Daily Deals: Galaxy S10+ for $850, iPhone X for $640, Xbox One S for $170, and More

The iPhone X, the Xbox One S, and the Samsung Galaxy 10 Plus

Wednesdays are the worst. It’s the middle of the week, and there’s no end in sight. At least we can find solace in discounted cellphones, a $170 Xbox One S, and a cheap iPad.

You probably didn’t plan on buying a phone today, but if you’ve had your eyes on the Galaxy S10+, the Galaxy 9, or the iPhone X, then now’s the time to hunt down your wallet. For whatever reason, eBay and B&H are running killer deals on the two most popular premium cellphones. Hey, I ain’t complaining. Some carriers still sell these phones for $1000, and the Galaxy S10+ is a brand new phone.

If you aren’t interested in a new phone, then there’s a good chance that you’re interested in a $170 Xbox One S with 1TB of internal storage. This is one of the best Xbox deals that we’ve seen, and eBay only has about 20 more units, so don’t wait too long to make your purchase.

Phones and Tablets

Need a hot new phone, or just something inexpensive to tide you over?

  • Samsung Galaxy S10+ Unlocked 128GB, $850 ($150 off) [eBay]
  • Samsung Galaxy 9 Unlocked 64GB, $455 ($100 off) [eBay]
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 512GB, $750 ($500 off) [B&H]
  • Apple iPhone X Refurbished Unlocked 256GB, $640 ($250 off) [eBay]
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus Unlocked 16GB, $160 [eBay]
  • LG X Venture Unlocked 32GB, $80 [eBay]
  • Apple iPad 128GB Latest Model, $330 ($100 off) [Amazon]
  • Lenovo Tab E7, $40 ($30 off) [Walmart]

Phone Accessories

The Anker PowerCore 5000, which is our favorite compact battery, is only $17 right now.

  • Anker PowerCore 5000 mAh Ultra-Compact Battery, $17 ($5 off) [Amazon]
  • JavMobile 10,000 mAh Power Bank, $17 ($13 off) [B&H]
  • Apple Displayport to DVI Adapter, $15 ($15 off) [LAComputer]

Laptops and Computer Accessories

Need a new laptop, or a mesh Wi-Fi system? We’ve got your back.

  • HP Pavilion 15.6″ 2-in-1, $400 ($100 off) [Walmart]
  • Lenovo Ideapad 33S, $647 ($100 off with coupon LENN100L) [Rakuten]
  • Netgear Orbi Mesh Wifi system, $200 ($50 off) [Amazon]
  • Vava USB-C Hub with PD, $40 ($20 off with coupon clip) [Amazon]
  • Netgear 3.0 Cable Modem $45 ($18 off with coupon clip) [Amazon]

Games and TVs

Touch up your media center with these games and accessories.

  • Xbox One S 1TB, $170 ($130 off) [eBay]
  • JVC 65″ 4K Smart TV, $500 ($150 off) [Walmart]
  • Nintendo Labo Customization Kit, $2 ($3 off) [GameStop]

Everything Else

Most of these deals are for the home and kitchen, but the Gerber MP600 Multi-Tool (a great multi-tool) could find a home in your car, bag, or desk.

  • Bissell Powerlift Pet Vacuum, $68 ($42 off) [Walmart]
  • Bestek 5 SPeed Hand Blender, $16 ($24 off with coupon FORPRO60) [Bestek]
  • Gerber MP600 Multi-Tool, $29 ($23 off) [Amazon]
  • Lodge 6 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven, $53 ($7 off) [Amazon]

Deals never last as long as they should. So if you’re in the market for a new phone or an Xbox One, then don’t wait to put down your money.

How to Use Guidelines to Line Up PowerPoint Objects

powerpoint logo

If you have several images on a slide, you can align your objects both horizontally and vertically for a more professional look. There are guides and gridlines available to help you align objects manually, and there are options to align objects for you automatically. Let’s see how it’s done.

Manually Aligning Objects

In this example, there are three objects on the slide. Point to the first object and drag upward or downward using your mouse. Once the object is centered either horizontally and vertically, a guideline will display.

guideline showing for dragged object

You can also use guides and gridlines to help you align your objects. From the “View” tab, click “Guides.” Two dotted lines then show up—one aligned to the horizontal center of the slide and one to the vertical center.

turning on guides

Additionally, you can turn on gridlines that can help you align object elsewhere on your slide. From the “View” tab, click “Gridlines.” More dotted lines then display to help you align your objects. You can drag your objects and use the gridlines to align them accordingly.

turning on gridlines

In this example, we moved each of the three objects upward to align them using the uppermost horizontal gridline:

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How-To Geek Is Looking for Linux Writers

Are you an experienced writer who knows your way around the Linux terminal? We’re looking for someone just like you to write Linux tutorials here at How-To Geek.

What We’re Looking For

We’re looking for experienced writers who are fluent with the Linux command line. The ideal candidate knows his or her way around Bash and is capable of explaining this geeky stuff to normal people.

We are not looking for a writer to cover Linux news, nor are we looking for someone who only has experience with the graphical Linux desktop. You may or may not end up writing some Linux news and tutorials about Linux desktop software, but we’re looking someone with serious Linux terminal chops. If you had Raspberry Pi experience, that would also be a plus.

This is a freelance position where you’ll be responsible for writing topics that are assigned to you, but you’ll also be able to pitch your own interesting Linux terminal articles we haven’t covered yet.

Here’s what we always look for in new writers:

  • You must be a geek at heart, always looking to learn more about technology and make your gadgets work better.
  • You must be able to explain complex topics in a way that is clear and easy to understand, even to non-experts.
  • You must be creative and have the ability to generate article ideas, take suggestions, and make topics interesting and exciting.
  • You must be at least 18 years old and have your own computer.
  • You must have solid English writing skills. It’s a shame we even have to mention that one.
  • You should have some basic screenshot and image editing chops. HTML skills are a plus.

To give you an idea of what we’ll expect, here are a few examples of the type of work we’re looking for:

How to Apply

Send an email to jobs@howtogeek.com with the subject Linux Writer, and include the following in your email:

  • Explain why your geek skills are worth touting to millions of readers each month.
  • Your name and location.
  • Any previous experience you have with writing and/or blogging, particularly related to Linux.
  • Whether or not you are currently employed, and what you do if you are.
  • A brief overview of any other topics you are familiar with, and what operating systems, computers, and devices you have access to.
  • Most Importantly: We want a writing sample. If you have previous writing to showcase, particularly relevant Linux pieces that you’re proud of, include a link to it in your email. If you have a personal blog, a forum account, or a commenter account from anywhere, feel free to include that as well.

We don’t have normal office hours—or even an office—so you can be located anywhere. This is strictly a telecommuting gig.

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The Three Things Google Stadia Needs to Conquer the Gaming Industry

Google's Stadia streaming game platform has enormous potential, and a few roadblocks.

Yesterday Google announced its long-anticipated streaming game platform, Stadia. In the news post we called it an “invasion” of gaming: this combination platform and delivery service has the potential to compete with consoles, PCs, and mobile games, all at once.

Google’s ambition is huge, but it’s appropriate to the task. The game industry as we know it is stagnating in terms of innovation, but its biggest corporate players are well-entrenched and experienced. If Stadia is to compete with the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, it needs to nail three crucial elements when it launches later in 2019.

Get the Games

The most important piece in the gaming platform puzzle is, naturally, the games. Consoles live and die on their game selection, and securing exclusive and desirable titles (either from third-party publishers or developers owned by the console manufacturer) is the best way to make sure you’re going to succeed.

With Stadia, Google is already on the right track. Its best move is undoubtedly becoming a publisher itself. Google hired Jade Raymond, formerly a game producer and studio head at mega-publishers EA and Ubisoft, to lead its own game studio. Stadia Games and Entertainment, a separate but linked company under Alphabet’s ever-widening umbrella, will be developing its own games for the Stadia platform as well as wooing independent developers to bring their games onboard.

Google's Stadia studio, under Ubisoft and EA veteran Raymond, will woo developers.
Google’s Stadia studio, under Ubisoft and EA veteran Raymond, will woo developers. Google

Another good move: announcing Stadia at the yearly Game Developer Conference, instead of at the upcoming Google I/O show or E3. By introducing Stadia specifically to game developers and publishers, including quite a lot of time showing off the unique design flexibility  of its remote Linux- and Vulkan-powered hardware, surely ignited the imagination of a lot of game makers. Today, the day after the announcement, you can bet there are game directors and developers scrambling to meet with Google’s Stadia team at GDC, desperate to check out the platform and get games on at launch.

Stadia isn’t the first gaming platform to use a 100% remote streaming setup: the ill-fated OnLive eventually became Sony’s PlayStation Now, NVIDIA’s GeForce Now is currently in beta, and Shadow allows for a more techy, individualistic approach. Microsoft is almost certainly going to go into streaming in a big way with the next Xbox, and rumors suggest that Verizon and Amazon are looking into it as well.

Stadia already works with the industry's most popular software tools.
Stadia already works with the industry’s most popular software tools. Google

But Stadia is the first streaming system to be built with streaming in mind from the ground up and upon the massive power of Google’s data centers and money. Demonstrating deep hooks in Chrome and YouTube (to capture the Twitch audience), powerful new ways to play split-screen and asynchronous multiplayer, and baked-in support for massively popular developer tools like Unreal Engine, Unity, CryEngine, and Havok are all smart moves for a new platform.

It means that not only will developers be able to port their existing projects to Stadia’s hardware easily, but they’ll also be able to create entirely new types of games that are only possible with access to Stadia’s web, streaming, and scalability functions.

DOOM Eternal is the only upcoming game confirmed to already be running on Stadia.
DOOM Eternal is the only upcoming game confirmed to already be running on Stadia. Google

During the GDC presentation, Google demonstrated partner projects with Ubisoft, Bethesda, 2K, Square-Enix, Tangent Games, Tequila Works, and Q-Games, but at the time of writing only Id Software’s DOOM Eternal has been confirmed for release on Stadia. Of course, Google can still mess up its initial relationship by limiting developers with restrictive platform rules, or by simply asking them for too much of a cut of their profits. Which is a nice segue into…

The Price is Right

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Apple Announces New AirPods and Wireless Charging Case

AirPod Second Generation

Apple already announced new iPads and new iMacs this week. And now to continue that onslaught of updated hardware, it just released the second generation of AirPods, and to go with them (or your originals), a wireless charging case.

Airpods with Better Battery and Hey Siri

We think the AirPods are great for convenience, especially if you’re an iPhone or iPad user. They travel well, turn themselves on, and pair more easily to your Apple devices than any other Bluetooth device. That’s in part thanks to the custom W1 chip Apple built to improve wireless connectivity. What we wish they had is noise isolation, wireless charging, and longer battery life.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad, and Apple delivered. The latest version of AirPods features a custom H1 chip that takes what the AirPods do well and improves upon it. Apple claims the new AirPods will connect to your devices even faster, and the battery will last longer. The second generation AirPods should provide an extra hour of talk time (the company calls this a 50% improvement), and switching between devices should be twice as fast as the original AirPods. And they have “Hey Siri” capability, which someone will use. Probably by accident.

A New Wireless Charging Case Adds Even More Convenience

Wireless charging is one of those features that you can live without until you have it. And once you have it, you won’t go back. The good news is Apple released a wireless charging case for AirPods along with the hardware update. The better news is, they’re compatible with the previous generation AirPods.

To no one’s surprise, the wireless charging case uses the Qi standard and will work with any Qi charging pads you have now. What you won’t hear about is AirPower, that continues to be an unspoken subject with Apple. You can buy the wireless case separately for $79 if you already have AirPods.

If you’re in the market new AirPods you can either buy the new hardware today with a standard case for $159, or with the wireless charging case for $199. If you don’t already have AirPods and you think you may want wireless charging case, it makes the most sense to buy them up front given there’s a $40 difference between buying it as a bundle or buying it separately.

That is unless you’d prefer to buy one of the several cheaper alternatives we recommended in the past.

How to Pack Your Electronics for Air Travel

A man carrying a heavy bag through an airport
Elnur/Shutterstock 06Photo/Shutterstock

Vacations prove to be a great opportunity to use your electronics away from home. But just this year, the US government banned lithium-ion batteries from checked bags. So, just how are you supposed to pack that laptop?

This isn’t just a question of TSA compliance; this is a question of convenience. If you plan to bring a bunch of large electronics on your next vacation, you need to be able to organize them in your carry-on bag. Otherwise, your flight will be an even bigger annoyance.

You Have to Pack Electronics in a Carry-On Bag

Lithium-ion batteries are a relatively stable source of power. But, if you manage to puncture or overheat a Li-ion battery, it will burst into flames. The US DOT knows that this poses a safety risk for airplanes, and has banned lithium-ion batteries from the cargo area of all passenger flights.

This isn’t just a precaution against bombs and premeditated Li-ion fires. Remember when Samsung phones were blowing up in peoples’ pockets? Yeah, turns out that a malfunctioning or damaged Li-ion battery can accidentally ignite. And the dark, messy cargo area of an airplane is probably the last place where you want to start a fire.

What does this mean for you? Well, you’re going to have to bring all of your Li-ion electronics in a carry-on bag (or in your pocket). With phones or tablets, this isn’t a very big deal. But it can be a major inconvenience if you’re trying to bring a laptop, a Bluetooth speaker, portable batteries, or other large Li-ion electronics on your flight.

Generally, you can bring as many lithium-ion batteries in your carry-on bag as you’d like. Some airlines have their own restrictions, but if you’re only bringing a handful of devices, then you probably don’t have too much to worry about.

Respect the Ban, Even if it Isn’t Enforced

Remember how I told you that lithium-ion batteries are banned from the cargo area of passenger flights? I didn’t lie, but the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t heavily enforcing this ban just yet.

According to the FAA, devices containing lithium-ion batteries “should be kept in carry-on baggage.” But if you ignore the ban and pack these electronics in checked baggage, then “they should be turned completely off, protected from accidental activation and packed, so they are protected from damage.”

A young couple taking a selfie on an airplane

So, you can technically pack your bags however you’d like. But I’d strongly suggest that you treat the ban as if it’s law. The government is a messy, bureaucratic business. Just because the FAA is treating this ban like it’s a suggestion doesn’t mean your local TSA agents feel the same way. Plus, your electronics are safer in carry-on baggage anyway.

How to Pack for the TSA Checkpoint

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Which Processes Can You Safely Quit in Activity Monitor on a Mac?

Activity Monitor

MacOS’s Activity Monitor will give you a list of all the apps you’re running, which is useful for closing down CPU-hungry processes. But it also throws in a bunch of system process, some of which may not be safe to quit. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Who Are All These Users?

Activity Monitor users list

First, you should look at who owns the process. Processes in macOS (and any other Unix-like operating system, including Linux) have owners, tying each process to the user account that started the process. And while you will recognize your user account, there’s a lot of other users on your computer, most of which are managed by the system.

You can see here, on a standard installation of macOS, there are over 250 users managed by the system, most of which start with an underscore:

List of users on macOS

Macs have so many user accounts because of the way permissions work in macOS, and each user has specific permissions. For example, _dock would have permission to access files related to the dock and not much else. This keeps your system more secure by keeping low-level system processes in their own containers.

Important: Since most of these are purely system processes, it’s best never to quit any process whose owner starts with an underscore.

It’s probably safe to close all processes under your user account name since most of them will automatically restart if they’re needed. However, you shouldn’t go too crazy closing everything to save on system performance, as the vast majority of the processes running on your machine are idle. It’s a lot better to leave them there for when they’re needed, instead of spending extra resources having to open them up again.

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