Tag Archives: Amazon

Apple Drops New iPhones and iOS

Apple, being the trillion dollar company that it is, has just dropped yet the latest version of its iPhone. The new devices, the iPhone XR iPhone XS and XS Max,  are the new flagships of the Apple product line.  The XR is replacing the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus  and bringing updates like Face ID and an edge-to-edge design.

But lets get one thing straight; these phone won’t come cheap. The iPhone XS will come with  64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage for $999, $1,149 or $1,349 respectively. Throw another $100 on top of that for the iPhone XS Max with the bigger display ($1,099, $1,249 or $1,449). But even with the new features you can only choose from three colors, silver, gold and space gray.

The iPhone XR will start at $749 for 64GB, with 128GB and 256GB also available for $799 and $899. But you do get a better color selection. Apple offers white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red for this model.

In case you’re trying to decide which is best for you the  XR is the entry-level iPhone for this year. In case your money ain’t ready for the new top of the line XS and XS Max. The XS and XS Max are the exact same phone with the difference being two different screen sizes. These are the top of the line models with a better display, better cameras and made with rugged stainless steel.

But aside from the price and pretty pictures these phones will come with some new features that may interest you. These include dual SIM capability allowing you to use the phone with two different numbers. One for work, one for personal calls. Or for people who use prepaid phone cards. If you travel a lot the dual SIM comes in handy to load up SIMs from regional carriers.

Another new feature of the phone is the camera. Look, Apple is getting closer and closer to making taking pictures, professional quality pictures, as simple as ramen noodles.  These new phones offer new photo features like HDR or “high dynamic range” that allows you to blend several pictures together to get a wider range of shadows and highlights. You can’t do this with a normal camera.

The camera also eliminates the split second or two between the time you hit the button and when the picture is actually taken. Known as shutter lag, Apple solved this problem by allowing the phone to take pictures constantly when the camera app is open. These pictures are sent to a buffer then deleted once you do snap the picture saving the image.

Another feature of the camera is called the Bokeh control that allows you to bring the background into focus on your pictures. Pretty cool huh? 

Being worth $1 trillion means you ain’t no one trick pony. Apple is just as good at software as hardware. The company also announced the release of its new iOS operating systems.

If you’re using an Apple desktop computer the new MacOS Mojave is the next major update to the Apple’s operating system. It drops on September 24.  Mojave features a new dark mode for better visibility and legibility, stacks for keeping your desktop nice and neat and an updated Finder that lets you do more without launching another app, a new screenshot app and support for FaceTime calls with up to 32 people.

Last, but not least. Apple updated its HomePod device. Apple is bit behind the only other trillion dollar company in the world, Amazon, when it comes to smart speakers. But Apple did offer a few upgrades for the HomePod including searching for songs by asking Siri about specific lyrics. You can also make and take phone calls from the device and ping that new iPhone (or the old one) in the event you lost it somewhere in the house.  Apple’s HomePod now offers a feature that Alexa already had; multiple timers. This feature lets you keep the HomePod in the kitchen playing music and while timing that cake in the oven. If you can’t decide between the Alexa and the HomePod you should read this article.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Kenya Barris

Netflix has netted yet another major black television producer. Kenya Barris, creator of the ABC comedy Black-ish and the spin-off Grown-ish, has signed a multi-year deal with the streaming television service.

Barris will remain an executive producer on those shows while exclusively developing new series for Netflix. According to Techcrunch Barris’ deal only covers his television work because Barris, who co-wrote Girls Trip, has a first-look movie deal at Fox. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Barris agreed to a three year deal with numbers in “high-eight-figure range.”

Barris joins Netflix after negotiating his way out of a contract with ABC Studios. Barris’ label, Khalabo Ink Society, will write and executive produce Netflix shows that “reflect culture through an urban- youth- and female-focused lens.”

Netflix Vice President of Originals, Cindy Holland said of Barris, “Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers. Kenya uses his voice to make audiences more aware of the world around them, while simultaneously making them laugh. His honesty, comedic brilliance and singular point of view, combined with the creative freedom he will enjoy at Netflix, promises to create powerful new stories for all our members around the world.”

Netflix is bringing onboard some of television’s  greatest black talent. Television producer Shonda Rhimes  joined Netflix last year. But Netflix is not alone. It seems that streaming television is the medium of choice for black talent as heavyweight producers like Jordan Peele and Barry Jenkins have joined Amazon and Oprah Winfrey has joined Apple streaming television efforts.

 

Microsoft Invests in STEM for Young Black Girls

Kimberly Bryant

Microsoft, the world’s biggest maker of computer software, announced a partnership with Black Girls Code and the Technology Access Foundation to bring STEM education to students of color. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the $500,000 partnership.  (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.)

Black Girls Code provides programming and technology education to young and pre-teen girls of color. The curriculum is provided through clubs  and taught by women engineers of color. BGC can be found in 13 cities across the U.S. and, with the funding from Microsoft, will launch their 14th chapter in Seattle.

Founder of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant, explains her mission;  “By launching Black Girls Code, I hope to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.”

Trish Millines Dziko

  Technology Access Foundation provides STEMbyTAF. Former Microsoft executive Trish Millines Dziko founded STEMbyTAF in 1997. The program is an out-of-school program that teaches technology skills, provides internships and college prep to students of color in the Seattle area.

Since its launch TAF has opened its own school and become a model for creating learning environments that erase racial disparity in academic achievement. STEMbyTAF is focused on duplicating their successful formula in other schools. TAF has partnerships with Amazon, Comcast, Expedia, Google and Boeing.

Black Girls Code also has partnerships with several of Silicon Valley’s top technology companies including Google, Oracle, Adobe, Verizon and AT&T.

 

E-Commerce Delivers

E-commerce war is raging! E-commerce players are going all out to get your money doing whatever it takes to get you shopping on their website. The war has changed they we shop, probably forever.

Electronic or e-commerce, the act of shopping online and having the goods delivered directly to your home, is exploding. More and more online stores and regular brick and mortar stores are offering to deliver your purchases to you anywhere.

Amazon Prime customers can get their purchases delivered on the same day with Amazon Prime NowCustomers need only check the item description to see if it is available for same day delivery in their zip code. Amazon claims it has over 1 million items available for same day delivery in 8,000 cites.

Now Amazon has stepped up its game by announcing a new service that gives its couriers access to your vehicle for the purpose of placing your purchases inside.  Amazon is planning to use the Internet connected capabilities in many modern vehicles.  In cooperation with GM and Volvo Amazon will be launching the new service in 37 cities in the U.S.

In order to use the service the car owner must add their car to the Amazon Key app with a description of the vehicle allowing Amazon’s couriers to locate it. The vehicle must be parked within a certain radius of an address used for Amazon deliveries, mostly likely home or work. Driveways, parking lots, parking garages, and street parking are all eligible locations.

Amazon has also asked its customers for permission to enter their home when they are not home to drop off packages. The program, known as Amazon Key, relies on Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock connected to the Internet using your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol used by many smart home devices.

When a delivery person arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the package barcode that sends a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud then triggers the camera to start recording the entry and delivery. The courier then swipes the screen unlocking the door. They enter, drop off the package and re-lock the door with another swipe. The customer is then notified of the delivery accompanied by a short video showing the drop-off to confirm everything was done properly. Amazon also owns Whole Foods which also offers grocery deliveries in an hour.

Amazon is deadly serious about perfecting the art of delivery. The company is planning to create its own delivery service that will go into direct competition with FedEx and UPS. Its also planning to use drones for delivery a program it has already launched in the U.K.

But brick and mortar retailers are not standing still while Amazon perfects the art of delivery. Walmart, America’s largest retail chain store, is teaming up with with DoorDash for its online grocery delivery service. The program is set to kick off in Atlanta and eventually expand across the United States.

The service builds upon a previous Walmart delivery program. If the customer is within one of the new delivery areas they will be able to request delivery and set up a time for the delivery.  A Walmart employee will pull all your items together and handoff the groceries to DoorDash for delivery. In a challenge to Amazon Walmart is also offering two day delivery for selected online purchases but, unlike Amazon, no membership is required.

Target stores are also getting into the delivery game as well. Target is planning delivery  to nearly 60 locations across five major cities, Boston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. As part of the checkout process the retailer will offer customers the choice of having their purchases delivered to their homes. The key factor to the city selection for the delivery program is that these cities have a high concentration of car-less consumers who routinely use public transportation.  The delivery service will cost the $7.

Groceries delivery is slowly becoming the most in demand service for e-commerce shoppers. More and and more retail grocers, in addition to Whole Foods, are fighting for your dollars with on demand grocery deliveries. Walmart expects to be delivering groceries in over 100 markets by the end of the year. This includes a new meal kit service from Walmart’s Culinary and Innovation Center. If you are Sam’s Club customer you can also take advantage of its delivery service.

But keep in mind that its not just groceries that can be purchased online and delivered to your home. Used car buyers can use Carvana to shop, select, finance and have the car of their choice delivered right to heir driveway.

Breaking It Down

Customer convenience is the new standard. E-commerce, like retail, must compete. And we live in a service based economy. So delivery is the new frontier of customer service. Fast and when and where the customer demands it. This is the evolution of service and customer satisfaction. I am not surprised. The Internet is changing everything.

But is all this online shopping and on demand delivery hurting retail businesses?  Not exactly. Many consumers, and experts, believe that retail stores are dying but that is not true. What has actually happened is that brick and mortar retailers have modified their operations to actually become part of the e-commerce experience. Many retailers, like Walmart, are offering customer the option to buy the product online and pick it up in the store. In addition, retailers will encourage shoppers to go online if they can’t find the item they are looking for in the store and will sweeten the deal with free delivery. Some stores will even go online for you to locate your product and you can complete the purchase in the store. The brick and mortar retailer seems to be safe for now. Of course e-commerce explodes during the holiday season and that can be attributed to the crowds and ugliness of Black Friday sales.

According to Forbes there are five signs that retail is still king of the shopping hill.

  1. All but one of the top ten U.S. retailers are brick and mortar chains.
  2. Brick and mortar stores are more profitable that e-commerce.
  3. Amazon purchased Whole Foods.
  4. Millennials And generation Z prefer real-life stores.
  5. Online retailers are being eaten by legacy retailers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Barry Jenkins, Prince

Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins, director of the Academy Award winning film “Moonlight” has signed a deal with Amazon. Jenkins will write and direct a dramatic series based on the best selling book “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. The streaming television series will follow the life of a young escaped slave named Cora.

Jenkins was a relative unknown until he directed “Moonlight.” His work includes the film “Medicine for Melancholy.” He directed one episode of the Netflix series “Dead White People“, and one episode of Futurestates on PBS

If you follow the Oscars you will remember that “Moonlight” was at the center of an onstage debacle at the Oscars.  The award for Best Picture was mistakenly given to the film “La La Land“. The mistake was quickly corrected and the statuette was handed over on stage. Moonlight also won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor.

Jenkins’ Pastel Productions will executive produce the series in cooperation  with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. Pitt and Plan B also produced “Moonlight.”

Jenkins praised the partnership with Amazon saying the streaming service’s “reference for storytelling and freeness of form” as being “wholly in line with our vision.”

Prince

Prince is reborn online. His Royal Purpleness had a rocky relationship with the Internet and his music was rarely found online. But since his tragic death Prince’s music has returned to online streaming.

Prince’s music hasn’t been on Spotify  or any music streaming service for years. Prince fans can still buy it on iTunes,  but its availability on Apple Music is very limited. 

Prince was always very protective of his work and felt the Internet cheated artists of their true value. He removed his music a from the major streaming services, with the exception of  JayZ’s Tidal. But with his death things are changing. The Purple One is back.

Prince’s albums and compilation albums from Warner Bros., 27 of them, have returned to to streaming sites. Albums now available include some his most popular including “For You”, “Prince”, “Dirty Mind”, “Controversy”, “1999″, “Purple Rain”, and others.

Prince, the man is no longer with us. But Prince the artist lives on and continues to produce music. CEO of Warner Bros. Records, Cameron Strang  said in a statement that the company is “deeply aware of our responsibility to safeguard and nurture his incredible legacy.” Warner Bros. is planning to release a re-mastered edition of Purple Rain. In addition the company is also working on two albums of Prince’s unreleased music,  and two live concert films scheduled for relaese early this summer.  Prince has an agreement with Warner Bros. to license his pre-1996 music releases. 

Prince’s music catalog, including unheard rare releases, landed on the streaming services after the Grammy’s. You can hear his mighty Purple legacy on streaming music services, including Apple Music, Amazon Unlimited, Deezer, Google Play, Pandora and Spotify.

ALERT! – Amazon Email Scam – ALERT!

amazon-logoCyber criminals are sending out fake Amazon emails telling you that there is a problem with your order.

Customers are being told to resolve the problem by clicking on a link to confirm certain information. The scam warns victims failure to do so will freeze their Amazon account. 

The email directs people to a replica Amazon website. These websites are excellent forgeries and can fool even experts. It makes it very easy to fall for the scam.

Once on the fake website the customer/victim is asked to input personal information. When customers/victims have entered in their details, they are asked to click a ‘Save & Continue’ button. This then takes them to Amazon’s official website making it even more difficult for most people to suspect or detect any fraudulent activity.

Don’t fall for this scam. If you receive this email contact Amazon customer support to check your account. Do not click on any link in the email and don’t use the phone number in the email. That could be the scammer as well. Even if the email is real you are better off being safe than sorry. You can learn more about this scam and how to protect yourself by visiting Get Safe Online.

Cash Back Websites That Are For Real!

Lets get back to my favorite cliche; Black people don’t play when it comes to money! So one of the things you need to know is what websites are for real when it comes to getting cash back.

The bottom line is, who is being real about giving you money back? Rather-Be-Shopping writer Kyle James researched and ranked cash back sites that are for real when it comes to getting you money. James checked out the dirty details of some of the most popular cash back sites to show us the ones with the best rewards program or the biggest payout. So lets begin.

TopCashBack

topcashback_logoTopCashback.com touts itself as “USA’s Most Generous Cashback site.”  According to TopCashBack they have over six million members around the world and guarantee the highest cash back. Quite a claim.

TopCashBack is fairly easy to work with. First of all  you can join for free then you start shopping at their website, or via their mobile app, and leave the rest to them. Once you make a purchase your account will get a percentage of cash back in seven days and a confirmation email.

TopCashback offers cash back rates higher than even Ebates.  And you can withdraw your money anytime you want since TopCashBack has no minimum required on withdrawals.

Another thing you probably want to know is who are their merchants and how much money can I get back? Here is a list of their top merchants. Amazon up to 10% back, Groupon up to 10% back, Walmart up to 6% back, Lowe’s 6% back, Gap brands 8% back, Macys.com 8% back, American Eagle 6% back, Overstock.com 5% back.

Get the TopCashBack app for Apple here. For Android click here.

ibotta

ibotta

With ibotta you can forget points or credit. You get your money via PayPal or you can buy a gift card with the cash back. And it works with any product. You start by downloading the app. Then activate rebate offers and redeem them on the things you buy daily. You know simple stuff like bread and milk, vegetables, snacks, beer, wine, and even ice cream. How easy is it to make money with this app? As easy as a selfie!  After you buy your stuff just take a picture of your receipt with the app and wait for the cash to rain into your account. Pays more than a selfie don’t it? Truly, the number of cash back offers makes the app special. And here is a little something extra; click here to give ibotta a try and score a $10 bonus once you redeem your first rebate.

ibotta has hundreds of partners that include, Walmart, Target, Rite-AidWalgreens, CVS, Sam’s Club, Safeway, Dollar General, Whole Foods Market and many, many others. To see the whole list click here.

Download iBotta for Apple here. And for Android click here.

SwagBucks

swagbucks

This site boasts 3,000+ partners, How’s that for a start? SwagBucks is a website that allows you to earn “SwagBucks” that you can use to get free gift cards and the much beloved cash back. Here’s what you need to know.

You earn SwagBucks by shopping online using the SwagBucks search engine. You watch sponsored videos, complete surveys, play online games like Deal or No Deal and Bejeweled 2. These activities allow the shopper to earn SwagBucks for gift cards from merchants like Amazon and Starbucks. And if you earn 5,000 points you can score a $50 ExxonMobil gift card. You can rack up SwagBucks fairly quickly. For example one SwagBuck equals one cent so 100 SwagBucks adds up $1.00. Lets do the math; if you can shoot for 100 SwagBucks a day that equals a $10 Amazon gift card per week. Nice! You can also get a PayPal cash card for your SwagBucks.

This link will show you how you can earn a $50 Amazon gift card every month from SwagBucks.

SwagBucks app for Apple here. For Android click here.

BeFrugal

befrugal_logo

This site guarantees the highest cash back rates. That should interest you especially if you are a Walmart customer. And who isn’t? Walmart customers can get as much as 4% cash back. But lets not stop there! BeFrugal will not only match any competitors cash back rate, but they’ll “match 125% of the higher cash back rate.”  BeFrugal also guarantees that every coupon they post will work. If you find one that doesn’t they fork over $5 to you. And if you redeem your cash back with a Amazon gift card you get an additional 3% cash back. The icing on the cake is BeFrugal has over 5,000 merchant partners.

You’ll find that BeFrugal just doesn’t have the name recognition and notoriety of Ebates or SwagBucks. But don’t shy away from any company that works this hard to get cash back in your pocket. BeFrugal also offers a generous $10 bonus for new members. And lets be real, how can you beat a company who’s tagline is, “We are a bunch of cheap, thrifty, penny pinchers who believe that a dollar saved is two dollars earned.”

Ebates.com

ebates

Ok, Ebates has been around since the late 90’s. Thats pretty much the birth of the Internet if my calendar serves me correctly. So that makes them the oldest cash back website.

Ebates has over 2,000 merchant partners and if you like shopping at JCPenney then you can get as much as 12% percent cash back. Other partners include Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Target and Macys.com.

This site works by having you shop online through their site and click through to the store you want to shop at. Ebates keeps their site up to date with money saving coupon codes.  Their site is newly designed to make it easier to use and intuitive. Basically you won’t need a tech degree to use it. Ebates also offers a strong sign-up bonus of $10 which will get credited to your account when you spend $25 at any of its merchant partners.

Ebates app for Apple is here. Click here for Android.

Mr. Rebates

mr-rebates-logo

Mr. Rebates has 2,000 retail partners and has been in business since 2002.  One of their unique selling points is the “Store of the Week” which offers a really nice wad of cash back for a limited-time. Once Nike was the “Store of the Week” and offered 15% cash back up from the normal 4%. Don’t miss the “Store of the Week” sale because their cash back percentage is sick! I mean its outrageous and you’ll be sorry you missed it.  How do you not miss it?  Just sign-up and get their newsletter via email and you’ll know what  stores they’re currently featuring. Then sit back and wait for your favorite store to be featured. Don’t sleep on this one.

Finally, Mr. Rebates does not have a mobile app or a sign up bonus, But you can get your money via check or PayPal. But there is a $10 minimum.

Main Street SHARES

mainstreetshares

Maybe you remember BigCrumbs.com? I don’t but thats not important. Well they have changed their name and their game. This company takes cash back to the next level by letting you buy into the company itself! Wait…what? Yes, you can buy your way into the company!

MainStreet Shares has 2,000+ partners including Dell computer, Sears and Walmart. The company uses pretty much the same cash back model as the others and pays its users monthly via PayPal. They have no mobile app or sign up bonus.

But they do have a new way to get you some money. As I said you can buy into the company. Here’s how; After you register for free, you’ll earn a commission when shopping and receive “virtual shares” or msSHARES.  As the owner of these msSHARES you get paid back when MainStreetSHARES is acquired (bought out) by a larger company. According to their website, “MainStreetSHARES is the only program that shares everything with its members.” The company is contractually bound to set aside at least 50% of the net cash proceeds for members to share. The company  believes they will be ready for purchase within the next two years. This is where the expression “getting in on the ground floor,” comes from.

Now you’re gonna ask, how much money can I make on this deal? The website explains it best. According to Main StreetSHARES a $1 billion selling price shakes out like this.  “If the net cash proceeds to MainStreetSHARES from a sale is $1 billion, then MainStreetSHARES will set aside $500 million (50% of $1 billion) for members to share. If Sally has earned .01% (one hundredth of one percent) of the total msSHARES earned by all members, then Sally will receive .01% of $500 million, or $50,000.” You like the sound of that don’t cha!

Other cash back sites you may want to have a look at;

ShopatHome.com

shopathome

MyPoints.com

mypoints2

MyPoints offers different ways to earn points, many don’t even require you to shop at all. You can also redeem points for airline miles and hotel bookings or redeem your points for cash via PayPal.

CouponCabin

couponcabin_large

CouponCabin has a lot of “Exclusive Offers” that have a higher, limited-time, cash back rate. It looks like some of these offers are only good for 24 hours and some are only good for a certain number of redemptions.

CouponCactus

coupon-cactus-logo

Now you know.

Race and Technology – Algorithms

Algorithm– a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

AlgorithmsIf you think computing, technology and the Internet is color blind you would be wrong. We are learning that race plays a big part in the way computers operate because people operate computers.

Amazon is currently under fire because its algorithms have told it not to offer Amazon Prime service to minority areas of Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York City and Washington, D.C. The algorithm basically figured out that these areas are unprofitable. According to Amazon it was not a racist act but instead a simple business decision based on an algorithm.  But the question remains; is this racism?

Algorithms can be racist and sexist. Algorithms decide what ads minorities and women see on websites. Studies have shown that marketing algorithms recognize certain patterns that indicate the race and gender of the person by the websites they visit.  This is called bias. Because of algorithms women will see jobs that pay less than men and Black people see ads for certain neighborhoods but not others.  The result is that certain information and opportunities are hidden or withheld from women and Black people.

An analysis by Bloomberg reveals that Amazon has some explaining to do. Amazon claims that it cares not who shops at their online stores. According to Craig Berman Amazon’s Vice President of Global Communications, ““We don’t know what you look like when you come into our store, which is vastly different than physical retail. We are ridiculously prideful about that. We offer every customer the same price. It doesn’t matter where you live.”

Amazon has been working to compete with the retail stores by meeting the need for immediate gratification of buying something and having it right then and there. Amazon’s same day delivery is meant to do just that. It promises same day delivery on millions of products for Prime members in cities where the service is available. The service is available in 27 cities with coverage in most areas within the city limits.  However Bloomberg’s analysis shows the service is not available in predominantly black neighborhoods in six major same-day delivery cities. African-Americans are about half as likely to live in neighborhoods with access to Amazon same-day delivery as white residents.

Amazon is not deliberately making decisions on where to deliver based on race. According to Berman the ethnic make up of neighborhoods isn’t part of the data Amazon uses to make decisions on where to deliver.  “When it comes to same-day delivery, our goal is to serve as many people as we can, which we’ve proven in places like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Demographics play no role in it. Zero.”

After coming under fire for its algorithms Amazon has changed some of its delivery areas as a result.  In Boston, Amazon has expanded to the predominantly Black community of Roxbury. Amazon has also responded to complaints in the Bronx, New York and Chicago.

But there is clearly more to algorithms than just performing calculations. A recent discovery by an MBA student revealed a  search on Google for unprofessional hairstyles returned hundreds of pictures of black women with natural hairstyles. A search for professional hairstyles returned  pictures of  white women.  In many of the images the hairstyles were similar with the color of the woman’s skin the only difference. This is the algorithm at work.

But you have to ask; how does an algorithm recognize a black sounding name?  If a person were to Google search a black sounding name the ads that appear with the search return are often for services that let you look up arrest records.  Another example occurred last July when  Google’s facial recognition software tagged black faces with the word gorilla. A Google engineer apologized and fixed the problem. But another search using the word “nigger house” or “slave quarters” returned images of the Whites House. How does this happen?

Some researchers believe that search results that reveal racial or gender biases is the result of the programmers working on an algorithm. Programmers are overwhelmingly white men. Could this be an extension of the lack of diversity in the technology industry? Researchers cite the disproportionate ratio of 2:1 male to female ratio in students seeking coding careers and an even more dismal ration of black programmers. This diversity gap of racial and gender bias in algorithms demands urgent attention and correction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

App of the Week – Earny

earny_LEverybody shops online. Black people especially enjoy the power and convenience of e-commerce. But shopping online has one big drawback and that is buying something only to discover it at a cheaper price later or at another website. That is why Earny is the App of the Week.

Earny allows online shoppers to get a better price by finding the item you purchased at a cheaper price and then getting you a refund for the difference. Yeah, you read that right! Earny will get some money back for you. Not only that but you pretty much don’t have to do a thing.

The app tracks your online purchases and finds your e-receipts by connecting with your email and Amazon accounts to see if you got the best deal. If Earny finds a lower price it will request a refund for you and take a 25 percent cut of the action. The balance will be credited back to your payment card. Yeah, you read that right! Earny automatically tracks your purchases and files for refunds or credits when it beats the price you paid.

Earny is programmed to understand the price match policy of online stores and knows how to file claims without any help from you. Think of it as a robot refund machine.

Earny can track purchases from over 50 stores including such giant retailers as Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Nordstrom, and many others. Is this the bomb or what?

Earny is about to get a lot better according to co-founder Oded Vakrat.  Vakrat plans to provide consumers with the same protections across a variety of services.

“For example, flight tickets, hotels, car insurance, health insurance, phone plans – all those things we will focus on in the future,” he says. “We want Earny to watch your back for every payment you make,” adds Vakrat.

Earny is free and available at Apple and the company is developing an Android version.

Celebrity Cyber Report – Dr. Dre, Kanye West

Dr. Dre

Dre


Word on the street is that
Apple and Dr. Dre are collaborating on a new television series starring the rich and famous NWA alum. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Apple is financing a scripted series starring Dr. Dre. and an Apple executive. Entitled “Vital Signs” the series to be released by Apple Music has been described as a “dark semi-autobiographical drama.” THR insiders have revealed that Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae are among the additional cast.

“Vital Signs” has been described as a dark drama filled with its fair share of with violence and sex. Filming has begun and according to the THR naked extras simulated sex in a mansion in the Bird Streets neighborhood of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills.

Apple, known mostly for its computers and iPhones has reportedly been interested in producing original programming for a few years. This interest is sparked by the success of streaming media giants Netflix and Amazon. The original concept for the show is the brainchild of Dre himself and he pitched it to his partner  Jimmy Iovine ‘Vital Signs’ marks Apple’s first serious investment in scripted television and the first season is slated for six episodes produced by Dre.

Dre, who’s government name is Andre Young, is rollin’!  His recent successes include his bio-pic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ which blasted onto the big screen to the tune of $200 million and some how got Suge Knight charged with murder.  In 2015 he also dropped his first album  in 15 years entitled ‘Compton’ As of January it had sold 502,000 copies in the U.S. Oh! And don’t forget Beats by Dr. Dre headphones sold to Apple for $3 billion!

Kanye keeps busy. As if launching a clothing line, a magazine and a new album was not enough it appears he in another dust up relating to Taylor Swift.

Kanye’ s Madison Square Garden concert celebrating the release of his new album ‘The Life of Pablo’ or  T.L.O.P. ignited the controversy.  The album is only available from the Jay-Z’s Tidal music service. One particular cut entitled ‘Famous’ included the line, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.”  Some believe it’s a reference to Taylor Swift. Kanye interrupted her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, remember that? Thank Beyonce for cleaning that mess up. It was thought the two had made peace. But maybe not.

The controversy surrounds the idea that Swift actually had a chance to read the lyrics before Kanye released the song. At least that is what  TMZ is reporting and that she approved it.

According to Kanye  he called Taylor and had a long talk with her about the offending lyric. ” …and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings.” On Twitter Kanye said he can’t take credit for the line. Kanye insists Swift had dinner with a friend of his during which she is supposed to have said; “I can’t be mad at Kanye because he made me famous!”

New York Times’ music critic Jon Caramanica is telling a different story.  According to Caramanica who shared a statement  from Swift’s spokesperson condemning the track. In the statement the representative wrote;  “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.'”

This just the latest ugly skirmish surrounding Kanye’s latest release. He has also been caught up in a  Twitter spat with Wiz Khalifa . West criticized his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, the model and activist who has a child with Khalifa. In addition he went on the record defending Bill Cosby’s innocence also on Twitter.

Now with all that going on Kanye has also been working on  video game. No, I’m not kidding. According to Thenextweb.com  Kanye showed off a video game he had worked on with the title  ‘Only One.’ According to West, “The idea of the game is, my mom traveling through the gates of heaven.” Told you he was busy and he better stay that way. Kanye tweeted that he is $53 million in debt and pleaded for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to come to his rescue. Really Kanye? Don’t you have Dre’s number?