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Microsoft's Xbox Launch Tradition Continues with Custom Hardware – Thurrott.com

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Image Credit: Brenna Duffitt

Every time that Microsoft releases a new Xbox console, the company has a tradition of creating ‘launch’ memorabilia. And with the release of the Xbox Series X and S last week, this release was no different.

Starting with the original Xbox, Microsoft released a limited-edition green console that was signed by Bill Gates to acknowledge the hard work that went into creating the hardware. The original console has become a collector’s item with one such example selling for $951 at Goodwill earlier this year.

Original Xbox Launch console signed by Bill Gates.

Moving on to the Xbox 360, one of the key features of the physical console was that it could be easily customized with faceplates. To celebrate the release of that console, Microsoft created a limited edition faceplate for those who worked on the hardware but these sell for around $60 today.

Custom Xbox 360 Launch faceplate

With the Xbox One, Microsoft started to build a custom Xbox controller and console. For this launch, they created the “I Made This” launch Team controllers with a matching white Xbox One console that was the envy of many gamers as the company only released a black version of the console at launch.

‘I Made This’ Xbox One Launch Console

This brings us up to last week where Microsoft once again issued custom hardware to those on the launch team (image at the top of this post). This generation of consoles was codenamed Project Scarlett, which you can see printed across the bottom of the peripheral along with “Power Your Dreams” and dates of previous console releases too.

Microsoft also included in the launch swag for employees a ‘Ship It’ award. The company uses these small medallions for employees to highlight the products they have helped move from concept to production too.

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Health unit declares COVID-19 outbreak at Shish Shawarma restaurant – CBC.ca

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The Middlesex London Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Shish Shawarma and Grill after six employees tested positive for coronavirus. 

The restaurant is located at 1401 Ernest Avenue in London’s south end. 

The health unit was notified of an initial case on Dec. 1, and closed the restaurant the following day after being notified of two more staff cases. On Thursday the health unit was told about positive tests for three additional employees. 

“Investigators are still determining whether any of the six staff members worked while they were infectious. The Health Unit has determined that there may have been a low-risk exposure for some customers,” the health unit said in a statement. 

Those who visited the eatery between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2 should monitor themselves for symptoms. 

“We know that it raises concerns when the health unit declares a COVID-19 outbreak, especially when it’s related to a restaurant, but I want to be clear that the risk of contracting the virus in a situation like this is very low. Any interactions between restaurant employees and patrons would have been brief and staff who interacted with customers were wearing masks, which would have reduced the possibility for COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health

“We will continue our investigation and work with these six people directly, determine who their close contacts are and provide the support they need to help navigate this situation.” 

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The 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Is A Serious Threat To The Civic Si – Jalopnik

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Photo: Hyundai

At a time where both sedans and manual-transmission models are fading from the market, it’s nice to see automakers continue to make compact and fun four-door offerings. Hyundai just released pricing for the Elantra N Line and it seems that it has the Honda Civic Si sedan squarely in its sights.

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Hyundai brought some substantial updates to the Elantra lineup for the 2021 model year, including a drastic styling change that adds some flair to the commuter-car segment. The all-new 2021 Elantra N Line uses a formula similar to its competitors — four-door compact sedan, performance upgrades, manual gearbox — but offers an awesome value at a starting price of $25,095 with the six-speed manual and $26,195 with the dual-clutch automatic.

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In comparison, the Si is $26,155 is available only with a manual gearbox. The Elantra N Line uses a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Honda’s motor is a turbocharged 1.5-liter that makes 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque

While the performance specs are incredibly similar, the Elantra N Line lays it on heavy with standard equipment. The sporty trim builds on the already well-equipped SE and SEL, which come packed with advanced safety equipment and technology, and then adds a host of upgrades to set the N Line apart. From Hyundai’s press materials:

Larger front brakes, Multi-link rear suspension Leather/cloth combination sport seats, Sport mode select option, Power driver seat 18-inch alloy wheels w/ 235/40 R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires, Heated front seats, Chrome twin exhaust N Line analog gauge cluster, Sunroof Leather-wrapped sport steering wheel & shift knob, Full LED taillights, Alloy pedals, N Line front grille and bumper, Black headliner, N Line rear fascia w/ diffuser, 60/40 split-folding rear seatback with armrest & cup holders N Line DLO (glossy black)

Also in this category is the updated VW Jetta GLI that puts down similar power but has a starting price of $27,460 with a manual transmission. However, the VW doesn’t include the same level of standard equipment as the Hyundai.

While it would be nice to have a hatchback option as well, the Elantra N Line sedan retains the formula of a fun car at an affordable price — if the styling is your thing.

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Sonos One Wi-Fi speakers are $40 off today – The Verge

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Sonos ran an all-too-short one-day sale on its Wi-Fi speakers last week for Black Friday. The good news is that they’re discounted once again at Best Buy and Amazon, though the price cuts aren’t as steep. Both the Sonos One SL without microphones and the Sonos One (Gen 2) are $40 off at either retailer. This puts the One SL at $140 and the One (Gen 2) at $160. Neither are best-ever prices, but given that they’re within $10 of their lowest costs, we thought you’d like to know about these deals.

If HBO Max caught your attention yesterday with the news that all Warner Bros. films released through 2021 will debut day-and-date on the streaming platform, you understandably might want a subscription for yourself or to gift to someone else. For new and returning subscribers, you can save 20 percent by prepaying for a six-month subscription to the service. Instead of $90, it’ll cost you $70. Just note that this is non-refundable.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the latest installment that crams essentially four games into one package, has received a $10 price cut across all platforms at Walmart. The PS4 or Xbox One version of the game now costs $50 instead of $60. If you’re already gaming on the PS5 or Xbox Series X / S consoles, you’ll spend $60 (PS5, Xbox Series X / S) instead of $70.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you get the PS4 / Xbox One version, there’s a $10 fee associated with getting the next-gen patch for either the PS5 or Xbox Series X / S. So if you just don’t want to fuss with that, get the pricier next-gen version instead.

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