Métodos de generación de tráfico #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre Métodos de generación de tráfico. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/23/metodos-de-generacion-de-trafico-infografia-infographic-marketing/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Éxitos y fracasos del crowdfunding #infografia #infographic #entrepreneurship

Hola: Una infografía sobre éxitos y fracasos del crowdfunding. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/23/exitos-y-fracasos-del-crowdfunding-infografia-infographic-entrepreneurship/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Fundaciones y Redes Sociales #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre Fundaciones y Redes Sociales. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/23/fundaciones-y-redes-sociales-infografia-infographic-socialmedia/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Comercio electrónico y usuarios (España) #infografia #infographic #ecommerce

Hola: Una infografía sobre Comercio electrónico y usuarios (España). Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/comercio-electronico-y-usuarios-espana-infografia-infographic-ecommerce/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Taller práctico de WordPress #socialmedia

Hola: Una presentación con un Taller práctico de WordPress. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/taller-practico-de-wordpress-socialmedia/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Estadísticas sobre el cyber monday #infografia #infographic #ecommerce #marketing

Hola: Una infografía con estadísticas sobre el cyber monday. Un saludo Source: BestComputerScienceSchools.net

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/estadisticas-sobre-el-cyber-monday-infografia-infographic-ecommerce-marketing/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Should I Test My Kid’s PS4 Before Gift-Wrapping It? Yes.

bluelightReader J. was upset to read our post about a reader whose new PlayStation 4 was dead on arrival, and to learn that he wasn’t the only one. She ordered one from Amazon for her kid for Christmas, and had planned to leave it sealed up and hidden away until December 25th. “What if it’s one of the duds?” she wrote. “Should I open it and test it now? I really didn’t want to give him an opened box…”

That’s always an important question when giving electronics as a gift: is it better to give your loved one a carefully opened and then resealed box, or for them to potentially face the heartbreak of needing to send the whole thing back to Amazon, and not spend Christmas playing with it?

According to our estranged ex-cousins over at Kotaku, Sony claims that less than 1% of all consoles have the “blue light of death” error. That’s good to hear, but we really don’t like those odds when we ponder how many PS4s will be stashed away until Christmas, unopened.

So we’re saying “Yes.” Open it up. Here’s what you need to do:

Make sure that it’s a real PS4 and not a box of bricks. It’s very rare, but we’ve read enough accounts of gaming device boxes filled with rocks that we recommend making sure the gadget is real before wrapping it up. Read the stories we’ve filed under the “Boxes of Crap” tag. It’s enough to make you open up everything you buy right in front of the cashier.

If the unthinkable happens and your PS4 box is filled with rocks, read this classic post: “What To Do When A Store Sells You Box Of Crap And Won’t Take It Back

Make sure all of the accessories are there. If there’s a controller or a cable missing, you have time to fight with the retailer and/or return it.

Make sure it works. There might be a fix for DOA PS4s by Christmas, but it’s unlikely there will be one by the end of Hanukkah. If you’re not especially tech-savvy, just do the basics: plug in the electric cord, plug it in to a TV’s HDMI port, and make sure that it powers on and that pictures come out. If the blue light on the box turns white, then it’s probably fine. Maybe remove any bags and twist-ties so your kid can tear into the package faster and without flinging those items on the floor.

If you’re more tech-savvy, you can do your own Geek Squad console optimization. There will be software patches to download the first time you turn on the PS4: imagine how slow that will be on Christmas morning. Set the console up on your home wi-fi network and download the patches now.

What if it doesn’t work? First, Sony put up some very detailed troubleshooting guides on their forums. Read through those and make sure you’ve set everything up correctly. If it still won’t power up, you’re stuck: time to go back to the retailer and exchange your dud for a working one. Repeat the process over again until you get a working unit that Santa can hide under the guest room bed or in the supply cabinet at work or wherever it is your family hides gifts.

J. reports back that she tested her kid’s PS4 and all is well. Downloading the patches took about fifteen minutes, and she doesn’t have to worry about her kid’s gift not working.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Comercio móvil y retail #infografia #infographic #ecommerce

Hola: Una infografía sobre Comercio móvil y retail. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/comercio-movil-y-retail-infografia-infographic-ecommerce/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Marketing digital en el cyber monday #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre Marketing digital en el cyber monday. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/marketing-digital-en-el-cyber-monday-infografia-infographic-marketing/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Big Data: grandes beneficios #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía que dice: Big Data: grandes beneficios. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/big-data-grandes-beneficios-infografia-infographic-internet/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Pack For Holiday Travel Like A Boss

If you’re planning to fly during next week’s holiday travel frenzy, don’t risk overpacking or a baggage disaster. Even if you’re just taking a short car ride, these tips on suitcase packing and organization from Consumer Reports will come in handy. Always key: bring as few items as possible, color-coordinate them, and don’t bring any toiletries you don’t have to. [Consumer Reports]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Algunos desastre digitales #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre algunos desastre digitales. Un saludo Marketing Fail: When Tech Does More Harm Than Good Like this infographic? Get more sales and marketing information here: http://www.lattice-engines.com/resource-center/knowledge-hub

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/algunos-desastre-digitales-infografia-infographic-marketing/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Dodge Durango Pitchman Ron Burgundy: “It’s A Terrible Car”

You’ve probably seen any of the dozens of commercials that legendary San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy has recently made for the Dodge Durango. But the tell-it-like-it-is newsman isn’t going to hide his distaste for the vehicle.

Appearing earlier this week on Conan O’Brien’s TBS talk show — presumably to class up the joint — Burgundy spoke not-so-glowingly about the Durango.

“What’s so amazing about it is, it’s a terrible car,” declared Ron. “They gave me one for free. I drove it four feet and the thing cracked in half… horrible craftsmanship.”

He then slyly added, “Just kidding, they’re great cars,” before cluing in the home audience that this was a lie with a silent shaking of the head.

“You realize that people bought these cars because of you?” asked a flabbergasted O’Brien.

“Yeah, well I got paid,” responded the anchorman. “They’re suckers. I’m just the messenger. I’m not in there tinkering around with lugnuts.”

In response to the comment, a Dodge rep merely chalked it up to Ron being Ron and told Automotive News that “working with Ron Burgundy is everything that we expected and more.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Directorio de APPs en Hootsuite #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con el Directorio de APPs en Hootsuite. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/directorio-de-apps-en-hootsuite-infografia-infographic-socialmedia/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Las Universidades más antiguas del Mundo #infografia #infographic #education

Hola: Una infografía sobre las Universidades más antiguas del Mundo. Un saludo Oldest Universities Around the World

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/las-universidades-mas-antiguas-del-mundo-infografia-infographic-education/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Google Glass Prepping To Be More Than Geeky Headgear

Someday you may not be able to distinguish Google Glass from a random pair of eyeglasses. (smcgee)

Someday you may not be able to distinguish Google Glass from a random pair of eyeglasses. (smcgee)

Maybe you want to buy Google’s wearable Google Glass device when it hits the market, but don’t want to look like you’re dressed as Tech Engineer #3 from some episode of a late ’90s sci-fi movie? The company is reportedly talking with at least one eyewear company to come up with designs for Google Glass that would integrate prescription lenses and make the wearer slightly less conspicuous.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has been talking with VSP Global, a company that manages Google’s employee vision plan but also makes lenses and frames for eyeglasses.

It’s a move that could make Google Glass more palatable — and more easily distributed — via VSP’s network of 30,000 doctors (not to mention the 60 million people enrolled in the company’s various vision plans).

Some testers of early Google Glass devices have complained about the annoyance of wearing them while also trying to wear their regular glasses, and Google has already said intends to figure out a way to integrate special prescription lenses.

But the Journal says that Google’s interest in VSP is more than just making the glasses look and fit better for the millions of potential customers who need regular glasses. It’s also about making doctors around the country familiar with Google Glass and figuring out a distribution network for these products.

“Down the road I think this technology is going to blow up,” says one optometrist who is both on the board of VSP Global and is an early tester of Google Glass (so of course he may not be completely unbiased). “As soon as apps are developed that are relevant for your world, it will start to take off.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

La historia de IOS #infografia #infographic #apple

Hola: Una infografía sobre la historia de IOS. Un saludo The History of iOS – An infographic by the team at ChaiOne iphone app development company Embed The History of iOS on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below The History of iOS – An infographic by the team at ChaiOne an iphone app […]

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/la-historia-de-ios-infografia-infographic-apple-2/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

El móvil será el rey en Internet #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía que nos dice que el móvil será el rey en Internet. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/el-movil-sera-el-rey-en-internet-infografia-infographic/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

La lista de actividades para el Black Friday #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre la lista de actividades para el Black Friday. Un saludo Infographic by Firefly Store Solutions.

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2013/11/22/la-lista-de-actividades-para-el-black-friday-infografia-infographic-marketing/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Apple Now Selling Unlocked iPhones Without SIM Cards

I can't see a lock from here.

I can’t see a lock from here, so it must be true.

Maybe you’re always traveling to Siberia, Madagascar, Belize and back again. Or perhaps you just hate being tied down with a carrier contract. Apple has either been reading your mind or just decided it’s a worthwhile business move to offer customers unlocked iPhone 5s phones that are SIM card free.

But for those not used to the prices that come with no-contract phones, the sticker shock might prove a bit daunting: The Apple store now lists 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions of the unlocked phones for $649, $749 and $849, respectively.

The phones work on any GSM Network, so if you’re abroad you can probably find a carrier to hitch your phone to while you’re there on your own compatible SIM card, then simply ditch it when you leave.

Of course, if you’re here in the U.S. you’ll still need to sign up with either AT&T or T-Mobile to use these, as they’re the only two carriers on GSM networks. Sprint, Verizon Wireless and US Cellular are all CDMA carriers.

The phones also come in any of the finishes available for other 5s phones — gold, black and silver — and will ship in one to two weeks.

H/T: Unlocked and SIM-free iPhone 5s now available on Apple’s site [Engadget]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

If A Stranger Asks For Your Debit Card And PIN Over Instagram, Don’t Mail It To Them

Most of our readers are probably savvy enough to know this, but we were all young and innocent once. Like many classic scams, the “crackin’ cards” fraud depends on the victim’s own greed. The pitch? They’ll deposit a check in your account, make a withdrawal, and leave some of the proceeds behind for you.

If you know anything about the law, banks, or money, the flaws in this plan are obvious. Most Americans aren’t as financially savvy as you, though, and the scammers have found plenty of willing victims over social media. No, we’re not joking.

“[The scammer said that he] would put $4,500 into my account through the ATM. He wanted $2,000 out of the deal,” one victim explained to CBS Chicago. The victim sent along her ATM card and personal identification number, allowing the scammer full access to her accounts.

Instead, the man deposited a fake check for $2,800 and withdrew the full amount. Now the victim is responsible for the full amount and can’t get another bank account.

Let us reiterate the obvious: if someone offers you gobs of money for the privilege of using your bank account, say “no” and contact law enforcement. Even (especially) if they contact you over Instagram.

2 Investigators: Debit-Card Holders Duped Into Giving Out PIN Numbers [CBS Chicago]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

4 Reasons Why Today Should Have Been Black Friday (And Why That Could Have Saved Thanksgiving)

There is a lot of talk these days about the growing number stores opening on Thanksgiving day this year, effectively turning Black Friday into Black Thursday. There are employees threatening strikes and people starting petitions while stores are opening as early as 6 a.m. on the morning of Turkey Day. But maybe it all could have been avoided if they had just moved the big shopping day up a week.

Yes, I made a very similar argument a year ago (not that it was going to change anyone’s mind), and I’ll probably restate some of the same points this year (again knowing what little impact it will have) because I do think it’s something worth starting a public discussion about.

With many of the largest retailers opening during or shortly after dinnertime this Thanksgiving, here are the reasons I think detaching “Black Friday” from its historical “Day After Thanksgiving” slot on the calendar is to everyone’s benefit.


Some have argued that this year’s let’s-open-on-Thanksgiving boom is a reaction to the fact that the late Thanksgiving date (11/28) this year takes away precious shopping days from retailers during the holiday season. I personally don’t believe that, especially since a number of retailers crossed that midnight threshold last year, when Thanksgiving was almost a week earlier in the calendar.

But assume for a moment that this is a motivating factor in the on-Thanksgiving openings. I say, why not declare that Black Friday is the Friday before Thanksgiving? It’s not like it’s a date established in any religious or legal texts. It’s just a day on a calendar that lots of people have off from work.

Since most people don’t have off today but do have off this weekend, retailers could have started Black Friday sales after regular closing hours tonight with the same doorbuster deals they will be offering next Friday.

Additionally, gives the retailers that entire weekend plus all the days before Thanksgiving and then the three days after the holiday to continue having sales.

So even on the years when Thanksgiving is at its earliest, retailers would still have an additional week of holiday shopping.


If you discount it, they will come.

People love deals and coupons and limited-time offers. This is not a secret. People also tend to show up for hyped-up events. Stores created Black Friday so there is absolutely no reason they couldn’t devote that same level of publicity toward relocating the shopping event by a few days. It’s not like they would be asking people to buy Christmas gifts in May (though someday they surely will). If some major retailer had decided to go all-out and have some huge special sale event at midnight, there would be people lined up right now.


Moving Black Friday to this weekend also helps employees at these stores. This year, a number of workers at many large retailers have to decide between getting the extra pay for working on Thanksgiving or spending time with loved ones on the holiday.

By making Black Friday a special event that does not in any way overlap Thanksgiving, stores would be allowing employees to enjoy the holiday without having to say no to their employers or to the additional income. Happier employees are often better employees. In a retail world that is trying to stress the in-person experience over the cold impersonal world of online shopping, it really helps to have workers who don’t openly hate their employers.


A number of people over the years have expressed to me and to Consumerist that these on-Thanksgiving openings don’t dampen their holiday because they have traditionally gone shopping with their loved ones on Black Friday.

Moving the huge, mega-doorbuster, get ‘em while we got ‘em deals up a week doesn’t stop stores from opening early on the morning after Thanksgiving, or even in the middle of the night.

Retailers could still hold out some big deals to entice shoppers in the doors post-Turkey Day, and these consumers would still get to enjoy strolling through the aisles with their friends and families.

All that moving the start of this doorbuster season up a week does is allow Thanksgiving to go back to being Thanksgiving, rather than a quick lunch before you go get in line for a TV that isn’t worth the $80 they’re charging, or put on your uniform and get ready to go to work.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Blathering Vaguely About “Compensation” Will Get You Nowhere With Customer Service

Eric was incredibly frustrated with his mobile provider, Virgin. His service was spotty, and his smartphone overheated to the point that he became nervous and turned it off. He sought help from the Virgin Mobile Angels, because that’s what angels do. Isn’t it?

Neither his phone nor the local towers were working all that well, so he wanted replacements of both to make up for the months of frustration. “[O]ut of the 11 months this year I have had 7 months of mediocre Sprint coverage,” he wrote to the social media angels. “Service is not as good as it used to be as it has gone from decent to mediocre for this year.”

Eventually, Virgin had an answer for him. “After reviewing the address provided, I was able to locate 5 Network Vision upgrades currenlty [sic] taking place in your area. The completition [sic] dates have yet to be provided,” one Angel wrote back. Well, that was helpful.

The problem we noticed was that in his very long correspondence with Virgin, he complained about his phone and about the service, but left it open-ended. He didn’t explain what he wanted Virgin to do about the situation, only vaguely hinting at “compensation” for his trouble.

This is a bad idea in both consumer interactions and in interpersonal relationships, though the latter is fodder for a whole other blog entirely. From our point of view, Eric was complaining about the towers under upgrade in his area, his toasty phone, and how terrible his service was. Okay. But what did he want that was directly under the social media customer service reps’ control? They can’t crack whips and make the towers upgrade faster.

We asked Eric what he wanted, and told him to spell it out for the Virgin Mobile reps. That’s the key part: don’t wait for the company to make an offer. In some cases, blathering on about unspecified “compensation” makes it sound like you’re going to sue.

Eric wanted six months of service credits to make up for the inconvenience, to continue his $40/month grandfathered plan, and also a Samsung Galaxy III. He assumed that his phone was overheating because of the terrible reception, and made him overlook technical problem with his handset while it was still in warranty.

Eric and Virgin are still hashing this out, but this is still an important lesson. If you want something, start somewhere. The worst thing a company can do is offer you less. The last we heard, Virgin’s offer was replacement of his current model phone and that six months’ service that he asked for.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Just Try Not To Cringe At The Anti-Google Merchandise In Microsoft’s Online Store

At least the models look happy?

At least the models look happy?

On the one hand, these “Scroogled” items up for sale on Microsoft’s official online store provoke a response of ugh, groan. On the other hand, it’s all, cringe, no, awkward. Either way you go, Microsoft’s attempt to poke fun at its competitor just comes off as a little bit… sad.

It’s a real online store and a real line of shirts, hats and even a mug with phrases like a Chrome logo in a trench coat, “Keep Calm While We Still Your Data,” “We’re Watching You” and Microsoft’s favorite dig, the Scroogled logo. Because of course, this is the Scroogled section of the store, points out Wired.com in its shared disbelief.

While we can’t imagine anyone willingly donning a T-shirt with Chrome as a scary spider, apparently the mug is sold out.

And as for Google watching people, yes, its all-seeing eye does mine the treasure trove of your Internet searches to market products. But Microsoft’s Kinect feature of the XBox One also watches people — a little too closely for some, points out FastCoDesign. It watches you right in the junk.

Please, Microsoft. Give up on making “Scroogled” a thing. Or at least refrain from trying to sell merchandise with that on it and work on developing your own brand personality. Slinging insults via cringeworthy T-shirts isn’t going to get you too far in the image battle.

Know what will? Devoting your resources to developing great products consumers will benefit from. Just a thought.

These Anti-Google T-Shirts Just Make Microsoft Look Pathetic [Wired.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

18 Financial Tasks You Can Accomplish In 5 Minutes (Each)

Sometimes we let important financial tasks pile up on our desks, or on our virtual desks, until they create a giant pile of crap that we don’t want to go through. Fight back: here’s a list of 18 tasks that you might have been putting off that you can perform in only a few minutes. [Money Crush] (via Rockstar Finance)

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Some Xbox One Owners Complain Of Monstrous Disc Noise

You just spent $500 (plus tax and shipping, if applicable) to get the brand new Xbox One gaming console on the day it launches. You unbox it, plug it all in, turn it on, put in a disc and WHAT THE $&##^%@ IS THAT SOUND?

That’s what a number of new Xbox One owners are asking after they put a disc into their new device only to have it sound like the disc is being devoured by dozens of tiny javelinas hidden inside the machine. Check out the YouTube clip above (some unsurprising NSFW language and obligatory use of Clint Mansell’s “Lux Aeterna” as background music) compiling a number of angry and befuddled Xbox users whose devices are making the crunching, gnarling, rattling sound that sounds like you placed your vibrating cellphone on a flimsy wooden folding table.

We’re assuming this was not part of the Day One promotion from Microsoft.

Polygon points to numerous other complaints online about the disc noise and the device’s inability to play inserted discs, like this Amazon review, and this Amazon review, and this forum thread on the Xbox site where many people are complaining about the problem.

No idea yet how widespread this problem is, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Samsung Owes Apple Another $290M In Damages — For A Total Of About $930M

Whoever is on penny-counting duty at Samsung is probably shaking his or head quite thoroughly at the job ahead. A jury ruled yesterday that Samsung has to pay Apple $290,456,793 in additional damages for patent infringement, which is quite a pretty penny. And that’s still less than the $380 million Apple had asked for.

That might seem like a drop in the already overflowing bucket, as the total Samsung owes Apple in this ongoing U.S. patent fight is about oh, $930 million. Yes, dollars — not hugs!

“For Apple, this case has always been about more than patents and money,” Apple said in a statement, via CNET. “It has been about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love. While it’s impossible to put a price tag on those values, we are grateful to the jury for showing Samsung that copying has a cost.”

Samsung was only expecting about another $52 million in damages so it’s no surprise that the company is “disappointed” with the decision, “which is based in large part on a patent that the US Patent and Trademark Office has recently deemed invalid.”

“While we move forward with our post-trial motions and appeals, we will continue to innovate with groundbreaking technologies and great products that are loved by our many customers all around the world,” the Korean company added in its statement.

The jury announced the decision yesterday after deliberating since Tuesday, after asking for calculators, highlighters and lunch on Wednesday. All the tools one needs to land a multimillion dollar decision on a global company.

Last year another jury said that Samsung had infringed on five Apple patents related to the design of the iPhone and its functionality. But another judge later tossed that $400 million award and asked a new jury to recalculate the damages. Add in this new decision and the $600 million Samsung owes for the first trial and yeah, that penny counter will be super busy.

Samsung owes Apple $290M more in damages, jury says [CNET.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

If You Prefer To Slather Bacon Under Your Arms Instead Of It Eating It, This Product Is For You

I just... I can't.

I just… I can’t.

It is a jungle out there on the dating scene, am I right, single ladies and men? But you’ll have the advantage on the meat market with this little baby — bacon deodorant, complete with “Meaty Fresh” scent. Okay, I give up. The world is too weird to understand. [via FoodBeast]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Comcast And Charter Consider Buying Time Warner Cable. No, Really

There are many changes that could improve cable television and broadband internet service in the United States, but “more mergers” certainly isn’t one of them. That’s why we started screaming hysterically in the Consumerist offices today when we learned that Charter and Comcast are both weighing their options and thinking about acquiring Time Warner Cable.

Charter is further along in its preparations, talking to banks about financing for the deal. Sources say that TWC has made it known it would prefer to get hitched to Comcast. Experts agree that Kabletown would be the better match, for reasons that include the word “synergies” and give us hives.

If Charter acquired Time Warner, that would create the country’s second-largest cable company.

Comcast seeks advice on possible Time Warner Cable bid: Sources [CNBC] (Warning: auto-play video)

Charter nears funding for Time Warner Cable bid: WSJ [Reuters]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

You’ve Got A 1-In-10 Chance Of Receiving A Mangled Package This Holiday Season

In the next few weeks, a lot of us will be ordering items online — whether for ourselves or for others — and having them shipped somewhere, hoping beyond hope that these parcels don’t get lost, stolen, drop-kicked, or run through a Blendtec just to see what happens. A recent study of packages received from e-commerce sites finds that you shouldn’t be terribly shocked if the box shows up looking worse for wear.

Between January and September of this year, the folks at StellaService ordered a total of 3,234 total packages from 121 different retailers. Nearly 10% (313) of those packages arrived with some sort of damage.

Which isn’t terribly surprising, given the insights of some of those who have worked in the shipping business at this time of year.

UPS had the highest rate of damaged packages at 11%, followed closely by the US Postal Service, with 10%. FedEx had the lowest rate (7%).

The not-as-bad news is that only 16 (5%) of the damaged packages contained products that were also damaged. So that’s about .5% of all the products ordered during those nine months. This is not to say that any damaged packages or products are acceptable — much like it’s not acceptable that .5% of Comcast’s customer service calls go badly — but it does mean that the sight of a beat-up box is not necessarily reason to assume your order is ruined too.

Also worth noting, there were 19 different sellers that didn’t have any damaged packages or products in the StellaService survey, among those were CB2.com,

Dell.com, Grainger.com, Rakuten.com, Shop.lululemon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Robbing A Bank Is Much Trickier If You Show Up After Business Hours Are Over

Dark ski mask? Check. Empty bags decorated with dollar signs Check. Willingness to commit a crime for your own selfish purposes? Check. Any would-be bank robber probably knows the basics of trying to perform such a dastardly deed, but there’s another item that should be taken care of before attempting a bank robbery: Make sure the place is actually open when you’re planning to pull it off.

Not that we at all condone bank robbing whatsoever, but one would think there are only so many ways to mess up an attempted crime.

And yet, police in Maine say a 31-year-old man is now in custody after he allegedly tried to rob a bank but showed up after it had closed, reports the Bangor Daily News.

At around 3 p.m. (was it a Saturday or is this bank a very early closer?) police were called to a local bank to attend to a suspicious man who’d shown up at the door wearing a ski mask, and tried to open the locked doors.

When that failed, witnesses said he turned around (probably while muttering, “Aww man, I’m never gone live this one done with the bank robbers’ posse!”) went back to his car and drove off.

Cops tracked his vehicle down within minutes of someone calling in the odd activity and found the man with the ski mask that he was believed to have been wearing. He spoke with police, who came away from the conversation saying the guy had been planning on robbing the bank, but was stymied by the locked doors.

He’s been charged with attempted robbery and will also have to sit in the corner at the next Bank Robbers’ Posse of America meeting. You don’t even want to know how many times he’ll have to write “Make sure the bank is open” on the chalkboard.

Police say would-be robber failed when he arrived at bank too late [Bangor Daily News]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

What Is It About Elmo That Makes Him The Reigning King Of Holiday Toys?

Whether you want to hug him or not or buy him for any of the children in your life, Elmo has been the reigning king of holiday toys for nigh on 20 years. But what is it about the fuzzy red Sesame Street monster that keeps him so popular? And why does he like being tickled so much?

The answer to at least the former question might just be a bit of self-fulfilling popularity: Since the Tickle Me Elmo slammed into our collective consciousness back in 1996, stores keep stocking each year’s new iteration based off Elmo’s popularity the previous year. And when the stores are scrambling to sell him, the public scrambles to buy him, explains Quartz.

Basically, he’s a sure thing, whether he’s Big Hugs Elmo (this year’s offering) Rock ‘n Roll Elmo, Hokey Pokey Elmo or the most popular of all time, Tickle Me Elmo.

“Retailers only buy things that have proven to sell,” one senior analyst tells Quartz. “And Elmo sells.”

Tickle Me Elmo was the first Elmo doll to really make it big, despite the fact that there were previous Elmo dolls. The difference in 1996 with Tyco’s doll is that he made noise when you squeezed him. Kids love it when you can make a toy emit sounds, it seems.

But the stores weren’t ready for the onslaught of parents, who were in turn spurred on by demanding children. Retailers didn’t stock enough of the dolls, made by Tyco right before they sold to Mattel, making Elmo scarce. Cue mass hysteria.

“The first year caught everyone by surprise,” the analyst noted. “No one wanted to be caught by surprise after that.”

In 1997, Mattel sold seven times as many Tickle Me Elmos as the year before, and a dynasty was born.

Since then, Mattel has kept up the game with new and different Elmos to entice discerning children every year and cause that panicky feeling to erupt in the hearts of parents and relatives everywhere. There was even a Tickle Me Elmo redux with TMX Elmo in 2006, who didn’t just laugh when you tickled him but responded in a different way every time.

“We said that TMX Elmo would likely be the strongest thing since [Tickle Me Elmo] and it was,” Mattel CEO Robert Eckert said at the time.

(Although we had a different view, as did Consumer Reports definitely didn’t like him so much, noting back then: “The youngest children’s reactions ranged from disinterest to fear.” )

Elmo now belongs to Hasbro, after Sesame Workshop shifted its license from Mattel in 2009, and his reign is still strong. There was a slight downward tick in LOL Elmo sales in 2012 in the midst of a sex scandal surrounding the former voice of Elmo on Sesame Street, but it’s safe to say he’ll probably sell well this year.

Maybe it’s his red furriness, or that inimitable laugh, but really, no one knows why the kids love Elmo so much.

“If anybody says they know why, they’re probably making it up,” declared Quartz’s analyst source.

It’s his eyes. I could stare into their clear depths, unimpeded by rational thought, forever. Yeah, making that up. I’m terrified any doll comes to life when I’m sleeping, so count me out.

Why Elmo has topped Christmas shopping lists in the US since 1996 [Quartz]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

What To Do If You’re Stuck On A Layover At 20 Busy Airports

Hey, you: You are not allowed to say “I’m bored.” Not even when you’re stuck for four hours at an airport waiting for your next flight. Because we live in a time where there are infinite ways to distract ourselves and there is always something to keep you from the brink of boredom. Find out what those somethings are at 20 of the busiest airports and please, stop saying you’re bored. [via Airfare Watchdog]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

What Happens If You Eat Nothing But Pumpkin Spice Items For A Whole Week?

Earlier this week, I idly wondered whether it would be possible to put together a whole day’s diet out of only pumpkin spice foods. turns out that J. Bryan Lowder over at Slate was way ahead of me…and extended the concept by six days. Why? Well, his editors told him to.

During the fall, pumpkin spice is everywhere. It’s in our candy, in our coffee, in our breakfast pastries, in our oatmeal, and coats any and every edible item that you can think of. That doesn’t make it right, and doesn’t even mean that all of these food items contain even a molecule of real pumpkin.

Why? “We’re clearly fascinated by the stuff, by the feeling that pumpkin spice represents,” Lowder notes. We might like the sweetness and spiciness of pumpkin-flavored items, but maybe more because they represent the mild weather and cider mill visits of fall, and not necessarily on their own merits.

However, he made a surprising discovery: in adding pumpkin pie spice to as many non-pumpkin foods as possible, he found that the blend improved most of them. There was, for example, pumpkin pie spice-rubbed pork loin. The real problem isn’t pumpkin spice overload: it’s that commercial pumpkin spice overload has burnt Americans out on the concept, and we’re more likely to reject concepts like the pork loin or even adding pumpkin pie spices to sandwiches and salad dressing.

In other words, skip the pumpkin spice M&Ms, Pringles, and booze. Spend your fall sprinkling different foods with the same spice blend and see where it gets you.

The Pumpkin Spice Diet [Slate]

Have We Reached Peak Pumpkin Spice? [Modern Farmer]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Comcast CEO Blames Bad Customer Service Reputation On Sheer Volume Of Calls

Comcast is the largest cable and Internet provider in the country and one of the biggest content providers with the acquisition of NBC. It’s also one of the most-hated companies in the country, a former Worst Company In America champ (and perennial quarterfinalist) with a reputation for horrendous customer service, inept tech support and bungled billing practices. But Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says it’s all just a matter of his company being so darn huge.

In an interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal (audio is below), explains why Comcast is always at or near the bottom of most customer service and satisfaction surveys.

In fact, if you sort all of the companies ranked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index in 2013, Comcast is represented twice in the bottom 10; once for its Internet service (the lowest rank of all companies in that sector) and then again for its subscription TV service (the second-worst in that group of companies).

“That’s a very fair criticism that we’re working really hard to fix,” Roberts tells Marketplace, before getting into the numbers game:

“What unfortunately happens is we have about… 350 million interactions with consumers a year, between phone calls and truck calls. It may be over 400 million, and that doesn’t count any online interactions which are over, I think, a billion. You get one-tenth of one-percent bad experience, that’s a lot of people — unacceptable. We have to be the best service provider or in the end, this company won’t be what I want it to be.”

While we agree with him that this is completely unacceptable, we think Roberts doesn’t realize just how many bad experiences “one-tenth of one percent” of a billion interactions would be. That’s still 1 million times in a year when people are having bad Comcast customer service experiences!

What he’s also not mentioning is how many of those 1 billion interactions are times when the customer may have received decent customer service, but had to contact Comcast because their service was out or their bill was wrong. We’d love to see a truly transparent auditing of the actual reasons for customers contacting the company.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Goodness Gracious — Please Tell Us The FCC Isn’t Going To Allow Cellphone Calls On Planes

Imagine all these people talking on phones. (frankieleon)

Imagine all these people talking on phones. (frankieleon)

It hasn’t even been a month since the Federal Aviation Administration said it would finally let airline passengers use devices like tablets and phones from gate to gate, but now another federal agency is considering letting loose the hounds of Hades: The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing travelers to make phone calls in midair.

Yes, that means the lady with the piercing voice in row 17 could be yakking it up for all to hear while the man with the very distinct baritone might be grumbling throughout the flight and your ears will be assaulted at potentially any time. Assaulted, I say!

Moving on, the FCC says it’s time to get hip with the times, and “to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” reports the Associated Press’ travel guru Scott Mayerowitz.

I’m not alone in my grumbling, especially since it’s unclear if there could be some kind of “quiet section” of the plane where passengers wouldn’t be allowed to yap for hours on end.

“The only way I’d be in favor of this is if the FCC mandated that all those who want to use their cellphones must sit next to families with screaming children,” one frequent flier tells the AP. I like that idea.

Those who’ve ever had the bad luck to sit near Mr. or Ms. I’m The Center Of The Universe So You All Have To Hear My Conversation are also worried.

“There are simply far too many people who consider themselves too important to stop talking as a courtesy to other passengers, especially when, given airplane background noise, they’ll probably have to talk louder than usual,” said another passenger, who flies nearly 200,000 miles a year.

And another traveler had a concern we wouldn’t have thought of on our won — are bathrooms going to become a refuge for those seeking privacy?

“Are they going to become the telephone booths for those who want to talk on the phone in private?” he said.

Of course, yes, it’d be nice to be able to check in with your family or work or whatever — but if you can use email during the flight, why not just do that? It’s so much quieter.

There’s hope though for us seeking quietude: Thus far, both American and United Airlines said they’ll see what the FCC ultimately decides before they weigh in on either side, while Delta Air Lines has said passenger feedback for years has shown “overwhelming” support for a ban. JetBlue also seems to side on with silence, as does Southwest Airlines… for now.

“If everyone starts doing it and it becomes culturally acceptable, we’d have to consider it,” said a Southwest spokesman. “But no one thinks it’s a good idea.”

You know how I feel. But how about you?

Loud cellphone talkers next bane of air travelers? [Associated Press]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

McDonald’s Figures Out Best Way To Keep Away Pesky Teens: Blast Opera At Them

still-of-tom-cruise-emilio-estevez-rob-lowe-patrick-swayze-and-thomas-howell-in-the-outsiders-727416444 The image of loitering teens in the parking lot annoying customers has been around for quite some time, probably starting with the greaser tough-guys of the ’50s cat-calling at poodle-skirted girls and dumping milkshakes on awkward George McFly types. And one thing we all know that if there is one thing that teenage toughs will run screaming to avoid, it’s opera. Or at least that’s how one McDonald’s claims to have rid itself of those pesky kids.

A McDonald’s in Australia had apparently been having some trouble with young whippersnappers lingering for too long in the parking lot, but recently started playing a “range of classical and opera music” in an attempt to harsh these youngsters’ collective mellow.

“We’ve noticed a reduction in the number of young people hanging around,” a rep for the company tells the Macarthur Chronicle, “but we’ll have to reassess it properly in a couple of weeks.”

The paper asked for feedback on Facebook from residents about the musical attempt to drive away teens and a number of people are happy about it.

“Great idea and it is working!” writes one reader. “I work nights nearby and it has made a massive difference already to the lingering and loitering in the car park.”

Others in the area complain about it being a bit too loud.

“They turn it up really loud when youth are hanging around the car park,” explains a resident. “It woke me up at 1 a.m. Tuesday night and it’s only going to get worse as Xmas approaches.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

Here are nine of the best photos that readers added to The Consumerist Flickr Pool this week, picked for usability in a Consumerist post or for just plain neatness.

Wholesale Dolls and Knick Knacks - Garment District - New York City

(#2 – gothamiste)

Ghost Bike

(#3 – Jason Cook)

Sprinkles macro

(#4 – m01229)

Black and Whyte

(#6 – Jason Cook)

(Neff Conner)

(#7 – Neff Conner)


(#8 – Torrit)

Unliving Room

(#9 – RiddimRyder)

Our Flickr Pool is the place where Consumerist readers upload photos for possible use in future Consumerist posts. Want to see your pictures on our site? Just be a registered Flickr user, go here, and click “Join Group?” up on the top right. Choose your best photos, then click “send to group” on the individual images you want to add to the pool.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist