We have just posted up episode #302 of WeeklyTechUpdate. In this episode we talk about some super things. With all the negativity, we thought we'd pick things up a notch. We talk about Superfish, Sony's new Super Premium Sound MicroSD cards and the Super Sales of the Raspberry Pi. We have those stories and even more goodness below!
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WTU Episode #302- All Things Super (Fish, Sound, Sales)
Valve Enters VR Market
It looks like Valve is getting into the VR market now with plans to bring VR to their "Steam Machine". I really fail to see how this is so awesome and I've tried a few. Basically, they are all the same - with the same limitations as to actual function. Call me crazy, but I like to sit down, relax and game - not strap electronics to my face.
Today's announcement contradicts what Valve has said about producing its own hardware all along, from virtual reality headsets to the Steam Machines initiative. Well, kind of -- the company "never ruled out" making its own Steam Machine, but also never announced any intentions to do so either.
Google Making New Chromebook Pixel "Soon"
Based on the (non)success of the original Chromebook Pixel, Google is working on version 2.0 that should be better than the first. Chromebooks are pretty awesome as it is, but when you slap an amazing monitor and a huge pricetag on it, you're asking for trouble. Maybe Google will be back to the drawing board with some new NVIDIA Tegra stuff and a great screen for less. That could be a win.
The big takeaway: Google is working on this thing, it’ll ship “soon,” but they… don’t actually expect to make/sell many of them. Chromebooks sell well enough at $200-$300; hell, three of the top 10 best selling laptops on Amazon right now are sub-$350 Chromebooks. Bump the price up to $1,300, however, and folks start looking elsewhere.
We have just posted up our review of the FinalMouse from, er, FinalMouse. This is a very slick, lightweight mouse geared for professionals and the eSports community. It is driver-less and has some of the best switches and sensor on the market. If you are looking for a mouse that can keep up with you, this is the final mouse you may ever buy. Check our review for all the details.
As we look over the FinalMouse again, the return to simple drivers and no bloated software is quite refreshing. This approach greatly improves the performance of click registration. The clean and professional ergonomic design really gives the mouse a comfortable glove-like feel.
Deal of the Day: Xbox One, 3 Games, 2 Controllers - $349
If you've been looking for a reason to get an Xbox One, this is probably what you've been waiting for. Amazon has a pretty impressive bundle for sale that includes a couple of Assassin's Creed titles as well as Wolfenstein for a mere $349. To sweeten the deal, they even through in an extra controller. This will get you set up and playing your multiplayer games for a great price. If you had intended on buying these gaames, and an extra controller, the bundle saves you almost $200 if you were to buy all the games separately. Take a look.
- Item includes: Xbox One Assassin's Creed Unity Bundle, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and 2nd Xbox One Wireless Controller
- The Assassin's Creed Unity Bundle contains a digital download code for Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Black Flag packaged in the box
- Wolfenstein: The New Order and the second controller are phsyical items
Lollipop Lets You Tweak With Your Voice
If you're one of the low percentage of Android users that are now using Lollipop, you may have noticed that you can now do some settings changes with just your voice. You can control things like your flashlight, WiFi, Bluetooth and a few more bits. As people use these settings more, I'm sure that Google will allow you to do even more with your voice down the road as their voice-to-text and voice recognition is actually very good.
The feature can be really useful at times, especially if your device doesn't come with a built-in flashlight controller or if you need to use your phone while on the road. It seems to be limited to those three for now, and only for Lollipop devices, so you'll still have to work those thumbs to adjust any other setting.
Raspberry Pi 2 Review
The Raspberry Pi 2 is an amazing little device. It's a full quad-core computer that can run Windows 10 and it will only set you back $35. That's the good news. If you want to find out what the bad news is, or in fact if there actually is any bad news, make sure you go check out the review at the link below. I really, really want one of these...
The Raspberry Pi 2 includes three basic, powerful upgrades. It replaces the single-core, 700MHz ARM11 processor of the original in favor of a far more powerful quad-core, 900MHz ARM Cortex-A7 chip; it doubles the available RAM from 512MB to a full 1GB; and it packs four full USB ports, twice the amount of the original Model B.
Samsung Lied - Smart TV's Are Indeed Spies
Samsung has some pretty nice gear - Smart TVs with integrated cameras for Skype calling as well as a host of other applications. The worry was at launch, "Will the TV spy on me with the camera?" Samsung assured us that no such action would or could take place. Well, they lied. These units have been indeed spying on users and Samsung knows this is and not doing anything about it. This is huge and I certainly won't be buying a new Samsung TV anytime soon.
Last week, the good folks at The Daily Beast dug through the company’s policy page to find that Samsung smart TVs were orchestrated to record everything you say and send them back to the company, which was later sent to an unidentified third-party player. This could be a major issue to many, as not all of us would be comfortable with the fact that all the conversations we have in front and around our TV set are being analyzed by someone.
Lenovo and Superfish
Lenovo has been making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons thanks to a piece of adware that they were putting onto their systems called Superfish. While Superfish might sound delicious and a great name for a new kind of sushi, its main purpose in life is to inject additional ads into your browser (which isn't a good thing). Lenovo is aware of this issue and it appears that only systems shipped in a short period of October to December of 2014 were affected and the Superfish software has been removed from their systems shipped since that point.
Lenovo isn't the first company to get in trouble for pre-loading adware onto your new system, but it does bring up the point once again, will there ever be a day when I can order a new system from these big companies with no OS installed so I can have a computer without 500 app pre-installed?
The adware - dubbed Superfish - was potentially compromising their security, said experts.
The hidden software was also injecting adverts on to browsers using techniques more akin to malware, they added.
Lenovo faces questions about why and for how long it was pre-installed on machines - and what data was collected.
The company told the BBC in a statement: "Lenovo removed Superfish from the preloads of new consumer systems in January 2015. At the same time Superfish disabled existing Lenovo machines in the market from activating Superfish.
'Premium Sound' Micro SDXC Cards
If you've got too much money and are looking for reckless ways to spend it, Sony has announced their new 'Premium Sound' Micro SDXC cards which are around 4-5 times more expensive than their regular Micro SDXC cards. What's the big difference? Well, apparently these 'Premium Sound' cards have 'less electrical noise' which has people puzzled since storage devices don't actually change the quality of the sound but simply store it. The debate is on over at PCWorld and you can make up your own decisions as to whether this is actually a premium product or a fancy marketing gimmick
Now, the idea of audiophiles obsessing over barely-perceptible details is nothing new. The speaker market is filled with products whose frequency response exceeds the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range of the human ear, and you can spend thousands of dollars on audio cables in pursuit of eliminating noise.
But while those expenses at least have some technical justifications behind them, the case for audiophile storage is flimsy at best..