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Brick-and-Mortar Stores Fight Online Shopping By Going Digital In-Store


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some brick-and-mortar stores are doing all they can to offer high-tech in-store shopping and mimic an online shopping experience to draw more customers in.Saturday kicks off the last weekend before Christmas and may actually be the biggest shopping day of the year. Roughly 93 percent of Americans haven’t finished their Christmas shopping by this point, and shopping online may be risky if you hope to get it in time.“There are so many variables,” sa

FTC Announces Cramming Settlement with T-Mobile


Terroa/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Trade Commission announced on Friday a settlement with T-Mobile for charges that it engaged in "cramming," or the practice of placing unwanted third-party charges on its customers' bills.T-Mobile will pay at least $90 million in the settlement, plus $18 million in fines and penalties to the attorneys general of all 40 states and the District of Columbia and $4.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission. "Mobile cramming is an

Wall Street Continues Climb, Labor Department Notes Positive State Unemployment


tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Coming off of the strongest two-day trading in over a year, Wall Street closed the week on a positive note Friday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 44.02 to 17822.17.The Nasdaq climbed 20.91 to 4769.31, while the S&P 500 closed at 2072.05, up 10.82 from its opening price.On Friday, the Labor Department released data on state unemployment rates for November, noting that 41 states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rates decrease f

Amazon Fire Phone Gets Major Updates


Amazon(NEW YORK) -- Amazon is refusing to give up on its Fire phone and the users who snapped up the device, despite its lackluster debut over the summer.Six months after its release, Amazon has rolled out a software update for the phone that brings with it a number of new and smarter features.Among those are text translation in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The upgrade also enables the phone's much-hyped Firefly feature to be able to recognize 2,000 famous paintings.Another new

Verizon Lets Users Text Message the Gift of Coffee


Verizon(NEW YORK) -- There's nothing worse than being crunched for time while holiday shopping or realizing you forgot someone on your list.Verizon is aiming to solve its subscribers' gift-giving nightmares by allowing them to give anyone a Starbucks gift card by sending a quick text message. The gift will be added to the subscriber's Verizon bill.Here's how it works:Download the Verizon messages app and compose a text message. Next, click the + sign and choose the gift icon. From there, users a

Top Year-End Money Tips for 2014


Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With less than two weeks to go before the end of the year, both Santa and the "tax man" will be checking their "naughty or nice" lists.To start, remember that you'll get a better sense of where your money is heading if you know where it's been."If you’ve gone a little overboard on holiday gifts or eating out, it might be time to revisit your budget," said Holly Perez, Mint.com spokeswoman and consumer spending expert.Here's how to enter 2015 withou

Atlantic City's Taj Mahal Casino Safe -- For Now


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Atlantic City, New Jersey will not witness the shutdown of another of its famed casinos -- at least for now.Despite failing to negotiate on a $100 million settlement deal to save the floundering boardwalk fixture, billionaire investor Carl Icahn assured Taj Mahal employees on Thursday that they could keep the lights on, as he committed a $20 million investment to keep the casino operational throughout its bankruptcy proceedings.The Taj Mahal casino was sl

Why Some Celebrities Lost Millions of Instagram Followers


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Call it the great Instagram purge of 2014.Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, both celebrities who are active on the site, were among the A-listers who lost millions of Instagram followers, but by no fault of their own.Chances are you may have even lost a few followers as well.Instagram said last week it was in the process of fixing a glitch that counts fake or inactive accounts in a user's follower/following count.The problem is most pervasive for public a

Nicki Minaj Becomes the Face of Roberto Cavalli


ABC/Lou Rocco(LOS ANGELES) -- Nicki Minaj has landed a new endorsement. The rapper has become the new face of fashion designer Roberto Cavalli's spring/summer 2015 advertising campaign.In tribal-inspired images shot by photographer Francesco Carrozzini, Minaj exudes the "strong sensuality" that Cavalli was seeking for his campaign."I chose Nicki Minaj because she embodies the exuberant and modern femininity of the Cavalli woman. In recent years we have become accustomed to women castigated in cl

A Look at the Best Apps of 2014


Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — What makes an app great? Something that makes our lives easier or allows us to stay connected in innovative new ways.The year 2014 was a great year for apps. Here are a few that stood out from the pack:HyperlapseInstagram's spin-off app allows users to take amazing time-lapse videos that look worthy of being on the big screen. What would have required expensive equipment can now be achieved with an app.SwarmSplitting the atom paid off for Foursquar

Sony Suspends Studio Tours


AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Thanks to the Sony hack attack, tours of the studio have been suspended.In the wake of the hack, Sony says tours are suspended indefinitely, meaning tourists in Southern California this holiday season are out of luck.Sony won't officially say the hack is the reason for the decision, but last year at this time you could check out the lot. After the holidays, the studio will re-evaluate when to start up the tours again.The hack attack resulted in the leak of S

Consumer Study Reveals Gift-Giving Gaffes


Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Since this is the season of giving, Consumer Reports recently conducted a survey and discovered that the most often committed blunder when it comes to the exchanging of gifts is leaving the price tag on an item. Eighteen percent of respondents admitted doing so.Five percent regifted an item to the person who gave it to them, and another five percent put the wrong name on a package. Three percent committed the seasonal faux pas of giving too many people who

50 Cent Inks $78 Million Underwear Deal


Charles Sykes/Bravo(NEW YORK) -- 50 Cent says he has signed a $78 million deal with Frigo Revolution Wear to promote a brand of upmarket men's underwear.The rapper announced the news via Instagram earlier this week posting a picture of himself with a caption that read, "I just did a deal for $78 million for underwear. What did you [expletive] do today?"He followed up with an image of himself sitting on his kitchen counter, eating toast with a stacks of cash on his plate. "For the life of me I ca

Uber to Implement New Policies with Eye on Safety


QUIQUE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a blog post on Thursday, ride-sharing company Uber announced that it would implement new policies in an attempt to increase safety.In the post, titled "Our Commitment to Safety," Uber says it will implement technology in ways that will "ensure the safety of riders and drivers." The company mentions plants to research and develop "biometrics and voice verification" to enhance driver screening. They also hope to give riders the ability to communicate

Takata Takes Out Open Letter, Won't Expand Recall


bizoo_n/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Takata Corporation placed an open letter in U.S. and German newspapers on Thursday, defending its products and explaining the steps it will take to replace the faulty air bags while declining to expand some recalls nationwide.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had urged the company to expand its recall from only high-humidity regions to a full nationwide recall. The company, however, did not say that it would do so. Instead, Takata says it i

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