Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A French consumer association filed preliminary, legal complaints
  • Apple is already facing lawsuits in the US
  • Planned obsolescence is illegal in France

Smartphone maker Apple and Japanese printer company Epson are facing legal complaints in France over allegedly speeding up the ageing process of their products to stimulate demand.

A French consumer association called “HOP” – standing for “Stop Planned Obsolescence” – filed preliminary, legal complaints in court against the two groups over the charges.

HOP said it filed its complaint against Apple in Paris on Wednesday. A prosecutor opened an investigation into Epson last month, a judicial source said on Thursday, following a complaint filed in September by HOP in a court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Laetitia Vasseur, co-founder of HOP, told Reuters the aim of both complaints was to apply the French consumer law, which was modified in 2015 to include the notion of planned obsolescence.

Apple is already facing lawsuits in the United States over accusations of having defrauded iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.

These lawsuits came after Apple said last week that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

Under French law, companies risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening the life of their products to spur demand to replace them.

A spokeswoman for Epson France said Epson denied the charges made against it by the HOP association. She added that Epson was working with authorities on the matter and that the quality of its products was of the utmost importance for the company.

Officials for Apple France could not be immediately reached for comment.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

BJP siege throws life out of gear in city

Workers throng Secretariat seeking Thomas Chandy’s resignation

The BJP’s siege of the Secretariat from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday seeking the resignation of Transport Minister Thomas Chandy had several shades — for the common man, it meant a harrowing commuting time while for the roadside vendors, such a huge gathering meant good business.

As traffic through the arterial road was hit from early morning, students, office-goers, and others had a tough time. The spin-off effect of the siege was felt elsewhere too in the city. Many junctions and corridors witnessed snarls on the first working day of the week.

As the workers squatted in front of the North, South and YMCA gate of the Secretariat, its employees and the Ministers had a tough time reaching the Cantonment gate to enter Secretariat. “We had to walk all the way from Palayam to the Secretariat”, said a person from Kottarakara. Although the BJP made arrangements to provide food for the party cadres participating in the stir, street vendors made use of the opportunity. Lottery, ice cream and peanuts were in high demand. “A crowd is a good thing,” said Jose Prakash whose peanuts had great demand. For the lottery agents, it was a mixed bag. “BJP workers do not buy much tickets. LDF and UDF protests are much better,” said lottery agent V.S. Rajan.

Inaugurating the siege, BJP State president Kummanam Rajasekharan said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should show the courage to take back the land acquired by Mr. Chandy in violation of Kerala Land Reforms Act and redistribute it to the farmers.

BJP’s national council member P.K. Krishnadas, district president Velliyamkulam Parameswaran, O. Rajagopal, MLA, State general secretaries Sobha Surendran and A.N. Radhakrishnan spoke. Traffic was restored around 2.30 p.m.

Source:-The hindu

Life Bot’s new Alexa app can text you reminders, help with daily activities

A new voice app from a Y Combinator-backed startup called Life Bot wants to make it easier to use Amazon Alexa as a digital assistant, by aiding with your daily routines and learning your personal preferences. At launch, Life Bot’s Alexa app has a handful of tricks up its sleeve. It can find your misplaced phone, for example, by giving it a ring. Or it can text you reminders at a scheduled time. It can even help you meditate or do yoga at your desk.

But Life Bot’s longer-term ambition is to learn from its users, then be able to kick-off personalized workflows with a single voice command.

A future version of the app could respond to a command like “good morning” by launching a series of updates that would differ from user to user.

For instance, one person might first hear their morning briefing, then launch into a meditation session. Another might have Alexa dictate their schedule for the day, then receive a list of reminders that are in need of scheduling. (To be clear, Life Bot would be running content in its own app, not launching other skills.)

The idea for this jack-of-all-trades voice bot comes from co-founders Jess Williams and Oscar Merry, who previously founded London-based voice design agency Opearlo. The agency did client work for a number of companies, including Unilever, that wanted to make their products and services accessible through voice.

“We kept identifying the problems that brands were facing, and we thought there was a huge opportunity to create the first voice app that people love — and one that people actually use every day,” explains Williams.

The founders sold Opearlo and joined Y Combinator’s summer class.

What’s clever about the implementation of this voice app is that it’s working around several challenges facing voice app adoption today — including discovery, people’s confusion over how to use the voice apps themselves and voice apps’ limited inability to reach users outside the home.

“People love Alexa, but we haven’t yet gotten into the habit of thinking ‘I bet there’s a skill for that,’ like we do with mobile apps,” says Williams. In part, that’s because Alexa is a new technology, she notes. “But also, there aren’t any external triggers to remind you to use Alexa. If you don’t form the habit yourself, it’s very difficult to remember to use her,” Williams continues.

Worse still is trying to remember how to invoke the skills using the right syntax and commands.

To make it easier to get started, Life Bot combines voice app functionality with text messaging.

When you first set up the skill, Life Bot asks for your phone number. The app then texts a welcome message to your phone and asks for your name. After you reply, it will return with suggestions of things to try. Having your hand held like this through the onboarding process makes it a lot easier to get started with Life Bot, compared with other voice apps.

Plus, now that Life Bot has your phone number, the app can connect with you when you’re away from Alexa, too. While Alexa itself has reminders and to-dos, her reach is more limited. You can check on your reminders via the Alexa app, but when they go live, they’re sent to one of your Alexa-powered devices, like your Echo or Echo Dot.

Life Bot, however, can just text your phone instead.

 

In time, the plan is to introduce new features in Life Bot, starting with to-dos. In that case, Life Bot will just text your whole to-do list to you at a date and time you specify. In a few more months, the team hopes to have the personalization aspects working, too.

And eventually, you’ll be able to use Life Bot on other voice platforms, like Google Home, Cortana and more.

The startup has no immediate plans for monetization, but may partner with others to bring their content into its voice app later on.

Currently bootstrapped, save for Y Combinator’s funding, Life Bot’s team of three aims to raise a seed round when the YC summer program completes.

You can try Life Bot yourself by enabling the Alexa skill here.

[“Source-techcrunch”]

10 things you can learn about money in 10 minutes that will change your life

Image result for 10 things you can learn about money in 10 minutes that will change your life

If learning how to build wealth is important to you, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, Business Insider has rounded up 10 quick money lessons that will teach you how to master your money – from how to automate your savings to investing in the stock market when you’re not an “investor.”

Of course, this isn’t all there is to know about personal finance, but setting aside a few minutes to tackle these lessons can only put you that much closer to finishing rich.

[“Source-ndtv”]