consumers

  • On the subject of ridiculous wireless data pricing

    That $99 Aspire One deal we covered late last year – Aspire One + two-year AT&T DataConnect plan – has both RadioShack and AT&T in hot water after a lady signed up for the deal and tallied up more than $5000 in overage charges within her first month. Read More

  • ASUS notebook, netbook price increases? [UPDATE]

    Australian site ARN is reporting that “ASUS has announced an increase in prices of up to 20 per cent on all existing and upcoming notebooks and Eee Family products, effective March 1, 2009,” citing, you guessed it, the economy. Read More

  • Study: 18% of people can't tell if they're watching true HDTV content or not

    Well this is shocking news. Apparently some 18 percent of HDTV owners can’t tell the difference between high-def programming and standard-def programing when viewed on their screens. That’s what Leichtman Research Group concludes based on a survey of 1,302 households. That’s a telephone survey, mind you; there’s some controversy surrounding that type of poll these days. Read More

  • Apparently Somali pirates might ruin the holidays

    I’ll be honest; I can’t really tell how much of this recent Reuters article is pure, unabashed sensationalism and how much of it is something to seriously worry about. Apparently pirate activity (the yarrr kind, not the torrent kind) near Somalia has been picking up recently, with more frequent plundering against freight ships causing some companies to opt for alternative… Read More

  • DHL closing domestic shipping operations January 30

    For most of us expecting future gadget deliveries in the US, it looks like DHL is no more. Well, no more as of January 30th. Whether you – ahem — don’t care for DHL or you sued DHL for dumping 21,600 Xbox 360 consoles on a railroad track, the human aspect of the story is that almost 10,000 people will be out of work. And that’s after an initial 5,400-person reduction… Read More

  • Best Buy accidental protection program says VAIO TZ and Asus Eee are similarly spec’d machines

    This is why I don’t like extended warranties or accidental damage protection coverage for computers — the whole “we’ll replace your machine with a machine of similar specs” clause isn’t in your favor one bit when dealing with things that rapidly depreciate. Case in point, a guy dropped his year-old $2000+ VAIO TZ laptop and sauntered into Best Buy to… Read More

  • Circuit City to announce 155 store closings tomorrow?

    Consumerist.com is reporting that Circuit City may be announcing at 8 AM tomorrow morning that it’ll be closing 155 of its stores. This is still a rumor, so take it with a grain of salt, but it wouldn’t be surprising in lieu of the company’s recent financial woes. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago saying that Circuit City was… Read More

  • Safety Commission recalls 35,000 Sony batteries

    Just a heads up that there are a handful of potentially dangerous laptop batteries floating around out there. These ones are made by Sony but are found in certain models of HP, Toshiba, and Dell notebooks. The HP notebooks are the most at risk with about 32,000 affected batteries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “There have been 19 reports of the batteries… Read More

  • Consumer Electronics Association predicts 3.5 percent sales growth (but that's not really good news)

    The Consumer Electronics Association—the folks who organize CES, which I just registered for a few minutes ago—have whipped up a study that shows a 3.5 percent growth in consumer spending this holiday season. That may sound good, 3.5 percent growth, but it is a half-percentage point drop compared to last year. As such, there’s more than a tinge of “doom and gloom”… Read More

  • FCC report helps case for free nationwide wireless

    FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Here’s the story so far. There’s a company called M2Z Networks that wants to lease the band of wireless spectrum between 2155-2175 MHz known as AWS-3 (Advanced Wireless Service). M2Z then wants to turn around and use that band to provide free wireless internet access “for 95 percent of the population within 10 years,” according to the AFP. Read More

  • Sure, why not? Ethical, fair trade USB devices

    A company in Belgium called United Pepper is behind a line of USB devices that are assembled in a fair trade-certified factory in Vietnam. The devices include a USB webcam called Lili (seen above) and a USB hub called Oscar (seen here). On top of being made in a factory with fair wages and working conditions, the devices themselves are made from environmentally-friendly materials and packaged… Read More

  • As the dollar gets stronger, Acer and HP raise prices

    U.S. Dollar to British Pound Exchange Rate When I was in London in May, I paid $30 per day for internet access at my hotel, $4 for a large regular coffee at the Starbucks across the street, and $10 per pint at the pub around the corner. The dollar was weak, weak, weak – roughly half the value of the British pound. The dollar is a little stronger now at $1.75 per pound, which is good… Read More

  • Sony recalls TZ-series laptops due to fire hazard

    Bad news out of Sony today, as the company has issued a recall of many of its TZ-series notebook computers (see the full release here). “Irregularly positioned wires near the computer’s hinge and/or a dislodged screw inside the hinge can cause a short circuit and overheating.This poses a burn hazard to consumers… …Sony has received 15 reports of overheating, including… Read More

  • Lady arrested for allegedly holding ISP tech hostage

    Look. If I was an old Canadian playwright who couldn’t get on the Internet, I’d be mad too. People over 50 generally don’t understand the relationship between an Internet connection, a router, and an Ethernet port (or wireless connection). That is to say, when an old person’s connection goes down, they automatically just assume that it’s the ISP’s fault… Read More

  • Best Buy intros ‘Premier Black’ Reward Zone program

    Whoa, look at me! I just got an e-mail from Best Buy telling me that I’m now part of the company’s “most elite membership level – Premier Black.” That’s probably just fancy-talk for saying that I’ve spent most of my earned income over the past 15 or so years at their stores. Aside from bonus points and whatnot, the kicker to this program appears to be… Read More

  • Comcast not fined, but must stop blocking P2P traffic

    Here’s an update to the story about the FCC versus Comcast that we posted on Wednesday. The FCC has officially ruled today and it turns out that Comcast will not be fined for throttling peer-to-peer network traffic, but it will have to stop discriminating against certain internet traffic until the company comes up with a compliance plan “to fully disclose its practices”… Read More

  • Insanity: MSI jacks ‘Wind’ MSRPs up to $499, $549 and forces retailers to cancel pending orders

    Oh wow. Wow. This is a really odd decision. MSI has raised the prices of its Wind notebook (see our review here) from $479 to $499 for a version with Windows XP and a three-cell battery and from $499 to $549 for the version with XP and a six-cell battery. An MSI rep told Laptop the following: “Since the cost of the battery and materials raise (sp), we had no choice but adjust the MSRP… Read More

  • People who hate Vista shown ‘Mojave’ and like it, then find out that ‘Mojave’ is actually Vista

    Okay, here’s what happened. Microsoft took a group of 120 individuals who “were either Mac, Linux, or users of versions of Windows that came before Windows Vista” and who rated their perception of Vista at less than a five on a scale of one to ten. These people were shown a demo of what they thought was a new Windows OS called “Mojave” and this demo was… Read More

  • Apple and AT&T in cahoots over fake iPhone shortage?

    Just got an interesting tip from a reader. I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened, but apparently one of the AT&T stores in my neck of the woods has some iPhones in stock but can’t sell them until tomorrow because of some cryptic agreement with Apple. They’re taking orders for the phones today, but won’t sell them. Weird. Read More

  • Sony to release fixed PS3 firmware this week

    Last week’s PS3 firmware update left some angry gamers in its wake as reports of jacked up consoles made their way around the internet shortly after Sony made version 2.40 of its PS3 software available for download last Wednesday. The company quickly pulled the problematic update and has now said that version 2.41 will be available “midweek,” according to CVG. While most… Read More