Including an interesting $9.90 (AU) monthly 'Plan Freeze Fee' that Vaya enforced on consumers in addition to regular access fees even when their contract was over, this mobile company has been under Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation due to some creative charges.
Another one slammed on end users was sent via email in February 2015 and depicted that users will need to pay a "once-off, refundable $20 (AU) Security Deposit" for the use of a Vaya mobile, with this company telling users to refer to its Terms and Conditions for more information. While the ACCC believed that the freeze fee and security deposit emails were misleading and failed to inform users of rights of termination, Vaya has responded with its side of the story.
Vaya's response to the investigation was to refund all customers incorrectly recruited into the freeze fee campaign, further outlining contract termination rights in what Gizmodo claims as an attempt to be more transparent with its users and the ACCC.
We all use email like it's oxygen, but do you know who invented electronic mail? That would be Ray Tomlinson, who has sadly passed away from a suspected heart attack, at age 74.
Tomlinson established the first networked email system on ARPANET in 1971 using the user@host format, something we still use today. 6 years later in 1977, his approach became a standard, and it eventually dominated. Tomlinson was also credited with using the @ symbol for email, but it also became synonymous with everything related to the Internet.
Social networks jumped on board, with Twitter using @ in a big way - can you begin to imagine Twitter without the @ - yeah, it just wouldn't be the same.
As once predicted by Wikileaks, former Google CEO and current Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt has been appointed to the Defense Innovation Advisory Board. The goal: keep the Pentagon up on Silicon Valley happenings and inform them on how they can be applied at the Department of Defense.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carton, who appointed Schmidt, says he has a "unique perspective on the latest practices in harnessing and encouraging innovation."
He's certainly no stranger to the Obama administration, appearing at technology leader summits with the nation's leader as well as in circles with Hillary Clinton. The relationships aren't always amicable, though: the FTC almost sued Google for antitrust violations just three years ago, and Google is expected to joint file an amicus brief today with other tech giants in defense of Apple's smartphone encryption stance.
As promised last week, tech giants -- and some smaller folk -- have just now jointly filed an amicus brief in support of Apple's stance on smartphone encryption. (An amicus brief is a filing that allows those not directly involved in a case to have their say in it.)
Apple has been battling for the right to encryption publicly and in court for some time now; with Twitter, eBay, LinkedIn, Reddit and others giving its legal backing today with this brief, its position is strengthened significantly. Curiously, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are not in in the filing as was expected. We've put in inquiries as to why with each and will update this story should we hear back.
Kanye West was recently considering legal action against those pirating his new Life of Pablo album, which makes it all the more amusing to learn yesterday he too was pirating.
West accidentally outed himself on Twitter when he posted a screenshot of his browser to promote a Sufjan Steven song he was listening to; background tabs showed he had been searching Piratebay for a popular $200 music production program plugin called Serum. Even better, the plugin was developed by XferRecords, a company co-founded by fellow artist deadmau5.
Described in a recently issued press release as a record winning experience, LG Electronics has cleaned up the recent iF Design 2016 ceremony with 28 awards in total, spread across the Gold Award and Design Award categories.
The prestigious iF Gold awards were given to the LG Signature fridge, LG Signature Washing Machine, and Gram 15 laptop - a product that weighs in at 980g, measures at only 16.8mm thick and features a 15.6-inch screen.
The lower-level iF Design awards were where LG really dominated its competitors, being given to various products including the Signature OLED TV, portable speaker strap, Mini Beam LED projector, 24MP88 Monitor, LG G4 smartphone and more.
Airbnb has become a central source of professionals and everyday people getting accommodation, jumping out of the usual hotel bookings. With Mobile World Congress taking place last week, Airbnb was a popular choice for attendees with around 1/3 of MWC attendees using Airbnb accommodation.
Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering with Airbnb, said that around 30,000 people at Mobile World Congress used Airbnb to stay in and around Barcelona, Spain. With 100,000 people attending MWC, the 30,000 that used Airbnb represents 1/3 of the total MWC attendance - a number that simply can't be ignored.
Curtis said: "Airbnb is becoming a much more mainstream thing now. A couple of years ago, I would attend a conference like this, and everybody would ask what 'Air Boom' was". Curtis added that most MWC attendees that used Airbnb booked their accommodation at the last minute, and over their mobile devices. Curtis added: "It's just an expectation now that you're going to be able to reach in your pocket and book something on Airbnb more often than not, instantly".
Apple and Samsung have been battling it out over mobile technology patents for years now, with Apple winning more often than not. Today marks a victory for Samsung, who recently appealed a ruling that would've seen it pay $120 million for infringing on Apple's quick links (the functionality that allows one to make phone calls from numbers seen on screen, among other things), slide-to-unlock, and auto-correct patents.
The court ruled the quick links patent was not infringed upon, and that the latter two patents were invalid. More, Apple was found to infringe on a Samsung patent, although it's not clear which.
The decision was unanimous among three judges of the Federal Circuit, the country's top court specializing in patent cases. Nearly $99 million of the damages related to the quick links infringement.
It looks like AMD is about to hit an even rougher patch, with rumors from DigiTimes that "AMD is likely to suffer from a record low share of both markets in the first quarter of 2016", according to their industry sources.
DigiTimes reports: "Demand for standalone video cards has already been sluggish given a weak PC market, and the market for standalone gra[p]hics cards continues to decline. In the already-shrinking market, AMD's rival NVIDIA has eaten away at its market share, the sources indicated". The latter part is true, with NVIDIA having 82% of the discrete GPU market - something we reported on in November 2015.
But AMD has reportedly been hurting on the CPU side of things thanks to an onslaught from Intel - and nothing really worthy of consumers and gamers moving away from their Intel-powered systems. We have AMD's exciting new Zen architecture around the corner, with DigiTimes' sources stating that it's still unknown if Zen is enough to save the company from more troubles. I agree there, but I think if Zen is as good as it looks on paper - and AMD has enough support from their partners, which I think are going to be an issue thanks to Intel's stronger relationships with the likes of ASUS and GIGABYTE - then we can expect some big changes from AMD in the near future.
When it comes to the GPU industry, Polaris is on schedule and ready to rock in June/July. We suspect AMD will tease something next month during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco - and after hearing and writing about this news, let's hope they knock our socks off.
Taiwan's technology giant Foxconn was set to purchase struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp for nearly $6 billion this morning until it discovered some concerning information released by the latter company yesterday. Now Foxconn is taking time to look over the details, but says it hopes to resolve the situation quickly and then complete the deal.
Its concern is understandable: Sharp released a list of approximately 100 contingent liabilities that would see Foxconn inherit a potential $3.1 billion worth of risk should it take the company over, sources close to the matter say.
This latest disturbance is just one of many in the long-running on and off negotiations which date back to at least 2012.