Absentmindedly (sorry, obsessively) checking my Klout score this morning, I stumbled upon a perk — a shiny ad for some kind of new Starbucks drink offered to the uber-influencers of the influence-counting service. A perk! I love perks.

Klout perks have been around for a couple years, and they’re no joke, even if you think the service is: upgrades to a first class lounge at SFO, VIP access at a Hollywood nightclub, deeper discounts on Gilt and more. One guy, as of May, had collected 63 perks, including a phone and an invitation to a VH1 awards show. In June, Klout bragged it has delivered 700,000 perks across 350 campaigns.

Unfortunately, as soon as I clicked on the Starbucks perk for my free drink, my heart sank.

It seems that my Klout score of 59 was just not high enough to meet their bar of influence, a Klout score of 60. I am not influential enough to be worthy of a Starbucks Refresher. Surely, there were things I could qualify for, though? I mean, I’m not INVISIBLE. I have INFLUENCE. I’m not the most powerful person in the Kloutworld (scores go up to 100) but I’m certainly average or better. Can’t I at least pick up a pass to a Bud Lime party?

NOPE. To be fair, it seems that the party already happened, and it happened in Chicago and Washington, DC. I am in San Francisco.

Increasingly desperate to prove my Klout self-worth and validate my Kloutsistence with perks, though, I kept clicking around various categories — “Experiences,” “Retail,” “Sports” — hunting for a perk I could claim. Of the ten current perks, I am only eligible for three. The shame!

And even when I tried to claim my measly three perks, there were problems. After unsuccessfully attempting to get new business cards and a photo album, I clicked on the Red Bull magazine, supposedly open to anyone with a Klout score over 1. Still, no dice.

No Band-Aids for me, either.

Also, the bulk of the perks were all used up.

So what am I missing? Many of the comments were positive, even for the most mundane things, like the Red Bull magazine.“This is the perfect type of digital magazine! Just an awesome design,” said one recipient. So, a lot, maybe.

But not everything was as promised. An eSalon hair coloring perk got particularly bad reviews —“Well, this isn’t a perk because you can get your first color at eSalon FREE and just pay the $5 shipping…it’s actually more. It’s one thing for a Perk to be a discount, but for it to be MORE expensive, I’m actually offended,” groused one commenter.

On the higher end, there were more troubling issues. The priciest perk that I saw were tickets valued at around $2,500 to some kind of London event — you needed to have a God-like Klout score of 70 to qualify for them. (Does God even have a Klout score that high?) At least one man who qualified claims he didn’t receive his perk at all.

Overall, my personal Klout envy aside, the perk program seems pretty disappointing. Most of the prizes were beyond boring (Band-Aids for Canadians?) and unevenly doled out. If you had actual clout — i.e., you command real attention and influence — you probably wouldn’t need Klout to tell you about a Bud Lime summer party. You’d be the person throwing it.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/reyhan/how-internet-famous-do-you-have-to-be-to-get-free

Your next car is going to be something incredible.

1. Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots for always staying connected on the road.

Buick

Why It’s Cool: A growing number of manufacturers like Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet are including built-in 4G LTE hotspots in their cars, allowing drivers to use their phones, tablets, and laptops without having to use their expensive data or pull over to the nearest Starbucks. Just don’t try to use your tech while driving, please.

2. Cameras that see everything around your car, not just behind it.

Infiniti

Why It’s Cool: While more cars nowadays are coming with rear-view cameras, companies like Ford and Infiniti are including cameras that allow drivers to see everything else around their car when driving. In fact, these futuristic cameras also come with sensors to actually inform you when you’re about to hit something, saving you the confrontation and guilt.

3. Trunks that automatically open even if your hands are full.

View this embed ›

Why It’s Cool: It’s always a nightmare trying to open your trunk when your hands are full with groceries or beach stuff; you usually end up trying to kick your trunk open or do some awkward hand dance move to make it work. The 2015 Kia Sedona helps you out by automatically opening your trunk when it detects your smart key in your pocket, and is even programmable for safety and easy access.

Kia

4. Windows that clean themselves and deflect liquid automatically.

Kia

Why It’s Cool: Kia and other car makers are actively featuring “hydrophobic” windows for its 2015 and 2016 car models, which is coated glass that stops stuff like rain, dirt, and other debris from even touching your precious windows. It’s like built-in Rain-X for your ride, without the need to apply it yourself.

5. A built-in vacuum for spontaneous spills and cleaning spells.

Honda

Why It’s Cool: Car lovers are definitely familiar with Shop-Vac, which makes efficient vacuums for any vehicle out there. The 2014 and 2015 Honda Odyssey capitalizes on that love and actually includes a built-in vacuum with a long range hose for people who are interested in keeping everything clean all the time.

6. NASA-approved car seats that prevent fatigue on long drives.

Nissan

Why It’s Cool: Road trip-inflicted sore butts can make the best of us cranky. To counter this tragedy, the surprising duo of Nissan and NASA teamed up to develop “zero gravity” seats that keep you in a natural posture, while comforting your muscles and spines with cushioning. That’s true space-age technology.

7. Car seats that can actually give you a massage while being heated or cooled.

View this embed ›

Why It’s Cool: Being able to warm or cool car seats in cars like the 2015 Kia Sedona and 2015 Ford Edge is awesome. Mercedes-Benz’s line of S-Class cars takes it to the next level and has six massage modes built into the car seat, including “hot stone” and “workout” massage modes for feeling relaxed and invigorated after those long days.

Mercedes-Benz USA

8. Lighter cars, thanks to the use of military-grade aluminum.

Wikimedia Commons

Why It’s Cool: These days, the concept of a “light car” doesn’t just apply to those cute little smart vehicles you see roaming around the mall. Take a truck like the 2015 Ford F-150, which is 700 pounds lighter, or even Honda’s already light Fit hatchback which is 57 pounds lighter. This is thanks to the use of next-generation aluminum, which make cars more durable, more gas efficient, and easier to control.

9. Brakes and cameras that automatically keep you in the center of the lane.

Honda

Why It’s Cool: Everyone sometimes finds themself getting a bit too close to that yellow line. Thankfully, new versions of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Prius, and Lincoln MKZ have a feature called “lane centering,” which uses onboard cameras and the brakes to gently nudge your car into the center of a lane.

10. Cars that recognize traffic light changes and count down until the next green light.

Audi / Via Autoblog.com

Why It’s Cool: We spend at least 38 hours a year stuck in traffic, and that usually involves a lot of time looking at stoplights. Throughout the next few years, Audi is going to roll out a traffic light information system which will tell drivers how long until the next green light and also tell you fast or slow they should go to get to the next green light, all in one system.

11. Heated wiper blades that melt ice and snow to keep everything clear.

Thermalblade

Why It’s Cool: Winter drivers know the pain and agony of having to deal with the snow messing their vision up. It’s not a fun thing, but companies like Everblade and Thermalblade make affordable wiper blades that make quick work of ice and snow to make sure you never have to break out the squeegee yourself.

12. Way more gas-efficient engines and motors.

Patrick Emerson (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Why It’s Cool: While the price of gas might be going down recently, most of us agree that the less we have to fill up, the better life is. Cars like the 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan and the 2015 Honda Fit are starting to go beyond 30 miles per gallon, while even more beast-y vehicles like the 2015 Ford F-150 have more efficient cylinders to save drivers from heading to the pump too often.

13. Push button shifting for easy adjustments while on the road.

Honda / Via Carmatcher.com

Why It’s Cool: We’ve all been wowed by the push button ignition that has made its way to a number of cars in the past few years, but the 2015 Acura TLX and 2016 Honda Pilot add to the automatic ingenuity by having different buttons for different gears. This frees up more space in the center console, and even allows for different shifting modes for more efficient driving.

14. GPS that automatically analyzes traffic and finds the best way around it.

Pohanka Accura

Why It’s Cool: We can all agree that traffic sucks. Acura’s futuristic Real-Time Traffic feature on the 2016 MDX works with the built-in GPS system to find the best way to get around traffic, while spotting accidents, weather events, and construction on the road. It’s a lot less of a hassle (and safer) than pulling out your phone.

15. A sunfroof that automatically blocks light and lets you see what you want to.

Mercedes-Benz USA

Why It’s Cool: We’ve evolved past the point where sunroofs are only for looking cool and sticking your head out. Mercedes-Benz’s newer SLK models include a new “Magic Sky” sunroof that can be darkened to block out sunroof and UV rays, or lightened to see more of that big, beautiful clear sky.

16. Sensors that learn your driving style and can detect when you’re too tired to drive.

Mercedes-Benz USA

Why It’s Cool: After a long, tiring night, one of the worst decisions you can make is to drive and risk getting into a serious accident. To solve this, car companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have developed sensors and systems that learn how you drive and alert you to pull over and take a rest when you start swaying or being reckless.

17. An alternator that recycles energy for your car and saves gas.

Mazda

Why It’s Cool: Renewable energy is awesome, especially when it comes to cars. The 2014 Mazada6 has a technology called i-ELOOP, which stores kinetic energy every time it breaks, converts that energy to electricity, and uses that energy to power headlights, AC systems, and even car audio. That’s less fuel used for a happier you.

18. Access to your Android or iPhone without having to grab them while driving.

Apple

Why It’s Cool: Everyone (your dad, your local police officer, Demi Lovato) has told you to never, ever use your phone while driving. However, Google and Apple have recognized that people need to see information on their phones while driving, and created Android Auto and CarPlay for easy, safe access. Both are being built-in by a ton of car makers into a number of dashboards, but you can also buy a hybrid navigation system with both if you so desire.

19. Built-in night vision and radar detection for avoiding objects and wilderness.

BMW

Why It’s Cool: We’ve all experienced night drives when even your high beams aren’t enough to make you feel secure. But since we live in the future, car manufacturers like BMW and Audi have taken it upon themselves to develop actual night vision dashboard systems that work with sensors and allow you to see wildlife like deer or objects like trash cans in the complete dark.

20. Interfaces that recognize and automatically respond to your voice.

Fiat

Why It’s Cool: While we’re not quite there in terms of a fully talkative car like KITT from Knight Rider, the likes of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and more have implemented UConnect voice recognition systems in their 2015 models that respond to your voice for a number of tasks. Asking your car things like “Where is the nearest gas station?” or “How do I get home?” are finally possible and very convenient.

21. Car systems that alert you and automatically brake before a potential accident.

Wikimedia Commons

Why It’s Cool: Safety has always been the main focus for all car makers with each new technology that comes out. In the present day, some cars like the 2015 Honda Accord automatically vibrate your seat or steering wheel when you’re about to hit something from the front, while others like the 2015 Subaru Outback even take it further and automatically brake to stop a collision.

22. Speakers that provide actual surround sound.

Meridian Audio

Why It’s Cool: The one thing that drivers can always count on to keep them sane is their music and speakers, but it seems that there’s a never ending chase to have the best sounds and the deepest bass for the sickest drops. More cars are coming with standard speakers that bring the concert to your ride, with an example being the Land Rover’s Meridian sound system with a whopping 13 speakers, 12 channels, and multiple modes to get all your tunes right.

23. Automatic stop and start engines to save gas during those traffic jams.

Chevrolet

Why It’s Cool: Your car goes through a lot of fuel when it’s not moving in traffic, and some people even go through the measure of stopping their car when things come to a halt. The 2015 Chevy Malibu gets rid of all the guesswork and automatically stops a car if your foot is on the brake pedal during a jam, and restarts the car when your foot is off, saving your gas and saving the environment.

24. High beams that automatically adjust to not blind everyone else on the road.

BMW

Why It’s Cool: Your high beams are necessary when driving in the dark, but you’ve probably made a few people angry by having them on while they drive by in the other lane. BMW and Audi’s laser-powered high beam systems crank the brightness up high when there’s no one in front of you and dim themselves when there’s cars. Now there’s no possible way you can piss someone off with your headlights.

25. Automatic parallel and perpendicular parking systems.

Toyota

Why It’s Cool: If you live in a big city or an urban area in general, finding parking can get tough and usually leads you to the hassle of having to parallel park. Now, however, every company from Toyota to Lexus and Ford to Volvo includes parking assists which find a space and perform a near perfect parallel park maneuver without screwing up anyone’s bumper. This year, car maker Bosch is even gearing up to allow drivers to get out of a car and have vehicles park themselves with the help of an app.

26. Crash detection sensors that get you the help you need, fast.

Ford

Why It’s Cool: A car crash is among the scariest things anyone will go through, and if you’ve ever been in one, trying to signal for help becomes one of the hardest things to do. In the modern age, companies like Ford and GM use cellular connectivity and sensors to dial 911 and send help to where you are. Every second counts.

27. Cars that drive themselves.

Tesla

Why It’s Cool: The holy grail of futuristic car technology is having cars that drive themselves, and the newest version of Tesla’s Model S is right about there with its Autopilot feature. The system uses a camera, radar, and 360 degree sonar sensors to control speed, change lanes, turns, and park automatically. Self-driving cars are going to be among the hottest things in the automotive industry over the next few years, with GM and even Apple rumored to get in on the action.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/betonnorthshore/futuristic-car-features

Yesterday, The Onion’s tech team penned a blog post explaining Monday’s social media hack in elaborate detail. It lays out in plain language exactly out how employees were duped by the Syrian Electronic Army — the hacktivist group that’s been terrorizing major media outlets for weeks now. BuzzFeed was targeted with an identical attack last week.

The takeaway: This was hardly a hack. This was a series of tricks — of small lies, fake links, and webpages, and simple human deception.

The hack, technically, was a three-part phishing scam. It started with fake emails from the Washington Post, which contained links to a fake Google Apps log-in screen. The hackers used this to gather passwords, gaining access to at least one email account. The hackers then used that email to send out interoffice emails using the same URL. This second attempt — which came from a trusted, familiar source — fooled at least two more employees.

With multiple compromised accounts, the hackers sent one last phishing email from an in-office account, disguised as an IT email urging employees to change passwords. This was the attempt that tricked an employee with access to The Onion’s Twitter account into revealing him/herself.

This is what a modern hack looks like. It’s not elaborate or flashy at all, and requires minimal technical skill. There are no mainframes, or expensive servers, or giant green screens of code. If you have the know-how to make a fake Gmail account page and one or two disguised, redirecting URLs, you have the chops to hack The Onion too — or the AP, or 60 Minutes, or CBS, or The Guardian, all of whom fell victim to the SEA in recent weeks.

Much more important is human research. “These attackers do their homework,” RSA security expert Daniel Cohen told BuzzFeed earlier this week. “Once they pick their organization, they pinpoint an individual and send emails that are directly related to something in their lives. They use information that is readily available through Facebook or LinkedIn and use that information against you.”

While extra measures like two-factor authentication can help to protect again attacks like this, the only foolproof way to stay secure is to understand how these types of phishing scams work. Rather than expensive and elaborate security systems, the best line of defense for major media organizations is to entrust the most sensitive passwords only to employees who know how this kind of attack works.

People with, for lack of a better term, internet street smarts.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/the-biggest-hacks-of-this-year-werent-hacks-they-were-tricks

It never fails. Every time there’s a high-profile acquisition, there’s the same creeping sense of envy. With all that Instagram money floating around, surely a super savvy nerd like me could have gotten his hands on some of it. Right? That super-yacht isn’t going to build itself.

The promise of crowd-funding is just that: With a few thousand dollars, you could buy 0.2 percent of a company that could be worth a billion dollars in a few years time (or less). For years, sites like Second Market have been trading pre-IPO shares behind the scenes, but as long as private companies are legally prohibited from soliciting funding, there’s no way to know about a chance to buy unless you’re plugged into the VC gossip circuit. There’s also a hard limit of 35 unaccredited investors for each firm, so unless you’ve been through the paperwork (and dropped a million dollars in an escrow account), there’s a good chance you’ll be boxed out completely.

Once it gets through the SEC (slated for January), the JOBS act will raise that number to 500, and let firms actively seek pre-IPO funding. In theory, there’ll be nothing stopping you from finding an early-stage firm online and sending a Paypal check within the hour. Already, sites like Hedgeable and CircleUp have popped up promising Kickstarter-style investing: small companies, small investments, and a noticeable absence of drama.

But if you’re planning on using one of those sites to staunch your FOMO, we’ve got bad news: there’s also just about zero chance of a payoff.

And it’s not a secret. The CEO of Hedgeable, Mike Kane, told us almost exactly that on a call this week: “If you want to build a billion dollar company, you’d better have Ron Conway and Andreessen Horowitz and guys like that investing, just because of the clout that they have behind them.” In other words, it takes more than just a well-timed investment. You need reputation and connections (ahem) to set up an acquisition deal or IPO, and those don’t come on Kickstarter. Everyone else is just raising money.

That’s why these sites tend to focus on the warm feeling of helping someone out — more charity than investment. As Kane puts it, “It’s more of a Kickstarter approach. People are going to be doing it because they want to invest in the future of America. They want to encourage job growth.” That is, not because they want to own a Greek island. It’s not all that different from buying shares in the Green Bay Packers. Without the connections for an IPO or an acquisition deal, the only way to recoup your money is to reach out to other individual person and ask them politely to buy your shares. (This is what financial experts refer to as a “weak bargaining stance.”)

The cliquishness of the VC system is exactly what makes it work. If you take that away, you’re just left with a bunch of people throwing stock at each other.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/tommywilhelm/you-will-not-get-rich-off-the-next-instagram