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Boundless textbooks get paid study guides, iOS apps

Free-textbook service Boundless is delving into paid services this week, all designed to more fiercely compete with textbooks from major publishers.

On Tuesday the Boston-based company rolled out what it considers the second phase of its service: textbooks that can very nearly mirror the titles you'd get from major publishers, but at $20 a piece.

These titles are effectively the same thing the company's offered since last year, but they're specifically reordered to match up with mainstream textbooks. Users can search for the title of the major publisher's book they've been assigned to buy, and … Read more

MP3 player buying guide

There was a time not so long ago when MP3 players were a hot and essential technology, and Apple's best-selling product was the iPod. Now with smartphones and tablets, though, there are many other devices that make great music players. But even if the MP3 player's best days are waning, there are still a number of great products available. Here are our top picks.

iPod Touch

Apple's iPod Touch has been CNET's top-rated MP3 player for five years running. With a base model that starts at $229, it is not an inexpensive product, but the breadth … Read more

Cell phone buying guide

Cell phones have become the most crucial personal technology purchase you can make. Not only are these devices full-fledged miniature computers in their own right, they're getting smarter with each product generation. If you're looking for a new handset right now, start with the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One. The Galaxy S4 offers all the power you'd expect from a high-end Android device in an ultraslim package. The HTC One, meanwhile, is the most gorgeous smartphone we've ever held, yet also manages to match the S4 in terms of speed and performance. No handset, … Read more

Download the official Windows 8 user guide

If you're new to Windows 8, there's finally a user guide available from Microsoft to help you learn the basics. The PDF document is named the Windows 8 End User Training Brochure. The 36-page user guide goes over basic Windows 8 topics like the Start Screen, touch-screen gestures, and navigating apps. It also touches on more advanced topics as well, like BitLocker, File History, and Windows To Go. Perhaps the most useful sections of the document, however, are the touch, mouse, and keyboard shortcut lists.

The document is short enough that you could print it for quick reference. … Read more

Six challenges for integrated TV on the Xbox One

The Xbox One may primarily be a gaming console, but one of the major focuses of Microsoft's press event was One Guide: the Xbox One's new interface for navigating your live TV content.

By including an HDMI input, the Xbox One can integrate cable TV content right into the Xbox Dashboard, serving up a prettier grid of channels than what your clunky cable box offers. It's not all that different from Google's major living room initiative -- Google TV -- and the Xbox One faces some of the same challenges if it truly wants to be … Read more

Talk on Twitter corresponds to higher TV ratings

This is a classic "which came first, the chicken or the egg" scenario: more talk on Twitter and higher TV ratings, or is it quality TV and more talk on Twitter?

Whatever the case, market research firm Nielsen has discovered that there is a correlation -- but not necessarily causation -- between Twitter and live TV ratings.

Using data from analytics platform SocialGuide, Nielsen found that 32 million unique people tweeted about TV in the U.S. in 2012. This may have led to Twitter being one of the top three variables aligned with TV ratings. The other … Read more

Microsoft offers online help to Office 2013 users

Office 2013 users who need a helping hand can find one through Microsoft's Quick Start Guides.

Now available online, the nine guides offer advice on using each of the applications in Office 2013, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, OneNote, Project, Visio, and Publisher.

Each guide comes packaged as a PDF that you can download or view online through Adobe Reader.

The guides provide screenshots and descriptions of the new features and layouts in Office 2013. They also clue you in as to what's changed in the new applications compared with previous versions. As with any PDF, you … Read more

Foursquare reveals the 'best of' based on 3 billion check-ins

Want to know where to get the best Tex-Mex in Austin? Or how about the locals' favorite bookstore in San Francisco? Well, Foursquare will let you know what it thinks.

The check-in social network rolled out its "best of" guide today based on more than 3 billion member check-ins and tens of millions of user tips, likes, and dislikes. The guide shows the top places users checked into in 2012 in 30 cities across the U.S., such as New York, Atlanta, and Honolulu.

"There are plenty of lists of great places out there -- some are … Read more

Getting to know Google Maps on iOS

Google Maps is back on iOS, but this time as a standalone app. You'll find it doesn't look like it did on iOS 5, due to Google having complete freedom with the user interface and design. As such, using Google Maps on iOS is going to feel a bit familiar, yet like a completely new experience.

To install Google Maps on iOS, you'll need to be using an iPhone (3GS and newer), iPod Touch (fourth and fifth gen) or an iPad running at least iOS 5.1. If you're using one of the above devices, download Google Maps for iOSRead more

Gift ideas for the audiophile in your life

While audiophile gear can be quite expensive, picking out a selection of terrific gift ideas that won't break the bank is still doable. Here you'll find books, music, gear, and even a free download that will put a smile on any audiophile's, or music lover's, face. The Audiophiliac had a self-imposed price limit of $100 max and easily met that goal. Seven of the 10 gift ideas are under $50!