‘Corinthian 15′ launch ‘debt strike’ over student loans

Three ways to keep student debt down

A handful of former students claiming to be “made poor by the business of education” are protesting their student loans by refusing to pay them.

They’re calling themselves the Corinthian 15, named for their number and the now-defunct chain of for-profit schools they attended, Corinthian Colleges.

Corinthian was largely sold off last fall for parts after its practices came under the scrutiny of federal regulators. A lawsuit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused it of an illegal and “predatory lending scheme,” and using falsified job placement figures to “lure” students in.

While its lawsuit is ongoing, the bureau in February negotiated $480 million in forgiveness for Corinthian’s private loans, which the bureau said had interest rates twice that of typical student loans and required students to make payments while they were still in school.

But not all students qualified for that program, and even those who did qualify would see only 40% of their debt forgiven.

The Corinthian 15, meanwhile, said the loans they’re on the hook for amount to “an immoral system that profits from our aspirations.”

“We paid dearly for degrees that have led to unemployment or to jobs that don’t pay a living wage. We can’t and won’t pay any longer,” they wrote in an open letter to the federal Education Department, one of

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Apple, Yahoo bus drivers vote to unionize

The missing piece of the recovery: wages

Bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo and several other Silicon Valley giants have unionized.

The results of Friday’s vote means 158 full- and part-time drivers for the tech companies’ bus contractor have a new avenue to negotiate wage increases and address a major workplace frustration: the hours-long window between the morning and evening commute for which the drivers sit idle and are unpaid.

In addition to Apple (AAPL, Tech30) and Yahoo (YHOO, Tech30), the drivers transport employees of Amtrak, eBay (EBAY, Tech30), Genentech and Zynga (ZNGA). The drivers will be represented by the Teamsters.

They’re following in the footsteps of workers who drive shuttle buses for Facebook employees. A contract agreement — with significant wage increases, a shift differential and benefits like health insurance and a retirement plan — between those drivers and their employer was struck about a week ago and is awaiting approval from Facebook (FB, Tech30).

tech shuttle bus
A protest of the tech worker buses in 2013 blocked this one that carried Apple workers.

The Teamsters announced over the weekend it will also represent the newly-unionized group.

“(W)e call on Apple, eBay, Zynga, Genentech, Yahoo and Amtrak to encourage their

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BlackBerry commits to software on any device

Blackberry CEO: 'I don't know how to be sexy'

The next time you use BlackBerry, it might be on your iPhone.

BlackBerry (BBRY, Tech30) announced plans to make its latest software offerings available on iOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets.

The software will include communication, security, and workplace tools, allowing users to edit documents, share calendars, hold secure video conferences and protect themselves from identity theft, among other things.

The move continues BlackBerry’s pivot away from the smartphone hardware market. BlackBerry’s devices have been losing market share for years and now account for a small fraction of smartphones sold.

Instead, CEO John Chen has been focusing on a new plan: selling the company’s enterprise software for use on all mobile devices, including those sold by one-time competitors like Apple (AAPL, Tech30).

Under Chen’s leadership, only 46% of the company’s revenue comes from hardware sales, and the rest comes from software, services and other sources, according to its most recent earnings filings.

Sunday’s announcement at the Mobile World Congress represents a “major company-wide initiative in BlackBerry’s commitment to build out its robust software portfolio,” the company said in a statement. The software will be customized for each type of device and will be released later this year.

“Our goal is to be wherever our users need and

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‘Question everything,’ says the creator of Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’

Is Frank Underwood evil?

Netflix’s “House of Cards” is back for a third season, and the binges are underway.

If you’re avoiding spoilers, rest assured — there are none here. As the show’s creator Beau Willimon says, a twist you don’t see coming is “a magical thing.”

“I’m going to sound sort of corny here,” Willimon said, “but it’s a magical thing to experience a surprising element of the story for the first time and have it truly be surprising. It’s like a spell. It’s a sort of act of voodoo. It’s that thing that happens to you as a viewer, that you can never have again, because you know now.”

In a wide-ranging interview with CNNMoney, Willimon talked about the significance of the third season — which debuted all at once on Friday morning — and how the very word “television” is being redefined.

“Is the term ‘TV show’ even really applicable anymore?”

Will you binge-watch 'House of Cards?'

“House of Cards” is what Willimon calls “a paradigmatic shift in the way that people consume their entertainment.” Not everyone who watches season three will watch all of the episodes at once, but many will — and what matters is the choice.

The arrival of new distribution options like Netflix are causing

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The secret of #TheDress: Mobile viewing

The dress: See the real color for yourself

What matters most about #TheDress isn’t the color scheme. It’s the popularity of the story.

BuzzFeed’s now-famous Thursday story — simply titled “What Colors Are The Dress?” — now looks like it’ll become the sprawling web site’s most-viewed post ever.

“We’ve had other huge hits,” BuzzFeed editor in chief Ben Smith said. But this one “went bigger faster.”

Maybe that’s the lesson for BuzzFeed and its many rivals: The speed with which #TheDress happened. Stories that previously would have “gone viral” over a period of days can now achieve the same success in hours.

Smith credits the proliferation of mobile devices and the ever-increasing “universality” of the Internet.

“The network is so much more fully built out than it was even a year or two ago,” he said.

To his point, 79% of Thursday’s views of “What Colors Are The Dress?” (which was basically an optical illusion) came from mobile devices like iPhones. The huge proportion of mobile viewership underscores why technology companies — and, more recently, media companies — have been talking about being “mobile-first.”

When Smith was on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, and I commented about the mobile-focused future, he said “It’s the present, not the future.”

“Certainly,” he said, “the way we think about our readers is a person holding

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