Cómo conseguir followers en Twitter sin tuitear #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo conseguir followers en Twitter sin tuitear. Vía Un saludo

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9 recomendaciones para hacer tu web más atractivo #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía con 9 recomendaciones para hacer tu web más atractivo. Vía Un saludo

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5 Métodos de generación de tráfico para novatos #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía con 5 Métodos de generación de tráfico para novatos. Un saludo

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¿Sabes si tu ADN es emprendedor? #infografia #infographic #entrepreneurship

Hola: Una infografía sobre ¿Sabes si tu ADN es emprendedor? Un saludo

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Cómo funciona el Google Average Position ranking system #infografia #infographic #seo

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo funciona el Google Average Position ranking system. Un saludo Courtesy of: Anchor Wave Internet Solutions

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¿Qué es exactamente retargeting? #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre ¿Qué es exactamente retargeting? Un saludo

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7 tendencias en tecnología que marcarán 2014 #infografia #infographic #tech

Hola: Una infografía con 7 tendencias en tecnología que marcarán 2014. Vía Un saludo

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Panorama del Marketing Digital #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con el panorama del Marketing Digital. Un saludo

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Uso del móvil en B2B #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre el uso del móvil en B2B. Vía Un saludo

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El perfil del inversor equilibrado #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre el El perfil del inversor equilibrado. Vía Un saludo

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Cuánto vale el Teletrabajo #infografia #infographic #rrhh

Hola: Una infografía sobre cuánto vale el Teletrabajo. Vía Un saludo

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La evolución del Mac #infografia #infographic #apple

Hola: Una infografía sobre La evolución del Mac. Vía Un saludo

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Hospital Chain Inflated Bills, Pressured Doctors Into Generating Admissions, Lawsuits Claim

There are many accusations of money-grubbing in the health care industry. Most of them are subtle: a preferred medication here, a handshake behind closed doors there. But actually hanging a chart on the wall and proudly color-coding your ER doctors like car salesmen based on how high their admission rates are? That’s about as in-your-face as the pursuit of profit gets.

That sales chart, along with other incredibly questionable tactics, was a product of the minds at Florida-based for-profit hospital chain Health Management Associates, the New York Times reports. The chain is currently the subject of at least eight whistleblower lawsuits in six different states.

The lawsuits, joined by the Justice Department this month, accuse Health Management Associates of using “sophisticated software systems, financial incentives and threats” to pressure doctors to comply with their policies. Those policies, which came from the CEO’s office and rolled all the way down, were aimed at milking as much money as possible out of Medicare and Medicaid.

Call a temperature of 98.7 high enough to admit a baby for having a fever? Sure! Aim to admit more than 50% of all ER patients over age 65? Absolutely! Make a teenager who just needs some stitches in the knee stay overnight? Now you’re cooking!

Not only does the hospital chain apparently have a clear record of such deliberately excessive patient care, but also HMA has a history of firing the managers and executives who questioned or objected to the policies.

HMA is currently in the middle of a merger with Community Health Systems. According to the NYT, as part of that merger, the chain disclosed regulatory filings revealing that the organization has been under investigation by multiple states’ attorneys general over the past two years–but not until after shareholders voted on the acquisition.

However, revelations about HMA’s behavior don’t appear to be causing it any trouble with investors. Stock prices for both companies have remained roughly stable since early November. An investment analyst specializing in health care wrote, “Investors seem to think that D.O.J. investigations, qui tam suits and allegations of serious Medicare fraud are simply a cost of doing business.” She added that corporations are not likely to be deterred by any fine less than $500 million.

HMA is currently also the subject of shareholder lawsuits and a federal securities investigation, the NYT reports. A former company executive was indicted in 2013 on obstruction charges related to those investigations.

Hospital Chain Said to Scheme to Inflate Bills [New York Times]

by Kate Cox via Consumerist

Too Big To Jail? Not So Much Says Attorney General Eric Holder

There’s no such thing as too big to jail. We’ve heard the saying a number of times since the 2008 financial crisis, but now Attorney General Eric Holder is attempting to put a stop to assumptions that financial institutions and their executives are too large to be indicted.

Holder puts the kibosh on the thought that some companies are above paying retribution for their crimes in a new interview airing on MSNBC tonight, Reuters reports.

“There are no institutions that are too big to indict,” Holder tell MSNBC. “There are no individuals who are in such high level positions that they cannot be indicted, criminally investigated.”

In the interview Holder cites the recent case against JPMorgan Chase & Co. as an example of how prosecutors can pursue criminal charges if warranted. The investigation into JPMorgan Chase continues.

Under the civil settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co., which was reached in November, the company will pay $13 billion to end government investigations into its marketing and sale of mortgage-backed securities.

In December, Holder told Reuters the Justice Department plans to bring civil mortgage fraud cases against several financial institutions.

In the past year, bank regulators have faced criticism for not holding the nation’s banks and their executives accountable for their misdeeds. Instead, most banks settle cases rather than head to court.

Making amends without actually saying sorry might be part of the past for large companies if Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White has anything to do with it.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, White said the agency has more power than they were perhaps using – and part of that leverage is getting wrongdoers to admit their wrongdoings.

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

El toque humano del elearning #infografia #infographic #education

Hola: Una infografía sobre el El toque humano del elearning. Vía Un saludo

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Laptops Stolen From Coca-Cola HQ Compromise Personal Info For 74,000 People

The Wall Street Journal reports that someone stole laptops from Coca-Cola’s Atlanta headquarters that contained unencrypted personal information for upwards of 74,000 people. Among the info compromised by the theft: names, Social Security numbers, and other personal data like driver’s license numbers. The beverage behemoth says the laptops have been recovered and has no evidence that this information was misused. [WSJ.com]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Google Glitch Is Resulting In Thousands Of People E-mailing Poor Hotmail User

This is what happened when we clicked on the top search result on Google for "Gmail."

This is what happened when we clicked on the top search result on Google for “Gmail.”

Let’s get the obvious joke out of the way first — yes, someone out there still uses hotmail. Moving on… Something strange is happening this afternoon. People who click on the top Google search result for “Gmail” are automatically starting draft e-mails to some unfortunate hotmail user.

We first heard about it on Techcrunch then tried it for ourselves, and indeed, as of 4:07 p.m. ET today, when we Googled the term “Gmail,” then clicked on the “Email” link, it opened a new tab with this unfortunate soul’s e-mail address already in the “To” line.

You can try it for yourself, but please don’t actually send any more messages to the guy. Even though it’s now a matter of public record, we’re blocking out the full e-mail address above just because we don’t want someone digging this story up three years from now and sending e-mails to this guy (though we hope he will have long-ditched this particular address by that point).

“I’ve been getting thousands of no-subject, blank emails,” he tells Techcrunch. “500 of them come every hour, I can’t stop them.”

This apparently all began on Thursday, so it seems unlikely that the issue is tied to today’s Gmail outage. However, that brief outage had plenty of people Googling “Gmail” and clicking on that link.

“They’re coming so fast, I want to stop them. I deleted everything last night and woke up this morning and had 1,900 new emails” he says about the deluge. “Only two of them were emails I cared about.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Las tecnológicas qué más invierte en influencia política #infografia #infographic #tech

Hola: Una infografía sobre las tecnológicas qué más invierte en influencia política. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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Deja salir tu “locura” interna #infografia #infographic #psychology

Hola: Una infografía que nos dice: Deja salir tu “locura” interna. Un saludo Source: BestPsychologyDegrees.com

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Qué es el Foro de Davos #infografia #infographic

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30 años de Macintosh #infografia #infographic #apple

Hola: Una infografía sobre 30 años de Macintosh. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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American Airlines, US Airways Create Incentive Program For Employees To Do Their Jobs

Get ready for even friendlier skies when you fly American Airlines and US Airways. The newly merged airlines are all but bribing their employees with an incentive program aimed to ensure the airline has the best on-time performance, the rate of mishandled baggage and customer satisfaction.

The airline announced an incentive program offering each employee a $50 bonus for every government-monitored performance category the new American Airlines Group dominates, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will release new rankings of the nation’s airlines in March.

Each employee stands to earn an extra $150 if the new American Airlines Group beats Delta, Southwest, United and other airlines in each of the three categories.

Really? Isn’t that their job to be nice to customers and find your missing bag? And couldn’t the airlines find a better use for that $150?

They could certainly just pay their employees more, or reward their customers with free checked baggage. How about free wi-fi on flights? We could get behind that.

American Airlines, US Airways offer bonuses for out doing rivals [Los Angeles Times]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

Federal Government To Issue New Guidelines For Banks Dealing With Legal Marijuana Businesses

Now that marijuana for recreational use is doing booming business in Colorado where it’s legal (with Washington State to join it eventually) the federal government is getting around to answering some weighty questions. Namely, how will it deal with the revenue coming in from pot sales?

United States Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday that the federal government is working on new regulations that would make it easier in those states for businesses dealing in legal marijuana to have access to banks, reports USA Today, which is likely welcome news in Colorado and Washington.

Holder told an audience at the University of Virginia that Justice and Treasury department officials will soon issue the new guidelines in order to try to help banks decide what to do in situations involving legal marijuana businesses.

“It’s an attempt to deal with the reality that exists in these states,” Holder explained, referencing not only Washington and Colorado but the 18 other where marijuana is legal for medical use, as well as Washington, D.C..

“There is a public safety component to this,” he said. “And you don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places. They want to be able to use the banking system… . Huge amounts of cash, substantial amounts of cash, just kind of lying around with no place for it to (be) appropriately deposited is something that would worry me from just a law enforcement perspective.”

And besides the piles of cash lying around being an inconvenience for those banks, it’s not so easy for marijuana businesses to even convince banks to deal with them in the first place. Because while certain states can legalize pot for either medical use or just recreation, federally insured institutions were feeling a bit squirrelly about accepting drug money.

Officials in Washington State had been wondering whether or not Bank of America will take its tax revenue funds from pot for fear of getting in trouble with the feds. And in Colorado, many owners of pot businesses had to pay taxes in cash because banks refuse to do business with them for the same reason.

Previously: You Probably Won’t Be Able To Buy Marijuana Without A Credit Card Anytime Soon; New Laws Would Allow Medical Marijuana Sellers To Get Bank Loans

New guidelines help banks deal with marijuana businesses [USA Today]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Gmail Goes Down, World Wishes It Could Just Go Home Already

gmaildown You’re not imagining things. Shortly before 2 p.m. ET on Friday, Gmail service (along with Gchat and Google Hangouts) went down, leaving millions of Americans staring at their computers and phones and wondering how in the world they were going to survive the remaining hours of the work week without complaining over Gchat to Mark in accounting about how stupid their new boss is. UPDATE: As of 2:25 p.m., Gmail service is slowly returning to users. We appear to have made it through this brief national crisis.

Google Shuts Down Gmail For Two Hours To Show Its Immense Power

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Banks Are Cashing In With Brand-Name Prepaid Debit Cards

Who needs an actual debit card when there are hordes of prepaid debit cards on the market? That’s a question you might have to ask yourself with more retailers (and at least one wireless provider) launching their own cards. But while the branding on the front of the card might be for a store, it’s the bank behind that card that is cashing in.

Every prepaid debit card is required to be backed by a bank. The banks act as a conduit to route transactions and hold deposits in exchange for fee income. And business is booming for these banks, thanks to an exemption on capping fees for prepaid cards in Dodd-Frank, the Washington Post reports.

Prepaid products cover a spectrum of uses including for general purchases, payroll, and government tax refunds, allowing banks plenty of opportunity to cash in.

Banks sponsoring prepaid cards make money from deposits, fees incurred by customers using the card and the fees merchants pay when people purchase goods using the cards. With more than $99.2 billion in prepaid transactions taking place in 2012, banks aren’t exactly hurting.

Becoming a prepaid card sponsor isn’t easy, though. Banks are required to comply with federal and state regulatory guidelines and must be able to provide a large investment to manage the programs.

Officials with Bancorp Bank, the bank sponsoring T-Mobile’s new prepaid card, said the goal for banks getting into the prepaid card sponsoring business is to balance their portfolios.

But with an increase in prepaid card use, federal regulators are paying attention, especially to fees tied to benefit and payroll cards.

Many banks, including JPMorgan Chase, have planned to stop issuing prepaid cards for corporations and the government after a probe into the fees workers incurred when using the cards, the Post reports.

Banks aren’t just sponsoring prepaid cards for retailers, many offer their own cards. So how much are banks making off their own cards? That’s not so cut and dry, since most banks don’t break down the revenue in their earnings.

Since prepaid cards don’t seem to be going away anytime soon, at least take a look at Consumer Reports’ ranking of the best. And remember to look for all those hidden fees.

Rise in prepaid debit cards entices banks to sponsor them [The Washington Post]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

Save Money On Clothes: Make Yours Last Longer

It’s exceedingly obvious: the easiest way to save money on something is to not buy it in the first place. Everyone has to wear clothing (outside of the house, anyway) but clothing is now so cheap that many of us don’t put much thought into making it last longer. Avoid trips to the store: make your clothes last longer.

Our friends over at Dealnews, who are usually looking for great deals to buy new stuff, compiled some tips to keep your clothes looking presentable for as long as possible.

Give your clothes a day off. Yes, you can wear items like suits, bras, shoes, or skirts a few times before washing, but those days shouldn’t be consecutive. Let items rest and air out between wearings.

Buy some drying racks. Maybe a dehumidifier, too. The dryer is an amazing convenience, and you can’t beat it as a source of toasty-warm towels. However, it’s not good for your clothing. If possible, dry items on a line or rack. This saves energy and wear on your clothes.

Store clothing items well. Especially if you don’t wear something every season, it’s a good idea to protect it by storing it somewhere other than wadded up at the bottom of a laundry basket.

Wash with care. Don’t overdose on detergent, use the coldest water possible for the fabric you’re washing, treat stains as soon as possible, and

How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer [Dealnews]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

GetTaxi Claims Uber Employees Played Dirty By Ordering, Then Canceling A Bunch Of Cars

Let the games begin. Or continue.

Let the games begin. Or continue.

Just as badly as you want a car to whisk you away through the snowy streets, so do the companies that run those car services want to be the ones to provide you with your ride. And it sounds like it’s getting dirty out there, with one rival of service Uber claiming company employees pulled the nasty trick of ordering up a hundred of its cars and then canceling.

GetTaxi (or Gett, as it’s also known) claims that Uber workers in New York called up a hundred or so cars over three days last week, only to call a kibosh on the cars once the workers were sent the Gett drivers’ phone numbers, reports CNNMoney.

With those numbers in hand, Gett says Uber works then texted the drivers to try and recruit them over to Uber. Sneaky, if true, and it appears it might be, if the screenshots of texts given to CNNMoney are the real thing.

Uber sounds like it knows about this employment of potentially questionable tactics, saying its workers maybe took things a little too far.

“Our local teams can be pretty determined when spreading the word about Uber and how our platform opens up new economic opportunities for drivers,” Uber said in a statement. “In this instance, the New York City team was a bit too ambitious and we’ll make sure they tone down their sales tactics.”

In other words: Kids will be kids, right?

But Gett’s CEO Jing Herman doesn’t sound like she’s ready to let this one slide, calling the incident something like a “denial of service attack,” as it mucked up the company’s business.

“During a very short period of time when we had a hundred cancellations that took up a hundred drivers, those hundred drivers could have served a hundred of our legitimate customers who weren’t able to get a car or had to wait much longer to get a car,” she told CNNMoney.

And while it appears more than a dozen Uber employees could’ve been involved in the alleged scheme, Gett employees can’t even retaliate — many of them are blocked from using Uber.

“Personally, I’ve been blocked for the last few months,” Herman explains.

It’s unclear whether Gett will pursue legal action against Uber, which it likely could do under a claim of unfair business practices, one attorney explains.

“If Uber employees intentionally diverted Gett drivers from legitimate business by making phony calls, that is an unfair business practice, illegal under California law,” he said. “It is also an intentional interference with Gett’s business which makes them liable for money damages.”

Uber rival accuses car service of dirty tactics [CNNMoney]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

McDonald’s Olympics Social Media Campaign Backfires, Transforms Into Pro-LGBT Protest

Just a small sampling of the anti-McDonald's Tweets using the #CheersToSochi hashtag.

Just a small sampling of the anti-McDonald’s Tweets using the #CheersToSochi hashtag.

McDonald’s attempt at using Twitter to promote its role in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has not gone exactly as the fast food chain planned — that is, unless it planned for the LGBT community to use this campaign as a way to publicly shame the company for its sponsorship of the games.

As you probably already know, many people — gay and straight — are concerned about the Winter Olympics taking place in Russia during a time when the country’s leadership has undertaken an effort to effectively criminalize homosexuality, equating non-straight sexual orientations with pederasty.

Groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, have already asked many of the major sponsors of the 2014 games to reconsider associating their brands with the event, to no avail.

Earlier this week, the McDonald’s Twitter account attempted to get people in the Olympic spirit with a Tweet that read, “We’re kicking off a way to send your well wishes to any Olympian today. Are you ready to send your #CheersToSochi?” and linked to the company’s Cheers to Sochi website.

In the days since, those opposing McDonald’s involvement in the Sochi games have taken that #CheersToSochi hashtag and used it to tag Tweets expressing disappointment and anger at McD’s.

A search for the #CheersToSochi tag turns up a massive (and growing) number of protest Tweets, directed not just at McDonald’s, but also at other Olympics sponsors like Coca-Cola and Dow.

“Social media campaigns are particularly perilous, given that they are far more a dialogue than a monologue, as McDonald’s found out,” writes HuffPo’s Scott Wooledge about the backlash. “The company is usually a Chatty Cathy to folks on Twitter; they have not responded to any LGBT objectors.”

In fact, while McDonald’s has continued to link to its Cheers to Sochi website, it looks like it has abandoned the #CheersToSochi hashtag, most recently using it two days ago.

Turning a marketing hashtag against the company that started it has been done before. In Dec. 2012, Starbucks made the mistake of asking UK customers to share happy Tweets with a #SpreadTheCheer tag. These Tweets would then show up on a huge public display in London. Instead of feeling the holiday cheer, anti-Starbucks Twitter users took the opportunity to use the hashtag on Tweets protesting the company’s controversial tax breaks in the UK.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Do Many People Really Buy New TVs For The Super Bowl?

If you look around the Internet this week, you’ll see any number of stories advising you on the best TVs (and best deals on those TVs) for watching the upcoming Super Bowl. Given all this attention, you might think that tons of people are rushing to stores to snatch up big screens. But this may be much ado about very little.

The folks at DealNews surveyed 1,200 readers who purchased TVs in the last year, asking them about which months they purchased their new sets.

The results of the survey indicate that while more people are buying TVs in January and February than they are in the spring and early summer, the number of folks snapping up new screens in the weeks leading up to the year’s single biggest sporting event is virtually identical to the number of people who buy them in the late summer and early fall.

And none of these months are anywhere close to the percentage of TV sales made during November and December. According to the DealNews survey, 50% of people made new TV purchases during just these two months.

“We found more evidence to suggest that sales are a big motivator for TV purchases, as the poll revealed that people paid less for bigger TVs,” writes DealNews’ Marcy Bonebright. “About 54% of poll-takers said they’d purchased a 50″ or larger class TV in 2013, and 66% of those buyers said they’d spent $1,000 or less on their big-screen sets. Better yet, 17% of big-screen buyers found an awesome bargain, saying they’d spent less than $500 on their TVs.”

Perhaps the motivation for all the Super Bowl TV-buying stories comes from the retailers who would love one last buying spree of full-priced sets to clear out the holiday inventory. After all, any number of pricing studies have shown that you’re likely to get the best deals on newer TVs in the weeks following the big game.

“Maybe buying a TV for the Super Bowl was the norm in days gone by, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore,” theorizes Bonebright.

A few years back, before he was ousted from his gig as Best Buy CEO, Brian “Football Season is Almost” Dunn revealed that the size of a Super Bowl sales bump was often related to how long it had been since either of the teams had been in the big game.

This is the Broncos first Super Bowl appearance since the end of the Elway era 15 years ago, though we doubt most Broncos fans have waited that long to upgrade their TVs. Seattle was in the big game back in 2006, so it’s possible that some Seahawks fans may be looking at the upcoming game as an excuse to splurge on a big honker of a TV.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

January Food And Supplement Recall Roundup: Dairy Invasion

11947761623_ddd33a250c_nUndeclared dairy products seem to be showing up in lots of places where they aren’t wanted: candy, gluten-free bread mixes, and even dietary supplements. Welcome to the January Recall Roundup for edible items.

Our monthly Recall Roundups have grown so expansive that we’ve had to separate them into two separate roundups: one for consumer goods, and one for consumables.

If you have any of these listed items in your pantry, first check the varieties and flavors against the ones listed on the recall site or press release, then check expiration date or lot numbers.

If there’s a match, don’t panic! If an item is listed as having undeclared walnuts and you’re not allergic to walnuts, for example, you don’t have to do anything at all. You can keep the item, eat it, not eat it, or return it to the store or the manufacturer for your own peace of mind.

Items that may be contaminated with bacteria or foreign objects are worrisome for everyone, and you should return them to the retail store where you bought them, or contact the company for a refund and further instructions.


Araya chocolate products – various undeclared allergens

Crunch’N Nutter – Mixed Nut – undeclared peanuts

Paskesz Candy Company Chocolate Coins – undeclared traces of milk

Tonia’s Biscotti samplers, individually wrapped biscotti, and lemon biscotti – may contain undeclared wheat, milk, and soy

Giant Eagle Candy Place Chocolate Santas (may be a little late for this one) – undeclared peanuts

Concertos in Chocolate milk chocolate Santas – undeclared milk products

Sweet Spots (candy) – possible undeclared egg protein


Flat Creek Farm & Dairy – possible Salmonella contamination


Kinnikinnick Foods waffle and bread mixes – undeclared milk

Marlyce’s Butterballs – undeclared undeclared wheat flour, soy flour, whey, and milk

Prego Traditional Italian sauce (24 ounces) – risk of spoilage

The Cultured Kitchen cashew non-dairy cheese – possible Salmonella contamination

Victor’s Sesame Hummus – possible Listeria contamination

Kraft Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Singles, Cheesy Mac – undeclared soy



St. Mary’s River Smokehouses Oven Smoked Salmon Stix, Chili Mango Flavor – possible Listeria contamination

Fosforel, Atlantika herring in oil – possible Listeria contamination


StemAlive 90 Capsules – undeclared milk

Pro ArthMax – actually contains variety of undeclared prescription drugs

Boost Ultra, XZone Gold, Sexy Monkey, Triple MiracleZen Platinum, Magic for Men, “New” Extenze, and New XZen Platinum – contain undeclared prescription drugs (Viagra and Cialis to be precise)


European Meat Products Inc. beef and pork rolls (Huong Duyen) – undeclared wheat

Cloverdale Meats Seattle Mariners Beef Franks – undeclared milk products

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Robotic Gas Pumps Mean Never Leaving Your Car (And That The Computers Have Won)

It’s no secret that the robot revolution is coming, when our machines achieve self-aware intelligence and rise up against us as our new overlords. But really, we’re letting it happen because it’s just so much easier to let a robot pump your gas. Especially in the winter when the car is so toasty warm and the pump is so icy cold. Brrr.

The local buzz in St. Louis is good news for anyone who dreads facing the arctic blast outside the car when it comes time to pump gas, reports Fox2Now.com in St. Louis. One company is testing a robotic pump and showed it off to the news station.

“We already have drive-thru McDonald’s, drive-thru banks and drive-thru car washes,” said a company executive. The pumps aren’t going to show up at your local gas station anytime soon, however, as the product still has to go through regulatory testing and won’t be ready for probably another nine months.

Here’s where the old, cranky person inside me asks, How does this damnable robot get the job done? It’s surely not as talented as I am at pumping gas. Or if you’re in a state where only gas station employees pump gas, gas station employees.

Infra-red lights and cameras locate the fuel door and then an arm with a suction cup pulls it open. Out comes a nozzle into the fuel tank and the desired amount of fuel comes gushing through. Tick, the tank is full, and the nuzzle returns to the pump (note: while many newer cars no longer have fuel caps, there’s an adapter available for those that do need to be unscrewed first).

As for payment, there’s a touch screen outside the car for making fuel selections and paying, but the company predicts a phone app will also be developed to allow customers to pay with a swipe of their phones.

“I think it`s going to have an appeal in Northern regions, especially where weather is really bad,” the company exec explains.

Of course this is just one prototype and one potential product. I’ll start to get really scared when a robot comes by to sell me the Slim Jims it knows I want from the gas station.

Robotic gas pumps will likely come to St. Louis [Fox2Now.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Trio Charged With Running “One-Stop Shop” For Blank Bogus Credit Cards, Holographic Overlays

The operators of fakeplastic.net have been charged with selling bogus credit cards and overlays.

The operators of fakeplastic.net have been charged with selling bogus credit cards and overlays.

All that credit and debit card information that gets stolen when criminals hack places like Target and Neiman Marcus is only worth so much to an ID thief. Sure, one could use that info to place online orders, but you’re just asking to be tracked down and caught that way. The real prize comes when you take that information and create real-looking credit cards with it.

Last night, the Justice Dept. announced that it has charged three Florida men for running a website — fakeplastic.net — that the DOJ describes as a “one-stop online shop selling counterfeit credit cards and holographic overlays,” that could be used by other baddies to either fake their identities or use stolen credit and debit card numbers in retail stores.

Feds say that cards tied to this operation are responsible for at least $34.5 million in fraud.

The 39-year-old alleged ringleader from Palm Bay has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods or services, and conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with authentication features.

His two alleged conspirators — a 31-year-old also from Palm Bay, and a 30-year-old from Melbourne — have been charged with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.

The site was actually seized by the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service back on Dec. 5, but rather than make a public spectacle of the seizure, authorities continued to allow customers to make purchases.

The DOJ says that, following the site’s seizure, authorities made more than 30 “controlled deliveries” to customers. This means that customers were sent their orders, but those illegal materials never left the control of law enforcement.

These deliveries resulted in 11 additional arrests of alleged fakeplastic customers.

The U.S. Attorney in the case described fakeplastic.net as a “made-to-measure service [that] provided the last link in the chain necessary for criminals to make money from stolen credit card numbers and identities.”

It’s believed that the site’s operator began selling counterfeit cards and related items as early as April 2011. Fakeplastic.net was launched in June 2012. Between the pre-fakeplastic sales and the sales made through the website, the DOJ claims that the three suspects sold materials for around 69,000 fake credit cards, plus another 35,000 holographic stickers used to make counterfeit cards appear more legitimate, and more than 30,000 state identification card holographic overlays.

The alleged ringleader is believed to have personally made around $1.7 million from these sales.

The fraud conspiracy charges each carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison and fines of $1 million. The charges for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods or services could mean up to 10 years in prison and fines of $2 million. The charge of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with authentication features comes with a maximum of 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

The Morton Salt Girl Gets A Makeover For Her 100th Birthday Celebration

Did you do something to your hair?

Did you do something to your hair?

Being the mascot for a company for 100 years can put some wear and tear on a gal, so we’re sure the Morton Salt Girl is pretty pumped about her first makeover in 45 years. The company announced this week that it’s changing things up in celebration of the Girl’s 100th birthday this year.

The Chicago company first started using the logo with the iconic girl and her umbrella on the package back in 1914, explains the Chicago Tribune in its slide show gallery of all her six past looks.

So why the umbrella? What does that have to do with spilling salt? The slogan then was: “When it rains, it pours.” Get it? Rain? Pouring salt? Boom.

“This is a milestone year for Morton Salt,” CEO Christian Herrmann said in a statement. “With the Morton Salt Girl’s centennial and our Morton brand refresh, we have two major reasons to celebrate our past, present and future.”

The new logo has what the company calls a “fresh and friendly font,” with the “R” in Morton carrying “a slight kick to mimic the Morton Salt Girl’s step.”

The updated look will appear first on a special edition table salt packaging and should be on shelves soon.

The Morton Salt Girl gets facelift at 100 [The Chicago Tribune]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Consumerist Friday Flickr Finds

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

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

Pentagon Bursts BlackBerry’s Bubble By Explaining It Doesn’t Really Want 80,000 Phones

Breaking up is so hard to do. Especially when the side doing the breaking up never really meant to get into a relationship in the first place. The Department of Defense is having to let BlackBerry down easy after the company got all giddy after misreading a press release into thinking that the Pentagon was going to place an order for 80,000 new phones.

That breeze you feel is from the deflation of poor BlackBerry’s chest, which was all puffed up when news outlets thought the DOD needed a slew of devices, explains The Verge.

Last week the DOD sent around a press release saying it was launching a brand spankin’ new mobile network in the agency that would use a bunch of technology. The network would support 100,000 deployed devices by the end of the year, the release explained, and added that the network already supported a bunch of mobile devices… including 80,000 BlackBerry smartphones.

That’s where the media got confused, as headlines started flying that the Pentagon would be pulling BlackBerry from the black pit of obsolescence everyone thinks it’s perched on; that this was super exciting news for the struggling company, yay, etc. Along with that surge in emotion came an upward swing for BlackBerry’s stock price, up from $9 to about $11 as the news swirled.

But alas, it was all a shimmering, ethereal dream, one that shattered when it became clear that actually, the Pentagon didn’t buy a bunch of new phones. It just said, well, we already have these.

“The program currently supports 1,800 unclassified mobile devices including iPad 3 and 4, iPhone 4S and 5, Samsung 10.1 tablets and Samsung S3, and Motorola RAZR devices with participation from the combatant commands, services, and agencies throughout DOD. The program also supports 80,000 BlackBerry phones.”

The DOD confirmed all this in a statement to The Verge, adding that this doesn’t mean it never wants new BlackBerry phones, it just doesn’t need any right now.

Absolutely no new orders have been placed for new BB devices. The DISA press release put out Jan. 16 never alluded to any devices being purchased. The 80,000 BBs and 1,800 non-BB devices referenced in the release are legacy systems already in DoD inventories.

To be fair, BlackBerry itself didn’t utter a peep about the Pentagon news to either confirm or deny it, so it likely knew those orders weren’t forthcoming, and just didn’t want to bring more attention to itself ahead of the inevitable letdown in the media.

Pentagon says ‘absolutely no new orders have been placed’ for BlackBerry phones [The Verge]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Old Man Marley’s House From ‘Home Alone’ Can Be Yours For $3.1 Million

It's not quite as spooky in the real estate listing.

It’s not quite as spooky in the real estate listing.

A day after the happy news that Cameron’s house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had finally sold after five years on the market comes word that another Chicago-area piece of film history is on sale. This time, it’s the house where scary/friendly Old Man Marley lived in the 1990 classic Home Alone.

Old Man Marley, known by some as the South Bend Shovel Slayer, was the grumpy hermit who lived in the big house down the street from Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister. Well it appears like the dimwitted robbers chose the wrong house, because Mr. Marley’s home is a lot nicer — and more expensive — than the McCallister house and its pesky, clever moppet.

The Winnetka, IL, house, built in 1899 by Benjamin Marshall has hit the market for $3.1 million. The 7 bed/6.5 bath property has more than 4,600 square feet and sits on about 2/3 of an acre.

Back in 2011, the McCallister house from the movie — also in Winnetka — went on sale for $2.4 million, then dropped to $2.175 million later that year. It ultimately sold in 2012 for $1.585 million.

Just for fun, someone has recut scenes from Home Alone to make a trailer for a horror film with Old Man Marley as the big baddie:

[via Chicago Tribune]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

People Loaded $4 Billion On Starbucks Gift Cards Last Year

Starbucks announced its quarterly earnings information yesterday: revenues are up, and the company earned a profit of $540.7 million. One piece of information in the report caught our eye, though: $1.3 billion was loaded on Starbucks Cards in the last quarter of the year, with $4 billion in Star Bucks loaded on cards during the past year.

Of course, the Starbucks Card is more than a gift card. Unlike most store loyalty cards, the company’s rewards program for their most addicted customers requires them to first deposit money on the stored-value card before earning rewards points. That might sound kind of onerous, but Starbucks told Quartz that 30% of their transactions were on the cards. Almost a third. Huh.

They aren’t just part of a Starbucks debit card-based economy, though: the company estimates that about 10% of American adults received a Starbucks Card as a gift at some point this holiday season.

FY14 1st Quarter Earnings Release [Starbucks]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist