More and more, customers will find that as artificial intelligence agents embedded in smartphones, robots and cars start to make decisions for them, freedom and choices will begin to dwindle. For example, car insurance for people who want to drive themselves, instead of letting the car do it, will get a lot more expensive. Perhaps prohibitive. This is just one of the unintended consequences of autonomous cars discussed in Particle Debris. In fact, as AI’s do the thinking for us, so will the companies that make them.
Apple’s online store will be unavailable Tuesday morning until 8:30 AM eastern time, leading to speculation that a product refresh is about to happen. The company’s own System Status webpage was the tip-off, and since Apple always takes its store offline ahead of product releases the interent is flipping out over the possibility of something new showing up on the page.
Dr. Phil Plait is an astronomer and a very popular science communicator. His blog, Bad Astronomy, “covers the entire universe, from subatomic particles to the Big Bang itself, astronomy, space exploration, and the effect of politics on science.” Like many young astronomers, Phil’s interest in astronomy ignited when he first saw Saturn and its rings through a telescope. He earned his Ph.D. working on the study of supernovae with the Hubble Space Telescope. We chatted about his career, his enduring work in amateur astronomy with his telescope, his love for science communication, why people who don’t believe in the Apollo moon landings are wrong, the study of a potentially dangerous asteroid or comet collision with Earth, how climate change is affecting us, and the recent discovery of a nearby solar system with Earth-like planets.
It’s no secret Apple has a very real interest in augmented reality, and that it’s likely headed to the iPhone. Seems the company is exploring AR glasses, like Google did with Google Glass, and will target our eyes after tackling the iPhone.
Coffee tables are usually boring, but one company has developed a prototype that is far from it. Jeff Butts has discovered a “smart coffee table” that merges aesthetics with modern conveniences, including USB ports, electrical outlets, and more.
One of the most frustrating tasks for iPhone and iPad users is figuring out how to get it to play nicely with encrypted email with iOS Mail. Jeff Butts decided to brave the frustration, scoured the Internet for tips, and developed a method that should solve your woes.
Apple is a master of making profits, and an expert and keeping its money out of government hands. Bryan Chaffin and Jeff Butts join Jeff Gamet to offer their thoughts on Apple’s tax practices in New Zealand and other countries.
Apple’s mysterious wireless device awaiting Federal Communications Commission approval turned out to be a door lock system for Apple Park, the company’s new campus that’s opening in April. That pretty much kills the idea that Apple was about to release a Siri-based Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor.
We have a deal for you on PDF Expert 2.2 for Mac, a PDF-editing tool from Readdle. This was the 2015 App of the Year Runner Up in Mac App Store, and it allows you to edit text, images, links, and outlines in PDFs. You can also fill out forms, annotate, and more. We have it for 50% retail at $29.99.
Have a webpage you use all the time? Why not make that its own, separate app? Need to create Symbolic Links (symlinks) but don’t want to use the Terminal? How about if you want to get an equipment warranty for that new Synology NAS you just bought? That’s just a sampling of the things you’ll learn in the first segment of this week’s episode. There’s more, folks. Lots more! Press play and enjoy!
Check out iSkelter’s Slate 2.0, a ventilated lapdesk designed for Apple’s MacBook line. iSkelter has a number of products for Apple users, as well as a large ventilated laptop desk designed for PC gamers with ginormous PC laptops. The ones aimed at Mac users include slots to hold an iPad (or book or whatever), and you can choose to get it with a mousepad, a naked work space, or a white board(!!). They’re made from bamboo, and are priced starting at $59.95. Models with a mousepad are available through Amazon Prime for $69.95.
Apple paid roughly zip to New Zealand Inland Revenue—that country’s taxing authority—over ten years, even while selling $4.2 billion in merchandise in the country. The practice is scrupulously legal—and therefore OK in the eyes of many. Bryan Chaffin, however, doesn’t think it’s right.
Hey, are you a proud owner of Google Home who got all pissy when you found an ad inserted your morning summary? Well, suck it up, buttercup. Bryan Chaffin argues you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
Artificial Intelligence agents started out as friendly voices that could answer some simple questions. We’re in a new phase now in which AI agents can order goods and control our home. Recently, Google tried to jump to another level when it introduced an ad into a morning briefing. We can see where this is going, and it’s not good.
Netflix is introducing a new “SKIP INTO” button. It lets you skip the opening credits of your TV show. It works on all episodes of most TV shows except the first episode. After all, you should at least be able to see it once, with the actor and director names in the beginning. Netflix usually already skips the introductions if you’re binging a show. It happens automatically if you watch a TV show and let the app automatically play the next episode. Nevertheless, it’s still a handy option, and it even works on shows where the credits play after several scenes, called a cold open or teaser. Right now the feature is only available on Netflix’s web app, but the company may roll it out to other platforms later on.
Apple has started an Apple Music Ambassador program this week to enlist the help of college students. In exchange for promoting Apple Music, students receive perks based on how many people they can sign up.
If you use the Amazon app on your iPhone to shop you can use it to talk to Alexa, too, even if you don’t own an Echo or Echo Dot. The online retailer is rolling out in-app Alexa support for iPhone users over the next week which means pretty much everything you do with an Echo or Echo Dot can happen right on your smartphone.
Apple has a new patent infringement lawsuit on its hands. This time it’s from the patent holding company Soverain Software and it targets pretty much every product Apple makes involving internet-related services.
Uber has been delivering punishing, but self-inflicted wounds for weeks now. This week, the company can add the bad PR of a ride that ended in a fireball. A literal fireball. Firstly, the Uber driver in the car shown below—and his passenger—walked away with minor injuries. Secondly, the driver of a car hit moments before—and not shown in this video—did receive more serious injuries, according to local TV station KOMONews. The video below was captured by surveillance cameras when the Uber driver came speeding through a Seattle gas station, striking a gas pump and causing a fireball. On a side note, how amazing is gas station technology that the whole place didn’t go up in flames? Uber wanted folks to know this particular driver has been removed from its app. So there’s that.
Google Home owners are angry because yesterday they got an ad to go along with their morning schedule request. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on Google doing what it always does, plus they have some opinions on McDonald’s offering mobile app food ordering.