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The Geek in Review: 11/14 to 11/18

The Geek in Review: 11/14 to 11/18

  • You may want to pay someone to wait in line for you, but the long-awaited Microsoft Xbox 360 hits stores on Tuesday. By this time next week, your pal Steve is going to be talking trash like "Bring it! I will smash you at video games!" And Steve will brag forever if he beats you once out of every 50 games, even if he did pull a cheap un-pause while you went to answer the door for pizza. And then he didn't even pay for his half of the pizza. So get an early jump on Steve by reading our brand-new Xbox 360 Central section and watch our video tour of the Xbox 360. We won't tell Steve about those pages.

  • Just like TiVo and Google, Adobe's Photoshop image-editing tool is so successful that the product name has become a verb. As in, "I can Photoshop a handlebar moustache onto your face if you like." The only problem with Photoshop is that it's pretty expensive; it costs about $500 for the latest full version. With that in mind, Senior Editor Lori Grunin has rounded up some inexpensive Photoshop alternatives that'll come in handy if you're retouching on a budget. If you'd rather not pay anything for your image-editing needs, be sure to check out the Gimp.

  • Speaking of so-popular-they've-become-verbs products, you no longer need to pay for a TiVo box. But as David Katzmaier explains, it's not as good a deal as it sounds on paper. The cost of the unit was never the big issue anyway; it's the subscription charges that really thump your wallet. TiVo's still the best DVR we've seen, but building a PC-based DVR with a TV tuner card offers even more flexibility. Here are the best TV tuner cards, and here's how to do it.

  • Apple's iPod is the Honda Civic of MP3 players. Well, it's more like a Honda Civic designed by Bang & Olufsen. Nevertheless, the point is that the iPod is everywhere, and some would even say annoyingly so. To help everyone look past the iPod--and don't get us wrong, because we love the iPod, but we also love diversity--James Kim has rounded up some sweet Archos MP3 and video players, as well as some players that could be considered iPod killers. You can even check to see which music services and online stores the players are compatible with by using our Music Compatibility Wizard. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that nothing's ever gonna kill the iPod.