Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Apple is starting to get Siri-ous. Siri, the hot new app on the iPhone 4s could give Apple a two-year advantage over Google, Gary Morgenthaler, a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures says. Morgenthaler, a recognized expert in artificial intelligence, argues that the Siri software in the Apple’s new iPhone 4S sets the company way ahead in the quest for the best smartphone platform.

He says, that Siri has successfully changed people’s expectations about what is possible in the cell phone industry. “Apple has crossed a threshold; people now expect that you should be able to expect to speak ordinary English – and be understood. Siri has cracked the code,” Morgenthaler explained during an interview with Mashable.

You can activate Siri on the latest iPhone by holding down the home button near the bottom of the device. From there you can speak to Siri, and ask it virtually any question. If Siri needs more information, it will respond to you with additional inquiries until it is ready to carry out the task you requested.

If you want to know what the weather’s like, where to find a good Chinese restaurant, the current score of a Packer game, the square root of 458, and much more, Siri has got you covered. Siri pulls its knowledge from Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha, so it can give you a current and well-researched answer for all of your burning questions.

Siri also acts as your own personal secretary by managing your agenda and recording your memos. Siri knows whats in your calendar, so it can easily remind you about appointments or add to them. Just tell Siri what you need to do and when, and it will add the task to your calendar and remind you about it later (if you ask). The iPhone 4S app can compose and send text messages or emails as well, so you can have a text-based conversation without ever touching your screen.

Google has a similar software in its Android powered phones, but Android’s voice actions application can not do what Siri can, Morgenthaler said. “Siri understands what you mean,” he claimed. Siri has the ability to take a sentence like “Reschedule my meeting with Rachel for Friday at one,” break it into important parts, and then perform the command.

However, there is still much that Siri cannot understand, but its learning more each day. Siri proves to be a real innovation for the tech world and sets the new standard for smart phone capabilities.

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On Monday, Research In Motion offered 12 free BlackBerry applications to their customers in an effort to make up for three days’ worth of service outages that left millions of users without access to email, BlackBerry messaging and the Internet last week.

According to a company press release the free applications, worth $100, will be available for download through the BlackBerry App World beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 19. These premium applications, which typically cost $6 to $13 each, include programs such as DriveSafe.ly Pro and the games “SIMS 3” and “Bejeweled.”

This make-good offer from the Canadian tablet and smart phone company is obviously not the monetary reimbursement some users were hoping for.

The smart phone blackout began on Oct. 10 due to a computer routing failure at RIM’s European data center. A backup router also failed, causing data problems across the globe that interrupted email and Internet services for at least 10 million of the company’s 70 million users.

The router disruption was not fixed until three days later. Analysts believe that the BlackBerry outage may well have cost RIM over $100 million. Besides losing money during the outage, RIM may have lost many devoted customers. A survey from last week revealed that one in five BlackBerry users is considering switching to another phone supplier following the service problems.

“We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience,” RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said. “We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”

This service disruption could not have come at a worse time for RIM. Apple released a new iPhone model on Friday, and sold 4 million of the devices that day – more than the average number of BlackBerrys RIM sells each month. Additionally, earlier this year the company announced it would have to lay-off about 2,000 employees, or 10.5 percent of  its work force.

Whether the free apps will be enough to please angry BlackBerry users – or at least prevent them from switching over to an iPhone or Android device – remains to be seen.

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Sweet zombie, Jesus! The Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead shattered basic cable records last night. AMC kicked off the second season of The Walking Dead with an hour-and-a-half-long episode on Sunday, which was watched by a total of 7.3 million viewers – with an estimated 11 million if you count the encore presentations.

In a television universe where networks can brag about shows attracting 1 or 2 million viewers, it is obvious that the reception to this zombie drama is scary good.

Based on Robert Kirkman’s popular comic books of the same name, The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. Its cast includes Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal and Sarah Wayne Callies.

According to AMC, the premiere was the “strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history.” The Walking Dead also managed to beat out its own series premiere last Halloween, with a 38 percent increase in viewers.

The Walking Dead is one of those rare television programs that reaches both a core genre fan as well as broad audiences simply looking for a great, character-based story. We’re so proud of and grateful for the amazing team on both sides of the camera who works so hard and is so committed to making this a unique programming event,” Charlie Collier, president of AMC, said in a statement.

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If you like to listen to N’sync on Spotify while you study, do you want that information popping up on your Facebook page for all your friends to see? What about if you click on a story that delivers a play-by-play of Justin Beiber’s and Selena Gomez’s latest date night? How about your home address and cell phone number?

Last week, ten privacy groups and two Congressmen asked the Federal Trade Commission to ban Facebook’s new feature that allows for automatic sharing of news articles and other information if users choose to enable it.

The request comes as the social networking website undergoes a radical makeover. At the company’s annual conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced a number of partnerships with online companies including: Hulu, Spotify, The New York Times and USA Today. These partnerships will give Facebook users the ability to integrate their media preferences with the website, and in turn grant Facebook and its partners access to the users’ personal data and multimedia behaviors.

In the letter to the FTC, the advocacy groups claim: “These changes in business practices give the company far greater ability to disclose the personal information of its users to its business partners than in the past. Options for users to preserve the privacy standards they have established have become confusing, impractical, and unfair.”

Many online services will ask their users if they wish to share, and others assume that all their users will want to share. Consequently, the tunes they listen to online, the articles they read or the TV shows they stream are visible to their Facebook friends on a new feature called “Ticker.

After complaints from Facebook users, Spotify introduced a “private listening” feature on September 22. So now, thankfully, you can listen to “Bye, Bye, Bye” on Spotify without fear of your Facebook friends finding out.

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For New York fans of the rock band Radiohead, the news on September 30th must have been pretty exciting. Multiple news outlets including the Gothamist and Gawker, confirmed that the band would be playing a surprise show in downtown Manhattan on Friday afternoon. The free concert would be used to spark awareness for the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests.

The only problem, it was later revealed, was that the story was completely made up. Considering the facts, the news made plenty of sense at the time. Radiohead has been in New York all weekend in preparation for a performance on Jimmy Fallon’s show Monday night; and it is quite conceivable that Radiohead’s down-to-earth frontman, Thom Yorke, would be interested in swinging by Wall Street for the protests.

However, the band would not be playing a free show in Manhattan anytime soon according a statement from their PR firm. Radiohead’s official Facebook page was also updated with an official announcement denying the concert’s existence.

By that point, the rumor had already made it to the frontpage of news websites. Long after media outlets followed up and confirmed that the show was not going to happen, many people on Twitter continued to talk about it as if it was still going on. So how did this story evolve from a completely made-up rumor to a frontpage story so quickly?

Our 24/7, social media fueled news is partially to blame. So too, it would seem, is the spokesperson for the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, who confirmed that reports of a Radiohead concert were very true. An announcement was published at about 12:13 pm Friday stating that, “Radiohead will play a surprise show for #occupywallstreet today at four in the afternoon.”

People cited the post as an official confirmation of the concert’s existence, as word spread about the show on Twitter and Facebook. Over the course of a couple hours, Anonymous repeatedly tweeted that the concert would be occurring, and that a live-stream from the concert would be available on their website.

By 4:00 pm Friday, the Radiohead concert had not begun as promised, and individuals in the area slowly realized that there was not going to be a show at all. Protest organizers finally came forward hours later claiming they had been “hoaxed” and admitted the whole concert was made up.

If nothing else, this Radiohead concert story serves as a prime example of how Twitter-fueled news cycles can sometimes get the facts completely wrong. It is not the first time Twitter has sparked false news stories, and it certainly will not be the last.

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