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Build Your Own Simple Linux Banking Tool
December 03, 2013
The Linux OS lacks an effective yet simple checking and banking tool. There are money-management tools for Linux users, of course, but most full-fledged offerings are overkill for monitoring spending patterns and balancing financial accounts. In general, Linux financial applications are either too complex to use without an accounting degree or too simple to be truly useful.
Geek Pulse Promises an Affordable Audio Adventure
December 03, 2013
If you've ever had the opportunity to sit through a retailer's comparative demonstration of high-end audio equipment, you'll know that the more expensive the living room audio gear gets, the better it sounds. Amazing, but true -- they're not lying. The big problem is that you're going to come to the unfortunate realization that you need to hand over many, many thousands of dollars to buy the best stuff.
IT at Home: Nexus 5, Mohu Leaf, Toyota RAV4 EV
December 03, 2013
My regular job involves writing and talking almost exclusively about business IT, but every once in a while I like to consider how personal technology impacts my day-to-day life. Three acquisitions have come my way in the past couple of months: the Nexus 5; the Mohu Curve 30; and a 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV. I'll preface this by saying I've been a Google phone user since the original G1 hit the street.
Steam Machine on Track to Switch Up Video Gaming
November 30, 2013
iBuyPower reportedly is working on prototypes of a commercial Steam machine. Valve recently announced that it was working with multiple OEMs to bring Steam gaming machines to market in 2014. All will run its Linux-based SteamOS. The iBuyPower device is the first Steam machine prototype unveiled by a third party so far, but Valve is said to be working on its own prototype.
Xbox One Party's On
November 20, 2013
Just one week after its biggest rival hit the market, Microsoft's new console, the Xbox One, will go on sale with a series of splashy events to mark the launch. From the stroke of midnight on Nov. 22, a new war will be under way. While Sony is focusing on game play with the PlayStation 4, Microsoft is pitching the Xbox One as a home entertainment hub.
Panono Throws Photography for a Loop
November 19, 2013
Here's a new take on the point-and-shoot camera: It's the throw-and-catch camera. Called "Panono," this throwable, panoramic device contains multiple fixed-focus cameras that shoot simultaneously, allowing you to capture "everything in every direction," in the words of its creators, who are now seeking funding on Indiegogo. Toss the ball-like device into the air and it captures the 360-degree spherical scene.
All Things Appy: 5 Best Windows 8 Apps for the Home
November 15, 2013
Here's a look at the top five free Windows 8 apps for the home. Among the offerings covered in this week's All Things Appy are apps for Windows 8-based home-tech hacking on the cheap -- or not so cheap -- plus cooking, home repair, gawking and some spiritual guidance. Remodelista, for example, includes some great ideas for repurposing, including door mats made from recycled fire hoses.
Reactive Grip Brings a Magic Touch to Gaming Control
November 12, 2013
If you think about the failings of existing game controls next time you're playing, you might come up with touch feedback -- the game's tactile responses to your actions. Video has improved over the years partly because of increased computer processing power; audio improvements have been due to improved sound engineering. We're also finally beginning to see usable virtual and augmented reality.
Apps Lineup Promises Xbox One Entertainment Edge
November 08, 2013
Microsoft on Friday announced the first wave of entertainment apps for its upcoming Xbox One video game console, which will arrive in stores Nov. 22. In the United States, the announced apps for the Xbox One include streaming-video offerings from Amazon Instant Video, ESPN, Fox Now, Hulu Plus, Machinima, Netflix, Redbox Instant by Verizon, the NFL on Xbox One, and VUDU, among others.
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
October 31, 2013
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and local governments can all provide copious documentation on ways to prepare for weather and other disasters, but it's often geared towards perishable food and single-family homeowners in the 'burbs -- not information-hungry urban dwellers. Typically omitted are some very simple tricks that you can put into play now.
Netflix Mulls Silver-Screen Debut
October 29, 2013
Netflix has already produced original content including Emmy-nominated House of Cards, but now it looks like the over-the-top streaming service may be interested in producing feature films destined for the silver screen as well. Specifically, instead of making made-for-TV features, Netflix hopes to make movies for theaters and show them on its service at the same time.
Neurio Turns Your House Into a Learning Home
October 24, 2013
Many of us are about to face higher winter heating bills this winter. Some suppliers, like the predominant British Gas in the UK, are raising prices by up to 8 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, meanwhile, reckons on a staggering 13 percent increase this year for those using mainly natural gas to heat homes in the U.S. There's not much one can do about it. We need heat.
Sony Gets Its Videogame Mojo Working
October 21, 2013
Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console showed in September that it still was able to pack a bit of a punch, dethroning Microsoft's Xbox 360, according to the NPD Group. The Xbox 360 had been the top-selling video console for 32 straight months since January 2011. The Xbox 360 also passed a significant milestone, though, with more than 80 million systems sold worldwide.
Insecurity and the Internet of Things, Part 1: Data, Data Everywhere
October 15, 2013
The Internet is actualizing the vision of a global village today. Cars are becoming infotainment centers with online connections; printers, home appliances and even door locks are being connected to the Internet; and some cities have begun putting in hundreds of sensors to help them better manage their buildings and utilities. The world is fast becoming interconnected, in other words.
Netflix Is Thinking Inside the Cable Box
October 14, 2013
Netflix may be angling to provide streaming content to cable subscribers. It apparently is exploring deals with Comcast and Suddenlink Communications to launch an app for set-top boxes. Netflix streams its content through Web-connected TVs; media players such as Apple TV and Roku; video game consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony; and many Blu-ray players.
Nest Brings Brains and Brawn to Smoke Detection
October 09, 2013
The company that brought Apple-style elegance to the lowly home thermostat is attempting to do the same for the common smoke detector. Nest Labs, founded by Apple emigres Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, on Tuesday announced Nest Protect, a US$129 combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector with more smarts than others in the market.
The 'Catastrophic' Tesla S Fire: A Perspective
October 07, 2013
A Tesla S caught fire last week. I have a lot of experience with cars, with lithium-ion batteries -- and with both cars and batteries catching fire. For a time, I was the lead battery analyst in the U.S., and my house nearly burned down when a lithium-ion battery pack decided to fail while charging. Thank goodness I'd also been trained to fight fires.
How to Boost Your Home WiFi With Multiple Repeaters and Access Points
September 26, 2013
With a 3 GB bucket of wireless data from your cellphone company often costing more than $50, it makes sense to take advantage of the often unlimited or at least generous nature of a cheap, wired home Internet connection when you can. Netflix reckons that its movie and TV streaming service, using its Best Quality setting in High Definition, uses up to 4.7 GB of data an hour.
Valve's SteamOS Arms Linux Gaming for Living Room Wars
September 24, 2013
After bringing its Steam gaming service to Linux earlier this year, Valve on Tuesday unveiled SteamOS, a new, Linux-based operating system that is designed to deliver PC entertainment in the living room. The new OS will connect with the Steam gaming service, offering all of the features PC-based Steam users are accustomed to, and yet is designed with the big screen in mind, Valve said.
How to Tease Top Performance Out of Your Windows Laptop
September 19, 2013
If you're noticing that your Windows laptop runs slower and crankier the older it gets -- I'm talking about your laptop here, not you or me -- it's probably because it needs a bit of maintenance. Some tender loving care will take care of most old-laptop lethargy in much the same way a routine service visit can extend the life of your car and let it operate with more vroom.
High-Tech Tools Make Indoor Cycles Brainier and More Fun
September 18, 2013
Bicycles have seen much in the way of technological advancement in the past 150 years, and that was widely apparent on the show floor at the annual Interbike trade show in Las Vegas this week. The modern face of cycling was clearly visible in the electric-assist motors that make bicycles an optimal alternative vehicle for commuting, for example, and the space-age carbon fiber frames that aren't limited just to the high end.
The Connected TV Device Landscape
September 16, 2013
Almost all entertainment devices entering the home now have connectivity capabilities. These connected TV devices include smart TVs, gaming consoles, streaming video media devices such as a Roku or Apple TV, and Blu-ray players. Currently, more than 50 percent of U.S. broadband households have at least one consumer electronics home entertainment device that streams video and is connected to the Internet.
New Titles Buoy Video Game Sales
September 13, 2013
Video game sales showed their first increase in almost two years last month, NPD Group reported on Thursday. Gaming hardware sales weren't so fortunate -- they were down 40 percent compared with August 2012, according NPD's August report on sales in the physical retail sector of the video game industry. Total new physical software sales, however, were up 21 percent.
How to Make Your PC Restart Automatically After a Power Outage
September 12, 2013
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is quietly underway. Kit is available, however, that can help mitigate potential office disruption as weather ramps up. Uninterruptible power supplies are sophisticated battery-containing devices that supply backup power to desktop PCs during grid electricity outages, like in storms. You can pick up a UPS at office supply retailers, among other places.

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