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Vinux Enhances Productivity for Visually Impaired Users
November 23, 2015
Vinux 5.0 is a striking example of the flexibility and usability of the Linux OS. Vinux is a fully functional Linux distro that caters to blind and partially sighted users. It's based on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04.3 LTS and gives users support through 2019. The latest version was released earlier this month. It greatly improves on the usability features of other Linux distributions.
HPE Closes Ranks With Microsoft on Windows 10
November 23, 2015
Microsoft last week announced a collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to push Windows 10 solutions to enterprises worldwide. The collaboration will occur in three areas: cloud, productivity and mobility. The move harks back to the strategy Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined last year, saying the company would focus on cloud, mobile and empowering users everywhere.
Microsoft Doubles Down on Open Source
November 20, 2015
Microsoft this week announced at its Connect conference in New York City an expansion of its developer tools with a focus on Linux, Android and open source. The move is an effort to help close the gap between Microsoft's developer platforms and the open source world. The programs include free access for developers who are getting started, updates to .NET, and the renaming of Visual Studio Online.
Nvidia Updates Shield Tablet, Shaves $100 Off Price
November 20, 2015
Nvidia this week revealed a refreshed Shield Tablet K1 and indicated that it isn't done updating the gaming slate. One of the biggest parts of the refresh is a cut of $100 off the price of the 16-GB tablet. The original Shield Tablet was available in a $299 16-GB version and a $399 32-GB variant. A new battery replaces the fire-prone cells that caused a recall of the original Shield Tablets.
Microsoft Retools Minecraft to Teach Kids to Code
November 18, 2015
Microsoft on Monday announced that its Mojang unit's Minecraft will star in Code.org's third annual Hour of Code event in December. A 2-D tutorial version of Minecraft will introduce players ages 6 and older to simple coding, encouraging them to mine and craft by using visual programming, Microsoft said. Players then can engage in a bundle of 14 challenges to reinforce what they've learned.
Ubuntu Studio Is a Treasure Trove for Creative Types
November 17, 2015
Ubuntu Studio 15.10 is a one-stop Linux OS shop for most creative people. It bundles a nearly full range of multimedia content-creation applications for workflows involving audio, graphics, video, photography and publishing. The developers describe this distro as a multimedia content-creation hub for all five creative workflows. The last element -- publishing -- is the weakest link.
Will Apple Beat the Enterprise Curse?
November 16, 2015
Given that it is basically a big iPad with a better keyboard option and stylus support, the iPad Pro has been getting decent reviews. It can be classified as a first-generation product -- and as such, it does far better than most. However, there have been a huge number of companies in Apple's space that have gone under or stalled when they broadened their focus from the consumer to target IT.
Apple Faces Twitter Storm Over Mac App Security Glitch
November 14, 2015
Apple faced the wrath of legions of Mac users after it reportedly allowed a security certificate to expire on Wednesday, leaving customers unable to use some apps. The expiration appeared to impact a number of apps, including Acorn, Byword, Daisy Disk, Tweetbot and 1Password. It's likely that the incident occurred due to problems with the security certificate management system.
Linux Leaders Join HPC Devs on Open Source Framework
November 13, 2015
The Linux Foundation on Thursday announced that it's forming the OpenHPC Collaborative Project to push the software supply to support high-powered computing. The project will provide a new open source framework to meet HPC's application demands and parallel runtime requirements. The framework will provide upstream project components, tools and interconnections to enable the software stack.
Valve's Steam Gaming Hardware Hits Home
November 13, 2015
Valve this week rolled out the hardware phase of its road map from bedrooms and basements to living rooms and lounge areas with its long-awaited video game controller, PC link box and Steam boxes. Valve's road map to the living room began with Big Picture mode in 2011, continued with in-home streaming in 2014, and now includes the new Steam hardware.
CFOs Calculate Benefits of Cloud ERP
November 13, 2015
One of the clear indications that the cloud movement is becoming mainstream is the growing number of CFOs and finance departments that are adopting Software as a Service solutions to support their corporate responsibilities. Even more interesting is how cloud-based alternatives can redefine the accounting and financial management function in forward-minded organizations.
Purism's Librem 13 Linux Laptop Is Sleek, Private and Secure
November 12, 2015
The combination of custom-made hardware paired with a tweaked Linux OS makes the Librem laptop lineup a unique offering with several innovative security features not offered in any other computer. The Librem line is a work in progress. The operating system just reached version 2.0 and comes preinstalled on the hardware built with the modified Linux kernel in mind.
iPad Pro: The Thrill Is Gone
November 12, 2015
Apple this week began selling its iPad Pro, but the newly introduced device is failing to evoke the enthusiasm the company's line of tablets traditionally has seen. Reviewers gave the device high marks for its battery life, screen, speakers, light weight and Pen, but panned the keyboard, the lack of a touchpad and 3D Touch, its long charging times and its price.
Microsoft Hands Cloud Data Control to German Trustee
November 12, 2015
Microsoft announced it will offer its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM cloud services to business clients using two Germany-based data centers hosted by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. The arrangement will protect the integrity and privacy of customer data, the company said. The data centers will be under the control of T-Systems, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, which will act as data trustee.
Google Opens Floodgates for TensorFlow Development
November 10, 2015
Google released TensorFlow, its second-generation machine learning system, to the open source community. It's offering TensorFlow as a standalone library with associated tools, tutorials and examples under the Apache 2.0 license. Google uses TensorFlow in deep learning, Google Search and other applications. Apps built with TensorFlow can move seamlessly from desktops to mobile phones.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ventures Into Machine Learning
November 10, 2015
Microsoft last week revealed some new details about Dynamics CRM 2016, emphasizing functionality designed to empower customer service agents. It will be released in both cloud and on-premises versions in Q4. It will be available as a standalone application or as an add-on to Office 365. "This is a big release for Microsoft," said Nucleus Research's Rebecca Wettemann.
BlackBerry's Priv Puzzles the Tech World
November 9, 2015
BlackBerry on Friday released its Priv smartphone, its first Android-based device. The Android 5.1.1 Lollipop slider is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor and an Adreno 418 GPU. It's stocked with 3 GB of low-power RAM and 32 GB of storage. There's an 18-MP shooter on its backside and a 2-MP chat cam on its face.
Why Tablets Are Tanking
November 9, 2015
Boy, we really have gone full circle on tablets -- and not just once. Back when the Windows tablets first came to market, a whole bunch of us predicted it wouldn't be long before they replaced all of the notebooks. I don't think they even made it to 10 percent before the tablet market collapsed, and the pre-existing forms reclaimed their shares. Then the iPad launched.
Microsoft and Red Hat Collaborate in the Cloud
November 6, 2015
Microsoft and Red Hat on Wednesday announced a deal that bridges their cloud technologies, which have been separated by the competing Windows and Linux platforms. The partnership lets customers migrate their data to either Microsoft Azure or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It also integrates features in both cloud systems so customers can use them interchangeably.
Microsoft Hits the Brakes on OneDrive
November 5, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday said it would stop offering unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 customers and would cut the amount of free storage it offers. Some users abused the unlimited feature, exceeding 75 TB per user, or 14,000 times the average, the company said. Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers no longer will get unlimited storage. They'll get 1 TB of storage for free.
Cortana for iOS Enters Beta Territory
November 4, 2015
Microsoft this week launched a survey for Windows Insiders, seeking candidates for a limited beta of Cortana for iOS. "We're testing the Cortana for iOS app with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing [it] publicly," said Microsoft spokesperson Jennifer Reynolds. The full app is slated for release later this year. Selected testers will get the app in the next few weeks.
GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux
November 4, 2015
GALPon MiniNo is one of the strangest and most distinctive Linux distros to grace the Linux Picks and Pans computer screens. Those two traits make it an almost ideal option for anyone looking for a reliable operating system for youngsters and educational facilities that cater to early education students. PicarOS Diego 2015 is the latest in the GALPon MiniNo family of Linux products.
OpenWorld's Substance Feast
November 4, 2015
For once, Oracle OpenWorld went long on substance. That's hard to do when you have so many products to discuss and Larry Ellison pontificating, but he was both under control and substantive -- though he couldn't resist taking a few shots at competitors. Oracle's team hardly ever sees SAP and IBM in deals these days, he announced, and he gave due praise to cloud pioneers NetSuite and Salesforce.
Gadget Ogling: Titanic Tablets, Eminent Earphones, and Wee Win 10 PCs
November 3, 2015
Samsung certainly is testing the boundaries of what a tablet can be with its latest device, the Galaxy View. The Galaxy View houses an octa-core, 1.6-GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, which is expandable through a microSD slot. That all sounds well and good, but consider the following: This Android device is an absolute monster.
HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Go Separate Ways
November 2, 2015
The long-awaited split of HP's personal computer and enterprise operations has taken place, and CEO Meg Whitman clearly faces the most challenging crisis of her career -- trying to save a legacy business from being buried by the sands of time and progress. HP on Monday began its first official business day as a house divided into two brand new $50 billion enterprises.
Chrome OS Is Dead, Long Live Chrome OS?
October 31, 2015
Google reportedly is two years into a plan to consolidate the Chrome operating system and Android and plans to roll out a combined OS in 2017. Chromebooks running the Chrome OS have gained adoption as entry-level computers for students and as a low-cost option for a growing number of corporate customers. "Chrome OS isn't being killed," said a source familiar with the company's strategy.
BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously
October 30, 2015
BackBox Linux 4.4 is a great Linux distro for IT and other techies who want to do their own penetration tests and security assessments. The latest version, released this month, is an Ubuntu 14.04.3-based distribution that's speedy and simple to use. It's a fully functional Linux distro that comes well stocked with standard software and runs a desktop environment based on the Xfce window manager.
Tablets Losing Ground to Big Smartphones, Light PCs
October 30, 2015
Global demand for tablets continued a year-long slide, as shipments fell for the fourth consecutive quarter amid signs of market saturation in North America, Asia and Western Europe, IDC noted in a report released Thursday. Worldwide shipments fell 12.6 percent year-over-year to 48.6 million during the third quarter, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker.
Element 14 to Bake Custom Raspberry Pi's
October 29, 2015
Element14 on Tuesday revealed an exclusive agreement to offer OEM customers bespoke designs based on the Raspberry Pi platform. Raspberry Pi -- which has seen success in the educational and maker fields -- is targeting commercial manufacturers and the Internet of Things, signing up Premier Farnell through the latter's element14 brand to customize its boards.
Qualcomm Unveils Muscle Camera for Surveillance Systems
October 28, 2015
Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a muscle video camera for surveillance systems. Part of the company's Snapdragon 618 IP camera platform, it combines a six-core, 64-bit processor; next-generation graphics crunching; and embedded digital signal processing. The unit can perform advanced video analytics, which can reduce cloud processing and storage costs provide more reliable analytics, Qualcomm said.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.