Feminists Complain: If You Sexually Harass Siri on Your iPhone, She Doesn’t Fight Back! 

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Siri wasn’t programmed to be a Social Justice Warrior. Feminists want to change that.

Hank Berrien reports: A woman writing for Quartz.com laments that bots such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home exhibit signs of submissiveness that not only reflect the feelings of dominance among men but also reinforce the concept that women are made to be submissive.

“People often comment on the sexism inherent in these subservient bots’ female voices, but few have considered the real-life implications of the devices’ lackluster responses to sexual harassment. By letting users verbally abuse these assistants without ramifications, their parent companies are allowing certain behavioral stereotypes to be perpetuated.”

[Also see – Yeah, Siri Was Asking for It by Jonah Goldberg ,at The Corner]

Leah Fessler writes, “People often comment on the sexism inherent in these subservient bots’ female voices, but few have considered the real-life implications of the devices’ lackluster responses to sexual harassment. By letting users verbally abuse these assistants without ramifications, their parent companies are allowing certain behavioral stereotypes to be perpetuated.”

[Read the full story here, at Daily Wire]

Uh-oh.

“By letting users verbally abuse these assistants without ramifications, their parent companies are allowing certain behavioral stereotypes to be perpetuated.”

And this: “Justifications abound for using women’s voices for bots: high-pitched voices are generally easier to hear, especially against background noise; fem-bots reflect historic traditions, such as women-operated telephone operator lines; small speakers don’t reproduce low-pitched voices well. These are all myths. The real reason? Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Home have women’s voices because women’s voices make more money.”

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“People tend to perceive female voices as helping us solve our problems by ourselves, while they view male voices as authority figures who tell us the answers to our problems.”

And the usual false statistics: “Even if we’re joking, the instinct to harass our bots reflects deeper social issues. In the US, one in five women have been raped in their lifetime, and a similar percentage are sexually assaulted while in college alone; over 90% of victims on college campuses do not report their assault.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Mac Mothership: Apple’s Earliest Ads

The Mac Mothership – Here’s how Apple first started advertising its products in the late 1970s….(more)

Source: vintage everyday

 


Apple’s iPhone Market Grew 75% Year Over Year In China

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Apple’s iPhone market grew 75% in China year over year, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on stage today. The Greater China region is Apple’s second largest market after the Americas….(read more)

Source: TechCrunch


Apple TV 4 Hardware Revealed: A8 Chip, Black remote, 8/16GB Storage, Same Ports, no 4K 

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Priced at $149, will include universal search for finding content across providers.

Mark Gurman reports: The fourth-generation Apple TV, set to be unveiled at an event on September 9thand released in October, will feature a mix of new and familiar hardware, according to reliable sources. While the new device will sport a much faster processor than the current Apple TV, a color-matched remote control, and a somewhat larger body, it will lack support for 4K video streaming and have the same basic ports as the third-generation model…

[Next-gen Apple TV priced at $149, will include universal search for finding content across providers – AppleInsider]

[Also see – Apple TV Rumor Roundup: Everything We Think We Know – Gizmodo]

The current Apple TV design, first released in late 2010, has 8GB of internal storage for caching media, and the fourth-generation boxes in testing surprisingly range from 8GB to 16GB of storage. We are told that Apple has considered two pricing strategies: the simultaneous release of a $149 base model with 8GB of storage alongside a $199 16GB model, or the release of the 16GB Apple TV alone at $149. In either case, Apple will offer a $149 Apple TV.

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While the new Apple TV will include an App Store for deep support for gaming, sources say that the limited storage offered by 8GB and 16GB flash memory is appropriate for the new model, as all content outside of applications will be streamed directly from the Internet. Additionally, the new Apple TV runs an iOS 9 core, and iOS 9 includes several new features for reducing the file size of App Store apps, including the ability to load games in level-sized chunks and stream rather than store videos within app binaries.

[New Apple TV Will Feature Universal Search, Start At $149 – BuzzFeed]

[Also see – The next-gen Apple TV could be the most exciting product Apple has released in years – BGR.com]

Sources indicate that the new Apple TV will be powered by the A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, coming in behind the A9-based iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. In iPhones, the A8 is notably less powerful than the A8X chip found in the iPad Air 2, which includes an additional processing core and improved graphics. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple Exploring Original Programming Move, Could Compete with Netflix

Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.

An Apple spokesperson declined comment. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: New Apple TV to be Unveiled in September, but Without Expected TV Subscription Service

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The Apple TV is also expected to gain Siri voice search support in its update this fall, as well as more on-board storage.

Chance Miller reports: According to a new report from BuzzFeed News, Apple is currently planning to unveil its refreshed Apple TV in September. The company had originally planned to unveil the device at WWDC this summer, but scrapped it from the event at the last minute. A September unveil has seemingly been expected since the announcement was pulled from WWDC.

“It was reported in the past that the device will not feature support for 4k content, as Apple feels there is not a large enough market for the feature at this time.”

The report goes on to corroborate much of what we reported earlier this year. The refreshed Apple TV is expected to be slimmer than the current-generation device and will feature Apple’s new A8 chip. Read the rest of this entry »


Robotic Sports: Ready for Prime Time

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Robotic Sports Will One Day Rival the NFL

Cody Brown writes: When I was 13, I watched a season of Battle Bots on Comedy Central then attempted to build a killer robot in my parent’s basement. You might think, oh, you were probably a weird kid (and you’d be right) but I think eventually this is behavior that will become normal for people all around the world. It’s had some moments in the spotlight but a bunch of factors make it seem like robotic sports is destined for primetime ESPN in the next five years.

1.) A drone flying through the forest looks incredible at 80 mph.

A new class of bot (FPV Quadcopter) has emerged in the past few years and the footage they produce is nuts. Robots can do things we’re fascinated by but can’t generally achieve without risking our own lives. Drones the size of a dinner plate can zoom through a forest like a 3 pound insect. A bot that shoots flames can blow up a rival in a plexiglass cage.

You can make an argument that the *thrill* of these moments is lightened if a person isn’t risking their own life and limb and this is true to a certain extent. NASCAR crashes are inherently dramatic but you don’t need to burn drivers to make fans scream.

Just look at the rise of e-sports. This League of Legends team sits in an air conditioned bubble and sips Red Bull while a sold out arena screams their lungs out. They’re not in any physical danger but 31 million fans are watching online.

The thing that ultimately matters is that the sport looks incredible on video and fans have a connection to the players. And right now, the video, in raw form, is mesmerizing.

2.) Robot parts have gotten cheaper, better and easier to buy.

When I was a kid, I was limited to things available at the local Radio Shack or hardware store. Now I can go to Amazon, find parts with amazing reviews and have them delivered to my house in a day. The hobby community has had many years to develop its technology and increase quality. Brands like Fat Shark, Spektrum, and adafruit have lead the way.

3.) Top colleges fight over teenagers who win robotics competitions.

If you’re good at building a robot, chances are you have a knack for engineering, math, physics, and a litany of other skills top colleges drool over. This is exciting for anyone (at any age) but it’s especially relevant for students and parents deciding what is worth their investment.

There are already some schools that offer scholarships for e-sports. I wouldn’t be surprised if intercollegiate leagues were some of the first to pop up with traction.

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4.) The military wants to get better at making robots for the battlefield.

This one is a little f***ed but it’s worth acknowledging. Drones (of all sizes) are the primary technology changing the battlefield today. DARPA has an overwhelming interest to stay current and they’re already sponsoring multimillion dollar (more academic) robotics competitions. It’s up to the community to figure out how (or how not) to involve them. Them, meaning the giant military apparatus of the United States but also military organizations around the world who want to develop and recruit the people who will power their 21st century defense (and offense). Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] ‘Losing the Signal’: The Inside Story of How the iPhone Crippled BlackBerry

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‘Losing the Signal’ examines Research In Motion’s efforts to take on Apple’s game-changing smartphone

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[Read an excerpt here, at WSJ.com]

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[Order the book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and
Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”
 
from Amazon.com]

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WSJ.com

 


‘Mad Men’ Retrospective

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Mad Men Retrospective on Google Play Includes Free Episode

 writes: “Mad Men,” as it nears the finish line after eight years on TV, is getting a virtual retrospective on Google Play that will allow fans to relive the show’s run — a promo that includes free streaming access to the series’ very first episode.

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Under a pact with LionsgateGoogle Play is debuting “The Mad Men Experience,” at madmen.withgoogle.com. The website is billed as an interactive, art-exhibit-style destination set in the world of 1960s Madison Avenue with more than 300 pieces of content released for the first time in a digital environment. Those include rarely seen artwork interviews with cast audio commentaries and other features.

Don-Draper

The deal is Google Play’s first digital fan experience for a TV show, and it’s aimed at driving viewers to purchase episodes and full seasons of “Mad Men” from the online store. In addition, for a limited time Google Play will stream season one, episode one (“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”) for free on Google Play, available to users in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. All prior seasons of “Mad Men” also are available for streaming on Netflix, and for purchase on Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Instant Video services. Read the rest of this entry »


[REWIND] The Pros and Cons of ‘HBO Now’

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Back in September, there was plentiful speculation about HBO’s rumored streaming-only service. Now that the service is here, how did the speculation stack up to the reality? Here’s a trip back to some of those early predictions.

Sept. 16, 2014Chris Osterndorf writes: For TV junkies of the Internet age, the promised land may be on the horizon. That’s right, HBO may start offering streaming-only service

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Speaking at an investment conference earlier this week, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that the company is “seriously considering what is the best way to deal with online distribution.” For the many who have been pushing HBO to package HBO GO as a separate entity for awhile now, this is no small statement. And with Netflix marching ever forward to corner the streaming market, this could be a crucial moment for HBO.

Yet offering HBO GO without a subscription to HBO presents a number of difficult questions. While it’s undoubtedly a tantalizing possibility, there are as many challenges inherent in this scenario as there are benefits.

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Pro: Easier for “Cord Cutters” and Millennials to Watch Their Favorite Shows

Offering HBO GO sans HBO already gels with the way a large number of millennials watch television. According to newfound data, this is a demographic that ingests three times more TV online than their older counterparts.

[Read the full text of Chris Osterndorf‘s Sept. 16th article here, at The Daily Dot]

These millennials are often lumped in as part of a larger group that’s been dubbed “cord cutters,” aka people who’ve dumped cable entirely to watch television through the Internet. And they’re a group that’s growing. A study that came out in June found that 2.9 percent of pay-TV consumers in this country are planning on canceling their cable service and joining the ranks of the cord cutters in the next year. This doesn’t sound like much until you take into account that this number is up from 2.7 percent last year, which was up from 2.2 percent the year before that, indicating American cord cutters are rising steadily.

Together, as millennials and cord cutters reject cable, they are changing the face of American television. HBO GO becoming its own service would be a huge victory for them, and for the shifting trends they represent.

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Con: Harder for HBO to Create Content

However, offering HBO GO separately from HBO could come at a price. Because for now, HBO, and all the content they provide, are still very much entrenched in a classic model of distribution.

When viewers first started to clamor for standalone HBO GO accounts several years ago, Ryan Lawler at TechCrunch observed, “HBO currently has about 29 million subscribers and reportedly receives around $7 or $8 per subscriber per month. So HBO could, theoretically, get more per subscriber than it’s currently making. But that doesn’t include the cost of infrastructure needed to support delivery of all those streams, including all the CDN delivery and other costs that would come with rolling out a broader online-only service.”

He continues, “More importantly, it wouldn’t include the cost of sales, marketing, and support—and this is where HBO would really get screwed. Going direct to online customers by pitching HBO GO over-the-top would mean losing the support of its cable, satellite, and IPTV distributors. And since the Comcasts and the Time Warner Cables of the world are the top marketing channel for premium networks like HBO, it would be nearly impossible for HBO to make up for the loss of the cable provider’s marketing team or promotions.”

What does this ultimately mean for you, the consumer? In short, it means that if HBO suffers, their output also suffers.

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So far, HBO is doing just fine in their fight against Netflix. Of course, they’re not able to provide the same wide array of movies and TV shows from other networks, but they’re as prestigious as ever, and they have several huge hits on their hands. In fact, Game of Thrones just surpassed The Sopranos to become their highest rated show ever. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Want 8 More Minutes? Watch Apple’s Watch and MacBook Event in 11 Minutes


Apple’s Spring Forward event was quite eventful (repetition intended). Apple TV got a big price drop and an even bigger exclusive partnership with HBO. The Apple Watch was priced for every single tier. And there’s that ultra-thin, minimal-ported MacBook.

 


Apple releases a Beatles channel for Apple TV

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It’s no surprise that Apple is getting in on the landmark anniversary of Beatlesmania in the US. It’s launched a Beatles channel for the Apple TV with the Beatles’ initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show available for free streaming. It also promotes Apple’s release of the Beatles’ U.S. albums, which differ greatly from the UK versions in the early years.

It’s been 50 years since The Beatles made their way to the US and changed music forever, and now Apple is commemorating that with a special channel on the Apple TV. For a limited time, Apple TV owners will be able to view The Beatles’ back-to-back performances on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple TV: The Time for an Upgrade is Now

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Another day, another Apple TV challenger. Weeks after Google introduced the world to Chromecast, it was Sony Corp.’s turn, unveiling Sony Playstation Vita TV on Monday. The tiny set-top box will bring video and games to TV sets in Japan beginning in November, with a broader rollout likely still to come. Read the rest of this entry »