Daily Links and Deals: Twitter is notifying affected users after millions of login details leaked

daily_links_1Today, Twitter is notifying users who may be affected by this latest password leak. (They are still saying it is not a hack.) Also, Google will stop updating older Chromebooks, why robocallers can still call you on your cell and a scary UK startup that reads private conversations to see if you are likely to pay your rent. In deals, a huge set of tools and a Bruaun shaver.

Daily Links for day, June 10, 2016:

Why robocallers can stalk you on your cell phone (PC World) Outdated laws make it easy for telemarketers and scammers to have their way.

Google Will Stop Updating Older Chromebooks From This Month (OMG Google) Important information to read if you have an older Chromebook.

Startup lets landlords scan tenants’ Facebook to check if they can pay rent (The Verge) Scanning social media is bad enough, but “private conversations” are included as well!

Twitter is notifying affected users after millions of login details leaked (PC World) I have This isn’t stopping anytime soon, so it’s time to buckle down and get secure.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs and speculative thriller Three Days in April by Edward Ashton.

In Today’s Deals, a Crescent CTK170CMP2 Mechanics Tool Set, 170-Piece. Also, the Braun Series 9 Electric Shaver. Also, the Fire HD 10 tablet is still $50 off. The 16GB version is only $179.99. The tablet is also available in both 32GB and 64GB models.

At Barnes and Noble Nook. today marks the start of B-Fest, a three-day event in Barnes & Noble stores celebrating the best books for teens. Today’s Daily Find offers up to 70% off teen and young adult novels. The Romance Daily Find is Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs for $3.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Lord of Scoundrels (Scoundrels Book 3) by Loretta Chase for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Friday Echo: Is the Echo making children rude?


Raising kids with Alexa:  There is a very interesting article from Quartz that looks at the issue of parents being concerned that Alexa and the Echo are teaching their children to be rude. It is a fascinating read. Since natural language can be more difficult for an AI to understand, the piece points out, “When it comes to chatting with Alexa, it pays to be direct—curt even.”

Children are indeed drawn to the device and seem to pick up using it readily. I’ve heard stories from friends about how their children interact with the device: repeated questions, endless joke requests, etc. There are even skills directly designed with children in mind. So.As parents, part of our job is to make sure our offspring have the skills necessary to be functioning members of society and good manners is certainly the oil that greases the wheels as the saying goes. This may be another factor that may need to be considered if you are a family considering a purchase. And for the record, Alexa does respond when you say thank you (with a variety of responses).

Do you want an International version of the Amazon Echo?  Right now, you can only use the Amazon Echo and Tap in the United States. It requires a US account with a US zip code.This makes it difficult if you want to take your Echo out of the country with you. There is an interesting discussion on the topic on the Amazon forums. It turns out there are a few workarounds that may be able to help, depending on your country and your situation.  Things to try:

  • Some people have used a VPN and entered the closed corresponding US zip code.
  • To get weather for your international location, ask “What’s the weather in ______?” and enter your location.
  • If you are unable to download the Alexa app, try using http://alexa.amazon.com/. You can also try to search for an Alexa app APK.

The hacks seem to meet with varying degrees of success. Read the discussion thread for more info.

If you want to see a truly international version, let Amazon know. The folks on the forum suggest using the hashtag #internationalalexa on social media to try to get support for an international version of the device.

The Amazon Tap, WiFi and a call to Echo support:  A couple of weeks back, I talked about my WiFi problems when travelling with my Amazon Tap. Well, last week I had a bigger WiFi problem. The Tap couldn’t connect to WiFi at all on my home network. The Alexa App on my Fire Tablets was also saying it was offline.  I got a strange error message (code 7:3:4:0:1) when it couldn’t connect. I did a search and found a Reddit thread on the issue here. I tried everything that the thread suggested, including resetting the device and still could not get back online.

I finally called the Amazon Echo support line for help. The rep was extremely nice and helpful and she walked me through setting up the device again. What was most helpful about the experience was the the support rep could see what really was going on with the Tap when my app would hang (which evidently happens a lot). At one point, the Tap was actually back online even though I was still seeing a “trying to connect” message. Amazon had me back up and running in less than ten minutes and its been smooth sailing ever since..

If you have a problem you can’t solve, you can reach Echo Support at 1-877-375-9365. They are available from 3 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time, seven days a week. You get this number via email from Amazon if you report a problem via the Amazon app.

Voice-first is going mainstream: A recent survey looked at the Amazon Echo, Google Now and Siri to see how customers are using these voice first services and to find out what consumers think of them. The results are interesting and clearly show that people want to talk to their devices. As someone who grew up reading science fiction and seeing the TV and movie examples of talking computers like HAL and those from Star Trek, it really is an natural next step from where we are now. Did you know that 50% of people keep their Echo in the kitchen? How does your use of the Echo compare to other peoples uses? I tend to check the weather a lot with the Echo – her forecasts are generally dead-on accurate!

The study looked at early adopters of the Amazon Echo. For the Google and Siri portion, mainstream users were surveyed.This left me wondering if  anyone has done a study yet of all the various AI systems. I have noticed that since I got the Echo, I am actually also doing more with Google Now and Siri than I was before I bought the Tap and the Echo.

Working on my official Amazon Echo and Tap reviews. Hopefully, I will have them ready to post by next week’s post. 🙂

Need more help with Alexa on your Echo or your Tap? Here’s the help page.