NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health created a unique poll to gauge what children across the country are eating, drinking and doing as far as physical activity goes. Here's why.
The idea of slashing federal spending for most Americans is a lot like losing weight or eating more vegetables — sounds great as an abstract aspiration, but not so easy when it gets down to the details.
The defining experience when using a smartphone is the diverse set of apps, the little programs, you load on it to make the phone do things. Increasingly, there's a choice of operating system, too. Sure there's Apple iOS, Google Android, Windows Mobile -- but at a big conference on mobile technology in Barcelona, Spain, a Samsung phone using a strange operating system was announced.
Samsung's new OS is called Tizen, and there are other rivals coming soon, including one from the browser maker, Firefox.
Sarah Rotman Epps, senior analyst at Forrester Research, joins Marketplace Tech host David Brancaccio to discuss where Tizen will be used and why Samsung is launching the new alternative system.
"March madness" is around the corner. So is the selection of a new pope. Religion News Service is bringing the two together.
The restaurant chain hopes a new system for analyzing big data sets will help it spot patterns of complaints across its more than 170 outlets in a matter of hours, not weeks. The goal: to spot problems small and big (soggy pickles? foodborne illness?) before they balloon.
Apple has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought by angry parents who said their kids racked up big bills on iTunes purchases. They're called "in-app" purchases and they usually let players of a free game buy extra weapons or to get to a new level or get a whole bunch of virtual goldfish.
That's what happend to Mike Betrand of Boca Raton, Fla. A couple of years ago, his three young children got very into a free iPad game called Tap Fish. "It’s a little virtual aquarium," he explains. "If you want to buy different tanks or you want to buy little castles or little fish, you have to use what appears to be play money."
Thing is, it's not play money. Bertrand discovered this when he happend to notice an Apple iTunes receipt in his email for $149.
"I started going through some other receipts that were trapped in my spam folder and found out that, over the course of about a week, my kids tallied about $1,500 on the game."
Bertrand says his kids had no idea what they'd done. "The kids were very surprised to learn that they were spending real money and really confused about it."
In the proposed settlement, Apple will compensate 23 million angry parents who say the company didn't have proper parental controls in place for in-app purchases. Apple will dole out $5 iTunes gift cards to many parents. Those whose charges topped $30 will get a seperate reimbursement.
Colby Zintl of advocacy group Common Sense Media applauds the ruling, a notes that Apple has since put in place an option that will allow parents to block those purchases. Still, Zintl says, these supposedly free games need standard protections.
"In the case of a game like Smurfs, these kids aren’t even reading," she says. "The ability to press a button and you’re charging your parents’ credit card, you have to question what the business practices are."
Rene Ritchie, editor in chief of tech news site iMore. says those business practices grew out of Apple's app marketplace. He points out early app games charged as much as $10. But nobody wanted to pay that much, "and this model emerged called 'fremium,'" he says.
That’s when the game itself is free, but things inside the game cost money. "Instead of having to earn something in a game, you just buy it," Ritchie says. "Instead of having to wait for your car to get more power or your solider to get more life back, you can buy it immediately. People lose patience and spend money on the game."
Betting on impatience works. Ritchie says all of the top grossing games right now are free...ish.
And they're going to stay free if Mike Bertrand has anything to say about it. "My kids don't know my iTunes password anymore," he laughs.