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  • Geebo 10:01 am on November 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon Prime   

    Amazon charges more to non-Prime customers in physical stores 

    Amazon charges more to non-Prime customers in physical stores

    Online retail giant Amazon has opened physical brick and mortar stores in Seattle, Portland, and San Diego. They plan on opening two more stores in Chicago and Boston. At these physical locations they sell mostly books, which is where Amazon originally made their bread and butter. However they’ve started a minor controversy by charging Amazon Prime members lower prices at their physical stores.

    Amazon Prime is a paid perk for Amazon.com members where they can receive additional benefits like faster delivery and access to their Netflix-like service, Amazon Video. However, what the Prime membership doesn’t do is give Prime members better prices on their website. By using the stick and carrot of lower prices at the physical stores to get customers to sign up for Prime, it seems that they’re trying to extort their customers into paying close to $100 a year just to get a few bucks off for books at their physical location.

    Now some may say that this sounds like any other ‘price club’ that a lot of stores have. The store gives you a card and when you present their card at checkout you get a discount on sale items. So how is that different from Amazon Prime? Well, at most of these stores that have price clubs, membership is free. That’s a far cry from $100 a year just for books. This sounds like it may be a minor backfire for Amazon as the only people they’ll be getting at their physical stores are people who need to have a book right now and will be willing to pay a few extra bucks for the non-Prime price.

     
  • Geebo 11:54 am on November 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Uber and Lyft surpass taxis in at least one category, discrimination 

    Uber and Lyft surpasses taxis in at least one category, discrimination

    Ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have been taking a bite out of the taxi industry for some time now and with good reason. They’re cheaper, they’re more convenient, and by most anecdotal evidence, the drivers are more friendly and helpful. Now according to a study by major universities, Uber and Lyft have embraced a practice that the taxi industry made infamous, and that’s discrimination against minorities and women.

    The study found that an inordinate number of Uber and Lyft drivers would cancel rides if the user requesting the ride either appeared black or had an African-American sounding name. The way the apps work are, the drivers accept the ride request first then receive the users information including name and picture. It’s at that point that drivers have been allegedly cancelling the rides.

    The ride sharing drivers have also allegedly embraced another practice that has been known to plague the taxi industry. The report claims that when the drivers pick up female passengers, they’ll take longer routes to the destination in order to inflate rates.

    While these ride sharing apps have been heralded as the new way of doing things, it’s starting to appear like the more things change the more they stay the same.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on October 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: halloween, HG Wells, Orson Welles, , War of the Worlds   

    What “War of the Worlds” can teach us about media 

    What "War of the Worlds" can teach us about media

    With it being Halloween, the day of tricks and treats, it’s worth revisiting one of the greatest tricks ever played on an unsuspecting American public. On the night before Halloween in 1938, then radio personality Orson Welles broadcasted an updated radio drama of H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel “War of the Worlds”.

    As the legend goes, Welles’ realistic broadcast that, was updated for 1938 audiences, was a little too realistic. Not only did it cause panic in the streets but it’s been claimed that mass hysteria followed. Some people allegedly even claimed that one of the ‘flying saucers’ landed on their property or that they had been attacked by Martians.

    Originally Welles claimed that it was an unintended accident for so much panic to come from his infamous broadcast. However in a 1965 interview with the BBC, Welles relates a tale where he was hosting a normal Sunday radio show with musical numbers when announcers broke in and announced that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Since it was Welles hosting the program the news wasn’t believed for several hours. He then said that he probably deserved that since the War of The Worlds broadcast was a protest of source.

    At the 12:00 minute mark Welles states that…

    I supposed we had it coming to us because in fact we weren’t so innocent as we meant to be. We were fed up with the way in which everything coming from this new magic box, the radio, was being swallowed. People do suspect what they read in the newspapers, but when the radio came , and I suppose now television, anything that came from that new machine was believed. So in a way our broadcast was an assault on the credibility of that machine. We wanted people to understand that they shouldn’t take any opinion predigested, and they shouldn’t swallow everything that came through the tap.

    Today we have all sorts of magic boxes that feed us information, probably more than either Wells or Welles could have imagined, yet still many of us believe everything that comes from these boxes the we accept as gospel whether they are true or not, usually from places like Facebook and Twitter.

    One has to wonder that if Orson Welles was alive today and tried his experiment with today’s culture would he have had the same success in fooling as many people as he did? I for one believe he would.

    Welles’ entire broadcast can be heard below…

     
  • Geebo 11:55 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Vine   

    Will we see a world without Twitter? 

    Will we see a world without Twitter?

    When Twitter first started it was the hit of SXSW but only embraced by the technorati. It wasn’t until it was touted by users like Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey when it absolutely exploded into mainstream society. Since that time it’s been almost a necessity when it comes to breaking news and has even played a historical part in the Arab Spring. You would think that playing such a pivotal role in the media Twitter would be around forever, unfortunately it’s starting to look like the beginning of the end for Twitter.

    Yesterday, Twitter announced that they will be shuttering the 6 second video app Vine. Since the dawn of Snapchat you would think that Vine would be obsolete but it’s closing shows just yet another step in the downfall of Twitter.

    Not only has Twitter announced that they will be laying off 9 percent of its workforce, but they also shopped themselves around to companies like Disney and came away with no takers. All of these combined could make Twitter one of those memories we fondly look forward back to like a Rubik’s Cube or a pet rock. However, if Twitter were to go under it wouldn’t take long for another VC funded app to take its place. The question will be whether or not the new app will have a better business plan than Twitter’s.

     
  • Geebo 12:24 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MacBook, , Surface, trade-in   

    Microsoft fires shot across the bow at Apple with trade-in offer 

    Microsoft fires shot across the bow at Apple with trade in offer

    Recently, Microsoft unveiled new models of their Surface line of devices and then threw down the gauntlet against rival company Apple. The folks from Redmond are offering $650 for you to trade in your MacBook for a new Surface device. This is a perfect time for Microsoft to strike with an offer like this. Not only has it been a very long time since Apple released any new MacBooks, but when Apple released the last MacPro, a lot of long time Apple users jumped ship to much more powerful Windows machines that could also be upgraded.

    Of course, not every MacBook will be accepted for trade in. You can’t trade in a MacBook with a busted screen and a frayed charger. Microsoft has set the following rules for MacBooks that are eligible for trade ins…

    Must be fully functional
    Battery must hold charge and not be required to be plugged in to operate
    Must not have any damaged, broken, or missing components
    Cannot have been modified and warranty seal must be intact
    Cannot be password protected
    Must come with original chargers and accessories

    You can trade in your old MacBook that meet the requirements at a Microsoft store or at Microsoft.com but hurry, you only have until November 7th, or as they say, while supplies last.

     
  • Geebo 9:41 am on October 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    No, you can’t vote in the US election online 

    No, you  can't vote in the US election online

    What started as a joke turned out to be a full-blown hoax that have resulted in allegations of voter fraud.

    A section of Reddit, known as a subreddit, that is supportive of Donald Trump shared a graphic between each other that appeared to be a pro-Hillary Clinton ad that jokingly advised Hillary supporters that they could vote online from the comfort of their own homes on election day. It suggests all you need to do to vote for Hillary Clinton is to write ‘Hillary’ on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag ‘#PresidentialElection’.

    Of course Reddit is full of internet jokesters and trolls, and before you know it, this joke leaked out to the rest of the internet where of course there were people who believed it. This included a Republican councilman from Pennsylvania who shared it on Twitter. The councilman later deleted the tweet claiming that he knew it was joke.

    One of the major problems with the internet is, while we can access the world’s information, we can also spread misinformation to the world and a large group of internet denizens will believe it. If you happen to see some one attempting to ‘vote’ on Twitter or Facebook, please remind them there is no online voting in the United States.

     
  • Geebo 11:51 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Changing your number? Change your apps. 

    Changing your number? Change your apps.

    A number of smartphone apps are tied to your cell phone number. If you end up having to change your number for whatever reason, don’t forget to update your apps with your new phone number. If you forget, it may cost you a pretty penny.

    For example a woman who changed her number found mysterious charges for the ride sharing service Lyft on her credit card. When she received her new phone number the phone company recycled her phone number and the person with her old number was able to use her Lyft account to get rides. However the person with the old number claims that Lyft wouldn’t allow to update the profile that was connected to the old number.

    While no malice may have been intended a number change can cause potential headaches for users since so many apps are tied to phone numbers. Both Facebook and Twitter allow logins through cell phone numbers and if you forget to update your apps if you change could lead to someone hijacking these accounts. This could lead to something as minor as cyber-vandalism or something as damaging as identity theft.

     
  • Geebo 9:46 am on October 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ddos, Dyn, , internet of things/   

    Why you couldn’t access the internet over the weekend 

    Why you couldn't access the internet over the weekend

    Starting this past Friday, a large part of the country were unable to access popular sites like Twitter and Netflix. What had happened is that unknown actors attacked an internet service called Dyn. To put it simply Dyn is a large backbone of the internet that handles the massive traffic to major websites. Dyn was used my so many websites that attacking Dyn is almost like attacking the entire internet.

    Dyn was attacked in what’s called a denial of service attack or DDoS for short. Think of it as millions of phones trying to call the same phone number at once. Even with services like Dyn only a certain number of people can get through to a website at the same time. This could crash any website and can cause a massive amount of damages in lost business.

    Normally in a DDoS attack a computer is infected with malware and whomever is pulling the strings of the malware will cause all the infected computers to send traffic to a website, unknown to the computer’s user. This new massive DDoS attack used devices from what’s called the internet of things (IoT). These devices include peripheral webcams, smart home devices like smart thermostats, or just about any other internet connected device that isn’t a cell phone, computer or tablet.

    The problem is that a lot of these devices don’t have the best security installed. Many of them have easy to guess passwords that don’t even require a password to be changed when installed. Unfortunately there’s not a lot that us, the end users can do. This record-breaking attack may have come because we’ve given up on security for convenience.

     
  • Geebo 10:04 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hurricane matthew, job scam,   

    Beware of hurricane work scams 

    Beware of hurricane work scams

    When huge disasters happen in our country it usually unites us in aiding those affected by the calamity. While they can bring out the best in us these disasters can also bring out the worst in us as it gives scammers and con artists a new opportunity to take advantage of our willingness to help.

    One of those disasters from recent times was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. Once the spill was contained many workers were needed to help clean up the spill and reclaim the environment. Online ads started popping up promising paying jobs to help clean up the spill. However, a lot of these jobs turned out to be scams that left people stranded without money.

    In that vein, a man from Wichita, Kansas, recently came across a similar scam involving Hurricane Matthew. Matthew did a lot of damage from Florida to the Carolinas and the Wichita man saw an ad that was offering work to help repair the damage done to the Southeast. When the man called the number in the ad the man on the other side of the line asked for $100 for transportation but the man would need to find his own job once he got there. Luckily, the man realized that this was a scam before he lost any money.

    To keep yourself safe from these scams just keep in mind that no legitimate employer will ever ask you for money up front. A lot of these scams will ask for a processing fee, a background check fee, or a drug test fee. If any potential employer asks you for any of these, it’s a good indicator that it’s a scam and there is no job.

     
  • Geebo 10:08 am on October 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Google to launch its own streaming service 

    Google to launch its own streaming service

    Google announced recently that they will be launching their own video streaming service in 2017 to compete with services like Netflix. Reports say that Google is already in talks with Disney, FOX, and CBS to feature their content. This is both good news and bad news for consumers.

    The good news is that Netflix could use some real competition. Once the darling of the cord-cutting movement Netflix has recently been shown not to have access to all the movies that users feel they should. So, if Google offers an alternative to Netflix, this could cause Netflix to step up its game. Competition and choice is usually good for consumers.

    On the other hand however, Google is entering into an already crowded industry and if Google has the same issues obtaining properties like Netflix does it could just be another service that cord-cutters may have to sign up for. Since not all the services have all the movies or TV shows, this could cause some cord-cutters to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Sling TV, HBO Go and now the new Google service. Since these services cost anywhere from $9.95 to $19.95 a month, the charges for these services start to add up and start to resemble the cable bill that cord-cutters were trying to escape in the first place.

    If any one can beat Netflix at its own game it’s Google with their branding and cache. Maybe we can see a time where Google and Netflix actually become complimentary with each other so we won’t see the return of outrageous bills for our entertainment.

     
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