BrianFagioli writes: Here I sit in January with a very difficult decision — should I cancel my Switch pre-order? Part of me is fearful to cancel in case I have second thoughts, but the realist in me knows that I probably won't use the thing as there are no games that interest me. Why buy a console on March 3 when Mario does not come out until Q417? I mean, after the failure that is the Wii U, does Nintendo really deserve my money based on future potential? I say no.
BrianFagioli writes: So what is new? The KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment is the star of the show — after all, if you do not want KDE, you wouldn't choose this version. The shipping Linux kernel is 4.4.0-53, which is surprisingly outdated. Ubuntu-based operating systems are never known for being bleeding-edge, however.
BrianFagioli writes: Today, JetBlue announces something miraculous for travelers. Every one of its passengers will have access to free in-flight high-speed Wi-Fi, which it calls 'Fly-Fi'. This is on every single aircraft in its fleet. In other words, if you are flying JetBlue, you get free high-speed internet
BrianFagioli writes: Today, Google announces that it is enhancing the museum-going experience with its Tango technology by way of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro Android smartphone. Attendees can request one of the devices before touring the Detroit Institute of Arts, allowing them to interact with some of the exhibits in exciting new ways.
"With Tango's location and augmented reality (AR) capabilities, you'll soon be able to experience museums around the world in a whole new way — starting with the Detroit Institute of Arts. In partnership with GuidiGO, the Detroit Institute of Arts has built Lumin, a mobile tour that uses Tango capabilities to add AR interactivity and information to further enrich your visit. When you visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, just head to the front desk and ask for the Tango enabled Lenovo Phab 2 Pro phone to explore a variety of works," says Justin Quimby, Tango Senior Product Manager, Google.
BrianFagioli writes: Today, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' Xfce Edition reaches Beta status. As with other versions of Linux Mint 18.1, this version is based on Ubuntu 16.04 and offers support until 2021. The kernel version is 4.4 and the Xfce environment is updated to 4.12.
From a software perspective, there is a major shakeup regarding the included default music player. Banshee has been banished, with the superior Rhythmbox taking its place. While both players have their merits, the Linux Mint team points to bugs and a lack of Banshee development as a reason for the switch.
BrianFagioli writes: Today, Kingston announces a product that may get people excited about flash drives again. The company has created a 2TB pocket flash drive (also available in 1TB), called DataTraveler Ultimate GT (Generation Terabyte). This is now the world's largest capacity USB flash drive.
"Power users will have the ability to store massive amounts of data in a small form factor, including up to 70 hours of 4K video on a single 2TB drive. DataTraveler Ultimate GT offers superior quality in a high-end design as it is made of a zinc-alloy metal casing for shock resistance. Its compact size gives the tech enthusiast or professional user an easily portable solution to store and transfer their high capacity files," says Kingston.
BrianFagioli writes: If you are a fan of KDE, I hope you are aware of Netrunner Desktop. If not, please know that it is one of he most polished Linux distributions available. If you haven't tried it, you definitely should — it is a wonderful "out of the box" experience. It is a great choice for those looking to switch from Windows too.
Today, the operating system reaches version 17.01. Code-named "Baryon," it is based on the upcoming Debian 9 "Stretch." Users can choose to either run the OS as a stable release or opt for a more bleeding-edge rolling release.
BrianFagioli writes: While you could configure the laptop with a touchscreen, there was no option for a convertible 2-in-1 version, sadly. This was particularly disappointing, since Windows 10 works wonderfully on both a laptop and a tablet. This is soon to change, apparently, as Dell has leaked a new version of the laptop — seemingly by accident — on its website.
Other than one image (seen at the top of the page) and a model number (9365), we do not know much. With that said, it is safe to assume that it will be a great machine — the company is just enhancing an already popular laptop. It should have up-to-date 7th generation Intel Kaby Lake processors, of course.
BrianFagioli writes: One such focused OS is OpenELEC. This Linux distribution is designed to serve as a media center — nothing more, nothing less. Today, the popular distro reaches stable version 7.0. There are images for both x86 and Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, meaning there is a very good chance you own compatible hardware.
OpenELEC 7.0 release contain a Kodi major version bump. If you are updating from OpenELEC 6.0 or earlier we strongly recommend you perform a full backup before performing a manual update. If you experience issues please perform a soft-reset to clear OpenELEC and Kodi settings
BrianFagioli writes: Facebook holds the first, second, and eighth spots — remember, the company owns Instagram too. Google has the most number of spots in the top 10, with three, four, five, six, and seven. Rounding out the bottom of the list is Apple and Amazon. Google Play is sort of a weird inclusion, however, as it is the app which downloads other apps — it probably should have been excluded. Amazon saw insane growth, seeing a massive 43 percent year-over-year gain. Instagram comes in at second place with 36 percent. Facebook Messenger scores the third spot.
The biggest surprise is that Apple Music is the top streaming music app, beating apps like Pandora and Spotify. As a user of Apple's music service, I know it is the best, but I am still surprised because other music apps had huge head-starts.
BrianFagioli writes: While iRobot Roomba is probably the most recognizable robot vacuum, Samsung is hoping consumers will choose its new POWERbot VR7000 instead. What makes this vacuum particularly interesting, is that it is compatible with Amazon Echo. As can be expected from a modern robot vacuum, the POWERbot VR7000 uses mapping to "remember" the details of your home, so that it can clean more efficiently. It can even detect your floor types, such as hardwood or carpet. If you have both, it will adjust itself accordingly — very cool.
BrianFagioli writes: Ultimately, there are two things I want from headphones — for them to be comfortable and to offer good audio quality. In my experience, AirPods fail on both. Keep in mind, your experience might be different. Yes, there is a lot of cool technology in them, but if they hurt me, they have got to go. I will soon be returning them to my local Apple Store.
BrianFagioli writes: Today, Acer announces its Aspire C Series all-in-one desktops. The machines come in two screen sizes, both with 1080p resolution â" 21.5-inch (22) and 23.8-inch (24). What is particularly cool, however, is the operating system that they run. Of course, Windows 10 Home is available as default, but if a consumer prefers, they can opt to have a Linux-based OS instead (Linpus Linux). How cool is that?
BrianFagioli writes: The Raspberry Pi Foundation describes PIXEL as the âoeGNU/Linux we would want to useâ and understandably so. It offers a smart, clean interface, a decent selection of software, the Chromium web browser with plug-ins, and more â" and from today itâ(TM)s available for PC and Mac.
The version of Debian+PIXEL for x86 platforms is described as âoeexperimentalâ but having taken it for a spin, it seems pretty stable to me.
BrianFagioli writes: USB-C is proving to be quite the wonderful connector. It is being used on many devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This means you can often charge multiple devices using a single power adapter — very convenient for those that like to pack light. You can also connect things like flash drives to both PCs and mobile devices — very cool.
Apple recently released its newest MacBook Pro, and it only has USB-C ports for connectivity; it even charges using these ports. The power brick is surprisingly chunky, however, meaning it can take up a good amount of room in a bag. If you desire a smaller charger for your MacBook or other USB-C devices, I have good news. Today, FINsix announces the DART-C, which it claims is the 'world’s smallest' USB-C laptop charger.