Updates from April, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 8:59 am on April 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Tim Cook, Travis Kalanick,   

    If you wanted another reason to delete Uber this may be it, as long as you don’t have an iPhone 

    If you wanted another reason to delete Uber this may be it, as long as you don't have an iPhone

    The problem with being the CEO of a controversial multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley startup is once controversy darkens your door it inevitably seems their business-related skeletons come crashing out of the closet, or boardroom as it may be. The New York Times has reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook accused Uber CEO Travis Kalanick of tracking iPhone users even after the Uber app was deleted from the device. In 2015, Cook was said to be so annoyed over the matter that he threatened to drop Uber from the Apple app store if they didn’t comply.

    This is just one more black eye to the company that was once heralded as being on the edge of ingenuity. From multiple sexual harassment accusations to lawsuits from Google over alleged stolen technology to the company allegedly taking advantage of their drivers. Uber has vehemently denied Apple’s accusation saying it wasn’t tracking iPhone users but were protecting themselves from people who would use stolen phones to try to get out of paying for expensive rides. Uber specifically has said this is mostly a problem in China.

    While Uber may seem like a morally ambiguous company at best, are any of these scandals really hurting their business? Do the everyday users of Uber know of the company’s many PR woes and if they do has it discouraged anyone from continuing to use the ride sharing app? So far competitors have failed to capitalize on Uber’s supposed downfall. Competing services like Lyft have started to make moves into formerly exclusive Uber markets but is Uber’s cache so great that their brand will be like the Xerox of their industry? Only time will tell.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on April 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coin, credit card, , plastc   

    Add Plastc’s name to the startup graveyard 

    Add Plastc's name to the startup graveyard

    Plastc promised its backers a credit card-like device that you could pre-load all your credit and debit cards to it, along with your various discount cards. They promised you would only need your card and it would make your life a utopia of convenience. Check out what the features of Plastc were intended to be in their own YouTube video.

    Wow. Doesn’t that look like an amazing device? It’s no wonder they were able to obtain $9 million in funds from pre-orders alone. This doesn’t even take into account they were entering into a market where there were already players who had shipped product. Coin was a company that promised a similar device and even shipped units. Coin left the market after their device couldn’t overcome technical problems that caused its users to have to continue to carry their cards with them, totally negating the purpose of it. Yesterday, Plastc announced that they were declaring bankruptcy, and it seems like they’re taking the $9 million and going home without ever delivering a single unit.

    So far Plastc has not given any reason why they’re declaring bankruptcy or what is going to happen to their backers’ money. What could have been a contributing factor to Plastc’s demise was the new chip and pin form of credit and debit cards. Instead of swiping, if your card has one of the new chips you have to insert the card into the machine. Could Plastc have failed to foresee the surprisingly quick adoption of this new technology? Could they even have changed the technology used in their devices to accommodate chip and pin?

    With technology developing at an ever-increasing rate, the time between being the next hot thing and the proverbial buggy whip manufacturer is becoming even shorter.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Juicero, juicing, startup, tech bubble   

    Does the Juicero show that we’re headed for another tech bubble burst? 

    Does the Juicero show that were headed for another tech bubble burst?

    Juicing is one of those types of diets that’s practiced by celebrities, high-profile businessmen, and various other trend setters. While its health benefits can be debated, as opposed to eating fruits and vegetables, one can’t deny its popularity. Leave it to Silicon Valley to come up with a gadget marketed directly to juicing fans. Enter the Juicero which is a machine that’s designed to press proprietary bags of fruit and vegetables into juice. It presses the bag with the force of four tons and will run you around $400.

    This is actually not a bad idea as it’s been called the Keurig of the juicer set. The man who founded Juicero even went as far as to refer to himself as the Steve Jobs of juicing. That comparison is in fact correct, that is if you’re comparing yourself to the Steve Jobs who released the Apple Lisa. It turns out that for the $400 price tag the Juicero can’t compete with another device that can squeeze the bags of juice just as well and doesn’t cost as much. As a matter of fact they don’t cost anything. The Juicero bags can be squeezed just as well by using your own two hands.

    Between this debacle and other newsworthy startups that have failed to meet expectations one can’t help but be reminded of the dotcom bubble bursting in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Do these failures indicate the beginning of the end for startup culture? Will we soon be talking about the startup bubble bursting? If current trends are any indicator, we just might be.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Jim Larkin, Kyrsten Sinema, Michael Lacey   

    Arizona pols rush to dump Backpage donations 

    Arizona pols rush to dump Backpage donations

    While a federal grand jury was investigating Backpage founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, it was discovered that the pair made a number of financial donations to various politicians in the Grand Canyon State. While the amount of donations wasn’t that large when it comes to politics, it can appear tainted since Backpage is the largest online avenue of sex trafficking in the US. While the duo also made donations in New Mexico and Colorado, the amount they donated in Arizona was reportedly around $60,200.

    One politician who has come under recent scrutiny due to the donations is US Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. She received a donation that exceeded $10,000. Like many of the other politicians who received these donations, once Sinema was made aware of where the money came from she attempted to donate the money to charity. However, should she be under such criticism since Backpage seems to have made some of these donations in ways that seem somewhat underhanded?

    In some cases rather than Lacey or Larkin donating the money themselves, they allegedly either had their spouses or other Backpage employees make the donations. Much like their legal defenses, everything Backpage seems to do is questionable at best, or at least unethical. It almost seems like Backpage can’t do anything that is above-board.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on April 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , murder, Robert Godwin, Steve Stephens   

    With the latest controversy is Facebook too big for its own good? 

    With the latest controversy is Facebook too big for its own good?

    It happened again, another gruesome crime has been committed with the video being shown on Facebook. This seems to be an unfortunate recurrence for Facebook lately. Already, two violent crimes from Chicago had made national headlines after they were broadcast on Facebook live. Now, as I’m sure you’ve heard, a man from Cleveland was shot and killed randomly and a video of the murder was uploaded to Facebook. On Easter Sunday, 37-year-old Steve Stephens allegedly shot and killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin and recorded himself in the act before uploading the video to Facebook.

    The video of the murder stayed on Facebook for two hours before it was pulled. Facebook claims that they didn’t receive a report about the video until 23 minutes prior to them not only removing the video, but also shutting down Stephens’ Facebook. With Facebook’s desire to keep all their users in their walled garden do they have some responsibility to bear with the crimes that are broadcast on their platform?

    Facebook is trying to be all things to all people with photo sharing, video sharing and now live streaming alongside the regular features they’ve promoted over their long history. However, is Facebook scaling their workforce at the same pace as they keep releasing new features? As was mentioned in the video above, YouTube, which also offers live streaming, states that they employ an army to moderate content and so far have seemed to escape the criminal controversy that Facebook continues to court. There are many livestreaming services available to users that have had their own similar controversies, just not on the level of tragedy that Facebook has. Those other services also don’t have the gigantic userbase that Facebook does. Had they done their homework correctly, Facebook may have implemented better safeguards from keeping these horrific acts from being shared on their pages.

     
  • Geebo 9:02 am on April 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Evan Spiegel, India,   

    Snapchat CEO accused of insulting an entire country 

    Snapchat CEO accused of insulting an entire country

    Snapchat is not having the best week ever. It wasn’t bad enough that Instagram was copying Snapchat’s stories feature, but Instagram was bragging that their stories feature had more users than Snapchat Stories. This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as Instagram is owned by the juggernaut that is Facebook. What did come as a surprise was Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel allegedly insulting an entire country. Not just any country but the 2nd most populous country in the world. Late last week, it was made public that Spiegel allegedly said that he did not want to expand into countries like India saying that Snapchat isn’t for poor people.

    This became public buzz after it was unsealed in a lawsuit against Snapchat by former employee Anthony Pompliano. Pompliano alleges that Spiegel said that Snapchat is for rich people only and didn’t want to expand into ‘poor countries’ like India and Spain. This caused not only a multitude of Indian users to boycott the app, many worldwide users have as well. Many of its former users have even taken to the various app stores to give it one star reviews in protest. This has affected Snapchat in the wallet too as their recently made public stock took a big hit in the market.

    If Spiegel did in fact make these comments, it’s incredibly short-sighted on his part to say the least. Some of the most popular apps in the world are used in India that U.S. users never even heard of. Messaging app WhatsApp is massively popular worldwide due to text messaging being overly expensive in certain overseas markets. The main market for WhatsApp users is India. India also has a larger percentage of mobile users than most countries. This is why Facebook bought WhatsApp and didn’t fold it into Messenger, because they knew that India was such a lucrative market.

    Snapchat has denied the allegations, but in today’s start up culture of trying to get rich quick by men with massive egos, it wouldn’t be surprising if it was true. We’re looking at you Uber.

     
  • Geebo 9:22 am on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , crime,   

    Triple digit murders highlight craigslist’s lack of safety 

    Triple digit murders highlight craigslist's lack of safety

    Last year, The Washington Post ran an article entitled “Think twice before answering that ad: 101 murders have been linked to Craigslist”. That number was provided by the AIM Group who maintain a public list of victims on the Craigslist Killings – Craigslist Safety blog. Since that article was published, there have been nine more victims added to the list bringing the number up to 110.

    The article also goes on to mention Aim Group’s SafeTrade initiative to turn police stations into safe zones for craigslist transactions. That should tell you volumes right there on how unsafe craigslist really is. If a major industry watchdog group and numerous police departments across the country are urging you to use police stations to do business on craigslist then it really isn’t all that safe.

    Craigslist has such a low barrier to entry that they don’t even require a valid phone number for anyone to place ads. This allows anyone with a criminal intent to place an ad for whatever reason. The crimes on craigslist run the gamut from fake check scams to robbery to sexual assault, all the way up to murder. If history is any indicator, craigslist will probably not enact any additional safety features to the anemic ones that they barely have. Craigslist hasn’t even publicly commented on user safety in seven years, according to The Post.

    Craigslist has always prided itself on having a minimum number of employees. In the past they have stated that there are only about two dozen employees to help run a global classifieds empire. What it really comes down to is that craigslist seems to covet their profit margins so much, that they would rather sacrifice user safety than having new safety measures eat into their bank account. Craigslist may have been founded on Bay Area principles of community and sharing, but today they are nothing more than an international bastion of greed whose only real concern is the bottom line.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Linux, , Windows VIsta   

    Support for Windows Vista has ended, what can you do? 

    Support for Windows Vista has ended, what can you do?

    Among the tech set there has always been an unwritten rule when it comes to iterations of the Windows operating system. They say that you should skip every other release. For example, Windows 7 was a big hit among users, while Windows 8 was not very popular to say the least. Meanwhile the current generation OS, Windows 10, has been begrudgingly popular. (For the record, there was no Windows 9.) Now, one of those installations that should have been skipped, Windows Vista, has come to its end of life cycle, meaning parent company Microsoft will no longer support the operating system with security updates and patches.

    That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t machines out there using the now discontinued operating system. If you have one of those machines, you may be wondering what your options are when it comes to securing your computer. Unfortunately, the solutions aren’t that great. If you continue to use a Vista machine that’s connected to the internet you can run into several security issues that could compromise your machine with malware and viruses that could render your machine inoperable in a worst case scenario. Users of Windows 7 and 8 were offered free upgrades of Windows 10, unfortunately that offer was not extended to users of Vista. That means if you wanted to update to Windows 10 you could either shell out $120 for the operating system itself or several hundred dollars to buy a new machine that comes pre-installed with Windows 10.

    There is a small light at the end of the tunnel though if you’re willing to take some steps out of your comfort zone. If you’re currently running Vista, that more than likely means you’re running an older machine since Vista was only released on machines from 2007 to 2009. If you’re not afraid to experiment there are a number of free operating systems out there that are specifically designed to work on older machines while keeping them secure. Most of them are free alternatives to Windows known as Linux. While you can’t necessarily run Windows programs on them, there are many free alternatives to the Windows programs that you’re used to using. The most popular versions of Linux currently are Ubuntu and Linux Mint which both have a strong community and detailed instructions to get you started. While installing Linux may seem intimidating at first, it becomes easier as it goes along. Not only will this keep your machine secure for the foreseeable future but it will keep you from having to spend additional funds as well.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: g rated, , KSL Classifieds   

    G-Rated Classifieds do work 

    G-Rated Classifieds do work

    You may think you have heard this story before. In the days when the internet was mostly only accessed through computers, a tight-knit community in the Western US embraces a free local classifieds website that over the years has turned into a multi-million dollar business. That classifieds site not only has millions of users but it did so by not only keeping its ads family friendly, but not allowing adult and personal ads or ads for illegal content. While you may have thought this story was initially about craigslist, the story is actually about KSL Classifieds in the Beehive State of Utah.

    While it may have the backing of the Mormon Church, you couldn’t tell by looking at the website. The KSL Classifieds is used both by Mormon and non-Mormon alike. It’s so ubiquitous throughout the state of Utah that craigslist is a mere afterthought in Utah. That’s because KSL Classifieds takes care in making sure that its site is squeaky clean and relatively safe. The site is so relied upon in Utah that people who move out of the area lament the fact that their new city doesn’t have a local alternative to KSL Classifieds that’s clean, safe and free. KSL Classifieds has even spread its sphere of influence into neighboring states.

    Craigslist, on the other hand, sold its soul to the devil, so to speak, early on in its history. Its users didn’t take long before posting ads for prostitution, and its casual encounters section has led craigslist to a reputation of being a seedy and dangerous website. Due to their low level of entry, their constant refusal to moderate ads, and the number of murders committed through use of their site, craigslist has turned into a virtual hive of scum and villainy. However, some people think that there are no alternatives to the dangerous grounds of craigslist, but there are.

    Geebo.com is not only a national classifieds site, but it takes great pains to keep our site from falling into the pitfalls that sites like craigslist have. From the beginning, there have never been any adult ads allowed on the site. Where other sites decided they wanted to make money on the sexual trafficking of others, Geebo has refused to sink to that level. Geebo CEO Greg Collier even decided to remove the personal ads from the site since the personal sections of too many other sites have become the personal stalking grounds of sexual predators and another avenue for online sex trafficking. Greg even took a stand on ads for pets due to the fact that too many places like puppy mills use classifieds sites to sell sick animals to unsuspecting customers. That’s not even mentioning that the ads on Geebo are reviewed by actual people to avoid such things as scams and illegal content.

    Both of these sites, KSL and Geebo, prove that not only can G-Rated classifieds sites can be successful, but that there is a definite need for such family friendly marketplaces.

     
  • Geebo 9:09 am on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Oscar Munoz, , United Airlines   

    United Airlines forcibly removes passenger from plane, was within their right 

    United Airlines forcibly removes passenger from plane, was within their right

    If you’re from a more mature generation, you may remember when United Airlines used to advertise “Fly the friendly skies”. Those skies weren’t very friendly over the weekend when O’Hare Airport Police forcibly removed a passenger from a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. Reports say that United had overbooked the flight and needed four passengers to disembark in order for a group of crew members to go to Louisville. Passengers were offered $800 in vouchers for anyone to volunteer to take a later flight. There weren’t enough passengers who took the offer so passengers were picked at random and relieved of their seats. One gentleman was said to have protested claiming that he was a doctor who needed to see patients in Louisville the next morning. Someone at the airline wasn’t having it and airport police were called to remove the man from the plane. The man was somehow bloodied while police attempted to remove him. The thing is though, the airline was completely within their rights.

    (WARNING: The following video may be disturbing to some)

    Now, while the airline may have been well within their rights to have that man removed from the plane, it’s obvious that it could have been handled in a much better way. It didn’t help that United CEO Oscar Munoz posted the following on Twitter.

    Re-accommodate is putting it mildly. While it’s more than likely Mr. Munoz was advised by his legal team on what to say, this only threw gasoline on the proverbial fire. Many consumers and travelers are already calling for a boycott of United. Between a boycott, and one would have to imagine a lawsuit, this could be financially damaging to the already struggling airline.

    If you ever find yourself being removed from an overbooked flight after anyone fails to volunteer, you are not only entitled to reimbursement, but you could be reimbursed to up to four times the value of your ticket.

     
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