Alexa made me write about voice. We signed up early for this Amazon Echo home control/music library accessed through a Pringle can looking box. True, it needs to be connected to broadband and yes, it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. But it has no keyboard, only voice input through a lighted-ring of seven microphones listening, continuously learning speech patterns. What to ask this smart-aleck Alexa? Well, it turns out, it can play an amazing ‘shuffle’ of music you may have purchased through Amazon, but if you are an Amazon Prime member ($99/year), it can also play any of a million songs. And it has the ability to set up logic scripts (If This, Then That) – links between wake-up alarms and turning on the lights. Oh, and did you know that to encourage voice-tech adoption, Amazon is also launching a $100 million Alexa Fund? Read more ... about Speak to us -- voice interfaces make the audible difference
Technology improvements do not always…improve. Rant on. You remember that experience in your life of turning a key and a long-ago new car just started? We expect that with technology but we virtually never get it. And we don’t complain. Much. Wireless networks in the home need a geek-or-two to get running. Smart phones require training, app downloads take time. Then slog through customization of menus, opting out of stupid defaults, and quite frightening disclosures. “Anonymous location data will occasionally be sent to Google, even when no apps are running. Agree?” Oh sure. Because it doesn’t matter whether I agree or not. Read more ... about Technology change in 2015 – two steps forward, three back
After several months of development, the Google Ventures and FKA-backed bloom, is unveiling its first generation of products aimed to combat dementia, and (perhaps equally as important) the disintegration of communication among families.