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.”
There are few feelings better in the world than sitting down in front of your latest shiny gadget to watch a great sci-fi movie. With the iPhone 6 launching tomorrow, your choice of shiny gadget has likely already been made. That leaves just one conundrum then: what to watch on it.
Scroll through our gallery for Cult of Mac’s picks of the 6 best modern sci-fi movies to test your new super-sized iPhone in style.
From recognizing music that’s playing nearby using Shazam to leaping into action just by saying “Hey Siri,” Apple’s virtual assistant has upped the ante for iOS 8 and iPhone 6. What better movie to celebrate, then, than last year’s tremendous sci-fi rom-com Her?
Written, directed and produced by the prodigiously talented Spike Jonze (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Her tells the story of a lonely Los Angeles resident, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who develops a relationship with his Siri-style A.I., voiced by none other than Scarlett Johansson.
It’s an immensely touching, and oddly human, film about relationships — and its smart, soulful look at the meeting point between tech and humanity is straight out of Apple’s playbook.
The iPhone 6’s higher resolution display allows 720p high-definition video, which Apple has labelled “Retina HD Display.” So what’s the best movie to pick then to show off its impressive 4.7- or 5.5-inch display to yourself, or else make non-iPhone owning friends green with envy?
As good an answer as any is Edge of Tomorrow, the 2014 Tom Cruise-starring blockbuster given the slightly lame home video re-title Live Die Repeat. It’s a Groundhog Day-inspired sci-fi romp about an average Joe who gets wrapped up in a war with aliens. It’s all great fun, and well worth checking out if you missed it in theaters. Which most people seem to have.
Okay, so HealthKit’s last-minute problems mean that it was unceremoniously pulled from iOS 8’s launch lineup, but with the “quantified self” ethos at the heart of tech’s current obsession with mobile health and lifestyle tracking, who can blame me for going back and revisiting 1997’s Gattaca?
Sure, a bio-punk story about genetic modification and the perils of a perfect society is a far cry from an iPhone that helps you workout in the gym, but this is still a tremendous sci-fi movie that is more relevant than ever as time goes on. Its dystopian future’s not a world away from the one depicted in Apple’s famous "1984” Macintosh ad, either.
Gravity picked up a ton of awards at this year’s Oscars — including (but not limited to) Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Those three prizes more than qualify this movie for being a great one to try out your new iPhone 6’s speaker quality on. The fact that it is a constantly tense, fantastically performed, and always beautiful movie unlike any other is just icing on an already deliciously weightless cake.
With its gorgeously rounded form factor, the iPhone 6 is a big, beautiful beast. Which is a bit like the mecha in Guillermo del Toro’s epic 2013 movie Pacific Rim in fact. (Fine, I’m stretching the simile a bit — but don’t let that put you off a fantastic film.) Set just a few years in the future, Pacific Rim tells the story of an Earth at war with giant monsters from a portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. To fight them, mankind unites to build giant fighting robots.
The rest, as they say, is history. Or rather future.
I tried to come up with a way of tying Looper into the iPhone 6, but aside from a strained metaphor about planned obsolescence, I really couldn’t. But if you’re after a sci-fi film to leave you feeling as awestruck as Apple’s September 9 unveiling of the iPhone 6 (there we go!) this is absolutely it.
Directed by the talented Rian Johnson and starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, Looper tells the story of how time travel is used by future criminals who send people back in time to be killed by so-called “loopers.”
It’s way more fun than that garbled description makes it sound, and will go down in history as a sci-fi cult classic. Until it’s killed by its future self, that is.
Steve Jobs presided over many memorable moments during his time at Apple. Here are our all-time favorites. Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC
Apple’s most-anticipated — and likely most-eventful — product introduction since the iPad is set for later this morning. It will undoubtedly be Tim Cook’s biggest moment yet as Apple’s CEO, with the company reportedly ready to unveil new products from what has been described as its most exciting product pipeline in a quarter century.
Anticipation among the Apple faithful couldn’t be any higher. Endless speculation and massive expectations about finally laying eyes on the long-awaited iWatch got us thinking about other memorable announcements from Apple’s 37-year history.
While you wait for this morning’s 10 a.m. liveblog from Apple’s big event, relive some of Cupertino’s past glories. Here are our picks for the 10 biggest Apple announcements of all time.
Cortana may be working for Microsoft, but apparently her free time belongs to Apple. (Picture: @supertino)
Microsoft may enjoy bragging about the perceived superiority of its Windows Phone virtual assistant Cortana over Apple’s Siri, but the actress who voices Cortana apparently isn’t so convinced.
In a recent tweet, actress Jen Taylor (@jentaylortown) tweeted the message “Oh my geez Seattle is beautiful” via iOS, suggesting that while Microsoft may be helping bring in the paychecks, that money is going on Apple products.