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Free music roundup: songs, albums, and samplers, oh my!

By Guest Blogger
at 12:27PM Thursday March 6, 2014
under Freebies

First things first: Are you a card-carrying member of your local library? (What? You're not? Did you know they'll let you take home all the books you want for free? Seriously,go grab yourself something to read. I'm about a quarter into Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed," and it's just outstanding. Or if you want something a little easier to digest, I couldn't put down last year's "Gone Girl." Did I mention you can get these andother books for free?)

Where was I? Oh, right: Are you a card-carrying member of your local library? Then you should know about Freegal Music, a site that partners with libraries to provide free MP3 downloads. Read More »

Avoid road-trip food disasters with this newly free app

By Guest Blogger
at 8:20AM Tuesday March 4, 2014
under Freebies

An incredibly sad true story: During a recent road trip, I was cruising along the Interstate, starving for some lunch, when I came to an exit promising "food" in the form of Arby's.

The horror, the horror.

But what choice did I have? The next exit might be 20-30 miles, and who knew if the pickings would be any better? So I stopped. I ate. And then I hit the road again.

Now for the sad part: Just five miles later, I spotted a Panera Bread. And a Chik-Fil-A! Oh, wretched fate. Read More »

Kinivo ZX120: The best portable speaker $20 can buy

By Guest Blogger
at 9:00AM Friday February 28, 2014
under Product Review

I'm about to make your ears really happy and your wallet downright ecstatic.A few weeks back I reviewed the Qube2, a portable Bluetooth speaker that delivered pretty amazing sound--but cost a pretty painful $80.

If you're not hung up on Bluetooth, you can get a seriously amazing portable speaker for one-fourth the price.

It's the Kinivo ZX120, a new, upgraded version of the already very popular ZX100. And it currently sells at Amazon for $19.99 (plus shipping, unless you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, in which case shipping is free). Read More »

Get a free digital copy of Pixar's "The Incredibles"

By Guest Blogger
at 11:01AM Tuesday February 25, 2014
under Freebies

You don't often see the words "Disney" and "free" in the same sentence. More often it's "Disney" and "price hike," like yesterday when the company announced plans to raise Disney World ticket prices to $99.

Guess that's how they can afford this giveaway. (What, me bitter?)

Today, Disney announced its new Movies Anywhere service, which provides access to a library of over 400 Disney, Pixar, and Marvel flicks--really, really good stuff like "The Avengers," "Frozen," and "Up."

More on that in a bit. For now, the important news: You can get a free digital copy of "The Incredibles" when you create a Disney account and link it to your iTunes account. And it's the best kind of free: no hassles, no strings attached. (Well, okay, the "string" is the need to have an iTunes account. Is there anyone out there who doesn't?) Read More »

Amazon's ridiculously good, seriously awesome tablet deal du jour

By Guest Blogger
at 8:37AM Thursday February 20, 2014
under Spotlight Deals

Oh, Amazon. I can't refuse you. Just take my money, dammit!

Yeah, the company is back to its price-slashing ways. Last month, it served up some crazy-good deals on higher-end Kindle Fire tablets, including the awesome HDX for just $199.

Today, there's a deal for the real cheapskates out there, for folks who don't need all the bells and whistles but still want a seriously good 7-inch tablet.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get a certified refurbished 2nd-generation Kindle Fire tablet for $79 shipped. That is such a ridiculously good deal, I think I just peed a little. Read More »

Five dumb things you should stop paying for

By Guest Blogger
at 5:43PM Thursday February 13, 2014
under Money Saving Tips

Some things in life we're stuck paying for, like shelter, clothing, and donuts. (If you've worked out a way to get free donuts, let me know immediately.) However, you might be surprised to learn that a few life essentials (well, "essentials") can be had for less than you're paying now--and perhaps even for free. And, no, I'm not talking about trading in your car for a bike so you don't have buy gasoline; these are practical real-world savings on stuff you use all the time. But I'm still trying to crack the donut problem. Read More »

Make money from your smartphone's lock screen

By Guest Blogger
at 8:30AM Tuesday February 11, 2014
under Stuff We Like

If you've ever shopped for a Kindle tablet or e-reader, you know that Amazon offers a discounted price if you opt for the "Special Offers" version, which displays ads on the lock screen.

Personally, I have no problem with that. A lock screen isn't a place I typically linger; it's the only thing standing between me and Candy Crush Saga (uh, I mean, books--the only thing standing between me and books). Power button, swipe, done. A quick glance at an ad during those 1.5 seconds? In exchange for money? Fine by me. Read More »

How to get free 2-day shipping forever

By Guest Blogger
at 1:13PM Thursday February 6, 2014
under Shop Smarter

This is an update of a post I wrote nearly a year ago. What was once a time-limited offer is now free forever. Woot!

I'm addicted to free shipping. I can spend hours in the virtual aisles of an online store, padding my cart with just the items I need, then scouring for a discount code--but if I get to the checkout page and find there's a big ol' shipping charge, forget it.

No sale.

This is especially aggravating when you're buying a single, inexpensive product, and the shipping costs nearly the same as the item!

That's why I like having a subscription to ShopRunner, a nifty service that, among other things, assures you free shipping at more than 80 stores. Even better than that, free 2-day shipping. Read More »

Qube2 review: Big sound packed into a tiny speaker

By Guest Blogger
at 11:46AM Tuesday February 4, 2014
under Product Review

Portable speakers come in all shapes and sizes, but rarely does the size merit an "awww, cute!"

That's the Matrix Audio Qube2 in a tiny nutshell. Measuring just 3.1 inches long and 1.4 inches square, this little guy makes a Twinkie look big. And yet its size belies its power: the Qube2 pumps up the jams like you wouldn't believe.

I'm listening to a review unit at this very moment. It's paired via Bluetooth to my iPhone, which is streaming tunes from Pandora. And it sounds amazeballs--way, way better than a speaker of this size has any right to. Read More »

Three cool tricks for Netflix users

By Guest Blogger
at 11:33AM Friday January 31, 2014
under Stuff We Like

Netflix is so awesome, there are times I want to take it behind the bleachers and make out with it.

In fact, it's kind of ridiculous how good a deal it is. For eight bucks a month you get unlimited streaming to any and every device you own: phones, tablets, PCs, Apple TVs, Roku boxes, game consoles, and so on.

Of course, as wonderful as Netflix is, there are ways to make it better. Below I've rounded up three of my favorite tips for getting more from the service--two of them free, all of them awesome. Read More »

Is it time to consider a Surface tablet?

By Guest Blogger
at 7:49AM Monday January 27, 2014
under Shop Smarter

Microsoft's Surface RT tablets haven't exactly set the world on fire, and with good reason: They suck. Okay, that's just Microsoft hater-speak. But the early arguments against the RTs definitely held water: They're expensive, they don't run legacy Windows programs, and they don't come bundled with that cool-looking keyboard cover Microsoft touts in every single Surface ad and TV commercial.

Needless to say, I've been pretty sour on these devices since they debuted just over a year ago. But during that time, I've heard from lots of Surface RT owners who really (really) like the device. What's more, prices are dropping, especially on refurbished models. Read More »

Your tech gear: When to repair, when to replace

By Guest Blogger
at 9:28AM Friday January 24, 2014
under Stuff We Like

When something goes wrong with your car, typically you get it fixed. Of course, if it's an older car with a lot of miles, and the repair costs are enough to make you cry, it might make more sense to cut bait and start shopping for new wheels.

When something goes wrong with your tech, do the same rules apply? It all depends on the type of gear and what's busted about it. While a shattered smartphone screen may be worth fixing, a problematic TV may not. (Be prepared: There's likely to be crying either way.) Let's take a look at four popular tech items and whether it makes sense to repair or replace them. Read More »