Apple employees come forward
When you walk past any Apple store in the world, what do you see? Clean tables, helpful faces, innovative technologies, and more, and upon entering, unless it’s a holiday and it’s too full of people, feelings of enthusiasm are invoked, even in non-Apple fans. “Ooh” and “aah” sounds echo throughout the retail store, unlike any other. Try going to Gap and feeling as if pure oxygen is being pumped through the air system – it won’t happen.
Steve Jobs’ legacy was that of perfection and beauty, and just making peoples’ lives better. Their marketing is simple, minimalistic, and by most standards, superior. So why then are there whispers that the retail locations have a dark, seedy underbelly? Gizmodo.com tech writer, Sam Biddle has swapped emails with current and former Apple retail employees claiming corruption in the stores that if true, would have Apple fans enraged.
Before we dive into what Biddle uncovered, we should note that it is our belief that although Apple is held to a higher standard, and consumers have a certain ownership given to them over the brand, most big box retailers have misbehaving employees that act out of line and take advantage of their role (you’ve seen 40 Year Old Virgin, right?). The retail world is far different from Cupertino, and while low level retail employees are the front line of the brand, the face if you will, it is unfair that they sully an entire brand – but that’s the reality of how a consumer feels when their “personal videos” are shown to all employees when a computer is dropped off for repair… or worse.
There are tales of employees hooking up in the back room, gay bosses feeling inclined to honk womens’ breasts and butts, and general bad behavior, but the following unbelievable stories actually impact the consumers whereas a poor retail culture does not.
Unbelievable story #1: destroying devices for fun
Biddle’s sources say employees would destroy iPhones and iPads for fun – they’d play football with the devices to see who could get the biggest crack in each, jokingly calling it “field testing.”
Employees would destroy iPhones and iPads for fun. They’d play football with iPhones and try to see who can get the biggest crack in an iPad.
Unbelievable story #2: sex, drugs, and power
One person claims bad boss behavior far beyond an uncomfortable hug. “I have had bosses sleep with employees, bosses buy drugs from employees, bosses get us wasted at bars… I have had a boss sexually harass me and torment. Ugh its [sic] disgusting how poorly apple employees are treated…”
Unbelievable story #3: fudging the numbers
If sex, drugs, and “field testing” weren’t enough, some team members created false cases to cover things up for people and offsetting prices while consumers paid the same amount, and “hot chicks” who submitted devices had their images viewed by Genius Bar staff on a regular basis. “Discount codes were also applied liberally where they didn’t belong. In short: Geniuses played the system to get free toys,” Biddle writes.
Unbelievable story #4: genius bar staff making money from parts
One genius bar staff said he would remove parts of computers and exchange them for cheaper ones, making a lot of money out of it, and expresses that he does not regret it. Additionally, it is reported that theft of products was common, easy, and employees worked together to steal:
Unbelievable story #5: hot people get free stuff, employees have side businesses
One tipster claims that not only do attractive people get preferential treatment and free devices when theirs are broken, and on top of that, some staff does repairs on the side for ridiculous amounts of money.
Unbelievable story #6: extreme invasion of privacy (and underage girls)
If true, the most damning story is what all consumers fear – their pictures and videos being looked at and even shared among employees. Apple employees systematically would look through attractive womens’ devices for private photos, sometimes even emailing the images to themselves. There’s no telling where the images ended up. (Also see story #3.)
Unbelievable story #7: employees stealing display items
One former employee cavalierly explains how she and others would take the giant display items and selling them online for a fat profit:
Unbelievable story #8: managers cook the books
According to one source, staff at one location had a massive manipulation scenario wherein they would code receipts of certain buyers spending over $500 as “business contacts” to count toward their business revenue, fudging their targets.
The bottom line:
It is unlikely that this is unique to Apple, but it does conflict with the perfection portrayed by Apple leaders, and has one question how widespread these problems are. More importantly, will Apple take steps to get rid of the riff raff so the quality employees can function to their best potential?
The bottom line is that next time you go to an Apple store with a device to be repaired or replaced, you might want to at least wipe the pictures of any device, especially if you’re an attractive woman, or have an attractive young daughter, just to be safe.
Not just for gaming: How virtual reality can save PTSD patients
(TECH NEWS) Thanks to its ability to simulate situations safely, virtual reality technologies are proving effective in therapy for PTSD patients.
Over the last year, a great many people have developed a new and sometimes dangerous relationship with a new emotional state, anxiety. I know that personally I’d never had a panic attack in my life until the middle of the pandemic. For many these emotions have taken the form of actual disorders. Actual mental influences which affect everyday life on a large scale. One of the most common forms of which is PTSD.
This disorder has many different aspects and can affect people in a number of different and debilitating ways. Finding treatments for PTSD patients and other anxiety disorders – especially treatments that don’t involve drugging people into oblivion has been difficult.
A lot of these disorders require exposure therapy. Putting people back into similar situations which caused the original trauma so that their brains can adjust to the situation and not get stuck in pain or panic loops. But how do you do that for things like battlefield trauma. You can’t just create situations with gunfire and dead bodies! Or can you?
This is where VR starts coming in. Thanks to the falling cost of VR headsets, noted by The Economist, psychologists are more capable of creating these real world situations that can actually help people adjust to their individual trauma.
One therapist went so far as to compare it to easy access opioids for therapy. This tool is so powerful that of the 20 veterans that they started with, 16 of them no longer qualify for the categories of PTSD. That’s a 75% success rate with an over-the-counter medicine. I can think of antihistamines and painkillers that aren’t that good.
I’ve grown up around PTSD patients. The majority of my family have been in the military. I was even looking at a career before I was denied service. I have enough friends that deal with PTSD issues that I have a list of things I remember not to invite certain people to so as not to trigger it. Any and every tool available that could help people adapt to their trauma is worthwhile.
Tired of email spam? This silly, petty solution might provide vindication
(TECH NEWS) If you struggle to keep your inbox clean thanks to a multitude of emails, the widget “You’ve Got Spam” could provide some petty catharsis.
We’re all spending a lot of time behind our computers and inside of our inboxes these days, so it makes sense that some people—not naming names—might be sick of seeing several unsolicited emails a day from marketers and other unsavory businesses.
While we can’t recommend a mature, adult solution that hasn’t already been beaten to death (looking at you, “inbox zero” crowd), we can recommend a childish one: Signing solicitors up for spam.
If you do decide to go the petty route, “You’ve Got Spam”—a free email widget from MSCHF—has you covered. Upon installing the widget, you can configure it to respond automatically to incoming cold-marketing emails with tons of subscriptions to spam sources, thus resulting in overwhelming the sender with a crowded inbox and cultivating a potentially misplaced sense of catharsis for yourself.
The widget itself is fairly simple: You only need to install it to Gmail from the MSCHF website. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. When you receive an email from a person from whom you can safely assume you’ll never be receiving favors ever again, you can open it and click the “You’ve Got Spam” icon to sign the sender up for spam lists galore.
See? Petty, but effective.
The developer page does fail to make the distinction between the promised “100” subscriptions and the “hundreds of spam subscriptions” discussed on Product Hunt. But one can assume that anyone who dares trespass on the sacred grounds of your squeaky-clean inbox will rue the day they did so regardless of the exact number of cat litter magazine subscriptions they receive.
Of course, actually using something like “You’ve Got Spam” is, realistically, a poor choice. It takes exactly as much effort to type, “We’ll pass – thanks!” as a response to anyone cold-emailing you, and you’re substantially less likely to piss off the actual human being on the other side by doing so. Services like this are heavy on the comedic shock value, but the empathy side tends to lack a discernible presence.
That said, if you absolutely must wreck someone’s day—and inbox—MSCHF’s “You’ve Got Spam” is a pretty ingenious way to do it.
Clubhouse finally made it to Android, but has its time passed?
(TECH NEWS) Social media felt the impact of Clubhouse, but the internet moves fast, and even though it is finally on Android, it’s time may be waning.
Clubhouse finally got an Android release, and while many people clamored for such a thing months ago, others argue that it’s too little, too late.
If you aren’t familiar with Clubhouse, it’s an audio-only “social platform” that encourages discussions through live chat rooms. Users can drop into various rooms and listen to people talk, request the option to chime in, and follow a variety of rooms (or “topics”) to stay engaged over time. Users can even create their own rooms that feature them as speakers.
Clubhouse also has a certain allure to it in that the app requires new users to put their names on a waitlist that creates an “invite-only” culture of exclusivity.
But while iPhone users have had access to Clubhouse since its inception, Android users have been not-so-patiently waiting for their own release—and, now that Clubhouse for Android is available, it may have outstayed its welcome.
Part of the problem is the launch itself. The Android Clubhouse app launched with limited functionality; Android users weren’t able to follow the topics they like, change their account information, and so on. This made the release feel underwhelming, further highlighting Clubhouse’s affinity for Apple users.
A more complicated problem is the prevalence of audio options in other social media services. Slack, for example, recently released their audio-only rooms, and services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have placed a spotlight on voice-only mediums of expression.
Initially, Clubhouse was the only app to incorporate audio as a strong central focus, but the ubiquitous fascination with voice-posting has expanded to comprise most major communication platforms. As such, Clubhouse’s sought-after exclusivity is no more—something that was also arguably damaged by expanding to Android.
It should be noted that interest in the app itself is decreasing, and not just on Android. Social Media Today reported that, in March of 2021, Clubhouse downloads were down 72 percent from February’s 9.6 million downloads. The publication also pointed out that difficulty finding rooms was a substantial issue that is unlikely to do anything but worsen with a surge of Android users, necessitating some back-end fixes from the owners.
As it sits, Clubhouse is still very much in use, and Android users are poised to reignite interest as iOS users stagnate. Whether or not that interest will persevere in the current social media ecosystem remains to be seen.
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