Archive for November 30, 2009

Daily Dispatch: Recycle small electronics at the PO; Holiday savings with Google Checkout


The Daily Dispatch is a collection of interesting news about computing,
consumer electronics, and other technology gathered from around the Web
by Dirk Klingner, our technology-trend watcher, and other staffers. If
you have a tip on news you want to share, leave a comment below.

Recycle small electronics for free through the USPS (unclutterer)
The unclutterer reminds us that the USPS allows you to recycle small consumer electronics (inkjet cartridges, cell phones, digital cameras etc.) for free via postage-paid mailers. Look for them at your local Post Office.

What Does a Black Friday Look Like on eBay (Digital Inspiration)

…Now if you ever wondered what a Black Friday looks like on eBay (1 million transactions in less than 24 hours or around 12 transactions per second), check this interesting heat map on Facebook that captures all the buying-selling activity on eBay across the US on Black Friday.

Holiday Savings with (Google) Checkout (Official Google Blog

This holiday season, Google Checkout can help you save time and money. You can shop quickly and easily with one secure login for thousands of stores across the web. And through December 17, save with exclusive discounts of $5, $10 or $20 at hundreds of participating stores, including, and

Dying career: traffic helicopter pilot (Scobleizer)
Robert Scoble drives around Palo Alto in this video getting a demo of Waze, a crowdsourced traffic application that innovates in its display and collection of traffic data.

Simply Split the Bill (Geeky Gadgets)
This design study offers a way to simplify bill splitting when you share a meal with friends or co-workers.

Nissan's Scratch Shield paint coming to cellphones, invisibleSHIELD feels threatened (engadget)

…In theory, at least, the flexible clearcoat will enable certain light scratches to actually heal themselves over time, and the paint itself is tougher to scratch to begin with.

Zappos Launches interactive product videos
A visit to the Zappos Nike page brings up the clickable, interactive videos that Zappos is testing.


Lighter Side: Check out this video advertisement for the UK's Sun, which claims to be the UK's best handheld for the past 40 years.

…No waiting for pages to load, no contract, no losing reception.

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Show & tell: New video buying guide for LCD and plasma TVs

Just in time for holiday shopping, we’ve created a new video that tells you what to look for when buying a new LCD or plasma TV.

This hot-off-the-presses how-to video takes you inside the Consumer Reports labs, where our experts give you a firsthand look at the most important aspects of TV testing and explain how you can use those results to choose the best TV. Get guidance on TV size and the merits of LCD TVs vs. plasma TVs. Among the topics covered are 120Hz and 240Hz, LED backlights, and 1080p resolution. You’ll also get need-to-know pointers on viewing angle, HDMI inputs, screen reflectivity, plasma burn-in, and more.

The video is available free to all visitors. Subscribers can also get specific TV Ratings and reviews, along with our reliability history, which tells you which brands have experienced the fewest repairs, according to many thousands of consumers.

We’ll be posting new TV Ratings within a week or so. Check back for the latest models soon. — Eileen McCooey

PS. Thinking of taking advantage of a 0% financing offer to buy a TV? Here's why you should reconsider.

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Black Friday blues: Was anyone not disappointed?

black friday sales?

I bought nothing on Black Friday. Apparently I’m not alone, as sales have fallen short of retailers’ hopes and may signal that they'll need to hunker down for a long, hard sell this holiday season.

Though I didn’t buy anything, I’ve been contemplating buying a new TV and decided, on a whim, to visit a couple of stores to see what I could see. After a lunch of leftover turkey sandwiches, I printed out our plasma TV Ratings and headed to Sears with my dad, who wanted a shovel. He got his shovel, but I was disappointed in the TV prices.

Remarkably, a number of the TVs I was eyeing carried the same price Consumer Reports paid for the set one month ago—and that was the store’s sale price. When I asked a salesperson about it, he intimated that the “real” deals were all scooped up that morning—the so-called “doorbuster” sales on a limited number of TV models. Despite the higher-than-expected prices, a bright spot was the helpful and courteous sales team.

Not far down the road, my shopping experience at Walmart was traumatizing enough to keep me away for some time. Jostling through the carts and crowds, I saw but one plasma set. Though the electronics department was mobbed, there was only one cashier.  And on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, there was nary a single blue-vested salesperson on the floor. I was also thinking of buying a video game console, but decided that getting information on them wasn’t worth the headache. As I walked to my car, the dull throbbing in my brain told me I hadn’t left quickly enough.

In the spirit of CyberMonday, I’ll spend today checking prices online. This time, at least I won’t have to deal with jostling crowds.

How about you? We’d love to get some shopper feedback from the Black Friday weekend. Was there anything

  • particularly horrendous or pleasant about your shopping experience?
  • you’d do differently next year?
  • you regret purchasing?
  • you regret not purchasing?
  • you wish you had known?

Leave a comment below and help out your fellow consumers. —Nick K. Mandle

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Nov 30, Tivax Scout Portable Digital TV

Features of the Tivax Scout Portable Digital TV. Order from our site at

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Daily electronics deals

Today's electronics deals, courtesy of The Consumerist:

  • Staples: AOC 21.5-inch Wide Dual Input LCD $130 Shipped
  • Geeks: Seagate FreeAgent 1.5TB USB Drive $100 Shipped
  • Walmart: Palm Pixi with new 2-yr Sprint Contract for $23 w/ Free shipping
  • AxionTech : Asus Eee PC 10.1” Netbook 1.66GHz w/ 160GB Drive + 1GB Memory – Blue for $219.99 after $50 rebate + Shipping
  • Hand Held Items: $5 Off $15 Order w/ Coupon wepay5foryou
  • NewEgg: Sceptre X240BC-FHD 24-inch 1080p LCD HDTV $199.99 + free shipping
  • Amazon: Samsung LN52A750 Red ToC 52-inch 1080p LCD HDTV $1,399.99 + free shipping
  • NewEgg: LG 37LG30 37-inch 720p LCD HDTV $479.99 + free shipping
  • Amazon: Samsung LN32A550 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV $499.99 + free shipping
  • Amazon: Back to the Future – The Complete Trilogy (Widescreen Edition) for $10.49 + Shipping
  • Walmart: Buck Rogers In The 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series for $7.50 w/ Free shipping
  • Target : $5 Off Any Blu-Ray Movie w/ Coupon – Printable
  • Toys R Us: 50% off all Nintendo Wii titles w/purchase of New Super Mario Bros. + free shipping

Related: TV buying tips and Ratings; Blu-ray player buying tips and Ratings; Smart phone buying tips and Ratings; Computer buying tips and Ratings.

Neither Consumer Reports nor The Consumerist receive anything in
exchange for featuring these deals; the posts are intended to be purely
informational. These deals are often fleeting, with prices changing or
products becoming unavailable as the day progresses.

These posts are not an endorsement of the featured products or
the Web sites that sell them—though some of the sites may be included,
and recommended, in our Ratings of retailers for computers and other major electronics (both available to subscribers). Price shouldn't be your only criterion. Be wary of lower-priced deals that seem too good to be true, and check return policies for restocking fees and other gotchas.

For general buying advice for many of the products on sale above, check out our free Buying Guides.

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