Black Friday deal week: Manic Monday

This is going to be a crazy week. Already over the weekend I've seen a Dell laser printer with Wi-Fi for $29.99 (already sold out), a 16GB iPad Air for $449 (also sold out), and so on. Stores are really taking this "early Black Friday" thing to heart, so the deals are coming fast and furious -- and, unsurprisingly, selling out quickly.

That's why I'm going to devote this week to as many sweet deals as I can find, starting with this one:

Cheap e-reader

I first spotted this yesterday, so I don't … Read more

Get a free Wintec 4GB flash drive

Something a little different today...

Regular readers know I'm a huge fan of cashback services, which is why they appear in the very first chapter of "The Cheapskate Rules: 21 Easy Money-Saving Tech Secrets." (OK, last plug for a while, I swear.)

If you've never tried one and want to see what all the fuss is about, the folks at TopCashback have crafted a sweet little offer especially for Cheapskate readers: a free-after-cashback 4GB Wintec flash drive from your local Sears store.

So where's the link? To help keep confusion to a minimum, I'm … Read more

How to create a bootable OS X Mavericks USB install drive

On Tuesday, Apple released the latest version of their desktop operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Available as a free download via the App Store, OS X Mavericks is supposed to bring power and performance improvements, as well as some new features, including the new Maps app.

Creating an OS X USB installer from the App Store download hasn't been very straightforward in the past, and the old methods no longer work for OS X 10.9. However, there's a new Apple utility with Mavericks that makes it relatively simple, and thanks to MacForums member, tywebb13, we … Read more

How to download the official Microsoft Windows 8.1 ISO

Upgrading your Windows 8 system to Windows 8.1 is simple enough through the Microsoft Store, but if you need to reinstall it or run the update on more than one PC, it can be inconvenient and time-consuming since Microsoft doesn't give you the option to save the update files.

There's a trick, however, that allows you to download the official Windows 8.1 ISO from Microsoft's servers with your Windows 8 product key. With the Windows 8.1 ISO, you can create DVD or USB media to update a Windows 8 PC to Windows 8.1. … Read more

Review: Speed up your learning with Auto Flash for Mac

Auto Flash for Mac offers a quick and easy way to learn any subject by creating your own flash cards. If you are in school or just want a convenient way to study with flash cards using your computer, then this application will do the job.

If you're one of those people who learn best by using flash cards, you probably want them on your computer without the need to scan your own. Auto Flash for Mac lets you input any information that you want to learn into a table and displays the information at a preset speed. You … Read more

How to use external storage to expand unexpandable Android phones

The HTC One? Nice phone, no question. But it's lacking a key feature: a microSD expansion slot.

That's a bummer, as expandability has long been one of the big advantages of an Android phone over an iPhone. (The other is a removable battery, which the One also lacks, but that's a topic for another day.) Does that mean owners of slotless Android phones like this one are stuck with a fixed amount of storage?

Not necessarily. Thanks to a USB specification called USB On-the-Go (OTG for short), you can add more storage just by plugging in a … Read more

Review: FlashChat is a photo-based chat platform for iOS

FlashChat allows you to send pictures and messages quickly through an open chat channel on your iPhone, using the contacts list you already have and a public directory of users to connect you. The result is a proprietary replacement for your SMS app, but one that requires people to have the same app installed. While there are some benefits of using this instead of SMS, including the cost (FlashChat is free!), the app doesn't offer quite enough new features to warrant complete replacement of your other messaging apps.

Installation and setup for FlashChat is fairly straightforward. Create an account … Read more

Mom-centric flash-sale site Zulily files for $100M IPO

Zulily.com, the flash-sale retailer focused squarely on Net-savvy moms, filed its paperwork Tuesday to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering.

The $100 million figure is a placeholder amount, the company said, also noting that Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of America, and Citigroup are managing the sale. Zulily hopes to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol ZU.

Zulily declined an interview request on the filing due legal constraints during the so-called "quiet period," which takes place after the S-1 is filed but before the SEC staff declares it effective.

Seattle-based Zulily.com, launched … Read more

Review: USB Flash Drive helps you move files to and from your iOS device

USB Flash Drive is designed to move files between your iOS device and PC or Mac through iTunes. Because of the prevalence of cloud storage tools and wireless transfers, however, the number of added steps necessary to do so makes the app feel dated and overly complicated, even with the carefully written instructions provided by the developers.

When you open USB Flash Drive there is nothing onscreen. You can tap the settings menu and "How to Connect" to find a short tutorial but there are a number of steps involved, including plugging in your device, opening iTunes, moving … Read more

Firefox to deactivate most plug-ins by default

Mozilla has dealt another blow to those who want to use plug-ins to extend the browser's capabilities. It's keeping all but Flash Player deactivated by default in a version of Firefox now under development.

With the click-to-run plug-in feature, announced in January, plug-ins such as Silverlight and QuickTime won't run unless the user authorizes it when a Web page using them loads. That feature now is built into the Aurora version of Firefox that will grow into the final release in coming weeks. The plug-in hurdle doesn't apply to Adobe Systems' Flash Player, by far the … Read more