting only what you want. It can even vibrate at timed intervals so you can better keep track of how long you have been speaking. Starting today, the Spotlight gets a new red color option for the holidays.

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Alexa, help fight HIV/AIDS -- Amazon unveils Echo (2nd Generation) PRODUCT(RED) edition

If you want to get a hardware voice assistant, you cannot go wrong with Echo. Amazon's hardware is great, but more importantly, its "Alexa" assistant is much more capable than any of its competitors. This can largely be attributed to developers -- there are countless "skills" and compatible devices that make the entire Alexa experience a joy.

Still haven't bought an Echo? Well, I have some great news. Waiting sometimes has its benefits, and today, those still on the fence about Echo should definitely pull the trigger. You see, Amazon will be selling a special PRODUCT(RED) version of its second-gen Echo.

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Google donates £1 million worth of computer training to U.K. teachers

It is imperative that students learn about computing in school -- the earlier the better. The problem? Sometimes teachers aren't very knowledgeable about computers. In other words, some of these educators simply aren't qualified to teach young people about computing. In order for these people to teach future generations about computing, they must first learn about it themselves.

Today, Google announces that it is donating £1 million worth of computer training to U.K. teachers. Don't misunderstand -- the search giant is not just throwing money at the situation. Instead, Google will be having some of its employees provide actual time and assistance to these educators -- how cool is that?

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Was the PC's death fake news? More consumers want laptops than smartphones on Black Friday 2017

Next week is one of my favorite holidays -- Thanksgiving! I'm not gonna lie, I like to eat, and since this is a day dedicated to chowing down on some good food, I am beyond excited! Oh yeah, it is also a day in which we spend time with family and reflect on all the things for which we are thankful.

Once the eating is done, the shopping begins. What used to just be "Black Friday" now begins the night before on Thanksgiving -- sacrilege to some. Yeah, while still digesting turkey and stuffing, consumers will queue up in front of stores such as Best Buy, Target, and Kohl's to take advantage of some deep discounts. Surprisingly, according to a new survey, technology devices are not the most wanted products. Actually, clothing seems to be what many people want most. Make no mistake, however -- products like televisions, laptops, and smartphones will be very popular on Black Friday too.

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ASUS ZenFone V Live Android smartphone is beautiful, affordable, and exclusive to Verizon

Apple is selling the $1,000 iPhone X nowadays, and yeah, there is a place for it. Shockingly, when the "X" first came out, people were not only willing to pay a high premium for Apple's latest, but they waited in line to do so. Think about that -- queuing up to part with a grand! If you have that kind of money, more power to you, but I know a lot of people are hurting financially out there -- the iPhone X is simply not achievable for them.

If you don't have a lot of money, do not worry -- you can still get a quality smartphone for much less. You can opt for an older iPhone model, or if you are particularly low on cash, choose Android. Google's operating system powers many affordable devices, and now, ASUS unveils a very intriguing model that is exclusive to Verizon. The "ZenFone V Live," as it is called, has respectable specifications, looks great, and best of all, it costs an insanely low $168.

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Belkin launches USB-C Car Charger with fast charging for iPhone X

The iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus are all wonderful smartphones. Heck, you can’t go wrong with any of them. This trio of devices supports fast charging, although you need to use a compatible USB-C charger and Lightning cable.

Today, Belkin announces an all-new car charger that supports fast charging with the newest iPhone devices. Of course, it will work with Android devices too. This is exciting, as it means you can charge your phone more quickly when driving.

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Linux Mint 18.3 'Sylvia' BETA is here

Back in September, we told you some interesting Linux Mint news -- version 18.3 would be named "Sylvia." That is hardly the most exciting recent Mint news, however. Actually, the bombshell that the operating system would be abandoning KDE was far more intriguing. While some people will mourn Linux Mint KDE, I certainly won't. Quite frankly, it should never have existed in the first place as it fragments the user experience, but I digress.

If you are a fan of Mint KDE, don't panic -- there is still one more release featuring the desktop environment. Yeah, the upcoming 18.3 "Sylvia" will have a KDE version. Today Linux Mint 18.3 BETA sees release, but it is only a Cinnamon and Mate affair -- for now. Unfortunately, the Mint team picked a bad day to release the beta as it will surely be overshadowed by the superior Fedora 27 which was released earlier today too.

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