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Tech Products That Make It Easier to Stay Home
June 15, 2020
Being locked up at home can drive people a little nuts. Several technology products have been particularly helpful while sheltering in place, making this semi-forced timeout feel less like a punishment and more like something I could endure. The Atmoph Window 2, for example, looks like a picture on your wall, but inside the frame is a connected 27-inch 4K display that is tied to remote cameras.
Apple to Design Its Own ARM-Based Mac Chips
June 10, 2020
Apple plans to announce a new processor for its Mac computer line at its virtual World Wide Developers Conference later this month, according to a report. The company will begin using an ARM chip based on Apple's A14 processor, which will be featured in the next iPhone. The computers will continue to use macOS and not Apple's mobile operating system, iOS.
Jack Dorsey and the End of Twitter
June 1, 2020
I'm a member of what is likely a reasonably sizable informal group of people who trained to be a CEO but declined the job -- in my case, several times. So I don't envy the position that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is in as he tries to figure out a way to do the right thing concerning the spread of false information and defend his company against an attack by the designated leader of the free world.
4 Amazing Things Nvidia Showcased at Its Virtual GTC
May 18, 2020
Nvidia just held its GTC event, and of the virtual keynotes I've seen so far, CEO Jensen Huang's was the best. That's because the company made the decision to cut it into segments, mostly under 16 minutes, so viewers didn't have to watch things they weren't interested in. Also, Jensen mixed up the content between the speaker, videos and static images, so it was interesting to watch.
Microsoft Covers All the Bases With Impressive Surface Lineup
May 7, 2020
Microsoft has introduced a slew of new products, including the Surface Go 2, the Surface Book 3, Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Earbuds. Both the Surface Go 2 and the Surface Book 3 come in consumer and corporate versions. "The two products are very different," noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "The Go 2 is a high-value product -- the Surface Book 3 high innovation."
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook: Is the Ultimate Chrome OS Platform Worth the Price?
April 7, 2020
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is now available to buy -- but the $999 price tag for its one-of-a-kind configuration may cause an internal struggle between want and need. Samsung introduced the high-end Chromebook early this year, positioning it as the flagship Chromebook to meet potential demand for a more useful and powerful multipurpose premium mobile device.
COVID-19 Outbreak: Thoughts From the Stay-at-Home Front
March 23, 2020
Steps can be taken to mitigate the threat of spreading the coronavirus to folks who are sheltering at home. In many cases delivery drivers don't seem to have any protection, and if it's necessary to sign for something, customers are expected to touch a stylus or a screen that has been used by others. Drivers should be practicing social distancing, setting down packages at least six feet away.
Getting Autonomous Car Technology Right
February 24, 2020
Autonomous car efforts aren't looking very good. It is becoming clear that the five-level ranking system for autonomous cars is stupid. The reality is that the definition of "autonomous" is binary: Either the car can drive itself or it can't. The fact is that car makers don't want to take the final step to autonomy -- Level 5 -- because they are afraid of liability.
Unsigned Firmware Puts Windows, Linux Peripherals at Risk
February 19, 2020
Eclypsium has released research that identifies and confirms unsigned firmware in WiFi adapters, USB hubs, trackpads and cameras used in Windows and Linux computer and server products from Lenovo, Dell, HP and other major manufacturers. Eclypsium also demonstrated a successful attack on a server via a network interface card with unsigned firmware used by each of the big three server manufacturers.
New Windows 7 Bug a Real Turnoff
February 11, 2020
For the second time since Windows 7 reached the end of support on Jan. 14, a bug is causing trouble for users still clinging to the operating system. The first bug, related to setting a wallpaper image, turned desktops black. This new bug prevents Windows 7 users from shutting down or rebooting their computers. Microsoft's Windows 7 support now is limited to eligible paid plans.
The Two Faces of Open Source: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 5
February 6, 2020
The open source software movement has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Many businesses that once considered open source a threat now recognize its value. In spite of increased enthusiasm among enterprises, consumer interest by and large has not materialized. With large companies increasingly embracing open source, what does it mean to be a part of the FOSS "community"?
From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
January 30, 2020
We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
Clock Runs Out for Windows 7 Holdouts: Upgrade or Replace?
January 14, 2020
After 10 years of fully supporting Windows 7, Microsoft ended its official support for the out-of-date Windows operating system on Tuesday. The popular classic Windows 7 OS still runs on some 200 million PCs around the globe, according to industry estimates. Users include small business owners, some larger companies, and hordes of consumers holding onto aging personal computers.
Samsung Debuts Sleek Galaxy Chromebook
January 7, 2020
Samsung introduced a high-end Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The new model could serve as an extension of the company's smartphone lineup and spawn a premium device demand in the category. Samsung aims to position it as the company's flagship Chromebook to meet potential demand for a more useful and powerful multipurpose premium mobile device.
CES 2020: Prepare to Be Amazed
January 6, 2020
Every year I look forward to CES being over. That's not because it isn't interesting -- it is. It's because the place is a nightmare to get around, thanks to some incredibly stupid decisions that turn Las Vegas into a gridlocked mess. Coming right after the holidays, it destroys more family vacations than any other event short of a long driving trip with very young children.
2010 - 2019: Product of the Decade
December 30, 2019
As we get to the end of December, I typically pick my product of the year, but this is also the end of the decade, so I'll go back and look at the prior products of the year, name my pick for this year, and then pick my product of the decade. 2010 was an easy choice as the iPad came out and scared the hell out of the entire PC market. Its release made the whole "PC is Dead" thing real.
Samsung's Support for Linux on DeX Fizzles
October 22, 2019
Samsung has called quits on its effort to provide a full Linux desktop platform for Android. In an email to beta testers last week, Samsung said it would not support its Linux on DeX beta program for future OS and device releases. Samsung's announcement coincides with Google's release of the Android 10 OS update and its rollout on Samsung phones. Neither company will provide Linux on DeX support.
Google Rolls Out Pixel 4 Phone, Pixelbook, Nest WiFi and Pixel Buds
October 16, 2019
A new flagship smartphone, a slick refresh of Pixelbook Go, some home gadget improvements and a revamp of its wireless earbuds highlighted Google's annual hardware event in New York City. The latest models of Google's flagship smartphone, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, base priced at $799 and $899 respectively, will have wider distribution, as they'll be available from all major U.S. carriers.
Ballmer's Vindication: Microsoft Launches 5 Apple-Killer Surface Products
October 7, 2019
One of the last major initiatives former CEO Steve Ballmer launched before he left Microsoft was its Surface effort. It was designed to address the concern that the iPod would take over the PC world. During the Surface launch last week, it wasn't hard to see that Ballmer was right conceptually. It just took Satya Nadella to execute, showcasing that Ballmer didn't have a strategic problem.
New Surface Line Makes the Earth Move for Microsoft Fans
October 3, 2019
Microsoft has launched a slew of new devices designed to reshape the world: the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Pro X, Surface Earbuds, and the upcoming Surface Neo and Surface Duo. "The next decade will be about creation, and amplifying what we can do as humans," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Surface 2019 in New York City.
Calling BS on Clueless Predictions by Musk and Ma
September 2, 2019
Elon Musk and Jack Ma floated some radical ideas last week. Two of the most powerful men in the world, both have invested heavily in AI. Ma, who is the Alibaba Group cofounder and a huge advocate for the 12-hour a day six-day Chinese work week in tech, indicated that he believed AI would reduce the work week from 72 hours, where it now is in China, to 12 hours -- that is, three 4-hour workdays.
When Technology Makes Life Harder
August 9, 2019
The latest Windows 10 update hasn't gone smoothly for many users due to a conflict with an outdated driver for Intel's Rapid Storage Technology. This is somewhat ironic in that RST was designed to improve the performance of storage hardware. Certain versions have slowed the install process, and in some cases the program has made installation of the Version 1903 Windows 10 update impossible.
Zoom Flaw Turns Mac Cam into Spy Cam
July 10, 2019
A security researcher has found a flaw in the popular video conferencing app Zoom that could be used to turn on the camera on a Macintosh computer without a user's permission. The vulnerability allows any website to forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without a user's permission, explained Jonathan Leitschuh, a senior software engineer at Gradle.
Anticipating the Merger of Apple and Oracle
July 8, 2019
After reading about the departure of Jony Ive, I'm trying to wrap my head around Apple without a design focus. Now this isn't as hard as you might think, given the last truly successful Apple product came out around a decade ago and was called the "iPad." It is also somewhat ironic that Apple just effectively relaunched the iPod, the product that Steve Jobs rode to Apple's massive success.
Next-Gen Raspberry Pi 4 Packs Power Plus Potential
June 25, 2019
The next big Raspberry Pi thing is now here, with lots more computing power and more options. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the availability of Raspberry Pi 4, a comprehensive upgrade that touches nearly every element of the computing platform. Users have a choice of three memory capacities. The entry-level 1 GB RAM retains the signature $35 price; 2 GB costs $45; 4 GB sells for $55.
Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup
June 5, 2019
Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers' eyes during the keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. In this round of operating system upgrades, Apple seems focused on improvements. "They're polishing a number of aspects of the operating systems, " said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
Apple Spotlights Privacy, Big Iron at WWDC
June 4, 2019
Privacy, a new muscular Mac Pro workstation, and the debut of iPadOS were topline items at Apple's WWDC keynote. During its more than two-hour presentation, Apple emphasized new features in its products aimed at protecting users' data and privacy. "At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right and we engineer it into everything we do," Craig Federighi told the enthusiastic crowd.
AMD Slam-Dunks Intel at Computex and It's a Good Thing
June 3, 2019
Like a lot of folks, I'm a tad sick of Intel. Last month we learned of its second big security scandal in as many years. Once again, the company not only neglected to disclose the problems in a timely way but also lacked a plan to recall the failed parts. Once again, buyers likely will have to cripple their Intel processors if they want to use them safely.
How to Set Up Your Computer to Auto-Restart After a Power Outage
May 28, 2019
Aside from malware and viruses, nothing has the potential to be more dangerous to your computer's health than power outages. Here is how to ensure your computer keeps it boot on when a power failure turns the lights off. With the approach of the turbulent summer season, it is important to know what kills the electrical lifeline, how to safeguard your digital gear from fatal reboot disease.
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How important is the availability of curbside service when you consider a physical store to do your shopping?
Critically Important - I will not shop at an establishment that does not provide curbside service.
Quite Important - During the pandemic I prefer not to go inside a physical location. Still, I will consider a business that does not offer curbside service.
Somewhat Important - I like a curbside option, but itís not part of my decision-making process when I choose where to shop.
Not Important - I do not use curbside pickup. When I go out to shop I want to select everything myself.
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