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This Week in Tech

Microsoft's first desktop is a doozy

Though it looks like Microsoft is getting out of the phone business (slashed over 9000 jobs in the last year and sold off the Nokia feature phone business in May this year), the company does seem to be putting in maximum effort for tablet, laptop and now, for the first time ever, desktop hardware.

This week Microsoft announced the Surface Studio - a sleek, slim desktop all in one that has the tech world 'ooh'ing and 'ah'ing and generally drooling with delighted anticipation. The machine has a small, rectangular aluminium base that houses the electronics. This is topped by a 28" slim screen mounted on two thin swivelling arms that allow the screen to be positioned upright like a normal computer or swivel down to lie almost flat on the desk surface like an artists' angled drawing board. It comes with a digitising pen that allows you to treat that big screen surface as a digitising tablet. The screen also works as a touchscreen if you want too se it that way. There's also a new input device called the Surface Dial that turns like a volume knob on a high-end amplifier.

All this only becomes available in December / January at a starting price of $2,999 for the entry level model with an i% dual core processor, 8 GB RAM and a 1Tb hdd. Check it out at the Microsoft site. It will probably take a while longer to reach SA though...

Apple is upsetting the computer world again.

This week it announced a new range of laptops. The top row of function keys on the keyboard have vanished to be replaced by a context sensitive touch strip that displays virtual keys, sliders etc. depending on what software you are running. They have also done away with any port that is not a Thunderbolt / USB C port. The laptops have 4 of those ports - but to use any older normal USB 2 or 3 peripheral you will need a hub or a dongle. Find out more about these new MacBooks at the Apple site.

Turkey blocks the internet again...

People want to express their opinions. When (some) governments think that their opinions are too critical they stop the voice of the people the only way they can in our modern age - They block internet access. Turkey has done it before. So has China, Russia, Egypt. South Africa tried to do it in parliament before a State of the Nation address. Korea has blocked off the internet to the extent that the whole country only has 28 web sites! Use an article like this one at Engadget to spur on meaningful though and discussions on the ethics of the situation - and whether internet access is a basic human right, like water, housing and electricity...

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