9 great reads from CNET this week


The short workweek before Thanksgiving is typically a slow time for tech news, and that was certainly true this year. Aside, that is, from the nonstop churn of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Also on the retail front, Amazon gave front-line workers a $300 bonus, even as it faced the prospect of Black Friday protests.

We had been watching out for some sort of resolution in the the US vs. TikTok saga, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, the US government punted again, resetting the deadline for a potential sale of TikTok’s US operations until Dec. 4. On the weirder side, a mysterious metal monolith, reminiscent of the one in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, appeared in the remote Utah desert, prompting a quest for answers.

We did also have a number of in-depth features and thought-provoking commentaries, including a look back at the top tech fails of 2020. So here you go, these are the stories from the past week that you don’t want to miss:

Two mRNA vaccine candidates show promise in knocking out the pandemic. The technology used to develop them could herald more breakthroughs.

Drawing vaccine out of a vial with a syringe


It’s a lot more than just driving directions. GPS, managed by the US Space Force, is embedded throughout the high-tech world we live in.

GPS III satellite on orbit

Lockheed Martin

Commentary: From torrents of misinformation to the fall of Quibi, these tech flops stood out in a dumpster fire of a year.

Brett Pearce/CNET

A 16-year-old from Connecticut has achieved social media superstardom by becoming the first person to hit 100 million followers on the platform.

Charli D'Amelio on TikTok

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you’ve got around $500 to spend on gaming hardware, I have an idea for you.

Nintendo Switch and Oculus Quest

Scott Stein/CNET

Commentary: The more you think about the PS5’s design, the less sense it makes.

PlayStation 5

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Commentary: Swift’s music thrives in her self-directed film, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, which explores the making of an album during a pandemic.

Taylor Swift in Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions

Disney Plus/Screenshot by CNET

I tried a prototype of this tabletop touchscreen tablet that promises big-name games.

SquareOne board game

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Founders of BumoBrain speak with CNET’s Now What on how to engage the youngest of remote learners.

A child with an iPad

Bridget Carey / CNET