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Friday Deals: Ultra HD monitor, Game and console bundles, more [U]

12/20, 9:15pm

[Updated with more deals!] There is less than a week until Christmas, and depending on where you live, approximately four days available for deliveries of presents. If there are more presents to get before the big day, you're likely to be spending a lot on quicker deliveries, so why not even out the cost by getting some great Friday Deals? Every Friday afternoon, we search for bargains on hardware, peripherals, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Prices are right at the time of writing, but double-check before purchasing, as prices could change. Also, be sure to return to this post over the weekend, as more deals will be added as time goes on.

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BlackBerry creeping closer to profit with $148 million quarterly loss

12/20, 3:20pm

Cellphone manufacturer BlackBerry has published its most recent quarterly results. While the company is trumpeting a return to profitability, it still incurred a fair value debenture charge, forcing the company to post a $148 million loss on the quarter, or $0.28 per share. Without the debenture, it would have posted a modest profit of $2 million. While it appears that the cost-cutting measures are starting to pay off, given the improvement in the loss numbers, the company showed a 34 percent drop in revenue over the year-ago-quarter, suggesting that the road ahead for the company is still challenging.

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Briefly: Procreate Pocket illustration app; Switcheasy's new releases

12/20, 3:11pm

Savage Interactive has released an iPhone version of its illustration app Procreate Pocket, a scaled-down version of its iPad app Procreate. Intended for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Procreate Pocket is powered by a 64-bit Silica engine, offering a variety of drawing tools and 250 levels of "Undo." Among its features, its 18 layers of Blend Modes allow for versatile composition, and 1080p video recording option can document all stages of the drawing process without interruption. Priced at $3, Procreate Pocket requires iOS 8.1 or later.

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Judge completely denies HP's Autonomy buy class action suit settlement

12/20, 2:45pm

A US district judge in San Francisco has outright rejected HP's settlement offer to settle the Autonomy acquisition class action suit in the US. Saying that "the shareholders appear to be relinquishing a whole universe of potential claims regarding HP governance and practices," Judge Charles Breyer has kicked the settlement back to the plaintiffs without suggestions for recovery. The matter is now likely to head to trial sometime in the summer of 2015.

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Google sues MPAA-driven Attorney General, Hood calls for 'time out'

12/20, 12:48pm

Google has launched its own legal effort to stop Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood's effort with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to pin the search engine as the cause of the world's piracy problem. Google claims in the court filing in Mississippi's district court that Hood has filed a "burdensome, retaliatory" subpoena against it, which would require a massive financial and labor effort to comply, for no real gain other than extra-judiciary punishment. Hood has responded, and is "calling a time out, so that cooler heads may prevail."

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Hands On: Artboard (OS X)

12/20, 11:24am

You take your life in your hands when you ask us to draw something. Look at the screenshots here, and tell us you can't tell that we're really writers with clipart. While it's obvious we don't spend all day coloring in fantastic illustrations, we do very often need to sketch out rough images -- and that's where Artboard shines. It is a fully-fledged illustration application of sufficient calibre that a full-time artist could work in it full-time -- but it is particularly suited to those of us who occasionally need a powerful tool, and don't want to dole out the cash for a monthly subscription to a software giant.

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NK demands joint Sony hack investigation; Sony pulls movie promos

12/20, 11:03am

North Korea has verbally fired back at allegations that it is behind the Sony Pictures attack. Calling the recent FBI statement identifying the country as the culprit "groundless slander," the country is demanding a joint investigation into the hack, with the country's experts and US law enforcement working side-by-side. If the US should refuse, North Korea's foreign ministry promised "grave consequences," presumably to US interests. The government of North Korea continues to deny that they hack, which has caused an estimated $100 million of damage to Sony Pictures, not including less tangible problems, can on the country.

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Hands On: Letters and Dots (iOS)

12/20, 9:26am

There's no shortage of word games on the App Store -- and for the most part, a lot of them have very similar mechanics. You have your Scrabble, your Boggle, and your Hangmen - and variations on those themes. But what about apps that combine genres of games to create something new and fun? That's why Letters and Dots, by J.D. Shultz, was created -- to add a little flair to a fairly narrow genre.

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Apple Pay already accounting for one percent of all digital payments

12/19, 10:45pm

A study by research firm ITG suggest that Apple Pay -- introduced in October -- is already accounting for one percent of all digital payments - for comparison purposes, the three-plus-year-old Google Wallet system holds about four percent of digital payments. The firm also noted that those using Apple Pay increased spending using mobile payments, and tended to use the technology frequently -- resulting in a jump in sales at top merchants that accepted Apple Pay, such as Walgreens, Whole Foods and McDonald's.

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Hands On: Video Converter Pro - All (OS X)

12/19, 7:26pm

Before we get into this, Video Converter Pro is currently free for a limited time, so go get it on the Mac App Store now. If you read this one minute too late and the price has gone back up, get it anyway because it is more than worth the usual asking price of $15. Or rather, it is if you need to convert videos, because that's what this just does, without fuss.

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Hands On: Airmail 2 (OS X)

12/19, 5:31pm

Staying on top of emails, especially when there are multiple accounts involved, is unpleasant. Of the many mail clients out there (such as Mail, included with OS X), each tries to offer users its own spin on staying ahead of the curve. Airmail 2.0, released earlier this year, provides a client designed for Yosemite, supporting iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP 3, and more. We got a hold of Airmail 2.0 (which we will simply refer to as "Airmail" going forward) to take a look for ourselves, and see if this email client stands out from the crowd.

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Kate Winslet could take 'lead' role in Jobs biopic

12/19, 4:22pm

Actress Kate Winslet is currently in negotiations for "the female lead" in Universal's upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, Variety reports. Winslet is best known for movies like Titanic, The Reader, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's not clear what the role will be, but top female characters in the film are rumored to include Jobs' daughter Lisa, and Katie Cotton, Apple's former PR head.

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DirecTV users get access to Fox Now, FX Now, Nat Geo app content

12/19, 3:39pm

DirecTV has announced a partnership with Fox Networks, giving subscribers access to all the content in the Fox Now, FXNow, and Nat Geo TV apps on multiple platforms. This includes iOS, Apple TV, Android, and Windows devices. In effect the change means that the apps have simply added DirecTV as a service authentication option, joining other TV providers.

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Forums: temp sensors, old iMacs and Yosemite chats

12/19, 3:37pm

This week in the MacNN Forums, members discuss temperature sensor issues, hard drive compatibility and more. After a temperature sensor blew on the logic board of a Xserve that is run by "Waragainstsleep," he turned to the forums hoping someone would have some advice on how to repair this, so he doesn't have to replace the whole board. Today, a Dedicated MacNNer was looking for help with moving addresses from Leopard to Yosemite.

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Apple deals: refurbished Mac Pros starting at $2,549

12/19, 3:35pm

This week, Apple's online store has a selection of refurbished MacBook Pro models on sale for as low as $2,549. The refurbished 2013 Mac Pro with a 3.7GHz Intel quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics has been cut by $450 to $2,549. Priced at $3,219 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.5GHz Intel six-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

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