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Article source: Naked Security - Sophos
The internet is full of lies, hoaxes, and misinformation. And we, we are only human. Whether it’s with some dumb fake news site or a viral photo that won’t die or an misread Onion headline, we’ve all been a proven too gullible at some point. Tell us your most embarrassing story.
I’ll go first. When I was less cynical about the internet than I am now, I encountered what looked like a submit-your-own Shell advertising campaign that had been cleverly co-opted by environmentalists. I even pitched a story to my editor about it! And then, uhh, I realized…uh…the whole thing was a Greenpeace stunt.
All right, give us your worst. We already know Deadspin’s.
Article source: Gizmodo
When Ricardo Brown from Spokane, Washington got his most recent bill from Comcast, he had an extra special reason to be dismayed. It wasn’t the pricey charges—we’re all used to that by now. No, it was that on this particular bill, Comcast appears to have misspelled his name. By replacing it entirely with the word “Asshole.”
Ricardo’s wife, Lisa, shared the unfortunate little switcheroo with consumer advocate Chris Elliot. According to her, the whole problem may very well have stemmed from her attempts to reduce her cable bill over the phone—otherwise known as the Ninth Circle of Hell.
[Lisa] explained that her family was having financial difficulties and needed to reduce their cable bill. She’d called Comcast to cancel the cable portion of her account, for which she had to pay a $60 fee. Instead of complying immediately, a representative escalated her call to a retention specialist, who tried to persuade her to keep the cable service and sign a new two-year contract.
“I was never rude,” she says. “It could have been that person was upset because I didn’t take the offer.”
Of course, these things are fairly easy to fake in Photoshop (and it all sounds just a little too perfect), so we contacted Comcast to confirm that the incident did, in fact, occur. And oh boy, did it. A Comcast spokesperson provided Gizmodo with the following statement:
We have spoken with our customer and apologized for this completely unacceptable and inappropriate name change. We have zero tolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior and are conducting a thorough investigation to determine what happened. We are working with our customer to make this right and will take appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again.
Our tale does have a happy ending for the Brown, Asshole in question. Apparently, after Elliott publicized the couple’s tale of woe, Comcast has offered a full refund for the past two years of service and two more years at no extra charge. And supposedly, her husband’s name has been corrected in the system as well.
Article source: Gizmodo
AdBlock’s been around the internet for ages, but it only extends to the edges of your browser window. What if a device existed that could block logos and brand names from the world around you?
That’s the idea behind BrandKiller, a project developed by four Philadelphia developers named Jonathan Dubin, Reed Rosenbluth, Tom Catullo, and Alex Crits-Christoph as part of as part of Penn’s annual PennApps hackathon. Of course, it’s not exactly seamless: It’s actually a custom-built head-mounted display, the foursome explain on ChallengePost; thanks to the computer vision software OpenCV, their software that can recognize and blur a list of specific logos. “What if we lived in a world where consumers were blind to the excesses of corporate branding?,” they ask.
Of course, it’s more proof of concept than anything—no one, except maybe William Gibson’s legendarily logo-averse heroine Cayce Pollard, is going to walk around with a faceputer to avoid logos. But the point here is that augmented reality tech, in the future, won’t just be used to add advertising to our world, as many have feared it might be. It will also be more than capable of deleting or censoring certain it, too. The question, then, is actually whether the companies behind those logos would ever allow that to be legal. [ChallengePost; h/t BrandNew]
Article source: Gizmodo
AutoBot, a Beijing startup that makes diagnostic tools for cars (not the robots in disguise), has raised a $6 million Series A from Gobi Partners and ABC Capital. The company will use the funding for marketing, hiring and product research and development.
AutoBot’s main product is the AutoBot Mini OBD (on-board diagnostic) device, which users can plug into their car’s OBD-II outlet or cigarette lighter. It then collects and analyzes data about how the car is performing and if repairs are needed; users’ driving habits; fuel consumption; and car maintenance, among other things.
The information is then recorded in AutoBot’s mobile apps through a Bluetooth connection.
There are already several OBD devices on the market, including Dash and Automatic, but AutoBot seeks to differentiate through its software and apps.
For example, if a car needs a repair or fuel, the app will recommend nearby gas stations and service centers. This adds an O2O (online-to-offline) take to AutoBot’s business strategy. AutoBot’s app also allows drivers to connect with each other and map the best routes using GPS and community feedback.
CEO and co-founder Edwin Hao tells TechCrunch that AutoBot plans to add features, including automatic collision alerts in the future.
AutoBot is currently targeted mainly at consumers in China, which has the largest car market in the world by sales. More than 20,000 drivers currently use AutoBot products and many are first-time car owners. In the future, AutoBot plans to expand into more countries after localizing its products for each market.
“China’s automobile market has been the largest in the world since 2009. In recent years, Chinese drivers have expressed significant demand for smart and affordable hardware solutions like AutoBot that improve driver experience and safety. As such, we are very optimistic about AutoBot’s prospects in this market space,” said Thomas G. Tsao, managing partner at Gobi Partners.
Article source: TechCrunch.com