It’s official, at least according to a Nielsen study: More than half of all age groups in the United States now own a smartphone. The 55-and-older demographic was the last to join the group, with a 10 percent increase from earlier this year, pushing the percentage of over-55 smartphone owners to 51 percent.
Today’s Bottom Line column:
Q: “When I figured out the cause of the big increase in my electric bill in December, I quickly chose another provider at a fixed rate. This provider assured me that their rate would take effect with my next billing. But when I received January’s bill — for $350 more — this had not taken place.”
“I called CL&P to complain, and they said there was nothing they could do, that it took another entire billing cycle to reflect the switchover. They did say, however, that if I had switched to CL&P as my power supplier, that change would have happened immediately. This is not fair and not right.”
“The failure to provide a level playing field for energy choices and process the changes from these onerous variable plans expeditiously, has cost me and many others a lot of money.”
John Christensen, South Windsor
Big day today for Aereo, which distributes local television channels over the Internet in several markets around the country, as the Supreme Court hears arguments in a civil cast filed against the 2-year-old company by broadcasters.
The broadcasters, among them ABC, CBS and NBC, say Aereo should pay, as cable and satellite providers do, to rebroadcast their shows. Aereo so far has avoided retransmission fees by using a “farm” of tiny antennas to receive local broadcasts that subscribers can watch live or later using the company’s cloud technology.
The decision could also influence other companies, like Amazon.com and Dropbox, that use cloud technology.
A quick-hit Monday Morning Wakeup with Julian Lage
Two months into 2014, let’s assess your get-fit New Year’s resolution.
It’s not that complicated. If you’re in better shape than your earbuds at the end of a rigorous Zumba workout or a solitary treadmill session, then you’re on your way to a fitter year.
But those earbuds that keep popping out during every sweat fest should be reassigned to lighter duty, like audiobooks. (Next stop: “Up From The Grave: Night Huntress.”) For workouts, you need earbuds that won’t slip, slide or fall from the ear. Those qualifications make Audio-Technica’s SonicFuel ATH-CKX7iS ($69.95) among the year’s fittest earbuds.
This week’s home entertainment/tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:
If you and Bluetooth are like this (fingers crossed), the next step in your relationship could be a little trinket like either of Grace Digital’s new integrated amplifiers with built-in you-know-what.
This is an invitation to put aside the Beats headphones when you get home, flip on your phone’s Bluetooth to cue your loudspeakers and listen to music (Beats Music? Spotify?) instantly.
The Grace Digital integrated amplifiers, which combine a preamplifier and amplifier in a single box, are not the hulking, big-as-a-microwave amplifiers of yesteryear. They are less than 6 inches wide, 5 inches deep and only 11/2 inches tall. Each weighs about a pound.blockquote>
More . . .
Electronic payments reduce toxic pollutants and solid waste, save tress and, of course, can pay bills on time.
Somehow, inexplicably, e-pay failed to pay a $56.13 bill AT&T’s U-Verse had sent David Tanner and Tracy Kane of West Hartford for adding a non-published number to their account. That set off three months of disputes, research, service shut-offs and extreme frustration before the palm-strikes-forehead solution.
Even more bizarrely, the bill was for a new service that the pair insist they didn’t even request.
Mortgage rates dropped for the second straight week, with 30-year loans averaging 4.27 percent and 15-year 3.33 percent, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 4.34 percent and 15-year mortgages 3.38 percent.
The numbers from New England:
30-year: 4.26 percent
15-year: 3.34 percent
30-year: 4.34 percent
15-year: 3.38 percent
A year ago:
30-year: 3.45 percent
15-year: 2.70 percent
Connecticut had the seventh-highest rate of foreclosures in the nation in March, according to data supplied by RealtyTrac.
The state averaged one foreclosure for every 784 housing units during the month. Florida had the highest rate, with one per 407 housing units.
For the Top 10 list, click here.