Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

Ars is hiring a technology reporter

July 15th, 2019
Ars is hiring a technology reporter

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Ars Technica seeks a Technology Reporter with deep expertise in GPUs, CPUs, systems architecture, storage innovations, networking, and other consumer-focused hardware.

The Technology Reporter will report to the Senior Reviews Editor and will produce daily content including informed news and analysis—plus regular long-form reviews with an emphasis on benchmarks and testing as well as the analysis Ars Technica is known for.

We are looking for a strong writer who can not only grok the business that drives today’s technological innovations but who can also write clean and compelling prose accessible to readers from a wide variety of technical backgrounds.

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Dealmaster: All the best Amazon Prime Day 2019 tech deals we can find

July 15th, 2019
Dealmaster: All the best Amazon Prime Day 2019 tech deals we can find

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Greetings, Arsians! Your friendly neighborhood Dealmaster is back and reporting for bargain-hunting duty—and boy, is he going to need some extra coffee. That's because today marks the start of Amazon Prime Day 2019, the increasingly misnamed sales event that sees the nation's largest online retailer discount products beyond number to Black Friday-level prices midsummer. This year's Prime Day lasts 48 hours from July 15-16, because time is a social construct and trillion-dollar companies can pretty much do whatever they want.

Before we dig in to our deals roundup, a disclaimer: as is often the case with big sales events like this, most of this year's Prime Day deals aren't really deals at all. Amazon will promote thousands of "discounts" over the next two days, but with that much volume, the majority of those offers will naturally have less-than-special prices or apply to less-than-desirable products.

Many "deal prices" are relative to MSRPs that products have not sold at for months, for instance, and some companies artificially raise product prices before the event starts. (As always, price checker sites are a handy tool for verifying good deals.) Prime Day is not a "holiday" for Amazon Prime users—the only people who can take part in the event—so much as a multibillion-dollar business for a retailer looking to gin up sales during a typically slow shopping period. It's also a way for Amazon to convert more shoppers into Prime members, who are estimated to spend twice as much on the site than non-Prime users.

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Alternative theory of gravity makes a nearly testable prediction

July 14th, 2019
Image of a complex, structured cluster of colors.

Enlarge / Galaxy clusters generated by the Universe simulator IllustrisTNG. (credit: TNG Collaboration)

From our current perspective, the Universe seems to be dominated by two things we find frustratingly difficult to understand. One of these is dark matter, which describes the fact that everything from galaxies on up behaves as if it has more mass than we can detect. While that has spawned extensive searches for particles that could account for the visual discrepancy, it's also triggered the development of alternative theories of gravity, ones that can replace relativity while accounting for the discrepancies in apparent mass.

So far, these proposals have fallen well short of replacing general relativity. And they say nothing about the other big mystery, dark energy, which appears to be accelerating the expansion of the Universe. Instead, researchers have developed an entirely separate class of theories that could modify gravity in a way that eliminates the need for dark energy. Now, researchers have run simulations of galaxy and star formation using this alternative version of physics, and they found we might be on the cusp of testing some of them.

Gravitational alternatives

General relativity explains a broad range of phenomena, and it works well to describe the Universe as a whole, provided dark matter and dark energy exist as separate entities. Any alternatives to gravity have to account for everything that's explained by general relativity while also accounting for the additional effects of at least one of these two dark forces. A class of theories, collectively termed MOND (for Modified Newtonian Dynamics), is intended to do away with dark matter, but it struggles to account for things relativity handles with easy.

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Dealmaster: Take 30% off one of our recommended dash cams for your car

July 11th, 2019
Dealmaster: Take 30% off one of our recommended dash cams for your car

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a one-day deal on the Vava Dash Cam, which is down to $83 on Amazon. That's a little more than 30% off its usual going rate of $120—though the catch is that the discount is only available for Prime members.

Still, while Vava isn't exactly a household name, we liked this dash cam enough to include it in the most recent update to our dash cam buying guide. It shoots 1080p video at up to 60 frames per second, includes GPS, and has a built-in power bank that allows it to keep running for up to 30 minutes after you turn off your car.

Aside from being adept at keeping another set of eyes on the road, we also like the Vava cam for video sharing. It only has one camera built in, but its swivel design makes it easy to turn around and use for recording any shenanigans you and your friends may want to capture in the car. A surprisingly capable mobile app makes sharing those videos on social media fairly straightforward. You can get an adequate dash cam that does the basics for less, but at this price, the Vava cam is a solid choice for something a little more full-featured.

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Dealmaster: Get a 256GB Samsung microSD card for $37

July 9th, 2019
Dealmaster: Get a 256GB Samsung microSD card for $37

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is highlighted by a new low on the 256GB variant of Samsung's EVO Select microSDXC card. It's currently down to $37, which is $6-$8 off where it has usually sat over the last couple of months.

We have recommended the EVO Select before—the gist of it today is that, while it's not the highest-performing card for running apps or handling the OS for a Raspberry Pi, it's still plenty fast for copying photos to a device, recording 4K video, downloading movies, and generally storing media. It's a U3, Class 10 card with a 10-year warranty, and at this price, it's still a good value.

If you're all set on the mobile storage front, though, we also have deals on various video games, the 128GB 9.7-inch iPad, Instant Pots, and, yes, the entire original run of Cowboy Bebop. Have a look for yourself below.

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Dealmaster: All the best 4th of July tech deals we can find

July 4th, 2019
Dealmaster: All the best 4th of July tech deals we can find

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Greetings, Arsians! It's Independence Day in the US, so today the Dealmaster is celebrating one of the greatest American traditions—buying stuff—with a roundup of the best 4th of July tech sales he can find.

Some highlights this holiday include LG's 55-inch B8 OLED TV for just $999, which is a great price for a TV that still looks fantastic despite being a year old. Sony's WH-1000XM3 is down to $298, a $50 discount for arguably the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market, while the 64GB variant of Apple's 11-inch iPad Pro is down to $630 at Amazon, which is a new low. Beyond that, we've also got a bunch of 4th of July sales on laptops and desktop PCs, including a GTX 1660 Ti-equipped Asus gaming laptop for $950 and HP's premium 13-inch Spectre x360 for $900.

There are plenty more deals to peruse beyond that, so if you're looking to pick up some new gear in between grilling and heading to the beach, have a look at our full rundown below.

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Dealmaster: Google discounts a bunch of Home, Nest, and Chromecast devices

July 2nd, 2019
Dealmaster: Google discounts a bunch of Home, Nest, and Chromecast devices

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by deals for Google's Home smart speakers, Nest smart home devices, and the Chromecast Ultra media streamer. Google says the offers will be available at various retailers until July 17, which not coincidentally means they'll run through Amazon's Prime Day event and the various Echo device deals that's likely to bring.

Some highlights here include the Google Home Mini for $25, the Nest Hub smart display for $79, and the larger Home Max smart speaker for $249, all of which either match or beat those devices' respective prices on Black Friday last year. The usual caveats concerning data collection and privacy with these kind of devices still apply, but if you're not disgusted with smart speakers as a concept, we have praised the Home Mini and Nest Hub before, and the Home Max is a much sharper-sounding (and more bass-heavy) audio upgrade.

The Chromecast Ultra, Google's 4K media streamer dongle, is down to $55, which is $5 more than its Black Friday price. A variety of Nest devices are on sale as well, though we've only listed a handful of those offers below, since some of Google's promoted discounts aren't as good as deals we've seen in the past.

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Dealmaster: Prime members can get one year of Audible for $119

June 27th, 2019
Dealmaster: Prime members can get one year of Audible for $119

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. We're kicking things off today with a couple Audible deals exclusively for Amazon Prime members that you can get right now, ahead of Prime Day. Prime members who do not currently have an Audible subscription can get a one-year membership, with 12 credits upfront, for $119.50. You can even add an Echo Dot to your order for just an extra $0.99. Those who don't want to spend as much and are new to Audible can get a 3-month subscription for just $4.95 per month ($14.85 total), a discount of $10 per month from the regular subscription price.

The one-year subscription deal can save you about $80 in total. A regular year subscription to Audible costs $150 and an Echo Dot cots $50. So getting both of those things for just $121 is a great deal, particularly for those who want to listen to audiobooks around the house using a smart speaker like the Echo Dot. Amazon's Alexa integrates well with Audible, so you can ask Alexa on the Echo Dot to play any audiobook in your library and it'll either start from the beginning or pick up where you left off.

If you just want to try Audible for a bit, the 3-month subscription deal will save you approximately $30 over the subscription's duration. All Audible members can use their credits to redeem any of the company's thousands of audiobooks, and members have access to daily deals (some books cost just a couple dollars if they are a daily deal) as well as two free Audible Originals per month.

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Dealmaster: Take 30% off a variety of Switch, PS4, and Xbox One games

June 25th, 2019
Dealmaster: Take 30% off a variety of Switch, PS4, and Xbox One games

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by an expansive 30%-off sale on video games for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One currently going on at Target.

The catch here is that the discount doesn't apply to typical shipping; instead, you have to select "free order pickup" upon checking out and physically get the games yourself at a nearby store. That's a little annoying, but Target isn't exactly a mom-and-pop shop, and many of the deals available as part of the deal are good enough for the Dealmaster to think it's worth a quick drive. For instance, the sale brings first-party Switch games like Super Mario PartyMario Tennis Aces, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe down to $35, beating their prices in Nintendo's own E3 sale from a couple of weeks back. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the latest from Dark Souls maker From Software, is down to $34 from its usual $48, while the recent Resident Evil 2 remake is down to $28 from its usual $40.

The 30% discount applies to literally hundreds more games beyond those, but note that not everything in the sale is at or near an all-time price low. The Dealmaster has curated a list of games he finds to be good bargains below, but as always, price tracking tools like Keepa and CamelCamelCamel can help verify whether other games are really a good bargain. (Particularly now that Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner.) Exactly how available these games are will depend on where you live, too, as will how much tax you'll have to pay on top of the prices listed below, though the latter should only add a couple extra bucks. In any event, Target says this sale will last until June 29.

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Dealmaster: A bunch of Logitech PC accessories are on sale today

June 20th, 2019
Dealmaster: A bunch of Logitech PC accessories are on sale 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 sweeping set of discounts on Logitech mice, headsets, and other PC accessories, which Amazon is featuring as part of its one-day Gold Box sale.

The catch here is that most of the items on offer aren't the absolute newest model in Logitech's respective product lines. Instead of the wireless MX Master 2S mouse, for instance, the MX Master is discounted. Instead of the newer MX Ergo trackball mouse, you get the M570. We'd also caution against many of the gaming headsets included in the sale, as we've used other models that both sound better and are less bulky.

Still, much of what's available here is worth owning, particularly when the majority of it is at genuinely discounted prices. The G203 Prodigy, for instance, doesn't have as sensitive a sensor as a pricier gaming mouse, but for $20, it's comfortable, normal-looking (a compliment for gaming mice), and high-performing enough. The C615 webcam is good value for 1080p video at $26, while the aforementioned M570 is simple but still effective for those interested in trackball mice.

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