I can’t wait to get my hands (and ears) on Sireader. Photo: Philip Tennen
Want to see something neat to start off your day? How about a Siri RSS reader?
RSS readers, as most readers will be aware, are great at aggregating news headlines from a variety of different websites that get updated throughout the day. While they’re useful tools, they’re less than ideal for blind or partially sighted users, however.
With that in mind, one blind Redditor recently announced that they were posting a $1,000 bounty for any developer who could create a jailbreak tweak capable of not only keeping track of RSS feeds, but also getting Siri to read them out loud.
Apple is Siri-ous about virtual assistants. Photo: Apple
Apple is beefing up its Boston office, with an aim to expanding its Siri voice recognition team. Documents filed with local authorities show that the company has leased around 11,500 square feet of office space on the 13th floor of One Broadway, an office tower owned by MIT and located on the outer perimeter of the university’s campus in Cambridge, MA.
The added space gives Apple room to bring in an extra 65 people to work on the project, although a local job search for the area doesn’t yet show anything.
Apple has been steadily growing its Siri team over the past few years — recruiting employees formerly from companies like AT&T Research, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, BBN Technologies and others for its speech team in Cambridge.
The recent publishing of a patent for an iOS stylus — an accessory Jobs was vocal about opposing — got us thinking about other aspects of Apple, circa 2015, that likely would have rubbed the company’s late CEO the wrong way.
Let Siri help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
I asked Siri to set a 6:30 a.m. alarm so I could get this article written before my morning spin class. And that got me wondering what other things the young woman on my iPhone 6 Plus could do to help me meet or exceed my plans to dominate in 2015.
After my wake-up alarm, I told Siri to “call me ‘Champ.'” What better way to get our relationship started than to establish a motivational nickname? I was going to go with “Tiger” or “Hero” or “Shnoogems,” but decided “Champ” was the least embarrassing if Siri shouted it out in public.
You can tell your Mac to self-destruct with this simple trick. Photo: Jacob Salmela
Worried that the cops might bust in your door any minute, or simply really paranoid? How cool would it be if you could initiate a self-destruction sequence for your Mac using only your voice, just like Captain Picard would use to destroy The Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation?
Well, awesomely, you can. And it’s pretty easy to do!
Microsoft has assaulted Siri with a wave of ads pitting the popular digital assistant against Windows Phone’s Cortana, and while Siri repeatedly gets topped in areas like traffic alerts and reminders, she’s got some secret rhyming skills Cortana can’t top.
To showcase Siri’s mad ability to flow like lava, hip-hop producer Skeewiff featured her skills on his latest track “Know How.” Turns out Siri had the busiest rhymes ever made by man after all, and she’s got some harsh words for Cortana and Google Now.
A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.
In Spike Jonze’s film Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” played by Scarlett Johansson. But falling in love with Siri doesn’t just happen in the movies. In The New York Times, there is a beautiful piece about a 10-year-old autistic boy named Gus whose best friend is Siri.
Siri’s so distractive, AAA had to make a fourth category for it. Photo: AAA
Three out of four drivers in America believe that using hands-free technology like Siri is a safer way to cruise the highway than fiddling with buttons and knobs, but a surprising study from AAA found that using Siri on the road is actually dangerously distracting.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tested the distraction levels of a number of hands-free solutions from auto-manufacturers that allow drivers to compose messages, change the radio, and navigate complex menus with voice commands, and found that trying to chat with Siri while driving is more distracting that composing a text.
Microsoft has been having quite a bit of fun with Siri in its new Windows Phone ads. Reminiscent in feel of Apple’s old “Mac vs. PC” ads, the Cortana vs. Siri ad campaign shows Microsoft’s digital assistant having fun at the expense of slow, dumb ol’ Siri.
Not afraid to whip a dead horse, Cortana is now back in two news Windows Phone ads, showing just how much more she can do on Microsoft’s new Windows Phone-powered Nokia Lumia 635 than Siri can do on the iPhone.
Minuum is one of the many third-party keyboards for iOS 8. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
With iOS 8, iPhone and iPad owners for the first time ever can replace Apple’s default virtual keyboard with a third-party alternative.
Doing so — with keyboards made by SwiftKey, Swype, Fleksy and others — could vastly improve your touchscreen typing experience. Not only do some of these keyboards make typing easier, but they also boast innovative features, like the ability to type words using simple swipes instead of taps. Many of these keyboards are completely customizable, so you can set their size and color scheme to suit you.
If you haven’t already installed a third-party keyboard, you’re missing out on one of iOS 8’s best features. In this guide, first we’ll tell you about the best keyboards available from the App Store right now. We’ll also run through the features that make them unique, show you how you can customize them and make them work for you, and explain some important concepts, such as “Full Access.”