Thursday, April 23, 2015

Taco Bell Will Launch Limited-Time Extra-Hot Sauce Packets

(Taco Bell)

(Taco Bell)

Do you like to slather your Taco Bell meals with hot sauce, but find the chain’s standard packets insufficiently hot? Great news: super-hot sauce, which they’re calling “Diablo,” will be available from Taco Bell beginning on May 5. The not-so-great news for hot sauce fans is that the new sauce is only temporary

This isn’t the first novel hot sauce product that we’ve heard about in recent months: Taco Bell has also reportedly been testing tortilla chips on a hot sauce theme in some markets. Those chips in “Diablo” flavor would probably be tongue-scorchingly delicious, but it seems unlikely that Taco Bell would produce any.

We don’t know how limited the availability of Diablo sauce will be, so you should probably grab handfuls of it and write a letter to the company if you don’t like it. Slathering some on a breakfast biscuit taco would certainly wake you up in the morning.

Taco Bell Launches Hottest Hot Sauce Yet: Diablo [Brand Eating]

Taco Bell’s Founder Originally Intended To Start A Burger Empire

by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

Amtrak WiFi: So Slow It Might As Well Not Exist

The National Journal tested download speeds on the AmtrakConnect WiFi service between D.C. and NYC. The few green spots along this line represent the only times they were able to connect with adequate broadband speeds. The swaths of red indicate speeds of anywhere from 0-.9 Mbps. (Courtesy: National Journal)

The National Journal tested download speeds on the AmtrakConnect WiFi service between D.C. and NYC. The few green spots along this line represent the only times they were able to connect with adequate broadband speeds. The swaths of red indicate speeds of anywhere from 0-.9 Mbps. (Courtesy: National Journal)

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to sit next to me on an Amtrak train while I was trying to write, you’ve probably heard me mutter things about the state of onboard WiFi service that — were they fully audible — would have made Larry Flynt blush. Sometimes I wondered if it was just me, or if there was something wrong with my computer (every single one of them that I’ve ever used) that made it allergic to AmtrakConnect. It turns out, the service is just plain awful for everyone.

The National Journal’s Dan Berman put the Amtrak WiFi through the paces along the train system’s busiest corridor — from Washington, D.C., to New York City — and confirmed that the service occasionally works well enough to access the Internet but is so spotty and so slow that it’s really of no use to the modern business traveler.

Riding Amtrak during peak hours, Berman first traveled from D.C. to NYC on an Acela train, and the initial speeds were promising. The average downstream speed between D.C. and Baltimore was 4.4 Mbps; not amazing, but sufficient for sending e-mails and doing general web-browsing.

However, this leg of the trip showed signs of slowness to come, with speeds dipping as low as .6 Mbps, which is fast enough for you to stare at your computer screen and wish you still had the excuse of telling your boss, “I’ll be off the grid for a few hours while I’m on the train.”

Things got worse — much worse — during the Baltimore-Philadelphia stretch. Aside from a brief stretch in the Baltimore ‘burbs where the speeds reached a blazin’ mediocre 4.4 Mbps, the rest of this leg ranged from 0-.19 Mbps, harkening back to the early days of dial-up.

Speeds actually got worse — yes, it’s possible — between Philly and NYC. On this northbound leg, the average downstream connection clocked in at an ice-cold .1 Mbps.

Berman repeated his testing on another Acela train from NYC to D.C. and this NYC-Philly leg was the only one to improve, though only to a sad 1 Mbps. The other legs each averaged a miserable .6 Mbps, significantly slower than the speeds on the northbound trip.

Remember, this entire trip was on an Acela, where a ticket frequently costs several times that of a coach fare on a regular Amtrak train following the same path. If you’re paying airline-level pricing for a train trip, you’d hopefully get more than just a comfortable seat. Alas…

It’s difficult enough to provide a decent and consistent connection for a train barreling up and down the Mid-Atlantic. Add in a few hundred people on that train all trying to get online at once and you have a recipe for disaster.

Amtrak might do better to stop marketing its WiFi. It can’t be a good idea to have a sticker on every window that reads “Your seat is now a hot spot,” implying that you’ll actually be able to go online during your trip. Instead, it may want to downplay this access in an effort to cut down on the number of travelers attempting to use the WiFi.

by Chris Morran via Consumerist

Rejoice, Procrastinators: Microsoft Bringing Back Solitaire For Windows 10

Because it’s not a work day without procrastination, the enduring presence of Solitaire on the PCs of workers everywhere used to be a comfort many relied on to get through those long hours at a desk — until Microsoft left the program off Windows 8. Someone must’ve been listening to your sad cries of longing, as Solitaire is coming back as a standard feature in Windows 10.

The rebirth of Solitaire was first spotted this morning by a developer who found that the card game included in the Windows 10 technical preview build (h/t Business Insider):

Solitaire had been a standard feature of every version of Windows since 3.0 in 1990 before it was left out of Windows 8.

Windows 8 users could still get the card game, but it meant going to the Windows Store to add it in, instead of having it right there waiting for the moment when you decide your brain needs a little break before diving into that next TPS report. And that didn’t really make for a great experience.

The Start Menu is joining its friend Solitaire after its own absence from Windows 10, so the twosome will be together once again, linked together by the chains of friendship and chevrons: Start > Programs > Accessories > Games.

Windows 10 is slated for a wide release to consumers this summer.

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Tesla Testing Soon-To-Be-Launched Batteries At Several Walmart Stores

With Tesla’s “major new product line” announcement scheduled to take place next week, new reports have surfaced that support the idea the company’s much-hyped unveiling is for a new line of batteries to power homes and businesses. One in particular points out the company’s new energy source is already at work powering several Walmart stores. 

Bloomberg reports that Tesla has been testing its new batteries at 11 Walmart stores in California.

The testing is part of a pilot program between Tesla and its sister company SolarCity, which already provides residential energy-storage units for about 300 consumers.

As Consumerist previously reported the new batteries can be used with things like solar panels to collect and distribute electricity as needed, especially in developing parts of the world or in areas where it’s impractical to run electrical wiring or operate a gas-powered generator.

Mack Wycoff, Walmart’s senior manager for renewable energy and emissions tells Bloomberg that the company has long been interested in energy storage.

“Instead of pulling electricity from the grid, you discharge it from the battery,” he said. “Ideally you know when your period of peak demand is, and you discharge it then.”

The company is also reportedly working with food processing company Cargill to test the batteries at a 200,000 square-foot plant in Fresno.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla has also recently inked deals with a California winery and an area school district to provide alternative energy means through new batteries and solar panels.

Bloomberg’s review of California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) shows the company has even greater ambitions for its new venture.

“Tesla has been able to install more than 100 projects, really without anyone noticing,” Andrea James, an analyst with Dougherty & Co., tells Bloomberg.

Tesla Wants to Power Wal-Mart [Bloomberg]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

Thousands Of Shark Vacuum Cleaners Recalled For Shock Hazard

NV650W-NV652 photoLARGECommercials for Shark vacuum cleaners boast the devices’ plethora of uses: detaching the canister to clean at the top of bookshelves, easy swivel movements and powerful suction abilities. One thing the ads don’t discuss is the possibility that users could be shocked while using the device. For that reason, nearly 142,000 vacuums are being recalled.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday that it would recall four models of Shark upright vacuum cleaners which have an aluminum wand that can disconnect from the vacuum’s handle, posing a risk of electric shock.

According to the CPSC, the recall was initiated after the company received 62 reports of incidents in which the aluminum wand disconnected from the vacuum cleaner’s handle and remained energized. However, no injuries were reported.


The recall covers the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away upright vacuum cleaners with a clear plastic middle section that in maroon and purple. The words “Shark” and “Rotator” are printed on the front of the vacuum cleaners, which stand about 45 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

Consumers can identify the recalled products by a model number printed on a silver sticker on the upper right-hand corner on the back of the unit. Model numbers are NV650W, NV651, NV652 and NV660.

The vacuums were sold both directly from Euro-Pro and at retail outlets nationwide from August 2014 through March 2015.

Shark Vacuum Cleaners Recalled by Euro-Pro Due to Shock Hazard [CPSC]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

Police: Hard Rock Hotel Guest Used Ice Machine As Toilet

The thing about hotel rooms? They contain all the facilities people have at home — a bed for sleeping, a closet for your clothes, a bathroom with a sink, shower and toilet for hygiene maintenance — meaning you don’t need to go looking elsewhere when nature calls. Unfortunately for fellow guests at one Hard Rock Hotel, someone allegedly went rogue in that last area.

Police in Orlando say a 41-year-old tourist from England was caught urinating into an ice machine at the Hard Rock Hotel, reports the Orlando Sentinel, in the wee hours of the morning.

People in their right mind usually understand the convenience and joy of micturating in the proper place, making it no surprise that the arrest report indicated the man appeared “very intoxicated.”

A security guard approached the man and allegedly found him still at it, making the hotel ice machine’s contents yellow with his efforts. The guard called the police, who said the man had random outbursts and smelled of alcohol.

An officer told the man to stay in his room for the night instead of soiling everyone’s ice supply, but the report says the suspect refused. He was then arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct in a public establishment and booked into the Orange County jail.

He pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge and spent a day in jail and is now on the hook for a $500 fine.

Hard Rock Hotel guest urinated in ice machine, police say [Orlando Sentinel]

by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist

Menelisik Xiaomi Mi 4i

Xiaomi resmi mengumumkan kehadiran perangkat ponsel andalan terbarunya, Mi 4i, pada acara peluncuran global di New Delhi, India. Berikut penampakan detailnya.

by via inet.detik


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