Are we speaking to Echo, Alexa or Sybil?

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Are we speaking to Echo, Alexa or Sybil?
Number 2360
Broadcast Date NOVEMBER 6, 2014
Episode Length 34:22
Hosts Tom Merritt
Guests Lamarr Wilson

Lamarr Wilson joins us to talk about Amazon’s new invite-only cylindrical virtual assistant/bluetooth speakers called Echo but named Alexa. Seems simple enough.

Guest

Headlines

Microsoft has truly become Satya Nadella’s. The Verge reports on the big news that Microsoft released a preview version of Office for Android and editing in that version as well as the iOS versions, is now free, no Office 365 subscription required. You will need a Microsoft account to login though. The free versions are only for individuals too, businesses will need to pay a subscription fee. Microsoft will also add premium features for consumer subscribers.
Ars Technica reports Amazon announced a new product called Echo that s a bluetooth speaker and virtual assistant in a 9-inch tall cylinder. It can stream directly from Amazon Music, TuneIn radio and iHeart Radio or take music from mobile devices and stream over bluetooth. It also responds to a wake word, which is by default Alexa, and answers questions with facts from Wikipedia, adds items to lists on the Echo app and can play news and sports from NPR and ESPN. The device can only be purchased by invite only. It’s $99 for Prime users and $199 for everyone else.
CNET reports Palo Alto Networks identified malware they call “WireLurker” that infects OS X devices through apps downloaded from a third-party Chinese app store then can infect any iOS device connected by USB my adding malicious code to otherwise legitimate iOS apps. The malware is aimed at Chinese users. Apple says it has blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching.
Commuters rejoice! Venturebeat reports that the ebook subscription app Scribd is adding more than 30,000 audio books to its unlimited ebook subscription service. Audio books include titles like Divergent, The Hunger Games, No Country for Old Men and plenty of books that DIDN’T get made into movies. The total ebook + audio book subscription is $9 a month. Compare that to Audible’s $15 a month subscription that gets you one audio book a month or Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited which has 700,000 titles but only lists ‘thousands’ of audiobooks.
Wired reports that the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Europol joined forces to take down Silk Road 2 and arrest the alleged operator of the site, 26-year-old Blake Benthall. Benthall was charged with narcotics trafficking and a other conspiracy charges. According to the criminal complaint, Silk Road 2 had been infiltrated by at least one undercover law enforcement agent before it went online. The FBI discovered the foreign server running Silk Road 2, despite being behind TOR, along with server records identifying Benthall.
PCMag reports Google said in a forum thread Wednesday that the company was aware of problem with battery usage for Nexus 5 users running Android 5.0 Lollipop. A fix has been issued. Google says OTA updates should still come to to other devices in the coming weeks.
For those who keep track of these kinds of things, the Verge notes that Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang officially closed today. Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted a welcome to the makers of Minecraft.
Reuters reports Iraq’s major mobile phone network operators have agreed to pay $307 million each for radio spectrum to launch 3G service. Iraq is one of the few middle eastern countries still relying on 2G. The three companies are Orange affiliate Korek, Zain Iraq, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zain, which operates in Baghdad and southern Iraq, and Ooredoo subsidiary Asiacell which has a base in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah.
It may be getting near the end for Aero. The streaming service that fought all the way to the Supreme Court for its right to exist officially notified the State of Massachusetts today today that it is shutting down its Boston operation. Aereo will lay off all 43 local employees as of November 12th. Aereo’s Virginia Lam told BetaBoston the company is laying off some employees in Boston and New York to “conserve resources while we chart our path forward.”

News From You

The Washington Times reports that Orbital science, the aerospace company who’s rocket exploded shortly after takeoff last week will likely discontinue use of refurbished Soviet-era NK-33 engines in future missions. The cause of the explosion is suspected to be a failure in the AJ26 turbopump in the rocket’s main engine. CBS News also reported the same information.
Submitted by habichuelacondulce
Engadget reports that OnePlus says it has sold 500,000 One phones, and wants to sell a million phones by 2015. If you couldn’t get a One phone in the first pre-order round, there will be a second chance on November 17th.
Submitted by the_corley
Reuters reports that Lenovo missed analyst expectations in its quarterly revenue due to a decline in smartphone sales. Mobile device sales fell 6%. The decline was offset in part by desktop sales which rose 6.4%. An accounting shift and the reduction of handset subsidies by Chinese carriers contributed to the decline. Lenovo just acquired handset maker Motorola Mobility last week. Lenovo also named Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang to its board of directors.
Submitted by goofball_jones

Discussion

Pick of the Day

I wanted to suggest a pick of day for the show. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and have been following the Serial podcast since it came out. For those of you not familiar with what has become a phenomenon, Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life,which follows one true story over the course of a whole season. For any of you listeners who haven’t heard it yet, I urge you all to check it out. It’s utterly addictive and perfect for binge listening.
Submitted by Mordechei Lightston

YouTube

Links



Preceded by:
"Apple Watch Priced to Steel"
Are we speaking to Echo, Alexa or Sybil?
Followed by:
"Attorneys Assemble"