Wells Fargo computer glitch blamed as hundreds lose their homes – CBS News

Wells Fargo computer glitch blamed as hundreds lose their homes

Wells Fargo says a computer glitch is partly to blame for an error affecting an estimated 500 customers who lost their homes. The giant bank filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month, revealing it incorrectly denied 870 loan modification requests. About 60 percent of those homeowners went into foreclosure.

Legislators, housing advocates, regulators and most importantly, the people who lost their homes – people like Jose Aguilar – are asking how this happened.

“It’s been very hard for me. It’s something I wouldn’t wish upon anybody,” Aguilar told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.
 
These days, Aguilar can only drive by the home he and his family lost to foreclosure three years ago, the small ranch house in upstate New York where they wanted to raise their children.

“I used to look there and see how many times my kids and I used to run up and down, ride our bikes,” Aguilar said.

He said the problems began when he and his ex-wife found mold in the house. He tried to remediate it himself but fell a few months behind on the mortgage payments. So the couple asked their lender Wells Fargo to modify their loan to lower their monthly payment.
 
“At first they told me, ‘OK, you know, you might be able to qualify for a loan modification,'” Aguilar said.
 
But he said then came the delays – weeks, then months – waiting for a decision.
 
“Then the whole process just started all over again. And then it got to the point we were a year behind,” Aguilar said.
 
Finally, Wells Fargo turned them down.

“What was your reaction, I mean, after all that time?” Werner asked.

“At that point I just gave up,” Aguilar said.
 
He and his wife split up. The house went into foreclosure. With the hit to his credit, Aguilar said he found no one would rent to him.
 
“At that point my son and I had to move to the basement of a friend’s house and we stayed there for three months, and we had nothing. We had a couch and my son had a bed,” Aguilar said, choking up with emotion. “I felt worthless. I felt like I had let my family down.”
 
Then in September this year, nearly three years later, he got a letter from Wells Fargo. “Dear Jose Aguilar,” it read, “We made a mistake… we’re sorry.” It said the decision on his loan modification was based “on a faulty calculation” and his loan “should have been” approved.
 
“It’s just like, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding me?’ Like they destroyed my kids’ life and my life, and now you want me to – ‘We’re sorry?'” Aguilar said.
 
Wells Fargo now said that “calculation error” on loan modifications affected 870 customers over an eight year period, customers who either were denied loan modifications or “were not offered a modification in cases where they would have otherwise qualified.” About 545 of those customers ultimately lost their homes to foreclosure.

At least some of those people got a check from Wells Fargo along with the letter. In Aguilar’s case, it was for $25,000. But his attorney Marc Dann said that doesn’t begin to cover his total losses.
 
“So how do you think they came up with the amounts of money that they handed out to people?” Werner asked.
 
“That’s what we want to find out. We want to find out what went wrong, how it went wrong,” Dann said.
 
Alys Cohen is with the National Consumer Law Center.
 
“The question is, how did this happen? Aren’t they supposed to check their computer programs regularly to make sure they’re accurate?” Cohen said. “This is clearly more than just a simple computer mistake.”

Wells Fargo declined to do an on-camera interview. The company could not say how much money it expects to pay out in remediation to customers. But Aguilar said it’s not just about money.
 
“I want Wells Fargo to know that there’s people out there with feelings and families that try hard to pay their bills and survive. We’re real people, we’re not just money,” Aguilar said.

Wells Fargo said it plans to work with each of those customers to reach a resolution. The bank is also offering no-cost mediation. Meanwhile, non-profit groups and some legislators are pushing for more answers.

Her husband is killed in Afghanistan, then she opens his laptop and finds a file he had hidden from her

This happened a while ago, but it contains one of the most beautiful expressions of love I’ve every seen so I couldn’t help but share it again here.

Back in September 2010, U.S Army 1st Lt. Todd Weaver was serving in Afghanistan when he was killed by an explosive device.

His widow, Emma, was devasted, and his 9-month-old daughter, Kylie, would never know her loving daddy.

Todd’s body was flown back to the U.S. and he was given a hero’s funeral in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sadly, Emma and Kiley never got to say goodbye to the husband and father they loved so much. And Todd never got to say all the things he wanted to say to Emma and Kiley before he left. Or so Emma thought…

Then two days after Todd’s funeral, Emma turned on his computer and found something incredible. Just sitting there in a folder were two Word documents. One was named “Dear Emma” and the other “Dear Kiley.”

© Frank Somerville KTVU/Facebook

The first letter is from Todd to his wife, Emma:

Dear Emma:

Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.

I love you so much baby and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now.

I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are.

Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.

I want you to know just how important you are to me. I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short, I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.

I even had two great dogs — at least most of the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.

Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.

Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.

Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.

I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Todd

todd
© Frank Somerville KTVU/Facebook

The second is from Todd to his 9-month-old daugher, Kiley:

Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:

Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.

I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old.

Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

You are so very special to me sweetie — you are truly a gift from God.

The best day of my life was the day you were born.

Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt.

You were my sweetie — my life was not complete until you were born.

I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.

But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day.

You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you.

Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can.

Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings.

Never forget how important and special you are to so many people.

We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in.

Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you.

But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.

You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you.

Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you.

You are and will always be my sweetie.

With very much love,
Your Daddy

Nothing can ever make up for Emma and Kiley’s loss, but we’re so glad that Todd was able to write these letters before he died and that Emma found them.

Todd sure seems like he was an incredible husband, father and human being. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Please share this story with all of your friends and loved ones if it also touched your heart.

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How tai chi and a Linux laptop can create a tiny, powerful orchestra

Dr Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech is transcending art and science with the world’s first Linux-based laptop orchestra.

Electronic music has improved substantially in the past few decades, but the work being undertaken by Dr Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech is taking things to a whole new level.

In 2005, Bukvic received his doctorate in music composition with cognates in computer music programming and music theory from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he taught at the Oberlin Conservatory and University of Cincinnati.

Now, he is the founder and director of the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DISIS) at Virginia Tech.

What inspired you to become a researcher?

I am sure my father, who is a retired engineer, played a role in this process. Another was observing the world through discipline-agnostic lenses.

In part inspired by Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, regardless of the source or context, every action can be broken into a binary tree. As a result, I see everything around me as a binary network of possibilities, actions and outcomes.

I see modalities simply as different ways of perceiving and interacting with this network. More importantly, I see the separation between STEM and other disciplines, including the arts, as an educational dead end.

There is science in arts and arts in science and, as a result, my creative and educational focus is in the integrative design, engineering, arts and science (IDEAS).

Can you tell us about the research you’re currently working on?

My research involves a contemporary intermedia ensemble, Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork, pronounced as lork). It mixes traditional orchestra with increasingly accessible human-computer interaction technologies.

This is for the purpose of exploring expressive power of gesture, communal interaction, discipline-agnostic environment and the multidimensionality of arts.

Founded in May 2009, L2Ork is part of the interdisciplinary initiative by DISIS and the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology.

As the world’s first Linux-based laptop orchestra incorporating extensive study of gesture and tai chi choreography, L2Ork offers optimal infrastructure for creative research at minimal cost.

By providing a seamless integration of arts and sciences, it is in part designed to provide access to an integrative approach to education.

Since its inception, L2Ork has helped start seven laptop orchestras in North and South America, many of which rely heavily on its affordable design.

L2Ork’s infrastructural backbone, the Pd-L2Ork (aka Purr-Data) visual programming environment with its unique K-12 (kindergarten through to the 12th grade) learning module, has been utilised in dozens of K-12 maker workshops, including the Raspberry Pi Orchestra summer gifted programme introduced in 2014.

In autumn 2016, the ensemble introduced the world’s first professional Raspberry Pi orchestra.

In your opinion, why is your research important?

On a societal scale, I see my research focusing on improving the human condition. It aims to tackle this challenge with a multi-pronged approach, from improving education and access, to empowerment through open-ended creativity inherent in the arts.

It could also help build communities and design new technologies and better tools to broaden human cognitive bandwidth and independence.

What commercial applications do you foresee for your research?

This offers new ways to represent data through sound, lowering cognitive load in time-sensitive tasks and big-data scenarios, reimagining education and exploring open-ended creativity rooted in STEM.

It also sees disciplines as overlapping and cross-pollinating catalysts, rather than politicised artificial boundaries.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a researcher in your field?

Cutting through the STEM red tape that limits the understanding of the importance and impact of integrative and holistic education.

Are there any common misconceptions about this area of research?

Plenty, as I am sure is also the case with just about any area of research.

To address them, my goal is to raise awareness by generating high-profile research that questions the current status quo and promotes possible future follow-on research trajectories.

What are some of the areas of research you’d like to see tackled in the years ahead?

Continuing to dig deeper in the research whitespace that has been left conspicuously underexplored, like the exocentric spatial sonification.

Hulu and Discovery Increase Live and On-Demand Programming

Discovery Inc. and Hulu announced a distribution agreement that will expand Discovery’s portfolio of real life entertainment brands to Hulu’s on-demand and live TV subscription streaming services.

This multi-year agreement will grow Hulu’s Discovery programming to nearly 4,000 episodes of shows such as Deadliest Catch, Naked and Afraid, Gold Rush, Chopped, House Hunters and more. These additional episodes will be available outside of Discovery’s networks and exclusive to Hulu across all of its subscription plans

Additionally, five Discovery networks will be added to Hulu’s live television plan, which include Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Motor Trend and Animal Planet. These additional networks will join HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, which are already available on the service since its launch through a previous agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive, now owned by Discovery. The new channels will be available to stream live starting in December.

“At Discovery, we are committed to bringing our portfolio of high-quality, safe family friendly brands and content to viewers across every screen, service and device around the world,” said Eric Phillips, President of Affiliate Distribution at Discovery.  “Our new agreement with Hulu affirms the strength of our brands and their value to viewers in a marketplace with an increasing array of options.”

The new additions to Hulu will help provide an even larger selection of channels with more variety.

“Discovery’s brand is synonymous with high-quality unscripted entertainment that TV fans love, which is why we are excited to bring their entire portfolio to our platform, across all of our subscription plans,” said Lisa Holme, Vice President of Content Acquisition, and Reagan Feeney, Vice President of Network Partnerships at Hulu.

Hulu also reached a licensing agreement with OWN, part of the Discovery Networks family, to bring four additional scripted series to Hulu. Episodes of The Haves and the Have Nots, If Loving You is Wrong, The Paynes, and Love They Neighbor are now available to stream on Hulu. Hulu will now deliver more than 60 channels with Live TV, and still offer an elaborate streaming TV library.

No Ordinary Laptop: Hands On With HP’s Leather Spectre Folio

At first glance, the new HP Spectre Folio just looks like a conventional—albeit very thin—ultraportable sheathed in a leather case. But upon further examination, you realize that the expensive-looking Cognac Brown leather exterior is actually fused with the laptop itself.

Yes, HP made a leather laptop, and it looks and feels gorgeous. Unlike last year’s Spectre 13, which was also gorgeous but sleekly post-industrial, the new Spectre Folio is far more old-fashioned looking, which is apparently all the rage in design circles these days.

“It’s a little bit of retro,” Stacey Wolff, HP’s head of systems design, said as he unveiled the Spectre Folio in a converted warehouse beneath New York City’s trendy High Line linear park. Indeed, you get the sense that the Spectre Folio is designed to look good in a coffee shop, not fit in with the angular lines of a corporate boardroom.

The laptop’s biggest set-apart feature, though, isn’t the leather that envelops it. That would be its complement of several magnets, which let you unhinge the display from its back and attach it to the base of the keyboard, forming a sort of easel for easier movie watching or consuming any other type of content you can think of.

This “easel mode” qualifies the Spectre Folio as a convertible laptop, but it’s not a convertible in the traditional sense of being able to flip the screen around 360 degrees to use the laptop as a tablet. Instead, there’s a second magnet that lets you secure the screen flat atop the keyboard, which means no keys protruding awkwardly out of the bottom in tablet mode.

During a brief demo, I found the magnets easy—even pleasant—to use. There’s nothing awkward about manipulating the screen into its various modes. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that the Spectre Folio isn’t particularly thin and light. At 3.28 pounds and 0.6 by 12.6 by 9.23 inches (HWD), it’s actually larger and heavier than the Spectre 13 conventional laptop that it’s designed to replace. That’s especially noteworthy when you consider that the actual electronic parts—the screen and the keyboard base—are absurdly thin. Essentially, HP is sacrificing thinness and lightness for luxurious leather.

And it is indeed luxurious. You can pre-order one right now in the Cognac Brown color for a starting price of $1,299, and HP expects to sell one in Bordeaux Burgundy before the end of the year, in time for holiday shopping. Both are full-grain leather, and an HP engineer who worked on the design of the product said that it’s intended to evoke a luxury handbag as much as resemble a laptop. That means traditional physical exterior parts that you’d expect on a laptop, such as rubber feet to hold it in place on a desk and provide room for airflow, aren’t there. Instead, you get a thin, raised strip along the back edge.

Come to think of it, there’s actually somewhat less need for clearance around the bottom of the laptop, because no cooling fan vents outward there. The Spectre Folio uses one of Intel’s new eighth-generation Y-series ultra-low-power CPUs, which generates much less heat than the U-series chip that powers the Spectre 13.

Not only is the CPU power-efficient, but it and the rest of the interior electronic components are custom-designed to eke out as much computing performance from as little space as possible. Because everyone hates plugging in their devices, HP decided to devote 70 percent of the real estate in the keyboard base to the battery, which should result in 18 hours of battery life, according to the company’s internal tests.

That means everything else has to fit in the remaining 30 percent of the base. So Intel made a custom motherboard for the Spectre Folio that’s essentially just a narrow strip of silicon and transistors. (You can see it above.) There are only four ports—three USB-C connectors and one headphone jack—but the base is so thin that it wouldn’t accommodate the headphone jack’s height, so it had to be relegated to the side of the display.

Gigabit LTE With an eSIM

In the midst of all this rejiggering of familiar parts, HP managed to fit some wireless components that you won’t find on most ultraportables in the US today: specifically, a gigabit LTE modem, an eSIM chip, and a physical SIM card slot. In the US, it’s compatible with T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. What’s more, if you activate a new Spectre Folio on the Sprint network, you’ll get unlimited data for six months.

The prospect of a laptop that always has internet access for no initial additional monthly cost (well, access anywhere Sprint’s admittedly lagging network has service) is enticing, and it’s something that Microsoft and Intel earnestly have been pushing manufacturers to offer for more than a year. HP appears to have heeded this call.

Nearly everything else about the Spectre Folio is as intriguing as its physical design and wireless capabilities. There’s a full HD (1,920 by 1,080) display, 13.3 inches on the diagonal, with 400 nits of brightness. It’s covered in Corning Gorilla Glass for strength, and the panel consumes just a single watt of electricity, key to achieving those 18 hours of battery life. HP does plan to offer a higher-resolution (but power-hungrier) 4K UHD option in time for holiday shopping, if you really want that kind of fine-grained screen at this size.

HP also works in a very comfortable keyboard with sturdy keys and relatively long travel for such a thin design. You can configure the Spectre Folio with up to 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of SSD storage, and Core i5 or Core i7 Y-series processors. An included digital pen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity easily slips into the leather loop on the right edge. Perhaps the only downright disappointing aspect is that the laptop uses the same laughably small touchpad as the Spectre 13, which makes mousing around with large fingers very difficult.

It’s clear that HP set out to do something different with the Spectre Folio. It’s neither a conventional laptop nor a conventional hybrid convertible design, yet it does double as a tablet or an easel for watching movies. To buy this machine requires an eye for design and a willingness to overlook the fact that the leather adds just as much bulk as it does style. Still, we can’t wait to get one into PC Labs for formal testing. Stay tuned.