Spark has announced that because of COVID-19 it will help its customers stay connected as they transition to new ways of working, learning and connecting through the initiatives below:
Removing overage charges for customers who are on data-capped broadband plans so they won’t have to worry about paying extra to stay connected. This applies to both small and medium business and consumer customers;
For the next 60 days Spark will waive late payment fees and will not terminate service for customers experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. If our customers are experiencing hardship, they should call 128 to discuss their individual circumstances and available options.
These measures will be introduced on Monday 23 March 2020 for an initial 60 day period to ensure Spark customers stay connected.
Vodafone NZ and 2degrees have now also removed data caps on all residential, small and medium business plans until the end of June as it joins its peers in responding c...
Corona virus is certainly making the news, but has anyone, like me, been wondering where the name Covid -19 comes from? I must be getting slow, as, as a person who likes cryptic crosswords I should have worked it out.
Here is the official explanation. "On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named this novel coronavirus, COVID-19. COVID is short for coronavirus disease. The number 19 refers to the fact that the disease was first detected in 2019, though the outbreak occurred in 2020." In other words:-
co for corona
vi for virus
d for disease
19 for the year 2019
And I thought it was some wonderful scientific name!
Covid-19 is just one of a number of corona viruses. Others include the common cold, flu. SARS etc.. But, 'Why "corona" ?' you might ask. Well corona means crown and the viruses apparently have what look like crowns on them.
Are you planning on visiting Houston, Texas in the near future? If so, don’t be surprised if you see a driverless vehicle go past when you are there.
The first self-driving vehicle designed without basic human controls has been granted permission to test on US roads.
The company designing this vehicle is Nuro, an American robotics company based in California, and it is the company’s second generation of its vehicles. It is called the R2 and it is to be tested in Houston, Texas.
This is the first exemption to a rule requiring vehicles to have controls for human operators.
Up until now, most of the rules for testing vehicles require features that allow a driver to safely take control of them, but this vehicle will have no humans on board.
The US transport secretary Elaine Chao explains that as the vehicle's top speed is capped at 25mph (40kph), previous requirements no longer make sense.
How long I wonder, before we see something similar in NZ?
(My thanks to the BBC for alerting me to this new...
The unemployment rate in the United States has been gradually falling and as at last October was 3.6%. The rate in New Zealand is not too dissimilar at 4.6%. I cannot but wonder how this is so and will it continue with evermore sophisticated technology replacing employees?
Correspondent Aimee Shaw, as reported in the NZ Herald, says that walking into a shop and walking out with an item without needing to stop to check out will be the norm in shops all around the world within the next 10 years, quoting the founder of one of the United States' leading tech start-ups.
Standard Cognition, which uses artificial technology and machine vision technology to enable autonomous shopping, allows customers to shop and pay without any scanning, stopping to check out or waiting in line, is deployed in three stores in the United States and two in Japan.
Its technology will be deployed to a further seven US-based stores in the first-half of the year, and the company, founded in 2017, has bold plans to rol...
Messaging app WhatsApp has stopped working on a range of dated smartphones today, the company has confirmed.
Facebook said users of Microsoft operating systems had not been able to create new Whatsapp accounts since earlier this year, after Microsoft announced it intends to kill off its phone software.
Do you use WhatsApp? Have you found it will not work? Maybe it’s because you are using Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Since December 31, WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, will no longer work on Microsoft's Windows Phone and all smartphones running on Windows Mobile software as the company no longer develops for Windows mobile platforms. You will need to switch to Android or iPhone. Also, as apparently reported in the Daily Mail, Android versions 2.3.7 and older, and iOS 8 and older will lose support for the messaging service on February 1.
Each year WhatsApp removes support for older devices it says do not, "offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app's features in the future".
A married friend of mine recently told me he had made a new friend, "Alexa". (For those of you who may not know, Alexa is a voice operated computer aid.) However, be warned!
According to an article in the New Zealand Herald, a prominent privacy expert has warned others to ban Amazon's voice assistant Alexa in their bedrooms.
Hannah Fry, a mathematician with expertise in the algorithms tech companies use, has confirmed people's worse fears that smart speakers are listening to their conversations.
The 35-year-old said she keeps Amazon's voice-activated assistant in downstairs rooms only and that families should consider doing the same, the Independent reports.
Amazon has previously denied that its Echo devices are eavesdropping on people's conversations, but then admitted earlier this year that employees listen to customer voice recordings in order to improve speech recognition.
It was also revealed that recordings of personal moments were inadvertently caught up after the smart speaker was t...
Do you like working with two monitors? I do and of course our popular webmaster does also, so wouldn’t it be nice to have a cell-phone with two screens? Samsung tried to introduce a foldable phone but it was not successful. Will Microsoft, who is planning to introduce a foldable phone next year, be more successful? This phone operates on the Android system and similar to other Microsoft products is confusingly called the Surface Duo. It has two 5.6-inch screens that unfold to 8.3 inches. The two screens can be used separately or as one screen. It is very durable and when Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, was demonstrating the phone, he threw it on the ground to show that it could not be broken. It has a 360 degree hinge which makes it very versatile and its slimness enables it to sit comfortably in one’s pocket. Microsoft have partnered with Google, so The Surface Duo will be able to run apps from Google Play Store.
I have not yet heard what it is likely to sell at and wi...
The following are extracts from an article written by David Yaffe-Bellany as quoted on the NZ Herald website.
Over the last seven months, McDonald's has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire technology companies that specialise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. And the fast-food chain has even established a new tech hub in the heart of Silicon Valley — the McD Tech Labs — where a team of engineers and data scientists is working on voice-recognition software.
The goal? To turn McDonald's, a chain better known for supersized portions than for supercomputers, into a saltier, greasier version of Amazon.
In the coming years, the company's machine learning technology could change how consumers decide what to eat — and, in a potentially ominous development for their waistlines, make them eat more.
At some drive-thrus, McDonald's has tested technology that can recognise license-plate numbers, allowing the company to tailor a list of suggested purchases to a customer's pre...