Since receiving Amazon Echo, Alexa, the name Amazon gives these devices, and I have grown to know one another. We mostly get along, but occasionally argue. It (she?) has learned my habits, but began playing the news the other night while I was watching TV, rather annoyingly. I'm looking forward to testing its home automation features with Nest thermostat and GE Link bulb in the near future. Hopefully Alexa won't decide I no longer need heat or lights!
But what can't Echo do? That's an open-ended question with many answers, depending on what the user wants. However, I'm only asking for one small thing, at least for now.
The Internet of Things can be a blessing and a curse. We all want devices that work for us, and home automation has become big business. Lights, among many other things, can be set or simply controlled from a phone or tablet, and thermostats are going that way as well.
The problem is security, as IoT devices can have all sorts of problems that people haven't faced before. Nest can change your home's temperature on its own and a hacker could, potentially, do the same. That's part of what this update is designed to address, though there are other features as well.
Windows 10 has been officially out for less than a week and the news it has generated doesn't seem to stop. From download numbers to new devices, things keep pouring in. Now HP is heading in a different direction, one aimed at businesses.
HP is announcing a full suite of products geared towards the enterprise market. "HP, a Preferred Provider of Microsoft cloud productivity and mobility solutions, now offers the most comprehensive portfolio of services available for the Microsoft enterprise ecosystem which includes Enterprise Services for Office 365, Readiness Workshop for Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Skype for Business and the new Windows 10 enterprise suite of services", the company states in the announcement.
In today's television market Comcast is the bully -- the 600 pound gorilla. The cable provider owns NBC, which arguably should not have been allowed, but what's done is done. The carrier also doesn't seem to be above using it's status to fight off rivals, especially those in the new TV market that it knows is coming, but would prefer to prevent.
That is apparently the case recently with Sling TV, a service that works just like cable, but comes in over the internet, which turns Comcast into a bandwidth provider and takes away that lucrative TV business. With that in mind, Comcast-NBC has begun blocking Sling's ads.
The smartphone market moves along at a fast pace, with a new device seemingly every day. Unfortunately for customers, upgrades from providers move at a much more sedate pace. You'll get one every two years unless you pay extra. That's generally fine, though most people end up longing for one before that magic date rolls around.
That brings us around to those who are set for that upgrade now. The latest flagship handset comes from LG, no stranger to this market. And, for the most part, it's an excellent piece of hardware. But let's take a closer look.
Today marked a major milestone for mobile gaming studio Rovio. The Finland-based company is releasing it's latest version of the Angry Birds, this one aptly named Angry Birds 2. It follows up on the success of many predecessors, from the original to Space, Star Wars and more.
Like all previous versions, it's the tried and true "birds versus pigs" formula. There are a few strange things about it. For one, early levels are intent on telling you where to aim. For another, some levels force you to choose a different bird, You have no choice -- you can't fire until you've done it.
Do you speak a foreign language? If not then Google Translate becomes your friend while travelling and today it's getting a bit better. Actually a lot better, going from seven languages to 27, which triples the amount it could handle -- okay that math is slightly off, but it's close enough.
Google announces the update to the app, which can be pointed at a foreign language and read the words in your native tongue. That's pretty essential for traveling. While it's good to know the language in any nation you're visiting, it's not always possible.
The big day has arrived and every company is scrambling to be ready for Windows 10. Microsoft's latest operating system steps back a bit from the shudder Windows 8 gave many users. Does that mean it's better? Maybe. The general consensus seems positive.
Now Logitech is bringing software to aid in your use of this latest operating system. The company, which makes solid peripherals, aims to smooth the transition.
Spotify is one of the top music services in business today. It's a tough market, with a growing field of competitors aiming to get your money. It can be good, and many people love it, but how could it become even better?
How about adding If This Then That (IFTTT) support? The service has added a new channel that allows you to utilize its capabilities for many functions associated with your music.
I'm late to the game, switching from a standard Kindle to a Paperwhite. Honestly, there's nothing not to like about the low-end Kindle -- it's priced right and provides a fine reading experience. But just about everything can be improved upon with a bit effort and ingenuity.
That's exactly what Amazon has done. I can't speak for the first generation Paperwhite, I never used it. But the switch from standard to second generation is a world of difference. It's noticeable right away.
Mongolia seems to be a country largely forgotten by the outside world. Aside from Genghis Khan it appears few people know much about the Asian nation. That's a shame because it has a beautiful countryside with deserts, rivers and mountains.
Now Google wants to take you on a rather long journey through the country -- 5,000 km to be exact. All the way across Mongolia, including those beautiful Steppes.
People have been waiting for Pebble Time, the latest device in the Pebble line of smartwatches. The company once again utilized Kickstarter for this project, and did so with great results. Pebble Time shipped early to its backers, but now it hits stores for everyone to buy.
Unlike the previous Pebble, this one has a color screen and looks much more vibrant -- keeping up with Android Wear. It also has more features for users to enjoy.
There's no reason to give you a full review of Amazon's Echo, my colleagues have already said plenty on that score. Instead I wanted to explain what living with Echo is like after one day. Yes, that's how long I've had the device, so this is a "first impressions" in the truest sense, and they run all over the place.
First, Echo has very solid build quality; it's a hefty device and it's very easy to set up -- plug it in, download the Android app and you're on your way. The app walks you through the process and there isn't a whole lot to it.
Last week Amazon announced "Prime Day", an invented holiday for loyal customers of the Prime service. The retailer also revealed that there would be more deals than even Black Friday manages. Now the company is showcasing some of those bargains in an effort to entice customers.
There's quite a list, but some are worth mentioning. The Fire TV Stick will be $15 off, while other Amazon products will also see significant discounts. For instance, The Kindle will drop in price by $30, the Fire HD 7 is seeing a $30 reduction and the kids' edition of the HD 7 will get slashed by a whopping $60.
Earlier this week an exploit for Adobe Flash was revealed -- a shock, I know. Now a second is in the wild and already being used. Known by the catchy name CVE-2015-5122, security firm FireEye discovered the flaw buried in the Hacking Team leak and alerted Adobe to it.
Adobe has released a security bulletin stating "Critical vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-5122, CVE-2015-5123) have been identified in Adobe Flash Player 184.108.40.206 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Successful exploitation could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system".