Google buys Softcard, teams up with carriers on mobile payments


Google and the mobile carriers have long been at odds over mobile payments, but faced with the runaway success of Apple Pay, the two rivals have become friends. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are selling their mobile wallet joint venture Softcard to Google for an undisclosed amount, Google and Softcard revealed on Monday in separate blog posts, and they have agreed to pre-install Google Wallet on their Android smartphones starting this fall.

That’s quite a full circle to arrive at, considering that for the last three years the three operators actively blocked Wallet from their devices in blatant protectionism for their own mobile payments service Isis. The problem was that Isis, which changed its name to Softcard last year, was slow to arrive to market, meaning few Android phones had access to any kind of near-field-communications (NFC)–based wallet.

That left the nascent smartphone contactless payment market stillborn in the U.S…

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A Church Steeple

Echoes of the Past


Apart from the cameras and that most buildings are some kind of tea or coffee shop, I doubt the view to the church has not changed for a few hundred years.  It was a lovely walk up the lane with the promise of a glorious church, St Michael & All Saints’ to explore at the end of it.  Ledbury is a wonderful little town and has many wonderful buildings of interest and you would never go thirsty.

From our visit February 2015

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Watch the Kids From Bob’s Burgers Star in Sleater-Kinney’s New Video


Sleater-Kinney teamed up with the creators of Bob’s Burgers for the music video of the group’s latest single, “A New Wave.” Strange idea, yes, but it totally worked out.

The video features cartoon versions of the three band members and takes place in the bedroom of 13-year-old Bob’s Burgers heroine Tina Belcher. She gets to show off some of her famous Tina dance moves — and she appears a bit more confident than her usual groaning self. Her siblings Gene and Louise get to join in too, rocking out as the whole thing turns into one big psychedelic dance party.

We love that a smart, strong, sensual woman like Tina would be such a Sleater-Kinney fan. Hopefully their next song will be about butts.

[time-brightcove videoid=3668441908001]

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Here are the best-paid large retail cashiers in America


Today, Walmart announced it would give raises to 500,000 employees—or about 40 percent of workers.

The retail giant will increase entry-level wages to at least $9 an hour starting this April, and to at least $10 an hour by next February.

The new pay levels are in line with President Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hr, and come after recent protests against the world’s largest retailer demanding wage increases.

But those wages still amount to about $20,000 a year for a full-time worker, equivalent to the federal poverty line for a family of three.

“The changes in company policy announced by Walmart are inadequate for the hundreds of thousands of employees who struggle to support themselves and their families,” said Christine L. Owens, director of the National Employment Law Project. “When compared to the $16 billion in profit that the company rakes in annually, Walmart’s promise of $10 an…

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Here’s another reason not to drink soda!


Hey, I got this reason why drinking soda is bad for you—where, amidst this huge pile of other reasons why soda terrible for you, shall I put it? Next to the diabetes or on top of the gum disease?

In the latest horrifying discovery, researchers have found that the caramel color used in sodas is potentially carcinogenic. That’s right. The most superficial aspect of soda (aside from celebrity endorsements) can also kill you, according to research led by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

When certain kinds of caramel color are manufactured, they produce a substance called 4-methylimidazole (or 4-MEI), which is potentially carcinogenic. Complicating things, the amount of 4-MEI in drinks really varies—two cans of the same soda may show different levels. For example, samples from soda sold in California showed lower levels of 4MEI than samples from other states. And the FDA has no limit on the amount of 4-MEI in food…

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