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Get a Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth speaker for $99.96

First up, thanks for the incredible response to yesterday's post about Microsoft Office. Lots of good discussion, lots of very fair points on all sides. (Note that CNET's commenting system is down for the moment, so you can't add your two cents just now. Same goes for this post. Sorry about that! Hopefully it'll be sorted out soon.)

Second up, most of the Bluetooth speakers you see nowadays are of the compact, portable variety. Those can be great if you want something that can go where you go, even if it's just to different rooms … Read more

The 404 1,448: Where rich or poor, it's nice to have money (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Jill's appearance on CBS News: Is WhatsApp really worth $19 billion?

- Financial spring cleaning: what to keep, what to shred.

- Enter our GameSpot PS4 giveaway!

- Follow Aunt Jill on Twitter and check out her radio show, Jill on Money.… Read more

Meet Aros, the first large smart appliance from Quirky and GE

GE raised eyebrows last year when they poured $30 million into Quirky, a New York-based start up that serves as a kind of crowdsourced think tank for product ideas. Perhaps more important than the money, though, was that GE granted Quirky's field of thinkers and inventors access to its huge stash of industrial patents, essentially asking them to do whatever they could with them.

Now, that strategy looks ready to bear fruit, as Quirky and GE have announced the launch of Aros, an air conditioner designed specifically for the smart home. Similar to the Nest Learning Thermostat, Aros promises … Read more

Insteon home automation adds unofficial Nest support

After releasing an app update on Monday, Insteon announced this week that its home automation system is now compatible with the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Owners of the Insteon Hub will be able to monitor and control the basic functions of their Nest directly from the Insteon app, along with any motion detectors, LED lights, or other smart-home gadgets they've integrated into their systems.

Insteon isn't the first system to claim compatibility with the Nest. In September, Nest announced plans for a partner-based developer program, naming the high-end automation network Control4 as partner No. 1. Other systems, like … Read more

10 must-see videos of the week

It's Friddday! Which means it's time to roundup the best of the week in CNET video.

In our latest installment of our new How-To, DIY-tech series, The Fix, our resident how-to guru's offer up expert advice on building the ultimate home theater. They'll show you how to easily and affordably install a TV, give you tips on choosing the right screen size, as well as our top three ways to add audio to your home theater. You'll be your own home theater specialist by episode's end.

Earlier this week, Amazon revealed that it would … Read more

HDMI vs. optical: Which digital-audio connection to use?

When it comes time to connect your shiny new sound bar or AV receiver, your two main choices are HDMI or optical digital audio.

The simplest advice is to go with HDMI when you can. But if you can't it's not the end of the world.

Here are the pros and cons of each.… Read more

Three ways to make your HDTV sound better

There's an undesirable trend happening. It seems that the thinner HDTVs get, the worse they sound. And no matter how much I tweak the audio options, nothing helps.

Welcome, fellow TV owners, to the BYOS (Bring Your Own Speaker) era. Flat-panel TVs are meant to simply look fabulous, and although there is sound, it's there only to hold you over until you buy some kind of audio system.

In this guide, I'll give you three of the best options for adding audio to your HDTV. There's a "splurge" option, a cheap set-and-forget route, and … Read more

Cartoon Home Screen Wallpaper Maker review

Cartoon Home Screen Wallpaper Maker is an easy-to-use app that lets you create custom wallpapers for your iOS device. It's plagued with ads and a lot of its features require a paid upgrade, but it's a cute way to customize your device if you're into that kind of thing.

Cartoon Home Screen Wallpaper Maker has two components: wallpapers, which, as you would expect, serve as the background image, and frames, which are little squares resembling animals, fruits, and other objects. Users first select a wallpaper and then arrange the frames as desired on top of the wallpaper; … Read more

The Fix: Building the ideal home theater

By the end of this week's episode, you'll be able to call yourself a home theater specialist. (At least, to your family and friends.)

First, Eric Franklin offers his definitive guide to finding the perfect TV distance. A clever formula will help you figure out if you need to scooch the couch closer to the screen, or inch it further away. Then, Donald Bell deserves extra accolades this week as he single-handedly wall mounts a 47-inch TV. And you won't believe what it cost him. (Hint: It was really inexpensive.)

And finally, I help you solve one … Read more