advice

The 404 1,383: Where we hurry up and wait for the Sony PlayStation 4 (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- CNET's PS4 review: The next generation is here. Now wait.

- Jeff's first-ever PS4 screenshot.

- Why you should wait before buying an Xbox One or PS4.

- Follow Scott Stein on Twitter.… 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

The 404 1,195: Where what the ETF? (podcast)

Listeners of The 404 Show have plenty of financial questions, so we look to our resident expert Jill Schlesinger from "CBS MoneyWatch" to make sense of it all. From ETFs to IRAs and everything in between, Jill and Jeff navigate the choppy waters of personal finance. They'll also talk about Apple in great detail, and whether the company's sinking stock price is a sign of things to come.

Jill hits up The 404 Show every three weeks, so if you've got a question you want answered on the show, be sure to send a tweet or e-mail us! … Read more

How do I keep my iPhone from overheating on a long road trip?

Sharon,

I have a how-to question for you:

Last summer I drove from Colorado to San Diego to go to Comic-Con, and I used my iPhone 4S for both navigation and playing media. I had a lot of trouble with the phone overheating and either shutting down or not charging.

I've been trying to figure out a cooling solution for my drive next summer.

The image I have in my head is to mod a liquid cooling system from a PC in such a way that I would attach the cold plate to the back of the Ram mount … Read more

iPad Mini, iPad, iPod Touch: Which iOS device should you buy?

Apple has unleashed a ton of new iOS devices this holiday season: no fewer than four new products, covering an entire range of sizes and uses. iPhone 5, fifth-gen iPod Touch, fourth-gen iPad with Retina Display, and, of course, the iPad Mini: these join other devices still sold by Apple including the fourth-gen iPod Touch, iPad 2, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S.

Confusing, right? For the purposes of this article (and your sanity), I'm limiting the buying-guide analysis to the non-phone iOS gadgets: the iPods and iPads. It used to be that there was a huge gap between the 3.5-inch Touch and the 9.7-inch iPad. Now there's a spectrum: 4 inches, 7.9 inches, and 9.7 inches.

So, let's look at each one, starting with the newest.… Read more

Three tech items you should never buy refurbished

Here's a deal of the day that normally would make me sit up and take notice:

RedTag has the Proscan PLEDV2488A 24-inch LED HDTV with built-in DVD player for $169, plus $1.95 for shipping.

Just one problem: it's refurbished.

Surprised? Normally I'm a champion of refurbished gear. You'll often hear me touting deals on refurbished laptops, tablets, Blu-ray players, and the like. In fact, I think if you're shopping for any Apple product, you should go the refurb route every time.

But there are exceptions, starting with the aforementioned deal. Here's a rundown … Read more

Five ways to screw up your startup's pitch

Pitching your startup idea to investors, journalists, and random people on the street is a rite of passage for all entrepreneurs. You have to convince hundreds (if not millions) of people that you're building something worthwhile and that they should get on board.

Most pitches fall flat though (the best VCs invest in perhaps 1 percent of the startups that pitch them), and it's often because of simple problems that could've been avoided. Nervous entrepreneurs stray from their story, and arrogant entrepreneurs demand unreasonable valuations and then get laughed out of the room by top-tier angels.

Here … Read more

You should never, ever, preorder a video game

Have you ever preordered a video game? Did you feel good about yourself after doing so? Yes? No? Truth is, you should almost never, ever, preorder a video game.

A preorder does virtually nothing for you, but it does a great deal for various other parties. First off, it's a free loan. Think about it. You're essentially giving a game retailer 5 or more dollars for free. All you get back in return is a receipt that you've done so. A big-name retailer now has your 5 dollars that it, in turn, can do whatever it wants with. Sure, it might seem trivial on a small scale, but multiply your 5 dollars times the amount of preorders made a day, and we're talking millions of free unearned dollars here.

Game distributors and retailers also use preorder data to gauge interest in a title. They're basically using your donation to measure how successful a marketing campaign is even before anyone has played the game. And once you've pledged those few dollars, odds are you'll be back come release day. If not, the money stays with the retailer, where you'll most likely use it on another title -- or even worse, forget about it. … Read more

Here's who should buy the new iPad

These are the times that try men's souls.

Never has a tablet purchase so vexed the collective nerd consciousness of this great nation. And Apple doesn't make it easy, does it? Its "new" tablet looks a hell of a lot like the old one, only heavier! It's like Apple is toying with us.

But have no fear. Using a bracing mixture of logic and cheapskate wisdom, I'll walk you though this paralyzing first-world dilemma.

For the first-timers If you've never owned a tablet and you're considering the new iPad for your first … Read more

Laptop buyers: Should you wait for Windows 8?

When should you buy a laptop? That's always a very difficult question--buy too soon after new technology hits, and you miss out on refinements and price drops. On the other hand, you certainly don't want to spend upwards of $1,000 on a device that feels outdated just months later. It's an even more difficult decision in the wake of Microsoft's look at Windows 8 in Barcelona, Spain.

For Mac users, the decision's generally simple: wait for the new version, and buy, buy, buy. MacBooks, like iPhones and iPads, only come in so many versions, and they rarely drop in price anywhere.

Windows PCs? Well, that's another story. … Read more