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Ask Slashdot: What Single Change Would You Make To a Tech Product? 491

An anonymous reader writes: We live in an age of sorcery. The supercomputers in our pockets are capable of doing things it took armies of humans to accomplish even a hundred years ago. But let's face it: we're also complainers at heart. For every incredible, revolutionary device we use, we can find something that's obviously wrong with it. Something we'd instantly fix if we were suddenly put in charge of design. So, what's at the top of your list? Hardware, software, or service — don't hold back.

Here's an example: over the past several years, e-readers have standardized on 6-inch screens. For all the variety that exists in smartphone and tablet sizing, the e-reader market has decided it must copy the Kindle form factor or die trying. Having used an e-reader before all this happened, I found a 7-8" e-ink screen to be an amazingly better reading experience. Oh well, I'm out of luck. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I'd fix it immediately if I could.

Tim Cook: Apple Won't Create 'Converged' MacBook and iPad ( 337

LichtSpektren writes: In an interview with, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that Apple is currently not looking to create an iPad that runs Mac OS X. "We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad, because what that would wind up doing, or what we're worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You'd begin to compromise in different ways." Cook also commented that he does not travel with a Mac anymore, only his iPad Pro and iPhone.

InFocus's New Kangaroo: a Screenless $99 Windows 10 Portable PC ( 224

An anonymous reader writes: InFocus today debuted the Kangaroo, a $99 Windows 10 portable PC that "goes anywhere and works with any screen." The term "mobile desktop" may seem like an oxymoron, but that really is the best description: Picture your typical desktop PC tower shrunk down to the size of a phablet sans screen; just like any desktop, you'll still need to connect a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

What Might a $50 Tablet Inspire? ( 169

theodp writes: Surprisingly, says Ars Technica's review of Amazon's $50 Fire tablet, it doesn't suck. "There's simply very little reason to spend more when you can get 90 percent of the functionality for a fraction of the price," writes Mark Walton. "The only real niggle right now with the Fire Tablet is the display (and the camera, if you really want to take photos with your tablet). Once budget tabs start coming with 1080p displays as standard, the writing really will be on wall. For now, the Amazon Fire Tablet is the budget tablet to beat." How does cheap technology like this mesh with Bill Gates's dream of putting a computer in every home, and projects like OLPC? Beyond that, any thoughts on what a $50 tablet price point might inspire in education, gaming, and other areas?

Hands-On WIth Dell's 4K Infinity Edge-Equipped Laptops ( 77

MojoKid writes: Dell's 2015 version of the XPS 13, the company's 13-inch premium ultrabook, is arguably one of the most acclaimed laptops of the year, with its "Infinity Edge" display that comes in resolutions from 1080p up to UHD 4K, with almost no bezel, and a carbon fiber composite chassis design with a machined aluminum lid. Based on the product's success in the market, Dell recently announced they were bringing the design approach and 4K Infinity Edge display to both their XPS 15 consumer based ultrabooks as well as their Precision 15 professional line up. At Dell World 2015 this week Austin, the company had both 15-inch versions on display for demos and this quick hands on shows just how compact and well-built the machines are, though they're also now refreshed with Intel Skylake processors and PCIe NVMe SSDs.

Microsoft's Mission To Reignite the PC Sector ( 267 writes: Sales of personal computers have been declining for so long — 14 consecutive quarters — that it's hard remember a time when PCs ruled the tech world. Now Nick Wingfield writes in the NY Times that Microsoft is leading the way on a mission to re-ignite the PC market by taking the once-unthinkable step of competing with its hardware partners. This week, Microsoft dived even further into the business with a laptop device, the Surface Book. The stated reason that Microsoft got into the PC hardware business three years ago, with the original Surface, was not to put PC companies out of business — but to better illustrate the capabilities of its software, providing devices that would inspire PC makers to be more innovative.

One of the most remarkable things about Microsoft's growing presence in the hardware business is that it has not led to open revolt among its partners. Initially, many of them were not happy about Microsoft's moves, complaining in private. "It's positioned as a laptop, very squarely against the MacBook Pro as an example. But that could also be extended to a Dell XPS 13, or an HP x360," says Patrick Moorhead. One reason there hasn't been more pushback from OEMs is that Microsoft's Surface business is still relatively small. Another is that the money Microsoft has poured into marketing Surface has raised the broader profile of Windows PCs. While Microsoft obviously risks alienating its partners, it's doing so with a much bigger fight in mind. "Right now Microsoft really believes that it has to have a combined hardware, software, and services play to go up against the likes of Apple," says Moorhead. "That's why it's doing this. That's why it's taking such an aggressive stance now, moving to laptops."


Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For a Reliable Linux Laptop? 237

An anonymous reader writes: I will be looking for a new laptop soon and I'm mostly interested in high reliability and Linux friendliness. I have been using an MSI laptop (with Windows 7) for the last five years as my main workhorse and did not have a single, even minor problem with the hardware nor the OS. It turned out to be a slam-dunk, although I didn't do any particular research before buying it, so I was just lucky. I would like to be more careful this time around, so this is a hardware question: What laptop do you recommend for high reliability with Linux? I will also appreciate any advice on what to avoid and any unfortunate horror stories; I guess we can all learn from those. Anti-recommendations are probably just as valuable, a lesson I learned when an HP laptop I bought (low-end, I admit) turned out to be notoriously fickle when it comes to Linux support. Since our anonymous submitter doesn't specify his budget, it would be good if you specify the price for any specific laptops you recommend.

WSJ: We Need the Right To Repair Our Gadgets 345

An anonymous reader writes: An editorial in the Wall Street Journal rings a bell we've been ringing for years: "Who owns the knowledge required to take apart and repair TVs, phones and other electronics? Manufacturers stop us by controlling repair plans and limiting access to parts. Some even employ digital software locks to keep us from making changes or repairs. This may not always be planned obsolescence, but it's certainly intentional obfuscation." The article shows that awareness of this consumer-hostile behavior (and frustration with it) is going mainstream. The author links to several DIY repair sites like iFixit, and concludes, "Repairing stuff isn't as complicated as they want you to think. Skilled gadget owners and independent repair pros deserve access to the information they need to do the best job they can."

Amazon Reportedly Aiming For the Low End With a Loss-Leader $50 Tablet 111

Amazon has been dogged with criticism for its high-end, somewhat oddball phone, but done rather better with its high-end Fire tablets, and has mostly defined the market for e-ink book-reading devices with its long-lived Kindle series. Now, according to a report in the WSJ echoed by Fortune (and by Ars Technica and many others), the company is said to be working on a tablet aimed at the low end of the market, with a 6-inch screen, a mono speaker, and a tiny pricetag -- which could be as low as $50. "At the bottom end of the range at least, the devices won’t be priced to make a profit," writes Fortune. "The dirt-cheap price tag is intended to maximise the reach of its e-book and Amazon Prime video streaming content."

Ask Slashdot: Best Tablet In 2015? 283

An anonymous reader writes: My 2012 Nexus 7 tablet is showing its age. The battery drains quickly, the storage problem that plagued all the Nexus 7s persists even after rooting and re-imaging, and the CPU/RAM can't keep up with the later Android versions. When it came out, it was fantastic — good specs, solid build quality, Nexus line, and a good size. Is there anything on the market today that stands out as much as the Nexus 7 did? I tend to prefer the smaller tablets over the bigger ones, but I'm not entirely averse to an 8" or 9" device. There seem to be some really nice devices in the $3-400 range, but I'm not sure if there's a huge benefit to those over the ~$200 models. I don't do any serious gaming on my tablet, but I also want the apps I do use to be snappy. Those of you who have bought or used tablets made in the past year or so, what has your experience been? Any brands or models that stand out from the crowd? Any to avoid?

Four Men Arrested Over Million-Dollar MacBook Heist 100

An anonymous reader writes: In January of 2014, Anton Saljanin was hired to drive 1,195 Apple MacBooks, valued at over $1 million, from a vendor in Massachusetts to a pair of high schools in New Jersey. The day after picking them up, he told police that the truck disappeared overnight while he slept. Later that day, he told police he just happened to spot the truck abandoned in a parking lot while he was driving down the highway. Unfortunately for him, detectives quickly realized none of these things could be true. Footage from CCTV cameras and cell-site records for his phone indicated he met with his brother and drove to another suspect's house, where they unloaded the laptops. Later, a fourth man helped them sell some of the MacBooks, often at steep discounts. The four men have now been charged in federal court for the theft.

Intel Launches Onslaught of Skylake CPUs For Laptops, Hybrids and Compute Stick 54

MojoKid writes: Intel is following up on its Skylake launch bonanza by opening the floodgates on at least two dozen SKUs mostly covering the mobile sector. The company is divvying up the range into four distinct series. There's the Y-Series, which is dedicated to 2-in-1 convertibles, tablets, and Intel's new Compute Stick venture. Then there's the U-Series, which is aimed at thin and light notebooks and "portable" all-in-one machines. The H-Series is built for gaming notebooks and mobile workstations, while the S-Series is designated for desktops, all-in-one machines, and mini PCs. Also, the Y-Series that was previously known as simply the Core M, (the chip found in products like the 12-inch Apple MacBook and Asus Transformer Book Chi T300) is now expanding into a whole family of processors. There will be Core m3, Core m5, and Core m7 processors, similar to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPU models in other desktop and notebook chips.

Samsung May Release an 18" Tablet 177

A report at PC Magazine says that Samsung may soon field a tablet to satisfy people not content with the 7", 9", 12", or even slightly larger tablets that are today's normal stock in trade. Instead, the company is reported to be working on an 18.4" tablet aimed at "living rooms, offices, and schools." There's a lot of couching going on, but it sounds like an interesting idea: It's said to run Android 5.1 Lollipop and be powered by an octa-core 64-bit 1.6GHz Exynos 7580 processor. Other rumored specs include 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot with support for cards up to 128GB, and a large 5,700 mAh battery. The device also has an 8-megapixel main camera (and you thought people looked silly taking photos with their iPads) and 2.1-megapixel "secondary camera."

Yet Another Compromising Preinstalled "Glitch" In Lenovo Laptops 89

New submitter execthis writes: Japanese broadcaster NHK is reporting that yet another privacy/security-compromising "glitch" has been found to exist in preinstalled software on Lenovo laptops. The article states that the glitch was found in Spring and that in late July Lenovo began releasing a program to uninstall the difficult-to-remove software. The article does not specify, but it could be referring to a BIOS utility called Lenovo Service Engine (LSE) for which Lenovo has released a security advisory with links to removal tools for various models.
Desktops (Apple)

Could the Best Windows 10 Laptop Be a Mac? 435

dkatana writes: Now that Windows 10 is finally out there many people are looking for the best laptop with the power to make the new OS shine. The sweet spot appears to be in $900-$1500 machines from Dell, Asus and HP. But Apple, the company that has been fighting Windows for ever, has other options for Windows 10: the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. According to InformationWeek there are many reasons to consider purchasing a MacBook as the next Windows machine, including design, reliability, performance, battery life, display quality and better keyboard. Also MacBooks have a higher resell value, retaining up to 50% of their price after five years.

NVIDIA Recalls Shield Tablets Over Heat Risk 27

An anonymous reader writes: NVIDIA has issued a recall for 88,000 units of its 8-inch Shield tablet sold in the past year. Predictably, it's because of the battery. There have been reports of overheating, including two reports that the tablet got so hot it damaged the floor it was resting on. Oddly, the company is requiring anyone returning the tablet to update its OS to the latest release.

Experiment: Installing Windows 10 On a 7-Year-Old Acer Aspire One 405

jones_supa writes: Windows 10 will launch in less than a week and it is supposed to work flawlessly on devices already powered by Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, as Microsoft struggled to keep system requirements unchanged to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Device drivers all the way back to Windows Vista platform (WDDM 1.0) are supported. Softpedia performed a practical test to see how Windows 10 can run on a 7-year-old Acer Aspire One netbook powered by Intel Atom N450 processor clocked at 1.66 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, and a 320 GB mechanical hard disk. The result is surprising to say the least, as installation not only went impressively fast, but the operating system itself also works fast.

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s: Heavy, But a Battery That Lasts Nearly All Day 79

MojoKid writes: Mobile workstation notebooks typically offer a fair degree of performance but usually at the expense of battery life. It comes with the territory for machines that are configured with higher-end processors with discrete graphics chips, as well as high-end displays that take more power to light up. Lenovo, however, seems to have found a way to strike a better balance with their new ThinkPad W550s, which comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-5600U CPU, an NVIDIA Quadro K620M GPU, and a 15.5 inch IPS display that sports 2880X1620 native resolution. With that kind of horsepower and that many pixels to push, you would think untethered up-time wouldn't be its strong suit but Lenovo configured a snap-in extended battery for the W550s. The 6-cell extended battery, in combination with its 3-cell internal battery, was able to power the machine for over 18 hours of light-duty web browsing in real-world testing (Lenovo claims up to 20 hrs of battery life). The machine also lasted over five hours under heavy-load Battery Eater testing, and the extended battery is unobtrusive, tilting the keyboard up slightly toward the user but keeping well inside the machine's footprint.
Linux Business

Lenovo Will Sell Ubuntu Laptops In India 77

puddingebola notes the news, as carried by Tom's Hardware, that Lenovo will soon ship laptops preloaded with Ubuntu in India. "The first of these systems will be the Lenovo Thinkpad L450, featuring only one of two CPUs, but the selection may widen over time and expand to other countries ...Overall, switching to Ubuntu reduces the system cost considerably. Currently, the standard L450 system with Windows 8.1 Pro utilizing a Core i3, 4 GB of RAM, and a 500 GB HDD costs 59724 INR ($943.02 USD). An Ubuntu version of the system with the same hardware specs, however, will only cost 48000 INR ($757.91 USD).

Two-Pounder From Lenovo Might Be Too Light For Comfort 134

MojoKid writes: With the advent of solid state storage and faster, lower-powered processors that require less complex cooling solutions, the average mainstream notebook is rather svelte. Recently, however, Lenovo announced their LaVie Z and LaVie Z 360 ultrabooks and at 1.87 and 2.04 pounds respectively, they're almost ridiculously light. Further, with Core i7 mobile processors and fast SSDs on board, these machines perform impressively well in the benchmarks and real world usage. If you actually pick one up though, both models are so light they feel almost empty, like there's nothing inside. Lenovo achieved this in part by utilizing a magnesium--lithium composite material for the casing of the machines. Though they're incredibly light, the feeling is almost too light, such that they tend to feel a little cheap or flimsy. With a tablet, you come to expect a super thin and light experience and when holding them in one hand, the light weight is an advantage. However, banging on a full-up notebook keyboard deck is a different ball of wax.