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Windows is dead. Haven’t you heard? Yeah, right, we don’t believe that for a parsec (although we wouldn’t mind if Modern got swallowed alive by a Sarlacc to be slowly digested alive for a thousand years.) Still, for those who are living in their post-PC fantasy, the OS of choice for computing won’t be based on Windows.
Since it has been foreseen that Google will rule the entire world, we decided to put the company’s two showcase OSes up against each other in a epic sibling rivalry not seen since Boromir vs. Faramir, Thor vs. Loki, and Ferris vs. Jeanie Bueller.
A large part of Google’s OS success hasn’t been because of its awesomeness. No. Frankly, we think nothing speaks louder than the almighty dollar in this world. But both are “free,” right? So this is tie? Not really. Although Android is technically free since Google doesn’t charge device makers for it, there are costs associated with getting devices “certified.” Oh, yeah, and then there’s Apple and Microsoft, both of which get healthy payouts from device makers through patent lawsuits. Microsoft reportedly makes far more from Android sales than Windows Phone sales. You just generally don’t see the price because it’s abstracted by carriers. Chrome OS, on the other hand, actually is pretty much free. A top-ofthe-line Chromebook is $280, while a top-of-the-line Android phone full retail is usually $600. We’re giving this one to Chrome OS because if it’s generally cheaper for the builder, it’s cheaper for you.
Winner: Chrome OS
Both Chrome OS and Android are based on Linux, which generally starts out being inherently more secure than competing mainstream consumer operating systems. A Linux kernel doesn’t make it bulletproof, though. If you had to pick between iOS, Windows Phone, and Android for malware issues, Android would be the clear loser. Certainly much of that comes from users opting into malware, pirated apps, and the sheer volume of Android devices out there, but we think it’s fair to say that Android has more security problems. Let’s not even get into stranded tablets and phones that never see security updates pushed to them. To this date, we know of no credible security breaches of Chrome OS, and when holes are found, they’re patched with a speed Android OS users could only dream of. Even the four year-old (ancient!) original CR-48 gets updates within a few weeks, while a $600 phone from 2014 will be ignored for months (if not years).
Winner: Chrome OS
Android is regarded as a powerusers operating system. It’s malleable and easily bendable to your every desire. Want a widget that alerts you when it’s time to take a nap in the conference room? Got it. With skins providing device makers’ interpretations on how to make Android “better” (usually for the worse), it’s also pretty damned complicated sometimes. In fact, HTC users can’t easily navigate Samsung devices without some confusion and vice versa. To get lost or confused in Chrome OS would be a feat of unimaginable proportions because there’s just no way to do it. It’s on, off, or in the browser for the most part. And an HP or Acer or Toshiba Chromebook? All the same. Down to the interface and keyboard. In fact, we’d argue that generic feel is another knock against it -- just not in this category.
Winner: Chrome OS
Here’s something you’ll never hear: “Oh. My. Gawd. Is that the new $200 Chromebook? Can I see it so I can stroke its cheap painted plastic skin?!” Outside of the Google employees given free Pixels, Chromebooks have the sex appeal of geriatric sock garters or Limburger cheese. As much as it’s a bad tech marketing cliché, break out the latest wonder phone with its 4K glassless 3D screen at a party and you’ll get the adoration and attention your lonely soul craves. We honestly don’t see that changing, either, because as much as we’ll say, “Bah, I don’t give two No. 2’s about new phones,” there’s no denying just how mesmerizing it is to check out the latest smartphone in person.
Winner: Android OS
For those who don’t know, Chrome OS is pretty much cloud computing. Websites are your apps, and that, Mr. Nonbeliever, means that every website is technically an app, so there are tens of millions of apps for Chrome OS! So, nyah nyah! The truth is, there are surprisingly more Chrome OS apps that can be run offline and in the browser than you’d expect, but we think it’s fair to say that Android’s traditional client-based computing, locally run apps, is more fulfilling and far better supported than Chrome OS. To us, Chrome OS “apps” still feel like you’re trapped in a browser. Then again, maybe that’s the whole point.
Winner: Android OS
This is a shocker to us, because as power users and people who love complicated hardware and devices, we really thought Android OS was going to walk away with it. After all, most of us have wondered just why the hell Android OS isn’t being used in clamshell devices instead of that weak-sauce Chrome OS. But when you add up the numbers and divide by 16.7, Chrome OS is actually the surprise winner here. Maybe there’s a reason Microsoft is more afraid of Chrome OS than Android OS these days.
Ah, so you read our RAID 0 guide, grabbed yourself a pair of drives, and are now rocking a super fast setup -- congrats! Just remember that RAID 0 isn't a backup solution. Heck, it's not redundant. So if you need to backup your data, one possible solution is today's top deal for a Seagate Expansion 4TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive for $110 with free shipping (normally $120 - use coupon code: [EMCAPNV29]). It's fast, simple to use, and capacious!
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It doesn't appear that Samsung needs much help selling Android fans on its recently released Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, but just in case you're on the fence, the South Korean handset maker is hoping a little nudge from T-Mobile will help. That nudge comes in the form of a one-year Netflix subscription at no additional cost when you purchase a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge from a T-Mobile authorized dealer.
The deal runs from now until April 12, 2015, and is open to both new and existing Netflix customers. Once you've purchased a qualifying handset, just head over to Samsung's sign-up page -- https://samsungpromotions.com/netflix -- and follow the instructions. Note that you'll need to have the device in hand in order to complete the process.
Now wait a tick, at this point you're thinking, "What good is this deal when the qualifying devices aren't even available through T-Mobile?" Good question, and here's your answer -- pre-orders count. You can place your pre-order for either handset today; they'll be in stores April 10.
So long as you've purchased the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge by April 12, you'll have until May 21 to sign up at the above linked page, and until June 20 to redeem the code.
Here are two things to keep in mind. One, this is for the Netflix plan that allows you to have up to two streams simultaneously. And two, the offer is good for the first 92,000 submissions.
At GDC 2015, Valve was able to impress many people with its SteamVR technology including our own Maximum PC Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang (see what he thought about the SteamVR demo). But what is surprising is that the company announced that a consumer version will be available in 2015. It is short notice for a device that has just been revealed, but that doesn’t seem to bother Valve. So far, a small selection of developers already have kits, but Valve and HTC will be letting developers apply for a free Vive developer kit soon, according to Ars Technica.
This information comes from Valve VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi, who spoke to Ars Technica, stating that ”more info and sign up forms will be available to all interested developers, big or small, via a new site coming soon.” While Lombardi didn’t reveal how many of the developers who apply online will get a free dev kit, he added that the company’s hope is to have the sign-up site up next week.
The lucky developers who get approved will receive a Developer Edition that “will be free, at least initially,” said Lombardi. According to Valve’s SteamVR page, the Developer Edition “comes with a headset, two controllers, two base stations - everything you need to dive in and start creating new interactive VR experiences.”
How many of these kits will be given away for free is anyone’s guess. But it is a different approach for Valve compared to Oculus VR, which provided early units to its Kickstarter backers and has been selling its dev kit to anyone for $350 on its website. So it will be interesting to see what developers will get the Vive dev kit and what kind of games will be developed.
Of course, the other thing to consider is how much will the Vive cost for developers who are not lucky enough to get it for free and what the consumer version will retail for. Any guesses? Sound off in the comments below!
The collection of metadata by government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, has been a source of contention for tech companies forced to hand over the information in bulk to the US Government. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows for the bulk collection of metadata but the provision will expire in June unless the government renews it. As the date draws closer, tech companies have joined privacy groups in sending an open letter asking that Section 215 not be renewed in the Patriot Act.
“There must be a clear, strong, and effective end to bulk collection practices under the USA PATRIOT Act, including under the Section 215 records authority and the Section 2 214 authority regarding pen registers and trap & trace devices,” reads the letter, explaining what the groups want. “Any collection that does occur under those authorities should have appropriate safeguards in place to protect privacy and users’ rights.”
The letter goes on to suggest that, “The bill must contain transparency and accountability mechanisms for both government and company reporting, as well as an appropriate declassification regime for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.
While the various organizations might have differing views on what reforms should be included, the two points quoted above are ones that everyone agrees must be part of the reforms. 47 different industry and privacy organizations have signed the letter that was sent to the Obama administration. One group, called the Reform Government Surveillance, includes members such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple.
“It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities,” the letter concludes. “Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability. We strongly encourage both the White House and Members of Congress to support the above reforms and oppose any efforts to enact any legislation that does not address them.”
Whether the US government implements such reforms come June will remain to be seen, but the potential outlook doesn’t look promising. Last year, the Obama administration asked Congress to pass new privacy laws proposing that telecom companies hang onto the records and only hand them over to law enforcement agencies when receiving a court order. Nothing came about from the proposal, while Congress itself was unable to reform the surveillance program. In November 2014, Congress was unable to pass The Freedom Act, a bill that would have curbed the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone records.
Do you think the US Government will make changes to the Patriot Act regarding the bulk collection of metadata? Let us know what you think in the comments below.