Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

Covering the Nobels—is it worth the bother?

October 13th, 2019
Ornate gold medal on black background.

Enlarge / The tail side of the Jean Dausset's Nobel Medal. Dausset received the prize in 1980. (credit: João Trindade / Flickr)

One thing we do regularly at Ars is try out new types of content. We can make some pretty informed guesses as to what our readers will want to see but still find ourselves surprised at times—who knew you guys would be such big archeology fans?

But you readers have made it very clear that you're really not into scientific awards and prizes. We've tried out a number and received a clear message: not interested. The one, not-surprising exception had been the Nobel Prizes, which consistently drew a significant readership. (That shouldn't be much of a surprise, given that our science section started out as a blog named Nobel Intent.)

But that's started to change over the last couple of years, and with the falling reader interest, we're starting to re-evaluate our decision to cover these prizes. So, what follows is an attempt to spell out the pros and cons of Nobel coverage and an opportunity for you to give us your thoughts on the matter.

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Dealmaster: Get another 12 months of PlayStation Plus for $39 today

October 10th, 2019
Dealmaster: Get another 12 months of PlayStation Plus for $39 today

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a deal on 12-month membership cards for Sony's PlayStation Plus service, as they're down to $39 on eBay today. While that's not an unprecedented sale price, it matches the subscription's going rate on Black Friday and comes in well below Sony's standard $60 price. (Though it's not uncommon to find it closer to $50 online.)

Note that this deal applies to physical membership cards, not digital codes, so you'll have to wait a few days to top off your subscription. As was the case with a similar deal we saw a couple months back, the eBay retailer here is "neogames," which isn't a household name by any means but has highly favorable user reviews and has run several deals along these lines that we've found to be trustworthy in the past. In any event, PlayStation Plus is needed to access online multiplayer in most PlayStation games and still gives out a couple of complimentary games each month. You can still stack any code bought here on top of your existing membership, and there has been nothing to suggest the service's role will change with the upcoming PlayStation 5.

If you don't want to commit any more time to PlayStation, we also have deals on a Nintendo Switch and Amazon gift card bundle, recommended USB-C PD power banks and car dash cams, Google's Pixel 3a, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and more. Have a look for yourself below.

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Dealmaster: You can already take $30 off Apple’s new 10.2-inch iPad

October 3rd, 2019
Dealmaster: You can already take $30 off Apple’s new 10.2-inch iPad

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a discount on the 128GB variant of Apple's 10.2-inch iPad, which is currently down to $399.99 from its standard $429. While that's not a huge drop, it's worth noting since Apple only just released this seventh-gen iPad last week. So if you were thinking about picking one up from an Apple Store anyway, you might want to save a few bucks by shopping online instead.

As for the iPad itself, we haven't reviewed it, but it's not a massive update over the sixth-gen iPad. It runs on the same A10 Fusion chip, still has a non-laminated display, and still has thicker bezels than an iPad Air or iPad Pro. But it increases the display size from 9.7 inches to 10.2 inches, now works with Apple's Smart Keyboard—which remains fine as a keyboard but generally causes less friction than a Bluetooth keyboard—and bumps up the RAM from 2GB to 3GB, which makes multitasking with the new and improved iPadOS more manageable. Most importantly, it remains the most affordable tablet in Apple's lineup.

If you don't envision yourself treating your iPad like a pseudo-laptop, you can save a few bucks by picking up a sixth-gen iPad before stock runs dry, but this is a useful deal for the new model this early in its lifespan.

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Dealmaster: Get a 72W, four-port, USB-C PD wall charger for $26

September 10th, 2019
Dealmaster: Get a 72W, four-port, USB-C PD wall charger for $26

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a new low on Nekteck's 72W USB-C PD wall charger, which is down to $25.49 on Amazon. The four-port charger has gone on sale for $30 a few times in the past but normally goes for $36.

Nekteck isn't exactly a household name, but over the past couple of years it has put out a number of chargers and cables that we can vouch for after testing. We recommended this particular charger in our recent Back to School gift guide. It plugs into a wall through an AC power cord, so it's not as portable as chargers that go directly into an outlet, but for those who often need to charge multiple devices at their desk, it's safe and effective. The charging unit itself isn't overly large, and it comes with four ports: three USB-A outlets that split 12W of power between them and one 60W USB-C PD port. The latter provides enough power to charge most modern laptops with USB-C PD ports at close to full speed and is more than enough to charge any new phone or tablet at their maximum. Notably, the device is also USB-IF certified, so it has been approved by the body that maintains the USB spec. There's a 3-foot USB-C cable in the box as well as a 12-month warranty on the off chance something goes wrong.

If you don't need a new fast charger, we also have deals on Instant Pots, Lenovo's last-gen (but still great) ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook, Philips Hue bulbs, a great ultrawide gaming monitor from LG, and much more. Have a look for yourself below.

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Dealmaster: Snag leftover Labor Day deals on laptops from Dell, HP, Asus, and more

September 5th, 2019
Dealmaster: Snag leftover Labor Day deals on laptops from Dell, HP, Asus, and more

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with a new round of deals to share. Summer may be over and Labor Day may have passed, but many PC manufacturers are still offering good deals on popular laptops. One of our favorites comes from Dell: now you can get the new XPS 13 laptop with a 13-inch 4K touchscreen, Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD for $1,618.49. That's just over $400 of savings on our current favorite Windows laptop, and it's a model that's almost completely specced out.

This particular XPS 13 model is very similar to the model Ars reviewed, except it has 1TB of storage while our review unit had just 512GB. We love the compact yet stylish frame of this laptop, especially the properly placed webcam. It offers strong performance and battery life as well. Our biggest complaint is its 16:9 aspect ratio, but if you can get past that, the XPS 13 is a great all-purpose laptop.

Our current favorite 2-in-1 is also on sale: HP has its Spectre x360 13 with a Core i5 processor, 13-inch FHD display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and an included stylus for just $899.99. Not only does this convertible have solid performance, a built-in fingerprint reader, an IR camera, and a webcam kill-switch for privacy, but it also has some of the longest battery life of any Windows laptop we've tested—it lasted an average of 30.5 hours on our default battery test.

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Subscribe to Ars over Labor Day weekend and save 20%

August 30th, 2019
Subscribe to Ars over Labor Day weekend and save 20%

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If you've been on the fence about Ars Pro, let us entice you with a Labor Day 20% off sale. Use the code LABORDAY2019 and get one year of Ars Pro++ for just $40 or a year of Ars Pro for $20.

In addition to supporting Ars Technica's journalistic mission and never seeing a single ad on Ars, subscribers also get:

  • Classic View (headlines, lower deks, and the first three paragraphs of each story) on the front page
  • Full-text RSS feeds
  • Access to our subscriber-only forums
  • PDFs of all of our stories
  • No trackers or scripts

And in addition to all of those features, Ars Pro++ subscribers also get:

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Posted in ars, Ars Pro, site news, Staff | Comments (0)

Dealmaster: Various storage and PC accessories are on sale at Amazon today

August 29th, 2019
Dealmaster: Various storage and PC accessories are on sale at Amazon today

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is highlighted by a one-day PC devices and accessories sale running over on Amazon today.

As is often the case with Amazon's deals of the day, not everything involved in the sale is particularly special—we can't speak to the quality of all the highlighted monitors and cheap laptops here—but there are a handful of deals worth noting. Some highlights include a $35 discount on the 10TB version of WD's Elements desktop HDD, a new low on the 4TB model of Toshiba's Canvio Basics hard drive (if you don't need quite as much space), and about $20 off SteelSeries' Arctis 3 gaming headset. The Destiny 2 version of our favorite gaming mouse, the Razer DeathAdder Elite, is down to $40, which is about $5-10 off the standard model's going rate. And if you just need some room to store smartphone photos or Switch games, SanDisk's 256GB Ultra is down to $30—just note that it's a few steps slower than most U3- or higher-rated cards on the market.

Beyond that, we also have a 32-inch 1440p LG gaming monitor for $300, a 18W USB-C PD Anker power bank for $30, and God of War for $13, among others. Check the full rundown below.

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Dealmaster: 1TB SSDs, Control, PS4 Pros, and more in today’s top tech deals

August 27th, 2019
Dealmaster: 1TB SSDs, Control, PS4 Pros, and more in today’s top tech deals

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another roundup of the day's best tech deals. Today we've got a nice discount on the 1TB variant of Crucial's MX500 solid state drive—it's not the absolute fastest SSD on the market, but at $97 it's a great value for the performance provided, so it's a good way to speed up any PCs you have saddled with a sluggish HDD. It has normally sold for $108 in recent months.

We also have a number of video game deals, highlighted by a $10 discount on Control, the just-released game from Alan Wake developer Remedy that recently earned our Ars approved badge. For Switch owners, both Super Mario Party and Mario Tennis Aces are down to $40, while the Fighters Pass DLC for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate—which bundles all of that game's DLC characters—is at an all-time low of $20. If you can't wait for the PlayStation 5, the 4K-ready PS4 Pro is available at $85 off its list price as well.

There's plenty more to peruse beyond that, including nice discounts on the Apple Watch Series 4, Roku Streaming Stick+, and Marvel's Spider-Man, among others. Have a look for yourself below.

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Dealmaster: iPhone cases, PS4 controllers, and more in today’s top tech deals

August 23rd, 2019
Dealmaster: iPhone cases, PS4 controllers, and more in today’s top tech deals

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a couple of deals on Apple's Leather Cases for its iPhone XS and iPhone 8/7 phones. The former is down to $25, while the latter is down to $22.49. Only the black models are discounted, but both prices are as low as we've seen on Amazon. Overpricing is usually the big downside with Apple's first-party cases, but this deal negates that. Otherwise, each case fits its respective iPhone like a glove, and though they aren't the most protective things around, the leather finish feels great.

Elsewhere in the rundown, BuyDig has a big bundle on the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition that includes two months of Xbox Live Gold and six game downloads—including the latest Madden NFL and Gears of War 4—for $229 with an on-site coupon. This deal isn't as much of a showstopper as it sounds: the All-Digital model has no disc drive, it should be cheaper than its $249 MSRP to begin with, and at least one new Xbox console is coming next year. But if you were looking to pick up new Xbox hardware sooner, a $20 hardware discount plus six largely solid games is decent value.

Beyond that, you can find a $50 discount on the entry-level Mac mini, a $30 drop on Amazon's Cloud Cam security camera, a nice price on a gold DualShock 4 PS4 controller, and more deals below.

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Staffsource: Ars staffers reminisce on the games that made them gamers

August 22nd, 2019
Staffsource: Ars staffers reminisce on the games that made them gamers

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Welcome to Ars Gaming Week 2019! As a staff full of gamers and game-lovers, we'll be serving up extra reviews, guides, interviews, and other stories all about gaming from August 19 to August 23.

While it's exciting (and a bit overwhelming) to think about all the new games we want to play, it's fun to occasionally walk down memory lane and remember the first games we ever played. For the Ars staff, our lists of nostalgic games are exhaustive, but a few titles still stand out as the true gateways to the years of gaming that followed.

These might not be the very first games we played, or even the games we played the most during our youth, but they do hold a special place in our hearts for sparking something inside of us that made us continue to seek out games to feed our needs for action, adventure, strategy, escape, and more.

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Posted in Ars Gaming Week 2019, Games, gaming, Gaming & Culture, gateway games, Staff, staffsource | Comments (0)