Brian Fagioli

Satechi launches trio of USB-C GaN chargers

USB Type-C is amazing. This reversible USB connector is not just used for data connections, but power too. For instance, there are many laptops, tablets, and smartphones that charge using USB-C. When all of your devices use USB-C, it makes your life much easier -- there are fewer wires and chargers to deal with. Even better, you can potentially travel lighter by packing less. Hopefully Apple will eventually bring USB-C to the iPhone fully -- the company already has with some iPad models.

Today, Satechi launches a trio of USB-C chargers, and since they are of the GaN variety, they are very compact. While all three are similar, they are also quite distinct. All three have foldable prongs which makes them ideal for travel, but the number of ports and wattage varies. The 66W and 108W models both have three ports, but the 100W variant has only one.

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ADATA XPG XENIA 14 is a wonderful back-to-school Windows 10 laptop

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 Dynabook) have met or exceeded Apple's MacBook looks. Best of all, these Windows notebooks are often much more affordable than Apple's offerings too, making them great for students.

ADATA isn't a company that you usually think of for actual PCs, but the manufacturer does in fact offer both desktops and laptops under its XPG gaming brand. Today, ADATA launches its latest Windows 10 notebook, and despite the XPG branding, it focuses more on general use than gaming. Called "XPG XENIA 14," this 14-inch ultrabook is both thin and light. Make no mistake, however, it is an impressively powerful machine. For instance, it is powered by 11th-gen Core processors, uses 3200MHz DDR4 RAM, and has a PCIe gen 4 SSD.

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ZOTAC MEK HERO gaming desktops are Windows 11 ready and made in the USA

What an exciting time to be a PC gamer! There are so many great games to play and the underlying hardware is more powerful than ever. It is amazing to see what game developers are putting out these days. Thanks to the upcoming Steam Deck, these hardcore PC games can be easily taken on the go too.

If you are in the market for a pre-built gaming PC, I have some exciting news. Manufacturer ZOTAC has unveiled gaming desktops that are both Windows 11 ready and assembled in the USA. Called "MEK HERO," there are two models (G1 A5636 and G1 A5837) from which to choose, and they are both powered by high-end AMD CPUs and hardcore NVIDIA GPUs. And yes, they have RGB lighting and glass side-panels. The higher-end MEK HERO G1 A5837 model features CPU liquid-cooling.

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DuckDuckGo launches privacy-focused email forwarding

DuckDuckGo is a pretty cool company that focuses heavily on privacy. Its claim to fame is its search engine that aims to compete with the likes of Google and Bing, but without tracking you. Believe it or not, its search results are pretty good comparatively, although Google still edges it out.

Over time, DuckDuckGo has launched its own web browser and browser extensions, constantly trying to keep humans safe from the eyes of "Big Tech." And now the company announces its latest creation -- email accounts.

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Solid state storage technology is constantly improving. The truth, however, is while PCIe Gen 4 SSDs are now available, they are total overkill for most consumers. Heck, most people would be absolutely fine with a SATA drive. With that said, the previous-generation PCIe Gen 3 SSDs are now much more affordable (and quite fast) making them a smart buy whether you truly need the extra speed or not. In other words, a SATA SSD should be avoided nowadays unless your PC simply isn't compatible with anything else.

Today, TEAMGROUP announces its latest NVMe PCIe M.2 solid state drive, and it is offered in capacities up to 8TB. Called "MP34Q," the PCIe Gen 3 SSD it is quite fast with read speeds up to 3,400 MB/s and write speeds up to 3,000 MB/s.

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Steam Deck is a Linux desktop trojan horse

Switching from Windows to Linux is pretty easy nowadays -- unless you're a gamer. If you are into PC gaming, Windows is still the best operating system for maximum compatibility and performance. Gaming on Linux has gotten better thanks to Steam's Proton, but still, Windows clearly reigns supreme.

With all of that said, Linux gaming is about to get much more possible. You see, Valve's new handheld gaming console is basically just a PC running an Arch Linux-based operating system. The OS is named "SteamOS" and it uses KDE Plasma.

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PNY LX2030 and LX3030 SSDs are optimized for Chia (XCH) cryptocurrency plotting

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are wildly popular these days. Whether or not it's smart to invest in these digital currencies is up for debate. Of course, the same can be said about any investment -- including stocks. With that said, cryptocurrency volatility can cause you to lose a lot of money. Still. some people have become very wealthy with crypto. Ultimately, your mileage may vary.

Unfortunately for some cryptocurrency investors, many of the coins are being vilified for their negative impact on the environment. If you aren't aware, "mining" many of these cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, require computers with high-end graphics cards that use a lot of electricity. Elon Musk even famously tweeted Tesla would stop accepting Bitcoin due to the horrific environmental impact.

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Privacy-focused Google makes 'My Activity' more secure with new verification options

Google under magnifying glass

Google tracks you. Yeah, yeah, we all know that. It is nothing new. The truth is, that tracking is both a gift and a curse. True, it isn't a nice feeling to know a company is watching your activity across its services, but at the same time, that tracking allows Google to provide you with a more personal experience. For instance, I choose to let Google track me, and my overall web experience is better as a result.

Thankfully, the search giant does empower its users by letting them limit some of the sharing. And now, Google is making "My Activity" (the page which displays much of this tracking history) more secure. You see, the company is now providing extra verification options when accessing My Activity.

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ADATA unveils XPG MAGE mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB lighting and USB-C port

If you are a gamer, writer, or just someone that appreciates a quality typing experience, a mechanical keyboard can be a godsend. Not only are they typically of higher quality than membrane keyboards, but these mechanical variants can sometimes provide tactile and audible feedback to enhance the key presses -- depending on the switch type.

ADATA is a company that makes great hardware, but isn't really known for its keyboards. With that said, the company has a new such wired product under its "XPG" gaming brand, and it looks quite nice. Called "MAGE," the full-size keyboard has an aluminum body, RGB lighting, red switches, and a USB-C port. It comes with a removable six-foot USB-C to USB-A cable in the box.

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Apple finally launches MagSafe Battery Pack for iPhone 12 line of smartphones

Apple's iPhone smartphones have historically offered very good battery life comparatively. In fact, in my experience, Apple's devices typically last a lot longer than many Android phones. This is despite Android phones often having larger batteries. Apple simply does a better job of optimizing its software. Not to mention, since the company designs its own hardware (including processors), Android-makers simply cant compete in this regard.

Even though Apple iPhone 12 battery life is reportedly great (except maybe for the mini model), the company has finally launched a MagSafe Battery Pack. This accessory is primarily designed for hardcore iPhone users that never put the device down. This battery attaches to the rear of the phone using magnets and extends its usage time. Just make sure to keep it away from your pacemaker!

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Download Tails Linux 4.20, man

Hey, man. Want to know something totally far out? The privacy-focused Linux-based operating system, Tails, has achieved version 4.20. How groovy! If you aren't familiar, Tails is designed to run from an optical disk or USB drive and hide your browsing activity. It is particularly handy for journalists or computer users living in countries ruled by oppressive governments.

Version 4.20 of Tails receives several improvements. For instance, OnionShare has been updated to 2.2 and KeePassXC is now at 2.6.2. More importantly, the Tor Browser has been updated to 10.5.2 and the Linux kernel now sits at 5.10.46. Most significant, however, there are massive enhancements when connecting to a Tor network, including a new assistant.

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Vertagear launches elegant gaming chair that is covered in beautiful Swarovski Crystals

When people think of PC gaming gear, they aren't likely to think of furniture. Instead, they probably conjure images in their heads of mice, keyboards, and controllers. But the gamer's computer and monitor need to sit upon a desk or table, right? And of course, the players themselves need to sit in a chair. So, yes, gamers do need furniture.

Believe it or not, gaming chairs are a things these days, providing extra comfort for long gameplay sessions. Not to mention, these chairs look cool, appealing to the style of gamers. One of the companies that makes such chairs, Vertagear, has a model called PL4500. And now, that chair is getting a special new variant. You see, Vertagear has partnered with Swarovski to emblazon the PL4500 with beautiful crystals. Très chic!

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Silicon Power PD60 USB-C enclosure turns any M.2 SSD into a portable storage drive

NVMe solid states are insanely fast and getting more affordable every day. It is for this reason that most consumers should opt for them when possible -- they put SATA variants to shame. Even if you don't need the extra performance of an NVMe SSD, the ever-lowering prices make them a no-brainer.

While most people probably think of NVMe SSDs as something to go inside a computer, they also make exceptional external drives -- when paired with an enclosure, that is. Today, Silicon Power launches its latest USB-C enclosure. Called "PD60," it is compatible with both NVMe and SATA M.2 SSDs.

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Ubuntu Linux-maker Canonical is 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year finalist

Microsoft has been getting more and more friendly with both the Open Source and Linux communities in recent years. For instance, the Windows 11-maker offers its some of its popular software for Linux-based operating systems these days, such as Windows Calculator and the Chromium-based Edge web browser. No to mention, Linux is essentially integrated into Microsoft's desktop operating system thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

To show just how close-knit Microsoft and the Linux community are, today, something fairly shocking is announced. You see, Ubuntu-maker Canonical is a 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year finalist. Wow.

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Download Linux Mint 20.2 today and tell Microsoft you don't want Windows 11

With Windows 11 on the horizon, many consumers will find themselves unable to upgrade due to the crazy system requirements the operating system has. And so, some of those people will look for alternatives, such as Linux distributions. While Ubuntu is a wise choice for those interested in switching to Linux, it isn't the best choice. Actually, Windows-switchers should instead give Linux Mint (which is based on Ubuntu) a try.

Wouldn't you know it, today, the all-new Linux Mint 20.2 becomes available for download. Named "Uma," it can be had with your choice of three great desktop environments -- Cinnamon 5.0, MATE 1.24, and Xfce 4.16. Mint 20.2 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and uses Linux kernel 5.4.

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