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Friday Deals: Lenovo Z50, Vizio 49-inch Smart TV, Transparent [U]

01/25, 6:32pm

[Updated Sunday with more deals!] Welcome to the latest edition of Friday Deals, the post where we search for great deals on hardware, software, gadgets, and other items for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As per normal, the prices for offers listed are correct at the time of posting, but may change in the meantime, so check before buying. Remember to check this post in the future, as more deals will be added to the list throughout the weekend.

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WalMart ships Vudu Spark video streaming HDMI dongle

01/24, 2:03pm

WalMart has commenced sales on the Vudu Spark video streamer on its website, in addition to 2,500 stores US-wide. The HDMI dongle is, as expected, a one-feature device intended only to provide streaming content from the Walmart Vudu service powered by a USB port, controlled by a dedicated remote control. Connectivity is through 802.11n Wi-Fi. Resolutions supported include 1080p 60Hz, with the addition of 7.1 surround sound audio.

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FTC: Dish Network liable for 57 million illicit telemarketing calls

01/24, 11:41am

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided that Dish Network is liable for making 57 million phone calls in flagrant violation of telemarketing laws, including calling members of the "Do Not Call" list established by the US Government. A trial has been set for July in Illinois, with penalties of up to $16,000 possible for each violation. The Department of Justice filed the complaint at the FTC's request in March 2009. The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, is jointly litigating the case with four state co-plaintiffs -- California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.

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MO lawmaker proposes requiring ID for Google Wallet, Apple Pay sales

01/24, 9:59am

A St. Louis, Missouri governmental official sees weakness in electronic payment security, and is seeking to mandate identification presentation in conjunction with an Apple Pay transaction, or other similar electronic payments. Democrat Joshua Peters from Missouri's state House of Representatives bill will, if passed into law, not only mandate sales staff to verify the identity of the purchaser, but retain this information as well.

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Briefly: Blue Hummingbird launches, Yamaha AG03, AG06 mixers revealed

01/23, 9:03pm

Blue unveiled its Hummingbird Class A small-diaphragm microphone at NAMM. Based on the Blue B1's cardioid capsule, the Hummingbird has a head that rotates 180 degrees, measures just 70mm (6.7 inches) tall, and offers a signal-to-noise ratio of 85.5dB-A and a maximum sound pressure level of 130dB. Shipping later this spring, the Hummingbird will cost $300.

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Microsoft updates Windows 10 Technical Preview with Cortana

01/23, 5:58pm

Microsoft has made the latest version of its Windows 10 Technical Preview available to download by the participants of the Windows Insider program. The update introduces some of major features shown off during this week's Windows 10 event, with the Spartan browser and the Xbox One game streaming expected to arrive in Insider builds closer to launch.

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Apple, Google, Rdio, Sony sued over pre-1972 music royalties

01/23, 1:08pm

A new lawsuit has targeted Google, Rdio, Sony, and Apple (including Beats Music) over the music royalties associated with pre-1972 recordings, new reports say. Zenbu Magazines, which owns copyrights on many pre-1972 songs, says that the companies have been making money streaming recordings without paying their copyright holders. Within US copyright law, compositions have been protected since 1831, but sound recordings were only added in 1972, meaning that while owners of pre-1972 compositions have been paid for public performances, people holding equally-aged recording rights typically haven't.

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Sony starts accepting compensation claims for 2011 PlayStation breach

01/23, 11:28am

Sony is providing compensation to PlayStation Network users in the United States affected by a major breach in April 2011, half a year after agreeing to a settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit. The original attack, resulting in the closure of the online service and Qriocity for close to a month, risked the personal data and payment details of more than 77 million accounts.

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Apple extends Crimean measures to block product sales and shipments

01/23, 9:45am

Apple has extended its actions against Russia by blocking authorized retailers from selling or shipping products in Crimea in accordance with sanctions, reports say. The measure was first mentioned on Twitter by blogger and consultant Eldar Murtazin, and then picked up by Russian media. The move follows the ">termination of all developer agreements with Apple and software makers located in the region. The measures take effect on February 1.

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Verizon updates prepaid plans, confirms will not offer rollover data

01/23, 8:18am

Verizon will not be joining competitors AT&T and T-Mobile in providing a rollover data plan to its customers, its chief financial officer Fran Shammo has advised. The denial comes at the same time the carrier introduces updates to its prepaid plans, with a focus on providing more data and more options to add more data if required.

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Surface RT will miss out on majority of Windows 10 upgrades

01/23, 7:18am

Owners of the Microsoft Surface will not receive the full upgrade to Windows 10, but will still benefit from some updates, a report claims. While Microsoft will be making the next version of its operating system available to systems running Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, including the Surface Pro range, the Windows RT-based Surface will be missing out.

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Telefonica, Hutchison Whampoa confirm negotiations over O2 acquisition

01/23, 5:54am

Telefonica, owner of British carrier O2, and Hutchison Whampoa, the parent company of competitor Three, have confirmed they are in talks over a potential acquisition, following earlier reports. The two have entered "exclusive negotiations," which could see O2 change hands for an estimated £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion) if discussions between the executive teams succeed.

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T-Mobile 'Smartphone Equality' to help customers with poor credit

01/22, 9:13pm

T-Mobile will be making it easier for any of their customers to buy a new smartphone, by helping those with poor credit. A new initiative called Smartphone Equality will allow customers who have successfully paid their bills on time for the previous 12 months to qualify for their device financing deals, regardless of their credit rating.

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Vessel launches with exclusive video content for $3 subscription

01/22, 8:39pm

Vessel, a video streaming service set to take on YouTube, has opened itself up to the public in beta. Unlike Google's video site, Vessel aims to offer professional videos from content creators, including web series and TV segments, with users able to pay a subscription price to watch new releases from videographers they follow before anyone else.

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IK Multimedia rolls out universal iRig Mic Studio condenser microphone

01/22, 3:12pm

Music hardware and software developer IK Multimedia today announced the iRig Mic Studio, its ultra-portable large-diaphragm digital condenser microphone for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC and Android. The iRig Mic Studio packs a one-inch diameter condenser capsule into an ultra-compact enclosure that can be used to make professional recordings anywhere.

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