Brian Fagioli

Amazon removing lock screen ads from Prime Exclusive Phones

Amazon’s Prime Exclusive Phone Program is very admirable. True, Amazon itself benefits from selling these devices, but ultimately, the true winners are consumers. If you aren’t familiar, these Android phones are priced very low because they are subsidized by lock screen advertisements. It allows people that are struggling financially (or those that just like to save money) to achieve a solid phone at an affordable price.

Today, the Prime Exclusive Phone program gets even better. You see, Amazon is dropping the lock screen ads! In other words, Prime members can now score affordable phones with no gimmicks. Amazon will even issue updates to existing Prime phones to remove ads from them too. Nice!

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro flagship Android smartphone now available for pre-order

Despite foolish actions by some US cellular carriers caused by political pressure, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro Android smartphone is still coming to the USA. If you aren't familiar with the controversy, both AT&T and Verizon have refused to carry this device because xenophobic politicians are concerned about Huawei being a Chinese company. Tons of products for sale in the USA are made in China, so it is odd that Huawei is being singled out for alleged espionage. Of course, with the USA's current president, all logic has seemingly gone out the window.

Huawei has wisely decided to just go the unlocked route, meaning the Mate 10 Pro will work on T-Mobile, AT&T, and other GSM carriers in the USA -- Verizon and Sprint are not compatible. If you want to buy this flagship Android smartphone, you can pre-order starting today. Quite frankly, Huawei makes absolutely gorgeous products that are high-quality, so I would recommend that you do.

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G.SKILL unveils world’s fastest DDR4 memory kit running at 4700MHz

When it comes to building a PC, there are often two types of consumers -- those that target value and those that will spend any amount of money for the best specifications. Neither focus is wrong -- if you can afford to have the top specs, more power to you.

G.SKILL is a company that caters to both camps. You can get quality G.SKILL RAM at various price points and speeds. Today, however, the company unveils a new memory kit that will appeal to those that want hardcore speed. This 16GB G.SKILL Trident Z RGB DDR4 RAM runs at an insane 4700MHz. Not to mention, the timings are respectable too, at CL19-19-19-39.

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Eagles vs Patriots: How to stream Super Bowl LII for free using Roku

Super Bowl LII is finally here! It will begin at 6pm ET today. Once again, Tom Brady and the Patriots will be one of the teams competing, but this year, they will face an unlikely opponent -- the Eagles. Why do I say the Eagles are unlikely? During the regular season, the team lost its starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, to injury -- not many expected the backup, Nick Foles, to take them to the big game. Against all odds, however, we will, in fact, witness New England play against Philadelphia.

For Super Bowl 2018, the game will be broadcast on NBC. If you have cable or satellite, you will have no problem watching it. Heck, if you have a strong enough signal you can even get it for free over the air. But what if you are a cord-cutter that gets poor NBC OTA signal strength? Do not panic. Roku has partnered with NBC to stream Super Bowl 52 for free -- no login required. In other words, watching the big game is easier than ever this year.

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Forget Super Bowl LII -- stream the Kitten Bowl and Puppy Bowl with Roku

Super Bowl Weekend is officially here, and I am beyond excited. As a big New York Jets fan, I don't care much for the Eagles or Patriots, but I will root for the former as I strongly dislike the latter. Football aside, I also enjoy the commercials, the halftime show, and of course, eating buffalo chicken wings.

As an animal lover, I also love watching some other programming on Super Bowl Sunday -- the Puppy Bowl, and to a lesser extent, the Kitten Bowl. If you aren't familiar, these pet-themed Bowl games are essentially just cute animals playing on miniaturized football fields. These whimsical games are fun to watch, but more importantly, they usually raise awareness about pet adoption and similar causes. If you have a Roku device, I am happy to say you can use it to stream both the Puppy and Kitten Bowl.

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Google brings YouTube TV to Roku and Apple TV

The world is currently undergoing a cord cutting revolution. Thanks to the internet, many consumers are being empowered to dump their cable provider and switch to a streaming option. This is sort of ironic, as quite often, the internet being used to stream is provided by the TV provider that is being dumped. Ultimately, the cable company becomes nothing more than an ISP. You know what? Maybe that is how it should be.

Cordcutters have many internet-based TV providers from which to choose these days, but one of the most attractive is offered by Google. The search giant’s YouTube TV service is quite intriguing thanks to its paltry $35 monthly fee (often much less than cable TV). Starting today, the service will become even more popular, as it is now available for Roku and Apple TV.

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Microsoft releases Skype as a Snap for Linux

While Microsoft has long been viewed as an enemy of the Linux community -- and it still is by some -- the company has actually transformed into an open source champion. Not only does Microsoft release software for Linux, such as PowerShell Core 6.0, but it is even serving distros in its software store for Windows. Let's not forget that Microsoft even offers Linux virtual machines in Azure.

One of Microsoft's biggest Linux contributions, however, is Skype -- the wildly popular communication software. By offering that program to desktop Linux users, Microsoft enables them to easily communicate with friends and family that aren't on Linux, thanks to its cross-platform support. Today, Microsoft further embraces Linux by releasing Skype as a Snap. This comes after two other very popular apps became available in Snap form -- Spotify and Slack. Wait a minute -- Slack, Spotify, and now Skype? It's a mighty strange coincidence that popular apps that start with "S" are being made available as Snaps -- yet another "S" word!

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Creative Sound BlasterX Katana gaming soundbar [Review]

As a younger man, I was obsessed with audio equipment. I invested in expensive stereo receivers, multiple large speakers, and countless components -- turntable, cassette, CD, mini-disc, and more. Of course, I also connected my television and computer. Over time, however, with the explosion of downloadable and streamable media, all of that went away. Now, my living room just has a soundbar and subwoofer hooked to my TV -- Apple TV handles video and music. It is simple, and I like that.

So yeah, soundbars are great for living rooms, but what if there was one that was designed for computer desks? Weird concept, right? Yes, but as I have learned from the Sound BlasterX Katana, it totally makes sense. This speaker system from Creative is designed to sit under a computer monitor and provide exceptional sound quality. It is not just a soundbar, though -- it comes with a subwoofer, remote control, and has an integrated USB DAC.

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CORSAIR launches water-resistant K68 RGB Cherry MX mechanical gaming keyboard

If you don't have a mechanical keyboard, I straight up feel sorry for you. I mean, look, if you like your current non-mechanical keyboard, then more power to you, but there's a good chance you simply don't know what you are missing. If you are a millennial in particular, you probably missed out on the good ol' days of computing when keyboards weighed a ton and were built like tanks -- the throw-in keyboards that desktop manufacturers include nowadays are largely garbage. Mechanical keyboards are just so much more rewarding and satisfying to use.

Today, CORSAIR launches its all-new K68 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard, and it has a lot going for it. First of all, it is IP32 water resistant, so if you spill your drink (or sweat profusely on it), it is less likely to break. Since it is a gaming product, it is chock-full of RGB lighting, because all gaming gear must glow -- it's the law. Best of all, it uses authentic Cherry MX switches (either red or blue) -- not some sort of knock-off.

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How to install Ubuntu Linux on a Chromebook: An official Canonical tutorial

Chromebooks run Chrome OS, which is a very secure Linux distribution. While that operating system is very easy to use, it can sometimes be limited by a lack of software. You see, for the most part, these Chromebooks are designed to only run web apps. Thanks to emerging Android support, however, this is slowly changing. Still, a traditional desktop Linux distro can be much more useful.

One of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems is Ubuntu, and today, its maker, Canonical, launches an official guide on how to get its OS running on a Chromebook. Since this tutorial is directly from the Ubuntu-maker, you can have extra confidence that it should work well.

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Samsung unveils high-performance 800GB SZ985 Z-SSD

Solid state drives are all the rage nowadays, and it is not hard to see why. Not only are they much faster than traditional mechanical hard drives, but they consume much less electricity too. While power consumption might not be a big deal for home users, it can really add up in the enterprise where many drives are in use. In other words, a reduction in energy use can really benefit data centers and other business uses.

Today, Samsung unveils a new high-performance SSD aimed at the enterprise. The "SZ985 Z-SSD," as it is called, uses special Z-NAND memory. The drive is designed for The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, supercomputing, and more. With that said, there is no reason enthusiasts can’t use it on their PCs.

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YouTube to stream President Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union

Is Donald Trump a good president? That’s up for debate. Quite frankly, with so much of the United States divided on seemingly pretty much everything, it is almost impossible to get definitive consensus on anything. Ultimately, what we can agree on, however, is that some people love Trump, while others do not.

Whether or not you are a fan of Donald Trump, he is the legitimate president, so what he says and does is important. That’s why you should tune into his State of the Union address to hear his thoughts. Look, you don’t have to agree with him, but it is still imperative that you are informed. Once again, YouTube will be streaming the President’s speech, making it super easy to watch.

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Linus Torvalds announces Linux kernel 4.15 with a focus on Spectre and Meltdown

After a long wait, the much-anticipated Linux kernel 4.15 is finally here. While these kernel releases are always important, this one is particularly noteworthy. Why? Because it largely focuses on Spectre and Meltdown mitigation. With that said, it is not only about those vulnerabilities, of course.

Linus Torvalds, the inventor of Linux, has been quite critical of Intel’s patches of the aforementioned vulnerabilities, and Microsoft seemingly agrees -- the Windows-maker has disabled one of Intel’s shoddy "fixes" with an emergency update. With kernel 4.15, Torvalds is quick to say that the work on Spectre and Meltdown is far from finished.

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Microsoft issues emergency Windows update to disable Intel's shoddy Spectre variant 2 mitigation

The computer industry is in utter chaos right now. Despite a slight increase in PC sales for Q4 2018, the market is still extremely unhealthy. Not to mention, pretty much all existing hardware is fundamentally flawed thanks to both Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. At least major companies such as Intel, AMD, and Microsoft are working together to mitigate these risks, right? Wrong. These patches have proven to be problematic -- for instance, some AMD computers were rendered unbootable. Ugh, what a failure.

To make matters even worse, Intel's Spectre variant 2 mitigation is causing instability (random reboots) on some Windows computers. Microsoft has apparently had enough of Intel's shoddy patches, and as a result, it has issued an emergency update to disable the Spectre variant 2 mitigation on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

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Malwarebytes gets defective update that slows computers -- here's how to fix it

Malwarebytes is great software, designed to protect Windows, Mac, and Android devices. As someone who fixes computers for both friends and family, I often rely on the free version to detect malware on Windows machines -- it is a great tool to keep in your virtual "toolbox."

Unfortunately, this software which normally helps computers to run well, has started making them run poorly. You see, a recent update is causing high CPU and RAM usage, making the computer slow to a crawl. Luckily, a fix is already available. Keep in mind, the bug is caused by the web protection feature, which is only for "Premium" subscribers. Users of the free Malwarebytes software should be unaffected. Here's how to return your PC or business workstation to its full speed potential.

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