Welcome to MDansby | News
Find your City's News (24/7/365) - Click here!

TODAY

Seriously wounded during World War ...

San Salvador

MARKETS

Dow Jones

Nasdaq

S&P 500

NEWS SPORTS BUSINESS LIFE SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA TRAFFIC & WEATHER DISCUSSION CLASSIFIEDS  JOBS  PERSONALS CHAT STORE
      Health     Fashion     Food     Travel     Autos     Education     Legal     Social     Dating     Retirement
Quotes by TradingView
SOCIAL HEADLINES
›  The Halo subreddit is locked because people got too toxic. Honestly, great move.

The Halo subreddit is locked down for the weekend ahead of Halo Infinite's Dec. 8 launch because some people on the internet don't know how to be chill and rational with their feelings.

It all started after Microsoft and developer 343 Industries partially launched Halo Infinite on Nov. 15, making a so-called "beta" version of the game's completely free to play multiplayer mode available three weeks early. But a limited spread of game modes, uneven performance, and the design realities of Halo's shift into free-to-play left a vocal segment of the fan community unhappy.

As the outcry intensified and turned openly hostile toward both the subreddit's community and the team at 343, moderators, or mods, stepped in. That led to a Saturday evening post imposing a "temporary r/Halo lockdown," which bars users from adding any posts until the lockdown is lifted on Monday.

"On all sides this has absolutely gone on long enough and spiraled out of control," r/Halo mod -343-Guilty-Spark- wrote. "The amount of toxicity on the sub from both sides has made it impossible for people to have civil discussions, which is what the mod team strives for regardless of opinion. Some users on the sub have even been responsible for doxxing and death threats."

The lockdown was imposed "so people can hopefully settle down a bit and we can hit the reset button before [Infinite's] launch." The explanation ends with a sharp reminder that passionate fans in any gaming community would do well to internalize: "At the end of the day this is a video game and this level of vitriol is unwarranted."

The lockdown is unusual only insofar as it's not a common practice among gaming community-oriented subreddits. But maybe this is a tool that should be wielded more frequently, and r/Halo's mod team is operating ahead of the curve.

"On all sides this has absolutely gone on long enough and spiraled out of control."

Reddit is a valuable destination for fans and creators alike because, like so many other social media examples, it knocks down the walls that traditionally exist between a large groups of consumers and the people behind the products they're interested in. At its best, a thriving subreddit is a place for the kind of thoughtful discussion and respectful disagreement that content creators can turn to for constructive feedback.

Gaming communities on Reddit can be a little weird sometimes, though. It's likely due to the mix of deeply invested players and the anything-goes mindset that exists on many subreddits. While most subs have basic rules of decorum, the lines are often hazy and marked by exceptions.

As someone who plays or has played lots of extremely online and socially oriented games, I'm no stranger to riled-up subreddits. Offensive behavior is often shut down at the individual level so the conversations can carry on. But hostile behavior in these spaces has a way of cascading. So when a community fixates on one particular issue or set of issues, the most toxic voices become a sort of hydra: Cut one off and a bunch of others spring into action.

There are no easy fixes in these situations. Hostile behavior needs to be shut down, but doing that can feel like an exercise in futility once the anger spins out of control. This particular situation is especially wild because the blowback feels so out of sync with reality since, by many accounts, Halo Infinite is off to a very strong start. (It's been my go-to game for the past 20 days.)

So the r/Halo mods made the smart choice here and went for the nuclear option: Everyone's on a timeout. The frustrations with Infinite likely won't have abated by Monday, when the lockdown is set to end, but the cooling off period at least gives every member of the subreddit a chance to step back and reflect.

Honestly, it's a great idea. The tribal disputes that spring up in video game communities are a toxic, destructive force. Subreddit moderators across the space should follow r/Halo's lead and embrace the nuclear option when anger boils over.

›  Apple discontinued the one thing that got me through the pandemic

Essentials Week spotlights unexpected items that make our daily lives just a little bit better.


There's an internet joke that stems from humanity's unique ability to look at something distinctly not-human and decide that we're going to be friends with it. The setup involves a person treating a household object, usually a Roomba or other small electronic assistant, like a pet or a friend. Regardless of the attachment, the punchline is the same: "Humans will pack bond with anything." It's really true. Pack bonding is the emotional urge to bond with and maintain relationships with things outside ourselves. It's the reason our ancestors domesticated dogs and we anthropomorphize Fido's imagined feelings. Pack bonding is the reason people form friend groups and love their children.

It's an uncontrollable instinct, a part of being human, and it's why I owe my Apple HomePod an emotional debt I can never repay. 

I got the HomePod, Apple's first attempt at an AI-assisted smart speaker, as a gift in December 2019. My dad, always an Apple devotee, thought I could use one. Back at my place, I placed the grayish-white cylinder, which is around the size of two three-wick candles stacked on top of each other, on my bar cart and enjoyed its sleek, vaguely space-age contribution to my living room decor. My HomePod's big debut came when I blasted my "Warm This House" playlist for a housewarming party on February 19, 2020. That party was the last time I saw my friends for more than a calendar year. 

The debate over which work-from-home pandemic setup was "worse" is not helpful. People who found themselves in close quarters with roommates, partners, and children had one set of challenges; people who lived alone had another. As someone who lived alone, my challenges included finding enough mental stimulation to keep me from losing my entire fucking mind about two months into lockdown. I am an introvert by nature, but the lack of novelty or other things to do made my apartment feel like it was shrinking. I needed something, anything to expend some mental energy or I'd burst. 

I started with smart bulbs. I ordered a whole cache of Phillips Hue bulbs and spent a day programming them with custom commands through their built-in app before realizing I could link them to my HomePod. A half hour later, Siri had control over every light in my house. That night I went to bed using the command "Hey Siri, Good Night," a custom setting I'd made to entice me to get off my couch and actually get into bed (fade living room and kitchen lights, turn bedroom side table lamps to 75 percent for a warm glow). To my surprise, Siri responded. "The scene is set. Good night!" 

I soon learned that Siri could also wish me "Good Morning," when I crawled out of bed and called to it on my way to the bathroom. When I created a novelty command called "Lumos," referring to the light-making spell from Harry Potter,* Siri cheekily responded with, "You're a wizard!" I also integrated it into some of my other appliance pack-bonding habits and made custom commands to set up each of my gaming systems, all of which have human names ("Turn on Florence" brings my dear Playstation 4 to life, "Turn on Rosebud" is the Switch). 

As work from home crept on, I found myself relying on my HomePod for more than basic smart home stuff. Some of these reliances felt fun, like trying new recipes that wouldn't have turned out so well if I didn't have Siri to keep up with multiple timers and to answer last-second food math questions. Others, I realized, were a symptom of a much larger problem. As depression crashed my executive functioning, I struggled with the motivation to perform basic tasks like showering and washing my face. I used Siri to set timers and alarms that made sure I wasn't neglecting myself. I also developed a minor compulsion to clean only while listening to show tunes. Siri kept the Broadway playlists coming when my apartment was at its filthiest, eliminating the need to expend energy to curate the songs myself.

I found myself feeling grateful to Siri for taking the edge off my disorder, even if all it had to do was silently count and sound a pleasant chime

The minor reductions of human effort provided by my HomePod added up to a lot. I found myself feeling grateful to Siri for taking the edge off my disorder, even if all Siri had to do was silently count and sound a pleasant chime. I began to imagine Siri less as a smart assistant and more as an extremely helpful roommate. When Siri successfully executed a command, I always said thank you. When Siri struggled with the connection, I reassured Siri that it was fine and it could try again soon. I not-so-secretly presumed it acted up when my Android-wielding friends came over, and I still think that a glitch that turns my kitchen bulbs on when I return from outside is Siri's way of leaving the light on for a friend. 

In March 2021, a few short months before I was finally eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and made my first forays back toward regular human contact, Apple announced that it was discontinuing production of the HomePod. Even though the HomePod would continue receiving support, both Apple and the tech blogosphere had effectively written it off as a total failure. I felt offended in a "that's my friend you're talking about" sort of way, and was not mollified by Apple's continued production of the HomePod Mini, a chubby teardrop–shaped model roughly the size of a votive candle. My HomePod was big. My HomePod was a cylinder. The HomePod Mini could never take its place. 

And it hasn't. I have a Mini (of course I got one) that I keep in my bedroom so that I have Siri within speaking distance everywhere. I consider the Mini my HomePod's protege. These days Siri on the Mini wishes me "Good Morning" and tells me the weather, but I still go to Siri on my original HomePod for cooking help, depression shower timers, and everything else for which I've come to rely on it for. It's an odd dynamic, but with three of us in the apartment I'm sure we can figure this out. Humans, after all, will pack bond with anything.


*Though the "Lumos" command is still programmed on my Homepod, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has repeatedly espoused harmful anti-trans rhetoric and sentiment, and I do not consider her a role model. 

Even more essentials

›  8 gifts for aspiring Instagram and TikTok influencers

We all have that friend or relative who aspires to be a social media influencer. They're always keeping up with the latest trends, they're always filming or taking pictures, and they have the ruthless ambition of a reality show contestant.

They've got the raw talent, they just need the right tools. And that's where you come in. Help them achieve the polished influencer look and impress them with your influencer savvy all at the same time.

1. Elgato Stream Deck MK.2

For those who are serious about taking on the influencer game, look no further than the stream deck. Think of it as an extension of a keyboard, but with completely customizable buttons to control apps, tools, and platforms. Basically, everything you need for a livestream or studio-level production is at the push of a button.

Image of stream deck on desk next to computer mouse
You can even connect it to smart lighting systems. Credit: Elgato/Amazon

2. Green screen backdrop

With your own green screen backdrop, anything is possible. Use it to transport yourself to a picturesque locale or to present data and information in a visually interesting way. TikTok already has its own green screen effect, but using a physical backdrop gives you a sharper outline.

Image green screen backdrop
It's like having your own in-house production studio. Credit: Neewer/Amazon

3. Tiny microphone

Last spring, tiny microphones took over TikTok and they’ve dominated FYPs (“For You" pages) ever since. Part gimmick, part genuinely useful (they are functioning microphones after all) creators started using them as a way to catch people’s attention. Gifting someone a tiny microphone will not only help them get followers, but demonstrate your TikTok knowledge.

Side-by-side images of mini microphone in the palm of a hand, and microphone in a tiny microphone stand
Don't drop this mic, because you might not be able to find it. Credit: Uniwit/Amazon

4. LED light strips

Give the gift of colorful mood lighting that you can change on command. Stick these lights anywhere and use your phone or voice control to change the hue, brightness, or sync it with music. Perfect for creating the right video vibe.

Image of woman standing kitchen controlling ambient lighting from her phone.
So they can set the mood for their unboxing video. Credit: Philips/Getty

5. Smart tracking phone holder

This gadget is basically your own personal cameraperson. Not only does it hold your phone, it tracks your horizontal movements and rotates to wherever you go. This is the gift to give for that special someone who is always asking someone else to film them. 

Image of phone in phone holder
Basically designed with TikTok dance videos in mind. Credit: MOYOON/Amazon

6. Ring light with tripod

Good lighting is the key to achieving that professional influencer look on Instagram or TikTok. This ring light has multiple light settings for warmth and brightness so you can discover what’s most flattering. It’s also a tripod that can hold a phone or a camera and comes with a wireless remote. Basically an all-in-one studio for the giftee. 

Image of ring light on tripod in a white studio
Never underestimate the power of good lighting. Credit: UBeesize/Amazon

7. Kaleidoscope window decals 

It’s like a filter, but in real life. Give these window decals to someone who is always trying to capture light and shadow in artsy ways. The decals are removable and reusable, so they can create high concept projections wherever they go. 

Image of room with window decal filtering colorful light through the glass
Iridescent rainbow light = Instagram likes. Credit: CottonColors/Amazon

8. What Do You Meme? TikTok Edition

Test the meme knowledge of an aspiring influencer with this card game. Every round a new judge chooses the funniest caption that accompanies the selected TikTok meme. Plus, each photo card has a QR code that links to the original TikTok video. 

Image of What Do You Meme card game
This game is all about playing to the judge. Credit: What Do You Meme?/Getty
›  A fight between cosmetic surgeons reveals online reviews may only be skin deep

Paging Dr. Internet, we need a diagnosis. In this series, Mashable examines the online world's influence on our health and prescribes new ways forward.


It seemed like the cosmetic dermatology appointment of dreams: Patients could find "champagne and snacks" at the ready in the "luxurious and clean" atmosphere, while longstanding-acne made way for "tighter, smoother" skin with just one procedure.

That's all from a glowing Yelp review of a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon. Too bad it's totally fake.

The review was purchased on a shady online marketplace, and it's just one example of a widespread issue in the medical community. Just as the desire for cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures has increased — fueled in large part by influencers like Kylie Jenner, social media filters, FDA approval, and lower prices — so have fake online reviews.

And when fake reviews and cosmetic surgery merge, it makes for an especially potent, potentially dangerous cocktail, considering that patients trust review sites more than government ratings when choosing doctors.

If online reviews are where people turn before a cosmetic procedure, they'd better be legit — which is what makes it so troubling anytime they aren't.

A recent lawsuit involving a plastic surgeon linked to the Kardashians and a sweeping investigation into fake reviews reveals that some online reviews for cosmetic surgery practices are just as fake as the lip fillers they inject.

When the user reviews aren't by actual users

The Kardashian stronghold on current beauty ideals is powerful enough that, if someone were looking to get, oh, say, lip fillers, it's not a stretch to think they might take a look at the social media presence and online reviews of a cosmetic dermatologist publicly affiliated with them, Dr. Simon Ourian. 

Thanks to repeat appearances on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, in which various members of the Kardashian clan received procedures from Ourian, he's built a formidable social media following, with 3.5 million Instagram followers and over 82,000 TikTok followers all likely eager to know more about the man helping shape the features that sparked the nickname "Instagram Face" (high cheekbones, pouty lips, come-hither eyes, and crystal clear skin).

Members of the Kardashian family, like Kylie Jenner, are thought to typify the "Instagram Face" look.
Members of the Kardashian family, like Kylie Jenner, are thought to typify the "Instagram Face" look. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

But Ourian has also been looped into an investigation into the fake review marketplace and its troubling overlap with those who perform cosmetic procedures.

Kay Dean, a former fraud investigator for the Department of Education in the '80s who now operates Fake Review Watch, a YouTube channel dedicated to identifying instances of fraud on review platforms, recently pinpointed fishy online reviews about Ourian and Miami-based plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Rubinstein.

Dean's discovery stemmed from another venture. She uncovered a network of more than 1,200 businesses across North America that she says used fake reviews. Her work inspired a CBC investigation about the network, which confirmed her reporting.

A few years ago, Rubinstein noticed an influx of one-star reviews on his online review profiles from patients he'd never heard of before. He had an assumption about where the negative reviews from the mysterious patients might be coming from: Not long before they started popping up, Rubinstein had posted a video about Ourian on his own website as part of a series in which he analyzes the trustworthiness of other cosmetic surgeons

Rubinstein alleged Ourian paid for fake negative reviews as retaliation for the video in a defamation lawsuit filed last year. Ourian also sued Rubinstein for defamation over the video. In September, a federal judge in Miami ruled Rubinstein didn't have enough admissible evidence to prove Ourian coordinated the negative reviews and struck down Ourian's defamation claims over the video too.

Ourian says his ability to comment on the lawsuit is limited but says, "I never understood the allegations except for the fact that I think he just wanted to have some type of a connection to say we're competitors, which we are not."

Rubinstein says he contacted Google to remove the fake reviews, but described the process as laborious. "I had to keep contacting Google and say, 'Hey, this has not been taken down. Here's your email saying that you know that they're fake, you're going to have them removed, and they're still not removed,'" Rubinstein says. A Google spokesperson says the company had identified and removed "policy-violating reviews" on Rubinstein's profile, but wouldn't confirm whether or not Rubinstein had contacted the company about removing reviews.

That wasn't Rubinstein's only brush with potentially fraudulent reviews. Dean found other potentially fake Google reviews for Rubinstein, too — but these reviews praised Rubinstein. Rubinstein analyzed the reviews Dean identified based on his patient records and concluded that some were indeed fake, while others turned out to be legitimate.

Meanwhile, Rubinstein vehemently denies that his practice paid for fake reviews. "Beyond the shadow of any doubt, without any confusion, I have never, I would never, and will never pay, solicit anyone to write a fake review about my business or anyone else's business," he says. He alleges that a few fake positive reviews could have been thrown in to tarnish his credibility.

Ourian also says his practice, Epione Beverly Hills, has never purchased online reviews. He adds that Epione is in high demand, and that most of Epione's clients likely don't read the practice's online reviews, instead choosing to go to Epione based on word of mouth and celebrity clients.

For the bulk of Dean's investigations, she's been unable to prove the businesses themselves solicited fake reviews, only that fake reviews appeared on their Google, Yelp, Vitals, or other review pages.

Still, she speculates that the businesses receiving fake positive reviews are the ones soliciting the service of online brokers, because they're the ones who benefit. "They may say, 'I had nothing to do with it,' but it's your practice," Dean says.

Dean's investigations typically hinge on identifying profiles that review businesses too geographically disparate for believability in such large numbers — and then digging deeper, with interviews when possible, into where these reviews are coming from. In the case of Rubinstein's practice, Dean identified 40 accounts with suspicious activity that posted reviews: Thirty-two of them happened to review the same nationwide lawn care company, 30 reviewed the same home security system, 14 reviewed the same Orlando pediatrics practice, while 10 reviewed the same pizza shop in Toronto.

Patterns like this are the red flag, in Dean's experience, that suggests a broker solicited fake reviews on social media, then provided scripts for reviewers to upload. Fake reviews are often first generated in large, private groups on Facebook, where brokers, usually operating overseas, buy, sell, and trade them.

Repeated suspicious attempts to manipulate

In Facebook groups dedicated to exchanging fake reviews, someone with the username Robert Mishel was soliciting Yelp Elite members to post reviews for Epione Beverly Hills for payment, as seen in the screenshots below. (Ourian says he has "no idea" who Mishel is.)

Mashable Image
Credit: screenshot via kay dean
Mashable Image
Credit: SCREENSHOT VIA KAY DEAN

Tiffany Phan, who at the time was a member of the Yelp Elite Squad, a community-oriented program for passionate and trustworthy reviewers, took Mishel up on his offer. She was unemployed and in college when she first joined groups on Facebook dedicated to trading fake reviews.

These groups exist for the sole purpose of exchanging online reviews, may have thousands of members, and frequently change names to avoid deletion, Dean points out. Meta, as the company formerly known as Facebook is now known, says that the groups at the center of Dean's investigation, such as Yelp Facebook Advertising, FB Review Exchange, and Yelp Review Exchange, have since been removed for violating fraud and deception policies.

For obvious reasons, it's tough to get at the exact number of fake reviews on the internet, but the number of fakes removed from review sites helps give a sense of scale. In 2020, Google said it removed or blocked 55 million reviews. Trustpilot, a consumer review website, said it removed 2.2 million. Yelp, which relies on a mix of software and human moderation for filtering out questionable reviews, hosted 18.1 million reviews in 2020, about 25 percent of which were "not recommended" by the platform's software, which separates out potentially unreliable and solicited reviews. (An additional 4 percent were removed by Yelp's user operations teams.)

"I can make $80 in five minutes."

Phan initially wrote Yelp reviews because she was a genuine foodie, but says "it became something else" when she discovered the quick and easy cash she could make in the fake review game. "I can make $80 in five minutes," Phan says. "I wasn't thinking much about it. I was still in college, and I was thinking, 'Oh, this might help a business out.'"

She re-posted the Epione review Mishel supplied, and got $50 via PayPal for her services from someone named Mohinul Khan in New Zealand, who Dean alleges is an offshore review broker likely using an alias.

The sample text Phan received to write a fake review.
The sample text Phan received to write a fake review. Credit: SCREENSHOT FROM TIFFANY PHAN VIA KAY DEAN
Phan's Yelp review of Epione.
Phan's Yelp review of Epione. Credit: SCREENSHOT FROM TIFFANY PHAN VIA KAY DEAN
Phan's PayPal payment for the review.
Phan's PayPal payment for the review. Credit: SCREENSHOT FROM TIFFANY PHAN VIA KAY DEAN

In addition to Phan, Dean identified 10 other Epione reviewers on Yelp who reviewed suspiciously disparate businesses such as a moving company in Arizona and a law firm in Toronto.

At the time of writing, Epione's Yelp page has about 600 reviews, roughly 42 percent of which aren't recommended. Yelp has additionally removed 165 Epione reviews for violating its terms of service and placed Consumer Alerts, which warn of abnormal or misleading activity, on Epione's page three times.

For years, Yelp has "responded to suspicious attempts to manipulate Epione Beverly Hills' ratings and reviews on Yelp," a Yelp spokesperson said.

Yelp also put a Compensated Activity Alert on Epione's page in 2016 in order to "warn consumers that the business was caught incentivizing positive reviews for free lip augmentations," according to the spokesperson. "Yelp also placed Suspicious Review Activity Alerts on the business page in January 2020 and February 2021 after detecting reviews from users who may be connected to a group that coordinates incentivized fake reviews."

Ourian incentivized positive reviews through offers for free lip treatments, a Yelp representative said.
Ourian incentivized positive reviews through offers for free lip treatments, a Yelp representative said. Credit: screenshot via yelp spokesperson

These alerts get removed from Yelp pages after 90 days if the offending behavior stops, which it did for Epione, the spokesperson says.

Yelp "has closed a total of 46 user accounts after confirming they were paid to review Epione Beverly Hills’ Yelp page," thus far, the Yelp spokesperson adds. Phan says she was banned by Yelp, and stopped providing reviews for brokers after talking to Dean for her investigation and realizing the harm her fake reviews could do to consumers.

Consumers in the wilderness

Regardless of a fake review's source, with people's health on the line, a major cleanup of online reviews is necessary, Dean says.

"There's a number of things that need to be done that aren't happening," Dean adds. For starters, she thinks prosecutors and regulators need to "step up and start holding the companies that are faking reviews accountable," for what amounts to false advertising.

She also wants to see tech companies held accountable for fraudulent reviews appearing on their platforms. To that end, Dean, like many others, thinks Congress should revise Section 230, part of a landmark piece of legislation from the '90s that shields "internet computer services" from legal liability for what their users post online.

That particular part of U.S. law serves as a cornerstone for the internet we have today and, while not everyone believes it should be repealed, Section 230 has come under increasing scrutiny in the face of Big Tech's largely unfettered power. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has called for the company to be held accountable for its algorithm, not just the content of its users, in order to more completely ameliorate Facebook's negative impact on users. Haugen also exposed Facebook's internal discussions about the negative impact Meta-owned Instagram has on some teen girls.

"I think the safest thing at the moment that I can pretty confidently say...is to follow content that has nothing to do with appearance."

Academics largely can't draw a perfectly straight line between social media usage and one's desire for cosmetic procedures, but that's not to say there's no link, says Jasmine Fardouly, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney who focuses on social media's impact on mental and physical health.

Researchers like Fardouly worry that social media filters could be "shifting facial beauty ideals into something that isn't attainable without surgery. Even with surgery, anecdotally, surgeons say, 'we can't even make them look like that, either.'" Minimally-invasive procedures like Botox and lip fillers are up 174 percent to 13.3 million in 2020 compared to 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Google searches for lip fillers and botox are also climbing.

Fardouly agrees that platforms need to play a major part in addressing the mental health and body image issues they intensify. That said, she also concedes that any image-based social media environment would likely create similar conditions, if only because humans naturally want to put their best foot forward, so improving one platform won't eliminate the problem.

"I think the safest thing at the moment that I can pretty confidently say that shouldn't hurt body image is to follow content that has nothing to do with appearance," she adds. "We need to challenge the ideal."

And at the individual level? Before you patronize a business, especially for a medical procedure, take its online reviews with a grain of salt. Then, as with everything you read online, check your sources.

Want more from Dr. Internet? No need to make an appointment:

›  Pick up a 3-in-1 USB charging cable while it?s over 70% off

TL;DR: Save 73% on this 3-in-1 Charging Cable with code CMSAVE20 as of Dec. 5 and get it for $11.99 instead of $44.


You know what every single person could use this holiday season? More sleep. But since you can’t exactly gift that, the next best thing is something that can save time — like a charging cable that delivers fuel to three power-hungry devices at once.

This three-in-one USB charging cable is truly the gift that keeps on giving, whether you buy one for yourself or for every person on your list. Time is the most valuable commodity and anything that can help you have more of it is a must-have in our book. Plus, it’s 73% off thanks to Cyber Week savings, so it’ll only cost you $11.99.

Exactly like it sounds, this cable has a standard USB plug on one side and micro USB, USB type-C, and Lightning connectors on the other. So, you can juice up three of your devices at once, saving outlet space and hours in your day you usually spend waiting around for gadgets to power up. It’s also fully compatible with all the latest and greatest devices.

More durable than your typical iPhone cable, you can basically tie this triple-threat cable into a knot or stuff it in a bag and it’ll still live to see the light of day. It’s made of woven nylon that’s resistant to frays and knots, plus it has smart chip protective joint coverings. Feel free to toss it around and take it on the go without worry. It’s just short of four feet in length, as well, making it almost a foot longer than the one that came with your iPhone. That means more freedom to move around.

One of these three-in-one USB charging cables is typically $44, but Cyber Week savings have dropped its price by over 73%. Just enter the code CMSAVE20 at checkout and get it for $11.99

Black charging cable with three ports and a USB head
Credit: Tech Zebra
3-in-1 USB Charging Cable
$11.99 at the Mashable Shop with code CMSAVE20
›  Save up to $107 on a Dell, Acer, Lenovo, or HP PC

Need a new computer? Dropping all your dollars on the latest and greatest models isn't always necessary. You can save mad money by snagging a refurbished one instead.

Whether you’re looking for a desktop computer to make your work-from-home setup more ergonomic or an ultra-portable laptop to take with you on your adventures, there’s a refurbished PC deal for you. And while they’re already discounted for being refurbished models, you can score even more savings during Cyber Week. Here are some of the best deals we’ve found on refurbished PC laptops, desktops, and monitors from Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

Best refurbished laptop deals

  • Acer TravelMate 14-inch from 2015, with Core i5 2.2GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and plenty of ports (Refurbished) — $374.99 $427 (save $52)

  • Dell Latitude 3189 11.6-inch Notebook from 2017, with Touch Pentium N4200 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, two USB ports and one HDMI port (Refurbished) — $289.99 $327 (save $37)

  • Dell Latitude 3380 13.3-inch Notebook from 2018, with Core i5 2.5GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 180° hinge, and a touchscreen monitor (Refurbished) — $474.99 $541 (save $66)

  • Dell Latitude E5480 14-inch Notebook from 2015, with Core i5 2.4GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and multi-factor authentication hardware (Refurbished) — $474.99 $541 (save $66)

  • Dell Precision 7510 15-inch Laptop from 2015, with Core i7 2.7GHz processor, 32GB RAM, and 1TB HDD (Refurbished) — $749.99 $857 (save $107)

  • HP EliteBook 840G3 14-inch Laptop from 2016, with Core i5 2.3GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, two USB ports, an HDMI port, and more (Refurbished) — $459.99 $527 (save $67)

  • HP EliteBook 840G3 14-inch Laptop from 2016, with Core i7 3.4GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, two USB ports, a USB-C port, and more (Refurbished) — Sale $524.99 $599 (save $74)

Best refurbished PC desktop deals

  • Dell OptiPlex 7020 SFF from 2014, with Core i5 3.2GHZ processor, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, keyboard, mouse, and WiFi dongle (Refurbished) — $259.99 $299 (save $39)

  • Dell OptiPlex 7020 SFF from 2014, with Core i7 3.4GHz processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, keyboard, mouse, and WiFi dongle (Refurbished) — $459.99 $527 (save $67)

  • Dell Precision T3620 Tower from 2017, with Core i5 3.4GHz processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, keyboard, mouse, and WiFi dongle (Refurbished) — $459.99 $527 (save $67)

  • Dell Precision T3620 Tower from 2017, with Core i7 3.4GHz processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, keyboard, mouse, and WiFi dongle (Refurbished) — $599.99 $684 (save $84)

  • HP ProDesk 600G2 SFF from 2015, with Core i5 2.7GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, USB keyboard, USB mouse, and WiFi dongle (Refurbished) — $389.99 $441 (save $51)

  • Lenovo ThinkCentre M900 Tiny Desktop from 2015, with Core i5 2.2GHz processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, six high-speed USB ports, keyboard, mouse, and WiFi dongle (Refurbished) — $399.99 $456 (save $56)

Best refurbished monitor deals

  • Dell 24-inch LCD 1080p 60Hz Monitor from 2015, with 5ms response time, DisplayPort, DVI-D, and VGA, and compatible with VES mount (Refurbished) — $159.99 $184 (save $24)

  • Dell P2717 27-inch LCD Monitor from 2015, with 6ms response time, ComfortView blue light reduction, full-swivel adjustability, and an eco-conscious design (Refurbished) — $209.99 $241 (save $31)

›  This compact yet powerful flat iron is over 70% off

TL;DR: As of Dec. 5, get the Adagio Not So Mini Flat Iron for just $27.99 with code CMSAVE20 — that's a discount of 72% from its regular price of $99.


Great things come in small packages — including hair tools. The Adagio Not So Mini Flat Iron, for example, may be compact, but it offers efficient styling that won’t damage your hair. Plus, it’s on sale.

As of Dec. 5, the Adagio Flat Iron is on sale for just $27.99. It's typically $99, but Cyber Week savings have slashed the price of this mini hair tool over 70%. You’ll just have to enter the code CMSAVE20 at checkout to get the deal.

This lightweight, travel-friendly straightener is perfect for on-the-go lifestyles, those who recently decided bangs were a good idea, or anyone who lives in a humid climate and needs a touch-up while out and about. It makes a great stocking stuffer for a busy gal in your life, too.

It's made with premium-grade 100% ceramic floating plates, which conduct heat as evenly and efficiently as possible for quick and consistent results. It also uses negative ionic technology and far-infrared heat to counteract the drying and damaging effects of straightening your hair. The negative ions cancel out the positive ones to ensure your hair stays moisturized, while the heat tackles your strands from the inside out to preserve the outer cuticle. Plus, this makes it get the job done quicker. And to top it all off, there are cool tip edges to protect your precious fingers from getting burnt while styling in a rush.

Whether you keep it in your purse to ensure your hair is sleek and shiny when you hit the town, pack it in your carry-on for looking professional on business trips, or leave it at home to conquer those bangs every morning, the Adagio Not So Mini Flat Iron packs a lot of punch in its small package. And this massive discount won’t be around forever, so get it for just $27.99 while you can with the code CMSAVE20.

Black hair straightener
Credit: Adagio
Adagio Not So Mini Flat Iron
$27.99 at the Mashable Shop with code CMSAVE20
›  Save 70% on this handheld vacuum and clean all the hard-to-reach spots in your home

TL;DR: The Quantum Handheld Portable Vacuum is just $35.99 at the Mashable Shop with code CMSAVE20 as of Dec. 5.


We all have that one spot in the corner under our desks or in the crevice of our couches where the crumbs just collect and keep on collecting. It's not your fault; you just don't have the right vacuum yet. But that'll all change with the Quantum Handheld Portable Vacuum. And for a limited time, it's still on sale for 70% off for Cyber Week. All you have to do is enter code CMSAVE20 at checkout to secure the deal.

This handheld vacuum not only comes at a fantastic price, but since it weighs only 12 ounces, it's easy to move around from room to room or even bring outside to vacuum the inevitable crumbs you've collected in the car. With a digital high-speed motor, it provides the powerful suction of a full-sized vacuum while still being small and portable. Plus, it's cordless and comes with a USB charging cord to juice it up after you use it. With a 4,000 mAh battery capacity, you only need to recharge it for about four hours.

A built-in LED light also works to make things easier on you when you vacuum. You can shine a spotlight on the darkest corners of your home so you never miss dirt, dust, and debris ever again. It even has a 90-degree rotating handle for compact storage, which makes it perfect for small apartments and small spaces. With two attachments included, you'll always have the right tip for the job.

The Quantum Handheld Portable Vacuum with two attachments retails for $119, but thanks to Cyber Monday savings, you can snag it on sale for just $35.99. That's 70% in savings. Just enter the coupon code CMSAVE20 at checkout to watch the price drop.

Quantum Handheld Portable Vacuum on a grey background.
Credit: Tech Zebra
Quantum Handheld Portable Vacuum
$35.99 at the Mashable Shop with code CMSAVE20
›  Take 63% off the Fader Stealth Drone before the end of Cyber Week

TL;DR: As of Dec. 5, use the code CMSAVE20 to get 63% off the Fader Stealth Drone for a discounted price of $47.99.


Finding a gift that everyone — young or old — will enjoy, is tricky. That’s what makes those White Elephant gift exchange games so chaotic. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with an idea under $50 that anyone in the family will love: the Fader Stealth Drone.

This drone from TRNDLabs is on sale during Cyber Week for just $47.99 (with the code CMSAVE20). That’s about 63% in savings.

Small, yet mighty, the Fader quadcopter is ready to take off right out of the box. It’s incredibly user-friendly, making it an excellent option for those who have never flown a drone before, but is also packed with features that make it fun for expert pilots as well. 

It’s equipped with a six-axis flight control system, adjustable gyro sensitivity, and a three-level adjustable controller sensitivity, which all work together to ensure flights are steady and smooth. There’s also an HD camera onboard that offers incredible 720p wide-angle views in real-time on the compatible app. Pilots can even zoom through the skies at night with its built-in LED lights.

Once the user feels comfortable flying, they can tackle some acrobatic flips in the sky for some extra fun during each flight. Each flight can last up to seven minutes before needing a charge and can explore up to five meters away.

Check it out:

Pop a phone onto the top of the controller and watch what happens live from the skies. It’s truly fun for the whole family, making it an excellent gift for White Elephant, Secret Santa, or anyone on your list.

The Fader Stealth Drone is typically $129, but you can still use the Cyber Monday code CMSAVE20 at checkout and slash the cost down to just $47.99 for a limited time.

Black drone controller with phone displaying grey clouds
Credit: TRNDLabs
Fader Stealth Dron
$47.99 at the Mashable Shop with code CMSAVE20
›  This beginner-friendly VPN is half-price for Christmas

SAVE 50%: TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly service that secures your online world. A one-year subscription to TunnelBear is on sale for £3.74 per month as of Dec. 3, saving you 50% on list price.


The world of VPNs can be an intimidating place, but there are beginner-friendly options out there that won't overwhelm you. TunnelBear is a beginner-friendly VPN that offers plenty of advanced features, but packages them in an easy to use and intuitive system.

TunnelBear effectively protects your data and online identity by encrypting your connection. It's also one of the better VPNs for unlocking streaming sites like Netflix. By masking your real IP address and connecting you to a server in another location, TunnelBear can unblock streaming sites from other countries.

A one-year subscription to TunnelBear is on sale for £3.74 per month as of Dec. 3, saving you 50% on list price. This plan lets you connect five devices simultaneously and provides apps for every leading operating system.

Save 50% on a one-year subscription to TunnelBear.

TunnelBear logo
Credit: TunnelBear
TunnelBear (1-Year Subscription)
£3.74 per month at TunnelBear
›  Stream securely with this lifetime subscription bundle deal

TL;DR: The CuriosityStream and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited Lifetime Subscription Bundle is on sale for £134.48 as of Dec. 5, saving you 60% on list price.


Looking for a unique gift this holiday season that isn’t affected by supply chain shortages and delays? Go digital. Most of us spend about a third of our lives connected to the internet anyway, so why not truly lean in and give a gift that keeps on giving? 

Here’s an idea for you: this bundled deal gets you a lifetime of both CuriosityStream and KeepSolid VPN Unlimited for only £134.48. That’s 60% off the usual cost.

CuriosityStream is an award-winning, universe-expanding, documentary streaming service that offers thousands of educational series and films on demand. It’s like Netflix, but filled only with edu-tainment options, so every time you go on a binge, you actually learn something new. It’s headed by Discovery Communications founder and media visionary, John Hendricks, and is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars on the App Store. You can even get a sneak peek at its long list of shows and movies here. Content covers everything from space to history and music to technology — so there’s a little something for just about everyone.

The lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited comes paired with this educational streaming service, which can help you protect your data and connection from any nefarious actors online. If you’re connected to the web through this best-selling VPN, you’re basically covering yourself with an invisibility cloak. It keeps your streaming and browsing completely anonymous, so nobody can steal your information or peep your activities. Not to mention, you can log into any location and look like a native, which gives you access to region-locked content — like using a U.S.-based Netflix profile from the UK or anywhere else around the globe.

Together, these services unlock a lifetime of entertainment and security options that anyone in your life who uses the internet can enjoy. And you can score both for only £134.48 while this deal lasts.

›  Bag an annual subscription to PlayStation Plus for under 40 with this voucher code

TL;DR: As of Dec. 5, get 20% off a year of PlayStation Plus. It's regularly £45, but you can get the subscription for £36.05 with the code CMSAVE20.


A PlayStation Plus subscription unlocks all of the hidden features of your console you never knew about — from online multiplayer mode to free games. And for a limited time, you can score a one-year subscription for just £36.05. That’s 20% off its usual £45 cost.

Your PlayStation 5 (if you’re lucky enough to get one) is already packed with power. But you can take it to the next level by subscribing to PlayStation Plus. Every month, you’ll get two free games added to your arsenal. Every game is playable on PS5 (as well as PS3 and PS4), and is yours to keep as long as you’re a member. You can expect to see a range of blockbuster hits, indie gems, and multiplayer party games.

You’ll also unlock online multiplayer mode, which opens new worlds in your favourite games and lets you compete with your friends and foes in online tournaments. Join a global community of online gamers and exchange tips, tricks, and scandalous remarks as you battle for glory. The perks don’t stop there, either. A PlayStation Plus membership also delivers exclusive discounts and deals on select games, add-ons, preorders, and more from the PlayStation store. You’ll get extra savings on top of regular promo prices, early access to demos, beta trials, preorders, and so much more.

To top things off, you’ll get 100GB of cloud storage to save your adventures and pick them up on any other console that the game is installed on, members-only skins, cosmetics, and weapons for free-to-play games, and even the ability to play multi-player and co-op games with friends even if they don’t own the game.

Regularly, a 12-month subscription to PlayStation Plus is £45. For a limited time, you can slash 20% off with the code CMSAVE20 at checkout and secure the deal for just £36.05.

PS Plus card
Credit: PlayStation
£36.05 at the Mashable Shop
£36.05 at the Mashable Shop
 

  US NEWS
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
  WORLD NEWS
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
  SPORTS
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
  BUSINESS
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
  ENTERTAINMENT
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
  TECHNOLOGY
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
  LIFE
  Top Story   Other Headlines
 
 
       
 
Market Quotes by TradingView








  MDansby POLL

Should NASA send a probe to proxima centauri?

Yes:
No:

  WEATHER

Weather for San Salvador

By Zip:
Spectacular Last Minute Flight Deals. Book Now and get $30 Off with Coupon Code

Apple iMac Computers In Stock! 300 x 250

PLACE YOUR AD HERE!
Call Us! (212) 537-6822

Symantec Corp.

 
Best Buy Co, Inc.
 
 
   We want to hear from you!  Join the discussion in our discussion forums & chat room. 
   2021 , MDansby                 Contact Us      Privacy Policy      Terms of Service