Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Cyber Monday Tech Deals

Published November 28, 2011

Looking for a bargain this holiday?
Give thanks this year not for extra helpings of turkey and stuffing but for Cyber Monday, when the country's biggest retailers roll out their deepest price cuts to entice you to spend, spend, spend -- and then come back for seconds.
From Best Buy deals to bargain Xboxes, there are deals galore out there. Here's a few you should consider.
Several Cyber Monday-watching websites noted a 5-inch TomTom XXL 550 GPS, on sale today only at for just under $55. If you've still waiting to jump on the GPS bandwagon, or hoping to upgrade a smaller unit to one with a larger screen, this might be just what you -- or the driver in your family -- is looking for.
The company still has several great deals available, however, including desktops for just $349.99, a 22-inch LED monitor for just $139.99, printers and more.
Want a cheap Apple iWhatever? You may have missed the boat. The company offered discounts on Black Friday on iPads, iPod Touches, and more. Buyers were offered $41 off the 16GB version of the iPad 2, for example, or $61 off the 64GB device. Those deals lasted only for a day, however; today Apple has up its Holiday Gift Guide page, which offers not deals but suggestions on other stuff you can buy.
Instead of a new iPhone or iPod, consider an accessory for the Apple lover in your life. Tech giant Philips has a 30 percent off sale in effect, for example, which includes the company's extensive line up of speaker dock. Grab the $400 Sound Curve Airplay for just $279.99 with free shipping, provided you use use coupon code "BF2011SALE."
Big tech retailers have too many deals to list comprehensively here. Best Buy, for example, has a Cyber Monday sale listing a raft of bargains on mobile phones, video games, tablet computers and more. The popular Xbox Kinect add-on is discounted to just $99.99, for example. has Cyber Monday promotions as well -- look for a Sony Vaio EH laptop with a 15.5-inch screen, Windows 7, and an Intel Core i5 processor for $599 -- $100 off. And pick up a copy of McAfee Internet Security for just $45 -- keep you safe while you browse all the deals out there.
For a massive list of bargains and deals, swing by Gizmodo's exhaustive list of Cyber Monday deals. And for even more deals and steals, see Engadget's compilation of offers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The best tech deals this Black Friday


Many Black Friday circular ads, such as Walmart's, can already be viewed online.
Whether you're already in line for a Black Friday sale or still figuring out what you'll do with Thursday's leftover turkey, now's a good time to review the best offers of this shopping season. We're here to help with handpicked tech deals.
A few things to note:
  • These deals are Black Friday offers — promised for Friday, Nov. 25 — so don't panic if you don't see them in stores or on retailer's websites with the prices listed below right this minute. 
  • The deals in this list were selected by considering a combination of factors such as value, savings, product quality, features and brand reputation.
  • Most offers are limited in quantity, so be quick if you've got your eye on something specific.
  • The cellphone offers listed below typically require you to sign a two-year service agreement.
  • You should read the detailed descriptions of each offer carefully before buying — is not responsible for the duration or integrity of individual deals, though we do our best to check the all.
  • If you're looking for a gigantic list of Black Friday deals instead of some handpicked deals, take a peek at the Black Friday Cheat Sheet compiled by our friends at Gizmodo. If you prefer an alternative pile of hand-selected offers, then check out what the folks at Lifehacker picked out.
Got all that? Great! Here are some of our favorite deals for Black Friday 2011.
We will be updating this list in the days and hours before Black Friday, so feel free to check back often.
Televisions:I aimed to pick a variety of size options here and definitely kept value in mind. Samsung came out as one of the best bets for this shopping season — as far as TVs go, at least.
  • 22-in. Samsung LED HDTV (1080p) for $198 (Normally $250) — at Best Buy
  • 32-in. Emerson LCD TV for $188 (Normally $300) — at Walmart
  • 40-in. Samsung LED HDTV (1080p) for $497 (Normally $700) — at Best Buy
  • 40-in. Samsung LED Smart HDTV (1080p) for $728 (Normally $1,100) — at Best Buy
  • 47-in. LG LED (1080p) for $700 (Normally $1,000) — at Best Buy
  • 60-in. Samsung LED Smart HDTV (1080p) for $1398 (Normally $2,800) — at Best Buy
  • 60-in. Samsung 3D LED HDTV (1080p) for $3300 (Normally $4,200) — at Best Buy
Gaming:If you're looking for a gaming console, you should probably make Walmart one of your stops on Black Friday. It's got some of the better overall deals.
  • Xbox 360 4G console (with Kinect and "Kinect Adventures") for $200 (Normally $300) — at Walmart
  • Xbox Kinect (with "Kinect Adventures") for $100 (Normally $175 — at Walmart
  • PlayStation 3 160GB console (with "Little Big Planet 2" and "Rachet and Clank 4") for $200 (Normally $250) — at Walmart
  • Nintendo Wii console (Limited Edition Blue) for $100 (Normally $150) — at Walmart
  • Nintendo 3DS console with "Super Mario 3D Land" for $180 (normally $209) — at Target
  • Xbox Live Gold (3-month membership) for $13 (Normally $24) — at GameStop
  • Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) for $40 (Normally $59) — at GameStop
  • Forza Motorsport 4 (Xbox 360) for $40 (Normally $59) — at GameStop
  • Rage (Xbox 360) for $30 (Normally $59) — at GameStop
  • LEGO Harry Potter (Nintendo 3DS) for $10 (Normally $19) — at GameStop
  • FIFA Soccer 12 (Xbox 360/PS3) for $40 (Normally $59) — at GameStop
  • Maden NFL 12 (Xbox 360/PS3) for $40 (Normally $59) — at GameStop
Monitors:After carefully interrogating friends and colleagues about their monitor choices, I've realized that Acer's the crowd favorite due to its reputation and value. And there are definitely a handful of those monitors to be found on sale come Friday.
  • 20-in. Acer LED widescreen monitor for $90 (Normally $130) — at Best Buy
  • 20-in. LG LED widescreen monitor for $110 (Normally $160) — at Best Buy
  • 21.5-in. Samsung LED monitor for $120 (Normally $169) — at Staples
  • 23-in. Acer LED widescreen monitor for $160 (Normally $200) — at Best Buy
Desktops:It's rough to make recommendations when it comes to desktops simply because individual priorities differ a great deal when it comes to these particular gadgets, so I went with a handful of decent deals for the average shopper.
  • 18.5-in. HP AMD dual-core 3GB DDR3 500GB HD desktop for $298 (Normally $429) — at Walmart
  • 20-in. HP 320-1034 AMD dual-core 4GB DDR3 1TB HDD all-in-one desktop for $400 (Normally $700) — at Best Buy
  • 24-in. Dell XPS 8300 Core i7 16GB RAM 1.5TB HDD desktop for $1000 (Normally $1500) — at Costco
  • 24-in. Sony Intel Core i3 4GB RAM 1TB HDD touch-screen desktop for $900 (Normally $1079) — Staples
Laptops:Like desktops, laptops are a finicky topic when it comes to Black Friday shoppers. I decided to select a product I'd recommend personally — the MacBook Air — and two low cost solutions.
  • 10.1-in. Gateway LT2811U netbook (1.66MHz/1GB RAM/250GB HDD) for $149 (Normally $450) — at Best Buy
  • 13.3-in. MacBook Air (1.7GHz/4GB RAM/128 SSD) for $1099 (Normally $1299) — at Best Buy
  • 15.6-in. HP 2000-329WM laptop (1.60GHz/3GB RAM/320 GB HDD) for $248 (Normally $400) — at Walmart
Cameras:A DSLR and a low-cost point-and-shoot. What more could you ever want to pick up in the camera department on Black Friday?
  • Nikon Coolpix S3100 camera (14MP/720p video) for $99 (Normally $139) — at Best Buy
  • Canon Rebel T3 DSLR for $480 (Normally $550) — at Target
Tablets:There's no getting around it — the tablet category was a popularity contest.
  • Apple iPad 2 (16GB with Wi-Fi) for $455 (Normally $500) — at Best Buy
  • Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G with "Special Offers" for $85 (Normally $99) — at Target
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch for $79 (Normally $99) — at Barnes & Noble
Cellphones:While some other options are listed, your best bet when it comes to cellphones on Black Friday is Amazon. Nearly every phone you can think of is available for just a penny — assuming you sign a two-year service agreement — and you get a bonus $100 gift card.
  • AT&T Samsung Infuse for $0 (Normally $100) — at Best Buy
  • AT&T LG Thrill for $0 (Normally $100) — at Best Buy
  • Verizon Droid Incredible 2 for $0 (Normally $200) — at Best Buy
  • Verizon HTC Thunderbolt for $0 (Normally $150) — at Best Buy
  • Almost any phone you can think of (plus a $100 Amazon gift card) for $.01 (Normal prices vary) — at
GPS devices:A solid GPS device, a lifetime of maps, and a decent price? No brainer.
  • 4.3-in. Magellan GPS device with lifetime maps and traffic updates for $99 (Normally $149) — at Best Buy
SoftwareOfficeMax is one of the spots with the best software deals on Friday, so head there if you're looking to feed your computer some new apps.
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 for $55 (Normally $100) — at OfficeMax
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking (Home Edition) for $45 (Normally $90) — at OfficeMax
  • Microsoft Office Home for Mac for $80 (Normally $120) — at OfficeMax
Miscellaneous odds and ends:Dyson products. On sale. This doesn't happen often, folks. Take advantage of it.
  • Dyson DC 28 full-size bagless upright vaccuum for $479 (Normally $649) — on
  • Dyson Hot fan/heater for $299 (Normally $399) — on
  • Dyson Air Multiplier AM 03 fan for $349 (Normally $449) — on
  • iCade iPad arcade cabinet for $60 (Normally $100) — on
  • HP C410a Color Inkjet Photosmart Premium wireless all-in-Oone printer/fax for $100 (Normally $300) — at OfficeMax
  • Most items on Panasonic's website for whatever discounted price Panasonic employees would pay (Normal prices vary) — on
  • Seagate 3TB external HDD for $100 (Normally $175) — at Best Buy
  • Targus compact laptop charger for $20 (Normally $80) — at Staples
  • Targus leather iPad cover for $10 (Normally $50) — at Staples
Want more tech news, silly puns, or amusing links? You'll get plenty of all three if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.

Monday, November 21, 2011

11 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Billions of dollars will be spent online over the course of the next month, and, unfortunately, there are those that will be looking to steal some of it. Make sure you're not a victim

Let's face it, there's every reason in the world to shop online. The bargains are there. The selection is mind-boggling. The shopping is secure. Shipping is fast. Even returns are pretty easy, with the right e-tailers. Shopping has never been easier or more convenient for consumers.
But what about the bad guys who lay in wait? IID's Third Quarter eCrime Report for 2011 indicates that use of phishing attacks (where thieves attempt to swindle you out of your sign-in credentials and even credit card info by pretending to be a real website, or even an online bank) is down, as much as eight percent since the second quarter and 11 percent since the third quarter of last year. That's great news—except the same report says sites with malware (malicious code aimed at compromising your privacy) has increased by 89 percent since the second quarter.
Holiday Gifts Stay calm. While somewhat alarming, these stats should not keep you from shopping online. You simply need some common sense and practical advice. Follow these basic guidelines and you can shop online with confidence. Here are 11 tips for staying safe online, so you can start checking off items on that holiday shopping list.
1. Use Familiar Websites
Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially when you drift past the first few pages of links. If you know the site, chances are it's less likely to be a rip off. We all know and that it carries everything under the sun; likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Target to Best Buy to Home Depot. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)—those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that's how they trick you into giving up your info.
2. Look for the Lock
Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You'll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
Never, ever give anyone your credit card over email. Ever.
3. Don't Tell All
No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up the least amount of information.
4. Check Statements
Don't wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don't see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. (After all, there's more than one way to get to your money.)
If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.
5. Inoculate Your PC
Swindlers don't just sit around waiting for you to give them data; sometimes they give you a little something extra to help things along. You need to protect against malware with regular updates to your anti-virus program. PCMag recommends Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (4.5 stars, Editors' Choice, $39.95 direct), which has extras to help fight ID theft, or at the very least the free Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0 (4.5 stars, Editors' Choice).