Brian Fagioli

AMD reveals more about Ryzen 3 and Threadripper -- Intel should be worried

AMD

AMD is making big moves lately. While the company never really went away, for a while it was clearly struggling to match up to Intel on both performance and value. Slowly but surely, the consumer-friendly company has become much more competitive. Its Ryzen 5 and 7 processors are excellent multi-core performers, while its Radeon RX 500 series of graphics cards offers amazing performance at a low price. Heck, its GPUs are very popular for cryptocurrency miners too.

Today, AMD reveals more about some upcoming Ryzen processors -- both on the high and low end. The company is sharing details on the budget-friendly Ryzen 3 and the awe-inspiring Threadripper chips for enthusiasts and professionals. We now have some specifications, pricing, and release dates.

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ASUS Chromebook Flip C213 is a convertible for education with Android app support

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Chromebooks are great for many scenarios, but they really shine for education. Why? Well, they are often inexpensive, and best of all, they are very secure thanks to the Linux base and restrictive software design. ASUS has a new such laptop called "Chromebook Flip C213." The 11.6-inch notebook is designed to be very rugged so that if a student abuses it, it should hopefully survive. ASUS even promises an impressive 12+ hours of battery life.

This convertible laptop is powered by a 2.4GHz Intel processor and features 4GB of RAM. This should run Chrome OS very well. Besides the traditional camera at the top of the screen, there is an additional camera above the keyboard. When the laptop is folded to a tablet, that second camera becomes a "rear" camera. Cool, right?

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Back to School: Buy a Mac or iPad Pro and Apple will give you free Beats headphones

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If you are a student or teacher, I hope you are having a fun and relaxing summer vacation. It can be very rewarding to just shut your brain off for a couple of months. Unfortunately, the new school year will be here before you know it. If you need new technology for the upcoming semester, such as a laptop or tablet, now is the time to start looking.

When shopping for technology items, it is always wise to look at Apple. The company's hardware is second to none, and both its iPad and MacBook products come with free iWork software for word processing, editing spreadsheets, and creating presentations. This software suite is brilliant for education. Best of all, for a limited time (until September 25), if you purchase a compatible tablet or computer from Apple, you can score some free Beats headphones!

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StarTech unveils Hot-Swap Drive Bay enclosure and adapter for HDD or SSD

Bay Top and Front

While internal hard drives are great if you are OK with data remaining in a computer 24/7, sometimes you want to physically secure data at the end of the day. No, I don't mean encryption; I am talking literally locking a hard drive or solid state disk in a safe or desk drawer. This is essential for some businesses, where theft of a drive could be catastrophic.

Today, Startech unveils a clever new product that makes this practice easy. It is a 2.5-inch drive enclosure that plugs into a bay adapter on the front of a PC. The adapter itself can fit in both 3.5- or 5.25-inch openings thanks to the included accessory. While the drive connects to the adapter via SATA, the enclosure also has a micro-B USB 3.1 port. In other words, it can be easily removed and then connected to a PC that doesn't have the bay adapter.

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NETGEAR unveils Nighthawk X4S AC3200 WiFi DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem Router (C7800)

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Having two items in one isn't always the best idea. When I was a kid, it was fairly popular to buy a television with an integrated VCR. The problem? When the VCR broke, you had a TV with a non-working video player in it forever. Hilariously, it wasn't uncommon to see people plug standalone VCR units into the televisions when that happened. It looked silly. The trend continued later with TVs that had built-in DVD players.

Today, NETGEAR unveils an all-new two-in-one product that is actually very cool. The Nighthawk X4S (C7800), as it is called, is an AC3200 WiFi Cable Modem Router. In other words, it is a modem and router in one. In fact, NETGEAR claims this is the first-ever combo unit to feature DOCSIS 3.1, offering ultra-fast speeds if available in your area. Of course, the dilemma becomes -- if either the router or modem portion stops working, you pretty much need to replace the entire thing. The router won't work with a standard modem, as there is no Ethernet WAN port -- just coaxial.

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Fedora 26 Linux distro available for download

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As a Linux workstation user, I have been using Fedora 26 as my main distro for months now -- first the alpha and then the beta. While it is never suggested to use a pre-release operating system for anything other than testing, at no point did I encounter any apparent bugs -- impressive, right?

Today, Fedora 26 sheds its pre-release status and becomes available for download as a stable release. GNOME fans are in for a big treat, as version 3.24 is default. If you stick to stable Fedora releases, this will be your first time experiencing that version of the desktop environment since it was released in March. Also new is LibreOffice 5.3, which is an indispensable suite for productivity. If you still use mp3 music files (I've moved onto streaming), support should be baked in for both encoding and decoding.

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Ubuntu joins the Windows Store Linux party

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It has been well-established that Microsoft is a friend of open source. The company releases many projects on GitHub, and recently, the Windows-maker became a Cloud Foundry Foundation Gold Member. During Build 2017, the company even shocked the world by announcing it was bringing Linux distributions to the Windows Store.

Some SUSE-based distros recently arrived in the Windows Store as promised, but sadly, no Fedora or Ubuntu. While Red Hat's distro is still missing, today, Canonical's finally arrives. Yes, folks, Ubuntu has officially joined the Windows Store Linux party!

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JBL Flip 4 waterproof Bluetooth speaker will make your summer lit [Review]

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Summer is finally here, and so far, I have been loving it. While I haven't gone to any fancy beach parties, I have had quite the good time relaxing in my backyard. Nothing beats soaking up the sun while laying in a chaise lounge. As the breeze blows by, I sip my favorite beverage -- Perrier sparkling mineral water.

While this scene sounds great, there is still something missing -- music. While listening to the songs from birds and sounds of lawnmowers can be enjoyable, I prefer to rock out to my favorite tunes. Ranging from 2 Chainz to Wings, I blast my favorite songs -- not so loud as to bother my neighbors, however. This year, the Bluetooth speaker that is serving up my jams is the wonderful JBL Flip 4. It is rugged, waterproof, and most importantly, it sounds phenomenal.

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Satechi unveils R1 Aluminum Foldable Stand for Switch, Surface, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and more

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In 2017, it is not uncommon for people to own many mobile devices. Using myself as an example, I regularly use an iPhone, iPad, and Nintendo Switch. Let's not forget my portable MacBook Pro too.

If you own a bunch of mobile devices like me, such as a smartphone, tablet, and slim laptop, Satechi has a really cool new product for you. Called "R1 Aluminum Foldable Stand," it aims to provide an optimal viewing experience for all of your devices -- including Nintendo's popular Switch gaming console. When you aren't using it, it can fold up to go into a drawer, laptop bag, or luggage.

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Microsoft makes Visual Studio Code Extension for Arduino open source

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Does Microsoft support open source? Absolutely. The company has released many open source projects, and believe it or not, its has the most open source contributors on GitHub. With that said, Microsoft stops short of being a complete open source proponent. After all, the company makes a lot of money from two of its closed source golden geese -- Windows and Office.

Today, Microsoft releases yet another open source tool -- Visual Studio Code Extension for Arduino. This MIT-licensed code should greatly help developers that are leveraging Arduino hardware for Internet of Things-related projects and more.

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July is 'Anime Month' in Microsoft's Windows Store -- get deals on TV, movies, and games

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If you aren't familiar with Anime, please know that it is essentially just Japanese-originated animation. Not only are the videos offered in short form for television, but as full-length films too. If you don't understand Japanese language, do not worry -- they are offered with either English language dubs or subtitles. These cartoons are not just popular with children, but adults too. Heck, some people even dress up as their favorite Anime characters for things like Comic Con.

Today, Microsoft announces that July is "Anime Month" in the Windows Store. Not only is the company offering great deals on movies and TV shows, but video games based on them too. In fact, there are even some free offerings to be had.

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Linux is not as safe as you think

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There is a notion by many people that Linux-based operating systems are impervious to malware and are 100 percent safe. While operating systems that use that kernel are rather secure, they are certainly not impenetrable. In fact, users are arguably less safe when they believe that stereotype, since they could be less vigilant.

Many of these same people view Windows as being Swiss cheese-like. With that said, would you be surprised if I told you that threat methods for Linux increased an astonishing 300 percent in 2016, while Microsoft's operating systems saw a decrease? Well, according to a new report, that is true.

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AOC unveils beautiful 1080p Porsche-designed PDS241 and PDS271 monitors

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While many consumers are going gaga over high-resolution monitors, let's be honest -- 1080p is still great. For those that want to save money and don't need the latest-and-greatest, a Full-HD offering can be a great way to stay on budget. For gamers in particular, a lower-resolution can allow you to squeeze more performance from a meager graphics card.

Today, AOC unveils a beautiful 1080p monitor designed by Studio F. A. Porsche. It offers 250 cd/m2 brightness in a choice of two sizes -- 24-inch (PDS241) and 27-inch (PDS271). It features a beautifully designed stand and extremely thin bezels. What really makes it stand out, however, is the breakout box that houses the HDMI (no DisplayPort) and power ports; there are no connection options on the monitor body itself.

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Thermaltake releases Toughpower iRGB PLUS 1250W Titanium TT Premium Edition PSU

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While you should never buy any low-quality components for a computer build, I can't stress enough how important it is to never get a cheap no-name power supply unit. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with saving money, but a chintzy PSU has the potential to not only cause instability, but it could even fry your other components. Heck, it could even cause a fire. Please stick with well-known PSU brands, folks.

One such company that offers quality power supply units is Thermaltake. Today, that manufacturer unveils an absolutely beautiful such offering. Called "Toughpower iRGB PLUS 1250W Titanium TT Premium Edition," it features Japanese capacitors, and as the name indicates, it offers an impressive 1,250 watts of power. The 80 PLUS Titanium certified PSU is fully modular, meaning you only need to connect the cables you need -- good for both appearance and cooling. Its RGB fan has 16.8 million colors, which Thermaltake claims is the first ever on a PSU. It even has a mobile app that can alert you to fan failure -- very cool.

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Linux Mint 18.2 'Sonya' Ubuntu-based distro is here with Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, and Xfce

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Another day, another distro! Today, Linux Mint 18.2 achieves stable release. While the usual desktop environments, Cinnamon and Mate, are available immediately, so too are both KDE and Xfce. It is nice to see all four of these flavors released at once, as sometimes the Mint Team opts to stagger them.

Code-named "Sonya," this operating system is based on Ubuntu 16.04 which is a long term support version. This means Linux Mint 18.2 will be supported until 2021. The kernel is fairly modern at version 4.8. To further highlight the continuing death of optical media, the excellent Brasero is no longer being included by default.

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