Day: July 12, 2019

I’ve driven the Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado, the RAM 1500, and the Toyota Tundra — here are the best features of these full-size pickup trucks (GM, FCAU, F)

Source: Business Insider On:

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  • In the past few years, I’ve driven all the major full-size pickup trucks sold in the US: the Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado, the RAM 1500, and the Toyota Tundra.
  • Of these pickups, the Ford, Chevy, and RAM are either all new or redesigned in the past five years; the Toyota is a bit long in the tooth but is due for an update.
  • Here’s a rundown of the best features of these four full-size pickup trucks.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In the USA, we sure do love pickup trucks. Especially full-size pickups, which are at the heart of the market.

Since 2014, Ford, Chevy, and RAM — the Big Three of pickup brands — have each redesigned their bread-and-butter (Meat and potatoes?) truck.

I’ve driven them all, but I’ve also checked out the Toyota Tundra, a solid pickup that sells outside the top three, and that hasn’t been revamped for a while.

These are all pretty good trucks, and for this roundup, I’ve highlighted some of their best features (by the way, I skipped towing because all four trucks can tow weight that’s within the expectations of this class).

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Here’s the F-150, which I tested right after Ford redesigned the iconic pickup in 2015, to use more lightweight aluminum in the construction; Ford has since updated the vehicle. The price for this one was around $50,000.

Read the review »

A big question about the redesigned F-150 was whether an aluminum bed would be as strong as steel. In my testing, the bed performed fine.

The tailgate in the F-150 has a very useful retractable step.

The F-150s styling is also a plus. This pickup just looks like it can get the job done.

Perhaps the best feature of the F-150 is how popular it is. The pickup has long been the best-selling vehicle in the US.

Of course, if the F-150 isn’t high-performance enough for you, there’s always the mighty Raptor, the race-car version of the the pickup.

The all-new 2019 Silverado! Price was $57,000.

Read the review »

The LTZ Crew Cab I tested came with a short bed, but a larger box is available. For me, this box is exactly the right size for everyday duty.

How’s this for cool? The Silverado still had a column shifter!

The Silverado could be outfitted with a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 4.3-liter V6, a 5.3-liter V8, a 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder diesel — or, in the case of my tester, a 6.2-liter V8. Me, I’ll take the V8.

The Chevy infotainment system was the best of all the four trucks here. Plus, you can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The back seats are a bench design, but plenty roomy. Adults would be comfortable.

Here’s the new 2019 RAM 1500. Price? $68,500, in Crew Cab Laramie “Longhorn” edition trim.

Read about how the RAM 1500 stacked up against the Chevy Silverado »

The power tailgate can be activated using the key fob.

RAM is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, whose uConnect infotainment system is well-executed, but not praised often enough. The screen on the RAM 1500 is huge.

A mild hybrid “eTorque” system is coupled to the Hemi 5.7-liter V8, making a total of 395 horsepower with 410 foot-pounds of torque. The 0-60 time is about 6 seconds. Fuel economy is OK: 17 mpg city/22 highway/19 combined.

The RAM 1500’s calling card has always been its four-wheel independent suspension, which contributes to a smooth ride. Skeptics argue that the lack of a hardtail rear suspension — the other full-sizers have leaf-spring suspensions — means that the RAM 1500 suffers from a potential point of failure. But happy customers don’t seem to care.

The RAM 1500 I tested had by far the most luxurious and comfortable interior.

Finally, the stalwart Toyota Tundra, which is due for an update. It stickered at $53,000.

Read the review »

I tested the 1794 Edition. The 1794 backstory is intricate: The oldest cattle ranch in Texas, near San Antonio, dates to that year. The property is where Toyota built its US pickup-truck factory.

The Toyota had the second-nicest interior of the full-size pickups I’ve tested, behind the RAM 1500.

Yep, the bed handled a hefty load of stuff with ease. To be honest, the beds were notable features on all these pickups. Only the Ford F-150’s came without a spray-on bedliner.

Gotta love a good old-fashioned ignition key! Crank ‘er up!

The Tundra, although in need of an update, still has a roomy and comfortable back seat that grown-ups should adore.

Apple Maps is catching up to Google Maps. Here’s how it can beat it

Source: Fast Company Magazine On:

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Apple is already beating Google in some key areas—and others should be easy fixes.

Apple Maps turns seven in September. When it launched, it was so bad at the basics of mapping—like getting you from point A to B—that it became an iconic example of an Apple failure. Yet in recent years, it’s moved closer to being what it always should have been: a Google Maps killer. And when the new version arrives as part of iOS 13, which is due in September, Apple Maps will be knocking at Google Maps’ door. It features brand new features and massive improvements to the data that powers Apple’s mapping platform.

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Why Facebook’s stock jumped despite facing a record-breaking $5 billion FTC penalty: ‘A slap on the wrist’ (FB)

Source: Business Insider On:

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  • Facebook’s stock rose around 1% after news broke that it is facing a record-breaking $5 billion penalty from the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Investors are breathing a collective sigh of relief that the settlement isn’t more serious.
  • Why? Facebook is absolutely vast, and makes three times the penalty in revenue every quarter.
  • Critics of the company have immediately accused the FTC’s decision of being inadequate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Federal Trade Commission is gearing up to hit Facebook with a staggering, record-breaking $5 billion penalty.

Wall Street is viewing this as a good thing.

And the reason why speaks volumes about the sheer scale and power of Facebook today.

Some background: For the last year, the FTC has been investigating Facebook’s various privacy snafus. The agency started with a probe into whether Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of 87 million users’ data amounted to a breach of the company’s 2012 consent decree with it. It later expanded the inquiry to incorporate the California tech giant’s myriad other recent privacy scandals.

This process is now drawing to a close. According to multiple reports, the commission has agreed to a settlement that would include a fine of roughly $5 billion.

Read this: The FTC has approved a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook

That amount is extraordinarily large. It’s an order of magnitude bigger than the previous record penalty imposed by the agency — the $22.5 million fine it levied against Google in 2012. But when the news broke on Friday, Facebook stock actually rose, trading up around 1%. 

This is likely because, despite the penalty’s unprecedented size, it’s still just a drop in the ocean compared to the gigantic amount of cash Facebook regularly produces. The company makes billions of dollars in profit and generates three times the total settlement amount in revenue every three months or so. It also set $3 billion aside in preparation for this back in April 2019, warning investors that it expected a penalty between $3 billion to $5 billion — meaning the cost of the settlement was already baked into the company’s share price months ago.

While Wall Street is relieved, critics are furious

In fact, Wall Street seems to be breathing a sigh of relief, as evidenced by the slight stock uptick, that the penalty wasn’t more severe.

We don’t yet know exactly what the settlement will look like, and the devil will be the details. Both Facebook and the FTC declined to comment about it when approached by Business Insider.

But it seems unlikely the deal will require the kind of fundamental changes the company’s staunchest critics have called for and that could significantly affect its bottom line. To wit, The New York Times reported that “none of the conditions in the settlement will restrict Facebook’s ability to collect and share data with third parties.”

Accordingly, the settlement has drawn criticism inside and outside the FTC. The Democratic members of the commission reportedly voted against it, pushing for harsher penalties.

Meanwhile, David Cicilline, a Democratic congressperson for Rhode Island, labeled it “a slap on the wrist” and said “the FTC just gave Facebook a Christmas present five months early.” Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal called it a “seemingly inadequate, unconscionably delayed, and historically hollow result” and called for a congressional hearing.

Georgetown Law attorney Lindsey Barrett added: “Anyone saying that a [$5 billion] fine without other meaningful restrictions for a company that made [$22 billion] this year and has repeatedly engaged in illegal conduct at a massive scale is spinning, and spinning for a reason.”

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SEE ALSO: The FTC’s $5 billion fine for Facebook is so meaningless, it will likely leave Mark Zuckerberg wondering what he can’t get away with

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NOW WATCH: The incredible story behind Slack, the app that’s taken over offices everywhere

The FTC’s $5 billion fine for Facebook is so meaningless, it will likely leave Zuckerberg wondering what he can’t get away with (FB)

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Mark Zuckerberg must be feeling a bit like President Donald Trump now.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, a confident Trump famously said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and “wouldn’t lose any voters.”

After the news on Friday that the Federal Trade Commission is close to finalizing a settlement with his company for a mere $5 billion, Zuckerberg has got to be feeling similarly untouchable. If, after all the privacy and security fiascos Facebook admitted to over the past two years — including, but not limited to, the Cambridge Analytica scandal — it gets off with such a small penalty, he’s got to think he probably could get away with murder.

Read this: The FTC has approved a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook

Of course, Zuckerberg’s felt he could act with impunity for years. When Harvard students uploaded photos and other personal information to his newly launched Facebook site soon after it launched, he notoriously derided them as “dumb f—s” and offered to share with a friend such details of anyone of interest to the person. He repeatedly pushed privacy boundaries in terms of the data Facebook collected from its users and what it did with that information. When controversies arose about that — as they repeatedly did — the company simply took a step back only to quietly push forward again soon thereafter.

Even a previous FTC investigation proved to be little more than a hiccup. The settlement in that case resulted in no fine. While it was supposed to restrict some of Facebook’s activities and protect users’ privacy, it turned out to do very little of either. Despite numerous complaints from privacy advocates that the company was violating the terms of the settlement, the FTC didn’t take any enforcement actions against the social-networking giant.

This time could have been different

There was reason to think that things would be different this time around. The Cambridge Analytica imbroglio resonated much more widely with the public than the company’s previous privacy missteps. That’s probably because of the scale of the data leak — up to 87 million users were affected — and because of Cambridge Analytica’s ties to Trump’s election campaign.

Facebook was already under scrutiny for the hijacking of its service by Russian-linked figures to spread propaganda that benefited Trump’s campaign during that election. The Cambridge Analytica leak suggested its service had played another hidden role in Trump’s victory, allowing Trump’s campaign to exploit the data of Facebook users — collected without their knowledge — to target election ads.

And it turned out that the Cambridge Analytica was only one of numerous privacy and security scandals Facebook faced. The company later acknowledged that malicious actors had separately collected data on “most” of its 2 billion users, that some 14 million users had been affected by a bug that made their supposedly private status updates publicly viewable, that data on some 30 million users was compromised in a hacking attack, and that photos from some 7 million users that were intended to be kept private might have been shared with as many as 1,500 apps.

What’s more, the company knew about the problems related to Cambridge Analytica as far back as 2015, according to court filings. And, according to a report in The New York Times, the company gave preferential access to its user data to certain companies even after supposedly curtailing access to it to most companies.

On top of all this, the political environment has changed. Not only are Democrats upset with Facebook, but so too are Republicans. Led by Trump, they’ve accused the company and other social-networking corporations of censoring conservative voices. And both sides of the political aisle have been calling for an antitrust investigation into Zuckerberg’s company and new rules to limit its power.

So, if government regulators were going to get serious about reining in Facebook and holding it accountable, you would think now would be the time.

But you’d be wrong.

To Facebook, this is a slap on the wrist

The FTC settlement, at least as it is described in numerous reports, will amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. Facebook will get to put to bed all of the agency’s investigations into its privacy practices. Although it will face some additional oversight over its privacy practices, it won’t have any restrictions on its ability to collect or share data with other companies or organizations, according to The New York Times. And it doesn’t look like Zuckerberg will be held personally responsible for any of his company’s multiple failings or be under any particular scrutiny going forward.

Depending on how that oversight shapes up, the only real cost of the deal for Facebook is likely that it will have to pay that $5 billion fine.

That might sound like a lot — and it is a huge amount to the average person. It also would be the largest fine ever assessed by the FTC, a fact the agency is likely to tout quite a bit when it officially announces the deal.

But to Facebook, $5 billion just isn’t that much money. It represents less than 1% of its $580 billion market capitalization. Heck, it’s only about 7% of Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth.

Put another way, Facebook is such a profitable company that it generates $5 billion in cash — even after accounting for all its day-to-day operating expenses — every 49 days. The company will be able to pay its $5 billion fine and still have money left over to put in the bank at the end of the quarter — that’s how meaningless this fine will be to the company.

Wall Street recognizes this. Facebook’s stock actually rose on the news of the settlement, even though the fine is now expected to be at the top end of the range the company offered investors in April.

The two Democrats on the commission appeared to recognize that the agency was letting Facebook off easy. They reportedly voted against the deal. It will go forward because the three Republicans on the commission approved it.

They can fool themselves into thinking they’ve dealt sternly with Facebook, but everyone else knows better. More importantly, Zuckerberg knows better.

If he and Facebook were able to get away with so much with so little consequence this time around, one can only imagine what they’ll try to get away the next time. “Dumb f—s,” indeed.

SEE ALSO: Facebook’s facing a bunch of questions about its new cryptocurrency. How it addresses them will make or break the service.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The incredible story behind Slack, the app that’s taken over offices everywhere

Apple Loop: New iPhone Leaks, Curved iPhone Confirmed, MacBook Cancelled, Steve Jobs The Wizard

Source: Forbes Innovation On:

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This week’s Apple Loop includes leaked iPhone specs, details of the new iPhone circuit board, Tim Cook’s smartphone features that will ‘blow us away’, the cancelled MacBook and the updated MacBook Pro, testing FaceID for iCloud access, fixing the secret Zoom server, and why Steve Jobs was a Wizard.

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