Last night, Apple provided some very vague details about the number of requests for customer information it received from U.S. law enforcement and national security officials. At the same time, the company made it very clear that it would provide more precise information about the number of these requests, if only the government would let it. [More]
UPDATE: Chick fil-A has confirmed the tours to Consumerist and provided a few additional details. [More]
Microsoft reveals in a new transparency report that between all of its online services — including Hotmail, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Account, Messenger, Office 365, and Skype — it received more than 75,000 requests from law enforcement agencies around the world in 2012. [More]
PlayStation announced they’ve suspended 93,000 PSN accounts after the latest attack against their network. [More]
What happens when you want to trace down which manufacturer is responsible for the lead on your kid’s Thomas the Tank Engine, and make sure you dispose of and don’t buy any other products associated with that maker? Or the melamine in your dog’s food? Or the antifreeze in your toothpaste? It can be hard to find out. Global supply chains are vast and sometimes impenetrable. For instance, your IKEA Sultan Alsarp bed is made in China (not Sweden) and contains parts from Africa, Germany, and Russia. Enter Sourcemap, a open-source MIT project that aims to find out “Where does all the stuff inside your stuff come from?” [More]
“Waterfall” provisions of asset backed securities are the rules that explain the flow of funds in the transaction, and they are are very hard to read. Blogger/professor Jayanth Varma calls them “horrendously complicated,” leading trustees to make mistakes or pull stunts that investors never expected. To remedy this, the SEC is proposing that the provisions be written in a programming language, filed on EDGAR, and made available as downloadable Python source code. [More]
Reader Martin would like us to know that UPS successfully delivered his package to “BSMT GARBAGECAN.” Hey, at least they are honest. [More]
Have you been noticing more and more lately that no matter which online retailer you visit, you have to add the item to your shopping cart to see the price? Blame it on manufacturers, who are taking advantage of a 2007 Supreme Court ruling to be more aggressive about controlling pricing online, writes the New York Times. [More]
Earlier this month, Netflix made a deal with Warner Bros. to delay new DVD releases for 28 days. Over at Hacking Netflix, the CEO of the company goes into some detail on why he approached Warner Bros. to begin with (it was his idea, not theirs), and why he thinks it will work out better for everyone except those customers who signed up expecting all new releases all the time. [More]
If you don’t like the idea of paying a resort fee the next time you visit Las Vegas, make sure you check out the various Harrah’s Entertainment resorts. Today they sent a press release to travel blogger and temporary TSA aggravator Chris Elliott in which they state that all of their Vegas resorts “exclude mandatory resort fees.” [More]
The Federal Reserve tried to hide the identities of companies that received emergency funding as the world economy went to hell, but a federal judge stepped in with a backhand Monday and stopped the practice, saying the Fed had failed to show that naming the businesses would cause “imminent competitive harm.”
Tomorrow is Take Your Customer to Work Day. Dreamed up by marketer Sean Hazell, the “event” is meant to get companies to “open up their doors and invite customers into the workplace to meet employees and better understand how their business works.” Sounds like something that could benefit both businesses and consumers, though very few companies seem to have jumped on the bandwagon. The one marquee name: Zappos. So, if you’re in Vegas tomorrow, you can get a tour of the company’s HQ, and a meeting with some CSRs. [Take Your Customer To Work Day]
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has announced a new website, financialstability.gov, to increase transparency in the financial stability program.
Despite sending customers letter saying otherwise, American Express now insists that it never blacklisted cardholders based on where they shopped. Those notes explaining that “other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express?” Whoops! Just a big misunderstanding! Not unlike the comment they gave to ABC explaining that “shopping patterns” were used as a “contributing factor” in slashing credit lines, a statement AmEx later retracted. So what’s really going on? Let’s explore…
Last month we posted about Kevin Johnson, a 29-year-old self-employed businessman with excellent credit and an established history with American Express, who had his credit limit cut by 65% because AMEX said he was shopping at the wrong sorts of stores. Johnson has created a website called NewCreditRules.com to try to uncover what, exactly, he did wrong to fall under AMEX’s high risk category.
Riley writes, “I remember seeing a couple of articles about restaurant nutrition information awhile back (ie the 2008 Ultimate Fast Food Nutrition Guide) and was motivated to create a site that houses nutrition information for chain restaurants across the country.” The result is Fatburgr, where you can quickly look up info by restaurant or food type.