A new Acer Chromebook with a touchscreen can be yours for $129 at Walmart

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Save $170: As of Oct. 22, the 11.6-inch Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is nearly 57% off at Walmart, dropping the price to $129 plus free shipping.

Cheap laptops are looking to be a hot Black Friday item again in 2021.

Retailers are already touting deals on Chromebooks near the $100 price point, like Walmart’s monster $170 discount on the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. The laptop, originally $299, is down to $129.

Acer’s Chromebook Spin 311 has earned a flood of compliments from tech publishers and average buyers alike. It looks like a smaller version of another of our favorite Chromebooks for kids (the Chromebook Spin 713), switching out the large, heavy build for a compact frame and 11.6-inch screen.

What really matters is that it’s still an HD touchscreen, and is more than capable enough to handle everyday projects and streaming. Plus, you’ll get up to 15 hours of battery life on one charge.

Chromebooks are probably best known for operating almost exclusively in the cloud. Most anything you do is automatically backed up on Google Drive, and updates are typically automatic. Chromebooks are a particularly smart choice for kids who haven’t gotten the hang of saving stuff yet.

Antivirus software also isn’t a dire need in Chromebooks like it is in other laptops. Not only is malware targeted at Chrome even less frequently than at than Macs (which aren’t as immune as you might think, but we digress), but Google’s operating system was designed to protect itself as well. Every web page or Chrome app runs its own sandbox, essentially ensuring that other parts of the computer won’t be compromised even if that page gets hacked or “infected.” If something bad were to happen, closing the page can often wipe the threat.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

Credit: Acer

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FaceTime helps Good Samaritan rescue opossum on streets of NYC

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Deborah Altman was walking with a friend in the trendy downtown NYC neighborhood of SoHo when something caught her eye.

It was an opossum huddled in the corner of a building on Grand Street. (Possums and opossums are different animals but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. It’s confusing.) Seeing the scared helpless animal, Altman, a product manager who lives in Brooklyn, immediately thought of her own dog, who she had rescued as a puppy, and felt compelled to help.

Having rescued a chipmunk last year, Altman knew to contact a wildlife expert and found a list of contacts through the New York State website. When she eventually connected with Michelle Ashkin, a licensed New York State wildlife rehabilitator, she figured her part was over.

“I was expecting that I just needed to make the call and report it and they’d come down and pick it up,” said Altman. But Ashkin is one of only a handful of wildlife rehabbers in the city and gets calls from all over the five boroughs. Because of situations like this, “one of the responsibilities [of wildlife rehabbers] is to help the public when they come across wildlife,” said Ashkin, who has over 20 years of experience. “We let them know what the risks are, and if they want to rescue the animal, guide them how to do it as safe as possible for them and the animal.”

So she asked Altman if she would be comfortable rescuing the opossum herself and bringing it to a wildlife clinic uptown. According to The Humane Society, “rabies is extremely rare in opossums,” and although they sometimes hiss, it’s just “bluffing behavior.” It was clear to Altman that the poor little guy was just lost and scared. So she agreed to do it.

It probably just got lost trying to get a cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery.

It probably just got lost trying to get a cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery.
Credit: Deborah Altman

Since bringing an opossum onto the subway wouldn’t be such a great idea, Ashkin also offered to send Altman money on Venmo for the cost of the cab ride.

To be clear, Altman had stuff to do that day. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include trapping small mammals on busy city sidewalks. But her conscience won over. “I remember being like, ‘If I don’t do it, who else is going to do it.'”

Once Altman agreed to help, she found a discarded cardboard box on the curb, and ran back to the opossum still huddled in the building corner. She called Ashkin back on FaceTime and propped her phone on the ledge of a pillar.

In the past, Ashkin had to rely on verbal descriptions and photos to assess the situation. But six months ago she got a call about an injured squirrel in Queens, and it occurred to her to use FaceTime. “They were able to show me where it was and I was able to see this condition, and I was able to tell them right away what to do,” she said. “It eliminates a lot of guesswork.”

The practice has become “commonplace with many in the field,” said John Griffin, senior director of Urban Wildlife Programs at The Humane Society.

“We have advocated for the use of images and video chat to help with ascertaining injury or orphan status,” he said.

Jessica Zorge of Raptor Tales Rescue in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, told the MetroWest Daily News that she uses FaceTime to confirm if a bird really needs help.

Being able to do that from a distance is important, she said, because if there are “50 people around one baby owl that’s just trying to survive, the parents really can’t get close and feed it and keep it going.”

Back in SoHo, Ashkin began to walk Altman through the steps.

“I felt comfortable saying to her approach it from behind. Take it with your sweatshirt, or whatever you are willing to take it with, and sort of wrap it up and place it in the box.”

After a few nervous attempts, Altman was able to wrap her jacket around the opossum and put it safely and securely in the box. In typical NYC fashion, said Altman, people walking by didn’t seem phased by a woman trying to trap a wild animal. With the opossum contained, Altman hung up and went off to find a cab.

Initially determined keep it a secret to the cab driver, she came clean and explained everything when he flat out asked her what was in the box. To her relief, he was very supportive. “This guy and I talked the whole time,” she said. “About all kinds of stuff — animals and pets and health and healing.”

After a $35 cab ride uptown, Altman and the opossum finally arrived at the Wild Bird Fund, a nonprofit that rehabilitates birds and other wildlife. Staff members thanked her and informed her that they would make sure the opossum was healthy and then release him into the wild in upstate New York.

Throughout the experience, Altman says it was Ashkin’s guidance over FaceTime that empowered her to do it.

“She made me feel comfortable and safe and that I was totally able to just grab a wild animal off the Soho street and get it the help that it needed.”

Ashkin says the technology has been a great tool in not only helping save wildlife, but as a reassuring presence for people who are understandably nervous about handling wild animals. “I think when you stay on the phone with someone, it gives them… a little sense of comfort.”

If you find an animal in need, Ashkin says do not try and move the animal or give it food or drink. And definitely don’t try to keep it as a pet. You might not know what’s wrong with it and could end up doing more harm than good. Instead, you should immediately call a wildlife rehabilitator.

And maybe clear your schedule for the day.

The best Instant Pot and multicooker deals for Black Friday 2021

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UPDATE: Oct. 22 2021, 11:55 a.m. EDT This story has been updated to include the latest deals.

Looking for an Instant Pot this Black Friday but don’t know which one is best for you? Here are the best multicooker deals as of Oct. 22:

If this year is anything like years past, we expect Instant Pots and other multicookers like the Ninja Foodi to be hot items this Black Friday — meaning there will be big discounts as we get closer to the official shopping holiday.

But with big sales comes big demand, and considering the supply chain issues the world is facing in 2021, your best bet to score an Instant Pot this shopping season will be to get one early.

Which Instant Pots will be on sale for Black Friday?

Last year brought us killer deals like a $49 Instant Pot Viva and a $79 six-quart Instant Pot Duo Crisp, and this year we’re expecting similarly good deals on Instant Pots, Ninja Foodis, and other multicookers. The $79 Duo Crisp deal will almost definitely be back, and we’re expecting to see big discounts on the higher-end Instant Pot models too, like the Instant Pot Pro, Pro Crisp, and Smart WiFi.

How to buy an Instant Pot on Black Friday

In years past, shoppers have thrown elbows in stores to snag a deal on an Instant Pot, but that all changed with last year’s completely virtual Black Friday. This year, supply chain holdups mean that in-demand products like Instant Pots might be hard to get ahold of — forcing you to virtually throw hands with other shoppers to snag one.

To help you avoid any virtual fighting, our best tip is to shop these products early. While that may mean you won’t be able to snag the $79 Duo Crisp, there are tons of other early deals that you can take advantage of. Buying early and spending a few bucks extra is definitely better than showing up Instant Pot-less to your holiday gathering.

To help you secure your multicooker this year, we’ve rounded up some of the best early Black Friday deals on them. Don’t fret if a pot you like isn’t on sale yet, this page will be updated frequently through Cyber Monday with the latest prices and stock info to help you upgrade your kitchen with the ideal do-it-all pressure cooker (so be sure to check back regularly).

Instant Pot fanatics will definitely want to upgrade to the fancy-schmancy Instant Pot Pro. It comes with 28 smart cooking settings, five customizable “favorite” program settings, a stovetop-safe pot insert, and a sleek charcoal exterior. This pot is just as good at looking good on your countertop as it is at pressure cooking, slow cooking, and more. Plus, at just $5 above the lowest Amazon price we’ve seen, now is the ideal time to cop one for the upcoming gifting season.

Instant Pot Pro

Credit: Instant Pot

A step up from the base duo model, you’ll get two added functions with the Duo Plus— sterilize and sous vide — that are perfect for the ambitious home cook. It also features a handy cooking progress bar, so you’ll always know exactly what’s going on inside your pot (and know exactly when your food will be ready).

Instant Pot Duo Plus six quart

Credit: Instant Pot

$129.99 is a solid deal for a new Ninja Foodi FD101 — for reference, we saw a refurbished version of this model for the same price at Amazon. With 10-in-1 functionality, the ability to air fry, and a roomy five-quart capacity, this multicooker will quickly become a kitchen workhorse. It fits a four-pound chicken or two pounds of French fries with ease, and comes with a broiling rack to layer up — perfect for making large meals.

Ninja foodi pressure cooker

Credit: Ninja

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This post will be updated continuously throughout the holiday shopping season.

Want to start a podcast? These Blue microphones are on sale.

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Check out these savings on Blue microphones at Amazon of as Oct. 22:

When you’re spending hours on working on content to show the world, whether that’s YouTube videos, Twitch streams, or a podcast, you’re also looking for ways to set your work apart. Sure, having a unique idea can help you stand out, but throwing in some good production value certainly doesn’t hurt.

One simple way to up your game? Getting that sweet, crystal clear sound from a USB microphone. It may seem obvious (especially if you’re in the podcast game), but nice audio is an almost surefire way to give your content a more professional air. And as of Oct. 22, Blue USB microphones are on sale at Amazon.

Though they may look a little fancy at first glance, these mics are made for plugging and playing, so they’re great for beginner content creators and veterans alike. Here are three of our favorite picks from the sale plus what they bring to the table, so you can find the mic that works best for you.

Yes, the most expensive pick on this list is also our top pick, but we promise it’s not without good reason. The Blue Yeti is one of Blue’s top-selling mics and Amazon’s top-selling computer microphone. Here’s why: First, this microphone can capture sound in four different pickups (cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional, and stereo), which is especially useful for tailoring how you’re capturing audio for the type of content you’re making. How you might want to record yourself sitting in front of a computer while you stream, for instance, differs from how you and a friend sitting across a table might want to record yourselves a podcast. In either case, three condensers and a gain control knob right on the mic helps your audio come out nice and crisp. And you’ll be able to monitor that easily since you can plug your headphones right into the mic and listen as you record. Basically, the Yeti is an all-around solid choice that’s currently sitting at a pretty impressive price point — and it comes it fun different colors. What more could you want?

a blue blue yeti mic

Credit: Blue

As passionate as you might be about your new Twitch channel, maybe you’re not prepared to drop $100 on a mic, and that’s totally valid. The good news is, you can still squeeze out some pretty good sound quality with the Blue Snowball Ice. This mic uses a cardioid pickup pattern only, which means it’s great at capturing sound from someone sitting right in front of it. In other words, it’ll function well for streamers, podcasters, or even people who want to add a little something extra to their work calls. It has a cool retro-design and an adjustable stand so you can position the mic just how you need it. It may not have all the fancy bells and whistles (or a place to plug your headphones in directly) but this price point offers a much lower threshold of entry to get a sound quality that will be a vast improvement over your computer’s built-in microphone.

black blue snowball ice microphone

Credit: Blue

If you’re not quite ready to grab the Yeti but want something will a little more heft than the Snowball Ice, the Yeti Nano is your best bit. Think Yeti, but a little smaller (both in size and features list). With this mic, you get two pickup patterns — cardioid and omnidirectional — and two condensers to help deliver quality audio. It comes with a headphone output and a desktop app for your gain controls. Plus, if your desk doesn’t offer a ton of space for a new mic setup, no worries — this little guy takes up minimal real estate. As a cool bonus, the mic also comes with the Blue VO!CE software, which lets you mess around with some fun voice modulations. Between these three mics, the Nano’s features and price definitely solidify it as the solid middle ground choice.

gray blue yeti nano mic

Credit: Blue

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