Let us begin this post with the qualifying statement that it has never until today occurred to us to try to bend a cellphone, subsequently, we do not know how much bendy-type pressure one should expect to be able to apply on a phone without warping it. I probably could go downstairs to the labs and start bending Consumer Reports’ test phones to establish a baseline, but I suspect they’d be sort of angry, and I really want them to like me. So, let it be known that we don’t know if this video of a guy bending his phone on purpose represents evidence of an unacceptable performance from the phone. But it totally does bend. Yes, it does.
The saga of what happens when you try to cancel your Comcast account continues this evening with a recording of the tail end of a more than three-hour wait on Comcast’s retention line. As far as we can tell, sitting on hold with Comcast for upwards of three hours isn’t a unique experience, but not everyone is creative enough to call Comcast with another phone while still on hold… only to hear a recording informing them that the company has closed for the day.
They mystery of when and if Aereo will be shutting down pending review by the lower courts after receiving a 6-3 smackdown from the Supreme Court has been solved. An email to customers signed by CEO and founder Chet Kanojia states that the service will be accessible to customers until 11:30 AM today. He also assured all users that they will be refunded for the past month.
The fundamental goal of the ad-supported web is to collect and capitalize on data from its users; rather unsurprisingly, that data is just as valuable to the government as it is to Facebook and Google. You may think you’d never willingly provide the FBI or NSA with a map of your entire private life, but, in fact, you probably already have. [More]
When I was a kid and Disney’s Aladdin came out, I was extremely perturbed by the genie’s rule against wishing for more wishes, because it completely ruined the entire premise of the genie strategy that I had been working out since infancy. After much thought, I pivoted by deciding to wish for the means of producing whatever I wanted. This brings me to MakerBot’s new Replicator Mini. It’s basically a tiny toy factory, the object of my power-mad childhood dreams. [More]
“I’m sorry, America,” writes Andrew Huszar, formerly of the Federal Reserve, where from 2009-2010 he was in charge of “Quantitative Easing” — also known as “buying huge amounts of bonds with money created by the Fed for that purpose.” (For a good explanation of what that actually means, you might want to check out this Planet Money piece from 2010.) In an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal, Huszar concludes that QE (as the cool kids call it) was (and remains) a mistake. [More]
First, Dell told them to try cleaning it with a soft cloth. That didn’t work. Then they suggested compressed air, but as the complaints of laptops with keyboards and track pads that smelled exactly like cat urine piled up, Dell was forced to admit there was a problem. Yes, you read that correctly: Dell Latitude E6430u laptops manufactured before October smell strongly of cat urine.
On March 5, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control issued a press released titled “Lethal, Drug Resistant Bacteria Spreading in U.S. Healthcare Facilities.” The warning that followed was dire. Drug-resistant organisms called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, were not only spreading more rapidly through U.S. hospitals, they were becoming more resistant to so-called “last-resort” antibiotics. “CRE are nightmare bacteria,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. How nightmarish? According to data from the CDC, 1 in 2 patients who contract a bloodstream CRE infection will die. That’s an ominous statistic, but it might not even be the scariest fact about CRE. [More]
The Pennsylvania Game Commission would like you to know that it is not legal to hunt deer in the Burrell Township Walmart parking lot, and, by extension, any other Walmart parking lot. [More]
Social book review site Goodreads is growing quickly, with 16 million members, partly because of its reputation as a source for independent user reviews of books. It’s main competition, Shelfari and LibraryThing are both partly or completely owned by Amazon. Yesterday, Goodreads announced that they were joining their competitors at the seller of cat litter and fine literature alike.
Businessweek has an article by a Mountain View, California denizen whose neighborhood is besieged by the notorious driverless Google cars. The problem is not what you’d assume. The cars drive just fine. In fact, they are better than the people, says the author. His issue is that the fleet of robot vehicles have an unintended side-effect: They cause nearby humans to lose their own ability to drive.
Yesterday, Facebook announced that it’s new mobile ad network (the one that analysts are counting on to rescue the company’s stock price) would allow advertisers to pay to use your Facebook data to target you with ads outside the Facebook environment. So, for example, if you’ve authorized Facebook on an outside mobile website, you’ll begin to see ads targeted to your Facebook profile data.
Rachel is sick of surveys and writes in to ask if we think they serve any purpose.
Microsoft Updates Service Agreement To Make It Easier To Read The New Mandatory Binding Arbitration Clause
While we appreciate that Microsoft has made its online services agreement much easier to read, the update comes with a questionable addition: a shiny new mandatory binding arbitration clause with class action waiver. The clause states that you agree to settle any legal disputes (except intellectual property rights disputes) in either the small claims court in your county of residence or Microsoft’s, or through the arbitration procedure outlined in the agreement. Microsoft announced that this change was coming awhile back, and has already added similar language to its XBOX Live service.