WHICH AMAZON REVIEWS ARE FAKE?

You can buy a thousand positive reviews on Amazon for $10,900. That’s less than $11 each. So how do you know which reviews to trust?

I looked at an ArsTechnica article, “Posing as an Amazon Seller” to find out. One commenter said he rented a dreadful movie that had 4.5 out of five stars and over 10,000 positive reviews. Now he avoids anything with reviews in the thousands. A reader told me he only looks at the most recent ones. A third commenter observed that some reviewers get $20 per review. He says he’s in the wrong business.

A United Kingdom consumer group found 702,000 product reviewers from just five companies. All were in the review-manipulation biz. Besides offering positive reviews, they sell fake contact and social media accounts to make the reviews seem more credible. In addition, bogus reviewers get refunds on the products they buy and write about. That way their reviews get the “verified shopper” label. Amazon is struggling to deal with the sheer volume of this fraud. They file lawsuits against those who break the rules, but it’s tough to ferret out all the bad guys. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, some Amazon workers took bribes to bring back sellers who had been banned, allowing those sellers to rake in over $100 million. The case is still pending.

The Ultimate Gesture

Until recently, I was anti-gesture. Gestures on a Macbook Air whisked me off to places I never intended to go, so I disabled them in settings. But Android gestures brought me back. 

I started with the “back” gesture on my Pixel 3a phone with Android 11. I started there because it’s the one gesture the iPhone doesn’t have. If I swipe to the left on any screen, I go back to where I was before. Works great. To check if it’s on your Android phone, go to “Settings,” then  “System,” then “Gestures.” If instead you have an iPad or iPhone, swipe up to go back to the home screen. There isn’t a “go-back” gesture for Apple devices.

Another Android gesture allows you to turn on “Do Not Disturb” by putting the phone face down on a flat surface. It’s called “Flip to Shhh.” Too bad it didn’t work for me. But I can swipe down from the top of the screen, then choose it.  On an iPhone X or later,  swipe down from the upper right corner to get to the Control Center. On older iPhones swipe up from the bottom instead.

Here are a few other gestures I like. On an Android phone, tap the power button twice to enter camera mode.  Use the fingerprint reader when you’re on the home screen to quickly check notifications. Hold the Power button for a couples of seconds when you want to get to Google Pay in a hurry. Swipe up from the bottom of any screen to return to the home screen, or swipe up and hold it to flip between the apps you have open. If you squeeze the phone below its midsection, you get Google Assistant. 

Internuts

  • Fake car commercial battery powered.” Search on that phrase to find a funny YouTube video starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus peddling a Mercedes powered by double-A batteries.
  • Insane Battery Hack.” Search on those terms to find an even funnier YouTube video showing you how to hack a car battery.
  • Crowd.loc.gov/campaigns brings you entertaining history stories from the Library of Commerce. I looked at one of Teddy Roosevelt’s letters and was surprised to see him lament: “I am fifty-six years of age, no home. Not a dollar of my own. And no hope for anything better. Unless I find someone able to help me.”

App Happy

Daily Yoga” has free beginner poses to try out. I found them easy to follow. Each short video repeats automatically, so you can practice till you get good. 

What Record Player Should You Buy?

OnBuy.com has an article “The Best Bluetooth Record Players for 2021.” Up till now, I didn’t know you could buy a Bluetooth record player. That way you don’t have to mess with cables.

If you want to send the music to external speakers, get one with “Bluetooth Out.” You’ll also want the “Bluetooth In” feature if you want to play your digital music collection, rather than just records, through the player’s integrated speakers. If you look up “Sony Bluetooth Turntable” you’ll see some nice ones.

Photo Storage

You’ll have to watch your video and photo storage in your Google account starting in June of this year. That’s when they’ll start counting anything stored in high quality or express quality toward your free 15 gigabytes of storage space. You can always put some of your stuff in Dropbox, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Amazon Photos, or other solutions out there. I just put the Amazon Photos app on my phone. Works great and offers free unlimited storage for Prime members.

Cookies Crumble

Firefox, a web browser that competes with Google Chrome, among others, is crumbling cookies like mad. We’re talking web cookies, the ones that track you from site to site. Now, with Firefox’s “Total Cookie Protection,” every website gets its own cookie jar, so to speak. That way, each cookie will stay contained and can’t follow you. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

 

 

 

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