General March 28

Amazon’s Echo ($180), Dot ($90) and Tap ($130) devices get their smarts from the Alexa Voice Service. Not only can Alexa make day-to-day tasks more convenient, but we found it to be nothing short of life-changing. For those of you who are unwilling to shell out the $90+ or who love to tinker with technology, Amazon has shared an official GitHub guide for building your own Alexa-enabled device.

You’ll need a model B Raspberry Pi 2 ($37), microSD card ($13), USB microphone ($3) and a couple other small items to get started. This project also requires a USB keyboard and mouse, plus an HDMI monitor, but hopefully you already have those pieces.

The instructions are very thorough so anyone with basic programming skills should be able to work through it. The only glaring downside to building your own Echo is that it doesn’t include the always-listening feature. Ready to tackle this project? Click here for Amazon’s official walkthrough.

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9to5mac 

General March 22

Amazon offers the AcuRite 02027A1 Color Weather Station with Forecast/Temperature/Humidity for $34.99 Prime shipped. That’s $20 off of list and the lowest price we’ve ever seen it by about $6 for this home weather station that gets 4/5 star reviews from hundreds of Amazon reviewers. . Description (video below)

Plan the day with confidence with your own weather and weather prediction information – pinpoint accuracy right from your own backyard. The AcuRite Color Digital Weather Station uses patented Self-Calibrating Technology to provide your personal forecast of 12 to 24 hour weather conditions. Self-Calibrating Forecasting is generated from weather data measured by a sensor in your yard – giving you the most accurate forecast available for your exact location. The backlit LCD screen includes indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity, moon phase, barometric pressure with weather trend indicator, time and date. Intelli-Time clock automatically updates itself for Daylight Saving Time. Display stands upright for tabletop use or is wall-mountable. The outdoor sensor features powerful wireless technology, a weather-resistant design and an integrated hanger for easy mounting. Weather station display is powered by a 5V power adapter (included; recommended for optimal display color) or 3 AA alkaline batteries (optional; not included). Wireless sensor is powered by 2 AA alkaline or lithium batteries (not included). Lithium batteries recommended for use in outdoor sensor for temperatures below –4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius). One-year limited warranty.

Note pick up some AA (not included) batteries here.

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General March 18

9to5google 

General March 17

General March 16

T-Mobile has added yet another valuable perk for some of its subscribers. During the week of April 3rd, Simple Choice customers on select plans can sign-up to receive free MLB.TV Premium ($109.99 value) and At Bat Premium ($19.99 value) access for the entire 2016 baseball. With MLB.TV you can stream every out-of-market MLB game live or on-demand and take in highlights from around the league. What’s more, any data consumed while watching baseball games won’t count against your monthly allowance thanks to T-Mobile’s Bing-On promotion.

The only catch here is that you must register for this offer during the initial sign-up period. Full details are as follows:

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electrek 

General March 14

General March 12

Amazon is knocking a significant $125 off the price of the Moto X Pure White Bamboo smartphone in 16GB size to $299.99 shipped. That’s by far the lowest price we’ve seen for this very stylish and well rated smartphone with 5.7-inch display, *almost* pure Android, 21MP Sony camera sensor, 5.7″ Quad HD display, stereo sound, TurboPower charging and splash-proofing. Cam at 9to5Google reviewed it very favorably and I can’t recommend this phone enough personally. This was my favorite Android phone until the Nexus 6P was released and the only possible downsides I can think of is the large size and lack of fingerprint sensor.  The Black version with plastic back is also $299.99 shipped which is $100 off.

It is expandable via SD card all the way up to over 200GB ($80) but you are probably going to be fine with a 64-128GB Micro SD Card for $22-$50

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General March 10

9to5mac 

General March 8

The Prius powering our home during Hurricane Sandy
Comments (6)

Our town got hit hard during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Our home lost power for almost 2 weeks and I hadn’t purchased a generator for our house. Time to move into a hotel, right?

Nope.

I had a couple of small inverters and a Toyota Prius with a full 10 gallon tank of gas that kept our house lit and computers/phones/internet on for the better part of 2 weeks. I even had enough power for some Halloween lights… expand full story

I love the SolarTab (original review) and I hit up the German company that makes the huge solar panel/battery the size of an iPad for a coupon for you guys. It’s here! Exclusive Coupon Code SOLTAB35 drops the price $35 to an all time low of $94 shipped at Amazon.

Key Details:

  • 5.5W Solar panel w/dual 2.1A USB ports
  • 13,000mAh battery will provide a few full iPads worth of power when the sun goes out
  • Fits perfectly in bags next to books and iPads
  • Looks great and built to last

Why is the Solartab great? Because it actually works.  If you’ve ever tried to charge your iPhones/iPads/etc. directly from a small solar panel you probably know it is pretty difficult. Even with direct sunlight, you aren’t likely to be able to charge the device reliably or quickly. Most USB-charged devices require a minimum of 5W (5Vx1A) of continuous power to even register a charge. Then a cloud comes or the sun moves and you aren’t charging anymore.

Adding a battery to the mix helps, especially if the battery is big and can charge the device quickly on its own without any sun. But most of the solar/battery combos fall into 2 categories: Either messy because they are a bulky 2 step solution or the solar panel is too small to make a meaningful charge and you are mostly using it like a regular USB battery.

SolarTab is a breath of fresh air here. It is a relatively big 5.5W solar panel built on a thin 13,000mAh battery enclosure that fits in an included Moleskine-esque case. Size-wise, think the original iPad with a nice leather case and a huge solar panel instead of a screen.

This is the perfect large battery for a number of reasons. Because it is so thin, it fits like a book (or iPad!) in a backpack, briefcase or large purse. Most importantly, it always has power. I leave mine on my windowsill  for when I need to go into the city (usually 1-2 times per week). My iPhone and iPad usually die with heavy use so it’s a lifesaver for my trips home. What’s great is that I don’t ever have to plug it in. A few days in the window will have me back to full for my next trip… expand full story

General March 3

9to5google 

Amazon has the 4-pack of Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Slim Lunch Ice Packs (Multicolored) for $5.48 with free shipping for Prime members or in orders over $49. That’s almost $4 under the orignal listing, 30% below the going rate, the lowest Amazon has ever offered them for and the best we can find. These slim reusable ice packs are BPA-free, are sized to fit into smaller coolers or lunch bags if needs be. They are the best selling ice packs of their kind on Amazon and have a 4.7/5 star rating from 250 Amazon customers.

Bosch windshield wipers-sale-02

Amazon is currently offering a pair of Bosch windshield wipers for just $22 with free shipping for Prime members or in orders over $49. There is a wide variety of options, along with a handy tool along the top of the page to ensure you get the right set for your car. Just add any two from this page to your cart to redeem the discount. They generally go for between $13 and $16 each, bringing you a savings of about $10 or about 30%. These best selling windshield wipers features the Bosch “patented internal tension spring”, and work great in all weather conditions. Rated 3.6/5 stars from over 820 amazon customers with about 75% of them leaving a 4 or 5 star rating.

Today’s Top Home Deals:

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General March 2

electrek 

General February 29

Amazon offers the “Anker Multi-Functional Car Jump Starter and Portable External Battery Charger with Adapters, Clamps, LED Flashlight, 12V Output and 400A Peak Current” model AK-A1521011 for $99.99. $20 off code DTK446XQ drops it to $79.99 shipped. 

What this is is a large flashlight that has a 2.1A USB port that will quickly charge a phone 2-4 times over with its huge 6000mAh battery pack (erroneously listed elsewhere at 12,000mAh). That battery will also jump start your 3L or smaller engine car 10 times with its 12V jumper cable adapter (It can also be used for other 12V applications). It sounds like a great in car device but it also functions as a safety helper with a hammer head for breaking glass and a bright flashing red beacon light that functions as a flare.

The full 2.4 pound package includes “Anker Multi-Functional Car Jump Starter External Battery, 15V adapter, 15V car adapter, car adapter charging base, jumper clamps, welcome guide, 18-month warranty and friendly customer service”.

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General February 23

General February 19

Update (2/20 9:00am): The new shipping policy is now official. Traditional orders of $49 will ship for free while book-only packages require a $25 minimum.

Earlier today, Amazon briefly updated its shipping page to a new minimum shipping charge for non-Prime members. While the page was quickly reverted back to its previous version, it was up long enough to capture the details of the changes that may be coming soon…

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9to5mac 

General February 17

When Microsoft first released the Xbox One back in 2013, it opted to include 500GB of internal storage. If you were an early adopter or loaded up on the avalanche of new releases in the last six months, chances are you’re running out of space.

Microsoft has attempted to right this wrong by releasing new 1TB bundles, but who wants to go through the process of wiping, selling and setting up a new console? As digital downloads replace physical media, the need for more space is becoming paramount with each release. If you’ve been considering a 1TB upgrade, from a value perspective, it’s a better choice to opt for a 500GB model and supply your own additional storage.

Head below for a full guide on how to remedy this situation with an external hard drive  that will add enough space for up to 100 games.

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General February 16

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