Cómo usar Twitter para eventos #infografia #infographic #marketing #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo usar Twitter para eventos. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

El marketing boca a boca sigue funcionando #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía que nos dice que el marketing boca a boca sigue funcionando. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Smart cities en España: panorama actual #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre Smart cities en España: panorama actual. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Cómo afecta el tiempo de carga a los rankings de google #infografia #infographic #seo

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo afecta el tiempo de carga a los rankings de google. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Los 5 errores más graves en Redes Sociales 2013 #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

Hola: Una infografía con los 5 errores más graves en Redes Sociales 2013. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Diferencias entre turismo masivo – sostenible y ecoturismo #infografia #infographic #tourism

Hola: Una infografía sobre las diferencias entre turismo masivo – sostenible y ecoturismo. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

El agua embotellada en Redes Sociales (España) #infografia #infographic #sociamedia

Hola: Una infografía sobre el agua embotellada en Redes Sociales (España). Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Qué es el Inbound Marketing #infografia #infographic #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre qué es el Inbound Marketing. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Momentos clave de la historia del email #infografia #infographic #internet

Hola: Una infografía con momentos clave de la historia del email. Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

¿Podrías pasar 24 horas sin tecnología? #infografia #infographic #tech

Hola: Una infografía sobre ¿Podrías pasar 24 horas sin tecnología? Vía Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Gestión Política de Crisis en Redes Sociales: Huracán Sandy #marketing #socialmedia

Hola: Una presentación sobre Gestión Política de Crisis en Redes Sociales: Huracán Sandy. Un saludo

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

New York City Retailers Agree To Abide By Anti-Profiling “Customers’ Bill Of Rights”

In the wake of recent incidents where shoppers claimed they were stopped and frisked at major New York City stores like Macy’s and Barneys because of racial profiling, many of those retailers have agreed to a Customers’ Bill of Rights to keep those kinds of situations from happening again.

The anti-profiling policy championed by civil-rights activists including the Rev. Al Sharpton will be put in place at stores in NYC including Barneys, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and the Gap.

Those stores have promised to post and abide by a bill of rights for shoppers drafted by the Retail Council of New York State, reports the New York Post. (See the PDF here if you can’t read the embedded version below)

“Profiling is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated,” the one page document reads. Any stores who have pledged to follow the bill of rights are “committed to ensuring that all shoppers, guests and employees are treated with respect and dignity and are free from unreasonable searches, profiling and discrimination of any kind.”

The stores involved will also use “internal programs to test compliance with our strict prohibition against profiling practices” and enforce the bill of rights by disciplining any employees who violate it, which could even include getting fired.

Sharpton said he hopes the signs will start going up in stores this week, and he’ll keep working with city officials including the Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

“This is the beginning of a process, it’s not the conclusion of a process,” he said.

Stores agree to ‘Customers’ Bill of Rights’ after ‘shop and frisk’ fiasco [New York Post]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Lanzamientos millonarios de Windows #infografia #infographic #microsoft #marketing

Hola: Una infografía sobre los lanzamientos millonarios de Windows. Un saludo Source: Who Is Hosting

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

roboWe’re not saying that the Romo device that turns your iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c into a marauding robot on tiny tank treads is a bad idea, but we’re not sure that it’s a good idea, either. What we do know is that it costs $150, it comes from Brookstone, and it’s meant to be a trainable, adorable remote stand-in for a real pet or a substitute for interaction with your family members. “Dad can go room to room to say good night while away on business,” boasts the product’s suggested uses. As long as there are no stairs in the way. Another suggested use: “Invite friends and family anywhere in the world to control your Romo remotely while streaming 2-way video and audio.” This would be cheaper than a plane and hotel to the next wedding I’m invited to: do you think someone would set the robot down in a good spot if I dressed it in chiffon and mailed it to the venue?

Stephen Colbert tried to replace one of his interns with a rolling iPad version of a similar device and found it wanting. Mostly because a key part of fetching coffee is bringing it up the stairs.

Romo App-Controlled Robotic Pet for iOS Devices – for iPhone 5, 5s & 5c [Amazon]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Las APPs más usadas en los smartphones (USA) #infografia #infographic #software

Hola: Una infografía sobre las APPs más usadas en los smartphones (USA). Un saludo You will find more statistics at Statista

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

¿Dónde irán los trabajos en tecnología? #infografia #infographic #tech

Hola: Una infografía sobre ¿Dónde irán los trabajos en tecnología? Un saludo Source: Who Is Hosting

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Cómo ser más creativo #infografia #infographic

Hola: Una infografía sobre cómo ser más creativo. Un saludo Source: Who Is Hosting

TICs y Formación Via Alfredo Vela y

Someone Made A LEGO Version Of The Blues Brothers Mall Chase Scene. It Is Glorious

bluesbrothersss If, like me, you were raised on repeated late-night viewings of The Blues Brothers, you are more than familiar with the epic 3-minute scene in which Elwood and Jake lead some Illinois State Police around, in, and through a busy mall, all while cataloging the various things one can buy there (The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year). What better way to commemorate this brilliantly choreographed scene than with a shot-by-shot LEGO remake?

First, here is the full version of the LEGO remake…

Second, there is the side-by-side comparison video just how closely the folks at Bricktease stayed to the original movie:

Seeing this makes us hope for a LEGO Blues Brother video game… dare to dream.

The original chase scene was filmed at the Dixie Square Mall outside of Chicago. The mall had recently shut down, and director John Landis spent several weeks ramming the Blues Brothers’ Dodge Monaco and the in-pursuit police cruisers through countless windows and walls. Considering that the mall was vacant at the time and probably doomed for the wrecking ball, the filmmakers did not repair much of the damage done to the building.

The building lingered derelict for three decades until being demolished in 2012.


by Chris Morran via Consumerist

This $40,000 TV Is The New Thing To Ridicule With Delightful Amazon Reviews

Your eyeballs won't know where to look first.

Your eyeballs won’t know where to look first.

It’s not every day that the Internet’s commenters can all decide together which product on Amazon is most in need of derision by way of product reviews. This time it’s not a gallon of whole milk or even a gigantic tub of lube, but a $40,000, 85-inch LED TV from Samsung. It’s on sale, too, down from $44,999.99!

Working themselves into a hilarious lather are a slew of reviewers on the product’s page, most of which are 5-stars. Because how could a TV that expensive ever rate lower than that?

A few particularly chuckleworthy excerpts below:

My wife and I bought this after selling our daughter Amanda into white slavery. We actually got a refurbished. It’s missing the remote, but oh well– for $10K off, I can afford a universal, right? The picture is amazing. I’ve never seen the world with such clarity.

Amanda, if you’re reading this, hang in there, honey! We’ll see you in a year.

At first I hesitated to make the purchase, but then I saw the two AA batteries were free with the remote, and I was all in! Having this really fills in that empty space we called a bathroom!

It fits perfectly into the arms of the T-Rex fossil I just brought home from China. It’s like YOU KNEW, Samsung. Thank you.

I am coming back from the future to write this review, and to let everyone know you can buy this TV for $699 in 2015. It still looks great though.

So much better than the crappy 84″ we used to have. I enjoy watching old sitcoms, but at this size you can really tell that the dad on Family Ties was wearing a fake beard.

(H/T to Business Insider for the link)

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Half Of All Taxis In NYC Will Have To Provide Access For Disabled Passengers

It might take a bit of finagling and figuring out how to equip half of New York City’s 13,006 yellow cabs with wheelchair-friendly access (in addition to the 231 that already have it), but it’s gonna happen: Officials there announced a legal settlement that says at least half of the city’s cabs must be wheelchair-accessible by 2020. [via the Associated Press]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

49ers Ask Neighboring Businesses To Change Work Hours So Team Can Play Monday Night Football

Ever notice how these digital renderings rarely show the parking lot?

Ever notice how these digital renderings rarely show the parking lot?

Say you’re throwing a big event, like a wedding or a family reunion, at your house. If you’re short on parking, maybe you offer your neighbors a few bucks to let your guests park in their driveways. But it’s probably going too far to ask your neighbors to redo their entire schedule for your party.

That’s apparently what the San Francisco 49ers have been asking of their soon-to-be neighbors at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.

See, the new stadium doesn’t have enough parking capacity for the nearly 70,000 fans who will show up to games. For Sunday games, the team has been able to wrangle enough parking spots from neighboring businesses to meet the parking needs. But if they score a Monday Night Football game, there’s a big problem.

While here on the Atlantic Coast, Monday Night Football games start at 8:40, a few hours after most people have gone home from work, it’s only 5:40 in San Francisco at kickoff, a time at which many of those businesses will, ya know, still be open for business with employees and clients and all.

Even though the Niners first season at Levi’s Stadiu, is still many, many months away, a Santa Clara City Councilwoman tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the team has approached several companies in the area to see if they would be willing to change their work hours to accommodate a weeknight game.

And while some workers would probably jump at the chance to get out early on a game day, it’s just not feasible for some businesses, like the community college that has no renting 2,200 spaces to the team for Sunday games, but needs those spots for students and employees on weekdays.

“That would be very difficult for our students,” explains the vice chancellor of the West Valley-Mission Community College District.

This parking problem could keep the Niners out of Monday Night Football for the next season or two. It would also probably keep them from being scheduled on Thursday night, though you won’t hear too many people complaining about that one.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

December Recall Roundup: Tablets Of Fire

ManhattanQuixelbaby rattle in boxLARGEIn this month’s Recall Roundup, wheels break, fire bowls turn into fiery explosions, and chargers and refrigerators alike might overheat and catch fire. It’s a dangerous world: that’s why we bring you these recall listings.

Sports & Outdoors

Nantucket Distributing (Christmas Tree Shops) Clay Bowl Outdoor Fireplaces – fire may cause bowl to explode

Tailwind bicycle racks for trailercycles – top of rack may break

Avalanche Airbags – may not deploy

SRAM Bicycle chain derailleurs – may jam


Babies & Kids

The Bailey Boys Children’s Pajamas – violation of flammability standard

L.L. Bean Girl’s Pajamas – violation of flammability standard

Little Willy’s Hooded Sweatshirts – strangulation hazard

Babycottons children’s nightgowns – violation of flammability standard

Girls BCG Hooded Windsuits (Academy Sports) – strangulation hazard

Vans Boy’s Hooded Jackets – strangulation hazard

Wearever Girls’ long sleeve hooded jacket and pant sets (Burlington Coat Factory) – strangulation hazard

Lullaby Cradle Glider – mattress support may fall out

American Boy and Girl Infant Sandals (Meijer) – choking hazard

BreathableSack wearable blanket – choking hazard

Step2 Ride On Wagon 800


Step2 Whisper Ride Touring Wagon – Blue seat may fall out, taking child with it

Manhattan Toy Quixel baby rattles – choking hazard

Infinity UDC3-CW.LARGE

Home & Kitchen

Viking Built-In Side-by-Side Refrigerator Freezers – fire hazard; wiring may overheat

Crown Boiler Home Heating Boilers – Carbon monoxide poisoning hazard

Circo Chloe and Conner Sitting Stools (Target) – stabilizing bar may break

HeathCo Motion-Activated Outdoor Lights – electrical shock hazard

Wood Castle Furniture Riley Duo Bunk Beds – guardrail openings are too big

Infinity Green Products LED Candelabra Lights – fire hazard

Cooper Crouse-Hinds Ceiling Light Boxes – may crack and fall



Baja Motorsports Mini Bikes – front fork may separate from wheel

Precedent golf and transport vehicles – front wheel spindles may crack

ElliptiGO outdoor elliptical cycles – front wheel fork may detach

Denver Global Products Multi-Purpose Yard Vehicles – vehicle may move on its own, blades may start on their own, gas lines may leak.

K2 Revo Kick kickboards/scooters – front assembly may break

American Honda Foreman ATVs – steering shaft may break


Linear Personal Emergency Reporting System Transmitters – battery connectors may corrode

A/C Adaptors for Polaroid Internet Tablets (Big Lots) – fire hazard

Ryobi P113 Dual Chemistry Battery Chargers – fire hazard

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Walmart To Pay Out $25 Million Over Exploding Gas Cans

Even though Walmart does not manufacture plastic gasoline cans, it does sell more of the cans than any other retailer in the country and it has been named as a defendant in dozens of lawsuits regarding exploding cans. And so the retail giant has reportedly agreed to fork over $25 million to cover its portion of a $161 million settlement that would close the book on a number of unresolved claims.

NBC News discovered this settlement proposal in bankruptcy court documents for Blitz USA, a company that had been the largest manufacturer of gas cans in the U.S.

Lawsuits filed against Blitz and Walmart allege that both companies knowingly sold an unsafe product. Specifically, the complaints charge that Blitz refused to add a “flame arrester” — a simple mesh disk or plastic disk with holes that is intended to reduce the likelihood of a flame traveling back into the can and causing an explosion.

The former Walmart buyer who had been responsible for purchasing gas cans testified in 2010 that even after the retailer had begun being named in explosion-related lawsuits, it did no tests on the products, leaving that responsibility in the hands of the manufacturers. A rep for the company admits to NBC that it did not ask Blitz to investigate the explosions or consider adding flame arresters.

But an attorney for numerous plaintiffs in these suits believes Walmart, which has been known to use its buying power to compel suppliers to make material changes to their products — and indeed Walmart did request that Blitz change its spouts after complaints about leakage — should have demanded that Blitz provide safer gas cans.

“You’re making money off of those cans. You have a responsibility at that point to investigate it, to do whatever is necessary, if you’re going to continue to sell the product,” explains the attorney.

A rep for Walmart released the following videotaped segment to NBC. It should be pointed out that the rep refers to the Consumer Product Safety Commission as the Consumer Protection Safety Commission…

Walmart says it is “waiting on experts,” like the CPSC and ASTM to determine whether flame arresters should be required.

In 2011, the CPSC chose to not require flame arresters on gas cans, points out Walmart. However, after NBC News reports that the Commission has recently reviewed the data and is asking manufacturers to now add flame arresters.

The folks at ASTM announced last week that 4 out of the 12 flame arrester designs it has tested effectively prevented flames from reaching the inside of the gas can.

As part of the settlement, none of the defendants are admitting they did anything wrong. A number of the incidents involved in these lawsuits included people pouring gasoline directly from the can onto a lit fire. The manufacturers and other defendants have maintained that this is not a product safety issue, but a matter of a consumer using the product in a dangerous fashion for which it was not intended.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Species Of Cockroach Showing Up For First Time In NYC Laughs At Your Feeble Attempts To Kill It

(frankieleon) Get thee gone, cockroaches.

(frankieleon) Get thee gone, cockroaches.

Usually when winter crawls into the hearts and apartments of city dwellers, there’s at least the sweet relief from knowing that cockroaches simply hate the cold. But there’s a new kind of critter, recently arrived on our shores, that doesn’t scurry away from the cold: A hardy species of cockroach that was first discovered in New York City’s High Line park.

No one has seen the species Periplaneta japonica in the United States before, at least there’s no documentation of such a sighting, reports the Associated Press. It’s not an unusual bug for Asia, but this would appear to be the first time the critters moved into America.

Scientists think perhaps the bugs stowed away in ornamental plants shipped from Asia to the U.S. for the High Line, which is a park/public space on a stretch of elevated train tracks along Manhattan’s west side.

For those worried about the implications of a bug that thrives in the warmth as well as the cold, there’s probably nothing to worry about, say researchers who published the news about the newcomer in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

“Because this species is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment,” said one insect biologist, “they likely will compete with each other for space and for food.”

Fighting over food will likely keep the population low because when cockroaches are duking it out at mealtime they’re too tired to get busy in the cockroach bedroom later and make babies.

But the situation is something to monitor, points out another bug expert, a professor of urban entomology at Purdue University.

“To be truly invasive, a species has to move in and take over and out-compete a native species,” he said. “There’s no evidence of that, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned about it.”

You know what this means? We’ve actually got to root for the cockroaches we already have to fight off these newcomers. Team Normal Cockroaches it is.

Invasive cockroach found in NYC can take the cold [Associated Press]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Giant Nutella Jar Isn’t A Store Prop, It’s A Crappy Deal

giant_nutellaWhat would you do with five kilograms (11 pounds) of the glorious choco-hazelnut spread Nutella? Jeff assumed that this isn’t even a reasonable question, because the giant jar at his local grocery store couldn’t possibly be real. Right? Nope. It’s real, it’s full of Nutella, and it costs sixty bucks.

Naturally, once he realized that the mega-jar was a real product for sale and not just a prop, he had to calculate the price per ounce for such a thing. Maybe you use a lot of Nutella and want the most cost-effective way to get huge quantities of the stuff into your roadside crepe stand.

Like with many far more normal bulk deals available in stores, though, buying more Nutella gets you a worse deal. It’s the fuzzy math phenomenon writ large. Really large. 11 pounds.

Jeff calculated that the bulk purchase was a better deal at the store’s regular price, but not when the small jars are on sale. They’re on sale now. Jeff laid out the math on his blog:

At $4.40 for 371 grams, you’ll get 5Kg for $59.30, 69 cents cheaper!

But this grocery is running a deal right now: 2 small jars for $7!

So at $7 for 742 grams (2*371 grams), 5Kg will cost $47.17, for a savings of almost $13. In other words, the bigger tub is actually marked up more than 25% from the smaller.

For that markup, you get the distinction of having a 5-kilogram Nutella tub in your home. It’s a tradeoff, really.

We were in the supermarket near us (Central Market) and I noticed this gigantic tub of Nutella. [Planet Jeffro]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Men: The Pride You Take In Your Hairy Face Is Worrying The Shaving Industry

All that time you spend grooming, brushing, oiling, massaging and generally worshiping your hairy face is great and all, but the people who make razors and other shaving products aren’t so pleased with the increasingly popular hirsute look. From stubble to fully-flowing follicular masterpieces, facial hair isn’t just for lumberjacks and hipsters anymore.

It’s isn’t a worry for the razor blade industry in America, either — Quartz says the male shaving sector is slowing down in Europe as well, partly because having a beard is very much the thing to do these days.

That’s according to a report from Euromonitor, which shows that men’s toiletries are quickly catching up to the grooming industry, partly because if you have a beard why waste money on a razor and shaving cream? But you’re always going to try to smell nice (I hope), so deodorant is pretty key there.

The “stubble effect” is hurting companies like Energizer Holdings, which owns Schick and Edge. It reported smaller razor and blade sales in many of its earning calls.

“The weakness in some of the Personal Care categories in the US… are kind of unprecedented,” CEO Ward Klein said last month. “And I’m really talking about razors and blades in particular,” he added.

Gillette is feeling the razor burn too, as it’s pulling back on researching and developing new products and hasn’t rolled out any new ones recently. It’s newest innovation, some kind of razor “styler” thing is almost two years old.

And even that product is meant to appeal to hairy and non-hairy men alike, as it shaves as well as trims. After all, beards do need upkeep if you don’t want them to overtake your neck and join your chest/back hair. Please don’t let it do that. Please.

Shaving is still a big player, with about 40% of the male grooming market (according to Euromonitor) but it could be outstripped soon by toiletries for the first time ever this year.

The shaving industry is hurting because men think stubble is cool again [Quartz]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

DHL Uses Drone To Deliver Medicine In Germany

The DHL Paketkopter made its first official landing outside the Deutsche Post office in Bonn, Germany, today. It carried some medicine from a pharmacist 1 km across the Rhine river.

The DHL Paketkopter made its first official landing outside the Deutsche Post office in Bonn, Germany, today. It carried some medicine from a pharmacist 1 km across the Rhine river.

We might as well start digging our underground rebel hideouts now and prepare for the inevitable Robot Wars of 2023, as DHL has made the first successful package delivery via flying drone.

Days after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveiled plans to someday unleash an army of self-guiding drones upon the skies, the folks at Deutsche Post DHL did a short proof-of-concept test on their own flying menace messenger.

The company’s Paketkopter flew a distance of about 1 kilometer (.62 miles) and hovered about 50 meters (164 feet) above the ground as it flew over the Rhine river from a pharmacist to the DHL office while carrying an unnamed medicine.

“We are at the beginning of the research project,” a DHL manager said of the test. “It is an exciting bit of technology.”

The DHL drone can carry up to 6.6 pounds. Unlike the Amazon thingamajig, which will use GPS to determine how to reach a destination, the Paketkopter (which I predict will soon become the name for a Krautrock revival act from Minnesota) relied on remote control operators for this flight. However, DHL says that a GPS-piloted version of the drone is possible.

Germany’s DHL delivers medicine by drone [GigaOm]

Deutsche Post completes first drone flight []

Deutsche Post DHL tests delivery drone [Deutsche Welle]

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Company Owns Thousands Of Property Liens But No One Knows Who Owns The Company

For the longest time, the tax lien investment business — in which investors buy property tax liens from cities and counties and then collect on the debt (or foreclose on the homeowner) — primarily consisted of small, local investors looking for a relatively quick profit. But in the last two decades, larger companies have taken to buying up as many liens as possible and then shaking down homeowners for the debt and often thousands of dollars in fees. But just because these lien-buyers are bigger and operate in multiple states doesn’t mean they are any more legitimate.

The Washington Post has a fascinating, in-depth look at one Chicago-based company, Aeon Financial, which has purchased thousands of liens in D.C., Maryland, Kentucky, Iowa, and Ohio.

We say “Chicago-based,” but that’s really just where the company’s mailboxes are, reports the Post.

In recent years, Aeon has purchased thousands of liens in various states and in D.C., making a profit by tacking on substantial legal and other fees to the usually small lien amount.

Like one D.C. resident who found out he owed $500 on a condo parking space — not even the condo — after lien notices had mistakenly been sent to the previous owner.

He went to pay the $500 but then found the debt had been sold to Aeon, and the company now wanted $4,200 — more than eight times the original debt — to cover its legal fees.

And thus a 2-year legal battle began, with a judge ultimately deeming the $4,200 bill “excessive” and unnecessary” before knocking it down to $952.

The City Attorney General for D.C. filed suit against Aeon in 2009, claiming it was charging abusively high legal fees to consumers. That case is still pending. Lawyers for the city have been trying to suss out for years who exactly owns the company, but Aeon has repeatedly fought back, asking the court for a protective order to prevent it from being compelled to turn over financial documents that would reveal the ownership.

The best the Post could figure was that a Chicago-based lawyer, Mark Schwartz, is a key figure in the business.

Records from 2004 and 2005 list his sister as the manager of a company named Aeon Properties in Nevada and Maryland. Documents filed in 2011 in Kentucky list Schwartz as a director of Aeon and give his $1.7 million home in Vail, CO, as an address.

Another “owner” of the business is a company called Axis Investment Holdings Trust, which lists the same Chicago office as Aeon, and for which Schwartz is CEO. The office for both of these companies is held in the name of Records Direct, which is a subsidiary of Axis.

The true ownership of a company like Aeon isn’t just a matter of curiosity. On a consumer-facing level, the company’s lack of a place of business, reliable method of contact, and accountability to ownership can result in confusion for those receiving bills and notices from Aeon.

But there are also other legal concerns. For example, the Post points out that Aeon, under fire from officials in Cleveland for allowing foreclosed-upon properties to fall into disarray, managed to unload 83 of those properties in a single day to newly formed LLC. Did Aeon just shuffle these properties to another hand in order to get the city off its back? It’s hard to say without knowing exactly who owns the company.

“This is debt collecting that leads to the destruction of the lower economic level of the community,” said former D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles. “Anyone who would be behind that kind of scheme — and it was a well-thought-out scheme — I don’t think they would be very happy about their names being disclosed on the public record.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

At Least Finding A Pair Of Glasses In Your Jalapeño Poppers Is Way Less Gross Than A Bug

Here at Consumerist, we’ve heard about practically every kind of creepy, crawly, grody thing/creature showing up where it shouldn’t, whether that means spiders in your grapes and bananas or urine in your Taco Bell nachos. But having a pair of spectacles show up in your jalapeño poppers? That could actually be useful.

Useful, perhaps, expected, definitely not. In a post on Reddit that claims “My mom found a pair of glasses in with her Jalapeno Poppers,” we see a cardboard box of poppers with a plastic bag in front of it. And look, inside the plastic, a pair of seeing eye goggles! What is the MEANING OF THIS?

I can see clearly now.

I can see clearly now.

There doesn’t seem to be an explanation, as the poster noted in the comments that the company didn’t seem to be perturbed: “‘Sorry, we’ll send you a coupon’ was the response from the company.”

“Better than ‘Please send them back, Susan can’t read without them,’ ” points out another astute commenter.

And hey, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying prescription specs and frames and all that.

It’s worth pointing out, as of course the Reddit commenters have, that the whole photo could be a sham. Is that bag open? Couldn’t someone just slip the glasses in afterward and claim it came that way? I hope not because I prefer to believe that everything on the Internet is true.

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

NSA Also Spied On World Of Warcraft, Second Life, Xbox Live Users

Because terrorists may be secretly chatting with each other while also trying to level-up their paladins and warlocks, the National Security Agency thought it was a good idea to eavesdrop on online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life, and on gamers who used Xbox Live.

A joint report from the NY Times and ProPublica looks at the latest revelation from the NSA documents leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

The idea is that these games, where players can hide behind characters but still openly communicate and even exchange funds, could be a potential place for terrorists and their supporters to communicate outside of the usual methods.

The apparent threat was so huge that folks from the CIA, FBI and the Dept. of Defense all needed to get in on the action. The documents say that a “deconfliction” group had to be created in order to minimize agents from stepping on each other’s virtual feet in Second Life.

There was also the hope that the agencies could use these online communities to recruit people — drivers for embassies, foreign intelligence agents, etc. — to provide information and access.

And it wasn’t just spies going online to kill orcs and whatnot. The NSA and intelligence officers from the UK were collecting vast amounts of data on users, including communications that took place between gamers.

But for all the work put into spying on gamers and collecting their data, the documents reportedly make little mention of any successful results.

Blizzard, the company that makes World of Warcraft says that any spying done on its users was done without the company’s permission.

“We are unaware of any surveillance taking place,” said a Blizzard rep to the Times. “If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission.”

Just to lighten the mood, let’s just pretend that the great Leeroy Jenkins was actually a top NSA spy gone rogue:

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

The $1 Billion Tragedy: Unredeemed Gift Cards In America

Gift cards can be a truly great gift…to the retail sector. While only 1% of gift cards go unredeemed, with about $116 billion in gift card sales annually, that’s more than $1 billion that we’re just leaving in a drawer until retailers take it back.

When you activate or re-load a gift card, the clock starts ticking. Thanks to 2009′s CARD Act, you have at least five years to spend a gift card after that point. Customers aren’t entitled to a full refund in the event that a company goes out of business. The smaller a company is, the better the odds are that they will disappear: about half of all small businesses close in their first five years.

Size is no guarantee that a company’s doors will stay open, of course: just ask everyone who was stuck with a Borders or KB Toys gift card.

$1 billion in gift cards go unredeemed [Marketwatch]

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Judge Tells Baker: You Can’t Sell Wedding Cakes Only To Straight Couples

In a case similar to another wedding cake situation in Oregon, a baker in Colorado who turned a same-sex couple away has been ordered by a judge to serve all couples, straight or gay, or face fines. The judge said that by refusing to accept gay customers, the owner of the bakery was discriminating against them.

In the order from the administrative law judge he writes that the business discriminated against the two men” because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage,” reports the Associated Press.

If the bakery wants to be in the wedding cake business, it must “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. Thus far the judge hasn’t levied any fines against the bakery but it’ll face fees if it keeps turning away gay couples.

The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a complaint against shop owner with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission last year on behalf of the two men who had been married in Massachusetts and wanted to have a party in Colorado to celebrate their nuptials. When the owner found out the cake was intended for a gay wedding, the complaint says he turned them away.

The lawyer for the cake shop owner said that this order puts the man in a tough situation.

“He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck,” she said. “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.”

The Civil Rights Commission will probably certify the judge’s order next week. In the meantime, the man can appeal the judge’s order.

The couple is “ecstatic,” says one of the men of the judge’s decision, and hopes that it’ll stop similar situations from happening again in the state.

“To a certain extent, though, I don’t think that this is necessarily a surprise,” he said. “We thought it was pretty clear cut that he had discriminated against us.”

Judge orders Colorado cake-maker to serve gay couples [Associated Press]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Sonic Is Really, Really Sorry About That “Scalp The Redskins/Feed Them Whiskey” Sign

Someone at a Missouri Sonic Drive-in chose to express both their support for the Kansas City Chiefs and their utter ignorance by using the restaurant’s sign to post a message that combined nearly every offensive Native American stereotype into one garbled statement.

“‘KC CHIEFS’ WILL SCALP THE REDSKINS FEED THEM WHISKEY SEND – 2 – RESERVATION,” read the sign outside the Sonic in Belton, MO, referencing yesterday’s game between the Chiefs and the Redskins.

After a passerby snapped the above photo and posted it to Twitter, the story took off, with people calling for the sign to be removed and for Sonic to issue an apology.

“The remarks posted on this message board were wrong, offensive and unacceptable,” a rep for Sonic HQ tells NBC News. “In a misguided effort to support his football team an independent franchise owner allowed passion to override good judgment. The owner has reinforced with his employees the boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable. On behalf of the franchise owner and our entire brand we apologize for the offensive remarks.”

The rep says that there is an employee at this particular Sonic who has previously had a knack for posting funny message on the sign, but that this was an instance in which his humor apparently crossed the line. He also claims the sign was only posted for “a matter of hours.”

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Can’t Get Over The Fact That A Guy Fell Asleep On An Airplane And Woke Up Locked Inside Of It


You snooze, you lose? (frankieleon)

Okay so just… think about the thing that might be one of your scariest things you think about. Does it involve being locked in a not terribly large space and it’s dark and no one else is there and oh my goodness gracious I’m scared? Take that nightmare and turn it into the reality for a passenger on a recent flight. He fell asleep during a layover and woke up locked inside a dark plane, all by himself.*

The traveler was making his way from Louisiana on a trip to visit family on a United Express flight and had a stop in Houston, reports

“I was coming from Louisiana to see my sister in California. We had a layover in Texas,” the man explained. “I just took my hat off and I took a nap.”

Because you cannot take a nap in a hat, ladies and gentleman. As all who have tried surely know. Anyway, he took to snoozing and the next thing he knew, he was down the sleep rabbit hole.

“I woke up and the lights were out. I was like, what’s going on? I thought maybe it was a layover, still on the same plane.”

But no — instead he realized he was all by his lonesome, tucked into a window seat near the back of the plane. Somehow no one had noticed his little hideaway and the plane had been turned in for the night.

He thought he was dreaming. It was cold and it was dark in the cabin, but at least his cell phone worked. What did the pioneers do without such technology?

“I called my girlfriend, and she thought I was crazy. I said, ‘Debbie I’m locked on the plane.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you the truth; you better go somewhere and get me off this plane.’”

She realized he wasn’t being a jokester and called the airline. More than half an hour later, the report says, workers hopped on the plane and rescued the marooned adventurer. It sounds like fingers got pointed right away, so far who was at fault for this solo sojourn.

“I said, ‘Don’t put the blame on me. I didn’t do anything wrong here,’” he says. “And then they were, like, try to hush-hush, keep it quiet. And they gave me this little package here in a motel room.”

The man says it’s odd how no one thought to wake him up in Houston, not a staff member, not a passenger, nobody.

“They didn’t sweep the plane,” he said. “I mean, who shut the door?”

Experss jet issued this statement: “An ExpressJet passenger remained on board flight 4245, operating as United Express from Lafayette, La. to Houston on Friday, Dec. 6, after all passengers had deplaned. ExpressJet is investigating to determine how this occurred. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger.”

Although the company said a post-flight walk-through happened on that flight, there was no explanation as to how such a thing could’ve missed a large object like a sleeping human being who is not wearing an invisibility cloak or have any other weird, hide-y advantages.

When all was said and done, the man says he was given a voucher and a flight to get to his destination in California as well as a hotel room, after he missed his connection due to the Rip Van Winkle episode. But he still seems crunchy about how everything went down. Understandably so, perhaps?

“What if I had a medical condition or something? What if I had a heart attack and I was dead? You just shut the plane and leave someone on there? It’s the way I look at it,” he said.

Know that this story was only posted because of my loyalty to our readers. Because the whole thing makes me want to jump outside my self and run from all the nearest confined spaces. So, there’s that.

* All byyyyy himseeeeeeelf, don’t wanna be, alllll by himseeeeeelf, anymooooh-oh-ore.

Man falls asleep on flight making connection in Houston; wakes up in dark, empty plane []

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Waitress Who Claimed She Got Anti-Gay Receipt No Longer Employed At Restaurant

The receipt on the left is the version the waitress posted to Facebook, which shows no tip and a note saying the customers disapprove of the waitress' "lifestyle." On the right is a copy of the receipt provided by the customers to NBC News, which they claim shows they left a 18% tip.

The receipt on the left is the version the waitress posted to Facebook, which shows no tip and a note saying the customers disapprove of the waitress’ “lifestyle.” On the right is a copy of the receipt provided by the customers to NBC News, which they claim shows they left a 18% tip.

Yet another development in the tale of the New Jersey waitress who recently claimed that she was stiffed out of a tip by diners’ who disapproved of her being a lesbian. Over the weekend, the restaurant at the center of this story announced that the waitress is no longer an employee there.

In a post on its Facebook page, the restaurant states that “this is not a simple, straight-forward matter and we have conducted our own internal investigation.”

It also calls the results of that investigation “inconclusive as to exactly what happened” but then adds that “in light of the investigation and recent events,” the two parties have made a “joint decision that [the waitress] will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future.”

Oddly enough, this announcement does little to clear up exactly what happened that night. The waitress made headlines around the world when she shared a photo of a receipt leaving her zero tip along with a note that said she was not receiving a gratuity because the customers did not approve of her lifestyle.

This resulted in a widespread outpouring of support. The waitress received thousands of dollars from people who felt she’d been unjustly stiffed on the bill. She stated that she would donate this money to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Then a family came forward — albeit anonymously — to say they were the diners who ate that meal, but that they not only didn’t leave that note on the receipt, they actually tipped $18. To prove their point, the family showed NBC News copies of their receipt and a copy of their credit card statement showing that they had been charged the full amount, including the tip, by the restaurant.

Following this rebuttal from the diners, supposed friends and colleagues of the waitress began speaking to various news outlets, calling into question other claims the waitress had made in the past.

And last week, a rep for Wounded Warrior could not locate any record of a donation from the waitress, causing some to wonder what had happened with the money she had promised to donate.

If the owners of the restaurant wanted to make this issue go away, their statement should have provided more detail. Instead, the vague tone of the announcement only serves to fuel more speculation about what may have actually occurred that evening.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Save Santa: Buy This Hallmark Ornament

santabeaconWhen we received an e-mail from reader Ryan entitled, “The most brilliantly evil Christmas commercial ever made,” well, our interest was piqued. Surely that bar is very high.

“Basically Hallmark threatens Santa to die in a blizzard unless children beg their parents to buy the life saving ornament for $22.95,” Ryan writes. Is that what’s going on here? You be the judge.

In the commercial, Santa’s on someone’s roof, so his life isn’t in danger. The real danger apparently is that he won’t find your house without the ornament to use as a magical beacon. Surely a few people have asked for GPS units and smartphones for Christmas, though. Santa has my permission to tear the boxes of any of my gifts open if it will help him to find my house. I’m cool with that.

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

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