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Christmas Cheer

'Twas the Week Before the Week of Black Friday 146

theodp writes: It's almost time for America's answer to the Running of the Bulls (YouTube), kids. So, if you're dreaming of a cheap tech Christmas, it's time to peruse the 2015 Black Friday ads and make your game plan. Get lucky at Best Buy this year, and you could score a $299.99 Dell 15.6" touchscreen laptop (i3, 8GB memory, 1 TB HD), a $399.99 Microsoft 10.8" Surface 3 (Atom x7, 2GB memory, 64GB storage), $899.99 MacBook Pro 13.3" laptop (i5, 4GB memory, 500MB HD), $99 Acer 11.6" Chromebook (Celeron, 2GB memory, 16GB storage), or, for those on a tight budget, a $34.99 7" Amazon Fire tablet. Fight the crowds at Walmart, and you could snag a $199 HP 15.6" laptop (Celeron, 4GB memory, 500GB drive) or $199 iPad mini 2. And for stay-at-home shoppers, Dell's Windows 10 price-breakers include a $149.99 14" laptop (Celeron, 2GB memory, 32GB storage) and a $229 15.6" laptop (i3, 4GB memory, 500MB HD). So, in your experience, has Black Friday been like a claw machine — suckering you with big prizes, but never delivering — or have you actually walked away with a great deal?

Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work? 190

Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far, which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services. Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off? Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.

How YouTube Music Key Will Redefine What We Consider Music 105

First time accepted submitter Biswa writes YouTube launched its ad-free subscription music service called MusicKey. today. From the TechCrunch article: "YouTube finally unveiled its subscription music service today, and in some ways it’s very much like existing streaming music services, especially since it comes bundled with Google Play Music All Access. But YouTube Music Key also very much not like other streaming music services, because of the ways in which music is (or rather isn’t) defined on YouTube. One of the first questions I had about Google Music Key was how the company would define what kind of content from YouTube gets included: Would a home-shot cover of a Black Keys song with 253 views be as ad-free as the official music video for the original? Or was this a private club, designed for the traditionally defined music industry? Turns out, the nature of what Music Key encompasses is somewhat of a moving target, and the limited beta access that will initially gate entry to the service is in part due to that variability."

Bezos-Owned Washington Post Embeds Amazon Buy-It-Now Buttons Mid-sentence 136

McGruber writes: While reading a story in the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, I saw that the paper had begun embedding Amazon Buy-It-Now links in the middle of story sentences. For example, in this article, a sentence about the sales figures for differing covers of The Great Gatsby read: At Politics and Prose, the traditional [BUY IT NOW] version — featuring the iconic eyes floating on a blue background — sold better than the DiCaprio [BUY IT NOW] cover. This change follows the July news of much larger than expected losses at Amazon and a 10-percent decline in the Amazon's stock value. In related news, the Post reports that the literary executor of George Orwell's estate has accused Amazon.com of doublespeak after they cited one of Orwell's essays in their ebook pricing debate with Hachette and other publishers.

Amazon Debuts Mixed Bag of Original Comedy Pilots 67

itwbennett writes "Amazon sent out a press release over the weekend announcing that the pilots for their original shows 'held 8 spots on the list of 10 most streamed Amazon VOD episodes.' So blogger and entertainment junkie Peter Smith decided to spend a couple of hours seeing if they were worth watching. He managed to sit through 4 of the 8 comedy shows and found a mixed bag — one a clear miss, two meh, and one he'd like to see turned into a series. Have you watched any of the pilots? What did you think?" The quality of these the pilots is not the only way they're a mixed bag: for many Linux users, they're simply not watchable. Watch soon for unknown_lamer's screed on the fat lot of good(will) Amazon is generating by making it harder to legally get these shows.

What EMC Looks For When It's Hiring 223

Yvonne Lee, Community Manager at Dice.com, writes "Because EMC has expanded through more than 70 acquisitions in eight years — it was hiring even during the recession — and because many of the acquired companies were startups, it is trying to leverage the more dynamic cultures it's inherited and make itself more nimble and innovative. People it hired 'need to be able to move fast and run,' Thus, a key to getting the company's attention is to prove you can do what you say you can. In other words, when Murray asks if you can work fast, you can't just say yes. You'll have to use your previous achievements to prove that you can."

Hurricane Sandy Fails To Stop Line For iPad Mini Launch 103

Nerval's Lobster writes "Hurricane Sandy may have plunged part of New York City into darkness, drowned its basements and subway tunnels in saltwater, and even set part of a neighborhood on fire, but it couldn't stop New Yorkers from standing in line for hours to purchase the iPad Mini. Hundreds of people lined up in front of Apple's Fifth Avenue store for the chance to get their hands on the 7.9-inch device. According to CNET, which was on the scene and running a live-blog ahead of the store's 10 AM EST opening, 'many people in line are not fluent in English and are either Asian immigrants or visitors.' That opening was originally supposed to take place at 8 AM, and likely delayed because of the obvious citywide transportation issues. But for those in New York City who manage to get their sweaty hands on a new iPad Mini, there's an unusual wrinkle in the situation: power is still out below 39th Street in Manhattan, as well as portions of Brooklyn and Queens. (Apple's Fifth Avenue store is well above that power line.) While some private homes and businesses in electrified areas have set out power strips for strangers to charge their phones, it's hard to imagine a crowd of New Yorkers standing idly by while someone spends a significant amount of time charging a new tablet. Fortunately, many of those without power have found refuge with friends and family, if they haven't left the city altogether."
The Internet

The Pirate Bay Launches Free VPN 359

bs0d3 writes "The Pirate Bay team is going to be making the RIAA angry, with the launch of a new ad-supported VPN service. PrivitizeVPN is available for free from The Pirate Bay. Instead of earning revenue through subscription as ipredator does, PrivitizeVPN comes packaged to install the Babylon search bar (adware). PrivitizeVPN appears to be available for Windows users only at the moment. The Pirate Bay staff has a long history of promoting services that have no logs; e.g. , you can't get in trouble if your anonymized IP is subpoenaed by government officials. Although PrivitizeVPN is being released silently, with no press coverage, no official statement, and no comments from The Pirate Bay of any kind, people are assuming that PrivitizeVPN will have the same familiar data protection policies. A backup download location has been setup here for people who have limited access to the Pirate Bay domain."

The HP Memristor Debate 62

New submitter AaronLS writes "There has been a debate about whether HP has or has not developed a memristor. Since it's something fairly different from existing technologies, and similar in many ways to a memristor, I think they felt comfortable using the term. However, the company has been criticized for using that labeling by former U.S. patent officer Blaise Moutett. On the other hand, had HP created a new, unique label, they would have probably gotten flack for pretending it's something new when it's not. Will anything positive come from this debate? Electrical engineering analyst Martin Reynolds sums it up nicely: 'Is Stan Williams being sloppy by calling it a "memristor"? Yeah, he is. Is Blaise Moutett being pedantic in saying it is not a "memristor"? Yeah, he is. [...] At the end of day, it doesn't matter how it works as long as it gives us the ability to build devices with really high density storage.'"

Sexy Female Scientist Video Draws Fire 404

sciencehabit writes "A new video released by the The European Commission — ostensibly aimed at getting girls interested in science — is drawing widespred condemnation from around the web for its depiction of female scientists as sexy models strutting into the frame in high heels and short skirts. A male scientist watching them from behind his microscope doesn't seem to mind that none of them are wearing safe lab attire—he just pops his glasses on for a better look. The rest of the video is a mish-mash of heels, nail polish, lipstick, and sexily smoldering Erlenmeyer flasks, arbitrarily punctuated by girly giggles." The Commission denies that the video (since pulled) was a parody, but they've certainly set the bar high for anyone who wanted to make an actual parody.

Renault Opens Up the 'Car As a Platform' 318

pbahra writes "Renault has launched what it describes as a 'tablet,' an integrated Android device built into its next range of cars, effectively opening the way to the car-as-a-platform. At the Le Web conference last year, Renault's chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, announced the company's intention to open up the car to developers, safety considerations not withstanding. 'The car is becoming a new platform,' said Mr. Hoffstetter. He said the seven-inch device can be controlled by voice recognition or by buttons on the steering wheel. 'We need help now,' he said. 'We need developers to work on apps.' When it launches, there will be about 50 apps bundled with the device, mostly written by Renault. 'We will open a Renault app store for people to download their own apps,' he said." While I like the idea of such apps for certain purposes — a maintenance interface, less-inconvenient navigation and stereo controls, interesting driving stats — I'm skeptical of the average driver's ability to use one of these without turning his car into a 3,000-lb angry bird.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Battlefield 3 Performance: 30+ Graphics Cards Tested 171

New submitter wesbascas writes "Have you ever wanted to play a new PC game, but weren't sure where your PC falls between the minimum and recommended system requirements? I don't have a whole lot of time to game these days and with new hardware perpetually coming out and component vendors often tweaking their model numbering schemes, knowing exactly what kind of experience I'm buying for $60 can be difficult. Luckily, somebody benchmarked Battlefield 3's campaign on a wide range of hardware configurations and detail settings. If you've purchased a system in the past few years you should be in luck. The video cards tested start with the AMD Radeon HD 4670 and Nvidia GeForce 8500 GT, and go up to the brand new Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 590. I hate it that my aging Radeon HD 4870 isn't going to cut it at 1080p, but am glad that I found out before buying the game." If you're curious about the game itself, here's a detailed review from Eurogamer and a briefer one from Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Can Newegg Survive the Post-PC Future? 559

jfruhlinger writes "Upgrading your desktop PC's video card was once a rite of passage for many Slashdot readers — and could also be a gateway to building your own computer from the motherboard up. And more often than not, you bought the components from Newegg. But the tablets and ultrathin laptops that are today's hot sellers don't let you so much as swap in more RAM. What's a component retailer to do in world without user-serviceable components?"

You are in the hall of the mountain king.