AMD discounts its Ryzen 3000 CPUs, gives away Xbox Game Pass with select models – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? If you’re in the market for a new AMD CPU, now might be a great time to buy. The company has announced a new promotion that not only cuts the price of its 3000-series processors but also includes a free Xbox Game Pass with some models.
Ranging from the Ryzen 9 3900X, which we scored 90 in our review, to the fantastic value-for-money Ryzen 3600 (Techspot score: 100), the discounts range from $25 to $50. They’re available now from Newegg and Amazon in North America only and will last throughout the month of March.
Another incentive on offer is a three-month Xbox Game Pass. Usually costing $29.99, it grants access to PC games such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, and over 100 other titles. The Game Pass is included with the Ryzen 9 3900X, Ryzen 7 3800X, and Ryzen 7 3700X, but only while supplies last.

It’s worth noting that these discounts apply to AMD’s recommended prices, so the CPUs that are already selling below the MSRP have even more money off. The Ryzen 9 3900X, for example, is down to $419 on Amazon and Newegg, while the Ryzen 7 3800X is $339.
Here are the discounted models:
Earlier this month, AMD updated its CPU roadmap, revealing the arrival of Zen 3, Zen 4, and 5nm.

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Patreon is now issuing microloans to select content creators – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Patreon, the US-based membership platform that helps people financially support the work of creatives across a variety of categories, has launched a new program offering microloans to content creators.
Patreon Capital is an alternative financing service that provides cash advances to creators in exchange for “a slightly greater sum of their future income generated on Patreon.” In other words, it’s a loan with interest, although just how much interest is attached wasn’t mentioned.
Brooklyn-based podcast collective and production studio Multitude tapped Patreon Capital for a cash advance of around $75,000 according to a recent report from Hot Pod. The team has two years to pay the money back and had to put up future Patreon revenues from another Multitude show as collateral in the event they can’t pay.
Patreon believes it is in a better position than a bank to make a decision regarding a loan because they have a creator’s entire history on the platform at their disposal. They know about your earnings history and how engaged you are with your supporters. Decisions one way or another could come quick, and that would be helpful if time is of the essence.

Patreon Capital also gives the platform another stream of revenue which, when running a business, is critical. But is this really there to benefit the consumer? I suppose that depends on what school of thought you subscribe to.
Aside from purchasing a home, I’m personally averse to the idea of borrowing money. As the saying goes, the borrower is slave to the lender. In the example stated above, Multitude was able to put up future revenue from another podcast as collateral. But what about other creators that may only have a single channel up on Patreon? Will they have to put it up as collateral? What happens if a creator misses a payment or two – will Patreon take down their account, further impacting their ability to earn a living?
Masthead credit: Tip jar by nutcd32. Delinquent loan by Vitalii Vodolazskyi.

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Nintendo is launching pop-up Switch demo lounges at select US airports – Blog – 10 minute

Bottom line: Nintendo’s new pop-up lounges are little more than well-placed marketing booths but if you haven’t had the opportunity to try out the Switch yet and have some spare time to kill before your flight, what’s the harm in popping in for a demo?
Nintendo wants to make your time at the airport a bit less dreadful. Starting today, the Japanese gaming giant is launching Nintendo Switch On The Go pop-up lounges in select major airports across the US to give travelers the chance to go hands-on with the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite.
The lounges will feature comfortable seating, complementary charging ports and of course, Nintendo Switch game demo opportunities playable in both handheld and TV mode. Nintendo is putting its best foot forward here, turning to hits like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Party, Tetris 99, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to showcase its hardware.

Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s SVP of sales and marketing, said they hope consumers discover that Switch makes a great companion for their trips.
Travelers can find pop-up lounges at Dallas Love Field Airport from today through March 26 and at Dulles International Airport, Seattle – Tacoma International Airport and O’Hare International Airport from February 17 through March 29.
Those who stop by the lounge will receive a free luggage handle wrap and a $10 coupon from Target to use on any Nintendo purchase over $75. Users who elect to place an order for a Switch on the spot will also get a free carrying case with their purchase.

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Apple TV+ to launch November 1 for $4.99/month, one year free comes with select Apple devices – gpgmail


Apple today formally announced its launch plans for its new TV streaming service, Apple TV+, which will be available starting on November 1st, 2019 t and will cost just $4.99 per month for the whole family. The service will be available across Apple’s platforms in over 100 countries through the Apple TV app.

As an unexpected surprise, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that when buy an Apple device — including an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV — you’ll get a year of Apple TV+ for free.

According to Cook, only some of the shows will be available at launch. Others will be added every month.

A higher price point of $9.99 per month was previously reported by Bloomberg, which would have made Apple TV+ more expensive than rivals like the $6.99 per month Disney+, $5.99 per month Hulu (with ads), or the $8.99 per month single screen Netflix plan. It is, however, less expensive than Netflix’s $12.99 per month standard plan.

The $4.99 per month price undercuts all. And bundling a free year with new Apple hardware should boost sales as well.

Apple’s entry into the TV streaming market has been public for some time thanks to leaks and reports from Hollywood media news sites and announcements of programs from Apple itself. The company then officially introduced Apple TV+ this March at a special event focused on the company’s services and subscriptions.

The event brought out a cavalcade of stars to discuss their involvement in the new streaming platform, including Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard, Kumail Nanjiani, J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles, and even Big Bird.

Some of the more anticipated shows arriving include a morning show drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston; a Witherspoon-backed comedy based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s “You Think It, I’ll Say It;” a thriller called “Truth Be Told” starring Octavia Spencer; a revival of “Amazing Stories” exec-produced by Steven Spielberg; a new space drama “For All Mankind” from “Battlestar Galactica’s” creator Ronald D. Moore; a show from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle; an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation;” original shows produced by Oprah Winfrey; a psychological thriller “Servant” produced by M. Night Shyamalan; an animated series called “Central Park” from “Bob’s Burgers” creator, and many others.

(Here’s a full list.)

Despite the numerous high-profile names attached, Apple’s service isn’t really a Netflix alternative. There’s not a big back catalog of licensed TV shows and movies, as you’d find elsewhere. Instead, the focus is on original content. If you want more, Apple TV Channels offers paid subscriptions to other premium services.

As Apple SVP Eddy Cue told attendees at SXSW 2018: “we’re not after quantity, we’re after quality.”

Services, like Apple Music, iCloud and AppleCare, have been a bigger focus for Apple in recent years, and may even become its most profitable sector, according to reports. As of its third-quarter earnings, Apple reported its services revenues, which include App Store fees, subscriptions, and other online services, had grown to $11.456 billion. At the same time, the iPhone made up less than half of Apple’s business.

The slowing iPhone sales have to do with the quality of the devices — even older models are still very good, and the improvements in new versions are not enough to prompt as frequent upgrades. To diversify, Apple has been focused on growing services revenues with launches like Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and now Apple TV+.

Apple is also clearly willing to spend in order to grow its media business further.

Last year, Apple had said it would spend around a billion dollars acquiring ten shows for the streaming TV service. But it later signed deals with Oprah, Steven Spielberg, and Sesame Workshop, which likely pushed that number much higher. A newer report from the Financial Times in August claimed the figure was now around $6 billion instead. 

What we don’t yet know is how well Apple’s investment will attract new subscribers in a market where there’s an increasing number of services offering premium, award-winning on-demand content, including Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and soon, Disney+.

The few trailers Apple has released so far have been fairly iffy — the first one of “The Morning Show” almost felt like a parody, while the latest, “Dickinson” seems to have turned the celebrated poet Emily Dickinson into a CW-style feminist punk rock hero.

Apple said the trailers had been watched over 100 million times.

At the event, it unveiled the trailer for the post-apocalyptic drama starring  Jason Momoa, “See,” which is Apple TV+’s take on Netflix’s “Bird Box,” apparently. It takes place in a world where all have gone blind.

As media critics finally get their hands on the shows for reviews, we’ll know more about whether Apple TV+ is worth the price.


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Apple rolls out Apple Card Preview to select users – gpgmail


Apple Card is getting its first group of public test users today. A limited amount of customers that signed up to be notified about the release of Apple Card are getting the ability to apply for the card in their Wallet app today — as well as the option to order their physical Apple Card.

I’ve been using the card for a few days on my own device, making purchases and payments and playing around with features like Apple Cash rewards and transaction categorization.

A full rollout of Apple Card will come later in August. It requires iOS 12.4 and up to operate.

The application process was simple for me. Portions of the information you need are pre-filled from your existing AppleID account, making for less manual entry. I had an answer in under a minute and was ready to make my first purchase instantly. I used it both online and in person with contactless terminals.

It…works.

The card on the screen has a clever mechanism that gives you a sort of live heat map of your spending categories. The color of the card will shift and blend according to the kinds of things you buy. Spend a lot at restaurants and the card will take on an orange hue. Shop for entertainment related items and the card shifts into a mix of orange and pink. It’s a clever take on the chart based spending category features many other credit cards have built into their websites.

As many have pointed out, if you’re the kind of person that maximizes your points on current cards towards super specific rewards, like travel miles, the rewards system of Apple Card will not feel all that impressive. This is by design. Apple’s aim on this initial offering was to provide the most representational and easy to understand reward metric, rather than to provide top of category points returns.

But it also means that this may not be the card for you if you’re a big travel points maximizer.

I am a points person, and I carry several cards with differing rewards returns and point values depending on what I’m trying to accomplish. Leveraging these cards has allowed me to secure upgrades to higher classes, first class flights for family members and more due to how much I travel. Getting to this point, though, required a crash course in points values, programs and a tight grip on what cards to use when. Shout out to TPG.

IMG 0677

You will not be able to leverage Apple’s card in this way as a frequent traveler. Instead, Apple decided on a (by comparison) transparent rewards methodology: cash back based on a percentage of your purchases in 3 categories.

Those categories are 3% on all purchases from Apple Stores, the App Store and Apple subscriptions, 2% daily cash on any Apple Pay purchase and 1% with the physical card either online or offline.

The cash rewards are delivered daily, and made available to you very quickly on your Apple Cash card balance. Usually in less than a day. You can then do an instant transfer to your bank for a maximum $10 fee or a 1-3 day transfer for free. This cashout is faster than just about any other cash back program out there and certainly way faster cash reward tallying than anyone else. And Apple makes no effort to funnel you into a pure statement credit version of cash back, like many other cards do. The cash becomes cash pretty instantly.

I could easily see the bar Apple sets here — daily rewards tallies and instant cashouts — becoming industry standard.

The card interface itself is multiples better to use than most card apps, with the new Amex apps probably coming the closest. But even those aren’t system level, requiring no additional usernames and passwords. Apple Card has a distinct advantage there, one that Apple I’m sure hopes to use to the fullest. This is highlighted by the fact that the Apple Card application option is present on the screen any time you add a new credit card or debit card to Apple Pay now. Top of mind.

The spending categories and clear transaction names (with logos in many cases) are a very welcome addition to a credit card interface. The vast majority of time with even the best credit card dashboards you are presented with super crappy list of junk that includes a transaction identifier and a mangled vendor ID that could or could not map directly to the name of the actual merchant you purchased from. It makes deciphering what a specific transaction was for way harder then it should be. Apple Card parses these by vendor name, website name and then whatever it can parse on its own before it defaults back to the raw identifier. Way easier.

IMG 0681

A note, during the setup process the card will ask you if you want it to be your payment default for everything Apple and will automatically attach to your Apple stuff like App Store and subscription payments. So keep an eye out for that and make a call. You will get 3% cash back on any apps you buy, of course, even if they’re third party.

The payments interface is also unique in that Apple is pushing very hard to help you not pay interest. It makes recommendations on how to pay chunks of your balance over time before you incur interest. It places 1-3 markers on the circle-shaped interface that show you how much you need to pay off minimum, minimum with no interest and in full. These markers are personalized a bit and can vary depending on balance, due date and payment history.

I really dug hard on how Apple Card data was being handled the last time I wrote about the service, so you should read that for more info. Goldman Sachs is the partner for the card but it absolutely cannot use the data it gathers on transactions via Apple Card for market maps, as chunks of anonymized data it can offer partners about spending habits or any of the typical marketing uses credit card processors get up to. Mastercard and Goldman Sachs can only use the data for operations uses. Credit reporting, remittance, etc.

And Apple itself neither collects nor views anything about where you shopped, what you bought or how much you paid.

And, as advertised, there are no fees with Apple Card.

One thing I do hope that Apple Card adds is an ability to see and filter out recurring payments and subscriptions. This fits with the fiscal responsibility theme it’s shooting for with the payments interface and it’s sorely lacking in most first party apps.

Some nice design touches beyond the transaction maps, the color grading that mirrors purchases and the far more readable interface is a pleasant metallic sheen that is activated on device tilt.

My physical card isn’t here yet so I can’t really evaluate that part of it. But it is relatively unique in that it is nearly featureless, with no printed number, expiration, signature or security codes on its surface.

The titanium Apple Card comes in a package with an NFC chip that allows you to simply tap your phone to the envelope to begin the process of activating your card. No phone numbers to call and, heavens forbid, no 1-800 stickers on the surface of the card.

I can say that this is probably the first experience most people will ever have with a virtual credit card number. The physical card has a ‘hard coded’ number that cannot be changed. You never need to know it because it’s only used in in-person transactions. If it ever gets compromised, you can request a new card and freeze the old one in the app.

For online purchases that do not support Apple Pay, you have a virtual card number in the Wallet app. You enter that number just as you would any other card number and it’s automatically added to your Safari auto-fill settings when you sign up for Apple Card.

The advantage to this, of course, is that if it’s ever compromised, you can hit a button to request an entirely new number right from within the app. Notably, this is not a ‘per transaction’ number — it’s a semi-permanent virtual number. You keep it around until you have an issue. But when you do have a problem, you’ve got a new number instantly, which is far superior to having to wait for a new physical card just to continue making online purchases.

Some banks like Bank of America and Citibank already offer virtual options for online purchases, and third party services like Privacy.com also exist. But this is the beginning of the mainstreaming of VCCs. And it’s a good thing.


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AT&T is offering free Spotify to select Unlimited subscribers – gpgmail


AT&T is sweetening the deal on its Unlimited & More Premium plan this week, with the addition of free Spotify Premium. That amounts to a $10 a month savings for those paying the $80 a month for the wireless service. The plan offers one of seven free partner services, including HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, VRV, Pandora and now Spotify .

There’s fine print, because of course there is. The deal applies specifically to the Unlimited & More Premium plan, while other AT&T subscribers can get a six month trial of Premium for free. After that time, things revert to the regular price.

Existing Spotify Premium subscribers, meanwhile, can keep their account but get the service for free by signing up on all of the proper places on AT&T’s site.

The deal mirrors a similar partnership between Verizon and Apple Music, the services’ largest competitors, respectively. AT&T is currently the U.S.’s largest carrier by a slight edge. Spotify, meanwhile, continues to have a sizable advantage in paid subscriber numbers at more than 100 million, to Apple’s 60 million.


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