Around the holidays the tech news slows to a trickle, everything I read this past week was boooooring! So, no show this week, and since I will be tied up during the holiday, no show this coming week either! Sigh. Sorry! Here’s the thing… don’t forget me in my absence! Also, I MAY try to do a few other shows – like VirtZine or Chromest, if I can. No promises… but we’ll see!
More good reasons to abandon old OS platforms!
VentureBeat – By: Emil Protalinski – “Google today announced it is extending Chrome support for Windows XP until April 2016. The company will also end Chrome support for Windows Vista, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion at the same time.
This means Google will provide regular Chrome updates and security patches for users on these operating systems for five more months. After that, the browser will still work, but it will be stuck on the last version released in April.
Google rightly explained that ‘such older platforms are missing critical security updates,’ ‘have a greater potential to be infected by viruses and malware,’ and ‘are no longer actively supported by Microsoft and Apple.’ If you want to receive the latest Chrome versions and features, the company thus advises you to move to a newer operating system.
In October 2013, Google originally announced it would retire Chrome support for Windows XP in April 2015. The company then pushed the date back until December 2015. Now it’s being pushed back yet again.
Keep in mind that Microsoft retired Mainstream Support for Windows XP on April 14, 2009, and then pulled Extended Support for the operating system on April 8, 2014. Google’s extensions are a little ridiculous. The company was already going out of its way to support XP a year longer than Microsoft, but two years is really bending over backwards.
Windows XP users cannot upgrade to newer versions of Microsoft’s browser: IE8 is the latest version they can install. IE9 is only available for Windows Vista and Windows 7, while IE10 and IE11 are only for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Many XP users thus choose to use third-party browsers like Chrome.
Last month, XP still had over 11 percent market share, according to Net Applications. Vista had 1.74 percent market share, and the three old OS X versions had a combined 1.17 percent. That’s exactly why Google keeps updating Chrome for XP users: There are still hundreds of millions using the browser on the ancient OS.
But with all these extensions, Google isn’t helping — it’s encouraging users not to upgrade. Even with an up-to-date browser, using Windows XP is simply a poor security choice.”
My favorite connection manager gets an upgrade! Check out the new features!
BetaNews – By: Mike Williams – “TeamViewer GmbH has unveiled TeamViewer 11 beta, a preview of its free-for-personal-use remote control package.
Performance enhancements are a highlight, with up to 15x faster file transfers, and a potential 30 percent reduction in data usage.
Image rendering has also been optimized, bringing better image quality at any given bandwidth.
A shiny new TeamViewer Chrome OS app gives you even more ways to connect, and there are options for unattended access to Android devices, or connecting directly to the Linux console (no GUI required).
Extra web support means you’re now able to run TeamViewer from your browser, and use your TeamViewer account as a web-based chat platform, wherever you are.
Both the TeamViewer toolbar and client interface have been redesigned to make them easier to use.
Corporate users also see a host of improvements, including smarter channel, group and device management, and a new customer feedback option via an automatic satisfaction survey at the end of a session.
TeamViewer 11 beta is available now for Windows XP and later.”
And, now I want one! Wow!
Streaming Media.com – By: Troy Dreier – “Roku is taking a lead on 4K, making ultra-high definition support the defining feature of its new Roku 4 set-top box. Someone’s got to be first, and while there isn’t much 4K content around yet, Roku is helping TV-lovers find and stream it. That gives it a critical differentiator over the new Apple TV, which doesn’t support 4K.
Using the Roku 4 doesn’t require a UHD TV, and there’s a lot to like about it even with an HD set (which is how we tested it). The box has a quad-core processor and triple the RAM of the Roku 3, and performed perfectly in our testing. Combining its hardware with the existing quick-start feature for Netflix and Amazon meant we never had to wait more than a few seconds for content. The Roku 4 includes 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi, which is helpful for 4K streaming because it has strong throughput. Viewing 4K video requires an HDCP 2.2 HDMI port. The set-top box also includes optical digital audio for the first time, (something we weren’t able to test) and upscales SD video to 720p.
Roku has thrown some variety into the screen savers this time, and automatically shows 4K nature images when the screen is inactive. We loved how rich and detailed they looked, even at 1080p. Those screen savers are customizable, but more on that later.
We didn’t have to wait long to test out the remote finder, since remotes naturally get lost in a messy TV room. Press a button on the box and the remote plays a sound of your choosing until you pick it up and press a button. It worked as it should, and is a fun conversation piece.
The improved hardware is only part of the story here. Roku has long been a master of the perfectly intuitive user interface, and the company has released an OS update (to OS 7) that adds useful new features without crowding the controls.
Roku introduced the My Feed feature back in March, letting users identify movies currently in theaters that they want to stream when available. My Feed gains new abilities with OS 7, as users can now follow any movies, TV shows, actors, or directors they want. When something new is available, My Feed lets you know with helpful on-screen indicators. You’ll see a number in parentheses in the left-hand navigation that lets you know how many new items you have available, then a purple triangle next to every item in the feed that’s been updated. We suspect that many people are spontaneous in their streaming video watching—simply browsing around until they find something good—but the My Feed improvements are a boon for planners who don’t want to miss a thing.
OS 7 and the updated iOS and Android Roku app combine to make Roku’s new Hotel and Dorm Connect feature possible. We haven’t testing this yet, but look forward to doing so later this month during Streaming Media West. This feature gives Roku owners a way around Wi-Fi accounts that require a sign-in. Connect the Roku to a hotel or dorm Wi-Fi network and enter the sign-in information through the app. Once connected, the app passes the credentials over to the Roku. It’s a smart idea, and one that makes the Roku an essential travel companion.
The app is worth updating for other reasons. Those high-resolution screen savers in the Roku 4 are customizable: Using the app, owners can substitute their own photos, high-res or not. The controls are easy and its fun having favorite shots show up on the TV, something Apple TV users know well. The app also includes new tools for searching and managing the feed, as well as playing content. These should have been in place when the app was first launched, but better late then never.
The Apple TV will certainly continue to outsell Roku models, but it shouldn’t. Roku has known that the future of TV is apps for years now, and it creates dead simple user interfaces that make content discovery a pleasure. The Roku 4 continues that with a forward-looking attitude.”
I know, this is getting to be a habit! I had to much going on again this weekend! I had to rebuild a server from scratch! Sigh. Another show soon though!
So, yes, you SHOULD still get that Chromebook for Christmas!
Engadget – By: Jon Fingas – “That talk of Google merging Android and Chrome OS, effectively killing Chrome OS as you know it? Google would rather that you forget about all that. In a follow-up to its early rebuttal, the search firm acknowledges that it’s working on ways to “bring together” the two platforms, but insists that there’s ‘no plan to phase out’ Chrome OS. The web-focused software is still popular in classrooms and offices, Google says, and there are plans to upgrade it with everything from a more substantial Material Design makeover to a new media player. There are ‘dozens’ of Chromebooks launching in 2016, the company adds.
That’s all good news if you were worried that Google would drop Chrome OS like a hot potato, although we wouldn’t blame you if you’re skeptical about its long-term future. Google isn’t saying what’s happening in 2017, when the rumored Android/Chrome OS merger takes place. It’s hard to imagine the company spending years unifying its two platforms, but still pouring tons of energy into Chrome OS by its lonesome. The real litmus test is whether or not Google has this same answer in a couple of years, when it doesn’t have to worry as much about assuaging customers and preserving sales.”
HWMonitor Pro is a hardware monitoring program that reads PC systems main health sensors: CPU temperature, voltage, power consumption and utilization.
- Mainboard voltages, temperatures, fans speed.
- GPU voltage, temperature, utilization.
- HDD temperature.
Watch the sensors of one or several distant PCs or Android devices using a simple TCP/IP connection.
Save monitoring data and generate logging graphs as bitmap files.
Sensors in system tray, editable sensors labels.
Now, this is interesting!
MNR Daily – By: Sanjit Dutt – “Rumors about Google merging its two operating systems, Chrome and Android, will finally come true according to a new report.
For the last two years, there have been reports of Google planning to merge its Chrome OS and Android, which has now been confirmed by a report from Wall Street Journal. Google will reportedly integrate its Chrome OS into Android by 2017 and the name ‘Chrome’ will no longer be used. Chromebooks will continue to be available, but under a different name, while the Chrome browser will also continue to be available in the same name. This means that all functionalities of Chrome OS will be available in Android and apart from smartphones, the new most operating system will become available on other devices.
At first glance, the move to merge the two operating systems appears unnecessary, as Chromebooks have a loyal user base, particularly in educational institutions across the United States. However, Chromebooks are not so popular among the general public and have managed to achieve a market share of only 3 percent. On the other hand, Android dominates the mobile market with a share of about 78 percent and is also found running on the majority of tablets. Google’s plan to merge Chrome OS and Android was also confirmed when the company recently launched its high-end tablet Pixel C, running on Android OS. Similar to Microsoft’s Surface series of tablets, Google’s Pixel C also comes with an optional keyboard that can be plugged into the Android powered tablet.
Back in 2009, Google’s founder Sergey Brin had hinted at the possibility of the merger of Android and Chrome OS. ‘Android and Chrome will likely converge over time,’ said Brin. After Sundar Pichai took over in 2013, the first step to merge the two operating systems was taken by offering Android app support on Chrome. Recently, Pichai had told analysts, ‘Mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today.'”
Bad move, Amazon! You don’t build a market by looking like you are afraid to compete!
Tech Times – By James Geddes – “Amazon had previously said it would be removing all Apple TV and Google Chromecast devices from its online retail listings, and now it has followed through on its promise. As of today, all listings of the devices through the company as well as via third-party sellers have been removed, and customers searching for the units are redirected to listings for a Fire TV device.
The planned move first became apparent not through an official announcement by Amazon, but via an email to resellers with whom it partners, advising them that the company would be discontinuing sales of the products at the end of October. Media requests for confirmation of the new policy were met with the following statement from the company:
‘Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime. It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion. Roku, Xbox, PlayStation and Fire TV are excellent choices.’
Now, Amazon has followed through on its promise to eradicate the competing products from its site. A search for ‘Chromecast’ results in a series of listings topped by ‘Amazon Fire TV Stick.’ The items which follow do include several accessories for the Chromecast dongle, however, such as a mini-USB power cable for the device. Amazon also still lists both paperback and Kindle edition books related to the use of the device, such as ‘Chromecast: Go from Chromecast Beginner to Master in 1 Hour or Less! (Master Your Chromecast Device)’
A search for Apple TV results in listings for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV, and other media players.
Amazon’s claim that the removal of the competing products is being done to avoid customer confusion appears disingenuous. Clearly, customers will only be more confused when they search for a product they have a specific interest in buying only to discover it is nowhere to be found and that they have been redirected to another product manufactured by Amazon. While the company might earn a few more dollars by steering customers away from their original purchase interests to its own products, is that really worth the loss of goodwill when loyal Amazon customers realize they are being manipulated?”
We love our hand held devices!
PC Magazine – “Smartphone ownership has been on the rise over the last few years, but you hardly need a survey to tell you that—just look at all of your friends and family members who plant their faces in their mobile devices at any given opportunity. (A fun game for the upcoming holiday season.)
What’s more interesting is just how some of the other big tech devices in the market have ebbed and flowed over the past few years. The Pew Research Center has a few figures: Most notably, that the once-popular e-reader is starting to fall on tougher times—probably because any tablet you can buy today can also serve as a pretty good digital book.
According to its figures, which the Pew Research Center generated by conducting a whole host of surveys over the past decade, just around 68 percent of all U.S. adults have a smartphone right now, which is up from an estimated 35 percent back in 2011. Only around 19 percent of today’s adults say they own any kind of e-reader, however—a bit of a drop from last year’s 32 percent. (Pew didn’t release detailed stats for exact years, so we can’t make an apples-to-apples comparison back to 2011.)
Tablets, on the other hand, have been on a steady increase since Pew started tracking them in 2010. According to Pew Research Center’s figures, just around 45 percent of all adults now own one.
Curiously, just around 40 percent of adults say they own an MP3 player, and that figure hasn’t really changed since 2008. One might assume that the growth of smartphones that also double as audio players would have made MP3 players fairly irrelevant, but that’s not the case—not according to Pew Research Center’s features, at least. However, MP3 player ownership is on a decline for younger demographics. Only 51 percent of those aged 18–29 say they own an MP3 player now, versus 75 percent in 2010.
Our suggestion might have some merit, as smartphone ownership has jumped from 52 percent in 2011 to 86 percent in 2015 among this younger group. As for other devices, game console ownership has dropped from 62 percent in 2010 to 56 percent today, and e-readers went from 5 percent to 27 percent in 2012, but have dropped back down to just 18 percent in 2015.
‘The Pew Research Center surveys cover ownership of seven types of devices. The center studies them because their use often affects how people connect with each other, with information and with media. They also impact the way people spend their time. And each kind of device has its own attributes of how people use them and engage with the material they provide,’ reads the Pew Research Center’s report.
‘Thus, device usage has notable social and cultural implications, and there are sometimes important political and macroeconomic consequences to the way people use their gadgets. For instance, every major media industry – those built around video, audio and text – has been disrupted by these devices.'”