The Emerging Radioshack/Netflix Debacle

On Sunday, February 23rd, Radioshack began a promotion to make it possible for anyone who bought a laptop, tablet, or cellphone to receive a code good for 6 months of Netflix online streaming service. The deal can be found on their website. However, not all is well in promotion land. Since the promotion period began there have been cancelled orders, widespread theft, and generally more questions than answers. To fully explain, it will help to start at the beginning.

Radioshack announced this deal last week, and it was to begin Sunday that any online or in store purchase of a laptop, tablet, or phone would result in a code being emailed or printed on receipt. That code would be entered at another redemption site, which would then generate a code that could be redeemed on Netflix for 6 months of services (around a $48 value). The issues all began with the first redemption process.

Initially the redemption site, The Promo Code Card, had to send out notices that Netflix codes would be sent out within two days. This would be fine except that some savvy (or scummy, depending on your interpretation) internet users found a way to manipulate the redemption process.

Users on slickdeals, a deal finding and sometimes deal exploiting website, found that the URL of the redemption website could be changed upon trying to enter a code, resulting in a valid Netflix subscription code being generated. Within hours, many of Netflix codes that were allocated to this promotion were stolen and some were redeemed or put up for sale on Ebay.

This means that those with legally obtained codes could either be receiving an already redeemed code, or they might not receive a code at all. To make matters worse, Radioshack has declined to respond as of Tuesday afternoon. The only change has been an update to the terms of service, requiring a higher purchase amount, for receiving a Netflix code that has likely already been used.

Who is to blame for this issue? Radioshack certainly could have benefited from employing a more sound delivery system for the promotional codes. Utilizing a shell of a website that initially cracked under traffic, then was so easily manipulated, while making the goods so easy to steal, certainly doesn’t bode well for their online marketing decision making.

Plenty of blame can also fall on the redemption website designers. Getting the trust of a large company such as Radioshack usually means that the job will be taken seriously, rather than having a major promotion be handle by as they put it “a website design in process”.

Some blame can be put on the Slickdeals users who decided to exploit the website error. By trying to exploit the deal, exploiting it, and then sharing the exploit with others in the name of building their online reputation, they likely ruined a good promotion that others could have benefited from. I am a fan of deal websites, but when scoring a good deal becomes an exercise in manipulation and theft, it is no longer what I would consider a slick deal.

Radioshack has not addressed these issues yet. A press release to give some indication if the thousands of customers who tried to correctly participate in this promotion will be receiving what they were promised will hopefully be coming soon. Until then, I am back to paying 8 bucks a month for my online streaming needs.

Online Dealsp>In the pantheon of movies based on television shows, there’s way more bad than good. Actually, now that I think about it, they probably don’t even deserve their own pantheon&;-more like a dimly lit janitorial closet or a Burger King bathroom. Sure, there’s some high-quality examples like The Untouchables or The Fugitive, but more often than not you end up with Lost in Space or Land of the Lost. When the content’s flowing in the other direction, from big screen to small, there’s a slightly better hit-to-holy-bananas-what-a-miss ratio, but still for every M*A*S*H or The Odd Couple, there’s a handful of Ferris Bueller s.

Showrunner Jason Katims, however, has a pretty snappy track record when it comes to making Movie: The TV Show. He’s responsible for turning films like Friday Night Lights and Parenthood into strong multi-season character dramas. Now, he has taken on About a Boy, the 2002 comedy-drama in which Hugh Grant broke out of his typecast as a lovably awkward wag to play a lovably curmudgeonly wag who befriends a young social misfit and his single mother. This isn’t the first time this has been tried-Patrick Dempsey starred in an attempt to adapt the film to series back in 2003, but it was dropped presumably because of excess levels of McDreaminess. In Katims’ version, which premieres Feb. 22 on NBC after the Olympics, he has replaced London with San Francisco, and Grant with Bent ‘s David Walton.

The pilot essentially takes the plot of the film and hits fast-forward: Will, a lovably rakish wag, tries to pick up a woman at a single parents support group despite the fact that the only child living in his Painted Lady is himself. Then the 11-year-old Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) and his high-strung vegan mother (Minnie Driver) move in next door and invade his life. If you’ve seen the movie, you might be better off just skipping the first episode since it’s mainly a retread, but Katims nails its sweetly wry tone-and that of the Nick Hornsby source material-and Walton is genuinely engaging as a bro-ier version of Will. Stockham, too, is great as the half-dopey, half-precocious Marcus. Overall, it’s a whole lot of premise-setting and foundation-building, but there’s enough here to be optimistic that this will be one more tick in the Good column of movie/TV synergy. B+

CORRECTED-Coupons.com files for IPO of up to $100 mln

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Online Coupon Codes company Coupons.com Inc filed with U.S. regulators to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering of its common stock.

The company provides digital coupons and makes money when a customer downloads a coupon for redemption at a grocer or a retailer.

Coupons.com is backed by asset manager T. Rowe Price Group Inc and investment firm Passport Ventures LLC. T. Rowe Price holds about 12 percent stake, while Passport Ventures owns about 23 percent.

Goldman Sachs, Allen & Co, BofA Merrill Lynch and RBC Capital were underwriting the IPO, the company told the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission in a preliminary prospectus on Friday. ( link.reuters.com/jun56v)

Coupons.com, founded in 1998, intends to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COUP”.

The filing did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell or their expected price.

Shares of RetailMeNot Inc, which also sells online coupons, have risen about 70 percent since their debut in July.

The consumer e-commerce market is projected to more than double to 1.9 billion users between 2012 and 2017, according to market research firm IDC.

Net proceeds from the offering would be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, Mountain View, California-based Coupons.com said in the filing.

The company’s net loss narrowed to $12.8 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, from $50.1 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 51 percent to $115.3 million.

The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO could be different. (Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore)

Unlocked Sony Xperia Z Deals on Amazon - Xperia Z Selling for Only $450

Unlike other major smartphone manufacturers whose devices are selling at discounted prices on Amazon Sales, Sony’s Xperia phones can actually be purchased for cheaper than the MSRP, regardless if high-end, midrange or lower-end. These include a $450 deal for the early-2013 flagship Xperia Z, and a similarly good offer for the newer Xperia Z1, which was launched in the fall of 2013 and will be arriving soon as an exclusive offering on T-Mobile (as the Xperia Z1S).

The Sony Xperia Z, which is best known as the waterproof and dustproof device that debuted at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, also includes a 5-inch, 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2 GB RAM, and 13-megapixel rear camera, all hallmark specs of the usual flagship handset available on the market. That’s what makes it such a good deal at $449.99, or $330 less than the regular selling price of $779.99.

Buyers shopping for something newer, however, may be more interested in the Xperia Z1, which is listed as the “Xperia Honami Z1”, after its internal codename ahead of launch. The device costs $576.90, though it can also be purchased for $530.83 used under “More Buying Choices.” The Xperia Z1 comes with a 5-inch, 1080p display like the Z1, but has a higher-end 20-megapixel rear camera, as well as several camera-specific features not available on the Z1.

The rest of Amazon’s Xperia deals are mostly for midrange and entry-level devices, though the Sony Xperia ION can make a good case for being in the upper crust of the midrange class, even with its comparative age. Its specs include a 4.6-inch, 1280 x 720 display, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, and a 12-megapixel rear camera, with Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box. Pricing is at $249.94, good for massive savings of $450.05 off the regular list price of $699.99.

The so-called “James Bond phone”, the Sony Xperia T, is another midrange-ish device selling at considerably less than its original retail price - that’s $285.66, or $434.33 less than the regular price tag of $719.99. Specs include a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a 13-megapixel rear camera.

As for lower-end Xperia phones, the Xperia L comes with a 4.3-inch, 854 x 480 display, a dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, and an 8-megapixel rear camera. That’s still good enough for midrange, but compared to other Xperia handsets, the Xperia L is decidedly lesser-specced than the other phones mentioned in this recap. Pricing is as low as $236.81, which isn’t as big a discount off the regular price of $349.99.

The Xperia SP, on the other hand, comes with similar specs (8-megapixel rear camera, dual-core processor, 8 GB internal storage), but with a slightly larger display at 4.6 inches diagonally, and 1280 x 720 (HD) resolution. Pricing is regularly set at $469.99, but Amazon has it selling for just $299.99, or $170 less than what buyers would normally be paying.

What Is Boxing Day, And Why Do Canadians Celebrate It?

animal christmas cardsp>You may have been celebrating Boxing Day for decades without actually knowing what it stands for.

Observed annually on December 26 in Canada, the U.K. and Commonwealth countries around the world, Boxing Day was traditionally the day employers would give their staff Christmas presents, called “boxes,” to celebrate the season. But since the day after Christmas is now usually a statutory holiday, in our modern society, we now often give those boxes to ourselves.

Or at least that’s one way of looking at this longtime tradition, which has been noted for centuries. There’s no exact definition of Boxing Day, though some tie it to British servants who helped their lords and ladies with Christmas dinner and literally took home boxes (and got a day off) the next day. Samuel Pepys noted the existence of such boxes in his diary in 1663.

In Canada, as well as the U.K. and Australia, December 26 is now better known as a day for scooping up shopping deals, similar to Black Friday in the U.S. Most stores open their doors early and discount prices on items ranging from clothing to technology to appliances. In recent years, some shops have started their sales even before Christmas has begun, hoping for more spending from customers.

In other countries, December 26 has taken on a different name. In Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, it’s known as Second Christmas Day, simply extending the holiday for an extra day. In Ireland, they celebrate St. Stephen’s Day, or the Day of the Wren, participating in parades in masks and suits.

Also on HuffPost:

Black Thursday: Political debate at the Thanksgiving dinner table

By Nancy Derringer

Who to throttle first at your Thanksgiving table? Is it Uncle Clay with his no-indoor-voice diatribes against the socialist Kenyan in the White House? Or your overeducated vegan niece Violet, who is forever trying to “liberate” the centerpiece? Put down that carving knife. Some thoughts on surviving politics at the holiday table (You’re welcome)

The word “rant” is overused in describing today’s political discourse, but what this man, a psychologist in his 50s, is working himself up to can hardly be called anything else.

He is sitting at a table in a gracious home in Grosse Pointe Park, among friends and friends of friends, invited to a discussion about why people on opposite sides of political arguments find it so hard to get along. There’s pizza and salad, beer and wine, but evidently not even these social salves are working.

Asked to share any experience where he might have been estranged from a friend or family member over politics, he replies, “I am estranged from everybody.” The table roars with laughter, but he goes on: Self-described as “extremely liberal,” he acknowledges those who say “we have to get along.” However, he adds, “I can’t find common ground with people who struggle with evolution as an issue. It’s the Scopes monkey trial all over again, and I really don’t have time for it anymore.”

As we gather for Thanksgiving, the country is, we hear often these days, more divided than ever. Whether one’s household skews red or blue, we’re likely to find ourselves having a number of common experiences in times like these: A social-media friend posts regularly about the president’s Kenyan birth and secret Muslim allegiances. A parent becomes obsessed with events at a Libyan embassy he couldn’t find on a map. An adult child returns home for Thanksgiving dinner, only to demand the table discuss Rachel Maddow’s revelations about the abuse of “immediate effect” legislation by Michigan Republicans.

How bad is it? Even the Cheneys, whom progressives consider the Vader family of American politics, are feuding over gay marriage.

Two well-paid advocates insulting one another might make for good television. But parents and children doing the same over Thanksgiving turkey can split families and friends, or at least leave wounds that remain tender for years.

Marci Raver is an etiquette expert in Ann Arbor. Among her accomplishments is the organization of a G8 conference dinner in Detroit during the Clinton administration, but even she admits the tensions of today can be more confounding than seating the leaders of the world’s largest economies.

She recalls an incident from her own past, when she was hosting a christening party for her infant daughter at the same time a sexually explicit Robert Mapplethorpe photography exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts was at the center of a late-’80s culture-war skirmish. Raver was working at the museum, and a defender of the photos.

"I didn’t even have the first bite of food in my mouth when someone walked up and said, ‘So, you think this Mapplethorpe guy is an artist,’" she recalled. The guest was clearly in a challenging mood, and Raver chose to fall back on good manners and not engage. "No amount of explaining would work on him. You have to choose your battles."

Today, the infant at that christening is now a college graduate, and had her job in environmental health eliminated due to the government shutdown last month. Her mother’s pretty unhappy about that. The casualties of the country’s long-running cold war are many.

A House Divided

Earlier this year, the Atlantic/Aspen Institute American Values Survey polled more than 2,000 of us to confirm what everybody knows: “More than 60 percent of Americans say we are more divided as a country now than we were 10 years ago, with even higher percentages saying America is at least as fragmented now as it was during the Great Depression, Vietnam, and Watergate,” the Atlantic reported. What’s more, it’s not the usual social and cultural issues driving us apart:

"When asked which figures in America do the most to divide our nation, every group in America, across age, gender, political party, and region said ‘politicians,’ choosing them at a rate of more than five to one over media figures, corporations, religious leaders, and others."

It’s hardly surprising. It is possible, in the million-channel universe, to construct an information silo all your own, tuned to your own prejudices and opinions. And when you’re not watching your artisanal news menu, you can get a few laughs on a different channel.

For decades, both ends of the political spectrum have tapped a rich vein of profits turning politics into entertainment. From “The Daily Show” to “Fox & Friends,” producers and performers have drawn eyeballs to the spectacle of Ann Coulter flogging her latest book (perhaps with a nuanced, subtle title like “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America”), or by getting liberals and conservatives to yell at each other in split-screen.

Is it any wonder this sometimes translates to family members drawing knives over the mashed potatoes?

"We’re turning public affairs into entertainment," said John Clexton, a librarian and another guest at the aforementioned Grosse Pointe Park roundtable. "They’re professional big-time wrestlers. They do their stuff and go home. But the rest of us don’t know it’s a show."

That description seems apt for the angry liberal psychologist in the room. As the conversation goes on around the table, he comes back to the idea, appalling in his telling, that he has to treat faith-based beliefs with respect, especially if people who hold them might be making laws that affect his family. He shakes it like a dog with a bone - “(People say), ‘Oh, you want to make society secular? Yes. Please. Let’s have a secular society” - and finally announces he is too angry to discuss this anymore, rises and leaves.

His parting words: “I hope I didn’t offend anybody.”

A Kinder, Gentler Tea Party

Over in Michigan’s thumb, Todd Courser is considering the question of how he gets along with people who disagree with him. The Michigan Tea Party activist http://www.toddcourser.com wants to remake the state’s GOP by pushing it further to the right. And his first response - “I was birthed out of a Democrat family” - seems to promise fireworks. (The refusal to use the -ic suffix on Democrat in its adjectival form is widely seen as a slur by those so described.)

But that is the last needling remark made by Courser who, it turns out, has a lively biography based in mid-Michigan, where his parents ran their home as an unofficial halfway house for anyone down on their luck, some of whom stayed just long enough for a hot meal, and others for months and years.

It was common, Courser said, to come downstairs in the morning to find three bottomed-out alcoholics sleeping on the living-room floor. His is a large family to begin with, so Thanksgivings and Christmases usually have around 75 people in attendance. He has broad and deep experience getting along with people who have different opinions. And then there was his grandmother, now deceased.

"She was a communist," he said. "A real flesh-and-blood communist. And an atheist. We were at odds from the time I was 9 or 10, but we had a great relationship. That opposition formed my belief that you can’t let ideology trump relationships. She’d say, ‘Todd, if you don’t make some people angry in the world, you haven’t said anything.’"

Courser said he has one uncle with whom he disagrees. “It’s been very, very difficult for him. Some people feel offended by the idea that you don’t believe what they believe. The last few family events, he was maybe moving past some of that. But you have to be open for relationships to become more distant. People aren’t always coming in your direction. You have to model godliness, even though you’re at odds with them.”

The Long View

Why is it so hard to get past issues that will, like all issues, fade away?

It’s difficult to remember, in the heat of a given day, that the country has never been one big campfire sing-along. Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in 1804. Sen. Charles Sumner was beaten to unconsciousness on the Senate floor in 1856. In the 1960s, fathers threw sons out of the house over the length of their hair or their views on the Vietnam War. If there’s anything special about this period of estrangement, history hasn’t weighed in yet.

The toll is taken in relationships soured for weeks, years or forever.

Laurie Rudnick, who hosted the discussion in Grosse Pointe Park, had a college friend, a very close one. Even though they lived in different states after graduation, they visited one another often, until a fateful year in U.S. politics - 2000.

"At the time of the Bush-Gore election, she was living in Florida, a state in the balance, and we called her to make sure she gets out and votes," said Rudnick, who was supporting Al Gore. It turned out the friend did plan to vote - for George W. Bush. Rudnick’s husband, Paul anna griffin christmas cards, took the phone and tried to change her mind.

"I said, ‘You went to college. What secret do you think you’re learning on AM radio?’" Burgoyne said.

"The conversation ended, and I have never spoken to her since," Rudnick said. "I have tried to contact her with handwritten letters, emails, Facebook. I sent her Christmas cards, thinking I would get through to her.

Sigma Issues D5300 Compatibility Fix for Five Lenses

Nikon D5300 Dealsimg src=”http://www.photographyblog.com/images/sized/images/uploads_ee2/news_images/sigma_usb_dock-550x356.jpg”>

Sigma has issued an update to Sigma Optimisation Pro, the dedicated software for the Sigma USB Dock (pictured), providing a fix for a couple of compatibility issues with five of its lenses and the new Nikon D5300. Owners of the Nikon-mount versions of the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM, 30mm F1.4 DC HSM, 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM and 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM optics are advised to update their lens firmware via Sigma Optimisation Pro if they plan on using their lenses on a Nikon D5300 body.

Website: Sigma Optimisation Pro

Sigma Press Release Dear SIGMA USB DOCK Users,

Thank you for purchasing and using our products.

We would like to announce that we have updated the firmware of the SIGMA Optimization Pro, the dedicated software for the SIGMA USB DOCK.

The latest firmware enables our Nikon fitting interchangeable lenses fully functional with the Nikon D5300 camera. For those customers who own following products, please update the firmware of the lens via the SIGMA Optimization Pro.

&;35mm F1.4 DG HSM A012 NIKON
&;17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM C013 NIKON
&;30mm F1.4 DC HSM A013 NIKON
&;18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM A013 NIKON
&;120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM S013 NIKON

Should the version of SIGMA Optimization Pro is not updated to Ver. 1.1 yet, please be sure to do it before operating any lens firmware update.
You can download the latest version of the software from the following page;
http://www.sigma-global.com/download/

We appreciate your consistent support for our company and products.


Source: Photographyblog

New And Exclusive Micro-Site Content

ePHOTOzine’s Micro-Site Roundup - Find out what’s been happening on our five Micro-Sites.

Posted:

Here’s a roundup of the exclusive content we’ve got for you to have a read of on our five micro-sites this week:

On PENTAXPORTAL this week, you can take a look at some top tips for photographing seals with your Pentax camera, and check out some top Pentax sunset photos. Plus, the brand new K-3 DSLR has been reviewed on site this week, and there’s news of new images from Ricoh Imaging brand ambassadors.

Over On EIZO ColorZone, you can learn how to perform a monitor viewing angle check and find out why ColorNavigator software is a great tool for aiding calibration. Plus, there’s news of a new 3D CG colour management handbook that’s now available.

Meanwhile, on Olympus Image Space this week, there are techniques on how to use blur creatively, and there’s news on Olympus workshops taking place over the coming months with Damian McGillicuddy and Steve Gosling. Plus, news on the Olympus Impressions ‘Fall’ competition, and &;100 accessory cashback when you buy an Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera have also gone live.

On Totally Tamron this week, you can learn some top tips for taking better photos of ice with your Tamron lens, plus there are some top Tamron portrait photos for you to take a look at. Don’t forget to take a look at David Pritchard’s blog the days zoom past, too, as he’s been out-and-about with his newly acquired Tamron 24-70mm lens.

Last but not least, on Nikon Nation this week, you can check out some ideas and tips for on location portrait shoots, get creative with colour balance and lots more. Plus, don’t miss the Nikon D5300 Buy Cheap DSLR review and news of ono-to one training with Nikon School in December.

Make sure you check back to the Micro-Sites regularly, as new and exclusive content is posted weekly!


Source: Ephotozine