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The Almighty Buck

The Ridiculous Tech Fees You're Still Paying 318

Esther Schindler writes "None of us like to spend money (except on shiny new toys). But even we curmudgeons can understand that companies need to charge for things that cost them money; and profit-making is at the heart of our economy. Still, several charges appear on our bills that can drive even the most complacent techie into a screaming fit. How did this advertised price turn into that much on the final bill? Why are they charging for it in the first place? Herewith, fees that make no sense at all — and yet we still fork over money for them. For example: 'While Internet access is free in coffee shops, some public transit, and even campsites, as of 2009 15% of hotels charged guests for the privilege of checking their e-mail and catching up on watching cat videos. Oddly, budget and midscale hotel chains are more likely to offer free Wi-Fi, while luxurious hotels — already costing the traveler more — regularly ding us.'"
Privacy

Give Us Your Personal Data Or Pay Full Fare 342

ebh writes "Noted in an AP story about how fees make it difficult to compare air travel costs, is how the airline industry is moving toward tailoring offer packages (and presumably, fares) for individuals based on their personal information. Worse, 'The airline association said consumers who choose not to supply personal information would still be able to see fares and purchase tickets, though consumer advocates said those fares would probably be at the "rack rate" — the travel industry's term for full price, before any discounts.'"
Communications

AT&T To Acquire T-Mobile From Deutsche Telekom 748

teh31337one writes "AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of T-Mobile USA for $39 billion in cash and stocks. Press release here." Gripes one anonymous reader: "Americans will have even less choice now when it comes to cell phone carriers. Say good-bye to the one that had the best customer service and was most friendly towards Android and rooting."
Facebook

Facebook To Make Facebook Credits Mandatory For Games 116

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from TechCrunch: "Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed making Facebook Credits mandatory for Games, with the rule going into effect on July 1 2011. Facebook says that Credits will be the exclusive way for users to get their 'real money' into a game, but developers are still allowed to keep their own in-game currencies (FarmBucks, FishPoints, whatever). For example, Zynga can charge you 90 Facebook Credits for 75 CityCash in CityVille. ... The company acknowledges that some developers may not be pleased with the news, explaining this is why it is announcing the news five months in advance, so it can 'have an open conversation with developers.' The rule only applies to Canvas games (games that use Facebook Connect aren't affected), and while it's games only at this part, Facebook says that it eventually would like to see all apps using Facebook Credits. It's a move that's been a long time coming — there has been speculation that Facebook would do this for a year now, spurring plenty of angst in the developer community."

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