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No, not THAT vote. Last newsletter, we asked you which videos we should post next on our YouTube channel, and you responded. The latest videos are up, with more to come. Feel free to leave comments or questions on YouTube.

It’s That Time of Year

Black Friday officially begins November 23, the Friday after Thanksgiving, but some retailers’ plans have leaked. It can be hard to tell what is ACTUALLY a deal, so do your homework BEFORE the sales start.

One Phone, Two Lines? Almost.

The new iPhone XR is available now, and the reviews are good; it’s pricey, but a better value than the stratospherically expensive XS models.  Unless you’re Pete Souza, it’s probably the iPhone for most people who want to upgrade.

One of the big selling points of these new iPhones is that you can have two different phone lines on one phone. You can even use two different carriers. Why? Well, they could be work/personal, or private/public (Tinder, anyone?), or US/international plans. The catch? None of the major US carriers are ready yet; likely by the end of the year.

It’s getting harder every day to recommend Windows.

Imagine building a house with 40 different plumbers, and then a pipe leaks. That’s the fundamental challenge of Windows; too many parts from too many places.  And lately Microsoft has had a series of embarrassing problems with Windows Updates, including file deletion. Rumor has it that the delayed October update will finally be out tomorrow.

“Apple has once again gone and ruined everything you own by releasing new products.”

—the Macalope, Macworld

Apple just announced a makeover of the venerable and beloved MacBook Air, the Mac Mini, and the iPad Pro. Don’t drop everything to upgrade, but if you’re in need of a new laptop, desktop or tablet, they’re all worth considering.

Apple also launched a free repair program for problems with certain iPhone X and MacBook Pro models. And the previously-announced $29 battery replacement program ends at the end of the year, so take advantage of it while you still can.

Can You See Me Now?

Facebook just launched Portal, a hands-free video-calling device that tracks you around the room—incredibly useful or incredibly creepy? Reviewers are liking it, and The NY Times said “If you already chat and call on Facebook Messenger on your phone, then chatting and calling from Portal isn’t putting you in any greater danger.”

Alternatively, Apple’s recent software updates (Mojave on the Mac, iOS 12 on the phone) enable FaceTime calls with up to 32 people.  Great for families, or committee meetings in nasty weather.

The Best Words

Do you use Word, Excel, Outlook—that is, Microsoft Office? Of course you do. Microsoft recently launched the 2019 version of the ubiquitous Office suite (Windows and Mac: $149).  As we’ve explained before, you can either BUY Office once, or SUBSCRIBE and pay annually; the right choice depends on your use. Here are the basic options compared.