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Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro tries to make sense of computers, consumer electronics, telecom services, the Internet, software and other things that beep or blink through reporting, reviewing and analysis–from 1999 to 2011 as the Washington Post’s tech columnist, now for a variety of online and print outlets.

Samsung Galaxy Gear is a timepiece with an agenda

Is your life so complicated that you must strap a small machine to your wrist, learn a new interface, and wear this device during almost all waking hours to avoid missing appointments?

Maybe not: Many of us stopped wearing watches years ago in favor of glancing at our phones.

But Samsung's Galaxy Gear is no ordinary watch. This $299 device, unveiled early last month, functions as both external monitor and peripheral for its new Galaxy Note 3 Android smartphone--the only phone officially compatible with it, although Samsung plans to add Gear support to such recent Android models as its Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4.

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The real Web TV: Chromecast, Apple or Roku?

The people at Google charged with putting Web multimedia on TV haven’t just spent the last few years getting kicked around the living room: The new Chromecast shows the company’s learned something from the flops of Google TV and last year’s abandoned Nexus Q.

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Samsung's Galaxy S 4 is a No-Touch-Touchscreen, Not-Quite-Android Android Phone

Samsung's new smartphone contains multitudes.

The Galaxy S 4's touchscreen doesn't need to be touched to respond to your actions. Its software looks less like Android than almost any other phone running Google's operating system, but the thing ships with a newer version of it, 4.2, than almost all others. And its 5-inch screen outsizes the 4.8-in. display of the earlier Galaxy S III, but it's smaller and lighter than Samsung's flagship phone of last year.

And like its best-selling predecessor, the S 4 invites an assessment from multiple perspectives.

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Tim Berners-Lee: The Web needs to stay open, but DRM is fine by me

AUSTIN—The knight who invented the World Wide Web came to SXSW to point out a few ways in which we're still doing it wrong.

Tim Berners-Lee's "Open Web Platform: Hopes & Fears" keynote hopscotched from the past of the Web to its present and future, with some of the same hectic confusion that his invention shows in practice. (The thought that probably went through attendees' heads: "Sir Tim is nervous at public speaking. Just like us!")

But his conclusion was clear enough: The Web is our work, and we shouldn't put our tools down.

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Google's cheaper Chromebook: enough of a computer

The cheaper Chromebooks that Google introduced last month don’t deserve credit for being a cheap way to read e-mail and surf the web: any smartphone meets that specification. But the $249 Samsung model I’ve been testing for the past two weeks also plausibly replaces a low-end laptop.

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Off the Grid, Still In the Box: where's Cable TV headed?

The cable box can make channel serfs of us all. It's big, it's bulky, it has an interface an Excel spreadsheet might salute, and it sucks down too much electricity. It's one reason why cable TV bottom-feeds in customer-satisfaction surveys--only airlines and newspapers score lower in the University of Michigan's research.

But for a still-sizable majority of American viewers, the cable box is How They Get TV, and nobody can fix it except for their cable operators.

The industry's just-finished Cable Show in Boston featured exhibits by dozens of networks hoping to see new channels added to cable lineups, plus a few starry-eyed demos of technology we may not get for years. (Disclosure: A freelance client, Discovery Communications, owns quite a few channels.) But it also revealed modest hope for "clunky set-top boxes"--to quote an acknowledgment of subscriber gripes in National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell's opening speech.

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Samsung Galaxy Note Review

It’s tempting—oh so tempting—to lead off a review of Samsung’s Galaxy Note by mocking its enormous size. So I shall.

The Note is big enough to give me a sense of empathy for our toddler when she picks up our phones.

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