USB power banks are a dime a dozen these days. Believe it or not, they are often given away at trade shows and conferences -- they have become a ubiquitous throwaway promotional item. Not to mention, sites like Amazon are littered with these USB battery packs at rock bottom prices. Of course, that's not to say all power banks are created equally. Just like with flash drives, power bank specifications matter. It is still worth investing in a quality unit.
With all of that said, it can be very hard for such a device to stand out. Silicon Power has managed to do so. How? The company's newest such product, "QP77 Power Bank," utilizes a textured fabric on the body, which creates an overall elegant design.
Ubuntu 21.10 won't get a stable release until October of 2021. In fact, we know the exact date the Linux-based operating system should be made available -- October 14. In addition to that date, we also know what the distribution's codename is -- Impish Indri.
Unfortunately, we only just entered the month of May, meaning Ubuntu 21.10 won't be available to download -- in stable form, at least -- for about five more months. According to the release schedule, the beta of Impish Indri won't even be released until September at the earliest. Sigh. What is an Ubuntu enthusiast supposed to do?
Why don’t more desktop computer users run Linux-based operating systems? Well, software compatibility aside, there is fear of change and the unknown. For a user to switch from Windows, it need to be a fairly simple affair. For years, just installing a Linux distribution was a daunting task. These days, it can be faster and easier than installing Windows 10 -- depending on the distro, of course.
For beginners, once installed, their chosen Linux distro should be easy to use with an intuitive desktop environment. I'm a big fan of GNOME, but understandably, not all folks like it -- especially Linux novices. One particular Linux-based desktop operating system has been focusing on accessibility to all -- elementary OS. This distribution is polished and focuses on being easy to use. It is a good choice for both experts and beginners alike. And now, elementary OS 6, code-named "Odin," has officially achieved Beta status.
Bluetooth headphones are no longer the future of portable audio -- they are the present. Since Apple killed the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone, and many Android manufacturers followed along, wireless headphones have exploded in popularity. And yes, Apple AirPods are leading the trend.
The thing is, while AirPods are very popular, they aren’t necessarily the best. In fact, if you are an Android user, you should absolutely look elsewhere. Today, Silicon Power launches two new sets of wireless Bluetooth earbuds with "Blast Plug" branding. Called "BP75" and "BP80," the former can be had in three colors -- white, black, and navy blue. The latter is only available in black.
You know what was funny? The excitement of iPhone users when Apple finally added home screen widget support to iOS. It was comical because Google had widget support on Android pretty much forever. In other words, the Apple faithful were getting all hot and bothered over what Android users considered "old hat."
But OK, it doesn't really matter which platform had widgets first -- both Android and iOS/iPadOS have them now. While there has long been a Pandora widget for Android, today, the music streaming company launches a new widget for Apple's mobile devices too -- as long as they are running iOS/iPadOS version 14.x.
Linux distributions and silly names go together like peanut butter and jelly. For whatever reason, the maintainers of these operating systems seem to enjoy having fun with what they call them -- some argue it is childish. Hell, even Google -- a multi-billion dollar company -- once used sugary dessert names for the Linux-based Android operating system. I am glad the search giant stopped that nonsense.
One of the most well-known desktop Linux distributions to use funny names is Ubuntu. It famously uses the convention of an adjective and a lesser-known animal, each starting with the same letter. The letter is chosen sequentially by alphabet. For example, Ubuntu 21.04 uses the letter "H" -- "Hirsute Hippo".
While we would all like to think the ground beneath us is stationary, the truth is, this giant sphere we call Earth is constantly moving. Not only is our planet simultaneously rotating and moving around the sun, but sometimes the ground can shake and rumble more than we'd like too. This can happen when the tectonic plates move about too much. This friction is what we call an earthquake. We call it this because a layer of earth beneath us quite literally quakes.
These earthquakes aren't just scary -- they can be deadly too. Yes, people can be injured during these seismic events, including death. Earthquakes can even cause tsunamis, leading to drownings too. This is why it is so important to alert people when earthquakes happen. Thankfully, if you own an Android phone and live in either Greece or New Zealand, I have some good news -- Google is launching an earthquake alerts system in those two countries.
Long gone are the days where Apple was the sole manufacturer of elegant laptops. Quite frankly, Apple has become a bit stagnant with its designs. Truth be told, makers of Windows laptops (such as Samsung, HP, and Huawei) have met or exceeded Apple's MacBook looks. Best of all, these Windows notebooks are often much more affordable than Apple's offerings too. Not to mention, they typically have touch screens!
Today, Samsung unveils its newest Windows 10 laptops and not only are they thin and beautiful, but quite powerful too. You see, they are powered by 11th-generation Intel Core processors. There is the Galaxy Book Pro and the Galaxy Book Pro 360 -- the former is a traditional laptop, while the latter is a convertible.
Some people are willing to pay more than $1,000 for a smartphone, but I'm not one of them. Look, if you can afford to spend such money on a premium phone, and the purchase makes you happy, then more power to you. However, if you are a regular consumer on a budget, please know you don't have to spend that much cash to score a quality device.
Case in point, today, ZTE launches the all-new Blade 11 Prime smartphone. This beautiful Android 11 phone costs less than $200, making it shockingly affordable. Despite its low price, it actually looks quite nice. No, it isn't top of the line, but it should meet the needs of most consumers.
The modern detachable PC form factor was made popular by Microsoft's Surface Pro. The iconic kickstand looks cool and allows you to position the screen at many angles. While these computers make for both good tablets and notebooks, they aren't exactly good laptops. Wait. Aren't notebooks and laptops the same thing? Typically yes, but these kickstand-based detachable computers are hard to balance on a lap; it is a bit of a misnomer to call them "laptop."
The Surface Pro is a pretty good computer overall -- as long as you don't need to use it on your lap -- but they can be very buggy. Microsoft's firmware releases often introduce problems -- even as other issues are fixed. Thankfully, if you like that form factor, you aren't limited to Surface. Today, for instance, Dell officially begins selling the Latitude 7320 Windows 10 detachable PC. And yes, it is a real Surface Pro alternative.
Woo-hoo! Today is officially the day many of us have been waiting for. Yes, Fedora Linux 34 is finally available for download. For many Linux users, Fedora is considered the best overall operating system to be based on that open source kernel. The distro focuses on truly free and open source software -- a pure Linux experience. It is also fairly bleeding edge, but at the same time, it remains stable for everyday use.
What makes Fedora 34 so exciting? Well, this version of the Linux-based operating system uses GNOME 40 as its default desktop environment, and version 40 is the most electrifying version of GNOME in years. GNOME 40 is notable for a horizontal workspace switcher and having the Dash (favorites launcher) moved to the bottom of the screen. Despite being released last week, Ubuntu 21.04 fails to comes with this version of GNOME.
When you are a system builder, there are certain important aspects of the build that are often overlooked. For instance, many builders will opt for a cheap power supply and then wonder why their system is unstable. I know a PSU isn't as exciting as a CPU, GPU, or RAM, but it is still an important component.
Another tragically overlooked component? The CPU cooler. Maybe your processor came with a stock heatsink and fan in the box. You know what? Sometimes the included cooler can be pretty good. For the most part, however, it would be wise to spend a bit more on a third-party offering -- especially if you want to overclock your processor. Today, Thermaltake launches two affordable CPU coolers -- the TOUGHAIR 310 and 510.
Am I an "Apple guy?" I suppose so; at least my iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV would suggest that to be the case. With that said, I don't blindly throw money at the company's latest products. For instance, I still use an iPhone 8 Plus -- with a home button -- as my smartphone. I don't have a fancy iPad Pro, but instead, a 7th-gen regular iPad with just 32GB of storage. True, my 2020 M1 Mac mini is very modern, but it is the extremely inexpensive base model.
Apple's newest product, AirTag, went on sale this past Friday, and for some reason, I got caught up in the hype and pre-ordered one. Not only did I buy the AirTag, but a red leather keychain for it too. Almost immediately after placing the order, I felt like a total fool. It is probably one of the stupidest tech purchases I ever made.
There are two curved displays in my home -- a television in my living room and a computer monitor in my office. Both look cool, but truth be told, the curve doesn't make any difference when watching TV. Since I sit far back from the television, the curve doesn't add any benefit. On the computer monitor where I sit much closer, however, the curvature lends to a more immersive experience. I can't recommend curved computer monitors enough -- for both gaming and productivity.
Today, BenQ launches its latest curved monitor. Called "MOBIUZ EX3415R," this 34-inch ultrawide gaming display has a resolution of 3440x1440 and a 144Hz refresh rate. While this monitor should be great for all games, BenQ is particularly focusing on sim-racing; it has a special mode designed specifically for that genre. It even comes with a handy wireless remote control to make changing between modes super easy.
Do hippopotamuses really like eating balls? In real life, no. In the classic game Hungry Hungry Hippos, however, the creatures love gobbling them up. And that is why it's appropriate that Ubuntu 21.04 is named "Hirsute Hippo." Much like the hippos devouring spheres in the aforementioned game, the Ubuntu developers at Canonical are trying to eat up Linux users and gain market share.
Today, Ubuntu 21.04 "Hirsute Hippo" is finally made available. This follows a previous beta testing phase. It is a very significant version of the operating system, as it now uses Wayland by default. Canonical promises that it won't just be an improvement graphically, but for security purposes too. Sadly, with the good comes the bad. You see, Ubuntu 21.04 does not come with GNOME 40 -- the latest and greatest version of that desktop environment. At least we get a refreshed "Yaru" dark theme, though.