Cheeseburger Gothic

I’m suing Samsung

Posted January 20 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I totally invented their projected keyboard on a cafe table in Weapons of Choice.

The New York Post reporters:

In the realm of traditional technology, CES 2020 continues to deliver gadgets both revolutionary and bizarre.

Samsung unveiled a new, experimental smartphone feature that can create an AI-powered “invisible keyboard” on the surface of any desk or tabletop.

The South Korean tech giant’s “SelfieType” keyboard app uses a phone’s front-facing selfie camera to track the movements of a user’s fingers as they tap out words and sentences on any flat surface. An artificial-intelligence engine analyzes the movements and converts them into text on a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

How much do you think I can get?

7 Responses to ‘I’m suing Samsung’

jason has opinions thus...

Posted January 20
The real money will be when someone invents a working time machine and you can claim royalties on that, once you fight of the Estate of H.G. Wells of course.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 20
I reckon a reconditioned S5 with a side helping of 10 year old viruses . . . : )

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted January 20
I wonder if it would be enough to fuck their patent application. It is possible to submit prior art to the patent office as a third party. It would be interesting, especially as Samsung would have to address it and that response would be published.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted January 20
Good luck, I'm unfamiliar with the ins and outs of commercial law, is it still settled in a trial by combat?

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Matthew F. asserts...

Posted January 20
Weren't ThinkGeek selling those in, like, the 90s?

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jl mumbles...

Posted January 20
This is super cool.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27
hrmmm can't copyright an idea, you can patent an idea/invention , but its got to be working to get approved.

But hey, Disney made Mickey Mouse exist as property forever, so lets ask Scotty from Marketing about it and get things changed for you.

Its only fair.



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Panda charger

Posted January 7 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I bought myself a very cheap Qi charger from the Beast of Bezos over Christmas, one of a bunch of drunken purchases that have started to turn up at my PO box.

This thing was about $11 and I had my doubts it would even work.

It works, and surprisingly well. I have a chunky OtterBox case on my iPwn 11. It's thick and ungainly but it provides good drop protection - already tested and verified in the field.

It's so thick and difficult to remove, however, that I'd already decided I wouldn't be trying to crowbar it off everytime I wanted to used a Qi charger. Not a problem, as it turns out. My Chinese Panda friend is powerful enough to send plenty of life giving e-vibes through the case. I guess if its powerful enough for the Ministry of State Security to harvest the keyclicks from all of my bank logins, it can trickle charge a phone thru 5mm of plastic.

I've got it sitting on my desk next to the iMac, plugged into a USB slot around the back. It's not actually wireless charging as some claim. The USB cable puts the lie to that. But it is an oddly compelling use case to have a tiny panda face to drop my phone or airpods onto where they will quietly fill their batteries.

I dont know why it's so much more satisfying than the lightning plug I have on the other side of the desk. But it is.

7 Responses to ‘Panda charger’

Dave W would have you know...

Posted January 7
I got an ikea one. Damn thing doesn't work- which might be due to being my eco-system being robot-based. But I did like the idea if being able to charge the device at the same time as having headphones in the jack, being that there isn't a separate headphone jack.

*sigh*

Why isn't there a solution to _every_single_one_ of my first-world problems?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 7
I was a bit surprised when mine did work, to be honest. I'm not sure why I like it so much - besides the panda face. I think it's the way it allows me to charge without having to think about it or take conscious action. I just set the phone down and it charges. Whereas even taking a moment to plug in the lightning cord seems a grotesque imposition on my very valuable time.

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insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted January 7
As I am an iPhone 7 user http://s0.limitedrun.com/images/1279417/Sad_Panda.png

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she_jedi reckons...

Posted January 8
I lashed out on AirPods a couple of weeks ago because of the inability to charge my effing phone and plug my headphones in at the same time without a stupid arse dongle. Thanks Tim Cook! And bugger me if they are not simply the best headphones i’ve ever had. I bought a pair of Bose wireless sporty headphones a while ago which were quite good, but the AirPods leave them for dead. I find myself super impressed and weirdly annoyed by this all at the same time, but you will have to lever my AirPods from my cold dead hands now. Sigh.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted January 8
*Whispers*

"AirPods Pro are better."

she_jedi mutters...

Posted January 9
Oh stop it lol

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Barnesm puts forth...

Posted January 10
I, on the other hand, would be disappointed to discover that the device didn't indeed charge pandas.

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iPad Pro Review for Handsome Nautilus

Posted February 25, 2019 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Handsome Naut asked about my new iPad Pro, and because he is such a handsome devil I could not possibly deny him a response. I'm working on it right now, in the local car wash while Jane's Mini is scrubbed 'til its belly button shines. Mobility is not why I bought one, though.
I have a heap of books coming out this year, which means a heap of manuscripts to edit and mark up, a job I normally do on my iPad.
When Random House sent me the 'first pass' page edit of THE CRUEL STARS a few weeks ago, it was obvious that my old (very old) early model iPad simply wasn't cutting it anymore.
I've been rocking the very first retina model fondle slab since about 2011, a testament to the longevity of these devices and a hint about why sales of new iPads tapered so dramatically after an explosive few years at the start. You just don't need to replace them very often.
Mine needed replacing.
A hundred thousand word document (MS Word because the publishing industry never learns) was taking fifteen seconds to load and juddering as though it had late stage Parkinson's whenever I tried to scroll or edit. As an aside, I'll fess up that Microsloth's iPad apps are really fucking good. I still find the Sloth's cloud sync service, OneDrive, to be super fucking confusing—I seem to have two subscriptions to it, but can't quite figure out why—but the apps themselves, Word in particular, are a joy to use on the slab.
Or they were in the past. My 2011 iPad was just too old to take advantage of the latest OS and applications. It also predated the Smart Keyboard cover so whenever I travelled for work I had to take a separate Bluetooth keyboard. (Well, I didn't have to, but, you know...). Finally, and this was a small but constant gripe, whenever I receive contracts for signing, it was a non trivial challenge to get my ink onto a desktop copy of the Word documents that most publishers, producers and agents tend to use. (Again, they never learn). An iPad with Apple Pencil would make that small frustration go away.


Last year's lower cost 'education' iPad shipped with Pencil support, and if the Pencil was my only concern it would probably be fine and a helluva lot cheaper than a Pro level pad. But although I do a lot of my thinking with pad and pencil, I do all my writing with Scrivener and that app LOVES a big screen. It's at its best on my 27" iMac, but the iPad app, like Word, has been redesigned for mobile from the deck plating up. It is a pleasure to use on the iPad but even more of pleasure on the big arse 12.9" Pro.

Could I write a whole book on this thing?

Hell yes. People used to scratch whole books into thin pieces of bark with tiny twigs dipped in a fermented badger pee. I could easily write a book on this thing. Or do a university degree. Or file copy for magazines if magazines were a thing that still existed in the world. The hardware is more than capable. What you can do with it comes down to software. I stripped out a lot of the shit that crept onto my old pad over the years, and loaded core apps I knew for sure I would use for work. Scrivener, Drafts, Patreon, Dropbox Paper, Save the Cat (a great screenplay structuring app), utilities like One Password and so on.
The functionality of some software is nowadays as good as the desktop variants. Sometimes the user experience is even better. Looking at you, Word.
But file management remains a challenge. Books generate a lot of files. Not just chapters, but story notes, character bios, research, maps and so on. Individual apps like Scrivener can be almost Bento-box like in their elegant storage of all the little bits and pieces of a project. But there's a reason a lot of people are holding out to see whether the next iOS spins off an iPad specific version.
So, Naut, how does it shape up?
I love this thing.
The screen is insane, super hi def and it puts out some dazzling colours, although the latter is not really an issue for word processing. I've also put a screen protector on mine that tries to mimic the feel of paper when you're using the Pencil. It does a fair job of that, and I use the Pencil a lot, but there is a trade off in loss of the super fine clarity that makes the Retina display a wonder. For me, with my failing eyes, that's less of an issue. But Handsome Naut's sparkling baby blue 20/20 peepers might not appreciate the trade.
The original reason I ponied up more than two grand was an ageing processor. No longer an issue. The Pro feels like its powered by the latest anti-matter warp drive. It fucking screams along, no matter what you're throwing at it. I'm not a spreadsheet user, but I can imagine this thing eating every number the world, burping and holding out a begging bowl for more, all in a blink.
The keyboard is better than merely usable, which is more than a lot of people would say about the keyboards on Apple's laptops nowadays. The chiclet style keys have a surprising amount of travel and a pleasing, if muted 'clickiness', which some regard as the very apogee of the keyboard maker's art. For what I do, typing words one after the other, it's fine. In some circumstances, like say when you're squeezed into the economy size seat on a domestic flight, it's a lifesaver. The redesign of the board's origami-like folds provides you with a compact work space that should let you keep working even after the dickhead in frontreclines their seat ALL the way back.
It's not a surface I'd care to type on for five or six hours at time, every day, but for a couple of hours when travelling, or even just moving around the house (as I am now, the car wash is done) it's a weapon.
There are two sizes, of course. Big and bigger. I went bigger.
The full size 12.9" Pro is too big to enjoy as a pure consumption device alone. It's fantastic to be able to read a newspaper or magazine page at that size. Comics are amazing. And Netflix is super chill. But it's a big ass piece of glass, in the end, and I would not use it for, say, reading a novel on iBooks or the Kindle app. It won't be comfortable. On the other hand, I do find myself streaming TV to this thing while it's propped up in its keyboard. The speakers are powerful and clear and do that magic trick of moving the audio around as you tilt the screen one way or another. And that screen, as I mentioned, is beautiful.
But big.
So very very big.
Would I buy one?
Duh, I just did.
But I had a use case, and a book advance, and a daughter at university who could score the educational discount for me (and a free pair of Beats headphones for the back-to-school promo). And my old iPad was so very old.
Your mileage may vary. But I've been more than happy with my purchase.

11 Responses to ‘iPad Pro Review for Handsome Nautilus’

jl has opinions thus...

Posted February 25, 2019
This might be the way to go for me. Our current crop of computers are aged (a 2011 iMac and MacBook Pro) and will need an upgrade soon. Swear by Apple products. Seriously. Won't buy anything else.

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HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted February 25, 2019
Well, if there was EVAAAAAAAR any fkn doubt about who's BITCH ya be, its been dispelled rather handsomely- MICROSLUT! BIMINGHUM!

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Naut is gonna tell you...

Posted February 25, 2019
Hmmmm, while I am no writer I think it can fill my need. My life is mostly reviewing documents and taking notes in between flicking through selfies (your review doesn't cover the camera).

If we do go BYOD here then I think the very big version is the answer. Enough of a desktop replacement for someone that doesn't do any real work, along with the mobility to be effective in meetings. I had a play with the pencil at JB HiFi on the weekend and was suitably impressed.

I really just need to get OneNote to sync properly and I am set. Thanks for the review JB!

Oh and yes, for those that are wondering, I am that handsome.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted February 25, 2019
The camera is the same unit they put in the 10R. It's great. The best or second best in the market, depending on your feelings about the Pixel. But I'm not an animal, so I don't use my iPad as a camera.

Naut ducks in to say...

Posted February 25, 2019
I think of it more as a mirror than a camera

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Rob mumbles...

Posted February 25, 2019
I had a go with my kid's ipad pro. The pencil and Procreate software is great, if someone gave me one I would use it and like it. But that's not going to happen anytime soon. So I will stick to turning photographs of my drawing work into vector graphics in Illustrator via my PC.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted March 1, 2019
My old iPad is getting to the stage where I may have to send it to a nursing home because it just takes too long to make a decision then occasionally blanks out and says something like "Colour TV will never happen". And my old laptop is already sitting in a chair singing snatches of nursery rhymes and dribbling on its shirt.
This could be the answer

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted March 1, 2019
My old iPad is getting to the stage where I may have to send it to a nursing home because it just takes too long to make a decision then occasionally blanks out and says something like "Colour TV will never happen". And my old laptop is already sitting in a chair singing snatches of nursery rhymes and dribbling on its shirt.
This could be the answer.

Therbs asserts...

Posted March 1, 2019
Most def need new tech

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2019
Mos' def.

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damian asserts...

Posted March 16
Yeah the iPad Pro seems to do all I want from it and more, since it’s essentially an ultralight ultrabook. Dunno how “new” yours is, I got this one second half of last year, and the new one since then is incrementally better (mostly in terms of more screen and less bezel, but also there’s the new pencil and support for the old one to consider). I got the keyboard cover with mine, and being able to use that was the key point in deciding on the Pro (I had tried all the 3rd party Bluetooth keyboards that work with the non-pro version, and none were even close). The point is that even though it only runs iOS you can’t compare it with an android tab, it’s more in line with a Surface or one of the HP or Dell clones thereof, running a full MS Office. I’m still using my big old Dell gaming laptop for study (complete with two external screens and Endnote), and I have my work HP surface-clone, but the iPad is what I carry around all the time (and what I take to lectures when I have those). In practice I could easily take all three in a backpack (minus the external screens), but you always sort of stick to a weight rating and I don’t generally have a reason to carry all at once.

I have certainly lost all patience with people who have religious views one way or another on specific technology providers. It’s in “get a life” territory - imagine being so passionate about brands of kitchen tongs, socks or sausages.



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Polar Vortex explainer

Posted January 31, 2019 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Perhaps because we're roasting through another brutal summer down here, I'm all in on the polar vortex over in the US. If you've ever wondered how it all works, the New York Times has a cool infographic thingy right here.

15 Responses to ‘Polar Vortex explainer’

jl mutters...

Posted January 31, 2019
Ah, the polar vortex. -2F/-19C on my front porch right now. Wind chills -25F/-32C. And that's a joke next to Minnesota or something.

she_jedi reckons...

Posted January 31, 2019
I saw reports today that Chicago is colder than Antarctica. I can't even.

jl reckons...

Posted January 31, 2019
Yeah, I heard the same thing. This is hell.

jason swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2019
Time to migrate to Australia. We don't even have the minus symbol in our weather department.

jl ducks in to say...

Posted February 1, 2019
Believe me, I've given it thought.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted January 31, 2019
Got a mate living out Ann Arbor way and he sent me a pic of his car dashboard -23C with the words "the sun isn't even down yet". He did a 30sec dash to his car and said in that time his fingers felt like they were going to drop off. It gets cold where i live in the mountains - maybe a bit of snow a couple of times a year. But quite frankly i think he'd call my winter "shorts weather"

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted January 31, 2019
Got a mate living out Ann Arbor way and he sent me a pic of his car dashboard -23C with the words "the sun isn't even down yet". He did a 30sec dash to his car and said in that time his fingers felt like they were going to drop off. It gets cold where i live in the mountains - maybe a bit of snow a couple of times a year. But quite frankly i think he'd call my winter "shorts weather"

jl ducks in to say...

Posted January 31, 2019
Ann Arbor is 8 hours north of me, so they are catching it. It was the weirdest thing today. The sun was shining brightly, and the thermometer dropped all day, sun or not. This morning it was 15F, by sunset it was -2F.

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted January 31, 2019
Otherwise known as, "Just another fucking winter in Missouri."

jl reckons...

Posted January 31, 2019
Ah c'mon, Murph, this is pretty cold!

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted January 31, 2019
Meh. Not really.

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Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted January 31, 2019
Then again, I have more snivel gear at 47 than I did at 19 in KSA.

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jl mutters...

Posted January 31, 2019
-21C here this morning. Close to a record.

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1, 2019
Dare I mention the arse baking heat we had here in Bondi yesterday? I dare - it was 39C until the southerly blew in and knocked it down to the early 20s. Even the ocean was 21C. As for this polar vortex....I get cold just reading about it.

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 1, 2019
Send it to Missouri please.

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Thinking of getting a new keyboard. By... Microsoft

Posted August 30, 2018 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

Look! It's not that I don't love my Apple Extended keyboard. I do. I really do. But with Dragon borking itself in the last major update I've been typing more often than dictating, and I'm starting to feel it.

Been thinking I should try an ergonomic keyboard and most of the reviews point to this badboy from the orc foundry at Redmond.

It is just about the most un-Apple thing I've ever seen, and I would be mortified were Johnny or Tim ever to find out I'd defiled their virgin USB slots with it's nasty little plug.

But until Dragon releases an unfucked version of its dictation software, I'm in a bind. I have a shit ton of writing to do in the next 12 months and I'd like to finish it without reducing my limbs to withered T-Rex claws.

9 Responses to ‘Thinking of getting a new keyboard. By... Microsoft’

insomniac mumbles...

Posted August 30, 2018
Don't the bunnies take dictation?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 30, 2018
TBH it’s not their core skill set.

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted August 31, 2018
How many do you have? Assign a word to each one and just start pointing your finger.
(point) Hooper
(point) closed
(point) his
(point) eyes
(point) and

You get the picture.

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Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted August 31, 2018
I use an ergonomic board in my non-fruit laptop. Basically I'd back anything that matches the natural posture of your arms and hands. Mine is a logitech thingy, but all good.

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted August 31, 2018
You need a Razer Blackwidow.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=black+widow+keyboard+razer&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=78546415922331&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_4q0ls64hn0_e

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted August 31, 2018
I'm not launching drone strikes here Murph.

Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted August 31, 2018
I think my gaming mad young bloke would like one of those - he has the fancy Razer mouse with about a dozen buttons.

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Rob mumbles...

Posted August 31, 2018
I've got a similar one but its a wireless Logitech , I'd recommend it . good response time and zero lag between the mouse, keyboard an d PC. I don't use a lot of the extra bits, but its photoshop so its mouse and keyboard short cuts. Your white box might get a bit punchy having an agro metal fan of a keyboard ruining its northern Californian vibes though.

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BrianC asserts...

Posted September 3, 2018
Disclaimer - I am a Microsoft Employee

I love that big black stealth wing keyboard for long typing sessions. I probably dont type continiously for as long as you do but I picked up one of them a couple years back when i was upgrading my home office. Its a great KB for the work laptop, but i cant recommend it for gaming.

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Alexa in the house

Posted February 12, 2018 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

It's hard to believe I got an Echo before an Apple Homepod, but I did. The Echo is now sitting in our kitchen, where I would never dare put a Homepod. I've had a Bose bluetooth speaker in the kitchen for a couple of years now and it's given sterling service. But it's getting old, the charging brick has fallen apart, (I shudder to think how much it would cost to replace that sucker) and the whole unit looks like shit. Over the years it's picked up a second skin of cooking grease, microscopic organic debris, oily particulates and crap.

There is no way I want to drop $500 on a piece of Sir Jony Ive's handiwork in that environment.

The Echo, however... meh.

It's a fraction of the price, a literal fraction, about 1/5 I think, and it's not going to look any better once it's been exposed to a couple of weeks worth of cooking, but it's not going to break my heart either. Also, to be honest, the Echo is likely to be a lot more useful in the kitchen. The Homepod's inability to settle multiple timers has already been noted by most reviewers, as has Siri's constrained functionality compared to Alexa (and Google's eponymous AI). I think that misreads the purpose of Homepod, which is a mid-range premium speaker first, and a smart speaker a distant second.

Still, it creates an opening for Alexa. I've had her parked on the kitchen bench for a few days now and I'm getting used to the syntax and constraints native to Amazon's lady in a can. Because Alexa's APIs were opened up to developers immediately, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of 'skills' she can learn that are completely beyond Siri and probably Google.

I've taken to asking her for the surf report from Bondi every day.

Not having listened to the radio anywhere but the car for nearly a decade, I found myself listening to news bulletins again to start the day, because it's such a simple matter to ask Alexa to bring you up to speed. There are cocktail recipes, bus and ferry timetable information, cooking suggestions, podcast players, dictionaries, weather reports, all sorts of useful shit. It's a device focused on very broad but low-level functionality. That makes it a perfect fit for the kitchen. Or maybe just a very good fit. I don't find Alexa to be any more intelligent or responsive than Siri. There were some hilarious misfires when asking her to play music from an Internet radio service. (It's better now I've picked up an Amazon Music subscription on a free trial for three months).

I suspect the functionality will also greatly improve when Amazon Prime launches locally, and the Beast of Bezos starts competing with Coles and Woolworths for the food delivery market. The ability to add an item like butter or baked beans to a shopping list and have it turn up a day or so later will be a compelling use case. It's pretty much why I got the device.

It's a lot cheaper than Homepod, of course, and it sounds it. There are some types of music which sound authentically awful coming out of this speaker. OTOH there are plenty of other types, usually older albums for some reason, which sound just fine. Maybe it's the way music is produced these days, I don't know. But my old man music does sound way better than my new music playlists on this device.

It's hardly a dealbreaker, though. This is a kitchen speaker, and kitchens are terrible places to intensively listen to music. There's always something else going on, usually something noisy. Everything echoes of the hard surfaces. And people tend to be talking at or over each other. In that sort of environment a speaker which can pump out tracks at a reasonable volume is good enough, and this bad girl is more than good enough.

10 Responses to ‘Alexa in the house’

Therbs asserts...

Posted February 12, 2018
So basically Alexa is your default breakfast radio crew without the zany hijinks. Be careful of the secret sound.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 12, 2018
Hard to capture the depth of my loathing for zany fucking hijinks.

Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2018
The surf has been crap at Bondi for weeks.

As for radio - the car stereo is stuck on 2MMM (and the attendant shouty tradie ads interspersed with Zaniness and popular 'rock' music....or JJJ if thats too much. Or CDs. Don't bother with radio at home for the above reasons.

Dunno if I want one of these things spying on me at home. My luddite inner self is a bit suspicious....

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 16, 2018
+1
I now podcast 6-7 hours a day. My Utes antenna was snapped off 2 years ago. Haven't bothered to replace it.

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Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted February 12, 2018
Looks good JB.

The problem I have with it is that it doesn't understand Dutch at the moment. But neither does El Goog at the moment (and Fruit IMHO is better bought at a green grocers ... ). But that is bound to change in time. Dutch will be in Home this year probably, and if Bezos comes over here (and he is making overtures to do so) Echo will support it also.

Would I buy one?
For a stand alone music system, maybe. But I would want to use more of the features and have it plugged in a total domotic infrastructure. So, music, video, lights, curtains, heat etc. And that "landscape" is at the moment to fragmented. To many different protocols, standards, interfaces. And with another battle of the brands brewing like in the 80-s with VHS, Betamax and V2000, i think i'm on the sideline for the moment.

But you made me curious what's out there.
I did some digging, and found something that might could be a reference for the 3rd generation. It's called Homey.
https://www.athom.com/en/
(note: site is best viewed in chrome, FF doesn't do the features that good).

IMHO it's not totally matured yet, but it could be the direction in which this battle will go.

The pro's:
1. what i can see it talks to about everything even old protocols like your tv via IR, bluetooth, different light systems, heating and WIFI/DNLA stuff.
2. It can operate with Alexa and Home.
3. It's an open system like Alexa, so there is room for growth

The con's
1. It's price is still a little on the hefty side (EUR 300, $ 370, A$ 470) but if that goes down to let say Eur 150-200, well then maybe.
2. The user friendly ness has to go up; what I've been reading in reviews installing it has kinda sorta steep learning curve at the moment, so that needs maturing.
3. What I can see it doesn't work in an Apple universe, except for the app. So no Apple TV interfacing etc. Not a big problem for me, but could be a downer for some.

PS: Google is teaming up over here with the largest grocer, so when Home finaly learns Dutch the shopping list could be made digitally. There is an app already for scanning the barcodes on products you want with your phone, so that won't be a biggie. add a cam to a next gen alexa/home maybe would be another option.

jl ducks in to say...

Posted February 12, 2018
Albert Heijn strikes again? The last time I was in Holland I was shocked by the little personal barcode scanners at the door of my mother-in-law's little village grocery, the Plus. You would scan your own groceries as you put them in the basket. It made shopping soooo easy- a much different experience than here in the US at Wal-Mart, where there are huge bottlenecks at checkout. And Alexa makes it easier yet.

Dirk swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 12, 2018
Yep. They even took it a step further in the last 6 months...

For the uninciated: Albert Heijn is the biggest dutch grocer (think TESCO/Wallmart). Sister companies include among others ETOS (eq. Boots/Walgreens), Gall & Gall (off license/spirits) and Bol.com (eq. Amazon).

Shopping and paying:
1. You can pay at a normal nice girl operated till (cash/direct debit)

2. You can use a handscanner, a dedicated phone app or if you have only few items a fixed scanner at the automated till, check in with your loyalty card and pay by direct debit. You can also drop your empty bottle receipt there, which is subtracted from your bill.

3. You can order online, and pick up your groceriers packed and all 2-6 hours later or have them home delivered within 24 hours (exc sundays for now) for a fee. They are working on a system to cut that back to 6 hours, and add your bol.com/ETOS/Gall&Gall deliveries aswell.

The app also points you to the discounts of the week, can be used as a personal groceries list (just scan the barcodes, or use you loyalty card info: they know what you bought earlier), and gives you special bonus on products you buy regularly. So in my case for ex microwave meals, milk and coffee beans.

If that ain't fast enough, they are experimenting with Near Field Communication, so anything you dump into the trolley is automatically added to your bill. Swipe your loyalty card and Direct debit card (also NFC) at the exit and you can go on your merry way.

Bol.com is one of the reasons Amazon is not here yet. Starting out as a online bookretailer they added and added products (electronics, pet supplies, beautyproducts etc.) and also cater to other retailers, who for a fee can sell via the system and use the logistics track. Standard delivery is within 24 hours (which is de facto standard over here for about everything you shop for only unless its from Germany (Zalando/Correct + 1 day) or China (allibaba 4 day minimum), express delivery is for an extra fee within 6 hours.

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted February 13, 2018
I'd already tweeted this but it warrants repeating.

Mr17 got a goog home mini in his bedroom.

I told him that Google now listens to him masturbate.

The look of horror on his face was priceless. It works because there is a grain of truth in there. Just what is the sneaky bastard listening to?

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted February 14, 2018
It looks like there is a pod-coffee machine off to one side. I trust that this is to keep the junior Birminghams away from the aeropress and single origin civet-cat bespoke beans.

But anyway- we have the el goog at home and much fun and hilarity ensued when we ask it to put ham and bay leaves on the shopping list. Instead, cam and Bailey's wound up on the list. Glad there isn't a one-touch buying yet.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted April 12, 2018
Have you asked Alexa to open the pod bay doors?

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Respond to 'Alexa in the house'