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Amazon's new Fire TV can talk to your connected home

Amazon's Echo speaker and 4K Fire TV just got much better at handling around-the-house tasks. The Fire TV now controls smart home devices with a simple voice command -- you can ask it to dim the lights right before you start a movie. It'll search for local businesses and restaurants, too, in case you want to get some sushi when you're done watching. The Echo already has these features, but you can now ask it when a TV show starts to make sure you catch that big season premiere. Both the Echo and Fire TV upgrades are relatively straightforward, but they'll mean a lot if you're tired of bringing out your phone to ask simple questions.

This 'Super Mario Bros.' watch will cost you $18,950

How much of a Nintendo fan are you? Enough that you could spend as much as you would on a car, just to show the world where your allegiances lie? You'll want to talk to luxury watchmaker Romain Jerome, then. It just unveiled a limited edition Super Mario Bros. mechanical timepiece that marks the 30th anniversary of the plumber's adventures in style. And we do mean style: its 46mm case is made out of black titanium, and the three-layer dial is loaded with enamel-coated pixel figurines to remind you of Mario's early days. It's quite posh-looking, then, although the eye-watering $18,950 price will likely rule this out unless you're a high roller with some fond gaming memories. On the plus side, that ultra-rare Nintendo World Championship cartridge suddenly seems like a bargain.

E-paper sneakers change your style on the fly

If you're the sort to buy multiple pairs of sneakers just to make sure your footwear is always fashionable, you might soon have a way to save a lot of money. David Coelho is crowdfunding ShiftWear, or sneakers that have color e-paper displays in their sides. You only need a mobile app to change your look at a moment's notice (there are promises of a shoe design store), and you can even use animations if you're feeling ostentatious. The shoes are machine-washable, and the e-paper consumes virtually no power if you're using static imagery -- there's even talk of walk-to-charge tech that would save you from ever having to plug in or swap batteries.

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Apple's next iPhone reportedly ditches the headphone jack

Apple's quest for ever-thinner, ever-smarter devices may produce another casualty: your iPhone's headphone jack. A rumor at MacOtakara claims that the next iPhone might drop the 3.5mm port and use the Lightning port for audio instead. The move would let Apple slim its phone even further (reportedly, over 1mm thinner than the iPhone 6s) and take advantage of Lightning's features, such as headphone-based DACs and app launching. You'd have to use an adapter for any conventional wired headphones, or else make the leap to Bluetooth.

The NSA's mass US phone surveillance ends tonight

The National Security Agency's long-running mass phone surveillance program is coming to an end. As promised, the USA Freedom Act will forbid the NSA from indiscriminately collecting Americans' call metadata at midnight on November 29th. Agents will have to get court orders to collect data from telecoms regarding specific people or groups, and then only for six months at a time -- they can't just scoop up everything in case something useful turns up. The NSA will still have access to five years' worth of legacy data through February 29th, but that's as far as its access will go.

For a while now Ben and Felix have been making and selling single handed accessibility controllers. In this episode Ben will tear down the XBox One gamepad and show you how to do mods of your own, from the pin-outs to the connections for the directional pads. Visit The Ben Heck Show community on element14 for links to the build files, suggest projects and sync up with The Ben Heck Show team!

If your wallet is bursting at the seams with credit, gift and loyalty plastic, the Coin universal card is supposed to lighten the load. Just add all your information to the app, sync it with Coin and get ready to buy all the things with a swipe or an NFC tap. Except when you can't. While the premise and feature set are intriguing, and in some cases helpful, in practice, it feels like too little too late. With Apple Pay, Android Pay. Samsung Pay and others already working on the future of transactions, Coin might might have missed the boat.

The best Cyber Monday deals

So you successfully emerged from Black Friday shopping relatively unscathed, and you've got the cash for an extra tech gift (or, let's be honest, a treat for yourself). Where do you go to spend that dough? Don't worry: we've rounded up some of the best gadget discounts for Cyber Monday, the online-focused shopping event that follows the Thanksgiving weekend. If you're looking for a 4K TV, a game console for the family or a PC upgrade, we have what you need.

Most of these deals won't last beyond the day itself (November 30th), but keep an eye on the dates. A few of them are already active or will stick around for at least a day longer, so you may not be out of luck if you're traveling when Cyber Monday kicks off.

[Lead image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Ahhh, the holidays. What a lovely time of year to catch up with the extended family and do a quick bit of shopping at enormous discounts. The truth of the situation, however, is often less relaxing than it sounds. Family get-togethers can be taxing, especially when you factor in the state of politics today and the obligatory "drunk uncle." Black Friday (which apparently starts on Thursday now) has become a frantic shopping battle, with everyday folks emboldened by insanely low-priced waffle makers. That's OK, technology is here to help you regain your inner zen. Breathe deeply, try to find a quiet corner and join us in the gallery below for some helpful gadgets to bring you serenity when you need it most: Now!

See the radio waves constantly bathing you with this app

Whether or not you realize it, there are radio waves constantly washing over you. Thanks to the countless WiFi routers, cellular towers, and GPS satellites (not to mention all the Bluetooth and other smaller wireless devices) the air is literally just a sea of energy. Architecture of Radio is an app that aims to visualize those ebbs and flows of data. Creator Richard Vijgen taps into a public database of 7 million cell towers, 19 million Wi-Fi routers and hundreds of satellites to create an augmented reality experience where you can point your iPad or iPhone in any direction and a representation of the radio signals in your area.

You partly have Eric Schmidt to thank for the new $5 Raspberry Pi

While many of you were supposed to be eating turkey on Thursday, you were instead geeking out over Raspberry PI's newest computer, the Zero: a pint-sized module that costs just $5. But according to a new interview, that $5 computer was originally supposed to cost around $60 -- and you have partly have Google's Eric Schmidt to thank for that reduced price. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton admitted that the follow-up to the original $35 Pi was originally going to be a more powerful model, whose higher-performing internals would have put the price somewhere between $50 and $60.

Formula E is planning the first racing series for driverless cars

It was only last year that Formula E made its debut as the first racing series exclusively for electric cars. Now, after just two seasons of championships, its organizers are already preparing for another first: a driverless racing series. The series, dubbed Roborace, will begin with the 2016-2017 season, with each one-hour event taking place directly before all the "regular" Formula E races, and on the same circuits, to boot.

A new chiptune album is coming to the Nintendo Famicom

Every week it feels like a new video game soundtrack gets a vinyl release. Journey, The Last of Us, FTL and Shenmue -- none of these are surprises anymore. So what's next? MiniDiscs? Cassette tapes? Well, some musicians are keen to use cartridges instead. 8BIT MUSIC POWER is a new chiptune album that you'll need to slide into a Nintendo Famicom (Japan's equivalent of the NES) to listen to. Developed by RIKI and manufactured by Columbus Circle, it features 12 original tracks from, among others, former Famicom music composers Yuriko Keino (Xevious, Dig Dug) and Takeaki Kunimoto (Star Soldier).

Toymaker VTech says data was stolen from its kiddie app store

VTech, the brand best known for its electronic kid's toys and cordless phones, said Friday that hackers had earlier this month stolen some of its customer data. While VTech is hardly the first company to see its user info compromised, the target here was relatively unusual: an app store for children. Learning Lodge, as it's called, is a storefront where kids and their parents can download apps, games, e-books and various educational materials. While it's a bit disturbing to imagine a breach that even tangentially involves children, the company says that no "personal identification data" (social security numbers, et cetera) was compromised. VTech says no credit card information was exposed either.

Microsoft's Cortana iPhone app rolls out to beta testers

Less than a month after kicking off the Cortana for iPhone beta signups, Microsoft has started rolling out the app to people who showed interest in testing it. As TechCrunch points out, the early build is being distributed through TestFlight, a developer-focused service that lets iOS users try applications before their public release. Based on the app's current description, Microsoft is asking testers to set a Cortana reminder on a Windows 10 PC and see how it works with an iPhone, as well as communicate with the virtual assistant and observe how she responds to queries. Back in August, Cortana also arrived on Android via public beta, so it's only a matter of time before Microsoft officially releases it on Google and Apple's mobile platforms.

Instagram tests multiple account support on Android

The Instagram team appears to be readying an Android update that will introduce one of its most highly requested features: multiple account support. For the average user this probably isn't a big deal, but for professional photographers, social media managers and small business owners, this addition would make life much simpler. As Android Police reports, Instagram is testing the feature on Google's mobile OS right now -- you can gain access by joining the Instagram beta program, or by grabbing the latest APK from APK Mirror. Once you've got the right version installed, just dive into your settings and scroll down to the bottom, where you'll see the new option "Add Account." From there, you can switch between the two by tapping the drop-down menu on your profile page.

Bill Gates is launching a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is set to reveal a massive clean energy project on Monday, during the first day of the United Nations climate change summit in Paris. According to Reuters, which originally reported the news, the French government has confirmed that the ex-CEO-turned-philanthropist will launch the Clean Tech Initiative, a push to commit countries to double their budgets on clean energy tech research and developments by 2020. But Gates won't be working on this multibillion dollar fund alone: The US, Australia, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Norway, Saudi Arabia and South Korea will all be backing the plan, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Lenovo teams with Razer on gaming PCs

When you think of gaming PCs, Lenovo probably isn't your first choice. It has gaming PCs, but it's often far more tempting to either go with a game-centric brand or build a system yourself. Lenovo may have a way to improve its reputation, though. It's partnering with Razer on special editions of its Y series devices that pack both the performance you'd expect from a gaming rig as well as Razer's signature design cues, such as multi-hued Chroma lighting. The first confirmed project from the two is the Lenovo Razer Edition desktop you see here (due for a full debut at CES in January), but there are promises of "multiple" products and joint development of new technology.

I nose best, seems to be the opinion of Charlemagne's SignetWinter is coming. And with it also comes the need to show the loved ones in your life just how much you care for them by spending, spending, spending on gifts. Trouble is, there are just so many options to choose from. What you really need is someone, some outside force to hold your credit card-holding hand. And boy, do we have some suggestions for you. Happy Holidays! You're very welcome.

Because pets (and the people who love them) deserve presents, too.

Image credit: NY Daily News via Getty Images

By Dan Koeppel

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

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