How to decide if Linux is right for you

Had it up to here with Windows? Can't take another "blue screen of death"? Another 10-minute wait for your laptop to boot? Another spyware or virus hassle? Heck, maybe you just think Microsoft got it so far wrong with Windows 8.1, it's time for a change.

In fact, maybe it's time for Linux.

The open-source operating system offers users a Windows-like alternative with a few key advantages:

It's free. Most software for Linux: also free. It runs briskly with less horsepower under the hood, making it a good choice for older PCs. No … Read more

Review: Advanced SystemCare 7


Lots of Tools: IOBit's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to Advanced SystemCare means you're bound to find something useful for your machine in its massive library of tools, tweakers, and cleaners.

One-Click Fix: Despite its daunting list of options, users shouldn't have trouble finding some kind of fix-all option. When in doubt, most users will probably opt for just that.


Lackluster Redesign: Claims of a Metro-friendly redesign amount to nothing more than color changes, font tweaks to a thinner sans-serif type, and icon packs. Many tools are shortcuts to separate applications that are visually inconsistent and offer questionable … Read more

OS wars 2013: How the latest Mac and Windows upgrades compare

Last year when Mountain Lion and Windows 8 were released, I wrote a piece comparing the Mac and Windows operating systems, and concluded that Apple took the better path by keeping its tablet and desktop operating systems separate. With Windows 8 Microsoft gave its operating system a complete makeover, asking that people change the way they use their computers. Now that the two operating systems have updated with Mac OS X Mavericks and Windows 8.1, I thought I should take another look at both to see if the update did anything to change my mind.

For full disclosure, I … Read more

What will recorded music sound like in 2050?

Last weekend in NYC John La Grou was a keynote speaker at the Audio Engineering Society convention. He based some of his assumptions about how recorded music will evolve on Moore's Law, which states that the number of transistors squeezed onto integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. That prediction was made in 1965, and if anything, Moore underestimated the cost savings we've enjoyed. La Grou rolled out statistic after statistic that painted a rosy future for music, gaming, and film tech advances in the coming decades.

La Grou believes that highly advanced gestural control and brain/machine … Read more

Mac OS X Mavericks packs in features, but isn't a sea change

Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks is now available, bringing iOS features into the fold along with other additions, including iBooks, Apple Maps, Finder Tabs, and a number of other time-saving enhancements. As a free download from the Mac App Store, Mavericks gives you better security, new features for all the core apps, and tons of handy additions that make it a no-brainer to upgrade.

With Windows 8.1 hitting last week, Apple's Mavericks provides a stark contrast to the vision of Microsoft's operating system. Microsoft's stated intent was to break into the mobile space by creating … Read more

Bacteria-sniffing wand could help prevent foodborne illnesses

I've only suffered through a bad bout of food poisoning once, and, without going into details, I spent one evening of my life knowing I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. Apparently I'm lucky, since one in six Americans (or 48 million people) get foodborne illnesses every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And of the 128,000 who end up hospitalized, 3,000 die.

While 3,000 is a tiny fraction of the 48 million who get sick, better sensors and sensing systems could reduce that number even further. So doctoral … Read more

Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks is a free upgrade to all

At the Apple event today, we finally learned that Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks is available today. I already went over the new Finder tabs, iBooks for Macs, Finder tags, and improved full-screen apps in my hands-on for Mavericks in June, but Apple gave us a recap to talk about what the OS does beyond the new features.

Along with new features, Apple says part of the idea behind Mavericks is to get the most out of your hardware, and Apple says improvements to energy management get you as much as an hour more for Web browsing, simply by … Read more

Nokia's Lumia 1520: The first phone that'll take raw photos

Giving the smartphone market an option that's been successful in attracting photo enthusiasts to higher-end cameras, Nokia's new Lumia 1520 phablet can take photos in raw image formats. The Lumia 1020 will get raw support next year, too.

Juha Alakarhu, head of camera technology for Nokia, announced the feature in a tweet Tuesday, saying Nokia will use Adobe Systems' DNG (Digital Negative) format for raw photos.

"It will be available for 1520 from the beginning and 1020 with the Black [software] update early next year," he said in a follow-up tweet.

Raw photos record data from … Read more

The 404 1,368: Where we pawn the family jewels (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Modern manners: what's the protocol for dining alone with your device?

- New type of hacking combines blackmail for digital extortion.

- Neiman Marcus offers $1.5 million outdoor entertainment system.

- Sono concept device attaches to your window; offers peace, quiet.

- Netflix to test extra features for its original shows.… Read more

Neiman Marcus offers $1.5 million outdoor entertainment system

Every year, high-end department store Neiman Marcus releases its Christmas Book, a gift guide for people with deep pockets. Within that book are a series of "fantasy gifts" reserved for people with the deepest pockets ever. The 2013 edition brings us a $1.5 million Ultimate Outdoor Entertainment System with some unusual features.

You could buy a whole lot of gigantic flat-screen TVs for $1.5 million, so what's so special about this setup? For starters, the waterproof C Seed 201-inch LED screen is stored underground. At the push of a button it telescopes up for viewing. The massive screen is marketed as the world's largest outdoor TV.… Read more