Airlines think not Everything should be “SMART”

If you own “smart luggage”, be warned. In a recent statement to news company CNN – American Airlines wrote that the batteries “pose a risk when they are placed in the cargo hold of an aircraft.” Other major airliners around the globe agree, Qantas and Virgin Australia are among the airline companies who are recently banning all luggage with non removable batteries from the cabin and luggage hold.

Dangerous Goods Board decided to restrict the carriage of smart luggage on passenger aircraft operated by its 275 member airlines around the world. The restriction will come into effect on 15 January 2018.

Any smart bag to fly as checked baggage, the battery must be removed and carried in the passenger cabin.

Subscribe to About Automation to stay up to date on this subject, and many others.

Amazon Alexa new Wake up call feature

Alexa has been updated to support music alarms!

Amazon announced that Alexa has been updated to include support for music alarms. So instead of just asking Alexa to set an alarm for you, you’ll be able to request specific songs, playlists, artists, or genres to get you out of bed in the morning. Ranging from a variety of music services, already supported to use as alarm tones, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio. The Alexa-powered device can be directly connected to speakers with a 3.5mm audio cable or via Bluetooth.

To get yourself into the Christmas spirit on Christmas eve just say “Alexa, wake me at 8am to Christmas carols”

Subscribe to About Automation to stay up to date on this developing subject, and many others.

Telco forced to refund customers

Two of Australia’s major telcos have refunded customers on the NBN “Boosted” Speed plans. Following a Watchdog investigation for false advertising on speeds capable on NBN Connections, the ACCC reported they are  providing more detailed guidance concerning  implementation principles for advertising the speeds of retail fixed-line broadband plans.

After Investigations the ACCC has forced opts to refund customers on FTTN Connections after it was discovered almost 50%  of Optus FTTN consumers on a 100/40 Mbps plan could not receive promised speeds, and 21% of that would not even receive speeds HALF that which was promised.

Telstra actually prompted the investagtion by coming clean that they had broken consumer law by promoting NBN speeds that it was not capable of delivering- Offering refunds to 42,000+ customers.

If you are not receiving promised speeds on a telco “boosted” plan, know your rights. You can read more from the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission HERE or if you are being kept in the dark by your telco you can submit a complaint with the Telecommunications ombudsman HERE

But if you are experiencing service dropouts on a HFC connection, or Cable broadband connection, your telco might not be able to help you. NBN.co are currently backpedalling on the HFC connections and blaming everyone else but themselves for the HFC connection failing, Especially concerning interruptions to current broadband (non-nbn) connections. Facts point to the government funded company being aware of potential interruptions to HFC connections further down the line back in 2016. At the time of realising this NBN.co were “not aware of the state of the Telstra HFC connection” and were not aware of the “optimisation” (repair) the network needed. NBN.co are now blaming lack of information and a risky judgement call as the reason for the pull of over 370,000 current HFC connection and ceasing the roll out of new HFC connection. The decision to halt all HFC connections and roll-out will result in an average delay of between six to nine months for millions of households looking to sign up,

(I’d hate to see the state of the Optus network now, considering NBN.co had already dropped the Optus HFC network claiming it was “not fully fit for purpose”)

Basically NBN.co is admitting what we already knew, they have screwed up the new network, and the old network in one big tax dollars black hole. Pulling the HFC connection will ultimately lead to more wasted money, and time. If your resident falls into the HFC / old broadband connection, and are experiencing poor service, refer to the link above and let the Telecommunications Ombudsman know.

And if you are not receiving speeds promised by your Telco, let them know first, and after they have “fixed” it then go check out the ACCC website.

Stacey Friswell
Article Author

Cortana Plays Friendly With Gmail.

Those of you that are Window 10 + Android users, you can rejoice. Home Automation with Cortana just became a little bit easier. Windows has just added Google Calendar and Gmail functionality so you can use the windows Voice Assistant to check your calendar, emails, pull up reminders and contacts. Which is great news to anyone into home automation without having a Smart Speaker in the home. all you need now is a windows PC. With windows recently adding connected home features to Cortana for your smart devices.

To make use of your Windows Cortana accessing your google account just go to the Cortana bar, enter Notebook, then Connected Services. (shown above) to set up your Cortana to Google access.

Google Addresses Crippled Home Mini

Google has rolled out its first “fix” after disabling touch functions following reports that the touch functions were causing the Google Home Mini Device to be stuck in a  constant “listening” state. In What many were claiming was the result of google spying on users day to day life.

“Once Google was aware of the situation they ran a software update PERMANENTLY disabling the touch controls feature on all Google Home Mini’s.”

Google originally addressed the discovery with rolling out a patch that they said would permanently disable touch functions on the device, but it appears this was just to cover themselves as the roll out of firmware v 1.29 will bring back some touch functions like pause/play with is accessed from a side tap.

To find out when your next Google Home firmware update is CLICK HERE

Subscribe to About Automation to stay up to date on this subject, and many others.

Underwhelmed by Amazon Australia

Soooo…. This is awkward. Remember all that hype that was around in the news about a week or two ago… YEAH sorry about that. All broken promises.

It sounded amazing did it not? Amazon Australia- no longer did we have to drive to shops, deal with horrid car-parks (thanks Westfeild), deal with screaming kids and angry parents, just to get overcharged for a tech item that is almost sold out. That as usual half the choices are not available because the item had been all over Youtube and the internet for months now, and Australian stores are only JUST stocking it. If your anything like me, you probably HATE dealing with shopping centres (like who even decided to put a 50-100 stores in one building and not expect chaos… insane if you ask me).

I love online shopping because of this, but in today’s market, I like saving money even more. But when you live in Australia, sometimes your just thankful that the brand decided to release to the Australian market. (unlike Samsung, Amazon Technology, most of Nest, most of the 2017 range from madebygoogle – i can keep going but i am sure you get my point). When Amazon Announced they would hit Australia with an online marketplace much like the US Site, that would also include product they would stock in their own fulfilment centre, myself and practically half of Australia started jumping up and down, some out of joy (like my fellow online shoppers), and some out of anger and/or fear (like Gerry Harvey and other retail company owners).

What a Load Of ****! All Hype and no follow through is all we got.

If you live under a rock or haven’t caught on to the message in this article so far, Amazon Australia Dropped today, and it did not live up to expectations.

Firstly it was leaked that Amazon was planning to launch for Black Friday (which is a US Thanksgiving shopping tradition and is only just picking up steam in Australia recently). When news leaked the week of about a inner circle testing the store with a soft launch Amazon.com.au page hits went through the roof,  many people tweeting about how excited they were that they were constantly refreshing the page ready for a surprise launch, or a change of any sort to the site. Some Twitter users even admitting to refreshing the page while at work. Over the next few days that hype almost took a turn to hysteria, as even more Twitter users took to the internet to find out what they were doing wrong

‘Its been 2 days, its been Black Friday both in Australia, and the States. What else are they waiting for?’

Well turns out there was a GST error on the store front, even though Amazon had already been set up to operate in Australia for some time now with the eBooks, and fire tablets already available for purchase for a couple years now, in a fully functional online store.

They told us they would be cheaper, LOTS CHEAPER! – Some items would be 30% cheaper. They told us they would revolutionise Australian shopping. Everything we could ever need in one place, accessed from our very own homes (so long as the NBN isnt Down), with millions of products across 20 categories.

Well as Aussies do best we took to the internet to voice our opinions ( some of the most popular ones can be seen above), with the majority of users complaining that the prices are not cheap, in fact a lot of listed and stocked items are cheaper to go to your local JB-Hifi or Officeworks. Even Amazons Own Products…. like the Kindle e-reader, made by Amazon, that was initially listed for cheaper at Officeworks- Amazon then scrambled to adjust its prices, bringing its Kindle Paperwhite down $20 to $159 to match the cheaper price.

 

We expect this is just the start for the worldwide eCommerce giant, as they have committed to bringing Amazon Alexa smart assistant products to Australia in the year coming.