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March 5, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
After kicking off a trade-in program specifically for loyal BlackBerry users, T-Mobile said it has experienced 15 times the amount of device trade-ins that it normally receives. But surprisingly, most of the customers are dumping their BlackBerry devices. An internal memo sent within T-Mobile indicates that 94% of customers participating in the BlackBerry trade-in program have switched to other types of devices, according to a report by TmoNews . VIDEO: Unboxing the Quirky Spotter multipurpose sensor Those results are notable considering what led to T-Mobile launching the trade-in campaign in the first place.
March 5, 2014 | By Ronald D. White
Among the hundreds of gadgets, games and apps at January's Consumer Electronics Show, few had the sizzle of James Buch's gleaming silver hunk of hardware. That's because the device is a barbecue grill - one that's Wi-Fi enabled, voice activated and chatty in a Siri-ish way. "When the Lynx Smart Grill is ready for the food, it sends you a text," said Buch, chief executive of Lynx Professional Grills of Downey. "When it's time to flip the food, it sends you a text. When the food is ready, it sends you a text.
March 4, 2014 | By Catherine Saillant
Despite promises to speed up customer service response times, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's telephone system is still making callers wait an average of nearly 30 minutes on hold, according to a new DWP website. A billing information page was launched this week to coincide with the arrival of Marcie Edwards, the new DWP head selected by Mayor Eric Garcetti to lead the city-owned utility. A chart on the website shows that wait times for customer calls averaged 29 minutes in late February, two minutes less than reported for the second week of November, when city officials vowed to fix an overwhelmed call system.
March 3, 2014 | David Lazarus
There are a lot of really unfriendly consumer contracts out there. But the absurdly worded terms and conditions for AT&T Mobile Insurance, the company's coverage for wireless devices, take corporate meanness to a whole new level. Marianna Yarovskaya thought she was being smart when she recently purchased AT&T's insurance to safeguard the new iPhone 5S she bought before an overseas trip. "With AT&T Mobile Insurance," the company's website says, "you can protect your investment and get a replacement device quickly to keep you connected.
March 2, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Now we have an idea why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service was keeping secret an independent report of its encounters at the Mexican border. Because it has something to hide. As The Times' Brian Bennett reported last week, an independent report by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum sharply criticized the agency for a "lack of diligence" in investigating fatal encounters involving its agents. The report, based on internal case files of 67 shooting incidents leading to 19 deaths between January 2010 and October 2012, also faulted some of the agents' practices, including positioning themselves in the "exit path" of fleeing vehicles apparently as a pretext for opening fire in self-defense.
March 2, 2014 | By Lew Sichelman
If the ease with which hackers pilfered the financial information of millions of Target and Neiman Marcus customers has you worried about how easily your private data can be lifted from your mortgage company, wait until you hear what a major cybersecurity firm found out about lenders. Here's a hint: It isn't good. According to Halock Security Labs, mortgage companies big and small allow information-sharing practices that put your personal and financial data at grave risk. FOR THE RECORD: Data security: The Housing Scene column in the March 2 Business section about how to ensure that personal mortgage information is safe from hackers said that Brian Koss is president of Mortgage Network.
March 1, 2014 | Betty Hallock
In the next few years, a new kind of chain pizza restaurant will pop up by the thousands across the country and beyond, pouring tomato sauce and grating mozzarella over America's culinary landscape in the race to become "the Chipotle of pizza. " That means diners get to customize their own pizzas as they're prepared in assembly-line fashion in an environment somewhere between fast-food and upscale. The pizzas are usually 11 to 12 inches, cost about $7 and are baked in a super-hot oven, so diners are sitting down to eat within minutes.
March 1, 2014 | By Robert Faturechi
Amid the first major rainstorm of the year, 3,200 people in Los Angeles and others across the area are without power, officials said. Palm fronds and other debris are falling on power lines. Among those affected are 1,900 people in the Fairfax area, 600 in Reseda, 250 in Sylmar and others in Hancock Park and Valley Glen, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Gale Harris said. Many, she said, have been without power since early Saturday morning. The power went out for more than 21,000 people in Riverside on Saturday because of lightning strikes, according to a release on the city's website.
February 28, 2014 | By Jill Schensul
On a recent three-week vacation, I was reminded - forced to remember, perhaps - that there are plenty of ways to save: There are cheaper alternatives or ways to get discounts for almost anything. You can even get money back on that extravagant pair of boots or replacement lens you just had to buy. Tipping: I was a waitress once, so I leave good tips. But when you're abroad, it can pay to know the customs and read the bill. In Japan and South Korea, tipping is frowned upon.
February 28, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel and Daniel Rothberg
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers and watchdog groups called Friday for tougher restrictions on the use of deadly force by U.S. border agents and more transparency in the investigation of killings, including the release of an independent audit that recommended reforms in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's "use-of-force" policies. The comments followed a report Thursday by the Tribune Washington Bureau that revealed that a 21-page audit - which the border agency commissioned but has refused to release to the public or Congress - cited examples of border agents unnecessarily stepping in front of fleeing cars to justify firing at passengers, and responding to rock-throwing with firearms.
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