Amazon video app

Amazon Prime Video app for Android TV is listed on Play Store

Amazon’s Prime Video has never been available for Google’s Chromecast. And earlier this month, even Google decided to pull the strings of the YouTube app from Amazon’s Fire TV stick. However, the ‘productive discussions’ between the two tech giants has finally resulted in a treat for the customers. While Google decided to drop its decision to pull out YouTube from the Fire TV Stick, even Amazon has launched the Prime Video app for Android TV. Although we were not able to test the on any Android TV, international media is reporting that the app listed is not compatible on many Android TVs. This indicates that Amazon might be testing the Prime Video app on Android TVs or it is yet to update the app for making it compatible. The app was earlier available for a select Android TVs such as NVIDA Shield TV in the past. Although the launch of the Prime Video app for Android TV seems to be a good move from Amazon, there is still no update on whether Amazon plans to release the app for the much popular Google Chromecast. It is only recently that the Prime Video app went live on Apple TV as well. Other than the Prime Video app, Amazon has also introduced browsing support on the Fire TV devices. Amazon has announced the rollout of Mozilla’s Firefox and its own Silk browser for the regular Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.

Smartphone addiction

How to escape from the smartphone addiction

Let’s try to say be honest if you would survive without your smartphone? We do not talk about the essential use of your phone, perhaps for business communication, We talk about the need to check your  facebook everytime you get a chance. We are talking about the need to post photos of every meal or check up on that on Facebook. With this in mind Jumia Travel, an online travel agency highlights several helpful ways to break a smartphone addiction: Monitor Your Smartphone Use Paying attention to the number of times per hour you check your phone can help to increase your awareness about any addiction you might have to your smartphone. If you’re aware of the problem, then it will be easier to address it and better help you begin to identify goals and possible solutions. To help you monitor your smartphone use, you can download an app that helps with this kind of tracking. An example of such an app would be ‘Checky’ and there many others like this you can use.   Consciously Limit Your Smartphone Use to Certain Times of the Day There really is no other way to deal with a smartphone addiction than to make a conscious effort to address the problem. You should consciously limit your smartphone use to specific times of the day to give yourself time to do other things. This is very important. You can later reward yourself for meeting the goals you have set to limit your smartphone usage with suitable incentives. Remember, scientifically, it takes thirty days to break/make a habit, so you only have to keep it going for a while before it becomes easier for you, practically a thing of habit.   Turn Off or Customize Your Notifications Notifications are one of the major causes of smartphone addictions, especially for ‘addictive’ apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and the like. Just make things easier for yourself and temper the temptation to check your phone all the time, by turning off the notifications for those ‘addictive’ apps because they only make you more prone to whipping out your phone and drowning in the vicious cycle of texts, mentions, comments, replies etc. that waste so much of the time you can use to do things that are more beneficial.   Try To Understand What Triggers Your Excessive Smartphone Use Everything we do is for a reason, and if your smartphone use is excessive then there is a reason for it. Trying to uncover what this reason is and trying to understand it will make it easier for you to overcome your smartphone addiction. You might be addicted to your phone because you often get bored. Boredom has been known to trigger individuals to engage in addictive behaviours. To address the issue, you can then work on developing hobbies or engaging yourself in activities that will not only solve your problem of boredom but will be more beneficial to you.


Docker will pack Kubernetes in the box

Docker announced they will integrate a version of Google’s Kubernetes container-orchestration tool as a native part of Docker. The Kubernetes integration will be available as a beta release. The integration will be available to all Docker’s versionsll the operating systems they currently support. One reason of including Kubernetes is to spare developers the effort of standing up a Kubernetes instance, whether for simple dev/test or for actual production use. Historically it’s been a chore to get Kubernetes running, and so a slew of Kubernetes tools and third-party Kubernetes projects have emerged to simplify the process. Most of the time, it’s easier to use a Kubernetes distribution, becayse the distribution’s packaging deals with these problems at a high level. Docker’s inclusion of Kubernetes makes Docker itself a Kubernetes distribution.To integrate the two, Docker is using a Kubernetes feature called custom resources, a native way to customize particular installations of Kubernetes. Previous repackagings of Kubernetes sometimes made changes that subtly broke compatibility, and custom resources was devised as a way to avoid that. Any changes Docker makes to Kubernetes can be kept separate from the Kubernetes code base, and done entirely on the Docker side. Another reason is integrating Kubernetes to provide an easy alternative to its own orchestration tool, Swarm.

Open Data Licensing Agreements

The Linux Foundation on Monday introduced the Community Data License Agreement, a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes. CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code, the foundation said. “As systems require data to learn and evolve, no one organization can build, maintain and source all data required,” noted Mike Dolan, VP of strategic programs at The Linux Foundation. “Data communities are forming around artificial intelligence and machine learning use cases, autonomous systems, and connected civil infrastructure,” he told LinuxInsider. “The CDLA license agreements enable sharing data openly, embodying best practices learned over decades of sharing source code.” The agreement could help foster an increase in data sharing across a variety of industries, supporting collaboration in climate modeling, automotive safety, energy consumption, building permit processes, water use management and other functions. Uniform Guidelines The agreement calls for two main sets of licenses, which are designed to help data contributors and consumers work with a uniform set of guidelines that clarify the rules of the road and mitigate risks. The Sharing license encourages contributions of data to the community. The Permissive license does not require any additional sharing of data. Among the commercial and creative implications of the licenses: Data producers can be more specific regarding what recipients can do with data. Data producers can choose between the Sharing and Permissive licenses, depending on which model better aligns with their needs. Either type of license gives them greater clarity of agreement terms, and provides greater protection from liability and warranties. Licenses allow communities to share data on equal terms that balance out the needs of data users and producers. Data communities can add their own rules and requirements for curating data, particularly involving personally identifiable information. A data user looking for information that will be used for training on an artificial intelligence system or for another use will have access to data shared under a known license model that has terms that are clearly spelled out. The agreements are agnostic with regard to data privacy, and it will be up to publishers and curators of data to create their own governance structure, taking into account applicable laws. Higher Learning The agreement comes at a time when technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence are capable of analyzing data sets in ways that previously were not possible. The licensing agreements provide a framework to make data repositories uniform enough to allow accurate and replicable analysis. “The critical issues for deep learning are verification and transparency — and is the training replicable?” said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research. Organizations often share data in order to allow other groups to try to replicate their results, he told LinuxInsider. In addition, organizations might publish data sets speculatively for other groups to process — and potentially pick a vendor for advanced analytics, depending on how well different algorithms worked on a particular data set. “The new Community Data License from The Linux Foundation reflects the growing importance of information as a resource for big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. “In essence, data provides the fuel required for processes, including ‘teaching’ systems to accurately perform complex functions and analyze ongoing occurrences,” he told LinuxInsider. Rising Demand There has been a surge in the level of interest in data sets in recent years, noted Mark Radcliffe, global chair of the FOSS Global Practice Group at DLA Piper. For example, connected cars can provide a wealth of data, including GPS, miles per hour and music playlist information, he told LinuxInsider. Internet of Things devices could provide information like boiler temperatures, or wind speeds from wind farms. CDLAs will encourage a more uniform process for sharing such data. “These license agreements [could be] very, very helpful,” Radcliffe said, “because in many cases people are doing this on an ad hoc basis.” The legal protection available for data is very fragmented and very uncertain, he pointed out. “It’s not an area that has had [much] case law involved. In many cases you have a very uncertain background in which to work.” The Open Transport Partnership, which is backed by the World Bank, has been working since 2016 to collect GPS streams in order to research traffic congestion, particularly during peak commute times. The partnership launched an effort last year with a number of organizations, including the World Resources Institute, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, ride-sharing firms like Grab and Easy Taxi, open mapping firm Mapzen, data platforms like MDrive, and other firms. The World Bank collaborated with Grab, with backing from the Korea Green Growth Trust Fund, to use anonymized GPS data from 500,000 Grab drivers to map out peak congestion times in Manila. The program was scheduled to expand to other countries like Brazil, Malaysia and Columbia. Source:, by David Jones

Why I’m worried about Microsoft Teams deployment

I did a deep dive into the features in Microsoft Teams, which is essentially a collaborative chat application for Office users (a.k.a., a Slack competitor). I wanted to find out what it’s like to use Teams with an actual team for actual work. Fortunately, I’ve started doing some work with a local college — I’m mostly there to help with mentoring and development. It’s a team of around 12 people, and I’ll have more findings to share in the coming weeks, but there’s one initial concern. I’m starting to wonder if people will “get” how to use Teams. I set up the basic team channel and have added a few folks. I’ve shared a few files, and poked around with many of the features. A colleague has helped share files as well, and we’ve chatted several times about some of the projects we’re working on together. Teams has one major benefit, of course. Everyone that is already provisioned to use Office 365 at the college is one click away from accessing Teams. With Slack and other apps like Convo, you have to add the user, which is not a Herculean step by any means. It takes about a minute. Yet, since I’ve used Slack for many years, I know that there are times when team members share a link to someone who is not on Slack and it leads to some confusion. What is Slack? What does it do? People don’t know. Teams is more integrated. Once, in my early testing, I shared a link out of a Teams channel, and the user was able to access Teams using her browser as though it was already installed on her desktop. All of the provisioning was in place to make it work, and to her, it all appeared fluid and easy. That’s one big perk. However, once the user jumped into a chat, things sort of broke down. Microsoft built Teams to scale with an enterprise. In Slack, I’m part of multiple teams, but they are not connected at all. In fact, they all use a different URL in my browser. I can switch between them using a drop-down menu, but it’s still clunky and the chat messages are not related to one another. In Teams, you can have multiple teams and switch between them in a column. The chat messages are separate, though. I can be part of the marketing team and the recruitment team but the chat window stays the same. (When I asked a Microsoft rep about this, she said it was an intentional approach to help with scale.) You might think of this as an advantage, but it has led to some initial confusion. In Slack, the chat is what I would call “in line” — it’s just below the channel list. I can click on any name in a channel and start chatting on the same screen. When I go to my main view in Slack, I can quickly see who has chatted with me because the chat and channel links are bolded. It’s quick and easy. All of my channel and individual chats are in on view. In Teams, the chat stream is a button. I can see my teams or my chats, but not both in the same view. It might seem minor, but it’s caused confusion. Is it easy to miss a chat message? Yes. Maybe there’s more to configure here, but I’m not seeing any way to mimic the main channel and chat view of Slack. I could see teams getting frustrated when they miss individual messages. People are too lazy to click on buttons at times. Slack and Convo do a better job of showing chat messages. Convo uses a pop-up window that overlays on top of the main team channels. It’s possible Microsoft wasn’t able to mimic exactly how Slack and Convo work — it could look like they “borrowed” that feature or just didn’t code things that way. More importantly, I’m not loving the Teams interface in general. There’s a lot of noise. Convo and Slack, the two apps I use on a daily basis, are clean and user-friendly. Teams might be more powerful — I love the animated GIFs and Skype calls, anyway — but it is also more confusing. In theory, you could have as many as 25 different tabs in a Teams channel, one for Word and Excel and everything else you use. What is the difference between the Activity tab and the Teams tab? People don’t seem to know or care. Why is there are separate Files tab? I like seeing files in-line as part of a conversation, which is how it works in Slack. In Teams, you can attach files within a conversation as well, but this flexibility of using a Files tab and button could also cause a lot of confusion. Overall, communication has to be streamlined to be effective. Slack is a glorified text messaging app, but that’s one of the reasons it is so effective and popular. Anyone can use it. In Teams, you see a chat tab, a files tab, an activity tab — the main screen looks cluttered and confusing. There are too many buttons and tabs. I also don’t care about meetings. Few people will bother starting a meeting from teams. (Worse yet, if someone is not already provisioned on Office for your company, they can’t use Teams.) Is it a back to the drawing board moment for Microsoft? Not really. Sometimes, what is included as part of an ecosystem becomes the tool of choice, and Microsoft will eventually iron out the problems. For now, the app is not quite working like it should. Source:, John Brandon

Next stage of virtualisation: Containers

The buzz and hype surrounding container technologies has reached fever pitch in recent years, prompting CIOs and IT decision makers to mull over what role, if any, they should and could play in their digital transformation plans. In simple terms, containers are a form of operating system virtualisation that allows developers to isolate and package up all or part of an application, effectively into a portable building block. The technology’s appeal can be traced back to the portability it gives IT departments, in that containers allow developers and IT operations teams to create, deploy and run applications in the environment of their choosing. Whether that be in the cloud, on-premise or across multiple virtual machines. For this reason, the adoption of container technologies has closely followed the take-up of cloud computing in enterprises, as the former makes it easier for organisations to move applications between different environments and even providers. Their use has also accelerated as enterprises have moved away from their traditional, monolithic application stacks and adopted a microservices-style approach to app development. In this e-guide, we take a closer look at what containers are, the technologies that complement and enhance their use, and get a first-hand insight into the impact their use can have on an organisation’s IT strategy and setup. Source:

The best laptops you can buy in 2017

1. Dell XPS 13 The Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop money can buy CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD With the 2016 model, the Dell XPS 13 reigns supreme as the best laptop you can buy today. Thin and light with a battery life that exceeds 7 hours, according to our movie test, Dell’s flagship laptop is the posterchild for Ultrabooks. Once again, too, Dell has managed to squeeze a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, proving the nigh-borderless InfinityEdge display to be a design marvel. Outfitted with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors and lightning-fast storage and memory, the Dell XPS 13 is dressed to impress with welcome addition of a Rose Gold color option as well. It should comes as no surprise, then, that we still rank it as the best Ultrabook and best laptop overall. 2. Asus ZenBook UX305 Better than the MacBook and at a fraction of the price CPU: Intel Core Intel Core M3-6Y30 – M7-6Y75 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IPS display | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD If you’re looking for a Windows alternative to Apple’s latest rose-tinted MacBook, the Asus ZenBook UX305 might be more your speed. Though it looks like a Cupertino design from every angle, it’s actually superior to Apple’s creations in almost every way. From its purple-tinged aluminum design to its sharp display and hearty helping of built-in storage space, the UX305 puts Windows back in style, fanless design, long battery life and all. And, while the low-cost is enticing, if you’re shopping for something with a bit more horsepower (not to mention an even more compact design), look no further than the Asus ZenBook 3. When it comes to crafting an affordable Windows laptop with a premium feel, Asus takes the cake. The Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 in particular combines a mid-range price tag with a convertible form factor, a full-size trackpad and keyboard and an extensive arrangement of ports. These include USB-C, micro HDMI, micro SDXC and, yes, standard USB ports and even a 3.5mm headphone jack. In the pre-2015 MacBook era, these features would be expected, but nowadays, they’re an anomaly given the minimalistic efforts of newer laptops. Don’t go in expecting the ZenBook Flip UX360 to be old-fashioned, however, because as the naming suggests, this is a notebook that prides itself on its ability to shapeshift 360 degrees. 3. Razer Blade Stealth The gaming Ultrabook you’ve been waiting for CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, QHD+ (2,560 x 1,440) – 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IGZO LED-backlit multi-touch | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD The Razer Blade Stealth is an exceptional Ultrabook hindered only by its efforts in trying to be a gaming laptop. Price-wise, it has the upperhand against key competitors, but don’t be fooled – with an Intel Kaby Lake Core i7 processor, the latest Blade Stealth is more powerful and power-efficient than ever. Better yet, this laptop can change the lighting of each key on its keyboard, with more than 16.8 million colors to choose from. Plus, if you mind the integrated graphics from Intel, you can attach a (albeit rather pricey) Razer Core external GPU enclosure for boosted performance when stationary. 4. Asus Chromebook Flip The winning premium Chromebook formula CPU: Intel Pentium – Core m3 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC When Asus first came out with the Chromebook Flip as a “premium” offering, we were skeptical. Premium Chromebooks had been done before with little to no fanfare. After all, who would want to spend over a grand on a laptop that’s limited to the Chrome browser and a handful of Android apps? This concept becomes more enticing when you cut the price in half, as Asus has skillfully accomplished with the latest Chromebook Flip. Stacked with a gorgeous design, a keyboard that feels rich to the touch and even a 2-in-1 form factor, the Asus Chromebook Flip proves that Chromebooks can be premium without going overboard. 5. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin Premium build, affordable price point CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3L); Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 12GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED with touch panel | Storage: 1 TB HDD – 1TB HDD; 128GB SSD If you’ve ever wanted a MacBook Pro without selling a kidney to afford it, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin not only delivers the style and glitz of Apple’s professional-level laptops, but it even adds a touchscreen to the mix for an approachable starting price. For a hefty 2-in-1 with a Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM and even a discrete Nvidia GPU, the Samsung Notebook 7 provides top of the line specs considering its value. But why stop there? Samsung even went as far as to include an HDR display despite offering only a 1080p resolution. Though not many services actually support the technology (yet), some argue that it’s more essential than a higher resolution anyway. Deeper blacks, more vibrant color – the works. 6. Acer Aspire S 13 Proof that the MacBook Air is getting old CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 – 620 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare touchscreen IPS | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD Even though arguably the MacBook Air itself has expired, the clones seem to never cease production. Among them is the Acer Aspire S 13, an affordable alternative to Apple’s entry-level laptop that even outdoes it in some ways. It’s not quite as thin and light as many prominently featured Ultrabooks, nor is it particularly expensive looking. However, the Acer Aspire S 13 does pack quite a punch when it comes to performance. USB Type-C and a full HD display put it just over the edge in beating out the 13-inch MacBook Air, and for a much lower cost at that. Despite the efficacy of the CPU, the Acer Aspire S 13 even manages a battery life of 7 hours and 49 minutes, according to our movie test results. 7. Samsung Notebook 9 Greatness doesn’t need to break the bank CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED anti-reflective display | Storage: 256GB The Samsung Notebook 9 may not be the flashiest title on the list, but at $949 it does offer more bang for the buck than you’ll see in most laptops. That’s because unlike much of the competition now, it’s an Ultrabook with a full-fledged Core i5 Skylake processor. That alone makes it effectively more powerful than a MacBook Air with a better screen resolution and price point to boot. On the downside, it’s the battery life that takes a hit as a result. 8. Surface Book The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520 – Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB – 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD If you’re looking for a more traditional notebook, Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first laptop ever, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that’s outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it’s one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it’s the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world. Then docking the screen into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of a discrete GPU. 9. HP Spectre x360 15 Thinner, sexier and faster than ever CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS UWVA-backlit multi-touch | Storage: 512GB SSD HP nailed its 2016 revision to the Spectre x360, and it’s done it again with the 2017 version that comes with a host of new modern features for the versatile laptop/tablet hybrid. It may not be as small as other Ultrabooks, but the HP Spectre x360 15 still looks beautiful and feels fantastic to use. It also keeps the 360-degree hinge, letting you flip the device so you can use it comfortably no matter what your needs are. So, you get amazing build quality and design and some of the best hardware currently powering modern laptops. What’s not to love? 10. MacBook Gorgeous, thin and light CPU: Intel Core m3 – m5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12-inch, 2304 x 1,440 LED-backlit IPS display | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD Apple has updated its most attractive laptop yet with an Intel Skylake Core M processor. Still clocking in at 1.1GHz to start, the 2016 MacBook aims at those who don’t need power as much as portability and pizazz. The stylish, aluminum unibody design and the Retina display are all back, too. Aside from a 3.5mm headphone jack, the only connector port remains USB-C, though the reversible interface has gained traction since last year’s debut. If you’re willing to lug cable adapters and take a performance hit in the name of stellar design, the brand new, appetizing Rose Gold finish might be just for you. 11. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 MacBook speeds with more ports for fewer dollars CPU: Intel Core m3 – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED-backlit glare touchscreen | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD When it comes to crafting an affordable Windows laptop with a premium feel, Asus takes the cake. The Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 in particular combines a mid-range price tag with a convertible form factor, a full-size trackpad and keyboard and an extensive arrangement of ports. These include USB-C, micro HDMI, micro SDXC and, yes, standard USB ports and even a 3.5mm headphone jack. In the pre-2015 MacBook era, these features would be expected, but nowadays, they’re an anomaly given the minimalistic efforts of newer laptops. Don’t go in expecting the ZenBook Flip UX360 to be old-fashioned, however, because as the naming suggests, this is a notebook that prides itself on its ability to shapeshift 360 degrees. 12. HP Spectre Thin, powerful and delightfully chic CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS UWVA WLED | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD One glance at the HP Spectre, and you’d think it belongs in a mansion. What you may be surprised to discover is that not only does it boast a premium appearance, but the HP Spectre is actually more powerful than the latest MacBook and for a lower price at that. From the beautifully designed gold hinge to the optional Intel Core i7 configuration to the trio of USB-C ports, you’ll not only look like you have one of the most capable (not to mention future-proof) laptops around, but you actually will. Although it only boasts a 1080p screen , that criticism is trumped by a work of supreme industrial design. 13. MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016) Bigger isn’t always better, but for the MacBook Pro it is CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 450 – 460 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch Retina (2,880 x 1,800) LED-backlit IPS | Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe SSD For media production, the 15-inch MacBook Pro has been the go-to for many years now. Slight design changes have annually accompanied CPU upgrades, making every new MacBook Pro that comes out a subtle rewrite of its predecessor. This year, however, Apple has made changes – for better or worse – that will dramatically change how the MacBook Pro is used altogether. To Apple outsiders, the decision to omit all the standard USB ports and SD slots in favor of four USB-C connections is baffling. For the fans, however, it’s a strategic means of future-proofing. Regardless of how you feel about the concessions, the MacBook Pro’s most alluring invention is the Touch Bar, which replaces the function keys and, in turn, introduces a layer of functionality only possible with the latest MacBook Pro. 14. Lenovo Yoga 910 An avant-garde take on a contemporary classic CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch FHD 1,920 x 1,080 IPS multi-touch | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD Unlike many iterative notebook upgrades, the Lenovo Yoga 910 feels like a completely different laptop than its predecessor, the Yoga 900. Now embellished with edgier looks (literally, as the edges are far more defined) and an all-aluminum chassis, the Yoga 910 is quite the stunner. That’s without going on to detail its superior, 13.9-inch display, which is 0.6 inches bigger than the Yoga 900. The real feat, however, is that the Yoga 910 retains a similarly sized shell, not to mention a slimmer body, despite the added screen real estate. The banging set of speakers are merely a bonus. 15. HP Chromebook 14 A fun, bright and affordable Chromebook CPU: 1.83GHz Intel Celeron N2940 processor | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB DDR3 | Screen: 14-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display | Storage: 16GB eMMC With a 14-inch screen, this HP Chromebook isn’t the smallest or lightest Chrome OS device out there. However, it strikes a good balance between ample screen space and portability. A top-notch keyboard and trackpad, coupled with a great screen, makes the Chromebook 14 a joy to write and browse the web on for very little money at all. On the other hand, if you’re willing to shell out a bit more for an aluminum design and upgraded performance, the smaller HP Chromebook 13 might be more your style. Source:

The best computers of 2017

It wasn’t but a few years ago that pundits were clamoring for the death of the traditional desktop computer. It’s 2017, though, and the PC hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, with AMD’s Ryzen processors finally here and its successor on the way, it’s only a matter of time before the PC space is littered with more powerful – not to mention more affordable – options. Performing hardware-intensive tasks such as gaming and video editing on a powerful rig with personalized components is like nothing you could experience on a tablet or laptop. Averting dead batteries and upgrade limitations are just two of the many benefits the best PC has to offer. PCs have an upgradeability factor that’s virtually unparalleled. If you want to save up for the inevitable GTX 1080 Ti to shove into your computer’s chassis, that’s your prerogative, and it’ll likely garner you that sweet 4K HDR sweet spot in top-end games such as Mass Effect: Andromeda. There is a wide range, however, of form factors to choose from when shopping around for a new PC. The minimalism and compact nature of all-in-ones like the HP EliteOne 800 G3 is sure to appeal to those desperate for accessibility. Meanwhile, the traditional desktop PC tower still trucks on alongside tiny computers that go under your TV stand called mini PCs. Save for our Apple examples, which naturally come loaded with macOS Sierra, and the Chrome OS-equipped Acer Chromebase, you can expect any one of the PCs on this list to support Windows 10 – whether out of the box or with an upgrade. 1. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition Don’t be fooled, this machine is a gaming PC at heart CPU: Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 480 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 | Storage: 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD; 2TB HDD | Communication: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 7.09 x 14.02 x 15.22 inches Leave it to Dell to contrive a computer that’s not only affordable, but arguably one of the best options for gaming disguised as a regular productivity machine. It may not have “the look,” but the XPS Tower Special Edition is capable of far more than basic number crunching. Featuring anywhere from an Intel Core i5 to Core i7 Skylake processor paired with 8GB of RAM, that would be enough to make the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition sing. But Dell didn’t stop there. Rather, the computer company managed to squeeze in discrete graphics that, surprisingly for a pre-built machine, doesn’t cost an outrageous wad of cash. Not only that, but register your XPS Tower Special Edition with Dell and they’ll throw in complimentary customer support via the web. If you prefer your PCs with subdued, austere designs over those bedecked with aliens and snakes, this one does it all. 2. Apple iMac with 5K Retina display A stylish all-in-one with a stunning screen CPU: Intel Dual-Core i5 – Quad-Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 3TB SSD | Communication: Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 196 x 196 x 36mm The iMac is known for its essentialism. Easy-to-use hardware combined with the famed accessibility of macOS makes for a nigh-perfect computing experience. A built-in screen, speakers and 802.11ac wireless networking are only complemented by the fantastic Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. All you need is a power cable to get it up and running. There’s quite a range of iMacs, starting at £899 (around $1,365 or AUS$1,943) for an entry-level 21.9-inch model with a dual-core processor that’s just enough for basic tasks, up to 27-inch iMacs with quad-core processors and even the optional 5K display. If you want a faster, quieter and more reliable storage option, you can opt for a hybrid solid state drive as well. Even on the low-end model, the IPS display is bright and vivid, with a clever design where the edges of the aluminum chassis are thinner than many standalone monitors. And as standard, the iMac runs macOS, although Apple makes it very easy to install Windows alongside if you want to continue using your existing Windows software. 3. Apple iMac with 4K Retina display (21.5-inch, Late 2015) Still stylish, still stunning, but compact too CPU: Intel Quad-Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 | RAM: 8GB 1867MHz LPDDR3 | Storage: 1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400RPM | Communication: Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 45cm x 52.8cm x 17.5cm Boasting a vibrant Retina 4K display that’s packed with color, Apple’s new 21.5-inch iMac is a small bundle of aluminum joy. Its display’s massive, 4,096 x 2,304 pixel-resolution is great for surfing the web in comfort with multiple windows side-by-side in El Capitan’s Split View in addition to image and video editing, watching 4K video content and just about everything else. As expected from an Apple computer, it’s a typically well-built machine that, in true iMac tradition, barely takes up more space on your desk than a larger laptop. Apple is bundling the 4K iMac with a superb set of accessories, too including the latest versions of its Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 and its all-new Magic Keyboard. Just make sure you upgrade the standard spinning hard drive to a 1TB Fusion Drive (or even better, the 256GB SSD) if you want to shell out a bit more cash to eliminate lengthy loading times. 4. Apple Mac mini The cheapest way you can go Mac CPU: Intel Dual-Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 5100 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Communication: Wireless: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 196 x 196 x 36mm The Mac mini exhibits the luxury of an Apple desktop without the price tag to match. Starting at a mere $499 (£399, AU$779), the Mac mini is barebones yet affordable. Though it ships without the otherwise expected Magic Mouse and Keyboard peripherals, getting to choose your own accessories is, at the very least, liberating. And, while it hasn’t been updated in quite some time on the hardware front, the Mac Mini’s Haswell-based i5 processor still chugs along nicely. Plus, with Iris Graphics onboard, you’ll get a bit more juice than expected. Combined with 500GB of storage space and 4GB of RAM, the Mac mini is arguably the best starting point for OS X newcomers even if a contemporary makeover is long past due. With an aluminum shell and simplistic industrial design, the Mac mini represents Apple at its very core. Where it mainly lacks, however, is in performance. Luckily the option for a Fusion Drive, which marries the power of both HDD and SSD technology, somewhat makes up for this inadequacy. A configuration sporting 8GB of RAM is an option too, but if you don’t want to shell out the extra cash, the base model will do just fine. 5. Acer Revo Build A stackable media PC with plenty of storage CPU: Intel Celeron N3050 – Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics – Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 2GB – 8GB | Storage: 32GB SSD – 1TB HDD | Communication: 802.11ac, Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE | Dimensions (W x D x H): 5.3 x 5.3 x 2.2 inches The Acer Revo Build is one of the few desktop computers you can actually take advantage of on the go in addition to with your at-home setup. Featuring upgradeability that’s as easy as stacking Lincoln Logs, the Revo Build is both the perfect media PC and a stellar charging station for your other devices. Unfortunately, that’s assuming you shell out enough for the most expensive configuration, which comprises an Audio Block for built-in sound output, a 1TB hard drive block and even a graphics block for Ultra HD video. The Revo Build packs in not one, but three USB ports, an SD card slot and even DisplayPort. Plus, if your phone is up to task, you can even utilize wireless charging. 6. HP Pavilion Wave It’s a prettier, if less-beefy, Mac Pro CPU: Intel Core i3 – Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 – AMD Radeon R9 M470 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Communication: 802.11ac, Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 6.81 x 6.62 x 9.25 inches The HP Pavilion Wave is the latest in a trend of desktops posing as entirely different hardware. This time it’s a speaker, thanks to a partnership with Bang & Olufsen, and the HP Pavilion Wave succeeds where others have failed. Rather than muddling the audio quality exerted from the Wave’s onboard speaker system. HP and B&O Play have devised a clever cylindrical design that actually improves on sound quality while looking good at the same time. The HP Pavilion Wave also manages to future-proof itself with Bluetooth 4.2 capabilities, three standard USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DisplayPort and even a single USB Type-C port. 7. Lenovo IdeaCentre 710 A multimedia aficionado for the whole family CPU: Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti – GeForce GTX 960 | RAM: 12GB – 32GB | Storage: 2TB HDD + 128GB SSD – 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD | Communication: Lenovo AC Wireless, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 7.12 x 17.98 x 15.77 When it’s not busy perfecting its ThinkPad formula, Lenovo is hard at work on its bombastic series of entertainment-centric desktops. Stacked with one of the most powerful Skylake processors on the market combined with a discrete GPU of your choosing as well as your preferred hard drive and solid state drive pairing, the Lenovo IdeaCentre 710 is more than enough for 4K video playback and then some. Although it’s designed more for video editing than twitch-shooting, the IdeaCentre 710 can handle some light- to medium-weight gaming with ease. It might not run the latest Battlefield at the highest settings in 1080p, the IdeaCentre 710 is still far more capable than it has any right to be – and without costing a fortune at that. Aside from the limited GPU configuration options, the only complaint we have is that for such a high-quality machine, the Lenovo IdeaCentre 710 ships with Windows 10 Home rather than Windows 10 Pro. As a result, you’ll need to upgrade manually if you want the option to defer updates or access your desktop remotely. 8. Dell XPS 27 A well-rounded jab at Apple’s ageing iMac CPU: Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 2TB HDD; 32GB SSD | Communication: 802.11ac; Ethernet; Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 17.1 x 24.6 x 3.16 inches The Dell XPS 27 is an all-in-one that does it all, and it does so with pristine equity. Resting atop an articulating stand is a massive 4K Ultra HD touchscreen display and a whopping sextet of ear-numbing speakers. Not only is it attractive, what with its silvery metallic finish and uniquely molded mouse and keyboard, but it’s also top-notch when it comes to delivering powerful specs. Its high asking price might see you turn your head in the opposite direction, especially when compared to the more modest cost of a similarly configured HP AIO 27, but it’s arguably worth it for the advantages in both looks and performance – not to mention a snug set of peripherals attached. No, there’s no HDMI-in or pressure-sensitive stylus, but that’s because the Dell XPS 27 knows its audience. It doesn’t cater to gamers specifically, nor was it crafted with designers in mind. Unlike the Origin Omni or even the Surface Studio, the Dell XPS 27 feels most at home with entertainment enthusiasts. Whether you’re making your own beats or vibing out to someone else’s; watching films or editing them yourself, the Dell XPS 27 should be at the top of your list when shopping around for a new PC. 9. Intel Compute Stick (Core M) The tiny computer that can CPU: Intel Core m3 – Core m5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB eMMC | Communication: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 38mm x 12mm x 125mm When we reviewed the original Intel Compute Stick, we were undeniably disappointed by its lackluster performance and ostensibly unnecessary fan integration. Well over a year later, Intel has addressed both of these complaints with one major change: the switch to the company’s Core M-series processors. Whether you’re appeased by the Core m3 or you need the slight bump in power exhibited by the Core m5, the Intel Compute Stick offers a solution. Of course, it’s still not ideal to pack a fan into a tiny dongle, especially when the Core M CPUs were designed with noise elimination in mind. But, the Intel Compute Stick still maintains a cost low enough to where it may not matter if it doesn’t run completely silent. Its tiny form factor and powerful (for the price) CPU is enough to tide you over nonetheless. 10. Asus VivoMini UN45 A compact desktop for everyday computing CPU: Intel Celeron N3000 – Pentium N3700 | Graphics: Intel HD Integrated Graphics | RAM: 2GB – 8GB | Storage: 32GB – 128GB SSD | Communication: 802.11ac, Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 | Dimensions (W x D x H): 5.16 x 5.16 x 1.65 inches Asus is a unique PC maker in that it offers a wide range of computers for a variety of different types of users. You typically won’t find in a mini PC with this many configuration options that no matter which one you opt for, the underlying computer remains the same. The VivoMini UN45 may look like one of Asus’ DVD burners, but in reality, it’s a full-fledged desktop that can be used as a companion for watching 4K movies in your home theater or it can even be connected normally to a monitor or a TV. Moreover, the UN45 bears an M.2 SSD regardless of which model you opt for, ranging from 32GB to 128GB. However, if you don’t mind the reduction in performance and configure your VivoMini UN45 with an Intel Celeron N3000, you’ll get the liberty of a fanless design that’s completely silent even when the CPU is under full load. Source:

Haven’t got a Nintendo Switch? Don’t worry, more are coming

The first person in line for the midnight release of the Nintendo Switch had been there four long weeks. YouTuber CaptainNintendoDude waited the 28 days since Feb. 3 at the Nintendo Store in Manhattan, until at last he could count down to the clock striking midnight, like it was New Year’s Eve for Nintendo’s newest console. It was an extreme measure, but he was willing to endure it in order to guarantee a Switch. Nintendo executives said Friday, as sales of the Switch began, that you won’t have to work nearly that hard to buy yours. All across the country, the hype had been building for the Switch, with preorders quickly selling out at major retailers like Amazon, Walmart and GameStop. This time around, Nintendo took precautions to make sure it wouldn’t have a situation like the NES Classic on its hands. The NES Classic, a nostalgic remake, has been sold out for months because of heavy demand and supply shortages. The Nintendo Wii also faced supply problems more than a year after its release. With that track record and the sold-out preorders for the Switch, many people worried they would have to wait for the new console if they didn’t get it at launch. Not this time, says Doug Bowser, Nintendo’s vice president of sales. The company is boosting its production and expects a steady flow of Switches heading to stores for several months, according to Bowser. If you miss out on a Switch on the launch date, he said, rest assured that more are on the way. For Friday’s Switch launch, Nintendo shipped out 2 million units worldwide, anticipating the high demand. There’s no exact number on how many more Switches Nintendo will be dispersing, but Bowser said that constant production means people should be able to get their hands on the console. “They’re going to be available through March, and we’re also increasing production,” said Marc Franklin, Nintendo’s public relations director. It’s still too early say how many Nintendo Switches have been sold since it launched at midnight. But Bowser expects fans to continue buying the console as Nintendo rolls out games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and ARMS. So far, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been one of the most popular launch titles, and for good reason. CNET sister site GameSpot gave the title a perfect 10, calling it a “breathtaking masterpiece.” Nintendo decided to space out its heavy hitters, with Breath of the Wild as its haymaker for the launch. Instead of herding a pack of strong titles right out of the gate, Nintendo is going for a steady pace of releases throughout the year. That means for launch, players will have to play the Zelda title and 1-2 Switch while they wait for more games. For Nicole Perez, a mother of two, that’s not an issue at all. She’s excited for Super Mario Odyssey, but the 1-2 Switch has been her favorite so far. She was playing it Friday morning with her 9-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son at Nintendo’s New York City event. “I like doing the dance with my daughter, I also like the safe crack,” Perez said. “I’m more old-school, so I’m more into Mario, but I know my son loves Legend of Zelda.” Source:

BitChute is a BitTorrent-Powered YouTube Alternative

YouTube is without doubt one of the Internet’s best platforms, but it does have its weaknesses, particularly when it comes to monetizing controversial content. Using BitTorrent under the hood to avoid expensive bandwidth bills, could the recently launched BitChute become a viable alternative? YouTube attracts over a billion visitors every month, with many flocking to the platform to view original content uploaded by thousands of contributors. However, those contributors aren’t completely free to upload and make money from whatever they like. Since it needs to please its advertisers, YouTube has rules in place over what kind of content can be monetized, something which caused a huge backlash last year alongside claims of censorship. But what if there was an alternative to YouTube, one that doesn’t impose the same kinds of restrictions on uploaders? Enter BitChute, a BitTorrent-powered video platform that seeks to hand freedom back to its users. “The idea comes from seeing the increased levels of censorship by the large social media platforms in the last couple of years. Bannings, demonetization, and tweaking algorithms to send certain content into obscurity and, wanting to do something about it,” BitChute founder Ray Vahey informs TorrentFreak. “I knew building a clone wasn’t the answer, many have tried and failed. And it would inevitably grow into an organization with the same problems anyway.” As seen in the image below, the site has a familiar layout for anyone used to YouTube-like video platforms. It has similar video controls, view counts, and the ability to vote on content. It also has a fully-functioning comment section.