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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chromebook Pro: life in beta

Samsung Chromebook Plus review: future imperfect - The Verge

"So how do you judge the Chromebook Plus?

Weighed against the standards of Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook R11 or Dell Chromebook 13, it's a standout device. It's my pick as the best Chromebook you can buy today, so long as you're willing to spend the extra money to get this beautiful screen and quality hardware. It outdoes cheaper devices and will be easier to use and maintain than a comparably priced Windows machine. When you see (and argue) about the score below, that's what I'm looking at. This is simply a great Chromebook when measured against those standards.

Weighed against the ambitions of what it aspires to be? The Chromebook Plus clearly comes up short. The software for good Android apps and great stylus support just isn't ready yet.

I want an inexpensive, tablet-style device that combines the best of mobile apps with a desktop-class browser. Windows isn't really there, the iPad isn't really there, and the Mac will apparently never be there. But with some fixes to Android and some developer help, this device could be exactly what I want. Google is chasing after exactly the right thing with Chrome OS right now.

It just has a lot more running to do."

Samsung Chromebook Plus review: future imperfect - The Verge

RIP Google Now Launcher: What's next for Android fans and manufacturers?

1 More Sign That Apple Inc.’s New MacBook Pro Computers Are a Huge Hit -- The Motley Fool


"Demand exceeded supply for the tech titan's newest notebook computers last quarter.

Ashraf Eassa (TMFChipFool) Feb 9, 2017 at 10:18AM Back in October of 2016, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released much-needed refreshes of its MacBook Pro product line. Thanks to the launch of these new systems, Apple broke the long losing streak that its Mac business had been seeing, and reported 1.1% year-over-year Mac unit growth, as well as roughly 7% Mac revenue growth in its most recent quarter, implying a boost in Mac average selling prices.

Although the numbers clearly speak for themselves, there's one more bit of information that Apple disclosed on its most recent earnings call that points to positive customer reception of the company's new MacBook Pro systems."

(Via.).  1 More Sign That Apple Inc.’s New MacBook Pro Computers Are a Huge Hit -- The Motley Fool:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Amazon Tap Gets Hands-Free Alexa, Finally Worth Buying

The $129 Amazon Tap, while a fine Bluetooth speaker, has long been the weakest member of the Alexa family due to its lack of hands-free voice controls. Fortunately, that's all about to change.
Thanks to a firmware update, you can summon Alexa on the Tap without pushing any buttons bringing it closer to the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot in terms of ease of use.

Amazon Tap Gets Hands-Free Alexa, Finally Worth Buying

iPad Pro vs. Wacom MobileStudio Pro Comparison Smackdown

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 after a year expectations with SP5

Chromebook Pro: life in beta

Samsung's new Chromebook Pro hybrid can run a universe of Android apps

Samsung Chromebook Pro Review

Samsung Chromebook Pro Review

Thursday, February 09, 2017

US appeals court won't reinstate Trump's immigration travel ban - CNET


"A federal appeals court will not enforce President Donald Trump's ban on travelers to the United States from seven mostly Muslim nations.

A three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Thursday refused to block a lower-court ruling suspending the ban to allow barred travelers from entering the US. The decision marks a win for the tech industry, which came out in full force against the government's arguments.


(Via.). US appeals court won't reinstate Trump's immigration travel ban - CNET:

3 Months with the Macbook Pro with Touchbar!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

15" Macbook Pro with Touch Bar: what's the Fuss???

Microsoft teases its new Windows 10 design changes - The Verge

Microsoft is planning to refresh its Windows 10 user interface in an update later this year, and the software maker has briefly started teasing what’s on the way. Windows Centralreports that Microsoft provided a glimpse at what’s known internally as Project Neon during a Windows developer stream today.
The brief glimpse looks a lot like the screenshots of the new Windows 10 design plans that we saw leak last month. While the screenshots show some fairly minor adjustments to the overall Windows 10 design, Microsoft is emphasizing more use of animations and visually blurring elements within apps. Project Neon will also include a focus on Microsoft’s 3D efforts in Windows 10, and the company’s HoloLens software.
Microsoft is expected to fully detail its Project Neon plans at its Build developers conference in May. Build will also serve as a venue for Microsoft to discuss its next Windows 10 update, expected to ship later this year."

Microsoft teases its new Windows 10 design changes - The Verge

Android Wear 2.0 review: Google's second swing at smartwatches - The Verge

"Smartwatches were originally pitched as newfangled computing devices that would free us from looking at our phones so often. But they’ve proven to be best at simple things: tracking fitness, showing notifications, and displaying little bits of information on the watchface, such as the current weather or an upcoming calendar appointment.

Android Wear 2.0 is designed specifically to improve upon those simple things. It has better fitness-tracking features, including automatic workout detection, easier access to your notifications, and customizable complications on the watchfaces. It’s a pattern followed across the industry — Apple’s watchOS 3 update from last fall similarly focused on these specific functions.

Android Wear 2.0’s support for LTE also builds upon those existing functions. Most often, if you are wearing the watch and don’t have your phone with you, it’s because you’re out for a run and carrying around your smartphone is cumbersome and awkward. Android Wear 2.0 means you don’t have to give up any connectivity to do so, letting you track your run, receive notifications, look up a map, buy something at a store, and send a message or make a phone call all while your phone and wallet are back at home."

Android Wear 2.0 review: Google's second swing at smartwatches - The Verge

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Wacom MobileStudio Pro vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Comparison Smackdown

A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months - The New York Times

"A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest

ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting

close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this

year in an area already vulnerable to warming

temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown

by the length of about five football fields each day. "

A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months - The New York Times

How safe are Chromebooks from malware?

Acer Chromebook

"A. Google has earned the right to brag a little about the security built into its browser-based Chrome OS that runs on cheap, light and increasingly popular Chromebook laptops.

As the company explains in a tech-support note, Chrome OS closes off most traditional entry points for malware. You can’t install traditional programs at all, the browser and individual pages run locked inside “sandboxed” areas of memory, and at each reboot, a Chromebook verifies that its software hasn’t been tampered with and repairs it if necessary.

Chrome OS also downloads and installs its own security updates automatically. And since it stores your data online, even setting a Chromebook on fire should not jeopardize your info.

But all of those features don’t reduce the “attack surface” of Chromebooks to zero: An adversary can still exploit features of Chrome OS, and of your brain, for ill purposes.  At a minimum, a hostile page can still try to lock up your browser and leave it stuck on a demand that you pay up. As a Google advisory notes, you can escape that by resetting the Chromebook, then restarting Chrome while declining its option to restore earlier open pages.

That kind of page hijacking can also present the user with a prompt to install a malicious third-party extension—a browser add-on that runs inside of Chrome.

“We are seeing more and more aggressive malicious advertising (malvertising) campaigns that trick or force users to install bogus extensions,” said Jérôme Segura, lead malware-intelligence analyst at the security firm Malwarebytes.  Last year, he found one such extension had been downloaded over a thousand times before Google yanked it from the Chrome Web Store.

The newfound ability of Chrome OS to run Android apps—it’s confined to a few recent Chromebooks now, but this feature announced last summer should soon arrive on more models—adds an exceedingly low but non-zero possibility of infection.  Android malware exists and can sweep across phones in vast quantities, but almost all of it arrives via third-party app stores, not Google’s Play Store. But some malicious apps sneak in, just as they rarely do in Apple’s iOS App Store.

Segura added that a Chromebook remains as vulnerable as any other computer to “man-in-the-middle” attacks, in which a hostile WiFi network (or a wireless router that’s been remotely hacked) can start spying on your Web traffic or redirecting it to other malicious sites. Using a virtual private network service to shield and encrypt your connection will stop that threat, although VPNs often cost extra.

Finally, phishing e-mails and other types of “social engineering” ploys that try to fool you into giving up a password or other valuable data don’t care what software you run. They only prey on your own mind.  The best defense against them remains a healthy skepticism towards solicitations on the screen that you weren’t expecting. That, in turn, remains good advice for keeping any other computer secure.

Rob Pegoraro is a tech writer based out of Washington, D.C. To submit a tech question, e-mail Rob at Follow him on Twitter at"

How safe are Chromebooks from malware?

HP Spectre x360 15 Review (2017)

Monday, February 06, 2017

HP Spectre x360 vs. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Comparison Smackdown

HP Spectre x360 15 review: It spins me right round - CNET

HP Spectre x360 15 review: It spins me right round - CNET

12" MacBook Review: 6 Months Later!, NothingBut Tech88

This was a very well conceived and executed video. I love your alternate ego reviewing device. It works very well and reflects how we agonize over a technology purchase.

I have had the M5 2016 MacBook since July of 2016. I did not use to at first often because I temporarily;y had an I7 Samsung ATIV Book 9 Flip. I loved that Windows machine but I could not afford to keep it. I also have a refurbished I5 Surface Pro4 which is buggy compared to the Samsung. I also have a Pixel LS for my light computing machine. That is a dream machine. After an update my MacBook 2016 kept shutting off with the black screen of death. I took it to the Apple Store, less than three miles away. for diagnosis. They hard reset and, replaced Mac OS and my problems went away.

I took my Mac to New York, over the holidays. I fell in love with it. I had zero performance issues. The one USB port is a non issue. Like most sophisticated cloud users I have 1 terabyte of storage in Dropbox. I have the two Microsoft dongles which I have used maybe ten times since July to transfer large file for my initial building and clean program reinstall after the Apple Store reset the device. If you are computing in a 2017 you should be using the cloud.for file storage If you do the single C port is a non issue.I have 5 computers plus three tablets. Cloud sinking is a breeze. A usb stick is an anachronism for all but vey large files.

Mac OS runs very smoothly. I use Final cut on this machine and my quad core, 2012 ,15 inch, top of the line, special orderMacBook Pro which I modified and updated a couple of years ago. It has an SSD, 16GB of ram on it. I can use Final Cut Photoshop or Pixelmator, my photo editor choice on either . I have the Adobe CS6 suite on both machines but outside of Acrobat and Audition I prefer Mac programs.

The bottom line is performance has been non issue on this machine. It runs as fast, if not faster than the 2013,. I5 MaBook Air it replaced. Benchmark tests bare this out, It take a while to adjust to the keyboarded which is functionable. Performance has been a non issue. Thanks for your excellent review.

John H Armwood

12" MacBook Review: 6 Months Later!