Engadget looked at AIs for a week and it was great

There is no doubt about it: AI and digital assistants are a big trend right now (and possibly, the wave of the future). In any given week, look on any tech-related site and you are almost guaranteed to find at least one article on Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Home or the next upcoming new digital assistant for your phone.

This week, Engadet decided to take an in-depth look at five of the best-known assistants: Cortana, Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Bixby. Each reporter was asked to live with the assistant for one week and write about their experiences. Here are the results:

The accounts of the experiences are humorous and engaging. They are also extremely familiar to anyone who has gone through the frustrating getting-to-know-you period with a new AI system. I have used four out of the five (Bixby will have to wait until Samsung decides to roll it out to S7 Edge owners like me). Depending on whether you are team PC or team Mac or iPhone or Android, your experience with each will probably vary, a fact noted in several of the articles.

If you are a music fan, what music streaming service you subscribe to will also make a huge difference. The Google Home provided a totally different experience during my YouTube Red trial than when I went back to my free Google Music account. The same was true for the Amazon Echo with and without Prime Music or an Amazon Music subscription.

All in all, this series was one of my favorite reads this week. What do you think?

Daily Links and Deals: Petition to activate smartphone FM radios gains steam

daily_links_1Today, news that carriers are agreeing to turn on the FM radio switch that is probably already in your smartphone. Also, news on Chinese instruments for GarageBand, Firefox extensions, good news from Twitter and a post about  Goodreads’ new deals newsletter. In deals, savings on TP-LINK networking products and a bargain on the Kindle HD 6 for Kids tablet (and why you should buy the 16GB version!).

Daily Links for Tuesday, May 17, 2016:

Apple’s GarageBand picks up traditional Chinese sounds and instruments in new update (Techcrunch) I can’t wait to try this on my iPad! This allows for a new level of musical creativity.

Twitter will reportedly stop counting photos and links in 140-character limit (The Verge) This, if true, is great news. Being able to have more characters, plus a link or a photo will add to the usability of Twitter.

Digital Assistants Get Women’s Names—Unless They’re ‘Lawyers’ (Motherboard) Um, this is really disturbing. “Subservient”? Really?

15 useful extensions to improve Firefox (CNET) If you are a Firefox user, these are all useful extensions.

This nifty earpiece will translate your conversations in real-time (The Next Web) If you are a fan of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to  the Galaxy, you may find this somewhat familiar…

Petition to activate smartphone FM radios gains steam as carriers agree to flip the switch (9 to 5 Google) Finally! This is great news. If your phone is capable of this, why not be able to use it? After all, OTA radio is not quite dead yet.

Goodreads Deals: A New Way to Promote Your Ebooks to Millions of Goodreads Members (U.S. Market) (Goodreads) Goodreads is now offering their own bargain books newsletter.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The 5 A.M. Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast by Jeff Sanders for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals,  up to 40% off select TP-LINK networking products and the Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Tablet, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB with Kid-Proof Case. Note that you can get the 8GB version for $100. The 16GB is $20 more, but I have read too many comments from parents who said the kids ran out of room on the 8GB version. The 16GB is the better buy!

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix for $2.99. The Romance Daily Find is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell for $1.99.  The Extra Daily Deal is Katerina Carter Color of Money Mystery Boxed Set: Books 1-3 by Colleen Cross for $4.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes None of Your Business by Valerie Block for 99 cents.

Google has a Bad Boys of Romance promotion.

(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.