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  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Walmart not only takes on the last mile, but also the last few feet 

    Walmart not only takes on the last mile, but also the last few feet

    As we’ve mentioned on this blog many times before, in the battle between retail giants Amazon and WalMart, both companies are trying to solve the problem of the ‘last mile’. The last mile of delivery is said to be the most expensive part of home delivery. Now, WalMart has announced an endeavor where they intend to not only conquer the last mile, but the last few feet to the fridge as well.

    WalMart has partnered with a smart home company to allow delivery drivers to be able to drop off packages inside your home and will put perishables away in your refrigerator. The program will first test in certain markets and will be available to people who own August smart home devices. Delivery people will be given a one time code to be able to enter your home and place your packages inside rather than leaving the items on your doorstep.

    In theory, this is a great idea, however, in practice it has its flaws. Deliveries will be done by start-up Deliv. Deliv drivers are part of the gig economy meaning they’re basically Uber drivers for deliveries. With all due respect to both Uber and Deliv drivers, we’ve all read and heard stories about some less than reputable drivers that work for some rideshare start-ups. Even smart homes equipped with security cameras are vulnerable to potential abuses even if someone is let inside for one time only. I just don’t see consumers allowing people into their homes while they’re away just to have their milk put in the fridge by a stranger.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    New season for the Netflix phishing scam 

    New season for the Netflix phishing scam

    Much like the flu, phishing scams have their own seasons as well. They’ll go away for a while, lay low, then start sending out their legitimate looking emails again. These emails look like they come from legitimate websites and always ask you to update your information. This time around, the phishing emails appear to come from popular video streaming service Netflix.

    According to The Guardian, the emails appear to be coming from the email address of supportnetflix@checkinformation(dot)com. That should be your first tip that this is a scam. If Netflix were to send you an email it would be from a email address. The email tells you that you need to update your financial information which should be another red flag. If you click on the link it takes you to a legitimate looking website with a form to update your payment information, but if you look at the address in your browser bar, it will not be at If you ever do need to update any kind of user information on any website, always go to the website directly and never click an email link.

    In researching this story, it seems that this exact phishing scam happened around the country about 8 months ago as well.

    Like previously stated, these scams are cyclical and need to be watched out for at all times.

  • Geebo 8:12 am on September 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Desiree Robinson,   

    Mother of young Backpage murder victim testifies before Congress 

    Mother of young Backpage murder victim testifies before Congress

    While companies like Facebook and Google argue that any amendment to the Communications Decency Act could open them up to potential lawsuits, one mother was bringing the realities of Backpage to the heart of our nation’s capital.

    In late 2016, 16-year-old Desiree Robinson was murdered just outside of Chicago. She was a runaway who was being turned out for prostitution on Backpage. When 32-year-old Antonio Rosales couldn’t pay her, he allegedly brutally murdered her instead. After her death, Desiree’s pimp tried to get other women to work for him and allegedly said “Now that she’s gone, I got no money coming in.”

    Desiree’s mother, Yvonne Ambrose, brought Desiree’s tragic story to the floor of the Senate this past Tuesday in testimony over the proposed amendment to the Communications Decency Act which would hold websites like Backpage liable for facilitating sex trafficking.

    “I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy,” Ambrose told the committee, about having to bury her child. “And I pray that Desiree’s life can make a difference so that no one else has to endure this pain.”

    Sadly, Desiree’s story is just one of many where Backpage has had a hand in the murder or sexual assault of the girls and women that are reportedly being trafficked on their pages. They need to be held responsible for the blood that’s on their hands and the only way to do this is to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996, an archaic law that was almost out of date as soon as the ink was dry.

    If you support the amendment to the act please use the hashtag #AmendTheCDA.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on September 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , baby registry,   

    Amazon congratulates non-expectant women for their baby registries 

    Amazon congratulates non-expectant women for their baby registries

    The other day we wondered if Amazon is becoming rife with scams as much as craigslist is. A story that broke yesterday made us wonder that again, as many Amazon customers started receiving emails congratulating them on someone having purchased them a gift off their Amazon baby registry. The problem was that the majority of the people who received these emails did not have a baby registry with Amazon and were not expecting a child.

    When this story was initially reported, a number of people wondered if these emails were some form of phishing scam. That is a legitimate concern since fake Amazon emails are a large source of many phishing attacks where scammers try to get your Amazon log in information in order to try to purchase Amazon products with the financial information you may have stored in your Amazon account. However, Amazon has since commented on the situation saying that the emails did come from Amazon and were a technical glitch. No products were actually purchased or sent to the individuals who received the emails.

    While this thankfully turned out not to be a scam, one has to wonder what’s going on inside the offices of Amazon. Is there focus on expansion stretching their attention so thin that they’re allowing mistakes like these and the toothbrush kerfuffle to define them as a company, or are they just having a string of bad luck and bad timing?

  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Avast, CCleaner, , Piriform   

    What the CCleaner hack means to you 

    What CCleaner hack means to you

    For those of you who may be unfamiliar with CCleaner, it’s an app for Windows computers that removes cookies and other temporary files on your computer to free up hard drive space and provide a performance boost. Recently, CCleaner’s developer, Piriform, announced on their blog that certain versions of the CCleaner software had been infected with malware. This malware is said to have possibly infected over 2 million computers.

    Piriform is claiming that they were able to quickly resolve the issue and that no harm should come to any of its users. However, it is recommended to update to the latest version of CCleaner if you haven’t already. The ironic part to the story is that Piriform is owned by malware protection company Avast. While no computer may have been actually harmed this has to be at least a minor PR kerfuffle for Avast.

    In order to keep your Windows machine more secure, always update to the latest version of whatever software your using. Whenever those pop ups come up asking you to update to the latest version, you should download and install the latest version as it usually means that the software maker has patched some security holes in the software. There are also some great utilities that automatically update your Windows applications for you that you may want to look into.

  • Geebo 8:52 am on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , intellectual property   

    You can fool Amazon some of the time 

    You can fool Amazon some of the time

    What a lot of consumers might not realize is that Amazon doesn’t sell all of the products on its own website. There are a plethora of third-party vendors who sell their products through Amazon. One could assume that being an Amazon vendor affords you a certain level of protection. Unfortunately, one vendor recently found out that’s not the case.

    Amazon received an email from a law firm claiming that a replacement toothbrush head sold by a third-party vendor was in violation of intellectual property. This was no small vendor either. The item was a big seller on Amazon and the company saw a $200,000 drop in profits after Amazon dropped them after the email. As it turns out, the law firm who sent the email didn’t even exist. The fake law firm had a fake website that had stolen assets from other law firm sites to make it look more legitimate. However, Amazon allegedly did not take the time to investigate the claims of intellectual property violations and just removed the product in question from their listings.

    Reportedly, this is a common practice on Amazon. According to CNBC other businesses that sell on Amazon have gone through these fake take downs as well. This is similar to the failed flagging system on craigslist where users will flag competing ads as being in violation of craigslist’s terms of service. With the amount of money these companies make you would think they’d have an employee or two to verify these false claims. This is very unprofessional on Amazon’s part, implying that they’d rather save the money by pulling a hot item than having someone on their legal team investigate.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    With new iPhones comes old scams 

    With new iPhones comes old scams

    It can hardly be argued that no company has a more loyal userbase than that of Apple. While the days of camping out in front of Apple stores may be a thing of the past, that doesn’t stop the devoted Apple fans from wanting to get their hands on Apple’s latest device as soon as possible and as cheaply as possible. This week, Apple unveiled a new line of iPhones in the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, and whenever Apple unveils a new iPhone you can count on the scammers to try to take advantage of those who are trying to obtain one.

    The scams that involve iPhones aren’t new scams, just twists on the same old scams. Mostly it will be people trying to get you to wire money to someone through Western Union or Moneygram in order to get the phone. As always, we recommend never wiring money to someone you don’t know personally, otherwise the scammers run off with your money and there will be no iPhone in your future.

    Some red flags to be aware of are things that indicate the ad poster may be from overseas. They can be little things as posting the + symbol before a phone number, or specifying prices in USD. Another good indicator the poster may be from overseas is if they list their WhatsApp number, as WhatsApp is not as popular in the US as it is overseas. Also look out for severely lowered prices for new iPhones with an accompanying story that says something like “A relative bought me this phone but I already had one”.

    If you’re an Apple fan, it may be better to just be patient and stick out the wait until Apple’s supply of iPhones levels off, or even skipping a generation until the prices become more affordable.

  • Geebo 8:57 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bodega, ,   

    Why ‘Bodega’ won’t work 

    Why 'Bodega' won't work

    Yesterday, a new retail start-up made its splash onto the internet and you could say that it wasn’t the most auspicious of debuts. In a nutshell, the start-up called Bodega wants to put unmanned pantry boxes into places like apartment lobbies, gyms, student housing, offices, etc., so people won’t have to travel so far to get necessity items. Basically, the pantry boxes are just smart boxes that unlock with a phone app then charge your account for whatever you take. It’s like the unmanned stores Amazon are experimenting with except much smaller.

    The internet in general was not happy with Bodega’s debut after an article from Fast Company said that Bodega’s founders wanted to make mom and pop corner stores, the actual bodegas, obsolete. The complaints online ranged from accusations of cultural appropriation for using the word Bodega in their name to the claims that the Bodega boxes are nothing more than glorified vending machines.

    However, I think Bodega’s main drawback is that it’s largely ignoring a customer base from the bodegas they’re trying to replace. While their boxes may work in a perfect world imagined in Silicon Valley, in the real world a lot of people still use cash as their primary means of purchase, not everyone trusts or wants to use a smart phone app with their money. That’s not even taking into consideration that the boxes are not refrigerated, meaning as long as they don’t have milk and eggs people are still going to need their corner stores.

  • Geebo 12:26 pm on September 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , The Rights Lab, University of Nottingham   

    British university hopes to end slavery by 2030 

    British university hopes to end slavery by 2030

    The University of Nottingham in England has gathered 100 academics from at least 15 disciplines in order to bring about the end of slavery worldwide using what they call The Rights Lab. The project intends to do for slavery what the World Health Organization did for smallpox. They’re taking on all forms of slavery from sex trafficking to slave labor and hope to eliminate slavery worldwide by the year 2030.

    On of their more ambitious projects is what they call their ‘Slavery from Space’ program. The intent is to use satellite technology to identify brick kilns in India which uses a massive amount of slave labor. The program isn’t just about identifying slaves, it’s also trying to find them the correct resources once their emancipated as trafficking victims often receive little to no counseling and often find themselves in situations to be trafficked again.

    Let’s not forget that this is not just a problem that happens in other countries. The United States is one of the top destinations for recruiting and delivering the victims of trafficking in slavery. Thanks to sites like Backpage, anyone can be a trafficker as long as they have the money to pay Backpage with a gift card to place an ad. So for the price you pay for a drink at Starbucks, someone else is using the same amount of money to continue slavery in America.

  • Geebo 8:59 am on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Darkstore, , , T-Force Final Mile   

    Start-up tries to solve the ‘last mile’ problem 

    Start up tries to solve the 'last mile' problem

    In the retail war between Amazon and WalMart, we constantly hear about the ‘last mile’. The last mile in the delivery chain is supposedly the most expensive phase of home delivery and each retail giant has been trying to solve that problem for years. Now a start-up out of San Francisco seems to have a plan that they think solves the last mile problem.

    Recently, noted tech blog TechCrunch did a write up on delivery fulfillment start-up Darkstore. Darkstore wants to take the fulfilment centers of retailers out of rural areas and bring them into bigger population centers in order to cut down time and cost on the last mile. Darkstore has storage space in several urban markets and uses delivery services like UberRUSH and Deliv to get the items to your door in a more timely manner.

    However, Darkstore just recently partnered with another delivery company called T-Force Final Mile which has expanded Darkstore to 40 markets nationwide. The problem is T-Force Final Mile used to be called Dynamex. Dynamex is also used by Amazon in some markets and have not had the glowing reviews that one would hope. Both Yelp and Amazon reviews contain stories of Dynamex allegedly delivering packages to the wrong address or not delivering them at all.

    Maybe this new partnership with Darkstore will cause T-Force Final Mile/Dynamex to improve their image and reputation, otherwise they could drag down Darkstore with them.

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