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Twitter Expands Its Anti-Troll Tools

Twitter Expands Its Anti-Troll Tools

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's now easier than ever to banish Twitter trolls.The social network unveiled a mobile friendly suite of tools on Tuesday that allow users to flag abusive content and users in fewer steps than the previous process.With more than 500 million tweets sent per day, Twitter said it expects the new tools will help streamline the process for flagging and removing offensive content and users. 

Starting today we're rolling out an improved way to flag abusive Tweets. See how it works. https://t.co/Yf6cStz0z1

— Twitter Support (@Support) December 2, 2014

Twitter currently has a one-click button that takes users to a page where they can fill out a report detailing alleged harassment. The updates will make the process easier by requiring less information.On Twitter's back end, the company said it has implemented a tool that will allow them to better review flagged tweets and accounts. The new reporting process is also expected to make it easier for people who aren't victims but see abuse taking place and want to report it.Twitter said the updates have already been rolled out to a small group of users and they're expected to be released widely in the coming weeks.Also included in the new suite of anti-harassment tools is a blocked accounts page, which allows users to see a list of all the users they have blocked."We'll be adding more controls and features to this page in the coming months," the Twitter announcement said. "Additionally, accounts that you've blocked won't be able to view your profile."

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What Apple’s Decade Old iPod Lawsuit Is All About

What Apple’s Decade Old iPod Lawsuit Is All About

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Apple is prepared to defend itself Tuesday in a decade old class action lawsuit where one of the star witnesses is expected to be the technology giant's deceased co-founder, Steve Jobs.The lawsuit focuses on Apple's early days of reshaping the music industry and whether it engaged in anti-competitive behavior involving its iPod music players.Here's what you need to know about the case as it plays out in a federal courtroom in California:What It's AboutThe plaintiffs, who are comprised of consumers and electronic retailers, claim that Apple engaged in anti-competitive behavior that had a widespread impact in the company's early days of reshaping the music industry when it launched its iTunes store in 2003.The lawsuit claims Apple would only allow music bought from its iTunes store to work on the iPod. According to the plaintiffs, this required them to continue to purchase iPods in order to keep their music instead of competing cheaper music players.Apple declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor at the University of Iowa and an expert in anti-trust law, told ABC News he expects Apple will argue it was trying to provide the best possible experience for its customers."They will very likely argue that the updated versions of their software were actual technological improvements to prevent hacking or prevent other kinds of interference," he said.Hovenkamp said previous case law supports companies that make "an actual improvement" from antitrust violations, even if it makes some other products incompatible.Steve Jobs' RoleThere's a twist: Steve Jobs videotaped deposition will be a key piece of witness testimony in the case, despite the fact the Apple co-founder died three years ago. Legal wrangling has been going on in the case for nearly a decade, so Jobs was able to provide his side of the story, which could weigh heavily on the outcome.Along with his videotaped testimony, Jobs' emails are expected to be presented as evidence in the case, according to The New York Times.What's at StakeIf Apple loses the lawsuit, some consumers and retailers who purchased iPods between Sept. 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009 could be eligible for damages.

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Microsoft Kills Clip Art in Favor of Bing Images

Microsoft Kills Clip Art in Favor of Bing Images

office.microsoft.com(NEW YORK) -- Clip Art, the iconic collection of images beloved by students and professionals around the world for their whimsy and ease of inserting into Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, has been laid to rest.Microsoft announced in a blog post Monday that it is shuttering its Clip Art library in favor of Bing Images, where users can now download royalty free images to use in their projects."Usage of Office’s image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines," a Microsoft Office blog post said announcing the death of the characters that were used in schools and offices around the world in the 1990s and early 2000s.Microsoft said Bing Images will provide "higher quality images that are more up-to-date," citing the example of a what Clip Art cellphones look like compared to more modern images.The process for using Bing Images will be the same as Clip Art. For Microsoft Office 2013, users can click "insert" and then select "online pictures." In older versions of the program, "insert" and "clip art" will do the trick.

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How Edward Norton Is Trying to Elevate ‘Giving Tuesday’ to Black Friday’s Popularity

How Edward Norton Is Trying to Elevate ‘Giving Tuesday’ to Black Friday’s Popularity

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fight Club star and Academy Award-nominated actor Edward Norton is promoting the third annual Giving Tuesday with the hope that more people will volunteer their time or give money to philanthropic causes as an altruistic antidote to the shopping sprees of Black Friday and Cyber Monday."There was all this energy and attention on gearing up for the holiday shopping season, and some people got together and decided there should be reminder that the holiday season is also the season of giving back and that a day should be dedicated to rallying momentum around that idea," Norton told ABC News.As part of Giving Tuesday, thousands of charities, churches and schools are holdings events and encouraging people to participate, many through the website GivingTuesday.org. Organizations that can collect data are asked to report how many people volunteered or gave money. The campaign originated from Henry Timms, deputy executive director of the Jewish community center 92nd Street Y, and Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation. The idea gained momentum for the 2012 holiday season."December also marks the beginning of what for most nonprofit organizations is a year-end fundraising push," Norton said. "I think the idea of creating one day where people can get excited to support their favorite causes and organizations before the end of the year is really smart."With the generous spirit of the holidays, consumers can avoid being scammed by doing a little homework before investing in a cause.Norton shared about his thoughts on how people can participate on Giving Tuesday and the for-profit charitable fundraising platform CrowdRise that he co-founded in 2009.What is your involvement with Giving Tuesday? And how can others participate creatively?"We're always trying to find innovative ways to rally people around giving back and make it fun. People like to see and feel that they've been a part of something big and so we wanted to create a campaign that shows the collective impact of giving on Giving Tuesday. So we decided to build a giant virtual reality Giving Tower that shows the donations literally stacking up. Kind of a 21st century version of the old fundraising thermometer.""We partnered up with big charities like U.S. Fund for UNICEF, March of Dimes, the U.N. Foundation and companies like United Airlines and Eventbrite, and worked with an augmented reality company to build an app, so that anyone can see the Tower wherever they are by downloading the free app and pointing their phone or tablet at a dollar bill. The campaign has been live since last Tuesday, and the building is already taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza. It's raised over $415,000. We're pretty psyched about it all, because it's just been tremendous for so many charitable organizations," Norton said."People should check it out," he added. "Download the app and point it at a dollar bill. It's really cool."What's your latest work with CrowdRise?"Well, first and foremost we’re always continually working to make sure that CrowdRise is the easiest and most effective and most fun platform for passionate people to support the causes they care about. Most people have a Facebook account for socializing, an Instagram account for sharing photos, a LinkedIn account for business networking. ... We want everyone to have their own permanent CrowdRise account to stage their personal activism from. Our most recent expansion that I'm excited about is that we've decided to let our CrowdRise users mount fundraisers to help other people directly...like a family member or a friend in need. We've seen an amazing response -- people are fundraising for friends with crushing medical bills, or neighbors who lost a home in a fire or the college tuition of a kid that inspires them...all sorts of amazing stories. We love that kind of 'direct assistance' expression of philanthropy...person to person, people helping other people," Norton said."And, we just launched our annual CrowdRise Holiday Challenge, a $250,000 fundraising competition for charities to rally their supporters around."

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Secrets to Get the Best Deals Between Now and Christmas

Secrets to Get the Best Deals Between Now and Christmas

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you happened to miss the sales event of the year on Black Friday, don’t worry because we are now entering cyber week.“These stores are going to have week-long Cyber Monday sales so if you don't get your deal today, check back again tomorrow,” Mark LoCastro of Dealnews.com told ABC News.Take a look at the deals you can still grab online:AmazonAmazon is rolling out new deals for the next eight days.

Dewalt MAX Lithium-Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit -- 68% off retail The Sopranos: The Complete Series -- 65% off retail

WalmartWalmart is promoting 500 new sale items this week, like this:

Vizio 55-inch LED Smart HDTV -- $648 with a bonus $100 Walmart gift card

TargetTarget has their cyber week running through December 6 with promotions like this:

KitchenAid Professional 5-Quart Mixer for $224.99

Home DepotHome Depot has another seven days of deals including big ticket appliances.AeropostaleAeropostale is offering 20% off its entire site through the end of Tuesday.KmartKmart has 25% off when you spend $125 until Saturday.Carter’sCarter’s is 25% off if you buy $50 worth through Wednesday.And for those of you that did shop over the holiday weekend, you might be a little concerned that the thing you bought on sale could actually get an even bigger discount.Good news -- there is an app to check that.Slice app tracks your purchases and if there’s a price drop, it alerts you. Most stores have a price drop refund policy if you act fast.

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Have a Tech Savvy Shopping Season

Have a Tech Savvy Shopping Season

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Tech savvy people have a pretty good idea of what they want and how they're going to get presents for others for Christmas.CNet polled 1,433 readers and more than 75 percent plan to buy over 50 percent of their gifts online. Meanwhile, seven in 10 won't think twice about doing their shopping while on the job.More than 40 percent of the CNet respondents say they want to get a tablet this year while 30 percent plan on giving one.As for how much they'll spend, $710 is about the average with the typical list about eight people long.And while they're shopping, nearly two-thirds of shoppers plan on picking up a little something for themselves.One other important point: 53 percent of CNet readers also think it'd be cool to have a holiday purchase delivered by a drone.

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Apple Smartwatch Sales Expected to Soar

Apple Smartwatch Sales Expected to Soar

Apple(NEW YORK) — The watch is making a comeback but it's not your father's timepiece.The global financial services company UBS says that in a poll of 4,000 consumers, 10 percent will purchase an Apple Watch over the next year.Breaking it down by the numbers, UBS predicts 24 million Apple Watches will be sold over the first nine months of 2015 with the company earning billions of dollars in profit.UBS analyst Steven Milunovich admits that the first generation of the Apple smartwatch has certain limitations, including that it can't function without a connection to the iPhone.However, he says that this won't discourage buyers and during fiscal 2016, Milunovich says that sales of the Apple Watch should jump by another 40 million units.

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Could Lower Gasoline Prices Weaken the Economy?

Could Lower Gasoline Prices Weaken the Economy?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Gasoline prices across the U.S. continue to fall, which is great for consumers, especially at this time of year.However, the oil industry and states that pump out the stuff are beginning to worry if prices come down too much more, it will wind up hurting the economy.Speaking for the Colorado Petroleum Association, Stan Dempsey says capital expenditures are being scaled back because of lower prices for crude and if they fall below $50 a barrel, the next step is laying off workers.Another one of the ramifications of less money for big oil is lower tax revenues for local governments.On top of that, environmentalists are concerned that as people fill up their tanks, it just sends more pollution into the air.

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Gas Prices Drop by Four Cents

Gas Prices Drop by Four Cents

bulentozber/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The average price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. fell by over four cents in the last week, following a decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to keep oil production at the levels previously set.The average gallon nationwide dropped to $2.78, compared to $2.82 last week. The biggest drop in price came in the Rocky Mountain region, where a gallon costs, on average, seven cents less than it did last week.The West Coast remains the most expensive place to buy gas, with the average gallon costing $3.12, while the Gulf Coast has the lowest prices at $2.53.

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Microsoft Buys Acompli, an App That Makes Email Easier

Microsoft Buys Acompli, an App That Makes Email Easier

SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Image(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft has joined forces with the team behind super smart email app Acompli to restore peace and order to cluttered email inboxes everywhere.Available for iOS and Android devices, Acompli allows users to work faster, smarter and more efficiently on their mobile devices across a variety of messaging services, including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo and Hotmail, among others.The app displays the most important information, makes it easier to find old emails and helps create a calendar, making sure you never miss an important meeting or moment."This acquisition is part of our company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices," Rajesh Jha, Microsoft's corporate vice president, said in a blog post.The announcement of the acquisition comes days after a misfired blog post that was briefly published last week, fueling speculation that the two companies would soon join forces."We remain committed to the original Acompli vision of making the best mobile email application on any platform and across all services. Your app and accounts will continue to work and the team will continue on our fast pace of improving and adding new functionality every couple of weeks," Javier Soltero, CEO of Acompli, said in a blog post today.Productivity has been a prevailing theme at Microsoft this year. The company brought its Office suite to iOS devices earlier this year and recently released them to Android users for free.It appeared to pay off for Microsoft, with the Office apps climbing to the top of the most popular apps charts.Google also tackled the problem of email inbox clutter in October with "Inbox," a super powered app for Gmail users that provides organization and context to existing emails, such as letting you know if your upcoming flight is delayed.

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Feds to Investigate Graco’s Mass Child Seat Recall

Feds to Investigate Graco’s Mass Child Seat Recall

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government announced Monday it will investigate whether child product maker Graco delayed what the government called the largest child seat recall in U.S. history after learning of a safety defect in the seats’ harness buckles.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a press release that manufacturers have a maximum of five days to notify their agency once they, “reasonably know that an item of motor vehicle equipment, such as a car seat, contains a safety related defect” and will be investigating whether Graco “violated the law.”“There is no excuse for delaying a recall to address any safety related defect,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in the release. “If Graco delayed in protecting children and infants from this defect, we will hold them accountable.”NHTSA said it had applied “continued pressure” to Graco before the company recalled more than six million “defective car seats” earlier this year.Documents published online by NHTSA show that the agency investigated the car seat problem back in October 2012 based on customer complaints. In January of this year, NHTSA wrote a Graco executive a letter in which the agency requested Graco conduct a recall. The letter said Graco had received more than 6,000 complaints of buckles that became stuck -- many times, parents had to cut the straps to free their child.NHTSA says Graco initially said that the root cause of the problem was ,“food, dried liquid drinks, vomit, formula, etc.,” seeping into the buckle and mucking up the works.Later, however, the company submitted a “Defect Information Report” to the agency regarding a problem with the harness buckles on some 3.7 million of their car seats in February, and expanded the recall population to over 4.1 million the next month. Then in June, the company recalled another nearly two million rear-facing infant car seats. In all, more than 6 million child seats are estimated to be affected.In a federal form posted online Monday, NHTSA said the new investigation will deal with the, “timeliness of reporting a defect in the harness buckles” of the child seats.“The safety of our products and the consumers that use them is paramount and underlies every decision we make,” Graco said in a statement to ABC News. “Graco takes all consumer feedback related to our products seriously and we work diligently to make changes and modifications to improve the safety and usability of our products. We thoroughly analyzed all data related to the buckles and took the required actions to keep our consumers safe. We worked cooperatively with NHTSA throughout its investigation and will continue to do so moving forward.”The Graco website features a section devoted to the recall, saying the seats are still safe and can be used until Graco can provide a replacement part. The website noted that no injuries have been reported related to the buckle issue.The NHTSA announcement comes just two weeks after Graco announced it was recalling nearly five million child strollers due to a “fingertip amputation hazard.”The next day, ABC News 20/20 reported the findings of an investigation into the flawed product recall system, showing that the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that for the average recall, up to 80 percent of the potentially dangers products are never returned or accounted for. In particularly bad cases, the government agency can only account for five percent of recalled items.

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Down Day on Wall Street, Despite ISM Report Showing Economic Growth

Down Day on Wall Street, Despite ISM Report Showing Economic Growth

tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street tumbled on Monday, falling even farther from last week's record highs.The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 51.44, closing at 17,776.80.The Nasdaq slipped 64.28 to a finish of 4,727.35, while the S&P 500 closed at 2,053.44, down 14.12 from its opening.The Institute for Supply Management on Monday reported that economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November, the 18th consecutive month in which that was true. The economy overall, according to ISM, also grew, for the 66th consecutive month.

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Why “12 Days of Christmas” Gifts Could Set You Back $116K

Why “12 Days of Christmas” Gifts Could Set You Back $116K

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Turtle doves? French hens? OK, maybe golden rings. But otherwise, would most people really want the stuff in "12 Days of Christmas"? Add in the price tag, and it gets worse.If you went to stores to buy all the things in the holiday tune each time they were repeated, it would cost you $116,273.08, according to the 31st annual PNC's Christmas Price Index. Even without the repetition, it all would cost $27,673.22.Online, it would be even more expensive because of high-priced shipping for oddities like partridges and pear trees.“It would cost $192,470 to buy the 364 gifts online,” said Jim Dunigan, PNC's chief investment officer. “Things like the Internet, Black Friday and doorbusters have changed the pace of the holiday. As online shopping became more popular we started an online version of the index, as well.”The Internet price to buy the items only in the quantities first mentioned in the song would be $43,959 -- an 8 percent increase from last year, according to PNC.PNC worked with various outlets to calculate the gifts mentioned in the carol."We work with Petco for the calling birds, using the prices of pet store canaries," Dunigan said. "For 'nine ladies dancing,' we reach out to a local Philadelphia dance company called PHILADANCO, and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company for '10 lords a leaping.'"Significant changes in gift prices since 2013 were surprisingly few.

"Eight items went unchanged, and that’s the most we've had since 2006," Dunigan said.The charge for "six geese a laying" went up a staggering 71.4 percent. Swans stayed the same, as did "eight maids a milking," for which they calculated the rate of unskilled workers at minimum wage.Survey results were revealed on PNC's "The Great Carol Comeback" site. Visitors can view and share music videos to help revive the classic, which has dropped to number 98 on the list of Christmas songs.

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Amazon’s Fleet of Robots Work Around the Clock to Fill Orders

Amazon’s Fleet of Robots Work Around the Clock to Fill Orders

Amazon(NEW YORK) -- There's a place where robots and humans co-exist peacefully, working around the clock to make wishes come true.That utopia exists at 10 Amazon fulfillment centers where a fleet of Kiva robots work with humans to efficiently fill the rush of Cyber Monday and holiday orders.Amazon said this year, they're using 15,000 robots in 10 warehouses around the country.Craig Berman, Amazon's vice president of global communications, said the orange robots -- which are a foot high and weigh 320-pounds -- have helped the company get packages to consumers more efficiently."It makes things much faster," he told ABC News. "In our older generation buildings we are very proud we can get something out the door in a couple hours...in a Kiva building it is just minutes."What distinguishes a Kiva building from an older warehouse is that the 1.2 million square foot facilities don't have aisles, allowing Amazon to pack even more inventory into the space. Berman said Amazon has been able to increase its capacity by as much as 50 percent by nixing the aisles.The Kiva robots' stealth size and strength allow them to move diligently underground, picking up shelves that can weigh as much as 750-pounds and bringing them to human "pickers" to expedite the order.The human picker can tell from an LED screen which item they are picking up and in which bin it can be found on the shelf. They then take the items and put them in a tote where they are then sent to more humans who work on packing and shipping, while the Kiva robot returns the shelf.Berman said he expects Amazon's robot army to be a complement to the company's employees this holiday season, allowing Amazon to dominate the holiday shopping season."The Kiva units are not replacing humans," Berman said. "They’re just changing the job humans do."

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Girl Scouts Go Digital to Sell Their Iconic Cookies

Girl Scouts Go Digital to Sell Their Iconic Cookies

John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in their more than 100-year history, the Girl Scouts have gone digital.

Starting Dec. 12, all you have to do is go online to buy your Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs and more. Scouts can sell their cookies through personalized cookie websites and a mobile app, customizing their landing pages with pictures, text and more.One hundred percent of the net revenue earned from cookie sales will still stay with the local council that sponsors the sale, but those purchases can now be made from home using a credit card."For almost a century, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has been teaching girls to be leaders in the world of business and finance, and we intend to ensure that legacy continues in the digital age,” Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez said in a statement. “Digital Cookie is a game-changer for Girl Scouts, and a quantum leap forward in the evolution of the cookie program, coupling traditional sales activities with an online sales experience that teaches skills like online marketing and ecommerce, all in a digital space that puts an emphasis on learning, fun, and safety.”Not all troops will participate in the program the first time around, but Girl Scouts expects every troop to use the new systems by the end of 2015.

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The Best, Easiest 2014 Cyber Monday Shopping Hacks

The Best, Easiest 2014 Cyber Monday Shopping Hacks

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Cyber Monday 2014 is upon us, heralding the even longer pseudo shopping holiday of Cyber Week.So how do you wade through the junk that you don't need and find the real deals on the stuff you want?"We're all for using tools that can help you save," said Jody Rohlena, deputy editor of ShopSmart magazine. "But don't worry that you have to try every trick. Find a few sites and apps you like and make those your go-to resources. That way, you'll save money without spending a lot of time."Apps and websites like the ones below can help navigate the clutter of online deals this week and beyond:1. Shop It to MeDescribed as a "free online personal shopper" for clothing, shoes and accessories, website Shop It to Me allows you to pick your favorite designers from more than 600, then select your sizes and how often you want to hear about personalized items when they go on sale.2. Poach ItTrack products you love with Poach It, an app available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. Then get coupon codes and receive alerts when the price drops.3. Frugaa.comFrugaa.com allows users to vote on how well coupon codes work for them and the results are displayed according to those rankings. It was included in the November issue of ShopSmart, a Consumer Reports publication, under a list of "Amazing Money Savers." You can search by category or store, and use the slider to set your budget."Join Frugaa Rewards to earn points when you comment and share; redeem points for gift cards to spend at participating-retailer websites," ShopSmart says.4. ReturnSaver.comGet "painless" and free returns for items you bought online with a $49 annual Return Saver membership, even if you bought the product at a website that charges return shipping, according to ShopSmart's description of this website in its "Amazing Money Savers" list."Just print a label from ReturnSaver.com and let FedEx take over," ShopSmart says.However, returns must be made within the merchant's time limit.5. ShopGeniusApp.com"This browser app really is a genius. Enable it for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari and it will show price comparisons, reviews and coupons as you shop," ShopSmart writes to describe ShopGeniusApp.com, another inclusion in the "Amazing Money Savers" list.Unfortunately, Shop Genius doesn't work with Amazon's Smile program, which donates a portion of your purchases to the charity of your choice, according to ShopSmart.

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Six Ways to Prepare for Cyber Monday

Six Ways to Prepare for Cyber Monday

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Even if you’re still recovering from the frenzy of Black Friday shopping, you can simplify your Cyber Monday and Cyber Week shopping with these tips.Retailers often announce their Cyber Monday deals later and with less fanfare than Black Friday promotions, because they want shoppers in their doors early and often.Don’t be caught off guard. Just run through this quick checklist, courtesy of DealNews, before you hit the e-commerce road.1. Know Your Sizes and Size ChartsIf you’re in need of a winter coat or boots, check out your favorite retailers’ size charts ahead of time, so you can expedite the shopping experience.2. Step Into a Store to See the Goods First“Showroom like you’ve never showroomed before,” writes DealNews’ Jeff Somogyi. This is helpful especially for big-ticket items or electronics, like appliances and smartphones.3. You May Want to Adjust Your Work DayThe best deals may hit between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET, according to DealNews. That means you might want to get to work before then, if you work during normal business hours on the East Coast. For those on the West Coast, get plenty of sleep the night before and set your alarm clock. There may be a surge of deals at the end of the day around 6 p.m. ET, writes Somogyi, so you might as well stay later at work too.4. Prepare Your Promo Codes“Use your Cyber Monday (formerly Black Friday) Wishlist to single out stores that might carry what you’re looking for, then Google for coupons or check out our coupon page,” writes Somogyi. These include codes for free shipping.Many stories have online discount codes. Sears, for example, uses CYBER25, which will give you an extra 25 percent off certain products, such as outwear that’s already reduced up to 50 percent. Sears’ sister-store Kmart uses that same code to give shoppers an extra 15 to 25 percent off Joe Boxer apparel for the family, which is already reduced up to 40 percent.5. Prepare Your Safe Passwords and Set Up Alerts, NewslettersRemember to protect your identity by using secure, complicated passwords that can’t be easily guessed by cybercrooks. And for extra savings, you can sign up for deal newsletters, or DealNews alerts that search for low prices on specific items you request.6. Know the Return PolicySave yourself a headache later by reading the return and exchange policy. Some stores like Nordstrom, American Apparel and Victoria’s Secret usually allow you to return online purchases to brick-and-mortar locations.

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Early Retail Promotions Take a Bite Out of Thanksgiving Weekend Retail Sales

Early Retail Promotions Take a Bite Out of Thanksgiving Weekend Retail Sales

Michael Nagle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Retail spending over the Thanksgiving weekend fell more than ten percent from a year ago, according to an industry trade group, and retailers -- the people most interested in strong sales -- are probably partly responsible for the decline.Total spending from Thursday through Sunday dropped 11 percent from a year ago, to $50.9 billion, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation.  The NRF said shoppers spent an average of $380.95 over the holiday weekend, down 6.4 percent from 2013.  The survey involved 4,631 consumers and was conducted on Friday and Saturday.Retail experts note that the decline, the second annual drop in a row, was partly the result of retailers offering bargains in the days and even weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Many shoppers were able to grab deals without having to face the lines and crowds that traditionally occur on Black Friday.Walmart and Target were just two of the many retailers that began offering holiday and Black Friday deals weeks before Thanksgiving.The National Retail Federation said the number of people who went shopping over the four-day weekend declined 5.2 percent from last year, to 134 million.Online shopping over the holiday also dropped this year.  The retail trade group said online shopping accounted for 42 percent of spending over the four-day holiday period, down from 44 percent last year. The NRF said consumers spent on average $159.55 online, down ten percent from a year ago.Many retailers offered the same discounts on the Web as they offered in stores.  Rolling discounts and online promotions like free shipping and price-matching allowed shoppers to get Black Friday-type discounts throughout the month without leaving home.The trend of shoppers taking advantage of earlier and longer promotions this season should continue on Cyber Monday. The National Retail Federation expects about 127 million people to shop online Monday, down from about 131 million who planned to shop online last year on Cyber Monday.But retailers can take solace in one bit of news from the National Retail Federation. It still expects total holiday sales through the end of the year to rise 4.1 percent.

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Amazing Discovery Revealed in 1999 Children’s Movie “Stuart Little”

Amazing Discovery Revealed in 1999 Children’s Movie “Stuart Little”

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The masterpiece had been missing since the 1920s.But there it was, hanging on the wall in the 1999 children’s movie Stuart Little, a film featuring Hugh Laurie, Geena Davis and Jonathan Lipnicki alongside a talking mouse, which was voiced by Michael J. Fox.Art historian Gergely Barki recognized the long-missing Robert Bereny painting “Sleeping Lady with Black Vase” while watching the movie with his daughter in 2009.“I went to the television and tried to clean the windscreen. Is it real?” Barki said in an interview with ABC News.Yes, it was real. Barki contacted people associated with the film, trying to track down the Bereny classic.The artist’s influence gave the discovery added impact. Bereny, an avant-garde painter known for cubism and expressionism, was one of the leading artists in early-1900s Hungary.The painting, which was purchased by an assistant set designer for $500, was eventually sold to a private collector.

Now the Bereny is hitting the auction block, part of an upcoming auction with Hungary’s Virag Judit auction house. The starting price is about $138,000, with an estimated sales price of about $240,000 to $325,000.

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The Best 2014 Cyber Monday Deals

The Best 2014 Cyber Monday Deals

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You've had your fill of turkey, maybe even elbowed a fellow shopper or two, and now it's time to get in front of a computer for Cyber Monday. With many Americans back in the office after the holidays, employees may have to check these online deals on their breaks. But don't worry, more retailers are stretching out Cyber Monday into Cyber Week.Be prepared for limited supplies, limited-time sales and restrictions. Here are some Cyber Monday deals to consider:AmazonAmazon's Fire phone is available unlocked for $199, originally $649, in a limited promotion that ends Monday. The phone works with GSM carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Cricket. It comes with a full year of Amazon Prime membership for free two-day shipping and access to free streaming movies and television shows, like FX's "The Americans."Amazon's new Fire HD 7 tablet deal began Thursday and ends Monday. It's available for $109 (regularly $139) in six-inch and seven-inch models plus five color choices.Black LapelWant a quality, well-fitted custom men's suit at a fraction of the cost of traditional tailors? As part of Black Lapel's first sale ever, on Saturday and Sunday buy any two shirts and get any silk knit tie free. On Monday, buy any gift card and get a 40 percent bonus added in value. Black Lapel's online ordering system offers free shipping and a "flawless fit promise."GameStopStarting at 12:01 a.m. on Cyber Monday through Sunday, Dec. 7, GameStop.com will offer deals on new and pre-owned video games, consoles, smartphones and more. All week long, customers can snag deals both online and in its more than 4,200 retail stores.- Online Monday only: save $70 off Xbox One Holiday Value Bundle ($329.99) and $50 off Xbox 360 500GB Holiday Value Bundle ($199.99).- Online and in-store Monday: $20 off new video game titles for Xbox 360 and PS3: NBA 2K15 ($39.99), Borderlands the Pre Sequel ($39.99), WWE 2K15 ($39.99); and $10 off BioShock Infinite Complete ($29.99).- All week online: pre-owned PlayStation 3 console bundles for $199.99 and Xbox 360 console bundle for $149.99.- All week online and in-store: pre-owned Wii console bundle for $89.99 and Nintendo DS bundle for $69.99.Google PlayThough this year's details haven't been released, last year Google Play had free MP3s, including pop hits and classics."If last year's spoils were anything to go by, Google Play will be the one-stop shop for any movie buff or music-lover who may have overstretched themselves on Black Friday," according to DealNews.KmartKmart and Sears' Cyber Week deals start Sunday, Nov. 30 at midnight until Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m. The two sister companies interchangeably allow free in-store pick-up at any of 1,800 Sears or Kmart locations nationwide.- Save $100 on a RCA 46-inch 1080p LED HDTV, paying $349.99.- Get 50 percent off Hasbro games.- Save $70 on Craftsman 42 piece 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch Drive Bit and Torx Bit Socket Wrench Set, paying only $29.99.- Receive up to 40 percent off Joe Boxer apparel for the family plus save 15 to 25 percent off with code CYBER25.Office Depot and OfficeMaxThe sister stores Office Depot and OfficeMax will have exclusive online deals with a Cyber Monday pre-sale beginning on Sunday through Monday, Dec. 1. Then, the stores will have deals through the week on laptops and tablets through officedepot.com/cybermonday.Sears- Save $80 on Kenmore Elite 5 Qt. 400 Watt Stand Mixers and pay $169.99.- Save $30 on Craftsman C3 19.2V Lithium-Ion Hammer Drill Kit and pay $99.99; plus Shop Your Way members get an extra 10 percent off tools purchases at Sears.com, with some exclusions.- Save $530 on the Kenmore 25 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator and pay $819.99.- Save up to 50 percent on all outerwear for men, women and children (regularly priced from $30 to $180), plus an extra 25 percent off using coupon code: CYBER25.Staples- Save $100 on an Asus X205 laptop, spend $149 online only.- Get a Dell 24-inch monitor for $99 online, saving $100.- Get 40 percent off select custom holiday cards and photo calendars in-store and online.

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