Category Archives: Uncategorized

ElementaryOS Luna: Impressions (with video FTW!)

Below is my video review of Elementary OS Luna. If you’re wondering this is running on a system with a Intel® Pentium® CPU B950 @ 2.10GHz × 2, and 4GB of RAM (effectively 3.7GB counting memory reserved for graphics. It’s a HP 2000 laptop.

Enjoy!

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“8? What 8?”: Microsoft hoping Windows 9 will make you forget 8

MaximumPC recently reported that Microsoft is beginning to pump Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, and may announce further details at its 2014 developers conference. The product will likely roll out a year later.

image MaximumPC

Windows 8 has been, all things considered, a failure. Redmond managed to do the two things with Windows 8 it really needed not to do: alienate its consumer base and come up weak with a hardware line based on it. According to Paul Thurrot, Windows 8 is installed on less than 25 million PC’s (about 10% of total), with the now decrepit Windows XP still running on over 500 million computers by one estimate. As XP’s support is waning, usage is dropping. However there hasn’t been movement to Win8 apparently.

Desktop PC sales have declined overall, partly due to dissatisfaction with Win8 and the feeling that by taking a wait-and-see approach things might clear up. Hopefully MS will get the desktop right this time and allow users to boot to a more familiar interface, and therefore increase adoption and satisfaction overall.

4 for ’14: Tech Resolutions for the New Year

technology resolutions

You make New Year’s Resolutions to improve your life, right? This year resolve to improve your digital life as well!

1. Clean your PC: And I don’t mean defragging or emptying the recycle bin. I mean getting in there with some canned air and blowing the gunk out of all those cracks and crevices. It’s amazing how much dust can build up inside your case. That dust can lead to problems though, especially with cooling. If your components aren’t cooling properly, they’ll overheat and break down faster. Get some canned air from any office supply or big-box store and gently blow out the dust from the fans, CPU cooler and RAM, as well as between any expansion cards. 

2. Upgrade strategically: If your computer is more than two years old and you’ve noticed it running slower, consider upgrading your hardware. But do so strategically. Just because it’s slow doesn’t mean a new processor will make a huge difference. If you can upgrade your CPU, a simple jump up to a higher clock speed (such as moving from a 2.4Ghz to a 3Ghz CPU) won’t make a significant difference. Adding more RAM is usually a better and more cost effective option. Adding a new hard drive will help ease space issues, but you’ll need to be comfortable with installing it. Have a consultant review your system specs to see what upgrades are possible first.

3. Get educated: Learning about your computer and its software packages will make a huge difference in your overall satisfaction with it. I find it quite surprising how little companies offer in the way of education about their products, though. To get started, you can read computer related blogs (like this one!) or major sites like CNet, Maximum PC or PCWorld. There are plenty of books and magazines out there offering tips and hints for Windows 7, Windows 8. Finally consider taking a class at your local library on computer related topics like using Excel and Word. You’ll be amazed what you can do with these programs once you know their secrets.

4: De-clutter the drive: By this I mean getting rid of old programs that you don’t use, deleting or archiving old files, cleaning the inbox out, and so on. Temporary files can hide on your system and take up a lot of space, so use a program like CCleaner to find and delete unnecessary files. Remember to empty your recycle bin every so often as well.

The joy of old tech

never fixed a 360 by blowing on it, have you?

When Christmas comes around the newest and trendiest gadgets are all paraded out for the consumers’ eager dollars. The launch of the XBox One and PS4, along with new gadgets like the latest smartphones and “wearable tech” garnered a lot of attention this buying season. However my dollars went toward stuff that was flying off the shelves for other reasons, most notably obsolescence. Read the rest of this entry

Further proof the desktop is dying: AMD’s possible roadmap

Extremetech posted a possible roadmap for AMD’s 2014-2015 planned processors which further spell out the problems the desktop PC market is having.

AMD 2012-2015 roadmap

image: Extremetech

One thing you’ll notice is the total lack of clarity regarding the future of the AM3+ chipset. Extremetech reads this as the end of AMD’s high-end x86 chip segment. There’s some good reasons for AMD to do this. Primarily AMD has spent a great deal of time and funds competing with Intel on this end and losing. Performance enthusiasts typically look at pure performance first and cost second, and while AMD’s FX chips have done very well and usually cost significantly less than Intel’s they just haven’t been the best. However AMD has had some great gains in the integrated/embedded chip market with it’s APU’s. The choice of AMD for the XBox One and Playstation 4 was a huge win over not only Intel but NVidia.

From the chart above you can see that 2014-2015 will see a focus on these APU’s using the existing desktop-friendly FM2+ chipset as well as ones based on the Jaguar core, which is used in the XBox One and PS4.

It looks as if AMD will continue support for the desktop-focused AM3+ chipset for the foreseeable future, but R&D will be focused on APU’s rather than x86 architecture. The company will probably release newer and faster AM3+ processors at a rate just enough to keep people interested and it’s name on the boards, but don’t expect great leaps forward in that department.

This seems to be a smart move for AMD as computing is done more and more on smaller platforms and mobile devices. Intel has done worse in these markets, so AMD could really pull ahead of the giant if its plan works out.

XBox One, PS4 or … PC?

image: whatculture

I’m a realist. While PC gaming is still alive and thriving, PC’s themselves are teetering on the edge of irrelevancy in a world of tablets. As the newest consoles come out from Microsoft and Sony (the Wii U is really in its own category) it’s an opportune time to consider what these systems can do compared to a gaming PC. Read the rest of this entry

Coming from Apple in 2014: 12-inch Retina MacBook, sharper iPad, cheaper iMac?

Apple’s really starting to hit on this “cheaper” thing!