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App Pick - Grumpy Cat Weather

Could Android Pro be a Good Thing?

Google has been doing a good job with mainstream Android and their Android Go has been a fresh new look at an OS variant for entry-level devices. I realize that fragmentation is worse with Android that iOS, but there could be a good case for a "Pro" version of Android as it could have a better fit for high-end devices and offer more of a premium, bloat-free experience.

So here's a radical thought: maybe there's now room for more than one canonical variant of Android. I can already hear the chorus of disagreement, chanting the word "fragmentation" with cautionary zeal, but Google is already working on a modified version with Android Go, its extra lean serving for lower-spec devices. What I have in mind is a similarly stripped-down option intended for pro users: an Android Pro.

Source: TheVerge

Western Digital Adds Helium to 10TB NAS Drives

Western Digital has a couple of new drive models on the market in their Red Series for NAS storage. They have now added helium to the 10TB versions of both the Pro and Standard drives. The standard Red drive spins at 5,400 rpm, while the Pro drive spins up at 7,200 rpm and offers a better warranty as well as better performance. These aren't available just yet, but will be available soon. If you've got a nice 8-bay unit, that will give you a solid 80TB setup.

The WD Pro 10 TB drive is engineered for personal or small business NAS systems with up to eight bays, is optimized for mixed workloads and has a 5400 RPM spindle speed. By contrast, the WD Red Pro 10 TB is aimed at medium business and enterprise-class NAS systems up to 16 bays, which is why the HDD features additional protection against vibrations as well as improved random read performance due to both 7200 RPM spindle speed and firmware tuning.

Source: AnandTech

Refurbished Surface 3 128GB

Microsoft has discounted the Surface 3 to a mere $369 if you are looking for a certified refurbished tablet from Microsoft. Keep in mind that this isn't the "Pro" version. As such, this still has a great screen, but the processor has been stripped down to an Atom processor. Still, the 128GB version comes with Windows 10, 4GB of RAM and more for an attractive price. If bargain prices are your thing, the 2GB RAM 64GB storage version is only $299.

Sporting a quad-core Intel Atom processor, Surface 3 has the power to run your favorite apps and desktop software, including iTunes and Photoshop Essentials1- just like a laptop. Click in a backlit keyboard (sold separately) to type faster than onscreen, and easily connect accessories with the USB 3.0 port.

Source: Microsoft

Samsung S8/S8+ Keyboard Cover

There are some pretty nifty accessories for the Galaxy S8 device, but some of the accessories are more of a miss that a hit. While the idea of a physical keyboard on a new Smartphone is great, the implementation of the keyboard cover leaves a little bit to be desired. I have never tried one of these myself, but after reading the full review I'd probably have to agree with their observations and may avoid this one for now.

Compared to the keyboard covers on Samsung's previous smartphones, the new one looks more at home on the S8 and S8+, especially the Midnight Black. When attached, they look like they were meant to be together, whereas clashing colour shades and size differences between phone and keyboard meant the cover looked a bit oddly proportioned/styled with the previous models.

Source: Neowin

Amazon goes public 20 years ago

Time flies. 20 years ago Amazon went public, fast forward 20 years and now Amazon has literally changed the way we shop and has become a monster and the go-to place to purchase pretty much anything online. Right now Amazon is valued at $464 billion dollars which is twice the value of Walmart. 20 years ago if you'd have invested $10,000 your investment would now be worth $5 million. The New York Times looks at the 20 year rise of Amazon.

Twenty years ago this week, Amazon.com went public.

Skeptics of Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, have spent the better part of the past two decades second-guessing and vilifying him: He has been described as “a monopolist,” “literary enemy No. 1,” “a notorious international tax dodger,” impossible, a ruthless boss and — more than once — “Lex Luthor.” His company used to routinely be described as Amazon.con.

But you know what?

Here we are, 20 years later, and Mr. Bezos has an authentic, legitimate claim on having changed the way we live.

AMD Ryzen coming to laptops

AMD has announced that they are bringing Ryzen to the laptop market later this year. In addition to the laptop CPUs they'll also be bringing out their Ryzen 3 lineup which will be more budget oriented. AMD seems to be trying to harness the buzz around their Ryzen lineup and should be interesting to see if their new offerings can generate the same hype as the Ryzen launch in 2016 generated. The Verge has the story.

AMD has announced some more Ryzen processors set to hit later this year, including mobile-focused Ryzen processors for laptops, the Ryzen “Threadripper” for high-end desktop PCs, and a budget Ryzen 3 line, as noted by Liliputing.

The first Ryzen processors were released by AMD earlier this year, and were seen a major leap forward for the company’s CPU offerings that actually managed to offer meaningful competition for Intel’s popular Core i5 and i7 models when it came to both price and performance.

Bitcoin keeps going up

Every couple months I feel like I keep posting another story about how Bitcoin is still going up and post a story questioning how long it can go up before we see a crash. Apparently that time isn't here yet as Bitcoin has continued to go up and it closing in on $1,900 which is of course their all time high. CNBC takes a look at the continuing rise of Bitcoin.

The digital currency bitcoin jumped to a fresh all-time high Thursday as global investors looked for safe haven trades. Increased interest from Asia also helped boost the digital currency.

Bitcoin rose more than 3.5 percent to hit a record of $1,875.08, according to CoinDesk.

One of the reasons for the move was "buying as a hedge against political chaos," said Brian Kelly, CEO of BKCM, which runs a digital assets strategy.

Facebook get hit with $122 million dollar fine

Facebook is being handed a hefty $122 million dollar fine by the EU over their WhatsApp takeover and maybe not being as forthcoming as they should have with some of the information when they were buying WhatsApp and have been deemed to have violated the Merger Regulations. Since this is a legal proceeding, chances are good it'll be challenged or appealed, but even in the end if they have to pay the fine I'm sure Facebook is going to be just fine. For more details head on over to Engadget.

After months of deliberation, the European Commission has ruled that Facebook intentionally mislead officials over its ability to utilize data following its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014. As a result, the social network has been fined €110 million ($122 million or £94 million) and becomes the first company to be penalized under the Commission's Merger Regulation law since it was introduced in 2004.

Google I/O

Google I/O was this week and we saw a couple new announcements from Google. This year there wasn't much at all on the hardware end of things, but we did see some software updates and new features that will be available in the near future. Google Lens and Google Home are both going to see some updates which isn't too surprising as they are both pretty popular right now. The BBC has a breakdown of what you can expect from Google.

At Google’s annual developer conference, held this week near its Mountain View headquarters, the company showed off some of the best practical applications of AI and machine learning I’ve seen yet. They may not make your jaw drop - or, thankfully, put you out of a job - but it’s an incremental change that shows how Google is putting its immense computing power to work.

We weren’t expecting any major new hardware launches this year, instead it was time for Google to build on what we saw here last year with regards to personal assistants, AI, and cloud computing.

Ryzen 16-core 'Threadripper'

If the previous 6 and 8 core Ryzen CPUs from AMD weren't enough, good news, coming in the summer of 2017 you'll be able to get the 'Threadripper" 16 core Ryzen models. Of course most people don't need 16 cores, but with a name like Threadripper, why wouldn't you get one anyways? No pricing is available yet, but chances are good they'll be more on the higher end but most likely still cheaper than other workstation chips that offer similar numbers of cores. ExtremeTech has the story.

AMD’s Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors have already punched holes in Intel’s product lines. The Ryzen 5 1600X is a six-core / 12-thread CPU at $250, compared with over $400 for its Intel counterpart, and the eight-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X ($500) compares well with Intel’s Core i7-6900K at $1,100. AMD’s financial analyst day yesterday wasn’t just a discussion of data center and deep learning workloads — enthusiasts got some serious love as well.

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