Web

Amazon offers gift cards to customers hit by Christmas delivery delays

amazon launches same day deliveries in canada amazonsmile

You can bet Amazon wishes it already had its proposed drone-based delivery service up and flying instead of having to rely solely on the likes of UPS and FedEx to get items to customers.

The two shipping giants have reportedly fallen behind with deliveries in the US after being taken by surprise by the huge number of packages entering their respective networks last week. Of course, many of these items were bought online as gifts for friends and family, with shoppers taking extra care to order before the Christmas deadline.

Amazon hasn’t said how many of its customers have been hit by the delays this week, though it’s promising to hand out $20 gift cards and offer shipping-charge refunds to those left waiting.

The e-commerce giant said in a message to affected customers that while its own fulfillment centers had processed the orders in time for delivery before Christmas Day, the shipping companies had experienced issues with their respective transportation networks and delivery systems. Amazon added that it was “reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers.”

UPS admitted it had been experiencing problems with its service, telling the Wall Street Journal, “The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast.”

While FedEx said on its website Thursday that its employees had “delivered outstanding service during this holiday season, and we experienced no major service disruptions,” an unnamed customer support agent working for the company told NBC News Wednesday that a spike in orders close to Christmas, plus bad weather in parts of the country, had resulted in “extraordinary” delays.

The fact that some retailers this year pushed back order deadline’s for guaranteed delivery put even more pressure on companies like UPS and FedEx.

Expecting a surge in online orders, Amazon this year hired 70,000 seasonal workers for its US fulfillment centers, marking a 40 percent increase on the year before. Without a decent delivery service, Amazon would of course have no hope of operating a successful business, and while we don’t know how many of its customers were affected by this week’s delays, you can be sure the Seattle-based company will be looking very carefully at different ways to guarantee on-time delivery and improve its service. You never know, we might see its Prime Air drones taking to the skies sooner than you think.

Computing

Facebook’s crypto isn’t a new Bitcoin, it’s Disney Dollars for a new world order

Facebook has already secured tens of millions in investments for its new cryptocurrency for Facebook known as Libra. The platform is still being developed, but has already brought in backing from Visa, Mastercard and PayPal.
Home Theater

Netflix can drain your data in a hurry. Here's how to turn it down a notch

Ever wondered how much data you need to stream a show (or movie) on Netflix? You aren't alone. The answer could be anywhere from 1GB per hour to 7GB per hour, but there's more to it than that. Here's how to control your Netflix data.
Smart Home

Walmart Grocery challenges Amazon with a new $98-a-year delivery option

The grocery delivery wars are hotting up. Walmart's latest effort is a $98-a-year subscription fee that offers free delivery on orders over $30. The service, called Delivery Unlimited, can be tried free for 15 days.
Mobile

American Airlines expands its fast in-flight Wi-Fi, but it will still cost you

American Airlines has completed the installation of satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi for the whole of its mainline narrowbody fleet comprising more than 700 planes, mainly on its domestic routes. But the service still costs.
Computing

Genius uses 19th-century tech to prove Google copied its song lyrics

Song lyrics website Genius says that it proved that Google has been copying its lyrics and posting them on its own search results page. And Genius says it was able to do it by using a decidedly old-school form communications tech.
Photography

Adobe concocts an A.I. that can detect — and reverse — manipulated photos

The company behind the software that's often used to manipulate photographs may help make it easy to spot a fake photo. Researchers at Adobe recently created an artificially intelligent program that can recognize fake photos of faces.
Computing

YouTube’s new HD music videos let you relive your youth in vivid detail

Relive your youth in vivid detail with YouTube's new HD music videos. The video sharing website will be converting your favorite, decades-old music videos from SD to HD and the first hundred of them are available to watch right now.
Computing

What is Libra? Here’s what you need to know about Facebook’s new cryptocurrency

Facebook released a white paper announcing its new cryptocurrency, Libra, which it intends as a way to enable more people around the world to process online payments. Here's how the new blockchain technology works.
Mobile

You can now share Google Search results straight from the app

Google wants to make it a little easier to share search results with others and added a "Share" button to the Android Google app. Currently, the feature is only in the beta version of the app.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

June may be coming to an end, but the bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling…
Mobile

Google Maps insists it’s doing what it can to weed out business scammers

Google Maps has a problem with bogus businesses populating its listings, with some unsuspecting users falling victim to scams. But the company insists it's doing everything it can to sort it out.
Mobile

From true crime to comedy, here's our list of the best podcasts around

When you aren’t in the music mood, podcasts can be your ear candy. Whether you love to stay up-to-date on the latest news or want to know what’s happening in sports, you’ll find something on our must-listen-to podcast roundup.
Web

Another vulnerability found in Dell’s security bloatware, users must update ASAP

A serious security vulnerability in Dell's SupportAssist software has been disclosed by cybersecurity firm SafeBreach. Dell swiftly released a patch, so if you have a Dell machine, you should update it straight away.
Web

Security vulnerabilities found in three quarters of mobile apps

Three quarters of Android and iOS apps have security vulnerabilities related to insecure data storage. This could lead to information like passwords, financial details, personal data, and communications being accessible by hackers.