I love my Apple Watch. It is the best smartwatch on the market because it does what is advertised to do. Sort of. It is not a workout watch. That would be the FitBit Blaze. The main issue that I am sure we all have is that it does not really ever let you use it without your iPhone near you. Even with the new update to the OS it is still not a standalone device. There are a few apps that show us what may be possible in the future. The built in Music app lets you sync playlist for offline use. Which is great but sometimes you want to listen to a podcast while you workout or go for run.
Up to until now the only way to listen to podcast on your Apple Watch without a iPhone present was with a jailbreak tweak called WatchPlayer. That is no longer the case. Now with the latest Overcast update you can send podcasts to your Apple Watch with just a tap of a button after you’ve downloaded episodes to your iPhone. It works pretty well although keep in mind its not the fastest transfer ever. It may take a few minutes for the episode to make it to your watch depending on the size of the podcast. Also keep in mind that your play episodes doesn’t sync back to your iPhone. That means you can’t pick up where you left off from on other devices.… Read the rest
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Google Home can now recognize more than one voice. Which means, anyone in the house can use it to activate the lights. Not just your Dad. But why is this important? Because it’s something that Alexa doesn’t have. Or at least not yet. And the bigger reason, as I just mentioned, is that anyone can use it in the house. But is that really a good thing? On one hand, it opens up the possibilities for everyone in the house, but on the other hand it means anyone can do anything. Right?
It is a bit of a double edged sword. Let’s think about it from the perspective of being able to order things online through these “home” devices. Having the ability to only recognize one voice means that only one person can order. And presumably that person is an adult. So if my twelve year old can now use this home device, can they order on my behalf? And if the answer is yes, then there is a problem. But if the answer is no, then we’re ok. Meaning, there are safe guards in place that are going to stop certain people from being able to use it for these purposes. On the other hand, can my kids use it to turn on the lights? I’m hoping, and guessing that there is a way to identify the voice profile and include or exclude certain rights within the system.
Continuing on this idea of making purchases without your consent. … Read the rest
MasterCard to Add Fingerprint Authentication for Purchases
The future of biometrics. has arrived! I wrote a post about facial recognition and its use by airport security. And another post about Alabama asking it’s citizens to submit their taxes via selfie. Well, now MasterCard wants you to verify your identity using your fingerprint. But not just your fingerprint. They are also wanting you to put your PIN number in as well. Which makes some sense, as a two step authentication process. But to me, it seems a bit much. Doesn’t it? In all of these scenarios, we are giving a part of ourselves to an organization. Whether it’s a corporation like MasterCard, or the IRS. We are giving out our personal data in ways that we never have before.
I don’t really like the idea of this. For many reasons, but let me start with the fingerprint recognition feature on my phone. If my finger is wet, or if I’m sweating, then my fingerprint doesn’t get recognized. Ok, you’re probably saying make sure your hands are dry. No problem. But because the button is so small, and apparently my finger is huge, it’s still doesn’t always get recognized. It’s one tiny part of my actual fingerprint. Not the entire thing. This is extremely frustrating for me and I’m just trying to get into my phone. Imagine what could happen if you’re trying to make a purchase and it doesn’t work?
I like the idea of the two step authentication process, but what happens if it doesn’t work? … Read the rest
Google Earth Updates Include 3D Panoramas and Virtual Tours
Google Earth has introduced an update with the ability to view spaces in 3D. But not just 3D, it also allows you to pan around the space itself. Imagine being able to see some of the great wonders of the world without having to leave your house. Google is giving people access to experiences that they might not otherwise be able to have. Which is incredible, isn’t it? This is also an amazing learning tool for children. Geography was always one of the courses that I excelled in during my high school days. Imagine what I could have done with this kind of tool!
But let’s look at the system itself before getting into it’s pros and cons. Google Earth is getting rid of the desktop version, and now running it as a web-only application. Making it easier for people to use. No longer having to download the cumbersome application onto your desktop. But what the update actually offers is guided tours and 3D viewing. Which lets you experience the world in real time.
An interesting additional feature that is available is the ability to look at some places as seen through Planet Earth. Including commentary from David Attenborough himself. This honestly blows my mind. I’m a huge fan of the Planet Earth series so this is right up my alley. But will this feature bring more users to the platform? I’d like to think so. Or at least maybe people like myself.… Read the rest
Mini Super NES is Rumoured to be Available Just in Time for Christmas
I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago where I talked about how Nintendo had discontinued the Classic NES. And it didn’t make any sense. The system was selling, the company was making money and everyone was loving it. But now, maybe we have a reason for it. It is rumoured that Nintendo might be planning on releasing a mini SNES for the holiday season. Why mini? My guess is that the original was just too bulky. And with the advancements in technology, they can now produce a smaller version. And thank goodness for that.
Nintendo hadn’t planned that the Classic would be so popular. And I guess it’s better to underestimate your product and exceed those expectations, than to overestimate and fail. That aside, the Classic was a hit. Flying off the shelves within minutes in some cases. The argument I made in the last post was around the idea of nostalgia. People of my generation and maybe a little bit older want to be able to experience these moments again. Not necessarily because they want to play with that system today, but because it brings them some level of joy from days past.
I recently was listening to a podcast where the host and the guest were talking about how they had purchased items recently, because they couldn’t afford them in highschool. And I don’t just mean a pair of shoes. I mean a specific pair of shoes to the time when you were 17. … Read the rest
Big Brother is Watching: Trump Fast Tracks Facial Recognition at Some Airports
Big brother is watching, and has been for a while. Well, kind of. Since late last year, the United States Customs and Border Patrol has been performing facial recognition scans at some airports. Specifically of people leaving the country. On one hand this could be seen as a good security measure. A way to identify the “bad guys”, so everyone else can get on a plane without any issues. But on the other hand, is this just the beginning of big brother? (Note that I am referring to George Orwell’s 1984, and not the reality show.)
CBP is saying that this will benefit travelers. Presumably by not holding up the process any further. But they also said that it’s upholding a Congressional mandate that was instituted in 1996. So why haven’t we seen more of this until now? Did the technology simply not exist? Or were there other ways of obtaining this information? There are two other really interesting points to make here. 1) The facial recognition is only going to be used on non-U.S. citizens and 2) It’s only applied when you’re leaving the country! Does anyone else not see an issue with this?
The system is explained that if your face doesn’t match an image for someone coming into the country, then they presume you entered illegally. But is that always the case? There have been several times that I drove somewhere in the United States with my father, only to fly home. … Read the rest