We have just posted up Episode #270 of Weekly Tech Update. IIn this episode we are discussing Microsoft kills maps and gets vintage users to get lost, Google blames ISPs for slow YouTube performance and Potato Salad. We have those stories and more and the links below!
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WTU Episode #270 - Microsoft Says "Get Lost"
Xbox One Promotion for $75 Off
It seems that Microsoft is getting desparate to catch up to the PS4 sales and is now offering a promotional price (through coupon in your Xbox Live) for $75 off the purchase of a new Xbox One. As far as I can tell, this qualifies for ANY Xbox One or Xbox One bundle and would make the price of the Kinect-less Xbox as little as $325. For that price, I think they'd convince a lot of people to bite. Check you Xbox Live messages and see if you coupon awaits!
Samsung to Join the VR Bandwagon?
Occulus VR and others have been trying to make VR popular again and they've done so with minor success. Now it looks like Samsung is planning on joining the bandwagon with their "Gear VR" and I can't say that I'm impressed. I don't see how VR will enhance our lives when you can usually go experience what your are just simulating. What are your thoughts? VR good, or bad?
Instead of making a completely standalone virtual reality headset, Samsung has developed a modular design, which allows the user to dock in a Galaxy device into the Gear VR using USB 3.0. Virtual reality effect is achieved through head tracking, and instead of equipping the headset with sensors, Gear VR makes use of the smartphone’s accelerometer, gyroscope and processing power to track head motion. Also, as Samsung’s flagship devices use AMOLED display technology, we can surely say that users will have an excellent, flawless and immersive virtual reality experience.
New Zealand ISP Gives Free VPN so you can Netflix
We will in a very online-oriented world and yet this world is locked down so that it is not actually the "world-wide-web", it is the region-specific-web and New Zealand ISP Slingshot, wants to change that. They are giving out a good VPN account with their service so that you can watch USA Netflix. They admit it and that's pretty cool. I'm sure there will be some backlash, but I applaud the idea to set the internet free from regions. That's been one of my complaints for years as I don't live in the USA.
Netflix and other media services tend to block visitors from markets they’re not operating in due to licensing restrictions, and Netflix in particular serves up different content even in its active markets, giving users in Canada access to other titles than users in the U.K.
Windows 7 Support Ends January 2015
If you are using Windows 7 until Windows 8 "gets better" or until Windows 9 comes out, you may have to rethink your platform of choice a little bit. According to sources, Microsoft is all set to end "mainstream" support for Windows 7, Office 2010 and Windows Server 2003 as early as January of next year. What does this mean to you? It means that no features will be updated, but there will contiunue to be security fixes until 2020.
Some industry watchers have speculated that Microsoft will end up pushing out Windows 7's support dates the way the company did for XP, given Windows 7's popularity and pervasiveness, but so far, there's been no word from Microsoft officials that this is the plan.
Android App Pick - Boggle Free
We have just posted up another Android App Pick of the Week and this week we try and stretch our minds without stretching our wallet. Boggle Free is our App of the Week and like the name implies it's free - and it's Boggle. This is one of my favorite games back in the day and this version could very well be my favorite App. Check it out and race against the clock and your friends with Pass 'n Play mode. Check it out!
Lots of Storage
When it comes to storage, it has become very affordable. Flash Drives, Mechanical Drives, SSDs and NAS units to put them in all have dropped in price and allow almost anyone to create a backup and portable storage solution for their personal or business needs. Check out a bunch of the storage reviews that we've gathered up for your viewing pleasure below.
SSD Endurance Experiment - 1 Petabyte and Counting
We've been checking in on the SSD Endurance Experiment for a few months now and they have just crossed the 1,000 TB write milestone. They started with six different SSDs and now they are down to three. If you are concerned about wear-leveling and TLC and MLC endurance, you really should check out this article as it shows drive failures in the real-world - not just hypothetical.
Continued write cycling eventually causes cells to become unreliable, at which point those cells are retired and replaced by flash harvested from the drive's "spare area." This reserve of fresh flash area ensures the SSD maintains its user-accessible storage capacity even if cell failures incapacitate some of the NAND.
Apple Updates Beta iOS 8 and OSX 10.10
Apple is keeping with the times and crowdsourcing beta testers by releasing open betas of their upcoming software to the public. This is a great move as it is entirely an "opt in" program and you can't really blame Apple is a beta software update trashes your device. If you are part of the Apple camp, you'll be happy to know that iOS 8 Beta 3 and OSX 10.10 Beta 3 are now live.
As always, pre-release software from Apple (or any other vendor) is intended for testing purposes only and should not be installed on production machines. If you do decided to test out the new builds, let us know if you find anything new in the comments below.
DisplayLink USB 3.0 to DVI Adapter
USB 3.0 is great, but let's face it, it has pretty much been used exclusively for file transfers and the bandwidth and power that this port provides can promise so much more. Thankfully DisplayLink has capitalized on this and Diamond has packaged up the BVU3500 to make a decent USB to DVI adapter - with enough bandwidth to get things done.
In further testing, I was able to get both a Gateway FPD2185W, and a HD2200 to fire up with ease. The HD2200 connected via the HDMI adapter with ease, and the FPD2185W allowed me to test both the VGA and DVI connection - both of which had no issues up to the max of the monitors.