Alexa, Siri, You're Not a Trusted Family Member

· · Editorial

Amazon Echo

The conceit of AI agents like Alexa, Cortana, Google Home and Siri is that they are to be always listening, invited to be treated as trusted family members. Or the loyal computer of our family’s starship. John Martellaro doesn’t like these analogies at all.

Apple Buying Up 3D Cameras for iPhone 8

· · News

iPhone to get 3D camera support

The iPhone 8 will reportedly include a 3D camera with facial recognition capabilities, and LG Innotek is parts supplier. That fits with reports that have surfaced over the past few months, although this is the first time we’re hearing that Apple has placed a parts order with Innotek.

Tim Cook Is No Steve Ballmer

· · News

Apple CEO Tim Cook

A piece at Seeking Alpha argues that Tim Cook needs to be replaced as CEO of Apple because he’s “identical to Steve Ballmer.” Bryan Chaffin was specifically asked what he thought, so here’s the short version: it’s balderdash—Tim Cook is no Steve Ballmer.

iTunes for Windows Is Coming to Microsoft's Windows Store

· · Link

Microsoft announced that iTunes for Windows will be coming to the Windows Store, according to TechCrunch:

Here is a surprise: at its Build developer conference, Microsoft today announced that Apple’s iTunes will come to the Windows Store by the end of the year. The iTunes app will have full iPhone support and users will essentially get the same iTunes experience from the Windows Store app that the existing Windows app currently offers.

There are two points of significance: one is that Microsoft announced this, not Apple. The second is that this is the only way Windows 10 S users can get iTunes for Windows. That makes a Windows Store version a must-have for iPhone owners with Surface Laptops running that flavor of Windows.

This Maglev Globe Floats: $39.99

· · TMO Deals

Maglev Globe

It’s a floating globe. On your desk. It floats! No, no! It levitates magnetically! This is far, far too cool, hey? The 3-inch globe floats in its C-shape frame using the power of magnets, and it’s $39.99 through us.

US May Ban Laptops, iPads from European Flights

· · Link

Reuters reports the Trump administration wants to ban electronics bigger than a smartphone in the passenger compartment on flights to the U.S. from Europe. The irony is that the batteries in all the laptops and tablets could explode in the plane’s luggage hold. So that doesn’t seem very safe.

Paris Hilton, the Real Hero of the iPhone

· · Link

Check out this quote from W about Paris Hilton:

Despite Hilton’s longtime dependency on various cellular devices, it is perhaps visionaries like Steve Jobs who are indebted to her, seeing that it was Hilton who took their creations beyond their wildest expectations, inventing along the way the maligned but ubiquitous selfie.

That’s right. Paris Hilton is the real hero of the iPhone. 🙄 Talk about confusing cause for effect.

Carnegie Mellon Research Team Created Touchpad Paint

· · Cool Stuff Found

What if you could spray paint a piece of plastic or wood, and use it as a Magic Trackpad? Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University have created touchpad paint, which can turn any object or surface into a touch sensitive one. It’s a project called Electrick. It’s based on an algorithm that can read a finger press by sensing changes in electric flow on a conductive surface, called electric field tomography. The team attached electrodes to an object covered in the paint, and were able to figure out where a touch was tapped. Professor Chris Harrison, head of Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group, said the cost was “way under US$1 per square foot.” There are some limitations, such as not being able to do multi-touch. But that could change in the future. You can read the team’s research paper for more.

Carnegie Mellon Research Team Created Touchpad Paint

TSMC Starts 10nm A11 Chip Production for iPhone 8

· · News

iPhone 8 A11 chip production starts in TSMC factory

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has started manufacturing Apple’s custom designed A11 processor for this fall’s iPhone 8 launch. Production was supposed to start in April, but was delayed while production issues were worked out.

Earth, Pale White Dot, Seen From Saturn's Rings

· · Cool Stuff Found

The rings of Saturn are about 10 meters thick. Yet they light up the solar system with wonder and awe. In this NASA image, the Earth is seen from the Cassini spacecraft through a gap in the rings of Saturn. It’s an encore of the famous Pale Blue Dot image of Earth seen from 6 billion km away back in 1990. In this new image, if you look closely, Earth’s moon is also visible. As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson might say, this one photo provides a substantial cosmic perspective. We are tiny. We are alone. This is the only home we have.

Earth, Pale White Dot, Seen From Saturn’s Rings

With Mac and PC Designs Mature, Computational Power is Sexier

· · Editorial

Modernistic speedometer. The need for Mac speed.

The designs of desktop and laptop PCs and Macs have reached a plateau.  There’s not much more to be done. But user hunger for computational power never ceases. While Apple has traditionally focused on design, it may be time for Apple to, instead, dwell on sheer computational power, an enduring addiction for everyone.

Siri's No Amazon Alexa yet, but Give Her Time

· · Editorial

Siri, an evolving service

With Amazon Alexa being joined in our living rooms by Google Assistant and now Microsoft Cortana, it’s clear that Apple needs to step up to the plate and take back the home. Jeff Butts makes the case for why Cupertino needs to develop an Echo-like device for Siri.

Microsoft Adds Cortana to the Voice Assistant Game with Invoke

· · News

Invoke voice assistant appliance from Microsoft and Harmon Kardon uses Cortana

Amazon has Echo, Google has Home, Apple reportedly has its own voice controlled assistant in the works, and now Microsoft is getting in on the game, too. Microsoft’s device is called Invoke, and it uses the company’s Cortana voice interface coupled with Harman Kardon speakers.

Readdle Launches PDF Expert 6 for iPhone and iPad

· · Cool Stuff Found

Readdle announced Wednesday the release of PDF Expert 6 for iPhone and iPad. The update includes a new interface, the ability to password protect files, and you can work from and save to Dropbox. On the editing side, users can edit PDF text, add and replace images, add links to text and pictures, and redact content. The company put together a good video showing off the new features (below). PDF Expert 6 is available now on the App Store at $9.99.