Los 10 primeros años de FaceBook #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con los Los 10 primeros años de FaceBook. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1ilThZ4 Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Dobla tus followers en Twitter con 5 minutos al día #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre: Dobla tus followers en Twitter con 5 minutos al día. Un saludo

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

Cottonelle Wipes Say They’re Flushable, But My Plumber Disagrees

sloshCottonelle really, really wants consumers to know that their wipes are supposed to be flushable. Wet wipes for grown-ups are the next frontier in posterior-cleaning technology, and paper companies really want consumers to adopt them. Unfortunately, plumbers and people in sewage treatment disagree.

Reader Emery learned this firsthand when the plumbing in his home backed up. The culprit? Three Cottonelle personal cleaning wipes that he had used recently. He wrote to Consumerist:

I bought Cottonelle Fresh Care flushable cleaning cloths. I used three of them different days and when I flush the toilet a backup went bathtub. I called the plumber and he came out with his plumber snake and told me there was something that look like diapers and it was the three cleaning cloths.

Those three cloths used on different days didn’t disintegrate into fibers and float safely away: they clumped together, blocking Emery’s plumbing. He had a very important question for Consumerist: “Did Cottonelle research the product to see if they break down when being flushed?”

We’ve written in the past about the flushable/non-flushable issue when it comes to wipes. The short answer is that yes, parent company Kimberly-Clark did a lot of research before putting these wipes on the market. So has INDA, the trade association for companies that make “non-woven fabrics.”

Consumers don’t seem to believe them, though, so the company has posted an extensive page on their site about the flushability question, and even made a video and posted it on YouTube. The video has far more wipe-sloshing than you ever wanted to see.

Manufacturers of wipes have a tool that they call the “slosh box,” meant to simulate a wipe’s journey through the waste system. No, really. Here are two different kinds of slosh boxes in action:

On their flushability site, Kimberly-Clark insists:

These guideline tests demonstrate that when used as directed, our wipes clear properly maintained toilets, drainlines, sewers and pumps, and are compatible with on-site septic and municipal treatment.

Aha. See, homeowner, if your pipes get clogged, maybe it’s your fault for not properly maintaining your toilet and pipes.

“INDA” is a sort-of-acronym for “The Indestructibles Association,” a name meant to show the strength of various non-woven fabrics. The group’s official name is the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, and getting the message out about how some wipes are flushable, but not all of them, is an important issue for the group. Consumers may not see the appeal of wet wipes when they hear about 15-ton ball of crud that includes baby wipes lodged in the sewer system of London.

The Flushability of Cottonelle® Wipes [Cottonelle]

Flushability [INDA]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Dobla tus followers en Instagram con 5 minutos al día #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre: Dobla tus followers en Instagram con 5 minutos al día. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1jdk11y Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

FaceBook: una década de amistad virtual #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre FaceBook: una década de amistad virtual. Vía Un saludo

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

Las 10 habilidades más buscadas al contratar #infografia #infographic #empleo

Hola: Una infografía con Las 10 habilidades más buscadas al contratar. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1k9gyBo Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Some People Love Heart-Shaped Chocolate Boxes, Some People Love Beer

Reader Ben spotted something that didn’t quite fit in on the seasonal items shelf at his local Target. On the bottom of a shelving unit filled with pink and red stuffed animals and chocolate boxes, he noticed a 6-pack of Blue Moon beer. We all show our love in different ways, Ben.


“Yes, there was a Blue Moon [shelf tag] showing that someone intentionally put this beer (but only this beer!) in the Valentines,” he wrote. Thematically, it might not go, but raise your hand if you’d appreciate the gift of beer far more than more typical Valentine’s Day gifts.

By the way, with less than two weeks to go until Valentine’s Day, let us remind you: if you must have flowers delivered to mark the holiday, you’re going to order from an independent local florist this year, keeping money in your regional economy and maximizing the prettiness of your gift. We do not want to open our mailbox on the 15th and find that the big-name wire services have let our readers down once again.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

¿Sabrías vivir sin tu teléfono móvil? #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía que plantea si ¿Sabrías vivir sin tu teléfono móvil? Un saludo

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

La primera década de FaceBook #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobe La primera década de FaceBook. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1kOve6L Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

El tren de alta velocidad (AVE) en España #infografia #infographic #tourism

Hola: Una infografía sobre el tren de alta velocidad (AVE) en España. Un saludo

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/MYKrH5 Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Pasos para hacerte autónomo en España (offline) #infografia #infographic #entrepeneurship

Hola: Una infografía con los pasos para hacerte autónomo en España (offline). Vía Un saludo

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

¿Cómo será de rápido la telefonía 5G? #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre ¿Cómo será de rápido la telefonía 5G? Un saludo Gepresenteerd door: Netcrew

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

Top 10 empresas con mayor nº de vulnerabilidades software 2013 #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía con el Top 10 empresas con mayor nº de vulnerabilidades software 2013. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1nPJ8bf Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

Man Posing As Walmart Worker Rewarded With A Swift Hit In The Junk After Flashing Customer

Listen, if you’re going to go around pretending you work for Walmart when really you’re just set on flashing your naughty bits at unsuspecting customers, you better believe you’ve got some pain heading your way. Because no one wants to see that, sir.

The Smoking Gun says a man acting like a Walmart worker walked up to a female shopper in a California Walmart Supercenter, and because he was helpful enough to point out where things were in the store, she figured he was an employee. Oh, but no.

“The Suspect then asked the Victim to look at something and exposed his genitals to the Victim,” investigators note in the report.

Her response was what any clearheaded shopper might do: She “immediately reacted by striking the Suspect in his exposed genitals,” police wrote.

While we don’t know if it was a kick, a hit or some other way of inflicting pain on that most sensitive of nethers, it seems her reaction did the trick — he immediately fled the scene and cops are on the lookout.

Walmart Flasher Flees After Female Victim Strikes Him In “Exposed Genitals” [The Smoking Gun]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Qué hacer y qué no hacer en Redes Sociales #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre qué hacer y qué no hacer en Redes Sociales. Vía Un saludo

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

Massive Data Breaches Could Lead To Americans Finally Getting Smarter Credit Cards

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony today from Target’s chief financial officer about the massive data breach that hit the company during the holiday shopping season last year.

Target CFO John Mulligan mainly confirmed news we’ve already heard about the breach, including the scope, method, and timeline of the hack. He said he was unable to divulge detailed information because of the continuing forensic and criminal investigation into the attack.

Every member of the Judiciary Committee who spoke agreed: data breaches aren’t going away any time soon. Stolen credit card numbers are a lucrative business for the criminals who can sell and use them. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned of more major hacks on the near horizon.

So other than abandoning the 21st century and going exclusively back to cash, what is a nation full of consumers to do?

If there is a silver lining to the massive cloud of the recent data breaches, perhaps it is that US lawmakers and retailers are discussing making an overdue nationwide card security upgrade a reality at long last.

Mulligan yesterday published an opinion piece for The Hill calling for “smart” chip card adoption in the US, a point that he then reiterated extensively in his testimony today.

Where standard credit and debit cards keep all of their information encoded solely in the magnetic strip along the back, smartcards also have tiny chips embedded in them that encrypt the card’s information. The chips cut back on card fraud because their existence makes cards significantly harder to clone: even if you get all of the information from a card’s magnetic strip, as through a skimmer, without the chip actually being present the card data is useless in a physical transaction.

Technically called EMV cards, chip-enabled smartcards have been in use in much of the rest of the developed world for years. The UK converted over to the chip-and-PIN system nearly a decade ago, where all credit cards are chip-enabled and transactions also require the purchaser to enter a PIN to continue.

“The rest of the world does it” is clearly never enough reason for the United States to do anything. If it were, we’d measure our temperatures in Celsius and our weights in kilograms. Still, vague motions toward bringing the US to chip-enabled cards have been floating around for ages.

American banks have tested the system for international travelers since 2011, and back in 2003, Target tried to bring chip technology to their own Target-branded REDcard. The retailer ended the experiment three years later due to high costs made not worthwhile because chip-reading technology was not being adopted at any other large retailer.

However, it looks like this time, chip-and-signature or chip-and-PIN cards might finally be making actual inroads in the United States. During the hearing, several senators called attention to the need for higher security in credit cards. Representatives from Neiman Marcus, Symantec, and Consumers Union also testified at the hearing, and all agreed that the increased security would help businesses and consumers alike.

Visa and MasterCard have planned milestones for EMV adoption in the United States in 2015 and 2017. Both companies have a series of liability shifts planned. The liability shifts push compliance by shifting the burden for the costs of fraudulent card use. After a liability shift at point-of-sale terminals, if your card info gets swiped from a non-EMV compliant cash register, the retailer will have to bear the loss–not the card issuer. That’s a strong incentive for retailers to upgrade their terminals.

Why has it taken so long to get the ball rolling on the move? For the same reason most systemic changes take so much time: they’re expensive to do, and they require a huge number of participants across industries–retailers, card issuers, the financial sector, information security–to work collaboratively, on the same timetable with the same goals.

Smart cards wouldn’t let retailers or consumers universally off the hook for constant vigilance; fraud can and does still happen. Point of sale terminals for chip-and-PIN cards in the UK have been tampered with, and large-scale fraud has happened. Additionally, the EMV system doesn’t help prevent fraudulent use of credit card data in online transactions; it only helps with physically stolen or cloned cards.

Still, as Mulligan noted, although fraud still happens, chip-enabled cards can make the rates drop significantly:

In the United Kingdom, where smart card technology is widely used, financial losses associated with lost or stolen cards are at their lowest levels since 1999 and have fallen by 67 percent since 2004, according to industry estimates. In Canada, where Target and others have adopted smart cards, losses from card skimming were reduced by 72 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to industry estimates.

During the hearing, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) noted that although the United States has roughly one quarter of all the world’s credit card transactions, we have half of the global incidences of credit card fraud.

Such a mismatch speaks to a definite need for more secure systems, and soon. Franken and other senators asked several pointed questions about October, 2015 as a timeframe for upgrading, wondering if the process could perhaps be expedited in any way.

For the millions of customers who have had their information compromised in 2013, and the millions more who probably still will in 2014, a 2015 upgrade can’t come soon enough.

by Kate Cox via Consumerist

Thieves Scuttle Away With $2,000 Worth Of Lobster From Safeway

Criminals continue to carry off the world’s tastiest, most comforting foods from grocery stores and distribution centers. The theft of eight boxes of frozen lobsters from a Safeway in Maryland is one of the smallest larcenies in the Global Comfort Food Crime Wave, but still adds up to thousands of dollars’ and a lot of lobsters.

No, the suspects didn’t cram the crustaceans down their pants: this was a high-volume operation. Police say that one of the men loaded boxes of lobster in a cart, and the other came to fetch the cart and pushed it out the door.

The pair are also suspected of similar frozen seafood thefts from three other stores in Maryland. Police didn’t say how much the seafood taken in those thefts was worth.

Remember: if someone offers you seafood that “fell off a truck,” stay away. Actually, you shouldn’t be buying seafood from unfamiliar trucks in the first place.

Pair wanted for stealing seafood from grocery stores [ABC]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Por qué usan hombres y mujeres FaceBook #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre por qué usan hombres y mujeres FaceBook. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

TICs y Formación http://ift.tt/1c0VODL Via Alfredo Vela y www.bscformacion.com

China camino de ser el rey del Comercio Electrónico #infografia #infographic #ecommerce

Hola: Una infografía sobre: China camino de ser el rey del Comercio Electrónico. Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

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Influencia de las Redes Sociales en el comportamiento de compra de los Jóvenes #socialmedia #marketing

Hola: Una presentación sobre la influencia de las Redes Sociales en el comportamiento de compra de los Jóvenes. Un saludo

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Marketing móvil para 2014 #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre Marketing móvil para 2014. Un saludo

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Mailman Retires In Style, Wears A Tuxedo To Celebrate His Final Rounds

“I’m 60, and it’s the first time I don’t have to be anywhere.” So sayeth a mailman who decided that he’d retire in style and ditch his usual USPS duds in favor of a tuxedo on his last rounds. He’d been waiting for the big day for a long time, even setting up a countdown clock that’s been ticking off the days for the last six years.

“Today it showed zero — and a few hours,” the Sacramento man tells KXTV.com, adding that he started his career late at 35.

His customers are sad to see him go, saying things like “It’s such a sad day,” and “He’s such a friendly person — he takes the time to see what’s happening in real life.”

As for the choice of a spiffy tux for his last day, the mailman says he just wanted to celebrate the occasion.

“I wanted to go out in style because as much as I love all those guys and everybody out on those rounds, this is a big day,” he explained. “I’m ready for retirement.”

“I’m just a regular mailman,” he adds, perhaps in response to the camera crew following him on his rounds. “The only difference is today, I’m wearing a tux.”

Sacramento mailman retires in style [KXTV.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

51 Groups Call On President To Not Let For-Profit Colleges Weaken “Gainful Employment” Rule

Last summer, the Dept. of Education began the process of reviewing a new rule aimed at those educational institutions that failed to demonstrate their students could find gainful employment in the fields in which they had been trained. The for-profit college industry has managed to weaken the rule, but today more than 51 different groups — including advocates for consumers, veterans, and students — asked the President to help prevent this rule from becoming toothless.

The letter [PDF], signed by our own Consumers Union, cites the President’s own words from last August, in which he talked about big-ticket for-profit schools that get billions in federal money through student loans but have remarkably high dropout and unemployment/underemployment rates for their graduates.

“Students aren’t getting what they need to be prepared for a particular field,” explained the President at the time. “They get out of these for-profit schools loaded down with enormous debt. They can’t find a job. They default. The taxpayer ends up holding the bag. Their credit is ruined, and the for-profit institution is making out like a bandit. That’s a problem.”

In the months since Education began the process of refining the rule, which required all schools that get federal funding demonstrate they “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation,” the for-profit college industry has managed to effect numerous changes that would weaken the rule.

“The changes would have made the regulation so weak on predatory colleges and so hard on low-cost, high-performing colleges that not a single negotiator voiced support for the Department’s last proposal,” reads the letter, which calls on the President to propose a stronger version of the rule in time for it to be finalized by the Nov. 1 deadline.

The letter addresses several failings of the current draft of the rule and minimum standards for what these groups believe the rule should include.


The current draft of the legislation only considers the employment and debt levels of graduates of a school. It does not take into account dropout rates or the debt levels of those students who do not finish their education during a given number of years.

“This is like measuring the success of a baseball team by counting only the games it won and ignoring the ones it lost,” the Center for Responsible Lending, one of the signers of the letter, explained back in September.

The new letter points out that, by the standards of the current draft of the rule, “programs where 99% of the students drop out with heavy debt” would still be allowed to continue receiving federal funding, as these dropouts and their debt are not taken into consideration.

In advance of these rules, and to paint a rosier public image of their graduates, some schools have been accused of “rewarding” students who do well and will graduate on time with retroactive scholarships. This effectively lowers their debt on graduation. While there’s no problem with providing incentive to good students, the concern is that the schools are attempting to manipulate their stats by saying to regulators, “Look, our graduates are not leaving school with mountains of debt.”

The current rule also only takes into account loan default rates, but the letter says this doesn’t consider the large number of student loan borrowers who are not in default but occasionally miss payments or need to make partial payments to avoid default.


It’s one thing if a former student can’t get a job in his or her field of training because their teachers weren’t very good; it’s another if that school takes thousands of dollars and its graduates are not allowed to even attempt to get a legitimate job in that field.

The letter gives the example of a dental assisting training program that receives federal funding but whose students didn’t receive the proper coursework (or the school lacks the proper accreditation) for its graduates to then take the required licensing exams.

“Subsidizing such programs misleads students, who trust the federal government to fund only worthwhile programs and is clearly inconsistent with the statutory requirement that all career education programs receiving federal funding ‘prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation,’” reads the letter.


The current does allow for partial loan relief — relief that does not come out of taxpayers’ pockets — for students who borrowed to pay for schools that are deemed to be unfit for federal funds.

However, the letter’s authors state that these students should receive full loan relief — again, with all the money coming from the schools’ coffers — for loans taken out to pay for such unqualified programs.

“Providing full relief to all such students is not only fair, it also provides a more effective incentive for schools to improve their programs so they never have to provide such relief.


Part of how the draft rule determines a school’s worthiness to receive federal funds is the debt-to-earnings standards for its graduates. So if a school’s graduates consistently have a level of debt that is disproportionate to their income, the school risks losing its ability to get federal funding.

However the letter claims that the latest version of the rule is so weak that “literally thousands of programs with median and mean debt levels that exceed their graduates’ entire discretionary incomes would not fail the standards.”


While the above topics represent the core of the authors’ concerns about the draft rule, the letter also discusses issues with misleading and inconsistent job-placement statistics used by colleges in their marketing.

“[T]he Department’s proposals do nothing to increase the accuracy or comparability of the job placement rates that schools advertise to students,” reads the letter. These claims — like “70% of our students find jobs in their field” — have been the subject of numerous lawsuits filed by former students and attorneys general around the country who claim that the stats used in some marketing materials are either misleading or flat-out false.

The state of California is currently suing Corinthian Colleges Inc. (operators of schools like Everest, Heald and WyoTech colleges) over these sorts of job-placement allegations.

Even when a school is not lying to applicants and students about placement rates, it’s hard to know what calculations are being used to arrive at these numbers. The letter points out that the only thing that seems to be a standard among the rates used by schools is that they exclude deceased students.

The following groups signed the letter addressed to President Obama:


The American Association of State Colleges

and Universities (AASCU)

American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Americans for Financial Reform

Association of the United States Navy (AUSN)

Center for Law and Social Policy

Center for Public Interest Law

Center for Responsible Lending

Children’s Advocacy Institute

Consumer Action

Consumers Union

Consumer Federation of California

Council for Opportunity in Education

Crittenton Women’s Union

East Bay Community Law Center

Generation Progress

Initiative to Protect Student Veterans

The Education Trust

The Institute for College Access & Success

Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Mississippi Center for Justice

National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS)

National Association for College Admission

Counseling National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)

National Consumers League

National Education Association

The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS)

National Women Veterans Association of America

New Economy Project (formerly NEDAP)


Paralyzed Veterans of America

Public Advocates Inc.

Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM)

Public Citizen

Rebuild the Dream

Service Employees International Union

Student Veterans of America

United States Student Association


Veteran Student Loan Relief Fund

Veterans Education Success

Veterans for Common Sense


VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association

League of United Latin American Citizens

Vietnam Veterans of America


Young Invincibles

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Buy Old Records At An Estate Sale For $0.50 Each, Get Marvin Gaye’s Lost Passport For Free

Everyone loves an unexpected windfall, and no one more so, perhaps, than a collector of Motown paraphernalia. After buying some records at the estate sale of a musician who’d recently passed away, a Motowon Museum employee found he’d scored a bonus item included inside one of them: Marvin Gaye’s 1964 passport.

The man explained his lucky tale in last night’s episode of Antiques Roadshow , explaining that he’d originally dropped by the family home to pick up items to be donated to the museum. He later came back to the estate sale that weekend and grabbed a few albums for $0.50 or so each, with a few 45s going for only a quarter.

“When I got home, I was going through them and out of an album fell this passport,” the man recalled. “And so it literally fell into my hands.”

That lucky find is a valuable one indeed, as the appraiser says: “For insurance, I wouldn’t put less than $20,000 on the passport if you were to insure it.”

“Are you kidding me? I never would have thought,” the man replies. “I mean, I’m just shocked. I mean… wow. Oh gosh, thank you.”

Thank you, indeed. It’s not everyone who gets to hold the personal possession of a revered musician in his hands whenever he wants to [cut to scene of me shaking every record at every curb/garage/rummage sale in the near future].

1964 Marvin Gaye Passport [PBS.org]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

We’ll Have Six Single Bagels, Please

bagels_dozenBrian noticed something interesting on the menu at his local Dunkin’ Donuts. While customers can buy a single bagel for 99 cents, they’re slightly more expensive by the half dozen.

“Last time I did the math $.99 * 6 = $5.94, not $5.99,” writes Brian. Yes, even a few days later, that math holds up. “Why is Dunkin Donuts punishing anyone who wants 6 bagels?”


There is a discount for buying a dozen bagels, though. Maybe the extra five cents covers the cost of putting the bundle of bagels in a box or bag.

In some areas (like New York state, home of the Consumerist, where bagels are serious business) a toasted bagel is subject to sales tax as a prepared food item, and a bagged half-dozen bagels is not. Brian didn’t tell us where he lives. If the price difference were calculated to account for sales tax, shouldn’t the single bagel price come out to $1 even with tax? Or in this debit card era, does that even matter anymore?

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

The Newest In Collision Avoidance: Cars That Talk To Each Other

Our cars aren’t flying yet, but soon they could be talking to each other. And this is no idle gossip or chitchat about how awful potholes are on the old chassis, but new technology that would let vehicles warn each other when they could be heading for a collision.

Drivers can be distracted on the road, but the government thinks a car is less likely to miss the signs of an impending collision. It’s mulling whether or not to require automakers to equip new vehicles with the technology, reports the Associated Press, though that is still at least a few years away.

Federal transportation officials said yesterday in a news conference that the vehicle-to-vehicle technology has “game-changing potential” to cut collisions, deaths and injuries.

Here’s how it works: A radio signal that’s continually transmitting a car’s position, heading, speed and other info will send all of that to other vehicles around it, allowing the vehicles to effectively communicate what’s going on.

If another car’s computer gets word that something is wrong, it could alert drivers by way of a flashing message or audible warning, or even hit the brakes itself.

Is the guy in oncoming traffic about to run a red light? The car would tell your car. Did someone make a quick stop up ahead? Your car will know, at a distance up to about 300 yards.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been in cahoots with automakers to work on the new technology in recent years, and estimates that it could stop about 80% of accidents that don’t involve drunken drivers or mechanical failure.

And our wise elder siblings at Consumer Reports are also in favor of the technology after testing it out from a number of automakers, “and came away impressed with the effectiveness and potential safety benefits of the systems.”

We’re pretty sure there’s a “Car Talk” joke in here somewhere, but c’mon, who doesn’t love listening to those guys talk about cars for an entire hour, until you suddenly realize what you’ve been doing and the fact that you don’t even own a car? Just delightful.

Car-to-car talk: Hey, look out for that collision! [Associated Press]

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication coming soon, will prevent collisions [Consumer Reports]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

RadioShack Is Still Around, But Reportedly Closing 500 Stores

radgrab If you were still paying attention after the first quarter of Sunday’s Super Bowl, and not in the kitchen preparing or gorging on snacks, you might have seen one of the few mildly amusing ads to air during the game. It featured a RadioShack being dismantled by various ’80s icons and emerging from the ashes as a relevant store that doesn’t just sell batteries and cables you can get much cheaper online. Well, according to a new report, the first part of that ad will soon be coming true for hundreds of Shack locations, except it won’t be Cliff Clavin and Hulk Hogan clearing the shelves.

The Wall Street Journal’s sources say that the Texas-based electronics retailer is planning to shutter 500 of its 4,500 stores in the months to come. No specific locations or even regions have been identified.

The company had previously said that it may close some locations, but with the idea that these stores would re-open in higher-traffic areas, thus leaving the total number of stores the same. However, the Journal story indicates that the closures would likely be more permanent.

Facing some $625 million in debt, RadioShack recently secured $835 million in loans that would get it out of the red and give it some money to revamp its brand and its stores.

RadioShack has made multiple efforts to shake its dated image, including a failed effort to get shoppers to refer to it as The Shack. The latest stab at changing its image involved dumping many of the older-generation products it had sold for decades to the DIY tech crowd.

As this recent viral sensation demonstrated, so much of what RadioShack used to sell has been replaced by multifunction smartphones.

Additionally, some of the retailer’s locations were briefly involved with Amazon, which used the RS stores as a place for customers. The company ditched that partnership back in Sept. 2013, saying it was no longer in line with RadioShack’s plans for the future.

While we appreciate — and maybe even had a giggle — at RadioShack’s self-effacing Super Bowl ad, we wonder if the retailer can compete against both online and larger big box retailers, all of whom carry the exact same products, at the same or lower prices.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Bar Debuts Drink Called “Date Grape Kool-Aid,” Outrage Inevitably Ensues

(DailyM = Differentieel + JeeeM)

This is just some other purple drink. (DailyM = Differentieel + JeeeM)

There are some serious topics you can joke about: Life’s unavoidable death sentence? Hilarious. The frailty of man in the face a cold and unforgiving universe? Knee-slapping good fun. But naming a drink after the very serious, unfunny subject of date rape? Nope. Tell that to a bar in Spokane, Wa., where a new “Date Grape Kool-Aid” drink is now on the menu.

If this was just a publicity stunt to promote a new bar, well then consider yourself publicized, bar owners. But since the drink list was posted last Friday, critics have been calling the drink out for making light of what is a very serious problem, reports WXYL, with one group starting a Facebook page to boycott the bar.

Women who have been victims of rape and others against the questionable name have called for the bar to change the name, but the owner says the name is here to stay.

Not only that, but the bar reportedly bragged about selling 10 gallons of the drink on the same night protesters showed up to rally against the drink and ask for an apology.

The bar’s Facebook page posted an explanation that those who are upset, pointing to an Urban Dictionary definition of “Date Grape” as its inspiration, writing with the link, “For The Protesters, you simply had it all wrong.. now if you want to go into the technical debate about what a grape or wine is.. then your stretching way to far.. for the record here is a Urban Dictionairy:”:

Date Grape

When you and your loved one get drunk off of wine and end up hooking up.

Molly and I got drunk at Wine Bar last night. We went home and Date Graped eachother.

One Facebook commenter notes: “You actually used Urban Dictionary as a reputable source? That’s cute. Can we also start quoting five year olds as factual evidence?”

While the bar maintains that the rest of us just aren’t getting the joke, Kraft, which makes Kool-Aid, is not pleased about its product being used in such a drink.

“We at Kraft are appalled. Kool-Aid does not support or condone this drink, and it finds its name to be highly insensitive to a serious issue. This blatant misuse of the Kool-Aid trademark is offensive to so many, including us, and we are making it our top priority to address the situation ASAP,” said Kraft in a statement.

“Date Grape Kool-Aid” sparks outrage [WXYL.com]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

“The Real Cost” Of Smoking Is Only Skin Deep In New Anti-Smoking Campaign Aimed At Teens

real cost A case of marketing brilliance or unfair stereotyping? That’s the question we have after the Food and Drug Administration announced the first anti-smoking campaign aimed at teens. The ads don’t highlight the serious health risks of smoking, such as emphysema or lung cancer, instead they depict yellow teeth and wrinkles.

On Tuesday the FDA announced a $115 million multimedia education campaign called “The Real Deal” that will show youth, ages 12 to 17, the true costs and health consequences of smoking by focusing on what really matters to them – their outward appearance, the Associated Press reports.

The advertisements will run in more than 200 markets throughout the United States beginning Feb. 11. The campaign, which is expected to last one year, will include ads on networks with high teen viewership, such as MTV, and in magazines, like Teen Vogue, as well as, on social media.

Officials with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products say most teens understand the serious health risks associated with tobacco use – it’s still the leading preventable cause of death – but they don’t believe the long-term consequences will apply to them.

So showing a model with a few wrinkles around her lips, but an otherwise flawless appearance is going to stop teens from smoking?

The FDA appears to think so, calling the campaign a “compelling, provocative and somewhat graphic way” of reaching teens.

In one television advertisement a teen tries to purchase cigarettes at a convenience store. When he’s told the pack costs more than he has, he uses a pair of pliers to pull out a tooth in order to pay.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign the FDA will follow 8,000 people, ages 11 to 16, for two years to assess their tobacco related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. The FDA aims to reduce the number of youth smokers by at least 300,000 in three years.

“The Real Deal” is part of the FDA’s plan to spend about $600 million over five years on campaigns aimed at reducing death and disease caused by tobacco. The bill for the campaigns are being footed by Tobacco companies through fees charged by the FDA.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice reached a deal with tobacco companies on a campaign of “corrective statements”, in which the companies own up to hiding the dangers of smoking from consumers.

FDA launching anti-smoking campaign aimed at youth [Philly.com]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

A Guide To Subway’s Delicious Regional Topping Variations

Want carrots on your Subway sandwich? How about parmesan oregano bread, sliced avocados, or blue cheese sauce? Not all Subway topping offerings are mandatory, and some offerings vary by region or even from franchisee to franchisee. Over at Brand Eating, here’s a guide to breads and toppings that you just might find at your local Subway. Or might not. [Brand Eating]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

How To Not Suck… At Merging Your Money When You Marry

(photo: Kuang Woo)

(photo: Kuang Woo)

Time and time again, we hear that money is the biggest problem for married couples, and yes, the main cause of divorce. It’s a problem that starts before most couples tie the knot.

More than two-thirds of engaged couples had negative attitudes about discussing money with their soon-to-be spouse, with five percent saying even having the conversation would cause them to call off the wedding, according to a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). And fewer than one-third thought a money conversation would be easy and productive.

Not the right attitude for financial success in a marriage, indeed.

Before you let money issues tank your wedded bliss, learn how to not suck at merging your money when you marry.

Start the conversation

Sure, it’s hard to tell the person you plan to spend your life with that you’ve got $20,000 in credit card debt, but it’s even harder to tell that kind of news to your new spouse after the wedding.

However ugly your finances, you need to get it out before the wedding bells ring.

Seriously — how can you plan for a life together if one partner isn’t being honest? And you certainly don’t want to be denied a mortgage after finding the perfect white-picket fence home because you didn’t tell your spouse about your crappy credit score.

Have a sit-down where you both share the good, the bad and the ugly. Bring credit card statements and other bills, investment account statements, pay stubs and even a copy of your credit report. (You can get that for free once a year from each of the three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com, and if you find trouble with yours, start fixing it.)

Where does the money go?

You should both write a list of all your household expenses. This should include fixed expenses such as rent and car payments.

Next, write a list of your joint discretionary expenses — money you don’t have to spend but you choose to — such as eating out or a trip to the movies.

Finally, you should each write a separate list of your personal discretionary expenses — the stuff on which you spend money for your benefit alone — such as haircuts, clothes shopping trips and the like.

Who pays for what?

Many couples come into a marriage with two very different incomes. Some couples choose to divide the household expenses evenly, but you might consider splitting those expenses based on what each partner earns.

For example, say Joe earns 40% of the total household income and Mary earns 60%, perhaps she would be responsible for 60% of the rent.

Then look at your personal expenses and decide which will be paid for individually and which should be part of your joint budget.

And be fair. If you think your facials should come out of the joint budget, don’t get mad when your partner wants to use joint cash for the neighborhood poker game.

To avoid those kinds of fights, in your budget, create columns for “yours,” “mine” and “ours,” and come to an agreement on how much money you can each spend without “permission” from the other.

Who manages the money?

Decide how you’re going to pay the bills.

Some couples find success by opening a joint account into which each partner deposits their contribution to the monthly bills, while others like to keep their money completely separate.

Still others dump every penny into the community pot.

There is no right answer — you have to talk to your partner to decide what’s right for you as a couple.

With either strategy, make sure you’re clear on who is responsible for physically paying the bills so you can avoid late fees and other awfulness.

Also think about paying bills online through your bank’s web site so you can both access and monitor all the goings-on of your money.

Make long-term plans

There are three main items you need to master in your money marriage: paying off debt, starting an emergency fund and creating long-term savings plans. (Don’t forget that you may be getting a bunch of cash from wedding presents that could be used to fund any of these goals.)

1. Pay down debt: Create a plan to pay off your debts, and decide who is responsible for them. If only one spouse has owes money, decide if that spouse alone will be paying it off or if it’s a team effort. Follow some of these tips to start digging out.

2. Emergency fund: Money pros say you should have between three and six months of expenses in a liquid savings account. This is money that you shouldn’t touch unless there’s a dire financial emergency. Decide to set money aside each month — just like a regular bill — until you hit your target amount. There are several online tools available, like this BankRate.com calculator that can help you do the math.

3. Make plans for long-term savings, such as for retirement. Calculate 401(k) and IRA contributions as part of your budget, and make sure you’re both saving at least enough to take advantage of the company’s match. Also discuss other long-term goals, such as buying a house, and create a savings plan to accumulate what you’ll need for your down payment.

Other things that marriage changes

Yes, marriage may change lots of things, but we’re talking about the money-related stuff. Don’t forget to:

Change your beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies, assuming you want your spouse, and not your sibling or mom and dad, to get your stuff when you’re gone.

You’ll soon be filing your tax returns jointly, which means you may want to make some changes to your payroll withholding. Use this calculator from the IRS for some help.

Make sure to update your estate planning documents to reflect your marriage.

If you plan to change your name, make sure to do it on all your documents, credit cards, investment accounts and yes, your bank accounts, too.

Keep up the conversation

Even when you’ve taken all the steps in this post, your job isn’t done. You need to keep talking to your spouse about your finances. Pledge to have a monthly meeting to discuss the bills, and then every six months, meet to go over account statements for debt and savings so you can see your progress and make any changes you need to stay on track.

Also consider this: If you decide that one person will be in charge of the bills and the investing, be sure the other spouse knows what you have and what you owe. Should the bill payer drop dead, the other spouse will need to take over. Make it easy for non-managing spouse by starting a “When I’m Dead” file.

Have a topic you’d like to see covered in How To Not Suck? Or maybe you’re an expert who would like to share your insight with Consumerist readers? Send us a note at notsuck@consumerist.com.

You can read Karin Price Mueller’s stories for The Star-Ledger at NJ.com, follow her on Facebook, and on Twitter @kpmueller.


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How To Not Suck… At Charitable Giving

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How To Not Suck… At Lowering Your Utility Bills

How To Not Suck… At Home Inspections

How To Not Suck… At Understanding Credit Card Rewards

How To Not Suck… At Getting Ready For Tax Season

How To Not Suck… At Picking A Retirement Plan

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How To Not Suck… At Getting Out Of Debt

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by Karin Price Mueller via Consumerist

There Is Now Sriracha Aged In Whiskey Barrels Because OMG, Sriracha

srirachawhisky When you’ve got one thing that everyone and your neighbor’s cat goes crazy for (sriracha! On everything!) and combine it with another trendy thing (whiskey!) of course there’s an opening for a new product that will hopefully get everyone from those bandwagons to hop on one big wagon together. Thus, sriracha aged in whiskey barrels.

For evidence of our national obsession with sriracha, look no further than the panic that was incited when one hot sauce factory had to shut down. It wasn’t pretty — friends and family openly weeping in the street and sighing all over social media.

Building on that profound love of the stuff, a company called Sosu is peddling a Kickstarter product it wants to start shipping as soon as April: Sriracha sauce aged in oak whiskey barrels for one to three months for “a long smoky finish.”

Because this is a trendy thing it comes with locally sourced chili peppers, smushed with brown sugar, garlic, and salt. No word yet on whether a bearded fellow in plaid will serve it to you upon a platter of old cassette tapes and paired with an artisanal, locally brewed beer, but we wouldn’t be surprised. Trends! They’re so trendy.

This Sriracha is Aged in Whiskey Barrels for 3 Months [FoodBeast]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Before Handing Over $9,000, Make Sure TV Salesman Really Works At Sears

When someone approaches you with a deal that seems irresistible, sometimes there’s a good reason why. For example, the person offering you a truckload of televisions for $900 each when they retail for $3,000 may not be a legitimate representative of the electronics department at Sears.

It’s hard to see logic through a filter of greed, though. The man who bought the TVs in Nashua, New Hampshire saw a great business opportunity and planned to resell them.

Police say that the alleged fake salesman had called him up, offering a great deal on a “tax-free” TV sale. The customer decided that he would take ten of the deeply discounted televisions, because why question such a great deal? He could turn around and resell them.

The two men met up at the local Sears, where the fake salesman wore a Sears name badge and collected the $9,000 in cash in exchange for a legitimate-looking receipt. Then he disappeared.

The fake Sears salesman has been charged with theft by deception, a felony.

Police: Man posing as store employee tricks victim out of $9,000 [Nashua Telegraph]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Fliers Lost $2.5B In Air Travel Expenses In January Thanks To The Polar Vortex, FAA Regulations

If you believe Punxsutawney Phil, then we’re in for a lot more winter. More winter weather means the possibility of more flight cancellations and delays on the horizon. And that’s not a comforting thought for consumers who already lost more than $2.5 billion in travel expenses in January.

Thanks to the polar vortex, along with new a Federal Aviation Administration regulation, nearly 49,000 flight cancellations and more than 300,000 flight delays occured last month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

MasFlight, an aviation operations technology company, estimates travelers lost $2.5 billion in hotel expenses, meals and lost productivity.

Consumers weren’t the only ones inconvenienced by cancellations and delays — MasFlight estimates airlines lost between $75 million and $150 million.

The hardest hit airline? JetBlue, where officials estimate the airline lost $30 million last month.

JetBlue canceled hundred of flights during the polar vortex in part because of a FAA new regulation imposing limits on the amount of time a pilot can be on duty without a rest.

Officials with the airline said the new regulation and disrupted flight schedule led pilots to ‘time out’ sooner causing additional cancellations.

Airlines that canceled flights were also likely playing it safe with another rule that went into effect in 2010, the LAT notes. That regulation imposes a fine up to $27,500 per passenger for airlines that keep travelers stranded on domestic flights for more than three hours. Airlines face the same penalty for keeping passengers on international plans for more than four hours.

It’s not all bad news for the airlines. By being proactive in canceling flights they are able to reduce staffing and other costs. Airlines could make some of their losses back if travelers rebook canceled flights.

‘Polar vortex’ wallops fliers’ wallets [The Los Angeles Times]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist