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Black Friday 2020: The best early deals, the latest ad scans, and everything else you need to know for November 27

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Black Friday 2020 Deals_Gift Tag 2x1
Black Friday 2020 is next week but there are several deals that you can already pick up.

Black Friday 2020 is one week away. The much-anticipated shopping event is shaping up to be unlike any that came before it. 

This year, retailers are de-emphasizing in-store shopping and electing for more frequent, online sales leading up to the big day. This means there'll be more Black Friday discounts, and it will be more convenient to shop.

Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Kohl's, Macy's, Target, The Home Depot, and Walmart are currently offering several early Black Friday deals in stores and online, which means you can snag some bargains ahead of November 27. Shoppers can also expect another round of deals for a few days on and following Cyber Monday 2020

Suffice it to say, there are plenty of deals to keep track of this month. Below, we answer all of the questions you have for Black Friday 2020, including the best early deals available right now, and how our team of expert product reviewers expects holiday shopping to be different during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Best early Black Friday deals available now

Nearly every major retailer will release new deals in the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Below, we've listed a few highlights, but we're also keeping track of all of the sales happening across the web, from stores big and small.

 

Best early Amazon Black Friday deals

Outside of Amazon's annual Prime Day shopping holiday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best days out of the year to find discounted Amazon devices. This year, shoppers can expect hefty discounts on Amazon's ever-growing catalog of smart home products, which include Kindle e-book readers, Fire TVs, Echo speakers, Ring security cameras, and more.

Best early Apple Black Friday deals

Every year, Apple devices seem to find their way into most people's wish lists — for good reason. Apple's iPhones, MacBooks, iPads, and AirPods are some of the most loved devices in the world, and shoppers can expect big discounts on nearly everything Apple has to offer.

Best early Black Friday TV deals 

During Black Friday, we expect to see several 4K TVs in myriad sizes drop in price. Black Friday is historically one of the best times to buy a new set, be it a cheap TV or a fancy 4K TV or OLED TV, outside of Amazon Prime Day and Labor Day weekend. 

Best early Black Friday gaming deals

If you're looking for gifts for the gamer in your life, or want to add to your expanding collection of games and accessories, Black Friday is, without question, one of the best times to shop.

While we don't expect to see any doorbuster deals on the latest consoles from Sony and Microsoft, shoppers can expect tons of markdowns on the Nintendo Switch and its vast library of games, PC gaming hardware and peripherals, and gaming computers.

Best early Black Friday headphone deals

This year, shoppers will likely see big discounts on headphones from nearly every brand, including Sony, Beats, Bose, and Sennheiser. Shoppers can expect several noise-cancelling headphones and truly wireless earbuds to drop to Prime Day prices.

Best early Black Friday laptop deals

Whether you're looking for a new laptop for work, or searching for a new gaming laptop, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will have plenty of options to choose from. This year, shoppers can expect big savings on Apple MacBooks and Windows PCs from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, and more.

Best early Black Friday kitchen deals

If you're looking for a bedroom or kitchen upgrade, Black Friday is a great time to shop. Brands like Breville, Cuisinart, Pyrex, Instant Pot, and Dyson will see huge discounts ahead of and during Black Friday. 

Best early Black Friday mattress deals

The best mattress brands always offer Cyber Week deals that can save shoppers hundreds of dollars. This year many are starting their sales well in advance and will extend them days after Cyber Monday. 

 

Best early Black Friday style and beauty deals

Nearly every fashion and style retailer, big and small, will offer wide-ranging sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Whether you're looking for a new winter coat or want to add a new pair of slippers, the shopping holiday is an excellent time to shop. 

Of course, there are several stores, like Adidas, Amazon, L.L.Bean, and Ulta, that are currently offering sales you can take advantage of right now.

Deals by store

Black Friday 2020 FAQs

What is Black Friday? 

Black Friday is an annual sales event that traditionally happens at the end of November and, historically, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The event is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year — sales are so high that the day can push a retailer into "the black," or solvency.

Shoppers can expect thousands of deals to crop up on the days leading up to and following the big sales event. That said, many retailers often wait until the big day to drop the best deals.

Is Black Friday 2020 cancelled?

No, but it will be unlike any Black Friday that came before it. This year, Black Friday will be longer and more online than ever.

Nearly every major retailer will offer deals and exclusive offers throughout the month of November, if they haven't started already. 

With the ongoing pandemic, the in-store Black Friday experience will look a lot different than in previous years. It's hard to imagine seeing the deluge of people scrambling for doorbuster deals happening this year with safety restrictions in place.

When is Black Friday 2020?

Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday falls on November 27. 

However, due to increased online shopping and subsequent supply-chain delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, several storefronts, including Walmart and Best Buy, have augmented their schedules. Nearly every retailer will offer new sales and deals leading up to Black Friday. 

Shoppers can expect Black Friday-caliber deals sooner than in past years, and many will last beyond Cyber Monday.

What time does Black Friday start?

Technically speaking, Black Friday starts at 12:01 a.m. local time for online retailers. However, Black Friday sales start whenever each retailer decides their sales will go live.

From what we've seen so far, several retailers will be releasing new deals every week in 2020. 

  • Amazon: While Amazon hasn't released when it will release its official, wide-ranging Black Friday sale, it's offering several one-day offers during its Holiday Dash sale. Last year, Amazon's deals started online at midnight on November 22.
  • Best Buy: Stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but the retailer is running several sales for the whole month of November. 
  • GameStop: GameStop's early Black Friday event starts on November 14, and the official GameStop Black Friday sale begins online on November 25 at 9 p.m. ET. Stores will open at 7 a.m. on Black Friday with extended hours, and the sale will continue through November 29. 
  • The Home Depot: The Home Depot's Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales run from November 6 through December 2. Its early preview is already available to view on The Home Depot app. 
  • Kohl's: Stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but the retailer's online sale kicks off Thursday, November 26 through Black Friday, but the best sales will be saved for Black Friday proper. 
  • Macy's: Macy's will start rolling out its Black Friday deals on November 24, with some bargains available the week prior to Thanksgiving.
  • Nordstrom: Last year, stores opened at 10 a.m. November 29 and online sales started on November 27. This year, we expect to see Nordstrom take a more online approach. 
  • Target: The company is offering new deals every week of November for Black Friday this year, with weekly ads dropping each Thursday.
  • Walmart: Walmart's Black Friday sale kicks off on Thanksgiving Day, November 25 at 7 p.m. EST. In-store shopping on Black Friday starts at 5 a.m. local time. 
  • Wayfair: Wayfair's early Black Friday bargains are already released, but it's light on bonafide deals. We expect the retailer is saving its best prices for Black Friday. 

How long do Black Friday sales last?

Don't be fooled by the name that suggests it's a single day. It's most definitely not. It's more like a shopping season that begins in early November. 

Black Friday sales generally start days or weeks in advance of the actual shopping event and continue on until Cyber Monday. Better yet, some retailers hold their deals until well after both events to further boost the entire December shopping season.

What should you buy on Black Friday? 

Since it falls a few weeks before the gift-giving season, Black Friday provides excellent opportunities to buy — and save on all your holiday gifts  — before the last-minute rush. 

It's nearly guaranteed that you'll get great value for your money on certain products during Black Friday — but some tend to see better discounts at other times of the year. If you go in knowing what you're looking for, you're less likely to be ripped off by a fancy-looking coupon or to spend money on products you don't need.

Shoppers can expect tons of great deals — including so-called "doorbusters" — online before and the days following Black Friday. During the event, prices will drop to all-time lows, often beating out prices we see over the course of the year. The sale covers every product category: tech, home and kitchen, fashion, and smart home. 

This Black Friday, shoppers should expect to see similar offers to the ones we saw on Amazon Prime Day, except more wide-ranging.

We recommend focusing on the following product categories if you want the best deals: 

  • TVs
  • Smart home devices
  • Gaming consoles and video games
  • Kitchen appliances

Historically, Black Friday has been a great time to purchase big-ticket electronics — especially larger TVs. Whether you're looking for a top-of-the-line Samsung set or LG OLED, or a budget-friendly TCL or Hisense model, Black Friday will likely deliver several deals.

Much like Amazon Prime Day, we expect to see tons of discounts on smart home products. We'll likely see Amazon Echo products drop to their lowest prices ever, plus several discounts and bundles on Google's recently released products.

Black Friday happens after the latest Xbox and Playstation consoles are released. While we're unlikely to see any markdowns on the consoles, we may see a few bundles crop up. We will likely see modest discounts on games for all consoles, and huge bundles for last-generation consoles. 

If you're looking for a kitchen upgrade, Black Friday is a great time to shop. We'll likely see discounts on Instant Pot pressure cookers, KitchenAid appliances, pots and pans, plus everything else you'll want for the upcoming holiday season.

Of course, the deals found during Black Friday are incredibly wide-ranging. While we expect there to be several deals on diapers, toilet paper, or other household essentials and toiletries, please be careful not to over-stock on supplies during a pandemic.

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better?

It's complicated, and it matters much less this year.

For those unfamiliar, Cyber Monday traditionally comes three days after Black Friday, or the following Monday after. However, we've seen Black Friday and Cyber Monday slowly merge and expand to a weeklong, or even a monthlong affair. Different products receive better discounts on each day, and the deals that each retailer offers will vary.

This year, with most Americans shopping online, it's more critical for shoppers to know where and what time to shop, not what day. 

A good rule of thumb to follow: If you think you see a good deal, (e.g. one we recommend) create the order as soon as possible. While you can always cancel or return a product, it's impossible to take advantage of an inactive, or expired deal.

Suppose you purchase a discounted product during Black Friday and see a more significant markdown at another retailer come Cyber Monday. Don't sweat it.

You can ask the original storefront to match the price (some automatically refund you the difference), or you can return or cancel the order, then place a new order with the better price. Some orders won't even ship during the weekend, which makes it easy to cancel orders.

For those who can shop in-person during Black Friday, we've found that it's better to shop on Black Friday in these situations:

  • For expensive products
  • For major stores
  • For this year's products
  • If you plan to shop in stores (if it's available in your area)

It should go without saying, but this year's in-store experience will be a lot different from the one last year. If you so choose to shop Black Friday in-person, make sure to read up on the safety guidelines provided by each storefront.

What stores have Black Friday deals? 

Outside of a few notable exceptions like REI, nearly every major retailer and direct-to-consumer company will offer markdowns during the event. Shoppers should expect deals from Walmart, Best Buy, Dell, Amazon, Adorama, Lowe's, The Home Depot, and more.

As we do every Black Friday, we are sifting through all of the offers and rounding up the best deals from your favorite retailers. 

Will there be Black Friday shipping delays?

Shipping delays and major shopping holidays go hand in hand, and this year is no exception. Experts suggest that consumers may see low inventory problems and shipping, during Black Friday and the weeks following

While we do expect shipping delays, several retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, are hoping to alleviate some of that stress by offering in-store pickup and contactless curbside pickup. This means shoppers can grab their orders at a nearby location if the store has it in stock. 

When do Black Friday ads come out?

Every year, shoppers eagerly await Black Friday advertising to get a sneak peek at the deals each retailer will offer. Shoppers use these "ad scans" to help create their Black Friday game plan.

With Black Friday arriving next week, shoppers can already preview the sales available from storefronts like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.  We'll update this section to include all of the available ad scans as soon as they become available.

Here are the most important ad scans currently available: 

  • Amazon: The online retailer previewed its plans for Black Friday with a press release. There, we learned that Amazon will kick off their Black Friday sale on November 20, with discounts on tons of products, including Amazon-branded goods, Echo devices, Ring smart home products, and more.
  • Best Buy: Best Buy's Black Friday offers are currently live on their website. Be on the lookout for the "Deal available today" banner for markdowns you can take advantage of now, with new deals refreshing every week until Black Friday.
  • GameStop: Shoppers can start shopping for discounted games and consoles early via  gamestop.com and through the GameStop mobile app starting November 25 at 8 p.m. CST, and in-store starting November 27 through November 29.
  • Home Depot: From November 6 through December 2, The Home Depot is offering discounts on appliances, home improvement tools, holiday decor, and more.
  • Kohl's: Kohl's pre-Black Friday sale kicks off Sunday, November 22. Shoppers can save an additional 15% off select products and pick up $15 Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent. Starting Thursday, November 26 through Black Friday, Kohl's will release several limited-time "Super Deals" wherein the retailer will offer its best discounts.
  • Target: Throughout November, Target is offering new Black Friday deals every week, with ads provided the week before. You can preview the upcoming week's deals starting every Thursday. Sign up for email notifications here to get Target's weekly ads delivered straight to your email.
  • Walmart: To find the ad scan, first find your local Walmart via the local directory. Once you get to the "Store Overview" page, find the "Weekly Ad" section.

How we select the best Black Friday deals

  • We only choose products that meet our high standard of coverage and that we've either used ourselves or researched carefully.
  • We'll compare the prices among top retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart and include only the deals that are better than all others offered (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards). 
  • All deals will be at least 20% off, with the occasional exception for products that are rarely discounted or provide an outsize value.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple Black Friday deals on AirPods, Apple Watches, and more devices are available now ahead of November 27 — here are the best discounts

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Black Friday 2020 Apple deals 4x3
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Black Friday is right around the corner, which means the official start to the holiday shopping season is almost here. Whether you're looking to upgrade your own iPad or are planning to gift a pair of AirPods this holiday season, there are plenty of deals worth paying attention to. 

Apple rarely drops its own prices, but retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart are offering some compelling discounts leading up to Black Friday.

Here are the best early Black Friday deals on Apple products that we've come across so far.

Updated on 11/23 by Lisa Eadicicco: Added new details on Apple's Black Friday gift card giveaways.

The best early Black Friday iPhone deals

If you've been holding off on upgrading to Apple's new iPhone in anticipation of Black Friday deals, you've made the right choice. All of Apple's new iPhones, from the iPhone 12 Mini to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, are available at a discounted monthly installment rate through Walmart compared to what the major carriers are charging. The iPhone 12's refreshed design and improved camera make it a notable leap forward, especially if you're upgrading from an older model that you've had for three years or longer. Every 2020 iPhone supports 5G, which will keep your phone relevant for years to come as 5G networks evolve.

iPhone 12 Mini (medium, Preferred: Walmart (AT&T))iPhone 12 Mini (medium, Preferred: Walmart (Verizon))

Read our review of the iPhone 12 Mini.

iPhone 12 (medium, Preferred: Walmart (AT&T))iPhone 12 (medium, Preferred: Walmart (Verizon))

Read our review of the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 Pro (medium, Preferred: Walmart (AT&T))iPhone 12 Pro (medium, Preferred: Walmart (Verizon))

Read our review of the iPhone 12 Pro.

iPhone 12 Pro Max (medium, Preferred: Walmart (AT&T))iPhone 12 Pro Max (medium, Preferred: Walmart (Verizon))

Read our review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Carriers have also been offering compelling deals on the iPhone 12 lineup since launch, just ahead of the Black Friday shopping season. Many of those deals require you to sign up for a new line or have other similar stipulations, like trading in your old device.

  • T-Mobile is offering a free iPhone 12 or 12  Mini when you join and trade in an eligible device.
  • Verizon is offering a buy one get one for $800 off deal on the whole iPhone 12 lineup when you buy one on a 24 month payment plan and add another line.
  • AT&T is offering a $700 discount on iPhones when you add a new line, upgrade an existing line, and trade-in a smartphone valued at $95 or more.  

The best early Black Friday iPad deals

Apple iPad 

Apple's least expensive iPad is even more affordable leading up to Black Friday. Walmart is selling the 8th-generation iPad, which Apple just announced in September, for $299 instead of its usual price of $329. It runs on the same A12 Bionic processor that powers the iPhone XS, which means it should be plenty powerful for casual tasks like web browsing and streaming Netflix as well as light productivity and gaming. This deal has been available at Walmart since September, and it's still a great option for those in need of a general-purpose tablet.

2020 iPad 10.2-inch (8th Gen) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Check out our iPad buyers guide.

Apple iPad Air

Apple's new iPad Air comes with the same powerful processor as the latest iPhones, a sleek and colorful new design, and a larger screen compared to its predecessor. If you want an iPad with speedy performance for doing light work in addition to watching movies and web browsing, the Air is an ideal choice. Apple's starting price is $599, but you can get it for $559 at Walmart.

iPad Air 2020 (4th-gen) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Apple iPad Pro

Apple's most powerful iPad is on sale for $50 off this holiday season. The iPad Pro's sleek look, long battery life, and excellent screen make it an ideal option for those who want a portable work device, especially now that iPads support mouse and trackpad input. Those savings are especially important for a device like the iPad Pro since you may want to put the extra cash towards the premium accessories Apple sells to make the most out of its super-sized tablet, like the $349 Magic Keyboard.

12.9-Inch iPad Pro - 128GB (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Read our full review of the iPad Pro.

The best early Black Friday MacBook deals 

MacBook Air 

If you're shopping for a new laptop for schoolwork and light productivity, Amazon is offering a compelling deal on Apple's Intel-powered Macbook Air. This model comes with Apple's new and improved Magic keyboard that offers a more durable and comfortable design. It also has several of the other features Apple introduced on other recent MacBook models, like Touch ID for signing in with your fingerprint and True Tone, which enables the display's color temperature to adapt to the lighting in your surroundings. Since this model runs on an Intel Core i3 processor, it's best suited for casual work and web browsing rather than intense workflows.

2020 MacBook Air (10th-gen dual-core Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)2020 MacBook Air (10th-gen dual-core Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy (Silver))2020 MacBook Air (10th-gen dual-core Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy (Space Gray))2020 MacBook Air (10th-gen quad-core Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy (Silver))2020 MacBook Air (10th-gen quad-core Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy (Space Gray))

See our review of the 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air.

MacBook Pro 

13-inch MacBook Pro

If you want a machine that's speedier than the MacBook Air but nearly as portable, check out the 13-inch MacBook Pro.This model lacks the 16-inch version's booming speakers, but still comes with an Intel processor that packs more power than the Air. And yes, it has the same Magic Keyboard as the 16-inch Pro and MacBook Air. It's an ideal choice for those seeking a work laptop that isn't quite as big as the 16-inch model. 

MacBook Pro (2020, 13-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 4 ports) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Read our 13-inch MacBook Pro review

16-inch MacBook Pro

Looking for a laptop that's bigger and more powerful? With its massive screen, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is a great middle ground between the laptop and desktop experience. Not only does it pack powerful performance and a crisp, giant screen, but its six-speaker audio system is so boisterous it puts the sound system on many other laptops to shame. Like Apple's other newer laptops, it also comes with the much-improved Magic Keyboard for better comfort and durability.

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Macbook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Read our 16-inch MacBook Pro review.

The best early Black Friday Apple Watch deals

Apple Watch Series 6 

Apple's top-of-the-line smartwatch is available at a $49 discount at both Amazon and Walmart. The Series 6 comes with improvements like a new blood oxygen sensor, faster charging, and a brighter always-on display. It's the Apple Watch to get if you really want everything Apple has to offer in terms of health and wellness tracking. However, if you're OK with just the basics, it's worth eyeing the cheaper Apple Watch SE or Series 3.

Series 6 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Series 6 (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

Read our Apple Watch Series 6 review.

Apple Watch SE 

The Apple Watch SE is already a great deal, and it's even cheaper ahead of the holiday season. Apple's mid-tier watch still comes with many of the most important features found on the Series 6, like Apple's latest processor, a larger screen than the Series 3, and activity and fitness tracking features. If you don't mind sacrificing an always-on display, the ability to take an ECG from your wrist, and blood oxygen level measurements, the less expensive Apple Watch SE is the right model for you.

Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) (medium, Preferred: Target)Watch SE (GPS) (medium, Preferred: Target)

Read our Apple Watch SE review.

Apple Watch Series 3 

It may be a little old, but the Apple Watch Series 3 is still a perfectly capable smartwatch for those in search of a bargain. It runs the latest Apple Watch software, meaning you'll get many of the basic features available on the SE and Series 6. If you want a smartwatch for little else than tracking workouts and checking notifications from your phone on the wrist, check out the Series 3.

Watch Series 3 + LTE (42mm) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Watch Series 3 (GPS + 38mm) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Watch Series 3 (GPS + 38mm) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The best early Black Friday Apple AirPods deals

AirPods Pro 

With its noise cancellation, rich sound, and more customizable fit, the Airpods Pro are a great choice for iPhone owners looking for a pair of general purpose wireless earbuds. Even though they're a couple of dollars more expensive than their previous price of $194, the AirPods Pro are still a steal at $199. But, unless you need them right now, it might be best to wait until the AirPods Pro drop down to their all-time-low price of $169 at Walmart on November 25.

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Walmart)AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Target)

AirPods (second-generation)  

If you just want the basic AirPods experience, Apple's second-generation AirPods are available at a discount at Amazon, Best buy, and Target. This version offers some improvements over the original, like the ability to summon Siri hands-free, but lacks wireless charging and noise cancellation like its more expensive siblings. Regardless, it's a notable drop from the AirPods' original price of $159.

Those who want to splurge on the wireless charging version can do so for $159 at Amazon and Target, a drop from Apple's usual price of $199.

Airpods with Wired Charging Case (Newest model) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Target)

The best early Black Friday Beats headphones deals

Beats Studio3

The Beats Studio3 are a worthwhile option for those who want the easy pairing functionality of AirPods in an over-the-ear design. Complete with noise cancellation and long battery life, these headphones are a compelling option at their discounted price of $174.99 this holiday season.

Studio 3 Wireless Headphones (medium, Preferred: Target)

Beats Solo Pro

Beats's popular on-ear Solo Pro headphones are also getting a massive discount this holiday season. Unlike the Studio3, the Solo Pro comes with Apple's newer H1 chip, which should offer faster switching between devices. Compared to their predecessor, the Solo Pro offers improvements when it comes to battery life, noise cancelling, and audio quality.

Solo Pro (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

PowerBeats Pro

The PowerBeats Pro are the headphones to get if you want a pair of wireless earbuds that offer a more snug and secure fit than Apple's AirPods. The PowerBeats Pro wrap around your ears for a tighter grip and offer longer battery life than the AirPods Pro. They also come with similar features, like quick pairing with Apple products, since the earbuds have Apple's H1 chip. But, unlike the AirPods Pro, they offer noise isolation rather than noise cancellation, which means they use the ear tips to block out sound rather than actually canceling out surrounding noises.

Powerbeats Pro (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Powerbeats Pro (medium, Preferred: Target)

Apple Black Friday FAQ

Does Apple offer deals on Black Friday?

Apple rarely discounts its own products on Black Friday. Instead, Apple usually offers gift cards along with certain eligible purchases. This year, the company is giving away gift cards of up to $150 from November 27 through November 30 on purchases that meet the following criteria: 

  • iPhone — Get a $50 gift card when you purchase an iPhone 11, iPhone SE, or iPhone XR

  • Apple Watch — Get a $25 gift card when you purchase an Apple Watch Series 3

  • AirPods — Get a $25 gift card when you purchase AirPods Pro, AirPods with wireless charging case, or AirPods with charging case

  • iPad — Get up to a $100 gift card when you buy an iPad Mini or iPad Pro

  • Mac — Get a $150 gift card when buying eligible MacBook Pro or iMac models

  • Apple TV and HomePod — Get up to a $100 gift card when buying an Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, or HomePod

  • Beats — Get a $50 gift card when buying Beats Studio3, Beats Solo Pro, Beats Solo3, Powerbeats Pro, or Powerbeats headphones

Should I buy from Amazon, Target, Best Buy, or Walmart?

Many of these retailers offer very similar deals on products like the AirPods and the Apple Watch, which means you'll have a couple of options should one retailer go out of stock. In instances where multiple retailers offer the same product at the same price, consider which retailer is most convenient for you in terms of shipping options. If you have an Amazon Prime membership and want to get the product as fast as possible, it might make more sense to purchase through Amazon. But, if you'd rather pick up the item at your nearby Target or Best Buy, you should consider ordering from your preferred brick-and-mortar retailer. 

Do these stores offer curbside pickup?

Yes, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart all offer curbside pickup. But, you should check with your local retailer since the rules may vary by location and items purchased. Walmart, for example, says that not all stores offer curbside pickup for Black Friday deals.

How do we choose the best Apple deals?

We select products that meet our high standard of coverage based on testing and research. This includes testing Apple's products as well similar devices from its main competitors.

We also research prices across retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy and compare them against Apple's prices to find the deals that are worth paying attention to.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Biden should toss all of Trump's 'America First' policies

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trump mattis
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens as U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room on October 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.
  • Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis rebuked President Donald Trump's "America First" policy in a Foreign Affairs article he co-authored with three other people.
  • The authors argued that the Trump administration is undermining an international order that is to America's advantage by devaluing the role allies and international institutions play in securing American interests.
  • They wrote that they hope that Biden's team "will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate 'America first' from its contents."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Monday that the incoming administration should "eliminate" all of President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda, which he and others argue "has damaged the country's ability to address problems before they reach US territory."

"In January, when President Joe Biden and his national security team begin to reevaluate US foreign policy, we hope they will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate 'America first' from its contents, restoring in its place the commitment to cooperative security that has served the United States so well for decades," Mattis wrote in Foreign Affairs.

The Foreign Affairs article was co-authored by Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute Kori Schake, former STRATCOM commander and Hoover Institution fellow retired Adm. Jim Ellis, and Hoover fellow Joe Felter.

The four authors stressed that because the world is becoming less safe for the US and American interests, the US needs a "defense in depth" strategy. Such a strategy requires alliances, international partners who can help the US identify and deal "with global problems where they occur rather than waiting for threats to reach American shores."

They wrote that strengthening the US military, which Trump often touts as an achievement of his administration, is not enough. "Not even the United States is strong enough to protect itself on its own," they said.

"Enhancing national security must start with the fundamental truth that the United States cannot protect itself or its interests without the help of others," Mattis and the other authors wrote.

"As capable as the US military is, the United States' principal adversaries are more constrained by its network of alliances than by its military might," they said.

Arguing that "America First" is essentially "America alone" and is a threat to US interests, the authors said the US is currently "undermining the foundations of an international order manifestly advantageous to US interests, reflecting a basic ignorance of the extent to which both robust alliances and international institutions provide vital strategic depth."

Mattis and the other writers said that maintaining these critical relationships require the presence of diplomats and military forces overseas, among other investments.

The four authors wrote that the "principal external threat the United States faces today is an aggressive and revisionist China," who they said is "the only challenger that could potentially undermine the American way of life." To secure US interests, they write, the US will need a credible forward military strategy, as well as a robust network of strong alliances.

During his presidency, Trump has repeatedly bullied allies, from NATO partners in Europe to South Korea and Japan in the Pacific, while abandoning others.

Mattis resigned from his position as secretary of defense in December 2018 over disagreements with Trump, and his resignation letter, which stressed the importance of alliances and recognizing who US adversaries are, was seen as a clear rebuke of the president's America First policies.

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How to stop using filler words like ‘um' and 'uh' in your speech

Rivian's first batch of electric pickups and SUVs is already sold out as the Amazon-backed EV startup faces production constraints

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Rivian R1T.
Rivian has already sold out of its Launch Edition vehicles, the only models it will deliver in 2021.
  • Rivian opened up the order pages for its R1T pickup and R1S SUV to the public Monday. 
  • The electric-vehicle startup expects manufacturing constraints through the next few years, meaning that most buyers won't receive their vehicles until 2022, Bloomberg reports
  • Rivian is accelerating its production ramp-up to meet demand, but launching the R1S, R1T, and an Amazon delivery vehicle in 2021 is a complex undertaking, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told Bloomberg. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As of Monday morning, anyone can now configure and preorder a new pickup or SUV from electric-vehicle startup Rivian. But buyers will need to decide whether the much-anticipated R1T and R1S are worth the long wait before plunking down a $1,000 deposit. 

Whereas before only early buyers who had reserved a Launch Edition model could configure their new Rivian, now prospective EV owners can preorder a standard model and customize it to their liking, choosing from various exterior colors, battery sizes, interior layouts, and unique options like a $5,000 camp kitchen.

However, due to limited production capacity, it may be quite a while before customers get their hands on the vehicles, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said in a Bloomberg TV interview posted Monday.

"We [will be] supply-constrained for a very long time," he said. "Currently with the orders we have, people will be in queue far longer than we like. We originally planned on a ramp-up that had excess demand, massive supply constraints through 2023."

Rivian announced Friday that it had sold out of reservations for the Launch Edition R1T and R1S, which it plans to deliver starting in June 2021 and August 2021, respectively. The Adventure model and the less expensive Explore trim won't hit the streets until January 2022 at the earliest. 

Most buyers probably won't receive their R1S or R1T before the first quarter of 2022, Bloomberg reported, with factors like the buyer's location, where they are on the preorder list, and the model they chose all affecting when they can expect to take delivery.

Read more: 11 hot electric-vehicle startups that will revolutionize the car industry, according to VCs

Rivian is now accelerating its production ramp-up in order to get customers vehicles more quickly, Scaringe said. But launching three vehicles in 2021 — the R1S, R1T, and an electric delivery van for Amazon, which has a stake in the EV maker — is a complex undertaking, he said. Adding to the complexity is the fact that Rivian is developing its consumer vehicles in multiple trims and battery configurations, Bloomberg notes. 

After operating in stealth mode for several years, Rivian has emerged as one of the more promising challengers to Tesla in the EV space. The company has received more than $6 billion in funding to date from investors including BlackRock, T.Rowe Price, Amazon, and Ford. 

The battery-powered pickup segment is set to explode over the coming years, with Tesla, Ford, GM, and a handful of EV upstarts all planning electric trucks. And — even considering its reported production constraints — Rivian may very well beat all those other players to market when customers start taking deliveries of the R1T next summer. 

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Amazon is using union-busting Pinkerton spies to track warehouse workers and labor movements at the company, according to a new report

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Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Amazon has hired detectives with the infamous Pinkerton spy agency to monitor European workers' labor union organizing efforts, per a Motherboard report.
  • The outlet obtained leaked documents from Amazon's Global Security Operations Center, where data analysts can easily track workers' union organizing activities down to the date, time, and location.
  • Pinkerton spies have a history of busting up unions: Their involvement in a steelworker strike in 1892 eventually led to states prohibiting the use of third-party security in labor disputes.
  • The Motherboard report highlights Amazon's latest efforts to prevent its workers from unionizing — it has a long track record of being staunchly opposed to labor unions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Amazon is hiring detectives from the notorious Pinkerton agency to spy on warehouse workers and monitor them for labor unionization efforts, according to a Monday Motherboard report.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to the outlet that Amazon has indeed recruited operatives from Pinkerton, the spy agency that has a centuries-long history of upending worker union activities, among other services. 

Per Motherboard, Pinkerton spies were "inserted" into a warehouse in Wroclaw, Poland, in 2019 to look into an allegation that job candidates were being coached for job interviews.

Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski told Business Insider that the firm partners with Pinkerton to "secure high-value shipments in transit," not to gather intelligence on warehouse workers, and that all activities are "fully in line with local laws."

Motherboard obtained internal emails written by members of Amazon's Global Security Operations Center in 2019. The leaked documents reportedly show Amazon analysts tracking union organizing activity of workers in Europe, with members having the ability to stay updated on labor organizing efforts conducted at warehouses, right down to the date, time, location, and the number of workers involved. 

The report also revealed that the data analysts used Facebook and Instagram to monitor the activity of social justice and environmental activist groups, including Greta Thunberg's Fridays4future and Greenpeace. Amazon said the company's analysts do not create social media accounts to track social movements.

Some of the documents suggest that the same monitoring tactics used in Europe could be being used in the Americas, according to the report.

Levandowski told Business Insider that "like any other responsible business, we maintain a level of security within our operations to help keep our employees, buildings, and inventory safe. That includes having an internal investigations team who work with law enforcement agencies as appropriate, and everything we do is in line with local laws and conducted with the full knowledge and support of local authorities."

The Pinkertons were used as a resource by 19th-century industrial bigwigs to spy on unions and to break up worker-held strikes. Steelworkers held a strike in 1892 that devolved into violence and the death of a dozen people when Carnegie Steel Company recruited 300 Pinkertons to act as armed guards, according to History.com. The event led to some states passing laws to prohibit the use of third-party security forces in labor disputes.

homestead mill strike
The Homestead Mill Strike of 1892 in Homestead, Pennsylvania.

As Christy Hoffman, the general secretary of UNI Global Union, told Motherboard, Amazon's deployment of Pinkerton spies to monitor workers' strikes echoes the same tactics used by 19th-century industry tycoons and comes as the company remains under the microscope of anti-trust investigators in the EU and in the US.

"For years people have been comparing big tech bosses to nineteenth-century robber barons, and now by using Pinkertons to do his dirty work, Bezos is making that connection even clearer," Hoffman told Motherboard.

The developments are the latest in a string of evidence that highlights Amazon's robust efforts to monitor and crackdown on its workers unionizing. The retail giant has been staunchly opposed to labor unions — the firm listed, but quickly removed, a job opening earlier this year for an analyst that would monitor employee's efforts to organize.

While CEO Jeff Bezos and his ecommerce giant have profited heavily from home-bound customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon workers have been advocating for better working conditions, staging strikes and protests. Christian Smalls, a former warehouse worker at Amazon's New York fulfillment center, was fired after the company said he ignored social distancing recommendations during a walkout in March. Leaked documents, obtained at the time by Motherboard, revealed an internal effort to mount a PR campaign against Smalls. The documents reportedly revealed that Amazon's top lawyer called Smalls "not smart or articulate" and said the company should "make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement."

A separate Motherboard report from September found that Amazon had been using a tool to monitor dozens of private and public social media groups to find drivers that were organizing strikes or protests.

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20 tech gifts for kids that make learning more fun

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Tech gifts for kids that will make learning fun 4x3
  • Technology is now deeply involved in every age of life, so luckily toy makers have wisened up to provide tech toys that promote learning as well as knowledge and skills building.
  • Tech toys offer up lots of fun and excitement, but more importantly they promote interest in and the development of life skills that will likely be essential in kids' adult lives, particularly logic, coding, and critical thinking.
  • Even tech toys for kids that don't involve any screens — yes, they do exist — help develop kids' aptitude for these life skills and knowledge bases.
  • Still hunting for holiday gifts? Read all our 2020 Holiday Gift Guides on Insider Picks.

Countless neuroscientists and development psychologists agree that play is essential to learning, and it's something we should encourage in our kids. Toys should obviously amuse and engage kids as pleasant pastimes, and learning is going to happen through playing with toys regardless. However, when it comes to tech toys specifically, that essential STEM-related knowledge and skill building are part of the fun.

Technology has made its way into toys for kids of all ages — even as young as newborn and infant stages. Tech toys start with the basics, introducing elementary coding skills without any screens, focused on the core concepts. From there, more advanced options arise for older kids in the single digits that allow them to build robots, followed by options that allow kids to build their own computers and get at the insides of machines and software.

What all the best tech toys for kids accomplish is that they inspire both fun and learning in equal measure. With that, here are our favorite tech toys for kids of 2019.

Teach kids to BYOR, or Build Your Own Robot
Jimu robot

UBTECH JIMU Robot Builderbots

These multi-award-winning robots involve skills ranging from fine motor to critical thinking. First, a young maker must physically build the robot for which they will soon be writing code. 

Then, with a paired app on a tablet or smartphone, they budding STEM enthusiast can use Blockly coding to execute dozens of preprogrammed maneuvers and can even create brand new custom actions using a PRP (pose, record, play) function.

A digital drawing pad for budding artists
leapfrog 2

VTech Write & Learn Creative Center

There's long been a campaign to bring the word "art" into the STEM acronym to make it "STEAM", and toys like the VTech Write & Learn Creative Center make a strong case for that. 

The arts are just as important to encourage in childhood development, and this drawing and writing pad gives kids from 2- to- 7- years-old lots of freedom to learn how they choose and at their pace.

Teach a kid the magic of magnetism
4M Kidz Labz

4M KidzLabs Anti Gravity Maglev Science Kit

This affordable and enjoyable kit packs an impressive number of activities. From creating a floating pencil to a perpetual pendulum to a kinetic sculpture, the experiments and projects will help teach children about magnets and motion. And, thanks to a detailed instruction book, most kids will be able to complete most projects without adult assistance.

An R2D2 droid that kids can build from scratch
droidtoy

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

The main Skywalker Saga may be over, but Star Wars fever remains as hot as ever among the younglings. Mega fans will know that both Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke have dug deep into R2D2's robo guts for repairs, and now kids can live that fantasy albeit on a much smaller scale.

This robot building kit comes with a paired app download that instructs kids on how to build the R2D2 droid and then provides a bunch of coding tasks and interactive games involving their finished robotic buddy. The droid can even navigate by itself! Not bad considering the relatively affordable price.

A robot building kit with an augmented reality twist
Pai Technology toy

Pai Technologies Botzees AR Coding Robot

Botzees robots represent a perfect use of the technology of the day. Not only are these little bots fun to build and program on their own, but the paired app makes use of augmented reality that turns any open area into a virtual play scape for the robot. Using a smartphone or tablet screen, kids can create a digitally illustrated world that the very real Botzees bot will roam and explore.

The smartest Perler Beads kit ever
smART Pixelator

smART Pixelator

The smART Pixelator set is a quantum leap ahead of the classic Perler Beads you likely loved as a kid. Whether following a premade design or their own uploaded image, a kid can use a lighted grid to create intricate images using little colored beads which can then be heated and fused together to create a permanent piece of artwork. Or, by working in steps, kids can create the components of three-dimensional objects they can actually build and play with.

A game kit that turns screen time into STEAM time
Osmo Starter Kit

Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit

The mirror adapter included with this Osmo kit directs an iPad's camera down onto the open area below it, turning a tabletop or floor space area into an interactive world. The art, puzzles, and games kids engage with in the real world are enhanced by virtual scenes and objects on the iPad screen, creating hours of opportunity for learning and fun.

A next-generation Lego train set
lego duplo toy tech

Lego Duplo Steam Train Set

Even kids as young as two years old can get enamored with Lego, and this train set has captured the imagination of my own two-year-old son. How? Because it's a smart train set with a paired smartphone app that can control the train's direction and speed. The set also includes nifty smart panels that the train's sensor "reads" as it passes over them, causing it to turn its headlights on or off, stop, go in the opposite direction, or "fuel up" by stopping temporarily. It's a fun way of teaching young kids cause and effect, one of those foundational principles of so many fields of study later on in life.

A modern engineering toy with a cool retro look and feel
Tinkering Labs STEM kit

Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst

This screen-free STEM kit comes with the parts and instructions needed for junior engineers to complete 10 different activities. But arguably the fun really starts when they go off script, using the included motor, wheels, axles, and other parts to add an engine to a LEGO creation, to automate an art project, or to build an entirely original robot.

A coding kit with a 'Frozen' twist
Frozen 2 coding kit

Kano Frozen II Coding Kit

Once the included motion sensor is created, kids can use their hands and their minds to create an interactive story set in the world of Disney's beloved Frozen franchise. Kids use their hands to make actual gestures above the device, such as raising a palm to raise mountains on an iPad screen. Of course, the brain exercise comes in by creating blocks of code that inform the sensor.

A literal computer that kids can build themselves
Piper Computer Kit

Piper Computer Kit

Competent computer use is critical for success in school, work, and life in general, and there's no better way for a child to learn how computers work than by building one themselves. This kit literally has kids connecting the wires and buttons and building the frame of a computer, a piece of hardware they can then use to create basic code strings and even play games.

An adorable caterpillar toy for toddler coders to be
codeapillar

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar Twist

Here's an affordable gift for toddlers that both looks like it can take a bit of a beating but also teach them something about fundamental coding concepts. If the kid in your life is at the age of speaking but not yet in kindergarten, then this toy is ideal for them to learn cause and effect, which is essential for coding fundamentals as well as general curiosity.

The Code-a-pillar features more than 1,000 possible combinations of commands that dictate the toy's automated movement pattern. This gives young toddlers a toy with tons of variety, which should see them coming back for more again and again.

A smart toy for older kids that's all about circuits
Smart Circuits

SmartLab Toys Smart Circuits

As with many great STEM toys, this circuitry kit features a number of pre-designed activities young makers can complete but is at its best when they start creating their own original projects and experiments. The included components can be used to create all sorts of lights and sounds and can be controlled by buttons, sound, light, and motion.

A miniature, working wooden Ferris wheel that kids can build
Wooden Ferris wheel kit

SmartsToy Wooden Ferris Wheel Kit

This engaging toy incorporates art, design, architecture, and basic electrical engineering. First, kids build an intricate wooden Ferris Wheel. Then they can decorate it with included paints. And finally, they wire up and motorize their creation, making a functional miniature ride.

Teach kids how to code in JavaScript with this rolling robot
Sphero Mini

Sphero Mini Programmable Robot Ball

It's surprisingly enjoyable to watch a colorful little sphere execute deft maneuvers, whether racing about the room under furniture and around obstacles or navigating a maze your little programmer has created on a tabletop, thanks to the included JavaScript coding tools. Perhaps best of all is how portable the Sphero Robot Ball is. You can tuck the little orb into even the smallest purse or backpack and need only a smartphone to enjoy its full potential.

A model engine for the kid that's nuts about cars
Play Engine

Playz V8 Model Engine

The budding gearhead in your home will love this realistic scale model of a V8 engine. The process of constructing the engine will help a young engineer better understand the mechanics behind how machinery works, while the finished motor is simply fun to play with, what with its flashing lights and deep, growling noises.

A builder kit combining two of kids' favorite things: robots and Lego
LEGO robots

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

Legos have already stood the test of time, but even the classics can always be improved. And by integrating mechanized components and the intelligence of a smartphone or tablet app, that's exactly what the Boost kit does for Legos. Kids can use the kit to build five different robots — including a cat and a bot named Vernie — who they then control with codes they create in the app.

A 3D printer that's actually a lot of fun
3D doodler pen

3Doodler Start 3D Pen

There are a lot of 3D printing products on the market these days, with many 3D pens among them. But this 3Doodler pen is one of the only options suitable for younger kids, as it gets nowhere near hot enough to cause injury or to pose a fire danger. Kids can use this printing pen to create dimensional artwork, make their own action figures or fashion accessories, and to fabricate components they'll use with other toys.

A circuit board that easily snaps together for fun and games
Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits Arcade

This highly hands-on kit comes with components and instructions for more than 200 projects, some two-dozen of which are engaging games kids design and then play. And once your little electrical engineer gains some competence with the kit, you'll be amazed to see all the original projects she creates on her own.

A gorgeous globe that teaches geography, too
smart globe tech toy

Educational Insights Geosafari Jr. Talking Globe

Any accurate globe is a great teaching tool, but globes don't tend to be all that engaging for young kids. That is, except when they are interactive and come packed with facts, games, and trivia challenges engaged with by using an included smart stylus. This globe is colorful and detailed on the surface and packed with more than 1,000 facts that span geography, history, and the natural world.

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Amazon's early Black Friday deals are live now — here are the best tech discounts on the latest Echo devices and more

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Amazon Echo 4th gen

You don't have to wait until Black Friday to find worthwhile Amazon deals. . The online retail giant is already offering several discounts on tech gadgets like its newest Echo devices, Ring video doorbells, Bose noise cancelling headphones, and more. 

The deals began on November 20 and run through Black Friday, which takes place on November 27 this year.  

Amazon is already discounting its newest Echo products despite the fact that they just debuted in September. The new fourth-generation Echo, which comes with a new design and a faster chip made by Amazon, is $30 off as part of the promotion, dropping the price down from $99.99 to $69.99.

In addition to the deals listed below, Amazon is promising discounts on Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, Sony Bravia OLED TVs, and a 25% discount on TVs that are 75 inches and larger. 

Here's a look at some of the best tech deals available on Amazon for Black Friday 2020 right now.

Updated on 11/23/20 by Lisa Eadiccico: Added all-new language reflecting launch of new discounts and updated prices and links for products with new deals that are available now.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Best early Black Friday deals at Amazon starting November 20

The deals below are available on a rolling basis between November 20 and November 27. Some deals may only be available for a limited time.

Ring Video Doorbell Deals

Video Doorbell Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Video Doorbell 3 with Echo Show 5 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Best Amazon Echo and devices deals 

Echo (4th Gen) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)All-New Echo Dot with Clock (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Fire TV Stick 4K (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Show 5 with Blink Mini (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Other upcoming Black Friday tech deals on Amazon

QuietComfort 35 II (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Pro (2020, 13-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 4 ports) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Charge 4 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)65" X950H 4K TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

When does Amazon's Black Friday sale start?

Amazon's deals began on November 20 and will be running through November 27.  New deals will appear daily throughout the week, and some of them will only be available for 24 hours. The company is also extending its returns window so that customers can return products shipped now through December 31 by January 31, 2021 for free. 

Where can I find Amazon's Black Friday deals?

Amazon's Black Friday page will be the place to check if you want to browse the retailer's holiday shopping discounts. Just like years past, Amazon will also be offering Alexa-exclusive deals that can be discovered by asking, "Alexa, what are my deals?" These Alexa-only discounts also started on November 20. 

Do you need an Amazon Prime membership for the deals?

Unlike Amazon Prime Day, you don't need to be a Prime member to take advantage of Amazon's Black Friday deals. But you do get perks like faster delivery and exclusive deals if you sign up for Prime which costs $12.99 per month. It's a worthwhile option if you plan to do the bulk of your holiday shopping on Amazon and want the flexibility to order last-minute gifts. 

How do we select the best Black Friday deals at Amazon?

  • We select products that meet our high standards of coverage from brands we've tested.
  • We research prices across retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy and compare these against historical price drops to find the deals that are worth your time.
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17 of the most useful kitchen appliances and tools, as recommended by professional chefs

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Chef approved appliances and tools  4x3

With so many people cooking at home more often due to the pandemic — myself included — I was curious about how professional chefs and food experts make the most out of their time in the kitchen.  So I reached out to 12 chefs from around the country and asked them to share the home cooking tools and appliances that they find themselves using most often. 

While the list has its fair share of standbys (you can never go wrong with a KitchenAid mixer, or a high-quality set of sharp knives), there are also some curveball picks designed to upgrade your weekday meals to restaurant-quality (think specially-designed sauce spoons and breakfast sandwich-makers). 

Here are 17 most useful kitchen tools and appliances, as recommended by 12 professional chefs: 

A sharp and balanced chef's knife
chef kitchen appliances material knife

8-inch Knife

These knives came into my life through a subscription service and I am obsessed. They're gorgeous to look at but more importantly have a hand feel unlike anything else I've ever used.

They're light Japanese steel and have a full tang that's so well balanced the knife almost becomes a part of your hand. The handle is grippy in a pleasant way and is perfect for those of us with small hands. The real clincher though, is how durable these blades are. I am terrible at knife maintenance and these are still incredibly sharp after six months of constant use. —Tarran Hatton, Executive Pastry Chef at BlissBomb

Read our review of Material Kitchen here

An all-in-one sandwich maker
chef kitchen appliances sandwich maker

Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker

We use this device all the time now because, for some reason, mornings are extremely busy at our house. The Hamilton Beach sandwich maker is fast and easy to use, healthy, and very versatile. Plus, it is very easy to clean. The kids can even jump in and help, which is great, and it gets them learning in the kitchen.

In addition to making sandwiches, I love using this device to make waffle s'mores (Delysia vanilla marshmallows and s'mores chocolate bark are my kids' favorite combination) and chocolate molten lava cake. —Nicole Patel, Owner and Chef at Delysia Chocolatier

Read our review of the Hamilton Beach Single Breakfast Sandwich Maker here

A versatile cast iron pan
chef kitchen appliances lodge skillet

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Handle Holder (12-inch) 

My cast iron skillet is by far my most utilized kitchen tool.  It gives me those caramelized flavors that I've become accustomed to in my restaurant.  It moves from the stovetop to the oven.  It's big enough for a one-pan meal for a few people. And, once your skillet is well seasoned, the clean up is fairly quick. —Robert Guimond, Chef at Public Display of Affection

Read our review of the Lodge cast iron skillet here

 

A high-tech sous vide machine
Anova precision cooker

Anova Precision Cooker

The immersion circulator is my absolute favorite kitchen gadget ever created. It's a great tool for infusions to impart the purest flavors into oils, spirits, and syrups in a surprisingly short amount of time. Also, nothing is better than sous vide rib eye. —Sharon Yeung, Bar Manager at The Roosevelt Room

Read our review of the Anova Precision Cooker Pro here

The classic KitchenAid stand mixer
chef kitchen appliances kitchenaid 2

KitchenAid Classic Plus Series Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (4.5-quart)

My favorite and probably one of the most versatile appliances has to be the KitchenAid stand mixer. On its own, the stand mixer can be used to knead dough with the hook attachment and to emulsify aioli with the whisk attachment.

And with all of the other attachments you can purchase, such as the meat grinder or pasta extruder, it's easily my favorite tool and the appliance that is used the most in my kitchen. —Marco Arreguin, Executive Creative Chef at Puesto

Read our review of the KitchenAid stand mixer here

A powerful blender
chef kitchen appliances blender

KitchenAid Pro Line Series Blender with Thermal Control Jar

Lately, my blender has been in overdrive! I recently gave birth (surprise! 6 weeks early) to my daughter, and she's currently in the NICU. Every morning I make myself a big smoothie full of fresh fruits, frozen bananas, whatever greens I have on hand, a scoop of vegan protein powder, and almond milk and blend it all together to drink on the way to the hospital.

I love this blender because it makes smoothies perfectly smooth — no big chunks that get stuck in the straw. Plus, it's the same one we use to make our cookie dough milkshakes at the shop — I highly recommend it. —Kristen Tomlan, founder of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

A sauce spoon that makes plating easy
chef kitchen appliances jb prince

J.B. Prince Chef Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon

My favorite kitchen tool is the Gray Kunz sauce spoon (regular size) — it's the number one tool I use. It's great for home cooks because it's bigger than a regular spoon so it helps you plate efficiently, and it's great for getting sauces out of pans and pouring them over your vegetables.  It has a simple, beautiful design and is the perfect shape and weight. —Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at The Cheesecake Factory

 

A microplane
chef kitchen appliances microplane

Microplane Premium Classic Zester Grater

This is such a basic tool and an amazing one that everybody should have in their kitchen toolbox. When the pandemic started, I couldn't find lemons anywhere. Finally, I was able to source a big bag of them at Costco – 40 lemons!

I zested all the lemons right away using my microplane, drying the zest for future use. I use citrus zest often for cooking. It's a wonderful ingredient to include for added flavor when making things like lemon chicken, frozen lemonade, desserts, and even beverages. —Nicole Patel, Owner and Chef at Delysia Chocolatier

I'm pretty into my microplane.  It can add subtle flavors and finesse without any knife work.  You can make garlic paste for sauteed vegetables, grate cheese over a salad, finish a dish with some lime zest. It's versatile and efficient. —Robert Guimond, Chef at Public Display of Affection 

Chefs Sophia Roe and Richard Rea also recommended this microplane. 

A ceramic nonstick pan you can use to cook everything
our place kitchen cookware 5

Always Pan

I was just recently introduced to this pan, and it's truly incredible. It's the perfect pan for someone who cooks a lot but has a small NYC kitchen. It's so easy to clean, and everything I have cooked in it comes out effortlessly. —Sophia Roe, Chef

Read our review of the Always Pan here

A mini food processor to speed up tasks
chef kitchen appliances kitchenaid

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper (3.5-cup)

Most of the time I hand cut all of my vegetables and aromatics, but because I have three young boys and we entertain a lot, sometimes I need a little help in getting things done faster. For instance, when you're making a Bolognese and have to cut a lot of onions, carrots, and celery all at once, this is the perfect solution for helping to get it done quickly and consistently.

A lot of people have large food processors and don't like to use them because they're hard to clean, but this is a great mini version for chopping everything from vegetables and nuts to making a great pesto. —Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at The Cheesecake Factory

A traditional mortar and pestle
chef kitchen appliances mortar pestle

Medium Molcajete (8-inch)

I had the pleasure of working in Indonesia for many years and really fell in love with the granite mortar and pestle. I do a lot of curry pastes and sambals from scratch at home and there is no substitute to this to get the texture right.

From simply grinding spices on the fly to making herb pastes and curry pastes to crushing and chopping garlic, this does the lion's share of the work. Nothing beats a sambal or curry paste made from scratch, and this is the tool you need to do it right. —Jack Yoss, Chef and Director of Culinary Operations at Hai Hospitality

A blender that doesn't take up much space
chef kitchen appliances immersion blender

Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender

I cannot stand pulling out tons of equipment for small tasks and this immersion blender lives both in my professional and home kitchens.

Aside from being the best consumer-level immersion blender on the market (I love the flat head, which allows for exceptional pureeing, and the adjustable speed knob), it also comes with a small food processor attachment which is a lifeline during recipe development. —Tarran Hatton, Executive Pastry Chef at BlissBomb

Read our review of the Breville immersion blender here

A knife that butchers love and rely on
chef kitchen appliances victorinox knife

Victorinox Butcher Knife, Granton Edge (10-inch)

I'm not impressed with the next cool knife design, I'm motivated by performance. I'm pitched countless "next best thing" knife designs, but that's all a waste if it doesn't work exactly how I want every time. If you want to buy a knife, ask a butcher. The stakes are too high in our work for even one false cut. —Pat LaFrieda, CEO of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors

A high-end vacuum sealer
chef kitchen appliances vacuum sealer

Polyscience 300 Series Chamber Vacuum Sealer

While this vacuum sealer is certainly not cheap, it is a bargain when you consider its quality and capabilities. You can:

  • Buy whole cuts of prime beef and break them down and freeze for later use
  • Make large batches of sauce or soups then freeze them
  • Use this to make quick pickles
  • Use the marinate function to infuse marinade into any protein or vegetable prior to cooking
  • Use it to ferment your own hot sauces or kimchi and to preserve vegetables
  • Vacuum vegetables and fruits for compressed salads while compressing the vinaigrette directly into it

This appliance is great for sealing anything you want to freeze to avoid the kind of freezer burn that can result from using Ziplock bags. Use this vacuum sealer if you do home sous vide cooking. It is an extremely versatile and professional piece of equipment. —Jack Yoss, Chef and Director of Culinary Operations at Hai Hospitality 

A spiralizer to create beautiful ribbons of vegetables
chef kitchen appliances oxo spiralizer

OXO Spiralizer

This is a great tool for sprucing up any veggie dish that might have been traditionally chopped. By turning your veggies into noodles or spirals, you can transform any meal into a new exciting dish. Whether it be a cold zucchini pesto pasta or a spiralized crispy potato, the spiralizer is a must-have in any home or professional kitchen. —Richard Rea, Executive Chef at The Butcher's Daughter

A baking mat you can use over and over again
chef kitchen appliances baking mat

Silpat Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat

I roast constantly, even in the summertime. I love to make a sheet pan of roasted veggies for on-the-go. I also make popcorn about twice a week and use a sheet pan to evenly season my popcorn. It's safe to say I am a high-volume sheet pan user.

Instead of going through endless rolls of parchment paper or aluminum foil, I find these nonstick mats to be perfect! They're the easiest thing in the world to clean, and they last forever. —Sophia Roe, Chef

Angled measuring cups that let you clearly read measurement markings
chef kitchen appliances oxo measuring cup

OXO Good Grips 3-Piece Angled Measuring Cup Set

This 3-piece liquid measuring cup set from OXO is a must-have in the kitchen. I use them nearly daily in my kitchen at home, and we use them (and abuse them) in the bakery when we're making batch after batch of cookie dough.

They are durable and easy to wash (which is huge!), and I love that they are slanted and easy to read. The three sizes mean you'll always have the perfect option on hard for whatever you're making, big or small. —Kristen Tomlan, founder of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

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Election officials are facing death threats in key swing states where Trump is trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race

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Protesters rally outside the Georgia State Capitol during a 'March for Trump' protest against the results of the 2020 Presidential election on November 21, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • State officials are sounding the alarm on an uptick in death threats that they've received since the presidential election.
  • They work in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada — key states where President Donald Trump's campaign is attempting to overturn the results.
  • Deadlines to certify election results are quickly approaching and each state will in the coming days declare President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of its Electoral College votes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is fueling a wave of hatred and violent threats toward local officials in key swing states where he's challenging the 2020 election results.

"So this is fun...multiple attempted hacks of my emails, police protection around my home, the threats," Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager for Georgia's Secretary of State, wrote on Twitter on the weekend.

"But all is well," he continued, "following the the law, following the process...doing our jobs."

Sterling, a Republican, shared the social media post one day after Georgia officially certified President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of its 16 electoral votes. Trump's team immediately requested a recount, even though an audit that included a hand recount of more than 5 million ballots cast statewide put Biden in the lead by roughly 12,000 votes. 

A PBS "Frontline" investigation also showed that state officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada are facing death threats. Biden is projected to carry each state and the Trump campaign has launched multiple lawsuits to overturn those results, but hasn't won any so far. Still, Trump refuses to concede to Biden and continues to push unfounded claims that fraudulent ballots led to the election being stolen from him.

Local law enforcement officials are investigating the threats that come as poll workers tirelessly tally votes ahead of each state's certification deadline in the coming days. 

Georgia:

Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has voiced concerns about death threats directed at him and his wife. He is a Republican and certified the state's results on Friday.

"The Raffenspergers should be put on trial for treason and face execution," read a text message that his wife received after the election.

Judges previously rejected two of Trump's legal bids in Georgia since there is no evidence of electoral fraud or voting irregularities.

Pennsylvania:

Republican City Commissioner of Philadelphia Al Schmidt disclosed earlier this month that his office got death threats for counting votes, while the Trump campaign was trying to halt the count.

"From the inside looking out, it feels all very deranged," Schmidt said in a "60 Minutes" interview.

Trump's lawyers alleged that Republicans weren't present to watch the vote-counting process. It was later revealed that GOP poll watchers were indeed present, prompting a judge to dismiss the case. The president's legal team has filed 11 lawsuits in the state, losing nine, with two pending.

Pennsylvania is expected to certify its election results on Monday.

Michigan:

Canvassers in Michigan, where Biden is ahead by more than 155,000 votes, are expected to certify the state's Electoral College votes on Monday. 

In the interim, local workers have fended off threats, including during a Zoom meeting when a person interrupted the call with threats of rape and violence, according to PBS

The Trump campaign has lost four lawsuits alleging improper counting of ballots and massive fraud in Michigan.

Nevada:

PBS reviewed a police report of a November 6 call to Nevada's Secretary of State Election Division, in which the person said: "You all are lucky there that I am an elderly man that is too old to fight and don't own any guns, but I'll tell you what, you're about to get bum rushed by a bunch of young, 20-year-old boys. You're worthless."

Trump's lawyers have lost two cases attempting to stop the ballot count in the state. Nevada officials are preparing to certify Biden as its election winner on Tuesday.

Read more: 'Threading a needle while riding a bike:' How Republicans with 2024 ambitions are navigating the prospect of another Trump White House campaign"

Arizona:

Arizona's Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said last week that she has faced "ongoing and escalating" threats as did her family and staff. 

"Let's burn her house down and kill her family and teach these fraudsters a lesson," said one social media post aimed at Hobbs, according to the Associated Press

Two lawsuits by the Trump campaign have been rejected in Arizona due to baseless assertions that Republican votes were being thrown out and invalidated. Biden's win in the state will be certified next week.

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Several Best Buy Black Friday deals are live — here's what's discounted right now, plus what to expect on November 27

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Black Friday 2020 Best Buy Deals 4x3
Best Buy is offering many Black Friday discounts right now during its Black Friday Ad Deals sale event.

Black Friday shopping will look very different this year compared to past ones. Instead of camping out in front of stores and braving the crowds and lines, it will probably be more convenient (and a bit safer) if you stayed at home to shop. Luckily, you can still count on finding deep discounts on tech, smart home gadgets, and more from large retailers like Best Buy.

Best Buy is offering many Black Friday discounts right now during its Black Friday Ad Deals sale well before the actual day on November 27. To help you get the best discounts this holiday season, we'll be highlighting the best deals both before and during Thanksgiving week.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Best early Black Friday 2020 deals

Galaxy Tab A (8-inch) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

Best early Black Friday 2020 TV deals

55-inch 4 Series 4K TV (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

Best early Black Friday 2020 gaming deals

Best early Black Friday 2020 smart home deals

Smart Clock (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)SmartThermostat with Voice Control (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)White and Color Ambiance A19 Smart Bulbs (3-Pack) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Protect Home Security System (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

How do we select the best deals at Best Buy?

  • We only choose products that meet our high standard of coverage, from brands we've tested and trust.
  • We compare the prices against other retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart and only include the deals that are the same or better (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards).
  • We research price history thoroughly, to ensure that every deal we list is actually worth your time.

When does Best Buy's Black Friday sale start?

Black Friday 2020 is November 27 and Cyber Monday is November 30, but sales from many retailers, not just Best Buy, are starting now. Best Buy's deals have already begun though — right now it's running a Black Friday Ad Deals sale through November 17. 

Should I become a My Best Buy member?

My Best Buy membership is free to join and can get you some exclusive discounts and perks — like the Black Friday price guarantee held during earlier sales. My Best Buy members also get access to early access to Black Friday discounts, for instance, members receive an additional $50 discount on this already marked down TCL 55-inch Class 4 Series 4K TV.

If you're planning to shop from Best Buy at any time of year, we recommend becoming a member.

What is the Black Friday price guarantee?

Best Buy's Black Friday price guarantee assures that if you buy something before November 27 and the price drops lower later, you can receive a refund for the difference. However, there are two major caveats: this guarantee only applies to the Prep for the Holidays sale, and it excludes Cyber Monday, November 30. If you buy something that drops to a lower price on Cyber Monday, you won't receive a refund for the difference. 

While these exclusions may sound like deal-breakers, don't worry. If you see one of our posts about a deeply discounted item over Black Friday, chances are, Cyber Monday won't bring any significant price drops. Additional price drops tend to be less than 15% of the item's total value — an extra $10 off an Instant Pot, $5 saved on a Bluetooth speaker. Just don't buy anything at full price this Black Friday, and you should be safe from any significant buyer's remorse. 

What should I buy from Best Buy this Black Friday?

Year after year, Best Buy brings a ton of great discounts on every category it sells, and you can expect to find excellent deals on tech, smart home, gaming, and small home appliances.

Shopping for laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other tech is never more affordable than on Black Friday. Especially great deals we saw last year included price drops like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 down to $600 (from $960), the 2019 Macbook Air down to $900 (from $1,100), and $400 off the Google Pixel 4. It's likely we'll see discounts this year from these brands and other major players in the category, like HP, Samsung, and Lenovo. 

Smart home deals also thrive during Black Friday, and 2020 will probably be the same. Of the many deals we saw last year, the ones that really stood out from Best Buy were $20 off the Google Home Mini, $50 off the Amazon Echo Show 8, and $30 off the Lenovo Smart Clock. Whether you prefer Amazon Alexa or Google, you can look forward to deeply discounted smart speakers and smart-assistant compatible tech, like smart bulbs and switches, throughout the event.   

Not only can you bank on finding game titles for every console on sale over Black Friday, but older generation consoles tend to drop in price too — usually when bundled with controllers and games. Don't get your hopes up if you're looking for discounts on new consoles like the upcoming PS5 and the Xbox Series X, but older and budget models are typically on sale. 

If you're going to buy a stick vacuum, electric pressure cooker, or other small appliance, Black Friday is the time to do it. Last year we saw $200 off the Dyson V10 Animal, $270 off the Kitchenaid Professional Stand Mixer, and $40 off the Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-quart. Countertop appliances and vacuums of every type (upright, stick, and robot) drop to the best prices we see all year over Black Friday, so if you've been waiting for a sign to buy a waffle maker this year, this is it. 

Can I shop in the Best Buy near me?

Black Friday shoppers can visit Best Buy locations to take advantage of these early Black Friday deals — a stark contrast to Amazon. The retailer also has extensive safety protocols for shopping in stores, including requiring customers and employees to wear face masks and limiting the number of visitors.

Better still, Best Buy offers contactless curbside pickup, store pickup, in addition to same-day and next-day delivery options. This means that if the product you want is in-stock at a location near you, you can just pick it up instead of waiting for it to ship.

How does Best Buy stand up to the competition on Black Friday?

Compared to other major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, Best Buy is sure to offer solid, competitively priced deals for Black Friday. You can expect a lot of overlap between these stores, and oftentimes if something is out of stock from one retailer, it's still in stock at another. 

Shopping at Best Buy may be the best option for you if you live close to one for curbside pickup or if you're a My Best Buy member with an exclusive discount. Following the trend of past years, Best Buy will most likely bring strong tech and gaming deals — and you may be surprised at its home and kitchen deals as well.

Deals by store

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The best early and upcoming Black Friday TV deals from LG, Samsung, Sony, and more

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Black Friday 2020 TV Deals 4x3
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Black Friday 2020 is right around the corner, and stores are running major deals on all sorts of electronics. Some of the best tech deals you'll find will be on TVs, at all price points, from brands across the board. 

We've compiled all the best Black Friday TV deals that are active and those that are coming up as well. Read on for the best Black Friday TV deals that major retailers are running, including Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and more. And don't worry about lugging your new TV from store to home: Many retailers are also offering free shipping.

The best early Black Friday TV deals

Though Black Friday doesn't officially kick off until later this week, several stores have already launched sales on many TVs, including big deals on flagship and midrange models from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio. 

Some of the best early Black Friday TV deals available right now include discounts on several OLED models. The 65-inch Sony A8H, Vizio OLED, and LG CX are all on sale for all-time low prices, though the LG CX is currently sold out at Best Buy and Amazon. All three TVs provide pixel-level contrast, perfect black levels, and wide viewing angles. 

The LG CX can get a little brighter than the competition and it includes HDMI 2.1 ports for next-gen gaming features. Meanwhile, the Sony A8H costs $100 less than the LG, and it offers the most accurate color of the bunch. On the downside, the Sony doesn't include HDMI 2.1. Finally, the Vizio OLED is the cheapest 65-inch OLED on the market right now, and the 55-inch model is just $900. For that low price, however, you lose out on built-in voice control.

I'm actually testing the Vizio OLED right now, and though I've been blown away by the image quality, I've run into some compatibility issues with my Onkyo receiver and the TV's HDMI ARC port. I've reached out to Vizio about the issue and I'll update this article once I hear more. For now, buyers with Onkyo AV receivers may want to avoid this particular model.

Of course, OLEDs aren't the only worthwhile TVs currently benefiting from early holiday discounts. Check out all of the best early Black Friday TV deals below.

The best Black Friday TV deals coming soon

While there are plenty of early TV deals available right now, some stores are saving a few big discounts for November 27 when Black Friday fully kicks into gear. Details on specific deals from some retailers are still pending, but Best Buy has already posted its Black Friday TV ad with a preview of what shoppers can expect.

One of the best upcoming deals includes a big discount on the entry-level Hisense H65 Series TV. Though its picture quality is nothing special, the 4K TV offers decent performance for casual viewing, basic HDR capabilities, and Android TV streaming. Best of all, the 65-inch model will be on sale for just $250 on November 28. 

Smaller TVs will also see big discounts, including Insignia's 50-inch 4K Fire TV which will be available for only $150. You can find a rundown of all the best upcoming Black Friday TV deals below.

When is Black Friday 2020?

Black Friday 2020 will officially begin on November 27, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. 

That said, many retailers have already launched early Black Friday promotions, extending the sales event throughout the month of November and beyond. Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and Target all have early Black Friday discounts available across many product categories, including tech and TVs.

Following Black Friday, more deals will continue to roll out through Cyber Monday 2020 on November 30. 

How to shop for a TV

Finding the right TV for your needs can be a tricky and time-consuming process. Price can vary a lot depending on the features and size you want. On the low-end, you can find smaller HDTVs for as little as $100 or less. When it comes to flagship 65-inch 4K models, prices can rise to $1,500 or more. Depending on how big the display is, the best 8K TVs can even cost in excess of $10,000.

Thankfully, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to help narrow down your selection.

If you prioritize genuine home theater performance for the best movie-watching experience, you'll want to opt for a 4K display with at least a 65-inch screen. The best 4K TVs use an OLED panel, or an advanced LED screen (often branded as QLED) with local dimming and quantum dots. These display types enable the highest contrast, deepest black levels, and brightest images for a gorgeous high dynamic range (HDR) picture.  

For people who just want a no-fuss display that's suited for casual viewing, a smaller TV with a more budget-friendly LED panel should be more than fine. Though image performance won't be as impressive as more expensive models, there are plenty of cheap LED TVs with solid performance, including budget models that still manage to pack in 4K, HDR, and integrated smart TV streaming.

If you're looking for detailed TV buying advice, be sure to check out our various TV buying guides:

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Biden will pick former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department

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Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen.
  • President-elect Joe Biden is planning to nominate Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
  • If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to hold the job.
  • Yellen would also become the first person to hold the three most influential economic positions in government: chair of the Federal Reserve, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and treasury secretary.
  • Earlier this year she signaled a willingness to increase the national debt in pursuit of education and climate-change programs that could boost economic growth.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden has picked Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to be the treasury secretary.

Yellen would also be the first person to have led the Federal Reserve, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and the Treasury Department.

Biden announced last week that he had chosen a treasury secretary, saying it would be "someone who will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, from the progressive to the moderate coalitions."

The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jen Psaki, a Biden representative, said on Twitter on Monday afternoon that Biden "looks forward to announcing some members of his economic team early next week who will work with him to build the economy back better."

Yellen chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2017, during President Barack Obama's second term. President Donald Trump replaced her with Jerome Powell. Trump's move broke with precedent, as the previous three Fed chairs had their terms renewed by presidents of the opposite party.

Yellen would face an immense set of challenges. Congress hasn't approved a new economic aid package, with both parties fiercely divided over its size and reach. Biden has recently pressed for an expansive Democratic relief plan, which Republicans have long dismissed. As treasury secretary, Yellen would be plunged into the fraught negotiations with a gridlocked Congress.

Read more: Joe Biden's Cabinet-in-waiting: Meet the people in play for a new administration, and Biden's picks for key roles like Secretary of State and national security advisor

Coronavirus cases also continue to surge, causing states to reinstate restrictions to thwart the virus' rapid spread. Many economists have said these factors could derail the already shaky recovery.

Democrats lauded the pick on Monday. "Janet Yellen would be an outstanding choice for Treasury Secretary. She is smart, tough, and principled," Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said on Twitter. "As one of the most successful Fed Chairs ever, she has stood up to Wall Street banks, including holding Wells Fargo accountable for cheating working families."

As the Fed chair, Yellen was a strong advocate of reducing unemployment through Fed policies. "I'm very interested in the job market, and a lot of my career has been spent studying unemployment and trying to understand how we can lower it," she said at a New York University event in early 2017, per The New York Times.

Yellen is also set to play a central role in the Biden administration's economic policymaking. Biden campaigned on increasing taxes for the richest Americans and corporations, an agenda at stake pending the outcome of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia on January 5.

Earlier this year, she signaled a willingness to support deficit spending in pursuit of education and climate-change programs that could juice growth.

"In a world of low real rates, there's also a strong case for programs to invest in infrastructure, education, research and development, climate-change mitigation — namely investments that would elevate potential growth," Yellen said at the annual American Economic Association meeting in January.

Read more: Wall Street experts are calling the Fed the single most important driver of stock market returns after all the election chaos. Here's why they're bullish and how they recommend exploiting the gains to come.

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Blink Charging's roughly 200% surge in recent weeks has made it a '$1 billion joke,' says famed short-seller Andrew Left

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electric car charging
The electric car Nissan Leaf, at an electric vehicle charging station at Balboa Park.
  • Blink Charging has soared nearly 200% in November as investor enthusiasm surrounding electric vehicle related stocks hits a fever pitch.
  • Investors are betting that Blink will benefit from an increase in adoption of electric vehicles as it build out its charging network.
  • Andrew Left of Citron Research isn't buying the hype, as the famed short-seller tweeted on Monday thank Blink Charging "is a $1 billion joke."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Electric vehicle stocks have been all the rage in 2020, as investors bet that the success of Tesla can be replicated by startup companies like Fisker, Nikola, and Nio, among others.

That euphoria has spilled over to the electric vehicle charging space, with shares of Blink Charging surging nearly 200% in November as of Friday's close. Shares of Blink are up 1,118% year-to-date.

Blink Charging operates a network of nearly 15,000 electric vehicle charging stations as of December 31, according to the company.

One investor not buying into the hype is famed short-seller Andrew Left of Citron Research.

Read more: A Wall Street strategist breaks down why bitcoin's latest surge past $18,000 is sniffing out a major downward spiral in the stock market's hottest trade

Left tweeted on Monday that Blink is "a $1 billion joke". The company, he says, has no brand, a commoditized product, and has made little progress in expanding its network over the years.

Blink Charging surged as much as 44% in Monday trades, reaching an intra-day market valuation of $1.05 billion.

Left said Blink Charging is "a total scheme" and expects the company to trade back down to $10 on a dilutive share offering. A move to $10 would represent potential downside of 56% from Friday's close.

"It is an insult to other EV makers to even mention Blink Charging as an EV stock," Left said.

blnk.JPG
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China just launched a mission to the moon to collect rock samples — the first time a country will have done so in more than 40 years

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An undated picture shows a moon rock in unknown location. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD/Handout via REUTERS
A moon rock.
  • China just launched a mission to the moon that aims to collect lunar rocks and bring them back to Earth.
  • If successful, the mission will be the first time a nation has retrieved moon rocks in over 40 years.
  • Studying the samples could help geologists learn about the moon's age and volcanic activity.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

For decades, planetary geologists have studied tiny chunks of lunar rock to unravel the moon's mysteries. The rocks have revealed how old the moon is, helped scientists estimate the age of other planets, and offered insight into how turbulent our solar system once was.

But nobody has collected any new moon rocks for more than 40 years.

China's National Space Administration is poised to change that. On Monday afternoon at 3:31 p.m. ET (4:31 a.m. Tuesday local time), China launched a spacecraft toward the moon. The mission, called Chang'e-5, aims to land a robot on the lunar surface to collect samples for the first time in China's history. A spacecraft will then return to Earth with the samples.

The mission is the sixth in a series of ambitious steps by the China to explore the moon, which could potentially lead to the building of a human settlement there. 

"This is a really audacious mission," David S. Draper, the deputy chief scientist at NASA, told the New York Times. "They're going to move the ball down the field in a big way with respect to understanding a lot of things that are important about lunar history."

The Chang'e-5 spacecraft aims to collect 4 pounds of moon rock and dust from a previously unexplored region: a volcanic plain called Mons Rümker. The material could provide new information about the moon's past volcanic activity. 

A successful mission would make China the third nation to bring moon-rock samples back to Earth, after the US and the Soviet Union.

A tricky mission

Chang'e-5 lifted off from China's Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. It is expected to enter the moon's orbit within a week, though the Chinese government has not provided a detailed timeline. After that, it should split into two parts: an orbiter and a descender. The orbiter, as its name suggests, is designed to remain in orbit. The descender — which is itself comprised of an ascender and a lander — is programmed to land near the moon's Mons Rümker plain.

chang_e_5
An illustration of Chang'e 5's descender on the lunar surface.

Assuming the landing is successful, the lander will then have just one lunar day — the equivalent of 14 Earth days — to collect the lunar samples. It can't stick around during the moon's harsh nighttime because extremely cold conditions could damage the spacecraft's electronics.

The robot is slated to drill more than 6 feet into the ground. After collecting the samples, the lander should transfer them to the ascender vehicle. That spacecraft is then expected to blast off from the moon's surface — the first time China has ever launched a vehicle from another planetary body — and re-enter the moon's orbit. Once there, it's expected to dock with the orbiter and transfer the sample into the orbiter's return capsule.

After the delicate, multi-step maneuver is complete, the orbiter is slated to remain in orbit for six days before beginning its journey back to Earth. The capsule is expected to parachute down into Inner Mongolia around mid-December.

The youngest region of the moon ever explored

Previous moon-rock samples collected by the US and Soviet Union have led scientists to conclude that volcanoes were active on the lunar surface about 3 billion years ago. But scientists estimate that regions like the Mons Rümker plain may have hosted volcanic activity as recently as 1.2 billion years ago, based on observations of the lunar surface. 

mons rumker
The Mons Rümker area of the moon.

If lunar volcanoes were indeed active that recently, "we will rewrite the history of the moon," Xiao Long, a planetary geologist at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, told Nature.

Analyzing lunar rocks could help planetary scientists understand how the moon was able to sustain volcanic activity for billions of years.

"The moon is small, so its heat engine should have run out a long time ago," Clive Neal, a geoscientist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, told Nature.

The rocks could also help scientists determine the age of regions on other planets, like Mars. Researchers investigate this by analyzing the ages of moon-rock samples, then counting the craters on the areas of the moon those samples came from. More craters on a region's surface indicates that it's older, since there has been more time for impacts to accumulate, and the early solar system was more violent than the present. 

Scientists then can estimate how old other planets' regions are by comparing how many craters their surfaces have relative to the moon. 

So far, scientists have only been able to study moon-rock samples from lunar regions that are 3 billion years old or more. Because the Mons Rümker plain appears to be far younger, samples from the region could help scientists more precisely estimate the region's age, and consequently the ages of younger regions on other planets, too. 

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Trump previewed his legal strategy 2 years ago, when he said a turkey 'refused to concede and demanded a recount'

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trump turkey pardon
President Donald Trump pets Peas after pardoning the turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House November 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.
  • In a prescient aside, President Donald Trump laid out a concise summation of what would become his 2020 post-election legal strategy back in 2018.
  • At the annual White House turkey pardon, of all events, Trump described a familiar sounding playbook.
  • "This was a fair election," Trump said at the 2018 turkey pardon. "Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount."
  • "We're still fighting with Carrots. And I will tell you, we've come to a conclusion: Carrots, I'm sorry to tell you, the results did not change. Too bad for Carrots."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In a bizarre yet entirely prescient tangent back in 2018, President Donald Trump laid out the legal strategy he would pursue in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

It was the annual White House turkey pardon, and Trump riffed about sour grapes on behalf of the turkey whose life was not saved.

 

"The winner of this vote was decided by a fair and open election conducted on the White House website," Trump said. "This was a fair election."

"Unfortunately," he continued, "Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount."

If that sounds familiar, it's because Trump has yet to concede the race two weeks after major US media projected Joe Biden had defeated him, and is demanding forms of recounts in several states.

After efforts at a recount failed in Pennsylvania, the Trump legal team moved on to Michigan, where they have once again struggled to provide enough evidence that would result in any substantial number of votes being thrown out to overturn the result. Trump is also requesting a recount of Georgia, which Biden won by 12,000 votes.

While those legal battles have not been going well so far, there's no indication Trump will concede any time soon. Compared to his defense as of late, he was less forgiving when it came to the objections of Carrots.

"We're still fighting with Carrots," Trump said.

"And I will tell you, we've come to a conclusion: Carrots, I'm sorry to tell you, the results did not change. Too bad for Carrots."

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You can enroll in 100 free online courses on Coursera now through December 31 — here's a list of classes, from health and humanities to data science and cloud technology

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professional lifestyle

To expand access to online education during the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning platform Coursera is offering 100 classes for free from now through December 31, 2020. 

The free courses span many categories, including mental health and well-beingcareer development, cloud technology, language learning, and understanding public health and global emergencies

They can be great for those looking for an affordable alternative to traditional grad school, developing new skills for a career switch, or seeking personal improvement, and they cater to a range of demographics, from high school and college students to adults. Most are in partnership with universities, like Yale, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania, but a handful are offered by companies such as Google and Amazon.

Here's how to enroll in Coursera courses for free:

  1. Click on the class you'd like to take below and make sure that there's a blue promo banner at the top of the page. If not, refresh the page and let it load fully. 
  2. Click the 'Enroll for Free' button.
  3. Select "Purchase Course." If the promo has applied, it should say below it that "Your promotion will automatically be applied at checkout." 
  4. At checkout, the course should be free and state $0.

Usually, you can audit thousands of courses on Coursera without paying a dime. But when students audit, they don't get access to things like graded homework assignments or certificates of completion, which can be added to their LinkedIn page. Full access to courses can range from $50 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the topic.

As part of this limited-time offer, the courses below are entirely free until December 31, 2020, or until enrollment becomes too saturated. Coursera is giving learners access to all the stuff typically behind a paywall: a certificate, graded homework, projects, and unlimited access to a course's reading material. Of the list below, only 15 were free and didn't include a paid version originally, according to a company representative. 

Below are 100 Coursera courses that will be free to enroll in until December 31, or until enrollment becomes too saturated:

Health
public health lifestyle

Animals

Arts and humanities
braid
Business
Cloud lifestyle
Data science
coursera course photos.s3.amazonaws
Computer science
35513262994_fd3cdadda2_k
Cloud and tech
college lifestyle
Language learning
___ 1
Math and logic
CalculusSydney_sml.fw
Personal development
Coursera Cover Page 2
Physical science and engineering
CourseImage
Physics and astronomy
logo
Social sciences
FallCampus_1 X3
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Hershey drove a record spike in cocoa prices after reportedly sourcing beans from the futures market instead of physical sellers

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  • Hershey's move into cocoa futures trading pushed the market into chaos this month and boosted prices to record highs.
  • The candy producer bought cocoa beans through the ICE Futures exchange in mid-November, Bloomberg reported Friday.
  • The trade allows Hershey to obtain cocoa at lower prices, as chocolate producers typically buy from physical suppliers who charge various premiums.
  • The trade was so big it lifted December-delivery contracts as much as 13.4% from November 13 to November 16. It also placed December contracts at a record-high premium over the next contract.
  • Watch cocoa trade live here.

Hershey threw the cocoa market into chaos earlier this month after taking an unconventional approach to sourcing beans.

The candy producer bought cocoa beans through ICE Futures exchange in mid-November, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The move marks a shift from the deals with physical sellers commonly used to supply beans. While deals with middlemen make up the bulk of global cocoa purchases, procuring beans through futures trades allows Hershey to avoid typical premiums.

Hershey's trade was so big it required special permission from the exchange to execute, according to the report. The size of the trade lifted December-delivery contracts as much as 13.4% from November 13 to November 16 and placed the futures at a record-high premium over the next contract.

Read more: Brad McGill's fund is beating 99% of its peers this year. The small-cap manager shares how he invests for big wins and where he is finding opportunities amid a 39% return year-to-date.

Prices have continued to rise after December-delivery futures expired. Contracts for March delivery jumped as much as 2.3%, to $2,774 per ton, on Monday, the commodity's highest level since late February.

Hershey's move to futures trading comes just before two major cocoa exporters implement a new premium on beans. Ghana and Ivory Coast placed a $400-per-ton premium — known as the Living Income Differential — on their beans starting in October. Other premiums for sustainability and quality can also be levied on cocoa depending on several factors.

Several chocolate producers agreed to pay such charges to improve living conditions for cocoa farmers, but the coronavirus pandemic and its hit to chocolate demand has since left companies looking to cut costs. By turning to the futures market, Hershey can avoid the premiums and buy cocoa at lower prices.

Still, a Hershey spokesperson told Bloomberg the company continues its "substantial cocoa sustainability work" to combat poverty and deforestation. Hershey continues to pay the Living Income Differential and invest in training for farmers to diversify their crops, the spokesperson added.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Snap rallies 7% after unveiling TikTok-competitor Spotlight

The US economy will shrink in the 1st quarter of 2021 as winter weather spurs virus resurgence, JPMorgan says

Goldman Sachs says to buy these 26 stocks poised to deliver the strongest earnings growth in 2021 as the S&P 500 surges another 20%

Read the original article on Business Insider

A researcher managed to 'steal' a Tesla in 90 seconds with a $300 bluetooth kit

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Tesla Model X electric vehicle is shown in Moscow
A Tesla Model X in Moscow.
  • Danish researcher Lennert Woulters found two easy loopholes in Tesla's computer system that could theoretically allow someone to gain access and steal a Model X. 
  • He made the discovery with just a few hundred dollars worth of supplies, including a Bluetooth radio and Tesla computer from eBay. 
  • Tesla says its rolling out fixes to prevent actual attacks. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

All a Belgian researcher needed to break into and effectively steal a Tesla Model X: a $300 bluetooth kit, and some luck.

According to Wired, Lennert Woulters, who studies security at the university KU Leuven, found a way to exploit two vulnerabilities by simply reading the car's VIN number and lifting a code from the owner's key fob (which requires being within about 15 feet).

Armed with that information and a bluetooth radio, Woulters was able to unlock the car by spoofing the signal that would usually come from the owner's key fob or phone.

Once inside, things got trickier. Woulters was able to use a separate Model X body control module from eBay plugged into the  a computer port in the car that was easily accessible, and pair the car with his own "key" — something the Tesla computer system didn't verify.

"Basically a combination of two vulnerabilities allows a hacker to steal a Model X in a few minutes time," he told the magazine. "When you combine them, you get a much more powerful attack."

Tesla, which did not respond to a request for comment, plans to roll out a software update to patch the problem, Wired reported.

The automaker, like many tech firms, makes use of a "bug bounty" program, in which researchers and hacktivists are rewarded for helping discover flaws that could be exploited by would-be attackers. In the past it's offered cash rewards and even Tesla vehicles.

Read Wired's full profile of Woulters' discoveries here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Black Friday Apple deals — pick up the AirPods Pro for $190, down from $250

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When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

airpods pro
  • Black Friday is coming soon, but some Apple device deals are already popping up in early Black Friday deals. 
  • We're seeing early deals for iPhones, AirPods, iPads, Apple Watches, and even the latest Mac Mini running on Apple's new M1 chip.
  • Most notable are the $250 AirPods Pro wireless noise cancelling earbuds, which can be had for a great deal now on Woot ($190) and will get an even better deal from Walmart closer to Black Friday ($169)
  • The Beats Studio 3 Wireless are also 50% off from Target at the moment, bringing them down in price from $350 to $175. 
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Black Friday is close approaching, and that means early Black Friday deals for Apple devices — some of the most expensive and coveted tech products on the market.

Apple devices don't usually get Black Friday deals from Apple itself, but stores that sell Apple devices like Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and others often offer Apple devices likes AirPods, Apple Watches, iPads, Mac computers, Beats headphones, and even iPhones with discounts during big sale events, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Notable is the AirPods Pro. Woot is currently selling Apple's wireless noise cancelling earbuds for the lowest we've seen so far, but Walmart will soon sell them for even less at $169, which is incredible for one of the best accessories you can get if you're in the Apple ecosystem. 

Also worth a look are the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones that are going for $175 on Target at the moment, a 50% from the full $350 price tag. It's a good time to get Apple headphones right now.

Apple Black Friday: Early AirPods deals 

Airpods with Wired Charging Case (Newest model) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

You can also find this price on Apple AirPods with a Wireless Charging Case at Walmart and Best Buy.

Apple Black Friday: Early iPhone deals

iPhone 12 Mini (medium, Preferred: Walmart (AT&T))iPhone 12 (medium, Preferred: Walmart (Verizon))iPhone 12 Pro (medium, Preferred: Walmart (AT&T))iPhone 12 Pro Max (medium, Preferred: Walmart (Verizon))

Apple Black Friday: Early iPad deals

2020 iPad 10.2-inch (8th Gen) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)iPad Air 2020 (4th-gen) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)12.9-Inch iPad Pro - 128GB (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Apple Black Friday: Early Mac computer deals

2020 MacBook Air (10th-gen dual-core Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Pro (2020, 13-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 4 ports) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Macbook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Apple Black Friday: Early Apple Watch deals

Series 6 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

You can also find this price on the Apple Watch Series 6 at Walmart.

Watch SE (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) (medium, Preferred: Target)Watch Series 3 (GPS + 38mm) (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Watch Series 3 (GPS, 42mm) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Watch Series 3 + LTE (42mm) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

Apple Black Friday: Early Beats headphones deals

Studio 3 Wireless Headphones (medium, Preferred: Target)Solo Pro (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Powerbeats Pro (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

You can also find this price on the Powerbeats Pro at Target and Amazon.

Apple Black Friday deals FAQs

Does Apple offer deals on Black Friday?

Apple rarely offers its own deals on Black Friday, but in years past it's offered gift cards when purchasing select products. Last year, for example, Apple's promotion included gift cards up to $200 on select purchases. Apple has not yet said whether it plans to offer a similar deal in 2020. But, last year it made the announcement on November 25, so we may hear more about upcoming gift card promotions in the coming days.

Should I buy from Amazon, Target, Best Buy, or Walmart?

Many of these retailers offer very similar deals on products like the AirPods and the Apple Watch, which means you'll have a couple of options should one retailer go out of stock. In instances where multiple retailers offer the same product at the same price, consider which retailer is most convenient for you in terms of shipping options. If you have an Amazon Prime membership and want to get the product as fast as possible, it might make more sense to purchase through Amazon. But, if you'd rather pick up the item at your nearby Target or Best Buy, you should consider ordering from your preferred brick-and-mortar retailer. 

Do these stores offer curbside pickup?

Yes, Target, Best Buy, and Walmart all offer curbside pickup. But, you should check with your local retailer since the rules may vary by location and items purchased. Walmart, for example, says that not all stores offer curbside pickup for Black Friday deals.

How do we choose the best Apple deals?

We select products that meet our high standard of coverage based on testing and research. This includes testing Apple's products as well similar devices from its main competitors.

We also research prices across retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy and compare them against Apple's prices to find the deals that are worth paying attention to.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to recover deleted text messages on Android, and why you should back up your phone on Google Drive

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Losing any kind of important data on your Android can be gut-wrenching. Accidentally deleting text messages is especially onerous because your phone has no trash can or temporary storage for deleted texts; as soon as you delete them, they're gone – at least, mostly gone. 

Here's what you can do to try to recover deleted messages and how to prevent catastrophe in the future. A word of warning, though: Your options are limited, and there's an excellent chance you will not be able to recover deleted text messages. 

How to recover deleted messages on Android with recovery software

The fact that your messages aren't truly erased from your phone immediately gives you a narrow window of opportunity. In a worst-case scenario, you may be able to use data recovery software to find deleted text messages as long as they haven't yet been overwritten with new data. Here's what to do:

1. As soon as you realize your text was deleted, stop using the phone. Anything you do could potentially overwrite or corrupt the deleted text message, so at a minimum, put the phone in airplane mode.

2. For the safest results, turn your phone off entirely. 

3. Install and run a data recovery program and see if it can recover your messages. There are a number of programs you can try, but Android Data Recovery is a well-reviewed option that stands a good chance of success. This $49.95 app needs to be installed on your PC or Mac, which you connect to your phone. Apps that offer to recover data from the phone itself — without involving your computer — are much less likely to be effective because they run the risk of overwriting the data they are trying to recover. 

How_to_recover_deleted_text_messages_on_Android 1
You can try a commercial data recovery program like Android Data Recovery, but it might not find the text messages you are looking for.

How to recover deleted messages from a Google backup

Many Android phones are configured to automatically back up to Google Drive. If your phone creates automatic Google backups, you might be able to restore your phone to retrieve the lost text messages.

Unfortunately, even if you had a recent backup before you deleted the text, keep in mind that this is very much a "nuclear" option: You'll need to reset the phone to its original factory settings and then restore the entire backup; there's no way to pick or choose. This is a time-consuming option and can result in the loss of other data that was created after the backup you are restoring. 

Here's how to see if you have a backup:

1. Start the Google Drive app on your phone.

2. Tap the three horizontal lines (the hamburger menu) at the top left of the screen. In the meu, tap "Backups."

3. If you see a section labeled "This device," tap your backup. 

4. On the details page, find the entry for SMS and check the date of the last backup. If it's before the date you deleted the text message, you can consider resetting your phone and restoring from this backup. 

How_to_recover_deleted_text_messages_on_Android 2
If you have a current backup that predates the text message loss, reset your phone and restore your Google Drive backup.

Other ways to recover text messages

If you're not ready to invest money in recovery software that might not yield effective results or you didn't back up your phone on Google Drive, there are some other things you can consider. None of these are ideal, but they can be helpful:

  • Contact the person you were messaging with. Your contact might be able to supply the deleted information from his or her end of the conversation.
  • Check for other apps that might have automatically captured the important aspects of the text message. For example, photos and videos might be automatically downloaded to your gallery. If you were invited to a meeting, that might have already been placed on your calendar, reducing the need for the actual message. 

How to prevent lost messages in the future

There are few genuinely good options at your disposal if you need to recover deleted text messages. Here are your best options to prevent catastrophe in the future:

  • You might get in the habit of taking screenshots of important messages when you receive them. These images, stored in your phone's gallery, are insurance against accidental deletions. 
  • Turn on Google Drive's device backup option. Follow the instructions above on how to recover deleted messages from a Google backup, and if you don't see a backup listed, tap "Backup Settings" and configure Google to start creating regular backups of your phone. 

How_to_recover_deleted_text_messages_on_Android 3
The best advice is to make sure your phone is regularly being backed up in Google Drive.

What happens to deleted text messages 

The reason text messages are so difficult to recover is that there's no recycle bin for this kind of data. As soon as you delete a text, your phone's operating system marks it as deleted. The text isn't actually deleted, though — the text is marked as eligible to be overwritten with new data.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best laptops

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  • If you're looking for the best laptop out there, there are a ton of different choices.
  • We've tested and researched a wide range of laptops during our years covering tech products to narrow down our list of top picks.
  • Whether you want a top-of-the-line laptop, a MacBook, or a more affordable Chromebook, we have a pick for your needs in our guide.
  • Based on our testing, the Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop we've ever used — hands down.
  • Black Friday 2020 and Cyber Monday 2020 run on November 27 and 30, respectively, and some of our top picks may go on sale, so be sure to keep tabs on our guide to the best tech deals.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When it comes to studying, working, or even playing, using one of the best laptops is essential if you want maximum power, efficiency, look and feel, or even value. That's because a laptop that doesn't work well is immediately noticeable, while one that's sufficient for your needs just works.

With all of the various makes, models, and product types out there, buying the best laptop that suits your needs has become an awfully involved process. After all, laptops are complex machines, with differences even within the same line of product. We break down how to shop for a laptop later on in this guide.

Although the very best laptops will cost you $1,000 or more, we've tried to offer a variety of laptops in different price ranges in this guide. You can also check out the best college laptops you can buy, the best Chromebooks to date, and the best budget laptops if money is tight. If you prefer Macs, we also have a guide on the best MacBooks.

We've spent about a decade covering technology, including laptops. We've tested and reviewed hundreds of laptops and tablets running Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, and Google Chrome OS. This testing is both anecdotal and supported by benchmarks. 

Here are the best laptops:

Updated on 11/23/2020 by Lisa Eadicicco: Added the latest MacBook Air with Apple's new M1 chip as the best Apple laptop right now. Read on to see why.

The best laptop overall
dell xps 13

The Dell XPS 13 strikes an incredible balance between the most powerful mobile hardware to date in an attractive, thin, and light chassis for a reasonable high-end price.

Pros: Excellent design, long battery life, latest hardware, lots of ports

Cons: Webcam should be 1080p, certain colors locked to higher specs

Dell's flagship 13-incher has been the overall best laptop for years, and this year is no different. Why? It's because the Dell XPS continues to be the best cross between power, portability, and looks for general users, making it the best laptop for most people.

This year marks the Dell XPS 13 adopting the latest in Intel CPU technology: the 10th-generation Core chips built on the 10-nanometer (nm) process. This means exponentially more transistors on the same CPU die space, leading to even more power and longer battery life. The result is more than 19 hours of battery life from the Full HD (1080p) model, by Dell's claim.

Dell's late 2019 update also carries over its most important change to the early 2019 model: moving the webcam back to the top of the display. The webcam remains 720p, but it comes equipped with far-field microphones for stronger smart-assistant performance. Better yet, Dell crammed not only two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C versatility at 40Gbps speeds) ports in the XPS 13, but managed to keep a microSD card slot.

The base configuration Dell XPS 13 starts with an Intel Core i3 CPU, a 13.3-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD — starting at $949.99. It comes in Platinum Silver with a black carbon-fiber palm rest — weighing just 2.7 pounds and measuring merely 0.3 inches thin. With several options in between, the laptop maxes out with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a 4K Ultra-High-Definition (UHD at 2160p) touchscreen with Rose Gold and Alpine White color options for $2,349.99 list price.

The best 13-inch laptop
HP Envy 13t

The HP Envy 13t brings flagship performance, look, feel, and features to a more affordable price point.

Pros: Lots of power for the price, nifty webcam privacy shutter, fast-charging battery

Cons: Upgrades get pricey quickly

HP's Envy 13t is our pick for the best 13-inch laptop, bringing high-end hardware and decent looks to an approachable price point — and more so in some areas than our best overall pick, the Dell XPS 13. It's also even lighter than the laptop that tops this list, and has the option for dedicated graphics at higher-end configurations.

The most affordable version of this laptop features Intel's eighth-generation CPUs, but that's still plenty of power for general users. Where the HP Envy 13t truly shines is in its additional features that few other laptops in its price range offer and help set it apart.

Those features include a built-in webcam privacy shutter for when you're not using it, as well as a fingerprint reader integrated into the laptop for biometric login via Windows Hello. And, for the audio lovers out there, top-firing quad speakers beneath a geometric pattern speaker grill are tuned by Bang & Olufsen for premium sound. Oh, and its battery can charge up to 50% in just 45 minutes, lasting more than nine hours in many reviewers' tests.

The cheapest HP Envy 13t model is surprisingly powerful, packing an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD — all behind a 13.3-inch, 1080p display — for a $999.99 list price but can often be found as low as $799.99. Options from there bump up the price quickly, but include options for Nvidia MX250 graphics, more RAM and storage, a touchscreen, as well more updated makes with 10th-gen Intel Core CPUs. All HP Envy 13t models come featuring two USB 3.1 ports, one USB-C 3.1 port, and an SD card reader, coming in "Natural Silver" and "Pale Gold" colors.

The best MacBook
MacBook Air red open

Apple's M1 chip brings major improvements to the MacBook Air's performance, battery life, and camera quality for the same price, making it the best choice for Mac fans.

Pros: Fast performance, super-long battery life, much-improved camera

Cons: Lacks some features of similarly priced Windows devices like facial recognition and a borderless screen, iPhone apps don't add much to the experience yet especially without touch screens

Apple is finally bringing its own chip to the Mac. Called the M1, Apple's homemade processor introduces serious benefits to the latest MacBook Air compared to its Intel-powered predecessor, such as longer battery life, faster performance, and a super-silent fanless design.

The new MacBook Air's battery life may be its biggest upgrade. I was able to get about 12 hours of use out of the M1-powered MacBook Air, a noticeable jump from the roughly seven hours of battery life I have experienced on the Intel version. In addition to speedier performance and longer battery life, the webcam in the M1-equipped MacBook Air takes advantage of Apple's image signal processor, resulting in clearer and sharper images.

Apple's M1 chip can also be found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the Air is a better deal since it's $300 cheaper and there are barely any differences between the two.

Entry-level models of both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro come with 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, Apple's 8-core M1 processor, and two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. The biggest discrepancies between the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are that the latter has Apple's Touch Bar and slightly longer battery life.

But, there is one important change you should be aware of when considering an M1-powered MacBook laptop. Since the M1 chip is based on a different architecture than Intel's processors, desktop apps have to be optimized to work natively with the new processor.

Popular apps like Microsoft Word, Slack, Adobe Lightroom, and Cisco WebEx are working just fine, but some have reported compatibility issues with other Adobe programs and other services.

You'll also have to keep in mind that Apple laptops lack some features found on Windows devices, like touch screens, facial recognition for logging in, and flexible 2-in-1 designs. All of these omitted features would have been especially helpful on M1 Apple laptops like the MacBook Air since they're capable of running iPhone apps.

All told, Apple's M1 chip is a leap forward for the Mac when it comes to the areas that matter most. But, if there are niche programs you rely on for your daily workflow, you might want to make sure they're compatible with Apple's new chip before buying.

Read our full Apple MacBook Air 2020 (M1) review

The best Chromebook
Pixelbook Go, $649

The Google Pixelbook Go offers the ultimate Chromebook experience in its most affordable form to date, with an incredible keyboard and long battery life.

Pros: Incredible keyboard, long battery life, 1080p webcam, decent display

Cons: No biometric login option, pricey upgrade options

Google's follow-up to its original 2-in-1 Chromebook, the Pixelbook, is frankly the most comfortable and premium laptop of its kind that we've ever used. It's known simply as the Pixelbook Go, and it's a more affordable distillation of Google's previous flagship.

While the Pixelbook Go loses the 2-in-1 functionality of the straight Pixelbook that preceded it, the clamshell laptop maintains a 13.3-inch, 1080p touchscreen. However, what's even easier to appreciate is the improvement here on Google's "Hush" keyboard, being one of the quietest and most comfortable laptop keyboards to date. You might also appreciate the 1080p webcam here, a feature largely unheard of in a laptop of this price — Chromebook or otherwise.

Couple all of that with a battery life rated for up to 12 hours, like that of the newest MacBook Air (not to mention a battery that can charge two hours of use in 20 minutes), and you have a strong mobile companion. It also helps that the Pixelbook Go's magnesium build weighs just 2 pounds and measures 0.5 inches thin, featuring two USB-C ports.

Google starts the Pixelbook Go asking price at $649.00, which includes a fanless, dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core m3 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD in either "Just Black" or "Not Pink" colors. That's plenty to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS, but can be configured with fanless Intel Core CPUs up to the i7, twice as much RAM, up to 256GB of SSD space, and even a 2160p display — all maxing out at $1,399.00, which we don't recommend splurging for unless you're a mega fan.

Read our full Google Pixelbook Go review

The best 15-inch laptop
LG Gram 17

Simply put, the LG Gram 17 fits a 17-inch display into a 15-inch laptop with some of the smallest display bezels in the industry. It's also incredibly thin and light without sacrificing power.

Pros: 17-inch display in 15-inch body, built-in fingerprint reader, long battery life

Cons: No top-firing speakers, small trackpad

You might be wondering why a laptop with a 17-inch display is our favorite pick for 15-inch laptops. That's because the LG Gram 17 crams that large of a display into a chassis that's just 15 inches wide, making it a 15-inch laptop with a 17-inch display — just wild.

The laptop's silver-colored, nano carbon magnesium body also weighs far less than most 15-inch laptops at just 2.95 pounds to start, and it measures a mere 0.7 inches thin. This discrepancy between screen size and frame size is due to incredibly thin display bezels, particularly on its sides.

LG's Gram 17 also features a fingerprint reader built into its power button, making login super fast through Windows Hello. Finally, the LG Gram 17's light weight doesn't necessarily mean it's light on power: it offers up a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) display driven by a quad-core, fan-cooled 8th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, and the laptop is equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI, three USB 3.0 ports, and a microSD card reader.

There is only one configuration for the LG Gram 17, and it's a doozy: $1,699.99, which is a lot for even this marvel of engineering. In addition to that CPU, the laptop includes 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a battery inside that can last up to 19 hours and 30 minutes, by LG's measure. Altogether, this makes the LG Gram 17 a 15-inch laptop that's tough to beat.

The best budget laptop
Acer chromebook

The Acer Chromebook 15 nails the basics commonly found in laptops twice its price, offering the most serious value we've seen in a budget laptop.

Pros: Large 1080p display, long battery life, top-firing speakers, plenty of ports

Cons: No biometric login, small local storage

If you're looking for everything you can squeeze out of little money as possible, then we recommend Acer's Chromebook 15. This Chrome OS laptop gets you plenty of features found in more expensive laptops for a lot less, like a 1080p display, top-firing speakers and USB-C connectivity.

This not only allows you to watch movies and other videos — as well as do web-based work and other tasks — at native resolution on a relatively large display, but also enjoy the fuller stereo audio made possible by top-firing speakers. As for the USB-C connectivity, that runs on the USB 3.1 standard, meaning data transfer speeds up to 5 Gigabits per second, as well as DisplayPort support for connecting additional screens and device charging.

The Acer Chromebook 15 also sports a webcam with high dynamic range, or HDR, for deeper color support in video chats, and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio — the most widely used standard today. Suffice it to say that you're getting the niceties of a $600 laptop for almost half the price.

As for that price, Acer lists this particular Chromebook 15 model at $349.99, which includes a dual-core Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD, two USB-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized SD card reader, and a battery that's rated to last for up to 12 hours. You can't really ask for much more from a $350 laptop.

The best 2-in-1 laptop
Lenovo Yoga C940

The Lenovo Yoga C940 is a fantastic iteration on its long-running series of flagship 2-in-1 laptops, making it a multimedia monster in every sense.

Pros: Latest Intel processors, improved audio hardware, stowaway stylus

Cons: Fingerprint reader placement is dated

Lenovo's Yoga C940 2-in-1 laptop is the company's latest iteration on the foldable laptop trend that it helped kickstart in earnest so many years ago. This model improves the innovative speaker hinge of the previous generation, allowing for bigger sound from larger audio drivers, while moving onto 10nm Intel Core processing.

Better yet, this model will be a bit easier for users to open, thanks to a small lip added to its lid just above the webcam. The keyboard luckily remains unchanged, carrying on the IBM ThinkPad legacy that Lenovo acquired years ago in stylish fashion. Speaking of style, the Yoga C940 comes in the same slick "Iron Gray" and "Mica" colors as last year.

Lenovo has truly leaned into crafting its flagship Yoga laptop into a multimedia powerhouse, adding bottom-firing speakers into the laptop's base for even more sound channels. Likewise, the stowaway stylus that charges when stored returns this year.

All of this comes at a $1,249.99 list price, which includes inside a 10th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 1080p touchscreen, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB 3.1 port, a fingerprint reader, and a webcam privacy shutter — with several upgrade options available. Powering all of this is a battery that's rated to last for up to 15 hours, according to Lenovo, and can drum up 80% charge in just one hour. With that, Lenovo retains its lead in 2-in-1 laptops.

The best Microsoft laptop
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft's 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 marks a long-overdue debut for AMD CPUs in flagship laptops, allowing for one of the strongest showings in integrated graphics to date.

Pros: New AMD CPU inside, long battery life, excellent keyboard

Cons: Too few ports, no top-firing speakers, on the pricey side

Microsoft has iterated on its Surface Laptop three times now, and the most recent third crack brings with it a new model: a 15-inch variant that runs on an AMD CPU rather than Intel. It's one of Microsoft's longest-lasting laptops to date in terms of battery life — longer even than Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro.

This new take on the Surface Laptop 3 also brings with it an absolutely welcome new look and feel, opting for an entirely aluminum frame that comes in black or platinum colors. As for the feel, the keyboard performs excellently, being both quiet and forceful in its feedback.

The display on this new model maintains the expected 3:2 aspect ratio that's all but exclusive to Microsoft laptops, with a 2,496 x 1,664 pixel resolution and multi-touch control. The unique aspect ratio allows for more vertical space, which displays more text content than traditional 16:9 displays — allowing for a larger workable space.

Microsoft starts the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 at $1,199.00, which features an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU specially designed by Microsoft with a custom integrated Vega 9 graphics processor that can even handle mild PC gaming. In addition, the laptop contains 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, along with one USB-C port and one USB 3.0 port. All of this is driven by a battery rated to last for up to 11 hours and 30 minutes on a charge.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 review

The best gaming laptop
Razer Blade 15

The Razer Blade 15 strikes the ultimate balance between gaming and general performance as well as look, feel, and design — this is the best gaming laptop for gamers that still want a laptop for everything else.

Pros: Excellent display, lots of power and storage, fantastic keyboard

Cons: Definitely pricey, not the best battery life

Razer has long been the leader in gaming laptop design, and this year is no different. Offering power on the level of entry-grade gaming PCs from a design that rivals even Apple's MacBook Pro line, the Razer Blade 15 certainly charges a premium but backs it up with quality hardware.

From the excellent 1080p display that can be configured up to a 144Hz refresh rate to support frame rates of up to 144 frames per second with 100% fidelity, to the alluring Chroma lighting beneath its keyboard, the Blade 15 treats you well for the steep cost. Throw in 9th-generation, 6-core CPUs and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti dedicated graphics to start, and you have a mobile PC gaming powerhouse that looks great while doing it.

The keyboard in use is also just as effective for typing as it is for gaming, helping the Blade 15 serve as a truly catch-all device for users that would like to be able to work and learn on the same laptop on which they play games in their free time. Plus, if even more graphical power is needed, the Thunderbolt 3 port can connect to an external graphics processor box for full desktop performance (at an additional cost).

Razer wants $1,599.99 list price to start for its 15-inch gaming laptop, which is no doubt a lot of money. That includes 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 1TB hard drive, which should last you a long while in terms of storing games. If it's the absolute best gaming laptop you want, one that well serves as both a straight laptop and one that can play with the best, this should be your first stop.

What else we considered
Laptops 10

Having covered consumer technology for more than a decade now, I've tested countless laptops in every major category and with every major operating system. With that, here are the laptops that were considered for this guide, but didn't make the cut. You may want to consider one of these for a specific need:

  • MacBook Pro (13-or-15-inch) ($1,299.00 or $2,399.00 to start): We've used probably a dozen different MacBooks over the years, and at times the MacBook Pro was the one to beat. But, today, the latest MacBook Air model is the best version of the MacBook for most people. Also, the 2019 MacBook Pro was superseded late last year by the 16-inch model when it comes to Pro devices specifically.
  • Huawei MateBook 13 ($929.99 to start): This could easily be our best laptop overall, offering way more than most flagship laptops for way less in a gorgeous design. However, signs that it will be supported in the US for much longer — if it hasn't been dropped already — aren't exactly great, thanks to the US government's big Huawei product ban looming.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 7 ($749.99 to start): The Surface Pro line of 2-in-1 Windows tablets has always been a leader in design for the category. Unfortunately, Microsoft appears to have begun resting on its laurels, with several products eclipsing the Surface Pro 7 of 2019 in terms of hardware and features.
  • Dell XPS 15 ($979.99 to start): Dell's 15-inch powerhouse could have been a shoo-in for our best 15-inch laptop, but this is another case of growing stale amid numerous developments in the 15-inch scene in terms of design. We're going to need to see a deeper design revision before we reconsider this one for a top pick.
  • Alienware m15 ($1,274.99 to start): While we love Dell's latest flagship 15-inch gaming laptop for its design and power profile, it's just not the best gaming laptop for most people. Regardless of its new style, it still screams "gamer" in look and feel, which isn't something that most people who play PC games want.
How to choose a laptop

Here are the three key aspects to consider when buying that best laptop:

Operating system

A laptop's operating system (OS) is the interface through which you access everything in the computer, from work apps to games and more. The most popular OS worldwide is Windows 10, found in hundreds of different laptops from Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and more. It's a widely adaptable OS and most supported by third-party app makers. Apple's macOS is exclusive to MacBooks, and is the most compatible with Apple's other products, like iPhones, but it is a popular and full-featured OS in itself. Finally, all Chromebooks run Chrome OS — the newest of the three — Google's Chrome browser-focused OS that works mainly off the cloud (online), particularly through Google's own suite of apps and services, like Google Drive and Gmail.

Specs

The internal hardware that powers a laptop is considered the "specs," and will dictate how effective your laptop is at various tasks. The processor (CPU) and memory (RAM) impact the laptop's raw power or speed and multitasking capacity, respectively. The storage (hard disk drive or HDD, or solid-state drive or SSD) will determine how much space for files the laptop has. The graphics processor (GPU) dictates how effective the laptop is at rendering video and 3D visuals for games; many laptops, particularly in the low-to-midrange, utilize what's called internal graphics, which shares RAM with the CPU rather than a dedicated GPU. The laptop's display sharpness is determined by pixel density, with 1080p (or Full HD) being the generally desirable target.

Finally, all of these factors contribute to the laptop's battery life, with eight hours generally being the minimum acceptable number — unless it's a gaming laptop.

Size

Another thing you'll want to think about is how big the laptop is. A smaller laptop will ultimately be more portable, but a larger one will have a larger display, which is better for watching movies, photo editing, video production, and playing games. Common sizes for laptops are 13 inches and 15 inches, though 11 inches and 17 inches also appear every now and then.

In addition to the specs, you'll want to think about the price.

Working from home? Check out our other home office guides
home office working from home

The best standing desks

So many jobs involve sitting at a desk for hours each day, and it can be hard to break away to incorporate more standing without sacrificing productivity. If you have a standing desk, you can convert your space to a much more active one, improving your health and energy levels. These are the best standing desks.


The best active seating for your office

Active seating promotes movement, improves posture, and activates your core while sitting, and some models can work in tandem with a standing desk, so you can find the perfect combination of sitting and standing throughout the day. These are our top picks for the best active seating.


The best office chairs

If you spend the majority of your day parked in your office chair, you owe it to your body to choose a chair that gets an A+ for ergonomics. Our top picks will help improve your posture and may even help relieve back pain.


The best desk lamps for your office

If you have a home office, it's important to have good lighting so you don't strain your eyes while typing away on your computer or going over documents. There are dozens of different desk lamps to choose from in all kinds of styles. These are the best desk lamps you can buy to light up your workspace in style.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston is moving to Austin, the latest in a string of high-profile tech moguls abandoning Silicon Valley amid the pandemic

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Drew Houston Dropbox
Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox.
  • Dropbox CEO Drew Houston is moving to Austin, according to a report from The Information. 
  • Houston's departure from Silicon Valley is the latest in a string of high-profile moves during the pandemic. 
  • Investor Keith Rabois is moving to Miami, Palantir cofounder and venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale is also moving to Austin, Brex's cofounders are decamping for Los Angeles, and Palantir is moving the company headquarters to Denver. 
  • The pandemic has shifted how many tech companies value in-office work, leading to an exodus from the Bay Area and a migration toward more affordable cities. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Drew Houston is planning to move to Austin full-time, the latest high-profile departure from Silicon Valley. 

Houston, who's the founder and CEO of cloud storage company Dropbox, purchased a house in Austin that will eventually become his full-time residence, according to The Information's Cory Weinberg, Kate Clark, and Zoë Bernard.

A spokesperson for Dropbox did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on Houston's plans. 

Houston's move to Austin would put him in good company — the city has become home to several Silicon Valley expats: Douglas Merritt, the CEO of software company Splunk, is also moving to Austin, The Information reported. Joe Lonsdale, the cofounder of Palantir who currently runs venture capital firm 8VC, already lives in Austin with his family and confirmed earlier this month that he is moving his firm there as well.  

In addition to the new arrivals, Dell founder Michael Dell has long been based in the Austin region, and Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk will be spending more time there as Tesla builds a new Cybertruck factory in Austin. 

Read more: The tech elite are abandoning Silicon Valley in droves because of 'monoculture' and high taxes — here's where they're headed

Austin isn't the only city seeing an influx of Silicon Valley's elite. Los Angeles appears to be another destination for tech executives, with Brex founders Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi moving to Los Angeles, which is also home to venture capitalist Peter Thiel

And in August, Palantir moved its headquarters from Palo Alto to Denver after its CEO, Alex Karp, described Silicon Valley as a "monoculture." While the company still has a Bay Area office, Denver is Palantir's official hub, a move that had been in the works for a while

Startup investor Keith Rabois seems to have had similar motivations for leaving Silicon Valley. Rabois recently announced that he's "moving imminently" to Miami, telling Fortune that "San Francisco is just so massively improperly run and managed" that "it's impossible to stay here." Rabois also cited Florida's lack of a state income tax and Miami's "interesting mix of New Yorkers, Latin Americans, and Europeans" as factors in his decision to move there. 

"It's very clear right now, people are shifting their preferences pretty massively," Rabois told Fortune. 

California has some of the highest taxes in the nation and is one of the most expensive cities for homebuyers. Its median rental price is 2.5 times the national average, making it the most expensive city in the US for renting a two-bedroom apartment.

While the tech industry had typically required its employees to live within commuting distance in years past — Facebook even used to give a bonus the closer employees lived to the office — the pandemic has shifted how many companies value in-office work. Now, companies like Twitter, Square, and Slack have said employees make work remotely on a permanent basis, while others, like Facebook, are allowing employees to relocate with manager approval. The result has been an exodus from the Bay Area and a migration toward more affordable locations throughout the US. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kohl's has already announced early Cyber Monday deals — save on KitchenAid mixers, plus earn $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend

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When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Cyber Monday 2020 Kohl's Deals 4x3

  • Cyber Monday 2020 falls on November 30 this year, and Kohl's is expected to offer deals on all kinds of merchandise, from electronics to toys to home goods.
  • Kohl's Cash lets you earn more money off on future purchases. For Black Friday, you'll earn $15 for each $50 you spend.
  • Leading up to Cyber Monday, we'll list all the best deals Kohl's has on offer.
  • Check out our roundup of the best Cyber Monday deals from a whole bunch of retailers, not just Kohl's.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Cyber Monday has traditionally been the online sibling of Black Friday. With the coronavirus pandemic happening, people are even more likely to skip in-store shopping and do it all online. For Cyber Monday, Kohl's is likely to offer deals on tech, apparel, cookware, home goods, and more. 

Leading up to Cyber Monday, some items can be further reduced with the promo code THANKS. We'll continue to update as the retailer releases more bargains. 

Best early Kohl's Cyber Monday deals

KSM150FB Artisan Series Bundle - 5-qt. Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Nest Hub with Google Assistant (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Echo Show 8 (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Charge 4 (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Studio 3 Wireless Headphones (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fryer, Roast, Bake & Dehydrate (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)CBK110P1 Automatic Breadmaker (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)All-New Echo Dot (4th Generation) (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Sonicare DiamondClean Classic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Fire TV Stick 4K (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)

How do we choose the best deals from Kohl's?

  • The products we choose must meet our coverage standards and come from brands we've tested and trust.
  • We compare the prices against Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers. The deals we include are the same or better (not including promotional discounts from using certain credit cards).
  • We consider products' price histories to evaluate how significant the savings are.

When is Cyber Monday 2020?

Cyber Monday 2020 falls on November 30. Deals often start promptly at 12:00 a.m. CT. Unlike Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales are typically only available online, while some Black Friday discounts are available in stores. 

Can I order online and pick up in a Kohl's store?

Yes. Kohl's began offering curbside pickup because of the coronavirus pandemic. Certain products can be purchased online and delivered at the store's curb two hours later. More products are also available online to be shipped to your home.  

What should I buy from Kohl's during Cyber Monday?

Kohl's has a range of products, so expect to find deals in every category, including bakeware, jewelry, shoes, gaming, kitchen appliances, beauty, toys, and more. 

While Kohl's has deals on items like towels, boots, and pajamas, don't forget about its other sections. For last year's Black Friday event, Kohl's had deals on an Xbox One S bundle, Roombas, Beats headphones, and Instant Pots. Expect similar deals to extend to Cyber Monday this year.

Should I enroll in Kohl's Rewards? 

Kohl's Rewards is a free program that gives members 5% Kohl's Cash every day (not just during promotional events) on all purchases. Members also get additional rewards, like a birthday gift. 

Kohl's Cash you receive through the rewards program becomes available on the first day of the following month, and you have 30 days to use it. If you earn a lot of Kohl's Cash on Cyber Monday, it should be available on December 1. Unless you're shopping at Kohl's again before Christmas, however, you'll lose that bonus cash at the end of the year. 

What is Kohl's Cash?

Even non-Kohl's Rewards members receive $10 of Kohl's Cash for every $50 they spend during promotional events, including Cyber Monday 2020. Kohl's Cash is a bit like a coupon you can use on future purchases. Kohl's Cash does expire, and how long you have to use it can vary. 

For Cyber Monday purchases, you'll receive an email with your Kohl's Cash, and you'll be able to use it on any purchases before its expiration date. The limit on Kohl's Cash for a single purchase is $1,500. 

Which is better, Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

In 2020, there will be less of a contrast between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Most people will shop online to avoid crowds, and retailers are less likely to offer in-store-only deals. 

The good news is that Kohl's has a pretty generous return policy, so you can always take back your purchase if you find a better deal elsewhere. Usually, Kohl's has a 30-day return window for electronics, but because so many people give these items as gifts, it's extended until January 31, 2021. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kohl's Black Friday deals include $15 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend, on top of deals on Nest thermostats, Lego sets, and more

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When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Black Friday 2020 Kohl's Deals 4x3

  • Black Friday arrives November 27. Kohl's will certainly have some great deals on a variety of products.
  • In past years, Kohl's competed with tech-centric retailers with its deals on vacuums, kitchenware, video games, smart speakers, and more.
  • November 22 to 27, you can earn $15 of Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent, to use toward future purchases at Kohl's.
  • You'll find the best early Black Friday deals below. 
  • We're also tracking Black Friday deals from Amazon, Target, Walmart, The Home Depot, Nordstrom, and more stores.
  • Read Insider Reviews' Black Friday 2020 deals coverage for more savings.

In the past few years, we've seen more stores stay open on Thanksgiving to start Black Friday deals early. This year, the pandemic is changing many aspects of the annual shopping bonanza. Kohl's is one of the retailers that will stay closed on Thursday, November 26. Stores reopen at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday, November 27. 

However, Kohl's will start its Black Friday deals earlier in the week. Many deals begin on November 22. It's also starting to offer lower prices well before the Thanksgiving holiday. Some items can be further discounted by 15% with the code THANKS. You'll also receive Kohl's Cash, which must be used between November 28 and December 9.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

 

Best Black Friday 2020

KSM150FB Artisan Series Bundle - 5-qt. Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Fresh Prep Slicer/Shredder Attachment (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)CBK110P1 Automatic Breadmaker (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)K-Supreme Single-Serve Coffee Maker (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Deluxe Multi-Vehicle Activity Rug (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Duo Crisp Pressure Cooker 11 in 1 with Air Fryer (8 Qt) (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Super Heroes Batman, Batwing and The Riddler Heist Set (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Nest Hub with Google Assistant (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Sonicare DiamondClean Classic Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill with Air Fryer, Roast, Bake & Dehydrate (medium, Preferred: Kohl's)

How do we select the best deals at Kohl's?

  • The products we choose must meet our coverage standards and come from brands we've tested and trust.
  • We compare the prices against Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other retailers. The deals we include are the same or better (not including promotional discounts from using certain credit cards).
  • We consider products' price histories to evaluate how significant the savings are. 

When does Kohl's Black Friday sale start?

Black Friday 2020 is November 27 and Cyber Monday is November 30, but many retailers already started their sales. Kohl's usually begins its Black Friday deals the week of Thanksgiving. 

What should I buy from Kohl's on Black Friday?

If clothes and home goods are what mainly come to mind when you think of Kohl's, you'll be pleasantly surprised to hear what else the retailer usually offers for Black Friday. Last year, it had great deals on smart speakers, fitness trackers, kitchen appliances, and even an Xbox bundle. This year, expect to find similar deals on vacuums, cookware, pajamas, air fryers, and more. 

Last year, some of the best deals at Kohl's included $100 off the Xbox One S 1TB Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Gaming Console Bundle, $200 off the iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum, $70 off the Beats Studio Wireless Headphones, and $65 off the Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 6-Quart

Should I enroll in Kohl's Rewards?

Kohl's Rewards is a relatively new program that replaces Yes2You Rewards. The new, free program gives members 5% Kohl's Cash every day (not just during promotional events) on all purchases, as well as additional rewards, like a birthday gift. 

Any Kohl's Cash received through the rewards program will be available on the first day of the following month and must be used within 30 days. So, if you earn a lot on Black Friday, it should be available on December 1. If you think you'll be shopping at Kohl's again before Christmas, it might be worthwhile to take advantage of the extra Kohl's Cash savings. 

What is Kohl's cash?

Even if you're not a Kohl's Rewards member, you'll still get $10 of Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend during promotional periods. For Black Friday, the amount increases to $15 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent between November 22 to 27. You can then use that Kohl's Cash like a coupon on future purchases. 

If you make purchases in-store, you'll receive a coupon for your Kohl's Cash. If you buy online, Kohl's will send an email with your Kohl's Cash. You'll have to pay attention to expiration dates, because Kohl's Cash doesn't last forever. 

Keep in mind that there's a limit to how much Kohl's Cash you can earn: $1,500 on a single purchase. 

Can I order online and pick up in a Kohl's store?

Kohl's will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but plans to open its stores at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday. The retailer's CEO has touted the chain stores' massive sizes as useful for social distancing when shopping

Due to the pandemic, Kohl's also began offering curbside pickup this year. Many products are available for purchase online, and you can have it delivered to your car two hours later. 

How does Kohl's compare to other stores on Black Friday?

Like Best Buy, Kohl's will likely have lots of tech deals. The retailer also sells cookware, vacuums, clothes, toys, and home goods that will also be on sale, similar to Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Often, these stores will all offer very similar deals on the same products, so if you have your eye on something that goes out of stock, you may still find it at a competitor. 

Kohl's does sometimes win out over other stores' deals because of Kohl's Cash, but that's really only a draw if you plan on shopping there again before the end of 2020. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The world's largest wealth manager breaks down 4 sectors that will disrupt the technology industry and become major investment themes over the next decade

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First Solar
  •  UBS said that investors will benefit from buying fintech, healthtech, greentech, and 5G stocks as these 4 sectors will disrupt the technology industry and become the dominant investment themes throughout the next decade. 
  • These themes will dominate the market as last decade's leaders—technology and consumer discretionary—lag behind. 

If the last decade was about investing in technology, the "Next Big Thing" in the 10 years ahead will be investing in "disruptors" in sectors ripe for technological transformation, according to UBS. In its "Year Ahead 2021" outlook note released last week, the world's largest wealth manager said that investments in fintech, healthtech, greentech, and 5G will dominate the market as broader technology stocks lag behind. 

"Since 1973, if a US equity sector was a top two performer over the previous 10 years, it had only an 8% chance of staying there over the next 10 years, and a 25% chance of fall- ing into the bottom two," UBS said. "This pattern suggests that 'the Next Big Thing' probably won't come from the top two sectors of the last decade: technology and consumer discretionary."

Here are four up-and-coming investment themes that UBS says have massive upside in the next decade.

Fintech

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a shift towards contactless and mobile payments and e-commerce that UBS says will lead to a permanent shift in consumer spending habits. At the beginning of 2020, cash and checks still accounted for 39% of payment flows around the world, indicating the fintech space has further growth ahead.

"We expect fintech firms to enjoy earnings growth rates in the mid-to- high teens over the next decade, making the industry one of the fastest-growing globally. We think the industry has the potential to expand to USD 500 billion by 2030 from USD 150 billion in 2018," said UBS. 

Healthtech

UBS said the pandemic has simultaneously increased patient focus on health while reducing people's ability to access health care. Because of this, telemedicine will gain rapidly in the next decade. UBS added that investors should seek out stocks in advanced diagnostics as well. 

"We think health technology will play a critical role in improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare in the decade ahead," UBS said.

Read more: Brad McGill's fund is beating 99% of its peers this year. The small-cap manager shares how he invests for big wins and where he is finding opportunities amid a 39% return year-to-date.

Greentech

Investors should be on the lookout for opportunities in renewable energy, especially as more major economies of the world like the EU and Japan pledge to go carbon neutral in the next 30 years, UBS says. Today, only around 8% of global electric power is generated by solar and wind, but that figure will need to rise to around 30% to meet sustainability goals, indicating strong growth prospects for renewable energy. UBS also sees investment opportunities in batteries for electric vehicles and hydrogen energy. 

5G

 Following Apple's launch of its first 5G-enabled iPhone, UBS expects a wave of interest in the technology in a wide range of industries including real-time automation, video services, highly-connected smart cities, and connected vehicles. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Delta flight attendants are trained

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  • Each year, 100,000 people apply for a position as a Delta flight attendant, but only 3,000 people get the job.
  • That's because getting the job isn't easy — new hires have to go through an intense six-week course.
  • They learn everything from how to deal with medical emergencies to running an emergency evacuation.
  • Business Insider visited the Delta Air Lines Flight Attendant Training Center in Atlanta to see what it takes to be a flight attendant.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Patres Hillis: Stay seated. Recording: Evacuate. Evacuate

Trelawny Bundridge: Release seat belts. Leave everything! Bad exit! Go back!

Hillis: You could have no obstruction, no fire, no water, go to open your exit, and it doesn't work. It's jammed. A lot of the times, I think the perception is that we're waitresses in the sky.

Bundridge: First and foremost, we are safety professionals. Anything that can happen on the ground can happen in the air. Come this way, leave everything!

Hillis: My name's Patres Hillis.

Bundridge: And my name is Trelawny Bundridge, my nickname is Trel. We're here to show you what it takes to be a Delta Air Lines flight attendant.

Hillis: A lot of magic happens down here in the training center.

Bundridge: Over 195,000 applications come into Delta Air Lines, and of those, 3,000, for this year alone, will get to come through these doors and be a Delta Air Lines flight attendant. Initial flight-attendant training is six weeks of intense training. They start here in week one, and they learn about the foundations of Delta Air Lines. And then we go to week three, and those are non-phase-specific things, like security, emergency management, medical situations that can happen on board the aircraft. And then week six is all about customer service. And so, within those six weeks, we have a fully rounded Delta Air Lines flight attendant who is ready to go out there on any aircraft.

This area is what we call our mock-up areas. And these are aircraft that have been cut out from the desert. They've shipped them here, and our flight attendants go into these mock-ups, and they practice different types of scenarios.

Hillis: A lot of what we do is very customer-service-driven.

Bundridge: Flight attendants are able to balance that customer-service piece as well as being mindful of any type of emergency situation that could happen on board the aircraft. Stewdio is where we have all of our doors. Windows, tail, cone, exits.

Hillis: I'll talk through an evacuation here. After we've boarded the aircraft and we're ready to go, Trel is gonna arm this door, which means if we open the door armed, we're going to get slide deployment. When we practice our evacuation, we want the door to be armed. All right, Trel, you ready?

Bundridge: No pressure.

Hillis: Ah, no pressure. Here we go.

Recording: Brace for landing.

Bundridge: Bend over. Stay down. Stay seated. Stay seated.

Hillis: She's thinking about her commands, where her exits are. She's thinking about how to operate those exits, where her emergency equipment is. She's also thinking about people that got on board that could help her in an emergency.

Bundridge: You, help at the bottom. You, help at the bottom.

Hillis: And she's also gonna think about the people that got on who might need her assistance. We do want thinking flight attendants. We do operate with a lot of checklists. But in the end, sometimes things come down to a judgment call. We travel to different time zones, different countries. And maybe we can't sleep. And then you're expected to make good judgment calls, and you're expected to remember all your training and respond to emergencies and be Delta gracious and patient and all of that on lack of sleep as well sometimes.

We are gonna head to our motion-based trainer. It is our one and only trainer that does shake, does move.

Bundridge: Our flight attendants have a week of training for emergencies that could happen on board the aircraft and learning our different types of commands. This is one of them.

Recording: Evacuate. Evacuate.

Bundridge: Release seat belts! Leave everything! Bad exit, go back!

Hillis: Come this way, leave everything! Jump and slide!

Bundridge: If you don't stay calm, then your anxiety will feed off of that person. It's definitely important to make sure you stay calm.

Now, welcome to our ditching mock-up. We have a 767 mock-up, and the flight attendants have on their life vest, and they jump right in, and they work together as a team to handle ditching, getting into a raft, helping each other stay warm while they're waiting for rescue.

Hillis: We like to take flight attendants, train them in these particular scenarios with the hope that they can take that knowledge and transfer it out to a real, live aircraft, and when those situations happen in real life, their training kicks in.

One of our most common emergencies is medical emergencies.

Bundridge: When there's someone who has a heart attack in the aisle, I know where the medical equipment is on board the aircraft, and I'm fully able to handle those types of situations.

Hillis: Are you OK? Are you OK? I'm Patres, I'm a flight attendant, I can help.

Typically on the aircraft, there would be three of us involved in this scenario. There would be an assessor, a collector, and a communicator. I was the assessor. Trel was my collector. She brought me my equipment, and then she stayed with me the whole time. The third person that we would usually have is our communicator. Communicator's gonna be talking to the flight deck. They're gonna be paging for medical assistance. They're gonna be trying to get in touch with stat MD. They're gonna be filling out our medical assistance form or helping us do that in some way.

Clear, clear.

Recording: Stop now. Do not touch the patient.

Bundridge: Anything that can happen on the ground can happen in the air. So, we have to be mindful of always being gracious, but in the back of our mind, always thinking of the other things that could possibly happen on board the aircraft and knowing that we're fully trained to handle any type of situation.

Flight attendants have to maintain a 90% average within the six assessments that they take.

Hillis: But once a flight attendant leaves and graduates and is a flight attendant flying out there on the line, their training isn't over. We have something called continuing qualification, and that is where flight attendants that are qualified and out there flying have to re-qualify every 18 months. They come back to training, and they do have to be proficient in their door evacuations, in their EMV scenarios, CPR, security. We do hold them to a pretty high standard.

Bundridge: And so being calm, being patient is something that we learn and we also give feedback on so that when they are on the line as an active flight attendant, they're able to handle any situation.

Instructor: Y'all like that now, don't you?

[trainees applaud]

Instructor: Y'all feel good about that. All right, good. Close the door.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2020.

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You can now get a certificate from Yale's wildly popular online class, The Science of Well-Being, completely for free

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yale science of well-being black friday 2020
  • Yale's most popular in-person course ever was turned into an equally successful online version called The Science of Well-Being, which teaches you how to be happy. It's one of the Insider Reviews Team's most recommended online courses.
  • While you could always audit the class for free, Coursera's Black Friday deal gives you full access to the course for free. It lets you get grades and a certificate of completion to add to your LinkedIn profile or resume, both of which can motivate you to finish the class.
  • Below is everything you need to know about the course, as well as similar positive psychology courses you can take for free on Coursera, now through December 4.
  • Read Insider Reviews' Black Friday 2020 deals and Cyber Monday 2020 deals coverage for more savings.

Back in 2018, Yale professor Laurie Santos' class Psychology and the Good Life — which unpacked the science behind true happiness — became the most popular on-campus course in the history of the university. Naturally, an online version called the Science of Well-Being followed, boasting over 3 million enrollments through the e-learning platform Coursera.

While the wildly successful positive psychology course has always been free to audit, you can now get full access to the course through Coursera's Black Friday deal. Aka, you'll receive grades and a certificate of completion (normally $49) if you enroll by December 4.

The Science of Well-Being is one of the Insider Reviews Team's most recommended online courses because of its approachability and tangible advice on how to be happier. Insider Reviews senior reporter Mara Leighton found the lectures easy to watch and the overall course "immediately and concretely useful." (You can read the full review here). And journalist Justin Maiman said that his "happiness improved greatly in a short amount of time" upon finishing the course. 

Learners fill out questionnaires at the beginning of the course so they can track their emotional progress along the way. One nice benefit of doing the limited-time, full access route is you have 180 days to complete the course if you want the certification at the end. That way, you might be more incentivized to finish the course (and gain valuable insight on if you actually feel happier by the end). And since many of the tips apply to common misconceptions of happiness (such as indulging in Netflix binges or social media scrolling), it can be an especially crucial course to improve your mental health while stuck at home during the pandemic. 

If you liked The Science of Well-Being, here are similar Coursera courses and Specializations you can get full access to for free through Dec 4:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Away is offering luggage bundles for discounts of up to $125 as part of its first-ever Black Friday sale

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AWAY Luggage Brief Gear Patrol Lead Full

Away is a luggage and travel accessory brand popular with millennials thanks to its chic, hard-sided suitcases that feature removable, TSA-compliant battery packs for charging phones on the go. You've likely seen at least one of your favorite influencers sporting one of these bags in an eye-catching color like Cherry, Blush, or Nightfall Ombre.

I've personally owned an Away luggage set for over six years and found that, overall, the bags have held up remarkably well. With carry-ons typically starting at $225, an Away bag is certainly an investment.

Away has only ever had one sale in the company's history, so it's not often that you find its luggage discounted. However, for Black Friday 2020 the company has opted to offer luggage bundles up to $125 off full price. Sets range from offering multiple bags and packing cubes to simple travel accessory sets.  

The best Black Friday Away luggage deals:

Find more great early Black Friday deals by store:

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Retail trade group says holiday sales could increase as much as 5.2% this year despite the pandemic thanks to a boom in online shopping

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Black Friday shopping
Even as the pandemic upends norms of the holiday shopping season, retailers will top last years' sales according to a new forecast.
  • The National Retail Federation, a trade group, said Monday that it's expecting holiday sales to grow by up to 5.2% over 2019. 
  • The pandemic-fueled boom in e-commerce will be a massive boon to holiday sales, with non-store sales climbing by 20% to 30% this year by the NRF's estimates. 
  • The organization cites rising home prices, record personal savings, and a strong stock market as factors that could increase spending throughout November and December. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Retailers may closeout 2020 with a bang even as the ongoing pandemic batters small stores and keeps shoppers out of brick-and-mortar locations, according to a new holiday sales forecast from a retail trade group.

The National Retail Federation announced Monday that it projects November and December holiday sales to jump 3.6% to 5.2%, as compared with the same period last year. The organization expects total holiday sales in the neighborhood of $755.3 billion to $766.7 billion, excluding car dealers, gas stations, and restaurants. 

The NRF said it takes into account factors including wages, employment, previous retail sales, weather, disposable income, and consumer credit when making predictions about the upcoming holiday season. According to its model, a strong stock market, record personal savings, and rising home values may all boost retail spending, while a drop in spending on travel, entertainment, and other services severely impacted by the pandemic pads peoples' disposable income. 

"Given the pandemic, there is uncertainty about consumers' willingness to spend, but with the economy improving most have the ability to spend," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist, in a statement. "Consumers have experienced a difficult year but will likely spend more than anyone would have expected just a few months ago."

Read more: Walmart announces three new sales events, as it looks to stretch Black Friday through November and hedge against an uncertain holiday season

Holiday sales in 2020 will also get a major lift from e-commerce, which has seen an unprecedented boom during the pandemic. Online sales saw a nearly 37% year-over-year growth in the third quarter, according to the NRF, and the organization expects shoppers will continue to rely on online shopping throughout the holidays. 

It forecasts that online and other non-store sales will jump by 20% to 30% over 2019, to a total of between $202.5 billion and $218.4 billion. 

Overall holiday sales grew 4% in 2019, and an average of 3.5% over the last five holiday seasons. 

The optimistic forecast comes as retailers enter a holiday shopping season that's set to be more spread out than in years past. Many companies — including Walmart — are encouraging online shopping and spreading deals out over days and weeks in an effort to prevent overcrowding in stores. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hungryroot is a combination of online grocery store and meal kit delivery service for plant-based lifestyles — here's what it's like to use

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  • Hungryroot is a combination of meal kit delivery service and online grocery store. 
  • It recommends plant-based groceries and snacks based on your preferences (nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, or none of the above) along with recipes on how to use them together — or you can go rogue and cook them however you want. 
  • I loved the service because meals were nutritious, delicious, and took me far less time to make than other meal delivery services.
  • Shipments come weekly and prices start at around $59 depending on how much your order is. You can pause, hold, or cancel at any time. 
  • Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When it comes to eating healthy, my biggest hurdle is convenience.

I love neither grocery shopping nor cooking, and I don't want to spend my limited free time deep-diving into (often contentious) online nutritional resources to construct balanced meals each week. But I do want to eat healthy foods that are good for me. So when I heard about Hungryroot through a colleague, I was intrigued.

What is Hungryroot?

Hungryroot is a plant-based service that's equal parts grocery store and meal kit service. After you take a short quiz to determine your food preferences and how many servings of food you want, you'll get a grocery list of food and snacks, along with recipes on how to use them together. Or not — one of the benefits of the service not being a traditional meal kit is that you can mix up ingredients however you want. 

Prices start around $59 for six servings or three recipes a week, but each plan is personalized so prices will definitely vary. The one constant is that each takes less than than 10 minutes to prepare.

The foods are plant-centric and free from artificial ingredients, including preservatives, trans fats, or refined sugars. The meals are packed with nutrients, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, cashews, almonds, and avocados. Together, healthy fats and complex carbs like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, quinoa, beans, and oats can help keep you energized and satisfied without the pitfalls of "bad" fats and carbs, which can help raise your cholesterol and spike your blood sugar.

Generally, I'm willing to spend a bit more than I would on the ingredients for convenience. Hungryroot is more expensive than buying these ingredients in bulk, but you could make the argument that anyone buying single-person groceries may find that it's not altogether that much more expensive. 

What I appreciate about Hungryroot is that it aims to make truly healthy foods convenient and inexpensive, since affordability and convenience are what make people (myself included) settle for unhealthy options packed with trans fats, sodium, and preservatives.

How it works

Sign up and take the quiz to note dietary preferences, amount of servings, and more. Your orders come with free shipping, and shipments are weekly but you can pause, hold, or cancel at any time. After your account is set up, you can customize your shipment and delivery dates, and even change up the groceries you'll get for an even more customized grocery list.

Since it's all fresh food, you may get an email prior to shipment that one meal has been altered due to stock (not enough high-quality cauliflower one week, for instance).

Review of Hungryroot

IMG_2869

Shipping was fast and my box arrived as scheduled. I was happy to find the shipping boxes are made of 100% recycled paper and are 100% recyclable. Ice packs are filled with a non-toxic gel, and thermal liners are made of 100% recyclable poly film and post-industrial/pre-consumer 100% recycled cotton. Check Hungryroot's FAQ section for how to recycle ice packs and liners. 

I was surprised by how much I liked what Hungryroot sent. I let the company auto-generate the first shipment without any dietary restrictions marked, and my box of six to eight meals for the week included the following:

  1. Asian Salad Mix
  2. Butternut Squash Noodles
  3. Spinach Garlic Chicken Sausage
  4. Kale Pesto
  5. Red Lentil Fusilli 
  6. Braised Lemongrass Tofu Nuggets
  7. Garlic Parm
  8. Hot Smoked Roasted Salmon
  9. Garlicky Herb Chickpea Duo
  10. Coconut Curry
  11. Cultured Coconut Cream
  12. Oatmeal Spice Cookie Dough
  13. Black Bean Brownie Batter

I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian and I balance an interest in taste over an interest in strictly healthy food, but I enjoyed the meals. It didn't feel like I was eating "healthy" in the sense that I was making compromises. And while I do eat meat, I enjoyed the tofu nuggets in my shipment. If you really wanted to, though, you could easily substitute and make the recipe with your own choice of meat.

I typically wind up eating more than one serving for other meal plans that I've tried, but Hungryroot delivered enough ingredients and variety so I ended up making most entrees last for dinner and for lunch. Having said that, the number of ingredients initially seemed small when unpacking.

I also ended up with a lot of leftover sauces, so I organized some meals for the following week around getting rid of the Hungryroot sauces.

The standouts were the delicious entrees of Butternut Squash Tofu Curry, Salmon Pesto Lentil Pasta, and Spinach Garlic Chicken Sausage, as well as the ridiculously tasty black bean brownie batter (which was okay to eat as is or baked). 

True to promise, each meal took under 10 minutes to make — and that's probably the only reason I finished the fresh food before it went bad and ate healthy meals all week. I don't like cooking, and my schedule usually allows only 30 minutes to cook and eat. For me, Hungryroot succeeded in making it possible to eat healthy in a convenient, fast, and pretty affordable way.

The bottom line

If you like the sound of healthy, tasty food you can make in under 10 minutes, you're probably going to like Hungryroot. It's more expensive than buying the ingredients yourself, but I probably wouldn't do the research and grocery shopping if left to my own devices. If you want convenience and consistency, this is a good tool. You can also learn more about nutrition on the site should you choose to. 

If you don't have a reliable way to pick up packages day-of, you may want to steer clear. The food is fresh and doesn't include preservatives, so it likely won't keep for longer than a day or so.

If you'd prefer to be more involved in cooking the meals rather than mixing ingredients together, you'll be better suited to a Blue ApronSun BasketHello Fresh, or any of the meal kit delivery services we've tested. If you just need help with constructing healthy meal plans, you should check out PlateJoy.

All in all, Hungryroot is a great option for anyone looking to eat healthier. In my experience, meals were delicious, filling, and simple to make.

Sign up for Hungryroot here

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Michigan formally certified its Electoral College votes for Biden, another blow to Trump's attempt to overturn the election results

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Michigan election
Motorists during a drive-by rally to certify the presidential election results near the Capitol building in Lansing.
  • Michigan's four-member Board of State Canvassers voted on Monday to formally certify the state's 16 Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Democrats Jeannette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak and Republican Aaron Van Langevelde voted to certify, while Republican Norman Shinkle abstained. 
  • The board heard more than three hours of testimony and public comments from current and former election officials, party officials, and members of the public before taking a vote on certification.
  • Michigan's statewide certification marks the president's latest failure in overturning his electoral defeat.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Michigan's four-member Board of State Canvassers voted on Monday to formally certify the state's 16 Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, marking President Donald Trump's latest failure overturn election results in key states.

Biden won Michigan by 156,643 votes — a margin of 2.8 percentage points — over Trump, according to Decision Desk HQ. That result far surpasses the 10,704-vote margin by which Trump carried Michigan in 2016.

After they heard over three hours of testimony from election and campaign officials and members of the public, three members of the board — the minimum threshold required — voted to certify the results.

Both Democratic board members, Chairwoman Jeannette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak, and Aaron Van Langevelde, a Republican, voted in favor of certification. Norman Shinkle, another Republican, abstained.

If the board had deadlocked along partisan lines, the matter would have immediately gone to the courts, which could then have ordered the board to certify the results, CNN reported.

A number of current and former election officials, including former state Elections Director Chris Thomas, former Detroit Elections Director Daniel Baxter, and the former Board of State Canvassers member Jeff Timmer, testified in support of the board certifying the election.

Current officials who were in favor of the move included Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, and Livonia City Clerk Susan Nash. 

Laura Cox, who represents the state Republican Party, and former GOP Senate candidate John James' attorney Charles Spies testified in opposition and asked the board to delay certification pending further review of what they described as abnormalities in reporting of votes and exclusion of Republican poll observers. 

Van Langevelde appeared skeptical of arguments from GOP lawyers that the law gives the Board of State Canvassers authority to independently request audits and further review the results of the election before certification. A candidate can request a recount only after certification.

"We can agree to disagree, but I think the law is on my side here," Van Langevelde told Spies. "Our duty is very simple, and it's a duty. We have no authority to request an audit, to delay or block certification, or to review inaccuracies that happened at the local level. Those results have been certified. Our duty is to look at the certified results, look at the math, and then certify. The statute couldn't be more clear."

Trump and his allies lost or withdrew all four of the major lawsuits they filed in Michigan seeking to halt the counting of ballots or stop certification, Insider's Jacob Shamsian reported.

With the Trump campaign's legal challenges failing in court, Trump and his allies have attempted to directly compel local and state election officials to draw out the process further by declining to certify election results. Michigan's certification of its statewide election results is a major setback for the Trump campaign.

In a particularly dramatic incident last week, the canvassing board in Wayne County, Michigan, deadlocked on whether to certify the county's election results, with two Republican members initially opposing certification, reversing course and agreeing to certify the results after public outcry, and signing affidavits the next day indicating they wanted to take back their votes, which have already been sent to the state. 

States have already certified presidential-election results in 13 states, including the battleground states of Florida, Georgia, and New Hampshire, according to the Cook Political Report.

Also on Monday, all 15 counties in Arizona certified their election results, setting the stage for state certification by next week, and Pennsylvania's counties are also in the process of certifying results.

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Dow climbs 328 points amid reports Janet Yellen will be named treasury secretary

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Janet Yellen.
  • US stocks gained on Monday amid reports that President-elect Joe Biden would select former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be his treasury secretary.
  • Earlier, investors cheered results from trials of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate, this time from AstraZeneca.
  • AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated an average efficacy rate of 70%, making it the third company to have announced vaccine data surpassing the Food and Drug Administration's requirement of 50% effectiveness.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks jumped on Monday afternoon amid reports that President-elect Joe Biden would select former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be his treasury secretary.

The news that a familiar face for investors would run the Treasury Department likely helped to remove some uncertainty from the market as investors weigh who else will fill Biden's Cabinet.

Earlier, investors received news that a third COVID-19 vaccine candidate demonstrated an efficacy rate above the 50% threshold set by the Food and Drug Administration.

AstraZeneca said on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford, demonstrated an average efficacy rate of 70%. It said that while one dosing regimen was found to have an efficacy rate of 90%, another demonstrated an efficacy rate of 62%.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET market close on Monday:

Read more: Goldman Sachs says to buy these 26 stocks poised to deliver the strongest earnings growth in 2021 as the S&P 500 surges another 20%

Americans could begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines as early as December 11, an advisor to the White House's Operation Warp Speed initiative said, adding that about 70% of the population could be immunized by the summer.

On Wall Street, BlackRock upgraded its outlook for US stocks to overweight, saying a COVID-19 vaccine would hasten the economic recovery in 2021.

Oil prices staged a rebound on Monday, hitting their highest levels since early September. The positive vaccine news suggested demand for oil could return sooner rather than later. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 2.9%, to $43.36 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, gained 2.6%, to $46.12 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Bitcoin's strong rally to above $18,000 helped spur a surge in other cryptocurrency assets like ether and Ripple over the weekend.

Snapchat surged as much as 7% after it launched Spotlight, a new platform to rival TikTok.

Read more: Goldman Sachs analyzed 814 hedge funds. These are 15 stocks portfolio managers love and hate the most right now.

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The Home Depot's Black Friday sale is live now through December 2 — here are the best deals we've found so far

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Black Friday 2020 The Home Depot Deals 2x1
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Appliances, furniture, and home-improvement items don't usually come cheap, but like many other online retailers, The Home Depot has begun Black Friday sales extra early this year.

Between now and December 2, you can save up to 40% off major appliances and home improvement tools, along with steep discounts on seasonal accessories like fake Christmas trees. There are also additional savings of up to $700 if you buy one or more appliances.

If you can't wait to receive your delivery, there are more than 200 sale items eligible for free in-store pickup. They mainly comprise of tools and holiday decor. 

The best appliance deals you'll find include $150 off a Dyson vacuum, $70 off a Honeywell thermostat, $211 off a GE dishwasher, $79 off a Gorilla ladder, $1,051 off an LG smart refrigerator, and $50 off a Shark vacuumSelect tools and accessories are also on sale, including $100 off a Makita circular saw kit.

The best early Black Friday deals at The Home Depot

Other great Black Friday 2020 deals at The Home Depot

  1. MetalTech Safeclimb 6 ft. x 6 ft. x 2-1/2 ft. Baker Style Scaffold, $149 (originally $228) [You save $79]
  2. Titan Pro Series Faux Leather Reclining Massage Chair, $1,395 (originally $2,799) [You save $1,404]
  3. Husky Mechanics Tool Set (270-piece), $99 (originally $179) [You save $80] 
  4. Dewalt ATOMIC 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Combo Kit (4-Tool) with Two 2.0 Ah Batteries and Charger, $399 (originally $768) [You save $369]
  5. Dyson Slim Ball Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner, $199.99 (originally $349.99) [You save $150]
  6. GE 1.7 cu. ft. Over the Range Microwave, $358 (originally $399) [You save $41]
  7. GE 30 in,  5.0 cu. ft. Gas Range with Self-Cleaning Convection Oven and Air Fry, stainless steel, $648 (originally $1,199) [You save $551]

  8. Husky 6 ft. Adjustable Height Solid Wood Top Workbench, $265.99 (originally $379.99) [You save $114]
  9. LG Electronics 2.0 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave in PrintProof Stainless Steel with EasyClean, $248 (originally $429) [You save $181]
  10. Samsung 7.5 cu. ft. Platinum Electric Dryer with Steam, $728 (originally $999) [You save $271]

When does The Home Depot's Black Friday sale start? 

The Home Depot's Black Friday sale is live now through December 2.

What should you buy on Black Friday?

Historically, the best Black Friday deals have been on TVs, smart home devices, gaming consoles, video games, and kitchen appliances. The Home Depot also offers big markdowns on tools and other home-improvement equipment and supplies.

How we select the best deals at The Home Depot

  • We only chose products that meet our high standard of coverage, and that we've either used ourselves or researched carefully.
  • We compared the prices against other retailers like Best Buy and Lowe's and only included the deals that are the same or better (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards).
  • All deals are at least 20% off, with the occasional exception for products that are rarely discounted or provide an outsized value.

More Black Friday 2020 deals coverage

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Black Friday deals on KitchenAid stand mixer that are already live now — save up to 50%

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Kitchenaid deals

Black Friday is almost here and with it come amazing deals on countertop kitchen appliances like KitchenAid stand mixers. KitchenAid is synonymous with stand mixers and these appliances can last decades with proper care. If you need help deciphering between the many models or more information about what makes KitchenAid mixers so great, we've broken it all down for you here

While we typically see huge discounts on many different KitchenAid stand mixer models over Cyber Weekend, retailers are kicking off deals early this year and the discounts on KitchenAid mixers are already rolling in. Keep in mind, all the deals we've seen have sold out faster than we can even update this post, so if you're in the market for a stand mixer, act quickly on these deals.

The best deal we've seen so far is on the KitchenAid Professional 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, which is on sale for $199.99 at Target as part of its early Black Friday deals. The usual MSRP is $500 but the street price, or usual retail price, is $400 — meaning this deal is a solid 50% off, and applies to Silver, Red, Ice Blue, Black, and Matte Black colors. Unfortunately, the deal is no longer available online, but you can enter your zip code to see if there is stock available in a nearby store. 

Kohl's also has a stellar deal on our top pick stand mixer, The KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart. The retailer is offering the Artisan bundled with the slicer/shredder attachment (regularly priced $429.99) for $279.99, a savings of $150. In addition, you'll get $75 Kohl's Cash to use between November 28 and December 9, in stores or online. The deal is good on the Red or Contour Silver color. Kohl's was previously offering the same pricing on 39 different colors of the Artisan (without the shredder attachment), a savings of $100. While that deal appears to be dead, we're keeping our eye out in case some units come back in stock. KitchenAid is also offering a comparable deal on the Empire Red color on its own website.

The best KitchenAid stand mixer deals: 

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11 Black Friday deals from cool startups that you can shop before Thanksgiving

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startup deals black friday cyber monday
  • Black Friday officially begins on November 27, but some of our favorite startups are already offering discounts.
  • For many, these are the only discounts they offer all year.
  • Big box retailers can dominate the conversation surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but we encourage you to shop small businesses this year — particularly for unique gifts.
  • See our guide to the best overall Black Friday deals here.
  • And to potentially save even more online, visit Insider Coupons to find the most up-to-date coupons and promo codes. 

When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings, large retailers tend to dominate the conversation. But we'd encourage you to not forget about noteworthy startups like Brooklinen, Bombas, Snowe, M.Gemi, Tommy John, and more this year.

We love startups for their innovative ideas and problem-solving products, whether they're changing the way we eat, sleep, or get dressed. They also make particularly great gifts, since they feel a bit more unique than many others — and you get to introduce someone to a cool new brand. 

While many don't usually offer sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the exceptions — and startup deals are starting earlier than ever this year. You may be tempted to hold out for slightly better deals closer to Cyber Monday, but there's no guarantee that supplies will last — especially in a year where supply chains have been so disrupted. Here, we're tracking the best discounts offered by startups in 2020.

Below are the ones that you can already shop, and we'll be updating this in the future as more deals are announced. To save yourself time, bookmark this page and check back closer to November 27 for more deals.

11 of the best early Black Friday deals from startups:

Brooklinen
best weighted blanket brooklinen

The deal: Save 20% off sitewide

What we recommend:

Read more about Brooklinen: 

Parade
Parade underwear review

The deal: Business Insider readers get 30% off sitewide with the code BI30 at checkout

What we recommend:

Read more about Parade: 

Burrow
burrow sale 2

The deal: Take 10% off sitewide

What we recommend:

Read more about Burrow: 

Bombas
Bombas hiking socks

The deal: Take 20% off of everything with the code CHEER20 at checkout

What we recommend:

Read more about Bombas: 

Tommy John
Tommy John

The deal: Take 25% off all orders of $100 or more

What we recommend:

Read more about Tommy John: 

Bear Mattress
bear mattress

The deal: Get 20% off plus a $250 free gift card, free Cloud Pillows, and a free sheet set

What we recommend:

Read more about Bear Mattress: 

United by Blue
United By Blue Puffer

The deal: Take up to 50% off sitewide

What we recommend:

Read more about United by Blue: 

M.Gemi
m.gemi corsa boots

The deal: Get up to 70% off sitewide

What we recommend:

Read more about M.Gemi: 

Leesa
leesa black friday deals 2

The deal: Take up to $500 off a new mattress and get two free pillows

What we recommend:

Read more about Leesa:

Casper
Casper Element mattress

The deal: Take 30% off bundles, 15% off mattresses, 10% off pillows, bedding, and more

What we recommend:

Read more about Casper: 

Snowe
best cotton sheets snowe

The deal: Get 20% off plus free shipping

What we recommend:

Read more about Snowe: 

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tells residents calling the police on neighbors for a public health violations is 'no different' than a noise complaint

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown attends a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, in Portland, Ore. Brown and Oregon health officials warned Tuesday of the capacity challenges facing hospitals as COVID-19 case counts continue to spike in the state.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said residents should call the police on anyone who is not following the state's COVID-19 mandates, according to Fox News.
  • "This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake," Brown told KGW-TV in an interview Friday. "What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance."
  • Brown announced a  "two-week freeze" earlier this month to help slow down the spiking coronavirus cases in the state. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said residents can call the police on people who fail to follow rules meant to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Fox News reported. 

"This is no different than what happens if there's a party down the street and it's keeping everyone awake," Brown told KGW-TV in an interview Friday. "What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it's too noisy. This is just like that. It's like a violation of a noise ordinance."

However, Brown said it doesn't need to go that far. 

"This about saving lives and it's about protecting our fellow Oregonians. It's about protecting our families. It's about protecting our vulnerable community members and frankly, it's about protecting the entire state of Oregon."

Earlier this month, Brown issued a two-week freeze from November 18 to December 2 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as cases continue to spike in the state. The freeze implements many restrictions including; limiting six people to social gatherings from no more than two households, allows only 75% capacity at essential establishments like grocery stores and pharmacies, and closure of fitness centers and other indoor recreational activities. Residents who don't follow the restrictions could spend some time in jail, face a $1,250 fine or both, KGW-TV reported.

According to Johns Hopkins University data available Monday, there have been 65,170 COVID-19 cases and 820 deaths in Oregon. On Sunday, Oregon broke its record with 1,517 positive coronavirus cases, according to KEZI-TV.  

Experts are urging Americans to take the necessary safety precautions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday by limiting the number of guests they host inside their homes.

"Oregon's doctors, nurses, and physician assistants are asking for our help, saying that Thanksgiving gatherings would be 'dangerous and irresponsible,'" Brown tweeted on Monday. "Please read their message."

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to delete a Google Site if you no longer need the website active, or restore a deleted site

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young woman using laptop computer at home
It's easy to delete a Google Site you've created, or restore a site you've deleted.

Google Sites is an easy-to-use DIY website building tool.

With templates for portfolios, projects, events and more, you can use Google Sites to create a simple website without the help of a designer.

Sites can be continuously updated, edited, or even deleted once they no longer serve a purpose. 

The service is free and the only limit on the number of websites you create is the data limit on your Google account, which is 15 GB by default.

A version of the website building service has been around since 2008, but Google Sites has been updated over the years. Older websites are referred to as "classic Sites" and need to be updated and converted to a contemporary Google Site before September 2021 to remain viable. In November 2020, Google discontinued the option to build a classic Site.

It's easy to delete a Google Site. But if you change your mind, you can quickly restore it by removing it from the trash in your Google Drive. You can do the same with a classic Site, but you cannot create a new one.

Remember, Google recently announced that anything in your trash cans will be deleted after 30 days. So don't let a website linger too long there unless you're sure you won't need it.

How to delete a new Google Site

Deleting a Google Site is not an instant act. The site will be sent to your Google Drive once deleted and will remain there for 30 days before the trash is automatically emptied.

1. Open new Google Sites.

2. Click the three-dot icon on the site you'd like to delete.

How_to_delete_a_Google_Site_1
Click the three dots next to the site you want to delete.

3. Click "Remove." 

How_to_delete_a_Google_Site_2
In the pop-up, click "Remove."

4. Select "Move to trash."

How_to_delete_a_Google_Site_3
Confirm you want to move the Site to the trash.

How to restore a new Google Site

A deleted Google Site can be restored until the trash can in your Google Drive is emptied manually or automatically.

1. Open the Google Drive associated with the account that you created your Google Site with.

2. Go to your trash folder by clicking "Trash" in the menu on the left sidebar.

How_to_delete_a_Google_Site_4
Click the "Trash" tab.

3. Right-click on the website you'd like to restore.

How_to_delete_a_Google_Site_5
Right-click on the deleted website.

4. Click "Restore."

How to delete a classic Google Site

Right now, you can only delete classic Sites, not create them, because Google is phasing out the old platform.

1. Open classic Google Sites.

2. Click the gear, or settings, icon.

3. Click "General" and then hit "Delete this site."

4. Click "Delete" again.

How to restore a classic Google Site

You can restore a deleted classic site, but you also may want to consider updating it to a new Google Site because the classic sites won't work by September 2021.

1. Open classic Google Sites.

2. Go to deleted sites on the homepage.

3. Select the site you want to restore and tap "Restore site."

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Black Friday TV deals include big discounts on Sony, Vizio, and LG 4K OLED TVs at Best Buy

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When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

LG CX OLED TV
  • Black Friday 2020 doesn't officially kick off until November 27, but many stores are already offering great deals on TVs.
  • Entry-level, midrange, and flagship models from brands like Sony, LG, Vizio, Samsung, TCL, and Insignia are available right now for some of their lowest prices ever.
  • For more Black Friday coverage, check out our Black Friday 2020 shopping guide here and all of the best Black Friday tech deals here.

Black Friday 2020 is the perfect time to save big on all kinds of tech products, including TVs from every major brands. And best of all, many of these discounts are available right now.

That's right, no need to wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving. Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and Target are all offering early deals on a bunch of TVs, and more discounts will be added over the coming days. Walmart even launched one of its Samsung TV deals a full week before scheduled, and shoppers can now find select TVs on sale for as low as $268 at the retailer.

Below, we've highlighted some of the best TV deals you can get right now, including big discounts on flagship OLED and QLED models. We'll update this page with additional deals as they become available.

For details on upcoming TV deals that won't be active until November 27, check out our full guide to all the best Black Friday TV deals here.  

The best early Black Friday TV deals 

Early Black Friday TV deals are available on several display models from Sony, LG, Vizio, Samsung, TCL, and Insignia. Deals cover a variety of budgets from flagship 4K sets to entry-level smart TVs. Sizes range from a modest 24-inch model for just $80 to a huge 75-inch NanoCell display.

For shoppers looking for a truly high-end 65-inch display, the best deals you can find right now are on Sony's A8H 4K OLED TV, Vizio's OLED 4K TV, and LG's CX 4K OLED TV. All three models deliver some of the best picture quality on the market, and all three deal prices match the lowest we've ever seen for each respective model.

The LG 65-inch CX is the brightest of the bunch and is on sale for $1,900, but it's currently sold out at most stores. Meanwhile, the Sony 65-inch A8H offers the most accurate color and is available for $1,800. Finally, the Vizio 65-inch OLED is the most affordable at just $1,500, but it doesn't include built-in voice search.

I'm actually testing the Vizio model right now, and though I've been impressed by the gorgeous picture, I 've run into some signal issues with my Onkyo AV receiver and the TV's HDMI ARC connection. I've reached out to Vizio about the problem and will update this article when I hear more. As it stands, buyers with Onkyo receivers may want to hold off on this model.  

In addition to OLEDs, there are a ton of worthwhile QLED, LED, and budget-friendly displays on sale right now too. Check out all the best early TV deals below.

Check out our TV buying guides

If you're in need of more TV recommendations, be sure to read our various TV guides for detailed buying advice:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Vladimir Putin wasted no time in weaponizing Trump's election conspiracies to spread Russian propaganda

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Vladimir Putin seen in Moscow, Russia, on September 28, 2020.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has wasted no time in seizing on US President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about the 2020 election to boost Russia's strategic goals.
  • In addition to saying he will not congratulate President-elect Joe Biden while claiming the results are not clear, Putin said the "problems in the US electoral system" mean the US doesn't have the right to criticize how other countries run their elections.
  • The remarks are a stark representation of how Trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and election-rigging enabled Putin to use a classic Soviet propaganda tool known as "whataboutism" to undermine US principles about free and fair elections.
  • Trump's attempt to paint the US election as rigged "plays directly into Putin's primary objective, which isn't necessarily to get a specific person elected, but to sow discord and reinforce the view that American democracy doesn't work well," said John McLaughlin, the former acting CIA director.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has wasted no time in seizing on the discord that US President Donald Trump and his allies have sowed about the 2020 election.

On Monday, Putin said he will not congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, claiming the election results are not clear. Biden has been the projected winner for more than two weeks, and multiple states have since certified their election results.

More importantly, Putin weaponized Trump's conspiracy theories about the election to denigrate the US's support of free and fair elections around the globe.

Since Trump lost the election, he and his loyalists have made baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and election-rigging, and they've concocted a vast conspiracy in which the Democratic Party worked with "big tech" and "big media" to hand Biden the election.

None of these claims hold merit, and as Insider previously reported, this election was the safest and most secure in US history because of the use of paper ballots and voting machines with verifiable paper trails. The Trump campaign and Republicans have also filed nearly two dozen legal challenges seeking to overturn the election results and haven't won a single case.

But that hasn't stopped Putin from putting his thumb on the scale in favor of Trump's allegations. "It's totally obvious, it's clear for everyone in the world, it seems to me, that for Americans it's clear that there are problems in the US electoral system," he said on Russian state television, according to The Wall Street Journal. Putin added that those purported issues take away the US's right to "point their finger at flaws in other political systems."

The Russian leader, who has been in power for two decades and who in July got one step closer to being president for life, has long been criticized by the US for his antidemocratic principles and violent crackdowns on opposing political parties, dissidents, and independent journalists. In retaliation, Putin often employs a classic Soviet propaganda tool known as "whataboutism" to portray the US as being on the same moral plane.

"Whataboutism" serves Putin by allowing him to take the position that it's not America's role to "lecture Russia on democracy when it has had such a poor track record of establishing them on its own watch," Vadim Nikitin, a Russia analyst and freelance journalist, told Insider in a previous interview. Most of all, Putin's finger-pointing at the US' own foibles is part of an effort to force others to "accept all sides as morally flawed," he added.

Trump's refusal to concede the election and paint the US system as rigged and unfair "plays directly into Putin's primary objective, which isn't necessarily to get a specific person elected, but to sow discord and reinforce the view that American democracy doesn't work well," John McLaughlin, the former acting director of the CIA, told Insider. "If he can make the point that our system doesn't work well, that takes the pressure off of him to go to a really democratic system, because he can point to the United States and say, 'Well, if it doesn't work there, why would you want me to do that?'"

That's especially true now, given that Putin's approval rating in Russia has been in steady decline and is currently somewhere near 60%, down from where it used to be in the high 80s and 90s. The US's electoral turmoil and rocky transition period are "absolutely a welcome distraction" for Putin, McLaughlin said. "He can take the heat off of himself by getting us to fight each other after what we would like to think of as one of the safest and fairest elections, but one that the president of the United States is saying is rigged."

Moreover, "Russia has long wanted to revise the international order" that the Obama administration spearheaded, said Michael David-Fox, a professor at Georgetown University and an expert on modern Russia and the USSR. "It is clear to Putin and the Russian foreign policy establishment that the Biden administration represents a return" to that approach.

Obama's administration emphasized a foreign policy that supported an international system governed by independent institutions and global alliances. That system, which the US has spearheaded since the Cold War, frequently stands in opposition to Putin's interests, which are geared toward fracturing western alliances, spreading communism, and bringing sovereign nations like Ukraine back into the Soviet sphere of influence.

Conversely, the Trump administration's foreign policy has yielded huge returns for Russia.

"They want to protect their boy in the White House, because Trump's policies have been strategically fantastic for Russia," Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative, told Insider in an earlier interview. "He alienated the United States from NATO and turned a blind eye to Russian influence in Crimea. His actions in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Libya, helped Russia gain a significant presence in the region for the first time in 48 years."

Trump also often heaps praise on Putin, describing him as a "strong" and "powerful" leader — comments that Russian state media uses to portray Putin as a global strongman and Trump as a puppet dancing to his master's tune.

In the wake of the 2020 election, "having a weak, divided US that lacks legitimacy and cannot get its own house in order" will strengthen Russia by hurting the Biden team's efforts to "move past the disastrous decline in the US' international standing" that the Trump administration has produced, David-Fox said.

This time, he added, other Republican lawmakers are also aiding Russia by supporting Trump's efforts to undermine the democratic process.

While some Republicans have privately congratulated Biden on his victory and cautiously urged the incumbent to give his successor access to intelligence briefings and transition materials, the vast majority of the party has either stayed mum or amplified Trump's bogus claims about a rigged election.

Their actions "bolster Russia's longstanding objections against meddling in internal political affairs," David-Fox said. He added that the only way for the US to overcome "the current wave of disinformation and authoritarianism orchestrated by the loser of the presidential election and reinforced by the silence of most of the Republican Party" is to "uphold the will of the voters and eject the current administration, as our constitutional system requires."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Conservative news upstarts are looking to cash in on Trump's viewers

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Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for November 24. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at LJohnson@businessinsider.com.

Today's news: Conservative news upstarts look to cash in on Trump, Snap will pay creators, and consulting startups take on Deloitte and McKinsey.


tucker carlson
Tucker Carlson speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Media executives and financial firms are making a land grab for Fox News viewers and Trump supporters, and a new player just entered the race

Read the full story here.


Snapchat Spotlight

Snapchat is launching a TikTok-like tab called Spotlight and offering users $1 million to submit entertaining posts

Read the full story here.


disruptors
Kristoffer Røil, Justin Wohnstader and Alexander Hagerup

An inside look at how 2 startups are disrupting the way professional services firms like Deloitte and McKinsey do business

Read the full story here.


More stories we're reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@businessinsider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

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Trump is reportedly worried that his legal team is made up of 'fools that are making him look bad'

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AP Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.
  • President Donald Trump is upset with how his legal team has handled his challenges to the election, according to NBC News.
  • Trump is worried that they are "fools that are making him look bad," one official told NBC.
  • He also reportedly complained about Rudy Giuliani's appearance at a news conference last week.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump is frustrated with how his legal team has been handling the election fight, according to an NBC News report on Monday.

Trump has become worried that his team is made up of "fools that are making him look bad," one official told NBC.

The team, which includes his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, is in charge of overseeing Trump's ongoing lawsuits over the election results. 

Several officials familiar with the president's reactions told NBC that Trump was upset with Guiliani's appearance at chaotic news conference held last week at the Republican National Committee headquarters.

The president took umbrage with Giuliani's hair dye dripping down the sides of his face while he was speaking at the nearly 2-hour-long event, one source told NBC. 

Giuliani, along with Trump's legal adviser Jenna Ellis and the now-fired lawyer Sidney Powell, defended Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud at the conference.

Trump's legal team also pushed conspiracy theories about politicians being paid to hack voting machines and foreign countries trying to steal the election. The Trump campaign has since tried to distance itself from the scene and released a statement on Sunday that Powell is no longer part of the president's legal team. 

"Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team," a statement attributed to Giuliani and Ellis read. "She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity." 

Trump has not publicly acknowledged his election loss and has refused to concede. His campaign remains steadfast in its pursuit of overturning the election outcome, though has yet to win any of the 22 lawsuits filed in several states. President-elect Joe Biden became the projected winner of the race more than two weeks ago.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nordstrom's Cyber Monday 2020 sale is happening soon — here's what we know so far, and what to expect when deals begin

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When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Cyber Monday 2020 Nordstrom Deals 4x3

Cyber Monday is coming up on November 30, and Nordstrom's sale will have deep discounts on women's, men's, and children's clothing, as well as accessories, skincare, makeup, home goods, and more.

Many Black Friday deals will roll over to Cyber Monday, so if you're a habitual procrastinator or you'd rather wait to see if the prices drop even more, Cyber Monday is the day you'll want to make a purchase. 

We don't know the specific deals just yet, but we rounded up some of the best early deals and answered all of the questions you might have before the big shopping day.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Shop Nordstrom deals by category

Best early Cyber Monday Deals 2020

These discounts aren't technically associated with Nordstrom's Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, but they're great deals nonetheless.

Ultraboost x Clima Running Shoe (medium, Preferred: Nordstrom)

How do we select Cyber Monday deals from Nordstrom?

  • We only choose products that meet our standards for coverage. These items come from trusted brands that we know and use or have tested.
  • The deal price must be better than the retail price or the normal sale price.
  • We anticipate many deals from Black Friday to roll over to Cyber Monday.

When does Nordstrom's Cyber Monday sale start?

Black Friday 2020 is November 27 and Cyber Monday is November 30, but Nordstrom will likely have early deals before the shopping holiday officially begins.

What is Nordstrom's return policy?

Nordstrom doesn't have a traditional return policy. Instead, returns are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the company tends to be very accommodating. 

Can I shop at the Nordstrom store near me?

Yes. Nordstrom's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals will also be available in stores. You can also order online and choose in-store pick-up or curbside pickup. If you do decide to shop in the store, Nordstrom has taken measures to help keep customers and employees safe by requiring face masks and encouraging social distancing.

What should I buy from Nordstrom this Cyber Monday

Nordstrom's Cyber Monday sale is a great time to stock up on everything from essentials like socks, underwear, and winter coats, hats, and gloves, to splurge items like sunglasses, handbags, jewelry, and beauty products. You'll also find home goods like pillows, candles, diffusers, and more. 

How does Nordstrom stand up to the competition on Cyber Monday?

While other department stores will also have Cyber Monday sales, Nordstrom stands out for its great range of affordable brands and luxury brands. Nordstrom's lenient return policy is also a major plus for shopping during the holiday season. You won't have to worry about strict return windows.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GameStop Black Friday deals you can get before Thanksgiving include $30 off Switch and PS4 exclusives, 25% off Funko Pop toys, and more

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Black Friday 2020 GameStop Deals 4x3
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The GameStop Black Friday countdown sale is already underway with discounts on more than a dozen games, and special offers on Funko Pop! dolls, apparel, and other merchandise. The retailer's full Black Friday sale will kick off on November 25, bringing more door buster deals and limited quantities of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Below, we've rounded up some of the best GameStop deals you can snag right now. We'll update this page as more early discounts are announced.

The best early Black Friday GameStop deals

GameStop's early Black Friday sale includes up to 50% off select video games. In addition to discounts on some of this year's most popular titles, console exclusives for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 are on sale too.

For Nintendo Switch, GameStop is offering $20 off "Super Mario Maker 2," "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening," and "Luigi's Mansion 3," and $30 off Yoshi's Crafted World," "Mario Tennis Aces," and "Fire Emblem: Three Houses."

Some of the best PlayStation 4 games released during 2020 are on sale as well — "The Last of Us Part II" is $30, "Final Fantasy VII," Remake is $35, and "Ghost of Tsushima" is $40. Meanwhile, "Watch Dogs Legion" is available for $37, which is a savings of $23 less than a month after its release. "Doom Eternal" is $43 off too, bringing it down to $17.

All Funko Pop! Vinyl dolls priced under $15 are being discounted by 25%, and all board games are 25% off too. Video game related holiday decorations are available for 40%, and advent calendars are 20% off.

During the countdown sale, GameStop is also offering a "buy one get one free" deal on all apparel, and 20% off branded merchandise from "Star Wars," Marvel, "Fortnite," and "Minecraft."

GameStop's current set of early Black Friday deals are guaranteed until November 25, when even more games and accessories will go on sale. 

Note: If another retailer is currently offering an even better discount than GameStop on an item, we've included a link to that store instead.

When does GameStop's full Black Friday sale start?

GameStop's full Black Friday sale will start online at 9 p.m. ET on November 25. GameStop stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but will re-open at 7 a.m. on November 27, with the Black Friday sale running through November 29.

GameStop also offered Cyber Monday sales last year, but nothing has been announced for Cyber Monday 2020 so far.

Check out our gaming buying guides and reviews

For more video game, console, and computer recommendations, check out our various gaming reviews and buying guides.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Businesses should reject special treatment from the government: Charles Koch says he made decisions that hurt his bottom line in the short term, but 'it was the right thing to do'

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Charles Koch says we need CEOs who practice doing well by doing good.
  • Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held American companies, and an influential philanthropist for more than 50 years. Brian Hooks is president of the Charles Koch Foundation, and chairman and CEO of Stand Together.
  • The following is an excerpt from their new book, "Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World.
  • In it, Koch and Hooks explain how corporate welfare stunted innovation in the economy and hope to empower young entrepreneurs and Americans to protect the business community from these destructive policies.
  • They share examples when Koch Industries actively fought corporate welfare, including persuading the federal government to end direct ethanol subsidies and opposing tax provisions that would benefit its company, but harm its customers. 
  • "While this hurt our bottom line in the short term, it was the right thing to do, and it contributed to a better business environment in the long term," Koch and Hooks wrote. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Corporate welfare is so ingrained in the economy and the business community that it seems difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate. But we must eradicate it if we are to have a just and prosperous society. If we do, more people will be able to find jobs that match their abilities. More businesses will focus on helping their employees flourish and contribute, spurring innovation and progress. If we eliminate corporate welfare, we can begin building a culture of mutual benefit and an economy that works for all. 

Believe in People
"Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World," by Charles Koch and Brian Hooks.

So, where should a Social Entrepreneur start? What can you do to transform the institution of business? What is a better way, and how can you help bring it about?

The first thing we need are business leaders to take a stand. We need CEOs who practice Principled Entrepreneurship™ — the practice of doing well by doing good. This means building a company that empowers employees and contributes to communities. I know many CEOs who feel this way.

Read more: Credit Karma is launching a new voter registration tool — and CEO Kenneth Lin says building it was 'the right thing to do'

And we strive to do this at Koch Industries by applying Market-Based Management®. Other companies have begun applying MBM, and for many, it has made a real difference. Whatever management or business framework you use, or whether you use one, I encourage business leaders to focus relentlessly on creating an environment where people can self-actualize.

No company will succeed in the long run if its team members don't first succeed by contributing. If a culture of contribution is essential, then corporate welfare cannot be tolerated.

The best advocates against it are business leaders who don't want it. This is a bigger pool than you might think: 84% of the leaders at companies that don't benefit from such favoritism logically oppose it.

If this describes you, one practical thing you can do is to publicly criticize corporate welfare and explain why. Don't stay quiet.

We're doing our part at Koch Industries. We participate in industries where subsidies, mandates, and favoritism are part of the legally mandated system and can't be avoided. We nonetheless oppose corporate welfare in all its forms and lobby against it. We know that ending it will help us more in the long term. 

What is true for us is true for every business, no matter how much its owners or managers think they need special treatment to survive. Corporate welfare has been around since well before I returned to the company, and I made an early point to oppose it.

In 1971, Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President — aptly nicknamed CREEP — asked our company for an illegal donation. The implication was clear: support us, and you'll get favors; don't, and you'll get the opposite. I immediately turned down Nixon's agents.

Other businesspeople succumbed, and suffered the legal consequences. 

Of course, most corporate welfare isn't illegal, although it is always wrong and harmful to its recipients and to society. Here are two examples of where we vocally oppose such policies in our own industries.

Read more: I was a health-insurance exec for 20 years and shamefully lied to Americans about the drawbacks of a single-payer system. I'm coming clean amid the disastrous response to the pandemic.

Our company is one of America's largest producers of ethanol, a substance with a wide range of uses, including as fuel. Ethanol is essential to innovation on better fuel economy, which is part of why we are in the industry. Yet that doesn't mean ethanol should be propped up. Unfortunately, over the years, other ethanol producers successfully lobbied for federal ethanol mandates and subsidies — blatant handouts that we fought tooth and nail. 

In 2011, we helped persuade the federal government to end direct ethanol subsidies. While this hurt our bottom line in the short term, it was the right thing to do, and it contributed to a better business environment in the long term. We continue to oppose other ethanol policies that act as special favors to producers, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates the blending of ethanol into gasoline. Like the subsidies, the current policy benefits Koch short term — ensuring that we always have a market for our product — but it hurts us long term, along with everyone else. 

Policymakers recognize these issues yet are unwilling to abandon the RFS mandate. The reason is easy to discern: corn farmers in Iowa — the first state in the presidential primary process — support it.

Politicians sometimes try to have it both ways, preserving the mandate while giving exemptions to other companies and certain refiners. This is just one more handout. We remain convinced that ethanol can succeed and improve people's lives without government support. And so Koch will continue advocating an end to the RFS. 

Another example of egregious corporate welfare that we vigorously and successfully opposed was the so-called border-adjustment tax in the 2017 federal tax reform bill. This provision would have created a new taxation system designed to benefit select US companies, including manufacturers like us. It would have done so on the backs of the American people.

Koch Industries would have profited handsomely from the BAT. For example, while one of our refineries would have been subject to higher-priced imports from Canada, our refinery in Texas would have gained a big advantage on our competitors because we purchase our raw materials domestically.

Another Koch company, Georgia-Pacific, primarily uses domestic southern pine trees to produce paper products, while its primary competitors rely on imports. In both cases, the BAT would have allowed us to raise our prices on consumers and capture a much bigger profit and market share. 

We opposed it anyway. 

If it would make us money in the short term, why would we reject this policy? Because harming your customer is an excellent way to go out of business. Sure, the BAT would have given us potentially billions of dollars in profit, but consumers would have paid more than a trillion dollars in higher costs on imported goods. We would have made plenty of profits short-term, but in the long run, it would have made those who could least afford it poorer. 

Read more: I launched Okta during the 2008 recession, and it's now a $25 billion company. Here are my 4 recommended steps for starting a business during an economic downturn.

That is no recipe for long-term success. A company that disrespects customers will lose its customers. Either people will turn against it or creative destruction will overtake it. The better path is to strive to supply what customers value, giving them better products at better prices and rejecting mandates, subsidies, and measures to handicap competitors. 

Are you a business leader? Do you know one? You can advocate against corporate welfare too. I have a colleague who calls it "being the skunk at the garden party." 

When the city council proposes a tax credit for companies that move to or expand in your community, go to the council meeting and object. Tell them the handout corrupts business, which should only profit by creating value for, not harming, others. Let your local member of Congress know that your support depends on whether they treat all businesses equally — and the best way to lose your support is to offer you a subsidy. If you don't, who will?

From "BELIEVE IN PEOPLE: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World" by Charles Koch and Brian Hooks. Copyright © 2020 by Charles Koch and Brian Hooks and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Charles Koch
Charles Koch and Brian Hooks.

Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held American companies. An influential philanthropist for more than 50 years, he supports education, a community of organizations addressing persistent poverty, and public policy research focused on developing effective solutions to social problems. He has founded numerous nonprofit organizations, including Stand Together. He holds two masters degrees in nuclear and chemical engineering from MIT and lives in Wichita, Kansas with his wife Liz.

Brian Hooks is president of the Charles Koch Foundation and chairman and CEO of Stand Together, a philanthropic community that works with more than 700 business leaders and philanthropists to empower people to realize their unique potential and help every person rise. Previously, Brian served as executive director and COO of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he led strategy and operations for a growing research, education, and public policy center. Brian is a graduate of the University of Michigan and lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and daughter.

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Jupiter and Saturn are about to appear closer in the sky than they have for 800 years, aligning as a 'double planet'

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A man with a telescope watches the night sky over the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in Los Angeles, California, on July 19, 2020.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky on December 21. It'll be the closest they've appeared in 800 years.
  • The two planets move into alignment, or conjunction, every 20 years. But this year, they will be so close that they'll look like a "double planet."
  • The last time Saturn and Jupiter were both this close and visible was in 1226.
  • Here are the best ways to see this conjunction.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jupiter and Saturn are about to line up perfectly in the night sky — the two planets will get so close on December 21 that they seem to touch. 

The last time they looked this close from Earth's vantage point was nearly 800 years ago, on March 4, 1226.

An astronomical event in which celestial bodies align is called a conjunction. Since this conjunction involves the two biggest gas giants in our solar system, it's known as the "great conjunction." It happens to some degree once every two decades.

"But it is fair to say that this conjunction is truly exceptional in that the planets get very close to one another," Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University, explained on his website.

"In fact, they will be so close it may be a challenge to separate them with the unaided eye for many people," he added.

Here's how to see this rare conjunction.

How to view a 'double planet'

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A photo of Jupiter captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope on August 25, 2020.

On the night of the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will be separated by a distance in the sky equal to about one-fifth of a full moon's the diameter, according to Hartigan. They'll look like they form a "double planet."

Of course, the two planets are much farther apart than that — more than four times the distance between Earth and the sun. But to our naked eyes, they'll look like a single point of bright light.

If you peek through a small telescope, Jupiter and Saturn will appear in the same field of view, along with some of their moons.

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How Jupiter and Saturn will appear in a telescope set up in Houston, Texas, on December 21, 2020 as they approach each other in the sky.

However, it will be challenging to see this conjunction in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Hartigan said, due to how low it will be on the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere.

"Viewing conditions are best close to the equator, though no matter where you are, there is maybe an hour or so to observe this conjunction before the planets sink into the haze," he added. 

If you head out around twilight — the hour after sunset — and point your telescope toward the southwestern sky, you can spot the event, Hartigan said. (Websites like Stellarium can help you orient your telescope towards the planets' meeting point.)

"You will need to have a clear southwestern horizon and no low clouds in the distance," Hartigan said. 

He recommends setting up your telescope before it gets fully dark and bringing binoculars.

If the night of the solstice ends up being cloudy where you are, Hartigan said, don't worry: The conjunction is an ongoing event from December 17 to 25. The 21st is just when the two planets will be the very closest in the sky. 

Another conjunction like this will come in 2080

In the last 2,000 years, there were just two times that Jupiter and Saturn came closer in the sky than they'll get this year.

One of those was in 1623, but the sun's glare made it impossible to see. However, if you miss this upcoming rare conjunction, another will come in 60 years.

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A photo of Saturn and two of its moons, taken by Voyager 1 in 1980.

On March 15, 2080, Jupiter and Saturn will look just as close as they do this year. That event will be much easier to see, according to Hartigan, because it'll take place higher above the horizon.

"The major challenge there is you'll have to stay alive for another 60 years to see it!" he said.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancels his Thanksgiving plans, but 'don't tell his mom — she doesn't know yet'

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sits with his mother, Matilda, and daughter Cara, on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, July 28, 2016.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not be having Thanksgiving dinner with his 89-year-old mother and two of his three daughters, contrary to what he alluded to a radio interview on Monday.
  • "The story is, my mom is going to come up and two of my girls. But the plans change," Cuomo told WAMC radio.
  • However, later on Monday, a senior adviser for Cuomo told Insider the dinner will be off "given the current circumstances with COVID."
  • "Don't tell his mom — she doesn't know yet," added Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Cuomo, said in a statement.
  • The internet was quick to drag Cuomo, given that he's been urging New Yorkers to stay home and limit travel this Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will not be having his 89-year-old mother and two of his daughters over for Thanksgiving, according to a senior adviser.

On Monday afternoon, Cuomo indicated he would be having a small dinner when asked about his plans in an interview on a local radio station.

"The story is, my mom is going to come up and two of my girls, but the plans change," Cuomo told WAMC radio, the NPR affiliate in New York's Capital Region.

A few hours later, Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, told Insider the dinner is off.

"As the Governor said, 'The story is my mom is going to come up and two of my girls is the current plan, but the plans change. That's my plan. I'm going to work — I've got a lot of work to do between now and Thanksgiving,' and given the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them," Azzopardi told Insider in a statement early Monday evening.

He added: "Don't tell his mom — she doesn't know yet."

The internet was quick to dunk on Cuomo, given how much he's been telling New Yorkers to stay home and forsake a normal Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus pandemic and cases surging nationally.

In the Empire State, people are required to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. While Cuomo's gathering of four would not violate any rules, the age of his mother and the notion that he would still proceed with a holiday dinner angered people online.

During Cuomo's press briefings, for which he won an International Emmy award on Monday, the governor has addressed his own family's struggles with whom to invite for Thanksgiving.

Last week, he said he told his mother "we can't get together for Thanksgiving."

"Your family sounds safe, doesn't it?" Cuomo said. "No, you won't be safe. It's an illusion. My sister loves me. My sister could infect me — not maliciously, but accidentally."

During his Monday briefing, Cuomo said one of his daughters, Mariah, will not join the family for Thanksgiving because it would involve traveling from Chicago. The governor, who has been urging New Yorkers to limit their travel this Thanksgiving, recalled that his daughter cried during their phone call.

"When your child cries it kills you," he said. "You feel pain worse than they feel pain."

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Nordstrom's Black Friday 2020 sale is happening now — here's everything you need to know, along with the best deals

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Black Friday 2020 Nordstrom Deals 4x3

Black Friday officially falls on November 27, but Nordstrom's sale is already happening. Now through December 1, the popular department store will have deep discounts on women's, men's, and children's clothing, accessories, skincare, makeup, home goods, and more.

Whether you're shopping for the holiday season or you just can't pass up good deals, you'll definitely want to check out Nordstrom's Black Friday Sale. 

To help you shop, we rounded up some of the best deals and go-to categories below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Shop Nordstrom deals by category

Best Nordstrom Black Friday Deals 2020

How do we select Black Friday deals from Nordstrom?

  • We only choose products that meet our standards for coverage. These items come from trusted brands that we know and use or have tested.
  • The deal price must be better than the retail price or the normal sale price, and if we write about it, we've made sure it's not available somewhere else for cheaper.

When does Nordstrom's Black Friday sale start?

Black Friday 2020 is November 27 and Cyber Monday is November 30, but Nordstrom's Cyber Week sale is running now until December 1.

What is Nordstrom's return policy?

Nordstrom doesn't have a traditional return policy. Instead, returns are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the company tends to be very accommodating. 

Can I shop at the Nordstrom store near me?

Yes. Nordstrom's Black Friday deals will also be available in stores. You can also order online and choose in-store pick-up or curbside pickup. If you do decide to shop in the store, Nordstrom has taken measures to help keep customers and employees safe by requiring face masks and encouraging social distancing.

What should I buy from Nordstrom this Black Friday?

Nordstrom's Black Friday sale is a great time to stock up on everything from essentials like socks, underwear, winter coats, hats, and gloves, to splurge items like sunglasses, handbags, jewelry, and beauty products. You'll also find home goods like pillows, candles, diffusers, and more.

How does Nordstrom stand up to the competition on Black Friday?

While other department stores will also have Black Friday sales, Nordstrom stands out from others for its great range of products that includes both affordable brands and luxury brands. Nordstrom's lenient return policy is also a major plus for shopping during the holiday season. 

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GSA announces it will provide Joe Biden with the resources to begin the presidential transition

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GSA Administrator Emily Murphy on March 13, 2019.
  • Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, said in a letter on Monday that she would make "resources and services available" to help President-elect Joe Biden begin the presidential transition.
  • "The actual winner of the presidential election will be determined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution," Murphy wrote.
  • The news comes after congressional Democrats expressed outrage that Murphy was refusing to recognize Biden as the "apparent president-elect," delaying his transition.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The General Services Administration will provide President-elect Joe Biden with the "resources and services" he needs to begin his transition to the White House, Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter on Monday.

Murphy, who his required by US law to provide office space and equipment to the "apparent president-elect," stopped short of declaring Biden the victor.

"The actual winner of the presidential election will be determined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution," she wrote.

In a statement, Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden-Harris transition team, welcomed the news.

"Today's decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track," Abraham said. He characterized it as a "final decision."

"In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration's efforts to hollow out government agencies," Abraham said.

For his part, outgoing President Donald Trump took credit for Murphy's decision, despite her letter asserting that she "came to my decision independently."

While projecting confidence he would ultimately be declared the winner of an election that he lost, Trump said on Twitter that he was "recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same."

This is a developing story.

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There's a clear way for Joe Biden to fight for justice and show his commitment to the Black voters who put him in the White House

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden makes a stop at The Warehouse, a community center for teens in East Wilmington, on November 03, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Joe Biden was elected president in large part due to support from Black voters.
  • Biden should pay back this trust from Black voters by fighting for racial justice and reforming the racist criminal justice system.
  • One way to do that is to advocate for the BREATHE Act, which would reshape our prison system and undo some of the damage of incarceration on communities of color.
  • Ashish Prashar is the Senior Director of Global Communications for Publicis Sapient, Board Member of New York-based Exodus Transitional Community and Getting Out and Staying Out, and Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When the story of the 2020 election is written, one of the biggest takeaways will be just how much Black voters came through for President-elect Joe Biden.

When Biden's primary campaign was written off by many, Black voters in South Carolina handed him a big win that catapulted him to the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination.

And Black voters in Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Atlanta helped to put Biden over the top in the presidential election. 87% of Black voters nationwide chose the former vice president over Trump, during an election year that broke turnout records, according to preliminary national exit polling. It's striking that people who have been failed and treated the worst by our democracy consistently do the most to save it.

And yes, Black voters (and non-voters) have been failed by our country. 

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, a result of decades of bipartisan legislation — like the 1994 Crime Bill — that propped up institutional racism. Nearly 2.3 million people are locked up in jails and prisons according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That's the biggest peacetime prison population in the history of humanity.  And of those 40% of Americans languishing in prisons are Black Americans, while they make up only 13% of the general population. 

President-elect Joe Biden thanked Black voters in his victory speech for rescuing his campaign when it was at its lowest point and bringing it over the finish line, declaring "you've always had my back, and I'll have yours."

Joe Biden's dramatic vow during his victory speech to return the favor for Black voters who supported him was an explicit commitment to Black Americans to listen and act on their behalf.

It is high time for him to honor this new commitment and deliver justice.   

Joe can deliver real justice 

In his bid for the Presidency, Joe Biden released an extensive policy agenda that outlined his plan for Black America. It included proposals to invest in Black businesses and entrepreneurs, create opportunities for homeownership, narrow racial disparities in education and address a criminal justice system that disproportionately arrests, convicts and imprisons members of Black communities.

What is imperative right now is for Biden to work to undo the injustices that run rampant through the American criminal justice system and follow through on most of the promises he made during the campaign. 

However, every radical piece of legislation that we've ever passed in this country, it has passed on the heels of the kinds of grassroots protests that we saw on the streets this past Summer.

Young Black voters who did not back Biden in the primary are the same Black youth that secured him the Presidency but also who hold his political record partially responsible for the pain they are feeling, and who continue to protest in the streets demanding a bolder vision of the future, and calling for their fellow Americans, including elected officials, to join them.

From those protests and the work of Movement for Black Lives with so many organizations dedicated to ending the injustice of mass incarceration, a bolder vision has been presented. It is the BREATHE Act.

This proposed legislation would eliminate the federal government's ability to give multimillion-dollar grants for the militarization of police forces, and calls for a "time-bound plan" to close all federal prisons and immigration detention centers. 

Instead of a system that relies almost solely on punishment, the BREATHE Act creates a new Community Public Safety Agency which uses grants to replace the harmful criminal legal systems locally with evidence-based public safety infrastructure. Importantly, the act moves the function of public safety out of the Department of Justice and into the Department of Health and Human Services — signaling a dramatic shift in how our society approaches community well-being. 

The investments the BREATHE Act makes in education, healthcare, the environment, wealth generation for working class families, and housing, creates public safety by supporting communities, rather than punishing them.

If you truly want every American to participate in society, you do not pass laws that keep them from doing so. More than six million people are not allowed to vote today due to a felony conviction, something the BREATHE Act would immediately change if passed. 

We know that prisons won't be bulldozed tomorrow, and the complete elimination of the current justice system can't be done in one fell swoop. However, we need to create space for budgets to be divested from police and prisons and invested directly into communities to address mental health needs, homelessness, access to critical education, and rewarding jobs as well as community-based methods of accountability.

A strong first step is for the Biden Administration to support the BREATHE ACT to make it possible for all communities to be safe and free.

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