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HP Is Back: Should It Rename Itself Compaq?
July 17, 2017
HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don't get how incredible this is, so here's an analogy: It's as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You'd seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you'd find Superman's costume.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
The Max-Q: The Coolest Thing Out of Computex
June 5, 2017
I didn't attend Computex this year, and that was sad for everything but my budget, because there was a ton of cool stuff announced at the show. Dell, HP and Lenovo showed off new designs that were both attractive and compelling. Mixed-reality headsets hit; based on Intel and Microsoft technology, they were far more affordable than the strong virtual reality stuff already in market.
PCs Shine Again, but for How Long?
June 1, 2017
Just when PCs looked to be dying a slow, painful death, they became interesting again. As expected, this week's news coming from Computex is flush with new PCs and PC technologies, but is it enough to reinvigorate a market that has faced declining sales since 2011? The market peaked at just over 365 million units annually, and fell to 269 million units last year. So, why all the excitement?
Main Surface Pro Improvements Are Beneath the Surface
May 24, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a refresh of its Surface Pro tablet-laptop computer. Although Microsoft said the fifth generation of the unit has been redesigned from the inside out with more than 800 new custom parts, the Surface Pro looks similar to its predecessor. "If you were looking for a major redesign of Surface, this isn't it," said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
Microsoft Aims to School Google With Education Onslaught
May 3, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday launched a major effort to bulldoze its way into the educational computing space carved out by Google, with the introduction of a streamlined operating system called "Windows 10 S," a range of new collaborative programs for K-12 schools, and two new Surface laptops aimed at the college student market. The Surface laptop runs on the Windows 10 S operating system.
A Window Into the Linux Desktop
April 21, 2017
"What can it do that Windows can't?" That is the first question many people ask when considering Linux for their desktop. While the open source philosophy that underpins Linux is a good enough draw for some, others want to know just how different its look, feel and functionality can get. To a degree, that depends on whether you choose a desktop environment or a window manager.
Take Command of Your Linux System's Processes
April 5, 2017
Who's afraid of the Linux terminal? Not you, if you've learned the basics of navigating your system. But how will these newly acquired skills help improve your computing life? To give you a sense of the terminal's everyday usefulness, here are some examples of tasks the terminal is well-disposed to handle. To start with, system administration is much more straightforward on the terminal.
Don't Let the Next Catastrophic Phishing Scandal End Your Career
March 27, 2017
What I think is amazing about all of the massive data breaches we hear about is that we know most are not reported. For every email, customer record, or financial theft in the news, there likely are hundreds that remain in the shadows. Yet another incident came to light last week. A clever Lithuanian individual was able to pull a whopping $100 million from a bunch of unnamed Internet companies.
WikiLeaks Exposes CIA's Device Surveillance Tricks
March 23, 2017
WikiLeaks has released more Vault 7 documentation online, including details about several CIA projects to infect Apple's Mac computer firmware and operating system. The site unloaded its first batch of stolen Vault 7 data earlier this month. The CIA's Embedded Development Branch developed malware that could persist even if the targeted computer were reformatted and its OS were reinstalled.
Cracking the Shell
March 21, 2017
If you've begun to tinker with your desktop Linux terminal, you may be ready to take a deeper dive. You're no longer put off by references to "terminal," "command line" or "shell," and you have a grasp of how files are organized. You can distinguish between a command, an option and an argument. You've begun navigating your system. Now what? File manipulation lies at the heart of Linux.
The Terminal Is Where Linux Begins - and Where You Should, Too
March 8, 2017
Once you have a sense of the vast potential of Linux, you may be eager to experience it for yourself. Given the complexity of modern operating systems, it can be hard to know where to start. As with many things, computers can be better understood through a breakdown of their evolution and operation. The terminal is not only where computers began, but also where their real power still resides.
Zero W Joins Raspberry Pi Family on 5th Birthday
February 28, 2017
Raspberry Pi turned 5 years old on Tuesday, and to mark the occasion, the foundation announced a new member of the family, the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and a case to go with it. Raspberry Pi Zero W adds wireless LAN and Bluetooth capabilities to tiny computer's growing list of capabilities. Priced at just $10, the device is affordable for anyone who wants to take the Pi for a test drive.
Samsung's Chromebook Pro Earns Respect
February 14, 2017
Some early reviewers of the Samsung Chromebook Pro characterized it as a "MacBook killer," but others were more restrained in their enthusiasm. Jointly developed with Google and first demoed at CES 2017, the Chromebook Pro is slated for release next month. Samsung's Chromebooks basically are lightweight productivity tools that rely heavily on access to cloud-based resources.
Was Apple's Outstanding Q1 a Fluke?
February 6, 2017
Apple had a good quarter, but if you look under the numbers there is a ton of trouble. It just dropped behind Google in brand value, and valuation may crater in a few months. The iPhone 7 did well, but that shouldn't be a surprise, given that its biggest competitor, Samsung, saw its phone literally go up in flames last quarter. The Galaxy 8 is coming, though, and it looks really impressive.
Customizing a Computer? Here's What You Need
January 26, 2017
There are plenty of reasons to build a custom computer. While custom computers may initially be more expensive than prepackaged desktops or laptops, they can provide you with nearly endless possibilities, whether you're looking for a top-notch gaming machine, a system for mixing music, or the ideal choice for developing Web applications. Custom is the way to go for performance and flexibility.
Asus Tinker Board Joins Raspberry Pi on the Bargain Table
January 25, 2017
Just when you thought Raspberry Pi couldn't be knocked from its market-leading perch, along comes Asus with a rival device that may give the Pi a run for its relatively little money. Asus just launched its own low-cost computer, the Tinker Board, which is being sold in the UK and Europe for about $57. Its features could interest open source enthusiasts in doing a little comparison shopping.
Gadget Ogling: The CES Spectacular Edition
January 12, 2017
Trust Razer to come up with something completely ridiculous that I need in my life immediately. Project Ariana is a projector that incorporates Razer's full-spectrum lighting system, Chroma. It uses a wide-angle lens to project images. Its 3D depth-sensing cameras detect objects in a room and adjust for them accordingly so that it still projects a flat image.
CES 2017's Magic
January 9, 2017
CES was a fascinating show this year. One of the things that made it so fascinating was that everyone and their brother had cars demonstrating one form of technology or another. It kind of makes me wonder what we'll see at the next car show -- PCs, drones, tablets and smartphones? That wasn't the only surprise at the show, though. Nvidia, long thought of as living in Intel's shadow, broke out.
Lenovo Surprises With Home Tech Play
January 4, 2017
Lenovo watchers expected the company to announce a number of new laptops when CES rolled around, but the company surprised on Tuesday when it also unveiled new products aimed at the home technology market. "The Smart Assistant and Smart Storage line probably caught everyone off guard," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
Looking Ahead to CES: This Will Be a Big One
January 2, 2017
CES week is here, and it's the one week of the year I look forward to looking back on. CES is a killer show -- not because you are up to your armpits in interesting new products, but because it is so spread out that it'll kill your legs as you hike all over the damn place. One year, I walked so much I actually ripped the soles off both shoes. This show is weird, in that it really comes too early.
Microsoft Trumpets Stellar Surface Sales
December 12, 2016
Microsoft announced robust sales of its Surface line ahead of the holiday season. November was the best month ever for consumer Surface sales, according to Brian Hall, CVP of Microsoft devices marketing. The sudden surge follows this fall's unveiling of the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial, and the Surface Book with Performance Base, which delivers twice the graphics power as its predecessor.
Microsoft and Intel's Project Evo Ups the PC Game
December 9, 2016
Microsoft and Intel have announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in AI, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo's ambitious plans at the WinHEC event in China.
Gadget Ogling: Mac's Back, Nintendo Returns, and Huawei Goes to the Edge
November 5, 2016
Apple has unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, giving the company's core laptop its first full refresh in a few years. The design has metal on all sides, along with a Force Touch trackpad double the size of previous versions. There's a customizable OLED touch strip above the keyboard that responds to gestures and taps, useful for fast access to emoji or secondary controls within an app.
Lenovo's Yoga Book Aims for Top Shelf
November 2, 2016
Lenovo's recently unveiled 2-in-1, the Yoga Book, is available in Android Marshmallow and Windows 10 Home versions. Reviews have been mixed, with some praising its look and feel, but some considering its capabilities not up to scratch. Its Intel Atom processor doesn't provide enough power for a workhorse device, they've argued. The Android version costs $500 and the Windows version goes for $550.
Apple vs. Microsoft: Remixing the Magic
October 31, 2016
What I think is funny in this market is that most people can look at two companies, see the difference in their performance, and not learn the fundamental lesson. The core magic is this: having someone who is running the company who both understands the technology and understands either the customer's current needs -- or how to manipulate customers to need what you make.
Apple Brings a Surprising Touch to MacBook Event
October 28, 2016
Apple on Thursday unveiled two new MacBook Pro laptops, adding a touch more power to the line. Both the new 13-inch and 15-inch models will be offered in silver and space gray. They have a Touch Bar that replaces the row of function keys found on laptops, as well as a Touch ID fingerprint scanner incorporated into the power button. They sport a Force Touch trackpad that's twice the size of the trackpad in previous models.
Microsoft's New Tech Targets Human Creativity
October 27, 2016
Microsoft made a slew of announcements at its New York City event Wednesday, focusing on the idea of user as creator. Among its new offerings: the Surface Studio, an all-in-one desktop computer with a touchscreen that's 12.5mm thick; the Surface Dial, a new input device that provides haptic feedback; the Surface Book i7; VR headsets for Windows 10; and a revamped Paint app with 3D capability.
Gadget Ogling: Magnificent Mics, Intriguing E-Ink, and Compact Computers
October 26, 2016
I've tried dipping my toes into the world of podcasting with a friend this year. We haven't found it easy to get together to record, but for the two trial runs we've had, I bought a Blue Snowball mic. I'm very pleased with the sound quality, so I'm fairly certain I'd be happy to have Blue's latest microphone, Raspberry. It's a gorgeous, portable little thing.
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