7 consejos para email marketing en 2014 #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía con 7 consejos para email marketing en 2014. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1hskNEl Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Cómo ser un Social Media Manager de éxito #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo ser un Social Media Manager de éxito. Un saludo

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La gente de empresa B2B necesitan Redes Sociales (quieran o no) #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía que dice que la gente de empresa B2B necesitan Redes Sociales (quieran o no). Vía Un saludo

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Social Media de 1792 a 2013 #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre Social Media de 1792 a 2013. Un saludo Courtesy of: Prohibition

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1apFWKq Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Comercio online vs Comercio físico #infografia #infographic #marketing #ecommerce

Hola: Una infografía sobre Comercio online vs Comercio físico. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1m7sClW Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

13 características clave de una Startup #infografia #infographic #entrepreneurship

Hola: Una infografía con 13 características clave de una Startup. Vía Un saludo

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La compra online en España #infografia #infographic #marketing #ecommerce

Hola: Una infografía sobre La compra online en España. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1dRzOeC Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Innovación: lo mejor de 2013 #infografia #infographic #innovation

Hola: Una infografía sobre Innovación: lo mejor de 2013. Vía Un saludo

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Movistar vs Claro en Redes Sociales (Latinoamérica) #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre Movistar vs Claro en Redes Sociales (Latinoamérica). Vía Un saludo

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Tipos de APPs que más han incrementado su uso en 2013 #infografia #infographic #software

Hola: Una infografía sobre los tipos de APPs que más han incrementado su uso en 2013. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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La tremenda importancia del SEO local #infografia #infographic #marketing #seo

Hola: Una infografía sobre la tremenda importancia del SEO local. Un saludo Infographic by: Market Domination Media

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It’s War, Chocolatey, Sweet War: Hershey’s Unveils Its Own Spread To Fight Nutella

This is it. It’s time, finally! It feels like we’ve been preparing for this war all our lives. And by preparing we mean eating things that taste of chocolates and hazelnut and wondering what else could possibly exist with those flavors. Hershey’s has its answer, a line of chocolate spreads that seek to usurp the chocolate spread throne currently held by Nutella.

One of these new flavored spreads is direct hazelnut competition for Nutella, while the “chocolate” and “chocolate with almonds” versions are a bit more subtle in their coup attempts.

“The average American snacks more than two times a day and what better way to transform everyday snacks into delicious treats, than with the genuine chocolate flavor that only Hershey can deliver,” said a spokeswoman for Hershey’s in a press release (clearly choosing to ignore other chocolate flavored spreads on the market with that “only Hershey can deliver” bit).

We’re not about to take sides in this war, because it’s not our place to do so. But we will arm ourselves with knives — nay, spoons! — should the occasion arise where we find ourselves in the middle of a crazy brawl. Mmm, a chocolate brawl.

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

This Flood Sensor Will Fly Off The Shelf Now That It’s Marked Down 3¢

three_centsJon snapped this photo of what he called an “amazing Lowe’s sale” and sent it along. Indeed, it’s pretty amazing, if by “amazing” he actually meant “pointless” and “stupid.”

As these errors go, at least the “clearance” price is lower than the original price. That isn’t always the case.


Confusingly, the Lowe’s website lists this product too. Its regular price is $29.97.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

La Sociedad de la Información en España en 2013 #infografia (amimada) #infographic#internet

Hola: Una unfografía animada y una presentación sobre la Sociedad de la Información en España en 2013. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ticsyformacion.com/2014/01/15/la-sociedad-de-la-informacion-en-espana-en-2013-internet/ Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

KiskStarter y la industria de la música #infografia #infographic #entrepreneurship

Hola: Una infografía sobre KiskStarter y la industria de la música. Vía Un saludo

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Las adquisiciones más caras de Google #infografia #infographic #tech

Hola: Una infografía sobre las adquisiciones más caras de Google. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1dtzLt0 Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

NLRB Files Complaint Against Walmart For Alleged Retaliations Against Workers

(Twitter user @changewalmart)

(Twitter user @changewalmart)

Back in November, the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board said he had investigated allegations that Walmart had violated the rights of some employees who protested for higher wages and better working conditions. Today, the NLRB says it has actually issued a complaint against the nation’s largest retailer, possibly setting the stage for a hearing later this year.

The General Counsel had initially held back on issuing complaints against Walmart in the hopes that this grace period would result in a settlement. Alas, the NLRB says these talks have not been successful and so it issued the consolidated complaint alleging that more than 60 Walmart supervisors and one corporate officers violated federal law by taking illegal retaliatory actions against protesting employees.

According to the NLRB complaint, more than 60 Walmart workers were negatively impacted — included 19 people who allegedly lost their jobs for participating in protests and other activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

The Office of the General Counsel alleges that Walmart violated the Act when:

•During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests.

•At stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington,

•Walmart unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.

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

The retail now has until Jan. 28 to respond to the complaint.

“Walmart thinks it can scare us with attacks to keep us from having a real conversation about the poverty wages we’re paid,” said a former Walmart worker from Placerville, CA, who is named in the NLRB complaint. “But too much is at stake — the strength of our economy and the security of our families — to stay silent about why Walmart needs to improve jobs. Now the federal government is confirming what we already know: we have the right to speak out, and Walmart fired me and my coworkers illegally. With a new CEO taking over in a few weeks, we hope that Walmart will take a new direction in listening to associates and the country in the growing calls to improve jobs.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Shoplifters Take $20,000 Worth Of Bras And Panties From Victoria’s Secret

victorias_secretIt took them three shoplifting trips, but a pair of real-life underpants gnomes took $20,000 worth of bras and panties from a Florida Victoria’s Secret store. In surveillance video, you can watch two twentysomething men shove merchandise into a bag from another store and their pockets, apparently unnoticed by store employees.

The thieves hit the Victoria’s Secret store at the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida three times: a Saturday and two Fridays during the busy holiday shopping season. Fistfuls of underthings really add up, and the pair took $11,000 worth of merchandise during one trip to the store.

Sure, we can fill this post with “panty raid” and “underpants gnomes” jokes, but that doesn’t change how shoplifting for profit is a big business and source of losses for retail businesses. The police released this footage to help find the thieves–if you recognize these guys, give them a call at (954) 493-TIPS.

Panty Thieves Strike Victoria’s Secret In Sunrise [CBS Miami]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Prepararse emocionalmente para emprender #entrepreneurship

Hola: Una presentación sobre prepararse emocionalmente para emprender. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1hYzEsU Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

5 maneras de NO conseguir trabajo #infografia #infographic #rrhh

Hola: Una infografía con 5 maneras de NO conseguir trabajo. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1gMlF5L Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Repair Shop Worker Takes Customer’s BMW For A Joyride And Wrecks It… Which Is Totally Legal

It sounds too awful to be true, but it is: A man who brought in a BMW to a repair shop for some minor work ended up with a wrecked car instead, after an employee admitted to taking it out for a joyride and wrecking it. And apparently, that is totally legal.

The customer is out one vehicle after the incident, but it appears all he can do is sue the repair shop, reports WESH.com in Orlando. Police confirmed that the worker was driving the car and was involved in not one, but two accidents in the wee hours of January 8.

The car was towed by another company, whose owner called up the repair shop to see what the heck had happened.

“He proceeds to tell me that it wasn’t the owner but one of his employees that wrecked it,” the tow company owner said.

But unfortunately for the car’s owner, it’s not against the law for an employee to drive a customer’s car, the cops say. And the repair shop apparently told the owner “Not our problem.”

“They gave (their employee) permission to take my car across the state of Florida and total it and not give it back to me. And in the meantime, I’m out a $7,000 BMW, and they told me tough luck,” the customer says.

It’s not like he’s totally out of luck, with no recourse. He can sue the repair shop — and it’s to be hoped that it was a fully licensed and insured because that would likely cover the cost of the wrecked car. But until he sorts through all of that, which would take place in civil courts, the employee is just fine in the eyes of the law.

Which brings to mind this, of course:

Repair shop employee wrecked customer’s BMW on joyride, police say [WESH.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Comcast To Flip Off Philadelphia Skyline With 1,121-Foot Skyscraper

I wasn't joking when I said the new tower is a middle finger to Philadelphia.

I wasn’t joking when I said the new tower is a middle finger to Philadelphia.

The conversion of Philadelphia to Kabletown continues. Comcast’s relatively new headquarters already dominates the city’s skyline, pointing into the clouds like a giant USB drive. Now comes news that the Lords of Xfinity are set to erect an even taller middle finger to all the people of Philadelphia (myself included) who would much rather have another cable and Internet provider.

Rumors of a second building began to sprout up last fall, with some even whispering that Comcast would be moving its newly acquired NBC operations from NYC to Philly. Comcast denied that it was relocating anyone, but the Philadelphia Inquirer has confirmed that the cable/Internet/TV mega-company will be adding a fittingly large building in a lot adjacent to its existing HQ.

The new building will stand 1,121 feet tall, 150 feet taller than the current Comcast tower and 573 feet taller than the statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall, which had once been the maximum height of any building in the city.

Because Comcast lives in a 1950s industrial film, the tower will apparently be called the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center. (Science! Industry! World of Tomorrow!)

It will include 13 “sky gardens,” a fancy term for three-story atriums, where the company’s software designers, engineers and product developers will contemplate the universe, and how to wring every last dollar out of people for enjoying it.

Interestingly enough, the top floors of the new building won’t be reserved for CEO Brian Roberts to stand atop while sipping expensive brandy and rich-person-laughing. Instead, these floors will be given over to the fancy Four Seasons Hotel that will relocate to the new tower.

On the plus side for Philadelphia, the construction of the tower will result in jobs for thousands of people both during and after construction.

25% of the building’s 1.5 million square feet of office space will be available for rent to other businesses, so maybe I can relocate a few blocks from my cold, dank cave to a deluxe office in the sky-aye-aye.

Comcast is expected to break ground on its new digs sometime this summer.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Fisher-Price’s Apptivity Seat: Harmless And Educational Or Captive Brainwashing Device?

baby We know consumers’ love for all things technology begins early, but what’s too early? The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood defines too early is when you hold your infant or toddler captive with an iPad dangling infront of his or her face.

The CCFC sent a letter demanding Apple end its licensing agreement for Fisher-Price’s Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPad Device because of the product’s potential harm to infants and toddlers.

The CCFC insists the bouncy seat is a detriment for healthy development – the iPad blocks the child’s view of the world – and encourages parents to leave the child alone for long periods of time.

In December, the CCFC launched a campaign urging Fisher-Price to pull the seat from the market. The petition collected 13,000 signatures, more than any previous CCFC petition and Fisher-Price has distanced itself from the product, the CCFC said in the letter to Apple.

The Apptivity seat isn’t’ the first iPad related product for children the CCFC’s taken to task. During the holidays, the organization named the iPad potty chair the worst toy of the year.

CCFC to Apple: No iPad bouncy seat [The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

Stephen Colbert Is Ready For Viacom To Insert Ads Anywhere

green_bowl_challengeMirriad bills itself as a company that does “advertising for the skip generation.” What the heck does that mean? They’re the people who insert new ads into reruns of your favorite programs, adding not-yet-released DVDs to nonexistent bookshelves and even adding televisions that show ads to walls in a scene. You can advertise any product in a program, no matter how old it might be.

We can’t wait until this idea gets taken to its obvious conclusion: iPhone billboards in the New York City of “Seinfeld.” The Ricardos of “I Love Lucy” have a giant curved flatscreen TV in their living room. The possibilities really are endless.

Faux-conservative pundit Stephen Colbert certainly knows that. The future of advertising is with Mirriad’s model, and Colbert is ready. Which is good, because Viacom, parent company of Comedy Central, is now a client of Mirriad and will try digitally inserting anachronistic ads in its programs.

No new TVs stuck on walls or fake Gap stores here, though: Colbert pulls out a few items painted chroma key green so marketers can insert whatever brand they like. (One of those items is probably not so safe for work…but might be once Mirriad transforms it into a sandwich, a massive sausage, or the world’s largest gummy worm.)

Mirriad & Retroactive Product Placement [The Colbert Report] (Warning: auto-play video)

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Would You Reject A Brown Nickel? Asking For A Friend (The U.S. Mint)

First of all, we’re not really friends with the U.S. Mint because it’s not a person and besides, we’ve never met it and thus have no idea if it would even laugh at all our jokes or if it likes a nice glass of wine. Everyone likes money though — unless that money looks funny. Say, a brown nickel? Would that throw you off, would you reject it as a currency? Because the Mint would like to know.

Judging by the reaction of Fortune reporter Caroline Fairchild when she was confronted with a brown nickel at the Mint’s research and development lab, weird coins might not go over so well.

“I am immediately thrown off by both its light feel and dark hue,” she writes. “There is no way anyone would ever think this is a real, I keep thinking.”

Making it seem real is the goal of the Mint’s research, as officials keep trying to figure out alternative metals they can use to bring down the production costs at the agency..

Scientists have narrowed down the metals to six potential metal alloys for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that could trim $30 to $40 million off the government’s costs every year. That brown nickel — really a copper-plated zinc coin — is just experiment.

Before you’re confronted with a strange currency, the Mint is now starting a study this year to see if the look, feel, and color of coins actually matters much. You can’t see a bitcoin and yet people use it, so what’s the difference? Maybe not much in theory, but when confronted with weird coins, the Mint doesn’t want people to flip out and reject them.

“There could be a new metal that could work that would have transition costs, but it is really all about how people use their coins,” Deputy Director Richard Peterson explains. “What will people say when you feel what you felt [in that lab]? That’s what we need to go and figure out.”

We’ll give a start, Mint. Just because we’re nice.

Is America ready for a brown nickel? [Fortune]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

FDA Warns Doctors, Pharmacists Against Prescribing High Doses Of Acetaminophen

Even though many people pop Tylenols or slug NyQuil without thinking about the consequences, too much acetaminophen can wreak havoc on one’s liver. Today, the Food and Drug Administration has asked health care professionals to please stop prescribing and dispensing dosages of medicine that contain more than 325 mg of acetaminophen, saying the risk to a patient’s liver is higher than any additional benefit of the drug.

Inadvertent acetaminophen overdose can lead to liver failure or death. The FDA hopes that setting the 325 mg cap on acetaminophen will reduce the instances of overdose.

The FDA has previously asked the makers of prescription drugs that use acetaminophen in combination with other medications to limit acetaminophen to no more than 325 mg per dosage unit. However, there may be cases where doctors prescribe more than the standard dose of these medications.

That’s why the FDA is now asking pharmacists to pay attention to medications that contain acetaminophen in combination with other drugs to make sure that doctors are aware they may be over-prescribing acetaminophen.

For example, some pill may contain only 200 mg of acetaminophen, putting it well within the FDA guidelines. But a doctor might want her patient to get double of whatever the other active ingredient is in that pill and thus would write a prescription telling the patient to take two pills. Unfortunately, that means the patient would be getting more than the FDA believes is medically safe. In such cases, it wants pharmacists to speak with the prescribing physician to discuss a product with a lower dose of acetaminophen.

The role of the pharmacist in today’s announcement is also important because not all the manufacturers of drugs containing acetaminophen have complied with the 2011 request to cap acetaminophen content at 325 mg/per dosage unit. With today’s guidance, doctors, pharmacists and consumers should be more aware of acetaminophen levels when selecting medication options.

The FDA says it intends to begin a program that would withdraw approval of the remaining drugs containing more than the recommended amount of acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen is widely used in over-the-counter products, and though there are warning labels on these items, many consumers are not even aware that the product they are taking contains the drug.

This leads to people taking too much of an OTC medication that contains acetaminophen, or taking multiple products that contain the drug. Many consumers are also not aware of the risk of taking acetaminophen and consuming alcohol; just ask all the college kids and 20-somethings who swear by the “hangover cure” of taking a few Tylenol with a large glass of water before going to bed. That might help the headache, but it’s only hurting their livers more.

Acetaminophen overdose is a particularly nasty problem when it comes to children. A recent report slammed Johnson & Johnson for causing confusion among both parents and health care professionals by insisting on selling two child-targeted versions of Tylenol. This confusion ultimately resulted in the death of young children who inadvertently received too much acetaminophen.

Even more recently, some drug makers have been taken to task for their refusal to use simple valves on liquid medicine bottles that could help prevent children from receiving potentially lethal amounts of acetaminophen.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Best Buy Customer Claims Employee Stole His Identity And Used It To Buy Stuff At Best Buy

Did employee take "Get Yours" a bit too literally? (Maulleigh)

Did employee take “Get Yours” a bit too literally? (Maulleigh)

When you use your retailer credit card at one of the company’s stores, it might seem like that’s the safest place to use it. But one Best Buy customer said he feels decidedly unsafe and has lost trust in the store after an employee allegedly swiped his personal information to gain access to his store card.

The customer tells KTVU.com in California that he’d used his Best Buy card to purchase a cell phone. A week later, he tried to buy something at the same location, only to be told his card was declined. He has a weekly spending limit of $1,000 on the card, but is pretty darn sure he had only used the card to buy the $100 phone.

“I was like, ‘How could it get declined?’” he said. “It shouldn’t decline.”

Lo and behold, the assistant manager brought up receipts showing three purchases of iPad Air tablets on the day he’d visited the store to buy the phone, totaling more than $1,600 in charges on the customer’s card.

The customer claims the man who allegedly stole his identity is the same guy who sold him the phone. He’d given the worker his Social Security number and other personal info to make the purchase and activate the phone. And apparently, he’s not the only one crying foul — the general manager told him there are other cases involving the same associate.

The local police say they’re looking into it, and that “at some point if Best Buy comes forward with additional information we may be able to put together a package for prosecution,” a police rep said.

Best Buy released a statement saying it’s aware of the situation: “We are working with local law enforcement. We cannot comment further, given that there is an ongoing investigation.”

Now is a good time to remind anyone with a store credit card — make sure you check your statements, lest you end up the victim of theft like this customer.

“I feel betrayed because I always put Best Buy at a very high level,” he explains. “I’m a Best Buy customer. I love the store, so when I go in there of course I’m going to trust them. I figure if I go there my information is safe and now that’s not the case.”

We’ve reached out to KTVU.com to see if there have been any updates to the situation since it was first reported last week, and we’ll let you know if we hear anything new. A rep for Best Buy told Consumerist there aren’t any updates as of yet.

Best Buy customer says employee stole his identity [KTVU.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Capital One Is The Most Complained-About Credit Card Company

Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened its credit card complaint portal in Sept. 2010, more than 25,000 complaints have been filed with the CFPB. And while the 10 largest credit card issuers account for 93% of all those complaints, one company is responsible for more than 1-in-5 of all complaints filed with the Bureau: Capital One.

That’s according to the Ohio Public Interest Research Group’s new report [PDF] that analyzes some of the available data about the CFPB complaint portal.

With 5,625 complaints filed between Sept. 2010 and Nov. 2013, Capital One cards accounted for 21% of all consumer gripes. Citibank’s credit cards were the second most complained-about (4,514 complaints, 18% of the total), followed by Bank of America (3,320; 13%).


Problems with Capital One cards appear to be a nationwide issue, with Cap One receiving the most complaints from consumers in 43 states. In six of the remaining states — Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Utah — Citi earned the most complaints, with Bank of America being the most-hated card issuer in Alaska.

The complaint portal isn’t just for consumers to scream into a black hole about their credit cards. The idea is that the card company is supposed to respond to each complaint within a given time frame. Of course, the cardholders aren’t always pleased with the card companies’ responses.

If the consumer is unhappy with the card issuer’s response to the complaint, he can file a dispute. Once again, Capital One cardholders filed the most disputes (1,044), meaning about one out of every five Cap One complaints were disputed. This may have been the largest number of disputes, but it’s not the highest rate. That belongs to American Express, where cardholders disputed 26% of the resolutions suggested by the card issuer.


In terms of what people are complaining about, billing issues represented the largest percentage of complaints (18%), followed by gripes about interest rates (10%), identity theft (7%), credit reporting (7%), or closing and canceling accounts (6%).

In the end, the majority (60%) of all credit card complaints are resolved with merely an explanation from the card company. Complaints resulted in monetary relief 29% of the time, and with some sort of non-monetary relief in another 10% of cases.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

How Rigged Monopoly Sets Helped World War II Prisoners Of War Escape

Whenever I play Monopoly, sure, I’m playing to survive — well, survive the shame that inevitably befalls the worst player on the board. But a new report says the game did a lot more for prisoners of war during World War II, who used rigged sets to escape to freedom. Now that’s survival of the fittest. Or at least the cleverest.

Christian Donland over at Eurogamer takes an extensive look at the game’s contribution to springing many WWII POWs, who already loved Monopoly and would play it to make the days pass at prison camps.

“The German guards knew that if the prisoners were diverted by some pastime, like playing Monopoly, they would be less inclined to spend their time thinking about how to escape,” Phil Orbanes, chief judge of the Monopoly World Championships and author of the book Monopoly: The World’s Most Famous Game tells Donland.

“The Germans were actually glad when games and pastimes came into the camps because it meant that more of the prisoners could be engaged in calming activities.” Ha! Calming, indeed.

Because Monopoly was a common sight at these camps, a British intelligence officer named Clayton Hutton took advantage of that, and designed escape tools that could be hidden in boxed sets shipped from phony charities to help prisoners escape.

“My aim, right from the start of my association with the escape department had always been to discover a foolproof system for introducing my ‘toys’ into the camps themselves,” Hutton wrote. “To arrange for the odd map and compass to be smuggled to particular prisoners was one thing; to initiate and maintain a steady flow of all our devices was another.”

These games would show up with clues to the tools in their letterhead, hinting that this Monopoly set was not what it seemed at first. Another sign you had shears, metal files, a silk escape map, mini-compass and money stashed in the game? A red dot on the Free Parking space.

It’s still unclear how many Allied POWs got out and made it back home with the help of the rigged sets — Hutton had to keep his mouth shut since he was an intelligence officer and all. We salute you, Hutton, in the name of all those game players who were actually playing for their lives, and not so their older brothers would stop teasing them about being such a sore loser.

Check out the source link for the full, very lengthy and interesting piece by Donland. You’ll learn more about tiny compasses than you ever thought you could know.

Inside Monopoly’s secret war against the Third Reich [Eurogamer]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Apple To Issue Refunds Of At Least $32.5 Million For In-App Purchases By Kids

Though Apple has already settled a class-action lawsuit over all those in-app purchases unwittingly made by free-fingered kids on their parents’ and other adults’ iPhones and iPads, that deal didn’t mean the folks at the Federal Trade Commission were going to stop looking into the situation. Today, the FTC announced that it has reached a deal with the electronics giant to issue at least another $32.5 million in refunds to consumers.

The FTC began its look into Apple’s marketing of in-app purchases back in 2011, after several reports of parents being hit with bills for hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of purchases that had been made by children without their permission.

Apple allegedly violated the FTC Act by failing to tell parents that by entering a password to approve a single in-app purchase actually opened a 15-minute window of additional unlimited purchases, meaning kids could just continue making these purchases without their parents knowing.

The FTC also took issue with the fact that the parental password window would pop up, but did not indicate that by putting in one’s password, they were in any way finalizing a purchase.

Many of the purchases involved games on the devices, like the 8-year-old who purchased $1,400 worth of “Smurfberries” on her father’s iPad. These games allowed users to pay for upgrades and add-ons that supposedly enhanced the playing experience or made it easier to level-up.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.”

Apple will be required to pay refunds to consumers upon request from account holders. They are also required to notify all consumers charged for in-app purchases that refunds for unauthorized purchases made by kids are available, with instructions on how to get their money back.

In addition to the $32.5 million of refunds to consumers, Apple has agreed to modify its billing practices going forward. The company will be required to obtain “express, informed consent” before billing for any in-app charges. Additionally, Apple may obtain consumers’ consent for future charges, but customers must have the option to withdraw at any time.

The deadline by which Apple must make these changes is March 31, 2014.

The FTC has also posted tips for parents on how to avoid surprise in-app purchase bills.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Fitbit Apologizes To “Very Limited Number Of” Force Owners With Skin Irritation


(Photo courtesy of Fitbit Force user McKenzie)

After Consumerist broke the story on Monday, mysterious rashes caused by the wearable motion tracker Fitbit have been in the news all over the world. The company has issued an apology to what they call a “very limited number of Fitbit Force users” who have a mysterious skin irritation underneath their wristbands.

In a statement to Huffington Post, which published a story on Monday as well, Fitbit issued a public apology to customers who have experienced skin problems on the wrists where they’ve worn the force.

We are looking into reports from a very limited number of Fitbit Force users who have been experiencing skin irritation, possibly as a result of an allergy to nickel, an element of surgical-grade stainless steel used in the device.

We suggest that consumers experiencing any irritation discontinue using the product and contact Fitbit at force@fitbit.com if they have additional questions. Customers may also contact Fitbit for an immediate refund or replacement with a different Fitbit product.

We are sorry that even a few consumers have experienced these problems and assure you that we are looking at ways to modify the product so that anyone can wear the Fitbit Force comfortably. We will continue to update our customers with the latest information.

We can’t know how many Fitbit customers have experienced problems out of the total number of bands sold. Only the company knows that, and it is likely a very small (yet itchy) proportion. What we do know is that many customers don’t regularly peruse the company’s forums and didn’t know that anyone else had the same problem. “I never even heard about this until today on Consumerist and made the connection,” one user wrote on the Fitbit forums thread about the situation yesterday.


Fitbit Force Is An Amazing Device, Except For My Contact Dermatitis

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Sears, Kmart Recall Kenmore Fan Heaters Because They Are Not Supposed To Catch Fire

The model number of the fan can be found on a silver sticker on the bottom.

The model number of the fan can be found on a silver sticker on the bottom.

While flames have long kept humans warm during cold weather, fire is not the intended output of a Kenmore heat fan. That’s why Sears and Kmart have recalled 43,000 of the fans and will be issuing refunds to customers who bought them.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the specific Kenmore oscillating heat fans being recalled have the model number 127.90914310. As you can see in the above image, the model number is printed on a silver sticker on the bottom of the unit.

The fan heaters are gray and white, measure about 12 inches tall by 9 inches wide, have two dials at the top for temperature and fan speed and a red on-off button on the front base. Kenmore is printed on the front bottom of the fan heaters. They were sold at both Sears and Kmart stores around the country between September and November of 2013.

The source of the problem is that broken motor mounts can cause the fans to overheat, catch fire and possibly ignite nearby items. The retailers say they know of seven incidents in which the the fan began to smoke or caught fire, including two reports of injuries.

Anyone who has one of the recalled fans is advised to stop using it immediately and return it to any Sears or Kmart for a full refund.

Consumers with questions can call (888) 820-3341 between 7 a.m.-9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. CT on Saturdays.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Visit The Place Where Old Airplane Seats Go To Be Resurrected

While some jets may stay in service for decades, it seems like the seats inside those planes are constantly changing — being shuffled around, rebranded, removed, replaced. Thus, someone out there is making a living off this continual turnover of those seats you hate to sit in.

In the video above, the folks at Bloomberg pay a visit to Interface Aviation, Inc., in California, one of only about a half-dozen U.S. firms that refurbish and repair old airline seats.

For all the old seats stacked floor-to-ceiling at the Interface warehouse, there are only a dozen people working there.

“Most of these guys have been here 15 years or more,” explains the company’s director of sales. “They know the seats pretty good.”

He says that the company charges a few thousand dollars to refurbish a typical row of three seats, but explains that the cost of a new airplane seat is five or six times that of a refurbed one.

“We often modify older seats up to new standards,” he adds.

With all the recent airline mergers, many planes have had to get their entire interiors redone to match the look and feel of the new ownership. The Interface sales director says that can easily run up a bill in the six figures for a single plane.

“You can easily spend a lot more than that,” he tells Bloomberg. “Leather would be three times the price.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Prosecutors Joining In Bi-Coastal Investigation Into Whether Monster Markets Drinks To Kids

Despite the geographic distance between them, the San Francisco city attorney and New York’s state attorney general are joining forces to investigate together where Monster Beverage is marketing its energy drinks to kids. It’s unclear, however, if they’re sharing some sort of super secret, underground lair in like, Nebraska.

The bi-coastal probe started last month right before a federal judge in California threw out a lawsuit filed by Monster to stop an investigation by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, reports the Associated Press. He had filed his own lawsuit saying the drinks pose health risks, and that Monster misbrands its drinks and markets them to children.

Over on the East coast, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been slapping Monster and other energy-drink makers with subpoenas as part of his own ongoing investigation.

And now it’s all coming together: Herrera said he thinks this joint effort will help consumers.

“We are disappointed that Monster has remained defiant in marketing products to children,” Herrera said. “We hope this effort will cause the company to correct its irresponsible marketing practices.”

Monster is responding by saying that the energy drinks aren’t meant for kids and aren’t even that caffeinated — a spokeswoman says a 16-ounce can of the drink has less than half the caffeine of a similar-sized cup of coffee.

The cans do say the drink isn’t recommended for children, among others with potential health risks.

As for how many children are clamoring for coffee or buying it at convenience stores, that’s unclear. And coffee can be hot, so it’s usually consumed slowly, Herrera responded.

Previously: Lawsuit Blames Teen’s Death On His Two-Can-A-Day Monster Beverage Habit; Lawmakers Call Out Energy Drink Makers For Inconsistent Labeling, Shady Marketing Practices

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Why Is There A Giant Novelty Candy Industry?

big-ol-bear-cherry-more-ae-130818There is something missing in your life. You may not realize it right now, but you are suffering from a severe lack of giant pieces of novelty candy. When we say “giant,” we mean “26-pound gummy bears.”

We first learned about this strange industry from The Worst Things For Sale, which featured a three-pound worm along with an animated GIF of a guy chomping on it. This piqued our interest for what should be obvious reasons when you see the GIF.


Also, sugar. On Amazon, you can find other packaged giant candies. There is an 8-pack of giant Pop Rocks packets, for example.


There’s also a giant box of Nerds. Why does this exist? Who could finish such a container before they went stale?


That person with a very powerful pancreas might also be a fan of the giant gummy bears and worms, weighing in at three or six pounds. Or the even more giant ones available from specialty shops, such as the 26-pound gummy python.

I asked whether we could split one of these at our next Consumerist staff meeting, but was voted down. maybe because of the nutrition information:

Cherry & Blue Raspberry flavored

Weight: 26.9 pounds (12.2 kg)

Calories: 36,720

Servings: Approximately 306

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

New Nickelodeon Channel Will Let Parents Customize TV Programming

dora-the-explorer-wallpaper-21 Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime owe a good deal of their success to parents of young children, who love that they can dial up one of their kids’ favorite shows or movies instantly and without commercials. The folks at Viacom and Verizon are hoping to replicate some of that experience with a new customizable cable TV channel aimed at youngsters.

Rather than putting viewers at the mercy of TV programmers or forcing parents to find desired content online or via on-demand TV, “My Nick Jr.” will take a different approach by giving viewers a selection of seven different themes — like “get creative,” “word play,” or “supersonic science” — that will then determine the initial programming. Viewers can then vote yay or nay (via smile and frown icons) for individual shows. This feedback will then help customize the experience further.

Think of it like Pandora for your TV, where the Nickelodeon back-end computers do their best to predict what shows you will want based on your expressed preferences.

The Wall St. Journal reports that there will (at least initially) be no ads on My Nick Jr., and parents will be able to set limits on how many hours of the channel their kids can watch at a time. Parents will also have access to reports on which shows their kids are watching.

The My Nick Jr. channel will first launch on Verizon FiOS in the coming months. It will be given a slot in the channel lineup directly next to the existing Nick Jr. channel.

Viacom says it expects to roll the new channel out to other TV providers but gives no time frame. It’s also possible that the format could be extended to other Viacom-operated properties like MTV.

This customizable content approach is seen by some as a way to combat cord-cutters who are tired of being restricted by broadcasters’ programming schedules.

“It’s a way you can quash the momentum of over-the-top players in the marketplace,” explains Verizon’s vice president of content strategy and acquisition. “There’s no reason they should own that space—we should own that space.”

Viacom to Launch Customized Kids’ TV Channel [WSJ.com]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Colorado Airport Installing “Pot Amnesty Boxes” In Case You Forgot To Leave Your Drugs At Home

It’s only been two weeks since marijuana for recreational use became legal in Colorado, but it appears that authorities are worried citizens will already forget pretty common norms. For example: Pot does not belong at the airport, and you most definitely can’t bring it on a plane. The Colorado Springs Airport is ready to help, however, with new “pot amnesty boxes.”

Let’s be clear: Amnesty is for people who’ve done something wrong, so if you remember on your way to your aunt’s house in Ohio that you left a dime bag in your pocket and you put it in one of those boxes, you are surrendering your drugs. Meaning, you’re not getting it back but you won’t get in trouble for having it.

As KKTV reports, the boxes are for whoever accidentally brought their pot with them or didn’t know it’s illegal to have it at the airport. The boxes are on their way to the airport now and could be installed as soon as today.

If you remember in time to get back to your car, however, you can always leave the marijuana there, because it’s legal to do so. Airport officials just really don’t want you to remember when you’ve already made it into the airport.

The ban applies to both recreational and medical marijuana, and it’s a stiff fine if either is discovered: Up to $2,500 and possible jail time. So say goodbye to your stash and use those boxes.

Springs Airport Installing Amnesty Boxes For Pot Surrender [KKTV.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Is Netflix A Loser Or Winner With End Of Net Neutrality?

netflixgrab Yesterday’s ruling by a federal appeals court gives Internet service providers the ability to charge premium rates or additional fees to whichever content providers the ISPs want. Considering that Netflix is the single largest user of bandwidth in the U.S., many observers predict this ruling is bad news for the streaming video service, but some contend that Netflix may come out a winner in the long run.

The negatives for Netflix are obvious. ISPs like Verizon, which has already been accused of deliberately allowing Netflix traffic to become bottlenecked, that have competing streaming video services (Redbox Instant is a joint venture of Redbox and Verizon) can throttle Netflix data so that consumers get an unsatisfying experience, effectively taking away any value to the Netflix subscriber. At the same time, Verizon could give priority access to Redbox Instant.

Of course the ISPs will likely not just tell Netflix to go suck eggs and deal with the throttled data speeds; not when there is money to be made. Netflix will undoubtedly be offered the opportunity to pay for unfettered access to ISPs’ networks. And, barring any sort of legislative or regulatory intervention, Netflix will have to ante up if it wants to keep its position as the market leader in streaming video.

Surprisingly, it’s this very pay-to-play proposition that GigaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham argues that Netflix may actually be a winner. Higginbotham contends that Netflix, and other bandwidth gobblers like Skype, have the deep pockets required to pay for priority access without going under.

Indeed, if Netflix does have the money to pay the inevitable fees from the various ISPs, it could outlast a number of smaller competitors who can’t pay the higher toll for access to the old information superhighway. Paying the ISPs’ ransom would also mean — hopefully — a higher quality of video being delivered to Netflix subscribers.

But at what cost?

I’d contend that Netflix may not have the deep pockets some believe it does. The company has recently seen an improvement in its profit margin, but Netflix is known for investing much of its money in content — TV studios get so much money from Netflix they refer to the revenue as “pure heroin” — and in streaming technology to deliver uninterrupted feeds to subscribers’ homes — all at what most people feel is a reasonable monthly rate.

Regardless, it’s not like Reed Hastings is swimming in some Scrooge McDuck-like pool of gold coins that is just waiting to be handed over to ISPs. The money for these fees — which Bloomberg figures could be as much as 10% of Netflix’s annual revenue — will have to come from somewhere.

Maybe that means a smaller investment in content, meaning fewer TV shows and movies in the Netflix library. Maybe it means higher rates being charged to the customer, meaning the cost of the access fees is just being shifted to the end user (just like cable TV).

Regardless of whether Netflix wins or loses in the long run, the ultimate loser is the consumer.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

More Strippers Sue Club Owners To Be Treated Like Employees

While much attention has been paid to the growing movement to improve the wages of fast food and retail workers in the U.S., there have been a number of of lawsuits in the last year involving long-held payment practices at the nation’s gentlemen’s clubs. Dancers at an Atlanta strip club are the latest to sue club owners, alleging that they are being forced to pay the owners for the right to work at the club.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that three dancers at the Tattletale Lounge sued the club and its owners in federal court on Monday, alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and seeking class status to cover the 250 or so dancers that have worked at the club during the last three years.

“Defendants have maintained a pattern and practice of not paying employees wages, not paying for overtime wages, failing to provide proper time for required lunch and rest breaks and otherwise failing to provide statutorily mandated wages and compensation,” reads the complaint. “These violations were, and are, so egregious that Defendants go so far as to require each and every similarly situated employee to pay out of pocket costs prior to receiving any compensation.”

From what we understand of the industry, it is standard practice at many clubs for dancers to pay a fee to the club for each night they dance. In some cases, that fee is taken out of the dancers’ earnings at the end of a shift, while other clubs require upfront payment. Clubs have long held that dancers are independent contractors — much like hairstylists who rent chairs in a salon — and thus do not merit things like a minimum hourly wage, overtime, breaks or other considerations as mandated by state and federal law.

In September, a federal court in New York ruled that popular strip club Rick’s Cabaret held its dancers to such strict, micro-managed guidelines that the women were de facto employees and should be treated accordingly.

The Tattletale lawsuit states similar allegations to the Rick’s case, saying the dancers are required to attend staff meetings without compensation, must work a set number of hours or be suspended or fired, can only wear club-approved outfits while working and must get approval from management for their stage names.

In addition mandatory per-shift fees — $20 to the “house mom,” $10 to the doorman, among others — the dancers at the club say they were also forced to share 20% of their tips with the club DJ, and up to 10% of their tips as a performance fee to the club. That may be in violation of the FLSA, which says that tips belong wholly to the tipped employees and are only to be shared if the employees are part of a legal, agreed-upon tipping pool.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist