CNET's Cheapskate scours the Web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. And find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.
Random aside of the day: So apparently Microsoft is throwing in the towel on Bing, or at least, because the latter is soon to become "Microsoft Rewards." Credits will become points, member tiers will become levels instead of silver/gold...and other seemingly pointless changes.
Oh, Microsoft, you so crazy. It's not enough you have to bribe people to use your search engine; now you're going to add a 10x multiplier so it seems everyone has a lot more credits. Er, points. Whatever. Here's a thought: How about adding some decent rewards? You've had the same lame handful of choices for as long as I can remember.
Or get way outside the box: Offer me Office 365 if I make Bing my default search engine. Because, seriously, the whole rewards thing is just embarrassing. End of aside.
Beginning of deals. Today I've rounded up a smattering of things I find interesting, and because I'm in the mood to opine (obviously), each deal comes with a little commentary. Hope you enjoy! (Or at least discuss.)
'Qi' and other adventures in bad naming
Sometimes you have to wonder what kind of logic goes into naming a product. Or, should I say, "logic." Sony Clie, anyone? Palm Pre? Microsoft Kin? And don't get me started on Qi, which, seriously, no one knows how to pronounce. "Kee"? "Kwi"? "Q-I"?
But there's a whole category of Qi (it's pronounced "chee," because reasons) products, something most Samsung Galaxy owners know quite well. Because the name may be terrible, but Qi itself is awesome: It's a wireless charging technology.
And if you have a Qi-compatible phone, you might like this: Startop (via Amazon) has the Seneo three-coil Qi wireless charging stand for $18.99 when you apply promo code 9KCWWHTX at checkout. I honestly don't know much about Qi stuff, but this has hundreds of positive reviews, and it normally runs $22.99.
No, but these are bookshelf Bluetooth speakers
Anyone sick to death of Bluetooth speaker deals, don't raise your pitchfork just yet. Because, see, usually I run portable Bluetooth speaker deals, and this is not that.
Instead, for a limited time, and while supplies last, Meh has the Philips SPA4270BT Bluetooth 2.0 bookshelf speakers for $24, plus $5 for shipping. They're new, not refurbished, and that price buys you a pair.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think there's something nice about a pair of speakers that has permanent residence in your den, office or wherever. The old-school kind had to be plugged into some kind of source; these require no plug, though they have that option if you want it. Just pair your phone or tablet and stream away.
Everybody loves Rayman (oh, come on, like you wouldn't pick the low-hanging joke fruit?)
If you've never played a Rayman game, you're missing out. Although the series has evolved over the years, it originated as a side-scrolling, run-and-jump platform adventure. A widely beloved adventure at that.
Here's your chance to see what all the fuss is about -- for free. Ending soon, Ubisoft is offering a free copy of Rayman Origins (for Windows). The game debuted in 2012 and has a metascore of 86. Translation: Critics loved it.
You'll need a Uplay account, which is also free, and the Uplay PC client. The game would cost you $20 if purchased (and played) on Steam -- where, incidentally, it earned very high ratings from gamers.
The smart pen is mightier than the smart sword (and not nearly as heavy)
Not everyone needs a smart pen, but for those who do -- students, academics, admins, artists and so on -- it's a godsend.
Livescribe is the best-known brand in the market, and today only, you can get the Livescribe 3 smart pen for Android and iOS for $99.97. (Yugster members can get it for a buck less.)
It's really cool: Write on paper and the pen captures digital versions of everything you scribble, then transfers those versions to your phone or tablet. The only catch: You have to write on special paper. You can purchase Livescribe pads or print your own sheets at home.
See you in hell, inkjets!
If you want to print in color, inkjet printers have always been the necessary evil: They're way less expensive than color lasers, or at least it seems that way until you have to replace their ink cartridges every five minutes.
Me, I've always preferred laser printers, which tend to cost more up front but have a lower total cost per page.
Today, however, you can get one for less up front: Adorama, via eBay, has the Ricoh SP C250DN color laser printer for $69.99 shipped. Price elsewhere: at least $99.
The SP C250DN is a tall, office-friendly printer with a 250-sheet paper tray. It offers duplexing (double-sided printing), and it connects via USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi.