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Dealmaster: Memorial Day sales on TVs, laptops, and more are underway

Ars Technica - May 24, 2018 - 9:25pm

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and though the Dealmaster plans to spend plenty of time this weekend grilling and lounging outside, he's also making time to ignore his family and keep you posted on good deals.

While most Memorial Day sales traditionally focus on appliances, mattresses, and other home goods—and while it's worth holding off on deals for things like MacBooks and Amazon devices with the likes of WWDC and Amazon Prime Day just around the corner—there's at least a handful of gadget deals worth noting for those who can't wait until Black Friday.

We've rounded up a few of them below, including laptop discounts from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, and Microsoft; a variety of TV deals; and more. There are plenty of non-holiday-specific discounts as well. We're expecting to see more deals arise as we get closer to Memorial Day itself, so we'll be sure to update this post over the next few days if anything good comes up.

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Comcast may soon control what you pay to watch your favorite sports teams

Ars Technica - May 24, 2018 - 9:11pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Comcast's planned purchase of 21st Century Fox properties would give the cable company ownership of the "vast majority" of regional sports networks [RSNs] in the US, a trade group that opposes the potential merger pointed out yesterday.

Comcast already uses its ownership of NBCUniversal and NBC-branded RSNs to raise prices on TV watchers who subscribe to other cable companies, the American Cable Association (ACA) said.

"If Fox agrees to sell to Comcast, these problems get only worse because the combined company would own the vast majority of regional sports networks across the country and increase its roster of popular national programming networks," the ACA said. The ACA represents nearly 800 small- and medium-sized cable operators.

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Fortnite tallied almost $300 million in April, with no signs of slowing down - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:51pm
The money keeps rolling in for Epic Games' battle royale shooter, which doubled its revenue in just two months.

New Facebook political ad rules: Now you must prove your ID before undermining democracy

The Register - May 24, 2018 - 8:47pm
The horse is a speck on the horizon – but at least the barn door now has a bolt on it

Facebook has rolled out its promised disclosure regime for political and issue advertising, heralding a new age of transparency and civic responsibility. Or so Facebook folks suggest.…

Best mobile games of 2018 - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:35pm
Looking for a new game to play on your phone or tablet? Here are our picks of the best mobile games.

Gutsy Samsung scheme will 'turn off' millions of TVs - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:33pm
Prepare for panic as television viewers believe their beloved sets are busted by a Samsung ad in disguise.

3D-printed measuring cube replaces all your cups, teaspoons - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:32pm
The bakercube is every teaspoon and cup together in one gadget.

iPhone 6 'bendgate' was real -- and Apple knew about it, according to court docs - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:22pm
Apple shipped the phones knowing they would bend, says Judge Lucy Koh.

Google + PayPal could practically replace your bank account now - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:20pm
Set up PayPal once, and it becomes fully integrated into your Google accounts.

The 50 best iPhone games - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:15pm
If you're all about the iPhone, these are some of the best games you can play.

Mark Zuckerberg's next personal project? A 'supreme court' for Facebook - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:10pm
Concluding the Europe leg of his apology tour, the Facebook CEO talks about his plans for governance.

Netflix tops Disney as the world's most valuable media company - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:09pm
At least until the most ambitious crossover event in history.

FBI agents take aim at VPNFilter botnet, point finger at Russia, yell 'national security threat'

The Register - May 24, 2018 - 8:06pm
Feds warn admins malware is rather tough to destroy

The FBI says it is taking steps to stop the spread of the VPNFilter malware and botnet, warning that it's a national security issue.…

Solo: A Star Wars Story -- 3 things you should know going in - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:03pm
Han's film ain't a solo gig.

Ford's new Corktown offices are in full swing and they look awesome - Roadshow - News - May 24, 2018 - 8:00pm
Ford announced plans in December to consolidate offices for many of its high-tech teams in a former factory in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, and now it's happened.

Samsung might save Android smartwatches from irrelevance

Ars Technica - May 24, 2018 - 8:00pm

Enlarge / The Samsung Gear S3. (credit: Samsung)

Today, Google's Android-based smartwatch platform—Wear OS—seems like it's at a dead end. It's currently third in the smartwatch market, after the Apple Watch and Samsung's Tizen-based "Gear S" watches. On the software side of things, Google hasn't been iterating on Wear OS quickly enough. The last major update—Wear 2.0—was roughly 18 months ago, and Google I/O 2018 came and went without a peep about a new update. On the hardware side of things, Wear OS hardware is awful. The market's biggest SoC vendor, Qualcomm, has shown it isn't really interested in the smartwatch market and only offers a slow, hot, old smartwatch SoC based on manufacturing technology from 2013.

Wear OS might soon have a savior though, at least when it comes to hardware. Venerable smartphone leaker Evan Blass claims Samsung employees are sporting Samsung smartwatches running "not Tizen, but Wear OS." Samsung might be coming to save Wear OS.

Samsung’s superior hardware

Qualcomm isn't investing in smart watches, and with a near monopoly on the SoC market, anyone beholden to Qualcomm's lineup is not going to be able to produce a competitive smartwatch. Most of the usual Android OEMs are aligned with Android Wear, but with no new smartwatch chips, they all mostly stopped making new smartwatches. It just so happens that the two smartwatch market leaders, Apple and Samsung, aren't beholden to Qualcomm—they have their own chip-design facilities, and they regularly update their smartwatches with new SoCs using state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.

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Facebook and Twitter have new rules for political ads. Here's how they work - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 7:58pm
Now you'll see who paid for an ad, how much they paid and how many people saw it.

The 44 best Android games of 2018 - CNET - News - May 24, 2018 - 7:52pm
These are unequivocally the best Android games on the planet.

You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

The Register - May 24, 2018 - 7:49pm
US pair's private chat sent to coworker by AI bug

Updated It's time to break out your "Alexa, I Told You So" banners – because a Portland, Oregon, couple received a phone call from one of the husband's employees earlier this month, telling them she had just received a recording of them talking privately in their home.…

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