tech and geek stuff
PG&E customers brace for next bill after spikes in gas rates
The source of her shock, it turned out, was the $503 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. bill she had just opened, the highest the Oakland couple had ever been charged. The recent spikes in PG&E bills are largely...
Banks shift from plastic to phones at ATMs
Customers who do not want to fumble around in their wallet for their ATM card — or who have misplaced it for the umpteenth time — will soon be able to unlock cash dispensers’ coffers by using their phone....
T-Mobile CEO sheds light on major changes ahead to fix a ‘broken, arrogant industry’
"We do them disruptive; we do them with disruptive partners. And then we work around them. We manage the social," Legere said. Legere's goal is to have the entire industry move into the unlimited data...
T-Mobile getting rid of its most annoying limitation on HD video
Enlarge reader comments 24 Share this story For T-Mobile USA customers who pay extra to watch high-definition video, one of the company's most annoying inventions was the "HD day pass." Instead of allowing...
Banks look to cellphones to replace ATM cards
Wallets can be lost, stolen or forgotten, but most people today wouldn't be caught dead without their phones. Banks understand, and are grabbing on to that trend. Customers who don't want to fumble around...
Business News Roundup, Feb. 14
Most drivers don’t expect to be hit with a rate hike on their auto insurance after a car accident that wasn’t their fault. The Consumer Federation of America says it found rate hikes on annual premiums...
Speak up, move cash: Bank in voice app first
If you are a Santander customer, you will soon be able to check your bank account and authorise payments using just your voice.While other banks have used voice biometrics as a logging-in tool, Santander's...
Charter wrongly charged customers $10 “Wi-Fi Activation” fee, gets sued
Enlarge / But we already have Wi-Fi.Getty Images | Jose Luis Pelaez Inc. reader comments 23 Share this story Charter admits that it accidentally charged a "Wi-Fi Activation" fee to some customers, and...
Microsoft Offers New Purchase Options for Surface Hub Whiteboard
Microsoft announces new purchasing options, including a 30-day trial period that allows potential users to try out the digital whiteboard and teleconferencing system. IT buyers evaluating Surface Hub,...
Amazon's supermarket of the future could be run by phones and robots
When Amazon eventually opens its chain of high-tech supermarkets, it’s possible they’ll be staffed by as few as three humans according to a recent report by The New York Post. We’ve known for a while...
Tech sector begins legal assault on Trump immigration order
Enlarge / Donald Trump (right) met with numerous tech executives, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (center), and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (left) on December 14, 2016.TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Staff / Getty...
Sky Q will be available without a satellite dish from 2018
Sky has today announced that, as of some point in 2018, its premium Sky Q TV service will become available to customers without the need to install a satellite dish first.The new Sky Q option will provide...
Home Internet data caps and overage fees expand to more US cities
Data cap cash.Aurich Lawson | Getty Images reader comments 44 Share this story Cox is continuing the trend of bringing data caps and overage fees to customers in new cities. Cox, the third largest cable...
Business News Roundup, Jan. 24
The U.S. Justice Department asked a judge Monday to throw out a lawsuit from Microsoft and keep a law that prohibits technology companies from telling customers when the government demands their electronic...
Lloyds a victim of cyber attack that hit banking services
Such campaigns may be part of attempts to extract ransom from these organisations or part of efforts to distract security teams in order to find other ways to break into an organisation's network in order...
Retailers Explore 3D Printers, Robots to Lure Customers
These days, shopping often involves the internet, a laptop or smartphone. As more and more consumers choose virtual carts over physical ones, retailers are employing flashy technologies and augmented reality...
Tax chains try sweeter pitch: no-fee loans
The nation’s big tax-preparation companies are so desperate for customers that they are willing to put money up front — with absolutely no hidden fees or interest charges, and no ironclad guarantees that...
AT&T non-contract activation fee has gone from $0 to $25 since mid-2015
EnlargeChris Young reader comments 0 Share this story AT&T has raised its non-contract phone activation and upgrade fee from $20 to $25, the latest increase for a fee that didn't even exist until July...
BT Sport to cost money for BT TV customers for the first time at start of new season
Starting next season, BT has announced that it will be charging its BT TV customers £3.50 a month for its BT Sport service. This is a big change for the supplier, as previously it had been providing its...
Verizon to redirect calls made from dangerous Galaxy Note 7 phones
EnlargeUniversity of Liverpool reader comments 51 Share this story Further ReadingRIP Galaxy Note 7: Samsung permanently ends productionThere are reportedly still thousands of Verizon Wireless customers...
Azure Automation Services Reach UK, West Center U.S. Customers
More customers can now use Azure services to automate their cloud and IT workloads and Azure SQL databases get a performance boost. The Azure Automation service, used to perform repeatable processes and...
Galaxy Note 7 still being used by 'thousands' of this US carrier's customers
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may have a reputation for, you know, exploding, but apparently that's not stopping "thousands" of customers of one US carrier from using the twice-recalled smartphone. Verizon...
Verizon purges unlimited data customers, targets those using 200GB
EnlargeGetty Images | Spencer Platt reader comments 78 Share this story Verizon Wireless customers with unlimited data plans who use more than 200GB a month will have to switch to limited plans next month...
Verizon raises upgrade fee to “cover increased cost”—but its costs declined
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images reader comments 49 Share this story Verizon Wireless is now charging a $30 upgrade fee when customers switch to a new phone, up from the previous fee of $20. The $30 upgrade...
State Farm still overcharging some customers, state says
State Farm Insurance appears to be in violation of a judge’s order requiring an immediate 7 percent rate reduction for homeowners and renters in California because it is excluding customers who had already...
T-Mobile eliminates cheaper postpaid plans, sells “unlimited data” only
T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert.T-Mobile reader comments 38 Share this story T-Mobile USA will stop selling its older and cheaper limited-data plans to postpaid customers, shifting entirely to its new "unlimited"...
T-Mobile says unlimited plans will be only option
NEW YORK -- T-Mobile said unlimited plans will be the only option for new customers even though they are more expensive than some of its old, limited plans.The company had said in August that it was phasing...
Sky Mobile launches in the UK
Sky has announced that Sky Mobile has launched, offering up a flexible mobile service with some interesting additions for those that already subscribe to the company’s television offering. After announcing...
AT&T to conduct 5G network trials for DirecTv Now customers
(Reuters) - AT&T Inc said it plans to test its high-speed wireless 5G network, which reached speeds of 14 gigabits per second in lab trials, for customers of its online streaming television service, DirecTv...
AT&T unveils network-level robocall blocking, call spam warnings
EnlargeAT&T reader comments 3 Share this story AT&T yesterday unveiled free robocall blocking for postpaid smartphone customers. Named Call Protect, the service blocks some fraud calls at the network...
Sky has just launched the UK’s lowest-priced fibre broadband
Sky is going high on value and low on prices by announcing the launch of the lowest fibre broadband and line rental package in the UK. The offer is exclusive to Sky TV customers both new and existing,...
Virgin Media Broadband customers will face connection issues until January
Bad news for some Virgin customers who are hoping to do some serious online shopping or film streaming over the festive period: your internet connection might be too slow to make it any more than an exercise...
Verizon will push out update that disables Samsung Galaxy Note 7 after all
In the never-ending saga of the Galaxy Note 7, an interesting wrinkle arose last week when Verizon said point-blank it wouldn't issue a phone-disabling update when Samsung sends it live on December 19. "We...
BigPond customers hit by email outage
A screen grab from Telstra website showing problems BIGPOND customers across the country have been hit by an email outage, but Telstra denies it is a major issue. Businesses and individuals with BigPond...
AT&T customers get $88 million in credits and refunds for illegal charges
EnlargeGetty | Aurich reader comments 11 Share this story Current and former AT&T customers will get refunds or bill credits totaling $88 million within the next 75 days, satisfying the terms of a settlement...
Starbucks to boost number of shops, add more food to menu
Starbucks outlined its five-year growth plans to investors on Wednesday, about a week after it announced that Howard Schultz, who has built Starbucks into a global brand with 25,000 locations since joining...
Big Mac creator dies, Twin Peaks shrinks, Levi’s shoots from hip
Delligatti’s franchise was based in Uniontown, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain’s signature burger with two all-beef patties, “special sauce,” lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions...
The limits of AT&T’s DirecTV Now: No DVR and limited ability to pause live TV
Enlarge reader comments 15 Share this story AT&T's DirecTV Now online streaming service goes live tomorrow, and the best pricing will only be available for a limited time. That's a problem, because the...
Mimecast Providing Enterprise Email Protection to Office 365 Customers
A year after its IPO, Mimecast's platform blocks email security threats and enhances uptime for hundreds of corporate customers. Fresh off a major milestone, Mimecast is ramping up its efforts to protect...
Three UK admits hack but says ‘financial details are not at risk’
Three customers are waking up to the news that hackers have potentially stolen some of their details in an attempt to illegally nab themselves high-end smartphones.Early reports suggest details of up...
Hate driving to the gas station? Meet Volvo’s new connected concierge service
EnlargeVolvo reader comments 7 Share this story LOS ANGELES, CALIF.—On Thursday at the LA Auto Show, Volvo announced a new connected car app that aims to free users from having to deal with pesky things...
Microsoft Outlook Customer Manager Keeps Small Businesses on Task
Microsoft released its new Outlook Customer Manager feature that helps small business ensure that tasks and deadlines don't fall through the cracks. Microsoft today took the wraps off Outlook Customer...
Charter customer sues over hidden fees, claims “massive billing fraud”
reader comments 12 Share this story A Charter customer has sued the cable company, alleging that it falsely advertises a lower price than it actually charges and falsely tells customers that extra fees...
AWS Gives Customers On-Premises Linux Option
Amazon Web Services recently expanded its menu of cloud services to give customers the option of using the Amazon Linux AMI on premises. Customers can use the Amazon Container Image on premises for the...
AT&T Prepaid GoPhone Plans With AutoPay to Get 33% More Data Included
The carrier is increasing its 6GB and 3GB GoPhone data plans to 8GB and 4GB per month for customers who choose the autopay option. AT&T GoPhone customers will now get 33 percent more high-speed data included...
Samsung takes out full-page ads to apologize for the explosive Note 7
Samsung has taken out full-page advertisements in major US newspapers in an attempt to apologize to its customers for the recent Galaxy Note 7 explosions that led to a global product recall. The ads,...
Soylent degreens, Boosted unplugs, The Economist drops Pinterest
The maker of the Soylent protein drink and food bar said it was pulling an algal flour made by South San Francisco’s TerraVia Holdings out of its ingredient list after customers got sick. [...] investors...
20,000 hacked Tesco banking customers lose money over weekend
In very worrying news for customers of Tesco Bank, the organisation has apparently been the victim of a hacker over the weekend, and the attack is serious enough that a freeze has been put on all online...
Cisco Adds Flexible Payments, App Site to Spark Collaboration Tool
The company is expanding its enterprise communications capabilities at a time when Microsoft, Facebook and others are rolling out new offerings. Cisco Systems wants to make it easier for tech partners...
New Levels of Engagement Necessary to Win Over Customers
Technology is putting more power into the hands of consumers, but it can also help companies win them over. HALF MOON BAY, Calif.—The holy grail of sales is the satisfied customer, who not only buys your...
Didn’t get your Google Pixel yet? You may be getting a freebie
Bad news: Some of you might be getting your Google Pixel phone later than planned.Good news: Google may reward you for your trouble!After receiving high praise from critics - ourselves included - it...
AT&T to Launch DirecTV Now Streaming Video in November at $35 a Month
DirecTV Now, which was announced in March, will have more than 100 channels and is aimed at people who have no pay TV services. When it launches in November, AT&T's DirecTV Now streaming video service...
Costly British Apples; big month for mergers; Soylent shifts
Apple’s computers are packing on the pounds, and that is placing a big fat burden on buyers in Britain. The machines are as slim as ever, but the value of the pound against the dollar has dropped dramatically...
Sprint Narrows Q2 Loss to $142M, Adds 347K Postpaid Phone Customers
The 347,000 postpaid net adds for Q2 is double Q1's 173,000 postpaid net adds and five times the 62,000 postpaid net adds of Q2 in 2015. Sprint's net operating revenue rose in the second quarter of 2016...
Facebook banking bots mean you may never have to sit on hold with your bank again
Facebook Messenger now has over a billion monthly active users, and is already a crowded space for Messenger bots, with more than 33,000 chatbots on the platform. Almost $2 billion in online sales will...
T-Mobile Q3 Revenue, Net Income Up From 2015
T-Mobile added 851,000 postpaid phone customers in the quarter, plus 684,000 prepaid customers, bolstering its Q3 results. T-Mobile brought in net income of $366 million on $9.2 billion in revenue in...
Mandatory arbitration restricts rights of ISP customers, says FCC Democrat
EnlargeGetty Images | Yuri_Arcurs reader comments 12 Share this story Mandatory arbitration clauses are depriving customers of their rights and helping ISPs avoid serious punishment for actions that harm...
Samsung offers upgrade program for South Korea Note 7 customers
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Monday it is offering an upgrade program to Galaxy Note 7 customers in South Korea who trade in their recalled device for a Galaxy S7 phone, marking...
‘Lions hunting zebras’: Ex-Wells Fargo bankers describe abuses
Wells Fargo would like to close the chapter on the sham account scandal, saying it has changed its policies, replaced its chief executive and refunded $2.6 million to customers. [...] lawmakers and regulators...
Tesla bans customers from using autonomous cars to earn money ride-sharing
Enlarge reader comments 8 Share this story On Thursday night, Tesla announced the new Model X and Model S electric vehicles will now come with the necessary hardware to allow them to drive completely...
Uber denies targeting ex-engineer in claimed ‘smear campaign’
Susan Fowler, the former engineer whose detailed recounting of sexual harassment and management infighting at Uber prompted CEO Travis Kalanick to apologize for the rough-edged culture he created at the...
Uber says it’s not behind the phone calls to investigate Susan Fowler’s personal life
After a week of controversy — and heavy criticism from its employees, the media and some investors for allowing what one called a "toxic" work culture to thrive — Uber remains on the defense. Today, the...
Uber might genuinely be worried that #DeleteUber is working
alizasherman reader comments 1 Share this story Further ReadingEx-Uber engineer alleges sexual harassment, CEO reacts by promising investigationSocial media calls to #DeleteUber are getting the company's...
It would be 'dangerous to change' Uber's culture at this point, says Munster
Allegations of widespread sexual harassment and bad behavior at Uber are "unfortunate and inexcusable," but Uber is not going to change its company culture, nor should it, said Gene Munster, Loup Ventures...
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its component fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark