SONOS Speakers HEAVILY Discounted For Black Friday

Richard Goodwin

23/11/2017 – 11:43am

Interested in picking up some SONOS speakers? Well, thanks to Black Friday, you can now do so for A LOT LESS

SONOS speakers are great. I have a bunch in my home and couldn’t imagine life without them. The sound quality, the ease of use, the portability – everything about them is just excellent.
Like Apple products, SONOS gear is not cheap – but once you unbox one and set it up, you will know where all that extra money has gone.
I think I have spent close to $1000 on SONOS speakers over the years, maybe more, but out of that, I have gotten untold hour’s worth of pleasure with friends and family at parties and gatherings.
If you’re thinking about getting some SONOS speakers in 2017/18, now’s definitely the time as, thanks to Black Friday, they are now all heavily discounted over at Amazon.
You stand to save around $50 on most SONOS units right now, which is a pretty hefty saving when you consider the SONOS ONE retails for around $200 normally.
In addition to this, the new Play One speaker now comes with Amazon’s Alexa built into it – so, you can talk to it and get it to do your bidding! 

Start and control your music with your voice. Amazon Alexa built right in.
Play songs, check news and traffic, control your smart home and enjoy all those other helpful Amazon Alexa skills using a single Sonos speaker.
Ask Alexa to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and SiriusXM. Listen to hundreds of other streaming services with the Sonos app.
Connect wirelessly with other Sonos Home Sound System speakers to play music in any or every room.
Enjoy surprisingly rich, room-filling sound from a smart speaker.
Pair two Sonos Ones together in the same room for instant stereo sound. Cannot be stereo paired with other Sonos speakers

SONOS speakers also make great Christmas gifts too, so if you’re stuck for ideas for what to get a loved one, perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered?
Check out the full roster of Amazon’s SONOS Black Friday Deals for a better idea of the types of savings you could make.
And trust me, you will never regret getting a SONOS speaker. I love mine and everyone that I know who has one feels the same.

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Google admits to tracking users’ locations

Android phones have been collecting information about their users’ whereabouts and sending it to Google since the start of 2017, according to news site Quartz.
The site reports that even when location services were disabled, locations of nearby cell towers were logged and sent to Google by the system Android uses to manage messages and push notifications.
“Even devices that had been reset to factory default settings and apps, with location services disabled, were observed by Quartz sending nearby cell-tower addresses to Google,” it explains.
“Devices with a cellular data or WiFi connection appear to send the data to Google each time they come within range of a new cell tower. When Android devices are connected to a WiFi network, they will send the tower addresses to Google even if they don’t have SIM cards installed,” it continues.
The discovery has significant privacy implications for Android users, who might reasonably have expected for their location not to be tracked if they turned off location services and had no SIM in the device. However, as Quartz highlights, a quick read of Google’s privacy policy about location sharing does appear to cover the company’s behaviour:
“When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.”
When approached by Quartz, Google admitted to collecting location data, but claimed that it had not used or stored any of it.
A spokesperson told the site, “In January of this year, we began looking into using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery…However, we never incorporated Cell ID into our network sync system, so that data was immediately discarded, and we updated it to no longer request Cell ID.”
Google said that by the end of November Android devices would no longer send cell tower information to the company. Of course, if you’ve ever enabled Google Location History, Google will continue to log your whereabouts.
To disable this feature, open Google Maps from your phone and select ‘Your timeline’ in the main menu. Next, tap the three-dot button, Settings and swipe up until you see ‘Location history is on’. Tap this and you can toggle which devices log your location. To remove all your location history, tap back once and then select ‘Delete all Location History’.

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PlayStation VR review: Sony slashes the price of its headset ahead of Black Friday

With Black Friday fast approaching, Sony has announced it’s put together one incredible PlayStation VR bundle. Now, for £100 cheaper than it’s official retail price, you can pick up a PlayStation VR Starter Pack along with a copy of GT Sport or Skyrim VR for £250.
The PlayStation VR Starter Pack comes with a copy of PlayStation Worlds VR and the PlayStation Camera out of the box. You can buy the pack from select retailers like ShopTo, Game and Tesco alongside the behemoth that is Amazon.
You can read our original PlayStation VR review from the device’s October launch.
PlayStation VR review
2016 was supposed to be year that VR took off, and in some ways it has. There are now three VR headsets available to consumers, but in reality the PS VR the one you’re most likely to buy. It’s a rare case of a product actually living up to the hype, and, although it doesn’t yet have the huge game library it needs, new titles such as Resident Evil 7 are able to bring a really immersive experience to your living room. At £349, it delivers a comprehensive VR experience – and if you’ve got a PS4 or a PS4 Pro it’s certainly worth a look.
PlayStation VR review: What you need
If you own a PS4 and a DualShock 4 controller you’re already halfway there. The PSVR simply plugs into the back of the console via the bundled control box, with the only other requirement being a PlayStation Camera. This doesn’t come with the headset, but several retailers are selling it as part of a PSVR bundle pack, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking one down.
The PS Camera you’ll most likely see being sold is the new second-generation version, which now has a cylindrical design and hinge-stand making it easier to align with the headset. The hardware inside it is exactly the same as the previous model, though, so don’t make the mistake of upgrading if you already own one.

With those three things in place, you’re good to go. There’s no PC involved, no hassle of having to upgrade any of your rig’s components, and you don’t need to clear out a significant portion of your living room to use it. Sony still recommends you sit around five feet away from the camera, but given that PSVR is primarily a seated VR experience, at least you won’t have to move the furniture around every time you want to start playing.
PlayStation Move controllers
It’s also worth noting that PSVR supports Sony’s Move controllers as well. These motion-control wands were originally launched for the PS3 after the run-away success of the Wii, but since then they haven’t had much love, as there simply haven’t been that many games released that actually support them. However, if you happen to have a couple gathering dust in the back of an old cupboard, now is exactly the right time to bring them out of hibernation, as several PSVR games are using them to great effect.
They’re not essential controllers – there are very few games which only support Move controllers – but I’d recommend trying to track some down if you want to get the very best VR experience possible. Most games that do support them, for instance, use them to act as a disembodied pair of hands, allowing you to interact with your environment far more naturally than you would with a DualShock 4 controller.
PlayStaion VR review: Setting it up
Just like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, PlayStation VR is a tethered headset. That means there’s a long cable that trails from the back of the headset into the main control box, which in turn plugs into the back of the PS4. You’ll be sitting down most of the time, so it’s unlikely you’ll find your legs getting tangled up in them, but it’s something to be aware of if your console lives in a busy living room with kids or pets rushing in and out. You can stand and move about a little bit if you’re playing a game that supports Sony’s optional motion-sensing PlayStation Move controllers, but these are still largely stationary experiences that don’t require you to walk around.

You’ll find two joined-up cables trailing out the back of the headset: one HDMI cable and one proprietary connection that can either plug into the bundled extension lead, taking the total cable length to 4.4m, or straight into the main control box. Dubbed the “Processing Unit”, this device mirrors the design of the original PS4, with a split running down one-third of the box and an LED light strip across the front. The smaller section neatly slides backwards to reveal two ports, which Sony has marked with its classic Square, Circle, X and Triangle symbols. Then you slide the housing back to keep everything looking neat and tidy.
At the back of the Processing Unit is a power socket, a micro-USB port and two HDMI outputs – one for plugging into your TV and one for plugging into your PS4. All the cables are included in the box. You only get one HDMI lead, but this won’t be a problem, since you should already have an HDMI cable connecting your PS4 to your TV.
The micro-USB port is to be connected to one of your PS4’s USB ports. Annoyingly, these are on the front of the console, so you’ll have to put up with at least one wire trailing out in front. That’s a shame considering the lengths to which Sony has gone to make the Processing Unit box so discreet.
Finally, there’s the PlayStation Camera. Rather than connecting to the Processing Unit, all you need to do is plug it into the PS4’s rear aux port and place it in front of where you’re likely to sit. This is vital, as it’s this device that’s responsible for tracking your head movements via the blue lights on the front of the headset. All in all, it’s pretty painless compared to how long it took to set up the Vive; I was up and running in less than 15 minutes.

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Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV Review – Preview Images

Ahead of our full review, here are some sample images taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV superzoom bridge camera.
A gallery of sample images taken with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 IV superzoom bridge camera.
The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We’ve provided some Sony RAW (ARW) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).
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How to fix the process has stopped error

This article is for those who have gotten one of the following errors: ‘Unfortunately, the process has stopped’ and ‘ has stopped unexpectedly’. These relate to the same problem and it’s actually easy to resolve, so don’t panic. Below we show you how to fix it.

Certain devices from previous generations, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the HTC One M8, can be particularly prone to this error, but however, the problem can happen to anyone and the solutions are the same. So, take a deep breath and follow our instructions below carefully to get things working again.
1. Reboot your phone
I see some eyes rolling back there, but turning the device on and off again is always the first thing you should try in a situation like this.
Just hold the side power button for a few seconds and you’ll get the option to restart your device.
2. Clear cache for the app in question
If you notice that the error message pops up repeatedly when you try to launch a particular app, then chances are that this app is the cause of the problem.
Go to Settings > Apps and find the app in question.
Tap the app and then tap Storage and on the following page hit Clear cache. This might do the trick.
If that still doesn’t help, you can clear the data for the app, too. This means that you will lose any game progress or chat conversations, etc., so you might want to back up your app data first.
You will find the Clear data button above Clear cache (see the picture below, right).
If neither solution proves fruitful, the next step is to try uninstalling the app (which can be done from the same page as clearing the cache and data) and reinstalling it later. 

After clearing the app cache and data, try uninstalling and reinstalling the problem app. / © AndroidPIT

3. Clear Google Services Framework data
If clearing the cache and data for a particular app, or even uninstalling it, doesn’t work, there is another quick solution you can try. 
This method will delete your Google Play Services preferences and settings but they are easy to assign again afterwards; you probably won’t even notice it has happened.

Go to Settings > Apps
Tap the 3 dots in the upper right corner and select Show system
Scroll through the apps and select Google Services Framework
On the App info page, tap Storage, then Clear cache.

Restarting Google Services Framework could fix the error. / © AndroidPIT

4. Reset app preferences
Another option would be to go to the Settings > Apps > All and reset the app preferences (the option for this is found via the three-dots / hamburger icon).
This will bring all of your apps’ settings back to square one, but it won’t delete any app data. In other words, you won’t lose any progress you’ve saved.
5. Disable automatic application updates
This error often happens after an app has been updated, so if you turn off automatic updates from the Play Store, the surprise problem won’t happen as often. You should still remember to manually update your apps anyway, when it’s more convenient for you to handle the potential errors that may follow.
To disable automatic updates, go to your Google Play Store app settings and deactivate automatic updates.

Deactivate automatic updates / © AndroidPIT

6. Restart Download Manager
Sometimes, the ‘ has stopped’ error, can be related to the Download Manager app. Here’s how to check it this is the case.

Go to Settings
Tap Apps
Locate Download Manager and open App Info
Disable it, then re-enable it and see if the error still occurs.

7. Perform a factory reset
Perform a factory data reset on your smartphone
If you’re still facing problems after having tried all of the above, then you may have little choice but to do a factory reset. This is a drastic measure and there are consequences. All of your data will be lost. So you should perform a complete backup beforehand.
Once your data is backed it’s time to do a reset. 

Go to your Settings and tap Backup & reset.
Now, make sure the Back up my data slider is on.
Tap Back up account to select which account you want your data backed up to. Ensure you have access to this account.
Once you’ve done this, go to the Backup & reset menu and tap the Factory data reset button at the bottom.

Confirm that you want to do this, and your phone will be as it was when you bought it. Your data will be restored when you log back into your Google account.

Make sure you back everything up before performing a factory reset. / © AndroidPIT

How often do you see this error message? Did these tips help you fix the problem? Let us know in the comments.

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Eve V review

LATE LAST year, we were invited to take part in something a bit different, and a bit special.
As a rule, we don’t work with crowdfunders until they’re near production – but this proposition was different. A 2-in-1 tablet that hadn’t yet even been designed. Its Finnish founder, Konstantinos Karatsevidis (he is Finnish, really) contacted us directly, explaining that his funders had voted for us to get one of the first reviews. We’re honoured. And here it is. And by gosh, you’re in for a treat.
The idea is simple – there’s a very broad spec, for which you put your money down. This isn’t just buying you the product, it’s buying you voting rights in the design process. Amongst the funders are those technically minded enough to turn the needs of consumers into a single machine. It’s utopian, but it’s also common sense.
After some delays caused by supplier problems, the result is here. The Eve-V (it’s V for Victory not V for 5, by the way) is a Surface Pro type affair, but offers significantly better specs, for significantly less money and with a whole bunch of features that users voted for.
The first batch of tablets has arrived, including ours. The rest (mostly those who have opted for the 1TB edition) will get theirs in the next few weeks.
So, if this is an experiment, was it successful? The short answer is yes. It worked brilliantly.
We should add before we go any further that members of the press were not included in the design process, and although we were kept updated, we were not allowed to in any way influence the finished product, and we are reviewing this device under the same terms that we would for any other device of its type.
Incisive Media reviews are impartial, honest and we never, ever,  accept payment for a review. 

DesignThe Eve V is a 12.3-inch tablet that Surface Pro users will be more than familiar with. It’s a little chunky for a tablet at 8.9mm but there’s a very good reason for that – the all-day battery, and USB A ports. That was a deliberate decision taken by the community. Functionality is worth a millimetre.
Equally, it’s not the lightest tablet we’ve seen either, but it still manages to feel less heavy than it looks.
The IGZO screen, which has been manually calibrated at the factory on a machine-by-machine basis is crisp and bright. Yes. You read that right. Each screen is calibrated by hand as it comes off the production line. And if you don’t like the way they’ve calibrated it, you can turn it off in settings.
The six-month delay in shipping was caused by a problem with the original screen, and the community voted to go with a better 2880×1440 screen from Sharp. It was a wise choice. There’s a bezel of around 10mm all the way around, but it’s certainly not going to offend anyone. It boasts Gorilla Glass of what Eve describes as “somewhere between 3 and 4” – but we dropped it on a hard floor twice during the review (definitely science, not idiocy, honest) and there’s not a mark on it.

The brushed black aluminium rear has no logos at all which makes it look even more sleek and sexy. In fact, there’s no mention of the tablet brand anywhere on the device. This one is for those in the know.
The only identifying marker is a tessellated ‘V’ key to represent the logo, and (in the nice touch department) the word “backspace” have been replaced by “oops!”.
The kickstand can twist around almost 140 degrees, and the keyboard is sturdy with a feeling of brushed suede. The keyboard is backlit, and you can toggle the colour of that light at will.

Among the little touches that make the Eve V so special, the keyboard cover can be used two ways – either connected via Pogo plugs (sadly they’re proprietary) or it has its own battery meaning it can be connected remotely via Bluetooth.
Connectivity & featuresThere’s 802.11ac MIMO wifi and Bluetooth 4.2. We’d like to see an NFC reader, like the Samsung Galaxy Book, and a SIM slot for LTE on future models, but they’re not exactly show stoppers – there’s plenty going on already.
As we’ve mentioned there’s 2x USB A 3.0 ports, but there’s also 2x USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt 3. This paves the way for all kinds of groovy things that are usually on high-end fruit-based computing. We got some blazing fast transfers to an external USB SSD and there’s also the option to add an eGPU for pro-level gaming (we didn’t get a chance to try that but sadly).

The 3.5mm audio port has its own dedicated amplifier from TI, while two far-field mics with noise cancelling mean it can be used and for extra storage, there’s a micro SDXC slot for expansion up to the current limit of 256GB.
Our review device boasts a 7th-gen Intel i7 processor capable of a turbo speed of 3.6ghz
The 48kw battery boasts a life of up to 16 hours. We didn’t quite get that far – nine is our best so far, but you can make adjustments in Windows and the BIOS to opt for performance or battery, the logic being that allows the machine to serve two different audiences with software, not hardware. There’s also a firmware drop planned which will increase stamina still further.
Our model has a 500GB PCIe SSD aboard – but there’s a variety of permutations, and despite all of this, it’s completely fanless.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, there’s a 2MP front camera, with 5MP on the back.
SoftwareHere’s the biggie. There’s no bloatware on the Eve V. Non. Zero. Zip. It’s Windows 10 (Home or Pro are available) as Satya intended. The only addition is the app that collaborates the screen. But the BIOS is fully loaded. Eve clearly thinks that you can be trusted with the settings under the hood. Additionally, it can be partitioned and dual booted with Linux or x86 Android. In fact, someone in the community has had it running macOS already. Witchcraft! The point being that this is a machine that is like Disney’s Fantasia – it’s never finished, but it’s now out there for the general user to use, and the community to hack the crap out of, starting with a clean slate.
UsabilityWhilst the popularity of kickstands and keyboards that flap still confuses us, there’s clearly a market for them and this is easily the best we’ve seen. The keyboard has an easy action that’s a joy to type on, an intuitive layout and the gorilla glass coated trackpad is very responsive.

We do like a laptop to go on the lap, but that’s something that Eve may decide to pursue as an accessory idea.
As for the 1024 pressure pen, it’s capable of handwriting which is a pretty good test. It should certainly be good for those who do a bit of graphic design on the go. The pen sticks with magnets to the right-hand side of the device, but it doesn’t grip well and covers some ports, so we’d only advise that if you’re at a desk already. It’s one of the few design flaws…. (or perhaps we should say compromises) of the whole product and it’s pretty minor.
We’ve left one of our favourite features for last. With security being such an important part of computing, and particularly mobile computing, then Windows Hello was going to always be a must. But where do you put a fingerprint reader on a tablet without it interfering with the rest of the real estate?
We’ve not quite at under-screen yet, so the solution is genius. The fingerprint reader and the power button are one and the same. A light tap reads a fingerprint, a press yields to turn the device on and off. It’s beautiful thinking, and very, very responsive, more so than the fingerprint reader on any phone we’ve seen yet.
In shortThere’s an old saying that a camel is a “horse designed by a committee” and there’s a certain cynical logic there – the more minds work on something the more likely it is to deviate from the perfection of the vision of the auteur.
But this has not been the case with the Eve V – the auteur’s vision was 1,000 minds working together to create something great. Every detail has been honed to perfection and the result is greater than the sum of its parts.  This machine isn’t for the high street – there’s too much painstaking care involved for that.
But if you can wait, catch a flash sale and wait for it to be hand-built for you, it will do everything you wanted and more. 
We’re almost hoping that, given that we’ve been in touch with our Finnish friends for a while, someone will accuse us of nepotism and then try it for themselves so they can see that as the founder said to us… “the hype is real”. It really is THAT good.
The build-on-demand and sell direct model does mean you’ll be waiting, but it also slashes costs, and means that you can get the machine you wanted… no, we’ll go further, the only machine you’ll need, for about a grand less than competitors.
That’s people power.
The first flash sale of Eve V is currently scheduled for December 4th, 1400 GMT at

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Apple’s Thanksgiving ad is mostly about the AirPods

Every year, Apple airs a new ad in the U.S. for Thanksgiving. Compared to other Apple ads, this is less about showing product features and more like a greeting card.
This year is no different — you still see a lot of AirPods. Apple’s new ad is called “Sway” and takes place in the streets of Prague. A woman starts playing Sam Smith’s “Palace” on her white iPhone X with her AirPods.
She then ends up in an alternate reality where she can dance around people without getting noticed. She bumps into a man, hands him an AirPod and starts dancing with him under the snow.
Fun fact: these two dancers are married in real life.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake Release Date Reveal Coming Early Next Year?

During a conference call with investors, Square Enix President and CEO Yosuke Matsuda suggested a window for a series of important announcements. He stated that the release dates for upcoming major titles could be revealed between “the end of FY2018/3 and E3.” Gamers excited for titles such as the Final Fantasy 7 Remake may anticipate an announcement between April and June of 2018. This might mean a Final Fantasy 7 Remake release date could be revealed early next year.

Currently, there is no known window of release for the Final Fantasy 7 remake. It is not confirmed whether or not the Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be among the major title dates announced during this period. Square Enix seemingly has several major titles that could be revealed early next year.

Another highly-anticipated major title with an unknown release date that may be revealed during this period is Kingdom Hearts 3. The latest trailer revealed a 2018 window of release for Kingdom Hearts 3, but there was no specific date or season. However, it seems likely a specific release date will be finalized during this time frame.

In the same conference call, Matsuda also discussed the Nintendo Switch. He stated that the “Nintendo Switch makes it easier for us to leverage our back catalog of assets and expertise, so we want to be proactive in creating new IP and rebooting past titles for that platform.” This statement seems to support the rumor that Final Fantasy 15 may be getting a full Nintendo Switch port. It is unknown whether or not this title could accompany the other major titles revealed in the suggested time frame.

Other topics discussed in the conference call include predictions for digital downloads, Square Enix involvement with the mobile augmented reality business, and plans for Left Alive. With Kingdom Hearts 3 confirmed for a release in 2018, it seems likely that this game will be among the major titles given release dates. Hopefully, this upcoming announcement period also includes the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy 7 Remake, or perhaps it could even include the Final Fantasy 15 Nintendo Switch port.
Currently, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is in development for the PS4.

Source: Dualshockers

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MLB’s punishment of the Braves leaves lingering questions

Wednesday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at the extensive Braves’ punishments, and wonders why there aren’t more.
The Braves were finally punished by Major League Baseball for the scope of their breaking of international free agency rules, and it’s a whole lot to take in at once. They lost 12 prospects, will be restricted in future signing periods in the short-term future, and are also going to lose out in the draft. John Coppolella, the former general manager whose resignation kicked off this entire process in public, was banned from MLB for life. And yet, these punishments still feel incomplete.
Coppolella was served with MLB’s ultimate punishment, and his special assistant during his Braves’ tenure, Gordon Blakely, was banned from the game for a year. And yet, John Hart, the Atlanta exec who oversaw Coppolella, seems to have escaped with only an informal punishment. He’s no longer the President of Baseball Operations for the Braves, and it seems pretty clear at this point that he bailed because of the investigation. Where’s his suspension or ban, given Atlanta’s Baseball Operations department that he was in charge of is the one responsible for everything MLB investigated and punished?

Peter Gammons asked an important question on Twitter on Tuesday when he wondered was the one giving the OK for all of the cash spent on these prospects? It seems unlikely that Coppolella and Blakely were the only two employees in the Braves’ front office or from ownership who knew where this money was going and why, and yet, they’ve been forced to shoulder all of the blame.
This is not to say that the former GM and his special assistant did nothing wrong: it’s just a reminder that the Braves, as an organization, are at fault here, but for some reason, MLB chose to punish those who are already gone the most. This becomes even more of a question when you realize there’s a chance that all of this punishment came as a result of some whistleblowing amid a front office power struggle — notice John Schuerholz’s name hasn’t come up once in all of this despite the power he wielded for the Braves as their Vice Chairman? Seems weird!
What we know for sure is that MLB has made their intentions very clear to every other team that is making deals with underage players or shifting money around in order to get the prospects they want despite the spending rules in place. The punishment to the Red Sox was the initial message, and since that apparently wasn’t clear enough, they just dismantled the Braves’ front office and farm system.

Joe Morgan wrote a letter to baseball’s Hall of Fame voters, pleading with them to keep steroid users out of Cooperstown. It’s a bad letter with bad intentions, and Grant Brisbee wrote about how it achieved the opposite of its goal.
Here’s a look at the 12 prospects the Braves lost.
They’ll all be eligible to sign with new teams in two weeks, and no, the Braves can’t re-sign any of them to new deals.
Omar Vizquel is not a Hall of Famer, writes Let’s Go Tribe, and there should be no shame in his being merely really good.

Shohei Ohtani’s path to MLB should be clear, as the MLBPA agreed to a deal with Baseball and NPB that will allow him to be posted.
A pitch clock is definitely coming in 2018, once MLB and the MLBPA figure out how many seconds it should be ticking off.
Fish Stripes wonders if Justin Bour is going to be dealt soon, following a recent Marlins’ trade with the Yankees.

Is it actually a good idea for the Giants to trade for Giancarlo Stanton?
The Orioles might want to deal Zach Britton, and Camden Chat makes the case for them to do so.
Patrick Dubuque considers what the Wild West of baseball understanding felt like.

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Why have five mid-table Premier League clubs sacked their managers so soon? | Paul Wilson | Football

Five Premier League managers have lost their jobs so far this season before we are a third of the way in, and looking at the bottom three in particular the figure could still rise again before Christmas.
To put that into context, this time last season only one manager had been sacked, Francesco Guidolin almost inevitably failing to live up to expectations at Swansea, and it would take until late February and the tear-jerking removal of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester to take the tally to five.
Another odd thing about the five departures this season is that the same men were responsible for guiding their clubs to mid-table security the season before. If you look at the final table for 2016-17 the clubs who have parted with their managers finished 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th. That bandwidth should represent solidity and a job reasonably well done. It is not where you would expect managerial dissatisfaction to set in a matter of months later.
So what has changed this season, why does panic seem to be setting in among seemingly respectable clubs with sound Premier League pedigrees?
Obviously some of the five have been doing really badly – Crystal Palace most notably, with West Ham, West Brom and Everton not far behind – and owners are more or less bound to act if there does not appear to be any immediate prospect of climbing out of trouble.
But West Brom have just sacked a firefighter, albeit an unpopular one, who has never been relegated. They could now turn to Sam Allardyce, who has a similar record and a good relationship with the Albion chairman John Williams, but while Premier League status might be preserved would the fans be any happier with the football?
Five weeks ago most Everton fans were in agreement that Ronald Koeman had to go, the same Everton fans who were congratulating the club a year earlier on appointing a top-drawer manager. But if Koeman was as forceful and determined a character as he first appeared, could he not have been trusted with a little more time to turn the club around? It might not have been his fault that a striking replacement for Romelu Lukaku was not found, after all.
One could understand why the club pressed the panic button so early, results were woeful and the Goodison atmosphere was growing mutinous, but a month down the line it can not yet be said Everton have put themselves in a better position. The owners seem to have been delusional to a certain extent over the difficulty of finding a better-qualified manager than Koeman in mid-season, while some of the fans who celebrated the Dutchman’s removal might have been a bit quieter had they realised the most viable alternative was David Unsworth.
The point is that Everton, like West Ham and Palace, are still in trouble despite changing managers. This season climbing the table cannot be taken for granted once you are down at the bottom, and part of the reason for that is the fact that the promoted clubs are all doing so well.
Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle are all together in a tight little knot in mid table, exactly where the teams who have entered the sack race used to be. All five of this season’s managerial changes have taken place below them, while above them Burnley and Watford sail serenely on, their only apparent concerns being the likelihood of eventually losing their bright young managers to bigger clubs with relegation worries.
There is plenty of the season left, and over the winter months some of those small but flourishing clubs – don’t write in, Newcastle are not small but they are newly-promoted – may well find themselves stretched beyond their resources and drifting downwards in the table. Or they may not.
Until fairly recently it was normal to assume at least one of the promoted teams would go down, sometimes two, though the top of the Championship is so competitive these days that that pattern can no longer be relied upon to provide a buffer for existing Premier League clubs.
Thanks to Wigan coming up and staying for eight years, Bournemouth and Watford confounding all the doubters who said they would go straight back down again and Burnley showing the strength of judgment to stick with the same manager through the cycle of relegation and re-promotion, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Premier League is nowhere near as daunting to newcomers as it once was.
Certainly the bottom half of the Premier League is not of a conspicuously better standard than the top half of the Championship any more. In fact teams coming up from the Championship will, generally speaking, have a better team spirit and a more expansive outlook because their promotion push will have required them to adopt a winning mentality instead of the survival one so prevalent in the lower reaches of the top flight.
This appears to be something new in the Premier League story. If Tony Pulis can no longer cut it, Mark Hughes is finding life difficult at Stoke and West Ham fans have yet to be impressed by David Moyes, perhaps the days of ugly football and a grim struggle towards 40 points for lower-placed teams are coming to an end.
Perhaps also, now that every Premier League team has money to spend and no one can seriously plead poverty, fans are right to complain about the standard of fare being served up and boards are intervening more quickly to prevent managers making any more dud signings. Both Everton and West Ham splashed the cash in summer, to little avail.
None of the five clubs who have dismissed managers have made any significant strides upwards, though of course the positions at Everton and West Brom are still vacant, and the new managers at West Ham and Leicester have had little time to make an impression.
Judging by the twitchiness owners have shown this season, everyone at the more established clubs still lives in mortal fear of relegation. The usual reason given is the sudden loss of revenue, which is significant, yet parachute payments are there to ensure that well-run clubs do not fall off a precipice.
The greater, unspoken fear, one feels, is that clubs accustomed to mere survival in the Premier League will drop through the Championship like a stone, a bit like Wigan did in their day and Sunderland are doing at the moment, and rapidly end up needing a telescope to locate the top flight.
So the question to be asked of all Premier League sides outside the top six is this: could your club hack it in the Championship? If not, why not? Because, at the very least, should the bubble ever burst at Burnley or Brighton, Huddersfield or Bournemouth, those clubs would require very little adjustment to get right back on the promotion track.
Which is surely how it should be, and probably explains why upwardly mobile “smaller” clubs are currently showing the way to bigger names whose main concern is hanging on for dear life to Premier League status.
The current bottom six in have all been in the Premier League for at least five years, and this season, managerial changes or not, it looks as though they are going to have to play their way out of trouble and not rely on the inadequacies of anyone else. Good luck with that, but for the Premier League in general, it cannot be a bad thing.

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