Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

Now That’s What I Call Ars Technica, Volume 1: Favorite stories from Ars’ 20 years

January 18th, 2019
Actually, I think that was a popular timepiece style when the site first started.

Enlarge / Actually, I think that was a popular timepiece style when the site first started. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

It's true—Ars Technica is in the process of turning 20 years old throughout 2019. If you've ever looked at the whois info, our official birthday hits on December 29. But Ars was really birthed all throughout that first year, as Editor-in-Chief Ken Fisher (err, Caesar) and his fellow computer prosumers figured out how to start the most comprehensive PC enthusiast outlet around. "Our love for the PC is gonna lead us into bad, bad things like NT, Linux, and BeOS content under the same roof," as the original Ars Mission Statement noted. "Please don't report us!"

Since then, well, Ars has definitely expanded. You can find anything from LARPing to archaeology industry trends alongside the latest Linux review on the site today. But throughout these past two decades and the site's numerous evolutions, Ars still feels like it has stuck with the ethos of that initial public declaration—"having fun, being productive, and being as informative and as accurate as possible," as Caesar put it.

So to cap off this week (itself likely a small start to what will inevitably be numerous trips down memory lane during our 20th anniversary year), we recently polled the Ars community—aka, staff and readers—to find out what folks consider some of the site's greatest hits. The first batch of story suggestions is below, but don't be shy about starting a second list in the comments.

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Dealmaster: Get a 5-port Anker wall charger with a USB-C PD port for $35

January 17th, 2019
Dealmaster: Get a 5-port Anker wall charger with a USB-C PD port for $35

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a deal on Anker's PowerPort I desktop charger, the black model of which is currently down to $35 on Amazon. Typically, it retails in the high $40 or low $50 range.

This particular charger is meant to live on a desktop and charge various devices at once. Most notably, it comes with one USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port that charges at 30 watts. That's not the most powerful USB-C PD we've seen on a charger like this, and it means that the PowerPort is only really suitable to charge thin laptops like Apple's 12-inch MacBook.

But it's strong enough to charge the latest iPhones (with the right cable) and Android handsets at max speed, and it's good for a charger that also includes four 2.4-amp USB-A ports for refilling other devices. The charger gets 60W of power altogether. The PowerPoint is USB-IF certified, too, and Anker is a known, generally trustworthy name in this market. There's no Quick Charge, but if you need USB-C PD power but also want as many secondary ports as you can get, this is a solid price.

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From SysOp to DevOps, behind the scenes of running websites for two decades

January 17th, 2019
The Pit, a BBS door game. In this shot, Lee Hutchinson was attacking these guys. Or, maybe they're attacking him.

The Pit, a BBS door game. In this shot, Lee Hutchinson was attacking these guys. Or, maybe they're attacking him. (credit: Lee Hutchinson)

I was a true nerd growing up in the 1980s—not in the hipster way, but in the 10-pound-issue-of-Computer-Shopper-under-my-arm way (these things were seriously huge). I was thoroughly addicted to BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems) by the time I was 10. Maybe it's no surprise I ended up as a technical director for a science and tech site.

In fact, I'd actually draw a direct line between the job of managing your own BBS (aka SysOping) to managing a modern Web infrastructure. And with everyone around Ars looking back given the site's 20th anniversary, let's make that line a bit clearer. It won't be an exhaustive history of websites, but here's how my own experiences with managing websites have evolved in the past two decades—plus how the tools and thinking have changed over time, too.

LOAD “*”, 8, 1

My first SysOp experience was powered by a Commodore 128 (in 64 mode of course) running Greg Pfountz’s Color 64 software. I sent Greg my check—well, my mom’s check—and received back a single 5.25” floppy diskette along with a hand-bound dotmatrix-printed manual. It was on.

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Dealmaster: Get big discounts on 4K TVs from Vizio, LG, and TCL

January 15th, 2019
Dealmaster: Get big discounts on 4K TVs from Vizio, LG, and TCL

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a handful of high-end 4K TV deals, with the likes of Vizio's P-Series, TCL's 6-Series Roku TVs, and LG's B8 OLED TVs all on sale.

As we noted last year, we're nearing the time when TV deals start to reach their apex. Black Friday has passed and this year's models are getting introduced, which means prices on many of the still-great models of 2018 will gradually drop until they are discontinued for good. It's very much possible that the TVs highlighted below will get even cheaper as the year goes on, but if you're interested in grabbing a high-end 4K HDR TV ahead of the Super Bowl, have a look at the various deals below.

And if you don't need a new TV, we also have deals on Black Ops 4, cheap wireless workout headphones, Echo devices, and more.

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Ars Technica turns 20 years old, and we couldn’t have done it without the community

January 14th, 2019
If that image doesn't quite get the point across, a lot of wild stuff happens in the Ars forums.

Enlarge / If that image doesn't quite get the point across, a lot of wild stuff happens in the Ars forums. (credit: Getty Images / Aurich Lawson)

If you've ever looked at the whois info for Ars Technica, you might already be in on a little secret: our birthday is December 29, 1998, making 2019 the site's official 20th anniversary year. For a site that wanted to do "bad, bad things like NT, Linux, and BeOS content under the same roof," that's an impressive run—about 7.5 million beats, or more than a lifetime in doge years.

As one of the longtime Arsians on present-day staff, I feel quite safe in saying that we wouldn't have made it this far if not for our community. I'm not talking so much about the people who just leave comments to articles we publish, although proud we are of all of them. No, I'm specifically referring to those of you who inhabit the OpenForum. This one's for all of you.

In the beginning, there was Caesar

Once upon a time, Web fora were a big thing, and the Ars OpenForum was one of the biggest. Sure, in the year 2018 they are a little slower moving than the olden days, but back then people didn't have some of those new upstarts like MySpace and app.net and Brightkite to draw away their attention. Forums overall may have slowly faded away, but not so around Ars. Even today, with all of those other distractions people have online, things aren't quite at ghost town level in the OpenForum. And when I put out the call for people's reminiscences, the memories came flooding in.

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Posted in ars technica, Best of the Forums, Staff | Comments (0)

Dealmaster: Take $74 off a new 9.7-inch iPad with 128GB of storage

January 10th, 2019
Dealmaster: Take $74 off a new 9.7-inch iPad with 128GB of storage

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a deal on the 128GB variant of the latest 9.7-inch Apple iPad. It's down to $355 at Amazon, which is $74 off its usual price. The 32GB model is down to $280 as well—a $49 discount.

While those prices aren't quite as low as they were around Black Friday, they're solid discounts for what is still the best general-purpose tablet currently on the market (provided you're not completely beholden to Android). If you don't need a new slate, though, we also have deals on Xbox One controllers, Nintendo Switch gear and games, Marvel's Spider-Man for the PS4, and much more. Have a look for yourself below.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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Dealmaster: Take $20 off an Xbox One Wireless Controller for your Xbox or PC

January 8th, 2019
Dealmaster: Take $20 off an Xbox One Wireless Controller for your Xbox or PC

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. With today's list, we're highlighting a deal on Microsoft's Xbox One Wireless Controller, which is down to $40 at Walmart and Amazon. That's $20 off its standard going rate.

This is a good price for anyone in need of a spare controller for their Xbox One, but it also has its uses for those who game on the PC. While Xbox's controller may be blasphemous to the most dedicated PC gamers, some people do prefer to use a gamepad over the tried-and-true mouse and keyboard. The Xbox One controller has the advantage of being easy to set up on Windows, since they're both made by the same company. That could make it a better buy than Sony's DualShock 4 controller for those who play PC games outside of Valve's Steam client. (It does work with Steam just fine, though.) It can connect to a PC via Bluetooth or a microUSB cable.

The big difference between the Xbox One controller and the DS4 is that the former requires a pair of AA batteries for power. The upside is that the Xbox One pad tends to last longer per charge than the DualShock 4 and its built-in battery, but if you don't have a dedicated battery charger, it can be a pain. Nevertheless, if you prefer the feel of the Xbox One controller and its asymmetrical joysticks, this is a solid deal.

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Dealmaster: Get a Samsung 860 EVO SSD for $68

January 3rd, 2019
Dealmaster: Get a Samsung 860 EVO SSD for $68

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a new low on the 500GB model of Samsung's 860 EVO SSD, which is currently down to $68.40 at Amazon with an on-site coupon.

It's not the pinnacle of performance at this point, but the 860 EVO is still fast enough for those looking to upgrade an aging PC saddled with an HDD or complement a device whose existing solid-state drive is running out of space. While competing SATA drives like Crucial's MX500 are currently available for a couple dollars less, the 860 EVO is a bit faster and generally more durable, so we think it's worth buying when the price difference is this slight.

Beyond that, we also have deals on a variety of Nintendo Switch games and accessories, Apple's HomePod, GoPro action cameras, and more. Have a look for yourself below.

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Dealmaster: Get post-Christmas deals on Amazon devices, iPads, and more

December 27th, 2018
Dealmaster: Get post-Christmas deals on Amazon devices, iPads, and more

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. The Dealmaster hopes you and yours have had a wonderful holiday season, and now that most Christmas gifts have been opened it's time to begin the annual cycle of discounts anew.

Predictably, there aren't a ton of good tech deals going on in this awkward period between Christmas and New Year's Day, but we've still rounded up a few noteworthy discounts on the likes of Amazon Echo and Fire devices, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple gift cards, the Google Home Hub, Anker portable batteries, HDMI cables, and much more. Have a look for yourself below.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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The 20 most-popular stories of 2018

December 25th, 2018

Yesterday, we brought you the most-commented stories of 2018. We're back today with a little more Christmas reading for you: the most-popular stories of 2018. As we have done in the past, we made two different lists: one for features (long-form content like OS reviews) and one for news stories. Let's start with the features.

Top 10 features of 2018

10. Forget about that Tesla—the Jaguar I-Pace is the most compelling EV yet

(credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

When it comes to electric vehicles, Tesla has been the leader of the pack, at least in terms of press coverage and public attention. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other very capable EVs out there. Automotive Editor Jonathan Gitlin had the chance to head across the Atlantic to spend a couple of days behind the wheel of the Jaguar I-Pace and came away impressed. It's all new, all electric, and all kinds of good. It starts at $69,500 before tax incentives but offers 394hp worth of performance and a range of at least 240 miles (400km). How good is it? Jonathan rated it as better than either of Jaguar's conventional SUVs.

9. Android 9 Pie, thoroughly reviewed

Every year, Google releases a new version of Android, and every year, Ron Amadeo pokes around in every last nook and cranny of the mobile OS. Android 9 brought the latest Material Design spec and launched a wave of UI updates that will eventually propagate across the entire Google ecosystem. There are AI-powered battery-usage controls, tweaks to the app-distribution system, and, of course, support for the notched displays that are all the rage.

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