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What an Apple Car Would Need to Compete with Tesla

What an Apple Car Would Need to Compete with Tesla

Apple(NEW YORK) -- Apple's nearly four decades as a company have been filled with repeated disruption of otherwise settled industries, leaving many to wonder if the world's most valuable company may be preparing to upend the auto industry with an Apple car."Apple is very good at disrupting things at a grand scale, from the music industry to music players and smartphones," Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, told ABC News. "And here you have a company with more money than anyone else. With that said, they can do anything they want to."The iPhone maker reported in January its biggest quarter yet as it sold more than 74 million iPhones. Apple's $18 billion earnings were also the best quarter in terms of profit any public company has ever reported.A lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court this week by A123 Systems alleges Apple poached five of the lithium-ion battery maker's employees, fueling more speculation the iPhone maker may be quietly working on an electric car.Apple has not commented on reports it may be building an auto team and did not respond to ABC News' request for comment on the lawsuit.With Tesla on the cutting edge of the electric car market, Moorhead said Apple will need to develop some strategic partnerships to bring a hypothetical Apple car to the market."They need to focus on what they're really good at and partner with companies and acquire companies who know how to do everything else," he said. "For instance, I don't see a core competency in braking systems that Apple would bring to the table or a new way to do tires."Not only will Apple's worth give it a competitive edge, but the company also has the advantage of employing a brain trust of some of the best designers and user experience experts in the world, Moorhead said."The technology to make a self-driving or near self-driving car would absolutely be on the table," he said.Tesla currently does not sell a completely autonomous driving car. However, last October Elon Musk's company unveiled a new Model S that is smart enough to safely navigate between lanes with a simple press of a turn signal, sense pedestrians, adhere to speed limit signs and even pull into a spot in a parking garage.Richard Wallace, director of the transportation systems analysis group at the Center for Automotive Research, said he expects a hypothetical Apple car would have some of the semi-autonomous features of the Model S."If they enter into the car market, they will by default enter into the autonomous driving vehicle race, but that doesn't mean it has to be fully self-driving on day one," Wallace said.With Tesla's Giga factory in Nevada set to produce enough batteries for 500,000 vehicles in 2020, Wallace said he believes Apple could even potentially partner with the company."It has been said Tesla will have to find other customers because their production capacity will be astonishing [at the factory]," Wallace said, referencing reports from analysts who believe the electric car maker may be able to produce more than it needs at its factory.Apple officially veered into the automotive world last year when it released CarPlay, a system that lets users link their iPhones to infotainment systems in some cars, allowing them to safely enjoy an iOS experience while driving."You should never underestimate Apple," Moorhead said. "When you have more cash than many countries do, you can never underestimate what they could do."

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California Mom Says She Grosses at Least $70K a Month on Etsy

California Mom Says She Grosses at Least $70K a Month on Etsy

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Alicia Shaffer started her site on Etsy, selling homemade headbands and socks, in November 2011 just hoping to make a few bucks."I just wanted to pay for dance lessons or my son's soccer," Shaffer told ABC's Good Morning America special correspondent Becky Worley.Now, nearly four years later, Shaffer's site, "Three Bird Nest," is one of the top five-grossing stores on Etsy, grossing anywhere from $70,000 to $80,000 per month."I was literally hoping to make like $100 a week," Shaffer said of her humble beginnings.Those humble beginnings included Shaffer sewing every item herself until her Etsy site exploded in popularity."I'm literally crying because I only have so many hours to get stuff done," Shaffer recalled. "There was stuff everywhere.""Three Bird Nest" now sells everything from clothing to leg warmers, turbans, scarves, purses, jewelry and hair accessories.As demand grew, Shaffer began hiring friends to help her meet the demand. She also hired a professional photographer and a model to show off her goods, two hires Shaffer says were important to her success.Shaffer, who lives with her family in a rural part of California, pays herself an annual salary of $55,000. She says she reinvests the rest of her earnings back into the business and her employees, which number eight, according to the store's page."You can run any business now with the Internet," Shaffer said.

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Tax Tip: Choosing the Right Tax Preparer

Tax Tip: Choosing the Right Tax Preparer

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than half of all taxpayers hand over personal information and documents to a professional to file their return, according to the Internal Revenue Service. If you're one of those taxpayers, it's important to chose your preparer wisely."Anybody can claim they're a tax preparer," says Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.So how do you find the right one?"It's so difficult. The government does not regulate tax preparers," McCormally says. However, preparers do have to register with the IRS to get a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) in order to file your return, so check to make sure they have one. The IRS also recommends avoiding preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund, or those who say they can get larger refunds than others.Relying on word of mouth and credentials can also be helpful when choosing a preparer, McCormally adds."A lot of people go to an H&R Block or a Jackson Hewitt, and some of those people are terrific, and some not that good. A lot of it depends on the luck of the draw when you go into an office," says McCormally. "Now, if you've used somebody in the past whom you like, that's the person to go to."

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Lenovo Faces Uproar Over Superfish Adware

Lenovo Faces Uproar Over Superfish Adware

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lenovo has removed a preloaded adware program called Superfish from its devices after users reported antivirus protection systems had deemed it a "potentially unwanted program."The electronics company said in a statement it removed Superfish, a visual search engine, from all products it planned to ship, effective January. The Chinese electronics company said Superfish "has completely disabled server side interactions" on existing devices.Users complaining on the Lenovo forums describe how the software would inject advertisements into their system that were more akin to what the industry would call a PUP, short for "potentially unwanted program."Perhaps most troubling is the allegation that the software can present users with a fake certificate instead of one belonging to a legitimate site they're trying to visit, that way Superfish can serve advertisements."If this software or any of its control infrastructure is compromised, an attacker would have complete and unrestricted access to affected customers banking sites, personal data and private messages," security researcher Marc Rogers wrote on his blog.Daniel Assouline, CEO at software company Lavasoft, told ABC News "the problem with Superfish isn't the problem of what they do, it's how they do it.""They need to have better consent screens and be very clear about what they are going to do on the user's PC," he said. "When we categorize adware and malware, the differentiation is whether the company has been forthcoming and transparent."Superfish CEO Adi Pinhas told ABC News in a statement that his company "is completely transparent in what our software does and at no time were consumers vulnerable -- we stand by this today."He added that Superfish stands by a statement Lenovo released making it clear that users are "not tracked nor re-targeted" and "every session is independent" when using Superfish.Lenovo also said "the relationship with Superfish is not financially significant; our goal was to enhance the experience for users. We recognize that the software did not meet that goal and have acted quickly and decisively."

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Little Caesars Announces New Bacon-Wrapped Pizza

Little Caesars Announces New Bacon-Wrapped Pizza

Little Caesars(NEW YORK) -- Is America ready for bacon-wrapped pizza? Doesn’t matter, because it’s getting it this coming Monday.Little Caesars announced its new “Bacon Wrapped Crust DEEP!DEEP! Dish pizza,” a behemoth of a pie with two types of bacon and classic pepperoni on a Detroit-style deep dish crust.Little Caesars described it as an “8-corner deep dish pizza wrapped in decadent whole strips of thick-cut, crispy bacon, and then topped with pepperoni and even more chewy pieces of savory bacon goodness.”The $12 pie clocks in at 450 calories per slice with 830mg of sodium, and will be available for only a limited time at participating locations."Little Caesars focuses on giving customers new flavors and choices at a great value and with the sense of fun we’re known for,” Little Caesars' senior vice president of global marketing, Edward Gleich, said in a statement. "With the new Bacon Wrapped Crust DEEP!DEEP! Dish we’re pushing pizza to its bacon limits with more than 3 1/2 feet of bacon wrapped around the crust alone. It’s unabashedly delicious. That’s why we like to say, ‘In Bacon We Crust!’”

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Why Some Internet Users Are Paying a Fee for More Privacy

Why Some Internet Users Are Paying a Fee for More Privacy

psphotograph/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Would you pay an extra fee for more Internet privacy? AT&T's high-speed fiber-optic service U-Verse has offered that option to customers since the launch of its GigaPower product. But is it worth it?Here's how this privacy option works: On top of the $70 a month customers pay, you can opt into AT&T Internet Preferences to select a "premier offer" for an extra $29 a month. Then, those customers will receive what AT&T calls individually tailored advertising. In other words, customers who don't choose AT&T's ad-supported model pay an extra $29.First introduced in 2013 in Austin, Texas, the company announced this week that the 1-gigabit-per-second service is available in Kansas City, Missouri. The AT&T GigaPower network is also available to customers in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company has announced plans to expand to 11 additional markets, including Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Cupertino, California.Its new service uses search terms entered, Web pages visited and links clicked to help advertisers target ads on websites and email messages, the Wall Street Journal reported, and the tracking will stay in place even if you clear cookies or use an ad-blocking program. Whether you opt in or not, AT&T says in its privacy policy that it may continue to collect Web browsing information for "limited" purposes, such as AT&T advertising and offers.Since AT&T offered the GigaPower service more than a year ago, the "vast majority" have opted for the ad-supported model, AT&T spokeswoman Gretchen Schultz told ABC News."We offer our customers some of the fastest Internet speeds available and do so in a way that ensures they have a clear choice," she said.While AT&T's option to customers is rare among large tech companies, Adam Levin, founder of Identity Theft 911, said he prefers firms offer more privacy in general. His company specializes in online privacy, including identity theft recovery services."Privacy should be the default setting, not the premium setting," Levin said. "What's next, will we be charged for the air we breathe?"There may be other alternatives for the privacy-conscious, such as a VPN (virtual private network) that can cost about $40 a year."A VPN isn't a cure-all -- it's good for security, but not necessarily privacy," Levin said. "If you're sending all of your traffic through a VPN, there's is nothing to stop the VPN service from also monitoring or storing your information."These services may offer one layer of protection when using public networks, such as the Wi-Fi network in a Starbucks."Some services out there have good track records for privacy protection, but you need to do your homework and vet any VPN company thoroughly before you trust them with your data," Levin said.

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Mixed Day on Wall Street as Unemployment Claims Decline, Walmart Announces Minimum Wage Increase

Mixed Day on Wall Street as Unemployment Claims Decline, Walmart Announces Minimum Wage Increasetarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thursday was a mixed day on Wall Street, with two of the three major indices posting small losses, as one of the largest corporations in the U.S. announced it would increase the minimum wage for its workers.The D...

Facebook Feature Can Now Change Your Photos

Facebook Feature Can Now Change Your Photos

Facebook(NEW YORK) -- If your dream is to add puppies, palm trees or dinosaurs to your Facebook photos, then you're in luck.Facebook is rolling out a new feature Thursday that allows users to dress up their photos with stickers before uploading them to the social network.The update is available for Facebook's iOS and Android apps. When users begin the photo upload process, they'll be able to press a new sticker icon that will bring up a menu of graphics they can choose to add to a photo.After selecting a sticker, the user can determine how big they want it to be and where it should be placed on their photo.After that, users are free to press upload and show off their creations.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Delivers a New Year’s Message

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Delivers a New Year’s Message

Stephen Lam/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Say what you want about his accent, but Mark Zuckerberg's Mandarin lessons are clearly paying off.

The Facebook CEO, who charmed a crowd in China last October by speaking in their native language, released a video Thursday in Mandarin wishing his followers a Happy Lunar New Year.

"This is a moment of renewal and celebration each year. I hope you have a wonderful time surrounded by friends and family, and I hope that the Year of the Sheep brings you health and happiness," Zuckerberg wrote in English below the video, which has garnered nearly 2 million views and more than 123,000 likes since it was posted Thursday morning.

Post by Mark Zuckerberg.

The 30-year-old billionaire has been busy running his company and learning Mandarin, something he chose as his "personal challenge" in 2010. Zuckerberg said one reason why he wanted to learn the language was so he could communicate with some of his wife's relatives.

Zuckerberg's dedication to learning the language caught the attention of Bill Gates, who said in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" last month that he feels "pretty stupid that I don't know any foreign languages."

"I took Latin and Greek in high school and got A's and I guess it helps my vocabulary but I wish I knew French or Arabic or Chinese," he said.

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Walmart Raises Hourly Wage for 500,000 Employees

Walmart Raises Hourly Wage for 500,000 Employees

Walmart(BENTONVILLE, Ark.) -- Approximately 500,000 Walmart and Sam's Club employees will be getting a pay raise this year.Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced on Thursday that full-time and part-time associates at its U.S. stores will see their wage go up to $9 an hour by April. That's $1.75 above the current federal minimum wage."Today, we announced comprehensive changes to our hiring, training, compensation and scheduling programs, as well as to our store management structure. These changes will give our U.S. associates the opportunity to earn higher pay and advance in their careers," Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.By Feb. 1, 2016, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said associates' pay will bump up to at least $10 per hour.

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Tax Tip: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Tax Tip: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

jrwasserman/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Identify fraud is one of the biggest concerns many people have when it comes to filing their taxes.  And for good reason."Tax refund fraud is one of the biggest businesses in America today," says Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. He recommends filing early because the longer you wait, the greater the opportunity for crooks to file a fraudulent return on your behalf.That's not the only thing to watch out for.Internal Revenue Service spokesman Eric Smith says, "There are people pretending to be from the IRS, calling people and really behaving in a way that folks in the IRS don't behave." Specifically, Smith says, any caller that asks you to pay by phone using your credit or debit card is the telltale sign of a scam."We will never call you and demand that you pay your tax debt in a particular way," Smith says. He adds, "if you owe the IRS money, you generally know."If you do get scammed, though, don't call the IRS. Instead, call the office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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Jobless Claims Decline to 283K

Jobless Claims Decline to 283K

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/eta20150262.pdf(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were slightly lower last week, decreasing by 21,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.For the week ending Feb. 14, the number of people filing for benefits dropped to 283,000. The previous week, claims stood at 304,000.The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.The four-week moving average also dropped lower by 6,500 to 283,250.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fed Still Holding Off on Raising Interest Rates

Fed Still Holding Off on Raising Interest Rates

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The nation's central bank is balking at boosting record-low interest rates anytime soon.That was the gist of the minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting in late January in which officials felt that increasing rates banks lend one another "might damp the apparent solid recovery in real activity and labor market conditions."Since the Great Recession took hold in 2008, rates have stayed at or near zero percent.There was speculation that the Fed would raise short-term rates as early as June but policymakers apparently felt that was premature.According to the minutes, the chief concern among some officials is low inflation, which suggests that wage growth is weak. However, higher inflation might return with a vengeance if the Fed doesn’t eventually raise interest rates amid a growing economy.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hungry Shoppers Buy More Stuff

Hungry Shoppers Buy More Stuff

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- In a study that retailers will no doubt find interesting, researchers at the University of Minnesota say that shopping on an empty stomach is probably not the wisest idea for budget-conscious consumers.To put it simply, hunger makes people purchase more articles, whether at a supermarket or a department store.Lead researcher Alison Jing Xu contends that hunger pangs don’t make things more appealing inasmuch as they trigger the sheer desire just to buy something.Xu says that shoppers sometimes experience a kind of buyer’s remorse after the fact as people try to figure just why they bought what they bought.The U. of Minnesota team based their findings on five different studies involving participants who either were allowed to take home free stuff or had gone shopping at a large department store.In all the studies, those who were hungry tended to pick up more things than the participants whose appetites were satisfied.The fundamental message for consumers then is to make sure you’ve got something in your stomach before beginning any shopping excursion.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Today’s Appliances Are Not Built to Last, Study Finds

Today’s Appliances Are Not Built to Last, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When an appliance breaks down in your home and you mutter to yourself, “They don’t make things like they use to,” take some solace in the fact that you’re absolutely right.The National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America conducted a study of the lifespan of household appliances and sure enough, things that you assume will last forever won’t be around as long as even the average Chihuahua.For instance, a gas-range now has a life expectancy of 15 years. It was 19 years two decades ago. Clothes dryers? You’re lucky now if you can eke 13 years out of them and the same goes for the expensive double-door refrigerator that you can almost keep a side of beef in. And trash compactors? Maybe six years.While it’s true what you buy now doesn’t last as long as the old days, there’s still an important trade-off. Newer appliances are far more energy efficient than your mother’s dishwasher so you may be saving a lot more on energy bills even if you need to replace that contraption more often.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How One Chef Is Tapping into Our Craving Centers to Build a Burger Empire

How One Chef Is Tapping into Our Craving Centers to Build a Burger Empire

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Umami, a mysterious rich, savory taste -- the fifth taste, in fact -- is found in many foods we crave, from parmesan cheese and soy sauce to pizza and fried chicken.Adam Fleischman, a former finance guy turned amateur chef, has built a burger empire on tapping into that umami taste.“We’re selling a $1 million a week of burgers,” he said.With around 25 restaurants open -- Fleischman said he has lost track -- in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and New York, he has muscled his way into an already crowded burger market, competing with the likes of Shake Shack, Five Guys and Five Napkin Burger.Just one of Fleischman’s bizarre creations include a pumpkin spice latte burger. He also uses parmesan cheese, truffles, caramelized onions and a special house ketchup blend as toppings. While it all might seem a little out there, the concept is all based around turning the burger into a perfect vehicle for a taste explosion of umami.“I basically just looked at a chart of how much glutamates were in certain foods, and then picked all the top 10 that have the most glutamates and then used those to make the burgers,” he said. “My first idea was pizza, but pizza required special ovens and training...So I started working with burgers.”Glutamates are natural amino acids that are the main component in many proteins, making certain savory foods delicious. We taste “umami” through the amount of glutamates in foods, starting at birth.“We are absolutely designed, genetically programmed to be umami cravers because that triggers our brains that this is a food that's going to deliver the necessary protein that we need to sustain our function of our bodies,” said Ihab Bishay, a food scientist with Ajinomoto, an industry leader in umami flavoring.Western science first recognized umami as the fifth taste in 2009, after salty, sweet, bitter and sour -- all based on receptors on the human tongue. But umami was first discovered in 1908 by a Japanese chemist, who figured out a way to mass produce it in a laboratory setting and called his creation “MSG,” often associated with Chinese food.While MSG has long been accused of causing “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” with headaches, dizziness and fatigue, Bishay says the syndrome “has been debunked, pretty clearly among all the regulatory and scientific community.”ABC's Nightline checked the claims and found that a majority of studies, many sponsored by producers who use it, show that MSG is safe to consume, and only a tiny percentage of the population actually has a sensitivity to large servings on an empty stomach. Bottom line is MSG is FDA approved, and it’s used in hundreds of food products from Doritos, to Stove Top stuffing to Campbell’s soup.But Fleischman said he has never used MSG in his restaurants. “I don't have anything against it,” he said. “But I don't use it because to me it's not creative.”

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Paparazzo-Turned Proposal Planner Helps Couples Pop the Question in a Big Way

Paparazzo-Turned Proposal Planner Helps Couples Pop the Question in a Big Way

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Proposing is the ultimate gesture of love, the prologue to “I do,” and now there is a booming business around making popping the question as perfect as possible. With the wedding industry now topping $55 billion a year, more and more couples are spending big money for proposal services, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs. British-born James Ambler, 35, is an expert in capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments. He a former paparazzo turned Shark Tank entrepreneur. His company, Paparazzi Proposals, works with wedding hopefuls to capture the proposal moment. His base price for a proposal scenario, which includes portraits of the magic moment, starts at $495 and can go up from there. Ambler offers proposal setups that are as extravagant as bringing in a team of photographers, hooking up multiple GoPros, drones, flowers and a live band. “It depends on how deep your pockets are,” he said. “We've had proposals in the tens, twenties of thousands of dollars.” Ambler earned his photography chops filming celebrities, but when a blocked artery required him to have open-heart surgery at age 28, he said it gave him a serious wake-up call. He said he decided then to launch his own business, shooting photos for regular Joes. Since Ambler appeared on Shark Tank in 2013, he said his proposal planning business is up 400 percent, even though he ended up not signing a contract with the Sharks in the end. He now makes about $150,000 in sales annually, he said. And he’s not the only proposal business in town. Proposal planner Sarah Pease is the owner and creative director of a business called Brilliant Event Planning, also in New York City. Her packages start around $2,000 for a planned proposal. Ambler will set up times for multiple proposals on a single day, and said this year’s Valentine’s Day was like his Black Friday. On Feb. 14, 2015, Ambler planned five proposals in New York City, and then hired other photographers to set up two more planned proposals in San Francisco and one in Paris, all in the same day. “It’s been crazy busy,” he said. “But typically the busiest months are November and December.” So far, Ambler said he has helped 700 couples get engaged, and has a 100 percent success rate -- meaning everyone has said “yes” at the end. Even now, Ambler said the big moment isn’t about the glitz or even the money spent. “I tell my guys all the time, it doesn’t matter about the cost, or the glamour. It’s all about the gesture of asking the woman of your dreams to marry you,” he said.

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Girl Scout Cookie Fans May Have to Wait Because of Thin Mints

Girl Scout Cookie Fans May Have to Wait Because of Thin Mints

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Attention Girl Scout cookie fans: Your Tagalong and Samoa orders might take a little longer than expected. The culprit for a slight delay on deliveries to a small percentage of customers is the ever-so-popular Thin Mints, which are back ordered this season. Little Brownie Bakers, the Kellogg-owned company that makes and manufactures Girl Scout cookies, are behind in producing the minty, chocolate-coated cookies, which have been in high demand since they made their debut in 1940. Because of Thin Mint production shortages, Little Brownie Bakers has rescheduled deliveries of all cookie varieties to the affected troops from March 16 to March 21. "During our busiest point in the season, our bakers make about 9 million Thin Mints," Girl Scouts USA told ABC News. The organization, which began in 1912, reportedly sells around 200 million boxes of cookies each season. About 25 percent of boxes ordered are the popular Thin Mints. As of now, Girl Scouts USA said 6 percent of its 112 Girl Scout councils are affected by the back order. Jennifer Thompson, senior director of marketing and communications of Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey, told ABC News that all customers who bought Thin Mints from the 2,000 troops in her council will be experiencing a delay. "Little Brownie saw they weren’t able to keep the initial delivery dates," she said. "The only cookie affected right now is the Thin Mint cookie. We’ve been told by Little Brownie that the cookies will be a little delayed, but they are assuring that they are working 24-7 to fulfill every order." Kris Charles, a Kellogg company spokeswoman, issued the following statement to ABC News: “While overall demand for Thin Mints has been greater than expected this season, we are working to ensure every order is delivered in a timely manner.” The overwhelming amount of cookie sales aren't upsetting the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey troops, though. "It is a function of exceeding what we thought they'd do this year, which is great for the girls," Thompson said. Because they're fulfilled differently than traditional orders, cookies ordered online through Digital Cookie will not be impacted by delivery delays.

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Samsung Going Head to Head with Apple Pay

Samsung Going Head to Head with Apple Pay

Prykhodov/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Samsung is ready to challenge Apple Pay. The Korean electronics company announced Wednesday it is buying mobile payments start-up LoopPay, setting up another head-to-head match-up with its perennial rival. In its current form, LoopPay is available as a phone case or a key fob. However, the acquisition sparks the possibility that the technology could be integrated into one of Samsung's future smartphones. "Our goal has always been to build the smartest, most secure, user-friendly mobile wallet experience, and we are delighted to welcome LoopPay to take us closer to this goal," said JK Shin, president of Samsung, said in a statement. Here's a breakdown on how LoopPay, in its current form, differs from Apple’s mobile payments solution. What the Customer Needs Using Apple Pay for purchases at brick-and-mortar stores requires an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. For LoopPay, the user will need a card retailing for $49.95. Various phone cases can also be purchased to hold the card. How It Works For Apple Pay, all users have to do is position their iPhone near one of the readers at a store, hold their finger on their Touch ID and they're good to go. The simple, swift checkout motion is made easy due to the Near Field Communication antenna in the iPhone 6, which connects with the payment point to complete the transaction. A vibration and a beep will let users know that checkout was successful. When checking out, LoopPay users can either press a designated button on their device or open the LoopPay app. From there, they select the card of their choice, tap it on the credit card reader and they're all set. While Apple's rollout requires stores to have NFC readers, LoopPay can work on most infrastructures already in place, according to its website. Security With Apple Pay, a device account number and a dynamic security code are used to complete the transaction. LoopPay said it encrypts all customer data and stores it behind a locked PIN and password.

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Mixed Day on Wall Street as Stocks Inch Back from Records

Mixed Day on Wall Street as Stocks Inch Back from Records

JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A mixed day on Wall Street, after an explosion at a West Coast refinery has analysts predicting an increase in gas prices in California. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session on Wednesday at 18,029.85, down 17.73 from its open. The Nasdaq, though, finished up 7.10 to close at 4,906.36. The S&P 500 fell by 0.66 points to close at 2,099.68. Exxon Mobile shares hit trading-session lows on Wednesday, after an explosion at a refinery in Torrance, California. The incident has industry analysts already predicting California gas prices could jump by ten cents this week.Under Armor clothing still thinks Muhammad Ali has a lot of commercial fight left in him. The company announced on Wednesday a brand of Ali's branded and inspired products with another company that bought the fighter's estate and licensing rights two years ago. The company is already selling a limited-edition Under Armor T-shirt with Ali’s image.

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