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SXSW 2015: Mophie Dogs Are Superheroes of the Festival

SXSW 2015: Mophie Dogs Are Superheroes of the Festival

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Adorable dogs have been turned into superheroes at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas -- rescuing the tech-dependent attendees when their smartphone batteries are about to die.Festival goers who tweet their location, a screenshot of their low battery and the hashtag #mophierescue may have a rescue dog save the day for them by bringing along a mophie power pack to help breathe life back into their devices.Working with the Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation, mophie added the service to not only help the crowd on hand in Austin for the festival, but to also raise awareness about the superhero dogs who need loving homes.

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Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Brand Is Dead

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Brand Is Dead

Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- The Internet Explorer brand is dead as we know it.The ubiquitous browser, which made its debut two decades ago, has been officially put out to pasture to make way for its younger relative, Project Spartan, which is set to become the star of Windows 10."We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10. We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we will also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is code-named Project Spartan," Chris Capossela said at Microsoft's Convergence event Monday night. "We have to name the thing."Internet Explorer will exist on some versions of Windows 10 but solely for compatibility purposes, according to The Verge.Taking the place of Internet Explorer, which has a long-established love-hate relationship with office workers around the world, will be a faster browser with a streamlined user experience to compete with Chrome, Firefox and others.Internet Explorer came a long way from its infancy, when it rendered basic HTML and grew into adolescence each year with a progressively better interface and user experience.After Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001, the browser hit its first real speed bump in its digital life.An alert from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned users in 2004 that holes in Internet Explorer could lead to their passwords and other personal information falling into the hands of hackers.Microsoft rolled out a fix, however, security issues continued to snowball, leading to Internet Explorer having a severe image problem.Five years after Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft released a series of updates to the browser, however it was never quite able to recover from its battle scars.With one last-ditch attempt to put the long-suffering Internet Explorer out of its misery, Microsoft rolled out a clever new campaign to breathe life back into the brand for the Internet Explorer 10 release.The joke: We've moved on from being the "browser you loved to hate.""Project Spartan is Microsoft’s next generation browser, built just for Windows 10," Microsoft said in a statement to ABC News. "We will continue to make Internet Explorer available with Windows 10 for enterprises and other customers who require legacy browser support."While critics heralded the updated browser for Windows 8 as a step in the right direction, it seems luck has finally run out for Microsoft's browser of the past two decades.Whatever Microsoft decides to name Project Spartan, one thing is clear: It's the fresh start Microsoft has been looking for.

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Nintendo Brings Mario to Your Smartphone and Teases Secret NX Project

Nintendo Brings Mario to Your Smartphone and Teases Secret NX Project

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Nintendo's Super Mario will be gracing a screen that didn't exist when he made his debut three decades ago: on your smartphone.Nintendo announced Tuesday the company is bringing the beloved cartoon plumber and his brother, Luigi, along with a host of other classic characters to mobile devices through a partnership with Japanese gaming company DeNa Co.While Nintendo has shown results with its console games, the game maker has long shied away from delving into the explosive world of mobile gaming.In order to be successful, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said it's crucial that game makers in the space "provide constantly ever changing content and feel fresh in addition to high quality."With Nintendo bringing its cast of characters to the alliance and DeNa providing its mobile gaming expertise, Iwata said the partnership has the chance to reach "hundreds of millions" of gamers."Know that we are challenging ourselves in this new business area," he said. "We hope hundreds of millions will use and enjoy these products. ...Potentially any Nintendo [intellectual property] could be used in our smart device software."Despite the leap into mobile gaming, Iwata revealed Tuesday Nintendo is also staying true to its roots by working on a new gaming system code-named NX.Iwata was tight-lipped about the details but promised that the "dedicated game platform" would be a "brand new concept." He said Nintendo fanatics could expect to learn more from the company sometime next year.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Home Construction Falls 17% in February

New Home Construction Falls 17% in February

Image Source/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Construction of new homes in the U.S. fell 17 percent last month from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 897,000, a new report out Tuesday by the Commerce Department finds.The Northeast took the biggest hit, with housing starts falling more than 50 percent in that region.As David Crowe from the National Association of Home Builders points out, frigid temperatures and mounds of snow were only part of the problem."NAHB and Wells Fargo released our sentiment survey of builders and it had fallen two points as well, so I think these two pieces of data combined say, while we're still moving forward, there is still caution," he says.The report also shows that single family starts dropped 14.9 percent in February, and applications for building permits rose a timid three percent.Crowe says tight lending standards have a chokehold on the housing market."The single biggest issue is the mortgage market. There are a lot of eligible buyers out there who are frozen out because of the uncertainty in the mortgage market," he notes.

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Are Gas Credit Cards a Good Deal?

Are Gas Credit Cards a Good Deal?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Almost every motorist wants to save on gas. One way to do it is to get cash back with a gas credit card. But are these cards a good deal?Not really, says Matt Schultz of creditcards.com, explaining that "the average interest rate on them is about 24 percent."Even if you pay your bill in full each month, the gas card may not be worth it."What you get from them in terms of rewards isn't what you could get from, say, just a generic cash-back credit card," Schultz says.Another thing to keep in mind: some gas credit cards have extra rules."You need to meet minimum thresholds of spending," Schultz says, noting one of the potential requirements.

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Tax Tip: ‘Winning’ in the Stock Market Has Tax Consequences

Tax Tip: ‘Winning’ in the Stock Market Has Tax Consequences

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Are you prepared to pay your capital gains?  Last year was a record-breaking one for U.S. stock markets. Investors, who cashed in on all the good times, will likely be paying taxes on those gains."The top tax rate on capital gains is 23 percent,” said Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.There are, however, ways around paying the price.Kathy Pickering, executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block, says if investors thought ahead they may have sold some of their losers before the year ended."If you had some gains and then you could also sell some stocks at a loss to offset that, that's a great strategy,” she says.Gift-wrapping gains may be a better bet, according Tom Wheelwright, founder of CPA firm ProVision."If you give stock, instead of having to pick up the gain and then get a deduction, you don't have to pick up a gain, but get a deduction for the full value of the stock,” says Wheelwright.  “So you're not picking up gain and getting a deduction, so you get a double benefit."

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‘Live’ TV Viewing Dips While Streaming Services Soar

‘Live’ TV Viewing Dips While Streaming Services Soar

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Watching live TV is so 2013.The proof is in the numbers, according to Nielsen, whose recent media consumption study reveals that the new entertainment platforms are cutting deep into traditional TV viewing.Nielsen says that adults 18 and older are now watching 20 fewer minutes of live television a day than just two years ago.Meanwhile, smartphone use has risen by half-an-hour over the comparable time period and many are watching programs on their devices that they used to see on TV screens.The switch is due in a large part to online streaming TV services. Currently, Netflix is in over a third of U.S. homes while Amazon is in 13 percent of homes and Hulu can be found in six percent.The Nielsen survey also points out that these services have boosted the amount of time of TV watching on whatever platform viewers choose to view them.For instance, Americans spend two-and-three-quarter hours viewing TV shows daily when they have a streaming service compared to just two hours a day for homes that don't get Netflix, Amazon or Hulu.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Internet Behavior Has Changed After Snowden Fallout

Internet Behavior Has Changed After Snowden Fallout

The Guardian via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — About one in three Americans have become more cautious about their Internet behavior since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the government's massive intelligence gathering of emails and texts back in June 2013.According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 34 percent of respondents said they took at least one additional action to keep their online activities better protected.Of that group, a quarter switched to stronger passwords while almost two in ten have altered their usage of emails.Other modified behaviors included either adjusting social media settings or abandoning these sites altogether; eschewing certain search engines and apps; and even returning to face-to-face conversations when speaking about personal matters.Nonetheless, Pew found that 90 percent of those who have taken steps to maintain some privacy online haven't used the most effective measures available such as do-not-track, encryption and anonymity software.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Baby Beer Bottles and Four More Questionable Children’s Toys

Baby Beer Bottles and Four More Questionable Children’s Toys

fredandfriends.com(NEW YORK) -- Watching a baby throw back his head to take a long sip from his bottle is a common adorable sight for parents. But what if the bottle is tinted brown with a tin top and labeled "lager"? Still cute? Fred And Friends, the manufacturers of a prank baby bottle called "Chill Baby, Li'l Lager Baby Bottle" apparently think the idea is hilarious. They are selling pre-orders of the 8-inch item for $12 on the company's website, noting that the bottle is "BPA-free, phthalate-free plastic bottle with a food-grade silicone nipple. Cheers!" Fred and Friends did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment on the product, and whether the company has any concerns about the Li'l Lager Baby Bottle encouraging children to consume alcohol. Is it hilarious or ill-conceived? Here, four more unconventional toys that some find questionable and others think are quite funny. Roadkill Toys' Smudge The Squirrel "He measures a statuesque 32 cms from twitchy nose to bushy tail, and 10 cms from squished flank to flank," the display copy begins describing Roadkill Toys' Smudge The Squirrel, a plush doll designed to resemble a rodent that has recently been run over by a car. For $26.28 on Amazon, the toy includes multicolor entrails that can be pulled out from a zipper pouch, as well as a body bag and death certificate. But while the "manufacturer recommended age" on the Amazon product page is "4 years and up," creator Adam Arber told ABC News that the toy is intended for an older audience. "It isn't designed and marketed for children," Arber said, noting that "it's a grown-up toy for collectors and students." But, he added, "It's in a similar vein to Tom and Jerry and Itchy and Scratchy humor. It's cartoon humor, and parents don't usually get upset with those programs." He admitted that not everyone was a fan. "Sometimes we do get detractors and people who just don't understand humor," said Arber. "These people are generally fundamentalist Christians or animal welfare activists. PETA rang me up once and said that they've bought all the toys and have some on display in their headquarters." Archie McPhee's The Avenging Narwhal "The narwhal is an arctic-dwelling whale, who, thanks to his long, pointy tusk, has been nicknamed 'the Unicorn of the Sea,'" notes the introductory copy on The Avenging Narwhal's product description. "Our Avenging Narwhal is made of hard vinyl and comes with a detachable tusk to impale a devious penguin (included)." Sold for $7.50 on the Archie McPhee's site, the hard plastic toy is considered unsafe for children 3 and under due to small parts that could present a choking hazard. But despite a tongue-in-cheek fictional origin story detailing why the narwhal seeks revenge, there is no warning that the toy might be considered violent to those 4 years old and up. Whether it is or isn't is a matter of personal taste, though narwhals feed on fish, not penguins. McPhee's did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment. I Heart Guts' Tremendous Testicle Plush Puns abound in the affectionate product description for this 9" x 9" x 5" plush doll created to resemble a large blue testicle with a smiley face, leading one to believe that the item may be geared toward adults. But the copy does note that the $20 doll is safe for all ages. Do kids really want to play with this? "We think plush testicles are great for kids and adults to play with," said the toy's creator, Wendy Bryan Lazar. "I gave the testicle as a birthday gift to an 8-year-old who had a torsion issue with his testicle and he loved having it to bring to the doctor." She admitted, however, that it might not be to everyone's taste. "A plush testicle is not for everyone!" Lazar said. "Testicular cancer is, unfortunately, the most common cancer for males age 15-35, according to the National Institute of Health, so we also sell quite a few testicle plushes to survivors who want to celebrate a missing part." The toymaker was also quick to note that the product could desensitize the topic of the body part -- for the good. "I think it’s important to treat all body parts equally," she said. "We tell kids what their heart is and what it does while it thumps away inside their chest, why not tell boys about what the testicles are and what they do? Including testicles and ovaries in everyday conversations about the body normalizes them." Prank Star Poo-Dough "Create your own turd creations out of brown dough," advertises the product description for a $7.99 package of Poo Dough on the Toys 'R' Us website. The malleable riff on Hasbro's Play-Doh arrives with pots of brown and yellow dough and a mold to recreate, well, you guessed it. "Prank Star Poo-Dough is intended for all ages," John Ardell, VP of marketing & sales for Skyrocket Toys, told ABC News. "Kids love it because it is funny, and they can play jokes on their parents by hiding the 'poo' and tricking people to think that it is real. It is also a great gag gift for adults." "The packaging and logo are both really funny," he continued, "and the yellow dough to make corn and peanut molds puts it over the top." While Ardell acknowledged that the company has received complaints on occasion that the product was "in poor taste," he noted that Poo Dough was one of the top-selling novelty toys at Walmart last holiday. "Additionally, it was part of the Prank Star display in Walmart stores that had a motion sensor and 'farted' whenever someone walked by," said Ardell.

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Urban Moms Find Support, Watch Out for Each Other’s Kids in Local Facebook Groups

Urban Moms Find Support, Watch Out for Each Other’s Kids in Local Facebook Groups

Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It was about 9:30 on a recent evening when Stacey Wanicur was reading through her Facebook feed. A post from a woman she’d never met made her stop in her tracks. “I hope the person that hired my previous nanny is reading this,” it started. It went on to detail how the nanny, a woman we’ll call Mariah, had left the poster’s three-year-old in a bathtub unattended and fallen asleep at the playground while the child ran around. The post asked that if the woman who had hired Mariah was also in the UES Mommas Facebook group, an active group of 6,000-plus moms who primarily live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, that she get in touch with the poster. Wanicur had just hired a nanny named Mariah. “But I thought, it couldn’t be.” It was. Wanicur and the poster had a phone call that same night, and identified the woman, Mariah, through some details. Wanicur came to realize that the nanny, Mariah, had been spotted on the playground sleeping by a third woman, a friend of the poster. That same friend then spotted Mariah with Wanicur’s baby, realized the nanny had been hired by another family, and encouraged the poster to reach out on UES Mommas. Even big-city moms need a village. But in today’s digital age, that village is Facebook. For Wanicur, mom to a one-year-old who's an attorney and freelance writer, finding a nanny has been a challenge. She’s on the verge of hiring number 11. Some, she said, have been “great” but didn’t work out for logistical reasons. Others wanted more hours per week than even a corporate lawyer could give. One lacked experience. But Mariah seemed great. “I watched her on the nanny cam, she would sing to my daughter. The baby seems to like her. She cleaned up, was going to get the whole family eating healthier.” And Wanicur had checked Mariah’s references. But her previous employer – the poster – had been left off that call list. It’s not the only story about moms having each other backs. And despite the so-called “mommy wars,” there’s very little stay-at-home mom vs. working mom back and forth. It was primarily stay-at-home moms who took the time to track down the mom of a toddler boy who had been witnessed running into traffic outside a playground while his nanny chatted on the phone, oblivious. (The boy was stopped by a mother who did not know him but watched him until the nanny appeared). The mother of the boy was not part of the Facebook group, but moms that were put together various “clues” over the next few days when they spotted the nanny and the boy out in the neighborhood. Eventually, the moms figured out where the little boy lived, and left a note with the doorman for the boy’s mom so she would know what had happened. And while these examples are more dramatic and serious than the typical day-to-day chatter, Wanicur called the board “the number-one influential resource for me” since becoming a new mom. “Having a baby can be isolating, but this has been unbelievable helpful. You can be up at 4 am with a fussy baby, maybe teething and post a photo and all of a sudden have 45 other moms’ opinions and advice.” Mommy Facebook groups exist in cities all over the nation. There’s Boston moms, Los Angeles moms, Long Island moms, Glen Rock, NJ, moms. And while the popularity of the Facebook moms’ groups is “relatively new,” said Rebecca Michals, BabyCenter.com’s community manager, turning to other moms online for support isn’t. BabyCenter’s been doing it for years. “Instead of 3-5 local women you have thousands to offer support,” she said. “It does take the place of the village, or your mom or aunt down the street.” And as with any village, some voices are louder than others. But by and large, the atmosphere – both on Facebook and on message boards like BabyCenter’s – is supportive. Much like the women in that idyllic “village” that, for the most part, is a thing of the past in America. “Moms respect each other when they know they are doing the best for their families,” said Michals.

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SXSW 2015: AeroMobil Shows Off Flying Car

SXSW 2015: AeroMobil Shows Off Flying Car

ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) -- In the future, road trips may be a relic of the past as people take to the skies in their flying cars. AeroMobil showed off its flying car prototype at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, where the company's CEO Juraj Vaculik said he hopes to get it in the hands of wealthy supercar buyers as early as 2017. The car-airplane hybrid has been undergoing flight tests since October 2014, according to the company's website. The vehicle is perfectly sized to slide into any standard parking space and can travel on the road -- just like any other car. When it comes time for takeoff and landing, the car can use a paved or grass runway stretching a few hundred meters long. The vehicle -- which looks a lot like something the Jetsons would have -- tops off at 99 mph on the road and around 124 mph in the sky, according to the AeroMobil website. While a price hasn't been set yet, the company said car fanatics can expect to pay several hundred thousand dollars.

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Elon Musk Promises to End Tesla Drivers’ Biggest Fear

Elon Musk Promises to End Tesla Drivers’ Biggest Fear

Tesla(NEW YORK) -- Elon Musk has a plan to end "range anxiety," the feeling some electric car drivers have when they're nearly out of power but may not be near a charging station. The Tesla CEO tweeted that he planned to reveal an over-the-air software update on Thursday that would affect the entire Model S fleet.

 

Tesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety ... via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 15, 2015

 

Jack Nerad, an executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News Musk's plan could be a number of things, including an updated low battery warning system or an increase in range. "I think it's [drivers'] biggest concern," he told ABC News. "Having driven electric cars myself and with that certain knowledge that if you run out of electricity, in the worst-case scenario, you're going to be stranded by the side of the road...as the miles get lower and lower it creeps to the front of your mind." Musk fired back at critics Monday afternoon who might think he tweets to get a rise in Tesla stock, which is a publicly traded company. "Some people seem to think I tweet to affect share price. This is false. A brief rise in $TSLA stock obviously does no good for Tesla or me," he wrote.

 

Neither I nor the company are selling shares. Even if we were, I wouldn't do this. It would be wrong. Our long term results are what matter.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 16, 2015

 

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Health Care, Utilities Stocks Boost Wall Street

Health Care, Utilities Stocks Boost Wall Street

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After three weeks of losses, stocks rebounded on Monday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session on Monday at 17,977.42, up 228.11 from its open. The Nasdaq rose by 57.75 to close at 4,929.51. The S&P 500 also was up by 27.79 points to close at 2,081.19.Health care and utilities stocks helped to lead the averages higher as companies rebounded after three weeks of losses. Energy stocks, however, dropped as oil slumped to a six-year low on Monday, trading below $44 a barrel. The markets are awaiting a Federal Reserve meeting this week that may set the stage for the first U.S. interest rate hike since the financial crisis.Shoemaker and sports gear company Adidas AG says it has decided not to renew its partnership as official outfitter of the National Basketball Association. The current agreement runs out after the 2016-2017 season.

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Meerkat: What You Need to Know About the Hottest App at SXSW

Meerkat: What You Need to Know About the Hottest App at SXSW

Meerkat(AUSTIN, Texas) -- The hottest new app at South by Southwest is less than three weeks old, boasts an estimated 150,000 users and puts the power to broadcast into the hands of anyone with a smartphone.Meet Meerkat. The simple live video streaming app shares similar components to Snapchat but with a real-time element thrown into the mix -- and it's already caught Twitter's competitive eye.The micro-blogging platform officially confirmed last week news that it has acquired Periscope, a live streaming video app. Consequently, Meerkat co-founder Ben Rubin said he found out the social network was stripping away Meerkat's access to Twitter's social graph.In other words, instead of automatically populating a user's Meerkat account with the people they follow on Twitter, they'll have to individually re-build their network of friends inside of the app."We are not naïve, we knew it was coming," Rubin told Fast Company. "We thought that we would at least get a week notice -- a fair game."A Twitter spokesperson told ABC News in a statement that, "We are limiting their access to Twitter’s social graph, consistent with our internal policy. Their users will still be able to distribute videos on Twitter and login with their Twitter credentials."Since being cut off from Twitter's social graph, the app's user base has grown 30 percent, according to a Medium post on Friday by the company's founders.Despite its short time in existence, Meerkat has already been used as a platform for everything from protests in Ferguson, Missouri, to celebrity shenanigans and even the swearing in of Michelle Lee as deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.What makes Meerkat so attractive is the easy way users can leverage their existing social networks with just a smartphone.After downloading the app and logging in via Twitter, users can schedule a live stream or begin one with the push of a button. A tweet is then sent out from the user's account, inviting people to click the link to watch the live stream.When the person is done broadcasting, the users can save their stream or choose for it to disappear -- offering the same ephemeral content that has turned Snapchat into a success.

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How to Handle Annoying Air Passengers

How to Handle Annoying Air Passengers

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Before she was a world-renowned etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Jacqueline Whitmore was a flight attendant for Northwest. In her time, she certainly saw her fair share of annoying airline passengers.In her next job at the assistant director of public relations at the famous Breakers hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida, she was tasked with finding instructors to teach child and adult etiquette classes. When she left The Breakers, she opened her own etiquette school, but never forgot her flight attendant roots.Here she shares with ABC News some of the worst people you'll encounter in-flight -- and tips for handling each:The Armrest Hogger: If the person next to you commandeers your armrest, simply inch your way in by placing just your elbow next to theirs. This should leave plenty of space for your greedy neighbor’s elbow. Armrest rules: When you have three seats next to each other, the person in the middle seat gets to claim the armrests.The Chatterbox: If your neighbor strikes up a conversation, be polite and exchange a few pleasantries. Then say something like, “It was nice speaking with you, but if you don’t mind, I have to get some work done (or some much-needed rest).” Closing your eyes generally does the trick. Note: Always travel with earphones and eyeshades.The Space Invader: If this person invades your personal space with his newspaper or carry-on bag, say something like, “It seems that these planes are getting smaller and smaller. Would you mind moving your arm (or bag) over just a touch?”The Seat Recliner: If someone reclines too far while you’re trying to eat, work on your laptop, or watch a movie, you have two options. 1. You can recline your seat for more space or 2. Say something like, “Would you mind pulling your seat forward a little bit.” The person in front of you most likely doesn’t know she’s inconveniencing you. Note: When you recline your seat, always glance back and make sure the person behind you isn’t using his tray table to eat or work.The Snorer: It’s best to always travel with a good pair of noise-cancelling earphones. Otherwise, you can ask the flight attendant if you can relocate to another seat.The Sleeper: If you need to use the lavatory but your aisle seatmate is sleeping, gently tap him on his shoulder and say, “Excuse me.” No other explanation is necessary. Never attempt to crawl over him.The Unruly Child: Never discipline someone else’s child. Your best bet is to move to another seat, if available, or alert a flight attendant. Never try to intervene yourself.The Seat Kicker: If a child is kicking the back of your seat, simply turn around and glance at the child and the parent. The parent will oftentimes get the hint and ask the child to stop. If this doesn’t work, kindly speak up and ask the child to stop kicking your seat.The Surly Flight Attendant: It’s best not to challenge a flight attendant unless you want to be thrown off the plane. If you encounter a rude flight attendant, jot down his name, your flight number, and email a letter to the company as soon as possible. Better yet, share your grievance on Twitter for faster results.

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Why “Shark Tank” Star Daymond John Goes to SXSW

Why “Shark Tank” Star Daymond John Goes to SXSW

ABC/Tony Rivetti(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Shark Tank investor Daymond John has proven his mettle in the business world and has along the way amassed a huge fortune -- but the FUBU CEO said he's still eager to learn from new entrepreneurs.Over the weekend, John judged PayPal's annual duel at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. At stake was a $30,000 prize and the chance to be mentored by John, and two companies pitched John on their products."I am learning from them more than they are learning from me and they are doing business in an entirely new way. There weren't PayPals around when I started," John told ABC News.The Shark Tank star listened to presentations from Peanut Butter Americano, a company that makes fancy nut butters, and Earhoox, which sells ear buds designed to stay on the wearer's ears. In the end, John went with the duo who created Earhoox."It’s amazing and refreshing and inspiring," John said of the opportunities he has had to mentor new start-ups. "The beauty of it is when you see people going through these challenges they go through and have that energy and sparkle in their eyes, it's infectious."

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Walmart to Stack German Laundry Detergent Persil Against Tide

Walmart to Stack German Laundry Detergent Persil Against Tide

Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Will the "Tide" turn for America's top selling brand of laundry detergent?Walmart is planning to sell a rival brand to boost competition and, perhaps, cut the price of detergent, the Wall Street Journal reports.The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant has big plans for Persil in the U.S., stacking it right next to Tide -- the biggest selling brand of laundry detergent.Procter & Gamble, which makes Tide, can keep prices high. 

By selling and promoting Persil, a German-based brand, Walmart hopes to give Tide a viable competitor and perhaps weaken Tide's hold on the laundry business.

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Facebook: Here’s What You Can and Can’t Do

Facebook: Here’s What You Can and Can’t Do

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook's rules aren't changing -- but they want to make sure their 1.39 billion users better understand what they can and can not post on the social network.Explaining what constitutes nudity and hate speech to a global audience is harder than one would expect."It's a challenge to maintain one set of standards that meets the needs of a diverse global community," Monika Bickert, head of global policy at Facebook and Chris Sonderby, the company's deputy general counsel, wrote in a blog post Sunday."For one thing, people from different backgrounds may have different ideas about what’s appropriate to share -- a video posted as a joke by one person might be upsetting to someone else, but it may not violate our standards," Bickert continued.In case there was any doubt: Nudity is not allowed on Facebook, however there are some exceptions, including women who are "actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring."Under most circumstances, Facebook will remove hate speech, however the company noted the important role it can play in being a forum to "challenge ideas, institutions, and practices.""Sometimes people share content containing someone else's hate speech for the purpose of raising awareness or educating others about that hate speech," the updated standards said. "When this is the case, we expect people to clearly indicate their purpose, which helps us better understand why they shared that content."When it comes to violence, Facebook will remove "graphic images when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence," the company said.Facebook also revealed that the number of government requests for data and content restrictions it fielded over the second half of 2014 increased -- with more requests coming from Turkey and Russia to block content.While requests for account data remained flat, Facebook reported there was a decline in requests from the United States and Germany.

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Tax Tip: How to Get Your Refund Quicker

Tax Tip: How to Get Your Refund Quicker

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If the Internal Revenue Service owes you money and you want it quickly, file an electronic return.“You can get your refund back generally within 20-21 days, versus maybe four to six weeks,” says Bob Meighan with the tax prep firm TurboTax.Accountant Janice Hayman says if you want to find out more about money you’re owed, go to the main page at IRS.gov and look for a specific section on the website.“'Where’s my refund?' ... It’s right on their main page,” says Hayman. “You just need to know the amount of your refund and your own personal information.”However, just because you get a refund check fast doesn’t mean you won’t hear from the IRS later.“There could be a delay of almost 18 months before a notice reaches you,” said Hayman. “We call that the CP2000: Notice of Proposed Changes.”By the way, any questions the IRS has about your return would come by U.S. mail, not via a phone call or email.

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Know Your ‘Money Personality’ to Make a Debt Escape Plan

Know Your ‘Money Personality’ to Make a Debt Escape Plan

iStock/ThinkstockBy Elisabeth Leamy(NEW YORK) — I’ve always believed that people struggling with credit card debt should pay off their highest interest card first, but today I’m here to tell you maybe that’s not the right choice for you.  I advocated  paying off the highest interest card in my book Save BIG because doing so saves you the most money.  Now, along comes another author, with another perspective, namely Beverly Harzog, with her book The Debt Escape Plan.

Herzog believes you should figure out your “money personality” in order to determine which credit card repayment plan will work best for you.  Some people are more cerebral and take pleasure in knowing they’re saving the most by paying off the highest-interest credit cards first.  Others are more emotional and do better paying toward the smallest balances first because it’s a great mental boost when you get cards completely paid off.Harzog’s Money Personality Quiz divides people into five different categories, including the “Budget Buster,” a person who fell into debt from overspending, and the “Clever Cheapskate,” who racked up credit card debt because of a life crisis like an illness or job loss.  You can read more about each type in the book.Once people know their money personality, Harzog guides them toward one of three snow-themed debt escape plans:The Debt Avalanche: With the avalanche method, you list your credit cards and start with the highest interest rate. After you pay off that card, you move onto the card with the second-highest interest rate, and so on.  Again, you save the most money this way.The Debt Snowball: In this method, you pay off your smallest balance first and then you attack the second-smallest balance, and so on. The idea is that, because the balances are low, you pay each debt off faster and get a big psychological boost.The Debt Blizzard: The Debt Blizzard is Harzog’s own creation. It combines the emotional boost of the debt snowball and the money-saving benefit of the debt avalanche. First, you pay off the smallest balance. Then, you switch to the Avalanche method and pay off your debts from largest to smallest interest rate.I wonder if she wrote this book in winter?  And I wonder if, just maybe, she’s onto something that will help you. Do you recognize which strategy would help you stay on track and dig yourself out from under your debt? "A one-size-fits-all approach to debt elimination just won’t work,” said Harzog.  “This is why I take a customized approach.”Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author. Elisabeth Leamy is a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. She is the author of Save BIG and The Savvy Consumer. Elisabeth is also a professional speaker, delivering talks nationwide on saving money, media relations, and career success. Elisabeth receives her best story tips from readers, so please connect with her via Facebook, Twitter or her website, to share your ideas.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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