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  • Is Apple getting Siri-ous in the face of Amazon's Alexa Echo?

    Amazon echo is over rated.  I think it will fade in time.
    Amazon people who have never used voice assistance will be impressed for a while with Alexa.
    Time will tell.
    I've been using Siri from the start. I currently use Siri and voice dictation with my Mac, iPhone, Watch, and have used Siri in the past with an iPad.

    I've also had an Amazon Echo since it first came out. I was quite lucky with their lottery and got the very first shipment of the Echo. I was impressed then and I still am today. As Ttollerton states, the HW is more extensive, which probably means the far-field microphones can do a better job, but its excellence as a product and service far exceeds that one aspect. 

    Alexa is amazingly fast. It feels like it's processing its answer before you even finish speaking so it can reply with a cadence that would impress a Gilmore Girl. It also never seems to misunderstand a single thing I say and never seems to have to "think about" what I asked, unlike Siri. With Siri it feels like it it's querying a server for a reply, but with Alexa it all feels localized even though it's not. Same WiFi network and same broadband connection.

    All these services have pros and cons—most of which are the same—but Alexa has 3 great features I wish Apple had brought to Siri from the start:

    1. I can look at any previous Alexa request in my history in the Alexa app on on I can then let Amazon know how well the service did in understanding my voice (voice-to-text) and/or parsing my query. If Apple had this I believe they could've made Siri much better, much faster.
    2. I can load Skills into Alexa. These are 3rd-party apps for Alexa. Whatever abilities the Alexa service comes with out of the box, telling Alexa to add a Skill shores up pretty much anything you can think of. I think Apple just opened up Siri to 3rd-party developers with APIs for iOS 10 but I honestly can't recall because of the way Apple seems to treat Siri like the M[achi]n[e] in the Iron Mask.
    3. I get emails from Amazon letting me know what new features were added to the Alexa service. They list many example commands and major new Skills and I'm often willing to try them because they are usually pretty nifty. I know Apple has added new features to Siri—which oddly seem to come with iOS updates—but I couldn't tell you any of its newer features to enrich my life because of how they market the service.

    I'm sure Siri is world's better than it was when it originally came out on the iPhone 4S in 2011, and I'm sure that many of the questions I've asked in the past and got poor to no answer probably work great now, but I don't go to the trouble of writing down all the failed queries, wait a year, and then try them again. This is not uncommon and Siri has spoiled for many Apple customers except for the most basic requests. Apple needs to find a way to reinvigorate Siri.

    PS: I'm remodeling my home and when my bedroom is finished I'll be going "electronics free" in the bedroom (mostly) with the intention of it leading to better sleep habits which will hopefully result in more productive waking hours. That means no iPhone or Watch will charge in the room on the nightstand. No entertainment in the bedroom (meaning no Mac, no TV, and no book reading). Not even a traditional alarm clock will be used because of the light from the clock can have a negative effect, according to some studies. Instead I'll have an Amazon Dot ($49) which will allow me to voice activate setting an alarm and asking what time it is as its primary use. I tested this with my Echo, but I'd rather keep that in the kitchen/dining area because of its great speaker and its benefits when cooking.
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  • Executive leading HealthKit, other software platforms leaves Apple

    Every fucking thread gets ruined by Sog making some anti-Cook rant.
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  • Apple Pay now accepted by 36% of US merchants, is most common mobile payment platform

    eightzero said:
    My favorite thing is going into a store and paying with my samsung gear S3, and having the cashier go "oh we dont do the apple pay thing" and then it goes BEEEP, and a receipt spits out and they are like huh??? Samsung pays works EVERYWHERE, so amazing to not have to carry a wallet ever or worry about whether a place accepts samsung pay or not. I am sure apple will get there eventually, in a few years......
    I'm curious: are you saying that there are contactless NFC terminals that will take Samsung pays, but not Apple Pay? I too have had the experience where the clerk doesn't know what they take or how it works, yet I complete the transaction from my Apple Watch and Apple Pay.
    idrey said:
    Samsung bought that company that came up with the technology that allow phones to be use as swipe cards. You just have to place the phone next to where you would swipe and the cc machine thinks you swipe your card. I hear is not as save as Pay but is cool. Me I'm sticking with Pay 

    Let's be clear, the LoopPay system Samsung bought is contactless but it's NOT NFC. It sends a RF that is picked up by the magnetic receiver in the card swipe mechanism. Even in the US we're getting rid of card swipes—which includes the LoopPay-based systems—in favor of chip-based physical card, because cards are easily cloned from the magnetic stripe. The LoopPay-based system just makes this more insecure, but more importantly its acceptance is dying (in the US) as fraudulent activity using the magnetic card swipe becomes the responsibility of the retailer.

  • Apple AirPods to arrive in stores on Dec. 19, report says

    I predict people will bitch that stores are getting them first and they already spent money on the pre-order.

    Do they work on a Mac as well?
    Yes, they work just like any BT headphones, but if you have a device with a newer version of iOS, macOS or watchOS it will work even better, as well as sync the pairing data through iCloud so that your other devices are ready to switch to headphone with the W1-chip as you see fit.
  • Phil Schiller again defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro's 16GB RAM limitation

    strells said:
    jorgie said:
    Yeah because there's no way you could make the device thicker and give it a bigger battery.

    The thin and light design requirement is the problem, not the technology.  Trust me, I honestly want one of these machines, but I don't care if it weighs an extra pound and is a little bit thicker due to a bigger battery that can power more RAM.  I'm sure most pros don't care as well.
    And why stop with these notebook-grade components. They should put desktop-grade components in there because professionals don't care about portability or battery life¡
  • Google radically scales back glassy new HQ plans, unveils conventional corporate building ...

    1. Apple unveils radical new campus concept that's already through years of design and just needs approval from Cupertino to build.
    2. Google later creates radical new campus illustration, but nothing else.
    3. Apple builds what they said they were going to build. Sure there are updated design plans along the way, but that's par for the course as small things get tweaked.
    4. Google finally comes out with actual plans for something much less grandiose than their original mockups.
    History repeats itself.
  • Apple developing ARM chip for Mac to handle low-power functionality

    Yeah, I can see ARM + Intel hybrids being the first step. I'm sure 80% of daily tasks could be powered by ARM, extending battery life dramatically. Intel proc could kick in when CPU demand gets to a certain point.

    Much like they've been doing for years with Integrated + Discrete GPUs.
    The New MBPs are already Intel+ARM hybrids. Every single of the the new MBPs with a Touch Bar runs two discreet versions of OS X that work seamlessly together.
  • Battery tech suitable for future iPhone promises 3x the power density, full charge in minu...

    linkman said:
    Apple might be drooling at the idea that they can make their devices even thinner with this battery but I need to state this clearly: THEY ARE THIN AND LIGHT ENOUGH RIGHT NOW. If this technology pans out then put this battery in and give us 24+ hour usage on most of our mobile devices.
    Using a denser battery tech to make a smaller device isn't the only benefit—you can also add more technology. I don't expect Apple to ever say with their iPhone, "let's keep the battery volume the same size to get 3x the usage on a single charge." No scenario I can think of makes that happen. Consider the iPhone 6S series which added the haptic engine which reduced the battery size. Then you have the iPhone 7 series which brought back the larger battery when they removed the headphone jack, and which also allowed for a barometric vent to be added in its place and everything at the top to be moved down so that considerably better camera tech could be added. Going with a smaller battery is going to happen once the technology allows for significant density growth. There's just no other reasonable solution for a CE company. Even on the Apple Watch—which is where I'd think a new, low volume, and expensive battery tech would be tested first in a shipping product, if not something even smaller, like AirPods—if they can get triple the density they'd very deduce that battery volume by at least half. I certainly would.
  • Tips: Delaying the start of iTunes to avoid the missing library error on macOS

    1) Thanks, Mike Wuerthele, I run into this issue on most restarts. The funny thing is I have a lot of scripts to automate many functions and never considered this simple one.

    2) May I suggest also including an Automator-based option?

    3) It's beyond my ken, but it's possible to only have the app(s) run only after the drive (or network share) has been mounted, which could save a couple seconds. Even more complex, you could have it send you a notification—assuming this is a headless Mac, like in my case—if the drive isn't mounted, which means the app(s) then don't launch.

    I'm not sure if the following would work via Automator, but here's an example:

    Here's a link to an Apple Script for mounting an external drive:

  • Lawsuit blames Apple's 'less safe' FaceTime implementation for fatal traffic accident

    I'm sorry for their loss, but these parents are pieces of shit for using their son's death to try to fleece a company because of its deep pockets and betting on the fear of bad press despite knowing its not responsible for the poor choices of a 20yo driver.