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Last Week's Hot News: Nov. Week 4

Welcome

Editor's Note: These deals have all expired. Check out our current list of best black friday deals.

Welcome to this week’s summary of the hot news. For most of us it’s been a shortened week thanks to the Thanksgiving holidays and the massive, crazy shopping day that followed it.

So grab a drink and a sandwich made of turkey leftovers and join us for a quick rundown of the week that was. Read on!

SuperSpeed USB

It’s hard to remember what life was like before we had USB. Sure, we had our parallel, PS/2 and serial ports (and many of us still do on our motherboards, even if they go unused). We had our Zip drives and even more rusty forms of portable storage. But USB has made life better for all computer users.

Now USB is taking the next great leap forward, with version 3.0 officially termed as SuperSpeed USB. The current 2.0 version of USB is Hi-Speed USB, so we’re betting that 4.0 will be LudicrousSpeed USB.

Find out more about SuperSpeed USB here.

Phone News

Mobile phone news made up a considerable chunk of the wire this week. BlackBerry lovers were likely watching launch of the BlackBerry Storm late last week which, for a phone that carries no fruit logo, garnered quite a big response. One store in Manhattan had over 200 people queuing outside on that morning.

While the BlackBerry Storm is the most “social” of all RIM devices yet, existing BlackBerry users can join in on the party as well through applications. Case in point: more than 400,000 BlackBerry users downloaded the MySpace application in the first week of its release. Users of the app collectively sent and received more than 15 million messages and updated their mood and status over two million times in the first week.

If your BlackBerry is feeling a little archaic on the feature set, make sure you’re running the most current OS version. While it’s been unofficially floating around for a while, RIM has formally announced the availability of the 4.5 OS, which brings HTML emails, downloading and saving of files, and other features.

Other cell phone news of the week include:

T-Mobile’s G1 Android Phone Now in White

Lenovo Unveils SMS Laptop Executions

Second UK iPhone Ad Banned by Advertising Authority

Apple Sued Over iPhone Web Browser

Verizon Fires Obama-breach Employees, Considers Case Closed

Week in Windows

There’s rarely a week that goes by where there hasn’t been some news about Windows. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wasn’t able to dodge the courts as now he’s been ordered to testify in the class action Vista Capable case.

"I was not involved in any of the operational decisions about the Windows Vista Capable program," Ballmer initially said. But Judge Marsha Pechman believes that the Microsoft boss has unique personal knowledge of facts surrounding the case, and so, must face questioning.

So while Windows Vista is tweaking at Ballmer, now users get to tweak Vista. Remember Tweak UI? Some of you may still be using it, but those of us who are Vista Capable have gone without it for all too long. Last week saw the release of a big Vista tweaking utility, called the “Ultimate Vista Tweaker.” Unlike Tweak UI, it’s not a Microsoft project, but it’ll still get the job done.

What won’t be getting the job done is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer development team, at least not until next year. Microsoft plans to release one more test version of IE8 before releasing the final version of the new browser. The next "release candidate" won’t be available until Q1 2009, missing the company’s initial projection that the final product would hit PCs and Macs this year.

With Firefox being our browser of choice, and Google Chrome gaining favor amongst the renegades at our offices, we urge Microsoft to take as much time to make its browser a good one this time.

Time for Games

The holiday season is officially upon us, and that means that all of the video game industry’s heavy hitting software should be on store shelves. With the exception of one or two titles, your holiday game pickings are already here for you to enjoy.Here are this week’s game-related stories:

Tabula Rasa Shutting Down Feb. 2009 Army Investing $50 Million Into Gaming Eidos: No Posting Review Scores of Tomb Raider Underworld Nickelback Frontman: Put Down the Guitar Hero Microsoft Snags "The Guild" Season 2 Gamestop Expects Wii Shortages Nintendo Caves In to Wii Speak Complaints Nintendo Launches Mario DS for Black Friday














Spammers Strike Back

Oh spam, how we hate thee. Earlier in the month, Internet providers pulled the plug on U.S.-based McColo Corp., a company assisting in the distribution of more than half of the junk e-mail Internet users deal with on a daily basis.

Spam volumes dropped a pleasing 80 percent when McColo was taken offline on November 11, but it was too good to last for long. Spam is back on its way up and now the botnets have taken the operations outside the U.S., making it infinitely more difficult for authorities to shut down.

While that may be a little depressing, the war against spam saw a victorious battle. Facebook won over $800 million in a spam suit against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital for sending trashy messages to users, many with sexually explicit content. Sadly, it’s unlikely that Facebook will see a dime of that.

Your Black Friday Haul

The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Deals, deals, and more deals are the theme for Black Friday.

Some analysts even thought that Apple would be giving a bigger discount than usual on shiny new MacBooks. Black Friday came and went and sure enough, MacBooks were $101 off at the Apple Store.

Did many of you find any decent deals on Black Friday? Has the recession really impacted retailers’ willingness to cut prices further? Buy anything cool? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

  • Well, I had been planning for the Black Friday specials for about a month or longer. I read a bunch of articles on this site as well as many others in trying to assemble a decent list of parts for my budge/midrange computer. Anyway, when the time came, (most of my purchases were to be made at newegg) the specials offered were either (a) not that special, or (b) well, there is no (b), because they weren't that special. There were a few discounts on some parts, such as motherboards, hard drives, flash drives, etc. that I purchased. But the savings were nothing compared to all the hooplah surrounding other more mainstream items, such as big-screen TVs, or netbook computers. In essence, the savings that I got didn't seem unique to the Black Friday myth. They could have been a weekly promotion, not unlike those seen in those BestBuy newspaper circulars. Also, the free shipping deals weren't nearly as extensive as the media hyped it up to be. In newegg's case in particular, they applied to some items, but not others. So I wound up spending quite a bit on shipping alone. And don't get me started on taxes.

    I don't know if the mood I'm in now as I write this is more from the disappointment stemming from the lack of deep discounts on my purchases, from the conflicts with my credit card company which locked my credit card for possible fraudulent usage with such impeccable timing that by the time the card was restored the items I tried purchasing at the discounted price were no longer available, or from buyer's remorse that rears its ugly head whenever collectively large purchases in a relatively short timeframe are made. There goes my savings again.
    Reply
  • BCI
    "Did many of you find any decent deals on Black Friday? Has the recession really impacted retailers’ willingness to cut prices further? Buy anything cool? Please feel free to share in the comments below."

    I found Enemy Territory: Quake Wars at Bestbuy available for about $8 after instant savings + shipping and taxes. I'm too cheap to shell even that low amount of money though lol! =P
    Reply
  • BCI
    EDIT - It was at Circuitcity, not Bestbuy. The deal still looks to be good if anyone is interested...
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  • 3lvis
    I wasted 12 hours watching the tigerdirect/compusa event. They promoted it as a sale.....but in reality the quantities they had were so limited that it was more like a crappy radio station contest where you have to be the 20th caller to get a chance to buy something. Within 2 seconds every item was gone. I got through all the busy signals once when they announced the i7 920 for $150 to listen to elevator music for 10 minutes, then they hung up on me. Of the 7000+ people in thier chat room only 1 got to buy an i7 920. Very disappointing, I will never waste my time on any event that they do in the future.
    Reply
  • 3lvis
    I wasted 12 hours watching the tigerdirect/compusa event. They promoted it as a sale.....but in reality the quantities they had were so limited that it was more like a crappy radio station contest where you have to be the 20th caller to get a chance to buy something. Within 2 seconds every item was gone. I got through all the busy signals once when they announced the i7 920 for $150 to listen to elevator music for 10 minutes, then they hung up on me. Of the 7000+ people in thier chat room only 1 got to buy an i7 920. Very disappointing, I will never waste my time on any event that they do in the future.
    Reply
  • DuncanHynes
    I did notice that CircuitSilly charged more sales tax than Best Buy did for the same item...$339.99 was $17.00 at BustBuy, was $20.40 at CC. Are they skimming off the top to pay a government loan!?
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    Because of the bad economy, many companies have already slashed their prices before Black Friday. When everything is already 20~30% off, how much discount can you expect.

    I didn’t participate in any Black Friday event, just one purchase on eBay for a Lenovo T61; fast and easy.
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  • randomizer
    I thought it sucked that we don't get those kinds of deals here. It doesn't look that way though, since you can't actually get anything at those prices ;)
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  • I got Bioshock, Assassin's Creed, Empire Earth II Platinum, and Command & Conquer 3 Deluxe for $10 apiece from Best Buy. Also got Quake Wars and Sims 2 Deluxe for $5 apiece from Circuit City.

    I regard getting six mainstream games plus expansions for $50 as a pretty good deal.
    Reply
  • afrobacon
    I've avoided black friday like the plague for the past two years; using my time to rather camp out inside all day working on various projects that have previously been half done. I did however get to participate by spending just over an hour in line trying to buy a gallon of milk.
    Reply