Google Labs recently unveiled its latest toy, the Public Data Explorer. The tool adds visualization features to Google’s public data search engine, letting you make charts and graphs like this one, which overlays unemployment stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on a U.S. map. Colorful and cheery, right? All those lovely pale green circles (10% umemployment), flashes of orange (13%) and the occasional outburst of red (15%). Who knew that modeling depressing data could be so much fun! [More]
Say what you will about the heart of the Midwest,
it’s certainly not hard to find a bar. Geography blog FloatingSheep
took a look a the bar-to-grocery store ratio in different parts of
the country and it became immediately apparent that Illinois and
Wisconsin (and part of Iowa) team up to form the beer belly of
Who’s in charge, the masters or the machines? You’ll be wondering the same thing after you listen to this iconic gem from The Consumerist archive, the infamous Verizon Can’t Do Math call, which we reposting because the original video got deleted and the posts were kind of scattered. In it, George recorded his attempts to get Verizon to explain why they said they would charge .002 cents/kbfor data roaming, and then billed him for .002 dollars/kb, a difference of about $76. Problem is, no one at Verizon can do math. [More]
AT&T just put out a press release announcing new unlimited plans for all of their customers, even the ones with, gasp, iPhones. [More]
Verizon is cutting its prices, and by cutting them is actually raising them. What? Yeah, let’s let Ars Technica explain it. [More]
The NYT has taken some data released by Netflix (the top 50 rental titles for each zipcode) and made some interactive heat maps out of it. It’s weirdly fun. [More]
Blackberry users on all mobile carriers in North and South America experienced e-mail and Internet outages for about eight hours late on Tuesday. This follows a shorter outage on December 17th that only affected e-mail services. [More]
Here’s the problem with anonymized data: if it were truly anonymized, it wouldn’t be useful to anyone for anything. With enough data about a person–say, their age, gender, and zip code–it’s not hard to narrow down who someone is. That’s the idea behind a class-action lawsuit against Netflix regarding the customer data they released to the public as part of the Netflix Prize project, a contest to help create better movie recommendations. A closeted lesbian alleges that the data available about her could reveal her identity. [More]
What do you say when everyone keeps complaining that you can’t handle traffic on your network? If you’re AT&T, you say “We just need to charge more money” and “Our customers who are actually using their phones as advertised are ruining things.” AT&T’s head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, told investors today that usage-based pricing is going to happen eventually, and that the company is planning on giving heavy users–who make up 3 percent of their customers–“incentives to reduce or modify their usage.” Somehow I’m guessing he doesn’t mean coupons or cash-back bonuses. [More]
An Indiana University grad student has made public an audio recording of a Sprint employee who describes how the company has given away customer GPS location data to cops over 8 million times in less than a year. Ars technica reports that “law enforcement [officers] could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they’ve been and where they are.” Update: Sprint says the 8 million figure refers to individual pings of GPS data, and that the number of individuals involved is in the thousands. [More]
Boy, T-Mo is on a roll lately. First they gave Perez Hilton fits by losing his Sidekick info, then, presumably in a misguided attempt to make up for it, they began showing boobs to one of our readers (they are still investigating), and now as an encore — a massive outage.
CBS 5 exposed a “gaping hole” in the code of California’s state-run employment website that allows anyone who views the site to access and modify other users’ resumes and personal info simply by changing some numbers in the URL.
If you’ve been waiting impatiently to get your data back on your Sidekick, here’s your opportunity. IntoMobile reports that T-Mobile has posted data retrieval instructions on its website. They note that most but not necessarily all contacts should be there, but if you’re one of the unlucky few who lost all of your data, T-Mobile has a shiny $100 gift card for you.
If a retailer doesn’t protect your credit card data and it gets stolen, should you be compensated? Not for any unauthorized charges, which are already covered under banks’ zero-liability protection, but for the time lost dealing with the problem, for the anxiety it causes, and for any future credit history/score issues it might cause?