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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Get a $20 Skype credit and 1-month Netflix trial for free

Plus: a Virgin Mobile MiFi mobile hotspot for $29.99, and a one-year subscription to Wired for $5.

One of today's bonus deals: a one-year Wired subscription for just $5.
One of today's bonus deals: a one-year Wired subscription for just $5. Wired

A couple quick housekeeping notes:

The recent SiriusXM freebie proved disappointing for a lot of folks. Some couldn't sign up at all, others received a confirmation e-mail for the one-year trial -- only to be informed a week later that the trial had ended.

As I noted in my original post, that deal was probably intended for Chevy customers, not the general public. The standard SiriusXM Internet Radio trial is 30 days, so it's not surprising the company quickly clamped down on what was meant to be an exclusive offer. That said, I feel like they should have honored the deal at least for those who received confirmations. Ultimately, the whole thing proved a little too good to be true -- and I'm sorry it turned out that way.

Next, a reminder: Coupon codes often expire after a certain number of redemptions, as we discovered with last week's Newegg deal on the Toshiba hard drive.

Unfortunately, there's no way for me to know how many redemptions are available for any given coupon, or how many remain at the time I write about it. What really frustrated me last week was that Newegg listed an expiration date for that code, suggesting that it would be good through that date. Then, suddenly, the code was gone, nearly 48 hours before the expiration.

Obviously any company has the right to end any promotion at any time they like. But I think Newegg, which has a great reputation for great deals and customer service, really dropped the ball here. If a discount code is advertised as being good through a certain date, don't yank it early because too many customers used it.

Finally, I'm human, and I make mistakes. When I said last week that the $9.99 D-Link router could be upgraded with DD-WRT firmware, that was based on anecdotal evidence from a handful of sources. What I didn't know was that certain revisions of that router aren't DD-WRT-compatible. I apologize profusely to anyone who bought one based on that capability.

Did I say "quick" housekeeping notes? I meant "lengthy." Thanks for listening.

Today, here's a great freebie for anyone who hasn't yet tried Netflix: a $20 Skype credit when you sign up for a one-month Netflix trial.

Just complete the short form on the landing page, then click through to Netflix and sign up for a trial. (This promotion is good for new customers only, though you might be able to game the system by signing up with a different e-mail address.)

Once that's done, you'll receive a voucher for a $20 Skype credit. Just make sure you mark your calendar to cancel Netflix before you hit 30 days, otherwise you'll get charged for whatever subscription you chose. (My advice: Keep Netflix streaming. At $7.99/month, it's the best deal on the planet.)

Skype, of course, is the uber-popular telephony/video-conferencing service. You can do a lot with it for free (like make Skype-to-Skype calls), but the credit lets you make calls from your PC or smartphone to any landline or mobile phone. Once you burn through the credit, there's no obligation to buy any more.

I'm not sure when this offer is scheduled to expire or if it has limited redemptions. I am sure, however, that it's a pretty solid freebie. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon has the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot for $29.99 shipped. That's the lowest price I've seen for this prepaid 3G hotspot, which normally sells for $99.99. Virgin's no-contract plans start at $10. Just be sure to check the coverage map, as some users have reported iffy service.

Bonus deal No. 2: Want to feed your brain with some of the best tech, science, and culture reporting on the planet? Discount Mags has a one-year subscription to Wired Magazine for $5 when you use coupon code dealnews at checkout. (You can also get two years for $10 or three years for $15.) That subscription includes the tablet edition free of charge. Nepotism alert: I'm an occasional contributor to Wired -- but also an avid reader. Update: Crikey. The code is now producing only a $4 discount, meaning the subscriptions are $15.99. Bleh. Sometimes it feels like the universe is conspiring against me.

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