CONSUMER RIGHTS / PRODUCT REPORTS | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


CONSUMER RIGHTS / PRODUCT REPORTS

Nov 15 21:40

HDMI Cable Con

In the past when interconnects for audio and visual equipment were analogue the quality of the cable would make a real difference to image and sound quality. However, the same cannot be said of digital interconnects such as HDMI cables. These either work or they don’t work; and there is no difference between a cheap £10 and a £40 cable. The retailers make a small fortune out of these expensive cables as the mark-up can be as high as 80%. In fact, many retailers rely heavily on this as a major source of income due to the high margins and the fact the margins are low on the main products.

Nov 15 21:40

HDMI Cable Con

In the past when interconnects for audio and visual equipment were analogue the quality of the cable would make a real difference to image and sound quality. However, the same cannot be said of digital interconnects such as HDMI cables. These either work or they don’t work; and there is no difference between a cheap £10 and a £40 cable. The retailers make a small fortune out of these expensive cables as the mark-up can be as high as 80%. In fact, many retailers rely heavily on this as a major source of income due to the high margins and the fact the margins are low on the main products.

Nov 13 09:41

LG, Sharp plead guilty to LCD price-fixing, take $585m fine

Allegations of LCD price-fixing have been swirling around for years now, and it looks like at least some of the companies involved have dirt on their hands -- LG, Sharp and Chunghwa Picture Tubes have all just pled guilty to price-fixing in a case filed by the US Department of Justice and will pay a combined $585m fine. LG's taking the biggest hit at $400m for conspiring to fix prices from September 2001 to June 2006, while Sharp's on the hook for $120m for jacking prices on panels sold to Dell, Motorola and Apple during the same time frame. Naughty, naughty.

Nov 12 07:49

Senate Finance Chief Calls for Making Health Coverage Mandatory

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Senator Max Baucus, presenting the first Democratic health plan since President-elect Barack Obama's victory, said all Americans should be required to have insurance once coverage is made affordable.

Required? Required to have health insurance? This is what the Obamians voted for?

Nov 10 20:48

Statin Drugs Don’t Save Lives and May Increase Your Risk for Diabetes

Americans are being bombarded today by news reports of a breakthrough in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure). The hype is undeserved, the data less than compelling, and when it came to whether the statin drug used in the study (Crestor) actually saved lives, the headlines should have said the drug trial failed and that it raised the risk for diabetes.

Here is how the news media and health authorities portrayed the study (New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 9, 2008):

Nov 01 22:32

100,000 Sony batteries recalled

About 100,000 Sony Lithium-Ion batteries used in Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Dell notebooks have been recalled. 35,000 batteries of these batteries were sold in the US.

Some details about these batteries:

They were sold at the same time as the batteries involved in the widescale 2006 Sony battery recall.

These batteries can “overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.”

The damage so far: “There have been 19 reports of the batteries overheating, including 17 reports of flames/fire (10 resulting in minor property damage). Two consumers experienced minor burns.”

Oct 30 20:03

Mobile phone use 'raises children's risk of brain cancer fivefold'

Alarming new research from Sweden on the effects of radiation raises fears that today's youngsters face an epidemic of the disease in later life.

Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer if they use mobile phones, startling new research indicates.

The study, experts say, raises fears that today's young people may suffer an "epidemic" of the disease in later life. At least nine out of 10 British 16-year-olds have their own handset, as do more than 40 per cent of primary schoolchildren.

Oct 30 18:25

Another Blu-Ray Strike

So let's fast forward to Blu-Ray, the rat that won the rat fight. Companies that give you lots of information on the website are fun, so here's a good page from PacificDisc.

Now, I don't expect you to browse this thing closely, so let's go right to the boner:

Oct 21 11:13

Mutant Seeds for Mesopotamia

Programmed famine anyone?

Oct 11 22:19

RIAA v. The People: Five Years Later

On September 8, 2003, the recording industry sued 261 American music fans for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, kicking off an unprecedented legal campaign against the people that should be the recording industry’s best customers: music fans.1 Five years later, the recording industry has filed, settled, or threatened legal actions against at least 30,000 individuals.2 These individuals have included children, grandparents, unemployed single mothers, college professors—a random selection from the millions of Americans who have used P2P networks.

Oct 10 21:37

Wal-Mart changes its mind, leaves existing DRM servers up

In what can only be described as another "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario, faced with the option of thousands of disgruntled customers, Wal-Mart is informing them it's decided to leave its online DRM servers running.

Oct 10 06:34

Ultraviolet radiation warning on unshaded eco lightbulbs

Health officials issued a warning over energy-saving lightbulbs yesterday after research showed that some types could potentially harm the skin and even raise the risk of cancer.

A study by the Health Protection Agency found that some unencapsulated fluorescent lightbulbs, which have a coil that is visible, emitted ultraviolet (UV) radiation above the recognised safety limits.

Oct 09 18:42

Kids need to agree to 120+ pages of EULAs in order to watch BluRay Sleeping Beauty

Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our John notes that watching Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray requires that you accede to over 120 pages of legal garbage in various EULAs before you can start the movie.

Oct 08 06:02

EU battery rule may zap iPhone, blow away MacBook Air

The EU is readying a new set of directives that could spell trouble for Apple's iPhone and any other gadget that lacks an easily removable power pack.

A new, draft batteries directive mandates that power cells inside electronic devices must be "readily removable" for replacement and safe disposal. This isn't the case with the iPhone, which does not have a user-replaceable battery.

Neither do Apple's numerous iPods, or a growing number of handheld devices from other manufacturers.

Oct 05 07:25

Hollywood Illegally Demands Money From Kindergartens

A company collecting royalties on behalf of Hollywood studios has illegally demanded payments from kindergartens in Ireland. The MPLC requested 10 Euros ($14.00) per child per annum, so that they can watch DVDs legally. However, by doing so they breached the 2000 Copyright Act since MPLC failed to register with the Patent Office.

Oct 02 15:26

What Coca-Cola Does to Your Stomach

There has been a lot of speculation about the effect of Coca Cola on the human stomach. There were those that said that the popular beverage could literally cause our intestines to melt if we drink to much of the stuff. Coca Cola always denied the rumors and said that their product is no worse than other soft drinks on the market and there was no official proof of the “dissolving effect“.

Sep 18 09:37

Motorists fume at 'profiteers' as price of petrol goes UP despite huge falls in oil price

Petrol prices are increasing despite huge falls in the cost of oil in recent months.

In the past few days prices at some petrol stations have increased by 2p a litre - or nearly 10p a gallon - adding £1 to the average fill-up.

It comes at a time when wholesale oil prices have dropped by nearly 40 per cent since July and the wholesale cost of the petrol and diesel is down 30 per cent.

Motoring groups accused the oil giants of profiteering at drivers' expense.

The AA called the price rises 'unbelievable, unjustifiable and totally outrageous'.

Sep 16 09:08

Study: Some Water Bottles Linked to Diabetes

An ubiquitous ingredient in plastics has been linked to diabetes and heart disease in adults, according to a study being released today, heightening concerns about the widespread use of the chemical BPA.

Otherwise known as Bisphenol-A, BPA is the chemical once studied as a synthetic form of estrogen, but more recently known to leach out of some plastic water bottles and baby bottles, and that is found in all kinds of plastic products.

Sep 15 15:57

AT & T buries customer rights in 2,500-page 'guidebook'

AT&T has sent customers an 8,000-word service agreement that, among other things, says people will be given 30-day notice of price increases only when "commercially reasonable" and that you can't sue the company.

Oh, and if you don't like AT&T's terms -- providing you can make your way through the company's 2,500-page "guidebook" -- your only recourse is to cancel service.

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