Apple made some major announcements about taxes, investments, and the company’s five year plan for contributions to the U.S. economy, and Bryan and Jeff take a deep dive into what it all means. They also examine their own potential for hypocrisy in criticizing Apple’s smarthome strategy. The cap the show with a listener comment about the Mac App Store security bug.
John F. Braun checks out Instinct, a smart light switch with additional sensors, plus Alexa, to create a new lighting experience.
Daptly launched a new product for the smart home called Daptly Display. It was built for a specific consumer in mind—people frustrated with voice-only assistants and want visual cues. Enter the Daptly Display, a smart mirror that acts as a gesture-controlled interface. Amazon Alexa is built in, and the interface is for people who aren’t ready (or don’t want) a voice-only future. As well as acting like a fog-resistant mirror, you can use it as a photo frame, by uploading photos from your phone or choosing among Daptly’s 50,000 photo collection. It’s an interesting take on user interfaces, one that borrows from science fiction while harnessing existing technologies. Check out the promotional video below, and decide if you want to reserve a Display. The device will sell at US$799, but you can get US$200 off if you reserve soon.
Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.
Cool Stuff Found kicks off this week’s show, with email clients, Wi-Fi Widget(s), combo iPhone/Watch chargers, disk utilities and much, much more. Then, after a few additional tips from you, dear listeners, it’s time for your questions. Topics this week include comparing local vs. Cloud storage for things like your music, videos and documents; memory interleaving and when to use it; solving corrupt user accounts that won’t login; and solving the issues with web pages that are slow to load. Press play and enjoy!
Sonos and Amazon jointly announced their Alexa integration earlier this year and the world rejoiced. Voice control of your Sonos system is one of those holy grails. The integration is expected to be available at some point in 2017. But I’m an impatient geek so, while I’m waiting for official support to be available, I spent an hour yesterday getting this working using freely-available open-source tools. You can do this, too, and I’ll walk you through what you’re doing and how to get started.
On Tuesday, wireless speaker manufacturer Sonos summoned the press to Manhattan to show off some new software features they’ve been working on and, in doing so, painted a picture of a more open Sonos experience. Demonstrating Amazon Alexa voice control and Spotify app integration, Sonos showed a not-too-distant future where customers have the ability to control their Sonos products in a variety of new ways without sacrificing any of the existing benefits of the Sonos platform.