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The Emperor Is Naked and We're All Idiots
July 20, 2015
An old fable keeps running through my mind about the scam artist who convinced an emperor that he had created clothing only smart people could see. Everyone says they see the clothing because they don't want to look stupid. Walking around in clothing stupid people can't see doesn't sound enticing anyway, but lately it has seemed clear to me that the folks reporting the news think we are idiots.
Suse Linux Enterprise 12 Says Hello to ARM
July 17, 2015
Suse Linux has announced a partnership to extend support for 64-bit ARM server processors. The goal is to give Suse Linux Enterprise 12 users greater flexibility and cost efficiencies with respect to their infrastructures. This expansion makes available to seven partners a version of Suse Linux Enterprise 12 that lets them develop, test and deliver products to the market using 64-bit ARM chips.
Apple Gives Fans a Taste of New OSes
July 10, 2015
Apple on Thursday released to consumers a preview of the latest versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems -- iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan -- which contain a number of new features, including a revamped two-factor authentication scheme. The latest release of iOS also contains two new smart folders. One collects selfies, and the other aggregates screen shots.
IBM-Led Team Pulls Off Major Chip Feat
July 9, 2015
IBM Research on Thursday announced that an alliance it leads has produced the first 7nm node test chips with functioning transistors. Big Blue's partners are GlobalFoundries, Samsung and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, or SUNY Poly CNSE. The alliance sought to develop industry-first innovations.
Samsung Jams Up Windows Security Updates
June 25, 2015
Samsung has been disabling Windows updates by means of an executable file, Disable_Winduwsupdate.exe, that is part of its SW Update software. The issue came to light on Tuesday, when Microsoft MVP Patrick Barker published a blog post about his discovery when helping a user who was having problems. It seemed that Windows Update kept getting disabled.
Sony Meets Microsoft in Game Console Muscle Match
June 23, 2015
Beefed up and slimmed down, the new 1TB PlayStation 4 Ultimate Player Edition is scheduled to arrive in Japan before this month concludes and then launch in the UK in the middle of July, Sony announced on Sunday. The revised console, bearing twice the storage capacity of its predecessor, will arrive in the U.S. somewhere inside of the two weeks that follow its July 15 launch in the UK.
Gadget Ogling: Wrist-Saving Keyboards, Resource-Saving Smartphones and New Angles on Reality
June 20, 2015
Here to save all our wrists -- or at least those of the populace with a spare $299 to spend on a computer accessory -- is a lovely, wood-finished keyboard called "Keyboardio Model 01." Taking its cue from a long history of ergonomic keyboards, the device splits an atypical keyboard in two, dedicating half the keys to each of your hands, and it's set in a gorgeous maple wood construction.
Linbit Launches New Synchronous Server Storage Software
June 16, 2015
Linbit on Tuesday announced the release of DRBD9, its new distributed replicated block device product. DRBD9 provides enterprise Linux users with synchronous server storage replication including support for native remote direct memory access and OpenStack integration. "It was six years of work and an 80 percent code rewrite to make it happen," said Linbit Business Development Manager Greg Eckert.
Synaptics Gives Spacebar Some New Touches
June 12, 2015
Touchpad pioneer Synaptics has touched up an unlikely area on a keyboard: the spacebar. The company last week announced the availability of its SmartBar technology, which adds gesture features to the bar. For example, text can be selected by swiping it. A double-thumb gesture can be used to zoom in and out on a document or image. SmartBar also includes gesture support for vertical scrolling.
Microsoft's Surface Hub Aims to Unify the Enterprise
June 11, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the Surface Hub, a large-screen device meant to dramatically improve business collaboration. The interactive display marries white boards with presentations, voice with video, speakers with addressees, Android with iOS, and Windows 10 with conference rooms. The Surface Hubs will go on sale July 1 at $6,999 for the 55-inch model and $19,999 for the 84-inch version.
Microsoft Starts Taking Windows 10 Reservations
June 1, 2015
Windows 10 will be available for free to users running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on their PCs or tablets. However, it's likely that once they've been exposed to the full range of possibilities, many of those users will opt to buy a new device that can take full advantage of the operating system. Using the biometric authentication in Windows Hello, for example, likely will require a new PC.
Intel Buys Altera to Fulfill Moore's Law Promise
June 1, 2015
Intel has announced that it will acquire Altera, which makes field-programmable gate array technology, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $16.7 billion. Intel will pay $54 a share. The deal paves the way for Intel to develop new classes of products in the data center and Internet of Things market segments. Altera's share price jumped nearly 6 percent to close at $51.68 on Monday.
Wood Chips: Electronics May Go Back to Nature
May 29, 2015
In a significant step toward a future in which consumers can toss old gadgets onto a compost heap, researchers have proved the viability of placing computer chips on support structures made from wood. This latest advance in green technology could "be used for many things, including mobile devices, displays, solar cells and much more," said UW engineering prof Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma.
Apple vs. Lenovo: Lenovo's Coming-Out Party
May 25, 2015
If there is one vendor on the planet that has the capability to fight Apple -- on paper, it is Lenovo. Lenovo this week will hold its annual Lenovo Tech World event in China, showcasing the company's new breadth. While it would be easy to position this as the U.S. against China, Lenovo is actually far more of a multinational company, with executives balanced between the U.S. and China.
Apple Fiddles With MacBook Pro, iMac Features and Pricing
May 21, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced performance enhancements for the MacBook Pro and a new configuration and price changes for the iMac. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with its Force Touch trackpad and improved flash storage, battery and graphics performance is available immediately online, starting at $1,999. The Force Touch trackpad first appeared in the latest 13-inch MacBook.
Venom Less Toxic Than Heartbleed
May 20, 2015
It was a little over a year ago that the Heartbleed bug shocked the Internet with its potential for mischief. Now another flaw in open source code has sent network administrators into damage control mode. The bug, called "Venom" for "Virtualized Environment Neglected Operations Manipulation," allows an intruder to jump out of a virtual machine and execute malicious code on its host.
Venom Vulnerability Could Violate Virtual Machines
May 14, 2015
Crowdstrike on Wednesday made public its discovery of yet another long-buried Linux vulnerability. "Venom," as it has been dubbed, was unearthed by the firm's senior security researcher, Jason Geffner. It is listed as vulnerability CVE-2015-3456. Venom exists in the virtual floppy drive code used by virtualization platforms based on QEMU, or quick emulator. It has been around since 2004.
Arduboy Could Spark Retro Gaming Revolution
May 13, 2015
Arduboy, a new pocket-sized 8-bit game device, has ignited a firestorm of interest on Kickstarter. With 27 days to go, the campaign already has drawn contributions of more than eight times its modest $25k goal. The rapid funding response could spark a miniature retro revolution. The handheld Arduboy has the potential to divert gamers from smartphones and tablets.
$9 Debian-Based C.H.I.P. Computer Is a Kickstarter Smash
May 11, 2015
C.H.I.P., a Linux-based mini-PC priced at just $9, is receiving an overwhelming response on Kickstarter. Launched last Thursday with a funding goal of $50,000, it has chalked up more than 16,000 backers who have shelled out upwards of $815,000. The project still has 25 days to go. The tiny open source device, made by Next Thing Co., has been dubbed the "Raspberry Pi killer."
Shiny Apple Has a Few Soft Spots
April 29, 2015
Apple on Monday reported another quarter of stellar earnings, detailing its drive to 27 percent revenue growth on the backs of its iPhone, Mac and App Store sales. The company generated $58 billion in revenue in the second quarter -- about a $12 billion increase year over year -- and posted a net profit of $13.6 billion, roughly $3 billion more than the year-ago quarter.
Reactions to New MacBook Run From Tepid to Cold
April 13, 2015
Early reviewers last week weighed in on Apple's new MacBook, and for the most part, they were underwhelmed. The new MacBook is 13.1mm thick, weighs 2 pounds, and has a 12-inch Retina display. Apple has touted it as the future of the notebook, pointing out that it had to reimagine every element to make the device lighter, thinner and better. Critics called it an overpriced netbook.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Google Goes Crazy for Chromebooks
April 1, 2015
Google has announced two new budget-busting Chromebook computers, a tablet/notebook convertible with a full swivel screen, and a Chrome computer-on-a-stick. The Haier Chromebook 11 and the Hisense Chromebook both are available for preorder for $149. The Asus Chromebook Flip will hit the market this spring with a $249 price tag. The Asus Chromebit will be available this summer for less than $100.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.