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Etsy is best known for being an online marketplace of folksy gewgaws and crocheted everythings, but it's making moves to help its sellers do more out in the real world. Case in point: The company just took a page out of Square and PayPal's playbooks by offering free, smartphone-friendly credit/debit card readers to its users. The idea's simple enough: Etsy crafters hawking their wares in public can use the reader just like any of the other ones out there, but once they swipe a card, those products automatically get deducted from their online Etsy inventory. Buyers who already have Etsy accounts can leave reviews too, just to make sure everyone knows how rad their new minimalist wallets are. Voilà: sellers get to make money and build deeper connections with actual, physical people, and Etsy gets a sweet (if tiny, think 2.75 percent) cut of each transaction to help fuel its growth.

Now if you'll excuse us, we've got some funky brass steampunk corsets to prep for the big craft show next week.

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Facebook's new Rooms app is weird, and it isn't long after installation that you figure out why. You don't log in with your Facebook credentials. Your profile picture appears nowhere. It doesn't tap into your contacts. If Rooms' iOS-only App Store listing didn't proudly proclaim it was a Facebook product, you'd almost certainly never know it was brewed within the social giant's cavernous confines. Seems a little off-kilter for a chat app, especially one with this pedigree. Instead, it just lets you create those eponymous Rooms -- they're like those AOL chatrooms of yore, dedicated to any topic (or no topic at all) and augmented with the the ability to moderate posts like a power-tripping VIP on a forum. When it's spelled out like that, doesn't it all sound just delightfully anachronistic?

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NYPD

Thanks to a massive $160 million investment, the New York City Police Department is on its way to receive a combination of up to 41,000 smartphones and tablets. Known as the NYPD Mobility Initiative, which will be mostly financed by criminal asset funds provided by the Manhattan DA's Office, the goal is to provide the the city's law enforcement with tools that can improve and streamline their overall workflow. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said there are a few key elements to this plan, such as offering better case support for detectives, providing features including real-time 911 data, enhanced database access for patrol staff, quick entry points to info like Amber Alerts and email accounts for every officer.

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Like with most everything, online shopping has its pros and cons. One of the best elements of going the digital route, though, is that you usually end up saving more money than at a brick-and-mortar store. Having said that, according to a recent study by Northeastern University, a number of websites are charging some users more than others. The findings point out that travel-booking companies such as Cheaptickers and Orbits were bumping hotel prices for people who weren't logged in to their site, with prices going up by as much as $12 extra per night to every user without an account. Even more interesting is the fact Travelocity, which is among the most popular places to book travel on the web, was found to be charging iOS users an average of $15 less on hotels compared to those browsing from another mobile platform. Which is to say, you should probably use an iPhone or iPad during your next Travelocity order -- and with the holidays coming up, the timing couldn't be any better.

[Image credit: Kasaa/Flickr]

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Ubuntu Linux on a Dell XPS laptop

Don't look now, but one of the staples of the open source world just marked a big birthday. Canonical has released Ubuntu 14.10, officially making this friendlier Linux distribution 10 years old. The company is clearly happy with a low-key celebration; 14.10's biggest addition is a developer tool center that makes it easier to write Android apps, while you'll also find support for zero-setup printers and 64-bit ARM chips. Not exactly riveting stuff, is it? Still, the release shows how far Ubuntu has come -- while there have been some rough patches in the last decade, the Canonical team can now focus most of its energy on refining a successful formula.

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If there's one thing on-demand car startup Uber likes more than ferrying people around, it's trying to grab people's attention with kooky promo stunts. Uber for barbecue? Uber wedding packages? Pairing riders with attractive lady drivers? Been there, done that (for better or worse). Every once in a while though, Uber cooks up something genuinely useful and today is one of those days: if you live in Boston, Washington DC or New York City, you can order an on-demand flu shot for you and up to nine of your friends until 3PM Eastern.

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Android Wear, Google's four-month-old wearables platform, is off to a good start. But like all nascent systems, there are still plenty of areas that need some TLC. It's got a lot of features and developer support, but it's practically useless if you want to use your smartwatch as a fitness tracker and leave your phone at home. Over the next few days, Google will push a new update to the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live that will make your smart timepiece more useful when it's not tethered to your handset.

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Can you smell that? It's the aroma of game lovers' tears everywhere as they realize their bank accounts likely can't sustain buying every title coming out in the annual deluge of fall video game releases. That's to say nothing of the amount of time you'd need to play absolutely everything that's come out since September. Or even on November 18th alone! But what is each console offering exclusively this holiday? That's a bit more manageable, and we compare them below.

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Project Ara is surely one of the most exciting things Google is working on right now -- at least from the ones we're aware of. Better yet, given how young it is, chances are it will only keep getting better and more interesting. While speaking at a Purdue University event, Google's Paul Eremenko, director of Project Ara, recently revealed that the company will be taking a cue from the Play store to create a similar shopping experience for its modular smartphone. What this means, essentially, is you'd be able to buy or sell different components from a single hub, just as is the case now with apps, music, books and more on Google Play -- and it would also include reviews and recommendations. Eremenko didn't mention any details related to the status of Project Ara, but you can check out the full talk after the break.

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COMPUTER CHESS

The battle of wits between IBM and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is one of the biggest moments in the history of artificial intelligence. After conceding defeat, the Russian suggested that the IBM team had cheated their way to a victory, something that the company, to this day, refutes. A new film, from Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, seeks to shed some light on the accusation and what prompted his allegations. Directed by Hollywood uber-producer Frank Marshall, the documentary examines the controversial 44th move and how a simple computer error proved to be Kasparov's undoing.

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