Brian Fagioli

Philips Brilliance 32-inch 4K monitor (32P9H) with integrated Windows Hello camera and USB-C dock now available

Back in January, we reported on two new "Brilliance" monitors from Philips. What made these displays stand out were their integrated Windows Hello-compatible cameras. This would allow the user to log into Windows 10 using their face -- no need to enter a password or touch a fingerprint reader. One was a pricey 49-inch super-wide monitor (499P9H), while the other was a 32-inch 4K display (329P9H). The latter has an integrated USB-C docking station and KVM switch, which is insanely cool.

At the time, we shared that the 329P9H would hit stores in February. Well, it was apparently very late, as it is just now coming to market! Yes, today, Philips announces that the Brilliance 32-inch 4K monitor (32P9H) is finally officially available for purchase. And yes, it looks like it was worth the wait.

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Urban Armor Gear (UAG) launches rugged NATO Strap for Apple Watch

Apple Watch is a very popular product despite its many flaws. I wore one for a while, but ended up getting rid of it due to many frustrations. The wearable has a terrible user interface -- very unlike most Apple products. Ultimately, I found it more convenient to simply pull my phone from my pocket.

With all of that said, I am probably not the best candidate for an Apple Watch. I'm a fairly sedentary fellow, working at computers and avoiding the outdoors. People that like hiking, running, and other forms of exercise will probably find a lot of value in Apple Watch. Today, popular company Urban Armor Gear (UAG) launches a watch strap that should delight consumers that are into being outdoors.

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Zorin OS 15 Linux distro is ready to replace Microsoft Windows 10 on your PC

While I’m a Linux fan and advocate, I'm not delusional. Switching from Windows to an operating system based on the Linux kernel is not for everyone. For some folks, Microsoft's desktop operating system is more appropriate, and for others, maybe Apple's macOS is better. Ultimately, people should pick whatever tool they enjoy. After all, a computer is a tool, not a religion.

With all of that said, Windows 10 has many detractors. In other words, it is not an operating system that is beloved by many. Even the people that don't necessarily hate it, probably tolerate it more than truly enjoy it. And that's sad. Thankfully, for those that want a way out of Microsoft's Windows, there are many alternatives. If you want to try Linux, there is a new version of a great distribution you should try -- the Ubuntu-based Zorin OS 15.

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Urban Armor Gear launches Scout Series cases for Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL

Smartphones are way too expensive these days, with prices for some flagships hovering around $1,000. If you are wealthy and have a lot of disposable income, this probably doesn't bother you. For regular folks, however, this is simply too much to ask. Thankfully, Google heard the cries from its more meager customers and released the well-received Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, starting at $399 and $479 respectively.

Even though these phones are more affordable, that doesn't mean consumers can afford to break them. A case is still a wise investment, even if your smartphone costs less than $500. With that said, popular case-maker Urban Armor Gear (UAG) has released new Scout Series cases for both the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. The case is very rugged and officially sanctioned as a "Made For Google" accessory.

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Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 Bluetooth speaker is ready to rock your summer

Technically, summer won’t begin until June 21, but with Memorial Day now behind us, many in the USA consider the season to already be here. For instance, here on Long Island, I have already made one trip to the beach and had a backyard barbecue. As far as I’m concerned, it’s summer.

When summer fun is being had, music is often a big part of the experience. Thankfully, long gone are the days of lugging around large "boom boxes" and replaceable batteries to enjoy your tunes outdoors. These days, a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker and a smartphone is all you need. Ultimate Ears has consistently been releasing excellent such speakers, and today it unveils the latest. Called "WONDERBOOM 2," it is, as you can guess, the second generation WONDERBOOM.

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macOS 10.15 Catalina is the most exciting version of Apple's operating system in years

So, like, here's the deal folks. macOS is a really great operating system, but it has gotten a bit stale in recent years. That isn't necessarily a bad thing -- the lack of excitement is largely due to the maturity of macOS. But also, it was because Apple wasn't paying as much attention to the desktop OS. And hey, I get it, iOS is the company's bread and butter. With that said, Mac users are a ferociously passionate bunch, so Apple made a big mistake by neglecting them -- especially as iPhone sales are slowing.

Thankfully, Apple has finally gotten the message from its loyal customers, and it has begun focusing on Mac again. The keyboard on its laptops are still a problem, but the iMac and even the Mac mini are now modern and well-received. Earlier today at WWDC, Apple even unveiled the upcoming redesigned Mac Pro, and it is a friggin' stunner! It is exactly what professional Mac users have wanted for years.

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Microsoft's Bing celebrates a decade of mediocrity

Google is the best search engine; it is indisputable. Of course, the downside to Google is that it is a privacy nightmare, tracking you and logging your search history. While there are alternatives, such as DuckDuckGo and StartPage.com that focus on protecting your privacy, Google still provides the better search experience.

And then there is Bing -- the search engine people love to hate. Yes, it is fashionable to bash Microsoft's search engine, but the truth is, it's not that bad. In fact, it is fairly good. And that is the problem -- it is just mediocre, never really catching on with consumers. Google is just better. Despite Bing's lack of success, Microsoft has surprisingly stuck with it. As a result, today, Bing celebrates a 10th birthday -- a full decade of mediocrity. Huzzah!

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Mageia 7 Linux distribution reaches release candidate (RC) status -- download it now!

We recently learned that most Windows 10 users aren't even keeping the operating system up to date, choosing to forgo the often buggy feature releases. Yes, the majority of Windows 10 users are ruining a version that is over a year old! That is shocking stuff folks, and it truly speaks volumes about the negative public perception of Microsoft's operating system. When you factor in the people still on Windows 7 (and Vista and XP), things aren't looking too good for Windows.

Thankfully, Linux is picking up the slack, offering an alternative to the much-maligned Windows 10. Amongst Ubuntu, Fedora, Chrome OS, and other distributions, computer users have no shortage of great operating systems these days. One very good, albeit less popular, Linux-based operating system is Mageia. It has a very strong community of knowledgeable users, making it a good choice for both Linux expert and beginners. Today, Mageia 7, the upcoming version of the OS, reaches a major milestone -- release candidate status.

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System76 Ubuntu Linux-powered 'Gazelle' laptop reborn! Gets 9th Gen Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA GTX 16-series graphics

System76 is a computer maker and seller that has long been selling laptops, desktops, and servers running a Linux-based operating system. For years, it only offered Ubuntu, but more recently, it began also offering its own Ubuntu-based operating system called "Pop!_OS." This distribution has proven to be quite popular in the Linux community, as it builds upon the greatness of Ubuntu while also making it better.

As great as Pop!_OS is, today, System76 makes a big announcement regarding hardware rather than software. To the delight of many consumers, the company is refreshing its popular "Gazelle" laptop. To be honest, calling it a refresh is a bit of an understatement. Actually, Gazelle has been reborn as an entirely new powerful beast. It comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 by default, and you can choose between an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 or 1660 Ti for graphics. There are two screen sizes available -- 15.3-inch and 17.3-inch. Regardless of the display you opt for, the resolution will be 1080p.

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ADATA unveils XPG SPECTRIX S40G RGB NVMe PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 SSD for gamers

RGB lighting makes everything better. Is it tacky? Yeah, I suppose, but more importantly, it is fun. Life is short, y'all -- just sit back and enjoy the light show!

Solid state drives with RGB lighting are hardly new, but they are still fairly rare. ADATA's latest SSD, called "XPG SPECTRIX S40G," is extremely pretty thanks to its RGB heatsink. And no, this drive isn't fashion over function -- it is an NVMe PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 SSD with very impressive read and write speeds.

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Still running Fedora 28 Linux distro? Well, you shouldn't be...

Fedora is my personal favorite desktop operating system. I love it because it is fast, stable, and focuses on open source ideology. Not to mention, it uses the best desktop environment, GNOME, by default. Overall it is a great experience that I recommend to all.

While I update to the newest version of Fedora as soon as it is available, obviously, some people do not. You know what? That's OK. Even if you are a version behind, as long as it is still supported, you are safe and sound. Once the version of Fedora you are running is listed as "End of Life," you should definitely upgrade as soon as possible, as it will no longer get bug, feature, or security fixes. Well, folks, Fedora 28 is now EOL, meaning you need to plan an upgrade soon, as you could be exposed to new vulnerabilities.

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Google Maps 'Popular Dishes' feature gonna get gourmands, gastronomes, and gourmets giddy

Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Whether it's a $1 hotdog or a $200 steak, enjoyment from food can be had with any budget. Hell, sometimes the food at a less expensive restaurant can be better than the fancy ones that charge a lot. Ultimately, it comes down to doing your homework on an eatery before going there -- reading online reviews, perusing the menu, and finding out which of its dishes are best.

Today, Google announces an update to its wildly popular Maps service that should prove to be very helpful. Called "Popular Dishes," the search giant is enabling the ability to discover the best food to order at many restaurants. In other words, it should reduce the possibility of you making a poor decision and spending your hard earned money on an unimpressive meal that you don't truly enjoy.

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Urban Armor Gear (UAG) unveils rugged Plasma Series case for OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus smartphones are very well received by those wanting a pure Android experience. They are also popular with budget shoppers, as they have historically been very affordable. Over time, however, OnePlus has been increasing prices, reducing the perceived value of these devices. With the OnePlus 7 Pro, for instance, the starting price is $700 -- a significant amount of money. With that said, it stills costs less than some flagship phones from other manufacturers, such as Samsung and Apple.

If you do decide to drop a big chunk of change on the OnePlus 7 Pro, I hope you would protect it with a case. Today, famed case manufacturer Urban Armor Gear releases such a product -- the Plasma Series case for OnePlus 7 Pro. It is a very rugged case with a pretty reasonable price tag. And yes, the case is designed to accommodate the device's unique pop-up front-facing camera.

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Amazon Echo Show 5 is a privacy-focused Alexa device

Earlier this month, Google announced the Nest Hub Max -- voice assistant hardware with a camera and touch screen -- and I was instantly intrigued. At the same time, I was also very scared of it. After all, Google makes its money through tracking users' activity and by displaying advertising -- did I really want that company having a camera in my house? No, of course not. Despite the claims of hardware switches to disable the camera, I quickly made up my mind to not buy it when it goes on sale.

Amazon has a similar device called Echo Show, and today it announces an additional model. Called "Echo Show 5," it has a smaller screen (5.5 inch) and even smaller price tag. It is an adorably small Alexa device with an HD camera. Unlike the round Echo Spot, Echo Show 5 has a more useful rectangular screen. As someone who owns many Echo devices, and trusts Amazon a bit more than Google, I think I might invite Echo Show 5 into my house. I wouldn't want the camera watching my family 24/7, so thankfully I can take control of my privacy by sliding the included shutter over the lens -- an old-school (yet effective) means of blocking a camera.

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Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse is fabulously retro and deliciously modern

If you need a mouse, there are two companies that very rarely disappoint -- Logitech and Microsoft. Not only are their mice often accurate and comfortable, but very durable too. Sure, there are other brands that produce solid mice, but Microsoft and Logitech pointing devices will probably survive a nuclear war, outlasting humanity.

Some of the greatest mice of all time were from Microsoft's IntelliMouse series. The IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 was a personal favorite of mine -- it is so comfortable, and the thumb buttons are absolute perfection. I am pretty sure I still have it in a box somewhere, and if I plugged it into my PC today, it would work flawlessly. IntelliMouse was so beloved by many computer users, that Microsoft released the refreshed Classic IntelliMouse in 2017. Today, the Windows-maker takes things even further, with the all-new "Microsoft Pro Intellimouse" -- a beautiful blend of retro design and modern specifications.

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