Alan Buckingham

Gamestop wants you to have an Xbox One and will pay you to trade in Xbox 360 or Sony PS3

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The sales business is always tough, and when things are going downhill then sellers come up with better, more enticing offers. We're not saying Microsoft's new console is in trouble, but it is currently behind its rival in recent sales figures. And while the company will still happily sell you the previous generation model, it really, really wants you to get that spiffy new box, and a third-party is here to help out.

With business seemingly slow, GameStop has a deal to offer you. All you have to do is trade in that old Xbox 360 or, gasp, Sony PS3 to get Microsoft's latest and greatest. To be fair, the offer doesn't come directly from Microsoft, but is through GameStop, though behind the scenes deals are always a possibility.

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Samsung investigates itself, finds it's innocent of hiring 'fans' for Galaxy S6 Shanghai launch

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While Samsung has been basking in the glory of its successful launch of the latest Galaxy model known as the S6, other news has been circulating. Most recently, reports have surfaced that the company hired people to pose as fans during the big Shanghai, China event. Probably not an unheard of practice for many companies.

The news spread quickly, with such major outlets as Daring Fireball and WantChinaTimes running with the story, though the former has now issued an update because Samsung is denying the reports, claiming it conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.

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Roku 2 and 3 get a refresh and better search as well

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Roku has been busy of late, with new channels, updates and the not too distantly passed release of the streaming stick. So that begs the question, what is next? Apparently quite a bit if the new announcement is of interest to you -- and it should be if you possess one of the set-top boxes.

First of all the company announced improved search. You've always been able to search the multitude of streaming  TV shows and movies, but now it has become even easier to narrow things down -- search within the channel store, which is a welcome addition. Given the number of available options this should make things simpler to find.

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Need a wireless mouse? Try the Logitech M320 [Review]

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The wireless mouse isn't new -- the technology is growing fairly old now, actually.But in this case that doesn't make it obsolete, as many of us still use them on a daily basis, and we aren't going back to wired. There's also no shortage of them on the market, but finding a good one can be a painstaking task, as everyone's needs are slightly different.

There's the gaming mouse, the travel mouse and plain old utilitarian daily-use mouse. We've reviewed many of the tiny peripherals here, but they never get old. Tolday we're looking at the Logitech M320, a simple wireless mouse. It isn't gaming and it's not considered travel size, but it's quite decent for daily use, which I'm doing as I type this from  my laptop -- I hate toucpads.

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Sling goes international with new language support

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Though channels and shows can vary greatly, television is international, with each country having its own broadcasts and favorite things to watch. New kid on the block, Sling TV, recognizes this and is making efforts to go after a more international audience. Hence its latest offering -- "content that speaks your language".

In total there are 18 new languages being added, including Arabic, Bangla, Bengali, Brazilian, Cantonese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Punjabi, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese.

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HBO set to launch on Sling TV just in time for Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

Just this morning I opined about my experience with Sling TV. On the whole I like it, though I have a few gripes. I have also written of my plans to purchase an Apple TV for two reasons -- price drop and HBO NOW. The HBO was the real key in my decision making, but perhaps it's a blessing I haven't yet pulled the trigger.

That's because Sling is announcing the service in its menu of viewing options. In fact, it promises to be up and running in time for the big season debut of Game of Thrones which takes place on April 12th. Pricing is in line with what you'd expect -- $15 per month.

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After one week of Sling TV, here's the good and bad

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Almost a year ago DirecTV and I parted ways. I grew tired of the $60 per month charge when I only watch a handful of shows. The excessive amount of channels included in my bundle was also a bit of a joke -- I probably used ten of them. I'd have gladly paid less for those -- the à la carte TV that people talk about, though it never materializes.

I already had an Amazon Prime subscription that entitled me to movies and some TV shows, and it costs as much per year as one and half months' worth of satellite. I threw in Hulu Plus for an additional $7.99 and get most of my shows, though I have to wait until the next day to watch them. But live TV escaped me, with the exception of the occasional event broadcast online. Those live broadcasts online are fine, but neither Roku nor Amazon Fire TV has a web browser. Then several weeks ago Sling TV appeared on the scene. Live TV from multiple sources and, for once, no cable or satellite subscription to verify. Suddenly there was access to ESPN, History Channel, HGTV and many more. I've been using it for the past week and I have some observations.

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From the Black Forest to the Black Sea -- cruise the Danube with Google Maps

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When you think of the world's majestic rivers many names come to mind -- the Mississippi,  Amazon, Nile, Seine, Thames, and several others. The Danube also springs to mind, as the beauty of the famous river sprawls out, spanning multiple nations and attracting those who wish to go on one of its famous cruises.

The allure was too much to resist for Google and the company dispatched a Street View team to take that popular boat ride. The result is a stunning journey down the famous body of water, going from one end to the other.

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Using a Chromebook -- one year later, and still happy

HP Chromebook 11 Keyboard

Last year I wrote about my big move to Google's computer operating system, Chrome OS. At the time my plan was simple -- use a Chromebook for the summer since I work from my porch and wanted something light and small to move around with me. The 15.7 inch Windows laptop wasn't going to cut it and, for obvious reasons, I wasn't moving a desktop outside, especially with a porch that seems to face the rain in every summer storm.

Though the time of my move hadn't occurred to me, the subject came up today in our newsroom. Joe Wilcox urged me to write about my experience, while my colleague Brian Fagioli tried mightily hard to get me to change to a new Chromebook. He called my HP 11 underpowered and implored I get the new Toshiba. Throwing money at a problem I don't have is not in my DNA. What I have works fine and I see no current reason for unnecessary expenses.

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Happy Torrent Day -- Kickass has plans for the occasion

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March 30th is Torrent Day, or at least one site has proclaimed it so. The file sharing technology is used for all sorts of purposes, both benign and nefarious. However many sites will not be deterred from bringing to the masses what a number of people want, and Kickass Torrent is at the top the heap in that regard.

The site proclaimed the holiday for this date and has released a couple of special mementos for its user base. Both a music playlist and magazine are available for the big occasion. Naturally, you'll need to download both.

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Spotify joins forces with Sony, brings music to PS3 and PS4

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Sony recently announced it would be launching a music program that would come to both current versions of its PlayStation console and to Experia mobile devices. The move puts the box more in line with the competition, adding entertainment features to compete. Now the company is making good on its promise, announcing Spotify to power the service.

The Japanese conglomerate is stating that Spotify will come to Sony Music in 41 different markets around the world and the roll out is beginning for both the PS3 and PS4. The partnership is touted as an "exclusive".

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Amazon Fire TV -- how to check version number and update

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This week Amazon rolled out its latest update for Fire TV. The package contains all sort of enhancements for the platform, including expandable storage via USB, better Wi-Fi connectivity for those in a hotel or dorm room, music playlists through Prime, and a whole lot more.

So, how do you know what version you're set-top box is currently running and how do you check to see if the update is yet available to you? The process is pretty simple and the steps are listed below, so let's walk through it.

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Dropbox brings commenting to its business app

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Last week Dropbox announced that it would be adding a commenting system to Dropbox for Business, allowing for better communication between contributors. The cloud storage service promised it would roll this feature out in the near future. How soon is now for you? The company is announcing that comments are now live, at least somewhat.

If you want to test it out then you'll need early access. According to Dropbox "commenting will allow anyone to add feedback and discussions to files you’ve shared with them. We’re happy to announce that Dropbox for Business teams can start using commenting today, on the web and on iOS. Admins can turn on this feature by visiting our early access page".

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Amazon brings unlimited storage plans to the cloud

Microsoft lifts 2GB file size limit for some OneDrive users

The business of cloud storage is a popular one these days, with big players like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dropbox and countless others in the game. In order to compete it takes a combination of features and pricing, both options that big players can more easily provide. Now Amazon is taking its offering up a notch with "unlimited" storage and reasonable prices.

Unlimited storage isn't free, but it's fairly reasonable. Expect to pay $11.99 per year for photos (free if you're a Prime subscriber) and $59.99 for everything -- photos, music, files and more.

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Amazon Prime Now expands yet again, this time encompassing Dallas

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Just recently we saw Amazon update its Prime Now service, adding the metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Miami. The retailer isn't resting though, it wants to bring this service to as many people as it possibly can. If you aren't familiar, Prime Now offers "one hour delivery", though "same day" alone is good enough for most people.

The latest city is Dallas, Texas where Amazon recently opened two new fulfillment centers, making this option fairly simple. You'll need to live within a certain range for this to work, for pretty obvious reasons -- we don't want delivery people to be a danger on the roads. To accomplish this, customers will need to reside within certain zip codes.

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