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TOOLS OF THE TRADE: JUNE 2017

By Michael Castelluccio
June 2, 2017
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06_2017_tools

1. SURFACE LAPTOP

 

The latest Surface laptop was one of the more interesting announcements at the #MicrosoftEDU conference in May. The ultra-thin, lightweight (2.7 lbs.) laptop was designed for the new Windows 10 S operating system. 10 S has been streamlined to be more secure and more efficient, but it limits you to the applications that are already loaded and those available in the Windows Store. If you buy your laptop before December 31, 2017, and want to upgrade to Windows Pro, you won’t be charged. Beginning in January 2018, the upgrade will cost $49. (See TechForum on p. 55 for further limitations of the OS.) Like the OS, the new Surface will be heavily marketed in the education sector. The full-size laptop has a 13.5″ PixelSense touchscreen display and a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. The Gorilla Glass 10-point multitouch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 2,256 × 1,504 resolution, and it’s Surface Pen-enabled. The keys and keyboard surface are covered in a durable Alcantara fabric available in four colors. It’s comes with 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB RAM and the solid-state drive is either 128GB or 512GB. Shipping will begin by June 15, 2017. www.microsoft.com

 

2. AMAZON ECHO SHOW

 

Alexa, the digital assistant from Amazon, just got upgraded with a front-facing 5MP camera and a 7″ diagonal touchscreen. The new Echo Show can display pictures on your Prime Photo account and play videos from Amazon Video, YouTube, movie trailers, and more. The wedge-shaped assistant measures 7.4″ square and is 3.5″ wide at its base. It supports dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz) networks, and there’s an Intel Atom processor inside. Dual 2″ stereo speakers play Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tunein, iHeartRadio, and more. And there’s live video visits and messaging between Echo Show devices on the Alexa App. You can connect with anyone who has a supported Echo device or the Alexa App. The App is available for iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire devices. Like the other Echo devices, it has far-field (hands-free) voice recognition. The Show will be released on June 28, 2017. www.amazon.com

 

3. VERIMARK FINGERPRINT KEY

 

The Kensington VeriMark Fingerprint Key provides simple, best-in-class biometric authentication for protection against unauthorized access on devices. It’s ideal for businesses whose employee computers lack biometric protection or for individuals who want to employ a fingerprint key for their own computers. The VeriMark device is the first fingerprint security key to support both Windows Hello and Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) universal second-factor authentication (U2F). The Key integrates the smallest-size touch sensor available in a compact format, and it exceeds industry standards both for false rejection rate and false acceptance rate. www.kensington.com

 

4. OWC THUNDERBOLT 3 DOCK

 

The 13 ports of the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock provide connectivity, power, and charging capability at the fastest speeds available today. You can drive two 4K displays, connect and charge up to six USB devices, work with legacy FireWire storage devices, and read SD cards, all at speeds faster than Thunderbolt 2, and all through a single cable. On the front, there’s an SD card reader, expanded analog audio In/Out for external speakers, and a USB 3.1 Generation 1 port. Four more USB 3.1s are on the back, along with a FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet and S/PDIF ports, dual Thunderbolt 3, and a mini DisplayPort. www.owcdigital.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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