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Quick housekeeping note: I know many of you took advantage of the cashback-powered Echo Dot deal I shared on Friday. Over the weekend, Bed Bath & Beyond dropped the price of the Dot to $39.99. (So did Amazon, incidentally, and it's still there.) The terms of the cashback offer indicate the initial purchase price must be $49.99, so at $39.99, the deal is effectively dead. If you paid $49.99, you're all good -- you'll get your $20 rebate and still come out ahead of everybody else. I'm just saying, don't think you can hop on at $39.99 and still get $20 back.
One thing about the Dot: It's even better when paired with a Bluetooth speaker. As regular readers know, these come in all shapes and sizes, though most of them are your basic, boring bricks. That's why I'm always jazzed to find something a little different.
Like this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, TechRabbit has the Owlee Scroll Bluetooth speaker for $69.99 shipped when you apply coupon code CNETSCROLL at checkout. It runs $99.99 at Amazon, and only those of you clever enough to be Cheapskate readers will get the extra $10 off TechRabbit's already good price of $79.99.
As you can see in the photo, the Scroll is not your average speaker. For one thing, it's cylindrical. For another, it's wrapped in leather! And it comes in a really cool box that kind of demands to be gifted.
On the spec front, there are a few things worth noting. First, the Scroll supports NFC, so compatible Android devices can pair in about the time it takes read this sentence.
Second, the 20-watt speaker is bolstered by dual passive bass radiators and an optional 3D sound mode courtesy of digital signal processing.
Third, it can run for up to nine hours on a charge. However, if you intend to leave it plugged in, perhaps as a companion to an Echo Dot, you should be good: According to Owlee's support page, the auto-off feature kicks in only if the speaker doesn't detect a Bluetooth connection. With some portable speakers, auto-off becomes an issue, Dot-wise.
Over at Amazon, the Scroll has just eight reviews -- but they're all five stars, and Fakespot gives them an 'A' rating (very rare). Personally, I love the leather enclosure that unwraps to form the base for the speaker. Very cool.
So, yeah, I like this as an Echo Dot companion, a gift item and simply a unique portable speaker. I especially like when I can get $30 off. Oh, and the vendor has assured me that orders placed today will arrive in time for Christmas/Chanukah. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: This is a little niche, but let's talk forms for a second. If you run a business, plan events, conduct surveys, teach classes or do anything else that involves data-gathering, you need forms. Google Forms is a great free solution, but a little clunky and limited. If you want something a little more robust, AppSumo is currently offering lifetime subscriptions to Paperform Pro for $39. Normally it's $348 per year.
I got a chance to monkey with this over the weekend; it's incredibly easy, and it can integrate with the likes of Stripe and Zapier. I was paying $20 month for an online-waiver service; this is going to replace that and save me a ton of cash over the long haul.