Last week in tech: Underground tunnels, sad Facebook execs, and Black Friday prep
Black Friday is almost here. Read this in your tent while you wait for the doorbusters.
The days before Thanksgiving are always a struggle. You want to work hard and make sure you’re caught up on professional obligations so you can go into your annual ritual of gorging and splurging stress-free. At the same time, however, the lure of those Black Friday ads makes it all too easy to spend three hours searching deals for the best price on a new panini press. Luckily, we’re here with our weekly news round-up to catch you up on everything you missed in the tech world while you were arguing online with someone about whether fresh cranberry sauce is better than the canned stuff. (Editor’s note: It’s not).
Get the right TV this Black Friday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are holidays basically dedicated to buying giant TVs at cheap prices. But, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, you can end up with 55-inches of blurry, washed-out garbage instead of the set of your dreams. Here’s a guide on how to pick the right TV. Remember, you’ll be watching the series finale of Game of Thrones on this thing, so take it seriously.
Google released some data about Thanksgiving crowds
With more than a billion people feeding it location data, Google Maps can watch our collective suffering as we shuffle about the country—and world—for various holidays. The company took what it learned in 2017 and made some handy infographics to show just how much of pain it is to go anywhere in the U.S. on the days surrounding Thanksgiving. Pro tip: Go to the liquor store first and then the bakery later (as long as they’re open) to dodge the crowds.
The HomePod is a more interesting product when it’s $250
Best Buy is dropping the price of Apple’s oft-neglected smart speaker, the HomePod, to just $250 on Black Friday. That’s a full $100 cheaper than its typical retail price and enough of a discount to make it worth considering if you’re already using Apple Music and you don’t really need a ton of smart assistant functionality.
The Boring Company finished digging a tunnel
Elon Musk’s very big mechanical earthworm chewed its way to the end of the Boring Company’s tunnel in LA. The two-mile tube has been in the works for about a year and is expected to make Santa’s job delivering toys to kids in LA a lot easier this year. It’s like a sideways chimney.
The glucose-sensing contact lens is on permanent hold
A company within Google has been working on a contact lens that can sense the level of glucose in a wearer’s blood to help diabetics monitor important medical information in real time. The lens has been in the works since at least 2014, but now the company has announced that it’s putting that work on hold. The company still plans to work on solutions for diabetics, but the dream of a simple contact that monitors glucose with tears instead of blood is dead, at least for now
Amazon got the gift of data from its HQ2 search
This will be a big week for Amazon as people load up their digital shopping carts and dump their paychecks into the great hot tub of online commerce, but last week may have been even bigger for the online shopping behemoth. And while Amazon’s HQ2 choices of New York and northern Virginia (basically D.C.) weren’t very surprising, they did leave the company with piles of crucial data about other possible expansion sites.
Here’s what it looks like to bend an iPad Pro like a taco
Breaking an expensive gadget is the stuff of nightmares, but testing a device’s durability is important. YouTube channel JerryRigEverything snapped a pricy slab of glass and aluminum to see how well it stands up to pressure.
The New York Times published its massive Facebook investigation
You may not have time to read all of the NYT‘s huge Facebook report, but it’s worth saving for when you have some holiday downtime. It takes a hard look at how Facebook and its executives handled crises, including the discovery that Russian-linked activity had attempted to sway the presidential election. You can also read the shorter, bullet-pointed version if you don’t have time between turkey sandwiches.