Win An Intel-Powered Laptop!

TL;DR Watch the following sponsored video for the opportunity to win a brand-spanking-new Intel-powered laptop for you and a friend. ‘Tis the season… to cash in on some amazing technological values. And I’ve been on the lookout for an economical “gaming” laptop, like this $699 HP Pavillion at Walmart, to upgrade my wife’s aging rig. She’s pretty … Read more

Microsoft Edge Gets Adblock Plus but Windows 10 telemetry still runs rampant

As I continue to dig further into preview builds of Windows 10, ahead of the Summer Anniversary Update, there’s a lot to like from this stable and sensible operating system. Indeed, the integrated “Edge” browser has received plugin support and most notable extension is Adblock Plus. Yet the bandwidth savings and privacy ABD offers is somewhat incongruous … Read more

Digital Media Bytes

A periodic roundup of relevant news… Live television headed to Amazon Fire TV. Microsoft prepping a Roku-fighting Xbox streamer? Xiaomi to launch 4K Android TV in US as Google discontinues Nexus Player and Nvidia Shield sees nice updates. Both Apple and Google are developing Amazon Echo voice control home companion competitors. DISH HopperGO sidecar now available to offload Hopper DVR recordings … Read more

Xbox One Going Windows 10, Getting Background Music

Given Microsoft’s strategy to deploy Windows 10 across all computing devices, including computers and smartphones, I guess it’s not entirely surprising they intend to similarly unify the Xbox One onto the platform later this year. Whether or not this translates into a less crazy user interface remains to be seen, but it does seem highly likely that background music streaming will be one compelling benefit of migrating to the new operating system. It’s a feature I’m surprised we haven’t seen more – and something I periodically have appreciated from the WDTV Play and Amazon Fire TV.

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Are We Ready for Table-Sized Tablets?

It was many years ago at CES that Dave and I both found ourselves enthralled by HP’s coffee-table-sized touchscreen on display at one of the many press events. There’s something visceral about the feeling of moving and shifting digital objects on a table, and it’s very different from the feeling you get when manipulating a tablet. With a tablet, the movements are mostly in your thumbs and index fingers. With a digital table, your gestures are broad and sweeping.

Of course, where HP (and Microsoft, and others) failed with its touchable table, Apple has soared to unimaginable success with the iPad and its successors. ln fact, we’ve been so caught up in the tablet market that little effort’s been expended on bringing touch-control to larger screens. (Motion-controlled TV interfaces are a different matter entirely.) The one big exception I know of is the Lenovo Horizon Multimode Table PC. Lenovo showed off its Horizon product at CES 2013, but given how little I’ve heard about it since then, I was shocked to discover the Table PC is actually available for sale. You can make it your own for only $979.

Now into the void steps Westinghouse. With a slight twist on the tabletop idea, Westinghouse is introducing a new interactive whiteboard for CES 2014. It’s a large tablet turned on its side, and it comes in 55″, 65″, 70″ and 84″ screen-size varieties. (The 84″ version supports 4K video.) According to the YouTube demo, the new product operates like a standard tablet running Window 8, but it includes a whiteboard mode with text recognition, annotative capabilities that work even on video, and a six-point IR touch system.

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Deal of the Day: Adobe Educational Software, 80% Off

Via a Lifehacker link that crossed my Twitter feed, I discovered Adobe’s blowing out a variety of creative software at 80% off their already drastically reduced educational pricing. Of course, that’s one heck of a caveat – only students and faculty need apply. While I no longer fall into either category, I happen to live … Read more

Battle Lines Drawn: Microsoft & RIM Vs. the World

It was free PlayBooks for all at the BlackBerry World Conference keynote presentation today, but that was hardly the biggest surprise of the morning. Taking the stage right after RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. That’s right, the CEO of Microsoft held court at a BlackBerry conference. Why? To announce a new alliance of course. RIM is now working closely with Microsoft to integrate Bing search at the OS level on BlackBerry devices. Eric Zemen, aka @phonescooper, captured the rather odd video (above) showing how the Bing-on-BlackBerry experience will work.

If there’s one clear conclusion to be divined from Ballmer’s appearance today, it’s that the mobile battle lines have been drawn. Microsoft signed an agreement with Nokia just last month to shore up its OS position with Windows 7. Now it’s supporting RIM in the mobile OS world in order to further its mobile search interests. Bizarre? Yes. But also very calculated. Microsoft was late to the mobile game, and now it’s aligning left, right, and center in order to combat Google and Apple in the space.

You can place your bets now on whether Microsoft’s mobile strategies will work. Certainly the company is taking a scatter-shot approach to the market, but that doesn’t mean one of those shots won’t hit.

In the meantime, here’s a sampling of some of the greatest tweets covering the RIM conference this morning – from the hilarious to the insightful:

Read moreBattle Lines Drawn: Microsoft & RIM Vs. the World

Embedded Windows 7 Means New HTPC Extenders?

Microsoft pulled surprises out if its giant hat last week with a couple of significant announcements. The first one was a positive – embedded Windows 7 for CE devices which holds some promise – especially for Media Center fans. The second a total disappointment albeit not an entirely shocking one where they admitted their awesome, … Read more