Friday, September 23, 2016

Google Assistant

Google unleashed its digital assistant for the first time, arriving late to the intensifying race among the largest technology companies to create a more personal and lucrative way for computers to interact with humans.
The Google Assistant uses artificial intelligence tools, such as voice recognition and natural-language processing, to answer questions and satisfy other requests delivered verbally and in formats such as text messages. The first incarnation is as a digital buddy inside Google’s new Allo messaging app, which the Alphabet Inc. unit unveiled Wednesday. The assistant will also appear inside Google’s Home internet-connected speaker -- expected next month -- in new Android smartphones and in devices such as cars and watches made by other companies, Google executive Nick Fox said.

"It is a significant effort across Google and it brings together many teams," Fox said in an interview in San Francisco. "It’s a layer across Google -- the glue that links our existing services and technology together."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Samsung Replacing Galaxy Note 7s

The burning Galaxy Note 7 is singeing Samsung with consumers. Badly.
The Korean electronics giant said late Tuesday that 500,000 replacements for the phablet-sized phones,recalled last week because of problems with igniting batteries, had arrived in the U.S. and would be available for exchange Wednesday. So far it's exchanged 25% of Note 7 devices owned by U.S. consumers. A Samsung spokeswoman said a "vast majority" have opted for another Galaxy smartphone.
But a recent survey suggests many of the original buyers, the fans who rushed to get the critically acclaimed phone in the first weeks, may avoid the Note 7 on the second go-around.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Google Phone?

Google has just blasted the press with invites for an event on October 4. The company sounds ready to unveil its 2016 smartphones. The Google teaser page offers to "Keep me updated about devices from Google" and features a new video on Google's YouTube channel. Both the video and the page have a Google search bar that slowly transforms into an outline of a phone, indicating that this event is all about the launch of Google's new phones.
This isn't the first time we've heard of the October 4 date. A report from Android Police claimed October 4 would see the launch of the two Pixel phones, along with Google Home, the company's answer to the Amazon Echo; Daydream VR, the company's answer to the Samsung Gear VR; anda Chromecast capable of 4K playback. The date of the report was definitely accurate, but so far the only thing Google has teased for the event is the phone.
We expect two Pixel phones: a 5-inch version only referred to in rumors as "Pixel" and a 5.5-inch version called the "Pixel XL." With the advent of Google's dedicated hardware division, the "Nexus" line of phones is dead. The "Pixel" line is expected to be more premium and include Google-exclusive features. The latest leaks and rumors include a significantly higher price tag of $650 for the 5-inch phone and leaked photos of the devices that look just like the renders that have been floating around forever.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Messaging Everywhere

After a short absence, Messaging Everywhere is back, and—just as Microsoft promised—it’s built into the Skype Preview for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.
Microsoft doesn’t call Skype's new feature “Messaging Everywhere” of course, but it’s essentially the same thing: the ability to use an app on your Windows 10 PC to send and view text messages via your Windows 10 Mobile device. The feature's called SMS relay, and it includes the ability to send and view SMS and MMS messages.
The updated version of the Skype Universal App preview that contains SMS relay is now available for Windows Insiders. Microsoft says the feature will hit mainstream Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile users in the “next few months.”

Monday, September 19, 2016


Don’t believe everything you read in the press. Despite OpenOffice developers recentlydebating a shutdown of the open source productivity suite, the Apache Software Foundation is not ready to retire the project yet.

OpenOffice is not a ‘healthy project’

The Apache OpenOffice project isn’t done yet. On the mailing list, contributors are actively discussing what could be done to improve the project.
Even in the original discussion about what retiring the project would look like, there were outspoken dissenters. “I think even broaching this topic is a mistake. ‘Self-fulfilling prophecy?’,” wrote Phillip Rhodes on the project’s mailing list. Many contributors argue that the news posts being written about retirement are “FUD”—fear, uncertainty, and doubt—intended to hurt the project.
The project’s download page now includes a call for volunteers. Apache president Jim Jagielski tweeted on the subject: “Due to (incorrect) reports of its death, Apache #OpenOffice has rec’d an outpouring of support and development volunteers. Thx!”
Does this mean OpenOffice is healthy? No. LibreOffice still boasts more developersthan Apache OpenOffice and is progressing much more quickly. Indeed, Linux distributions have by and large dumped OpenOffice for LibreOffice.

Friday, September 16, 2016

T-Mobile Warning

It's only been a few days since Apple released iOS 10 to the public, but the new operating system has already run into some big problems. First, there were reports of phones rendered temporarily useless when users attempted to update to iOS 10 via Wi-Fi, instead of via iTunes. Now, T-Mobile (via its CEO on Twitter) is recommending all iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 5 SE users wait to upgrade their devices.
According to the Verge, several T-Mobile customers have reported losing all connection to the network once updating their phones. If you're a T-Mobile customer experiencing these issues, the company is recommending you try the oldest trick in the tech book: turning it off and turning it back on.
Unfortunately, that's just a temporary fix. (And one that sounds like it would get old in a hurry.) Sorry, T-Mobile friends, guess you'll have to wait a little longer to experience the utter bedlam that is iMessage on iOS 10.

Samsung Galaxy Note Recall

The explosion of some Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 7 phones in recent weeks has led to consumer confusion and anger, as the phone maker and the U.S. product-safety watchdog work toward an official recall.
Two weeks ago, Samsung announced a voluntary global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 in the 10 countries where the smartphone was available, citing reports of fires involving lithium-ion batteries in some of the devices. On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said users of Note 7 smartphones should turn them off and not use them.
Airlines have been asking travelers to turn off Note 7s before boarding planes, after the Federal Aviation Administration last week started urging passengers to avoid using the devices on board and not stow them in checked bags. On Tuesday, NJ Transit instructed passengers to turn off their Note 7s.