Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Red-light traffic cameras have drivers seeing red


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    A red light camera setup in Los Angeles, where a 2010 audit blamed police for not adequately compiling statistics at the 32 intersections where red light cameras are installed, making it difficult to conclude whether they are effective. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
The application of technology without sufficient discipline is usually a bad thing. Witness the latest problems with red light cameras. 
Depending on how you read the latest studies, cameras are either a  Big Brother danger to the public or the latest in life-saving technology. Either way, some drivers are seeing red -- and turning to other technologies to help.
Last month, the New Jersey Department of Transportation released report on 24 red-light camera intersections in the state and found that rather than preventing accidents, the cameras seemed to increase accident rates. In the year before the cameras were installed there were 577 accidents at those locations, versus 582 accidents in the 12 months after the cameras were installed, thanks in large part to an increase in rear-end collisions.
Almost simultaneously, American Traffic Solutions (one of the private companies supplying the systems in New Jersey) issued a press release stating that the DOT report actually supported the idea that red-light cameras prevent accidents. However, ATS was focusing only on one particular -- albeit particularly dangerous -- type of crash, so-called T-bone or right angle crashes. When considered separately, these types of accidents were actually down 15 percent from the previous year.
On the face of it, it deterring drivers from running red lights would seem to be uncontroversial. No one wants to run a red light and everyone wants to prevent accidents and road fatalities. I witness buses and trucks running red lights every day in New York City; curbing those dangerous drivers would be a good thing.
The problem with red-light cameras, however, is with their implementation, and this may account for discrepancies in how effective or ineffective they are in reducing accidents.
One thing some drivers have pointed to is the seeming shortness of yellow lights at intersections outfitted with cameras. In some instances, such as in June in New Jersey, subsequent examination by local DOTs found that indeed some yellow lights were dangerously short. Now a class action lawsuit in New York is claiming that lights in the city are rigged with short yellows in order to hand out $50 tickets. The New York DOT says it has looked at cameras after previous reports of problems and found them to be in compliance.
However, the actual problem is what counts as "compliance." States are required to adhere to the Federal DOT Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, which states that yellow-light timing should meet engineering standards. Most take that to mean a minimum of 3 seconds or longer according to a formula based on posted speed limit, reaction times, and stopping distances.
The yellow timing formula actually recommends a 4.3-second yellow for a intersection on a road with posted 45 mph speed limit. Practically speaking, if the purpose is safety, then many intersections need longer yellows since drivers don't travel at exactly the speed limit (say 40 mph in a 35 mph zone). 
Furthermore, many intersections are located in less than ideal locations, on hills or curves and set up decades before red light cameras were conceived. So a 3-second yellow may not be sufficient to prevent accidents where panicked drivers are trying to avoid tickets. In fact, in New Jersey the DOT sets such lights on 45-mph roads at 5 seconds (6 seconds is the recommended maximum).
There's also considerable disagreement -- and no national standard -- on whether or not to inform drivers of the locations of red-light cameras. Most municipalities treat them like speed limits and post signs noting a camera's position. Some departments even make the information available online.
Other places such as New York City attempt to hide the cameras and even set up dummy cameras to fool drivers. This approach is supposed to underscore deterrence, but it tends to undermine the idea that the cameras are there to increase safety. Without warning signs drivers have no idea they are approaching a particularly dangerous intersection, which is where cameras are supposed to be deployed.
Of course, there is no way to truly hide a red-light camera. Portable navigation devices, radar detectors and crowdsourced apps for smartphones like Trapster all report the location of such cameras within minutes of their installation. In a test, I found that a TomTom navigation device and an Escort radar detector correctly identified several red-light cameras in New York City. The only hiccups occurred on elevated highways where the devices beeped photo enforcement warnings about cameras that were actually below me on a secondary road.
So should red-light cameras be banished?
Not just yet. Like any technology, without intelligent guidance, they are bound to be misused and abused. What is needed are established standards concerning more cautious yellow-light timings and red-light holds (so-called wait times). Higher resolution video camera could also improve accuracy, and there should be rules about notifying drivers of camera locations. 
Not every intersection needs a camera, but if installed and used properly, they could save lives instead of creating more fender benders (and revenue).
Follow John R. Quain on Twitter @jqontech or find more tech coverage at

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Better than GPS? BAE navigator uses Wi-Fi, radio signal


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    BAE Systems
The next-generation of deep-space GPS satellites has just reached a milestone -- but an even better, unjammable system is already available here on earth.
Last week Lockheed Martin crossed a milestone, finishing "thermal vacuum" tests for GPS III, a new class of satellites that will replace the aging craft in orbit around Earth. GPS III will introduce anti-jamming tech to address a serious threat to troops, drones and ships that rely on GPS for navigation and targeting.
The first satellite could launch in 2014, but a better option may already exist: BAE's Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP) doesn’t depend on satellite signals, instead using a wide range of common signals readily available to sidestep jammers.
It can even use the GPS jammer signal itself. And it’s just as accurate, BAE says.
In BAE’s system, everyday signals like TV, Wi-Fi, radio or cell phone are used to triangulate the location of a person or vehicle. NAVSOP gets the position exact within several feet with this signal-scavenging approach.
It uses all sorts of other signals as well, from GPS satellite to air traffic control. The system can even learn and evolve by taking signals that were originally unidentified and using them to build increasingly reliable and more exact fixes on location.
Shifting to the cheap and nimble NAVSOP would not require infrastructure investments in transmitter towers and the like, because it takes advantage of whatever is already in place. 
Larger models are in development, but NAVSOP chips are approximately the size of a coin and work with a tiny radio receiver.
From the Arctic to the Jungle
Harvesting signals from the air allows NAVSOP to work in places where GPS has traditionally failed, because receivers struggle to pick up the weak, long-range satellite signals.
GPS signals travel over approximately 12,000 miles, so by exploiting stronger signals transmitted from Earth, NAVSOP will work deep underground, underwater, in tunnels or inside buildings. For warfighters, NAVSOP can also work in remote locations such as the deep jungle or the Arctic.
Military applications for NAVSOP are wide. Take Iran’s recent claim that the country took control of a U.S. Sentinel drone. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) face the threat of disruption to their guidance systems; NAVSOP would greatly improve their security.
But this technology could do much more than just harden military weapons and vehicles against enemy jamming or hacking attempts. It could also protect trucks, ships and airplanes by ensuring they have reliable navigation.
On the home front, NAVSOP could lead to the equivalent of indoor GPS for firefighters trying to rescue people inside smoke-filled buildings or miners underground -- or even spelunkers who don't want to fall off the grid.
Risks of GPS Dependence                                                    
Overreliance on GPS signals is rampant in day-to -day life from data networks, financial systems, health networks, rail, road, aviation and marine transport, to shipping and agriculture. And military platforms commonly use GPS to find their position, navigate and execute missions.
With different systems sharing GPS dependency, a loss of signal could cause the simultaneous failure of many things people rely on daily.
Last year, the European Commission estimated that six to seven percent of its countries' GDP, representing a whopping $1 trillion, is already dependent on satellite radio navigation in Europe alone.
BAE and Lockheed aren’t the only ones working on a better more robust system. Other countries are developing their own systems, including the Russian GLONASSGalileo for the European Union set to be completed in 2020 and COMPASS in China.
China began launching satellites last year, with its ultimate goal global navigation via 35 satellites by 2020.
Perhaps a better solution is already here on the ground?
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

South Korea sees 'digital addiction' in 2.5 million as young as 3

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    Nov. 9, 2012: South Korean students check their smartphones after classes at Bibong Middle School in Hwaseong, South Korea. Students agreed to hand in their smartphones when they arrive at school in the morning and get them back when they leave for home after classes. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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    Nov. 9, 2012: South Korean students check their smartphones after classes at Bibong Middle School in Hwaseong, South Korea. Across the entire population, South Koreas government estimated 2.55 million people are addicted to smartphones. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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    Nov. 9, 2012: Smartphones collected from students are placed in a plastic basket during a class at Chilbo elementary school in Suwon, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Park Jung-in, an 11-year-old South Korean, sleeps with her Android smartphone instead of a teddy bear. When the screen beams with a morning alarm, she wakes up, picks up her glasses and scrolls through tens of unread messages from friends, shaking off drowsiness.
Throughout the day, the gadget is in her hands whether she is in school, in the restroom or in the street as she constantly types messages to her friends. Every hour or so, she taps open an application in her phone to feed her digital hamster.
"I get nervous when the battery falls below 20 percent," Park said as she fiddled with the palm-size gadget. "I find it stressful to stay out of the wireless hotspot zone for too long."
In South Korea, where the government provides counseling programs and psychological treatment for an estimated 2 million people who cannot wean themselves from playing online computer games, youngsters such as Park have previously not been considered as potential addicts.
Here and in other parts of Asia, online addiction has long been associated with hardcore gamers who play online games for days on end, isolated from their school, work or family life and blurring the line between the real and fantasy online worlds. In a shocking 2010 case in South Korea, a 3-month-old girl died after being fed just once a day by her parents who were consumed with marathon online game sessions.
Park does not play computer games and in class, she confidently raises her hand to answer a question. She also gets along well with her friends and likes to cook as a hobby. And yet, she set off more than eight red flags on an addiction test, enough to be considered unhealthily dependent on her smartphone. Park is not unique and the government is concerned enough to make it mandatory for children as young as 3 to be schooled in controlling their device and Internet use.
Her obsession with being online is a byproduct of being reared in one of the world's most digitally connected societies where 98 percent of households have broadband Internet and nearly two thirds of people have a smartphone. Being wired is an icon of South Korea's pride in its state-directed transformation from economic backwater to one of Asia's most advanced and wealthy nations. Always seeking an edge, the government plans to digitize all textbooks from 2015 and base all schooling around tablet computers.
But some now fret about the effects that South Korea's digital utopia is having on its children, part of the first generation to play online games on smartphones, tablets and other devices even before they can read and write.
New mobile devices that instantly respond to a touch of a finger seem to make children more restless than before and lack empathy, said Kim Jun-hee, a kindergarten teacher who conducted an eight-month study on Internet safety and addiction education for pre-school children.
"Babies are in a stroller with a smartphone holder. Kids sit in the grocery shopping cart watching movies on the tablet computer," she said. "I've been teaching at kindergartens for more than 10 years now but compared to the past, kids these days are unable to control their impulses."
In Suwon city south of Seoul, students in teacher Han Jeoung-hee's classroom now turn in their smartphones when they arrive at school in the morning.
"Kids forgot to eat lunch, completely absorbed with smartphones and some stayed in the classroom during a PE class," said Han who teaches sixth grade students at Chilbo elementary school. Smartphones are put in a plastic basket and returned when kids leave for home after classes.
The National Information Society Agency, or NIA, estimates 160,000 South Korean children between age 5 and 9 are addicted to the Internet either through smartphones, tablet computers or personal computers. Such children appear animated when using gadgets but distracted and nervous when they are cut off from the devices and will forgo eating or going to the toilet so they can continue playing online, according to the agency.
Across the entire population, South Korea's government estimated 2.55 million people are addicted to smartphones, using the devices for 8 hours a day or more, in its first survey of smartphone addiction released earlier this year. Smartphone addicts find it difficult to live without their handsets and their constant use disrupts work and social life, according to NIA. Most of their personal interaction is carried out on the mobile handset. Overuse of smartphones may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as turtle neck syndrome caused by having the head in a constant forward position and a pain or numbness in fingers or wrists.
Though Internet addiction is not recognized as a mental illness, there is a growing call from medical practitioners and health officials worldwide to treat it as an illness rather than a social problem.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists Internet Use Disorder as meriting further study. It is unclear whether it will be recognized as a mental illness in a major revision of the standard-setting manual due out next year. But as the Internet becomes more pervasive and mobile, more societies are grappling with its downside. In Asia, countries that have experienced explosive growth in the Internet such as Taiwan, China and South Korea are most active in carrying out research into whether Internet addiction should be recognized as a mental illness, according to Lee Hae-kook, a psychiatry professor at Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine.
South Korea already provides taxpayer-funded counselors for those who cannot control their online gaming or other Internet use. But the emergence of the smartphone as a mainstream, must-have device even for children is changing the government's focus to proactive measures from reactive.
South Korea's government is widening efforts to prevent Web and digital addiction in school-age children and preschoolers. Starting next year, South Korean children from the age 3 to 5 will be taught to protect themselves from overusing digital gadgets and the Internet.
Nearly 90 percent children from that age group will learn at kindergartens how to control their exposure to digital devices and the danger of staying online for long hours. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security is revising laws so that teaching the danger of Internet addiction becomes mandatory from pre-school institutions to high schools.
Kim, the kindergarten teacher, said educating children against digital and web addiction should start early because smartphones are their new toys.
From next year, her program for 3-year-olds will focus on introducing them to the positive activities they can do with the computers, such listening to music. Children aged 4 and 5, will learn the dangers of overuse and how to control their desire to use computers.
Programs also include making and learning the moves for "computer exercises" and singing songs with lyrics that instruct kids to close their eyes and stretch their bodies after playing computer games. They read fairy tales where a character falls prey to Internet addiction and learn alternative games they can play without computers or the Internet.
Kim said parents have to be involved in the education. One of the pledge cards written by a 5-year-old girl reads: "I promise to play Nintendo for 30 minutes only. Daddy promises to play less cellphone games and play more with me."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: Apple iPad mini smaller, still the gold standard

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    Oct. 23, 2012: Apple introduced the iPad mini, a new iPad design that is 23 percent thinner. (Apple)
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    Oct. 23, 2012: Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, introduces the iPad Mini in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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    Oct. 23, 2012: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event to announce new products in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  • Apple new iMac 2012.jpg
    Oct. 23, 2012: Apple vice president of marketing Phil Schiller shows off the company's new iMac, a razor-thin product that drew oohs and aahs from the assembled crowd. ( / Clayton Morris)
  • Apple event ipad 2012.jpg
    Oct. 23, 2012: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an event to announce new products in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
It's just a runty iPad, but the new iPad mini somehow manages to establish its very own identity. I've been using the latest from Apple for a week now and I have to say: This little guy may be small but he performs big.
When the first iPad launched two years ago, people joked that it was just a big fat iPod Touch. And they were right, it basically was. But it was unique at the same time. So unique in fact that it became the industry standard for tablet computers. And the fastest selling consumer electronics device in history.
Likewise, the iPad mini is just a smaller iPad -- but it's such a cozy little device that it gives you the feeling of holding the Internet in your hands with an intimacy that the Mama iPad simply doesn't provide.
With the launch of the iPad mini, Apple is looking to sell to users who wouldn't otherwise own an iPad but want one, luring them in with the smaller form factor, lower price, and stunning hardware.
At 7.8 inches, the mini is much lighter and more portable than the original 9.7-inch iPad. I don't usually feel burdened by my iPad but some users complain that it is too heavy to read in bed with, and it certainly isn't sized for a purse. The mini fits nicely in my man purse, but I'm speaking for the ladies here as well. The iPad mini is far more lady-purse friendly!
Using the mini with one hand opens new possibilities: reading books and articles while holding a pole on the bus or subway, for example. Or browsing the web while enjoying a nice warm cup of coffee, perhaps. One-handed reading is a cozy habit that is precluded if you use a larger iPad.
The 7-inch screen allows for easy thumb typing in portrait mode, although I didn't really enjoy typing in landscape. My hands are a little too big for that. You know what they say about a man with large hands? It's hard to type on 7-inch tablets, of course!
Despite the cheaper price, the iPad mini doesn't feel cheap. Quite the opposite. When I picked it up, I was reminded of the first time I held a first-generation iPhone. It feels sturdy. Hand-crafted. Expertly made.
As for apps, by now most users are familiar with the variety in the App Store. There are hundreds of thousands of apps that were designed for the iPad which scale down beautifully for the mini's smaller screen. Even iPhone apps that never looked quite right on an iPad look less awkward on the smaller device.
After a few days I started to prefer the mini to my larger iPad despite its lack of a Retina screen. It even made my larger iPad look old fashioned. Awkwardly large. The mini is fast, impressively light -- weighing in at just over 10 ounces -- and easy to keep with me at all times. The only thing I don't enjoy as much with the mini is watching videos. It seems the crystal-clear Retina display in the newer (and larger) iPads has spoiled me.
The iPad mini comes with a 5-megapixel camera on the back and an HD camera in front, which is great for FaceTime chats. It also comes in both Wi-Fi and LTE configurations with plans on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
To get your hands on an iPad mini you'll pay $129 more than you will for Google's Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. Apple no doubt wants to compete with those 7-inch tablets -- so why did the company price its offering above these competitors? 
Because Apple can. 
Those tablets don't have the complete experience that the iPad does. Come on: The iPad is still the gold standard for tablet computing after all. With stellar hardware and hundreds of thousands of apps, the iPad is the Kleenex of facial tissue. The Tivo of DVRs. It has all the perks of using an iOS device: AppStore, iMessages, FaceTime, etc. 
It's the iPad. Just runtier.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How civilians can get military-grade secure smartphones


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    The Saife Defender X1, a smartphone with military-grade security and encryption. (Ascent Rugged Mobile / SAIFE)
Want a James Bond-style smartphone?
The new James Bond thriller “Skyfall” has just launched -- and so has a military-grade smartphone that you don’t need a Q to get your hands on. Use it and your conversations, texts and data will be secure even in extreme conditions.
Cummings Engineering has partnered with veteran-owned small business Ascent Rugged Mobile to launch the SAIFE Defender with the tagline “Rugged on the outside. Safe on the inside.”
The companies say they are giving civilians access for the first time to an ultra-rugged Android device with secure digital communications.
“We want to be the Swiss Army knife of secure mobile applications for the military and law enforcement communities,” said Cummings Engineering’s Darren Cummings.
All Black Network
SAIFE stands for Secure Agile Interoperable Framework for the Enterprise; it’s the cryptographic engine that underpins the SAIFE Defender’s security by powering the Secure Mobile software.
The software transforms an ordinary Android device into a highly secure device keeping your voice, IM and data secure across those fast new 4G wireless networks, Wi-Fi and more.
SAIFE data travels over existing existing commercial carrier networks from Verizon to AT&T through a “secure tunnel” named the Tactical IP Relay Network (TIPRNET). An all-black network, this means all communications between clients are cryptographically signed and encrypted.
The company argues that by securely leveraging those existing networks, companies can save big bucks.
Yet law enforcement, first responders and other government employees -- even those using different devices, such as iPhones, BlackBerrys or Droids -- can still communicate securely with an SAIFE Defender.
The company says its tech will give government users applications with capabilities they previously lacked or couldn’t use, due to the lack of security, something the SAIFE Defender has in spades. The encrypting, storage and transmission technology SAIFE Defender relies on is FIPS 140-2, accredited by the National Institute of Standards & Technology.\
Military Grade Tough
Ascent Rugged Mobile brings to the table its experience making ordinary mobile devices robust enough to withstand combat demands.
SAIFE Defender X1 is compliant with MIL-STD-810G, meaning it can withstand humidity, vibration, sudden temperature drops, altitudes of 15,000 feet and extreme temperature from 22 to 144 Fahrenheit.
It’s also totally waterproof, can be submerged under water for up to an hour at a depth of more than six feet and is impervious to sand and dust.
And for firefighters and EMTs who work in extreme conditions, a rugged durable device could be an advantage.
In the pipeline for the third quarter of 2013, SAIFE Intrepid will run on Android 4.0/Linux and is waterproof, submersible up to an hour as well as impervious to dust and sand. In black, NATO green or military tan, it will have added tools like a panic button, emergency alert and motion sensor.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Ultimate Black Friday deals guide 2012

Best Black Friday deals 2012
The craziest holiday saving season is upon us, and here's a look at upcoming Black Friday deals on gadgets and accessories -- if you dare brave the lines.
Get your fill of turkey and gravy in early, Black Friday sales are coming sooner than ever this year so you better be prepared. With major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Sears opening as early as Thanksgiving night, you’ll wanna have a look at our top picks for the best tech deals this season. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s naturally a good time to score savings on television, monitors, smartphones, and video games. We’ve arranged the best Black Friday deals by retailers because we know you’d rather just pick one line and get all your deals in one place, but if you have an army of shoppers to send across the mall, have at it.

Best Black Friday Deals by store:

Best Buy Black Fridaywalmart Black Fridaytarget Black Friday
Office Depot Black FridaySears Black FridayStaples Black Friday
radioshack Black Fridayonline only Black Friday 

Best Buy (Doors open at 12 a.m.)

Samsung Galaxy S3 Black Friday
Editor’s Pick: Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB: $48 from $200 (new two-year new activation, $100 for two-year contract upgrade)
  • Asus 10.1 Transformer Pad 16GB: $280 from 380
  • 40″ Toshiba 40E220U LCD HDTV: $180 from $420
  • Klipsch Icon 6.5″ Floor Speaker: $175 from $350
  • Cisco Linkyss Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router: $90 from $150

Walmart (Doors open at 8 p.m. Thursday)

Samsung Sound Bar Black FridayEditor’s Pick: Samsung HW-E350 Sound Bar: $98 from $150
  • 60″ Vizio E601i-A3 1080p LED HDTV with WiFi: $688 from $1000
  • 45′” Samsung UN46EH5300 Smart LED HDTV with WiFi: $598 from $800
  • Apple iPad (second-generation) 16GB with WiFi: $400 with free $75 gift card
Note: Walmart will honor its price match guarantee on Black Friday depending on product availability so make sure to bring paper ads if you want to score extra savings in one location.

Target (Doors open at 9 p.m. Thursday)

Halo 4 Black FridayEditor’s Pick: Halo 4 for Xbox 360: $60 with free $20 Target gift card
  • Xbox Live 1600 points: $10 from $20
  • Nintendo 3DS Super Mario 3D Land bundle: $150 from $210
  • PlayStation 3 250GB with Uncharted/inFamous bundle: $200 from $300

Office Depot (Doors open at 7 a.m.)

Google Nexus 7 tablet in landscape orientation Black FridayEditor’s Pick: Google Nexus 7 32GB:  from $250
  • 24″ LG E2442TC LED Monitor: $120 from $200
  • Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS Digital Camera with 8GB SDHC card: $130 from $180

Sears (Doors open at 8 p.m. Thursday)

Toshiba Television Black FridayEditor’s Pick: 50″ Toshiba 50L2200U LED HDTV: $300 from $800
  • Nook Simple Touch e-reader: $40 from $100

Staples (Doors open at 5 a.m.)

Lenovo Twist Black FridayEditor’s Pick: Lenovo ThinkPad Twist with Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and Windows 8: $700 from $900

Radioshack (Doors open at 6 a.m.)

HTC One X Black FridayEditor’s Pick: HTC One X on AT&T: Free with two-year contract upgrade from $100
  • Auvio Portable Bluetooth Speaker: $40 from $80
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB: $50 with new activation from $200 ($100 for two-year contract upgrade)



canon-t3i Black Friday
  • Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18MP DSLR Camera with telephoto zoom lens: $750 from $1000
  • 55″Samsung Series 6 UN55EH6000 LED HDTV: $880 from $1400

Sony Xperia Black Friday
  • Ultimate Combo Pack: Killzone Trilogy with controller: $TBD
  • Sony Xperia TL: $TBD

Xbox 360 4GB Dance bundle Black Friday
  • Xbox 360 4GB Dance bundle with Kinect and two controllers: $230 from 275

Amazon Black Friday
Deals are ongoing in forms of temporary “Lightning Deals,” and changes every few hours.
To be added: ThinkGeek, Newegg

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Sunday, November 18, 2012 begins taking orders for larger, 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD 5 days early

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    The Kindle Fire HD 8.9, a new version of Amazon's tablet sized to compete more directly with the Apple iPad. (Amazon)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 1.jpg
    The Kindle Fire HD 8.9, a new version of Amazon's tablet sized to compete more directly with the Apple iPad. (Amazon)
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9.jpg
    The Kindle Fire HD 8.9, a new version of Amazon's tablet sized to compete more directly with the Apple iPad. (Amazon)
Amazon has started taking orders of the larger version of its Kindle Fire HD tablet computer on Thursday, five days ahead of schedule.
But because buyers could "pre-order" the device, Amazon is short on stock — orders placed today won't ship until Dec. 3, according to the company's website. Inc. said Thursday that its customers can now order the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD from its website for $299. The tablet will be available at Best Buy stores beginning on Friday and at more retailers in the coming weeks.
Seattle-based Amazon had originally planned to ship the tablet on Nov. 20. The smaller version, which has a 7-inch screen, is already available.

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