CES looked a bit different this year after going all-digital, but that didn’t stop companies from unveiling new products. After careful deliberation, the How-To Geek and Review Geek teams have awarded the following 11 products with How-To Geek’s Best of CES 2021 awards. Before jumping into the awards, Review Geek has been hard at work covering all of the CES 2021 announcements that you need to know about. Head on over there if you’ve missed anything from the internationally renowned trade show. Best in Show: Kensington StudioDock In order to stand out from everything announced at CES 2021 and win Best in Show, a product needs to make an entrance. The Kensington StudioDock did just that, causing most of the team to say, “I want that.” Using the StudioDock in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you can turn your iPad Pro or Air into an iPadOS iMac. Use the two built-in wireless chargers and the optional Apple Watch charger (which is coming soon) and … [Read more...] about Best of CES 2021: The Top Products Coming This Year
First released in 1991, the Game Genie let players enter special codes that made video games easier or unlocked other functions. Nintendo didn’t like it, but many gamers loved it. Here’s what made it special. Genie in a Bottle Game Genie is the brand name for a series of video game enhancement devices developed by Codemasters and sold by Galoob in the U.S. The first Game Genie model worked with the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System and launched in the summer of 1991 for about $50. Game Genie devices for the Super NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, and Game Gear followed. Like a genie of legend, the Game Genie made your wishes come true. To use one, you first plugged a game cartridge into the Game Genie unit and then plugged both devices into your console. Upon powering up, you saw a screen where you could enter a series of alphanumeric codes. These codes injected data between the game cartridge and the system , changing how the game worked and effectively reprogramming it on … [Read more...] about What Was the “Game Genie” Cheat Device, and How Did It Work?
Version 1.0 of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard was released in January 1996. 25 years and three attempts later, we’ve gone from USB 1.0’s 12 Mbit/s speeds to USB4’s 40 Gbit/s speeds. Here’s how USB conquered the world. The Problem: Wrestling with Ports and IRQs In the early 1990s, connecting peripherals to PCs was a mess. To use set up any PC, you had to utilize a handful of different types of incompatible ports and connectors. Most commonly, those included a keyboard port, a 9- or 25-pin RS-232 serial port , and a 25-pin parallel port . In addition, PC game controllers used their own 15-pin standard, and mice often plugged into serial ports or proprietary cards. At the same time, peripheral manufacturers began bumping into data rate limits in existing ports used for peripherals on PCs. Demand for telephony, video, and audio applications was growing. Traditionally, vendors had sidestepped these limitations by introducing their own proprietary ports that could be … [Read more...] about 25 Years of Making Connections With USB (After Three Attempts)
Apple is rethinking how components should exist and operate inside a laptop. With M1 chips in new Macs, Apple has a new “Unified Memory Architecture” (UMA) that dramatically speeds up memory performance. Here’s how memory works on Apple Silicon. How Apple Silicon Handles RAM In case you haven’t already heard the news, Apple announced a new slate of Macs in November 2020. The new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini models are using an ARM-based processor custom-designed by Apple called the M1 . This change was long expected and is the culmination of Apple’s decade spent designing ARM-based processors for the iPhone and iPad. The M1 is a system on a chip (SoC), which means that there’s not just a CPU inside the processor, but also other key components, including the GPU, I/O controllers, Apple’s Neural Engine for AI tasks, and, most importantly for our purposes, the physical RAM is part of that same package. To be clear, the RAM isn’t on the same Silicon as the fundamental … [Read more...] about How “Unified Memory” Speeds Up Apple’s M1 ARM Macs
When the dominant Linux distributions adopted systemd , dissenters forked distributions and started new projects. So what are your options if you’re looking for a non-systemd distribution? Let’s take a look. systemd: A Quick Recap Historically, the startup sequence in a Linux system was a replica of the initialization system that was introduced with System V Unix (SysV). The SysV init system adhered to the Unix philosophy . When people refer to the Unix philosophy, they usually reduce it to the well-known soundbite “Do one thing, and do it well.” And that thing was to start as the first process and then start other processes. It also culled zombies now and then. SysV init did its job well enough, but it didn’t do it too efficiently. It started processes serially, one after the other. There was no parallelism. The design bottle-necked the throughput. This was more or less masked by the speed gains of modern hardware, and it’s not as if booting a Linux computer took … [Read more...] about The Best Linux Distributions Without systemd