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Black Friday Deal Sprawl Grows
November 13, 2018
Although retailers are slating some outstanding deals for Black Friday, the shine of the once-feverish shopping day has diminished, as product discounts have started to appear earlier and earlier in the holiday season. Discounts formerly found exclusively on Black Friday -- and on its online equivalent, Cyber Monday -- gradually have migrated to earlier in the fall.
Another Milestone Achieved: Run Linux Apps on a Chromebook
October 25, 2018
Linux apps now can run in a Chromebook's Chrome OS environment. However, the process can be tricky, and it depends on your hardware's design and Google's whims. It is somewhat similar to running Android apps on your Chromebook, but the Linux connection is far less forgiving. If it works in your Chromebook's flavor, though, the computer becomes much more useful with more flexible options.
PC Innovation Is Back
October 8, 2018
There were two interesting product launches last week. HP delivered what is pretty much a clean slate rethinking of the 2-in-1 PC with the HP Folio, and Microsoft unveiled a refresh of its Surface Line. Both firms made a big deal of the fact that their products were much better than their Apple counterparts -- but Apple has been treating PCs like a drunk uncle for some time now.
Of Course Google Is Biased
September 3, 2018
I once took a market research class that focused on the identification and elimination of bias. My final paper was on an intentionally biased piece of research. It was far easier to introduce bias and then talk about the bias than it would have been to attempt to do unbiased work and defend it as unbiased. For that reason alone, it's almost certainly true that Google's search engine is biased.
Microsoft Surface Go Earns Strong Marks
August 3, 2018
Early reviews of the Microsoft Surface Go two-in-one, now available in stores, mainly have been positive. "This Surface Go is far closer to what people seem to want in a small product that's more focused on productivity than the iPad has yet been able to deliver," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Reviewers have compared it favorable to Apple's iPad and Google's Chromebook.
New MacBook Pros Get Major Power Boost
July 13, 2018
Apple has announced updated MacBook Pro 13- and 15-inch notebooks with a Touch Bar, 8th-generation Intel Core processors, support for up to 32 GB of DDR memory in the larger notebook, a True Tone display, and an improved third-generation keyboard for quiet typing. The 15-inch model comes with 6-core Intel Core i7 and i9 processors rated at up to 2.9 GHz -- with Turbo Boost, up to 4.8 GHz.
Dark Screen Mode Among New macOS Mojave Highlights
June 6, 2018
Apple on Monday gave the world a peek at macOS Mojave, the next version of its operating system for Macintosh laptop and desktop computers. The preview took place at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Mojave has a mix of new features that add to its good looks and utility as a productivity tool.
Rhino-Saving Tech Also Could Protect Kids and Borders
May 21, 2018
Cisco has reduced the poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa by a whopping 96 percent. This success comes at a time when kids appear to be increasingly at risk from rogue school shooters and the United States government seems deadlocked on gun control. The focus of Cisco's tech is on catching the poachers who kill around 1,000 endangered rhinos a year, rather than on taking away their guns.
How to Back Up iPhone Data to an External Drive
May 16, 2018
A recent incident reminded me of the importance of backing up one's phone regularly. Soon after carrying my recycling out to the curbside, I realized I had misplaced my 6-month-old iPhone. Cue brief panic, followed by deep concern that I'd somehow tossed my device into that transparent bag I'd left outside for the world to see. That led me to yelling "Hey, Siri" until the familiar chime sounded.
Intel Hits the Gas Pedal With 8th Gen Core Processors
April 5, 2018
Intel has unveiled its latest family of 8th generation Core processors. "As with previous new-gen Core launches, these initial solutions are aimed at customers who value high-end performance and dynamic market segments," said Pund-IT's Charles King. The 8th Gen processors incorporate Intel Octane memory, a smart and adaptable system accelerator for desktop and mobile platforms.
New Raspberry Pi Packs More Power
March 15, 2018
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Wednesday launched the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. The new release comes two years after the introduction of its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The Raspberry Pi computer runs the open source Raspbian operating system. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is an incremental upgrade to a line of predecessors that have become entrenched in education, hobbyist and industry markets.
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
CES 2018: Spare Human Bodies, a $54K HTC Simulator and Intel's People-Chopping Cuisinart
January 15, 2018
OK, I hate CES. It really is a horrible event, largely because of the timing -- and particularly this year, Las Vegas making it a nightmare to get around -- but man did they have cool stuff at the show. Among presentation highlights were Nvidia showcasing a whopping 65-inch gaming monitor TV. Lowlights included Intel showcasing a human-carrying drone as something out of a horror movie.
Intel, Microsoft, Google Scramble for Solutions as Patches Slow Systems
January 12, 2018
Major tech companies, including Intel, Microsoft and Google, scrambled to calm the mood this week after a large number of computer users reported performance problems linked to security updates for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. A firestorm of criticism has erupted over the response to the chip flaws, which researchers at Google's Project Zero discovered in 2016.
Creatives Not Likely to Blanch at iMac Pro's $5K Price
December 13, 2017
Apple will release a professional version of its all-in-one iMac desktop computer with a $5,000 price tag on Thursday. Up to now, all-in-one computers in general and iMacs in particular have been seen as stylish offerings for home and family, but Apple has changed that in a big way with the iMac Pro. Apple has given the Pro workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory and I/O -- all without increasing the size of the iMac.
Oops... Some HP Laptops Shipped With Hidden Keylogger
December 12, 2017
Some HP laptops users came with a preinstalled program to capture the keystrokes of users, a security researcher recently discovered. The researcher, Michael Myng aka "ZwClose," discovered the keylogger software while trying to solve a keyboard problem for a friend. The software is turned off by default. After Myng contacted HP about the program, it quickly released a patch to get rid of it.
The Tech Wars of 2018
December 11, 2017
We are coming up to the end of the year, and it's a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There's also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena.
MacOS High Sierra Flaw Creates High Anxiety
November 29, 2017
Apple has released a security update to fix a serious flaw revealed via Twitter. The patch is available for macOS High Sierra 10.13.1. macOS 10.12.6 and earlier versions aren't affected. "This morning, as of 8 a.m., the update is available for download, and, starting later today, it will be immediately automatically installed on all systems running MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1," Apple said.
New Firefox Runs Like a Rabbit
November 15, 2017
New version releases of browsers don't get the buzz they used to get, but Firefox Quantum is an exception. The latest version of the Mozilla Foundation's browser, released Tuesday, is all about performance. Firefox is twice as fast as it was a year ago, Mozilla claimed. It is not only fast on startup -- it remains zippy even when taxed by multitudes of tabs.
Microsoft Unveils Power-Packed Surface Book 2
October 17, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday launched the Surface Book 2, positioning it as the laptop of the future. The device is powerful enough for the next wave of computing, characterized by mixed reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and immersive gaming, said Microsoft Devices Corporate Vice President Panos Panay. Integration between the Surface Book 2 and the Adobe Creative Cloud has been improved.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
AI Ripples Through Google's New Product Lineup
October 5, 2017
Google on Wednesday launched a bevy of new products into its growing hardware and software ecosystem at its Made by Google event. Many of the new devices are infused with artificial intelligence capabilities. "Since last year and since Google I/O, we've been working hard, continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the gathering.
As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?
August 28, 2017
HP is the new turnaround king -- but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.
Google May Have Pixel Chromebook Showcase, Tiny Home in the Works
August 23, 2017
Google appears to be planning a Pixel-branded Chromebook and a downsized version of its Home smart speaker, following in the steps of Microsoft and Amazon respectively. Along with two expected new Pixel phones, Google this fall will unveil a Pixel-branded Chromebook and smaller, lower-priced version of its Home smart speaker, according to a report.
HP Is Back: Should It Rename Itself Compaq?
July 17, 2017
HP just took over the PC market lead worldwide. You probably don't get how incredible this is, so here's an analogy: It's as if a crooked referee put a bunch of lead on a racer who already was overweight and shuffled him to the back of the pack, but in the end, the guy finished first. You'd seriously want to look under his T-Shirt to see if you'd find Superman's costume.
The Stupidly Dangerous Politics of Blame
July 3, 2017
I hope that, like me, you are off this long holiday weekend and have a chance to think about the drama that now surrounds the U.S. administration. What I find fascinating isn't that the government is a bit of a mess but that the accidental transparency of this administration is focusing us more on the visibility of the problems rather than on the problems themselves.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
The Max-Q: The Coolest Thing Out of Computex
June 5, 2017
I didn't attend Computex this year, and that was sad for everything but my budget, because there was a ton of cool stuff announced at the show. Dell, HP and Lenovo showed off new designs that were both attractive and compelling. Mixed-reality headsets hit; based on Intel and Microsoft technology, they were far more affordable than the strong virtual reality stuff already in market.
PCs Shine Again, but for How Long?
June 1, 2017
Just when PCs looked to be dying a slow, painful death, they became interesting again. As expected, this week's news coming from Computex is flush with new PCs and PC technologies, but is it enough to reinvigorate a market that has faced declining sales since 2011? The market peaked at just over 365 million units annually, and fell to 269 million units last year. So, why all the excitement?
Main Surface Pro Improvements Are Beneath the Surface
May 24, 2017
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a refresh of its Surface Pro tablet-laptop computer. Although Microsoft said the fifth generation of the unit has been redesigned from the inside out with more than 800 new custom parts, the Surface Pro looks similar to its predecessor. "If you were looking for a major redesign of Surface, this isn't it," said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
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How do you feel about Black Friday/Cyber Monday this year?
I'm excited to find great deals and plan to do some serious shopping on BFCM.
I'll watch for BFCM sales, but I intend to drastically curb my spending this year.
BFCM has become a season -- I no longer feel driven to look for bargains on those specific days.
I plan to have most of my holiday shopping done *before* BFCM.
I detest the holiday sales hype and will avoid shopping on BFCM.