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HP Offers Versatile PC Gaming Machines for Grown-Ups
June 2, 2016
HP last week introduced several new additions to its Omen by HP gaming hardware line: 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops, a desktop PC and a 32-inch Quad HD4 display. The laptops will be available next month with a starting price of $900; the desktop and display will be available in August at HP online and at select retailers, with pricing as yet undisclosed.
Voyager Offers a Mostly Smooth-Sailing Linux Adventure
June 2, 2016
Voyager Live 16.04 is a Linux distro that could be an ideal choice for everyday computing tasks -- but first it has to step away from its branding with Xubuntu. The once-per-year release of Voyager Live, which hit servers last month, is an Xubuntu-based distribution showcasing the Xfce 4.12.2 desktop environment. It will receive three years of security updates.
What Will HPE Sell Next?
May 30, 2016
I joined a bunch of analysts in discussing Hewlett Packard Enterprise's next move at a secret conclave last week. The company had just announced the sale of its IT services, which basically undid much of Mark Hurd's work as CEO. It already had sold off PCs and printers, more than undoing Carly Fiorina's earlier efforts. Granted, HPE spun it like it was an acquisition.
Rebellin Linux Offers Best of Both Gnome Worlds
May 24, 2016
Rebellin Linux is a smart-looking, fast distro that is both lightweight and secure. It is well worth checking out. The Rebellin line avoids the pitfalls that befall many Debian GNU/Linux derivatives. It does not maintain a warehouse full of desktop versions. It is neither a minimalistic Linux line nor a distro stuffed with bloat from packages typical users will never need.
Google's New Custom Chip May Not Live Up to the Hype
May 23, 2016
Google last week announced the Tensor Processing Unit, a custom application-specific integrated circuit, at Google I/O. TPU was built for machine learning applications and has been running in Google's data centers for more than a year. Google's AlphaGo software, which thrashed an 18-time international Go champion in a match earlier this year, ran on servers using TPUs.
Flaw Puts a Billion Wireless Mice at Risk
May 20, 2016
Wireless mice and keyboards are the perfect accessories for a world in which devices increasingly are shuffling off their connection coils, but those accessories -- especially untethered rodents -- also can create new threats for those who use them. One such threat is Mousejack. The attack exploits a vulnerability found in 80 percent of wireless mice.
Google Plots Home Invasion
May 19, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the company's annual I/O developers conference on Wednesday with a keynote address that included previews of a batch of new products. Among those showcased were Google Assistant, a tool that can understand and respond to complex questions in real time; and Home, Google's highly anticipated response to Amazon's Echo speaker.
BitTorrent Live Aims to Iron Out Live-Streaming Kinks
May 19, 2016
BitTorrent on Tuesday announced at the Internet & Television Expo an application called "BitTorrent Live" that applies its distributed file-sharing technology to video streaming. BitTorrent is able to speed up file downloads by storing pieces of a file on computers throughout the Net and reassembling them when a request is made for the file. BitTorrent Live does the same for streaming live video.
Microsoft, SAP Deepen Partnership to Blend Cloud Offerings
May 18, 2016
Microsoft and SAP have announced plans to integrate their respective cloud-based systems, allowing the SAP HANA database to work with Microsoft Azure, which will enable Office 365 to communicate directly with SAP enterprise apps. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and SAP CEO Bill McDermott sat down before a packed audience at Sapphire Now and outlined how the enhanced partnership will benefit customers.
Forked Debian Beta Is Rough Around the Edges
May 17, 2016
The Devuan GNU/Linux community's much-awaited Devuan Linux Jessie 1.0 beta release is available. It took two years for disgruntled Debian community members to make good on their promise of a systemd-free Debian distro. They rejected a Linux-wide trend to replace older init processes such as Upstart and System V with systemd. The process of forking Debian into Devuan took much longer than expected.
Could the Next Disruptive Consumer Product Be a Flip Phone?
May 16, 2016
Smartphones appear to be losing their luster, and the king of smartphones -- Apple -- clearly is not having a good year. Suddenly, I'm hearing that there is an upswing in flip phones, making this feel a bit like a Game of Thrones episode, when a believed-dead king returns to seize the throne by surprise. Clearly, the market is looking for the next big thing.
Google's Chirp May Try to Drown Out Amazon's Echo
May 13, 2016
The device, which might resemble the OnHub router, would incorporate its Google Now voice assistant technology. Google likely will launch the product later this year, although it's expected to preview it at I/O. The Echo, one of Amazon's biggest product launches in years, combines a speaker with the Alexa personal digital assistant -- voice recognition software that performs numerous functions.
Opera Browser Sips Laptop Juice Rather Than Slurping
May 13, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced a dedicated power-saving mode in the developer version of its Web browser. Tests showed it extended laptop battery life by up to 50 percent against Google Chrome, Opera said. The browser will suggest enabling power-saving mode when a battery has 20 percent of capacity left. Clicking on the battery icon after a laptop is disconnected from its power cable activates it.
Google Gives iOS Users 1st Crack at Gboard App
May 12, 2016
Google on Thursday introduced Gboard, an app that combines search with a new soft keyboard for mobile devices running iOS. Gboard, which supports glide typing, allows users to perform searches from the keyboard without leaving the application they're in. Once the information is found, they can paste it into their application without leaving the keyboard.
Sugar 7.7 Aims for a Sweeter User Experience
May 12, 2016
SugarCRM on Tuesday unveiled Sugar 7.7, the latest version of its CRM package, with several enhancements. A custom tag feature lets any record in the application be tagged for better classification and sharing. A new search UI automatically expands upon selection. The Sugar 7.7 Knowledge Base has been enhanced with an intelligence panel that displays context-sensitive information.
Simplicity Linux Digs Deeper Than Its Puppy Linux Pals
May 12, 2016
Simplicity Linux delivers a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. It is derived from Puppy Linux. Two beta versions released in March offer experimental approaches that stray from the distro's standard releases. If you're familiar with Puppy Linux but have not yet taken Simplicity for a walk, you're missing out some interesting Linux computing experiences.
Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints
May 12, 2016
What's not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April.
Feds to Take a Hard Look at Mobile Device Patch Practices
May 11, 2016
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced a joint investigation into the issue of mobile device security updates. The FTC issued an order requiring Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC America, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics America to provide information about how they issue security updates.
Apple Partners With SAP for Mobile App Dev
May 11, 2016
Apple and SAP last week announced an agreement to create applications for the iPhone and iPad using SAP's HANA data management platform as well as an iOS software development kit and training academy for outside developers and customers. The move marks Apple's latest attempt to break through to the enterprise market and comes at a challenging time for the iPhone and sluggish sales for tablets.
Bill Gates' Open Letter
May 10, 2016
It has been 40 years since Bill Gates wrote his open letter to the software industry complaining that computer hobbyists were stealing his BASIC program. That was so long ago that Wikipedia has a picture of the source code for "Micro-Soft" BASIC on paper tape. A lot of things have changed since then. In the 1970s when Microsoft was getting started, it was common for people to copy, swap or donate software simply because they could.
Clock Is Ticking for Free Windows 10 Upgrade
May 10, 2016
Microsoft last week announced that Windows 10 was running on 300 million PCs and reminded customers that its free upgrade offer would end July 29. After that date, the price to upgrade to Windows 10 Home will be $119. "We're pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.
IBM Extends Open Invitation to Play With Its Quantum Computer
May 10, 2016
IBM last week announced that it would allow researchers and scientists to run experiments using its quantum processor. The IBM Quantum Experience runs on the IBM Cloud. Users will be able to run algorithms and experiments on the quantum processor; work with individual quantum bits, or qubits; and explore tutorials and simulations on the possibilities opened up by quantum computing.
Vivaldi Browser Is a Breath of Fresh Air
May 9, 2016
The Vivaldi browser provides a refreshing approach to traveling along the Internet. It offers something beyond the same old thing in a different skin. Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. The developers built the Vivaldi browser on top of Chromium, which is open source, but added their own proprietary skins. Therefore, Vivaldi's code is not available for review.
Microsoft Challenges Oracle With SQL Server 2016
May 5, 2016
Microsoft this week announced that SQL Server 2016 will be generally available June 1. It will deliver an end-to-end data management and business analytics solution with mission-critical intelligence, according to the company. Built into the software are in-database advanced analytics, in-memory capabilities optimized for all workloads, and a consistent experience from on-premises to the cloud.
Linux Foundation Badges Aim to Separate Wheat From Chaff
May 4, 2016
The Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative project on Tuesday announced a free badge program to help foster security, quality and stability in open source software projects. Through an online app, the CII lets devs determine whether they're following best practices, generally within an hour or so. If they are, they'll receive the badge, which they can display on GitHub and other online properties.
Fedora-Based Sugar on a Stick Is One Sweet Desktop
May 2, 2016
The Fedora 23 Sugar on a Stick desktop offering is an unusually flexible computing desktop for children of all ages, school admins and organizations looking for the best bang for absolutely no bucks on existing computer hardware. The Sugar environment is both a desktop and a collection of activities or apps that involve user engagement. Activities automatically save results to a journal.
HP Chromebook 13 Wins High Praise - for a Chromebook
May 2, 2016
HP and Google last week unveiled the HP Chromebook 13. Designed with input from customers on what they want in a next-generation Chromebook, the device is about 13 mm thick, weighs 2.8 pounds, has a brushed anodized aluminum chassis, and is the first Chromebook to use Intel's sixth-generation Core M processors. It has a USB C port, and HP offers a USB-C docking station as an option at $145.
Microsoft Curbs Cortana in Windows 10
April 30, 2016
Microsoft has decided to restrict its Cortana digital assistant to operating with the Edge browser and Bing search engine in Windows 10. "As Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent [its] design and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana," said Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana.
Salesforce Brings Lightning to Government Cloud
April 29, 2016
Salesforce on Thursday launched Government Cloud Lightning for government agencies, contractors and federally funded R&D centers. It provides a modern, component-based platform and an intuitive user experience, as well as access to Salesforce's partner ecosystem. It lets users build apps for desktops and mobile devices with Lightning App Builder's drag-and-drop visual interface.
Wall Street Pummels Apple After Weak Q2 Earnings Report
April 28, 2016
Apple shares were trading at around $95 as of mid-day Thursday in the wake of the company's disappointing Q2 earnings report. That was even lower than Wednesday's opening price, which was down more than $8 from Tuesday's $104.35 at market close. The company's second-quarter performance was dismal. The iPhone recorded its first drop in sales -- to 51.2 million units, down from 61.2 million in the year-ago quarter.
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Live streaming video...
is the next big thing.
is a passing fad.
will dramatically improve citizen journalism.
will feed a lot more disturbing imagery to the Web.
doesn't interest me.