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tech geek today

  • Fitbit announced this week that its recently-launched Versa smartwatch is off to a strong start and has outsold Samsung, Garmin and Fossil smartwatches combined in North America. This revelation came as part of the wearable firm’s quarterly earnings report, in which Fitbit posted a net loss of $118 million on revenues of $299 million, beating expectations. “Our performance in Q2 represents the sixth consecutive quarter that we have delivered on our financial commitments, made important progress in transforming our business, and continued to adapt to the changing wearables market,” Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said in a prepared statement. Thurrott The Versa is amazing I just don’t like the look for it.
  • Surface Go—Microsoft’s 10-inch, $399 tablet—launches today in 25 markets. Many publications around the Web have had a couple of days to review Microsoft’s latest attempt at a cheap(ish) computer, and opinions are surprisingly varied. Surface Go is a shrunk-down version of the Surface Pro, Microsoft’s kickstand-equipped two-in-one tablet/laptop. It has a smaller screen (10-inches, 1800×1200), a weaker processor (an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y, which is a two-core, four-thread Kaby Lake chip that was launched about 18 months ago), slower and smaller storage (64GB, using an eMMC interface), and reduced battery life (estimated at 9 hours). But it’s cheaper. A lot cheaper: the base model is just $399, compared to $799 for the base Surface Pro. ARSTechnica
  • Thank you for participating in the affiliate program for apps. With the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery, we will be removing apps from the affiliate program. Starting on October 1st, 2018, commissions for iOS and Mac apps and in-app content will be removed from the program. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) remain in the affiliate program. Apple
  • YouTube Music launched in May to mixed reviews. Even though its song catalog matches Apple Music and Spotify’s (in addition to millions of videos pulled from YouTube) it arrived missing some essential features. Something as simple as sorting out your saved albums alphabetically, for example, isn’t an option. You also can’t browse by genre or easily see new albums from the week. But Google, which will replace Play Music with YouTube Music, is aware of these shortcomings and plans to address them soon. The company told Engadget that it plans to rollout improvements on a regular schedule every two weeks. This includes much needed changes to the user interface, like being able to sort your albums by something other than recently added — which we’re told is “firmly on the roadmap.” Elias Roman, a product manager for YouTube Music, said that’s one of the reasons his team removed the “shared history” feature, which was creating a messy experience by mixing what a user listened to on YouTube Music and the YouTube video site. Engadget I really think Google and YouTube are on the right track with YouTube Music.
  • Over the last several years, the City of Rome has been implementing its decision to use free and open source software, that it made in October 2016. In April, the government in Rome completed the installation of LibreOffice, alongside a proprietary offering on all of its 14,000 computers. Now, the next phase of removing the proprietary suite is underway, starting with a group that uses office tools less than one hour per month. During the transition period, workers will be able to begin using LibreOffice in order to become familiar with it, while staff members who use the proprietary office suite intensively will not be forced to switch. During the switch, 112 staff members who are in favour of free and open source software, will try to encourage their colleagues to use LibreOffice by explaining the reasons for the change. Those advocates received a two-day training course last month to give them more experience using the software, so that they are ready to train their colleagues. Neowin
  • Amazon’s emergence as a major provider of data center technology has turned many of its longtime suppliers, including Oracle, into heated rivals. Now Amazon is dealing yet another blow to Oracle. The e-commerce giant, having already moved much of its infrastructure internally to Amazon Web Services, plans to be completely off Oracle’s proprietary database software by the first quarter of 2020, according to people familiar with the matter. The shift is another sign of Amazon’s rapid ascent in enterprise computing and further shows how much Oracle is struggling to keep pace as businesses move workloads to the cloud and away from traditional data centers. CNBC This is going to be a huge hit for Oracle Amazon is a very large customer.
  • Microsoft has launched a pilot program aimed at providing cybersecurity protection for political campaigns and election authorities. The pilot program —named AccountGuard— was launched at the end of July, Bleeping Computer has learned, and was set in motion for the 2018 US midterm elections. According to the pilot’s website, AccountGuard “provides additional security and threat monitoring for Microsoft accounts belonging to participating US campaigns, political committees, campaign tech vendors, and their staff, who are likely to be at a higher risk in the lead up to elections.” Bleeping Computer I am glad to see Microsoft as a lot of other major tech companies doing their part. I wonder if they will do anything for Bing.
  • Microsoft this week quietly revealed that it will “adjust”—e.g. “raise”—the price of some of its core enterprise on-premises products. “Microsoft will be making a series of changes across our program and product portfolio to provide unique offers that support customer digital transformation, improve the buying and selling experience, and make it easier to do business with Microsoft,” an announcement to the Microsoft Partner Network blog reveals. “On October 1, 2018, we will adjust pricing for our licensing programs and make price adjustments to on-premises and cloud products.” While Microsoft says that pricing will go for both cloud and on-premises products, it appears that only the latter is being impacted directly. Thurrott I wonder if Microsoft is doing this to push its revenues higher from on-prem stuff to fluff the cloud numbers.
  • Starting today, you’ll be able to wake up to your favorite music on Spotify with the Google Clock app. Swap out the classic alarm sounds for your favorite pump-up song, a calming soundtrack or a mood-boosting melody. To get started with musical alarms, make sure the latest versions of your Spotify and Clock apps are installed and connected on your device—this works for both Free and Premium Spotify users. Then choose your perfect wake up music. You can browse recently played music, choose from Spotify’s curated morning playlists, or search for a specific soundtrack. Google Not sure if this will really be used that much but its very cool