Nordstrom Rack’s Roving Cashiers Are Exactly What We Want

Photo by mphillips007/iStock

C’mon, admit it: You hate people like I do, right? OK, maybe not hate hate — but the fewer of them around, the better. Well, here’s a secret the next time you go shopping.

At the Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut Street, you don’t have to wait in line with other annoying people to purchase an item any longer. You can if you want. But instead, just find a store employee on the floor and ask to checkout. Chances are that the floor employee will be able to ring up your purchases and take your credit card with a smartphone that they’re now carrying around. They’ve only been doing this for about a month. Unfortunately for the employees at Nordstrom, this will ultimately result in fewer cashier jobs. That’s bad for them. But it’s reality. And it’s our fault. Read more »

Comcast Rolls Out Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service Across Entire Service Area

Xfinity store.

Xfinity store.

Comcast announced on Thursday that its latest option for customers looking to break out of Internet contracts — Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service — is now available everywhere in its service area.

The pay-as-you-go service lets customers sign up for internet service without an annual contract or a credit check. And users can renew the service whenever, for a time span of seven or 30 days. A renewal for a week will cost $15 and a full month’s renewal costs $45. To get set up, customers will also need to invest $80 in an initial starter kit, which includes 30 days of service and equipment like a wireless gateway modem-router.  Read more »

The Internet Is Killing Happiness. Can We Stop It?

Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

So, I’ll admit it: I was looking at my phone the moment my two-year-old fell off a stump at our little Fairmount playground and bashed his forehead on a log.

For the record, I wasn’t scanning Instagram or ordering from Amazon; I was texting my husband about dinner. I emphasize this distinction only because it’s what I repeated to myself over and over as I lifted the ice pack to watch the nickel-size lump on my son’s baby skull swell to a goose egg: At least it wasn’t

Also, I thought, as my kid chomped an ice-cream bar and the knot on his forehead turned a sickly purple, kids fall all the time. Heads get bashed. I’m no helicopter mom. Even without the phone, I wouldn’t have caught him. And so on. Eventually, I let it go. Read more »

Watch Out Comcast, Startup Aims to Deliver Cheap Internet

The new touchscreen router from Starry.

The new touchscreen router from Starry.

Chet Kanojia has an incredibly ambitious plan to take on some of the biggest businesses in the world. He aims to provide low-cost, gigabit-speed Internet access delivered through a wireless network. If successful, it could disrupt a multi billion-dollar industry where customers in many markets feel there is little competition.

Called Starry, the company is attempting to offer broadband service without all those clunky wires. It has a touchscreen router that can connect multiple devices. The company’s website offers this clever tagline: “Try unplugging the router,” said no Starry user ever. But Starry also has an antenna that you have to stick out of a window. Not super convenient. Read more »

Tina Fey: Don’t Ask Me to Explain My Jokes

If you’ve followed Tina Fey over the past few years, you know she’s no fan of the Internet — despite the fact that the Internet really, really loves her. On talk show interviews she’s rolled her eyes at blogging culture, and the need to regurgitate stories over and over again. In The Advocate in November, she turned up her nose at the web: “I don’t worry about what the Internet says. Getting in trouble with the Internet is not real. The Internet is not a force you have to obey.” And now, in a new interview with a Net-a-Porter, she attacks again, saying “Steer clear of the Internet and you’ll live forever.”

That statement followed a discussion about a couple episodes and characters on her Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt that some deemed racially insensitive. “We did an  episode and the Internet was in a whirlwind, calling it ‘racist,’ she told the magazine.

Read more »

Comcast CEO Defends Data Caps

Brian Roberts

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts defended the company’s use of data overage charges while speaking at the Business Insider conference this week in New York.

Comcast is rolling out a trial program to add new fees for Internet subscribers who exceed 300 GB of data per month. The fee will be $10 for every 50 GB in data that’s over the threshold. Or they can pay $30 per month to get unlimited Internet service with no data caps. Read more »

Comcast’s 2-Gig Internet Costs Up to $299 Per Month



After Comcast released its super-fast, fiber-based Internet service in several markets, people in Philadelphia were undoubtedly excited. Internet at a speed of 2n gigabits per second (Gbps)? Yes please. Comcast calls it the fastest residential Internet you can buy. Read more »

Comcast to Increase Internet Speeds

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

(Gil C / Shutterstock)

Comcast is increasing Internet speeds for many customers in the Northeastern United States — although Philly still has to wait a while for the ultra-fast 2-gigabit-per-second service that has debuted in select markets.

The cable and Internet giant said it’s Blast! tier of customers will go from 105 megabits per second (Mbps) to 150 Mbps. It’s also introducing a Performance Pro speed tier that will bump many triple-play customers from 25 Mbps to 75 Mbps. Read more »

These Are the 20 Stupidest Computer Passwords

You know you ought to change the passwords you use online more often. You hear about it, you read about it, you even know that lady in accounting who got hacked and is still trying to straighten out her finances six months later. But your passwords are like your slippers — cozy and comfortable. It’s so hard to remember the passwords you already have. You just can’t face the prospect of changing them again. Right?

Well, good news. We’re not here to try to get you to change your computer passwords. We already tried that, and besides, the Wall Street Journal just tried it, too, in an article by Punam A. Keller, a professor at Dartmouth’s school of business. Well, actually, her article was on how businesses can encourage password-changing amongst their clientele. But even Keller admits she hasn’t changed her password — she uses the same one for her computer, iTunes, PayPal, and lots of online shopping sites — in three years.

Doesn’t that make you feel better — knowing that an Ivy League professor who’s getting paid to tell companies how to get their customers to change their passwords doesn’t change her password? That’s the business we’re in today, my friend — making you feel good about yourself.  Read more »

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