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Todays best deals feature all-time low prices on the Galaxy Buds Live, Fire TV 4-Series, and eufy RoboVac

2023-03-19 06:19:05

Todays best deals feature all-time low prices on the Galaxy Buds Live, Fire TV 4-Series, and eufy RoboVac

We've gathered the best deals of the day on Nov. 15 all in one place — here are our top picks:

Todays best deals feature all-time low prices on the Galaxy Buds Live, Fire TV 4-Series, and eufy RoboVac(图1)

  • BEST TV DEAL: Amazon Fire TV 50-inch 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$249.99 $469.99 (save $220)

  • BEST HOME DEAL: eufy Clean by Anker RoboVac G32 Pro Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab) $119 $299 (save $180)

  • BEST AUDIO DEAL: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live(Opens in a new tab) $69 $169.99 (save $100.99)

Ready to shop Black Friday deals on a random Tuesday in November? There's plenty to choose from in the realm of TVs, floor care, audio, streaming, and more.

The second part of the Walmart Deals for Days event(Opens in a new tab), which went live yesterday at 7 p.m. ET, has delivered lots of new deals. Meanwhile, Amazon sneakily dropped Fire TV prices back down to all-time lows and Best Buy added even more products to its Black Friday sale.

Here are the best deals of the day for Nov. 15, gathered in one place for your shopping convenience. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days as well — the closer we get to Black Friday, the crazier the deals get.

Best TV deal

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Credit: Amazon
Our Pick: Amazon 50-inch Fire TV 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$249.99 at Amazon (save $220)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

Most people fall into one of two camps: Amazon Fire TV or Roku. If you're the former, grabbing an actual Amazon Fire TV over another smart TV brand is a no-brainer. If you're already using a Fire Stick, your custom-arranged apps will be waiting for you as soon as you log into your Amazon account on the 4-Series Fire TV. It's equipped with 4K Ultra HD entertainment with HDR 10, an Alexa voice remote for convenience, and three HDMI inputs for connectivity. At $249.99, it's down to its lowest price ever on Nov. 15.

More TV and projector deals

  • onn. 40-inch Class FHD (1080P) LED Roku Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$98 $169 (save $71)

  • Amazon Fire TV 43-inch 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$229.99 $369.99 (save $140)

  • Amazon Fire TV 55-inch 4-Series 4K UHD Smart TV(Opens in a new tab) — $299.99 $519.99 (save $220)

  • Hisense 65-inch Class U6GR Series Quantum ULED 4K UHD Smart Roku TV(Opens in a new tab)$499.99 $799.99 (save $300)

  • Samsung 75-inch Class TU690T Series LED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV(Opens in a new tab)$579.99 $849.99 (save $270)

  • Sony 55-inch BRAVIA XR A80J Series OLED 4K UHD Smart Google TV(Opens in a new tab)$999.99 $1,899.99 (save $900)

  • Anker Nebula Cosmos Max 4K UHD TV Home Theater Projector(Opens in a new tab)$1,099.99 $1,599.99 (save $500)

  • LG B2 Series 65-Inch Class OLED Smart TV(Opens in a new tab)$1,296.99 $1,559 (save $262.01)

Best home deal

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Credit: Eufy
Our Pick: eufy Clean by Anker RoboVac G32 Pro Robot Vacuum (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$119 at Walmart (save $180)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

A robot vacuum doesn't need to cost a fortune. If you're looking for a floor-cleaning companion that gets the job done without all the bells and whistles, the eufy RoboVac G32 is up to the task. It features Smart Dynamic Navigation 2.0 and BoostIQ technology to deliver purposeful cleaning (no random paths) and automatic adjustments based on floor type. Plus, its anti-collision sensor and drop-proof technology ensure it will avoid most obstacles and falling down the steps. Take 60% off with this Black Friday deal at Walmart and get it for its lowest price to date. If you prefer all the bells and whistles, for $200 more, you can snag the eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid(Opens in a new tab) for its lowest price to date as well.

More home deals

Kitchen deals

  • Cuisinart 12 -Piece Multi-Color Knife Set(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $49.99 (save $35)

  • Instant Pot Duo (6-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$50 $99.99 (save $49.99)

  • Gourmia Digital Air Fryer Toaster Oven with French Doors(Opens in a new tab)$50 $145.50 (save $95.50)

  • Ninja Foodi 4-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer (8-Quart)(Opens in a new tab)$99 $199.99 (save $100.99)

  • Ninja Supra Kitchen System 72-ounce Blender and Food Processor(Opens in a new tab) — $99 $149 (save $50)

  • Blackstone Adventure Ready 22-inch Propane Griddle Gift Bundle(Opens in a new tab)$127 $279 (save $152)

  • Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Toaster Oven(Opens in a new tab)$279.95 $349.95 (save $70)

  • Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro(Opens in a new tab)$319.95 $499.95 (save $180)

  • GE Profile Opal 2.0 Countertop Nugget Ice Maker with Side Tank(Opens in a new tab)$515.79 $629 (save $113.21)

Floor care deals

  • Hoover MAXLife PowerDrive Swivel XL Bagless Upright Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$59 $119 (save 60)

  • Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$98 $199 (save $101)

  • Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$144 $259 (save $115)

  • iRobot Roomba 676 Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$177 $269 (save $92)

  • Shark EZ Robot Vacuum with Self-Empty Base(Opens in a new tab)$258 $449 (save $191)

  • iRobot Roomba i1+ (1552) Wi-Fi Connected Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$288 $529.99 (save $241.99)

  • eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid Robot Vacuum and Mop(Opens in a new tab)$319.99 $649.99 (save $330 with clipped coupon)

  • iRobot Roomba J7+ Robot Vacuum(Opens in a new tab)$579.99 $799.99 (save $204.99)

Best audio deals

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Credit: Samsung
Our Pick: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
$69 at Walmart (save $100.99)
(opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)

Why we like it

While they may not have the best noise cancelation in the game, the Galaxy Buds Live are still some of our favorite AirPods Pro alternatives. They look like little beans, but as Mashable tech reporter Alex Perry wrote, "There's a method to the madness." They fit securely in the ear and feature impressive sound quality that trumps most wireless earbuds in their price range. And at $69, the lowest price we've seen for these buds, they're a total steal.

More audio deals

  • Echo Auto (1st Gen)(Opens in a new tab) — $14.99 $49.99 (save $35)

  • Google Nest Mini (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$18 $49 (save $31)

  • JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker(Opens in a new tab)$59 $99 (save $40)

  • Echo Buds (2nd Gen) With Wired Charging Case(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $119.99 (save $50)

  • Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3(Opens in a new tab)$69.99 $99.99 (save $30)

  • Echo Buds (2nd Gen) With Wireless Charging Case(Opens in a new tab) — $89.99 $139.99 (save $50)

  • Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$89.99 $159 (save $69.01)

  • Samsung 170W 2.1ch Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer(Opens in a new tab)$99 $149 (save $50)

  • VIZIO V-Series 5.1 Home Theater Sound Bar(Opens in a new tab)$148 $199.99 (save $51.99)

Streaming devices and subscription deals

  • Four months of Amazon Music Unlimited(Opens in a new tab)free with select purchases at Best Buy (save $39.96)

  • One month of Paramount+(Opens in a new tab)free with code BRAVO $4.99 (save $4.99)

  • One year of Grubhub+(Opens in a new tab)free for Prime members $119.88 (save $119.88)

  • First month of Xbox Game Pass(Opens in a new tab)$1 $14.99 (save $13.99)

  • Four months of Audible Premium Plus(Opens in a new tab)$5.95/month $14.95/month (save $36)

  • Paramount+ Essential(Opens in a new tab)free with Walmart+ membership ($12.95/month or $98/year)

  • Fire TV Stick Lite(Opens in a new tab)$14.99 $29.99 (save $15)

  • Chromecast with Google TV (HD) Streaming Device(Opens in a new tab)$18 $29.99 (save $11.99)

  • Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen)(Opens in a new tab)$19.99 $39.99 (save $20)

  • Roku Streaming Stick 4K Streaming Device(Opens in a new tab)$24.98 $49 (save $24.02)

  • Fire TV Stick 4K(Opens in a new tab)$24.99 $49.99 (save $25)

  • One year of Paramount+ with Free Fire TV Stick Lite(Opens in a new tab)starting at $24.99 (save 50%)

  • Roku Ultra LT Streaming Device 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision(Opens in a new tab)$30 $80 (save $50)

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max(Opens in a new tab)$34.99 $54.99 (save $20)

  • Apple TV HD 32GB (2nd Generation)(Opens in a new tab)$59 $149.99 (save $90.99)

  • Fire TV Cube(Opens in a new tab)$59.99 $119.99 (save $60)

More tech deals

  • HP 11.6-inch Chromebook (AMD A4, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$79 $98 (save $19)

  • Lenovo Tab M8 (3rd Gen) 8-inch Tablet (MediaTek Helio P22T, 3GB RAM, 32GB eMCP)(Opens in a new tab)$79 $119 (save $40)

  • Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab) — $99 $149.95 (save $50.95)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5-inch Tablet (WiFi, 32GB)(Opens in a new tab) — $139 $199 (save $60)

  • Fitbit Versa 4 Smartwatch(Opens in a new tab)$149.95 $229.95 (save $80)

  • LG 27-inch UltraGear FHD 165Hz Gaming Monitor(Opens in a new tab)$179 $229 (save $50)

  • HP 14-inch Touch Chromebook (Intel Celeron N4120, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC)(Opens in a new tab)$179 $299 (save $120)

  • LG 32-inch UltraGear QHD (2560x1440)165Hz HDR 10 Monitor with FreeSync(Opens in a new tab)$200 $399 (save $199)

  • HP 15.6-inch FHD Laptop (Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$249 $419 (save $170)

  • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm)(Opens in a new tab)$349 $399 (save $50)

  • HP 15.6-inch FHD Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$349 $449 (save $100)

  • 2022 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro WiFi (M2, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$749 $799 (save $50)

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 8 2-in-1 (Intel Evo Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)$899.99 $1,349.99 (save $450)

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  • Jaime Harrison brought his own plexiglass divider to debate Lindsey Graham

    Jaime Harrison brought his own plexiglass divider to debate Lindsey Graham

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    On Saturday, Harrison — South Carolina's Democratic Senate candidate — spent the debate masterfully discussing key issues such as the Supreme Court nominee, COVID-19, and more with the Republican senator. But Harrison didn't stand out solely for his words. His actions, one in particular, also made quite a statement.

    Though social distancing was enforced at the debate, Harrison showed up with his own large plexiglass divider, which he placed between himself and Sen. Graham to show that he's taking the coronavirus as seriously as possible.

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  • The gay community is beautifully reclaiming #ProudBoys

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    On Sunday morning, #ProudBoys(Opens in a new tab) was trending on Twitter, but not for the reasons you'd think. Though the hashtag has recently been used in tweets pertaining to the far-right, Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group(Opens in a new tab) called the Proud Boys — which Donald Trump recently shouted out at the first presidential debate — members of the LGBTQ community decided to redefine the meaning of "proud boys" by flooding the hashtag with messages of gay pride, love, acceptance, and positivity.

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    Instead of denouncing white supremacy on live television, Trump very clearly said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

    It's absolutely repulsive to see a U.S. president fail to condemn white supremacy, and though little can be done about it as the American people await their chance to vote in the 2020 election, hijacking the Proud Boys hashtag on social media is a delightful effort that does make an impact.

    No matter how small-scale the hashtag flooding may seem, it still sends a message that hate, discrimination, and everything the far-right group stands for will not be tolerated.

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  • 13 best tweets of the week, including Skittles, a spooky aunt, and Werner Herzog

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  • A brief history of meditation video games

    A brief history of meditation video games

    March Mindfulness is an annual Mashable series that explores the intersection of meditation practice and technology.


    From an expansive point of view, the first video game to promote mindfulness was also the first successful home video game.

    Pong, created in 1972, required its millions of players to focus their attention on a bouncing square as it traversed a screen. The ultimate casual game, Pong is so basic that brain cells have been taught to play it in a lab. Its quietly engrossing allure is timeless. Really, what's the difference between playing Pong and a meditation practice where you follow your breath? Only the fact that the game is effectively keeping score of the times your attention drifts.

    Similarly, Tetris — which arrived in 1984 and is about to get its own movie — has been praised for its ability to put players in a Zen-like flow state(Opens in a new tab). One study suggests that, like mindfulness meditation if done right, playing Tetris can help people mitigate the effects of trauma(Opens in a new tab). And certainly many gamers have their own stories of titles that put them in a flow state, even in the midst of on-screen chaos.

    But it wasn't until the 21st century that designers began to create video games where meditation or mindfulness was a goal, at least in part, rather than an accidental byproduct of playing. The meditative offerings accelerated through the 2010s, and a playful new name was coined for the category: not a shoot-'em-up, but a relax-'em-up.

    What follows is a rundown of the games that fit in this category, showing how forms of meditation in video games have evolved over the past two decades — to the point where some of the largest franchises in games, from Elder Scrolls to Grand Theft Auto, have jumped on the mindfulness trend.

    Journey to Wild Divine (2001)

    Journey to Wild Divine billed itself as "the first 'inner-active' computer adventure." With a pretty but basic interface, and an extremely New Age soundtrack, this PC game (and its sequel, The Passage, featuring Deepak Chopra) did not attract a huge amount of attention from gamers in an era dominated by shoot-'em-ups.

    The game's main innovation was the Iom or "Lightstone," a piece of USB-connected biofeedback hardware, which the player placed on the tips of three fingers. The device measured your level of stress via heart rate variability (HRV) and the level of perspiration on the skin. To complete each level — by revealing a new feature in a room, say, or bringing flying doves down to earth — you had to figure out how to de-stress yourself, usually by slowing your breath.

    The Wild Divine game franchise didn't last long, but the company did. It still sells the Iom device(Opens in a new tab), which now attaches to your earlobe, to use alongside guided meditation "journeys."

    Flow (2006)

    Was it art? Was it a game? Was it meditation? Did it matter? Flow, originally a Flash-based browser game by Chinese designer and then-University of Southern California student Jenova Chen, leveled up and became the most downloaded PlayStation game of 2007.

    Described as a "life simulator," Flow turned players into tiny creatures; you could float up to larger planes of existence, or down to lower ones, through consumption of other organisms. Clearly, there was a market for a soothing game where you didn't have to try too hard, and simply entered a state of...flow.

    Flower (2009)

    The "spiritual successor" to Flow, from Chen and his playfully-named studio Thatgamecompany, Flower put the player in the role of a petal floating on the breeze. There are discoveries after that, but it's all very low stakes. The beauty of nature is all.

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

    The Elder Scrolls series is one of the most successful fantasy franchises of all time, with nearly 60 million copies sold. And in its fifth outing, the fantasy got a little more chill.

    "The more I revisit it, the more I discover that I simply want to take everything…slower," wrote a Polygon reviewer fully 12 years after the game's release(Opens in a new tab). "When playing in this mindful state, I forgo fast travel and hit the ground on foot, letting the scenery guide me to a place so stunning that I can’t help but stop and take in the moment."

    Those moments included monks meditating next to strange sigils, and taking in the wonders of the natural world around them. For the first time, a mindfully-made popular video game featured non-player characters acting mindfully in-world.

    Journey (2012)

    Jenova Chen's Thatgamecompany wasn't done. Flow and Flower blossomed into Journey, one of the most award-winning games of all time.

    Instead of a petal floating around the environment, players became a person: a mysterious hooded figure who can magically drift through a desert of wonders. Nothing is explained, there's no dialogue, nothing to fight — just puzzles that stay in that state-of-Flow zone of just difficult enough.

    Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

    The violent and satirical GTA franchise may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of mindful activity. But in its record-breakingly popular fifth outing, the narrative took a diversion The character of Michael, a former bank robber, has to achieve three positions in the practice to complete one mission.

    Mountain (2014)

    "Relax-'em-up" was Irish designer David O'Reilly's description of this oddly mindful little game. It doesn't start out all that relaxing, with a bunch of personal questions — but your answers help guide the design of the mountain that will float in space for the rest of the game.

    O'Reilly thought of a mountain as "an iconic zen thing," far beyond human control — so for the most part, in this game, you can't. It's about letting go, he said, watching stuff grow and live on its slopes, and accepting a state of "visual silence." (But not the aural kind, given that the mountain will occasionally talk to you.)

    And perhaps you can contemplate the ego better when you look at a vast thing it birthed, just sitting there awaiting annihilation at the end of the game. Aren't we all?

    Abzû (2016)

    Some of the designers behind Journey worked on Abzû, which is sort of an underwater version of the desert game. The difference here: Unlike the mysterious hooded floating human, your diver can actually literally stop and meditate herself, sitting in lotus position, watching the fish.

    Plus you're looking for a set of meditation statues; collect them all and you gain the title of "Zen Master." Mindfulness game content had never been quite this on the nose.

    Everything (2017)

    Not content with evoking something as grand, timeless, and totally zen as a mountain in game form, David O'Reilly now attempted to evoke...the entire universe. He did this by allowing players to inhabit a bizarrely wonderful mix of creatures at various levels of existence, from the single-celled organism to the self-aware solar system.

    Perhaps the most absorbing part of this deeply strange meditative game: Quotes from the philosopher Alan Watts play when you click on thought bubbles, speaking to the oneness of all life and the nature of the "game of existence."

    When you're done with the game of Everything, you may have the ultimate mindful realization: We, as part of the continuum of life, are never done with the game of everything.

    Playne (2020)

    Games with meditative aspects are all well and good — but what about a game that puts regular meditation practice itself front and center, no biofeedback necessary?

    That's Playne, the goal of which is to get you to build a 10-minutes-a-day meditation habit. There's a friendly fox to help guide you, a crackling virtual campfire in the forest to sit around, and the option to click the mouse whenever your mind wanders.

    The more days you continue your streak, the more the world around the campfire evolves. And because social accountability is one of the best factors in building habits, an active Discord server full of Playne players is there to provide feedback and encouragement.

    Soundself (2020)

    The line between meditation game and mindful musical experience started to blur in Soundself, a title that works well on most devices, and even better in VR(Opens in a new tab). You play by deeply breathing, then deeply sighing, then humming on your exhales. (The game uses your device's mic to make sure you're not just pretending to hum.)

    The more you contribute, the more the environment around you moves and morphs — from earthbound trees to abstract colors. The sound does too, meaning your mindful breaths are literally making music. Can there be a more playful way to meditate?

    Finch/Amaru, the Self-Care Pet (2021)

    Yes, there can be a more playful (and habit-forming) way to meditate: a virtual pet whom you care for by caring for yourself. Tamagotchi, but make it mindful. The Finch and Amaru apps are both variations on a theme: You reward or feed the pet by completing, say, two minutes of meditation, or practicing gratitude, or putting your phone down 30 minutes before bedtime.

    Finch (whom you get to name whatever you want) is a generally happy bird who looks like he could get by on his own; you're encouraged to help him grow and adventure more. Amaru, however, is an anxious little cat creature, and thinking of calming that anxiety by trying to calm your own anxiety may possibly spark more anxiety in the already anxiety-prone.

    Inward (2023)

    Meditation game history is just getting started. Up next: Inward, from the same developer who brought us Playne. How does this one advance the whole genre? We'll find out when it goes into full release later this year, and will keep updating this story when new meditation games are released. Because the game of life goes on.

  • What is Project Texas, TikTok’s best chance to avoid a ban?

    What is Project Texas, TikTok’s best chance to avoid a ban?

    TikTok knows it's in trouble, and it has come up with a solution: Project Texas.


    Lawmakers in the U.S., Canada(Opens in a new tab), Australia(Opens in a new tab), Britain(Opens in a new tab), France(Opens in a new tab), and more countries(Opens in a new tab) have all implemented various bans of the app due to fears that TikTok is giving user data to the Chinese government. One investigative journalist uncovered examples of employees at ByteDance, a Chinese technology firm that owns TikTok, performing high-tech surveillance(Opens in a new tab) on journalists(Opens in a new tab). She also found that user data supposedly quarantined in the U.S. was accessed from China(Opens in a new tab). While this is all deeply troubling, experts don't agree about the degree of the Chinese government's involvement(Opens in a new tab)

    In the U.S. the effort behind the ban seems aggressive, but it hasn’t had much of an impact beyond political statements. The app is banned on government devices, but people working in the government can still use the app on their personal phones. And many universities have banned the app on institutional wifi and devices, a move that just forces students to use a different WiFi connection or their cellular plan to access TikTok instead.

    Last week, TikTok CEO Shou Chew had his first appearance before Congress where it became increasingly clear that there is bipartisan support for a ban on the app. Chew’s answer? Project Texas, a $1.5-billion attempt to gain American confidence in TikTok’s security.

    "Our approach has never been to dismiss or trivialize any of [your] concerns," Chew told lawmakers at the hearing(Opens in a new tab). "We have addressed them with real action now. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last two years, building what amounts to a firewall. The seals of protected US user data from unauthorized foreign access. The bottom line is this American data stored on American soil by an American company overseen by American personnel. We call this initiative Project Texas."

    SEE ALSO: As U.S. leaders debate a TikTok ban, lawmakers and creators clash over generational and social differences

    Project Texas is meant to soothe a request the Biden administration made earlier this month(Opens in a new tab): If TikTok's Chinese owners don't sell their stakes in the app to a U.S. company, the app would be banned.

    Project Texas would restructure much of the corporate arm of TikTok so that U.S. user data is stored by a U.S. company (Oracle), a company based in a U.S. city (Austin, Texas(Opens in a new tab)). According to Texas Monthly(Opens in a new tab), Project Texas's operations would be monitored by an in-house committee approved by the U.S. government called TikTok U.S. Data Security. Project Texas would essentially act as a firewall, ensuring that the Chinese government couldn't access U.S. user data and that Oracle would oversee it all.

    "The way we’ve built this plan, and the level of external oversight, is really meant to make it so that you don’t have to take my word for it or Oracle’s word for it," Brooke Oberwetter, TikTok’s head of policy communications, told Texas Monthly. "There will be multiple layers of oversight by multiple federal agencies, multiple outside consultants, security vendors, and auditors."

    The initiative began rolling out in July 2022, but until Project Texas is complete, Beijing-based employees of TikTok can still access U.S. user data. Chew said during his congressional hearing that he isn't sure when Project Texas will be complete, but promised that it is "progressing quite well."

    Even though it is far from complete, Chew made Project Texas out to be a solution for every problem thrown his way multiple times throughout the hearing. He’d admit that something wasn’t ideal now, but will be under Project Texas — an answer lawmakers didn’t think was particularly helpful. Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers called Project Texas a "marketing scheme." Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone called it "simply not acceptable." Republican Rep. Bob Latta said he doesn't think the project will actually be particularly "useful." 

    Despite the bipartisan agreement that Project Texas isn't an across-the-board solution, Chew stayed steadfast.

    "I think we have designed Project Texas to protect U.S. user interests and to move forward here in the U.S.," Chew said. "Again, it’s the protection of storing American data on American soil by an American company looked after by American personnel."

    The hearing made it clear that the U.S. wants to ban TikTok, and that TikTok sees Project Texas as its way out of that ban. It's still unclear, though, if a ban will come before the project can be fully functional — rendering it useless — or if U.S. legislators will give the social media platform more time and leniency. 

  • Donald Trump refuses to denounce QAnon at NBC town hall

    Donald Trump refuses to denounce QAnon at NBC town hall

    At a town hall on Thursday evening, President Donald Trump absolutely refused to denounce the dangerous, cult-like QAnon conspiracy theory.


    "Let me ask you about QAnon: It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that," NBC News' host Savannah Guthrie said to Trump. "Can you just once and for all just state that that is completely not true?"

    Trump repeatedly refused to denounce the unfounded conspiracy theory.

    "I know nothing about QAnon," he said. "I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it."

    The president then went on a rant about Antifa, saying he did know about them. Guthrie then mentioned that even Republican(Opens in a new tab) Sen. Ben Sasse said QAnon was a "nuts" conspiracy theory and that real leaders would acknowledge that.

    "He may be right, I just don't know about QAnon," Trump insisted.

    Guthrie pressed Trump bringing up the fact that he retweeted a baseless QAnon conspiracy theory(Opens in a new tab) that former President Barack Obama had Navy SEALs killed over some strange plot involving an Osama bin Laden body double.

    "That was a retweet," Trump said. "That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I'll put it out there."

    Guthrie wasn't having it.

    "I don't get that," she said. "You're the president. You're not like someone's crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever."

  • Iowa Senator owned by an extremely Midwest question about soybeans

    Iowa Senator owned by an extremely Midwest question about soybeans

    Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst struggled with an incredibly Midwest gotcha question: She couldn't correctly state the price of soybeans.


    A clip of a debate between Ernst and her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, went viral after the incumbent seemingly struggled to rattle off crop prices.

    Moderator Ron Steele first asked Greenfield the breakeven price price for corn in Iowa.

    "Well, a bushel of corn is going for about $3.68, today, $3.69, and breakeven really just depends on the amount of debt someone has," Greenfield responded, correctly. "I suspect there are farmers that are breaking even at that price. However if their yields are down 50 percent, that's certainly not going to cover it."

    Steele asked Ernst for the breakeven price on soy beans, but the senator instead talked about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, the Des Moines Register(Opens in a new tab) noted. Steele followed up.

    "I might have missed it, I don't think you answered my question: What's the breakeven price for soybeans in Iowa? You grew up on a farm, you should know this," Steele said.

    "I think you had asked about corn," Ernst said.

    "I asked her corn," Steele followed up.

    "It depends what the inputs are but probably about $5.50," Ernst said, seemingly still talking about corn even though she was repeatedly asked about soybeans.

    "Well, you're a couple dollars off I think here, because it's $10.05," Steele said.

    Folks online really responded to the very Iowa line of questioning.

    Ernst once coasted into the Senate in 2014 and was once a leading right-wing figure. But she is locked in a tight race with Greenfield(Opens in a new tab) in 2020, trailing by as many as 5 percentage points in recent polls.

    Soybeans and corn, and their respective prices, are incredibly important to Iowan farmers. President Trump's trade wars with China have severely impacted soybean farmers, who have had to navigate through uncertain waters(Opens in a new tab) regarding whether China would actually follow through on very optimistic purchase commitments set by the Trump administration. Iowa corn farmers, meanwhile, have had to deal with Trump's EPA allowing oil companies to drive down demand(Opens in a new tab) for ethanol and biodiesel.

Random articles


  • Roasting Thanksgiving plates is a Twitter tradition and people are starting to catch on

    Roasting Thanksgiving plates is a Twitter tradition and people are starting to catch on

    There are a few unassailable rules of the internet. There's Godwin's law, stating that(Opens in a new tab) the longer an online argument goes on, the greater the probability someone gets compared to Hitler. Or there's the simple fact that we, as an online community, are incapable of discussing(Opens in a new tab) beans without(Opens in a new tab) it turning into a truly stupid meme.


    Or there's the simple fact that people love, love — love — roasting terrible-looking food. I still think about Texas Sen. Jon Cornyn's godawful brisket(Opens in a new tab). Martha Stewart herself used to post widely mocked(Opens in a new tab) grotesqueries unfit for even Twitter's hellish landscape. Or one of the greats: this wildly unseasoned, thoroughly hated-on turkey prepared by newsman Tom Rodgers.

    So long as Twitter has been a real Thing, there has been a long-held tradition of people's Thanksgiving plates get absolutely roasted. (To be clear, we're talking mocked, not like...oven roasted.) After all, it's the biggest day for food in America. Adds up.

    All Thanksgiving, I noticed both people getting roasted and folks posting plates with a caveat like "ready to be roasted" or "please don't flame this."

    Here's Mero, of Showtime's late-night show Desus & Mero, warning folks to not even bother posting a plate pic. It's the big day and everyone, Black Twitter(Opens in a new tab) especially, was ready to pounce.

    People were bold enough to respond to Mero, just daring people to go for it.

    A few people did post plates, seeming not knowing what they were getting into. Here's a perfectly fine looking plate of food right? LMAO, wrong you ignorant fool. It got flamed.

    Even Jaboukie Young-White, a hilarious and very online comedian, caught some flak for a plate with a hell of a lot of eggs and overflowing gravy.

    And the replies here, well, the replies are freaking vicious.

    Other people seemed to anticipate a plate roasting in wait and asked for pre-emptive mercy or just leaned into the hate.

    That's the thing with Thanksgiving online. We kind of all know what to expect at this point. I must've seen a dozen variations on a tweet warning folks to be mindful of what they post, lest they stumble into their cherished grandma's green beans getting sent straight to hell.

    I truly feel sorry for anyone who happily posted Thanksgiving food, unknowingly waltzing into insults. But at this point it's hard to imagine anyone not knowing. It's like how everyone knows that jabronis on April 30 will post the Justin Timberlake "It's gonna be May(Opens in a new tab)" meme. It's an unwritten rule that if you post food on Thanksgiving, Black Twitter might correct your notions about a good plate.

    As writer Jenée Desmond Harris pointed out, it might not even be your fault. Lots of Thanksgiving food is brown or slathered in gravy and might not look as good in photos as it tastes in real life.

    As for me, I took a cowardly way out this holiday. I did prepare the food for my little family's Thanksgiving. But the only picture I posted on Twitter was an aerial shot of the table.

    Let me explain. One of my favorite sayings is, "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes." And I know that trying to get a compliment on your Thanksgiving plate online is a truly dumb game to play.

  • The internet loves Joe Bidens very good dogs, Major and Champ

    The internet loves Joe Bidens very good dogs, Major and Champ

    If the internet loves anything, it's a good pup. And President-elect Joe Biden has two.


    Folks online have become especially enamored with Major, a big ol' German shepherd Biden adopted in 2018. Look at this good boy — who will be the first adopted dog in the White House.

    Look at head-tilt and smile. We just love to see it. A Good Boy.

    After Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election by multiple major media outlets, it wasn't long before folks began the celebrating a return of pups to the White House, since outgoing President Donald Trump was famously the first commander-in-chief in a century(Opens in a new tab) to not have a dog. A fan page(Opens in a new tab) on Twitter for the Biden dogs, for instance, has already racked up nearly 60,000 followers. Biden's other dog, a German shepherd named Champ, has been with the family since 2008.

    While Champ is of course beloved, people are especially thrilled that a rescue dog is going to the White House. The Bidens adopted Major back in November 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association(Opens in a new tab).

    "We are so happy to welcome Major to the Biden family, and we are grateful to the Delaware Humane Association for their work in finding forever homes for Major and countless other animals," the family said in a statement at the time.

    In fact, Major is so popular, there is even misinformation already out there about him — a sure sign of internet popularity. A Photoshopped image of Major to make him looking absolutely massive is not real. (The tweet below says Champ but was later corrected: That is Major.)

    That's not to say Champ isn't beloved as well. A clip of the pup from a 2015 CBS News interview has resurfaced after the election. In the video, Champ is adorably whining to play with Biden, with the former Vice President calling his good boy a "talker." It's delightful and fun.

    Anyway, here's to good dogs being back in the White House. We missed them.

  • Were all crumpled up pieces of paper lying here as Twitter reacts to Red (Taylors Version)

    Were all crumpled up pieces of paper lying here as Twitter reacts to Red (Taylors Version)

    Friday, Nov. 12, is a day to remember if you're a Swiftie — or just a person who uses the internet — because today, Taylor Swift released an expanded, re-recorded version of her seminal album Red.


    Red (Taylor's Version) is part of her ongoing pursuit to regain ownership of her earlier work after Scooter Braun acquired Big Machine Records and seized control over the master recordings of her first six albums. Despite selling the master rights(Opens in a new tab) to Swift's catalog to a private equity firm in late 2020, the war between the singer-songwriter and the men who profit off her music still wages on, publicly.

    To devalue the worth of her original masters, Swift announced she would simply re-record all of them to regain ownership. Red (Taylor's Version) is the second of her album re-recordings, following the release of Fearless (Taylor's Version) earlier this year.

    "It never would have been possible to go back & remake my previous work, uncovering lost art & forgotten gems along the way if you hadn't emboldened me," Swift tweeted(Opens in a new tab). "Red is about to be mine again, but it has always been ours. Now we begin again."

    The 30-track, 2-hour-long album received five stars from Rolling Stone(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab), which called her long-lost 10-minute version of "All Is Well" a "new heartbreak epic." Known as a breakup album, the music pinpoints a time in Swift's life when she was going through a highly publicized breakup with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who undoubtedly is not having a great day today.

    The internet is, in turn, rejoicing.

  • Mashable readers went the hardest for these 30-ish items on Black Friday

    Mashable readers went the hardest for these 30-ish items on Black Friday

    The most shopped-for items or brands during Black Friday aren't that hard to guess. You could probably rattle off five without seeing a crumb of data — just based on vibes alone.


    TVs, Apple products, and Roombas probably came to mind, and those were top of mind for Mashable readers on Black Friday itself, too. All three of those categories ranked in the top 25 most popular items at two of the biggest Black Friday retailers: Amazon and Walmart. Other expected synchronicities included non-iRobot robot vacuums and laptops.

    Beneath that, however, lies one retailer-specific trend: People are more likely to ball out at Amazon while Walmart draws the bargain hunters.

    SEE ALSO: Black Friday deals live: Tracking Apple, Best Buy, Amazon, and more

    Apple stuff aside, Amazon's most sought-after TVs included pricier premium TVs (specifically the 2021 and 2022 versions of LG's flagship gaming TV, the C1 and C2) while readers shopping at Walmart went for cheap mid-size TVs, like Samsung's cheap entry-level series or onn.'s budget-friendly QLED model.

    Even the iRobot stans were split. All three versions of the smartest Roomba (the j7+ alone, the self-emptying j7+, and the self-emptying and mopping Combo j7+) topped Amazon's list, while Walmart's most popular was the cheapest self-emptying Roomba, the i1+. Mashable readers were also down to drop over $1,000 on Roborock's most expensive robot vac.

    Whether you use this information to map out a game plan for next year or simply for people-watching purposes, here are the items Mashable readers cared about most on Black Friday. Bonus: The ⚡ signifies that an item is still at its Black Friday price. Just saying.

    Most popular items at Amazon on Black Friday

    • LG C1 Series 65-inch OLED TV(Opens in a new tab)

    • Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen) (Opens in a new tab)

    • iRobot Roomba j7+ (Opens in a new tab)

    • iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ (Opens in a new tab)

    • iRobot Roomba j7 (Opens in a new tab)

    • Shark AV2511AE (Opens in a new tab)

    • iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO (Opens in a new tab)

    • iRobot Roomba i3 EVO (Opens in a new tab)

    • LG C2 Series 65-inch OLED TV(Opens in a new tab)

    • 2020 MacBook Air M1 (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)

    • iRobot Roomba 694 (Opens in a new tab)

    • Roborock Q7 Max+ (Opens in a new tab)

    • Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra (Opens in a new tab)

    • Roborock S7(Opens in a new tab)

    • 2022 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 (8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)

    • Apple TV 4K (3rd gen)(Opens in a new tab)

    Honorable mentions in the top 25 that don't fall under the top three categories: DJI's Mavic Mini Combo(Opens in a new tab) and FPV Combo(Opens in a new tab) drones, Apple gift cards(Opens in a new tab), and the 13.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Book Pro(Opens in a new tab).

    Most popular items at Walmart on Black Friday

    • Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) (Opens in a new tab)

    • Open box bundle: Apple 13.3-inch MacBook (i5 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD)(Opens in a new tab)

    • Nintendo Switch with neon Joy-cons and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle (Opens in a new tab)

    • Vizio 70-inch V-Series 4K TV(Opens in a new tab)

    • LG 55-inch UP7050 4K TV(Opens in a new tab)

    • Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm) (Opens in a new tab)

    • Roomba i1+ (Opens in a new tab)

    • Apple AirPods with Charging Case (2nd generation) (Opens in a new tab)

    • Eufy Anker RoboVac G32 Pro (Opens in a new tab)

    • Acer Nitro 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop AMD Ryzen Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (Opens in a new tab)

    • onn. 70-inch 4K TV(Opens in a new tab) and onn. 65-inch QLED TV(Opens in a new tab)

    • Xbox Series X(Opens in a new tab)

    • Dyson V10 Absolute (Opens in a new tab)

    • Ninja Foodi 4-in-1 Dual Zone Air Fryer (8-quart) (Opens in a new tab)

    • Samsung 65-inch TU7000 4K TV(Opens in a new tab)

    • Apple Watch SE (1st gen, GPS, 40mm) (Opens in a new tab)

    • HP 14-inch FHD Laptop (AMD Ryzen 5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) (Opens in a new tab)

    Honorable mentions in the top 25 that don't fall under the top three categories: The HP LED projector with an 86-inch screen included(Opens in a new tab) and, of all things, tires.

  • QAnon believers dont know how to handle Michael Flynns ties to spyware firm behind Pegasus

    QAnon believers dont know how to handle Michael Flynns ties to spyware firm behind Pegasus

    Edward Snowden is calling it the "story of the year(Opens in a new tab)."


    On Sunday, the first in a series of investigations were published involving NSO Group, an Israeli firm. The report focused on how the firm's spyware software, Pegasus, has been used by governments to target world leaders, political dissidents, activists, and journalists around the world.

    As new stories about the spyware continue to drop, believers of the vast right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon had their own revelation to deal with:

    Michael Flynn has ties to the firm behind the spyware.

    Flynn's ties to NSO Group are now well known, thanks to financial disclosure forms.

    Back in 2017, Huffington Post reported(Opens in a new tab) that Flynn had previously worked as an advisory board member and "consultant" for OSY Technologies, NSO Group’s parent company, as well as its previous owner, private equity firm Francisco Partners. According to the Washington Post(Opens in a new tab), Flynn was paid "roughly $100,000" for his work as a consultant for the companies between 2015 and 2017.

    Interestingly, the news of Flynn's involvement with an Israel-based cyberweapons firm in the middle of a huge spying scandal was brought to QAnon's attention by Ron Watkins.

    Ron Watkins is the former administrator of 8kun, the extremist imageboard owned by his father, Jim Watkins. Ron is also whom many believe may very well have been the person behind Q, the anonymous individual at the heart of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Since 2017, QAnon followers have based the vast majority of its foundational beliefs on "drops" left on imageboards like 4chan and 8kun by the anonymous user Q.

    In a post on the far-right social network, Gab, Watkins points out Flynn's ties to NSO Group and notes how this could be used to hurt the election audits(Opens in a new tab), which Trump supporters believe will prove the 2020 Presidential election was stolen. (Note: The election was not stolen. President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election and is the president of the United States.)

    On his channel at the messaging service Telegram, Watkins continued to speculate about Flynn amongst his more than 300,000 subscribers on the platform.

    "I am not saying Flynn is a black hat. I am not saying Flynn is a white hat," wrote Watkins, referencing the possibilities that Flynn could have been involved with good intentions or for nefarious reasons. "There are plenty of BOTH intel and cointel reasons for him to be a member of those companies."

    Hours later, Watkins returned to his Telegram channel to further speculate about Flynn's involvement. This time, Watkins urges Flynn to put out a statement in order to set the record straight.

    Related Video: How to recognize and avoid fake news

    "Gen Flynn should consider putting out a statement about his involvement in the companies close to Pegasus," posted Watkins. "I’m curious as to the extent of what he knew regarding Pegasus and the targets of the software."

    Many QAnon followers still don't exactly know what to make of the news. Some seemed to accept the idea that this "doesn't look good" for Flynn.

    Altogether, Watkins' posts on Telegram and Gab about Flynn and Pegasus generated thousands of comments.

    "So is General Flynn a bad guy then?" asked one of Watkins' Telegram subscribers.

    "Oh man...this freaking sucks," replied another.

    Others jumped to Flynn's defense, questioning Watkins' motives, and claiming Flynn had to have been a "white hat infiltrating the black hats" while working with companies tied to the spyware firm.

    "I trust Flynn no matter what!" exclaimed one of Watkins' subscribers.

    "Fuck mess with Flynn and you mess with America's Hero. WWG1WGA," replied a Flynn supporter while invoking the "Where We Go One We Go All" QAnon slogan.

    It's unclear exactly why Ron Watkins would share such speculation about Michael Flynn, a Trump-supporting former Army lieutenant general who also served as a national security advisor for the administration. Flynn is viewed as a hero to many in the QAnon world and, in their eyes, his legitimacy in the movement is buoyed by the fact that Trump pardoned(Opens in a new tab) Flynn after he plead guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia probe.

    It should be noted that since Q stopped posting last December, infighting has grown (Opens in a new tab)amongst QAnon influencers as they fight to control the movement. While Watkins has denied being Q, he has kept himself active in the community, sharing Q-like drops on platforms such as Gab and Telegram.

  • Tinder launches Vibes to give matches a chance to check their compatibility

    Tinder launches Vibes to give matches a chance to check their compatibility

    No corny chat-up lines, just vibes.


    That's the idea with Tinder's new feature, Vibes, which is a new way to test compatibility and find out if a match is on your wavelength.

    The dating app announced Vibes on Wednesday, describing it as "an in-app event that gives members a new way to express their opinions on everything from whether it's normal to wear socks in bed to what's happening in pop culture."

    So, how does it work? Tinder users will be informed when Vibes has kicked off in their area via push notification or when they open the app.

    SEE ALSO: How the pandemic made our personal lives feel like one daunting to-do list

    You'll be asked to answer a series of questions on any number of topics like pop culture, personality traits to see whether you'll, well, vibe with a possible match.

    You'll be able to see a match's Vibes within the chat window when users are participating in the feature. If a person is a Vibes match for you, a "mutual vibes" icon will appear in their profile. Vibes will be displayed in people's profiles for 72 hours.

    "This is the first of many things we're creating for the Tinder community this year so they can show off more of their personalities on the app," Udi Milo, VP of product at Tinder, said in a statement.

    Tinder has released a number of new products and features during the pandemic to shake up users' dating experiences, from Tinder Swipe Night to the (somewhat belated) launch of video dating.

    Vibes will be rolling out globally in late May.

    Related Video: How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

  • For better or worse, livestreamed and virtual concerts are probably here to stay

    For better or worse, livestreamed and virtual concerts are probably here to stay

    After DJ Steve Aoki gave the polo shirt-clad president of Qualcomm a tour of his phantasmagorical Las Vegas "playhouse" mansion, they sat in his studio to discuss the power 5G would bring to artists.


    "I believe in the merging of not just music and technology, but of humans and technology," Aoki said.

    Aoki and Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon appeared in a pre-recorded South by Southwest (SXSW) segment that aired Friday. Aoki explained how faster internet speeds would enable him to instantly access songs from his mixer to put into live DJ mixes. Amon appeared to blow Aoki's mind when he explained how 5G would enable fans sitting in far-away seats to livestream his performance as it was happening.

    Aoki was stoked. But not everyone shared his enthusiasm.

    "It would be so sad if live concerts turn into 'buy the cheap nose-bleed seats but don't worry because you can watch it on your phone with 5G,'" a virtual viewer named Adam Shoesmith wrote in the live comments feed.

    "You're not going to need the physical cheap seats anymore," commenter Justin Meade replied. "Those cheap seats will be sold as intimate online experiences."

    For a music festival turned tech networking event turned series of livestreamed panels, the future of live music was appropriately top of mind at this year's virtual SXSW(Opens in a new tab). Over half a dozen talks, featuring experts from tech companies, music labels, artists, and more, tackled the topic. There was not a consensus about what the future would look like, but everyone agreed that the way artists and venues heavily relied on tech(Opens in a new tab) during the pandemic would have impacts after it's over.

    "Once the pandemic started, a lot of musicians instantaneously became techies," Christian McBride, a Grammy award-winning jazz musician, said in a panel. He explained how the livestreaming phenomenon(Opens in a new tab) helped artists stay connected to fans, and drive some revenue. But ultimately, he noted, "music is more than something you see in a video."

    "Music is more than something you see in a video."

    The pandemic kneecapped live shows and touring, which has become a major revenue stream(Opens in a new tab) for musicians as album sales have dropped. A stream on Spotify typically pays less than a half of a cent, which, as Business Insider(Opens in a new tab) points out, means artists need 250 streams to make $1. The BBC reported(Opens in a new tab) on a November forecast from UK Music that predicted UK musicians would lose two-thirds of their income in 2020, with those most dependent on touring set to lose 85 percent.

    Still, many musicians took advantage of livestreaming platforms to interact with fans and sell tickets to virtual shows. Data from music industry analysts(Opens in a new tab) show that tickets and merch for livestreamed concerts drove $600 million in revenue in 2020, and increased nearly 300 percent just between June and November 2020.

    The most exciting developments in the virtual concert space, to me, were the concerts that took place in the "metaverse," or virtual gaming spaces. Travis Scott's Fortnite(Opens in a new tab) performance(Opens in a new tab)(Opens in a new tab), or Lil Nas X's debut of his single in the social gaming platform Roblox, are a delight to watch because of the avatar fans bopping and dancing around the virtual world. Cathy Hackl, the futurist moderator for a panel about the Metaverse, said that Lil Nas X's Roblox performance left her son "speechless." Watching a video of the event, the teenage YouTube narrator keeps saying over and over again "this is amazing."

    Streamed concerts and live social media Q&As are all ways for artists to reach beyond the physical walls of a music venue. More technologically advanced shows, like Billie Eilish's virtual concert(Opens in a new tab) complete with AR effects, might actually excite fans and make artists some money.

    Some acts have gone whole hog in embracing the deepening relationship between tech and music.

    One panel featured a partner at famed Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz alongside the ubiquitous pop-EDM outfit The Chainsmokers. They extolled the joining of music, tech, and entrepreneurship, and discussed The Chainsmoker's new venture capital fund(Opens in a new tab) and one of their investments, the blockchain-based ticketing platform YellowHeart(Opens in a new tab).

    "We had the same mentality about how to approach our music career with kind of a business mind," Andrew Taggart, one of the Chainsmokers, said. "When we started meeting founders, there was a parallel between someone starting a company, and someone starting a band."

    Not every artist may be so eager, or enthusiastic, about blending music, business, and tech. Some in the industry worry that while the tech opportunities may benefit big artists with the support of large teams, smaller artists will end up working more for less.

    "Most artists don't have experts that are helping them with their social media strategies," Tom Windish, a longtime talent agent said in a panel. "Why would they? They're experts at the thing they do, being a creator, and there's all this other stuff they're expected to do really well."

    Whether the opportunities outweigh the pitfalls, it's clear the technological shift will have lasting effects for artists and fans.

    During the metaverse panel, Roblox's head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, noted that for some kids, "this was not only a virtual concert, but this was their first concert ever."

    Kids delighted by "live" music are exciting for both financially-motivated industry execs, and for people who just believe that more music in the world is a good thing. Considering the reality of what so many kids' first concerts might be, however, I couldn't stop thinking about mine: In a club, surrounded by strangers, feeling the bass vibrate through our bodies all at once. Once this pandemic is over, I hope the Roblox kids get to feeling that, too.

    Related Video: This opera house put on a concert for plants

  • Taylor Swifts Eras tour presale breaks Ticketmaster

    Taylor Swifts Eras tour presale breaks Ticketmaster

    Ahead of Verified Fan presale for Taylor Swift's highly anticipated Eras Tour, Ticketmaster promptly broke like a promise.


    People started reporting problems with Ticketmaster on DownDetector(Opens in a new tab) starting at 9 a.m. EST and peaking around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. (DownDetector is owned by Ziff Davis, Mashable parent company.) Verified fan presale for the Eras Tour began at 10 a.m., and Ticketmaster immediately started trending on Twitter. We know all too well how challenging securing tickets on Ticketmaster has become, and Swift has released four albums and re-recorded two albums since her last tour in 2018, making the desire to see her at an all-time high.

    SEE ALSO: For fans, Ticketmaster is misery business

    The Ticketmaster website warned fans that the seating chart for buying tickets would not reflect availability, and it's a mystery how after so many website crashes and ticket scalpers jacking up prices that a better system has not been put in place.

    Swifties are in a gold rush to buy tickets and tweeting their way through the pain of the purple, 2000+ queue to buy tickets.

    For the Swifties who weren't the lucky ones chosen for Verified Fan presale, it was even more painful. When Verified Fan selection emails arrived in inboxes on Monday (Nov. 14), the timeline was flooded with fans celebrating getting presale codes or cursing the treacherous website's name for passing them by.

    Dear reader, this is only the Verified Fan presale. Brace yourself for Capital One credit carder holder presale at 2 p.m. and general sale on Nov. 18. This is going to be all a certain sector of the internet will be talking about until the end of the week. And to all Swifites in the ticketing trenches, may "Karma" be on your side.

  • The search for Michael Scott’s Hawaiian shirt from The Office

    The search for Michael Scott’s Hawaiian shirt from The Office

    Like any good mystery, my endless journey began innocently enough. Neo taking a phone call. Lebowski and a piss-soaked rug. Alice falling down the rabbit-hole.


    I was watching TV, and I tweeted. (Both things I do too much.) That simple tweet would lead me to years of messages, random Reddit threads, and Instagram DMs with a costume warehouse.

    The mystery in question? A Hawaiian shirt that I simply needed to find. But not just any Hawaiian shirt. Michael Scott's Hawaiian shirt from The Office's Season 3 episode "The Convention." It's orange and floral, a resplendent piece of Microsoft Office merchandise.

    Here's the tweet I sent all the way back in 2019.

    See, I am a connoisseur(Opens in a new tab) of Hawaiian shirts(Opens in a new tab) — long before they back in fashion — and a somewhat obsessive fan of The Office. OK "somewhat" is an understatement: I basically wrote a book while ranking every episode for Mashable.

    This shirt was my white whale. But I didn't realize a screenshot, plus "my kingdom to anyone who can locate," would take years to (kinda sorta) resolve.

    SEE ALSO: All 185 episodes of 'The Office,' ranked

    When the tweet got a few likes, I decided to actually look for it. It started simple. I messaged the Microsoft Office(Opens in a new tab) and Microsoft company store(Opens in a new tab) accounts on Facebook. No dice. Not even a response. Now, to be clear, at this point I wasn't even reporting a story. I just really wanted that beautiful shirt and was doing my best to locate it. This was a personal journey.

    Over the next few days, I began reaching out to my network, until a friend of mine, similarly obsessed with my quest, suggested I get in touch with the show's costume designer. Carey Bennett(Opens in a new tab), who worked on The Office for its first four seasons, gave me some good clues about the origin of the shirt. At the time, it had been more than a decade since the episode had been shot, but Bennett believed it was either something they created custom or, more likely, a free shirt gifted to the show's costume department from Microsoft.

    "Oftentimes a piece is created from scratch or is a piece that’s been altered or enhanced, which is what I originally thought was the case with this shirt," Bennett wrote in an email in 2019. "The more I thought about it though ([it's] been many years since I designed that show!) I think I remember that it had been given to us by Microsoft. We had a ton of promotional products given to us by various companies for that episode. After trying many choices we decided that Michael would definitely choose to wear the free 'schwag.'"

    That's the thing, Bennett said, every single stitch of clothing on a show is purposeful. "Each scene is like a painting and has to be composed with color and texture," they said.

    I threaded this bit of news under my original tweets about the shirt and moved on with my life. I loved the shirt but felt like I had hit a bit of a dead end. Even though I stopped my search, I thought a lot about why I even loved the shirt in the first place.

    That 2006 episode, titled "The Convention," is what I deemed the show's 28th best half-hour in my Office opus. And it's also one of my favorite episodes to rewatch. In it, Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell) twists into a pretzel of anxiety in some corporate Philly hotel that's hosting an office supplies convention. Michael is trying his best to play it cool around Jim, who transferred to the competing Stamford branch after his big swing to win over Pam failed. So Michael puts up a front around Jim, wearing this wonderfully cheesy convention swag while blasting awful techno music and sipping a cosmo in his hotel room. It's a great scene — funny at first, then heartfelt as Jim reaches out to Michael, who's hurting and perpetually lonely.

    That's all well and good, but my love for the shirt comes down to Carell's 'fit. The Dad Jeans with the floppy Hawaiian shirt tucked in: The man was ahead of his time. And I want to copy that exact outfit. It is the perfect mix of my fashion sense and my favorite show. But at this point in time, it didn't seem possible to find.

    Then a funny thing happened. I kept receiving tweets — like at least once a week — about this damn shirt. I'm talking a tweet a week for years. Somehow, my tweet appears at the top of Google when you search for the shirt, alongside a few Reddit(Opens in a new tab) threads. People asked me if I had found it. No, I'd say. Another person would ask. Nope. Rinse and repeat. Clearly, I was not alone. The DMs never stopped. I stopped replying, but I didn't forget.

    As more time passed, and the tweets kept coming, live moved on. I joined Mashable, the pandemic started, I got married, adopted a dog, and moved twice. Yet, the shirt remained in the back of my head the entire time.

    So, a years later, I rededicated myself to finding it — for content, yes, but also for my own peace of mind. First, I asked Bennett if they remembered anything else about the shirt's origins. No luck. Then, I turned to Universal. The show filmed on the Universal Studios lot throughout its run, and Universal was also involved in the production and distribution of The Office. Bennett had suggested that if the shirt lived anywhere, it was "most likely lost in the enormous costume warehouse" at Universal Studios. I found an Instagram account(Opens in a new tab) associated with the costume department, sent a message in July, and hoped for the best. The account hardly posts, so I didn't think they'd respond. However, after about a month, they got back to me and promised to search their archives. Holy shit, I thought, while pondering the journalist ethics of asking to buy the shirt if they found it. I also checked my bank account to see how much I'd willingly spend.

    As it turns out, I should have been preparing for heartbreak.

    "We checked with our Archives team and unfortunately that is not a shirt we have in our inventory," the account wrote back.

    Undeterred, I immediately checked in with Microsoft. A representative got back to me quickly, saying, "We’re looking into it! It might be tricky to track down." After a few follow-ups, they told me it was a busy time for the company and to check back in a few weeks later. (Honestly, that's kind of a fair, considering this was a rather silly quest.)

    Before we go any further, a point of order: There are knockoffs out there for purchase. Nothing against the knockoffs, but this offering from Vinco(Opens in a new tab) is a clear replica. It's not the correct material, the design is a bit off, and it's sold on a website I wouldn't immediately trust.

    My hope was to find the shirt, or at least its origins. If this was a bit of free gear for Microsoft employees, for instance, I'd want one from a Microsoft worker's attic. If it was a one-off for the show... at least I'd have an answer of some sort.

    Well, I have good news and bad news. I have arrived, years later, at about half of an answer. Microsoft did get back to me with some notes from its archives team.

    "The Microsoft Office shirt featured in the Office TV show appears to be custom for the episode and character," a representative wrote in an email.

    In other words, they believe it was a one-off creation for the show. The team linked out to a post(Opens in a new tab) on the subreddit r/DunderMifflin from about a year ago. It wasn't a super popular post but the user, u/dontthroworanges(Opens in a new tab), seemed to have found an unaltered version of the shirt.

    The Reddit user wrote:

    I found the shirt with a bit of info and a cool story. So I too had been looking for this shirt for years. Dead end after dead end. Until... I came across some high resolution photos posted on Getty from this episode in where you could barely make our [sic] the brand and logo of the manufacturer of the shirt. So I stared at it for a while and made the discovery it's an "Eagle Dry Goods Signature Series" shirt. In doing some basic searching of the brand they primarily dealt I'm [sic] promotional products hence why Microsoft used them for this swag. So, then I hopped on eBay and bang! There it was in all it's glory. The shirt I had been looking for for so long. A few clicks later and the shirt was mine.

    Reddit(Opens in a new tab)

    There it was. Just like that. Someone had gotten to it before me. I fired up Getty Images, and this appears to be the image in question. If you zoom in and focus, you can just barely make out the brand name.

    God, I want this shirt. Credit: Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

    When you Google "Eagle Dry Goods Signature Series," you don't get much. It appears to be either a brand within the company Uniforms USA(Opens in a new tab) or a brand sold by the company back in the day. Uniforms USA makes workwear. Online, I found a digital copy of the 2008 Eagle Dry Goods catalogue(Opens in a new tab) through Uniforms USA, which on Page 39 has a very, very familiar looking shirt.

    Familiar, no? Credit: Uniforms USA

    The design, called the "seaside camp shirt," appears to be the exact same as Michael's Hawaiian shirt in the episode. It's tough to tell if the color matches exactly. It's worth noting this catalogue came out well after "The Convention" would've filmed, so Michael's shirt might've been an outdated colorway by 2008.

    I've reached out to both Reddit user dontthroworanges, as well as Uniform USA, for further details but have yet to receive a response. I'll update down the line if I hear back. But at this point, there's not too much else to uncover. It's clear the shirt in The Office was made by Eagle Dry Goods. Unfortunately, if there are any more of the camp shirts floating around out in the ether, they're not for sale on eBay or elsewhere.

    This all seems to suggest that Microsoft's theory was correct. Maybe someone found a Hawaiian shirt that Michael would wear, plastered it with a Microsoft Office logo, and off they went. It also seems possible Microsoft PR made a few of these and sent them out. The exact origin remains a bit unclear.

    In short: I still don't have the shirt. Disappointing, I know.

    Now, the good news: I do have a knockoff. After years of searching, my brother bit the bullet for me and bought a replica off a questionable site.

    Close, but not 100 percent. Credit: Mashable

    The material is polyester and spandex. It feels sort of like a swimsuit but it is light, which will be nice in the summer. The color seems similar to Michael's shirt, as does the design. But it's just not the same. All in all, not a bad knockoff. It would make a great Halloween costume or a summer 'fit at the beach in late August.

    To be clear, I'm not giving up my search just because I have a knockoff. I emailed the Office Ladies podcast (Opens in a new tab)asking for help — hosts Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer, who played Angela and Pam, respectively, love investigating these sorts of weird things from their show. I'd also love to hear from anyone and everyone who might have a clue. (Here's looking at you, Steve Carell.)

    That's what I've got for now: a knockoff and half an answer. Even after years of looking and sending countless messages, I still cannot escape Michael Scott's Hawaiian shirt.

  • People are promising to post their nudes if Biden wins Texas

    People are promising to post their nudes if Biden wins Texas

    Listen, on this dumpster fire of a day, we'll take any morale boost we can.


    Which is why, at the height of election night anxiety, Twitter users are promising to post their nudes if Texas goes blue.

    With 38 electoral votes at stake, Texas has significant weight in giving a candidate the 270 votes needed to secure a presidential win. The state has historically voted(Opens in a new tab) red, and it voted for Donald Trump during the 2016 election. In 2020, though, things appeared much tighter during early ballot counting.

    Texas voting blue, though, is such an aspirational reach that Twitter users pledged that if it does happen — which is unlikely this election cycle, but could be an eventual reality(Opens in a new tab) — they'll post various risqué photos on main.

    Again, the last four years have been so bleak that we'll take whatever levity we can get!