Tech Retrospect: Facebook auto-plays ads and Apple deploys the new Mac Pro

Miss a few stories this week? We'll get you up to speed with this rundown of all the tech news.

Did you feel the disturbance in the social networks earlier this week? Like millions of Facebookers crying out at once? It was caused by one simple thing: the announcement of auto-playing video ads in Facebook . The first ads rolled out on Thursday, for the upcoming film "Divergent," and will insert themselves right into your timeline -- even if you're on your phone. Don't worry about data caps, as Facebook will kindly download those videos when you're on a Wi-Fi connection to ensure there is no escape.

The ads do at least play with audio disabled, and only rolled out to a limited number of users as a sort of pilot program. However, you can be sure they'll be seen on a far more widespread basis in 2014. Expect further cries and moaning -- for a few days, anyway, until everyone forgets and moves on with their life. Just like they have with all the other progressively more annoying Facebook ads we've seen in the past.

Apple's Mac Pro has the performance to match its look

The eagerly anticipated, assembled in the US of A Mac Pro from Apple finally started shipping this week. Apple promised this would be the most ridiculously powerful desktop the company had ever produced, and our early testing certainly backs that up. Of course, we were given a configuration that would price out just over $8,000 -- rather on the high-end compared to the $2,999 starting price. Still, well-heeled shoppers who are pining for the megahertz can price the system even higher, just shy of $10,000. Go ahead. You deserve it.

BlackBerry losses grow, signs on Foxconn as a manufacturing partner

BlackBerry's Z10 can be yours for free.
Josh Miller/CNET

It seems we still have to wait for some good news out of Waterloo, as BlackBerry posted quarterly losses of $4.4 billion for its third quarter. That's steeply up over the $965 million loss the quarter before. The reason? A precipitous decline in smartphone sales, down to 1.9 million from 3.7 million the quarter before. But, the company is still moving forward, with new CEO John Chen revealing a five-year partnership with Foxconn to manufacture devices intended for emerging markets. Look to see these early next year.

Google and HP recall Chromebook 11 charger

Sarah Tew/CNET

When the Chromebook 11 sales ceased, initial speculation pegged the reasoning on cool consumer reaction. The truth is, as it turns out, quite to the contrary, with the charging adapter actually posing a fire threat . The laptops are back on sale now and, should you have managed to get one before their sales ceased, and should it have not already burned your house down, you can request a replacement charger here.

Target hack makes Black Friday especially dark

Were you out looking for steals at Target on Black Friday? You weren't alone, I'm sorry to say. Some 40 million credit and debit card numbers were exposed by the retailer , including names, expiration dates, and even three-digit security codes. That's the bad news. The good news? Target says the issue that allowed the hack has now been fixed, which will give last-minute holiday shoppers something to goad their better-prepared counterparts. Suffice it to say, if you shopped at Target between the dates of November 27 to December 15, you'd best be checking those statements twice.

Avegant Glyph virtual retinal display hits Kickstarter on January 22

The Avegant Glyph Beta: headphones meet virtual retinal display.

Remember the micromirror projection display I tried out a few months back ? It's soon getting real. The project, now called Glyph , hits Kickstarter on January 22 and has been augmented with some serious audio. Some over-ear cans have been added to the system to give you a truly immersive effect and, just like before, the projection-based display creates brilliant 3D images that are beamed directly onto your retinas. $499 will get you yours.

Mercedes-Benz S550 wins CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz S550
Josh Miller/CNET

Need to own the techiest car of the year? Don't go in search of a Tesla dealership, head on down to your local neighborhood Mercedes-Benz retailer. The 2014 S550 has won our Tech Car of the Year award for 2013. Yes, it does have a relatively low-tech V-8 under the hood, which is a mark against compared with the Model S, but it's so riddled with driver aids, infotainment features, and connectivity options that it blows the rest of the pack away. And, if you'd care to know a bit more about how that car got all its tech, I'd invite you to have a look at my latest feature, a look inside Mercedes-Benz's Silicon Valley research center .

Deck the halls with Arduino and LEDs

Christmas is nearly here, dear readers, and while many choose to festoon their trees with as many nerdy ornaments as possible, Zach Burhop took it to another level with LEDs, 3D printed decor, and Arduino. It's truly a sight to behold.

 

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