Internet Relay Chat turns 30—and we remember how it changed our lives

Internet Relay Chat turns 30—and we remember how it changed our lives

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) turned 30 this August.

The venerable text-only chat system was first developed in 1988 by a Finnish computer scientist named Jarkko Oikarinen. Oikarinen couldn’t have known at the time just how his creation would affect the lives of people around the world, but it became one of the key early tools that kept Ars Technica running as a virtual workplace—it even lead to love and marriage.

To honor IRC’s 30th birthday, we’re foregoing the cake and flowers in favor of some memories. Three long-time Ars staffers share some of their earliest IRC interactions, which remind us that the Internet has always been simultaneously wonderful and kind of terrible.

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Dealmaster: Buy a Google Pixel 3, get $800 off a second in credits

Dealmaster: Buy a Google Pixel 3, get $800 off a second in credits

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a handful of pre-order deals for Google’s Pixel 3 phones, which the tech giant launched earlier this week.

Now, our first impressions of the new hardware aren’t incredibly positive, and we’d recommend waiting for our review to drop before making any judgments if you’re on the fence. If you’re dead set on only buying from Google, though, there are a handful of special offers available. Verizon has a BOGO deal that ultimately takes $800 off a second Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL phone, while Best Buy is offering a $100 store gift card with a purchase. Google’s Project Fi is offering a $799 credit deal for new users as well.

Per usual, these offers come with heavy caveats. Best Buy’s offer is for new Verizon activations only—not those who just buy the phone unlocked—and requires a monthly installment plan. The “$800 off” deal at Verizon and Best Buy, meanwhile, comes in the form of 24 monthly bill credits, each worth $33.33 a month. That means you’ll still be paying for two phones upfront and you’ll have to stick with Verizon and the Pixel 3 phone for two years to get all money back. Project Fi’s deal requires that you have an existing member on a group plan and buy two Pixel 3 devices, at which point the $799 credit will be put toward a new user added to that same plan.

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Dealmaster: Take 25% off a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and more Columbus Day deals

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share.

It’s Columbus Day here in the US, and while that’s not the biggest day for tech deals, there are at least a handful worth picking out. The rundown below includes discounts on various Lenovo and Dell laptops, Amazon’s latest Echo speaker, Nokia’s 6.1 smartphone, the Nvidia Shield media streamer, and more. Have a look for yourself.

Featured Deals

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th-gen) Laptop – Intel Core i5-8250U, 14″ 1080p, 256GB PCIe SSD for $1,139.25 at Lenovo (use code: THINKX25 – list price $1,519).
  • Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) for $79.99 at Amazon (list price $99.99).
  • Polk Command Bar Smart Soundbar with Subwoofer for $249 at Amazon (list price $299).
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Laptop – Intel Core i7-7500U, 15.6″ 1080p, 12GB RAM, 2TB HDD for $549.99 at Dell (use code: SAVE50 – list price $829.99).
  • SanDisk Ultra (128GB) MicroSD Card for $25.73 (200GB for $43, 256GB for $63) at Amazon (list price $33.79).
  • Netgear Arlo Pro 720p Wireless Security System with 2 Cameras + Mount for $239 at Walmart (list price $319.99).
  • Nokia 6.1 (32GB) Unlocked Smartphone for $229.99 at Amazon (list price $269).
  • TP-Link HS110 WiFi Smart Plug for $15.99 at Walmart (list price $39.99).
  • Aukey Scepter Series 35.4″ x 15.7″ Large Gaming Mouse Pad for $11.99 at Amazon (use code: FU8HBSCL – list price $23.99).

Laptop & Desktop Computers

  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Laptop – Intel Core i7-7500U, 15.6″ 1080p, 12GB RAM, 2TB HDD for $549.99 at Dell (use code: SAVE50 – list price $829.99).
  • Dell XPS 13 Laptop – Intel Core i5-8250U, 13.3″ 1080p for $794.99 at Dell (use code: 50OFF699 – list price $994.99).
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th-gen) Laptop – Intel Core i5-8250U, 14″ 1080p, 256GB PCIe SSD for $1,139.25 at Lenovo (use code: THINKX25 – list price $1,519).
  • Lenovo ThinkPad V330 Laptop – Intel Core i5-8250U, 15.6″ 1080p for $539.09 at Lenovo (use code: SAVE10MORE – list price $639).
  • Lenovo Yoga 720 2-in-1 Laptop – Intel Core i7-7500U, 12.5″ 1080p, 512GB SSD for $764.99 at Lenovo (use code: SAVE10MORE – list price $1,199.99).
  • 27″ Dell S2716DG Gaming Monitor – 2560×1440, 144Hz, G-Sync + $50 Dell Gift Card for $449.99 at Dell (list price $799.99).
  • 24″ Dell U2417H 1080p Monitor + $100 Dell Gift Card for $259.99 at Dell (list price $349.99).

More Laptops & Desktop PC Deals here.

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Dealmaster: Buy an Nvidia Shield and get a free Google Home Mini

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a bundle that pairs a Google Home Mini smart speaker with Nvidia’s Shield media streamer at no extra cost.

The deal applies to the standard Shield variant, which costs $179, as well as the $199 version that comes with the streamer’s dedicated gaming controller, if you have any interest in using Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming service. We’ve seen all manner of discounts on the Home Mini in recent months, but it normally goes for $49.

The Shield itself isn’t for everyone in a world where Roku and Amazon are selling 4K HDR streamers for $50. But if you’re not an Apple user, it’s still arguably the best streamer on the market for power users. The Shield has no Dolby Vision, but there is 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos support, and its performance is still admirable in 2018. It particularly shines with local file playback, and it can serve as its own Plex server. The game streaming is a nice bonus, and while Android TV still has its cluttered spots, it’s simple enough to get around, and Nvidia has continuously supported the device with software updates. The Home Mini, meanwhile, is still capable if you’re on the Google Assistant train and can now turn on the Shield with voice commands.

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Dealmaster: Take 20% off a new pair of Apple AirPods

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a deal on Apple’s AirPods, which are available for $127 at Rakuten with a coupon code at checkout. Normally, the totally wireless earbuds sell for $159, though we’ve seen a handful of discounts like this in recent months.

You should know the deal with the AirPods by now: they aren’t the best sounding earphones around, and their design doesn’t work for everyone, but they’re still one of the steadiest pairs of truly wireless headphones on the market. An updated model with wireless charging support and a new wireless chip is still likely to arrive at some point, but after Apple neglected the earphones at its iPhone XS event last month, it’s unclear when they’ll get here. Either way, they’re unlikely to cost less than $130. Just note that you’ll have to sign up for a free Rakuten account to take advantage of the discount code here.

If you don’t want a new pair of earphones, we also have deals on Roku TVs, Kindle Unlimited subscriptions, Dell laptops, and much more. Have a look for yourself below.

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Dealmaster: Get an eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 2700 processor for $220

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a deal on AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 2700 processor, which is down to $220 as part of a one-day sale at Amazon. That’s its lowest price to date on Amazon, down about $60-70 from its usual going rate.

This is an unlocked eight-core, 16-thread processor with a base clock speed of 3.2GHz and a turbo of 4.1GHz. It also comes with AMD’s handy Wraith Spire LED cooler. We went over the second-gen Ryzen chips when they launched in April, but the skinny on the Ryzen 7 2700 is that it’s not the best buy for lightly threaded tasks or gaming. Despite that, it’s still more than adequate and a good value for heavier workloads and multi-threaded tasks. This deal price should only amplify that. Just note that Intel’s ninth-gen processors are likely launching soon.

If you aren’t looking to build a budget-conscious rig, though, we also have a site-wide 15 percent-off sale at eBay, deals on Amazon Fire TV devices, and more. Have a look below.

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Dealmaster: Get Red Dead Redemption 2 bundled with a PS4 Pro at no extra cost

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a new bundle that pairs Red Dead Redemption 2 with Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro console for the latter’s usual $400 retail price.

Now, PS4 Pro bundles are nothing new, and there will inevitably be chances to score the console and game for less than $400 after Rockstar’s latest is out. But stock of the PS4 Pro has been somewhat sporadic on its own, so if you’re interested in the 4K-ready console and plan to buy Red Dead Redemption 2 anyway, it’s a decent savings off the bat.

As for whether the PS4 Pro is worth it in the first place, that’ll depend on how much stock you put in 4K gaming. The standard PS4 can play in HDR, and generally speaking there’s little reason to pay more if you’re using a 1080p TV or 1440p monitor. Still, even if it’s not a generational leap, the Pro does make many games look and run smoother on higher-end screens.

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Dealmaster: Take 25 percent off a bunch of popular Nintendo Switch games

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a set of deals on high-profile Nintendo Switch games at Walmart and Amazon, including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Splatoon 2, Kirby Star Allies, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Mario Tennis Aces. All of them are 25 percent off, which works out to a $10-15 discount.

Not every game up there will be to everybody’s liking—the competitive online focus of Mario Tennis Aces is a far cry from cutesy puzzles of Captain Toad, for instance—and most Switch (or Wii U) owners have probably played at least a few of these already. But if you’re in need of something new to play, all the above titles are at least worth checking out. Go have a look at our reviews if you’re on the fence about one in particular.

The catch here is that these discounts only apply to the physical copies of each game. That shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most—you’ll use up less of the Switch’s meager 32GB of internal storage—but it’s worth noting that Nintendo just added the ability to share Switch downloads across consoles. Still, given that these games are going for full price in the Nintendo eShop and are tied for new lows here, waiting a couple days and dealing with a cartridge may be worth it.

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