vendredi 18 août 2017

Here’s A Giant List Of Solar Eclipse Promotions

On Monday, Aug. 21, people from Oregon to South Carolina will get to experience a rare total solar eclipse, with folks outside this path still experiencing a partial eclipse. And because every notable event must be accompanied by a marketing bonanza, there is no shortage of companies offering everything from eclipse-themed appliance sales to one-day-only donuts.

We’ve rounded up some promotions and freebies that you might find interesting. If you know of other promotions that we missed, please let us know so we can update this post before the event!

Home Appliances

Frigidaire: A “blackout sale” on matte black stainless steel appliances will run from Aug. 17 to Aug. 23. The collection will be at least 30% off at participating retailers, including online.


Krispy Kreme: The hot doughnut chain is celebrating the eclipse by putting a chocolate glaze on its original glazed doughnuts for the first time.

“The Chocolate Glazed Doughnut is a delicious way to experience the solar eclipse — no matter where you are — and we can’t wait for fans to try it,” the company’s chief marketing officer said in a statement, leaving people who live in places with neither Krispy Kreme shops nor a full view of the eclipse bereft.

Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers: Get a free Milky Way candy bar or pack of Eclipse gum (of course!) with any beverage purchase. (You may have to download the chain’s rewards app to get this deal; we’re waiting for clarification.)

Pizza Hut: They don’t have an eclipse special, but did make an instructional video showing how to make a pinhole eclipse viewer out of a pizza box.

Dairy Queen: From Aug. 21 to Sept. 3, you’ll be able to buy one Blizzard and get one for $0.99, which somehow involves the eclipse.


Warby Parker: While most places are out of the special viewing glasses you’ll need to protect your eyes during the eclipse, Warby Parker is giving them away for free at its physical stores. Or, follow these instructions to make your own pinhole projector.


U.S. Postal Service: The USPS is selling super cool eclipse stamps. They’re the first postage stamp in this country that uses thermocromatic ink that changes the image when you touch the stamp. The moon covering the sun disappears.


José Cuervo Tequila: The brand sent along some eclipse-themed cocktail recipes, including the “Total Especial Eclipse.” Here’s how you make it, and you now have two days to locate charcoal lemonade:

2 oz Jose Cuervo Especial
2 oz orange juice
1 tsp grenadine
1/2 oz. charcoal lemonade

Shake tequila and orange juice and pour into a rocks glass over ice. Mix charcoal lemonade and grenadine and slowly pour into the cocktail.

Regional events & parties

The eclipse cuts a swath across the country from the Pacific Northwest to the coastal Southeast, so there’s no way we can include every big eclipse viewing event or post-eclipse party. But there are some handy lists out there.

Travel Oregon has put together this roundup things to do and see in the state on Monday.

• Here’s a massive map of the 100+ events going on in and around St. Louis on the day of the eclipse.

• This page at the Charleston Post & Courier site gathers together some of the best places to celebrate after the eclipse for people visiting the last city in the path of totality.

• And USA Today has its guide to events both in and outside the path of the total eclipse.

Watch in person

By air: Private plane operators and small airlines like Million Air have packages that will take you to a remote airport to view the eclipse for $10,000, according to Bloomberg News. Even private jet companies and commercial carriers like Southwest are giving away viewing glasses to passengers on flights that might get to see the eclipse from their windows.

On the ground: The American Astronomical Society has a handy tool for looking up local events taking place along the path of the eclipse, from astronomy club meetings to community festivals and live streams.

Watch from afar

NASA: If you don’t live somewhere where the moon will completely cover the sun and/or will be stuck at your desk, NASA has you covered: It will be streaming the eclipse from a weather-proof vantage point above the clouds. The space agency expects up to a billion people to watch.

The Weather Channel: Another option for watching the eclipse will be on The Weather Channel, which will be broadcasting live from seven locations across the country.

SolarEdge: If you’re wondering who is seeing the eclispe right now, solar energy systems company SolarEdge is also offering a stream that will show you the path of the eclipse and how it’s affecting solar energy systems.

Bring Your Own Cup To 7-Eleven This Weekend, Fill It With Slurpee For $1.50

Grab your dog’s huge water bowl or your favorite drinking boot: It’s time for Bring Your Own Cup day at 7-Eleven.

Today and tomorrow, anyone visiting a 7-Eleven between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. can fill a vessel of their own choosing with Slurpee and pay just $1.50.

Same as last year, there are a few ground rules that keep you from filling an inflatable pool or a giant trash bag:

• All cups must be able to fit upright through a 10-inch hole (stores have a cutout to measure this).

• The vessel must be food-safe and water tight.

• Limit is one cup per person.

Facebook Cracking Down On Video Clickbait In The Newsfeed

If you’ve ever clicked on what looks like an interesting video promising “17 Ways You’re Eating Cheese Wrong,” only to find yourself on a spammy website that has nothing to do with cheese, you know how frustrating such clickbait can be. Facebook is now introducing new updates aimed at keeping those deceptive posts out of your news feed.

There are two kinds of video clickbait Facebook is going after: Stories that feature either fake video play buttons embedded in their imagery, or videos that only play a static image.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook, and so do we,” Facebook engineers Baraa Hamodi, Zahir Bokhari, and Yun Zhang note in a blog post.

To that end, the social media network will begin demoting stories that feature feature fake video play buttons and static images disguised as videos in news feeds.

“Authentic communication is one of our core News Feed values, and we know our community values it,” the company says.

And if you’ve got a page that relies on these “intentionally deceptive practices,” Facebook notes that you “should expect the distribution of those clickbait stories to markedly decrease.”

Atari Claims Nestlé Ripped Off Video Game With ‘Breakout’ Commercial

A 2016 ad for Nestlé’s Kit Kat bars includes a video game that looks an awful lot like Breakout, the classic Atari video game co-created by Apple’s Steve Wozniak. Problem is, Atari says Nestlé didn’t get permission to make this Kit Kat-themed Breakout clone.

In a lawsuit [PDF] filed in San Francisco on Thursday, Atari claims that ads Nestlé aired in the United Kingdom constitute a “blatant invasion and misappropriation of its intellectual property rights” related to the game, which was released more than 40 years ago.

Give me a Breakout

In an ad called “Kit-Kat: Breakout”, people of all ages, sexes, and races come together to play a video game that involves moving paddles back and forth to bounce balls against bricks made out of Kit Kat bites. It’s all set against a beeping, hooping video game soundtrack.

“Share your break, with new Kit Kat bites,” the voiceover says. “Whoever you are, however you break— have a break, have a Kit Kat.”

Atari’s lawsuit also notes a Nestlé ad campaign on Twitter and Facebook that invited people to “Get your game on Breakout Breakers.”

Atari is displeased

In 1975, Atari was looking to follow up on its “groundbreaking” hit game, Pong, Atari’s lawsuit explains. “The new simple, addictive game was also a hit, and helped propel Atari to its long-held spot on top of the video game industry.”

The original game spawned multiple sequels, like Super Breakout and Breakout 2000, and has been ported to just about every gaming console at some point. There are many knockoffs of the game available, but Atari attempts to keep the Breakout brand alive with a version that’s free to play online:

“Forty years later Nestlé decided that it would, without Atari’s authorization, leverage Breakout and the special place it holds among nostalgic Baby Boomers, Generation X, and even today’s Millennial and post-Millennial ‘gamers’ in order to maximize the reach of worldwide, multi-platform advertisements for Nestlé Kit Kat bars,” the complaint alleges.

Just using the term “Breakout” in an advertising context “is the plainest invasion and infringement of Atari’s trademark rights,” the lawsuit claims.

This alleged infringement could eliminate Atari’s licensing opportunity “across a wide range of products and sectors,” the complaint alleges, because “any potential Atari licensee will have to consider both Atari’s past and continuing involuntary association with Nestlé when determining whether to license Breakout, or hundreds of other Atari games.”

Atari claims that Nestlé’s conduct was “willful,” and “obviously designed to leverage the decades of goodwill Atari and Breakout have garnered across multiple generations.”

The ads were “specifically designed to piggyback on the scope of the public’s familiarity with Atari and Breakout, given that millions of consumers, from the youngest gamers to aging Baby Boomers, have been exposed to the game,” the complaint alleges. “The infringement was not hidden, fleeting, or innocuous – Breakout is the central player, and binding thread, across all of the infringing ads.”

Nestlé responds

In a statement, Nestlé notes that the campaign was a UK TV advertisement that ran in 2016.

“The ad no longer runs and we have no current plans to re-run it,” the company said. “We are aware of the lawsuit in the U.S. and will defend ourselves strongly against these allegations.”

Chuck E. Cheese’s Testing Restaurants With No Animatronics

Children today: They still love video games, pizza, and music, but they aren’t as into animatronic animal bands as generations past. That’s why some locations will experiment with taking the robots out and replacing them with humans in animal costumes. Don’t worry, though: Drunken brawls among adult guests are sure to continue.

Dancing with the Mouse

Chuck E. Cheese’s is introducing revamped restaurants that have TV screens, open kitchens, large-format video games, and dance floors, but no stage that features animatronic animals performing music. That’s been a fixture of the restaurant since the beginning, but they just don’t hold kids’ attention like they used to.

“The kids stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago, and they would wait for the live Chuck E. to come out,” the company’s chief executive, Tom Leverton, told CBS.

Yes, someone dresses up in a mouse costume and dances with children, and kids raised on hyper-realistic animation and video games find that more appealing than the jerky movements of the aging animatronic figures.

The company plans to renovate four restaurants in the San Antonio, TX, area to the more modern look and format, then convert three others in the Kansas City, MO, area as well. Depending on how this test goes, other restaurants will be converted, too.

Leverton, the company’s Big Cheese, predicted in his interview with CBS that the new format will go over well with young children, and they’ll be removing the robo-critters from restaurants in the future. There are 500 restaurants nationwide.

Atari and Rick the Rat

Technically, this brings the chain and the Chuck E. Cheese character back to its roots. The Chuck character began as a costumed mascot for Atari. Yep, the video game company. Co-founder Nolan Bushnell claims that he ordered a coyote costume and received a mouse/rat costume instead, but went along with it.

The brand began as part of Atari, with the goal of making video games more mainstream and acceptable for families to play. Bushnell bought the pizza restaurant and its intellectual property from Warner, the company that purchased Atari, and developed it as a standalone company.

The animatronic shows were meant to entertain adults when the chain first started. They would watch the 8-minute show while waiting for pizza, and banter between characters edged into PG territory. Instead, the characters became entertainment for the whole family.

(via A.V. Club)

Lawmakers Seek Investigation Into Alleged Attack On FCC Commenting System

When the FCC’s new leadership officially began the process of dismantling net neutrality rules, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when an overwhelming amount of traffic crashed the Commission’s public commenting system. After all, it happened a few years ago when these rules were being written. What did surprise people was the FCC’s claim — made without providing any additional information — that the system failure was not the result of too many people trying to comment, but a malicious attack. The FCC has never fully explained how it reached that conclusion, and now some lawmakers want to know why.

The system is down

In May, the second net neutrality fight, much like the first back in 2014, got a swift kick in the pants from a segment on John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight.

The FCC’s updated, but still somewhat fragile, online commenting system was overwhelmed with demand in the hours immediately following the first airing of Oliver’s story, and was temporarily inaccessible for millions. Most assumed that it was simply overloaded due to high demand and too many simultaneous requests. The Commission, however, said that the demand was not simply from millions wanting to have a say, but a deliberate attack designed to take the system down.

David Bray, the FCC’s Chief Information Officer at the time (he has since left), said in a statement that Sunday evening right after Oliver’s show, “the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS).”

“These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host,” Bray added. “These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC.”

But where’s the proof?

If the timing of the claim seems a little too “convenient” to you, you’re not the only one.

The day after the FCC cried foul, a pair of Senators, Ron Wyden (OR) and Brian Schatz (HI), sent a letter to FCC Chair Ajit Pai asking for more information about this DDOS attack.

If it really was an attack against a U.S. federal agency by external actors, Wyden and Schatz pointed out, then that constitutes a singificant threat.

So the Senators asked Pai a series of questions about the attack: Approximately how many devices were involved? Were people actually blocked from commenting? How many simultaneous visitors can the FCC’s comment portal actually handle? Who was behind it?

Pai was given until June 8 to respond. He made it by the deadline, but the response [PDF] was underwhelming.

The FCC said it classified the “disruption” as “a non-traditional DDoS attack.” Some cloud-based bot entity went specifically for the comment filing system, the Commission said, and as it was making more than 160 requests per second it overwhelmed the API.

But the Commission also said that after consulting with the FBI, the attack didn’t seem major enough to bother pursuing — and the rest of its answers weren’t exactly deeply detailed.

So Schatz, along with New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, are asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the FCC’s claims [PDF].

“While the FCC and FBI have responded to Congressional inquiries into these attacks,” Pallone and Schatz write, “they have not released any records or documentation that would allow for confirmation that an attack occureed, that it was effectively dealt with, and that the FCC has begun to institute measures to thwart future attacks and ensure the security of its systems.”

The letter asks the GAO to find out how the FCC determined a cyberattack took place; what evidence the FCC used to make that determination; and what processes the Commission has in place to “prevent or mitigate” another attack just like the supposed May 8 event.

Not the first time

As we mentioned, this was the second time John Oliver got involved in the net neutrality fray. The first time, in 2014, his memorable segment (in which he called then-chair Tom Wheeler a dingo, among other things) also led to the comment system crashing in June of that year.

A few weeks later, as the comment deadline loomed, the system once again got overwhelmed with traffic, leading the Commission to extend the filing deadline by three days in order to accomodate everyone.

These both just seemed like high-traffic events at the time: A deadline is looming, and everyone suddenly wants to get their last word in at once. The proceeding received a then-record 4 million comments, an extremely high volume for the creaky old system to handle. Makes sense.

But as Gizmodo notes, Bray also claimed at the time that the FCC suffered a comment system outage due to a hack — even though no evidence of a malicious attack ever existed.

Multiple sources at the FCC told Gizmodo that no evidence ever existed that a cyberattack occured in 2014, even though they looked hard to find any.

Gizmodo, meanwhile, filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the FCC seeking any document that could possibly be related to a cyberattack in May, 2017.

The result was a total of 16 pages of mostly-redacted emails, and a statement from the Commission that it sreal-time observations of the disruption “did not result in written documentation.” The FCC declined to release a further 209 pages of documentation, Gizmodo reported.

In response to Gizmodo’s reporting, the FCC issued a press release blasting “inaccurate media reports;” Gizmodo, in turn, countered with a full rejoinder under the headline, “The FCC is full of s**t.”

Victoria’s Secret Is Over Bralette Trend, Sticking With Push-Ups

After trying to get into what the cool kids want these days, lingerie veteran Victoria’s Secret has decided to stop trying to be trendy, and just stick with what it knows best: Bras with padding, wiring, and the ability to push things upward.

Going up

Competitors are all about pushing bralettes these days. Some shoppers like these wireless bras — that usually don’t have padding — because they come in simple sizes like small, medium, large, and extra-large, instead of cup sizes, which can make it easier to predict how something will fit.

But despite its best efforts, Victoria’s Secret apparently hasn’t had much success with the trendy items, and will pull back on that front. Bralettes will now be less than 5% of its production mix, Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Jan Singer said on an earnings call this week.

Instead, it’s back to pushing things upward.

“Bralettes trend up and down and we’ll have them,” Singer said. “But we make constructed bras best and anyone can make bralettes. We get paid for construction.”

Singer notes that the company has a “cornerstone in the business of the push-up bra,” and while they tried the bralette thing, they’re now finding “a lot of sexy in the middle,” noting that “fashion in constructed bras is the way to go for us going forward.”

“I think anybody can make a bralette and that was a moment that will come and go [and] it will come again,” Singer noted. “But for us, we make constructed bras best.”

Trying new things

Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands has rolled out a bunch of changes in the last few years in an effort to increase sales and keep customers coming back.

Among those moves: Selling more sports bras, getting rid of the swimwear category altogether, and trying to become less reliant on its print catalog. Last fall, the company also announced it would be ditching those ever-present “free panty” coupons.

In the meantime, Victoria’s Secret is facing new rivals like Amazon, which is reportedly interested in expanding its in-house apparel brands to include women’s intimate apparel.

The brand is also feeling the pressure from a recent flood of lingerie startups, many of which offer a subscription-like model and promise to provide more accurate sizing.