Hey, Gov. Corbett. I know you're still determined to sell off the State Store system, even to the point of threatening funding for schools and other essentials if you don't get your way. The prospect of raising more than a billion dollars from selling off private liquor licenses must look irresistible in the face of a $1.4 billion budget shortfall.
T-Mobile has trumpeted itself since last year as "the uncarrier" - fourth place in customers, but first among anyone who hates the big guys' "gotcha" practices, such as long-term contracts or tricky data-roaming charges that can cost people thousands of dollars when they venture overseas.
Hurricane season is starting slowly, and weather forecasters predict that El Niño may help spare us this year. But as Hurricane Sandy reminded our region, you never can predict when you'll be in bad luck's bull's-eye. So it's a good time to consider how to avoid another kind of harm: from a Swiss-cheese insurance policy.
Ishaan Gulrajani, 19, was halfway through freshman year of college when his other life took hold - maybe while on a red-eye from San Francisco, returning from meetings about his new idea for analytics software. Gulrajani, from Downingtown, left the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and isn't sure that he'll return.
How does the age of ever-bigger data help consumers, or threaten annoyance or harm? The Federal Trade Commission raised those questions as politely as possible last week while again turning a spotlight on the data-broker industry, part of its ongoing effort to get a grasp on something that's about as slippery as seawater.
The Internet's biggest stories last week - news about the 'Net, that is, not Turkish mine disasters, California wildfires, or the latest lunacy from NBA owner Donald Sterling - unfolded on two continents, thousands of miles apart. But both offered a valuable reminder of something easily forgotten: We're still in the early days of a world-changing technology, and still struggling - often against some mighty interests - to get it right.
Financial innovation was a buzz phrase not so long ago as faith in deregulation helped clear the way for too much risk-taking by large financial companies. The downside of deregulation became clear mostly in hindsight, when we realized how it had fueled a housing bubble and helped crash the economy.
If you're facing retirement with financial anxiety - and who isn't? - chances are you worry about the adequacy of your savings and investments, and perhaps about the reliability of a pension. Both those pillars of American retirement look disturbingly wobbly nowadays.
Say you're sitting in a coffee shop, and pull out your laptop or tablet to check your Web mail or bank balance. Fleetingly, you may wonder just how secure these things are. But then you're reassured by a Web address that begins with "https" and displays a comforting icon: a padlock.
Last week, thousands of Pennsylvanians who complained that their power prices had jumped unexpectedly this winter - sometimes doubling or tripling their bills - got something all too unusual in today's marketplace: help, if a bit belated, from a government agency.
With such a hard winter, Thad Kirk wasn't surprised that he had to pay more than usual to refill his propane tank early this month. But he was still shocked by the price AmeriGas charged him: nearly $5.09 per gallon, more than 50 percent higher than three competitors he called immediately after the delivery.
In the age of phishing, digital Trojan horses, and massive computer hacks, it's important to remember that some scams and schemes arrive the old-fashioned way: via the phone or mail. My latest reminder: an official-looking mailing marked "Travel Check Voucher Enclosed" and "Personal and Confidential." Inside, it bore the name "US Airlines" alongside a logo. Just for a moment, both seemed oddly familiar.
A year ago, you'd probably never even heard the phrase " network neutrality . " Today, it's hard to miss, as a battle thunders in Washington over what both sides - in a rare point of agreement - insist is at stake: the future of the Internet and the U.S. economy.
It was early 2007, and Michael Roster and Dwane Krumme each viewed the credit card industry with growing dismay. Each had played a role in its development - Krumme as a banker, and Roster as a prominent industry lawyer. Now, each saw that the business had turned into a trap for unwary consumers dragged down by billions of dollars in tricky fees and sky-high penalty
Jeff Gelles covers consumer and technology topics for the Inquirer and writes the weekly Consumer 14.0 and Tech Life columns for The Inquirer. He welcomes comments in this blog as well as calls and e-mails about consumers' concerns. Contact him at 215-854-2776 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffgelles.