La importancia del marketing digital para los profesionales #marketing #socialmedia

Hola: Una presentación sobre la importancia del marketing digital para los profesionales. Un saludo

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El Social Media está cambiando el negocio del branding #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía que nos dice que el Social Media está cambiando el negocio del branding. Un saludo Produced by : Techmagnate SEO Company India

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Coaching para conseguir tus metas #infografia #infographic #education

Hola: Una infografía sobre el coaching para conseguir tus metas. Vía Un saludo

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El crecimiento de las Redes Sociales #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre el crecimiento de las Redes Sociales. Un saludo Source: The Growth of Social Media v2.0 [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Momentos clave de la historia del correo electrónico #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía sobre los momentos clave de la historia del correo electrónico. Un saludo

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NLRB May Prosecute Walmart For Alleged Retaliation Against Protesting Workers

(Photo: Twitter User @hanson_alan)

(Photo: Twitter User @hanson_alan)

For the last few years, a number of Walmart workers have pushed the nation’s largest retailer for higher wages and the right to unionize. During this time, some employees have alleged that management has retaliated against workers who have protested the store or walked off the job temporarily to strike. Today, the General Counsel for the federal National Labor Relations Board issued a statement saying he has investigated these claims and may have to prosecute the company.

The NLRB General Counsel, Richard Griffin, released a statement this afternoon saying his office had authorized complaints of workers’ rights violations after finding merits in several allegations filed with the NLRB. If no settlement is reached in these cases, his office will prosecute.

Among those instances in which his office found merit:

* Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012.

* Walmart stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.

* Walmart stores in California, Florida, Missouri and Texas unlawfully threatened, surveilled, disciplined, and/or terminated employees in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.

The General Counsel’s office also found there were some instances in which the allegations were without merit:

* Walmart stores in Illinois and Texas did not interfere with their employees’ right to strike by telling large groups of non-employee protestors to move from Walmart’s property to public property, pursuant to a lawful Solicitation and Distribution policy, where the groups contained only a small number of employees who either did not seek to stay on Walmart’s property or were permitted to remain without non-employee protesters.

* Walmart stores in California and Washington did not unlawfully change work schedules, disparately apply their policies, or otherwise coerce employees in retaliation for their exercise of statutory rights.

“Americans believe that we have the responsibility – and the right – to speak out against corporate abuses of workers, and this proves we’re finally being heard, and making kinks in Walmart’s armor,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice and American Rights at Work in a statement. “Customers, clergy and community members from across the country are standing with Walmart workers bravely calling for better jobs and a stronger economy for all of us.”

Walmart has previously denied any system of retaliation or harassment of employees who protest. In Oct. 2012, a rep for the retailer brushed off Unfair Labor Practice complaints filed with the NLRB by saying they are “similar to lawsuits. Anyone can file them, regardless of whether it’s a valid claim or not. We disagree with those assertions.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

El castigo en la escuela


65 consejos para blogs #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con 65 consejos para blogs. Un saludo

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El crecimiento de la analítica en Social Media #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre el crecimiento de la analítica en Social Media. Un saludo

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Cyber-Criminals Steal $45 Million, Ship It Off In Suitcases Full Of Cash

Since the dawn of the connected computer age, criminals in movies have easily transferred massive amounts of stolen money via computer — often while an onscreen “transaction processing” bar slowly indicates the progress of the crime. But when real-life cyber-criminals want to pay off their ringleader, they apparently do so the old-fashioned way, with a suitcase full of cash sent on a bus.

This is according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which today announced the arrest of five men allegedly connected to a complicated “cyberheist” that took $45 million in just a matter of hours earlier this year.

(Side Note: Does anyone else feel really old and out-of-touch using the “cyber” prefix? It makes me think of that horrendous 1993 Billy Idol album.)

The suspects are accused of being members of a NY-based cell of a global crime network that hacked into financial institutions’ servers to steal prepaid debit card data and then withdraw all that money from ATMs around the world.

The prosecutors say they have photos of $800,000 of the boosted cash packed in a suitcase shipped via bus to Florida to the group’s organizer.

The suspects are being charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

“As alleged, just a few months ago, after exploiting cyber-weaknesses in the financial system to steal millions from ATMs, these defendants were packing bags to the brim with stolen cash, destined for the cybercriminal organizers of these attacks,” stated United States Attorney Loretta Lynch. “Today, we have sent them packing once again – but this time, to jail. We will not relent until all those responsible for these financially devastating cybercrimes are brought to justice.”

The defendants are accused [PDF] of participating in at least two huge heists, the first, against UAE-based RAKBANK, occurred in Dec. 2012. Hackers stole info on more than 4,500 prepaid debit cards, and around $5 million was withdrawn by people in 20 different countries.

The second attack was much, much larger. In February, these hackers allegedly breached the systems of Bank Muscat in Oman. In the course of only 10 hours, participants in 24 countries withdrew $40 million from ATMs with stolen info about the bank’s prepaid debit cards.

The man arrested in New York are accused of withdrawing a total of $2.8 million at over 140 different ATM locations in New York City. They then packed this money up and shipped it to the ringleaders around the world.

Of course, they took photos of the money. One image, seized from a defendant’s iPhone, allegedly shows $800,000 taken from the Bank Muscat heist before it was sent on the bus to Florida. The recipient is believed to have fled to the Dominican Republic.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

La máquina del Social Media #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre la máquina del Social Media. Vía Un saludo

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Principales causas de los accidentes aéreos #infografia #infographic #tourism

Hola: Una infografía sobre las principales causas de los accidentes aéreos. Vía Un saludo

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New Airport “Exit Portals” Don’t Rain Down Money On Travelers Or Anything Fun

If you’re going to make me step into a clear tube that shuts behind me I darn well better be going to Narnia or get showered with hundred dollar bills. But hopping into a one-person contraption on the way out of the airport doesn’t look like much fun at all, especially in light of the already overly annoying security process.

Syracuse’s airport terminal just got a set of the new exits and already people are kind of confused. Is there a scanner? Can my mom come in with me? Is this beaming me up to Scotty on the starship Enterprise? No, no and no, explains

The robotic voice tells travelers to step in, wait for the doors to close behind you, and then walk out the front when those doors close. The portals are simply meant to deter anyone who’s exited from going back into the terminal. It’s just a one-way tube, no transportation to lands thus far only imagined and no falling money. Boring.

“We need to be vigilant and maintain high security protocol at all times. These portals were designed and approved by TSA which is important,” said Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan.

It’ll save the airport money because staff and police won’t have to monitor the exits as they did before, only show up if there’s trouble.

She adds that the Transportation Security Administration approved the design and installation, and it seems these tubes to nowhere fun could show up in other airports soon enough. I’m going to throw a fistful of cash up in the air if I ever get in one, just because.

Syracuse airport renovation introduces new ‘exit portals’ []

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

10 consejos para tuitear correctamente #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con 10 consejos para tuitear correctamente. Un saludo

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Reglas para las marcas para conversar con sus fans #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre las Reglas para las marcas para conversar con sus fans. Un saludo

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Organize Your Fridge To Prevent Food Spoilage

There might be a perfectly shaped little spot for a gallon or half-gallon of milk in your refrigerator, but that doesn’t mean you should keep it there. The door and the very front of refrigerator shelves are the warmest parts of the fridge, since the parts closest to the door make the most contact with warm air. Keep milk and eggs toward the back. [Consumer Reports]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Empleo en Estados Unidos (octubre/2013) #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre el Empleo en Estados Unidos (octubre/2013). Un saludo

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When Tornado Takes Your House But Leaves Your PS4, You’ve Just Gotta Smile

It was a horrible weekend for many people in parts of the Midwest who are the victims of devastating tornadoes that destroyed homes and property… but not this guy’s spankin’ new PS4.

Someone from the Washington, IL, area just east of Peoria, posted the above photo to Reddit earlier today, claiming that amid all the destruction brought down upon his home (yes, that is a sink hanging from the wall behind him), the PS4 came out untouched.

The poster also took the opportunity provided by all the attention given to this photo today to urge people who want to help to consider donating to the Red Cross relief effort, donate blood, and maybe look into taking in animals left homeless by the storms.

And we’ll take this opportunity to remind you of two things related to post-tragedy scams.

For people in storm-ravaged areas, there will be home repair scams, usually in the form of walk-up “contractors,” who go door-to-door in the aftermath of hurricanes, tornadoes and the like, offering their services — often at a discount, and often faster than the time frame you’d get by calling a legitimate contractor.

Some of these door-knockers will actually attempt a repair, though it will be likely be shoddy and done with substandard materials. More often, the person will just take your “deposit” and then never materialize.

So the first thing you should do when hiring a contractor is to check with your state’s Dept. of Consumer Affairs (or Bureau of Consumer Protection, or whatever variation on that them they choose to use) to see if A) the contractor is licensed by the state, and B) if there are any complaints filed against the contractor.

In Illinois, the Attorney General’s office provides this page of information regarding common home repair scams, along with phone numbers for the state’s consumer fraud hotline.

Second, for those of you considering donating money to help people in Illinois or anywhere else hit by devastating storms, <strong>click here to read our guide on how to tell if a charity is the real deal or a scam.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

El iPhone sigue siendo el móvil más caro #infografia #infographic #apple

Hola: Una infografía que dice que el iPhone sigue siendo el móvil más caro. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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¿El móvil controla nuestra vida? #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía que plantea si ¿El móvil controla nuestra vida? Un saludo

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4 Things That Make Airline Boarding A Complete Mess

For decades, airlines around the world have spent untold fortunes analyzing passenger behavior and plane design to come up with the best way to squeeze all those people into a jet in a timely fashion, and yet no one has cracked the code and passengers still get stuck in long lines, often because of the same old reasons.

While there are likely a large number of causes for lengthy boarding times, here are five that we think are the biggest culprits:

1. Bullish passengers and pushover gate attendants

Unless you’ve never flown before, you know that passengers are supposed to come up according to their group numbers and that the gate attendants are supposed to turn away travelers whose groups have not yet been called.

But the only time this seems to happen with regularity is when the plane is boarding First and Business passengers. Once it gets to Economy, it often turns into a free-for-all, especially once people notice that some guy with a Group 4 ticket got through with the Group 2 passengers.

By letting these travelers jump the line, the attendants have made the boarding procedure less efficient. If it’s a front-to-back boarding plane, these people will now be blocking the aisle rows ahead of where passengers behind them are trying to go. If it’s a windows-to-aisle boarding plane, this means these line-jumping passengers will need to get out of their middle and aisle seats to make room for those who should have boarded ahead of them.

2. Early Boarding For Premium Passengers

First and Business class passengers almost always board first, and sometimes they’re in the way when the Economy travelers try to board, but usually there are so few of them and they are given such a head-start that they’re not a huge roadblock to boarding.

What does slow things down is when the airline allows passengers to pay for early Economy boarding, or gives early boarding as a reward for being a frequent flier or member of some other program. While we certainly understand the appeal of getting on the plane early, it has the same effect as when passengers jump the line.

3. “Forgot My Book/Phone/Laptop/iPad”

There are some travelers who believe that good packing means squeezing everything you need into the right bag. But there’s an additional element that separates good packing from truly great packing — putting things you’ll need during the trip in an easily accessible part of the bag so that you can get them out quickly while boarding.

Alas, far too many people (and I’m very guilty of this) don’t realize until it’s too late that something they’ll need during the flight is still inside their bag.

So when you realize you left your book/phone/tablet/laptop/snack in the bag that is now safely stowed away, you have the choice of either just waiting until after everyone is settled and then going to retrieve it, or getting up now and blocking the aisle as you rummage for your dog-eared copy of Flowers In the Attic. It has happened on every flight I’ve ever been on, and the person doing is rarely apologetic or even self-aware enough to realize he/she is slowing everyone down.

4. Rolling Suitcases and Baggage Fees

Yes, just about everyone travels with one of these suitcases these days, and that number has probably increased since airlines instituted fees for checked bags. And while most of these rolling suitcases may just fit in the overhead bin, they take up too much space, weigh too much, and are often a hassle for smaller passengers to get in or out of overhead storage, leading to all manner of traffic snarls in the aisles.

Let’s not forget the travelers who have yet to learn, even though they’ve seen a flight attendant do it a thousand times, that these rolling cases are often supposed to be stowed perpendicular to the aisle. Thus, when someone comes up later and is looking for space, they have to waste their time — and that of the people behind them — rearranging incorrectly inserted luggage.

Carry-on bags are supposed to be things you carry on to the plane, not things you roll and then need help lifting into a bin.

The L.A. Times’ Michael Hiltzik has a great column today on why he believes United’s boarding plan is the worst, and includes his feelings on the role of checked bags in boarding delays:

“Here’s another way they’ve undermined their own interests — charging fees for checked baggage has simply encouraged more people to carry on, and to stuff their roll-on bags with more stuff than they can properly hold.”

I contend that the combination of too many people, super-tight seating, luggage, and narrow aisles is a puzzle that can never be solved, at least not without removing one of those factors. But even if someone creates an airplane that can fly 150 people in comfort for an affordable price, the airline industry will just use that extra room to cram in more passengers.

The only thing we can do to speed things up is to travel with minimal luggage. Alas, I know that those of you who agree with that sentiment probably already do carry as little as possible, while those that disagree are unlikely to be swayed.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Redes Sociales como agregadores de noticias #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre las Redes Sociales como agregadores de noticias. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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Cómo ser un buen diseñador #infografia #infographic #design

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo ser un buen diseñador. Un saludo

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Is Labeling Vodka As Gluten-Free Just Another Marketing Gimmick?

Gluten! It’s all the rage. Or at least, avoiding it has become popular even for those don’t suffer from celiac disease, making gluten-free products a potential moneymaker for companies who’ve seized on the marketing power of such products. But when it comes to smacking a gluten-free label on vodka and other distilled spirits, is it all just another way to get a buck out of customers?

Ever since the Food and Drug Administration settled on regulations for gluten-free labels in August, companies have started shilling products like Shaquille O’Neal’s gluten-free Luv Shaq vodka, reports the Scientific American. But there’s no need for such labels on distilled spirits, argue some critics.

That’s because during the distillation process, heating up the alcohol removes it from the rest of the mixture used to make it.

Distillation involves heating, which vaporizes the alcohol as a way to remove it from the mixture. “Distilled spirits, because of the distillation process, should contain no detectable gluten residues or gluten peptide residues,” Steve Taylor, co-director of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Food Allergy Research and Resource Program tells Scientific American. “Proteins and peptides are not volatile and thus would not distill over.”

Basically — none of the gluten-y ingredients will come with the alcohol and shouldn’t show up in amounts that would bother many with gluten sensitivities. The rules governing gluten-free labels say anything bearing that distinction must contain less than 20 parts per million using precise, scientific methods. That testing might not be necessary, adds Taylor, calling gluten-free vodka a “silly thing.”

“All vodka is gluten-free unless there is some flavored vodka out there where someone adds a gluten-containing ingredient,” he adds. “I know that many celiac sufferers are extra-cautious. That is their privilege. But their [vodka] concerns are usually not science-based.”

But while there aren’t any studies that prove distilled spirits will bother people with gluten intolerances, many still report symptoms after drinking distilled grain-based products, says the executive director of te Celiac Sprue Association.

She says that because the gluten is in the product before it ferments, there’s no way it all stays behind during distillation.

“If distillation took place in chemistry labs, it would be different,” she adds, because commercial distillers “often stop the distillation process for the optimum flavor of their liquor or add ingredients after distillation. If commercial distillation was perfect, why would some beverages require multiple distillations?”

It appears that it just depends on the individual — if you’ve ever suffered adverse effects from drinking distilled spirits, it’s probably best just to stay away altogether. But for other, Taylor says you should be good to go — label or no.

“The FDA and other public health agencies around the world have reviewed the evidence and concluded that products with less than 20-ppm gluten are safe for the vast majority of celiac sufferers,” as he puts it.

Should Vodka Be Marketed as Gluten-Free? [Scientific American]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Hey, Gree Electric Appliances, Where’s My Recalled Dehumidifier Refund?

greehumidifiersA few months ago, we reported that 2.2 million dehumidifiers sold under a variety of brands had been recalled after a few units sort of… started fires. Customers with affected units were to send back the unit’s name plate, dispose of it safely after cutting off the cord or otherwise rendering it unusable, then sit back and wait for their refund checks. And wait… and wait… and wait.

You probably had never heard of Gree Electronics before this recall, but everyone certainly has now. Their dehumidifiers were sold under more familiar brand names to Americans like Frigidaire, De’Longhi, and Kenmore.

Reader Deborah wrote to us earlier today, complaining that Gree seems to be sitting on her refund. “When I called the recall hotline, the woman there informed me that the two to six weeks was the timeline after processing and before the mailing of the check, and that no one knew how long processing would take,” she writes. The company’s own recall FAQ explains how long this processing is supposed to take quite clearly, but the key words there are “supposed to.” Gree’s site says:

You will be reimbursed once your name plate sticker, the power cord and plug, and the warning sticker from the power cord are returned and your return kit has been processed. Please allow 2-6 weeks from the receipt of your return to receive your reimbursement.

Do you see any mysterious “processing” time included there? We don’t.

This is what Deborah wants to know: have any other owners of recalled dehumidifiers received their checks, and within the expected time frame? Her own online search didn’t turn up very encouraging news. The consumer reporter at WSYR in Syracuse, N.Y. helped out a local woman with the same problem as Deborah. That viewer had been waiting for two months for her check.

When the TV station contacted Gree on her behalf, they learned that her check had apparently already been processed. The magic words “TV reporter” had apparently unlocked the company’s processing apparatus and made Gree “expedite” the check, which had already been printed and was sitting around.

We made some calls and are waiting to hear back from Stericycle, the medical waste and recall management firm that Gree hired to handle this recall. We’ll update this post or give you a whole new update when we find something out.

And if you’re a customer affected by the recall and did get your check already, we want to hear from you! Drop us a line at so we can reassure Deborah.

Where’s my refund on my recalled dehumidifier: The Real Deal [WSYR]


Gree Electric Appliances Recalls 2.2 Million Dehumidifiers Because Fire Is Worse Than Humidity

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

At Target, A “Free” Gift Card For Reserving A PS4 Actually Costs $25, Can’t Be Used For PS4

Everybody wants a piece of the valuable pie that is the new PS4, so how do retailers distinguish themselves from each other and make sure you buy the console from them instead of another store? For one, Target offered what at first seemed like a pretty good deal: Reserve a PS4 from Target and pay $25 to do so, and receive a $25 gift card when you pick up the system. Sounds great, right? Maybe not so much, as we’re hearing from some very dissatisfied readers.

Mike writes in that he reserved the PS4 at Target after reading an offer that said he’d get a “FREE $25 gift card” with the purchase of a reservation card. Basically, he’d have to pay $25 at the time he reserved the system, but figured he’d get that money back later.

And he did, sort of. He writes that when he went to pick his system up, he was surprised to find that the $25 he paid to reserve it didn’t go toward the balance of the system. And that “free” gift card didn’t help either, as he was told he couldn’t use it to pay for his PS4.

So really, he ended up paying $424.99 for his PS4 plus tax — making that gift card very un-free — and wrote to Target customer service to see what the heck was going on.

At first the customer service rep simply noted:

“The Reservation Card has a retail of $25 and will include $25 Target GiftCard offer with purchase. The $25 GiftCard cannot be used towards the purchase price.”

Exactly his point, he added, replying, “I know, that is what’s upsetting. The reservation card says ‘Free $25 gift card’ when that is not true… I did not receive a free $25 gift card because I paid for it.”

Target replied again and thanked him and apologized for being so darn confusing, but that’s just how it is.

Thanks for taking the time to share your additional thoughts about your experience.The Reservation Card has a retail of $25 and will include $25 Target GiftCard offer with purchase. It is for a future purchase.

I’m glad you wrote to us about this, because the $25 GiftCard cannot be used towards the purchase price it led to confusion and that was not our intention.

This just doesn’t make sense to us, either — not only are customers not getting anything for free, but their money is just being turned into a $25 worth of Target merchandise that isn’t the item they wanted from Target in the first place.

Another Consumerist reader had a similar experience, noting that really, that $25 just means that yes, you will eventually own a PS4.

“Your payment, however, doesn’t actually reduce the cost of the system,” reader John notes. “It’s essentially trading $25 in cash for a $25 store gift card and a guarantee that you will get the system when it comes out.”

We’ve reached out to Target and are waiting to hear back from anyone who could explain how a free gift card can cost money and will update this post as soon as possible.

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Save Money Without Thinking About It: Don’t Spend Dollar Bills

Have trouble saving money? Here’s a deceptively simple plan to boost your savings. Shift as much of your everyday spending to cash as possible. Choose one denomination that you receive back in change and never spend it. Deposit the accumulated bills in the bank instead.

One proponent of this plan started a naturally simple website for it, Dollar Bill Savings Plan. They propose saving $1 bills and all of your change in a secure spot, then periodically depositing it all.

This seems so simple that you’re probably scoffing at it right now. “Anyone can do that,” you say. Yes, but does everyone? Do you, right now? How is your saving rate, anyway?

The Dollar Bill Savings Method page has a pickle jar full of testimonials. A few examples:

I do this and usually save an extra $150-$250 per month. I then take the money in each month to the bank and place it in a high interest money market account that I found at a local bank that pays over 4.01% APY.

I started using the DBSP at the end of January 2010. I was unemployed and barely getting by, and I had just spent the last of my savings. I knew I had to get something set aside, otherwise the next unexpected expense would sink me. I was fortunate to get a job about a month later, but I continued the plan. At the end of September 2010 I had over $800 in dollar bills alone!

Some people have found success with $1 bills, others with $10 bills. Dumping your change is also a good idea, especially if you use a bank that has low or no-cost change-counting machines for customer use.

The Dollar Bill Savings Plan [Official Site]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Coffee Maker Meals Mean You’ll Never Go Hungry In A Hotel Room Again

(Louis Abate) Mmm, tastes like fish.

(Louis Abate) Mmm, tastes like fish.

Who knew the average kitchen would be filled with so many appliances capabale of cooking food? And no, not just your electric grill or the toaster oven, but your dishwasher can whip up culinary delights and now people are apparently even cooking in coffee makers. Say what? Yup. Salmon in a coffee maker. It’s the fishiest part of waking up…?

Using your coffee maker to make an entire meal might sound like a crackpot idea, but NPR’s The Salt points out chefs who are turning out entire meals with the brewers, including steamed broccoli, salmon and couscous, scrambled eggs and even cinnamon buns.

Sounds… interesting, to say the least. But how did this weird idea come up, and is anyone actually good at coffee maker meals?

“My nephew came home from Afghanistan complaining about the food in the mess hall,” one coffee maker chef tells NPR. “But the soldiers were allowed only to have coffee makers in their rooms.”

She turned to her coffee pot and started pulling together recipes that would work in it, including comfort food like short ribs and mac ‘n’ cheese.

“I put all my recipes in a little book and sent it over to the boys in Afghanistan,” she explains. “I also sent split peas and canned ham so my nephew could make split pea soup.”

There are basically three ways to cook with a coffee maker: Steam, poach and grill.

Steaming is easy with the top basket, where any veggies can go in and get nicely done in about the same time as they would cook traditionally.

Poaching involves using the carafe as a vessel for chicken or fish, or to hard-boil eggs, make couscous or oatmeal.

Grilling is a little bit harder and will take a lot of time, but if you’re dedicated to making a grilled cheese in your hotel room, the burner can serve as a hot surface.

The Salt attempted a classic meal of poached salmon with steamed broccoli and couscous, and found that while the salmon looked “scary” while poaching, the entire meal was pretty tasty and only took 20 minutes.

You can check out their recipe for the above meal in the source link below, and in the meantime just make sure you thoroughly clean your coffee pot after poaching that fish. Because while salmon coffee would surely wake you up, it might taste pretty gross if you forgot you were cooking fish the night before. And while we’re not seriously suggesting you use a hotel room coffee pot — who knows what’s been in there — if you get desperate enough it’s always an option.

Coffee Maker Cooking: Brew Up Your Next Dinner [The Salt]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Ohio Walmart Held An Employee Food Drive…For Less Fortunate Employees

bins1-15660341jpg-b2a282e054d52e53It’s not unusual to have a food drive at work for the less fortunate during the holiday season. At one Walmart, donation bins appeared in an employees-only area, gathering food for people who are struggling to pay for a nice Thanksgiving dinner. The problem? Those struggling people are their Walmart colleagues.

Now, one should probably consider the source of this photo: OUR Walmart, an organization meant to mobilize Walmart workers for better pay and work conditions. It happens to be backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, with access to some very smart public relations people. They know that most people would have a very visceral negative reaction to relatively low-paid Walmart workers being asked to help out their worse-off colleagues.

The store in question is in Canton, Ohio. If you ask Walmart, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer did, this food drive is just an indication that store employees take care of each other. “This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” the spokesman explained. The company also has staff-funded emergency assistance funds for colleagues.

Workers can have a nice holiday dinner if they work on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t help the families that they provide for.

Is Walmart’s request of associates to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for co-workers proof of low wages? [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Walmart is asking us to donate food to our coworkers [Facebook]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

5 Years After Deadly Walmart Black Friday Stampede, OSHA Reminds Stores To Keep Order

In the early morning hours of Nov. 28, 2008, a Walmart employee in Long Island was trampled to death by over-eager shoppers rushing to grab doorbuster deals. In the years since, many stores have taken measures to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again, but it doesn’t hurt to remind retailers what can be done to minimize any mob mania.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has sent letters to some of the nation’s largest retailers, along with retail associations and fire departments, to remind them that while the whole doorbuster, get-em-while-we-have-em sales mentality is fun and all, it should be done in a way that doesn’t put customers and employees in danger.

“The busy shopping season should not put retail workers at risk of being injured or killed,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, which is urging retailers to take the time to adopt a proper crowd management plan that includes some of the safety guidelines provided in this OSHA fact sheet.

In addition to having trained security or police on site (and well in advance of the store’s opening), there are some guidelines that seem like common sense, but which a number of stores have ignored for years, like starting barricades and rope lines away from the store’s entrance. In the 2008 tragedy, customers were waiting up against the entrance of the Walmart and eventually just tore some of the doors from their hinges.

Having the line away from the immediate entrance makes it easier to follow two other important safety guidelines. First, it helps store employees regulate how many people are going into the store at any given time by making it more difficult for shoppers to sneak in or rush the entrance. Second, it keeps the entrance clear so that, in case of an emergency, those in the store can get out quickly.

Speaking of which, OSHA reminds retailers — but really shouldn’t have to — not to block or lock exit doors. It might seem tempting to minimize the number of exits to prevent shoplifters from sneaking out a side or back door, but if there’s a panic in the store, a locked door could be deadly.

Finally, the store should really go out of its way to make clear and explain the procedures for the evening. Yes, it might be annoying and repetitive to hear some employee explain the same instructions over and over, but I think most of us would rather be mildly irritated than having outright confusion when it comes time to shop.

This will be the first year that many major big box retailers are opening before midnight. Will 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. openings, which overlap many consumers’ Thanksgiving dinner plans, help alleviate some of the doorbuster madness? We’ll find out in a couple weeks.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Police: Parents Took Their 7 Kids Along For Toys ‘R’ Us Shoplifting Spree

It’s bad enough to go around taking things off store shelves and then not paying for them, but bringing along all seven of your children to help you shoplift is a whole new level of bad consumering. Yes, consumering.

Police in Tampa are looking for a family including seven children between the ages of 3 and 13 that were involved in the alleged shoplifting incident at the end of October, reports CBS Tampa.

Security cameras caught the family making their way to the store’s display of tablets, where police think two of the kids were instructed by their parents to disable the security devices on the tablets.

It appears the children’s alleged efforts were successful on two tablets, which is when police say the parents took the devices and walked out with the kids in tow.

All told about $300 worth of merchandise was lifted, but this heist isn’t about a store losing valuable merchandise so much as it’s about parents teaching their kids early on how to game the system. Spending quality time with your family is one thing, but if it’s spent boosting merchandise there’s no quality to that.

Police: Parents Go On Shoplifting Crime Spree With 7 Children [CBS Tampa]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Google Settles Multi-State Safari Ad-Tracking Complaint For $17 Million

Apple’s Safari browser has a default setting that blocks websites from setting third-party cookies that can be used to track users’ browsing behavior. But for about nine months in 2011-2012, Google’s DoubleClick ad serving service was able to get around that roadblock in order to provide user-specific ads to people with Apple computers and, more importantly, users of iPhones and iPads. Google has already been hit with a $22.5 million federal penalty, and today it has agreed to settle a multi-state claim for an additional $17 million.

The Attorneys General involved in the complaint allege that Google violated various state consumer protection laws when it failed to notify consumers that it had found a way to circumvent Safari’s default settings. The states also took issue with Google’s earlier public assurances that Safari did not, by default, allow third-party cookies.

In addition to the states that will divvy up the $17 million payout, Google has pinky-swore to the following:

1. It will not deploy the type of code used in this case to override a browser’s cookie blocking settings without the consumer’s consent unless it is necessary to do so in order to detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues.

2. It will not misrepresent or omit material information to consumers about how they can use any particular Google product, service, or tool to directly manage how Google serves advertisements to their browsers.

3. It will improve the information it gives consumers regarding cookies, their purpose, and how the cookies are managed by consumers using Google’s products or services and tools.

The action was led by a 10-state executive committee with the Attorneys General offices of Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

Also included in the agreement: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“Consumers should be able to know whether there are other eyes surfing the web with them. By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “We must give consumers the reassurance that they can browse the Internet safely and securely.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Comcast Admits Its Pricing Is Confusing, Doesn’t Seem To Care

When Comcast launched its HBO-included discount package called Internet Plus last month, there was an awful lot of confusion about the price. Some media outlets reported it was $40/month, others said $50, still others said $70. The fact is, not even Comcast knows which one it’s supposed to charge you and it doesn’t seem to really care about its own ignorance.

Author and contributor Adam Tanner found this out for himself recently when Comcast called him to sell him on Internet Plus for $50/month, claiming it could add HBO and that handful of basic channels for the same price he was paying for Internet-only service. Problem is, Tanner is only paying Comcast $40.

He declined the offer, even after the Comcast sales rep tried to convince him that $40 and $50 were virtually the same price, but he decided to investigate the offer to see what it actually does cost.

The online chat sales rep he contacted quoted a price of $70/month, then after some checking lowered that to $60.

“Online offers and phone offers vary and it also varies per market,” wrote the chat rep. “I would advise that you call the Sales hotline.”

And so Tanner picked up the phone and called the number given by chat support. These people told him to call another number. He finally got through to someone who told him the price was $50/month.

But when you go online and look up prices for various markets, you can find the service for as low as $40/month. Of course, much like all of the prices listed above (aside from the $70/month number), these are introductory offers that will eventually increase in cost.

So why can’t anyone at Comcast just give you a straight answer regarding price?

“What you probably ran into was that the fact this is a new offer that we are putting through all of our channels and there is a certain element of training and roll out that you may have seen some inconsistency around,” a company rep tried to explain to Tanner.

I’m calling shenanigans on this right now. Yes, this product is new, but Comcast isn’t some fancy restaurant where the chef changes the menu at will. Nor was there an urgent need to get Internet Plus on the market. Comcast should have taken the time to train all of its employees — from chat to phone to cold-call sales — on the exact pricing of this plan before it launched.

But wait, there’s more.

“Sometimes there are differences in pricing because of the underlying programming associated with packages. So, for example, in the New York City area there is a lot more regional sports networks than there are, for example, in Boston or Atlanta, and the underlying cost of delivering the services are different,” added the rep.

That’s all well and good, but when I looked up the cost of Internet Plus for a home in Boston, I got $50/month on the Comcast website. When I looked up the same price for a home in the NYC area (which is not easy, given Comcast’s relatively small footprint in the city), I got… $50/month. So the Comcast rep is explaining away a price difference that doesn’t exist. Not a good sign.

Our favorite excuse is this one:

“I would say that there are a lot of competitors that we have in the market trying to benefit from obfuscating pricing, that a lot of times kind of offer things that have a lot of other things associated with them and from that perspective, you know, that’s part of what creates confusion… It is not always us, it is sometimes the people that are marketing against us.”

Yes, Comcast, all those customers of yours that write to us because they were quoted one price only to have another show up on their bills, or who can’t get straight answers when they try to get someone to tell them exactly what their bill will be each month, those people should be blaming the other cable companies, not Comcast!

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Princeton University Weighing Decision To Give Students Meningitis Vaccine Not Approved In U.S.

Officials at Princeton University are facing a bit of a medical dilemma over whether or not students should get an emergency vaccine against meningitis after a recent spate of the possibly fatal disease has sickened seven students. So what’s the big deal, if it could help stop a further outbreak at the school? The vaccine isn’t exactly approved for use in the United States.

The school’s board of trustees are working with medical staff and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to figure out how best to ward against the illness. The only vaccine that’s aimed at meningitis group B, which is the form that’s shown up at Princeton, is a product called Bexsero made by Novartis. It’s approved for use in Europe and Australia, but not here.

“We have filed an Investigational New Drug application for our MenB vaccine in the U.S., but have not yet come to an agreement on a pathway to licensure for this vaccine with regulatory authorities,” a Novartis spokeswoman told CNN.

The company is talking to Princeton, the CDC and the state Department of Public Health about getting around the usual obstacles to get the vaccine to students. The CDC says it’s considered “a safe vaccine.”

This outbreak is a bit puzzling to officials, as group B meningitis is a bacterial form of the disease that’s usually pretty rare here. Symptoms include stiff neck, headache, fever, vomiting, rashes, sensitivity to light and confusion. If you aren’t treated for it, complications can include brain damage, amputations and death.

“Usually, when you see this kind of meningitis on the campus, it’s meningitis C,” a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University told CNN. “This is very, very unusual.”

He adds that if he were at the table discussing the unapproved vaccine, he’d be “gently encouraging them to do this” as it would be justified in this case.

All of the students who contracted meningitis are now recovered except for the most recent case, a student who is still in the hospital after his Nov. 8 diagnosis.

Princeton weighing whether to offer meningitis vaccines [CNN]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

This 1995 Bradlee’s Black Friday Commercial Is Horrifyingly Prophetic

after_thanksgivingBack in 1995, the now-defunct discount chain Bradlees still existed. It was thriving, in fact. This 1995 commercial for the chain’s Black Friday sale, unearthed and shared through YouTube, shows that much more than hairstyles has changed in American commerce in the last 18 years.

Note that the mother in his ad is rushing her family through dinner, yanking food out of their hands, as if she needs to leave in order to storm the Best Buy gates at 6 P.M., or her local Simon mall or Macy’s at 8. That’s not it, though. She’s hurrying to get to the chain’s “After-Thanksgiving” sale, which didn’t start until the lazy mid-morning hour of 7 A.M. on Friday.

Maybe this is the kind of lazy retailing that put them out of business. Or maybe stores that aren’t essential used to actually open later on the country’s most important holidays!

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

McDonald’s Launches Spicy Pork McBites In China

Do you enjoy popcorn chicken and shrimp, but wish that they were much porkier? You’re in luck! For about $1.50, you can pick up a container of about 18 popcorn-sized fried pork morsels, covered with crispy breading, salt, pepper, and MSG at McDonald’s. The bad news: you’ll have to travel to China to get them.

We learned about this new dish from The Beijinger, which taste-tested and photographed the morsels, and also provided their own translation of the name: “Piggy Balls.” We’ll stick with “Spicy Pork McBites.”

The most important question, though, is how do they taste? Some new menu items start at overseas McDonald’s outlets and eventually make their way here. In their review, Beijinger

Done in a Chicken McNuggets style, these porky spheres of goodness have a crispy coating like their poultry counterparts, but the added bonus of a delicious, mildly spicy bite to them courtesy of that wonderful salt-pepper-MSG combination known as 椒盐, technically salt and pepper but so much more.

Reporting from Shanghai, Quartz was less enthusiastic. “If you were drunk, and could stop yourself from thinking about how the pork product interior was actually made, they’d probably be awesome,” notes Heather Timmons. Oh, like that isn’t the case with every other product at McDonald’s as well.

Fast Food Watch: McDonald’s Debuts Pork McNuggets in China [The Beijinger]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

NFL, MLB Say They’ll Take Their Balls To Basic Cable If Aereo Wins In Court

CBS and FOX executives have already made the bold declaration that they will take their networks off the air and go cable-only if they are unsuccessful in their bid to crush streaming video service Aereo. Now two pro sports leagues have said they will leave the airwaves if Aereo can profit off of them without sharing.

Here’s the background for those late to the game: Aereo is a startup streaming service — currently only available in a handful of markets — that uses arrays of incredibly small antennae to capture networks’ over-the-air signals, sending them over the Internet to paying subscribers’ computers and wireless devices. Aereo claims that it does not need to pay retransmission fees to the networks because each individual antenna it uses is dedicated to a single subscriber. Thus, contends the company, it’s doing nothing more than providing subscribers’ with the equivalent of a rooftop antenna that picks up freely available network feeds.

The networks obviously disagree, calling it thievery and a violation of copyright. In each region Aereo has launched, it’s been sued in federal court, but so far the networks have been unable to convince any of the courts to issue a preliminary injunction stopping Aereo from offering service. The case seems destined to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Last week, Major League Baseball and the National Football League filed a brief with the Supremes to support the networks’ side of the case. The leagues claim that if Aereo wins in court, they will have to take their programming to basic cable.

“If copyright holders lose their exclusive retransmission licensing rights and the substantial benefits derived from those rights when they place programming on broadcast stations, those stations will become less attractive mediums for distributing copyrighted content,” reads the brief. “The option for copyright holders will be to move that content to paid cable networks (such as ESPN and TNT) where Aereo-like services cannot hijack and exploit their programming without authorization.”

The big risk, claim the leagues, is the precedent that an Aereo victory would send. As we recently wrote, several cable operators — DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Charter, among others — are currently developing their own Aereo-like technologies in the hopes of getting around the billions of dollars in retransmission fees paid to broadcasters each year. That would mean less money in the leagues’ coffers.

One specious argument made by the NFL states that Aereo or some similar service could create an NFL Sunday Ticket-like package simply by taking in all the various network feeds of live games and sending them on to subscribers without paying the league a dime. There’s a huge problem with that claim. Aereo’s success in the courtroom thus far has been tied to its one-antenna/one-subscriber setup, and the fact that this antenna is pulling in over-the-air feeds and providing them to a subscriber in the specific broadcast area they live in. Unless Aereo has developed a teeny antenna that can somehow gather every broadcast signal from Seattle to Miami, the described situation just isn’t going to happen.

We’ll have to wait and see if the NFL is trying to bluff about pulling its feeds from over-the-air broadcasts, as doing so could risk angering fans and significantly lowering its TV audience.

We don’t know why MLB is complaining so much about Aereo. In many markets, most MLB games are already on basic cable channels (often ones operated by huge broadcast and/or cable operators like Comcast and FOX), and even the majority of postseason baseball is now on TBS instead of the networks.

NFL, MLB To Supremes: If Aereo Wins, Broadcasters Lose [ via DSL Reports]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Walmart: 32 Factories In Bangladesh Failed Initial Safety Inspections, Most Fixed Problems

In the aftermath of the factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 and a fire in November killed 112 people, retailers pledged to ramp up safety efforts with any factories that produce clothing for stores here in the U.S. As part of that increased attention to keeping the workers who make your clothing safe while they try to earn a living, Walmart says it identified safety problems at 32 Bangladesh factories it does business with.

Walmart tested more than 200 factories, a company spokesman tells Reuters.

“Of these, 32 had failures in their initial inspections, but all but two have since addressed those issues,” he explained.

The full inspection reports of 75 factories are on Walmart’s site now, with the rest of the 200 reports posting as they are completed.

Two of those failed safety inspections because there was no way to fix what damage has already been done, added the spokesman, and a third won’t be making Walmart products in the future because it failed the first inspection. Instead, the owners are building a new factory.

A fourth factory shut down to some of the rioting in Bangladesh unrelated to the inspection.

Wal-Mart finds safety issues at Bangladesh factories [Reuters]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Clarifying The Clarification At The Gap

“Make up your mind, GAP!” wrote reader Synnerg when he submitted this photo using our Tipster App. Well, it’s not that they can’t make up their minds: they just keep adding clarifications and disclaimers to the existing sign.


by Laura Northrup via Consumerist