PayPal and eBay will Separate in 2015

PayPal and eBay logosIt is true – eBay and PayPal are going to separate from each other. This was announced by eBay in a post on their blog that was titled: “Ebay Inc. to separate eBay and PayPal into independent publicly traded companies in 2015.” PayPal posted the same thing on their blog The “new” eBay and the “new” PayPal are each getting their own new CEOs.

Why is this being done? According to both eBay and PayPal, it is because they believe that each entity will “benefit more and create greater value from the strategic focus, speed, flexibility and agility that come with being independent publicly traded companies.” The blog posts also say that eBay “expects to complete the transaction as a tax-free spin-off in the second half of 2015”.

The CEO of the “new” eBay company will be Devin Wenig, who is currently president of eBay Marketplaces. Dan Schulman has been named as President of PayPal, effective immediately, and as CEO-designee of the standalone “new” PayPal company after the separation.

Amazon Return Policy Incredible

amazonMy family buys a lot of stuff from Amazon. We definitely get our value out of prime many times over. Recently though we had three items we had to return. In all honesty I think it was the first time we have ever had to return something to Amazon which is incredible in it’s own right. My wife had two pair of shoes that were to tight even though she has purchased the same brand in the past, and I had a major electronics item that arrived DOA.

I was honestly shocked at how fast and easy it was to return an item. Two of the items where instant returns, and one of the items took about 5 hours for the vendor to reply with a RA and shipping label. My wife simply did an exchange, and I did a full return refund. We are cognizant that returned items cost the vendors money, but for my wife it has increased her confidence to purchase more items from that vendor based on the customer service she received.

Living in Hawaii can be expensive and being able to order hard to find items on Amazon saves us a ton of money each year. Say what you will we are big fans of Amazon and while we like to buy local as much as we can when something is as much as 50% cheaper online its hard to support the local merchant.

GNC #982 Tech Wrap Up!

Great tech wrap up tonight. We are fast approaching our 10 year anniversary of doing this show. Be sure to send in your comments about the most memorable moments you have had listening to this show. Show your stripes by weighing in on what episode you started listening to the show. I was also quoted in a recent Washington Post Article.

Become a GNC 1000 Insider Today!:

Download the Audio Show File

Support our Show Sponsor:
30% off your new order @ GoDaddy: gnc30
1.49 .com New or Renewal geek149
$1.00 / mo WordPress Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: press4
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain! Promo Code: geeks12
GoDaddy Promo Codes always save you money, check out my Promo Codes Today

[Read more...]

PlayPlay

Atlas Lets Advertisers Track you Online and Offline

Atlas by Facebook logoThere is an old saying that goes something like “You aren’t paranoid if they really are out to get you.” Many people have expressed concern about the amount of information that Facebook has and whom they might share it with. Now that Facebook has launched Atlas, it is clear that your information really is being given to corporations.

Facebook just announced that they have launched Atlas. They wrote: “We’ve rebuilt Atlas from the ground up to tackle today’s marketing challenges, like reaching real people across devices and bridging the gap between online impressions and offline purchases”.

Facebook then points people toward the Atlas blog The blog post discusses something called “people-based marketing”, which is described as “helping marketers reach real people across devices, platforms, and publishers”.

In short, Atlas is going to enable advertisers to track people across the internet from one device to the next and across platforms. A unique feature of Atlas is its ability to track not only what ads a person sees online, but also to bridge the gap between online and offline Atlas is going to connect offline purchases – that’s right, purchase not made via the internet – with the ads that a person viewed.

The purpose, of course, is to help companies to find out how well their ads are doing. It’s all about helping big companies make more money. There isn’t anything about Atlas that benefits real people. Instead, it invades the privacy of people who happen to use Facebook by letting companies track not only what ads the person saw online but also the things that person later went out into the real world to purchase.

In addition to Facebook, the Atlas blog says that Instagram is also a “publisher”. That means it is “now enabled to measure and verify ad impressions”. Atlas is looking for more companies to become partners with them right now. You can find a list of the current companies that have partnered with Atlas on their blog.

Test Driving a Tesla

model-s-photo-gallery-06

 

Imagine if the government had bailed out the horse-drawn carriage business in 1910. How much longer would it have been before the personal transportation industry advanced to the point that everyone could have an automobile? Perhaps the government shouldn’t have bailed out conventional gasoline-powered cars. Maybe it’s time to let the evolution of the automobile take another step forward. Telsa is leading the way for this new horizon and if you ever get a chance to drive one, you’ll quickly learn that you’ll never want to drive a gas vehicle again.

During a recent trip to San Francisco, I spent a day with some friends who were shopping for a new car. We went to dealer after dealer, studying prices and shapes and colors and of course gas mileage. We saw some pretty nice cars. And of course they wanted something affordable and reasonable, but not hideous or unsafe. At the end of the day they went home and I stopped at ONE more place – the Tesla dealership in Burlingame.  I asked to take a test drive and the friendly staff set me up in the Tesla Model S P85, which is the top of the three-car line-up in the Telsa fleet.

First of all, I’m not really a car guy. But that doesn’t matter. There were so many moments while driving this thing, where I found myself saying, “This is just so cool.”

The company is owned by Elon Musk, who also owns Space X, and this makes perfect sense when you climb aboard this space rocket of a car. As the salesman approached the car, it started automatically, sensing the key in his pocket. The door handles which were flush against the door, popped out and I couldn’t help but feel like they really wanted to make something efficient and powerful but, as I mentioned, really cool too.

The first thing I noticed when I sat down in the cockpit of this future car, was the massive 17” touch screen in the middle console. This is your control panel for music, navigation, internet, backup camera and phone.  No more dinking around with your tiny smart phone for that Pandora app, or Google map, this beast of a monitor makes access to these things extremely simple. One of the most important features the computer brings up, are all the Tesla Supercharger stations across the country and even the world. It shows how many are currently in existence but also how many are scheduled to be in place in the next year – which is considerably a lot more. Charging is free at any Tesla shop, and they’re currently spaced out appropriately across the US, so in theory, you could drive across the country for free. The car can also be charged at other non-Tesla chargers but a fee may be required.

After a quick lesson in where all the knobs and buttons were and a demo of the control panel screen, we were off. This car has power. Lots of power. A little acceleration goes a long way, and when you want to slow down (which ideally, you don’t) just letting up on the pedal slows the car down to a point where you may not even need to use the brake. This regenerative braking system is by design to save power. The amount the car slows down when not accelerating, can be adjusted via the control panel as per the driver’s preference.  The P85 is stocked with an 85 kWh battery giving it a range of 265 miles per charge. The 85 has the same battery while the base model 60 has a 60 kWh battery giving it a range of 208 miles per charge.

One of the next things I noticed was how smooth it was, but also how SILENT it was. Even when I was encouraged to give it a little more acceleration, there was no sound. The P85 can do 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. I’m not sure I got it to that on the side roads but it made merging into traffic on the freeway, feel just fantastic. I was told the test car is limited to a mere 80 mph cap but if I had my own, I could get it to 130 mph. In Bay Area traffic, good luck getting anywhere at those speeds. But speaking of traffic – which tends to be a lot of stop and go – the Tesla will give your ankle a break from going back and forth on pedals, thanks to the regenerative braking.

During the drive we hit a rather bumpy road. I immediately noticed that this was no problem at all for the car, and this is due to its Smart Air Suspension. The system automatically adjusts and levels itself out as needed. This system can also be accessed through the control panel to raise or lower the rest of the vehicle if needed for an incline, snow driving or loading/unloading.

The tech of the Tesla S is state-of-the art. And the price tag reflects that. You’re looking at somewhere around $70k for this baby, but it IS a luxury vehicle. A very, very cool luxury vehicle. But if you feel like getting one, all you have to do is head over to teslamotors.com and build yourself a custom car. There is currently somewhere around a three-month wait on the S.

I found myself wanting to drive fast but was also conflicted as I didn’t want to be done with it too quickly either. After driving this car, I really felt like I was getting into a horse-drawn carriage when I finally had to return to my boring old gasoline car. Maybe it’s time to let those “analog” cars die and embrace the future of electric vehicles. If the future is Tesla, you’re going to love it.

Audioboo is now AudioBoom

Audioboom logoAudioboo has been going through some changes. They have changed their name to audioBoom and have a brand new logo to go with the new name.

They also have a new audioBoom app that can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store. It was updated on September 23, 2014. You can still record and edit from within the audioBoom app. You can record up to 10 minutes of content per clip for free and can make as many of those audio clips as you like.

The app can also be used just for listening. AudioBoom has partnered with Sky Sports News, NPR, The Economist, Absolute Radio, the BBC, English Premier League, ABC, The Spectator, AFL, TalkSport, the Guardian, Polydor, Universal Music, and Telegraph. This means you can use the audioBoom app to listen to audio from those sources.

Or, you can use the app to follow your friends who use it, or to continue to listen to podcasters who use the audioBoom app. Those using the app can now send DM s to friends.

Other new additions include ways to find new content on audioBoom. You can explore featured and trending content. It also has something called “Daily Download”. It gives you 2 hours of your favorite audio that is automatically available offline for your commute. It gets refreshed every day. It is now possible to download and store your favorite audioBoom audio clips offline.

MST3K Streaming on Vimeo

mst3k

With the demise of Justin.TV, so went the channel that streamed (albeit, probably illegally) Mystery Science Theater 3k 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Well, chin up fellow fans of the Satellite of Love and all it’s crew, you can now watch the show over on Vimeo!

The folks at MST3K and Vimeo have managed to get 80 episodes available for rental or own. (Who knew Vimeo had movies to rent/own?) Rumor has it that eventually all 197 episodes of the series will be available to watch.

Rentals will cost you $2.99 per episode and $9.99 if you want to buy it. You can get them all for $300.

Winner, winner chicken dinner! Head on over to the site and get yourself a healthy helping of Joel, Crow, Tom, and Mike.

Mystery Science Theater 3K on Vimeo

‘Gotham’ or ‘Batman Without Batman’

Gotham

When I heard this show was coming, I kind of groaned. The description about “Gotham” was that it’s to take place before Batman, Joker, and all the cool bad guys and gadgets. It’s “Batman Babies.” It follows young Jim Gordon and the Gotham PD around to solve crimes. Another cop procedural show, just what we need. I have this feeling that there’s some farm outside of LA somewhere, where writers just sit and churn out cop stories, then when Hollywood orders a new cop show, they just change a few names and settings, and we’re good to go. That’s how I felt about “Almost Human” but at least there were good actors, and the effects were pretty.

But I digress.

I’ll go ahead and say “possible spoilers ahead” even though nothing really happened in this first episode. The only real event that happened, is the one everyone knows – Bruce Wayne’s parents get killed. And they stuck to that. Outside of the names of Batman related characters, I’ve got a feeling they aren’t going to stick to the story lines very closely. We’ve already met Oswald Cobblepot, who will become the Penguin, but instead of the usual short, stout character we know, he’s a tall, slender guy with a limp and greasy hair. A different take, I guess. Young Catwoman is so obvious, yet so absent from this episode there’s no point in going into that really. This first one was a set up episode. As most pilots are. We meet young Jim Gordon. We know it’s him, because we hear his name mentioned about 80 bazillion times. We meet his partner Harvey Bullock, and a few other bad guys and gals.

I always give a show three episodes before I make a call on whether or not to continue. So we’ll see where this goes. I’m a big Batman fan, so I’m in for a few more eps. I just don’t know how great it’s going to be when all the fun stuff about Batman (costumed criminals, the Bat-gadgets, and Batman himself) are removed. I really wish the show took place in the 40’s. Like it did in the comics. A 1940’s Gotham PD would be pretty sweet, in my opinion. But it’s not. It’s modern day.  So I wonder – Will “Gotham”  just sorta leave us with another cop show, but with Batman-related names?

Yahoo Directory is Retiring

Yahoo Directory logoIn a recent Progress Report, Yahoo announced that it will be retiring a few of their products. The one that is getting the most attention is the Yahoo Directory. Is it strange that I feel nostalgia for a piece of the internet that I haven’t actually used in years?

Yahoo Directory is something I remember from when I was in college. It was the resource that made finding information on the internet a whole lot easier. I remember being excited that there were actual categories in place. Yahoo Directory made writing a paper, that had the requirement of finding at least one or two sources from “the internet”, a lot less time consuming. This was back before Google’s search engine even existed.

The announcement about Yahoo Directory’s impending retirement says:

Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the internet. While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory.

There are two other product changes to be aware of. Yahoo Education will close on September 30, 2014. Yahoo explains this decision by noting that the needs of the current users of Yahoo Education “are already well served by alternate online resources”.

The Qwiki app will shut down on November 1, 2014. Those of you who want to download the content you’ve created with Qwiki can start by clicking a link on Yahoo’s Progress Report and logging into your Qwiki account.

A Week With My iPhone 6

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 4.16.07 AM

I was up at midnight, PST to preorder my iPhone 6 from the Verizon Wireless site. I had zero problems getting through and getting it ordered. I was already done and back to reading Facebook when I see Robert Scoble complaining that he can’t get anywhere on the Apple site. Apparently everyone thought that was the only place to go for preorders…? Anyway, a week later, I got my shiny new iPhone 6. The upside to preorders is, no lines to wait in. At around 10:30am last Friday, Fedex rings the bell and drops it off. Done. The downside is, you don’t get to actually touch the phone until you get it. I figured I didn’t need to hold the iPhone 6 Plus because I could already tell it was going to be just too big. My phones go in my front pocket. My keys and money go in the other. If my phone is too big to comfortably fit in my front pocket, it’s just no good. I don’t carry a bag or fanny pack, so it seemed unnecessary to me. A female friend of mine wants a Plus, but that makes sense to me because her phone goes in the purse. No problem. (And don’t get me started about it bending in pockets. We can all see that was a massive over-hype by now.)

Anyway. I got my 6, did a smooth restore from my old 5’s backup and began the tedious task of trying to remember all my passwords and some ringtones, as none of those things transfer from restore to restore. Finally, I was up to par and could actually start using it and appreciating it.

I love the size and feel of the 6. I love the bigger screen and how light it is. It doesn’t feel cheap to me either. iOS8 has some great features that really shine on the 6. I got the 64gb version this time as I got tired of constantly clearing photos and videos off my old 16gb 5. And I’m really glad I upped my space. One of my favorite features is the high speed camera for video. I think everyone I know did a slo-mo video of themselves doing something stupid with their lips. I moved from that to filming my dog drinking water and then saw a helicopter slow its rotors down to nearly nothing. Impressive stuff. The time lapse mode is equally impressive. And the lens seems to handle macro shots really well too. As a photographer I may be biased, but I love all the new slick stuff that’s camera/photo related on the new phones / iOS.

My 5 didn’t have thumbprint recognition, so I’m really digging that. It works really well and it’s nice to just use my thumb when buying stuff from the iTunes and App stores. I’m still finding new things that I like and very few that I don’t. I’ve had a few issues with bluetooth and wifi dropping, but that may have been cleared up with the 8.0.2 update. I’ll have to take note.

All in all, I’m really digging it.