Ben Schumin

Austin City Councilman Sues Mayor To Overturn New Ride-Hailing App Ordinance

A new law requiring drivers for ride-hailing services to undergo a city background check, including fingerprinting, led the two leading companies in the industry, Uber and Lyft, to pull out of the Austin market, leaving passengers rideless and around 10,000 drivers jobless. Now a city councilman who was against the original law has filed a lawsuit against the city. [More]

Andy

Former Uber And Lyft Drivers In Austin Sue Over Abrupt Pullout

In Austin, TX last month, city voters approved a ballot measure that would require drivers for ride-hailing apps to pass city background checks and be fingerprinted. Both companies immediately pulled out of the city, suddenly leaving thousands of workers, many of whom were driving for their full-time jobs, out of work. Now drivers are suing the companies, alleging that they were owed notice under the WARN Act. [More]

(Chris Goldberg)

People Don’t Really Want To Live Next To A Vacation Rental Party House

It’s not that people in residential neighborhoods don’t like tourists, or that they don’t want their neighbors to make money by occasionally renting out their homes on AirBNB or HomeAway. It’s that they didn’t sign up to live next to a party hotel, and services that let people rent out their homes very easily also make it super-easy to buy an ordinary house and turn it into a party rental. [More]

Google Takes Self-Driving Prototypes To Texas For More Testing

Google Takes Self-Driving Prototypes To Texas For More Testing

Google is taking its driverless car technology on the road: after unleashing a new generation self-driving prototypes on the streets near its California home recently, the company says there’s a new driverless vehicles that will be tooling around Austin, TX.

[More]

Thought Of Comcast Merger Scares AT&T Into Expanding Gigabit Fiber Service

Thought Of Comcast Merger Scares AT&T Into Expanding Gigabit Fiber Service

Dallas is AT&T’s home turf. It’s cable market is also dominated by Time Warner Cable. But the thought of that cable/Internet business being swallowed up by Comcast if its merger with TWC goes through was apparently enough to get AT&T to decide to roll out gigabit fiber service to the Texas town. [More]

Aereo Launching Next Week In Austin

Aereo Launching Next Week In Austin

Only days after a federal court in Utah issued an injunction halting Aereo service in six states — and a showdown with broadcasters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the horizon — streaming video startup Aereo continues to expand, announcing a launch date and channel lineup for TV viewers in Austin. [More]

Real Competition From Google Or Window-Dressing For FCC? Time Warner Cable Improves Speeds In Austin

Real Competition From Google Or Window-Dressing For FCC? Time Warner Cable Improves Speeds In Austin

Here are two facts: Google Fiber is coming to Austin, and Time Warner Cable is being bought by Comcast. The question is: Which one of these two facts is the cause for TWC’s significantly ramped-up service in the Texas capital? [More]

Video: Restaurant Mocks Drone Trend, Uses Flying Bot To Chop Celery, Take Out Trash

Video: Restaurant Mocks Drone Trend, Uses Flying Bot To Chop Celery, Take Out Trash

While Amazon and others prepare to darken the skies with the flying robots that will one day enslave all humanity and turn us into organic batteries, some restaurants have already opened the door to the pernicious plague of aerial drones. Now one Austin eatery has produced a video showing all the ways in which it employs the hovering harbingers of the robo-pocalypse. [More]

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AT&T Offers $70 (Sort-Of) Gigabit Internet… If You Let It Snoop On Your Browsing History

AT&T has finally kicked off its gigabit Internet service in some parts of Austin, and is offering people high-speed fiber access “for as low as $70 a month.**” See those two stars? They’re kind of important, as the only way you’re getting that $70 price is if you sign up for a program that gives AT&T access to your web browsing habits so it can serve you up even more ads. [More]

Why New Fiber Networks Are Required To Shatter Monopolies Of Comcast & Other ISPs

Why New Fiber Networks Are Required To Shatter Monopolies Of Comcast & Other ISPs

It’s one thing if a company earns a dominant market share in a region because consumers have voted with their wallets and decided that Company X is the best around and it’s the only one they want. It’s another when, in the case of the cable industry, that monopoly isn’t earned, but is instead the result of outdated regulations that force a certain company on consumers based on ZIP code. The introduction of higher-speed fiber-optic networks like Google Fiber and AT&T’s new experiment in Austin may shatter the concrete feet of a cable colossus like Comcast. [More]

(via BurgerBusiness.com)

McDonald’s Tries To Healthy-Up The McMuffin With “Egg White Delight”

Since the dawn of Yuppies, people have been asking for egg-white omelets and other egg-white only options for their breakfasts. It took a while, but McDonald’s is finally dipping its toes into the egg white water with tests of something called the Egg White Delight. [More]

Austin Realizes Not Everyone Loves Junk Mail, Gives People Way To Opt Out

Austin Realizes Not Everyone Loves Junk Mail, Gives People Way To Opt Out

Contrary to the opinion of Nevada Senator Harry Reid, not everyone view junk mail as an indispensable conduit between elderly Americans and the outside world. In fact, most of us would rather do without it. That’s why officials in Austin took time off from rehearsing with their ska/bluegrass fusion trios to become the latest city to give residents a way to opt out of receiving unwanted mail.

[More]

Packaging-Free Grocery Store To Open In Texas

Packaging-Free Grocery Store To Open In Texas

While there are plenty of farmers’ markets or bulk spice shops you can go to buy fresh goods with zero packaging, some entrepreneurs in Austin, TX, are aiming to open what they say is the first 100% packaging-free grocery store in the country.

[More]

Time Warner Shuts Off Heavy User's Account With No Warning

Time Warner Shuts Off Heavy User's Account With No Warning

While they’ve temporarily shelved metered broadband plans, Time Warner is cutting off, with no warning, the accounts of customers who they deem have used too much bandwidth. One such customer lives in Austin, TX, one of the original markets slated for metered broadband. Stop The Cap has the story, and an excerpt is inside.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Is Unsurprisingly Useless And Full Of Lies

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Is Unsurprisingly Useless And Full Of Lies

Enterprise Rent-A-Car failed reader Jimmy in every possible way, which is quite the accomplishment since he only wanted a full size car to drive around his visiting friends. GEICO, Jimmy’s insurance company, set him up with Enterprise after he lost a head-on collision with a deer. Enterprise managed to muck up nearly every step of the rental process, promising to deliver cars they didn’t have, delivering the wrong class of car, and upselling unnecessary insurance that they wrongly said GEICO would cover. Jimmy’s never going to use Enterprise again, and inside, you’ll see why…

Austin Jiffy Lubes Too Cheap To Dispose Of Oil Properly, Keep Dumping It In City Sewer System

Austin Jiffy Lubes Too Cheap To Dispose Of Oil Properly, Keep Dumping It In City Sewer System

Heartland Automotive Services, Inc., which runs 31 Jiffy Lubes in the Austin area, has to pay a $300,000 fine after admitting to pumping used oil into the city’s sewer system instead of recycling it. Normally shops are paid by the gallon for used oil, but in this case a damaged wall let water seep into the oil collection area and create a toxic mess that couldn’t be sold—so instead of paying to remove it, they pumped it down the drain.

Roy & Friends Find Used Skeeball Machine

Roy & Friends Find Used Skeeball Machine

Roy and his friends in Austin, TX would like to thank Consumerist readers for helping them locate a skee-ball machine they could all chip in on and practice on for their Brewskeeball league. They ended up finding one on in College Station, TX on Craigslist for $800. Score!

Abel's Copies Won't Issue A Refund Even After Selling You The Wrong Product

Abel's Copies Won't Issue A Refund Even After Selling You The Wrong Product

Abel’s Copies is standing by their strict “No Refunds” policy even after ordering the wrong course packet for reader David. The workers at the off-campus bookstore near the University of Texas at Austin insisted there was only one instructor for David’s course and that they couldn’t order a new course packet unless David paid in advance. When David got home, he realized that Abel’s sold him the wrong packet. He called the store and learned that Abel’s had the right packet in stock for $25 less than he paid—but Abel’s refused to issue a refund…