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Theft happens. Someone I know very well just had her phone plucked right out of her zippered purse on a crowded bus.

Bummer, right? When something like this happens, you feel pretty helpless. It's not like your stolen device can "phone home" to tell you where it ended up.

Actually, it can, if you've installed some kind of tracking app/service. Apple's excellent Find My Phone allows for remote tracking, data erasure, and more, and there are similar apps for Android. Ah, but laptops? You probably think your only tracking option is something like Absolute … Read more

Get a refurbished Acer R7 15.6-inch convertible for $499.99

You know how every laptop is pretty much like every other laptop? Occasionally a manufacturer tries something a little different, often with mixed results.

So it is with the Acer Aspire R7, which debuted earlier this year to decidedly mixed reviews. Some pundits loved the innovative design and beautiful display, others griped about the arrangement of certain key components. Interestingly, most agreed that the $1,000 price tag was pretty good for such an original and inventive machine.

So get a load of this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Acer (via eBay) is offering the refurbished Aspire R7-571-6858 15.6-inch convertible laptop for $499.99 shipped. … Read more

Five-deal Friday: Cheap iTunes gift cards, free Amazon Prime, and more!

Totally by accident, today has turned into yet another five-deal Friday. Seems like as we get closer to the holidays, the deals pile up faster and, um, furiously-er than ever. What's a cheapskate to do? I gotta share.

Some really interesting stuff today, too: two pretty excellent freebies, two slam-dunk gift items, and one of the best laptop deals I've seen, like, ever. Onward!

1. A free year of Amazon Prime*

You knew there had to be an asterisk next to that, right? Amazon Prime is Amazon's eclectic but essential service offering unlimited Netflix-style movie and TV … Read more

Cheapskate giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a sweet prize from Lenovo!

The giveaway is now over. Winners will be notified by email next week. Thank you to all our members who participated and good luck!

Editors' note: This giveaway is open to members in both the US and Canada (except Quebec). The rules have been updated to reflect this.

Welcome to my favorite contest ever.

The good folks at Lenovo (makers of some of the more innovative tech gear I've seen this year) have reached out to yours truly with the giveaway to beat all giveaways: three killer prizes just for leaving a comment right here, right now.

How killer? … Read more

Get a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 convertible for $299

This is an update of a deal I wrote about a couple months ago.

Windows RT: Thanks, but no thanks, am I right?

I think that depends. Windows RT on a $650 laptop or tablet is just plain ridiculous, but on a hybrid priced at $299? That's something altogether different.

Vive la difference: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Lenovo is offering the IdeaPad Yoga 11.6-inch convertible laptop for $299 shipped, plus sales tax where applicable. That's after applying coupon code USPYR251031 at checkout. This is the really snazzy silver/orange model silver/black model.… Read more

Get a Dell 17-inch Haswell laptop for $399.99

Quick update on one of yesterday's freebies: SharewareOnSale has procured more licenses for WinX DVD Ripper Platinum, so if you weren't able to snag a copy, you should be able to now.

Intel's Haswell processor has scored some pretty glowing reviews for offering improved battery life and graphics performance, but typically you have to pay a premium to get a laptop that has one.

Not today. For a limited time, Dell is offering the Inspiron 17 laptop for $399.99 shipped (plus sales tax in some states). It features a 17.3-inch display, a 500GB hard drive, … Read more

Get a Lenovo Flex 14 convertible Haswell laptop for $575.28

Convertible laptops? Pricey. Haswell laptops? Super-pricey. Lenovo? Didn't get the memo.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Lenovo is offering the Flex 14 convertible Haswell laptop for $575.28 shipped (plus sales tax where applicable) when you activate coupon code DAILYDEAL101 at checkout. (It's actually already there; all you have to do is click Activate.) Regular price: $799.

The Flex 14 is Lenovo's ideological successor to the Yoga, though ironically it's not quite as flexible as the latter. Although the screen can pivot past where a typical laptop's stops, it stops at 300 … Read more

Get a 17.3-inch quad-core desktop replacement for $399.99

I quit you, basic black. And garish gray. When it comes to consumer electronics of every stripe, I want a splash of color.

If you feel the same way, and you're in the market for a new desktop-minded PC, and you're not in a huge rush, today might just be your lucky deal-day: Ending at midnight, and while supplies last, 1Sale has the refurbished HP Pavilion g7-2378nr 17.3-inch laptop for $399.99 shipped.

Update: A couple eagle-eyed readers pointed out that Best Buy has a similar model, new, for the same price. However, it has a smaller … Read more

Get a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga convertible laptop for $379.99

Windows RT: ugh, right?

It kind of depends. Windows RT on a laptop or tablet priced at $650 is definitely worthy of groans, but a hybrid priced at $380? That's something altogether different.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11.6-inch convertible laptop for $379.99 shipped, plus sales tax where applicable.

As you may recall, the Yoga made waves earlier this year as one of the first Windows RT hybrid systems, a laptop-style machine with a hinged touch-screen that can twist into a variety of configurations (hence the "… Read more

Get a refurbished Acer S3 ultrabook for $329.99 shipped

I've made no secret of my love of ultrabooks, which borrow (read: steal) from MacBook Airs in offering ultra-thin, ultra-light designs. My Samsung Series 9, for example, is my single favorite laptop ever.

Alas, it's tough to find one of these svelte systems for under $600. But you can today, if you're willing to make a couple compromises. While supplies last, Groupon has the refurbished Acer Aspire S3-391-6046 13.3-inch ultrabook for $329.99 shipped. This model had a list price of around $650 when it debuted last November.

Let me note right up front that Acer … Read more