Tag Archives: Gadget News

Apple’s Siri doesn’t really want to talk about HomePod

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


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She tried to throw me off the scent.


screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I admit to being entirely unsurprised that HomePod won’t be home for Christmas.

Somehow, it seemed inevitable that it would suffer the same fate as so many much-hyped Apple products of the past. AirPods, for example. And Apple Watch

Apple merely said that its new smart speaker “needs a little more time.” Without, that is, saying precisely how much time or why.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

So I thought I’d ask someone who really ought to know, as she’s part of the product: Siri. 

After all, smart speakers rely on the responsiveness of their AI assistants, so she should already be aware of what’s going on. 

“Hey Siri,” I wondered. “Why is HomePod delayed?” 

Siri acted as if I was speaking Polish. (Her Polish is terrible.)

“There’s no place like Home…Pod,” she replied. 

I asked her when HomePod would be available. 

“It’s the most huggable Apple device yet!” she revealed.

Which didn’t exactly answer my question. Or really any question other than: “Will I want to wrap my arms around HomePod?”

I was beginning to fear that the reason HomePod is delayed is, well, Siri. So I asked her. “Hmm, that’s something I don’t know,” she replied. 

Nevertheless, I persisted. 

“Will you be in HomePod,” I asked, “Or will it be one of the other members of your family?”

“I don’t know who the band members are in your family,” she countered. 

This was vexing. Was she toying with me? Or does she really still have some very basic problems with her assisting skills?

All the same, I asked her for her verdict. 

“Do you think HomePod will be any good?” 

“I really couldn’t say, Chris,” she replied. 

Which is quite worrying, given that she’d previously told me how much I’d want to hug it.

Will she ever be good enough to be a useful member of my family?

How on earth is she going to respond when, at some indeterminate moment in 2018, I ask: “Hey Siri. Will you play ‘Hocus Pocus’ by Focus“?

She’ll probably play ELO’s “Strange Magic.” Not that it’s a bad song, but still.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/apples-siri-doesnt-really-want-to-talk-about-homepod/#ftag=CAD590a51e

GE hub connects its smart lights to Alexa and Google

When GE introduced its latest C-series smart light bulbs, the focus was on affordability — as they talked directly to your phone through Bluetooth, you didn’t need a bridge device. That kept them out of touch of voice assistants, however, which meant replacing the whole lot if you wanted hands-free control. Well, you won’t have to rethink your investment from now on: GE has introduced a hub, the C-Reach, that puts its bulbs on WiFi to enable support for Amazon’s Alexa and (by the end of 2017) Google Assistant. As with most smart lighting kits, you can steer lights individually or in groups just by talking to your phone or a smart speaker.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/20/ge-c-reach-hub-for-smart-lights/

NASA: Mars’ strange streaks might not be water after all

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New research suggests these dark streaks are caused by granular flows rather than water.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS

We’ve got some big questions about Mars, but one of its most compelling mysteries just got a lot more intense. 

“Recurring slope lineae” (RSL) are dark streaks, first discovered in 2011, that appear seasonally on parts of the Mars landscape. In 2015, researchers took RSL as evidence of active salt water flows on the red planet. In 2017, new findings suggest RSL may actually be from shifting sand and dust.

NASA titled its 2015 release “NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars.” Monday’s release is called “Recurring Martian Streaks: Flowing Sand, Not Water?” It shows how new evidence can cause scientists to reevaluate previous findings.

The new study comes from a team of researchers led by astrogeologist Colin Dundas with the US Geological Survey. It looks at observations from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and determines that RSL occur only on steep slopes that are angled enough for dry grains of sand and dust to flow downward. NASA says it would also expect to find RSL on less-steep slopes if liquid water was the cause of the flow.

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The RSL appear during Mars’ warm seasons, disappear in colder times and then come back. There is still plenty of mystery surrounding them. “Traits with uncertain explanations include their gradual growth, their seasonal reappearance, their rapid fading when inactive, and the presence of hydrated salts, which have water molecules bound into their crystal structure,” says NASA.

The team published its findings Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience with the title “Granular flows at recurring slope lineae on Mars indicate a limited role for liquid water.”  

The new research doesn’t rule out the possibility of water surfacing on Mars. “The preference for warm seasons and the detection of hydrated salts are consistent with some role for water in their initiation,” the paper says of the RSL phenomenon, though it also notes “liquid water volumes may be small or zero.”   

Modern-day Mars is an extremely dry place, though research from earlier this year suggests ancient Mars might have been much wetter than scientists previously thought.  

The presence of notable liquid water on Mars would boost optimism for someday finding microbial life on the famously inhospitable planet, but the new report puts a damper on that.  

While this may be a blow to your dreams of swimming on Mars, it opens an interesting new chapter in our understanding of the sometimes confounding planet. Expect scientists to continue studying these fascinating features in search of answers to their origins. 

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.

Solving for XX: The tech industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about “women in tech.”

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-mars-water-sand-mro-dunes-recurring-slope-lineae/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp comes to your phone Nov. 22

The creators of Nintendo’s hotly anticipated mobile version of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp have announced that the game will arrive for Android and iOS devices this Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Animal Crossing will be the fourth Nintendo title to make its way onto mobile following the releases of Miitomo, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. The game lets you manage a campsite populated with cute critters by performing tasks and challenges to upgrade its comfort and decor. A new in-game currency called “Leaf Tickets” will offer a way for impatient gamers to spend real money to purchase upgrades ahead of schedule.

Outside of the addition of Leaf Tickets, the game features the same gameplay and graphics as the original Animal Crossing, which debuted outside of Japan on the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 before crossing over to the portable Nintendo DS.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/animal-crossing-pocket-camp-comes-to-your-phone-on-1122/#ftag=CAD590a51e

IHOP will deliver your pancakes in select cities

Online ordering is now available at over 1,700 US locations. It’s not clear when delivery will roll out on a nationwide basis, but if you’re ordering online for the first time, you can receive $5 off an order of $25 or more with the code IHOPNGO.

Earlier in 2017, the pancake giant introduced custom packaging that was designed to ensure that to-go patrons would receive the same quality food that they were used to enjoying in restaurants. The company’s patented packaging keeps food warm longer and allows for easy transport with minimal sliding.

IHOP certainly isn’t the first chain restaurant to add delivery to its roster of services. Fast food eateries such as Five Guys and Chipotle have experimented with delivery by partnering with various websites, including DoorDash, Amazon and Facebook. It’s not a surprise that IHOP wants to get in on the action and deliver fluffy, delicious pancakes to houses across the country.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/20/ihop-food-delivery-in-select-cities/

CNET’s X giveaway can land you THAT new phone!

Have you been thinking how you can save for that iPhone X? You can stop now because CNET’s giveaway team has your back!

We stayed up on October 27 to get an iPhone X to giveaway to our readers. The 10th anniversary iPhone received a CNET Editors’ Rating of 9.0 and our review says, “iPhone X is an overdue and winning evolution of the iPhone, but you’ll need to leave your comfort zone to make a jump into the face-recognizing future.”

The iPhone X we are giving away comes in Space Gray, has 64GB of storage and also comes with a T-Mobile SIM card (but since it’s unlocked for GSM carriers, it’s also compatible with ATT).

What do you need to do for a chance to win*?

Fill out the form below, read our rules carefully and accept our terms and conditions.The best part is that you can increase your chances of winning by registering up to 10 friends with the link you will get after you’ve entered. Good luck, everyone!

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/x-giveaway-can-land-you-that-new-phone/#ftag=CAD590a51e