Trending March 2024 # Wink Gives Customers One Extra Week After Accusations Of Extortion # Suggested April 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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In a move which seems unlikely to change the way anyone feels about it, the company has edited its blog post and emailed users to say they will now get one extra week before functionality is lost.

Smart home company Wink has been accused of extortion by customers furious at an announcement that they will be forced to pay a monthly subscription else their existing products will cease to function.

Wink says any customers who don’t pay the $4.99/month subscription will no longer be able to access devices via the app, voice or API, and that automations will no longer work …

The company made the announcement in an innocuously-titled blog post, Introducing Wink Subscription.

We have a lot of great ideas on how to expand on Wink’s capabilities and satisfy the many requests from our user base. In order to provide for development and continued growth, we are transitioning to a $4.99 monthly subscription, starting on May 13, 2023. This fee is designed to be as modest as possible. Your support will enable us to continue providing you with the functionality that you’ve come to rely on, and focus on accelerating new integrations and app features.

Should you choose not to sign up for a subscription you will no longer be able to access your Wink devices from the app, with voice control or through the API, and your automations will be disabled on May 13. Your device connections, settings and automations can be reactivated if you decide to subscribe at a later date.

The company says the move was forced on it as its existing business model is no longer viable.

Since 2014, Wink has grown to support more than 4 million connected devices. During this time, Wink has relied solely on the one-time fee derived from hardware sales to cover ongoing cloud costs, development, and customer support. Providing users with local and remote access to their devices will always come at a cost for Wink, and over the years we have made great progress toward reducing these costs so that we can maintain that feature.

Wink has taken many steps in an effort to keep your Hub’s blue light on, however, long term costs and recent economic events have caused additional strain on our business.

Wink sells smart home hubs which control a wide range of third-party products. These include two starter kits for lighting and security, Wink Bright and Wink Lookout.

Wink owners on Reddit and Twitter are expressing their anger at the decision.

7 days to pay the ransom or they kill our smart homes.

I hope they go down in flames now.

I already tossed mine in the trash. Even if you do get the subscription, the company will go bankrupt in a month and you will have junk anyway.

Lawsuit.

The worst part about this whole thing is how calculated the ambush is. Blindside attack. Turnabout would be: “Hey Wink, nice company you got there. Sure would be a shame if an angry customer launched a DDoS on you.”

Wow, the one week deadline is close to extortion.

Even if someone decides to bail can ya really switch over to another system in a week (given normal life constraints)? so most have no choice but to pay the ransom.

I have a feeling our $5 will pay off some of Will’s outstanding Wink debts and then the company will fold in less than 6 months. This reeks of Moviepass shenanigans.

Extortion is the correct word to be using here, let me know where to sign for class action suit.

This is pure extortion. If you don’t pay us in 1 week, you can’t use any of the lights in your house.

While this may be the only way the company can survive, the ridiculously short notice and largely unapologetic tone of the announcement isn’t going to win the company any friends.

Last summer, it was found that Wink accounts still had access to Nest cams after they had been reset and sold to new owners. The fault in that case, however, lay with Google.

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One Of The Most Studied Plants In The World Can Grow An Extra Organ

For the past few decades, Arabidopsis thaliana, commonly known as the thale cress, has been the major plant model for scientific studies, featuring in literally tens of thousands of papers. Its relatively uncomplicated genome and short lifecycle make the small, weedlike plant an ideal subject for genetic manipulation and experimentation. And yet, in all those years, no one noticed this botanical workhorse would sometimes sprout a weird, unnamed appendage. 

First, some plant anatomy: The central stalk of a flower is called a peduncle. Branching off the peduncle are smaller, flowering stems called pedicels. In certain species of thale cresses, though, given the right conditions, a newly named organ called a cantil will grow. The cantil projects horizontally from the peduncle and then, elbow-like, bends upwards to support the flower-producing pedicels. Researchers named the mystery organ after cantilevers, architectural supports found in structures like bridges. 

One large and two small cantils can be seen on this Arabidopsis plant. The extra appendages usually grow when daylight is in short supply.Timothy Gookin

After more than a decade of inquiry, scientists confirmed that cantils are an entirely distinct part of thale cress anatomy, and not a part of any previously described plant organs. They published their findings in Development. 

The lead author of the study, Pennsylvania State University molecular biologist Tim Gookin, first noticed cantils in 2008, while formerly working as a postdoctoral researcher. They piqued his interest, but he dismissed the structures as anomalies, products of some sort of mutation or cross-contamination. But as he continued his research, Gookin noticed these little elbows again and again, including in wild strains. After ruling out effects from soil, water, fertilizer, and air supply, Gookin decided there was nothing anomalous about the cantils—they must be a naturally occurring part of the plant. 

[Related: Four plants that are scientifically proven to be therapeutic]

“It took over 12 years of experimentation to really get a grasp on what we were seeing and to understand how cantils were regulated,” Gookin said in a statement. “This study required the growth of 3,782 plants to full maturity and the manual inspection of over 20,000 flower-bearing stalks in 34 unique plant lines.”

Arabidopsis, a relative of cabbage and mustard, was first described in the 16th century. In 2000, it was the first plant to have its genome sequenced. These intrepid weeds have been grown on the International Space Station, and China even sent some to the moon. The fact that this plant has been standing center stage in the science world for so long and yet has an organ that was undiscovered is quite shocking to many scientists. 

“If you told me of a new organ in a weird plant in Amazonia, I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” François Parcy, a plant biologist at CNRS in Paris who was not involved in the study, told Science News. “What struck me is this happened in Arabidopsis. This is something that’s really surprising.”

Cantils went undetected for so long probably because they require pretty specific conditions to form. Delays in flowering prompt their growth, which usually occurs in spring when daylight hours are short. The elbow-like offshoots then emerge when Arabidopsis is at the cusp of flowering, jutting out to support the plant as the flowers start to bloom. But when light shines all day long, like in the conditions of a lab, cantils are a no-show.

This Week In Games: Ea Gives Away Dungeon Keeper, Inxile Shows Off Wasteland 3

It’s October, so do me a favor: Curl up on a couch this weekend, drink some cider, and watch a horror movie. You know, something cliché.

Or just play Gears of War 4. Whatever.

This week, we get our first look at Wasteland 3 and an extended look at Torment: Tides of Numenera, Ubisoft confirms Beyond Good & Evil 2 for like the tenth time, EA gives away Dungeon Keeper, and the Outlast 2 demo rustles some corn on Steam. This is gaming news for October 2 through 6.

My dungeon’s keeper

Remember when EA released that mobile follow-up to Dungeon Keeper a few years ago and completely ruined everything in the entire world? (Slight hyperbole, maybe.) Well, now you can head over to Origin and grab the unspoiled original Dungeon Keeper for the low, low price of free. Peter Molyneux’s 1997 classic is the latest in EA’s On the House program. Grab it while you can.

Band of brother heroes

Humble’s stepped up its game with some decent packages in recent months, including the latest Humble Company of Heroes 10th Anniversary Bundle: $1 for Company of Heroes, beat-the-average to add in Company of Heroes 2, and $10 gets you all the Company of Heroes ever made. Not bad.

Wasteland

In case you missed it: The Fig campaign for Wasteland 3 started this week, and it’s done okay—by which I mean they’ve already pretty much hit their goal, two days in. You’ve still got about a month to throw some money into the pot if you want, or you could just hang out and watch this gameplay trailer instead:

Tormented

Speaking of InXile, Torment: Tides of Numenera is set to launch in early 2023 and that means it’s time to start ramping up the trailers. Here’s a brief look at the futuristic lunacy that is Numenera itself:

Meet the new boss

Fool me once Ubisoft, shame on you. Fool me…wait, how many times have they teased a new Beyond Good & Evil at this point? Who’s to blame if I’ve been fooled seven or eight different times?

Point is, Ubisoft is dangling Beyond Good & Evil again. Michel Ancel dropped some concept art last week in the lead-up, and now it’s been officially confirmed: “If you’ve been waiting for news about BG&E…well, here you go! We are delighted to confirm that Michel Ancel is currently working with the Ubisoft Montpellier Studio on a new Beyond Good & Evil game.”

I’d get excited, but uh…you can’t, uh, you can’t fool me again. Or something. (As a side note: The original Beyond Good & Evil will be the next free Uplay game starting October 12, as part of Ubisoft’s ongoing 30th anniversary celebration.)

Mortal Kombat X-ists

The “will-they-won’t-they” around Mortal Kombat XL has come to a close with a definitive “They did”—NetherRealm finally launched it on Steam this week after initially saying they weren’t going to and then, I guess, saying “Just kidding! It’s coming!”

Also, there’s a patch that supposedly fixes most of the problems with the lackluster PC port. Great. Now I guess we twiddle our thumbs and see if Injustice 2 makes it over.

Shocking

In other patch news, the BioShock remasters got a long list of fixes. The bad news? Now people are reporting even more problems than before, including Windows 10 machines asking for players to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1. Oops.

Children of the corn

It’s October, the perfect month to try and find a horror game that’s a) Good and b) One you haven’t played yet. Well, here’s a candidate: The Outlast 2 demo, which is available for free until November 1. It’s the same short demo shown at PAX this year, and what it lacks in length it makes up for in corn-rustling and murderous religious fanatics. Hopefully it’ll tide you over until the full game’s release early next year.

The Electrified Dodge Hornet Offers A ‘Powershot’ Of Extra Horsepower

The Dodge brand leans heavily into performance, with commercials talking about “the brotherhood of muscle” and cars with names like “Demon” and “Hellcat.” So it’s no surprise that when releasing its first electrified vehicle, Dodge came up with a crossover to meet the market demand for family-friendly vehicles that includes a concession to in-your-face swagger. The new vehicle is called the Hornet, and it’s available in both a gas-only (GT) and a plug-in hybrid version (R/T).

Chris Piscitelli, one of the designers of the all-new Hornet, says the vehicle’s stinging-insect namesake is “a nasty little thing.” He says that with a mischievous grin, clearly happy with the association; the five-seater exudes intentional personality. In both drive and looks, the Hornet exhibits the Dodge legacy in the form of a small SUV that feels more like a hot hatch than a family car. 

The Dodge Hornet. Kristin Shaw

Dodge’s first electrified vehicle

This is Dodge’s first foray into electrification, and the brand is not taking any chances with its reputation. In its base iteration, the Hornet G/T is propelled by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that Dodge labeled the Hurricane4. As a plug-in hybrid, the Hornet R/T combines a turbo four-cylinder 1.3-liter engine and a single electric motor mounted to the rear axle, and together it’s good for 288 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. During the presentation, Dodge representatives said the Hornet’s closest competitor is the Mazda CX-5, which gets 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.

Dodge vehicle synthesis senior manager Brian Del Pup has worked with the automotive companies under the Stellantis umbrella (including Dodge and Chrysler) for the last two decades or so. He says the team pushed the Hornet to be as true to the brand as possible, stretching the limits of what a typical crossover—like a Subaru Outback or a Honda HR-V—might be.

“A lot of [crossovers] are appliances, and people buy them to get from point A to point B and that’s it,” Del Pup tells PopSci. “There’s a lot of things that we did with this vehicle to make it fun and make it stick out. It’s a plug-in hybrid, but that wasn’t the focus. The focus was, ‘Hey, how much performance can we get out of this architecture?’ And ‘How can we make it perform like a sports car?’ It had to feel and drive like a Dodge.”

During testing, Del Pup was sitting in the passenger seat and encouraged me to press the accelerator more firmly until I could feel it; soon we were traveling at a much higher rate of speed as though we were experiencing a tiny wrinkle in time. 

The Dodge Hornet. Kristin Shaw

Boosting the power, 15 seconds at a time

In the Hornet R/T, a PowerShot activation shaves 1.5 seconds from the 0-to-60 time for a total of 5.6 seconds from a dead stop. That said, the feature doesn’t offer a never-ending buffet of power boosts. Depending on the battery health and state of charge, the actual boost will vary, and it lasts for about 15 seconds. 

“[PowerShot works best] at a higher state of charge and when the battery is at temperatures that high-voltage batteries like, which is around 72 degrees,” Del Pup explains. “When you deviate from that, it will still allow a PowerShot, but it may take some away based on where the system is.”

It also requires a 15-second cooldown period between activations. Unlike a video game, however, it doesn’t limit the total number of PowerShots per drive. 

Plugging the Hornet R/T into a Level 2 charger fills up the battery in about 2.5 hours, Dodge says. The 15.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack is capable of 30 miles of all-electric driving under ideal conditions, which is about three miles short of the average American commute (according to AAA). The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy numbers for the R/T, but we expect those to beat the 21 miles per gallon city/29 miles per gallon highway numbers from the Hornet GT. 

Stats That Show The Importance Of Personalization For Customers

In the digital age, customers and consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to having algorithms do the work for them. This means having the capabilities to use artificial intelligence to collect data about your consumer and customize their experience accordingly. Whether it’s through products you present to your customers, titles for a streaming service like Netflix, or other customized options, giving the customer a tailored feeling helps ensure retention.

Looking for a

personalized gaming experience?

Check out this site for fun games 

tailor-made for you.

Background: The importance of personalization

Along with that comes increased competition—instead of operating as a closed unit within your community, many small business owners are now finding themselves fighting tooth and nail for brand recognition in the Wild West that is the World Wide Web. One of the biggest things a business can do to come out on top in this environment is offer a personalized experience to their customers.

This isn’t just based on anecdotes—there is measurable data to support the conclusion that tailoring content and offerings to your client’s wants and needs helps increase engagement and encourage repeat business. This article will list some of the most staggering statistics that help illustrate just how critical collecting and utilizing customer data for personalization is.

Stats about personalization

According to a 2023 study

conducted by Segment,

71% of customers report feelings of dissatisfaction when their shopping experience is not adequately customized to their individual needs. Regardless of the quality of your products—whether goods or services—presentation is key when it comes to engagement and retention in the fiercely competitive world of commerce.

SmartHQ study

A study by SmarterHQ showed that 70% of millennials—defined as those born after 1980 but before 2000—reported frustration when they received emails and snail mail from companies that were not tailored to their unique consumer profile. Businesses can do more in this area to ensure that their customers feel seen when sending out correspondence, helping to ensure that this correspondence results in conversions.

In a crushing blow to small businesses everywhere, in the same survey as the one listed above, this same age demographic reported checking Amazon for alternatives if the company they were shopping with did not present adequately customized results. At 47%, that means that nearly half of millennials will shop on Amazon if other businesses fail to deliver products in a personalized manner.

The number of consumers who believe that retailers need to improve on their personalization efforts is inching towards half, with 36% responding “Yes” when asked whether or not retailers need to do more to offer increased customization to consumers by Retail Touchpoints. This shows a growing sense of dissatisfaction in the “Digital Native” generation when it comes to the level of personalization offered by most companies.

Accenture study

Perhaps the most staggering statistic on this list, and the one that best demonstrates the need of retailers to respond to the consumer’s demand for personalization, is that 91% of respondents said that they are more likely to shop with businesses and brands that offer better personalization over ones that are not, according to a study conducted by Accenture in 2023.

According to Accenture, 74% of customers also believe that the ability to create “living profiles” makes a brand or company more appealing than those that only allow consumers to fill out a few basic questions. This means allowing customers to include a comprehensive list of preferences so they can easily have items and services that match their needs—suggested to them on your website. 

This shows that customers are tired of scouring the internet looking for something they need under piles of things they don’t. Businesses that can fill this gap by finding something to suit the customer’s needs simpler and faster have a high-value proposition to offer consumers.

Conclusion

It isn’t easy finding new ways to do business in the competitive landscape that’s quickly becoming a highly corporatized society. That being said, customers will engage with brands and companies that treat them like people instead of numbers. If you want to set yourself apart, it means meeting the needs of a market with a growing number of customers seeking better personalization.

This may mean turning the way you do business on its head and restructuring from the top down, for example, building better algorithms and product filters to help customers find what they need quickly. This helps reduce bounce rate and prevents customers from choosing another website that will succeed where you may have failed—such as Amazon.

Apps Of The Week: Disneyland, Pac

It is the weekend again. But, not everyone will have the joy of sitting on the porch with friends, cracking a cold one and a joke as the hours slowly tick by. Some of us will be pulling weeds in the hot sun, or driving hundreds of miles to visit family, or even working.

No matter what you are doing this weekend, try to make time for relaxing. If you are looking for some new apps and games, check out our list below. You might find just what you need to make your weekend perfect.

If you are the type of gamer that, somewhere in your past (or possibly present), sat around a table with a group of friends and played such games as Dungeons and Dragons, this is the kind of game you will enjoy. It harkens back to a real tabletop experience, complete with character sheets, maps, and more. There is even a simulated set of gamer’s dice for you to roll. As you explore a handcrafted dungeon, you will find loot cards that can give you special items, stronger armor, and even better weapons. Using your newly collected swag, you will be ready to fight off the strange beings you will encounter when entering an unknown room. This game is available for $3.99.

I’ve been waiting a long time for this app to return to the App Store. There has been an official Disney World app for a while now, but the West Coast theme park hasn’t had one in years. With this official app, users can log into their Disney account to scan tickets or annual passes, check park hours and ride closures, and check current wait times for rides throughout the park. You can also find out where your favorite characters will be set up for meeting, search the map for restaurants, and even find out where the closest bathroom is. This app is available for free.

Just when you thought you knew everything about the pellet-munching half circle, a new game comes out that throws it all out of whack. In this endless arcade maze, players control Pac-Man as he chomps though neon mazes that twist and turn. In addition to being chased by ghosts, you are followed by the ever-present, infamous 256 Glitch as it tries to tear your coding apart. There are also special power ups (beyond the power pellets that let you eat ghosts) like bombs, lasers, and stealth mode. While the basic rules of Pac-Man still apply, this is one arcade classic that will really push your limits. This game is available for free.

Maybe you are the type of person that just can’t stand classic games like Pac-Man getting a lot of changes. Instead of trying to convince yourself that the game is terrible, even though you haven’t played it, try a whole new game that has a pellet-munching traveler that eats his way through mazes. In this game, players are constantly being chased by a red foe. However, the only way to get him off your back is to switch the bridge at just the right moment, so he is stuck on the other side of the maze. Hopefully, it will be a side you’ve already gobbled all of the pellets on. This game is available for free.

LinkedIn Lookup

Having hundreds of work related contacts for LinkedIn doesn’t really do you any good if it takes forever to find them. With this new contacts app from the official business-networking site, you can get the information you need about the people that will be in your next meeting. You can also look up contacts by skill, title, and more. Of course, the app makes it possible for you to call, text, or email your contacts with one tap. This app is available for free.

Spiral Ride

If you loved Impossible Road and just can’t get enough of the bang-your-head-against-a-wall action, then you might want to take a moment to absorb this game. You don’t tilt to stay on track. However, you must tap the screen whenever the arrows approach in order to switch lanes and avoid being thrown off into the abyss. Along the way, you will collect cubes that add to your score. Don’t be mistaken. It is not going to be easy. You’ve been warned. This game is available for free.

More apps you should check out These apps have been updated

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