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Nihilism, and why the tech press can't admit to having nice things...

After taking down a rather daft article about 2013 being a disappointing year for tech, John Gruber put to words something I've been wrestling with for the latter part of this year. From Daring Fireball:

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Think the Mac Pro is pricey? Make one yourself, but get ready to pay a stiff PC tax

Can you build the PC equivalent of a Mac Pro and save yourself some money doing it? If Stephen Fung at Futurelooks's effort is any indication, then the answer is a resounding no.

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On cheaper TVs and buying less, but better

As a consumer electronics market matures, early entrants are typically challenged by cheaper competitors who are then challenged by increasingly cheaper competitors until products become commoditized and most value goes out of them. (Similar to premium software or services getting beaten by cheap getting beaten by free.) Inevitably the quality of the product suffers, trending towards the disposable, which is offset by the low replacement costs. When you add up all the costs and tradeoffs between quality products and cheap products, over the course of many years, there difference isn't great - you always pay somehow - but the up-front expenditure is so much less, it makes it tough to argue premium consumer electronic products have much if any place left in the market. Which is John Herrman's case for buying a shitty TV on BuzzFeed:

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Getting Steve Jobs to dance

Jonathan Mann lost a big video contest, made an antennagate song to console himself, and woke up to a request from Apple to use it to kick off their press conference. Medium:

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Your last chance to vote for the Best of 2013!

Time's almost up! If you haven't already, take a few minutes to cast your vote for the best of the best: devices, apps and accessories that made your life much better in 2013.

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So, what new tech did you get for the holidays?

Did Santa leave you some great new Apple gifts under the tree? Were there 8 days of tech for you earlier this year? Did you simply get caught up in - or reap the benefits of - the holiday sales? Yes, there are far more important things in the world, and there are all sorts of arguments against our increasingly materialistic culture, but we're a technology blog and an Apple-centric one at that, so we have but one focus, and one question for you today...

What gear to you give, and what gear to you receive these holidays?

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Apple vs. Samsung advertising: Real life vs. really awkward

Last week Apple released "Misunderstood", which showed a disconnected boy at the periphery of his family, and how Apple products like the iPhone 5s and services helped him connect and give them a heartwarming gift for the holidays. We also saw Nokia's nightmarish "For work. For play.". This week it's Samsung turn with "Are you Geared Up?", which shows how a watch can be more convenient for... hitting on the opposite sex while on a ski trip.

Check them both out and let me know what you think. How do they make you feel about the brands? About the devices? About the experience of using them and their ecosystems? About what you're likely to buy next?

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evad3rs team post 'letter to the community" about evasi0n jailbreak

The evad3rs team has posted a "letter to the community" to address many of the concerns raised about the surprising release of their iOS 7 jailbreak. It includes their reasons for the inclusion of the Chinese app store, TaiG, the pirated apps found therein, why they released it when and how they did, and what, if any, financial considerations they had. From evasi0n:

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Tim Cook tells employees Apple has big plans for 2014, products customers are going to love

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, has sent out an email to employees, thanking them for their hard work, listing off Apple's innovations for the year, and promising even more of the same for 2014. Mark Gurman obtained a copy of the full text. In part, from 9to5Mac :

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Holiday #FF - Fantastic iMore and Mobile Nations follows for the holidays!

The holidays are almost upon us, and @CESlive, and that means all of us here at iMore and Mobile Nations will have a lot going on behind the scenes. If you're interested in seeing just what exactly that means, and just how geeky we can get, one of the best ways to do it is to follow us on Twitter.

Here's who you should follow from @iMore:

And our awesome @MobileNations team:

Collect us all, and make sure you leave your Twitter handle in the comments too!

(And for those who've asked, our jingling new holiday avatars were made by the amazing Mobile Nations design team!)

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