Monthly Archives September 2016

Amazon Wants To Be Your Photo Print Provider

amazon_logo_RGBRecently, Amazon began offering Prime members and Drive customers a low-cost photo printing service called Amazon Prints. An article from CNET described that the service will print photos uploaded to the company’s cloud drive platform either as individual snapshots or customized photo books.

Standard 4×6 prints start at nine cents, 5×7 cost 58 cents, 8×10 cost $1.79, and photo books start at twenty dollars for twenty pages. Photos will be delivered to a user’s home in an estimated 3-7 business days. In other words, it takes a bit longer than driving to WalMart, but costs a bit less. Likewise, it is cheaper than the similar service Shutterfly, which sells 4×6 prints for 15 cents.

If you’re interested in Amazon Prints, know that the service is expected to expand to custom stationery and calendars in the near future.



Meet Google’s “Allo”

google allo logo blueGoogle has launched a new app called Allo which aims to be your very own virtual assistant for online conversations.

According to an article by CTV, Allo is a “smart” alternative for conversations. For example, if someone types “Want to get sushi?” Allo will supply you with a list of restaurant recommendations. This way, you don’t have to exit the app and look up this information in a separate platform. Allo wants to do it all.

While the concept is certainly tempting, there are a lot of messaging apps out there. Do we need another? Google thinks you’ll embrace Allo’s unique features.

The application suggests replies based on context, meaning less annoying thumb typing on your small smartphone screen. It also will analyze photos and suggest such replies as “beautiful smile” to someone’s selfie. Of course, you’re still allowed to type your own response, making the conversation more genuine. Another cool feature of Allo is that it can show you the latest news, sports scores, as well as translate phrases, or even do math calculations.

Naturally, there are some limitations to the software. Its suggested responses won’t make sense 100 percent of the time, and it won’t show certain information like traffic conditions for a regular commuter. And for information like sports and weather, you won’t get automatic updates, but instead have to request the latest changes.

Man sues Samsung after his new smartphone explodes in his pants

SamsungAccording to an article from CNET, a Florida man has filed what may be the first lawsuit in the US involving the Samsung Note 7’s combustible battery. 92 reports in the US alone have said the phone battery overheats, with 26 reports of it causing burns. Jonathan Strobel of Boca Raton perhaps has the most alarming story about the Korean manufacturer’s new smartphone.

28-year-old Strobel has recently filed a lawsuit concerning the Note 7’s combustible battery, saying that his device exploded in the front pocket of his pants this September 9th.

“His right thigh has a deep second-degree burn the size of the phone,” Strobel’s lawyer Keith Pierro told CNET. The Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue also cited the phone as having melted in Strobel’s pants.

Strobel’s suit says that he “sustained serious and permanent bodily injuries resulting in pain and suffering, permanent impairment, disability, mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of the enjoyment of life, expense of medical care and treatment, expense of hospitalization, lost wages, and ability to earn wages in the past and to be experienced in the future.”

His argument is that Samsung could have taken immediate action to protect customers but chose not to. Although Samsung announced a self-initiated recall the week before Strobel’s accident, it did not work with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission on an official recall until a week later, when injuries had already been sustained.

Others have made complaints that Samsung has not done enough to contact Note 7 customers personally. Australian Tham Hui said on September 4th that his Note 7 caused $1,400 worth of damage to his hotel room. “You’d think they’d contact people [who] bought directly from Samsung to return their Note 7,” said Hui at the time.

Will you turn your ad blockers off for this group of dedicated companies?

dmexcoAds are crucial to the success of countless businesses, but nobody likes to see them. According to Mashable, some of the world’s biggest brands are banding together to track the quality of digital advertisement. Instead of feeding consumers more of the same useless – and sometimes tasteless – adverts, this coalition of companies is coming together to permanently improve online advertising and make ad blockers unnecessary.

Participants of the coalition include Facebook, Google, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, the Washington Post, and such groups as the 4As, the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The dmexco conference this month in Cologne, Germany is where the coalition announced it will use the most modern tools from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s tech lab to track everything from creative merit to load time. Hopefully, this will allow the group to determine a set of specific standards to which all ads must abide based on feedback from consumers and marketers.

“This broad Coalition provides the opportunity for our industry to unite behind a common effort with the potential to drive changes globally,” said IAB Europe CEO Townsend Feehan.

Hopefully the coalition can accomplish its goals with speed; it is projected that by next year 30 percent of Internet users will be utilizing ad blockers.

Verizon Under Fire Again for Overcharging

verizonAccording to Fortune, the Federal Communications Commission has recently confirmed it is investigating complaints from Verizon Wireless customers about strange data billing. Among those complaints are upticks in customers’ mobile usage when they’re asleep, data usage surging from single digits into hundreds of gigabytes, and even a case of a deceased man’s phone suddenly triggering overages on his widow’s account.

The billing issues were first uncovered by financial reporter and columnist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Teresa Dixon Murray. She also revealed an error in 2010 that led to a substantial fine for Verizon. Murray wrote that her family received extra charges for usage that apparently happened while the family slept, leading to a series of replies from Verizon customers across the country who had experienced the same or a similar problem.

Now, six years later, the stories are not only still flooding in, but being taken seriously. One woman was charged for using wireless data on a flip phone that was not data-compatible. In another story, a woman named Joyce Shinn was surprised to find that her husband’s bill started showing data charges a year after his death.

Perhaps the most significant of all is the story of Valerie Gerbus, whose reported data usage skyrocketed from 4GB one month to 596GB the next. Gerbus was charged a whopping $8,535, plus a $600 fee when she decided to cancel her plan. Although Verizon eventually waived the bill and claimed that they resolved the situation, the company refused to provide details about the initial problem.

Various Verizon representatives have responded to Murray’s probing on these billing errors, attributing them to consumer error or popular, automatic smartphone features that prioritize using data over Wi-Fi.

The FCC hopes their investigation will determine whether these issues are a coincidental collection of consumer errors or rather something more nefarious, or simply ignorant, by Verizon Wireless.