Brian Fagioli

Kodi 18 'Leia' 64-bit for Windows is finally ready to replace the 32-bit version

There is a lot of software in the world, and much of it is terrible. It is rare that a truly great program comes along that actually disrupts things. When that software is open source, it is even more remarkable. That is why Kodi is such an impressive program. The open source project has impacted the way much of the world consumes music, movies, TV and more -- both legitimately obtained media and pirated content.

Earlier this year, we shared with you that a pre-release version of Kodi 18 "Leia" 64-bit for Windows was available. There was a big catch, however -- it was not up to par with its 32-bit brother. And so, many people just stuck with the 32-bit version, because, well... why not? It is finally time to make the jump to the 64-bit variant, however, as according to the Kodi team, it is now identical to the 32-bit version from a feature perspective.

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Apple apologizes for slowing down iPhones, but we should actually be thanking them for doing it!

iOS is the best mobile operating system on the planet. End of story. Android is a solid choice too, but fragmentation and a lack of device updates makes it a non-starter for many. Pixel and Nexus devices aside, many users of Google's operating system get stranded on phones and tablets with known exploits. It is a mess.

I say all of this to highlight how great a job Apple does with supporting older devices. The company could easily stop issuing OS updates to a device after a couple of years, but instead, it chooses to reward its customers with very long support -- the iPad 2, for instance, was supported for five years. That's why today's Apple apology seems out of place. You see, the company is apologizing for slowing down older iPhone devices in an effort to make aging batteries last longer. The thing is, we shouldn't be forgiving Apple for this -- we should be thanking them!

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G.SKILL Ripjaws 64GB DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM Kit is world's fastest at 3,466MHz CL17-17-17-37

There have been many RAM kits being touted as the world's fastest lately. It almost feels like an "arms race" where memory-makers are looking to outdo each other. For instance, both G.SKILL and Corsair recently claimed to have the fastest 32GB DDR4 SO-DIMM kit in the world. While both kits shared the same clock speed, the former beat the latter thanks to lower CAS latency.

Today, G.SKILL continues to brag about being the world's fastest, but this time, it is regarding its all-new 64GB DDR4 SO-DIMM kit. The 4x16GB kit runs at an impressive 3,466MHz with CL17-17-17-37 timings using 1.35V. Like the aforementioned 32GB SO-DIMM kit, these sticks are not designed for typical all-in-one computers or laptops, but instead, some desktops using the Intel X299 chipset.

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Garmin launches vívofit 4 activity tracker with insane 1+ year battery life

Wearables haven’t exactly lit the world on fire. Quite frankly, devices such as Apple Watch and Android Wear watches have been disapointments for some. Yeah, Apple’s offering has seen respectable sales — for the “watch” category at least — but it’s hardly on the same level as the iPhone or iPad from a disruption standpoint. Not to mention, having to charge it daily is a definite pain-point.

Where wearables seem to shine, however, is for fitness. Fitness-focused devices have more of a purpose — they aren’t just glorified wrist-worn alert annoyances like Apple Watch. Today, Garmin unveils it’s latest fitness wearable and it looks quite nice. Called “vívofit 4,” it has an always-on color display and get this — the battery lasts more than a year. Wait, what?!

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Opera 50 web browser will offer anti-Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining feature

Opera may not be the most popular web browser, but it is certainly one of the most feature-full offerings. Quite frankly, it is actually quite good, and if you haven't tried it recently, you should. Not to mention, it is very much a cross-platform affair, offering versions for Windows, macOS, Linux desktop, Android, iOS, and more.

The upcoming version 50 of the Opera web browser is particularly intriguing. Why? Well, it will offer a really cool integrated anti-Bitcoin mining feature. Besides Bitcoin, it will also block the mining of other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Ethereum. If you aren't aware, some websites are hijacking user computers to mine for cryptocurrencies. This is not only a potential violation of trust, but it can negatively impact the computer's performance too. Mining is also a huge waste of electricity. Opera 50 will offer an optional setting that, when enabled, blocks this nonsense.

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Christmas comes early! LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.2 Kodi Linux distro is here

Christmas is almost here, and I don't know about y'all, but I am thrilled. While I am looking forward to spending time with family and thinking about the birth of Jesus, I am not ashamed to say I am excited about presents too!

Today, Christmas comes a bit early thanks to a new LibreELEC (Krypton) release. Version 8.2.2 of the Kodi-focused Linux-based operating system is being called a minor release, but it is still a very special gift for users of the media center. After all, version 8.2.1 was previously called the final Krypton version, but as we now know, it wasn't.

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'Creepy' Eric Schmidt no longer Executive Chairman at Alphabet (Google)

Google -- err, Alphabet -- has become rather stagnant lately. The company that once pushed innovation has seemingly become, well, boring. The once young and happening search giant has become rather corporate, playing things fairly safe. To make matters worse, its own Pixel Android flagships have been plagued with problems lately. To the dismay of many, the search giant is recently acting like a bully removing YouTube access from Amazon devices -- a really rotten thing to do.

Alphabet could really use a shakeup in its leadership team, and today, it happens. The company announces that Eric Schmidt will be stepping down as the Executive Chairman effective next month. He won't be leaving entirely, however, as he will instead take on the role of "technical advisor" while also remaining a member of the board.

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Microsoft's WebTV returns as Firefox for Amazon Fire TV

Surfing the web on your television is hardly new. In fact, WebTV (later renamed MSNTV) launched over 20 years ago. If you don't remember that device, it was essentially a box that connected to a television and let people surf the web and access email. It was marketed towards those that were adverse to buying or using a full-fledged computer, such as grandma and pop-pop. Over time, its popularity decreased, and ultimately, the service was shutdown by its eventual owner -- Microsoft.

Accessing a web browser on a TV-connected device remains an easy affair, but starting today, it may be even easier. You see, the Firefox web browser is now available for the low-cost Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. In other words, if you know someone who doesn't want a computer but could benefit from occasional web browsing, Amazon's media box may be a great option. I guess you could say that Firefox for Amazon Fire TV is sort of the new WebTV!

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Spotify now available as a Snap for Linux

If you are a user of Linux on the desktop, you know it can be quite annoying when you can’t use a popular app or service that is available on other platforms. While Windows and Mac certainly have more access to premium apps, Linux is no slouch. In fact, Linux is getting more and more love from developers nowadays. For example, Linux-based operating systems have official support for programs like Dropbox, Skype, and Spotify.

Speaking of Spotify, the most popular streaming music service in the world has long supported Linux-based operating systems. Installing the official app was not an easy affair, however. Today this changes, as installation gets much simpler. You see, Spotify is now officially available as a Snap for easy installation on Snap-supporting operating systems such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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G.SKILL unveils Ripjaws 4000MHz CL18-18-18-38 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4 SO-DIMM kit

Just last week, Corsair announced the world’s fastest 32GB SODIMM DDR4 kit at 4,000MHz. And now, Corsair’s kit is no longer king of the hill. The technology world moves fast, eh?

Why is it no longer the fastest? Because today, G.SKILL bests Corsair with a new 32GB SODIMM DDR4 kit. While the speed is the same at 4,000MHz, the CAS latency on G.SKILL’s Ripjaws kit gives it an edge.

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Microsoft unveils Xbox One S Holiday Bundles starting at $199!

If you are a console gamer, Microsoft has a lot to offer with Xbox One right now. Of course, those that can afford it should pick up the godly Xbox One X -- a true 4K gaming machine. Don't have $500 to spend on an Xbox? Don't worry -- the Xbox One S can play the exact same games -- albeit at 1080p. With that said, the "S" variant can play 4K Blu-ray movies, however -- all at a fraction of the cost of the Xbox One X.

Today, Microsoft makes that price difference even more substantial. You see, for a mere $199, you can get an Xbox One S bundled with a free game! In other words, it costs less than half of an Xbox One X and comes with a game -- how can you beat that?

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AOC unveils 1080p 'G90 series' gaming monitors with 144Hz refresh and AMD FreeSync

While 4K is a popular resolution at the moment, it isn't always big with PC gamers. Why? Well, UHD can be very taxing on a graphics card, leading to lower frame rate. Not to mention, 4K monitors are still fairly pricey by comparison. Depending on your hardware, you might have a more enjoyable experience using a lower resolution, such as the trusty 1080p. For example, some people would rather get 60fps with 1920x1080 than 30fps with 3840x2160 -- I know I would.

Today, AOC unveils a trio of new 1080p gaming monitors that are aimed at PC gamers on a budget. All three feature AMD FreeSync technology, while two of them also have 144Hz refresh for extra-smooth motion. The very small bezels and red color makes them look very attractive too.

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Twitter Insiders is dead

Today, the Twitter Insiders program dies. Wait, you didn't know such a thing existed? You aren't alone. It certainly wasn't a household name, and interest in it was apparently quite low. As a result, Twitter is temporarily ending the program as of December 22, 2017.

If you aren't familiar, Twitter Insiders was a survey program that was announced in June of 2016. Data analysts from a company called "C Space" would solicit feedback from Twitter users that signed up. The program would not only ask for feedback about Twitter, but other brands and topics too. While some of the survey feedback was given for free, Twitter would sometimes pay users for participating too -- a dollar here, five dollars there -- nothing significant. And now it is dead.

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Western Digital My Book Duo 20TB USB-C external RAID hard disk drive [Review]

Nowadays, more and more consumers are embracing the cloud for data storage and backup. This is not a mistake -- it is smart to store your files off premises. With that said, it is even smarter to also store the data locally for redundancy purposes. For instance, with local storage, if your internet connection is down, you can still access your files. With the cloud, if there is a disaster -- such as a house fire -- your data can be retrieved even if your local storage drives are destroyed. In other words, using the cloud and local storage together gives you the best of both worlds.

Picking local storage can be tricky, however. For cost purposes, a mechanical hard disk drive is still your best bet for backup. If you have a desktop, you can probably buy an internal drive, but laptop users aren't often as lucky. If you own a notebook, you most likely need to opt for an external USB drive. With USB 3.0 being fast enough for connecting a mechanical hard drive, even desktop users should probably consider it for convenience. I have been testing a very intriguing new external USB-C HDD with my MacBook Pro (running High Sierra). What makes the drive so special? It features 20TB of storage!

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Linux Mint 18.3 'Sylvia' Xfce and KDE editions are available for download

Linux Mint is killing the KDE version of its operaring system -- a move some people applaud. That's what makes the new 18.3 version -- named "Sylvia" -- so frustrating. It's bizarre to release a new version of an operating system that essentially has no future. But oh well, here we are. After a short beta period, the KDE distro is now available for download -- if you still care. I recommend that KDE loyalists just switch to Kubuntu or Netrunner, but I digress.

Despite being the final version of Linux Mint KDE, it is still a great alternative to the consistently disappointing Windows 10. After all, it has been discovered that Microsoft is bundling a bug-ridden password-manager with its operating system without user consent! How can you trust such an OS?! Sigh.

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