The UpStream

Best Buy Stays In the Red with 'Premier Silver' Customers this Black Friday

posted Saturday Nov 26, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Best Buy Stays In the Red with 'Premier Silver' Customers this Black Friday

In preparation for this year's Black Friday, the supposedly 'epic' deals that are synonymous with that weekend and is what starts the retail golden quarter, happened prematurely. Some big name companies such as Walmart, Target, hhgregg, Amazon and Best Buy kicked things off early this year in an effort to gobble up few more percentage points of the golden quarter pie. This isn't at all surprising when retailers in general are combating declining revenues and in some cases losses but it is a little surprising when a lack of follow through on the retailer's part makes good deals go sour.

Best Buy has been fighting losses that date back over 5 straight quarters in stores that have been operating for more than 14 months and was one of the retailers to reach out to select customers with exclusive pre-Black Friday deals. The specific customers in this case were their Premier Silver customers who qualify for that distinction by spending over $2,500 per year with the company and also being a Rewards Zone member. On November 21st, the Premier Silver customers were supposed to be able to take advantage of special offers related to laptops, TVs and videogames through Best Buy's website but many were digitally denied by some technical issues that prevented them from completing their orders. Oops. Read some negative customer feedback after the break.

Search Different With Volunia

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Search Different With Volunia

Massimo Marchiori is an Italian mathematician who played in big role in what Google currently uses as their page rank system. Back in 1996 he presented his Hyper Search algorithm at a conference that was attended by Larry Page and well, the rest is history, until now. Marchiori has plans to create his own search engine that is not intended to be "better" than Google but "different" and really useful to people.

If you have received an e-mail from Volunia with an offer to become a "power user" and participate in some preliminary testing then you would know because the video linked in the e-mail consists of Marchiori sitting on a park bench with a magical white board that seems to have something in common with Ghost Writer. He's not able to give away much information but he is able to say that this is something new, exciting and different.

It's not just Google plus 10 percent. It's a different perspective. It's a new radical view of what a search engine of the future could be.

Check out the video for yourself after the break.

Sony PlayStation Home is Cozier When You Watch Movies with Friends

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Sony PlayStation Home is Cozier When You Watch Movies with Friends

There isn't much to say about PlayStation Home that hasn't been said before. For most, it's just a big space that feels like you're the only one in it. The movie theater seems to only play "C" movies and the slushies at the ice rink are luke warm at best. After three redesigns, it appeared that Sony was really just missing the mark. However, the PlayStation Home may have some life still left in it, or it at least will go down kicking and screaming.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Gets an N for New, Germans Celebrate

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Samsung Galaxy Tab Gets an N for New, Germans Celebrate

Back in August, Apple and Samsung got into a heated debate about the originality of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The injunction Apple asked for was upheld in September during the patent litigation hearings in Germany. So, in Germany, you were unable to purchase a Galaxy Tab. That is, until this week.

Samsung has slightly altered the Galaxy Tab to make it just different enough to allow it to be sold in Germany.

Google Music Service is Not Music to Amazon and Apple's Ears

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Google Music Service is Not Music to Amazon and Apple's Ears

The Google Music Beta is now up and running to the delight of Google and it's partners, EMI Group, Universal Music and Sony Music. It's not certain that actual users will welcome the service with open arms yet but we can be sure that it won't be so warmly welcomed by Amazon, Apple and Microsoft who now have to deal with another contender in the $6.8 billion dollar online music industry.

The concept of Google Music is nothing terribly original, everyone is familiar with Zune, iTunes and the Amazon Music Store already and Google is trying to tie Google Music into the social aspect of users lives to change the way recommendations are made and how users purchase music according to Google's director of content partnerships, Zahava Levine.

Recommendations from friends are the single most important way that people discover new music. And we think that this social feature has the potential to really transform purchasing behavior.

Find out what role Google+ and Android devices will play in the success of Google Music after the break.

Apple Names New Chairman and Director

posted Sunday Nov 20, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Apple Names New Chairman and Director

For about a week or so, since the discovery that the latest iPhone had more problems than the Apple team knew about, the Cupertino camp has been relatively quiet. With the iPhone announcement event being a little lackluster after the untimely resignation of Steve Jobs, a lot of people were left wondering what else could go wrong for Apple. There were some holes that needed to be patched or filled and it seemed that they had no idea who was going to step in.

This week, Apple did state that they have decided on a new Director of Apple and a new non-executive Chairman of the Board.

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